Posts Tagged ‘Beauty’

I am getting old. I know this because when I look at magazine cover, I see youthful actresses in movies, I see lovely ladies advertise (usually their online ‘chat’ business) on television, and I turn away. And I turn away because I am past the ability to look as they do (and I do not have access to the air brushing that they do). I have come to the conclusion that even if I lost fifty (or eighty) pounds, even if my body was worked into a state of rock hard, even if I did everything possible (short of plastic surgery) I am beyond the ability to be the definition of what the world says is beautiful. Because I do not have the most important defining feature of beauty … youth.

As I am starting to get cozy with being in my forties, I am starting to see the world so differently. I am starting to see, and expand the definition of beauty differently.

Oh, I can walk down the street and have my eyes drawn to a beautiful young woman. Often though it is not her outward beauty that is what draws my eye. A physically beautiful woman can not even catch more than a passing glance if she does not walk confidently, shoulders back with her head high. There has to be something in that woman that says, ‘I am approachable’. There has to be something in her appearance that communicates to all around, that she is comfortable in her own skin, for those around to look at her and say, ‘she is beautiful’.

Or is it better put another way? Is it in her inner beauty coming out that her outer beauty can shine? When we pass a beautiful woman on the street, in the mall, at the market, do we see her outer beauty first, or do we see her confident head held high, that she is approachable, and that she is comfortable in her skin and something within us says ‘she is a beauty?’

I love to look on beauty … I love the eye candy that is pleasing to my visual senses. I love to see a beautifully decorated home (but I love more to know that it is indeed a home, and not just a house), I love to see the awesomeness of nature (but it is in the Creator that I am most impressed), I love to see family photos taken by a talented photographer (but it is in knowing that the family share the beauty of love that makes their eyes sparkle brightly). I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what the discriminating beholder sees most clearly is not the passing glance beauty, but the inner qualities of grace and confidence and openness.

It is also in a life lived fully that beauty emerges from the frame, from the pores, from the eyes and from the lips of a woman of real, genuine beauty. When a woman comes to the end of her years on planet Earth, when she has used up every day given to her, when she loves others beyond her own capacity to love … it is then that her beauty comes to surface.

I am no longer a youthful woman, with flawless physical beauty on my side (I do not think I ever had that). And yet, I feel more determined now than ever to live fully, to live passionately, to love beautifully. And my goal is that in forty or fifty years from now, my face is littered with the beauty marks of of something beautiful emerging from within … then I will be truly beautiful.


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In the daily stuff of life, it can become easy to forget where we have been, where we are going, who we are … it can become easy to forget to live.

We work, we do what must be done to maintain life. We work towards a future … a future education, vacation, vocation, retirement.

I believe it was Rihanna who said it best,

“There’s something ’bout that work, work, work, work, work, work”

Every once in a while, either we choose to take time to re-create, to play and be revived, or our revival might come to us.

That revival can come in many forms, but, I believe, all revival comes from encountering something beautiful.

Beauty in nature, in relationship, in physical activity, in profound revelation … all beauty is not beauty in itself, but a reflection of the One who is beautiful. It is in His reflected beauty that we experience and hold onto the life-giving essentials of trust, hope and love. These keep us grounded … grounded in Him.

They also keep us able to keep doing the work, the chores, the schooling, the activities that we choose, that we must.

“Hope can lighten the sky.
Love makes us courageous.”
Call the Midwife

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I just realized that I hadn’t posted yesterday!
I have been hard at work (avoiding) preparing a message for this weekend (on aging!!).
So, in lieu of a belated new post, here is my contribution, from over five years ago.
Now to get a handle on this message …

Although I am only thirty-nine (with four years experience) I am becoming more acquainted with aging, and it’s changes each and every day.

There are some changes that come with ‘time passing on’ (this is hubby’s way of referring to aging) that I quite like.

I love the lines that are forming just outside of the corners of my mouth, and my eyes, because they are evidence to smiles and laughs. I may not remember every individual event that caused my face to smile, but the lines will never hide that joy has filled my days.

I love that I have been plucking my eyebrows for so many years that the hairs almost never re-grow anymore.

