Skin Deep

Yesterday, I reached for the travel size moisturizer and then realized I just slathered hair conditioner on my legs. My skin needs tremendous help due to years of sun damage. Maybe this is the miracle I have been looking for. I have worked and played outside all day in the summer sun most of my life. By June, my grandmother would always say “You are as brown as a berry”, and indeed I had a tan so dark that I looked like another nationality. In the winter my mother would say, ” You look like death warmed over”, because I was so pale and pallid. Thankimage you to the inventor of blush. So, my obsession with skincare started at an early age while I secretly wished I had chocolate brown skin all year. Then tanning beds were invented. Well, I have learned long ago that those are dangerous too. Oh, to have beautiful skin like the women near the equator. My friend Lise, always said, “Beauty is skin deep”. I didn’t quite understand the implication at the time, but now I know she meant what is in the heart is the most important and beautiful part of a woman. We cannot judge a person by their skin. We cannot make assumptions based on a person’s hair, make up, or clothes. We must invite all people to join in loving service to one another. We must teach our families to embrace all people and to even love their enemy. There is no other way to live in peace.

Totally Fit is committed to bringing all women together and to inspiring them to be whole in spirit, soul, and body. We realize how very different all of us are in the way we look, feel, and worship; but we embrace our differences to gather as one in praise of a Savior who rescues us from our failings. We laugh, cry, hug, and pray with one heart, and with many voices we sing and share the knowledge that leads us to a better life through Christ. We are one in the Spirit as we learn about and serve others in the community. Our goal is always to be healthy and whole to give glory to God with all our being. Let us gather now as one to pray for peace and bring comfort to those who are broken hearted and hurting.

We can try to change the color and texture of our skin, but we must condition our hearts to understand, forgive, and love deeply beyond the skin.

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Renovations

Yesterday, I had a new faucet installed. The plumber had in stock the very one I wanted. It cost a fortune, but he promised it was better than the one I could buy from the “Big Box” companies who make them from cheap plastic products that break. He agreed that the one I was replacing had an unfixable leak that could cause a problem. Well, that problem happened right in the middle of the Championship basketball game that my husband and I were trying to watch way past our bedtime. I went into the kitchen in my bare feet and noticed the rug by the sink was wet! I opened the cabinet door below the sink and found a swimming pool! An indoor pool could be fun, but this was not the time or location to start one. After carefully removing everything that was under there ( some things for a dozen years) and throwing away wet soggy cardboard, I see there was a cup that once caught the stray drops as a temporary fix. Under the linoleum liner was a colony of mold that was probably a relative of the colony under the refrigerator that was replaced earlier in the month. Out comes the Clorox bottimagele again. Once I cleaned everything, then I announce, “Oh honey, we have a problem”. After some mumbling about Lebron James, he took a look and turned the water off. I called the plumber in the morning. So, if you caught that we have a new fridge, I would like to mention we also need a new oven. The touch buttons won’t allow me to bake between 300 and 400. I am using the toaster oven for my baking these days. In the last two years our renovations have included a new water heater and furnace, a new picture window and sliding glass doors. We are looking good with all these improvements! Aren’t our homes like our bodies. We have to clean and repair things constantly, and occasionally replace a few parts. But with vigilant upkeep many problems can be prevented. Everything ages, and I wish I could slap a new coat of paint on my body. Spray tan you say? Well, I am trying to stay away from harmful chemicals, and that means reading labels on the dozens of products we buy. Several rooms will get a paint job this year though. It’s all a process and we are doing the best we can so that we can relax on occasion and watch a little sports entertainment. Oh no, all tied up and thirty seconds to go! Yet a mother heart stopping game. Home is where the heart is, and that heart gets a work out wether we are renovating or relaxing.

An Original?

Yesterday, I conducted research looking for poetry about heaven.  There are a couple of good websites that I can simply request a poet or write a phrase to find the information I seek.  I could not find, however, the poet who wrote, ” Where is heaven? is it not, Just a friendly garden plot, Walled with stone and roofed by sun, Where the days pass one by one”.   I think that maybe I wrote this thirty years ago.  Why can’t I remember for sure?  I have been writing poetry since I was ten years old and many of them are on scraps of paper.  I did at one time, take a week to write them all on a Microsoft Word document, but this was all lost when the computer crashed and I have not made an attempt to redo the project.  The poem currently in question was found by my husband on a birthday card his mother had saved.  The cover has a watercolor painting that I did of alstroemeria flowers and inside is the two stanza poem.  I remember making the card after having a discussion with my mother-in-law, Barbara, about heaven and her concern that people who go there are only the ones who believe certain things.  She believed all good people will be united in heaven. So, did I write the poem or find one by some unknown writer? I thought about the evidence.  We both had a love of gardening and the one that I carefully weeded indeed had a stone wall to protect it.  My writing style has been rhyming couplets in the past, and I was influencedimage by Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau.  But, this poem was not by either of them.  What Emily has to say about heaven is, ” Heaven”-is what I cannot reach! The Apple on the Tree- Provided it do hopeless-hang- That- “Heaven” is -to me!”   And Henry wrote that “Heaven is below our feet as well as over our heads.”  I only now saw his double meaning.  Heaven is a subject over most of our heads and mainly in our imaginations.  I have come to the conclusion that the poem in the card is original. Here is the rest of it.  “Not too fast and not too slow, Looking backward as they go, At the beauties left behind, To transport the pensive mind.  Does not Heaven begin that day, When the eager heart can say, Surely God is in this place, I have seen him face to face, In the loveliness of flowers, In the service of the showers, And His voice has talked to me, In the sunlit apple tree.”  That apple tree still exists in the yard where I now live, next to the yard with the stone wall where I once sat and dreamed.  As I tend the gardens now, I imagine all the people I love are watching with the “great cloud of witnesses”.  I know for certain that my writing is influenced by my faith in God and I do see Him face to face in every flower.  Thanks for saving my words Mom.