Blog Posts

Beholding beauty

In the culture in which we live, it’s easy to feel rather unattractive at times.

Especially if you have nothing to cover your blemishes.

I honestly normally don’t spend a ton of time on my appearance, because I really don’t care that much, but I will admit that there was one day last week that I just didn’t have much of a desire to show my face in public. I’m not positive what happened–I might have accidentally scratched myself in my sleep or come into contact with branches while I was running (it’s happened before)–but somehow I got a few scratches on my face. I don’t own any makeup, and the scratches were very noticeable, so I knew the only way they wouldn’t be seen was for me to crawl back into bed and hide beneath the covers for the rest of the day. That wasn’t even an option, so I left for work with a sour attitude, then I got even more frustrated with myself for caring so much about what my face looked like. I mean, who was I trying to impress?

Sometimes I wish mirrors didn’t exist.

I actually forgot about my face until every single time I went into the restroom and saw my imperfect reflection again. It also didn’t help when someone asked me, “What the heck happened to your face?” I was frustrated, so I just said, “Bar fight” and walked away. Other than that one incident, no one seemed to care about the marks on my face–I didn’t even notice anyone blatantly staring at them yet trying to be subtle like people often do when they are trying not to look at a huge zit on someone’s face but can’t seem to take their eyes off of it.

Later that day after work, I decided to go rollerblading, and I always listen to music while cruising on my wheels. A song I love by Nichole Nordeman came up on my playlist, and I think I needed to hear those lyrics that particular day. It starts off talking about how we often are so unsatisfied with what we see in the mirror, especially when we start comparing ourselves to others around us. Then the chorus begins:

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful? You might agree if you could see what I see. ‘Cuz everything about you is incredible. You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me.

The truth is, no matter what we look like–or what we think we look like–we are still beautiful to the One who created us.

A couple of months ago, I went to a painting class with my friend Amanda. It was one of those classes where an instructor tries to walk everyone through in somewhat of a step-by-step fashion of creating a “masterpiece” of your own that you are trying to get to look like an already existing piece by an artist who actually had talent. By the end of the class, however, I was convinced my painting was beautiful. I didn’t care that it didn’t look exactly like the original work, and I certainly didn’t care that it looked nothing like anyone else’s around me. To me, it was perfect. I had created it, and it was special to me.

Image

And that’s how the Father sees us.

I wasn’t created to be a supermodel or have my face plastered across billboards, and that is absolutely fine with me. Rather than being upset about a few scratches on my face, I need to make sure there aren’t any scratches on my heart–inner beauty is more appealing than outer beauty, anyway. The song “Beautiful for Me” continues on with some fitting lyrics:

If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, I want my life and what’s inside to give Him something to behold. I want a heart that’s captivating. I want to hear my Father saying…

It goes back to the chorus after that, and as I was rollerblading I realized that it’s the heart that really matters. Regardless of what my appearance looks like, I want my heart to be captivating. There are days when my hair is frizzy; there are times when my clothes don’t match (that’s actually almost all of the time, but anything matches if you wear it with confidence); there are moments when I’m reminded that teenagers aren’t the only ones who get blemishes on their faces; there are days when every outfit I put on looks stupid to me; there was a time when I tried to remove my freckles; there are instances when I wish I weren’t so pale; there are just some days when I want to look different.

But I don’t need to.

I went somewhere with my sister this weekend, and she texted me beforehand trying to warn me that she looked horrible. She claimed that her hair was a disaster and that she really shouldn’t be seen in public. If you’ve never seen my sister, let me just tell you that she is beyond gorgeous. She is definitely the most beautiful person I know, both inside and out–she takes after my mom in that regard. It was a day that my sister wanted to look different.

But she didn’t need to.

Let’s be honest, one day you’re probably going to reach an age where your good looks escape you. Then what’s left? I don’t think there’s an age you can reach where you lose that captivating heart.

God’s love for us is unchanging–it doesn’t matter if we are having bad hair days or feel like we’re just not pretty enough. You’re more than pretty. You’re beautiful.

I don’t care what anyone says–my painting is a masterpiece.

And so are you.

Why I love love

When I was a little girl, at some point I fell in love with love.

Or so I thought.
 
I had this idea of what I thought love was: it was Harry telling Sally on New Year’s Eve just how much she meant to him; it was Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell jumping ship and swimming toward each other at the end of Overboard; it was Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski overcoming various obstacles throughout high school and college to end up together in the end; it was Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence finally realizing how they felt about one another after years of growing up together; it was Todd placing three different candy hearts that said “Marry me” on them in front of Christy before she finally realized he was proposing (and most of you have probably never read the Christy Miller Series, but you should); it was Squints Palledorous jumping into the deep end of the pool, knowing he couldn’t swim and essentially faking his own drowning all so he could kiss lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn; it was Ariel giving up her beautiful singing voice so that she could become human to spend time with Eric.
 
