FIRE DIDN’T TAKE OUR SOUL

1542541799044-834355254.jpgFire has not taken our souls and that is all that really counts,” Garcia said. “We have people left is more important than any things,” Jones said. But we have lost everything we had because the fire took everything but has not taken our souls and that’s all that really counts,” Garcia said. In the midst of fire adversity and a tragedy is poignant symbols reminding people to be strong in spite of problems. Most going back after the fire destroyed thousands of homes plus other facilities will rebuild the entire town of Paradise. The town was enveloped by “firestorm rained hell down,” said Butte the county sheriff, Kory Honea. There was no time to save whole town because fire spread at the rate greater than a football field in a minute. Focus turned into rescuing people from houses overtaken by flame and Jerry Garcia’s wife, Sharon, wasn’t interested in returning to the town they lived for decades but changed her mind planning on returning to rebuild new Paradise town. Isaiah 43:2 says you pass through the waters God is with you and when you pass through floods it will not overflow you and when you go into fire, it will not burn you. So survivors of fire have been rescued alive despite risks to their lives. Biblical unnatural wildfires are hard to contain due to combination of factors. Bible Signs of the end times of Biblical last days end time prophecy predict fires so complex beyond natural seasonal fires regularly contained. The property and life destroyed by fire and flood really damages communities. Yet in spite of all these natural disasters of earthquakes, floods, wildfires in Bible prophecy news people have hope. And news reports every week talks about a disaster of hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, globally. Isaiah 43:2 predicts you to pass through the waters, through the floods and fire but God is with you. I can hear you screaming if God is with you why did HE not prevent you passing through the floods or driving, walking through a fire. Floods, fires, famines, droughts and pestilence are the four horsemen riding bringing these upon the earth predicted in the Book of Revelations in the Bible. 1542534847296-834355254.jpgThe coming storms of extreme weather and climate changes intensify terrifying with harzards in the future preceding Rapture and later the Second Coming of Jesus. Apocalypse doomsday tribulation is going since the time of Christ but now floods, tornadoes, locusts are part of the end time birth pangs. Apocalypse, final judgment of man and destruction of the world by fire in Bible imagery is a real event on earth. All people are affected whether religious or not floods, fires, storms, unusual seven thunders in Bible prophecy demands the attention of all the people on the earth. Bible signs are these startling events floods hurricanes, tornadoes, in earthquakes, casualties by sea and land. The Bible says one-third of trees, people will perish due to weather fuelling fires in the last days. Fires get worse due to complex building material and high tech lifestyle links community the houses and closeness of homes. The Word of God warns that the heavens and earth existing are stored up for fire, but kept until the day of judgment and destruction of Great / Tribulations. It is the warning to heed and take seriously because structures must be designed to limit damage to life and property. Fires from thunders, earthquake, hurricane, floods are unpredictable. This is why it is good to prepare for survival or those who lost lives their souls to go back into heaven. This is not the time to be angry at God to blame HIM because thousands of years of warning is given to prepare against such times. Whether religious or not God does what he forewarned and it affects unbelievers lives too. Camp fire named by road near origin is the most destructive fire in state history and the deadliest killing so many people and still so many more unaccounted for. More than 10,000 homes is destroyed by the fire largely in the Paradise town of 27,000. Also gone are 366 commercial buildings and a third of town’s schools. There is so much to rebuild, but before that can begin, authorities must finish sifting through the ashes to find what’s left of those who didn’t make it out in time. Some may never be recovered and returning evacuees may find remains if authorities missed some sheriff warned.1542537330994-1895827285.jpg Still, residents are eager to return home, or at least to the rubble that remains. So how does a town nearly wiped off maps rise from the ashes? It’s a question with no easy answers. Since disaster began, local government officials emphasized the commitment to rebuilding the town, though its location means fire is always a risk. But it will probably take at least five to 10 years to restore the town, and it takes longer for individual residents, said Robert B Olshansky, an expert in post-disaster recovery. Rescue workers search areas to discover the suspected human remains in homes destroyed by Camp Fire Friday in Paradise California. “I’m confident they’re going to rebuild but it’s going to be tough,” Olshansky said. “The people there five years from now may not be same ones now. There are going to be a lot of households for whom it may still be a disaster.”Like pure gold, the refiner’s fire remove dross for a more beautiful and better buildings than before. This refining is to strengthen the enduring human soul or spirit as overcomers in life. Zechariah 13:9 says a third will be through fires to refine them like pure silver to test them as gold is tested. The spirit of grace and of supplications will help those look up to God to deliver and sustain them. And Isaiah 48:10 also states I refined you not as silver and tested you in fire to refine you in the furnace of suffering. Tests by the fire of suffering as silver is refined in a furnace. Like a refiner’s fire people are tested like exams are for promotion to higher spiritual level by the believers desiring God. And the painful sufferings are temporary on the earth compared to the joyful experience of victory. As fire strengthens bricks or wood, silver, gold, God refines mankind as Daniel and friends joined by Jesus in Babylon Iraq survived. Physical fire becomes a symbol of redemption testing a faithful believer to prove love and confidence in God. As Jesus was in the fire with Daniel so by Holy Spirit’s POWER of God, some survived location, speed, help, support of others. Christians who died, the souls go straight to God in heaven for absence from body means presence with God. So Jesus told believers, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire to become spiritually rich, wear white garments, and clothe yourself in righteousness and holiness. God accepts people as they are so call upon God in Jesus Name.1542536081369-834355254.jpgThe town cannot be rebuilt in the way it was federal officials warned the county, but some have hopeful vision for future. Newer schools, a sewer system instead of outdated septic tanks to be safer from fires. “If we are going to