For My Daughter: Beauty Tips You Won’t See in a Magazine

beauty tips you won't see in a magazine

Often, I am so thankful to be a woman in 21st century America. I have more individual rights than other women at any other point in history. I have regular access to things that meet my basic needs. I am usually treated like an equal among male peers, and my voice and perspective are not only welcomed but encouraged around the table of shared ideas.

But, I have a problem. I have a preschool age daughter. Between the demeaning comments toward women expressed by our leading political figures (and some religious ones, too) and the constant media coverage of female celebrities the likes of Kim Kardashian, I am regularly concerned about her future. I want to raise her to be a strong woman who knows her worth, asserts her position, and handles herself with poise and excellence. I want her to embrace beauty, but not the kind you’ll find in the pages of Cosmo.

Instead, as I raise her, I want to instill in her a different standard for beauty. I hope she discovers that womanhood is more than an attractive face or body, and truly remarkable beauty is a lifestyle, not a look. With her in mind, here are some of the “beauty tips” I plan to pass along to her:

Put kindness in your voice.

This is something I regularly tell my girl when she’s playing with her brother or other children. When it comes to making an impact in this broken world, kindness can move mountains. I don’t expect her to be precious in the soft-spoken, subservient, never-had-an-original-thought kind of way. Instead, I want her to model women like Lady Violet in Downton Abbey, who said, “vulgarity is no substitute for wit.” When she does have to deliver hard truths, I want her to be able to speak with gracious authority. I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Colossians, Walk in wisdom…let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5-6). Gracious speech is sorely lacking in our #sorrynotsorry world, where anyone feels they can say whatever they want with impunity.

Close your mouth when you chew.

Any fellow misophonia sufferers out there? I am very sensitive to sounds, and smacking is probably at the top of my list of huge annoyances. Since my daughter is three, I am constantly having to remind her to chew with her mouth closed. Aside from the literal implications of this improving her table etiquette, it has a figurative significance for me as well: when you are chewing on a situation – thinking it over, weighing a decision, forming an opinion – keep your mouth closed. Put another way, be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19). It’s okay to have an opinion, it’s not always okay to share it, and the wisdom of knowing the opportune moment is a mark of a beautiful woman.

Stop and smell the flowers.

This beauty tip is actually something my daughter is teaching me. Anytime we are out and about, whether we are walking through our downtown or perusing the garden section of the grocery store, she always wants to stop and smell all of the flowers. She doesn’t care about schedules or to-do lists, she just wants to take in all of the sights and smells around her. She appreciates the little things in life and she finds contentment in the simple yet profound. These are beautiful qualities, and I hope to encourage her to grow in them.

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

This is quote from the 20th century missionary Jim Elliot that has always stuck with me. Have you ever been around someone that you could tell you commanded their full attention? It’s powerful and I want more of that in my life. In this world of on-demand digital distractions, I often find it difficult to just be present. I want to better myself in this area and also show my girl that it is an attractive quality to have. I want her to live in the moment, and to not let fear, worry, insecurity or any other distraction in life hold her back from being fully present in whatever situation she finds herself.

Bless others.

Finally, I want her to be intentional in blessing others. I want her to give generously, not just financially, but in service and appreciation as well. I want kindness to pour from her lips. I want gratitude and contentment to be her modus operandi. In doing so, she will be a thing of beauty who blesses all those in her sphere of influence.



For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. – Audrey Hepburn

Someone You Raise | WMU

Someone You Raise


“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”—Andy Stanley

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I plan/hope to begin writing regularly again soon. The past couple of months have been crazy, with moving and job transitions and all that entails. So, blogging hasn’t been a priority, but I have been writing regularly over at the WMU myMISSION Mom Blog! Why don’t you head over there and check out my most recent post? You can find it here: Someone You Raise.


Someone You Raise

How to Get a Toddler to Sleep On Vacation

How to Get a Toddler to Sleep on Vacation

Step 1: Plan a weekend getaway with your husband and ask the grandparents to watch your kids.

You haven’t had a kids-free overnight stay with your husband since your second child was born. A little momma/daddy time is well overdue.

Step 2: Assume (foolishly) your 15-month-old will enjoy a weekend at Mimi and Papa’s. Pack the playpen for him to sleep in, blissfully ignorant of what’s to come. Also pack his favorite blanket and some stuffed animals for good measure.