I love that I do not have to concern myself with pimples, other than the odd one or two.

I love that, because my hair is … silvering … I have a natural excuse to become an even more blond, and I now have a number(s) to identify and define my hair color 😉

There are also some changes that have occurred that I do not favor so much.

I do not like that my knees have decided I need to pay more attention to them, and they attain my attention in the most uncomfortable of ways.

I do not like that some foods that I ingest want to burn themselves into my memory (or at least into my esophagus).

I definitely do not like the anticipation of body parts migrating in a southerly direction.

But, I especially do not like that the appearance of my hands is changing.

The famous, all-knowing ‘they’ say that the way to most accurately guess the age of woman, you need to only to glance at her neck or her hands.

As each year passes, I have noticed subtle changes happening in my hands, that I am not so happy about. The lines in them are deepening. They need constant re-hydration from rich lotions. I seem to have lost the ability to grown my fingernails to even the slightest length, without their splintering. There seems to be more skin, as it is losing it’s youthful elasticity. They sometimes even ache … but it is their appearance that is more disheartening to me.

It is a frequent occurrence that I glance at my hands, and have no idea whose hands they are. They surely cannot be mine, because mine do not look so … so … aged. Then I realize they move when and where I will them, and so they truly are my own.

Maybe the changes in them bother me, because my hands were the body part(s) that I actually liked about myself. Maybe I thought I would be immune to the normal, natural results of ‘time moving on.’

All that said, maybe the wrinkles, the lines, the shorter nails and the loosening skin are all characteristics of hands that have been held by generations before me, that have held on to the children I gave birth to, that have made meals for those I love, that have held the hands of people readying for eternity, that have written or typed words of encouragement, that have touched the shoulder of one carrying the weight of the world, that have folded in an act of pray, that have been kissed by the man of my life, that will one day be taken by my Redeemer as He welcomes me into eternity.

Maybe they are like the laugh lines I so adore on my face. Maybe they are the lines of hands that have loved, and been loved in return.

So, I’ll keep slathering rich lotions onto them, so that, although they will be marked by the lines of time, they will still be welcoming to the touch of those who need a hand.

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I am a lover of beauty.

IMG_0306Beautiful art, beautiful people, beautiful music, beautiful stories, beautiful landscapes, beautiful food, all of it!

To just see, hear, smell, touch and taste that which evokes joyous emotion can fill my cup to the brim, and flowing over. It can revive my mind, heart and soul like a mini revolution.

Sunday afternoon I retuned to Pacific timezone, after twenty hours of packing followed by travel. I was not well-rested, yet I was revived by the myriad of beauty I had encountered throughout the ten day trip to Italy.

Just the day prior, I was walking the streets of Florence. Florence is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

I walked through a tour of the Bargello Museum, and took in works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Benvenuto Cellini and more, listening to the history, known of each piece, touching the cool statues, looking into the eyes formed from the stone, with such detail, such affection, with tears in my own.

While walking the stone streets I paused to hear two gentlemen making stringed music. As their song ended, I turned to continue on my way, but turned, involuntarily, as their rendition of Pachabel’s Canon caused the tears to flow from someplace so deep inside.

In the hot afternoon, I sat in the shade, enjoying the freshness of every morsel of my slice of Italian pizza, while watching a couple dining al fresco, as he lovingly, passionately, kissed her hand, their eyes only able to see those of their lover, both in the seventies.

After inquiring about the famous Italian liqueur, Limoncello, the shop owner pulled out a chilled bottle, offering me a taste that, again, tasted of a freshness I had rarely encountered before.

Beauty, beauty everywhere!

I came home utterly exhausted. But my physical fatigue was no match for the overall sense of refreshment.

And, as I looked across the baggage carousel, with refreshed body, mind and soul, I was, again, moved to tears, to see my love smiling, beautifully, back at me. And, in the hours that followed, my three other most beautiful ones and I reunited.

Beauty, beauty everywhere!