rebuild, we are going to rebuild community where this never happens,” said former fire chief’s town evacuation operation coordinator, Jim Broshears. The risk of fire is always present in forest area, high in the Sierra foothills and surrounded by canyons on two sides. The town experienced at least four evacuations due to fire in 10 years. Close to 200 homes lost in 2008 fires. But this was a worst-case scenario. Now, as community prepares to rebuild it must construct safer, more modern buildings, and perhaps look at how its forests are managed, Broshears said. “We have an opportunity to build forest in the model of pre-European settlement conditions,” Broshears said. That is going to be more resilient forest. Currently, the western sierras densely wooded not necessarily the best model for forests to get through fires, said Thomas Scott an expert on wildfire at the University of California, Berkeley. That’s because second-growth forests, woodland regrown after harvest carry fire further and faster than trees there before. Ideas of a pre-Columbian forest generally means not suppressing early summer fires, and removing some younger trees to create a more widely spaced forest. Forest management is not about harvesting trees, but thinning the forest to protect the community. “You get back a more pre-Columbian forest then that means it’s less likely to trap all those people in the town,” Scott said. Even with that approach there will still be fires, they would just be less likely to start at the crest of the sierras and stop at the Central Valley, he said. Fire is a process Californians live with, manage and stop thinking of as a foe, Scott said. The Paradise fire is special case because of sufficient fuels around the city which let the fire come in number of different ways,” Scott said. So homeowners can make properties less vulnerable to fire, ensuring roof not flammable with dried leaves, vegetation or creating defensible space. Fires driven by strong wind can’t be fought but with most fuel in the area burned up Paradise probably safe from fire for awhile but not forever and the rest of the state at risk most of the year. Not wanting to sound heartless, has to accept if you live in burnable landscape, climate changing may be “when” house burns not “if” a house burns,” Scott said. A rescue worker gives her cadaver dog water as they search the Paradise Gardens apartments for victims of the Camp fire in Paradise on Friday.The new Paradise rebuilding starts once the fire, currently burning 221 sq miles at 45% containment, is extinguished, and then hazardous ash and rubble cleaned up, it could take about a year. Butte county is advising residents on what to do when they return but they acknowledge could be weeks or months away. There is almost no gas, electricity, safe water and no emergency services, police station and fire station survived as did the town hall. Air is hazardous, with risk of falling tree limbs ongoing, and what’s left of homes, incinerated belongings and kitchen appliances are probably toxic. Residents are permitted to return but few will have anywhere to stay. The fire destroyed town so chances of successful rebuilding is much higher compared with other natural disasters, Olshansky said, thanks to insurance. As support from state, federal government loans, funding of a Federal Emergency Management Agency, will aid the town in recovery. Including constructing new public buildings Paradise unified school district lost three of nine schools, others sustained significant damage to rebuild. Before the fire residents approved $61m bond to fund buildings and equipments updates. Until students return to schools still standing, district looking at online programs Superintendent Michelle John said. Other school districts volunteered to take additional students. The rescue worker use cadaver dogs as they search Paradise Gardens apartments for more victims of the Camp fire in Paradise on Friday. Schools are key, Olshansky said; residents typically return to areas hit by disaster if schools continue to operate. Challenge in Santa Rosa communities hit by last year’s Tubbs fire, destroyed 3,000 homes. And so finding qualified contractors to rebuild the schools and homes damaged in Paradise estimated at least two to three times Santa Rosa experience, mayor, Jody Jones, said. “So having enough capable contractors to go round not slow things down building is challenge,” Olshansky said. Town is working on streamlining the process of building inspections and permits mayor said looking at support small businesses with high bankruptcy after disasters. It is thinking about the long-term’s tough, decisions the mayor added. The town’s council members, 17 police officers, and dozens of firefighters lost homes along with thousands of others so will rebuild. “We have people, more important than any things,” Jones said. Though lost the sentimental and highly valued material things but it has not taken our souls and that’s all that really counts,” Garcia said. “That’s why we’re going back.” What an amazing statement made because Jesus said real true life does not constitute the material possession accumulated. Years of hard work, sacrifices, generations of inheritance burnt down within last few days. Yet people still cling to love, hope assured knowing mourning may last for night season of painful loss or suffering but joy comes in the morning. May God strengthen the weak ones to help their unbelief and increase their faith in God in Christ. Above all, God does test run of to warn of worse unquenchable fires in hell and gnashing of teeth by groanings. These fires reveal preview of the worse fires of judgement of wrath of God. This is the time to decide to live for God to be in God’s Kingdom or to ignore God’s fire alarm warning hellfire not escaped. Do not let anyone deceive you a loving God will not punish by fire because Sodom and Gomorrah was burnt by fire. Live life to full but remember that you are created in God’s Image whether you are a believer or not, will one day in future face God’s future judgement. Take a full advantage as survivor, advise yourself you do not want to be anywhere near hell fire which is a million times hotter than the paradise fires. Faith in God and good fire insurance has buoyed Barbara Kramer, 79, whose two-bedroom home and car were destroyed. Apparently, lost everything but haven’t lost anything she said. “We’re Christians and everything we have belongs to the LORD so if it is gone, it’s just things.” Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude gratitude reflection for survival even if only in clothes on body. Thanksgiving gives hope of assurance to Trust GOD HIMSELF to provide again as HE did before. So is confident to rebuild but knew some don’t understand how one can lose everything they worked for their whole lives and not feel any loss of devastation sadness. Thank God for the ones with fire insurance taken care of so booked into a Hotels for weeks or as long as necessary. Others are in a make shift temporary accommodation at the moment trying to figure their future.

