Let Them Be

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Let Them Be

“Is she potty trained?”

**SIGH**

“Because we do require that all of our students are able to use the restroom on their own.”

As if I needed one more reason to panic over my daughters refusal to use the potty. And how in the world did pre-school registration time come around so fast! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating her move to size 1 diapers. Seriously… Where does the time go?!

Now, full disclosure: There are a lot of days that I have spent counting down to the two and half hours…150 minutes…9,000 seconds…that I will get to spend by myself while she’s in preschool. Actually, double that, because preschool is two days a week! I don’t think I’ve had five hours to myself since before my Bella was born. That’s two years and ten months of being constantly needed, constantly touched, constantly giving, constantly taking care of a sticky, sometimes smelly, always stubborn little princess.

And BOY is she a princess.

She’s not your typical high maintenance princess type, though. Some days she's a Merida in Brave type princess; running around outside in the mud collecting sticks, rocks and bugs and jumping in puddles. Then other days she’s more like Amber from Sophia the First; wants to wear a pretty dress with fancy shoes and acts like she is allergic to dirt. However, the part of both princess types that comes with the expectation of being listened to without question, getting everything that you want, and only doing what you want when you want to do it… That part she’s mastered.

Especially when it comes to the potty.

When my little was only eighteen months old, she had me convinced she was going to potty train early: She was watching a friends little one potty train and decided that she wanted to sit on the potty too. Well, that turned into a decision to only poop on the potty, because she didn’t want it in her diaper. So, for a solid three months she would poop on the potty, while my husband and I continually tried to get her to pee on the potty too.

Turns out the joke was on us! Just as quickly as she decided that she wanted to use the potty, she decided she didn’t want to anymore. So, I got desperate and started reading every article I could find on potty training methods…and tried them all. I rearranged my house, I bought her big girl undies, I made her run around naked, I set an alarm and made her sit on the potty every 15 minutes, I bribed her with snacks and toys and activities… The more methods I tried, the more frustrated we both got and the harder she dug in and insisted on not doing it.

That’s when I came across an article that basically said I had done everything wrong.

I felt discouraged, guilty, frustrated, completely defeated… The little voice in my head was whispering that I had ruined my daughters confidence and permanently set her development back. I spent days beating myself up over the mother I had become in the weeks that I was neurotically trying every potty training method I could find. Then, when the whispers reached the point of convincing me that I had failed as a mom and that my daughter would hate me forever for all the moments I raised my voice at her over something as silly as not peeing on the potty… I remembered that my baby was still a baby. And I made the decision to simply let her be.

For better or worse, that’s the decision that has left me in the position of telling the preschool registrar that, no, my now almost three year old is not using the potty on her own. I don’t need to tell you the rest of the conversation; or the pressure that it’s made me feel that my daughter needs to be potty trained in less than seven months. I mean, I can’t be the only mom that has had this conversation…can I??

I seriously doubt it.

The temptation to jump right into it and start making my super active little princess sit on the potty every fifteen minutes until she pees is strong, I’m not going to lie! I know, though, that my babe is very strong willed, independent, stubborn and intelligent. Everything in her entire life has happened in her timing and on her terms: eating, rolling, crawling, walking, talking. In my heart, I know that this not going to happen any differently. She is going to have to decide that she wants to do it.

I’ve been realizing in the past several weeks that my baby is no longer a baby. She no longer needs me in quite the same way; and when she does need me, it’s not nearly as often. And when I look back at the decision I made to not push her toward potty training, letting her simply live her life and experience the joy of being a kid without the pressure of big expectations; I wouldn’t change my choice for all the world.

Is changing pull-ups (or as she calls them: “special undies”) getting old? and really disgusting at times? Absolutely, yes! No question. Yet, the time I’ve given her to grow into herself and learn to relate to people rather than to people’s expectations of her, is something I will never regret. No matter what the negative whispers say when they come, I believe in my heart that I made the right choice.

Because when my beautiful girl is excited or talkative or curious or lonely or hurting- I am the one that she comes to. I am the shoulder she cries on, the lap she sits on and the chest she lays on. And if I’m not around, she has developed a confidence and a boldness to communicate exactly what she is feeling and why she is feeling that way.

I know that I am no where even close to figuring out this whole mom thing. I also know that it’s only by the grace of God that my little is growing into the best parts of me and the best parts of my husband, in spite of the innumerable mistakes that we make. But if I can be so bold as to give one piece of advice to my fellow moms…

Let your babies be babies.

They won’t be so little forever. The eating solid food, rolling, crawling, walking, talking and using the potty on their own will happen in spite of your attempts to make it and simply because of who your babies are. Babies will grow up no matter what, so why not let it be at their own pace and in their own time so that when they step into the next stage, they step with boldness and confidence in who they are and what they know they are ready to accomplish?

Just a thought from a mom in the thick of navigating toddlerhood with a little who is growing up awesome.

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#momfail

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#momfail

Have you ever looked in the mirror…and honestly despised the face staring back at you…?

Or am I the only one??

I can’t remember exactly when it started… Perhaps it was in eighth grade when I experienced for the first time how far girl drama could really go. Or maybe it was in tenth grade when I experienced my first significant, noticeable weight gain. Then again, it’s possible that it wasn’t until eleventh grade when my dad used the word “chubby” while attempting to express concern for my health. It could have been graduating from high school without ever having been asked out on a single date, having my first real relationship interest walk away without any explanation in college, or realizing way too late that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I suppose it makes the most sense that it was the building up of the insecurities that resulted from all of these situations, and the many more like them, that led to my first conscious memory of one of these moments… And it’s those same insecurities that have followed me into every amazing new adventure my life has ushered me into: including my motherhood.

The root of the problem is the trap of comparison that I find myself stuck in far more often than I want to admit. I mean, the comparisons used to be fairly easy to get past because they used to be about superficial things that didn’t really affect my identity. There’s something about my identity as a mom, though, that makes it extremely easy for me to look at other moms and immediately place myself in a class of motherhood below them. Especially after really hard days with my little.

Having an independent, strong willed, intelligent child is exciting and fun, but also frustrating and defeating. The past couple of days have been the latter. My babe has been stuck in a season of waking up multiple times a night and then fighting sleep at nap time; which is leaving us both more tired and ornery than usual. Add to that dynamic a husband that hasn’t been sleeping due to pain from an allergic reaction to a prescription…and I’m not just tired, I’m exhausted. 

