caption - title

The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book: Embracing Beauty

First, just an update on Solomon.  (Thank you for all the emails and prayers asking about him!  I've been slack posting because Hunter and I are pretty sick too.)  On Sunday evening, he got a fever of 103 degrees.  It was down to 101 by morning and I could tell he still felt awful.  I went ahead and took him to the doctor Monday and am so thankful I did.  Our pediatrician, Dr. R, said that his ears were quite infected.  All the nasty stuff that he can't get out easily had bacteria building up.  Even though I was suctioning him a lot - it's not the same as being able to really blow your nose!  Dr. R prescribed an antibiotic.  She also said do lots of chest percussions to break up crud (we're all good at those from doing them daily on Lilly!).  She also suggested giving him Pulsatilla (homeopathic remedy) to loosen congestion.  (Thankfully I have a basic homeopathy kit so I had it.)  And finally, she said Elderberry is another good natural aid.  I started Solomon on the antibiotic Monday when we got home, and by evening he was already feeling much much better.  And since antibiotics tend to wreck havoc on tummies in our house, I'm giving him a probiotic too.  (Just adding it into his chicken broth.)

As of today, Wednesday, Solomon feels so much better and has no fever.  He still has a pretty nasty cough though.  But overall I think he's doing better than Hunter or I!  He's loving playing peek-a-boo again!

Now if I can just get that antibiotic into him without him throwing a fit and spitting most of it back out!

A number of years ago, I attended the Association of Classical Christian Schools conference with Frank.  (He attends every year, as part of his job.)  The theme that was was "truth, goodness, and beauty."  It got me thinking in a way I don't think I ever had before about these three things in relation to God - especially beauty.

Why is it that we sometimes have the impression that super plain is better?  Perhaps it seems more unworldly?  I remember hearing about some missionaries in a foreign country and the family lived in a purposefully super plain, bare little house.  Some local people came to see them and asked them why didn't missionaries love beauty? Why did they love plain and boring?  The locals were very poor but shared that they were still able to pick wildflowers and they liked to put them in their little shack to add beauty.  That made the missionaries re-think their purposeful plainness!

Because think about this.  Who created beauty in the first place?  The answer, of course, is:  GOD.  In just glancing out my window I am stunned by the variety of flowers, birds, and trees that God created.  And that is only a teeny tiny part of His creativity!  So is it wrong to enjoy beauty?  And to show it?  And share it with others?  In general "no."  (Of course, because of sin, we can turn anything into something that is NOT a good thing.)

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." - Genesis 1:31

So does God want us to hide His beauty?

About a year and a half ago, I posted about a cookbook called Real (Fast) Food by Trina Holden that I was using and loved the recipes from.  (That post is here.)  I've been in contact with Trina off and on since then.  I was interested to learn that she grew up near where we live in N.C.  That is until her family moved to a homestead in upstate New York to live off the land!  They even lived in a tepee until they built their house.  (She writes about her adventures - past and present - on her blog at )

Trina has just published another book called Embracing Beauty.  It is for us moms who are almost constantly changing weight and shape.  The subtitle is:  "practical style for every shape and season of motherhood."  Her timing with this book couldn't have been better for me.  :)  I have now lost all my pregnancy weight, thanks to the information and recipes in the book Trim, Healthy Mama.  As I've mentioned here before, I gained a huge amount of weight with Lilly and due to a number of factors, never lost it all.  After she died, I was starting to lose some more weight, but then was pregnant again and the weight started piling back on.