FAITH IS RESTORED IN GOD

Jessica Wilbanks

Journalism academician Jessica Wilbanks is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and creative nonfiction awards from Ninth LetterSycamore Review, Redivider, and the Ruminate magazine. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism. Jessica received her MFA in creative nonfiction from University of Houston where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston Texas with husband and son. Jessica Wilbanks is a third-year M.F.A. student in creative nonfiction at the University of Houston, where she serves as Nonfiction Editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. Her essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in theBulletin of Atomic Scientists, The PuritanSojourners, The Normal School, and Relevant Magazine. She was recently awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from West Africa Research Association to conduct research for her thesis, an essay collection focusing on the history and practice of Christianity in West Africa. Jessica is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for essay writing, debuts the captivating story of how she turned away from God. She eloquently explores her long journey from being Pentecostal Christian who spoke in tongues to being an atheist. Drawn away from a Church after writing a ‘talisman’ in her pocket to abandon faith. She kept a façade by attending church pretending to take notes of sermons. But led a worldly life to escape the cage that seemed more boring compared to exciting lifestyle of two free spirit wild girls she admired and later copied. Eventually it was time to experience that side of life first by escaping to an institution where she gained freedom to practice her freewill. After a few years manages to restore her faith by travelling to West Africa, Nigeria to explore Pentecostal Christianity. Whether writing of scars, her dad’s rusty pickup trucks, massive Pentecostal revivals in Lagos, Wilbanks captures scenes beautifully. Wilbanks’s slow deconstruction of her family-given religiosity is the evocative inversion of average spiritual journey in her book. What impressed me most about this is a personal journey of faith story crossed path with academics who keep the faith matters private in an academic setting. This is a testimony of courage, a family reunion, forgiveness in situations that lead others on the journey of no return. Thank God for HIS LOVE, Mercy, Grace and restoration of faith in Jesus to give hope to people lost in wilderness of atheism. WHEN I SPOKE IN TONGUES is a memoir of profound destabilization that comes from losing one’s faith, as a young woman’s journey to reconcile her lack of belief with her love for her deeply religious family. Growing up in poverty in the rural backwoods of southern Maryland, Pentecostal church was at the core of Jessica Wilbanks’ family life. At sixteen, driven by a desire to discover the world, Jessica walked away from the Church. Trading her faith for freedom and driving a wedge between her and her deeply religious family. Fundamentalist faiths haunt the adherents long after belief fades former believers often live in limbo straddling two world views and trying to reconcile their past and present. Ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is a story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of how a family splintered by dogmatic faith can eventually be knit together again through love.

Wondering about as belief fades former believers live in limbo of the two world views. Jesssica, trying to reconcile her past with the present, ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is the story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of Jessica’s family reconciliation, after splintered by dogmatic faith is knit together through love restored in God. 

