Why We Shouldn’t Try to Be Popular

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Being popular sounds inviting, does it not? Isn’t it true that we all like to be liked? Whether we’re scrolling through Instagram, reading a blog, or talking to someone in person, do thoughts of jealousy silently creep in when we see their greater popularity? Do we not, even subconsciously, compare our own lives to what we are presented through social media, the internet, and conversations? That’s the key word here: presented.

For this post, I’m going to use Instagram as the main example, but it can be applied to any social media platform, the internet, or an in-person experience.

The countless Instagram accounts brimming with perfectly planned photos and striking filters may make it seem to any onlooker that those accounts represent the real lives of the Instagrammers. However, I can assure you, they do not. The Instagrammers don’t see the world through the Valencia filter or have lives compiled of only the most seemingly perfect photos they post. Life doesn’t work that way, not for anybody. Many people post content for the sole reason of becoming popular with their audiences. Their content may not even please themselves, and only be posted for sheer popularity/followers/likes.

Now that we’ve established that what some people choose to present to their audience does not necessarily reflect their true lives, let’s each ask ourselves a question. Do I do that?

When we post something either on social media or the internet, or even how we act and speak, are we doing it for popularity, to impress someone, and to seem a little different than we really are? Are we trying to get more likes or friends by presenting things that do not reflect our true selves? What if, by doing that, we are creating a fictional social front and not revealing what we truly enjoy, think, or find interesting?

Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this epidemic of trying to become popular: don’t try. Just completely drop everything that is dishonestly encouraging popularity and instead be yourself. Present content that truly makes you happy and interests you. Stop “trying” to be popular, because if you aren’t being yourself, then they don’t like you, they like the artificial life you have presented.

Also, this is a reminder that you do not have to agree with other people (on social media, the internet, or in real life) just to become popular in their eyes. Do not feel as though you must pretend to like or agree with something that a friend likes or agrees with to win their friendship or approval. Lying and being dishonest about what you believe or like to gain popularity is definitely not a good thing to practice. Being popular in the eyes of friends, peers, and strangers matters not a pittance if you aren’t popular in God’s eyes.

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When people look at what we present to the world, we should want them to see us, not a fake life that we’ve created for an audience. More importantly, when people look at us, they should see Jesus. We should always remember that what we present should be a reflection of our Lord above; things that are true, things that are pure, and things that are lovely. Be yourself, the daughter/son of The King and be sure to represent Him in everything we do.

As my final question: what are you presenting to the world: content created to gain popularity, or the real you, the child of The King?

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Do you find yourself presenting content for popularity that isn’t the real you?

Have you ever felt like you had to agree with someone to gain popularity in their eyes?

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Megan Joy

(P.S. There is nothing wrong with posting pretty or pre-planned pictures on social media, but make sure that it represents the true you, things that you like, enjoy, and wish to share with others, like the love of our Heavenly Father!)

Quote of the Week // 50th Week

Quote of the Week - 50th Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the renowned British author of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abby, and more, all of which have been adapted into numerous films or tv series’. Austen died at age 41 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Only after her death did her literary works become popular.

It is a sad thought, but true. After years of constant life, it may seem as though we are quickly skidding across time doing many little and frivolous things of no great importance. Yes, there are moments and events that break up this feeling of continuous life and trivial tasks, but the succession of “busy nothings” we execute daily can pull us into a gloomy lull, and I think that this happens to everyone, whether we realize it or not.

My suggestion is; go back to the basics. Focus on what matters. This day, this moment. Pick the top ten things that matter to you, and stick by them. Make a list of things that matter, and another list of things that don’t, things that you could let go of for now to get back on track.

Let not our days be filled with little nothings and useless tasks, but be helpful, useful, and productive. Let’s get back to the simple basics and keep close the things that matter.

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Do you like Austen books or movies better?

Do you find that life has turned into a succession of busy nothings?

Do you plan to go back to the basics?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 49th Week

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Benjamin Franklin, born in 1706, was one of the Founding Father of the U.S. During his lifetime, he was the 6th President of Pennsylvania, the United States Minister to both Sweden and France, and the 1st United States Post Master. Besides his many more well-known inventions and experiments, he also developed a version of the glass harmonica, and founded one of the first volunteer firehouses. He died in 1790 and today is buried in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Good ole’ Benjamin Franklin said many wise things. This quote is certainly one of them! Preparation and failure; two terms that seem to be non-coexistent. If you have one, you don’t have the other, and visa-versa.


