Wednesday, March 18, 2015


In her song, "Brave," Sara Bareilles sings "honestly, I wanna see you be brave,"
 and "show me how big your brave is." 
I want to see me, my husband, my children, my family and friends, everyone I care about
"let the words fall out" and be BRAVE! 
Think about what scares you, what shuts you down, what fills your heart with dread. 
Maybe it's not a what, maybe it's a who.
Who is that person, or who are those people that you allow to hollow out your soul? 
And, why do you let them?
It's time to stop.  It's time to own our lives.  To be brave and say what we want to.
I'm sick and tired of political correctness. 
I believe in respect for all people and all beliefs.  I do respect all people and their beliefs.
So, give me the same respect and respect me and mine!
Why are these things one-sided?
One person can say how they feel, but the next person cannot without getting threatened or sued.
People!  This is wrong!
If you are being abused, it is time to tell someone.
It is time to stop it.
It is time to put your hand up and say, "no! and never again!"
If you have been lied to, it is time to ask for the truth
and then decide what to do about it.
If, Heaven forbid, your own parents are the culprits and you are a young person,
it is time to ask for help.
If your spouse abuses you, hits you, and threatens you,
it is time to ask for help and leave.
If your spouse is hurting your children, 
it is overdue for you to protect your children.
If you are being bullied at school or work or at soccer practice or anywhere else,
it is time to talk and tell and ask for help until someone believes and helps you.
These are extreme things, scary things of the worst kind, yet beautiful people suffer every day.
What about the less threatening things we should be standing up against?
Are you brave enough to not pass along the gossip?
Are you brave enough to really, really stand up for your faith?
Are you brave enough to declare your faith?
Do you have enough Brave to bear testimony of Jesus Christ?
.....In all things, at all times, and in all places?
Are you brave enough to respect your marriage and family when the world does not?
Do you honor, love, and respect your spouse and children the way they deserve?
Can you be brave and stand up for your friend?
Do you have the guts to stop a lie or a false story in its tracks? 
Are you strong enough to tell someone you don't want to go on a second date?
Can you be brave and tell the creep who broke up with you two times in 12 days
Can you be courageous enough to be kind to other people? 
I'm tired of the double standard.
One person can say their piece, but anyone who is on the opposite side is not allowed to say theirs, without damage.
I'm tired of having to "make nice" with people who are not nice, just to get along.
I'm tired of the gossip. 
  If something is not true and you pass it on, it's called slander.
Slander is a crime, punishable by law.
I'm tired of people talking about other people's tragedies just over lunch, for entertainment.
I'm tired of people trying to find out information about people and their suffering, so they can talk about it over lunch or on the phone or at the fence or on a walk.
I'm tired of kids feeling like they can't be themselves because they don't think their parents would approve of what their dreams and aspirations really are.
I'm tired of wives and husbands not being nice to each other.
I'm tired of parents being crappy parents and treating their kids badly.
I'm tired of frien-a-mies taking advantage of people who really do need friends.
I'm tired of college-age boys who don't know how to treat girls.
I'm tired of people not being strong enough to take a position.
Take a position, people!  You can't straddle the fence.
And I'm tired of being let down by people I thought cared about me, because I believed in them and trusted them and cared about them and they lied.
Let's be brave, can we?
It seems like a hard thing to do for a lot of people.
I think it is liberating!
As long as you are not hurting other people,
as long as you are truth seeking and truth telling,
as long as you do things out of respect, love, and compassion,
and as long as you are honest and truly honor God, yourself and others,
what harm could come from being brave?
You might just teach someone something.
You might be the example someone else needs.
You might be the reason someone else decides to do better.
You might discover you are braver than you thought.
You will probably wish you had done so sooner.
Because it feels good; it feels right.
Ghandi said, "be the change you wish to see in the world."
Maybe we do that by being the "brave" we wish the rest of the world could be.
One person can make a difference.
I promise.
"How big is your brave?"
Mine is pretty darn big, but it needs to get even bigger.
It's hard sometimes to stand up to the bullies and the haters.
But if no one ever does, they get more powerful and stand over us for our whole lives.
I don't want to live like that.  Do you?
But, if we want to be brave, we have to allow others to be brave, too.
Sometimes that is what takes the most bravery.
So, I'm letting my words "fall out." 