 CHIBUNDU ONUZO

Welcome to Lagos_cvr_300dpi print res (1)nterview:Chibundu Onuzo interview in new book Welcome to Lagos published, Houston Chronicle. Jessica Wilbank’s Teaching Philosophy: As writers, we are dependent on two streams to nourish our writing. First, is the stream of inspiration or mysterious and spiritual force that wakes us in the middle of the night with words singing in our heads. Then there is the realm of craft and technique, the editor and the workhorse. As creative writing teacher, I do my best to both equip my students with craft advice, structural templates that have best served my own writing, while also honoring and feeding my students’ original sources of inspiration. PAST WRITEFEST May 5, 2017

Writespace

Participating in the first workshop took place in May 2017. This was first year participating in Writefest–an amazing new writer’s conference in Houston sponsored by Houston Writers’ Guild and Writespace. Participation in panel called “How to Get Published in Literary Journals”and moderated panel with Andrew Sullivan, CP Heiser, Michael J. DeLuca, Holly Walrath, and Karen Bovenmyer. I was especially excited to meet CP Heiser, since Unnamed Press published Jessie Chaffee’s terrific new book Florence in Ecstasy. I never worked with Tony Hoagland in my graduate program but my weekend course with him several years ago was aimed at helping high school teachers better understand or appreciate poetry. That course was beginning of a massive shift in the way I approached imagery and detail in my work. I remember coming home from class at 5 pm on a Saturday night and writing for hours at kitchen table. His love for poetry was just so infectious, and he was so passionate about helping people see how alive and energetic poetry could be. I’ll never forget him telling us “I do a lot of things in my life…write poems, teach grad students, give lectures…but teaching community workshops is the thing I love doing more than anything else.” This beautiful excerpt is from “A Color of the Sky” in What Narcissism Means to Me.

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Jessica Wilbanks

The Honors College Faculty Jessica Wilbanks

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“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

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IGNORANT Ignorant ignorant

1541706651819605598922-1.jpgIgnorant is ignorant of ignorance due to ignorance is bliss like burying own head in the sand ignoring obvious situations. Ignorance is glaring for all to see except the ignorant person affected. Although no one knows everything in life, basic common sense requires awareness of people’s educational, social, cultural or psychological and health needs to help interact better in society. God in the Bible says, My People perish for lack of knowledge. This means God’s manual of life is abandoned and ignored to search for alternatives to suit each person as they are fit regardless of whether it is in the best interest of others or not. Such an attitude concentrates efforts only on what is in it for me. Such a self-centred personality sees the world through only their viewpoint despite views of billions of other people on earth. Ego is inflated so much despite academic achievement ignorant and unskilled in dealing fairly with people. Unaware of ignorance lives in a bubble without realising difficulties in not recognising own incompetence. It leads to the hyper – inflated exaggerated self-assessment ego ignorant of damage of their own ignorance on themselves or others bullied into coercion. Ignorant naive ignorant but insist on dominating others is the tragedy of today’s society. An ignorant character is too ignorant to realize their ignorance, others deal with and put up with for the sake of peace. If ignorant but insists on making decisions that lacks awareness of consequences, it is often too late to repair damage others saw in advance but were overruled. The power game of feeling in control to tell others what to do feel empowered is a sign if insecurity. Constantly orders the others about without any taking of the responsibility for actions. Power hungry bubble wrapped in virtual reality lacks undertanding of practical daily issues.  15417067548761293330498-1.jpgUnderlying ignorant fear of unknown is reason lurking behind the ignorant who does not value or respect those around them who sacrifice time to portray their fake image perfect, grand, great or best. Yet deep down in their hearts unhappy about coercion threats for fear of being fired for genuine honesty. The truth is not clearly obvious to ignorant and yet argues and fights the best experts in the field of expertise. A strong egotistic will untamed fester’s into all aspects of their lives never having no for an answer. So moves heaven and earth to achieve any thing they fancy or feel like doing. This starts from childhood if the self-centred ego is not nipped in bud. Having control over peers and colleagues to manipulate them to do their bidding and dirty work for them. Ignorance is dangerous if the ignorant makes decisions of the policies they know nothing about. Meanwhile a choice of whatever they want supplied at their beck and call exploiting others. It means an ignorant person affects the other people suffering due to ignorant choices they make on behalf of others. The irony is people are most likely to be ignorant of extent of their ignorance do not listen to anybody. It starts, with the authoritarian, do as I say not what I do type of bullying compulsive behaviour. Impulsive decisions mean they do not remember what they said or what they did previously. Meanwhile everyone around them remembers their insults and tantrums of how they were made to feel small by them. So do not forget but dare not question their ever-changing decisions of instructions in atmosphere of fear. Ignorant lacks knowledge of the basic things even children may know. 1541706870660-566392789.jpgIt gets worse over time when the people hide the truth from them to conceal the effects of their aggressive reactions. The ignorant describe life in their state of unawareness of the things they should know. Means its ignorance defining lack of knowledge or training of ignorance of their harmful side of their ignorance. Lack of awareness is more dangerous as ignorant has not enough knowledge, understanding, or information about somethings they do or have to do on the behalf of others. Their ignorance rubs people the wrong way because but they ignore the expert advise and so do their ignorant things. Their opinion divides, damaging people, health, work, homes, families, etc. Precisely the kind of world ignorant run but unequipped mentally, morally ethically destroy environment and the earth. Ignorance of God’s plans, through Jesus’ purpose for mankind by ignorant people causes ignorant to live their lives trampling on other people like beasts. By ignorance they choose knowledge that leads to woes for many people. The question is how come the ignorant flourish like a great tree so overbearing little trees cannot get their daily Sunshine, nutrition or rain to live and let live and Jesus anymore? Jesus already warns of such perilous times so people must know how to respond not to react to the hatred triggered by them. It’s part of endtime prophecy in Bible on how evil is seen as good so good is seen as evil due to deception. Their negative vibes drive hatred and conflict distracts attention from their ignorance. People latch unto their loathing divide and rule targets fights and wars of destruction to cull the global population to dominate all people on earth. Ignorance leads to a world getting worse fuelled by hatred to spurs gullible to self-destruct. People are too busy projecting hatred on others to scrutinise their incompetency. Stress of constant pressure surround them so chaos and confusion since at the helm of affairs controlling others. Inability to listen to others destroys them so people walk on egg shells around them in fear. The spirit behind this is satan for just a season to be driven out by Jesus to take back power to Reign on earth.