Taking the time for preparation is a wonderful way of earning ourselves a better chance of being successful in our tasks. In a lifetime, there are so many things to prepare for, like practicing for a piano recital, studying for an exam, packing for and routing a trip, getting ready to take a driver’s test, memorizing answers for a job interview, rehearsing for a competition, or even hosting a party. All of these things require preparation, if we wish to succeed.


Not to say that good preparation will eliminate every chance of failure because of unforeseen occurrences, but the probabilities of failure will be significantly slimmer.
While I write this, I must confess that I’m not the best example of this! Lately, I tend to think ahead to the things I need to prepare, and then quickly forget about them like they’re flower petals, fallen in a stream and floating away with the swift current. So, I write this post mostly for myself, as an attempt to help remember what ole’ Ben once said about preparation. Do you have any thoughts on preparation, or how to make it easier?


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Do you have a story of when you forgot to prepare for something?
Was there a time when you prepared well for something and it was a success?
Are you excited for Christmas?
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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 48th Week

Quote of the Week - 48th Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

It’s another quote by Mark Twain!

Do you speak more than one language? If you are reading this, it’s likely you speak English, but are you fluent in any other language? How long has it taken you to learn how to speak that language well? Can you converse with others in that language?
The reason I ask all these questions is to introduce an idea that “kindness” is just another form of language.

“Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
This language is easy to learn, and everyone can speak it if they try. All it takes is some practice and then some determination to speak it in your everyday life. Speak kindness to that older lady at the grocery store who is hard of hearing, or that man who skipped ahead in the checkout line. Speak kindness to that friend who can’t seem to say anything nice or who talks behind your back.

Everyone is given the ability to speak the universal language of kindness and is offered an opportunity to speak it to others every single day. Even those who do not speak our language can understand us if we speak the language of kindness. Do we choose to speak this language to everyone? Do we make exceptions for those who are rude to us? Are we forgetting to speak this language to those who need it most? By this I mean, those who don’t expect kindness and generosity.

Because kindness is a universal language, everyone can understand it, from babies to great-grandparents. The deaf can hear it and the blind can see it; there are no exceptions to who can receive our kindness, and there are no exceptions of to whom we can give it, regardless of the person’s attitude or opinions.

Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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Do you speak more than one language?
Would you consider “kindness” a universal language?

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Megan Joy

P.S. Speaking of this quote, I encourage you to check out “My Blurred World,” a blog written by a legally-blind teenage girl, Elin. She tells her story and helps her readers to better understand what life is like for those without sight. Go read her latest post, “10 FAQs About Sight Loss.”

Can You Guess Who Said These “Princess Bride” Quotes?

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1987 movie, “The Princess Bride”! I’m a big fan of this hilarious comedic film adaptation of S. Morgenstern’s novel of the same title, and I know that some of you are, too! If you’re an ultimate fan, you’ll get most of these questions right. If you’ve never seen “The Princess Bride” before, it’s a good idea to watch the movie before you take the quiz! I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love with it (pun intended)!

P.S. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil to write down your answers. At the very bottom of this post, the answers are revealed so you can check if you were right in the end!

(All photos are property of and can be found at http://princessbrideforever.com/. Go check out the website and join their “Brute Squad!”)

 cast-buttercup cast-westley cast-montoya cast-fezzik

        Buttercup                       Westley                  Inigo Montoya                   Fezzik

cast-vizzini cast-humperdinck cast-rugen cast-clergyman

            Vizzini                Prince Humperdinck        Count Rugen                 Clergyman

cast-max cast-valerie cast-savage cast-falk

      Miracle Max                      Valerie                       Grandson                     Grandfather

 

Ready, Set, Go!

1. Who said: “He didn’t fall? Inconceivable!”
a. Count Rugen b. Vizzini c. Westley

2. Who said: “Have fun stormin’ the castle. . .”
a. Valerie b. Fezzik c. Miracle Max

3. Who said: “When I was your age, television was called books.”
a. Clergyman b. Humperdinck c. Grandfather

4. Who said: “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.”
a. Inigo Montoya b. Fezzik c. Rugen

5. Who said: “Once word leaks out that a pirate has gone soft, people begin to disobey you, and then it’s nothing but work, work, work all the time.”
a. Vizzini b. Miracle Max c. Westley

6. Who said: “Now where is that secret knot? It’s impossible to find…”
a. Rugen b. Humperdinck c. Grandfather

7. Who said: “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
a. Inigo Montoya b. Miracle Max c. Vizzini

8. Who said: “Farm boy… fetch me that pitcher.”
a. Valerie b. Buttercup c. Fezzik

9. Who said: “It has worked! You’ve given everything away! I know where the poison is!”
a. Humperdinck b. Westley c. Vizzini

