Simple Beauty... a woman of faith, a child of God



Last week I was thinking a lot about beauty. I'd stopped in at a makeup & perfume shop, where I purchased a new lipstick and an eyebrow pencil. I don't wear much makeup, and I don't really enjoy it much anymore. I have found that focusing too much on the exterior takes me too far away from God in a way I don't like.

This past December I turned 44 years old. Along with my greying hair, some of my eyebrows are now losing color too. With a little smudge of the new eyebrow pencil, I'm hoping to save what's left of my eyebrows! Maybe this is too much vanity. The lipstick was a pure impulse buy. Just a little pink-nude color, almost the natural color of my lips...  haha... (L'Oreal Color Riche Lipstick 236 Organza). It's interesting, the small things that help us feel a little bit better about ourselves.

The stop at the makeup shop got me to thinking though, about all the times I never felt beautiful, which is probably most of my life. I've never considered myself to be beautiful or pretty in any physical sense. I was picked on as a child at school for being too short, too petite. And wearing glasses too--automatically labeled me as a nerd. (And I am--and I'm OK with that now! But being picked on as a child isn't much fun.) As an adult, it's still hard being short of stature. People push you aside, or shove you a little bit out of the way. Or they step in front of you in the line/queue, as if you weren't there. And the times I've heard, "Oh, I didn't see you!" There have been times when I have felt not truly seen even among those closest too me. Truly seen, you know? A lot of figuring out about me and my relationship to the people and the world around me. What is real, who is real, and what is not, or who is not. ...Not seen...

Not that I am, or ever was, looking for any great attention or admiration. Just be counted among the living--one among the many. To be a part of the greater world. It's not always easy to find one's place among people. Even among those closest to us. I understood, even when young, that real beauty had to begin from within. So I've tried to concentrate more on inner qualities of being, or blooming more beautiful from the inside out.

It's all a life's work! And it's taken me years to understand the larger meaning of being, and the greater meaning of beautiful. Of being in community with others. Of being God's Beloved. That I am His Beloved--always. That I have been created  by Him, for Him. That is really the ultimate beauty!


The contents of my makeup bag, plus some extras. A whisper of powder foundation to even out my sometimes blotchy middle-age skin tone, a dash of mascara (I have short, fine eyelashes), a tinted lip balm. Homemade powder antiperspirant/deodorant--a mix of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda & cornstarch--which I dust on with a brush. (Sometimes, during the high,very  HOT days of summer I use a commercial antiperspirant, but get by most of the time with my natural homemade kind.) In the blue jar is a homemade facial blemish treatment--honey & ground nutmeg (anti-inflammatory properties). In the pump container is extra virgin olive oil, which serves as both my moisturizer and makeup remover. I use an olive oil soap for showering, along with a microfiber cloth.


Just as I make our own household cleaners, I make a lot my own "beauty treatments." Foot/body scrubs, etc. I use a mix of crumbled oatmeal/porridge oats and a little bit of milk for a gentle facial scrub/exfoliant. I don't use commercial shampoos or other hair products. For some time I've just been washing my hair/scalp with water. Using a natural bristle brush to "condition" my hair. The natural oils of the hair can be the best conditioner. (This is sometimes called the No Poo Method.) The one "bad" thing I do, is color my hair with commercial hair colors. I began coloring my hair shortly before I turned 30, so a long time now. I tried some natural colorants, including tea dyeing... But a while ago I went back to chemical dyes... *sigh* ...


But these two pictured above are really my greatest, biggest beauty tools. Following the path of Jesus, with aid of Our Lady, to love and serve God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind. (Matthew 22:37)  How may I grow more beautiful in my heart, mind, body and soul as I walk with Jesus in His suffering to the glory of His Ressurection on Easter?

On our altar shelf is a pair of icons. Christ Pantocrator and Mary, Mother of God, the Theotokos. Though they are just in paper form, they are very dear to me. The prints are postcard size, and I have been having a difficult time finding frames the I like for them or in the right size. I bought a small canvas on which I will mount both of the prints, which I will do during Lent. I have some special gold paints and gold leaf with which to make a pretty display of them.

Some thoughts as Lent begins this week...



Comments

  1. So sorry to read all this, dear Tracy! I didn't have to see you, to know that you are beautiful, but having seen you, I knew it was the in- and outside of you, that was so beautiful. The look, the touch, the chat and so much more. People don't know what they are doing and I often think you have to be emphatic to actually know how hurtful just one word or not a word at all can be.
    But I know there are many who love you for who YOU are.
    Love how you make your own cosmetics and such.
    I look forward to see the finished canvas. A happy, creative and loving week for you my very dear and beautiful friend!

