Friday, April 16, 2010

Casually Feminine: You wear it EVERY day

I'm a day late in giving my input for "Casually Feminine Thursday" at The Family Revised, but I'm living in "newborn" time so I'm sure you'll forgive me. The topic this week is The Face. As a former Mary Kay consultant, the first thing that comes to my mind on this topic, at least right after how lovely a smile makes a face, is skin care. As my lovely and wonderful mentor once told me, you wear your face every single day. So doesn't it make sense to take better care of your face than you do your clothes?

Now, you don't have to "do" your face every day to be casually feminine. But I really think taking care of the basics goes a long way toward looking lovely. Here are the basics: cleanse, tone, moisturize and protect. Then if you want to add a touch of color, go for it! The key is to find a skin care system that works for you and then be consistent. Personally, I prefer the Timewise system from Mary Kay. It's very simple: I use the 3-in-1 cleanser in my morning shower and then moisturize just before putting on a light foundation and finishing with some powder. It takes less time than brushing my teeth, and I feel put together and ready to face the world when I'm done.

Once I've taken care of the basics, I also add a touch of bronzer to my cheeks, a soft color to my lips and a quick swipe of neutral eyeshadow and mascara so my eyes don't get lost behind my glasses. That takes care of my everyday look, but how far you take these extras depends on your definition of casually feminine.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

L&D and the Garden of Gethsemane

I'm convinced, after my second pregnancy and childbirth, that there are few experiences that make us more Christ-like than delivering a new life into this world. Choosing to carry and give birth to a child requires complete sacrifice of self -- and involves a level of courage, blood and agony that a man who has sweated blood can relate to.

Jesus knew what he was facing as he prayed in the Garden, and begged to be released from what had to be done. How many mothers-to-be have uttered similar (if not quite so eloquent...or coherent) prayers as they entered the last stages of labor? For myself, I know the end is near when I start asking if there's any way to opt out of the pregnancy after all. But then I start reminding myself -- the only way out is through, and the end is worth the effort.

I think the blurred weeks that follow childbirth also bring us closer to understanding Christ's loneliness in Gethsemane. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” Yes, I think Jesus understands the lonely, sleep-deprived hours a mother endures out of love for her new child. There are certainly radiant moments of joy in gazing down upon the face of an infant lying comfortably at the breast, even after getting only an hour of (interrupted) sleep. But there is also a sense that the rest of world, as it keeps on turning, has forgotten you completely.

Finally, did you know that "Gethsemane" literally means "olive press"? That sounds like an apt description of labor. And I'm sure my newest little 10 and half pounder would agree, given the bruises on his poor head!