Thursday, February 20, 2014

Branded or Beautiful?

   Blogging about beauty. There's a million and one thoughts already out there, and many circle around the same mall. But recently, I found a beauty guide in Isaiah. I met a truth about beauty that has gripped me.
The Lord says,
    “The women of Zion are haughty walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.” In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings,  the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.
      Women branded smacks me in the face. A night time splash of ice cold water on a retinoled face. I can't help but ask: Am I branded or beautiful? What logos do you and I wear across our bodies? We are all branded, but by what? Are you and I branded by the white hot love of God or by the world? Do the brands we advertise wares for exploit and reject women, both young and old? Do they exploit children? Do our bums bear the inscription of a company that sexualizes young women, selling and saying, they are nothing but a hunk of flesh to use and abuse? Or, do I bear the mark of the One who loves me? 
      Jen Wilkin wrote body truth and I thought about Isaiah's words once more. Then Kim Meeder's Fierce Beauty found its way into my hands. Searching the library for who knows what, there it was. I clicked "request" and can't stop reading. A impressionable young woman has been sitting on my lap soaking up Fierce Beauty. It's been awhile since she and I read a book together. I can't think of better cuddle time than reading about broken beauty and a God who defines true beauty. Powerfully convicting, Meeder writes:
      The day we called Jesus Christ "our Lord," we accepted His invitation to become a fledgling warrior of truth for Him. For too many of us, however, the young warrior within is not growing into a mighty force for our King. For thousands of Christian women, it isn't growing at all. Instead, the warrior we were meant to be is joining a nation of self-entitled princesses: "They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.... Such women are forever following new teachings, but they never understand the truth.... Their minds are depraved and their faith is counterfeit." (2 Timothy 3:4-5, 7-8)
     Ah, western beauty at its best. We have fallen for a lie. I think of two moms I spoke to recently who know girls who are fighting with everything in them for the truth about beauty. More than one God forsaken lie is trying to reign supreme in their lives. Praise God there is grace, healing, and truth and they will win. All I can do is share a bit of my own journey, recommend Chasing Silhouettes , pray, be angry, and fight back. Yes girls, we will have to fight being branded – with everything in us. 
      And in every western nation, eating disorders rage and run rampant and we are all starved - for truth. We have laid aside LOVE and have been led astray. Our Lord calls us to a table of feasting and fulfillment and we starve ourselves and think it is beautiful. The truth is without Jesus we will die purposeless having given away His vision for our lives. He knit us together perfectly in our mother's womb and instead we buy cheap lies about our worth. Am I in the Word finding the truth? Are you? How much time do you and I spend soaking up the Word vs. the world? The truth is I never come to the Word, or words, but by God. Am I cracking open the book that will save me from sinking?
     And the truth of eating disorders and the ugly lies behind them is you might well die young and alone. You might be giving up your gift to have children. You may well make decisions in your starved state that will impact you for the rest of your life. Your looking for love will always lead to loss if you are not looking to the Lord who loves. But, it is never too late to find true Love. It is never to late to be loved. Let go of the lies. There is a beautiful truth:
LOVE waits for you. LOVE wants you.
LOVE cherishes you. LOVE holds you.
LOVE gives you new hope, when you have no hope.
LOVE heals you. LOVE fills you.
LOVE has a future for you.
Live. Know LOVE.
This is LOVE...
      This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (I John 4: 9,10)
     The littles, who are not so little anymore, don't know I'm reading Isaiah (over and over) this month. I tried to tell them, but was interrupted. Yes, this is the way of things. We journey alone to the Word. We journey alone to LOVE. We journey alone to the One. Before we will ever meet Him in community, the soul needs to know God alone, alive, and personally.
     Isaiah calls me to the One. No one appreciates Isaiah, but he never minces words. He never messes with my mind or manipulates me. He states the truth. He dares us to step up to the plate of God. Will we feast or fast?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Goodbye Winter. Almost Spring.

 You just skated away! Quit taking my picture and get over here!
Is this good help or bad?
Homework, unfortunately, still has to be finished.

Come play. (Mom can still win a few games...for now.)

Cooking outdoors, whittling too.
Vacation is exhausting.

Pinecone liscious. All gone. Delicious.
Cold cabin, wind swept plain,
and icy rain greet us again.
Juniper fire burns long and sweet.
Doves cling to wind blown branches,
take flight, and flutter high.
Geese face wind, head strong.
Cows moo long and low....
haying time.
Reading and rest.
Tetherball and "Horse",
mom can still win a game.
Birthday party bowling.
A first.
Who knew? Strikes are cool!
In a heap, under warm woollens.
Ice skating: Absolute craziness on ice.
Washing dishes by hand,
scrubbing many a pan.
Read a book in one sitting, one setting.
Claw foot tub: "Who took all the hot water?"
Rain drops one day, snow the next.
"Storm warning," said me.
What if we can't get over the pass?" said she.
"We'll have to live by our wits!" said he.
Burgers and beer, friends quite dear.
Bookstore buy: Pranklopedia.
Oh no.”
An apple fritter for Santiam Pass,
last winter snow run.
Spring rain has begun.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snowed Inn

We are snowed inn, and loving it! We are quite pleased by the down time. It's lovely to be together and be still. Well, mostly still. We've enjoyed the fellowship of neighbors, our delicious go-to doughnut recipe, and boys who can stay in the snow all day. I'm fairly sure one of us is part Lapplander. Serious business this snow is. A reindeer and sledge would come in handy right about now.
Science goggles work great for snow.
This afternoon brings freezing rain, snow, and sleet. Tomorrow rain is forecast. Who knows, this may yet be a "power out" weekend. The boys vote for these often, but a hot shower and flushing toilets are always nice :-)
I like sledding, but I spend more time with my books.
The crock pot is simmering lamb stew and hand pies are in progress. Apple/blueberry they shall be. 

Books, Monopoly, and sledding compete for time and space. We haven't ever finished a game of Monopoly. Does anyone? We watched the original version of Yours, Mine, and Ours last night. Hysterical. There is more "adult" education in this movie than I remembered and it was made in 1968! Tonight, "Snowed Inn" is a write-night idea; We'll see if we get to that. Or maybe, we'll watch Frozen Planet. Which unfortunately, is overdue at the library. Yes, down time is good.
I know I smell something.
January has been a recovery month. I keeping hearing this sentiment and it resonates with me. The blog has been quiet. I'm processing last year, focused on a child who needs some extra encouragement right now, and writing elsewhere. I submitted an essay for this contest, and will be submitting a children's fiction book for this

The focus of my essay for The Faith and Culture Writer's Conference was listening to the Word within. Certainly, writing A Simple Scribe, I wrestled and wrestled with my words and the Word. Rewriting my essay up to four times, I was happy to see that one go. I turned it in with 3 hours to spare before the deadline, worked on those 500 words for probably 20 hours (embarrassing), and came away with a new appreciation of how God allows us to wrestle with Him to find the words and yes, the Word. Now, it's time to trust my submission to the Word within.
Help me find that mouse!
Valentine's is right around the corner. Time to pull out the Vintage Valentine's. But, sister and I are cooking up some good valentine's for her class. Details to come!

Read this weekend:

Lives of the President's
The Georges and the Jewels (Oak Ranch Series)
Pie in the Sky  (Oak Ranch series)
The Silver Donkey by Hartnett (sweet and sad)