DECEIVER DECEIVES WORLD

1541626902374605598922.jpgDeceiver deceives deceived without some people realising satan deceived them. It is as Jesus warns in Matthew 24:24 that even elect deceived if not alert or aware of the manipulations. The devil is satan, father of all lies, deceiver, blinds, leads captives by deceit. So satan’s deception affects the whole world as scripture says to deceive all the nations. Deceitful goal deceived angels to try to overthrow God and to mislead believers because hates born-again Christians, Jews and God’s angels. Uses strategies to deceive to lead people down wrong path thousands of years. Once called lucifer and knows music that impresses people became too proud to submit to God. Chucked out of heaven targets God’s people on earth to deceive and recruit to hell exclusively prepared only for devil and demons. A lot of people think satan is just a comic invention for fun messing about taking the mick out of people. The subtle deceit comes in forms hard to discern because the deceived will recognise and reject it if it was made plain to them. The deceit sometimes offers even good proposal to deceive the person genuinely in need so its easy to deceive the deceived. Trust of people taken advantage of to deceive to create havoc as satan takes pleasure in sufferings of people affected.wp-1541628604178..jpg The devil comes to steal, kill, to destroy  but Jesus comes to give life even life more abundantly says John 10:10. The deceiver knows God has great love for HIS Children as Scriptures show. God is Spirit so those who love and God must do so in Spirit and Truth in Christ to direct, guide, strengthen and comfort people. The crafty deception of satan is packaged to deceit using wicked the evil spirits pretending to be friendly to deceive. The serpent of old, the devil aka satan deceives the whole world to cause confusion to rebel against God. So Eve said, “The serpent deceived her and affects the sin DNA in mankind. There is a cause and effect the deceiver drives to keep some people in captivity. The Bible presents satan as playing strategic role in deceiving people so they see God as a wicked father only waiting to punish or catch out His Children. As satan knows time is up so intensifies deceptions and misleads people to hate each other. The negative experiences of satan’s spiritual wickedness in high places to control the gullible people who don’t know God. So devil knows Bible and how God works better than believers who don’t study word of God like Bereans. People are given freewill to stop devil interfering their interest and well-being to test the spirits to see if they are from God.1541628137674605598922.jpg People must discern if plan or project is pleasing to God or if a decision is selfish and rebellious against God. Eventually, satan is bound by God not to deceive nations anymore says Revelations 20:1–3. The Lord God warns woe to deceivers who do not repent or forsake evil ways will face wrath of God to come during endtimes. There are many living stories about deceiver deceiving deceived but post is focussing on a few outstanding ones in the Bible. The Merciful Gracious LORD God forgives genuine repentance of all those who come to their senses to discover they were deceived. Jacob the deceiver who deceived father to take Esau’s Blessing. Gets deceived by his father in-law who swapped Leah for Rachel whom he loved. So Jacob worked for another seven years to get Rachel in addition to Leah despite a conflict over speckled animals. God’s Covenant with Abraham remained through Jacob’s sons who are the twelve tribes of Israel. The story of Jacob, whose name means to deceive or cheat; deceived his father, and later deceived by his sons that his son Joseph sold to Ishmaelites, died. The sibling rivalry caused brothers to hate Joseph for his dreams. Joseph survived to save his family during famine and years later moved to Canaan land promised to Abraham plus other territories. God is aware of the deceiver’s ploy to deceive the deceived that is why God forgives because they know not what they were doing. Jesus prayed on Cross of Calvary for all mankind to be forgiven from all sins. Thank God for Jesus and His Grace and Mercy. 

