Thursday, August 27, 2009

Have you ever? (beauty)

Have you ever looked a picture of yourself with caring eyes?

I'm talking about seeing your own reflection through the eyes of someone who likes you. How often do we look in the mirror and try to find something wrong. A hair out of place, a bulge, a spot. Why can we not take a step back and think, "Someone can see beauty in this reflection. Someone chooses to spend time with this person. Someone likes this person."

We look at people on television or online, or in magazines and think, "They are so lucky to be beautiful, to know they are sought after, to know they have an audience who adores them." They have people who make sure they are always looking their best. And yet, do we ever stop to wonder what they looked like when they were discovered. Someone saw them in their unaltered state and knew they had potential. Someone picked them before they were famous.

I know so many people who hate to see photographs of themselves. They hide from the camera because they don't want to be reminded of how they look. I used to feel that way. Having my picture taken was a chore. I wish my friends would realize how pretty they really are. I with they knew how often people looked at them and made positive comments.

I have one friend with the most beautiful hair I have ever seen. It is long and has just the perfect amount of wave to it. It is effortless for her to grow it out it seems. I often look at her and wish my hair were long and beautiful like hers. She is to me what Anne felt about Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables.

I have another friend with brilliant blue eyes. They look like sapphires. I was talking to her one day and realized that I had completely forgotten what she was saying because I was suddenly focused on her eyes. I NEVER notice people eyes. My own husband asked me what color eyes he had when we were first married and I had to look at them before I could answer.

Some friends are pretty in a way that I just can't put my finger on. I guess they have the right balance of features, not too big a nose, not to prominent a chin, etc. Some of my friends have started showing signs of age in a beautiful way. They may look at a face that is older and more worn or wrinkled, but I see such peace on them, and I hope I look like them as I age.

Of course, some of my friends are just pretty, and they know it. They somehow figured out how to achieve the ideal look, or they have the gift of maintaining their figure year after year. Those are the ones I am confused with when they start to complain about their looks.

So I guess all I'm trying to say is, take another look at yourself. Look in the mirror through different eyes, and see what your closest friends see. They see a person who is desirable. They see someone who has captivated their attention and caused them to want to get to know them more. Stop looking for things that must be changed, and start noticing things that are already perfect.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I just got home from Wal-Mart. I know what you’re thinking… “What’s so important that she feels the need to blog about it???” It was a rather uneventful trip, but I shopped a little differently this time.

My friend and I were talking about the importance of buying US made products. We were doing searches online for things that are made in the USA, and came across some really nice stuff.

Well, of course, reality set in and I realized that eventually I’m going to have to decide if I’m willing to spend my time and money actually buying only American made products. This means no more impulsive toy purchases for the kids since most of the things they like are made in China. This means no more flippant purchases of beauty care products.

Here are a few things that I found.

First of all, the Wal-Mart “off-brand” (great value) seems to be mostly made in the USA. Everything I purchased in that brand was, I can’t vouch for things I didn’t buy.

I was looking for some cheap toys to add to my “toy store.” The toy store is an incentive thing I’m doing for the kids this year. If they do well in school they earn gold coins (I bought them before I decided to go all out American from oriental trading). At the end of the month they can use the coins to buy toys and candy from my store. I read somewhere that the Slinky brand was still made in the USA. I found some windmill spinners from “Slinky” that were $1 a piece and they said in bold print “Made in the USA.”

I also found some cardboard puzzles that were very inexpensive from “Briar Patch.” Made in the USA.

I had some trouble with some of the hair and body care items. They mostly said “distributed by…” I’ll have to do some research on those. I did, however find that Herbal Essences are definitely made in the USA. I also found some off brand spray-on sun block, “Ocean Potion.”

Have you ever tried that “Malt’O’Meal” cereal that comes in a big bag… you guessed it… it’s American made.

Of course, things like fresh produce and the gallon of milk I bought aren’t labeled “Made in the USA.” I would hope they were grown here… surely the Chinese haven’t discovered ways of producing and shipping those things cheaper than we can.

Now, lest you be concerned about my possible racial prejudice against the Chinese, this simply isn’t the case. Some of my dearest friends are Chinese. The main reason for this sudden shift in personal policy is simple. 1) I realize we’re in a recession and millions of American’s have lost or are in danger of losing their jobs. I prefer to support American companies right now so that I can help out even if it’s just one drop in a very big bucket. 2) Certain countries (like China) are currently governed in a way that I do not want to support. While I certainly wouldn’t have a problem buying things from, let’s say, Great Britain, or Germany, I do not wish to buy them from places like Cuba or China. And finally, 3) I want to start teaching my children the value of cheap vs. quality stuff.

Oh and one more thing. If you don’t want to do this, or if you don’t think you can, I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty. God provides differently for each person, and He grows each of us in a different way. It makes us all unique and adds a different dimension to the world, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I will say, though that a lot of the grocery type items I found that were made in the USA were much cheaper than popular name brand items.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Randomness

Why is teaching reading to a kindergartner so exciting, but teaching reading to a first grader is mind numbing. I guess it's one area of teaching where I haven't developed patience yet.

I tend to do that, ya know. I expect my kids to get something on their first try. I mean, after all, it's sooo easy for me to do it. ;)

I did the same thing with potty training. I did great for the first couple of months because my expectations were such that I figured it would take a few months for them to master the art. With each child I was proven wrong. Now, with my fourth, I expect potty training to take at least two years. With my third I finally raised my expectations from a few months to 1 year. She's still having accidents.

On that note, I've learned that my third child cannot drink tea unless there is a bathroom readily accessible for the next several hours. I've never known tea to affect someone in that way before. It's a bit frustrating because I really would love to have tea with her more often.

I am about to go through my house and throw everything away... again. I am surrounded by piles of paper and useless objects. I want to get rid of my children's toys, but I know they would like to play with them. I keep most of them locked away because it's too overwhelming for them to keep all of the accessible and still be able to clean up after themselves.

I used to hate the idea of barrister bookcases. Those are the ones with the sliding glass panels that drop down over the books. They are beautiful to look at, but they make it more difficult to access the books inside. Now that I have children who like to get all the books off of their bookshelf and lay them all over the floor, barrister bookcases seem like such a nice idea.

One thing I certainly haven't mastered as a mom is the delicate balance between controlling my children and giving them freedom to learn from their own mistakes. This is one area where I would really love to excel. Of course, I don’t want to learn this over the next several years of motherhood. I just want to be good at it right now. :)

Maybe I've ranted about this before, but it frustrates me that I have three little girls and I have no time to sew for them. I realize that when they are older I will have more free time. I realize that when I have more free time I will be able to sew more often. The problem is, I want to sew clothes for them to wear now. I'm sure that my grandchildren will be inundated with homemade clothes from grandma, but it frustrates me that I cannot do this for my girls now.

I wish my baby was more cuddly. I have had cuddly children before. I love my baby, but she doesn't want to cuddle. I feel like a moron writing that one out. I feel like some will read this and judge me as one who doesn't appreciate her child's uniqueness. But that's truly how I feel. Sorry if you're offended.

My son has only been doing 6th grade for one week and already he has impressed me. I hope his determination and hard work will continue as the school year progresses. I want to take him to the Melting Pot sometime, but life keeps getting in the way. I wish we could spend more time together one on one.