Category Archives: SELF IMAGE

Gracefully

 

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. ” I Peter 3:3 New Living translation

The famous older face of Lucille Ball—strikingly gorgeous!

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”                                  —–Lucille Ball

Anyone ever tell you that you’re beautiful on the inside? It’s true that being attractive is more about what comes out from the inside than what you look like on the outside. True beauty has its origins on the inside, in the heart.

As Christ followers that is a deep compliment for our spirit. But our flesh or humanity doesn’t care for that sort of backhanded compliment, does it? We all want to feel good about how we look.

 

HOW DO I LOOK? Well put together? Stylish? Frumpy? Tired? Too fat? Too thin? Pale? Healthy?

It’s a question I often ask my husband. I want him to be honest with me but I realize at my current age there may be coming a time when he will seriously consider fudging his answer so as to spare my delicate feelings.

I’ve always wanted to grow old gracefully but I think it’s more a state of mind than actual physical appearance. Ever notice how someone can look all mean and sour one moment and then something makes them laugh or smile? When the smile hits their face suddenly they look totally different. The smile drags years off their face. It doesn’t matter if they’re old and wrinkled as long as their heart is light they remain attractive through their attitude.

smiling is youthful and attractive at any age

As we age we can eat healthy, exercise and cleanse our skin with nutrient rich products. All wonderful practices as long as we do not become obsessed with our physical appearance. Obsession will wear us out in the end. As always, balance is key.

Do your best to take care of yourself and then ask God for grace to accept and love the face you see in your mirror. Then you can gracefully FLURISH through the aging process.

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” I Peter 3:4 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Tales from the Booth: How’s Your Smile?

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
Proverbs 15:13 New American Standard Bible

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Do you have a healthy inviting smile? I’m not talking about nice white teeth or perfectly shaped lips. More about what your smile conveys to others.

At work one day an older gentleman pulls up to my booth and says, “My you have a beautiful smile! I’m a musician and your heart’s all over your face.” He circled his hand around his face as he said this.

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The guy seemed sincere  enough and not just blowin smoke, as they say. I don’t know much about music but I wonder if this musician could recognize a song in my heart from the smile on my face?

Recalling his words in that short exchange now reproduces a smile on my face and my heart because I know the smile I gave him that day was long in the making.

1973
1973

You see, you cannot give what you don’t have. I remember hope dashed every year when my school photos arrived. There I was in living color gritting my teeth or forcing out a smile. I hated the way I looked.  One year I decided to do something about it.

I appraised my smile whenever I had a mirror available. I wanted it to be beautiful. My family made fun of me but their insults only reinforced my determination.

1980
1980

I experimented with varying widths of smiles. Mouth open, mouth closed. How many teeth to show etc., In Junior high I had no idea the reality of the problem had nothing to do with my mouth. No matter what I tried the smiles all came out forced and gauche. Why?

It wasn’t due to my awkward adolescence. It stemmed from  a deeper issue of the pain and sadness occupying the space in my heart. At that time in my life no song played in my heart to filter through to my face. For years I thought I was smiling but my sad eyes revealed the truth of my private world to the public.

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Only after I began allowing Jesus to take over and heal my heart, replacing the sadness with His joy did my smiles flow without effort. A song rang out in my heart and spilled onto my face.

This is a recurring favorite in my heart by Luther B. Bridges,  1910

HE KEEPS ME SINGING
Verse 1
“There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still,
In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Refrain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.”
Ever hear of a Duchenne smile? French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne conducted research in the mid-19th century on the physiology of facial expressions, specifically on smiling . He identified two types of smiles.

A non-Duchenne smile utilizes only the muscles around the mouth. Whereas, a Duchenne smile engages the muscles around the mouth as well as the eyes and is sometimes referred to as “smizing”, or “smiling with the eyes”. A Duchenne smile is uniquely related to positive emotion which emanates from the heart.

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2016

In essence when your entire face engages in the smile, that is a Duchenne smile. What a wonderful thing to have named after you!

 

So my smile issue began to improve in direct proportion to my heart issue. As my heart healed, the smiles widened.

So I ask again, do you have a healthy inviting smile? Are you sharing a song with your smiles?
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3 New Living translations

2017
2017

Shine on. . .

karan k

UN-Happy Part III: Eeyore No More

See any Eeeyores around you or in the mirror?
See any Eeeyores around you or in the mirror?