For those of you that aren’t parents yet: I pray that you are stronger than me if you find yourself exhausted and frustrated dealing with a strong-willed toddler that somehow manages to find and push every single button that shoots a dart directly into your nerve center and ignites an irrationally angry response. My mom was a screamer whenever she was exhausted and frustrated dealing with my siblings and I…and in spite of everything, I have responded to my Bella in the very same way that caused rifts in my relationship with my mom until well into my adulthood.

After fighting with my babe for two and a half hours today…losing my temper twice to the point of reducing my beautiful blessing to tears…she finally fell asleep and I was left to berate myself for the way I had treated her in those moments of weakness. That is not the mother I want to be. That’s not the kind of mom that I dreamt I’d be; the kind of momma I prayed that God would make me. And it only took a matter of seconds for the face of every momma I know to run through my mind and Satan to whisper to my heart: “None of them would ever treat their babies that way. What kind of mother treats their baby that way?”

That’s when I saw my face in the mirror…  The worst mom I know.

I felt so defeated that I even admitted to a close friend that I had lost my stuff on my baby girl and was having an “I’m a horrible momma” day. I was trapped in a cycle of false comparison, allowing myself to be convinced that I was alone in my weakness, and despising the woman looking back at me from the glass. I was feeling like a major #momfail. Yet, rather than receiving judgement, God sent me redemption in the form of my friends freedom to share with me in that moment that she experiences the same exhausted, frustrated moments of weakness in her motherhood as I do in mine.

That’s when it hit me.

I am not the only one.

Other mommas may not have the same mirror moment as I do, but they do experience similar moments of weakness when they get to the end of themselves; when they’re exhausted and frustrated and need a break that’s nowhere in sight. What I realized today is this- our willingness as mommas to share our weaker moments just as much as we share our successful ones offers redemptive freedom to the mommas around us that just might be stuck in a moment that has them struggling to love their motherhood. How I pray that more mothers would feel free enough and be brave enough to share the bad with the good so that it might strengthen the moms around them.

I am thanking God today for blessing me with a friend that feels free enough in her own motherhood to speak honestly into mine. I am also thankful that I have an intelligent little girl that understands forgiveness and offers it unprompted and with a bear hug around the neck. I may have taken her shopping as a means of doing some relationship repair… She may have gotten some sparkly Minnie Mouse shoes… But at the end of the day: My deepest prayer is that we moms figure out a way abolish “mom guilt” and the normalcy of the “#momfail” before our babies have babies.

May we love each other enough to free each others motherhood from comparison traps and loneliness by honestly sharing the good with the bad in our own journey to being amazing moms.

 

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Primer: Skin Care or Makeup

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Primer: Skin Care or Makeup

Every time I have the opportunity to teach, I start with the same statement:

There is no wrong way to beautiful.

If there is any truth to be found in the beauty industry today, it’s in that statement. Every woman is created with different features and coloring and abilities; no two being exactly alike. That makes the idea of a standard of beauty completely ridiculous and nothing more than marketing ploys for sales. 

All things beauty and fashion are subject to change and dictated by preferences. It’s like that saying: Opinions are like belly buttons- everybody has one. And that goes for makeup artists too! We’ve all adapted what we’ve learned to fit our own personal style and comfort for ease and efficiency of application. We all have our preferred set of products and tools. And each of us has our own way of carrying out methods of makeup application.

When I realized all of this in my first year, I made it my mission to make sure that I never made any woman feel as if their way of making themselves beautiful was wrong. No matter if your preferred look is natural, glamorous, romantic, soft, bold, dramatic, etc:  Your way of stating your beauty is always right. As long as it’s right for you.

SO- that being said… I’d love to talk about one of my must have products when it comes to applying makeup. Whether you use a product like this or not is completely up to you! Experience has shown me how beneficial it is, and that’s what I’d like to share with you. As with any makeup product chats on this blog, I won’t be telling you what’s right vs what’s wrong…I’ll simply give advice based on personal experience and let you choose what works best for you. All positive vibes here! Deal?

Ok, then…

I’d like to talk about primer. Not the stuff that you paint on the wall before actually painting… But basically the same principle! I’m talking about the little tube of lightweight, lotion-like product that gets applied before any other makeup. It’s more of a skin care product, if you ask me, but most classify it as a cosmetic product. 

A primer (at least a good one) serves as the last step of a skin care routine and the first step of a makeup application, all at the same time. The most beneficial skin care routines (as I’ve written about before) have a minimum of 3 steps: Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer. Then, of course, adding a step for any treatment products as we age and find them necessary. And this is where a good primer could be viewed as a fifth step…

There have been significant strides made in recent years in the science of skin care and cosmetics; in the understanding of how ingredients interact with each other, the skin and the environment. One of the things we now know is that putting SPF in moisturizer effects the skins ability to absorb and maintain maximum moisture, which is why you see the recent flood of super moisture products hitting the market without SPF in the moisturizer. This is where a high quality primer comes in! Primer serves as a barrier that helps preserve moisture in the skin cells AND contains the SPF needed to protect your face from daily exposure to UV light.

Now we enter the into the part of the conversation where a primer can also be the first step in your makeup application… Another development in the understanding of ingredients is that we know now that SPF interacts with certain types of light: namely flash photography. This is why you are seeing a shift in the amount of SPF in the newly released foundation product lines; if they still contain an SPF at all. Again- this is where a high quality primer comes into play! Primer provides the necessary SPF protection, while also evening out the skins tones to maximize the coverage and effectiveness of your foundation (both liquid and powder).

Personally, I use a primer for myself and my clients for the reasons mentioned above, and also for the simple fact that it provides a smoother, more even canvas for color. I choose to use the Artistry Exact Fit Beauty Balm Perfecting Primer; both personally and professionally. It’s affordable, premium quality product backed by five years of scientific testing that proves its efficiency. However, I am not so naive as to think that there are not other primers out there that accomplish these same goals that you can choose from! 

It goes without saying that I would encourage every woman, of every type and age, to find a primer that works for them. Whether you do or don’t, I truly hope that you (at least) found this information interesting and helpful. Regardless, I hope that you have found products that work well for you and the beauty you are wanting to create every day! God knows we need to take a moment to find our beauty and share it with the world, and I pray that you have an arsenal that helps you do that every day.

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Heartbeat Home

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Heartbeat Home

“Sometimes, home has a heartbeat.”  - Beau Taplin

So, I didn’t date in high school… or college. 

