The Chance to Love and Be Loved Exists No Matter Where You Are

Archive for July, 2014

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…

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You’ve heard that saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” right? I’ve often wondered at how far that saying actually goes. We, as women, always seem to care so much about who is the prettiest and who is on the other side, and where exactly is it that we, ourselves, fit in! We often think that we know, but do we really? Take a moment to put pride and judgment aside with me and let’s ponder this together.

I, myself, think that I am pretty. I know that I am far from being a beauty queen, and far from being the prettiest in my surroundings, but I’m not bad looking. I have often wondered, if I could stand outside myself and look objectively at me, as others do, how would I rate myself then? Would I be as pretty as I think I am, or would I fall short of that image? Or would I be prettier, because, when I look at myself now, I see all the faults that others may not.

But beauty actually goes beyond looks, if you think about it. Have you ever met a person that, when you first saw them, you thought, “Wow! That is one beautiful lady (or man)!” And then, you got to know them, and they were vain or self absorbed, or whatever. Their beauty factor went way down. I knew a guy once, in high school, that I actually flinched when I first saw him, unintentionally. He was not attractive by any means. He was in one of my classes and so we spoke a lot. We ended up becoming good friends, and after awhile, he asked me out, and I accepted. By then, he was a beautiful man to me. I didn’t see those flaws in him anymore. We dated for a few years, until he changed and did some things that turned him back to hideous… But my point is, beauty isn’t always what you see! Sometimes, it’s about how that person makes you feel or what type of person they are on the inside.

We don’t always see ourselves in the best light. We look in the mirror and see those few extra pounds that we need to loose, or the wrinkles we have earned throughout our lives, or the hair that just won’t go the way you want it to. After a task, we see the things we failed at, our shortcomings, but we don’t see the successes. We think, I should have done more, or I shouldn’t have done it this way. Sometimes, we need others to show us just how great we are!

This past week, I was a room instructor for my church’s Vacation Bible School. I took the crafts and games room, since I LOVE arts and crafts so much! My grades were kindergarten through second, and while I love all the children, I do have a few who are a little more special to me. I try extremely hard not to have favorites, but sometimes, you just can’t help it! There is one such child who makes my top 5 list every time she comes to church. She is not only gorgeous on the outside, but she has such a beautiful heart! She is very polite, helpful, and loving. She always smiles and laughs often. There is such joy that surrounds her. Anyway, so after VBS was over one night and the kids had gone home, I was in my class cleaning up with one of my helpers, who just happened to be her mother. I was telling her how much I appreciated her daughter, and what a great job she was doing raising her, and that, while I try not to have favorites, her daughter was one of mine. She said something like, “It’s funny you say that. We were just in the bathroom and she was telling me that she was so glad that she was with her art teacher. That her art teacher was her favorite!” I looked at her, stunned. Me?! I was HER favorite?! But I was loud in my class! I had to yell above the kids just to get them to pay attention. I wasn’t as exciting or knowledgeable as the other teachers. I just wasn’t… good enough. But yet, here was this beautiful little girl who thought that I, ME! I was the best, the favorite! That was an eye opener to me. It got me to thinking about how many times we think we aren’t good enough. How many times we think we are failing at something, when someone else is looking at us and thinking how great we are, how much better we are. How they wish they could be like us.

We don’t always see our own value or worth. I’ve heard friends say, “If I disappeared, no one would notice. No one would care.” It’s sad to me, because God made us all for a reason, for a purpose. We don’t always see ourselves for the treasure that we are. We may not always be the best at something, but not everyone can be the best! Every movie has to have a supporting actor in order to be a great movie. And those supporting actors are just as important to every story as the lead actor is. In fact, a lot of times, I find that I am more drawn to the supporting actor than the lead. In life, we can’t all be the bosses or the leaders. We can’t all be the best, but we can be the best us!

I try everyday to give one compliment to as many people as I can, so that they can hopefully see their worth, if they don’t already. My thought is that maybe that one compliment is the only positive thing they hear all day. We all need, at some point, for a kind soul to point out that we are doing something good, reinforcement that we are worthy and appreciated. That we actually would be missed if we disappeared. I try not to make my compliments generic, but a lot of times, it just comes out as, “Oh, I like your shirt!” And that feels nice, too, but I try to dig deeper at times and say something more personal and meaningful. I try to tell them what it is exactly that I appreciate about them. It may mean nothing more than words to me, but to that person, I think, it may mean the world, just knowing that someone noticed their efforts.