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us
or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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I worked around my garden last evening, with the bright daylight stretching further with the hands of the clock. My holey, gloved hands covered in the dirt of the Earth, the trees, the shrubs that I touched. Tendrils of my hair, loosened from their elastic, to fall in the middle of my forehead. Muck from the hole that was dug, caked to the bottom of my shoes. Dirt across my pants, from when I ‘cleaned’ my gloved hands.

Dirt, dirt everywhere … enough to line the bottom of my bathtub, later that evening.

And. it. was. perfectly. glorious.

For I was not merely looking at the wonders of Creation, viewing just with my eyes, I was in the midst of the Creation, the wonder, the beauty. I was a part of it, and it was a part of me.

 If appreciating beauty was simply a visual experience, a picture would fill our cup. True appreciation of beauty requires inspection, not just of it’s outer appearance, but studying it fully and completely.

To see the ocean’s edge is lovely.

But, to walk, barefoot on the sand, feeling the cool of the water running over our feet, hearing the gulls above, the crashes of the tides, inhaling the fresh salty air … that is to experience divine beauty, from all around us.

To speed on a mountain bike over a quaint bridge with a brook running under it is adventure.

But, to stop that bike, and hear the symphony of the birds songs while hearing the beat of your own racing heart, and looking at the many shades of green all around, breathing in the most clean scent of fresh rain water falling from above … that is what it is to be united with beauty.

May we each have opportunity, this weekend, to become part of a glimmer of beauty, and to enjoy the refreshment and delight that can come from that.

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Feeling hungry?

This post actually has nothing to do with donuts.

This past weekend I was introduced to a music video that caught my eye and my imagination.

I will leave the video with you, to see if it catches your attention too.

She also did another video of the same song … I just couldn’t choose between them.

“We are not alone with our insecurities”
Colbie Caillat

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When I met the lovely lady, who is my guest poster today, I was in the phase of life that she is now …

Still young, not an expert yet in marriage, housekeeping, meal preparations or child rearing

… wait!

I am still not there!

When I met her she was a single woman, always looking so bright and cheerful and perky.

I was a wife and mom of one child, with one on the way.

With peanut butter and Cheerios as my most common fashion accessory.

I will not divulge her name, or where we met. Suffice it to say that her ‘about’ page at Autocratricks will tell you what is most important. I will share that from the moment I first met her, until yesterday when I read her latest post, I have known her to be a woman of grace and joy.


Enjoy the joyful sharing of this delightful, inspiring, grace-filled mom of four boys …

The Glamourmom is a rare type of bird with attractive plumage.  Some say its origins date back to the time of the Egyptians, in which pigments and powders were used to great effect in creating an attractive display.  There are those who claim that this bird no longer exists (see Dodo), or indeed that it never has (see Unicorn); but, in truth, examples of this exotic species may be found throughout the world.  One may find a Glamourmom by nosing out its heady cloud of perfume or by following the envious glances of the Common Dowdyfrau (this latter species exists in abundance around suburban areas, in particular).  A theory exists, although as yet unsubstantiated, that (under rare circumstances) the Lesser Gymbunnikus (itself an exotic) may in fact transmogrify into a Glamourmom with some considerable pain and effort, but that – should it take place at all – this transformation is temporary, at best.

–          Excerpt taken from A.Kratt-Rick’s A Rare Bird, Indeed


I saw a Glamourmom with my own eyes the other day.  She was dressed in a crisp flight attendant’s uniform, the snug jacket and short skirt neat on her slim form; she wore heels and bright red lipstick (no smudges!), and she was waiting for her Kindergartener to emerge from class.  I must admit, I stared a bit.

There are plenty of pretty Mammas around our school – many of them neatly dressed, even when conforming to the West Coast uniform of motherhood; yoga pants (crusty toddler-prints optional) – and I would never disparage the natural beauty of these lovely ladies.  But the Glamourmom is altogether another breed.  This is the woman whose hair, when long, is smooth and lush – never lank and frumpy; when she wears a short style it looks pixie-ish – not mannish.  Her makeup is always impeccable and she may even go to such lengths as applying false eyelashes and having regular manicures.  Undoubtedly, inside those stylish heels, her feet are also uncalloused and her toenails well-groomed.  In short, this is a woman who Takes Trouble.

