Mirror, Mirror

My reflection in the mirror reveals disheveled hair and a face devoid of makeup. Wrinkles that never used to show now line my forty-something skin. Dark bags hang beneath my insomnia-racked eyes. Man, I’m a mess!

This is not who I think of when I think of me. Where have I gone?

Do we all get to that place where what we see in the mirror is not who we remember being? Age, time, and life happens, and suddenly we don’t look the same. Don’t feel the same.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall…” I whisper.

Although I write fantasy, I know there isn’t a voice that will answer my question of where the fairest me of all went.

I point to my reflection and stick out my tongue.

Heart and mirrorAre you not created in my image? I can hear God asking me midst my frowning dismay. That head of gray hair? It is your glory. (Proverbs 16:31) Wisdom can be found among those strands and those lines. (Job 12:12) Look not to your outer being, but seek that which is inner to judge your beauty, child. It is worth more than you know. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

I glance in the mirror one more time and to try to look beyond my blemishes and gray hair. Why is it so hard to give myself the same grace I give to others? Is it a plot from the beauty industry that makes me believe I need to use this cream or that new and improved dye to color my hair? Is it a societal flaw that we don’t respect and honor ourselves when we begin to show a little wear and tear?

I’m so glad God doesn’t judge me on such a superficial basis. I’m so glad He looks at my heart and sees my intentions. Time can be a thief, but only if we let it be. I make another face at myself in the offending mirror.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall. You’re not so truthful after all.”

 

FASHION APOCALYPSE

The heroine in Rose’s new book is a beauty advice columnist. Today, I will try my hand at a different kind of beauty advice column – EMERGENCY BEAUTY!

In 2009, Western Kentucky was hit with one of the worst ice storms in our history. There were folks without electricity and water for up to 2 weeks – a few, out in the farthest reaches of the county, even longer.

It was during this time that I realized just how important basic makeup use can be.

Really.

220px-Zombies_NightoftheLivingDead   You’ve seen pics of a fictional “zombie apocalypse?” Well, that was what the first trip to a generator-powered grocery store looked like. We’d all been hunkered down for nearly a week when finally the roads cleared enough to get generators in and open up a few businesses for basic cash-only grocery purchases.

People were wandering the semi-lit aisles, looking for food that didn’t need to be refrigerated OR cooked. No makeup. Hair in disarray. That glazed look on their faces.

Honestly, there were folks that I simply did not RECOGNIZE until they spoke.

It was then that I came up with a few beauty tips that work for any circumstance – even without power or running water:

curlsCurly hair CAN be your friend. Seriously. For a few days, all you have to do is brush, fluff, and pat it into shape, squirt some hairspray on it, and in a semi-darkened building when you’re probably wearing a hat anyway, you’re good to go. Like I tell my curly-haired daughter – it’s the SHAPE that counts.

makeupEyeliner and mascara are all you truly need to look like a living human. Lipstick is good, but a tinted lip-balm is enough if your eyes are made up.

Have lotion-infused tissues and makeup remover/cleansing wipes on hand.  They can literally take care of more than just removing makeup.

That’s all. I resolved, after that horrifying trip to the grocery store, that I would NOT leave the house without fluffing, lining, and lashing.

I’ll save my treatise on pajama pants in public for another time . . .

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HOW YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF “WEDDING ON THE ROCKS.”

Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks AND TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment between now and Friday, May 17, and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages until FRIDAY!

Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.

Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful?

How many of you have ever watched the TLC show, What Not to Wear? I’m a little embarrassed to admit I thoroughly enjoy the show. What the co-hosts, Stacy and Clinton, do is surprise someone who has no fashion / make-up sense with a $5000 shopping spree and a make-over. (Someone like me who can’t fill a pinhead with her fashion and makeup knowledge. Seriously. Now if you want to talk baseball … Well, I digress.)

The catch is, their *victim* must turn over all the clothes in their closet. Now, while this show can be a bit humiliating for the person being targeted, it’s also often an eye-opener for them. It seems that that many of the people spotlighted share a singular issue: low self-esteem or poor body image. And they hide behind their clothes in one way or another.