In fact, I didn’t date until I dated my husband. I had been on one…yes, I mean one…date with a guy that really was never going to be anything more than a friend for a short season in my life. That’s not to say that there weren’t (several) guys that I was interested in during my unsettled, insecure college season! It’s just that my dad had this rule (insert eye roll here)…

The Rule:  Whoever wanted to ask me (or my sister) out, had to ask his permission first.

Yes, you read that right. And my dad made sure every guy that came around that even looked like he might want to ask me out, knew about the rule. In hindsight, it really is impressive the way that my dad managed to work it into conversation and cement every guy’s position in the permanent friend category. He was never rude or overbearing about it! In fact, he usually worked it in as humor so that the guy was never really sure he was serious, yet was pretty sure testing the rule would end badly.

So, by the time my husband entered the picture, I had finally gotten to the point of being at peace with my single status and didn’t even realize he had asked me out on a date. We had been working together (I managed his Christian rock band) for a couple of years, so I knew him fairly well and considered him a friend; so, I had never considered a relationship with him until he initiated one. I had no idea what a dating relationship was like, but I’ll tell you this, though; I had made it to 26 years old without any major heartbreak damaging my psyche. Not that I needed a major heartbreak for that! But that’s beside the point.

I was 26 years old, and after our second date (late night coffee at Denny’s) my husband still respected my dad’s rule (though long expired by that point!) enough to state his intent to date me and ask my dads permission to do so. That move caught my attention. His decision to do that earned my respect. And his desire to respect the intent behind my dads rule won my heart.

After that day, I was surprised at the sudden shift in my hearts attention toward Michael. It’s hard to really explain… It was like hearing him with my soul every time he spoke, not my ears. It was like breathing him in with my whole being every time he hugged me, not just acknowledging the smell of his cologne. And every time he held my hand, it was like literally feeling his lifeblood flowing with mine: a matching heartbeat. It was an unmistakable feeling of being home.

You know the feeling I mean. That sense of comfort, warmth and freedom that follows walking through your front door, knowing that you’re shielded from the harsh judgement of the outside world for a bit. The confidence of knowing your environment and being known by it; relaxing in the knowledge that you are safe from outside opinions for awhile. I didn’t know that these feelings could be applied to a person before Michael.

Then, after we got married, having the privilege of resting my head on his chest every night made me realize how I wanted to recenter myself, refocus my heart, for the rest of my life. I realized that, if I laid there long enough, if he held my hand long enough, then my heartbeat matched time with his: Our hearts would literally beat together. Crazy.

Full disclosure: After having my daughter, life continued to get more and more busy, and I forgot for a time what being home felt like. I forgot that being with him is home. We had gotten so used to falling into bed exhausted every night, that taking those moments to recenter and refocus got lost. And I didn’t realize until a couple weeks ago how much I missed matching heartbeats. 

Then last weekend he got hit by a semi-truck.

When he called to tell me… My heart stopped. I felt nauseous at all the mental pictures that instantly filled my mind. Part of my brain was processing that he was the one talking to me, while another part was trying to tell me that there was no way he was ok. And after explaining the accident to me, I realized that God’s supernatural protection is the only explanation for why he is alive. Talk about a wakeup call.

I have held his hand more in the past 10 days than I have in the past 10 months.

Every one of the past 10 days that I have woken up next to him, I am thankful. I am thankful that God sent him to me. I am thankful that Michael chose me. I am thankful that our story is still being written. And I am thankful that I still have my home; my matching heartbeat.

I am also unmistakably more aware of the uncertainty of life. I am heart broken for those whose stories ended in situations like this. I am saddened at the thought that so many others encountered a similar circumstance and lost their matching heartbeat; lost their home.

I may not have the most romantic love story to tell. I may not have the most glamorous life. I may not have an Instagram worthy relationship full of date nights and super cute presents. It’s like this Mhairi McFarlane quote: “It was…not love at first sight exactly, but - familiarity. Like: oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you. Game over.”  

I will never take my matching heartbeat, that feeling of being home, for granted again.

Ladies- Go hug your husband. Go hug your kids. Touch base with the important people in your life and tap into your lifeline. Say “I love you” often and never take the life you have for granted; no matter what your current perspective of it is. Nothing is constant, seasons change, and so will the story of your life. So, find your home and match your heartbeats. Tomorrow is never a certainty.

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Real Life Legacy

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Real Life Legacy

I never feel like a good mom.

And I mean…never

My heart avidly waits for the day that I sit down after bedtime routine and have that momentary thought: “I’m a good mom.”

The irony is: The day my little was born I felt like super woman. I looked at my beautiful princess and knew instantly that she was the greatest accomplishment of my life. And when I looked into her huge, deep eyes for the first time, I really believed that I could conquer anything. 

My baby girl latched right away and ate like a champ. She stayed awake for almost 3 hours after she was born; which we were told is very unusual. She would follow sounds and shadows and the sound of my voice with little turns of her head; something else the nurses said was unusual for the first day. She was my miracle and I was excited to be her momma. Even the waking every two hours that first night to feed her was exciting!

Then on day two she almost died.

My husband and I dropped her off at the nursery on our way to the “discharge meeting” that you have to attend before being allowed to go home: The first time I’d been away from her since she was born. I was persuaded to leave her by the amazing nurse who had been there the whole time with us, because it was only supposed to take about 30 minutes. As soon as I walked away from her my chest started getting tight, and I started to count down the time…

Thirty minutes and I get my Bella back.

About thirty-five minutes later, my husband went to get our beauty from the nursery while I continued on to our room (bathroom!). When he walked in moments later without her, my heart skipped several beats in the time it took him to explain that they were doing all of the necessary tests before marking her for discharge the next morning. So, I went about the business of situating myself, and that’s when we heard an alarm that we hadn’t heard before.

I vividly remember walking out of the bathroom and commenting on the alarm to my husband. Both of us questioning what that particular alarm sound could have been for; since it was so markedly different from the beeps and alarms we had been hearing for two days. What happened next I remember in slow motion and cemented the sound of that alarm in my brain forever.

Lori, the nurse that had been with us the entire time, walked into our room…the emotional look on her face not registering in my brain…the fact that she didn’t have my Bella with her also not registering…until she mentioned the alarm. I will never forget the conversation as long as live…

“I’m sure you guys heard the alarm a few minutes ago…?”

“We did! We were just talking about what that alarm is for, because we haven’t heard that one before.” 

“Well, that alarm was for your Isabella…”

My heart stopped. My brain wasn’t processing what she was saying in real time. It was like an out of body experience where I couldn’t bring myself to actually hear what she was saying to us. It felt like she was talking so slowly, yet I remember wanting her to stop talking, because all my brain would process was that it had to be a mistake: She had to be mistaking another baby for my Bella.