WE LOVE OUR BIG BODIES

We love our big bodies people call fat and able to do as much as we can by our talents and abilities. We work so hard to accomplish excellence in our fields of expertise yet our size seems to matter to some people more than getting to know us. We are ordinary people doing extraordinary things so enjoy life as much as possible. We decided to speak out on behalf of the people fatshamed to be miserable or to spend their whole life trying to be someone they are not. Some develop anorexia and bulimia by trying to be slim and control their weight. In the extreme cases lost their lives due to pressure to be stereotypical average size whatever that means. Magazine, TV, media, entertainment industry portray an unrealistic image of the majority of women. Young people look up to such images so refuse to eat properly. Photographer Alice Zoo speaks to six women on body positivity and fat activism to support people who face abuse daily go educate the public.

COURTNEY, 24, GRIMSBY

@bodypositivebelle

“I’ve been big from a young age. I was 10, I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid, so each year I’ve put on more weight. I was always really active, so it was strange. New lumps and bumps formed that I didn’t know what to do with. I was bullied a lot throughout my school years I hated my body absolutely hated it. It really affected my mental health. When I was in college, I went on a big, long-term diet and lost five stone. I was a lot slimmer though I was big but I realised I wasn’t a better person, I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t amazing. I was still same person, but a lot less happy. Then I discovered Instagram. I remember seeing the first girl that used a body positive hashtag and I thought she looked amazing. I remember seeing the first girl’s body positive hashtag so I thought she looks amazing. But one night someone commented on all of my pictures saying I was fat and looked like someone from Star Wars. I messaged her and asked her why she was doing it. Why she found it fun to hurt someone like that. She replied, and later admitted that she had hang-ups about her own body. She said she felt fat. It made me think that often people are just pushing their own insecurities out. Someone will look at me and think: ‘I don’t want to be that size, I wouldn’t be happy that size, so why should you be happy when you’re fat?’ It makes me sad to think about people struggling so much they think the only way to make themselves feel better is to put someone down. That’s not the way. You can’t be comparing yourself to other people. I know it’s not easy, but the sooner you start to see yourself, how great you are, the better. You won’t need to judge someone by their looks.

ENAM, 23, BIRMINGHAM

@enamasiama

“I love the way I look and feel, because I’m comfortable, don’t feel any different from anyone else. I wake up and see myself as this normal person. I always tell people that I love my belly, I love my boobs. These squidgy parts might be seen as fat to someone else, but to me it’s just comfortable. There’s no-one out there who’s going to tell you that you’re not beautiful when you’re fat, simple as.

Find those who treasure and appreciate you and tell others how good they make you feel. Don’t be a person who always demoralises someone, or always being judgmental, because you have flaws. All have things they need to work on body.

“I have been waiting to be thin most of my life – to lose weight. I’ve put a lot of things on hold. When a kid growing up in Poland, I was quite sickly with upper throat infections and had to go to places we called sanatoriums to get better. Every time I went to one, they would put me on a low-calorie diet. They were always saying that I had to lose weight. Nowadays, when I look at photos from childhood, I don’t see anything wrong. I wasn’t skinny, but I wasn’t fat. But I was made to feel that there was something wrong. A few years ago, I started feeling a growing sense of anger so consuming a lot of feminist blogs and podcasts, and they talked about body positivity and self-love. I got to point where I thought, ‘There’s nothing wrong with the way I look, there’s nothing wrong with the way anyone looks. I’m just going to live my life.’ I stopped waiting to buy nice clothes, I just bought the clothes that fitted me. I started going on holiday. I started wearing a swimsuit and going swimming, which I always used to love when I was a kid. Now my attitude is:
‘Don’t like what you see look elsewhere else!’ N
o longer trying to change myself to fit society so trying to change society so it can fit me. Body positivity is not for fat people or skinny people it’s for everyone. Body positivity is the freedom that comes with being able to be happy with yourself. It gives you so much time to do other things, to travel, to think, to write, to make friends without having to worry about how you look all the time. Everyone could use a bit of body positivity in their life.”

MERCEDEZ, 28, LONDON / CHICAGO @missmermaidezpublic

“I was on a flight recently and I asked for a seat belt extender, I’m totally comfortable asking for – it doesn’t bother me. I was told I would have to pay for it. I said, ‘No thanks’, and they just ignored it, so I went without a seat belt from London to Morocco and back again. People think being fat is our fault. I struggled with not feeling desirable as a teenager. I thought I would never find a partner, that nobody would love me in the body I had. I look back at the time where I hated myself the most and I’m like – I was so cute. Why would anyone think these things? I do feel sensitive about desirability, through relationships and especially the way men have treated me as disposable. But I know that I’m hot. I know that I’m a worthy human being so it has nothing to do with my size. I know my body is some people’s greatest fear, to confront that is uncomfortable. To confront me being happy and living life and feeling healthy whatever that means threatens people’s desires to fit into beauty norm. I think it scares people you exist in the way you haven’t been told you can.”

