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.

Fear Factor

Have you ever been afraid? Sure, I think just about everyone can relate to that gut-wrenching feeling of fear. The panicked, flight or fight response when your body tenses up or goes into complete meltdown because of some deep seated fear of dying, or falling off a cliff, or your youngest going off to kindergarten, or being poisoned by some foul toad bewitched by an unlikely fairy godmother. Well. You get my point. Big fears are easy to pinpoint and easy to explain away.

Yet, what about the little fears? The nagging, “uncomfortable” feelings that are not rational fears, but take hold of you nonetheless? Do we talk about those fears? Do we even call them fears? “Anxieties” perhaps? Unease. Apprehension. Worry. Perhaps this worldwide pandemic has heightened those unforeseen thoughts for you as it has for me. Do I send my kid to school this fall? Do I ride public transit ever again? Why am I finding it so nerve-wracking to be driving on a four lane highway again after so many months of going nowhere? Will I ever fit into real pants again?

I must tell you a little story about my weekend in order to assist you in following my web of convoluted thoughts about fear, and consequently, my muse this week. We spent the weekend up at the trailer, near the lake and welcoming the final weeks of Canadian summer (albeit a strange one à la Covid-19). My beloved convinced me it was a perfect opportunity to spend a little time canoeing with him. Now, I like canoeing. I used to canoe often. I’ve even canoed with my husband. I’m not a white-water portage expedition canoer, but I can paddle. Yep, I can even steer the motorless boat! Still, the initial reaction to the invitation was fear. I have not been in a dugout piece of floating wood in a very long time. Years. I’m a little curvier now. And less agile. And a whole lot “awkwarder” in a wobbly floatation device than I used to be.

Our old canoe was light, and very tippy, and sank to about an inch off the water’s surface. But, our new-to-us boat is wider and sturdier and “will certainly hold you” assures my beloved. I agree to a short paddle. Then fear. True, my fear was irrational. There was no reason for it. No clear explanation of why my brain went to where it went. I had a lifejacket. I can swim and paddle and have a partner with me. We were barely going offshore. Yet, there it crept: the nagging trepidation of the what if’s.

As I thought about those feelings and how irrational they were (we had a delightful time on the water by the way!) I was reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7. The Amplified version expands it out nicely:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC

Why do we get so caught up in our petty thoughts when the God of the Universe has given us a spirit of power and a mind that is in control? Do we let Satan weasel his way into our thoughts and twist them into self doubts, creeping anxieties and irrational fears? How much more does God want me to share my faith? Surely more than He wants me to try paddling a canoe after so many years. And yet, so many of us have an underlying fear factor there, too. Why do we find it so hard to share our faith? God is bigger than those fears! He gives us the power and the confidence and an extra dose of love to push us along the way. Like the gentle wake of our canoe, may you be encouraged by the wave of power that is God promised, and may calmness and self-control be your guides this week as you paddle through your faith journey, one small fear at a time!

Summer Reading

This week’s post is going to be a little short and sweet — just like our summer has been! After many weeks off due to Covid-19, these last few weeks of “official” summer seem to be going quickly! As usual, we always have bigger plans that never get accomplished… but hey, that’s life, right?! One of the goals was to do more casual reading… which didn’t really happen to the extent that I hoped for, but I thought I would share an update this week anyway! Maybe it will wet my appetite to buckle down for the last few weeks and escape with a good book!

The eldest Mitton is a devote reader and has already devoured the new Hunger Games book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and has others on the go. I am currently finishing A Single Spark (look for my review coming soon!) But now, thanks to Graf-Martin, I have a whackload to explore! Here’s a sneak peak for you:

(Did I mention I have another goal to learn to make better videos? That will be a big process! I am certainly learning in that department! ) What about you, my friends? Have you been devouring literature and setting goals for renewing your minds? Books are a good way to supplement our Bible knowledge, and often seeing or reading about someone else’s perspective helps to enrich our own! In today’s world, I sometimes find it difficult to enrich my mind without contaminating it. There are so many less-than-holy media options these days, it’s hard for one to keep it both entertaining and enriching!

Philippians 4 reminds us to meditate on things that are pure, lovely and praiseworthy! It’s my thought for you this week! It’s a challenging task, for sure. Shall we help each other out? Share your favourite read or video in the comments below or on our socials — we’d love to hear from you!!