He’s been sleeping through the night for weeks now, so surely the change of scenery won’t be that big of a deal. There may be a little fussing when you lay him down, but you’re sure he’ll adjust quickly and fall into a sweet, peaceful slumber and dream of lambs and sugar plum fairies.

Step 3: Drive the 2+ hours to the grandparents’ house. Let the kid run around in the yard to dispel all that energy he accumulated on the drive. Fill his belly with pizza and ice cream to lull him into a false sense of security before bedtime.

He got to play outside AND eat junk food, so he should be a happy camper. He should be falling asleep in your arms from all that activity and excitement, not writhing from your gasp at the first sight of the playpen and his pajamas.

Step 4: Change him into his pajamas and make his bed. Kiss him goodnight and sing to him in dulcet tones to induce a drowsy and drama free bedtime experience.

In this moment, you reflect on how sweet it is to have a little boy who loves you so much. You appreciate his snuggles and you grow prematurely nostalgic thinking of the future when he won’t want to cuddle you before bed.

Step 5: Lay him in the playpen. Ignore the immediate wails and ensuing tantrum as you quickly escape the room.

Tell yourself he’ll settle after just a few minutes. He just needs to adjust to the new surroundings, but you know he’s tired and he’ll settle soon. Ignore the little voice in the back of your head telling you this is wishful thinking.

Step 6: Check on him every 5-10 minutes as he continues to scream. Begin to sear your conscience to the relentless wailing.

At this point, you’re trying to remember all that Ferberizing you did when you sleep trained him.

Step 7: Question everything. Adjust lighting, rearrange his bed, change the temperature of the room.

You realize that his bed at home faces the door, so you place him in the bed so he can face the door. You breathe a sigh of relief when he instantly quiets, thinking you found the magic key to unlock the door of toddler sleep secrets.

Step 8: Enjoy a quiet hour of playing cards with in-laws. Feel your confidence rise as you think that bedtime wasn’t so bad, and it’ll be a good night.

Your naivete is so cute.

Step 9: Sneak into bed in the same room as your sleeping toddler. Close your eyes and begin to drift into sleep just as he awakes and begins to scream. Try to ignore it as you tell yourself he’ll settle in a few minutes.

He probably heard you breathe and now he knows you’re in the room. You wonder if he has night vision like a cat, because it’s pitch dark and you can’t see him yet you’re sure he is watching your every twitch.

Step 10: Question everything again. Sing to him, pat his back, pick him up and lay him down. Try to give him a snack. Try to lay him down next to you. Do this on repeat for 5 hours until you’re bleary-eyed and on the brink of insanity.

During this step, you also Google how to get your toddler to sleep on vacation, and much of the advice you find is the same: Don’t go on vacation.

Step 11: Hear grandpa rummaging around in the kitchen. Pawn your kid off on grandpa and go sleep for a couple of hours.

If grandpa isn’t going to sleep, there’s no point in you losing some sleep, too.

Step 12: Bail the next morning for your road trip getaway with your husband. Wish the grandparents best of luck.

See you later, suckers! Have fun with the grandkids!

This post may or may not have been a slight resemblance to a real life scenario in my life, recently. You probably shouldn’t follow any of this advice, by the way. Also, this was inspired by my friend Marisa and her poignant insight on how to care for an orchid. 


Motherhood is more than I can handle

Motherhood is more than I can handle Coffee Stains Blog

God will not give you more than you can handle

There is a common phrase Christians repeat to one another in times of trial or difficulty. It is shared as a word of comfort or encouragement to press on. I’m sure you’ve heard it: “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

The concept stems from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church when he tells them, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Whenever faced with a hard circumstance or an overwhelming situation, we can keep going knowing that we can handle it, because God won’t give us more than we handle. Well friends, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news: it’s not true. Let me explain.

While this Scripture from 1 Corinthians does teach a wonderful principle that provides divine encouragement in our Christian walk, it does not promise that we will be able to handle all of life’s troubles. Take a look at something else Paul told the Corinthians, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

I want you to read those words again: so utterly burdened beyond our strength. Clearly, Paul had more than he could handle. This fact leads us to an important truth: our strength to endure, whether it be trials or temptations, does not come from ourselves – it comes from God. That’s exactly what Paul says next: “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Paul then praises God for his deliverance.