TARA, 30, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

@fatandfab88

“Sometimes being fat is awesome, and sometimes it’s difficult. Spaces aren’t designed for larger bodies. And public transport is a nightmare. You need two seats on an plane. But a big body has just as much right as a smaller body.I think as I’ve got older, I just care less. Or I care more about myself and less about what’s expected of me. Being fat feels rebellious. Being fat and loving yourself is something completely different. I used to hate it. I wouldn’t eat. I wanted my skin to be lighter, so when I was in primary school, cover myself in talcum powder. Now, of course, I realise there’s nothing wrong with me. It would help if there were fat dolls out there for kids. Dolls like Barbie, have an unattainable shape. For everyone – of any size, race, whatever it’s not manageable. As I’ve got older, I’ve grown into my body. That’s the best way to say it. It kind of grew on me. When I finally became happy with where I was, when I stopped always trying to improve, that made a big difference. My partner helped loads as well. People think that if you’re fat then you can’t be healthy. You can be really big, and not as healthy as you should be. But then you’re happy, so it’s about weighing up what’s more important. When I’m smaller, I’m a state. I’m a happy size, and a healthy size, for all of me. For my mental health and my physical health, which are almost the same thing.”

SHARON, 30, LONDON

“When I was a kid, I didn’t feel happy in myself. I felt that I was ugly and my self-worth was really low bullied a lot. I developed and came out of myself a bit in my later teens. But it wasn’t until I found out about fat acceptance and fat positivity that I really came into my own. I was able to start looking at my self-worth as being more than whether or not I’m aesthetically pleasing to wider society. Now, some days I think I’m beautiful, other days I don’t. I have the knowledge that when things aren’t great, I can actually break it down and think OK Sharon, it’s not because you’re fat, it’s not because of you, it’s because of society’s impression of you.’ Because you’ve absorbed so many images from the media. There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just the way that you’ve been made to feel. I’m a lot more in control of how I feel about myself. Fat activism is liberating fat people from social norms, and the discrimination and negativity that comes alongside that. We want society to accept us as human beings whose worth is not defined by weight, appearance or health. The biggest thing is to not make assumptions about why fat people are fat, or that they’re unhealthy. Just ask us. Ask us how we feel about our bodies. Be open-minded.”

11 TIPS FOR THE UNIVERSITY

1. Manage your workload

Kaylie Knowles, 24, studied at Nottingham Trent University, then did her PGCE at Derby University. She says staying on top of workload is crucial. “I got on just fine doing my undergrad at Trent, but my final year at Derby was a very stressful year leading me to four or five meltdowns across the year. “All I’d say is prioritise your workload and make sure you take a break when you feel the workload is getting too much. “

2. Plan a weekly budget

Mary O’Connell, 23, who did English literature at York University and an MA in Film Studies at King’s College London, recommends setting yourself a weekly budget. Don’t spend all your money on Freshers Week. If you haven’t really worked before uni then you may not have seen that much money in your account before. But remember that it’s still a loan that you need to be sensible with.Mary O'ConnellLearn to manage your loan as crucial. Plan a weekly budget. You can use an app to track your spending if you want to get an idea of how much you’re spending, because it’s something we usually underestimate.” Sian Reed, 25, studied marketing at Hull University, followed by an MA in sports journalism at Sheffield Hallam, agrees. “My first top tip would be learn to budget. I know it sounds all serious but just because your student loan has come in, doesn’t mean you should spend it all at once. “Just take half an hour or so to sit down and look at what money you have coming in and what you’re spending. “It might mean making some adjustments like boosting your income or reducing your spending (ask for a student discount everywhere, you’ll be surprised at the sort of places that offer it as they don’t always advertise) but it means you can live comfortably.”

3. Back up your work

Peter Rogers, 22, who graduated from York University last year, says it’s a good idea to back up your work in more than one place. We all gmail accounts through our university, so I used Google Drive to save everything which meant it was stored in the cloud. “One piece of advice would be to make sure you save different versions of a piece of work as you go along.Peter RogersPeter recommends back up your work in more than one place. For example, if writing an essay on French Revolution, save it as ‘French Revolution half’ at the halfway stage, and then again as a separate version three-quarters of the way through, etc. “That way if you do manage to delete a copy you will not have to rewrite from the beginning.”

4. Make use of first year

Peter also says that the first year can often be a little lighter academically than subsequent years, so it’s worth enjoying it. “If your first year doesn’t count towards your overall grade, make the most of the freedom that offers you,” he suggests. “I still look back and wish I had done a little less work (nobody asks me what grade I got in first year) and spent more time trying out activities, sports or just hanging out with friends. “Obviously the academic side is important but that really amps up in second and third year anyway.”

