Beauty Basics

Hey there lovely,

Would you agree with me that we are, indeed – ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?!

THIS, being life; THIS, being a journey of faith and a walking out of LOVE – a love for others as well as a nurturing love for our little old selves.

Male and female – we are creatures of habit – and some habits keep us safe and protected while others are for strength and conditioning.

My virtual hug for you today is wrapped up in a short little video I made for a health forum called, Body by Design. I am so blessed to be a part of a community that is dedicated to promoting health and encouraging the practice of maintaining it – not just physically – but also emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.

Here is my piece on creating daily habits that support a healthy mindset – xoxoxo

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Becoming a Wonder Woman

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star – how I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky –

Twinkle, twinkle, little star – how I wonder what you are”

I remember taking my oldest daughter outside before bedtime and we would sing this song together while gazing up into the clear Colorado night sky. I would tell her they were sparkling just for her.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, one of those diamonds would streak across the sky trailing behind it a glittery path that would disappear before I could squeak – shooting star!!

What happens next is that everyone in earshot begins scouring the galaxy in search of another sighting. And its in that very moment that the twinkling of the stars is no longer enough, there is more wonder to witness – and more wonder is what we desire.

The same goes for the wonder within us. It is one thing to acknowledge our inspiration but it is an entirely new thing to move that inspiration into action. That is called wonder in motion.

What a wonder-ful day when being an inspiring person is no longer enough – the day when we choose to turn our inspiration into action and do something with it.

Inspiration without activation is simply a novel idea. I don’t know about you, but I desire more than that. I want to be more than a twinkling star or a beautiful diamond positioned in the sky. I desire my life to streak across the world around me and leave an essence of wonder that brings a glimmer of hope into the eyes of  another.

Just the same it is simply not enough to have faith – to believe – because even the darkness believes. I am convinced we were created for more than just shining and twinkling.

Wonder Woman did not call herself Wonder Woman. Her name was Diana and she introduced herself as Diana. She did not brand herself or build her own platform. It was the people she rescued, defended and protected who made her a star. Out of her actions, people witnessed wonder and made her name known.

She was a shooting star.

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We all have a twinkle. Each of us has a gift, a talent or a skill that brings about wonder. All we have to do is activate it, to scatter it abroad; move it.

I remember the moment my twinkle began to shift and wiggle into motion. It was the day the work of my hands intersected with the passion in my heart. It was 2008. I was leading a team of educators at a beauty institute. There was great opportunity, but only at the cost of great responsibility.

My life grew less about a product and more about people.

Less about hair and more about hearts.

Less about an image and more about a reflection.

Less about external concealer and more about internal makeup.

That is when I happened upon true beauty – she was hidden amidst the labors of love.

Want to be a Wonder Woman, a shooting star?

Here’s our biggest challenge: to sniff out deceiving endeavors that encourage us to focus time, talent and resources into the work it takes to be known as a Wonder Woman and instead, practice living out the bravery and humility to simply live as a woman of wonder.

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Guilt Shield

Guilt is peeking at me from outside my dining room window today.

Guilt sits out in the rain – with its puppy dog eyes – looking pathetic, sad and needy. It whispers, “let me in.”

Guilt reminds me of my years as a single mother, where the Christmas season was about finding childcare during winter break more than enjoying the cold weather and cuddling with my babies while sipping hot chocolate each morning.

Guilt reminds me of the striving: more work, more pay, more time; less worry, less fear and less loneliness.

Guilt peeks at me from outside my home today because I sit here privileged and honored to be home with my babies. Home with my little one and home when the big-littles come home from school. Guilt wants me to feel bad for feeling so good.

Guilt tries to shame me for delighting in these cozy socks and enjoying yet another leisurely cup of tea after lunch while playing Christmas music and lighting candles for no one other than myself.

Of course, Guilt doesn’t want me to think about the fact that our income was cut in half after I came home from working many years. Guilt doesn’t like for me to remember the strain financially and the longing for the career I came to love. Guilt only wants me to feel bad for feeling good about my life.

I’m not angry at guilt, though, I appreciate its presence, even. Guilt has inspired me to *be* merry. When I really look at the blessings I am showered with it swells my heart with gratitude.

Guilt moves me into thankfulness, and for that I am obliged.

Guilt spurs me to reach out this season and bless a single mama whose working hard for her children.

