Sunday, December 8, 2013

This just in: Victoria does not have a secret

On Tuesday, December 10, millions will watch as women parade around in lacy thongs, push-up bras, heels, and body glitter.

Oh, and wings. The women will also wear wings. What else would you expect—we're talking about Victoria's Secret angels, after all.

Let's set the record straight. Angels are celestial beings. The good ones announced Christ's birth (Luke 2:9). They're known for bringing tidings of comfort and joy (Luke 2:10). They protect believers (Psalm 34:7). They give glory to God in the Highest (Luke 2:14). I don't know about you, but never once in the Bible do I remember Gabriel or any of his counterparts doing any of these things in their underwear.

. . .

I don't hate or feel animosity toward the women who pose for Victoria's Secret catalogs or walk the Victoria's Secret runway. I don't judge them either—that's not my job. Plus, full disclosure: I competed at Miss Texas. As a competitor, I once walked a runway in heels and a bikini. I cannot, and will not, throw stones.

Do I regret competing at Miss Texas? No. But now that I'm married, do I feel differently about the concept of walking around in heels and a bikini than I did before I truly understood what the phrase "men are visual" really means? Quite honestly, yes.

Ladies, we could talk about a hundred different things that fall into the category of gray Christianity—conflicts of faith that don't take away our salvation (praise God, nothing can!), but do pose a threat to the purity of heart and mind that we desire for ourselves and for the men around us. Wearing a "two-piece" to the beach. Watching movies and television shows saturated with sex. As if the title wasn't a dead give away, reading 50 Shades of Grey.

But for the sake of clarity, let's put all those rabbit trails aside and take an in-depth look at just one area of deception. 

Simply put, it's like this: Victoria does not have a secret. Click to tweet.

She is flaunting full-out, in-your-face, unapologetically public sexuality. And she's convinced us all that it's okay.

We've bought into the lie that Victoria's Secret is a hush-hush club for women only. That it's a sanctuary of frilly frocks only us girls know about. That the images of stunning, nearly-naked women advertised on billboards, window displays, catalogs, and commercials are meant to catch our attention.

Let's be real. If Victoria really wanted to appeal to our egos and vanity, she would sell us lingerie on a mannequin instead of a supermodel with better hair and abs than we'll ever attain this side of Photoshop.

"But it's aspirational! Victoria's Secret angels demonstrate how fun, carefree and glamorous we, too, will be if only we'll just buy their lingerie!"

Is anyone seriously buying that? Here's what I think: They're using the angels to grow their demographic. To catch the eyes of women and men. You and your husband. Children too.

"Okay, now you're just being dramatic. Victoria's Secret does not target children."

Do you consider a 12-year-old a child? If so, consider the following.

Per Media Bistro earlier this year,

"Top underwear brand Victoria’s Secret, in an apparent attempt to expand upon the runaway success of its 'collegiate' brand Pink, wants to tailor more of its marketing efforts to the middle-school-aged 'tween' crowd."

And let's not even get started on that Victoria's Secret billboard hovering over the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "Mommy, there's SpongeBob! And a lady in a red bra!"

Married women, am I saying that you shouldn't buy lingerie? That you should only buy granny panties (yes, I just said granny panties) from Walmart? That you should fear your own sexuality? Not at all. I'm asking:

Why are we not fighting for what's sacred? 

Why are we okay with broadcasting what's meant for the marriage bed on national television? Click to tweet.

Why are we not actively protecting the purity of our minds and hearts, and the minds and hearts of the men and children we love?

Why are we among the millions tuning in to watch women walking around in their underwear? Click to tweet.

We don't want our boyfriends, our fiancés or our husbands to look at porn. We are devastated by the mere thought of our boyfriends, our fiancés or our husbands desiring another woman. And yet...we watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show, and we invite our boyfriends, our fiancés or our husbands to watch alongside us.

You know how things get taken off the air? When ratings drop. When interest wanes. When viewers stop watching.

My television will be turned off on Tuesday, December 10. How about yours?

Friday, December 6, 2013

That's the spirit

Despite the fact that my husband professes not to like Christmas music (excuse me, what?), we are officially getting in the Christmas spirit around these parts. Today especially, since it looks like this outside:

Texas is so crazy. Two days ago I was wearing flip flops. This morning I ran to the window, gasped, grabbed my camera, and felt the freeze all the way through my Ugg boots the second I stepped outside. It's the first time this season I feel justified in singing "Oh, the weather outside is frightful."