“…We laid her on her back to take her vitals and she spit up. Before we were able to clear it all, she spit up again and aspirated it. She stopped breathing and then flat-lined for a several seconds. All four pediatricians on call responded to the alarm. They cleared her airway, pumped her stomach of any excess fluid and now they're monitoring her heart. She is stable, but they want to keep her on a monitor for a while just to make sure…”

I couldn’t breathe. I felt the urge to sit and to run at the same time. I wanted to scream at her for not protecting my baby, while simultaneously screaming at myself for failing at motherhood on the second day. How could this have happened?? My husband and I had fought so hard, been through so much, and believed she was our miracle baby arriving just when God had appointed her to. Yet, my baby, my beautiful Bella, had stopped breathing…stopped living…

…I promise, I will bring her down to you as soon as they clear her to leave the nursery. I am so sorry! I can’t believe this happened. You’re such a sweet little family. I’m so relieved she's ok.” 

Then my husbands steady voice… “Can we see her now, please? We’d like to see her now.

I don’t know what, but something broke in me that day. And then again on day five when my precious girl started vomiting and then refused to eat; which landed us overnight at the hospital. That trip resulted in shattering every picture I had painted in my head during all of the sleepless nights I spent hugging the belly that I had started to lose hope I’d ever have.

I had to give up being a breastfeeding momma: I dried up after only 3 months of pumping. I had to stop laying her flat in the bassinet beside my bed: She had to be in her crib on an elevated mattress so that her stomach could drain easily and she wouldn’t throw up. Then there was all of the little things: She hated hair bands and barrettes and tights and shoes and dresses and hats and napping and tummy time and bed time… It seemed that everything made her scream at the top of her little lungs for hours on end. The only time she seemed happy was when she was eating (food that my body didn’t provide her) and when just about anyone else was holding her. So, as much as I hate saying it, by the end of the first month I was convinced that I was failing and I wanted desperately to give her back.

And now? Now I’m the woman that sits on the edge of her bed at 2am almost every night, having already put her toddler back in bed for the 12th time, wishing for the moment that I can say, “I’m a good mom.” My girl eats everything I make for her, she wants only me to hold her, she loves hair bands and barrettes and tights and shoes and dresses and hats (as long as wearing them is her idea)…and screaming at me, hitting me, bull rushing my legs, spitting her drinks on me, throwing her food at me, slamming doors, stomping her foot… Need I go on?

I don’t feel like super woman. I don’t believe I can conquer anything. Yet, somehow, I still believe that my Bella is my greatest accomplishment.

I’m learning (slowly) that we have made the definition of a “good mom” just as subjective as we’ve made the definition of “beauty”. We’ve taken something that (I believe) is anointed and appointed by God and we’ve allowed societal opinion to try and dictate how our motherhood is defined. No matter what decision we make for our babies, there are a hundred articles and mommy blogs to tell us that we’re wrong. Just like there are a hundred youtube videos and beauty blogs to tell us that we’re not measuring up and never really making it to beautiful. 

Then of course there is social media that constantly makes us feel inadequate, because we are constantly looking at peoples best moments, staged moments, and comparing them to all of the moments that we can never seem to manage with our own kid(s). It’s in the comparison that our hearts are broken over and over again. Insecurity rules the day, vulnerability is hidden beneath the mask that we so carefully design and the truth of our reality has become our constant #momfail. 

This is not the world I want to leave for my daughter.

I may not know how to change the whole world, but I can change her world. I can leave a legacy of being real about my insecurities and show her my vulnerabilities, so that she feels the freedom to be unmasked as she grows into the woman that God has created her to be. I can leave her these small pictures of the truth of my reality so that, hopefully, she will someday look into the eyes of her own baby/toddler/child/teenager and have the moment where she will look at herself and say…

I am a good mom.

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MakeUp Misfit

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MakeUp Misfit

In the world of makeup artists I am an oddity.

Every makeup artist I’ve ever met has a kit full of an incredible amount of product from innumerable brands of all different quality levels, categories and price points. You know the kind I’m talking about: The ones that have so many pallets that the bottom of their case is a veritable graveyard of forgotten colors. Add to that all of the tools (blending sponges, brushes, air brushing kit, eyebrow stencils, etc.) that they own, yet only use a fraction of, and it’s no wonder that the average woman watching them is intimidated.

Heck, I get intimidated!

I wasn’t the girl growing up that loved all things makeup. The only makeup I was permitted to wear growing up was the stage makeup required for the various types of musical productions I was cast in. So, by the time I reached high school, I wasn’t really interested in everyday makeup. In fact, I didn’t start wearing makeup until halfway through my junior year when I mistakenly found myself in a beauty pageant; mistakenly because I did it with a friend as moral support, assuming she’d be chosen, then I ended up getting the call. I didn’t even realize it was a pageant until too late! I thought it was just an interview for a scholarship program.

Needless to say, it should come as no surprise that I would approach being a makeup artist in a different manner than most. 

When I started out in business nine years ago, becoming a makeup artist was not the plan. I got my Skin Analyst Certification through a renowned prestige skin care and cosmetics company with dreams of building an in-home skin analysis and treatment business in mind. Then, as a result of goals I hit making product sales, I won a trip to my company’s beauty institute and had the privilege of sitting through a makeup artistry training with a professional makeup artist that worked the runways at New York Fashion Week.

My dream changed after that.

I had just gotten back to the U.S. from a trip to Austria and Germany before going to the beauty institute in Michigan. The day I got back in the country, my purse was stolen; cash, cards and cell phone gone. I went from the best month of my life, into a season of literally having nothing but late-paid bills and dwindling credit score for months. Yet, in the midst of that I made the choice to go to Michigan, I made the choice to step out in faith, and I started to develop My Image as a freelance makeup artistry business.

Every time I thought about what I wanted My Image to be, I never saw a big business. My dream of big business was replaced with this deep, heartfelt desire to touch the lives of individual women. I wanted women of every income bracket, of every walk of life, to know that they are beautiful and that they have been created for greatness.I wanted every woman and young girl that sits in my chair to know that they are valuable, that they are strong, that they are fierce and that their life means something; that someone notices them.

So I became a makeup misfit.

I am brand loyal. Unheard of in this field! There is only one product brand of skin care and makeup in my kit. Why? Because every woman, no matter their story, deserves the best. So, I made the decision to only use the number one (occasionally number two!) prestige, naturally based, pharmaceutical grade brand in the world. If it’s good enough for the New York Fashion Week runways and for the Miss America Pageant, then it’s good enough for any woman that sits in my chair!