Me, on the other hand?  Well, I remember a time when I used to Take Trouble – although I never achieved the kind of cool elegance of a Glamourmom.  To begin with, when I went through phases of being especially careful about my appearance, I didn’t have any kids.  The last time I flew internationally (just over a year ago), I was packing up all the necessities for the flight – and I had to chuckle at how times had changed.  When I was kid-free, I’d include in my carryon: Breath-freshener, Visine, moisturizer, make-up remover, make-up, eyecare stuff, perfume, hair-styley things… (the list goes on).  But with kids, it has been all about Gripe water, Tylenol, kid snacks, breast pump, bottles, Rescue Remedy, extra outfits, entertainment and novelties for the boys, etc. (another long list – but almost none of it for me, and especially none with the aim of improving my appearance before disembarking).

Before I’d go away on holiday (holiday? Ha!), I’d spend weeks exfoliating, layering on self-tanner, moisturizing, waxing, grooming and otherwise preparing to look my best in all the vacation photos.  These days, if we do get away, I expend more energy on finding co-ordinated outfits for the boys (easier to organize, and cute in photos) and preparing them for the inevitable upheaval from their regular routines than I do on my appearance.

So, life has intervened: four kids, a recent shoulder surgery (putting paid to any efforts at fitness during my convalescence), and general exhaustion have taken their toll – and I have discovered that I have now become a perfect specimen of the Common Dowdyfrau.  Things just got a bit too tricky, and I forgot to care.  Until I have a night out, that is – and then I scramble around, trying to figure out what fits and what I might have worn to the previous night out (so long ago it was) so that I can just throw that on in a pinch.  The last time we went out I settled for a silky tunic with microsuede leggings (supposed to look like real suede – wishful thinking) and threw on some earrings, which I promptly snatched off when I realized that they looked clunky next to my decade-old glasses (my contacts are bugging me, but I’m not ready to bite the bullet of replacing them) – I was not going to spend the whole night squinting at West through red, rheumy eyes.  So it is clear that I am no longer practiced at looking my best.

However (and this is a big however), we birds are a resourceful bunch.  I have looked in the mirror (as it were – I *obviously* don’t often actually look in the mirror) and realized that I have let my plumage fade.  It’s time to fluff those feathers and make some changes.  Now, don’t go expecting any miracles – my life isn’t an episode of ‘What Not to Wear’ (sadly) – but I think that a few tweaks are in order.  Decisions need to be made:

Hair – too long to be flattering (on me), but just long enough to stick in a ponytail.  So maybe just a touch-up on the highlights and leave it at that

Makeup – yes (that one’s easy.  Have lots, just need to apply)

Clothes – will be ruthless in culling old maternity things from my wardrobe (even if they are ohsocomfy) – keep transitioning into leggings; not ready for pants with zips

Shoes – polish/replace/consider a heel (considered it – not happening)

Self – smile more (doing that) and do a bit of running again (have begun.  Just need to keep going.  Maybe tomorrow)

OK, so maybe not big changes.  Still, all my boys want at this age is a Mamma who can keep up with them and give them cuddles.  That might be hard to do in heels and tailored clothes – right?

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Since I did not get writing yesterday AND I slept in, today is a repost of a previously published post.

It was the first one to come to my mind, since I have noticed that it has been viewed a bit over the past couple of weeks.

Although this post was directed at one particular young lady, it is applicable to most females, as we all have days, and seasons when we are particularly hard on ourselves, and we miss out on the gift that we are created to be.

“Want to know a secret?
Promise not to tell?
We are standing by a wishing well.
Make a wish into the well,
that’s all you have to do
and if you hear it echoing.
Your wish will soon come true.”
Snow White

Since I started to read blogs, and write my own, I have gotten to know such a great and growing group of writers. Some are far away, and some are quite nearby.

One such blogger lives nearby. She is a delightful, honest, passionate writer. She shares her heart, not in a guarded way, but fully, truthfully. She is more than half my age, and she inspires me to be as transparent as she. I love to read of her experiences and her feelings about whatever is going on in her life.