 

” Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 Common English Bible

Hey, wait a minute! That sounds like an oxymoron. How can hopeless people be happy? Hopelessness creates Eeyore type thinking, acting and even living in some cases. It’s hopelessness in a Hundred Acre Wood type existence, right?

Sticking with animation and the Winnie the Pooh analogy, let’s continue. Eeyore is the fictional epitome of sad sackiness. He’s pessimistic, gloomy, depressed and dare I say, apathetic about being so. Eeyore became comfortable with his gloomy outlook. He never tried to shed his pessimistic attitude. He accepted it as “who he was” and gave himself fully to it. He became comfortable in his wallowing. He is a symbol of what it means to be hopeless.

Now of course Eeyore is only a cartoon character like the ones we looked at last time, but do you see people around you with the same gloomy cloud hovering over their lives, their words and their countenance? Willing to accept the Eeyore mentality as their only reality? They believe life is hopeless. That their life will never be anything more. They seem far from happy. And many times they have grown so comfortable in this state that they have no desire for change, even positive change.

Why did Jesus say Happy are the Hopeless in the book of Matthew?
Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount begins with the above verse.. Jesus was not using the idea of hopelessness as in an Eeyore type mindset, in fact, just the contrary.

HE was using the idea of hopelessness in terms of being aware of one’s own insufficiency to produce LASTING happiness. Not just fleeting moments of joy due to circumstances but a joy of the heart that undergirds us through sorrow, pain and days of the mundane.

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In our humanness we cannot provide this for ourselves. The sooner we learn this and act on it, the happier we will be. People who are aware of their own inability to provide for the needs of their souls are the happy ones. They are no longer under the burden of caring for their own soul but see the reality of their lack. They recognize the truth that each human being created can never be completely whole without knowing their Creator. Happy ones admit their need. Happy ones take the next steps to figure out how to fulfill their need. They are proactive.

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They investigate the truths in the Bible.

They acknowledge Jesus’ work on the cross to completely provide above and beyond what their souls need in this life and the next.

They invite and allow Jesus to be their full provision as Savior, Lord and Friend.

They find a place to gather with other like-minded people who love and follow Jesus. They begin to live in community for a higher purpose.

They learn to love one another and grow in faith together. Their lives change from lonely Eeyores to vibrant individuals.

This is the FLURISHING life Christ came to provide. (John 10:10b)

Jesus loves every Eeyore too much to allow them to remain an Eeyore.
Jesus loves every Eeyore too much to allow them to remain an Eeyore.

If you think you are an Eeyore accept your own insufficiency. Chase after Jesus and be an Eeyore No More! Become the vibrant individual you were created to be!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Hair Today

 

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“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.” I Peter 3:3 New Living translation

An acquaintance just messaged me about finding out what hair dresser I use because “my hair always looks awesome,” according to her.  Frequently, I’m asked the same question by my customers on the Turnpike and from strangers I pass in the grocery store, the mall and generally round about town.

I have to laugh to myself each time this happens. Everyday is a mysterious hair day for me as in I never know what I’ll be getting when I wake up and brush my hair. I must give credit where it is due and that goes to the cut my hair stylist gives my golden locks. Somehow she has tamed the savage strands in a way I never thought possible. If only these  complimenting people knew the life long battle I have had with my hair.

The first time I realized that my hair was seen by some as subpar happened to be in my Sunday school class. One of the girls I grew up with and who I saw as gorgeous told me one Sunday that my hair always looks like straw. Now that didn’t sound very complimentary even to a 10 year old. Straw is usually dry, choppy looking and encrusted with dung. So what exactly was she trying to say?

yucky yesterday
yucky yesterday

 

The following year I mistakenly thought it would help to allow my mother’s hairdresser to give me a perm. You know, add some curls and waves so it wouldn’t be so stick straight. Wouldn’t you know my hair absorbed the perm solution like nobody’s business and I came out from under the hairdryer with a puff of curls standing almost 3 inches high all over my scalp. This incited guys to call me Bozo at football games because my hair was in their field of vision.