Obviously entertainment media had a huge influence on my perception of love.
 
Over the years, however, I’ve come to see that love is so much more than my youthful mind could have imagined. It’s not just some concept of two people realizing they want to be more than friends. It’s not just butterflies in your stomach when your dream person enters the room. It’s not just a feeling.
 
Love is something you do.
 
I went on a walk with my mom yesterday, and I was reminded of why my definition of love changed so drastically as my heart matured. As we were walking down my parents’ street toward the duck pond, my mom noticed a nail laying on the sidewalksomething I didn’t even see and something most people probably would have ignored. She, however, picked up that dirty thing and carried it with her to dispose of in one of the trash cans at the park. My mom has one of the biggest hearts of anyone you will ever meet, and she has this unexplainable love for any living being. She’s constantly caring for others, even strangers who could potentially encounter a nail on the pavement. That’s what love does. As we continued our walk, we chatted about various things, and we mentioned one particular person who is not the nicest individual in the world. My mom easily could have said plenty of negative things about this person, but she didn’t. In fact, she started pointing out all of this individual’s good qualities. It hit me in that moment that my mom is one of the reasons I am such a fan of loveshe has always modeled it so purely and in a way that draws others in to her warmth and sincerity. She doesn’t want to waste her time bashing others when she can be using it to build people up and use kindness in place of hate. That’s what love does.
 
And don’t think that entertainment media can’t also show examples of what love really means: it’s Anna stepping in front of Hans’s sword meant to kill her sister, Elsa; it’s King Triton letting his daughter go and turning Ariel back into a human when he realizes how much she wants to be with Eric; it’s Ross folding his hand of cards and not letting anyone know what he had, because he wanted Rachel to win their meaningless game of poker and to see her happy; it’s Dottie Hinson dropping the ball at the plate so that her younger sister, Kit, could be the hero for once; it’s Lee Brice singing about hating to dance yet twirling the woman he adores around the dance floor; it’s Bruce Willis pushing Ben Affleck out of the way and giving up his own life in Armageddon so that his daughter won’t lose the man she is going to marry; it’s Thomas J. losing his life in My Girl when he has an allergic reaction to hornet stings after he goes to look for his best friend’s mood ring that she lost when the two were playing in the woods; it’s Belle taking the place of her father to live in imprisonment with a seemingly ferocious beast.
 
That’s what love does.
 
I still have my fairytale beliefs of falling in love and kissing in gazebos, but I also know that love is more than writing across a screen that says, “…and they lived happily ever after.” We have the ability to show love to others every single day if we are willing to take on a little bit of selflessness. The greatest act of love this world has ever seen is the epitome of that: grace so big that He died on a cross so that we can live.
 
I love seeing examples of love all around me. It makes my heart smile when I realize that there are genuine people out there who truly want to love others. I’ve never told a guy I love him, and I’ve never had one say those three little words to me, but I know a love so much bigger than words could ever express.
 
And that is a reason to love love even more.

Don’t get me flowers

I hate flowers.

Now, I don’t mind things that have floral patterns, and I even rock a pair of shoes I love that have flowers on them, but I really actually kind of hate them (the flowers, not the shoes).

Because all they do is die.

I realize that it’s somewhat of a tradition for a man to get a woman flowers on various occasions, but I never want them. I’ve never gotten them, and I will not be swooned if a fella buys them for me as some sort of sweet gesture. I feel like they are just one of those go-to “gifts” that really has no meaning. Some people argue that it’s thoughtful to get a woman flowers.

I am not one of those people.

How much thought really goes in to going to the store and buying something that other people buy for women all the time? It’s not even remotely creative, and–in my case–it shows you really haven’t taken much concern in getting to know me, otherwise you would know that I hate flowers.

Why get gifts that are only going to die? I know many people suggest watering them, but I am not going to remember to do that every day, and I really just don’t like flowers enough to try to keep them alive. Then, after they keel over, you have to dispose of them, and they might even develop some sort of nasty stench before you’re completely rid of them.

Sure, some of them are really pretty and might smell decent for a while, but they are still simply such a short time away from death. Flowers are bad gifts, because all they do is die.

And I really don’t care if that’s one more reason I’m still single.

Friday, I’m in love

There’s something about Friday nights that I simply love.

One word: comfort.

While there are some days when I shun my singleness and wish I knew what it was like to go on a date or be in a relationship, Fridays are never those days. Ever. I love my job, but it’s actually a bit draining and leaves me exhausted–both emotionally and physically–by the end of the week. The last thing I want to do on a Friday night is go anywhere.