Guilt brings me to reflect on my needs years ago and be an active participant in someone else’s life.

As I sit with my tea, watching the rain fall and inhale the mixed fragrance of Christmas tree and cinnamon apple candles – I am reminded of the skinny path I stayed on, and of the diligence and trust I painstakingly exercised that led me here.

So no, guilt, I will not let you in – but I do see you. I see your face and it moves me.

I will open my curtains wide, turn the music up louder, sweep with vigor and fold my laundry with pride – in thankfulness of where I am today. I will remember the women who are where I once was: earnestly providing for her family and mightily playing roles of both mother and father – and I will lift her up today in both word and deed.

“You are precious, my friend, you are deeply loved. You are strengthened and filled for each days demands. You are covered and you are radiant!”

Guilt loses its adverse power when you don’t allow it to rob you of gratitude and thankfulness. Then, guilt actually helps you to remain present and aware of grace and mercy – both which you have been given and that which you are capable of bestowing upon another.

I believe guilt was designed for this good: that we are to see its face and let it stir us to action. That we are not to carry it or let it in, but to simply acknowledge it enough to cause us to reflect on what we are truly thankful for – and let it move us.

guilt shield

My mother has a method called the “guilt shield”, where she holds up both hands to the winds of shame – protecting her from the weight that guilt attempts to lay on your shoulders. I would say to take that one step further and let your “shield” be invisible – kinda like Wonder Woman’s invisible jet – so we can clearly identify its message.

Because there is always a message – if we dare to open our eyes and examine it closely.

What guilt lingers around you today? What thankfulness could it be secretly whispering of and in what ways could it possibly move you to action?

Cheers to not just having a Merry Christmas, but to  *being* merry this season!

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31 Days of Putting up a Good Fight

Are you a lover or a fighter?

Well, I guess I’m a little bit of both. I’m half Italian and half Irish, so waddya gonna do?! I get passionate and I also get pissed. Somebody told me that means I’m “compissionate”. Ha! Sounds about right.

But if you really knew my story, you might understand the value of being both a lover and a fighter.

Here’s the Irish in me: I have an appreciation for fighting. I’m comfortable around a gruesome fight; secure amidst the gritty shadows and hellish valleys. I love 300, Braveheart and Gladiator and I promise its not just because of Gerard Butler.

But here’s the Italian in me, (and the most dominant): I am sensitive to keeping the focus of a fight on the goal, the prize, the thing we are actually fighting for. I love The Holiday, The Notebook and Dirty Dancing.

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Love. Hope. Joy. Unity.

I believe these are worth fighting for.

I have also fought for life in the face of cancer. My daughter was the victim of its diagnosis, but I stepped into the ring with her, to fight alongside her, because that’s what love does.

Love gets dirty. Love can be rough and tumble. Love is fierce.

So, I do love a good fight, however, I have also learned how to fight well. I know what it takes to keep a marriage alive, a family thriving and hope anchored. I know how to prep for stepping into the ring for a friend and I delight in an invitation to join alliances with other great fighters.

Maybe this is why the whole Wonder Woman theme after all. Maybe I love her so much because she is both glamorous and gallant, cute and courageous, bootylicious and brave.

Maybe she is just a bit like me, a lover and a fighter.

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Why Her?

By now you have begun to notice that I am particularly engrossed with Wonder Woman. She is on my Facebook banner, my blog page, tattooed on my arm and her face saturates my writing space. You may also know that I am in the midst of writing a book, called The New Matriarch-woman of wonder, which speaks about the influential power that women possess and how we can use our presence to infuse truth and light, wherever we go.

What you may not know, yet, is that Wonder Woman’s story is very similar to ours. And although she was created as a comic book superhero, she is one of the greatest matriarchs of all time.

I’m so excited to be sharing this podcast with you all, giving you a glimpse as to why Wonder Woman is so special to me. This video is part I of a two-part podcast that gives you a sneak peek into the amazing project I’m working on. A special thank-you to Carrie O’Toole Ministries for the exceptionally fun interview. This is my story.

I believe that once we hear someones story and understand the trials they have overcome, that have led them to where they are today,  our love for them grows. So here’s to infusing more love into this planet today:

 

Stay tuned for more information regarding The New Matriarch, woman of wonder.

XOXOXO

M