Cosmetic Contempt

I used to love wearing my mom’s makeup. In prepubescent years, I was always getting in to her blackest black mascara and dusty rose blush. I remember standing next to her in the bathroom and hoping that I would grow up quick so I could wear makeup. Of all things, I loved to watch her put on mascara. After a stint of chemo and radiation my mom lost all of her hair; eyelashes and brows included. I remember watching her fumble around with false lashes and eventually tossing them in trash. Since she had no lashes, she now focused on her brows. I was mesmerized by her brow application. Her intricate configurations were crafted so artistically that they were transformed into symmetrical eyebrows. For my mom, an eyebrow pencil was a safety blanket, a preemptive step she took so others would see past her illness. If she was able so go grocery shopping without all eyes on her and games of 20 questions, she was happy.

I was hooked.

My love for makeup quickly dissipated as I hit puberty. Wearing make up was cool. Being cool was important, I wanted to wear make up but I didn’t know how to apply it. Everyone else wore makeup to look like they didn’t have any on. When I put it on, I looked like I was part of a traveling circus. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even dabble in eye makeup until my senior year of high school. I was rather confident in my youth but in the back of my mind I didn’t want anyone to think that I was conceited. So after brushing my teeth in the mornings I would reach for my Lip Smackers Dr. Pepper chap stick and swipe a Bonne Bell shimmer and head for the bus stop.

Jump to 2014- I’m done with cool and my hand is a bit more steady. I think it’s safe to say that I love mascara more than the average woman (probably more nostalgic than anything) and I also love bright lips. I’m pretty certain that they love me right back.

Since I have started to embrace my love for makeup I have had people offer up their “advice” about it. It wasn’t until I hosted an online Younique makeup party, I got my first real taste of makeup shaming. It’s funny how all the “we are moms, we are one” talk differs so much when one of the moms wears makeup.

“God loves you just the way you are” followed by “so why do you hide behind all that makeup?”

Yes, it is true that God loves me. I know that and I know that His love for me is unwavering. I don’t need to look good to feel His love. I feel confident when I make the makeup work for me, and not in spite of me. Just because I love makeup doesn’t mean that I don’t love me.

“I could never wear that much eye makeup, it would make me feel really fake.”

Personalities make people fake. Wearing make up doesn’t make me superficial. It also doesn’t mean I’m an unhappy person if I don’t feel most confident with a naked face.

“In my opinion, I think women look better without makeup.”

Thank you for your opinion but I don’t wear makeup to impress men. In fact, most women I know don’t either. I am married to a man who gets to see me with greasy hair and a heinous breakout as well as made up and dewy. Thankfully, he recognizes that I’m more than the makeup I wear.

“You don’t have to wear it you know.”

I am fully aware that makeup isn’t a necessity. I would never tell you that you “have” to wear it. I fully understand that some women may paint their face up every morning simply for the sake of obligation. I am not that woman.

And that leads me to my personal favorite:

“You shouldn’t need to wear makeup to feel beautiful, just sayin.”

Here’s the kicker: I don’t think I am hideous without makeup. I don’t think I’m smokin’ hot with it either. I do leave the house without makeup on. Actually, I don’t typically wear makeup on The weekends unless I have plans. However, if I’m going out to dinner or even to church, I do put the effort in. I also don’t wear makeup because that’s what I am “supposed” to do. Sometimes I want to look feminine and romantic. Sometimes I want to look like a BOSS.

All in all,everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is mine: If you like to get your contour on, do it, but be kind. If you don’t, don’t, but be kind.

-Amanda

P.S. Today is Saturday; a no makeup day.

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I’m Calling You Out

As I scrolled through my newsfeed I noticed a trend. I kept running into posts of people being “called out” to post x amount of pictures that make them BEAUTIFUL. I saw some of the most raw photos from people that have experienced struggle. I even went a head and liked a few of them.

That evening I got back on Facebook and upon, refreshing I noticed that people were still being “called out” but the wording had changed and so had the pictures. I was now reading status’s that were asking the individuals that were tagged to post pictures that made them PRETTY.

My newsfeed was now flooded with peace sign selfies, duck lip selfies, and the infamous bathroom mirror selfie.

My worst fear came true.

A little red number 1 popped up in my notifications. I was leery about even checking it. My finger hovered over it for a few seconds before I took a deep breath and touched the earth icon.

There it was.

Shannon mentioned you in her comments”

My heart sank.

I got “called out” to post 10 pictures of things that make me BEAUTIFUL.

Let’s just let that sink in for a little bit.

10 pictures.

10 PICTURES!

Now, I don’t typically get down with the “like this picture or bloody Mary is going to kill you tonight” but this one had me intrigued, so I gave it a little thought.

I decided to look up the definition of the word beauty as well as the definition of the word pretty. It was perplexing to me as to how the two seemingly interchangeable words got the ole switcheroo.

Beauty is the quality that is present in something that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. While the word pretty means that something that is pleasing or attractive to the eye

With a better understanding of the two words, I began my search in looking for images of things that have shaped my life and molded my heart. Basically, I was looking for things that made me, me.