Motherhood is more than we can handle

Today started like most days do around our house – the alarm rings at 5:30 a.m., followed soon after by the cries of a hungry toddler. Toast was made and milk was poured, and I sipped fresh coffee while trying to gain full consciousness before the busyness of the morning set in. After breakfast, my babies climbed into my lap for some morning snuggles and Magic School Bus, and I thought to myself (as I do most mornings), I wish I could stay here. I wish I didn’t have to work.

Soon, the flurry of getting dressed, brushing teeth, and rushing out the door had everyone on edge, and I began to lose my cool. As we were about to walk out the door, my daughter decided to antagonize her brother (as siblings do), and I lost it with her. There was yelling and crying, and I was left with the guilt of shame that comes from these moments.

This moment and others like it cause me to think, I can’t do this. I am a terrible mother. Why do I always end up yelling? I’m damaging them for life. There will be years of therapy tied to this single moment from her childhood. Maybe it’s just me, but I would guess that many of you have these moments, too (though maybe not as dramatic. I’m sure only one year of therapy will result from this episode.).

That is because we can’t do it, not in our own strength. Motherhood is more than you or I can handle. When we rely on ourselves for motherhood, we will remain doubtful, overwhelmed, frustrated, impatient, irritable, insecure and maybe even hopeless. But when we recognize that God is the source of our strength (Psalm 28:7), we are “more than conquerors” in Jesus (Romans 8:34), and that “everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4), we know we can have victory in this thing called motherhood.

God’s gracious promises give us the confidence that though motherhood is hard, anything that comes our way – sibling squabbles, potty accidents, strong-willed defiance, sleepless nights , seemingly endless whining – anything, we are capable, in God’s power, of overcoming. God has given you more than you can handle in motherhood, but he also gives you the victory in it. Are you trusting him for it today?


God will not give you more than you can handle. Except when he does.


Hope Unfolding – A Good Read + a Giveaway!

Hope Unfolding Giveaway

One of my goals for the month of May is to finish reading 5 books, and since that’s a rather ambitious goal, I decided to let the books I started reading in April count towards my goal. One of those books was Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart by Becky Thompson. I was drawn to this book initially because Becky is an Oklahoma girl and a blogger. Also, the book is about faith and motherhood, so of course I had to read it.

Becky has an easy-to-read writing style that is relatable and endearing. She unashamedly shares about the messiness of motherhood and she invites you in to share the mess with her. Mamas deep in the trenches of caring for little ones will find this book a refreshing and encouraging read, because Becky’s stories and insights are drawn primarily from this stage of motherhood.

This book will not only provide encouragement for weary mamas, but Becky weaves scripture and biblical insight into her writing to give Hope Unfolding spiritual value, as well. She incorporates a time of application into each chapter through which readers are able to connect that chapter’s themes to their personal experience. She also includes thematic prayers for each chapter, which makes this book a beneficial resource for a small group, especially for moms groups.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Hope Unfolding:

God is with us in the most ordinary parts of our day. That thread of His presence that ties all of our moments together weaves through each one, leaving none untouched by His grace.Hope Unfolding Scripture reminds us that He is the beginning and the end. And friend, I think He must also be everything in between. (p.80)

God doesn’t see things as they are but as He calls them to be. And that means just like He reached into the mud and pulled out [Adam], Jesus reaches into our messes and pulls out miracles over and over again. (p.120)

Sometimes we pray for a miracle.We pray to be delivered from a season or a situation. And while God is able to do all things, often our rescue doesn’t look like getting off the boat. It looks like being pulled from the fear and finding peace despite the storm. Because even if the boat gives way, even if everything that keeps us feeling safe suddenly breaks beneath us, we don’t have to fear…it was never the boat that kept us from drowning. It was never the security of where we placed our feet that kept us from being swallowed by the deep waters. (p.161)

When we look to our kids to find security in our parenting, we will only be left feeling disappointed. Not because they are a disappointment, but because their need for a perfect Savior does not indicate our failure as mothers. (p.193)


Hope Unfolding reads like having a cup of coffee with a friend and sharing about the joys and challenges of mom life. So, I want to give you that experience by offering this giveaway: one copy of Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson + $10 Starbucks gift card! To enter the giveaway, just follow the link below. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents, and you must be 18 to enter. The giveaway starts May 9th and will end on May 13th.

Note: This giveaway is not sponsored by Becky Thompson or Starbucks. It is just my special treat for you. 

Hope Unfolding Giveaway

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.