Friday, October 29, 2010

Highly Recommended Beauty Stuff

Today, I am just going to highly recommend a couple of  beauty items I cannot live without.

This does not settle, cake, or other words, it doesn't make you look good for 10 minutes only to make you look horrible for the rest of the day.

This mascara does actually give straighter lashes more curl.  I still use my curler, but this mascara does not let them falter once curled.  **The regular one is okay, but the waterproof is the one that I LOVE**

Shu Uemura, eat your heart out.  This curler is great for not pulling out lashes, gives a natural curl and can also give a more dramatic curl (depending on how it's used), and comes with the lovely bonus of being produced by Japonesque.  I love this company and have loyally used only their eyelash curlers since 1996.

All you have to do for refills is visit their site, select the item needing refills, and they will send you free refills for the LIFE OF THE CURLER!!  No, I'm not joking.  Buy it.

Japonesque Curler Refill Program

More to come later...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blah Blah Blah, Whine Whine Whine

Watching Julie & Julia-getting blogspiration...had an alarmingly unproductive day today.
Yesterday's toys on the ground...
Yesterday's dishes in the machine... 

I think you get the picture...

I happened to tune in just when author Julie Powell played by Amy Adams is convinced she has no readers, asks if anyone is reading, and then gets a comment from her mother asking her why she's doing it because clearly no one is reading.

I know there must be readers, many of my lovely FB friends are followers...and I blog for myself as much as for it to be read.  

Well, that's about it for this whiny post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Open Hand, Full Spirit

Making time to separate from my daily routine is the crushed red pepper in the plate of my life.  For me, crushed red pepper makes almost anything edible better and more enjoyable.

On Sunday we spent the afternoon being totally lazy at the beach.  There is no better time to go than a mild early autumn day.  We ran on the shore, Jabez and Eric jumped from giant rock to giant rock, and we searched for beautiful shells/stones.

While searching,  time seemed suspended.  We were laying in a belt of these pebbles, shells, and stones-which were smoothed and softened by the water.  Everlyse was completely consumed by this-she came to me to drop different treasures she had found into my palm with utter pride and excitement.  Jay proved himself to have an unfailing ability to locate the most exquisite finds with his budding artist's eye, as well.  Eric and I just absorbed it, enjoyed it, and were fed spiritually by it.  From time to time Everlyse would pop her face right in front of mine, say something I would have given my left eye to understand in her sing-song voice filled with happiness, and get back to work.  It was like taking a deep breath of life giving oxygen that went right to my soul.

Today, we hit the playground, Everlyse and I.  She practiced all of her newfound skills and had a great time.  Before heading home, I scooped her up onto my lap and got on the swings with her.  I made up a song about us sitting on the swing and she just melted into me.  The warm autumn air picked up her random curls and her sweet baby smell filled me up.  I cried right there, so happy to have stopped just long enough to receive this gift.

I often feel that I don't spend enough time in prayer...but it is at times like this that I understand my very life is a prayer.  Being still and opening my hand in quiet expectation guarantees that God will fill it with a miracle.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who Needs Date Night When There's Lazy Saturday?

Best Saturday in a loooooooooooooong time.  Nothing planned to go and do, so we woke up late (Ever was even in on it, apparently-she slept until after 10:30-and Jay was up but totally covert ops about it), ate pancakes/eggs/sausage, and listened to The Perishers station on Pandora (The Perishers being on my top 5, maybe even top 3 list of artists).

While listening, Gravity played (by Embrace), one of the songs from our wedding slideshow-to be posted soon.  I asked Eric to dance and we did-with Everlyse wandering over trying to feed us a cheerio she found under the table, with toys all over the floor, still unshowered-he in flannel pants and me in an old flannel shirt.  Of course, we both turned into a couple of crying fools over how perfect it all can be sometimes.  We don't get many date nights, but times like these are worth so much more.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

She Laughs at the Days To Come

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. Prov 31:26

Deep sigh as I read this verse.  So many women I know are clothed with strength and with dignity, open their mouths in wisdom, and upon their tongues rests kindly counsel.  Definitely not enough to make up for the dire shortage of such women in the world, however.

I'm sure the first thing to come to people's minds is "What about men?"  True, there are many shortages in the department of men.  But, as my refrigerator magnet quotes-"Be the change you wish to see in the world."  Ghandi so wisely pointed out that nothing changes if it doesn't begin with the self.  How you begin the journey is up to you and personal, but the desire and the openness needs to begin inside.

