Manners are one thing; saying please and thank you, helping out with the dishes, even if you were the guest, holding the door. But there are so many well mannered people who, are more like a hated pimple than a classy beauty mark. How is that?
I recently stopped at a garage sale in my neighborhood and fell to talking with the lovely hostess. As we were chatting, a couple came by, said hello and seemed quite lovely and polite. But the woman started to get upset. I asked if she was OK and she pointed out that they were comparing all of her things to stores online. She said if it had been at a swap meet or an antique store, she wouldn’t be upset but these were items vs he cherished and just as much a part of her life as her family. She was selling these things so her move to a retirement home would be easier on her family both physically and financially.
She brushed off her emotions after a moment but it made me realize something. Often we are looking out only for ourselves, and even with manners we might come across as rude. We must not only be kind, but seek to understand the people we are interacting with and be tactful and sympathetic with them.
Ladies, if you ever question your beauty, your worth, anything, look to those who look up to you. Your children, your family, your students. Think back to a time when genuine complements were paid to you. What was said?
Recently the question I have heard thrown around is when do you feel the most sexy. I’d like to take that and ask when do you feel your most beautiful?
You may be surprised to find out that often I feel most beautiful when I’m at work.
To give a bit more context, I work with at risk youth many of whom don’t have a traditional family unit. Often their own ideas of beauty are different from each other, but when it comes to how they perceive me, I have gotten more comments on how pretty I look if I wear natural or no makeup, and don’t wear lipstick. (I love lipstick and rarely go without.) But when I feel the most beautiful is when a child comes to me with out any needs and just wants to be near. I think it says a lot about a person when someone just wants to be with you. No talking, just being with them. Getting a hug just because.
I believe I was created to care for and love those who cannot care for themselves; so to feel them loving and even caring back is beautiful. Doing what God created me to do makes me feel the most beautiful, and its often in these moments that I receive the most valuable compliments from the kids.
Tell me, what makes you feel beautiful?
This spring has been especially difficult for me. With all of the hope and promise popping up I can’t help but feel pulled down with loneliness, boredom and lack of motivation.
Even my living space reflects my feelings. Messy, stuffy, confusing. This is not natural. Humans were not created to be bumps on a log. (There are actual bumps on logs and I have yet to discover their use.)
Humans were created to glorify God and pursue their passions in life and do what they are good at and do all of the other things that bumper stickers and coffee cups inspire us to do. But, in a broken, sinful world we find it easier to sit down after the first minor set back and throw up our hands in dismay.
I have been going through A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent for the past several months. Reading and re reading it as I prepare my heart for the day; its hard sometimes. Daily we are called to die to our selves, die to our wants, our wills, and our comforts as we daily pick up our crosses and follow Jesus. And, more often than not I fail.
But we are all given grace. Every day is new and spring came to me this year like a slap in the face. I don’t know if I was waiting for the perfect time to start divesting myself of bad habits or if I was just content to let it pass me by. But either way I realized life is not a merry-go-round. It’s a runaway train; only gaining speed the further along it gets. There will never be a prefect time to get on. we just have to hitch up our pants and get a running start.
With that mindset, and a lot of prayer and faith, I’m beginning to feel motivated. I’m receiving encouragement from people I didn’t even know were capable of encouraging me, and while I still have no sense of direction, I have a sense of peace for where I’m at.
It is my hope and prayer that this snapshot of my struggles will be an encouragement and/or challenge you as you continue to grow in life and in faith.
Don’t forget to pause, smell the flowers, soak in the miracle of sunshine, and drink in the blessing of the rain. Welcome back, Spring!
It’s hard to go back home sometimes. My dad and I have never been especially close. He is fiercely protective and incredibly loving, but when it comes to being involved and supportive he struggles with me. We don’t operate the same way and our interests are polar opposites so when it comes to being a 100% serious and transparent with him, we both fumble and often end up frustrated and walking away after about five minutes of arguing or lecturing.
One night we ended up being the last ones left in the living room and he was completely silent, just staring at me quizzically. I asked him what he was thinking and he brought up a previous conversation about my decision to deactivate facebook and questioned my actions. My stomach started to drop, I prepared myself for the impending lecture.
He surprised me. As I explained myself he started nodding in agreement with me. I talked about how, while I wanted to remain connected to my friends, I was tired of all the pettiness that occurred on the site. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of good on Facebook; baby announcements, friends milestones, watching people grow closer together, keeping up with friends out of state and across the world. But these can be supplemented with other less detailed bits of technology. He began to open up to me at this point and I realized that we weren’t as different as I had previously thought. The conversation turned to my choice of lipstick color and my work situation and why he was worried about my choices.
In the end, I realised he was proud of me, he told me that I showed wisdom and maturity in my recent decisions. To hear those words come from a man who had previously called me out and seemed to constantly lecture me on a seemingly endless list of little nothings gave me great joy. He showed me that all he did was care for me and worry about me and that as I continued to grow up, I would always be his little girl and he would always want to be a part of my life.
So, even though you may struggle with your parents and family talk with them. Not all conversations will be easy. In fact most of of them will be difficult or uncomfortable, but it’s a part of being a family and growing up. Never give up a chance to be with them and talk with them. Get to know your family, be friends with them. And most importantly be transparent with them.
Keep it real and keep your loved ones close.
Originally, I had hoped to officially launch this blog by now, but my computer had other ideas. It refuses to connect to the internet and has begun to run very slow. So, I’m looking for a new computer or tablet so I don’t have to try and do everything from my phone like I am now. It’s no walk in the park. I’m now looking at the launch date being closer to March or April. So the downside is my posts will probably continue to be sparse with my limited computer access, but once I have the access, man, will I have some posts for you.
I apologize for the delay, but I am so excited to share with you what I have been working on these past few months!
With Christmas approaching, we all feel a rush of anticipation as we look forward to parties, great food, and of course the gifts. But this season is also a reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross so that we may have eternal life. It is a season for us to celebrate because we have been given grace in the face of our sins. I anticipate daily the will God has for my life and this season heightens my excitement for things to come. My future doing his work with the gifts he has given me in the place he has put me with the people with whom he has surrounded me.
It is my hope that you too seek purpose for your life, especially in this season that so tangibly reminds us of Gods love and grace for us and the great sacrifice he made in sending his son to live among us.
I sit here in a coffee shop contemplating the coming week. It’s hard to get through the holiday season for almost everyone. For kids it’s the anticipation, the excitement and the almost endless supply of sugar that messes with their already endless amount of energy. For parents, it’s handling their hyped up kids and managing to not only make ends meet but making their kids happy as well. Young adults struggle too. They aren’t as established as they would like to be and they wage a battle between spending time with friends and family, and struggle to stay within their budget.
But we also struggle with appearances this time of year as well. Our parties and gifts are winters equivalent to the bikini body and everyone seems to be in competition with each other. We miss out on quality time with our families in order to have the perfect Instagram post or Snapchat story. We become more familiar with friends phone cases and their knuckles than we do their smiles and laughter. We associate with emoji more than emotions and spend more time hashtagging than making new friends and loving on longtime pals.
This year I want to change that. I have created this blog to encourage those around me to be real with themselves and with others. We are all humans and from what I see we could all use technology a little more wisely.
I hadn’t planned on publishing until the beginning of 2017, but I figured some of you might want to come along for the ride as I myself attempt to use the technology I have been given as tools, not toys. I want to live a real life, one that’s messy, one that’s enjoyable, one that’s not picture perfect. I invite you to share your thoughts with me on how you live more consciously or your goals to be more real this season.