10.

10 things to post.

10 wasn’t enough. I needed more. I found that there are certainly more than 10 things that make me beautiful.

In the beginning the task was a little daunting but the more I understood beauty the easier it got.

By the end of the night I finally narrowed my selections down to 10. I eventually posted my non-negotiables; the things that make me tick; the things that led me to self love and strangely enough, I even felt good about it.

My photos are at the end of this post and the explanations are below. 

My Husband: The passion the burns inside of him is beautiful…even if it is for guns. He puts his mind to things and makes moves. He is the reason I started this blog. He told me I could, and I believed it.

My Audacious 3 Year Old: This boy has so much drive that it drives me crazy. He’s not always sweet but when he loves, he loves so hard it’ll rock your world.

My Software Programer 7 year old: the kids a wiz on the computer. He’s brilliant. He’s also has so much compassion that it’s bursting at the seams. He cares about ALL people and has genuine concern about others well being.

This Blog: Writing has been my dream for as long as I can remember but it’s was never cool. Now that I’m older I don’t necessarily worry about being cool. I just want to be me and this page allows me to be all the me I want.

Scripture: I picked this passage in particular because it is a reflection of my past life. I am thrilled that I realized that I needed to surrender my life to Christ to be free.

The cross: I am running into marvelous light because if it.

My Mom: She loved fiercely and passed that trait down to me.

Wedding Rings on Fire Sauce: I sobbed at my own wedding. I’m talking ugly cry, and the raw love I have for my husband was finally exposed for all (and myself) to see.

Filling Home: I have invested my life in my career and my career has truly invested itself in my life and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Silly Face: I don’t want to ever be so grown up that I can’t laugh at myself or be silly.

Maybe you’ve already posted your pictures, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re not into that sort of thing, maybe you are but this is me “calling you out” to not just settle for pretty

-Amanda

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*Shannon is an Origami Owl designer. She utilizes her commission to help fund her adoption. If you’re looking to host a jewelry bar, she’s your gal!

Another case of the Mondays

Today was Monday.

I wasn’t exactly feeling awesome.

Actually, for the past week I have been feeling a tad inadequate and overwhelmed.

Nothing in particular really, just life in general tends to smother me every once in awhile but this time I couldn’t quite shake it.

Every time I turned around I encountered rude people, social media, rude people on social media, rude social media about people, oh and pictures of kittens.

The kittens part is just some inner turmoil I’m experiencing because we are waiting until the end of summer to get a couple kittens and I am dying to snuggle with them RIGHT MEOW!

See what I did there?

Back to where this post is going.

I don’t get to read in the morning as much as is like because I tend to wake up and just barely have enough time to get myself together and get to work.

But this morning, this morning was different.

This morning I accidentally hit my “Holy Bible” app.

Crap, I don’t have time for this.

I like to play it up like God and I are tight, I’m talking like Puff Daddy and Biggie Smalls tight. In reality, Its more of a P. Diddy and J. Biebs type of deal. God got me to where I wanted and I bounced saying ” thanks, but I can take it from here big man”.

This morning I was reminded that I need Him (God, not P.Diddy), everyday, all the time. He has taught my heart a few lessons. He has shown me that I am brave. He reminds me that I am a generous soul, that I don’t hesitate to leap when others shrink back in fear. He emphasizes how much my work means to me and how others can’t help but feel inspired by that.

Wanna know what He said about you?

Word is that you are a warrior and you never seem to stop standing up and speaking up and doing your very best work. You even do it with joy. 

Sometimes, we feel like we aren’t appreciated, that doesn’t matter in the long run because of our relentless generosity in sharing our gifts. 

He can’t wait to see what we’ll come up with next…and quite frankly neither can I

-Amanda




That time I left my heart in #Omaha!

I don’t know about you but the last month of school is always a bit more hectic than I anticipate. I don’t really know why but for some reason the last few weeks May and the first few weeks of June seem to pass by in a blink. This is the reason that I have not posted in a MONTH! I apologize for leaving you hanging like that. Unfortunately, at this time I cannot pledge to keep up with weekly postings as I did in the past. I will try my hardest but camping and swimming and baseball are in the plans for my summer. Once school starts back up I will get back on the typical weekly posting track.

 If you have been following this blog you may know by now that I work at Filling Homes and provide habilitative supports and services to adults that have developmental/intellectual disabilities. The Soaring Arts Studio is one of the areas of ministry that Filling Homes provides and that just so happened to be the reason I found myself in Omaha this spring. I must preface this with saying that this is something that was written in May and I have just finally dusted it off to offer it to the world.

Now on to what you’ve come for…

This morning was fast paced. I got up early, got ready, grabbed a chai latte and headed out. Once I got to where I needed to be, time seemed to creep by. I decided to go on a search for a microwave to warm up my drink. I found myself riding escalator after escalator and before I knew it I was at the top floor of the building. Not a soul in sight. As I gazed out the window, watching the rain I heard a sound. I turned around and to my surprise there was a man sweeping the floor.