10. Who said: “While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?”
a. Miracle Max b. Vizzini c. Rugen

11. Who said: “I only dog paddle.”
a. Inigo Montoya b. Fezzik c. Westley

12. Who said: “You mocked me once, never do it again!”
a. Buttercup b. Vizzini c. Valerie

13. Who said: “I would not say such things if I were you!”
a. Westley b. Rugen c. Humperdinck

14. Who said: “Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.”
a. Fezzik b. Westley c. Buttercup

15. Who said: “We are but poor, lost circus performers.”
a. Inigo Montoya b. Vizzini c. Fezzik

16. Who said: “The chocolate coating makes it go down easier.”
a. Valerie b. Miracle Max c. Grandson

17. Who said: “Mawwige is what bwings us togeveh today.”
a. Humperdinck b. Westley c. Clergyman

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Answers:
1. B          2. C          3. C          4. A
5. C          6. A          7. A          8. B
9. C          10. A         11. B      12. A
13. C         14. B        15. B       16. A
17. C

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How many did you get right?
How much do you love “The Princess Bride?”
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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 47th Week

Quote of the Week - 47th Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) is known as “America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims.” His works would often appear in Reader’s Digest, This Week, and twelve other magazines. He was the author of four books and more than one hundred articles.
I like the wordiness of this quote by Ward. It sounds like a secret recipe with only one ingredient: gratitude. It’s just one simple word that changes everything. Just for the sake of reaffirmation, let’s break it down into three points.

Gratitude:
– transforms common days into thanksgivings
– turns routine jobs into joy
– changes ordinary opportunities into blessings

For example, when we only remember to be grateful when our hearts are full, when we’re observing a beautiful sunset, or sitting around the table with family, we’re missing out on its full-time potential. We should remember to be grateful on common days, routine jobs, and ordinary opportunities. When you’re at work, at school, sitting in a waiting room, stuck in a traffic jam, cleaning up the house all by yourself, or babysitting those neighbor kids (who love to terrorize you by playing hide-and-seek and not coming back until the parents pull into the driveway, forcing you to explain to them why you have lost their children in their own home), we always need to remember the word gratitude. It changes everything.

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

When we leave out gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation for all of our many blessings, all we have left is a bucket load of complaining, grumbling, and misery when it comes to our attitudes. So, if you find that there’s an excess amount of complaints, grumbles, and discontentment in your everyday life, I suggest that today you take a sticky note, place it on your wall, in your car, or by your computer, and write just six words on it:

“Is my attitude filled with gratitude?”

It’s likely to be a good reminder for when life isn’t all picnics and roses or when it’s just easy to be ungrateful. On bad days, it will help us remember that gratitude is a choice worth choosing, and that being thankful isn’t just for Thanksgiving; it’s for life.
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Have any other ideas to keep “gratitude” on our minds?
Are you ready for Thanksgiving?
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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 46th Week

Quote of the Week - 46th Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

Mark Twain, the famous American writer born in November of 1835, was known for his many novels including Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Prince and the Pauper.  He was a strong supporter of civil rights and also of women’s suffrage. Twain is sometimes confused with “Colonel Sanders” because of his white hair and smart mustache, but I can assure you, Mark Twain never made a living out of fried chicken! Twain died in 1910 of heart failure and was buried in Elmira, New York.

Procrastination: “the action of delaying or postponing something.” We’ve all been guilty of procrastination. Schoolwork, chores, work assignments, cooking dinner, laundry; these are some of the many things that are easy to put off until later. To the human brain, it may sometimes seem that if we put something off long enough, we won’t have to do it. Unfortunately, this is not how it actually works. We put it off, and put it off, until it’s the last minute and we find ourselves scrambling to get it all done. It’s a pretty horrible feeling, one that I know all too well!

When we postpone something for too long, we end up rushing, not doing the job right, and sometimes not even finishing it at all! Although procrastination is much easier to choose at first, it makes things twice as hard for us later.

As Twain’s wise words suggest, the best way to get ahead is by just “starting.” If it’s something we know we have to do, we might as well get started, and the sooner it will be finished! Even if we don’t have time to finish it all in one sitting, we just have to start.

If there is something that you’ve been putting off this week, I am here to encourage you to begin today! It probably won’t be as bad as it seems. All you have to do is begin, and so I am not being hypocritical, I, myself, will also be starting something that I have been putting off. I will be working on a sewing project that is due in a week and will try my best to leave procrastination out of the picture, before it’s too late and I’m threading bobbins at 4am. . . again!

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Is there something that you’ve been putting off?

Do you have any advice to eliminate procrastination?

