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.

A Literary Obsession

! B O O K S !

Oh, my favorite topic! Just looking at the excellent titles 2011 promises us makes me giddy. Some people may even say I’m a bit obsessive. I don’t think so, but I’ll let you be the judge. Let’s see…

  • I majored in Literature.
  • I keep a running list of to-be-read titles, mostly 2011 releases, on Christianbook.com’s wish list (51 currently listed).
  • I keep track of all the books I’ve read over the past couple of years on Goodreads and Shelfari.
  • My Goodreads shelf shows I completed 137 books in 2010–roughly two and a half books per week. My goal is to surpass that number this year.
  • In my office I have three separate bookshelf units. All overflowing, naturally.
  • My favorite volunteer position at church is in the library.
  • For Christmas I received three books and gave twelve as gifts.

Well, you get the picture. Obsessed? Okay, maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but reading sure is fun! And I can’t wait to tell you about the top books on my “This is gonna be a great one!” list.

Paradise ValleyPARADISE VALLEY, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1, by Dale Cramer. In 1921, a new Ohio law convinces Caleb Bender to move his family to Mexico where the government will leave his Amish family alone. But the Mexican government won’t protect his family from roving bandits either. I’m sure this choice is a shock to you as I don’t typically read Amish fiction, BUT Dale Cramer is not your typical writer. A gifted wordsmith and storyteller, Cramer has won numerous literary awards and is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve read all his previous works and have fallen in love with his writing style. Paradise Valley is currently on my bed stand, and I can’t wait to read it.

Words WORDS, debut novel by Ginny L. Yttrup Kayley Wren is ten and hasn’t spoken a word since her mother walked out of her daughter’s life, leaving Kayley behind with a dangerous and evil man. Kayley takes refuge in her silence while collecting words from the one item her mother left behind: a dictionary.This story sounds like a definite tear jerker, one that will truly show God’s redemptive work in broken lives.

The ResurrectionTHE RESURRECTION, debut novel by Mike Duran Ruby Case upsets a quiet town when she raises a boy from the dead. Reverend Ian Clark helps Ruby seek answers, and together they discover an evil that may destroy them all. I regularly follow Mike Duran’s blog deCOMPOSE. He always has unique insights that continuously encourage me to think. I’m certain his novel will have the same affect.

Well, there are obviously more books I’m excited about, the annual novels from my favorite authors: THE MOUNTAINS BOW DOWN, Raleigh Harmon Series by Sibella Giorello; VIGILANTE by Robin Parrish; PROMISES TO KEEP by Ann Tatlock ; NICK OF TIME, A Bug Man Series #6 by Tim Downs, THE QUEEN, Bowers Files Series #5 by Steven James, and THE OPPOSITE OF ART by Athol Dickson. I’ll let you check out their descriptions for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

So, have you decided yet? Am I obsessive or not?

Yeah, I thought you’d say that.

But my guess is, maybe you are too. 😀

Happy Reading!

IMPORTANT REMINDER!! Every time you comment on this blog series (1/3/11 to 1/14/11) through this Saturday (1/15/11), your name will be entered into a drawing for a bubble bath gift pack. Bubble bath and books. Ahh, now there’s a relaxing combination.