Beauty Hacks for 2020

I wore jeans this week. Real, official blue jeans with a button and zippered fly. Am I wrong, or has 2020 just killed off any likelihood of people wearing real pants again? We work and play from home via Zoom and we only see the top halves of people anymore, am I right? Not that I was much of a fashionista before the national pandemic. If I really wanted to dress up I put a little lip gloss on… and a special, special occasion warranted a dollop of mascara. I’m quite the plain jane when it comes to make-up.

photo Unsplash

Nonetheless, I do love a good make up tutorial video. It fascinates me what true artists can do with powder and gels! Blending, contour, sparkle. My social medias force me to dabble in the unknown and I am drawn in for fake eyelashes … even the odd drag queen makes me marvel. It truly is art. Especially at this time of year. Whatever you think about halloween or drag, one must agree that painted faces can be cool to look at. Which had me musing…

Who comes up with these things?! Have you seen the latest “trend” of using glue as a fashion accessory? Truly! Superglue on upper lips for that “pumped up look” and a kid’s glue stick for eyebrows! You know that purple glue stick we all used in kindergarten to paste our fall leaves on paper? Apparently it works wonders on the finer points of eyebrow definition… or making them disappear in the case of cover up Halloween displays. Seriously. Dollar store glue sticks. Fascinating.

Interestingly enough, the Bible chats often of beauty and fashion. Frequently referring to vanity and being cautious not to let beauty become “a hindrance”, shall we say. Yet, I read anew some passages in Esther this week and it struck me just how serious our biblical sisters took to such things as beauty — and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with. Let’s read Esther’s first few introductions to her life at the palace:

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

Esther 2:12-14

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the story and missing the point of God’s plan for Esther to save her people, but verses are included in the Bible for a reason, right?! Look again. A full year of spa days! Six months of oil drenched massages. I get it. Girl, I’m sure living in the desert does a number on your skin…cracked heels and parched lips. Apparently oils like myrrh and olive were mixed with fragrant fruits and left to sit in the sun until they had infused into “essential oils”. Anyone heard of those today?! Yup, another beauty trend toting wellness and health benefits.

photo by chelsea shapouri

I recently visited a friend’s bathroom and was a little taken aback by the sheer amount of soaps, creams and lotions she had in there! I’m sure many of you can attest to trying out this or that only to find you need another this or that to work with the first one. I’m lucky in that beauty products are not my weakness. (Now pretty paper on the other hand… but we are not talking about that!) Some of you, I know, have drawers of the stuff… half used lipsticks and cakes of powders. It was on sale. Perhaps you are searching for the fountain of youth and are willing to try anything new to cover up the latest wrinkle. No worries. Embrace the lines! We all have our flaws. Yet, I can’t help but wonder … was Esther’s beauty queen status all for not? Obviously King Xerxes thought she was pretty hot. He picked her out from all those other supermodels.

Alas, my friends, I’m not sure I’m ready to raid the piggy bank just yet and go crazy buying pallets from Sephora, or infusing every room in the house with Thieves and cardamom, but it is an interesting thought. Can God use beauty to weave the web of His grand plan? Should we embrace it? Or is it all a worldly ploy? The verdict is out on this one … but I think I may pull out the lipgloss next week, just for fun.

Blessings and Gratitude

We’ve just finished Canadian Thanksgiving. And this year, despite our strange times of isolation and social distancing, we still have a responsibility to continue to love our neighbours and be thankful for the blessings God gives us. Perhaps you’ve been aware of the special people in your life more because you cannot see them as frequently as before. Perhaps you have been in need of more encouragement because you have been the one feeling isolated. In any case, I have been blessed by the words, and the promise given in Psalm 23 that

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Did you realize that is a promise?!

I thought I would add in a little throwback to an email from our 30 Days of Blessings campaign, that many of you completed some time ago. If you did it once…. do it again! If you were not part of our exercise back then, why not try it out this Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving and be Blessed!!

Set the Stars Alight

Art made from old pocket watch parts

I recently discovered an artist who makes tiny sculptures out of the tiny moving parts of ancient clocks. (Check out my Pinterest boards for more pictures). Fascinating. So many miniscule workings all blended together, each with their own purpose, yet fully connected to the whole. Much like that of the crew of a tall ship, each proud of their position, allowing for individual roles to work with the other so there is always smooth sailing as they say. Or the great, vast universe. We, mere humans, can only see a tiny glimpse of the stars. And we imagine their roles in something much, much bigger. I tell my kindergarteners that different groups of people tell different stories about the “pictures in the stars”. It’s our attempt to make sense of the world. The Big Dipper. The Great Bear. The Twins. Can you picture the constellations?

So why do I bring up these subjects? They are each uniquely a part of Amanda Dykes’ novel, “Set the Stars Alight”, a delightful book that I just finished reading this past week. Technically, it’s classified as “a romance”… but it is subtle enough to be tolerable (ya’ll know how much I love sappy romances….not!) True, it’s a boy meets girl story, but their relationship is based on friendship, respect, and the ultimate quest for knowledge… not how cute the other looks. I found the novel started a bit slow, but as the story moves between its contemporary setting in modern England, and the early nineteenth century, the twists and turns beautifully align by the end of the book in a unique blending of belonging and hope.

The tale begins with Lucy, the watchmaker’s daughter. Her fascination with the legendary lost ship, The Jubilee, and it’s unlikely crew, sends her searching for answers. Her grown up adventure has her reconnected (and not by accident) to Dashel Green, the little lost neighbour who adopts himself into the watchmaker’s family. Drawn in by the watchmaker’s fable-stories, Dash grows up exploring the stars in search of unknown mysteries. Together they eventually find that hope and sacrifice (and a little love) end up healing many a wound.

The novel jumps between Lucy and Dashel’s story to the story of Frederick Handford, the son of an admiral who ends up in a series of his own adventures, leading us to follow his tales of good, bad and ugly. He learns kindness and sacrifice through hardship and tragedy. I tried to discover if the Jubilee and Handford were based on a true legend, but I didn’t find any information, so I assume they were figments of Dykes’ imagination, but please correct me if I am wrong…English history is not my forte.

Yet, I found by the end of my read, I had discovered more than just some romance with some history thrown in. Dykes blends her own version of Hope and Light into her story. She describes it in her author’s note:

“….this world can be a dark place. I don’t need to expound. We all know it. We see it every day. We feel the heaviness of it descend when we turn on the news. But there is something else in this world, too. And it is light. Hope. Truth. Wonder.”

Amanda Dykes about “Set the Stars Alight”
What do You see in the stars?? (Photo by Adrian Lang on Pexels.com)

Like I tell my students, there is something bigger in the stars, or in the tiny workings of microscopic creatures, there is a story to tell of a Designer who created all the interconnections.

” ‘We keep the stories.’ He said we pass them on — it is our duty…and our honour. In a world as dark as this, people forget how to see the light, so we need to remind them by telling the truth. Paying attention… setting the stars alight.”

Lucy, said of her watchmaker father’s stories, in “Set the Stars Alight”, pg. 332-333

So true. So true. Especially in this 2020 year where Corona has set our entire world on end. How much more do we need to see that every good and perfect gift is from above? Oh friends, whether you are interested in this book or not, I wish you its story of hope, sacrifice and a little love thrown in. Be Blessed.