Then there’s the issue of pricing… I am intentional about keeping my service prices at or below average, and constantly running discounts. The longer I do this, the more I realize that there should never be a bride or homecoming hopeful that doesn’t get pampered because they can’t afford it. That fact has been particularly bothersome to me in this past season: That brides, especially, miss out on something so deserved simply because it isn’t in their budget. God has been working on my heart in this area this past year, so expect to see some drastic changes to the pricing info in coming weeks!

Location? Oh, I don’t have one. That is, I don’t have just one. I work out of my home (which quite a few of my brides have been brave enough to come to in spite of my very strong willed, social toddler!), but I mostly work on-location. So, I’ve gotten very used to hotel rooms and lobbies and random hallways and backstage areas… Oh, and there were those couple times I drove to the middle of nowhere to random cabins; once to one that didn’t have electricity for the first hour that we were there. It’s always an adventure!

I’ve had numerous beauty professionals (and others) tell me that it’ll never work. I’ve been told that there’s simply no way to have a real beauty business using only one product line and not having or renting salon space. I’ve endured many skeptical conversations and negative nay-sayers. I’ve noticed the “professionals” that give me sideways glances when they see what’s in my kit.

Two years ago, I almost let those voices win…

If not for my sister-in-law (same one the spoke into my marriage!), I might have quit! She somehow knows just how to say things to change my perspective. Might be all the education and training she's hustled through? But she made this statement to me: “If it’s not fun for you anymore, then by all means get out. But if you still find joy in it, if you still love doing it, if you still believe there’s purpose in it- then who is anyone else to define what your business should look like?”

So I choose to be a makeup misfit.

I will continue to be brand loyal, I will work hard to be affordable, I will continue to operate as a predominantly mobile business and I will continue to elevate the health (mental, emotional, physical) of every client I have the privilege to serve above all else. I am equal parts wife, mom and makeup artist; therefore, I will continue to develop a business that is more service oriented than profit driven- making skin care and makeup artistry services accessible to every wife and mom that deserves to be pampered and encouraged. 

Bottom line for me: I have a calling that is greater than making youtube videos and reviewing other people’s businesses and product. 

My business exists to impact every woman that trusts me enough to sit in my chair.

That is my dream. To make an impact. To leave a positive mark in the lives of as many women as I can. And to teach my daughter the importance of doing the same.

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Charisma

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Charisma

Charisma (pl. charismata

I’ve always loved learning the origin and history of words. I’m a nerd! I know it.

What I love about learning how words started, what they meant at the beginning, is how it often challenges the present use of the word. In present english, charisma is a word that we assign to a person or character that we revere; a person that has a certain compelling attractiveness or charm that inspires devotion and admiration. Most often, it’s a word that we attribute to a seemingly divine power or talent. I have used this word within this present definition for the entirety of my life! 

It wasn’t until I was reading a book regarding the markers of a healthy Christian church that I even stopped to think that this word, charisma, may have a history of different meaning. I’ve fallen into the habit lately of using words without forethought; without pausing to really consider if I am using the words I truly intend to say. Words, after all, are just words until we place them in a context that assigns them a tone and a definition. And I must admit that I am often guilty of placing otherwise innocent words within a negative context when it comes to communicating with the people I love most; Namely my husband. Anyone else?

Whether we want to admit it or not, words have power. The words we say, and the tone with which we say them, can either build someone up or tear them down. Words have the power to encourage growth or to inhibit it. And no matter how cliche it is; the tone and manner with which we use words often speaks louder than the words themselves.

Confession: This is the seemingly never ending struggle that I find myself in with my husband.

I never saw my husband coming. I was confident in the calling I believed was on my life: I was going to be single, serving in ministry as a speaker/teacher/mentor. I had finally reached a peace in my heart about not getting married (especially considering I was 25 and had never dated!), believing that the plan for my life was something bigger than I could ever imagine. I was so independent and so used to living my life unattached, that it took me about two hours to realize that my husband had asked me out on a date!

Fast forward to today…

Had someone, anyone, been honest enough with me to tell me then that marrying someone who loves in an entirely different love language than me was going to be the biggest challenge of my life…I may have never done it, and totally missed the blessings God had planned! You see, I love with gifts and quality time. So, buy me a coffee and sit with me chatting for an hour and my tank is full!

I married a words of affirmation and physical touch lover…  My weakest points.

Needless to say, I wake up every day and make the choice to fight for my marriage: to fight for my husband. It has taken me all five years (plus a few months!) of being married to get to the place in my marriage that I don’t beat myself up every day, because I’ve allowed the darkness to convince my heart that my husband loves me SO well and I am terrible at loving him back.

I even went through a season of questioning the “rightness” of my marriage altogether.

I learned in that season that the darkness really is very adept at twisting our reality to fit the narrative that has the greatest potential to defeat us; to push us away from the path of goodness we are struggling to walk on. It was a conversation with my amazing sister-in-law that shook me out of the dark and forced me to see the reality of my life: The reality that I was a new mom, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I was isolated as a result of losing my church family, I was battling a loneliness that I had never experienced before as a result of the decision to be a “stay-at-home-mom”, and I had stopped chasing after my dreams and my calling as the result of listening more often to the darkness than the light.

BUT SO WAS MY HUSBAND.

A new dad. Physically and emotionally exhausted. Isolated. Lonely. Listening to dark whispers devaluing his efforts to love and provide and support and parent.

As a result of that season, we were stuck in a cycle of absolute miscommunication, that led to lots of hurt feelings. Our words had power and our tone was too often confusing the intended definition of even the simplest of statements. Our marriage had become more about surviving the day with our baby than spending time really talking and dreaming and just being together; growing together toward a common purpose.

We had lost sight of our greatest charisma.

Learning the origin of this commonly used word reminded me this week of that season in my marriage, and also made me extremely thankful that my husband had the wisdom to force the much needed confrontation that has renewed our desire for, trust in and fight for each other and our marriage. My husband has the patience of a saint! Yet, even he can reach the point of frustration with my internal struggle to exert my independence, while at the same time surrendering in respect so that I can truly love him well.

I now understand that what we have been doing in this past season of renewal is reclaiming our charisma.

Charisma (charis, charismata), from Greek origin, was used in reference to spiritual things; more specifically spiritual gifts.

