Let the Sunshine In

I spent the last several days surrounded by creativity, youth, and laughter. As much as I hesitated last Friday to embark on a journey way-out-of-my-usual-comfort-zone, I was rewarded beyond belief with gifts of friendship, intellectually stimulating conversation, and connection, accompanied by roller coaster rides and memories of a seemingly distant past brought close again.

Today, I smiled through the usual rush of the morning, helping everyone else on their ways for the day, and then opened the blinds in our family room as preparation for some yoga. I was struck by the beauty of the leaves filling in the space between branches of backyard trees, the fresh smell of rain from last night’s thunderstorm, the understated majesty of lilacs (who once bloomed last in the dooryard). Though the reality of the day is overshadowed by clouds, I am living in a place of gratitude, a place of light.

I am ready for the blessings and challenges today will bring.

My heart is open to let the sunshine in…and let it illuminate–no matter the weather.

🙂

Young Again

When I die, will you paint me
Young again…?

Eyes set forward, without tears for Ethan’s cancer at age six (he was here oh-so-briefly)
Brow long and high, not with wrinkles borne of worry for
Kaitlin’s solo, Jonathan’s baseball championship, and later
Kaitlin’s failing marriage, Jonathan’s lost job, and even later
Burying Jim after thirty-six years of happily and not-so-happily
Married life?

Will you paint me innocent? Free from fear?

Yet I look in the mirror at my
aged face,
tired eyes,
wrinkled hands…
Hands once delicately fingering a piano, rolling a cookie, painting a homecoming poster
And I wonder
If each mark of age represents an
unspoken experience,
valuable wisdom,
immeasurable compassion,
Would I trade it all back for a young face, thick hair, and soft hands?

-Karin Salisbury


photo credit

Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?

I was moved by this project and hope that you will glean something from this brief video.

For the shorter, more concise video, watch this one:


How do you see yourself? I promise that you are more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

You Are BEAUTIFUL!

So, I have a friend (actually, I like to think that I have a few), and I have sisters…and daughters…and many of them feel (as I do) that we are anything but beautiful on any given day.  We get overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy about our accomplishments, our figures, our blemishes (that oft-times only we see), our shortcomings…the list could go on and on and on…but what I want to say (and literally yell from my little window in cyberspace) is that

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!

(And, guys, you are not off the hook.  If you have women in your life–you know, mothers, sisters, friends, wives, daughters–they need to hear that from you.  Your words have POWER.  Please tell someone they are beautiful today!)

So, back to my friend (who is completely beautiful and wise and amazing and fantastic and talented and gorgeous inside and out)…she and I try to build each other, and I’m so grateful that she will send a text or email at just the right moment to help me feel like the beautiful person that I am (yet rarely acknowledge).

So–here are my “I Feel Pretty” songs for your enjoyment (and some are on the Spotify playlist on the sidebar, too, if you’d rather listen than watch):

I got this one from my sister when I was having a terrible time recently…and it’s still my go-to happy/pretty song:

Keri Hilson – Pretty Girl Rock

And, of course, I love this one:

Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are

This list wouldn’t be complete without a little 1D:

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

And for just a little overall empowerment/you are amazingly powerful songs, I love:

Defying Gravity (from Wicked) (this performance is from the Tony Awards)

And the lovely Natasha Bedingfield has two I adore:

Unwritten

&

Strip Me

I hope you feel a little bit more of who you are today–amazing, beloved, dear, wonderful, powerful…& BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

🙂

 

Sometimes…

Sometimes I find myself mourning for the loss of one of my former selves…like I miss that girl in college, wet behind the ears, caring with an eagerness unknown to deliver what professors wanted (perfectly edited writing, organized statistics assignments, practiced music for piano and voice…what time is my jury?) along with what other students needed (support, acceptance, “When’s our Shakespeare paper due again?“).  Sometimes I miss her.

Other days, though, I find myself mourning that young mother, with three little ones.  You know the one I’m talking about…before the twins came?  That woman who woke with tired vigor after night nursing and read myriad picture books and rolled the enormous red ball with the toddlers,…the one who cradled that new little baby #3.  She was such a conscientious mother, seeking to still help others with so much on her plate already.

And still, I find myself wishing I could recapture that vigor of running home after school, slinging books on the table, grabbing whatever was left in the Cheez Doodle bag and then dashing out the door again to play football with friends down the street, the “younger” guy that I liked in 9th grade among them.  Where is she now?

Then sometimes I listen to Matchbox Twenty (they are on my playlist now), and I think about how far I’ve come…wondering if all the deaths of former selves are worth mourning over after all….  They have changed and created something more:  wisdom, experience, love.  I used to think I was most beautiful as a twenty-something bride, dressed in a long, white gown and my husband equally groomed in his tux (no pun intended), but that’s not who I am anymore, either.

I’m hoping this aging thing that’s happening to me looks a little more like beauty than society would think.

Well, I can smell the cake in the oven.  Must be about ready.  I’ll have to leave the mourning for another day.  The preschooler has been asking for an Iron Man cake since he woke me up at 5:17 this morning, so I’m off to mixing butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food dye (& probably a little bit of shortening if I can rationalize it) into red and gold frosting.

Till next time,

The Me I Am Today 🙂

Image Copyright Sarah Knight Photography