These are just two examples of why I laugh when people compliment my hair. I am grateful for the Lord’s unconditional love for His little straw head when no one else saw any value in me. He taught me not to depend on outer appearance to make my way in this hard ole world. Sometimes it hurt but in the end it developed the true beauty that lay deep inside me which is priceless.

Do you ever feel intimidated to shine  because you believe things others said to you or about you that were less than stellar? People can be harsh, unthinking and uncaring at times. But you have a “true, loving friend who is reliable and sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 Amplified Bible

presently pretty
presently pretty

I pray that you will allow Him to help you find and use your inner beauty as well whenever and wherever you can.

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” I Peter 3:4 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Fancy Pants

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“You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7 The Message Bible

Ages one through five of a childs’ life are usually considered the formative years. What happens during this time frame becomes paramount for emotional and mental health.  What is the earliest memory you can recall? I remember when I was three. . .

It was a warm spring day. Daffodils poked their heads and spindly necks up around our little pink house. Pale pink siding trimmed in the most hideous mint green created an embarrassment to last a lifetime for my three older brothers. All of them were in school that day. So it was rather lonely.

I crawled across the old back porch. The warped wooden planks curled at most edges encouraging the peeling of gray paint. I remember scraping my knee on a sharp corner. I stopped moving and screamed awhile which beckoned Mother to burst through the screen door. She pulled me up off the porch and carried me across the loose stone driveway. Plopping me down on a grassy spot, she told me not to get the “fancy pants” dirty. She turned and stomped back to the house. Mother let me wander around outside wearing only the “fancy pants” for what seemed most of the day. They were not even pants, but underwear lined in plastic designed specifically for toddler leakage. The outside crafted of lovely white material resembling silk and the back was a flurry of pink and white ruffles. Thus they were referred to as the “fancy pants”. They were the most beautiful item I owned.

By a miracle of grace, I managed to remain clean.  No fresh mud pies while wearing the fancy pants. No playing in the homemade sandbox either. Too terrified to  soil my pants, I wandered around in the yard examining  bugs, butterflies and flowers.

 

Upon hearing stones crunching and dust clouds forming in the driveway, I knew father’s work day ended. He stepped out of the blue and white station wagon carrying a black metal lunch kettle and entered the house through the back door. Moments later, he emerged, mother right behind him.  He carried a  black square box on a cord. Both of them crossed the driveway as I watched and  waited in excited expectation .

Mother turned me around to pose with my back toward them. I turned  my head to see what they were doing. Father was looking down into the box and mother stood next to him. Later I realized they took a picture of me in the “fancy pants.” Mother always made such a fuss over how the “fancy pants” were so beautiful. She loved the photo.

Nine years later I met a boy at church camp. Billy’s long blonde hair, the kind that is almost white, caught my attention from day one. A city boy with big blue eyes intrigued me. I asked him all types of questions. Astonished that he noticed me among all the other girls, I experienced a sense of honor. We wrote to each other after camp and all that summer. When he asked me for a photo, I wanted to give him one that was beautiful. Of all the photos I had, the only one I KNEW was beautiful was the “fancy pants” photo. I sent it to Billy. He wrote back and wondered why I sent what he called a “baby picture”? And mother was angry that we no longer had the “fancy pants” photo. Frustrated and confused, I asked Billy to send the photo back but he didn’t. He also never wrote again.

I believed my scrap of beauty was  forever lost. The weirdness of sending a preteen boy a photo of me at age three never entered my mind. I lived with this warped and false belief grid filtering all my experiences for many, many years.

If you struggle with your own self image, read and reread the verse from Song of Solomon again. That truth needs to sink deep into our hearts and fill any painful cracks created in the past. This is our Lord seeing  each of us as His BEAUTIFUL creation. Accepting His word from Song of Solomon as my truth led to a FLURISHING  future for me. I pray it will be so for you as well.