Charisma and charismata are used by the Apostle Paul in the scriptures explaining the Spiritual gifts that God, in his grace, gives to those who truly believe in salvation through his Son. The purpose of these gifts is to build up the church and to be an example of goodness, of righteousness. Therefore, when put into historical context:

CHARISMA is a GRACE GIFT.

Marriage is a charisma. (1 Corinthians 7:7) MY marriage is a grace gift, not only to me and my husband for the purpose of building up our house and our church, but to show others that they too can be built up and encouraged and chase after and receive goodness.

My prayer for you, no matter what kind of season you find yourself in, whether in marriage or in some other context of life, is that you will remember and reclaim your charisma! If you’re not a Christ follower and do not believe in such gifts being given by God, then I pray that you will make the decision (especially in your marriage relationship!) to chase after the love that you started with always! May we all reclaim our grace gifts in this new year, and may God be glorified all the more for it.

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New Years Redemption

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New Years Redemption

I have a chair.

It’s just a chair. An accent chair. A chair that didn’t cost much, isn’t worth much and is rarely required to actually perform the function for which it was built.

This chair usually sits to the side in my homes’ more formal living space. It’s a milky cream color with black scripted letters written in French. Its’ script pattern speaking to the parts of my heart that are drawn to writing and reading. The stamps pictured speaking to places I hope to someday travel to. The birds interwoven in the design reminding me that flight, exceeding boundaries, is possible for even the most average person as long as they keep dreaming.

This sweet chair is the first “splurge” piece that my husband and I ever purchased. I was pregnant; after almost two years of medical professionals questioning whether it was possible. We had experienced a season of financial blessing. So, we did what lots of adults do: We took advantage of a holiday furniture sale. (Boring, I know!) 

Little did I know that this chair, the chair that whispered to my hearts dreams every day, would end up being used to refresh and confirm the greatest lesson of my life.

A few days before Christmas, in the middle of preparing our sweet little house to host both sides of our crazy, wonderful family, this chair came face to face with my toddler. You see, I got so lost in the preparation that I somehow forgot that my beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong willed, quality time needing two-and-a-half year old daughter…is, in fact, only two-and-a-half. I forgot that, no matter how well she seems to be handling time on her own; too much time without her momma results in often irredeemable toddler behavior.

This time: My baby took a brown sharpie and three different colored highlighters, that she had to use some ingenuity to get ahold of, and made a masterpiece on the seat of my sweet chair.

I wish from the depths of my soul that I could say I handled the situation with grace and unconditional love… I did not. There was quite a bit of yelling, a lot of angry tears on my part, a lot of confused tears on her part and some relationship repair that needed to happen before I could bring myself to face my poor, sentimentally valued chair. 

After two days, three methods of cleaning and four times washing every white towel in the linen closet (16!)…my sweet chair still bears the marks of my beautiful baby’s masterpiece. Although most of the marks came out, no amount of cleaner and no amount of cleaning pressure can remove them entirely. I went to bed that second day defeated; praying that something magical would happen overnight.

When I faced the chair on that third day…two days before Christmas…no magic had happened. On the verge of frustrated tears, my entire body aware of the soreness in my muscles from two days bent over scrubbing the chair… That’s when I heard it. A whisper that seemed to come from deep within my soul.

Remember.

Remember…? Remember what?!

Redemption.

Redemption. The purpose of Christ. The means by which I have found my salvation. The thing that I am absolutely incapable of providing for myself. The reason for this holiday I have spent so much time and energy planning for my family.

Remember.

And that’s when it hit me. The chair…my chair…is me.

To redeem means “to buy back”, “to free from what distresses or harms”, “to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental”, “to free from the consequences of sin”, “to change for the better”, “to atone for an error”… No matter which definition you choose to assign, it is an action that you perform on behalf of another. None of the definitions for redeem allow for an action performed by you on behalf of yourself.

The chair was not able to protect itself against my daughters’ decision to harm it. It is also not able to redeem itself from the consequences of her actions. The chair cannot change itself for the better, it cannot free itself from the stains that it now bears and it certainly cannot atone for the egregious error it has fallen victim to.

The chair cannot redeem itself; nor can I redeem it. No matter how long or how hard I tried, no matter what tools I used, I was not able to redeem my sweet little chair. I am unable to save it.

That’s the lesson I needed to remember. My sweet little script chair now sits with a covering, a blanket, over its’ side to cover the stains. It sits reminding me of the two most undeniable truths at the foundation of everything I believe: There is nothing I can do to protect myself from the consequences of the human nature I was born into and there is nothing I will ever be able to do to redeem myself from it.

What I can do…what I have been forgetting to do in the midst of a hard year for my family…is to live redeemed. I allowed my circumstances in 2017 to shift my focus away from the fact that I have been redeemed, that I am free to live the dreams in my heart and that I can now live under a covering of grace and unconditional love. That is the assurance that my chosen faith affords me.

Thank God I have a chair!

I am excited to see what 2018 brings for me, my family and my business. I am thankful to every client that sat in my chair in 2017. It was an honor and a true privilege to serve you! I look forward to more opportunities to serve you this year; whether creating custom makeup applications for you or providing skin care and/or treatments. There are some amazing changes coming this year, and I cannot wait to share the upcoming journey with you! So, stayed tuned to find out how you can become a part of My Images’ story in 2018.

Praying you have a blessed and joyful new year!

 

 

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STOP Treating Your "Acne"!

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STOP Treating Your "Acne"!

We've all been there...

That time in our lives when our bodies decide to go crazy with hormone production at the same time our mom finally lets us buy our first real makeup. Then, because we're wearing makeup now, we go to the corner drug store and buy the pretty cleanser with sparkly beads in it because we saw it in a commercial that told us a famous actress uses it (she doesn't!). That moment we look in the mirror and, for the first time, we see little red or white or brown/black dots on our chin and/or forehead. And then...

MOOOOOOMMMM!!!! I have ACNE ALL OVER my FACE!!!!!!!!

Call the presses, post it on social media, search Google, CALL THE DOCTOR...do SOMETHING!!!!

And what is there for our poor moms to do than follow the tide of other moms and order us a popular skin care system specifically designed for people struggling with a real acne condition??

I'll tell you what: STOP TREATING YOUR "ACNE"!!!

Let me clear something up for you... Turning thirteen and getting your first cluster of pimples or blackheads DOES NOT mean that you need an acne system or treatment. Turning twenty-one and getting clusters of pimples on the sides of your mouth and chin DOES NOT mean that you need an acne system or treatment. And turning twenty-eight or thirty and starting to struggle with clusters of pimples popping up on your upper cheeks and between your eyes DOES NOT mean that you need an acne system or treatment.