They don’t see themselves as beautiful. The don’t see themselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Part of the problem is, we live in an image-driven society where exterior “beauty” is lauded. The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch is on record saying that his clothing line intentionally excludes the not-good-looking, the uncool people: Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks. It’s a disturbing article. I can proudly say I’ve never purchased a single item from A&F, and I never will.

Here’s another perspective from a Christian woman on body image: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/my-wedding-night/. Can anyone else relate?

1 Samuel 16:7b says,

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Are you seeing what God is seeing?

Recently, Dove released an emotional and very telling video that demonstrated women’s self-image issues. I encourage you to take three minutes to watch this:

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How many of you see yourself in that video? I’m slowly raising my hand.

Psalm 139: 13-14 says,

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”

Do you know that full well?

From what or whom do you derive your value? Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you truly believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Do you see a beautiful child of God? Are you seeing yourself through God’s eyes or the worlds’?

Personally, I’m working on it.

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If you struggle with self-image, if you have trouble seeing yourself through the eyes of God, here are a couple of reading suggestions:

INVISIBLE by Ginny Yttrup – LOVED this novel. It’s very relatable, so at times it’s not an easy read, but it’s a very important one.

MOM IN THE MIRROR: BODY IMAGE, BEAUTY, & LIFE AFTER PREGNANCY by  Dena Cabrera, Emily T. Wierenga, with a foreward by Emme.

Here’s a song by Jonny Diaz, More Beautiful You, that speaks to who you are in God’s eyes.

Other encouraging music:

Beautiful by Mercy Me

Mirror by Barlow Girl

Beautiful by Bethany Dillon

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HOW CAN YOU WIN A COPY OF WEDDING ON THE ROCKS?

Wedding On the RocksRose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks and TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.

Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.

Fashion Tips to Live By

Despite all the products available to enhance a woman’s natural beauty, looking good still comes with a price. Over the years I’ve learned several valuable lessons in the beauty enrichment department—some firsthand and some by watching others’ faux pas. Some mistakes cause no more than a fit of giggles but others may make you want to hang out with your dog until it “grows out again.” (Thank goodness our dogs don’t care what we look like, huh?)

Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years:

  • First perms can be quite an ordeal and if you’re considering one, please understand that it may not turn out exactly as you planned. Soft, gentle waves can quickly become “one happenin’ Afro” if your hair curls easily. Fortunately this was a popular style of the day, but it still made quite an interesting look on a short, fair-skinned blonde.

 

  • In regards to the previous paragraph, the warning from hairdressers “don’t shampoo for 24 hours or the curl may not set” does not apply to all people.

 

  • If attempting to highlight your hair with a DIY home kit, don’t wash the solution out too soon or you may get caught between stages in the coloring process. This can result in orange highlights. Of course, if this is the look you’re after, you’re good to go.

 

  • When applying bright lipstick, don’t pucker up and swipe on a lot of color or too much will get on the inside of the lips. Pink teeth are not attractive.

 

  • When drinking a red beverage at important social gatherings, remember to take small sips. No gulping even if you’re thirsty. Red mustaches are quite embarrassing on grown women.

 

  • Scotch tape works well on fixing ripped hems on bridesmaid’s dresses, especially when it’s mere seconds until picture time. If this does happens, just smile and act like nothing has happened. No one will be the wiser—except for you.

 

  • Several hair styling appliances have dual purposes. A curling iron works quite well for ironing wrinkled clothing, unless you’re doing a whole suit, but it’s still better than nothing in emergency situations. Also, if you ever find your front door frozen shut because the humidifier is turned up too high, a hair dryer and a screwdriver are essential tools for alleviating the problem. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

We can learn much as we strive to achieve gorgeousness. Remember that for every problem you have, someone else has experienced it first. You are never alone in your quest for beauty.

 

HOW YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF “WEDDING ON THE ROCKS.”

Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks AND TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.

Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.