Shine on Beautiful. . .
karan k

Desirable Part II

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Desirable Part II
Continuing with the thought of becoming DESIRABLE, perhaps I should clarify the definition I am using. Desirable as in attractive. In Part I the focus was on physical desirability and hey, I was only 13 so “LOOKIN GOOD” was paramount in my teenage mind. Nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive or desirable in a physical way. In fact it’s a good thing to want to be clean, neat and modest, altho it took me awhile to perfect those three items. However, physical attractiveness is not the ONLY thing where desirability is concerned. And it is NOT the most important thing.
This truth occurred to me when I turned twenty (7 years into my quest and not coincidentally God’s number of completeness). I wanted to be desired but not just for how I looked, altho I wanted to maintain that as well. Physical beauty is somewhat shallow. . . “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:30 New Living translation
I wanted to be more attractive on the inside because looks alone do not a relationship make and I unfortunately discovered that truth by the popular trial and error method. I had grown weary of the games and the pain that accompany immature “love” . I wanted deep, lasting relationships. So I did some soul searching with a trusted friend who I knew loved me and had my best interest at heart.
During my search I saw something rather ugly clinging to the walls of my heart. It was so dark that I could barely see it hiding in the shadows. My friend identified it as self righteousness and it certainly wasn’t attractive or desirable. It was mean spirited and judgmental. And it had to go!
How could this ugly thing grow and live in my heart so comfortably all these years? I didn’t think twice about looking down on girls who “got in trouble” and had to quit school or have a thrown together wedding. I figured they must have been easy, sleazy or both. And what about my peers who were strung out on drugs and alcohol? They were simply low-lifes I supposed.
You see, attending church all my life, I was taught there were certain things I shouldn’t do if I wanted God’s love and my parent’s approval. Things that only ‘bad’ kids did. So I promised GOD I would not partake in these things and I kept my promise. Maybe you can relate?
When my friend told me I was SELF-RIGHTEOUS, I was offended. It sounded so heinous and indeed it was. I had to take a good long look at my motives. Why did I look down on these people? Was it because I wanted to believe I was better than they were? Did I think I was closer to GOD? Yes, I was guilty of both. Guilty of judging people. Even if I never voiced this out loud, it was an attitude of my heart. And it was extremely ugly and extremely wrong. A huge blot hiding any attractiveness I may have had now forcing me to make a decision.
Would I pretend I didn’t see the ugliness or would I deal with it? Easy just to turn a blind eye. Easy just to let it lurk once again in the shadows of my heart. But I was exposed as a self righteous believer in Christ and I had to take action for HIS sake and to be able to fully love others.
I agreed with HIS truth. Nothing I did made me more loved, saved or better. It was all HIS grace, which is free to anyone who receives it ; Ephesians 2:8 & 9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God—- not by works, so that no one can boast.” New International version
I asked HIS forgiveness.
I asked for His help to truly love as HE loves.
And then I began LISTENING with my ears and my heart to the stories of people I once judged. Seeing into their lives HE began to help me understand people, and the reasons for some of their dilemmas. His compassion began to flow through my heart to genuinely care for them. And so I became more desirable. . . and I FLURISHED. By HIS grace, and so can you! Seek to become more desirable inside and out. . . it’s a lifelong process but the results are GORGEOUS!

I Peter 3:3 & 4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” New International version

Shine On!

karan k

Desirable Part I

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When I was 13 we moved from a small three bedroom house about 1300 square feet total into a home where the kitchen/dining area alone was 500 square feet. It was a wonderful blessing for the family to escape our former cramped quarters. All six of us now had plenty of space due to my grandfather’s passing and my mother inheriting his home. He was always so kind to us and I adored him. My grandfather touched my life while he lived and continues to influence me.
One day, after we moved in, I rummaged through a box of Grandfather’s books. I came across a small red book that had white hearts on the cover. You cannot imagine the title of the book. To this day it remains a mystery to me because it seemed so out of place among his popular mechanics magazines, medical journals and fitness books. My eyes slid slowly over the letters; “HOW TO CATCH A HUSBAND”.
It didn’t even make sense that he should have such a book. But I was thoroughly intrigued and read the book from cover to cover that very day. Granted, at the hoary old age of thirteen I was not yet thinking about a husband. Most girls plan out their dream weddings but not  much planning about the type of man they will live with for life.  But I did think about boys ALOT and wanted to secure a good one to share my life with someday. I figured any tips I could glean from Grandfather’s book might be helpful. And that was an understatement.
The main point I attained and retained from the book is this: If you want to find a good mate, you first have to be a good mate. That simple truth shaped my thinking for future friendships as well as romantic relationships. It became my mission to be the best person I could be. I decided to pay attention to any advice or criticism I got, constructive or not. I determined to face my flaws even if they were painful. This took some courage. I started on the outside with my hair and clothes. I learned how to wash and dry my hair to keep it from looking like “dry straw” (someone once called it that) and studied fabric colors to see what clothes looked best with my skin tone. I joined marching band in high school and began working out at home after I graduated so I could stay in shape physically. My physical appearance improved and I never lacked boyfriends.
The surface or outer improvements were easy after I accepted the need to make them and results showed up rather quickly. I continued with this approach toward self improvement in every area of life as each one reared its ugly neglected head, in some cases. I refused to be frightened by my own flaws and pressed forward.