Clothed with strength and dignity...strength is a tough one for womanhood, isn't it?  We are fickle creatures filled with doubt and sadly a vast capacity for envy.  This combination is what leads us in fruitless circles trying to be the MOST beautiful, interesting, enviable, attended to, etc. etc.  We do things to hurt other women in order to feed this hunger.  Stealing a mate from another woman, for instance.  If that woman happens to be beautiful, interesting, entertaining, etc...then SO much the better!  This proves that one is even more so-doesn't it?!?!

Sadly, it does not.  It does prove that one is a desperate, pathetic, sad little creature who is weak.  Quite the opposite, in fact, of being clothed with strength.

Which brings us to the latter trait of good character, dignity.  Oh the shamelessness that abounds and is even celebrated.  One could say "nowadays," but it is not so-it has always been.  Although, it's become so much worse.  I remember what it felt like to be cast aside as a teenager by a boy who had previously been so interested in me for another who-well-someone who would meet his physical needs.  This has happened to most women, perhaps at a different age or in a different context.  Another female who is willing to trade or degrade herself for attention somehow manages to get the attention of someone who should be able to see you for the miraculous creation you are, the treasure worth seeking.  But, no.  He does not want to seek any hidden matter how worthy the jewels are.  He'd rather pick up the plastic shiny thing right at his feet than do anything more challenging.  The sad thing is that he is unaware of what he is missing and thinks he's made the most fulfilling choice.

There are also men who  really want to find a woman who will bring them to the next level-make them a better version of themselves and bring them closer to God.  These men very quickly recognize a woman with dignity and as soon as they find her, they snag her for themselves.  It might not be the easiest thing in the world for them to do so, but they do it, and they never regret it.

How does a woman "laugh at the days to come"?  No, it's not foolish laughter, I'm sure.  It's the laughter that comes with knowing.  The knowledge that you have withstood what would have taken down so many others, the knowledge that you have not sold yourself out for selfish and maybe desperate reasons.  The knowledge that God is faithful and perfect-this specific knowledge can eradicate so much of the doubt and anger that pushes us to make decisions that eat away at our beauty, like rust.  When we don't know why something happened, or when something we want to happen will happen, or why someone we know/trust has failed, or why we fail ourselves-that is the time to take shelter in the knowledge that God is perfect in His faithfulness.  Nobody else is, but He is...and resting in that will bring laughter and confidence about what is to come, even if that laughter is mixed with tears.

If only I could open my mouth in wisdom more often...sometimes I know it's not so.  I give it a shot, though.  I really do.  Sure, I can complain with the best of them and for those who've been in a car with me during a frustrating drive, they know that I most certainly do not always open my mouth in wisdom...but, I intend to.  Through years of practicing this one, I have learned that being quiet is many times more effective than speaking.  If someone is trying to take from you and you remain quiet, you're not giving them anything.  Even better, if there are witnesses-it makes that person seem witless.  If I have brought something up at least once or twice and am against a wall, I  don't give up-but I do stop speaking to the person about it.  I take it up with God.  Some new insight will always come of those conversations along with much needed patience.

Before we speak, it's so important to think first about WHERE these thoughts/ideas originate.  We need to take ownership of every single thought that flies through our brains.  Destructive thoughts lead us on a path away from creation and away from life.  They lead us to death-we die to who we are and to our reason for being born.  Take hold of your thoughts and reject what destroys your well being and your capacity for love-love for yourself, love for others, and most importantly-ability to receive love from God.  Without being able to receive, you will run out of love the way a car runs out of gas.  God's love comes directly and indirectly, through him and through others.  Keeping your thoughts true will color what you say and how you say it.

Kindly counsel, giving words that are a balm over a wound, is a tricky practice.  In yogic teaching, there are the life principles called Yama and Niyamas.  The first two Yamas are Non-Violence (Ahimsa) and Truthfulness (Satya).  One of the most interesting classes I took while studying to become a yoga teacher involved a discussion of how one could practice both at once.  Sometimes telling the truth causes pain to another.  So, should a person avoid the truth in order to practice non-violence?  I have struggled with this myself.  For me, the answer I have found is that it's very much in the timing and in the receptiveness of the receiver.  If there is something possibly painful to discuss and you have been asked for advice (receptiveness), proceed with prayer.  Ask God to make that person's heart soft, and then wait.  The time for the needed message will arrive and it will likely be very obvious to you that the time is right.  If it's not asked for and it's someone you need to speak with, again-begin with prayer, then wait.