5. Choose your friends

Emmeke Megannety 21, a second-year journalism student at Nottingham Trent University, says it’s worth taking your time to find good friends. People starting uni need to remember that the people you meet in your first week will not necessarily be your friends for life.Emmeke MegannetyEmmeke, 21, says friendships take time to evolve don’t think you have to stick to people like glue because you haven’t met anyone else yet. “Throw yourself into activities and societies, get a job, strike up conversation with someone at the gym you’ll make so many friends throughout the year in the oddest of places. Mary recommends joining all societies that interest you. You don’t just want your uni friends to be people on your course and who you live with, join a society to make friends there,” she says. It’s a good way to socialise cheaply if you’re not a big drinker. It makes the uni experience more fulfilling.”

6. Look out for people

Sadly many students suffer with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Recent statistics show 146 students took their lives in 2016.  Peter says it’s important to keep an eye on peers and ask searching questions. I was, and continue to be, regularly surprised at the number of people who would look and act fine outwardly but were actually really struggling. “I think the key is talking directly, especially with men. I know if I were just asked ‘How are you feeling?’ I’d probably just skirt around the question with a generic answer. “But if a friend asked ‘Do you think your mental health has been affected by….?’ we might be tempted to answer more honestly.”

7. Eat a balanced diet

Matt Broderick, 29, a graduate from Queens University Belfast, says a poor diet can affect your mood. “Learn to cook and go to class. I did neither of these things, or very, very little. “I spent all of my money on really unhealthy oven food or nasty takeaways and barely went to lectures. I didn’t realise at the time but was probably depressed because I was living in an awfully cold and dark house, eating dreadful food and only really leaving the house to go drinking with the odd class or lecture thrown in. I wish I could hit the reset button and go to every single lecture, do all of my readings, eat better and spend my time more wisely rather than drinking away my student loan.”

8. Cook on a budget

Picking up on the issue of food, Mary recommends learning how to cook on a budget. “Stop caring about brands just because you have them at home,” she advises. For example, if you’re making something like a bolognese then buy the ‘basics’ version of chopped tomatoes. It’s not an ingredient you need to have a special brand for – chopped tomatoes is chopped tomatoes.Sian ReedSIAN REED says it’s important to “stay true to yourself. “Tupperware is your friend: Cook food in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions.” Peter adds: “Like many students I didn’t really have anything other than rudimentary cookery skills before I went, and found learning to cook was reasonably enjoyable.”

9. Talk to friends/ family

Mary says keeping in touch with family and friends from back home is a good way of keeping loneliness at bay, and a good chance to speak openly about any problems. “Uni can be very lonely. Make sure you check in with your home friends who are also at uni and keep track of who might be having a hard time, and make sure you tell your friends if you find yourself struggling.”

10. Stay true to yourself

Sian’s top tip for university is “stay true to yourself.” Students living from home the first time without parent, “You don’t have to be extrovert to enjoy experience don’t feel obliged to go on all nights out because feel forced to regret in morning drinking or involved with the strangers who take advantage of you. “University seems to create a drinking culture so it’s okay if you’re not into it. Trust me, you will not be only non-drinker on campus if you do not join in. “If big personality, make most of student life safely but not, naively to cheapen your life in uni.”

11. REMEMBER: BE SAFE ON CAMPUS

Do not let in student stranger you met just because you feel lonely. Never let in anyone in your bedroom alone for coffee they may think you consent to sex by inviting them into your space. If they rape you people assume you asked for it by allowing them to follow you into your private personal space. If they tamper with your drink you may not be alert to resist them but still think you are in control. Protect yourself from suspicious friendships. Don’t be fooled by their kindness to let your guard down. As soon you are at the entrance of your place say goodbye OUTSIDE NO OFFER OF COFFEE inside. Go to sleep.

70% 70% 70% 70%
*💰💰💰💰💰💰💰*

*Dead’s money remains in the bank…*

*The living lack money to spend yet…*

*There is still a lot of money not spent.*

*Business tycoon in China died so rich*
*Widow $1.9billion married chauffeur*

*Chauffeur thought he worked for boss*
*but boss rather worked for him!!!*

*Important to live longer than wealthy*

*Strong healthy body works for one.*

*Best phone’s 70% functions useless!*

* 70% car speed or gadgets not needed*

*Luxury mansion’s 70% space unused*

*Wardrobe full of clothes 70% unworn*

*Life work earning’s 70% others spend*

*Protect and make full use of our 30%.*

👉*Go for medical check-ups regularly*
👉*Drink more water, if not thirsty.*
👉*Let go of problems faced daily.*
👉*Endeavour to give in, if in the right.*
👉*Remain humble if rich powerful.*
👉*Be contented, if you are not rich.*
👉*Exercise mind and body if busy.*
👉*Make time for people you care for*

*Please☝🏾Ponder*

Reblogged & Updated

Produced by Katherine Sellgren and Shamaan Freeman-Powell