Except my bed.

Oddly enough, Friday nights are probably the ones with my earliest bedtimes. I don’t even care that I likely beat some toddlers to bed on those days–in fact, I might be kind of proud of that.

I’m usually in my PJs before the sun even sets. (There I go bragging again.)

If I ever do steal some fella’s heart, I’m not sure if my Friday nights will change, but I can’t help but imagine that they will. From my outside observations, Friday and Saturday nights seem to be popular date nights. But for now, however, I have no obligatory feelings to meet any understood expectations. Except to sleep more.

Sometimes when I hear people talking with one another about their weekend plans, I think about Friday nights. I think about the SportsCenter Not Top 10; I think about the comfort of my couch with some froyo in my hands; I think about feeling the weight of stress from the entire week being lifted off of my shoulders; I think about cheesy movies on ABC Family; I think about how I miss “The Friday Night Lineup”; I think about not waking up the next morning before 4 a.m.; I think about hugging my stuffed koala, Tie, as closely as possible while much of the world around me is just getting a possible late night started; I think about rest and rejuvenation.

And my heart smiles.

“When are you getting married?”

There are certain things in life that involve processes you must go through to get to them–you know, like actually combining two slices of bread with peanut butter on one and jelly on the other before you can eat a quality sandwich.

And, unless you partake in various cultures that do marriage differently than I’ve always known it, you should probably go on a date before thinking about a wedding.

A coworker of mine asked me today when I am going to get married.

He clearly doesn’t know much about my life.

I’ve been to and in quite a few weddings in my day, and thinking about my actual “big day” has never really crossed my mind. I’ve never even gone on a date, so I think that would be stepping ahead a bit too much. It did give me a chuckle, though, and I told him I would prefer to go on a date before I even let the thought of a white dress and a handsome fella in a tux gazing at me how I’ve always wanted enter my heart.

Of course, then he proceeded to ask me why I haven’t ever gone on a date. I’m never really sure how to respond to that question, so I gave him a somewhat, “Oh, I don’t know” answer in hopes that we could change the subject. A lot of people seem to think that there is something strange about a 29-year-old who has never dated, and perhaps there is. But it’s not like every guy I meet strikes my fancy, and I certainly don’t have guys throwing rocks at my window to try to get my attention. And, unlike in so many movies I’ve seen, I didn’t have some romantic love-at-first-sight encounter or a friendship that blossomed into true love.

It’s not always as simple as we’d hoped.

The importance of Feb. 15

There are a lot of haters out there on Valentine’s Day, and I admit I am sometimes one of them.

Let’s be honest: the single life isn’t always the dream life on that particular day. However, I made the decision a few years ago that there is a silver lining to the stupid holiday. (Oops, there I go again.) While it can be rather annoying to see people inundated with chocolate (I hate chocolate) and flowers (all they do is die), the day after Valentine’s Day is almost worth seeing everyone around you so happy in love.

I have two words for you, friends: discounted candy.

So when all of your friends are putting fresh water in vases for roses to try to keep them alive (won’t happen), you can hit up the local CVS and get some conversation hearts for 50 percent off. Cha-ching!

It’s actually quite nice–I don’t have to ponder and agonize over what to get for someone, because I already know the perfect gift to get for myself. And I’m not even paying full price.

Thank you, Valentine’s Day, for existing, so that Feb. 15 can bring joy to the single hearts once again.

lovelovelove

Dance badly for me

It’s nine days until the infamous Valentine’s Day, and I’m really ready for all of the holiday candy to go on markdown.

I’ve never actually had a Valentine, and I’m pretty OK with that. It’s a silly day of the year, anyway. It would be nice, though, to have a dance partner.

I took some ridiculous quiz today about what Disney couple is the ideal relationship for my boyfriend and me. Seeing as how I don’t have a boyfriend and have never had one, I felt it made perfectly good sense to take the quiz. Some of the answer choices to a few of the questions really didn’t pertain to me at all, so I just had to pick the closest option possible, but there was one that really stood out to me. It was asking about “random” things to which you are attracted, and one of the answer choices was “terrible dance moves,” which was obviously what I chose.

Maybe I just really like the idea of a guy who is comfortable enough with himself to be able to dance badly in public and not think anything of it–kinda like Albert in Hitch. And I love dancing, so I definitely would like to be with someone who will twirl around the floor with me.

You know what I don’t love, though? The results of the quiz: Cinderella and Prince Charming. They didn’t even know each other. Maybe I was secretly hoping for Ariel and Eric. Regardless, it was rather disappointing.

I would never wear glass slippers.

lovelovelove