There is not enough truth telling amongst friendships between women.  We don't want to aggravate a situation or possibly lose a friend.  It's not helpful in the long term, however to try to distract a person from what is happening.  If you have no prompt towards helping with kind words of wisdom, don't say anything.  Let it lie where it is.  I have been hurt and know so many others who have been hurt when someone who means well gives unsolicited advice too rashly or else compares it to themselves.  This makes a person feel as if you're judging and comparing, and in that comparison, have decided that you are clearly superior for having done it better.

I know that women aren't out in the world deliberately trying to cause all the drama we do.  Most women, anyhow.  It's the result of damage, of confusion, of sadness-really, too much of anything negative weakens us.  But, we can be an example that disproves the image of happiness sold by film/magazines/our own selves.  If we move through this world in grace and dignity, if we speak wisely, and if (most importantly) we do this out of love it will send out a tiny, perfect, and powerful ripple into our world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wind Shadows

Amazing discovery-while playing with Ever in her room today, I noticed that the air blowing about outside her window was casting faint shadows over the sunlit carpet. It left me feeling a little bit awestruck, I suppose it's the St. Francis in me that falls most in love with God through His creation.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Almost Heaven

The conundrum of my daily life...when Everlyse brings me the greatest joys, it is inevitably accompanied by pain of equal measure. Never does my family feel as far away as they do when I want their witness to our little one.

Part of it comes from my own joy in sharing her The other part comes from the joy I know they get from even the smallest moments with her.

As I write this, she is pointing to a picture of me together with my parents, brother, and sister while saying her names for them. Once again she has me smiling through my own tears.
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Mommy with a Passion

Motherhood...the movie.  I don't know why this film only got 2 stars except that it was likely reviewed by people who had not experienced motherhood in a similar way.  Uma is great playing the kind of role I LOVE her in-quirky/awkward/still undeniably gorgeous underneath it all, albeit quietly so.

I don't have the same exact daily struggle that her character (Eliza) does.  I do relate to the sense of loss tempered with the love for her family that she is experiencing.

There is a line in the movie in which Eliza (having nearly experienced a breakdown/meltdown) is discussing her state with her husband (after he added to her aggravation by reading and making "suggestions" to a piece of her writing in a very insensitive manner).  She says that the daily "concrete and specific tasks" she performs as a mother make it nearly impossible to have or experience a life with passion.

I had never heard it put into words before...this tugging I feel within that tells me something is being lost.  It's myself...and I don't mean to say that it's a bad idea to become a mother or to take it a step further and decide to raise your child yourself and put your career on hold.  I do have some days when it feels as if the daily routine of feed/clean/feed/clean/feed/clean has worn down at me to the point of having little excitement about much of anything.

Daily, while Ever naps, I make a choice.  I can either write or get some exercise.  It's a tough choice for me...I want to get rid of my baby gut, but I feel at least a little bit accomplished when I write.  It would be great if I could do both each day and maybe I'll figure it out sometime.

The most helpful thing for me is to revisit myself a few years ago.  I wanted this and was terrified of wanting this all at once.  Eric was nowhere in sight and I honestly don't think I could have invented a person who would love me the way that he does.  He loves being a husband and a father.  He honors our marriage and our family in each of his choices and I cannot help but do the same for him.

Now, I am a mother to our daughter and to Eric's nine year old son and all of the ways I feel gifted at leading and teaching are put to the test daily in the smallest ways....such as feeding and cleaning.  I remember this as I become aggravated and I put my gratitude and love behind these seemingly insignificant mommy tasks.

I think of my own mother and how it felt to come home after school and to smell the sopa de arroz outside the door before I even got in.  It felt like heaven.  To this day when I'm making it, I'm tempted to run outside and stand in front of my house in hopes of feeling that again.  If safe had a smell, it was that. Sopa de arroz wafting outside my parents house on an autumn day....

I think of this and I remind myself daily that one day Ever and Jay will be parents, what they see, hear, taste, and smell now will influence them for a lifetime.  Their ideas of safe and of home are being formed subconsciously in the smallest ways.  I am part of that, and all of these small things gather into something substantial and valuable.