"Brave until the bitter end," I want my family to say about me when I'm gone.
Or, "she stood up for the truth,"
or, "she could be trusted,"
So I'll be brave in my quest to be worthy of such a statement.
What is your bravery quest? 
Let's "come out of the cages where we live," and be brave.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Makeup: I Can Live Without It

These are my eyes.  All my life I was told I had brown eyes and that is how I filled out every form that ever asked for my eye color.  Then a doctor I worked with a long time ago commented one day that he thought I had pretty, green eyes.  Other people have told me my eyes are amber or even hazel, but most people agree that my eyes are not brown. 

I don't have great eyelashes.  Especially the ones on the bottom.  You can't see those unless I have mascara on.  When I have mascara on, they look pretty good.  I don't have thick, unruly eyebrows either.  I'm glad they're not unruly, but I wish they were thicker and darker.  I have to darken them to really see that they are even there. 

I like my eyes.  I like to wear eye makeup.  In fact, it was one of the first ways I rebelled at home.  Wearing eye makeup.  It's always been fun for me to apply makeup.  I don't like a lot and I like it to be pretty classic looking, but I like wearing makeup.  I also have worn makeup for so long that it's hard to think about going out of the house without it. 

Over the last few years though, I have found myself getting more and more comfortable, and even liking, not wearing eye makeup.  Even in public.  I'm not scared of people seeing me without it, like I used to be in college.  And maybe it has something to do with having chronic dry eyes and the constant need for eye drops.  Some days, my eyes are just too tired and too sensitive and don't want to have makeup put on them. 

I had hip surgery a couple of weeks ago.  It went well.  I didn't break my hip or have a hip replacement.  I  have deformities, I guess you could call them, that have been with me probably for my whole life that cause extreme pain and discomfort and prevent me from doing things I would like to do and so it was time to get it corrected.  The recovery is long.  I have been flat in bed for two weeks.  This week I can sit for 15-minute periods, but then have to go back down for 2 to 3 hours.  So, you can imagine, I'm not wearing eye makeup right now. 

These last couple of weeks have been weirdly cool.  I get to sleep any time I want.  I have an excuse to rest.  My sister brought me her small fridge and so I have it in my room, stocked with cold drinks and snacks.  I have excuses to not do the things I don't want to do.  I get to  watch movies and read all day.  My neighbors from church have been spoiling me rotten by bringing dinners.  And, the coolest thing of all is that I have decided I like the way I look without makeup! 

My routine has had to be much shorter these days.  I get out of the shower and only can put on some moisturizer and brush my wet hair into a braid before getting back down flat.  Each time I have come face to face with my reflection these last many days, I have gotten more and more happy with the fact that, hey!  I didn't have to put any makeup on today!  I still look pretty darn good!  And, more than that, I don't care!  Yay! 

I'm 50 so I'm not old by any measurement, but I am tired of some things.  I'm tired of reading books that I don't love, so if it doesn't grab me in the first two chapters, I'm not going to finish it and I'm not going to apologize either.  I'm tired of eating so-so food.  If I have to eat to live, because that's me--I eat to live--I don't live to eat--then I want to eat delicious food.  That doesn't mean fancy or expensive.  It just means GOOD.  The meals my church friends have brought me, by the way, have been delicious!  I'm tired of conversations that are negative.  They wear me out.  I'm tired of worrying about the future, and I'm a grade-A worry wart.  I'm worn out with it.  I'm tired of the world, and all the forces within it, pressuring me to look a certain way or to be a certain kind of woman.  Guess what?  I will wear makeup when I want to and I won't wear it when I don't want to.  Maybe I won't wear it to church one day.  Maybe, even, I will teach my lesson at church without wearing makeup, just because I'd rather have 5 minutes extra time in the bubble bath.  Maybe I will wear lots of eyeliner to the grocery store and maybe I will wear a bare face and bright red lipstick only to the symphony.  I will do what I want, when I want.  And guess what?  It's okay because me wearing or not wearing makeup is not going to hurt anyone.  

And something else.  I'm tired of trying to search high and low for better mascara.  I just read an article that said it's all the same, basically.  It's so hard and takes so long to get patents on new formulas, that the only thing they can really do is come up with new wands and new tubes.  And then they sell it to us for $8 all the way up to $40 per tube.  And then, they tell us we'll all go blind if we don't throw mascara out every three months.  I think that's a bunch of hype.  In college, and when we were first married, and for several years after that, I didn't have the luxury of getting mascara every three months.  It wasn't in the budget.  Especially if the tube was still full.  I used mascara until it was so gone or so dried out I couldn't get any more out of the tube, and I NEVER went blind.  They tell us that because then they get to sell more mascara.  And we're supposed to be okay with that because then we can try all the hundreds of ridiculously shaped wands and colors of tubes and fancy names of mascara.  There is one called "Better Than Sex," and one called "They're Real," and other ridiculous names.  Please! 

