Friday, April 22, 2011


"But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious" 1 Peter 3:4

Beauty: this is a topic that has been on my mind quite a lot lately. As someone who is around young teenage girls five days a week, I see the struggle they face as they grow comfortable in their skin. So often, I want to grab the eyeliner out of their hands before they add the fourth coat of the morning and scream, "You're beautiful! Stop that!" It's so ironic that women spend millions in order to regain the skin they once had, and here are these beautiful, smooth-skinned young ladies caking over that glowing skin with more and more powder.

I don't think anyone will deny that we are bombarded with beauty propaganda, particularly in our society. Both men and women encounter a plethora of publications, advertisements, commercials, etc.- all campaigning about what beauty looks like. I accept this. It is part of our world.

Here's what I will not accept: that we as women do not do what we can to lift one another up and encourage one another often enough. Oftentimes, we are so catty and insecure that we will fail to build up someone else's confidence because we figure this will make us feel better about ourselves. I'm including myself in on this generalization. I believe my very words yesterday after seeing Emily Blunt on TV were, "She's so beautiful. I hate her." Now, why would I hate someone who is beautiful?  Why would someone else's beauty seem to somehow be connected to my own?

The answer: inadequacy. We, as women, struggle with this constantly. We feel we are not enough in just about every area- including beauty. This is why cosmetics is multi-billion dollar industry and why people are willing to spend hard-earned money and endure lots of pain to go under the knife.

Well, I'm done. I think we, as women, should begin encouraging and building one another up now. We should remind the ladies we love about how beautiful they are- inside and out. So, here is my ode to some of the ladies in my life and what makes every single one of them drop-dead gorgeous.

My Mom:
Skin-deep beauty: My mom has the best smile, the prettiest green eyes, and beautiful hair.
Beyond her skin: Mom is the most intuitive person when it comes to working with others. She is understanding and so very wise. I respect her and love to the moon and back.

My Sister
Skin-deep beauty: Emily was fortunate to get mom's green eyes. She also has the most beautiful skin tone and an irresistible smile. She also has a great figure and the cutest nose.
Beyond her skin: Emily has the ability to light up a room when she's around. She has the best sense of humor and can make everyone laugh. She is also so very dedicated and will work her tail off to help others around her.

Skin-deep beauty: Kelley is one of those girls who can roll out of bed and look great. She is a natural, effortless beauty. With her natural blonde hair and beautiful eyes, make-up isn't needed on her gorgeous face.
Beyond her skin: Kelley has the greatest capacity for love that I know. She is accepting and generous towards everyone. It's very inspiring to watch her help others.

Skin-deep beauty: Barb has a radiant smile, stunning eyes, and a figure nearly every woman envies. She, too, does not need make-up to highlight her features. She is simply beautiful, without all the extra stuff.
Beyond her skin: Barb has a huge heart for helping others. She feels called to guide those who are suffering, and God has given her a talent to do this. Her vivacious nature makes her fun to hang out with; but her ability to listen makes her a life-long friend.


Skin-deep beauty: Liz is another effortless beauty. She has the confidence to embrace this, and wears little make-up. As a result, her skin is smooth and her unique smokey blue eyes are stunning.
Beyond her skin: Liz is one of the most confident people I know. She is quick to work for what she wants and loves what she does. Her drive and expertise are amazing.

Skin-deep beauty: Catherine has the beautiful head of hair and creamy skin tone. She has blue eyes and, like Liz, is not afraid to let her natural beauty shine through with little help from make-up.
Beyond her skin: Catherine is one of the sweetest, most willing people I know. She will help others in any way she can. She is steadfast and loyal, and a true friend.

There are so many other ladies who I want to write about (and will have to, once I snag pictures of them!). I thank each and every one of these women for their beauty. They are fearfully and wonderfully made.

All my love-

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Now, love is not a feeling in your chest
It is bending down to wash another’s feet
It is faithful when the sun is in the west
And in the east
-Andrew Peterson, "For the Love of God"

My life is not what anyone would call extraordinary. In fact, it could be considered very ordinary. I am not the type of person that books will be written about. My life will not be one that inspires best sellers or box office hits. I live a typical life. I get up, I go to work, I come home, I take care of the house (occasionally), I read, I hang out with my husband, I hangout with friends, I do yoga, I just... live.

The tone that last paragraph should be read in is not one of pity or regret. Quite the opposite. It should be read in a matter-of-fact tone with a subtle hint that I am leading up to something. Perhaps a big, "BUT...."

Regardless of how "uneventful" or "ordinary" my life may be, it is one that I am so very, very thankful for. That I have this life, that I have a loving family, a warm, cozy home, sweet friends, and a good job- these are all things that I am very grateful for. Yet, those are things many others have in their own lives. Which brings me back to my original statement- my life is not what anyone would call extraordinary.

Perhaps this is a good time to give my big "BUT" statement before loved ones begin to worry or before I bore anyone who happens to read this. So, here it is. My life is not considered by any as extraordinary BUT in one regard.

What makes my life extraordinary- not by Hollywood's standards mind you- but truly beyond what is usual, is not the elements that exist in my life, but the context in which I get to live my life. I am a believer in Christ. I believe in the grace He has sacrificed himself for and given to us. And what is so, for lack of a better term, cool about this whole life thing is that I get to share a small part of what lead Him to the cross with others: love.

I think Andrew Peterson said it perfectly in his song. Love is too often trivialized. (It is not a coincidence that I am writing this shortly after Valentines Day.) Love, the way God intended it, is actually pretty shocking if you think about it. Who really in their right minds would want to wash a person's feet after days of walking in sandals on dirt road? Who really wishes to humble themselves in such a way?

If there is one thing that makes my life other than the ordinary, it's that I am certain that my calling is deeply rooted in serving others. This is not something our self-serving world will tell you.

So allow me to redirect this towards the One who is really responsible for all of this rather than myself. Love is created by God, demonstrated first and foremost by God, and bequeathed by God unto us. He is the very definition of love. God in human form washing dirty feet is really the least of what He has done for us. And what he asks in return is that we love Him and then love others around us.

My prayer is that I will always willingly pick up the basin and the towel.