Unfortunately, we don’t always have a positive person in our lives. So, sometimes, we need to take a step back and look at ourselves through God’s eyes. We need to compliment ourselves and see the beauty we create within and around us. We all need to stop being so critical of ourselves and see our own true beauty, the stuff on the inside as well as the outside! We will never know how others truly view us, but we can change how we view ourselves. We can be kinder to ourselves. There is no shame in looking in the mirror and telling that person that they are beautiful, and worthy, and loved. There is also no shame in telling others what you like about them. Sometimes, that’s all we need to make our day… a kind word! And you never know how much that kind word can mean to another person, or how much they may need it, whether you realize it or not!

 

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‘Scuse Me While I Sing This Song

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I have always been greatly fond of music. I remember, as a child, sitting on a blanket at the park with my parents, watching my siblings playing and thinking of different songs that would be perfect for whatever was going on. I thought I was strange for doing this all the time, but I never actually had the thought, “What song would go good here?” It always just came to me. It was like breathing, it was just what I did, like it was a part of me. I would chide myself for being so weird, but always figured I would grow up to be the person putting together music videos or selecting music for movies or commercials. I’m not sure I actually ever spoke of these feelings to anyone, even my mother (who I was always very close to) or my best friend.

Music has always been a large part of my life. When I think back on fond memories, I, like most people, think of where I was, what was going on, or who was wearing what, but I can almost always remember a song to go along with it. When I hear songs now, they take me back to a special moment, like a time machine in my mind. For example, every single time I hear any Patsy Cline song, I think of my grandfather.

I remember when I was about three or four, he and my grandmother had a “vacation home” (a double wide trailer) in Cumberland, KY, and my mother, brother and I would go for a week to visit with them. There wasn’t a TV there, or as grandpa called it, the “Boob Tube”, so we listened to a lot of music on 8-track. Patsy Cline was his favorite, although they had others, like Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson. I remember many mornings, I would wake up and he would be in the living room listening to Patsy while reading his morning newspaper. I wanted to be just like my grandpa, so I would crawl up into my grandma’s empty chair and “read” my Barbie coloring book. And this is the exact moment I think of whenever I hear Patsy.

To me, music isn’t just music. It’s not just about entertainment or dancing. It’s so much more than that! It’s a keeper or time, the teller of history! Not only your personal history, but that of others. If you do more than just “jam” to a song, if you actually listen to what the singer is saying, you can learn so much more! Take the music made around the time of Woodstock, for example. Yes, they came out with some great songs, but they were also telling you what was important to them. They weren’t just singing about love, but about the unfairness of the war that was going on. They were using their music to try to bring people together, to bring about peace. I personally believe that music made during that era was some of the most powerful music. They seemed to feel love so much deeper.

I know some of you are probably amazed that I even know songs from a time way before I was born. I get this sense of shock from a lot of older folks when I can actually sing along, word for word, a song that was from “before my time.” I was actually at a Doobie Brothers concert a few weeks back, which was AWESOME, by the way! They can still rock a crowd like nobody’s business! Anyway, I started chatting with a lady who was standing next to me and we eventually began singing and dancing to every song together. We were having a great time, just enjoying the music. The band went off stage, and as we waited for Peter Frampton to come on, she took a good look at me and said, “Hey! How old are you? You don’t look old enough to know the Doobie Brothers!” I told her that I was 37, and that I LOVED the Doobie Brothers! She asked me how I even knew who they were. I wanted to tell her my opinions on music, but thought the conversation was too heavy for the amount of time that we had to talk, so I just told her that I grew up listening to them on my mother’s record player.

What I wanted to say was that I don’t believe that any music belongs to any one age group, or even any one stereo-type, for that matter. I listen to a wide variety of music. No, I can’t say that I listen to ALL types of music, but there are few that I don’t enjoy. I don’t just listen to music from the 80’s, 90’s and now, the decades that I grew up in. I listen to music from the 60’s and 70’s, too. I listen to country, rock, pop, R&B, reggae, etc. How are we to ever understand each other if we don’t take time to listen to what the other guy thinks is important? And that comes out in the music of that time. So, to me, when I go to a concert, and I see a younger person, who shouldn’t even know the person singing or the lyrics to their songs, but yet, there they are, belting it out and dancing along, I applaud them! That makes me happy! And I wonder if they are on the same absurd musical journey that I am.