I'm sure you have already read my post, or rather my rant, about false eyelashes.  If not, please give it a read.  I won't go into that here, but I'm not afraid to tell you I'm against them.  If I now happen to be in the mood to put mascara on, and two coats on the top and one on the bottom doesn't do any magic, well, too bad.  I have more important things to do, like artwork or stained glass or reading a book, or cooking something new for dinner, or doing Pilates, or making out with my husband, or talking to my children.  I don't have time to try to look like Lady Gaga.  Who would want to? 

I guess I'm just tired of feeling like every day I have to put on some kind of  a mask to be presentable to the world, or even to my husband and children.  Guess what?  After two weeks of no makeup, my husband still thinks I'm pretty and my kids don't think I'm an alien.  I bathe every day and wash and style my hair.  I wear cute clothes that are clean.  I smell good.  If I don't want to wear makeup, is that a crime? 

I'm asking us as women to evaluate why we wear makeup and why we go without it.  How does it make us feel?  How do we feel when we take it all off?  I really LOVE washing my face at night.  I love having a clean face.  It makes me feel relaxed and calm and now I've decided, actually prettier. 

This is my face.  It's a nice face.  It makes my husband happy.  He loves me with eyeliner and lipstick and he loves me without it.   I am not against makeup.  If you know me, you would know I'm a makeup and beauty junkie.  I even subscribe to a beauty sample site where I get a new box each month bursting with lovely new surprises to try.  I highly recommend it.  It's like Christmas every month.   A new little box comes and you get to try things for a few times.  I have learned about new brands of hair and skin products that I didn't even know existed.  I have tons of eady-to-go items for traveling and my purse.  It's a wonderful way to learn about beauty.  So I'm not against makeup.  I will still probably wear makeup most days of the week.  I just want us to fall in love again, or for the first time, with our beautiful, uniquely special faces.  I want us as women to be able to look in the mirror and say, hey, you!  You are so pretty just the way you are this morning, leave things alone!  Take a rest! 

I can tell you that going without makeup for two weeks has done something else for me.  My skin has never looked better.  I don't wear foundation anyway, but I've been wearing more moisturizer and creams and serums because I don't have makeup on so I can slather something wonderful on if the mood hits or I need a little pickup.  I think it has helped my skin be brighter, less dry, and clearer. 

As I recover from my hip surgery and I'm allowed to do more standing and sitting and maybe actually even leave my house, I'm sure I will get back to wearing makeup, but then again, maybe not.  I really am enjoying my "real" face.  I hope it doesn't sound vain, because I don't think I'm a vain woman, but I do like my face.  Is that wrong?  And, is it wrong to like how it looks all by its own little natural self?  I don't think so.  I think we all need a little time off from our daily beauty routines.  It has helped me to focus in on the question of why do I put makeup on at all?  And, who do I really wear makeup for?  I think I've found that I wear it for myself, but I also wear it to be "pretty" in what the world would call pretty.  I think we all need to look at our eyes and our lips and our skin and own them, really embrace them and love them and accept them.  I don't have long or thick eyelashes, but I have eyelashes.  Where I didn't get blessed in the eyelash department, I got an abundance of blessings in the lip department, so I won't complain.  I'd rather have it that way.  And, in the lipstick blog post we will have to talk about how I finally came to accept and love my full lips.  That was a journey in and of itself, after years of teasing and bullying when I was young.

This morning I had the privilege, and yes, I say privilege, of taking a nice hot bath.  It's the first time that it has been okay to do since my operation, and I loved every second of it.  While I was soaking in the warm water and enjoying how nice everything smelled and how good it felt to be in my tub again, I spied my bottle of face cleanser.  I was struck by the title of it.  Purity, it is called, by Philosophy.  It has the coolest saying on the front of the bottle:
"Purity is natural.  We come into the world with all the right instincts.  We are innocent, and therefore perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are.  Our conscience is clear, our hands are clean, and the world at large is truly beautiful.  It is at this time we feel most blessed.  To begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most  basic step of all; the daily ritual of cleansing." 

I love that!  No wonder I feel so happy and good and pretty at the end of the day when I lovingly wash my face at the sink and pat it dry, looking in the mirror at the face God gave me.  Why, I ask myself, did I try so hard today to cover up and make up this face?  It's pretty darn beautiful just the way it is.  My prayer is that you will all discover and embrace your real faces, the ones God made for you, and be more proud than ever to show the world that beautiful face.