Now I'm back to a normal weight and am finding a lot of my clothes too big.  You know - that big that's not huge, but definitely "frumpy."  I hate frumpy!  I've written too about how I've struggled with a diastasis for a long time now.  (Where my stomach muscles split during pregnancy and never healed back together.  So my stomach pooches out.  You can check to see if you have a diastasis - here is how.)  I have done much healing there, but recently damaged it again and I feel like I'm starting over.  Ugh.  Skinny but with a stomach pooch that makes me look pregnant.  Back to looking frumpy - and pregnant! - in shirts.  I was totally burned out on doing the diastasis exercises I knew of, until recently when I found, through Trina!, an online "workout studio" where for a small monthly fee, you have access to over 50 different workouts.  (It's like having a personal trainer talking to you and working out with you - all from your computer.)  It is called Fit2b.  The best part is they are "tummy friendly" exercises. I am working through the exercises for moms, specifically targeting the diastasis.  I'm enjoying the variety of exercises and especially that it is only taking about 15 minutes a day to do them, instead of the 45 minutes my other tummy exercises were taking.  Lord willing, I'll have a flat - or flatter! - tummy again soon.  (Fit2b has many many workouts, including for kids.  And, as Tabby noted, the instructor actually wears modest clothes.)

OK, back to frumpy.  So I now need some new clothes.  I don't want frumpy, drab, or "the mom uniform."  (I had to laugh - Trina defines the "mom uniform" as a t-shirt and jeans.  That was more like my "life uniform".  In my later teens and twenties it was the essential heavy metal t-shirt with jeans.  Then it was plain colored t-shirts and jeans.  Then it was babydoll tops and jeans.  Now I prefer skirts and dresses.  Kind of ironic I once saw the heavy metal shirts as "rebellion" but these days just wearing skirts is "rebellion" against culture!)  I like interesting outfits and find I like a more vintage look. I'd actually like more color. But how to start?

That's where Trina's book steps in to guide me.  It's all about helping the reader find their personal style.  She has all kind of guidance on this, including how to do it inexpensively.  Trina shops at thrift stores, just as I mainly do now for clothing.  She even has a chapter in her book on tips for thrift store shopping including when you have little ones in tow.  (She has 3 children and one on the way.)  Speaking of chapters, you can see the table of contents listed here.)

One thing I appreciate about Trina's book is that she begins with sharing her own journey (including the misguided modesty of frumpy jumpers and long denim skirts during the family's homesteading years) and then looks at what God says about beauty.  She writes: "God is where beauty began.  Not only did He create beauty, it's an element of His very being.  Beautiful is something God can't not be, and beauty is something He can't not create.  He created us in His image, as both a reflection of His beauty, and a celebration of His love for beautiful things." (p. 19)

She argues that embracing beauty is an act of worship:  "Because beauty is an attribute of God and something He is passionate about, anything we do to recognize and embrace beauty can actually become an act of worship.  Pausing to take in a sunset, admiring the delicate beauty of a flower, and agreeing with Him as to the beauty of the body He gave us, honors His design and skill as creator, and this is worship."  (p. 19) 

So how should we cloth ourselves, knowing that God created us in His image and that He loves beauty?  Drab and frumpy?  Or the opposite - immodestly and screaming for attention?  Trina discusses these types of things in her chapter on "Expressing God's Glory" and more throughout the book.  She concludes "I've come to realize that what I wear is more than just a barrier between my body and the public, but can actually be a testimony to all I believe about beauty and its Creator."

Wow.  That ought to make you think the next time you reach for the sloppy sweats and ripped t-shirt and head out to go shopping.  I believe that God cares about all the little details in our lives but honestly I had just never thought about it in relation to my clothing very much.  (Other than trying not to dress immodestly of course.)  How short sighted of me!  I am a child of God and so how I am clothed is an important part of that.  Because how I look and act is a reflection on Him.

Well I've been popping on and off the computer all morning to write a little here and a little there.  I need to wrap up now, it's time for me to teach math to Tabby.  (Did you hear her outward groaning from me just thinking that?  Do you know of a pill I could give her to help her enjoy math? Hmmmm ... the inventor would be a millionaire for sure!)  So I will stop here and say that I think you would be blessed by Trina's book Embracing Beauty. (available in several different formats)   There are many chapters of practical advice in it.  I've read a number of fashion type books before, but this is the only one has ever seemed realistic to my life.  :)

"From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." - Psalm 50:2

1 comment:

  1. SO glad to hear Solomon is doing better!!! The book sounds really good I will have to get it:)