I Timothy 4:8 says “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in GOD is far more so, making you fit both today and forever..” The Message Bible
Somehow I knew there were deeper improvements to be made. . . . the tough ones that were hidden from the natural eye. “What matters is not your outer appearance—
the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes— but your inner disposition.” I Peter 3:3 The Message Bible
I will share more about this in Part II.
For now, think about what areas in your life could use some attention. Be honest with yourself. Make a list if that helps and then begin to research ways you can become the best you possible. The internet is a great resource if you have access to a computer. YouTube has lots of instructional videos to teach you things and you can successfully Google almost anything. i.e.:
Bushy eyebrows bothering you? Watch a video on how to shape them yourself. If money is not a problem try scheduling an eyebrow wax with your next haircut.
If you have a trusted friend, ask them for honest opinions on your overall look. Don’t let hurt feelings hold you back from making improvements. People who love us can see what we can’t, things that may be holding us back just because we refused to see past our own perceptions.

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Trust GOD in this whole process. HE definitely wants you to reach the potential HE created for you! HE desires that you FLURISH! “For we are GOD’s masterpiece. HE has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 New Living translation
Shine on. . .
karan k

Beautiful

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FLURISH: Beautiful
Look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you see beautiful? Today I can say YES, I see beautiful when I see my reflection, but it wasn’t always this way.
I used to see ugly. I used to see pale white skin, straggly hair and a less than perfect body. My thighs were too fat, my butt was too flat, my chest was too small and always that pale skin that peers seemed to delight in mocking. “Why don’t you get a tan?” I’d hear constantly in the summertime when I truly already had a tan… they had no idea just how pale my skin was under my swim suit. Thank GOD!!!
I have a whole catalog of names I was called for varying reasons which we don’t have time to get into here but to give you an idea, here are a few;
Bozo, El Denso, Dog, Lard _ss, Rough neck, Idiot, Fatso and my personal favorite RUN AWAY BARGE. Some were from classmates, some acquaintances, and some from teachers, believe it or not. But the ones that hurt the most were from my parents. I was considered fat, ugly and a problem in their eyes. These old wounds have bled into my adulthood. I spent many years feeling ugly until I began learning what my God said about me. He had a completely different view, but it took awhile for me to understand it. I trusted Him and eventually I believed what HE says. HIS truth has made all the difference in how I see myself!
Perhaps you can relate? Maybe a little, maybe a lot. We all have areas where we feel subpar or perhaps the more accurate description is worthless. This is something our loving heavenly Father hates. . .  When HIS beautiful children believe the lie that they are worthless and ugly! The enemy of John 10:10a (refer to Welcome page) wants to steal the reality of the beauty our God gave us. Trust the Good Shepherd, our God who loves us. Learn His view and believe Him, resist believing the lies of the enemy. (Look up James 4:7 in several versions).
Here are a few examples of what our God says about us: “You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7 The Message Bible. Now read it again out loud but insert your name before the “you’re”. Repeat this often until it sinks deep in your heart and changes your mind. This is the truth! This is how God sees you. This is HIS world so HE should know! Trust Him!
The book of Song of Solomon is about a King and the Bride He adored. It also parallels and symbolizes Christ’s deep love for us. We are His Bride.
In the 139th Psalm He says this: “You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, oh God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them, they outnumber the grains of sand! [AND MY FAVORITE PART] And when I wake up, You are still with me!” verses 16-18 New Living Translation
You may not feel beautiful right now but keep reading passages about His love and one day you will look in the mirror and be blown away by the beauty HE has seen all along! You are on your way to FLURISHING!
Shine on, beautiful!
karan k:)