Have you read any books by Mark Twain?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 45th Week

Quote of the Week - 45th Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

This quote is from the 1985 movie, Anne of Green Gables. In the book, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the words are slightly different, but the meaning is equal. In the film, Diana Barry says this in remembrance of what Gilbert once said.

I often forget this word of truth. In a world and society were being pretty is a major focus, it’s hard to remember that living isn’t all about having a flawless complexion, perfect teeth, beautiful hair, makeup, and wardrobe, and sparkling eyes.

I spend so much time, and too much time, worrying about what I look like. It seems like I’m surrounded by people who are just naturally beautiful – who look like they’re perpetually ready for a magazine photoshoot! But, for as long as I think this way, I am forgetting what Diana once reminded Anne. Being knowledgeable on the inside is quite more valuable than being pretty on the outside; because the things we do in life, whether it be school, or work, and even just daily life, will require our brains more than our looks.

Having common sense and knowledge will get us much farther in life than if our only quality is having a pretty face. If being beautiful is all we care about, we are overlooking the truth: that we don’t have to be flawless in our appearance to be beautiful, or important. I believe that people will remember us by what we do, what we say, and what we accomplish, and not by how rosy our cheeks are.

Now, I haven’t even begun to delve into this topic, but this is just a little reminder: Let’s not fill our brains with thoughts of “I wish I were prettier,” but instead fill it with knowledge, inspiration, encouragement, and all things worthwhile!

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Do you agree that being smart is better than being pretty?

Have you ever felt jealous?

Do you think that having common sense will be more valuable in your future than having a flawless complexion?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 44th Week

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Audrey Hepburn was a British actress born in 1929. She was once dubbed the third best female actress in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hepburn starred in many box office hits like, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and My Fair Lady. She was a well-studied ballet dancer, and in her later life, a UNISEF ambassador in the 1990s. Sadly, she died at age 62 of appendiceal cancer in Switzerland.

I can just hear those words spoken in her perfect accent! The cleverness of the quote just makes me smile. I had never known that little secret about the word “impossible” before. Just add an apostrophe and you have a whole new meaning to the phrase!

The definition of the word “impossible” is: “something not able to occur or be done.” It means that something is positively, without a doubt, absolutely not possible. Reading the definition got me thinking. It reminded me that nothing is impossible! All things are possible, with God! 

But what about wildly impossible things, like talking animals, walking on water, and surviving an over one-thousand-degree fire? These things seem impossible, right?

 Read Numbers 22:28, where it tells us about Balaam’s donkey, speaking out loud! Also, in Matthew chapter fourteen, we find the story of two different people walking on water. Finally, in the book of Daniel chapter three, is the telling of three men who were thrown into a fiery furnace, and lived! All of these things were done through God and by God! 

With God, all things are possible. The word “impossible” doesn’t apply when it comes to God’s abilities. No matter how out of this world, different, or unusual it is, God can do it and with God’s help we can do it too!

So the next time someone tells you that something is impossible, think of Audrey Hepburn’s little secret in that word, and know that with God, all things are possible.

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Did someone ever tell you it was impossible to achieve or do something?

What do you think those three stories in the Bible prove to us?

What is your favorite Audrey Hepburn movie?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 43rd Week

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Beverly Cleary, born in 1916, has composed nearly fifty fiction books for children and young adults. Though most commonly known for her “Ramona” series, she has written two other crowd favorites, “Henry Higgins” and “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” During her long life, Cleary was given The National Book Award, The Newbery Medal, and The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. Today, at age 101, she has retired from writing, though she still hasn’t lost her good humor. During an interview for her 100th birthday, she was asked if she was excited about her age, to which she replied, “Well, I didn’t do it on purpose!”

After Clearly learned to read in the second grade, she found that she wasn’t interested in many of the books she found at the library. She thought of them as boring and drab. She wanted to read something with character and spunk! Forty years later, she published her first book, one that checked every box of what she would have wanted to read back in grade school. She was determined to write something that would change the options children had when choosing a book to read, and she succeeded!

To every writer; one of the reasons we write is because we want to tell a story, not just any old story, but a different story. We write the books that we want to read, something that is unique, special, and inspiring! Like Beverly says, if you don’t find the story you’re looking for, write it.

This doesn’t just apply to writers. It’s good advice for every musician, filmmaker, artist, and designer. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, create that thing, enjoy it, and share it with others. Sing a new song, shoot a new movie, paint a new picture, or design a new room. We shouldn’t be bound by what others have already created! Make something new yourself, and use it for good. If you can dream it up, you can create it!

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Do you write fiction books?

Have you ever realized that you write the books you want to read?

What is your favorite Beverly Cleary book?

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Megan Joy