“If you’re trying to get through, the doors locked” he said without looking up. I told him I just wanted to look out the window and check out the baseball stadium. That sparked his interest because he gave me the backstory of the stadium as well as. By this time he had stopped sweeping and was fully engrossed in conversation with me. We were connecting and I loved it.

Danny mentioned that he liked that art work and bags that I was selling downstairs and asked if it helped to benefit children in third world countries. When I explained to Danny what exactly The Soaring Arts Studio was he beamed with excitement. Danny began to share his story with me and what he said hit me like a brick hurled at a glass window. I’m not going to go into the details of his life because that is his story to tell.  Hopefully, he will accept my request to be a guest blogger and he can share with you what he is comfortable with.

I will tell you that Danny most definitely knows struggle and he is most definitely overcoming it. Danny is an aspiring writer and had already started writing his own book! Once he allowed me to be a part of his aspirations I knew I had the opportunity of a lifetime but I didn’t know where to start.

The one good thing that I have found about social media is the accessibility of it. After I walked away from Danny I immediately got on Facebook and posted in a few writing groups. Within minutes a sweet women named Brenda replied to my post. She gave me the name of a man that could get things in motion for Danny to live out his dreams of writing. I was so excited for Danny, the only problem was that the hotel was huge and as we said farwel, the elevator doors closed.

I was stressing that I wouldn’t ever see him again so I prayed about finding Danny and passing along the information to him. A sudden peace fell over me as I realized that this moment was the reason that I was in Omaha and that I would encounter Danny before I left for the day. I kept my eyes peeled and sure shooting, 20 minutes later guess who walked by? None other than Danny! I hurriedly made my way across the plaza to him and gave him a note that I hastly scribbled down, words were exchanged, and we parted ways again. This time I felt great about our parting. I think he did too because he was smiling from ear to ear and he carried his self more confidently than he did when I first met him upstairs. Danny blessed me in more ways than I could ever bless him.

 

-Amanda

Joy Amidst

I don’t really even know how to start this post. This past week has been a whirlwind. Everything has been fast pace (thanks to my “mom” for those not so leisurely strolls through the airport) and humbling.

I met the most interesting man while I was out of town but I am saving that story for next week. It’s something I want to savor in private for a bit and allow to let penetrate through every inch of my heart before I share. It was one of those right place at the right time sorta deals.

Another awesome thing that happened was something right here; on this blog. I am now reaching over 1000 inboxes and I only have you to thank! You are outstanding! I really couldn’t be more honored.

Opening up my heart to the world was hard enough, let alone gaining the trust needed to actually show up in someone’s inbox but you made it comfortable and welcomed me with open arms. I didn’t start this blog to be recognized or to gain influence. Actually, for the first month I only had 3 email subscribers and 2 of them were me from two different email address. Hey, how else was I to know if it was really reaching email like it said it would?

As a token of my appreciation I want to share a link to an ebook with you. My friend Brenda allowed me to read it a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it. It is called Joy Beyond: 28 Days to Finding The Joy Beyond The Clutter Of Life. Brenda doesn’t just write about finding joy in the midst of struggle, she actually did it. Not only does this book provide a little hope for those of you who may feel stuck, it also reminds us to always acknowledge how much greater our God is than our circumstance. The best part is that she donates a portion of every print book that is purchased to a mammography assistance fund for women who may not be able to afford regular mammograms. Not only does her book resonate with my heart but so does her willingness to help women and save lives through early detection.

Thank you for being so awesome!

My 3 year old wanted to say a little something as well…

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-Amanda

Benched

Have you ever thought to do or say something but you always stop short because you aren’t influential enough to do it?

Do you ever get discouraged in thinking that someone is more spiritual than you?Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I pray to be able to pray better. I know that sounds kind of silly but it’s true. Sometimes, I even think to myself, “Man, I wish that just once, I could have the kind of intimacy with God that my pastor does!”

I always thought that I had to get “good” before I could have that kind of relationship with God, that is until I was given a comparison that I was finally able to comprehend.

There is this idea that only the Varsity team is worthy. Then here I am, sitting the bench on JV. Just practicing my heart out, messing up plays and still learning my position on the team. It’s discouraging to see all those Varsity players killin’ it at every game and taking home wins.

“I have been crucified with Christ. I don’t live any longer. Christ lives in me. My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body. He loved me. He gave himself for me.” –Galatians 2:20

We are on Varsity because God is on Varsity. We have been on Varsity for as long as Christ has been living in us. If you have something calling you out to move, do it. Throw on your letterman jacket and roll. You don’t have to be a pastor to have a ministry. My best friend is just your everyday, typical gal …SHE IS CHANGING LIVES! She is banding together with agencies and creating a movement within her community. She is starting an awakening to human trafficking and getting people on board. Hearts will never be the same. What if she thought that she belonged on JV?

That’s what this life is about. It’s about boldness. We are full time difference makers. We were MADE to do this. We were MADE to infiltrate and be the salt of the world. We were MADE to light up the dark. Something special is happening, don’t just sit the bench.

-Amanda

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