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  2. Thank you for your lovely comment, Simone! But you know, you & I we connected so much from the very start--so that was easy! I think most people are in a rush, and so self-preoccupied with all they have on and have to, that we miss really seeing each other. Making time and space to connect is really the only way. I am so blessed to have you among many who do SEE me and LOVE me! Thank you... :)

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  3. i wear only one cosmetic these days... and that is blush.
    i use revlon's little cream blush. it gives such a fresh light glow of health to my cheeks and makes me look not dead! LOLOL!
    when i turned 40 i stopped coloring my hair and wearing my eyeliner. it was quite a revelation. i had to actually get to know the REAL me. and now the real me was also me in public!
    like you... i wanted to be beautiful on the INSIDE more.
    my gram always said that was the true beauty and it would show. love for others has a way of shining through your eyes.
    do you know about cindy joseph and the 'love your age revolution?' she calls it the PRO AGE revolution actually. very inspirational! she has little videos on her site where she talks about it. a wonderful philosophy for this superficial era.
    you can just google cindy joseph or boom silk and find her site. her face cream is totally natural and its base is honey and it feels like silk. it's all i use. the honey farm is in Hawaii and they take excellent care of the bees and protect them well. it's a small operation not a big corporation. and i like that.
    cindy says to never call our hair grey. it is silver.
    because silver is VALUED. she just loves life! and says that is the real key to beauty.

    and you may be small. but haven't you heard? good things come in small packages! exquisite little treasures even.
    and YOU are a treasure darling girl of the north! XOXO♥

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    1. Many thanks for you kind thoughts, Tammy... you're a gem! And yes, some pretty good things come ins small packages! ;) No, I've not heard of Cindy Joseph, so I will have to Google... I love the idea of that honey-based facial cream--yum!

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    2. LOL! truth to tell... she says it's pure enough that you can eat it! but don't. let your skin enjoy it.
      and p.s.
      it only takes a tiny amount so a jar lasts a long time... which is nice.

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  4. It's amazing how much we're affected by what we hear as young children. As you've noted, it takes a conscious effort to decide what to do about our outer appearance and what to leave and choose to attend to. I'm a bit older than you and the gray has been coming in pretty strongly for the past two years. And as I've gone through my clothes (KonMari), I can tell I'm never going to have any fashion instinct. Some things I'm just going to have to let go of and look forward to the eternal being. This is a quote I'm still trying to align with: "From the beginning I knew my destination, and I chose my route accordingly."

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    1. Nice we're in the grey club together, Anne! ;) And like you, I have no "fashion" abilities whatsoever... it's quite comical, actually... LOL! That quote is wonderful--good stuff to chew on. So glad you shared that--thank you!

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  5. I am newly 40 and pondering it a lot, like a child wiggling toes or something... but I loved Georgia O'Keefee so much in high school and her natural beauty, so hair dying was never something I did... I am slowly greying, still have much more brown but more silver threads are coming... but that's OK. :) I have not met you in person but I can tell you right now that you are lovely a child of God and He LOVES you! I am getting used to not wearing make up, but have various ones and appreciate the ladies who wear make up, so many ways to show one's beauty I think! I look forward to seeing your project! those two icons are very beautiful!!! (also, my Mom, a dear friend and others I know also find a little bit of makeup can really cheer them up)... I do hope you will continue to have cheer... much love!!! (feel free to email if you need more encouragement!!!) <3

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  6. Hi Tracy, So many points you made rang true to my own experience. But we keep going and find our strength when and where we can. Some days, it seems no where to be found and then we find it again. I love the point you made about it being "all a life's work!" You are such a strong person and inspire me!

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  7. Hello Tracy,I come via Elizabeth's blog.The few times I have visited your blog,I have been struck by how attractive you are in your profile picture!I live in the shadow of a very pretty younger sister,so I get feeling plain.Things change and I have aged well,feel blessed.But these frail bodies hold our immortal souls-inner beauty shines forth.I am 60 in December,God willing and I definitely need to paint this barn!
    I also am of the Roman rite,I eagerly anticipate Lent this year:a time to reflect and refine our inner beings.
    Thank you for your blog,
    Ann Marie

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    1. Hello, Ann Marie--so glad you stopped by... and that you have done other times too! It's always so good to "meet" everyone who stops by here. :). And thank you for sharing your own thoughts and experience of beauty and aging. I like that expression--"paint this barn"! haha... I hope you'll stop by again! May God Bless you!

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  8. thanks for your comment on my blog - so appreciated! thinking of you today!!! sending LOVE!!!

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  9. I am with you on the makeup. I use very little, just enough to help a bit. Hadn't thought of olive oil for removing makeup. I need to do that. Great idea. I tend to be the one that avoids the makeup and perfume counters at the store, so never learn much.

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  10. Tracy, you are one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. Inside is where it counts most I agree. When I was a girl and a young woman, I never ever felt beautiful. I had been teased so much at school and had zip zilch confidence in myself. I look at photos of myself now and think that I wasn't too bad to look at, but like you I was a Nerd and let myself be defined too much by the opinions of others. I am okay with being a Nerd now and I actually feel more beautiful now than I ever have in my life. I think my being able to identify as a Daughter of God has helped me a great deal in that area! I do use makeup but very limited. Without eyebrow pencil, I would have none at all. I am embracing the grey in my hair and am happy about that. Thanks for a very beautiful, thought provoking post. Loved this. Love you. xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Marie... and for sharing of your experiences. Like you, I'm finding great comfort and confidence in being a Daughter of God. Remembering that in a down moment really helps! :)

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  11. I'm so late visiting. I can't tell you how much I love this post, your open heart, the life you share. You are indeed a beautiful woman. If there was any doubt, read these words as though you were a stranger coming upon them. You would be so eager to know that woman who is kind and strong, filled with faith and a new sense of personal strength and peace. Oh yes, you are!

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    1. Thank you, Jeanie... :) Sometimes we don't see ourselves right, and we often get in our own way. ;)

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