I recently was reading a truthful post of hers, and it made me cry.

Her post was a post of her wishes, her deepest desires. Wishes that her physical body was different. Wishes that her spiritual walk was different. Wishes that her social life was different. Wishes that her future life’s direction was clear to her. Wishes, wishes, wishes.

This post made my eyes leak, because I understood each and every wish on her list (with just a few details changed). Some of her wishes were ones I shared with her, when I was her age. Many were wishes that I have had throughout my life, since puberty. Her wishes were ones that we females share with each other. They bind us together in our insecurities around life and living, around our rejection and acceptance of ourselves.

So, I want this to be a message to my blogger friend. I wish that for all females who read my words, may they echo in the wishing wells of your lives.

I wish for you …
that you could see how beautiful you are … inside and out. You have eyes that shine with a passion for life, and for your life-giver. You have friends who back you up, who wrap their arms around you, who walk through joys and struggles with you. I wish that you could see that your size is not as important as your presence. I wish that you could know that the numbers on the scale are not as important as you think … I wish you knew that YOU are more than a number! I wish that you could see that the habits you want to rid yourself of, also give you room for learning perseverance, struggle, strength and success … I wish you knew how how this hard work will give you ways to help others, in their own struggles, in the future. I wish you knew that God hears your heart when you sing, and it is a most beautiful sound to His ears. I wish there was a way to convince you that you do not need a boyfriend, a date for grad … but that wish you have is part of who you are, and, one day, he will arrive … he is just not ready for you yet. I wish you knew that in just a few weeks, those outstanding assignments will not matter.

You are loved, you are cherished, you are awesome … you couldn’t be better!

Oh, and did you know that your name has an ‘i’ in it? But it is a capital ‘I’.

My dear blogger friend, may my words echo, not just in a wishing well, but in your heart as well.

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According to dictionary.com, aesthetic means “having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.”


In no way does the above definition define aesthetics as something visual, and yet, I think we often put that word into a box labeled “what our eyes see.”

C. S. Lewis said,

“We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.”

To have a sense of, or love for beauty is to be able to seek blessing in the curse, joy in the sorrow, peace in the storm. Sometimes we are able to seek it on our own, and sometimes it is thrust upon us and we have no choice but to say that God, by His grace and mercy have opened our eyes to the beauty that life sometimes tries to hide from our view.

I feel as though I have been surrounded with the subject of beauty everywhere in the past few weeks … in nature, in my reading, in devotions shared by others.

As the season of spring emerges from every piece of the softening terra firma, tree, bush and plant beauty emerges in the pattern set by our Creator in the beginning of time. Some weeks it seems as though a symphony of visual music is being performed in front of my eyes.

Although these visual images of beauty take my breath away, there is a beauty that is even greater.


In our household, whenever someone says that a particular ‘thing’ is shiny I cheekily respond with, “like a diamond?” (Rihanna song, “Shine Bright like a Diamond”). My kids roll their eyes, big time, then they always respond, “diamonds don’t shine, Mom, they reflect.”

Ann Voskamp, in her book, “One Thousand Gifts”, would seem to echo my kids response:

“All beauty is only reflection.
And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down.

To look at the beautiful does create, as C. S. Lewis said above, a longing to not just see it, but to be a part of it. And maybe it is because we want, not to be a part of the beauty, but that which the beauty is a reflection of …

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-1Yesterday my post was called https://itsawonderfilledlife.net/2013/04/16/name-calling/. In it I referenced the long term effects of the messages, or name calling, of bullies in our lives, but also the fact that our Creator loves us, because we are His, and He calls us His children.

Then I saw a video that seemed to parallel the idea of name calling.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus asks his disciples an interesting question:

““Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:13-16

I am not sure why Jesus asked who people said he was, but I do know that it is not unusual for other people to see in someone things that they do not necessarily see in themselves. I know that sometimes God reveals more of our true nature to others that we see in ourselves.

I want to share this video with you …

it moved me to tears.

Then I want you to ask of the One who sees you most accurately,

“who do YOU say I am?”

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