Also, Tom Thumb was a madhouse yesterday. Said a checkout guy who hails from Maryland (paraphrase): "How come all you Texans go nuts over a little bit of ice, but when a tornado comes y'all act like it's nothing?" 

Let's be honest. He makes a solid point. 

. . .


Inside the Kiker residence things are looking decidedly Christmas-y as well. Since this is our first holiday season to spend together (awh!), it was important to me to create a warm, homey atmosphere perfect for kicking back and sipping on cocoa in front of a blazing fire. (Actually, we don't have a fireplace. But you know what I mean.)

But there was just one problem. We're on a we-just-got-married budget. And Christmas decorations can get pricey! Which is why I'm proud to say that we only spent $17 dollars to get our apartment looking like this:

We're rocking a true "Charlie Brown Christmas tree"

I wish I could say that I achieved this look by taking a walk outside our apartment, gathering berries and pine cones, and creating my own garlands from popcorn and oranges. But really, my process was more like:


2. RE-PURPOSE REJECTS BY ADDING FUN LITTLE EXTRAS (like faux pearl strands and/or fresh ribbon)

Old tree in the works

Crumply old bow
Cute new leopard bow



Pinterest wreath

Mini paintings accent our bookshelf

Hand-painted and glittered ornaments


Mom's old Christmas pillows, freshened up. Perfect for our couch!

Frost is frozen on our windowpanes. Orange peels and cinnamon are currently boiling on our stove (the mixture makes a great homemade potpourri...thanks for the tip mom-in-law!). Josh Groban and Brian McKnight's duet of "Angels We Have Heard on High" is on repeat in my headphones (still working on the husband's tolerance of Christmas music).

So yep! I'd say we have all the ingredients to have ourselves a "[festive] little Christmas, now."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving + giving thanks

First off, my apologies for the blog absence. Here are a few excuses for the recent posting gap:

1. The "Our Story" series (episode 1, episode 2, and episode 3, and the final chapter) really took it out of me, writing-wise. Not in a bad way...more of a "that was really powerful, and now I feel at a loss for words" kind of way. It's hard to follow up a God story with human words. Does that make sense?

2. I recently completed the manuscript for a how-to book based on my column for D Weddings, "Hitched in a Hurry," and am working toward a spring book release (more details to come!). I'm also juggling a few freelance projects. So bye, free time.

3. Basically, I've just been doing a lot of reveling in God's goodness.

Speaking of which...

The Kikers just celebrated our first Thanksgiving! It looked like this:

It went like this: North Carolina, in-laws, crunchy walks through fallen leaves, football and fireplaces, coffee and hot chocolate, oranges and cloves, light tours, a castle visit, ornament making, and FOOD. Like, the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever had. So many good things packed into just one short week.

My mother-in-law's Thanksgiving table was beautiful, and decorations included "leaves of praise." One in particular caught my eye.

It just kind of "popped," you know?

My favorite decorations, of course, were of the human variety. I love having a second family that's not afraid to make a good silly face when the occasion arises.

I should probably mention that Taylor and I also purchased our first home during our visit. Formerly known as Asheville's "Biltmore Estate," this beauty is now officially referred to in my mind as "Kiker Castle."

It boasts a casual 250 rooms, huge gardens, a huger kitchen, and statues of cherubs, so...Christmas at our place this year? Literally, everyone I know is invited.

. . .

On a serious note, more than ever this year I was reminded that Thanksgiving shouldn't be a one-day thing. A lot of concern has been expressed about the fact that Christmas (or rather, the world of retail) has staged a takeover of Thanksgiving as a holiday. At first I kind of hopped on that ship, and said things like, "YEAH. Why IS Hobby Lobby putting up Christmas trees in mid-September?"

Actually, I'm still presently saying that. But the point is, it doesn't really matter. What really matters is that every single day, we bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving and worship and praise before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That every single day, we remember the many ways that we have been and continue to be blessed—and that in response to God's immeasurable Goodness and Kindness, we lay our lives, our plans, our everything down at His feet. We tell the world the reason we can have joy no matter the circumstance. We speak His name at every opportunity. We live like this:

Hebrews 13:15: "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name."

Happy continued Thanksgiving!
. . .

UP NEXT ON THE BLOG: "Christmas Decor on a Dime"—tips and tricks for decking the halls without breaking the bank! (Preview: We spent a grand total of $17 to decorate our entire apartment. Stay tuned!)
Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.