In the past six years of my certification as a skin analyst, I have only encountered a handful of clients that truly had an acne condition. The beautiful young woman pictured above was one whose senior photo session was my greatest challenge to date as a makeup artist. She was my first client through a new partnership with a local photographer, and when I arrived at her home it took about two seconds for me to realize I was going to have to completely re-build the tone and texture of her face as a result of the damage the acne had done. She had started one of the most intense antibiotic treatments available, and I was challenged with not only smoothing the appearance of her skin, but also creating a layer of SPF protected product that would make it safe for her to be in the sun for the short duration of time she needed to be outside for the photo shoot.

I loved every minute of that appointment!! I also learned one of the best lessons regarding skin care and acne I could have learned at that point in my business: Breakouts and Acne are NOT the same thing. The longer I do this, the more I also learn that the way we treat breakouts as acne can actually cause damage to healthy cells and age the skin. Acne skin care systems and treatments are designed to dry out oil and kill bacteria, and using them for extended periods of time without having a diagnosed acne condition can do more harm than good. That's why most people that start using acne systems don't want to stop; because as soon as they do they experience breakouts and oily skin as their skin cells over-compensate for being too dry! 

SO- How can we know if the blemishes and pimples and bumps we panic about are really acne and not just a temporary breakout?

ACNE is an ongoing condition resulting from dead skin cells getting stuck in hair follicles already struggling with over-producing oil that causes a clog where bacteria can then breed and multiply at a rapid pace. It hasn't yet been determined what exactly causes this process to begin, but once it does it is hard to stop without the help of antibiotics. Acne is not an on again, off again occurrence. It's not a once every few weeks type of thing. It is an everyday battle against bacteria and oil production that always gets worse before it gets better. It is painful and leaves discoloration and scarring on the skin that can take years to correct and/or minimize the appearance of.

BREAKOUTS are an annoyance that cycle on and off again as a result of any number of factors; such as hormones, medications, diet, skin irritants and stress level. It is important to remember that our skin is an organ and part of it's job is to give an exit to toxins and bacteria that our body identifies as dangerous. In short: If our body can't figure out another way to process medicine, hormones, bacteria, viruses, histamines- it pushes it out through our skin.

So before you panic, rush to a self-diagnosis of acne and purchase an acne treatment system; there are quite a few things you can do to prevent breakouts from recurring and help determine whether or not an acne treatment is necessary.

1-  BEFORE you go out and spend money on all new skin care and acne products, try looking in your kitchen pantry and supplements cabinet. There are two natural substances that can help your body get rid of toxins and kill bacteria stuck in the hair follicle: Turmeric and Coconut Oil. You can find a turmeric supplement at your local health food store; it usually comes in a gel cap. Turmeric is a spice used in cooking things like curry, but it is well known for its' de-toxing properties. If you can handle two-four weeks of breaking out (often in more areas than your face), then you will set yourself up to maintain healthy skin, and also better digestion and hormone balance. Coconut oil...one of my all-time favorite natural substances...i use it for EVERYTHING!!! Most women think that if they put an oil on their skin, they will then develop oily skin. NOT TRUE! Coconut Oil has microbial properties that kill bad bacteria. Now, I am not saying to put it on and fall asleep or put makeup on top of it and go about your day! And I am not saying to just grab any kind of coconut oil off the shelf and slather it on. It needs to be a cold expeller pressed, organic coconut oil (found in any grocery store) and you apply it to your skin for no more than an hour before washing it off with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Doing this every night for one-two weeks will yield softer, more supple, clearer skin. It's amazing!

2-  Evaluate your diet. Most women don't realize that their diet is VERY involved in the body's ability to balance hormone production and regulate healthy digestion. An unhealthy gut affects every system in the body! Especially the skin and its' ability to maintain a healthy pH balance and proper oil production. SO- try eating clean for a few weeks! Or forever!! Eliminating processed, pre-prepared, and fast foods will work wonders for your skin and work toward helping your gut maintain a healthier balance.

3-  Avoid irritants and be careful of what touches your skin. The order in which you get ready for your day matters! If you use hair products, body lotions, cheap makeup, a cell phone, hats or headbands, or even just have a bad habit of touching your face throughout the day...you need to be preparing your skin properly and creating a barrier between your skin and its' environment! SO- get a three-part skin care system and use it before you start using things that can irritate and add bacteria to the surface of your skin.

4-  Stop squeezing your pimples, blackheads and nodules!!! Your skin is an amazing organ and has the ability to expel bacteria and toxins on its' own. Squeezing your skin to cause it to "pop" and release the plugged hair follicle damages cells and spreads bacteria. It also causes scarring and discoloration. I know that it's the hardest thing in the world to just let a pimple exist on your face like a target! It really is the best way to deal with them. Splurge on high quality skin care and allow it to do it's job!

5-  Finally: Use skin care products and makeup that are oil free. No sense in adding oil to skin that is struggling to balance its' oil production! It just lengthens the time it takes your breakout to resolve.

If after trying these suggestions your breakout does not resolve or continues to get worse, make an appointment with a skin analyst or dermatologist to get a diagnosis and talk about the best course of treatment for your skin. Do not try to guess and obtain treatment on your own! Making treatment decisions without a consultation is a risk that is not worth taking. A skin analyst or dermatologist will be able to evaluate your condition, taking into account external factors, and recommend a treatment that will give you positive results.

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How to Achieve Skin Care Success

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How to Achieve Skin Care Success

I have learned in the past six years that there are three types of women when it comes to caring for their skin: 1- The woman that takes her makeup off with remover and splashes water over her face in the shower (this was me!), 2- The woman that uses the same soap on her face as on the rest of her body, and 3- The woman that has a drawer full of jars and tubes of every kind of cream and serum that is supposed to "fix" their self-diagnosed skin issue. The underlying problem with each of these approaches is the same:  A simple lack of knowledge.

The role of science in the development of skin care has come so far and provided so much information that we can now create products that far surpass the bar of Dove soap that our grandma's used to use. Now, I don't know about you, but I want something strong to clean all of my special places... However, I don't want to use the same soaps on my face as I do all of those other places. Mostly because I pray that my face is never dirty enough to need such harsh cleansing! 

The skin on our face has a different make up than the skin on the rest of our body. It doesn't have the job of protecting nearly as many vital organs, muscles and bones, so it does not need to be as tough or as thick and strong. It is softer, thinner and more fragile and requires a different kind of care. Science has taught us that damage to facial skin begins at the age of TEN. So, on average, that means that we have at least four years of damage to work through by the time we hit an age that we are even interested in or find ourselves in need of skin care products. It's crazy to think about!

So- What is the best way to care for your face? How can you know that the products you're using will work? How do you avoid having a drawer full of tried products and makeup that will not render you successful in your skin care endeavor?

I'm so glad you asked!

FIRST, YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR SKIN TYPE DETERMINED BY A CERTIFIED SKIN ANALYST. Now, you have two options with this one: You can find a spa or dermatologists office that has an esthetician on staff and pay anywhere from $100-$200, OR you can find a certified skin analyst like those here at My Image that will do a skin scan for a fraction of the cost. It's up to you! Either way, this step is extremely important to choosing the correct type of products. Knowing your skin type (dry, combination-normal, oily) will determine whether or not you will experience success with a skin care regimen. It is important to note here that a skin scan is NOT a medical test and does not have the ability to diagnose skin conditions.

SECOND, YOU NEED TO HAVE ANY POTENTIAL SKIN CONDITIONS DIAGNOSED BY A DERMATOLOGIST. Unbeknownst to many, your skin type and skin conditions are not the same things. Skin conditions are caused by either environmental or genetic factors: i.e. acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, etc. This is one of the greatest benefits to having a skin scan done! The certified analyst or esthetician will be able to refer you to a dermatologist if they see something concerning once you're under the UVA light scan. Knowing if you have a skin condition will help in the process of choosing the healthiest type of products for your specific skin type and condition. Whereas, taking a guess when you notice something on your skin because you googled a photo can lead to damaged skin cells, adverse reactions and additions to your skin care grave yard drawer! 

THIRD, YOU NEED TO OUTLINE AND FOLLOW A SKIN CARE REGIMEN RECOMMENDED BY A CERTIFIED SKIN ANALYST (or esthetician if you'd rather pay for that!). The best benefit to going through steps one and two (if necessary) is having your skin care routine customized for you by someone that knows the types of products that best cater to your specific skin type and condition, if you have one. And when I say routine, I mean a 3-step minimum routine including a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. Treatment products are amazing, but not always a necessary fourth step to get started!

Taking the guess work out of choosing products will help ensure your skin care success! When you work with someone that knows what they're talking about and how best to help you, you will save money and stop wasting time. This process will also give you the opportunity to talk about makeup products that will work best with your skin type/condition. Believe it or not: All makeup is NOT the same and there are types of makeup that are designed to work better with one skin type than another. But that is a topic for another blog post!

Hopefully this is helpful! If you have questions, we would love to answer them! Just leave them in the comments section below or contact us. We would love to help you begin a journey to healthier, successful skin care! 

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Unique Motherhood

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Unique Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day!

To every experienced mom, first time mom, new mom, step mom, future mom...every mom struggling through a period of infertility...every mom grieving today over the loss of their beautiful child/children...every foster mom, adoptive mom and substitute mom:

TODAY IS FOR YOU. And I am celebrating you.

I am also celebrating the birth of my beautiful baby girl today. I cannot believe that she's already ONE!! Motherhood is exciting and totally overwhelming. This past year has been wonderful and awful and fun and challenging... It's been a year full of contradicting emotions and experiences. It's been a year of discovering my own unique motherhood. A year that I wasn't sure I would have.

I think the look on my face in the photo above says it all... The moment that the nurse hands you your beautiful baby, the emotion that rushes in is absolutely indescribable. It's like every nerve in your entire body is suddenly awake at the same time and your brain can't process it all. The only thing that you can think in that moment is that your life has been forever changed. And then for some of us: We can't help but remember the fight that got us to that moment.

My passion for moms started when I began my struggle with fertility. Several months into the journey of trying to get pregnant, I started experiencing a myriad of medical issues that no one seemed to be able to solve. After almost two years of dealing with unexplained symptoms, numerous tests and dietary changes, my husband and I were referred to a fertility specialist. We went through all of the initial appointments and preliminary tests, praying the entire time that God would intervene. I do not like doctors OR needles; so, the thought of enduring weeks, maybe months of appointments and shots was terrifying.

I admire the moms that are able to go through all of that! God knew that I probably wouldn't have made it... The week that I should've started the craziness involved with all of the fertility testing, my husband and I got the answer to months of desperate prayer. Our miracle was on its' way: We were pregnant.

It was a journey I will never forget with a conclusion I will always be thankful for! And it taught me an incredibly valuable lesson: 

Every journey to motherhood is unique.

I have had the privilege of serving many moms of all types in my chair over the past six years. It has been an honor to listen to all of their motherhood journeys; the good and bad experiences, the struggles, the crazy stories about their imaginative children, the pain of a stepmom dealing with ridicule over and accusations of not being a "real mom", the expressions of emotion as they're preparing to give their daughters to a man they pray will take care of her...

Moms are my favorite! 

So, whether your journey involved giving birth to a baby or the choice to unconditionally love a child birthed by another woman: YOU ARE A MOM and YOU HAVE A UNIQUE MOTHERHOOD. 

And while I celebrate my baby girls' first birthday...I am also celebrating you and hoping for the privilege of hearing your story someday.

Happy Mother's Day!

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The Reason for the Chair

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The Reason for the Chair

I have had the privilege of having women of all different ages, nationalities, sizes, shapes, and life experiences sit in my chair. I have known the joy of executing countless makeup applications and facial treatments for these beautiful women in my chair. I have shared stories, listened to stories and created stories with the women that have been brave enough to sit in my chair.

That's right... BRAVE ENOUGH.

If there is one thing that I have learned in the past six years, it's this: VULNERABILITY is exposed in my chair. 

I have yet to encounter a woman, no matter their age, that is entirely comfortable when they sit down in my chair. The only pre-requisite for sitting in my chair is a clean face: No makeup allowed. Now, for a precious few women, that requirement is not a big deal. However, for most women, it requires a courage they don't know they possess until it becomes necessary to use it.

THAT is the reason for my chair.

When a woman trusts me enough to allow her vulnerability to be exposed, I believe it is my calling to ensure that her courage is not wasted. It is my responsibility to make sure that she feels brave and confident when she leaves my chair: That she not only feels beautiful, but knows that she is. Not because she is wearing makeup or endured a skin care treatment, but because she conquered her vulnerability while sitting in my chair.

This blog is my tribute to the bravery, the courage, of the women who have and will expose their vulnerability in my chair. This is where I will teach, tell stories to and share photos with women who are traversing their own vulnerability in an effort to discover their own strong, beautiful courage.

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