Heroines Abound

In 1959, an ingenuitive mom in California created a doll for her daughter to play with, and it rocked the nation. Barbies are now found in most homes of little girls, and their tiny high-heeled shoes are the bane of many a barefoot parent’s existence (allegedly only rivaled by legos). According to the Mattel website, Barbie has taken on 180 careers, “inspiring girls everywhere to be anything.”

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Be of Good (En)courage(ment)

The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and fans are getting antsy. Snacks will be prepared, faces will be painted, and chaos will most definitely ensue. As you dust off your best game day recipes, here’s something to ponder: what if you cheered on the people—all of the people—God has put in your life like you cheer for your favorite team? What if you let that level of intensity funnel into encouraging those around you?

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Spirit of Heaviness

You groan: it’s way too early to be awake, and it feels like someone is sitting on your chest. Or you walk into work and avoid eye contact because, all things considered, you just can’t muster the emotional energy to do more than keep your head above water lately. Slumped shoulders. Shallow breaths. Constricted vision (maybe physically, but definitely spiritually). Foggy feelings of “something’s not right.” Defeat follows you like a slug’s shiny trail, and has someone dangled weights from a rope around your neck?! The more you consider, the more you panic.

Peace.

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When the Bubbles Pop

Bubbles are oddly fascinating to me. Iridescent, perfect, and more fragile than seems possible. No matter how ugly life gets, they float effortlessly with ease and beauty. In case you didn’t know it, today is National Hugging Day. And also in case you didn’t know it, I’m not naturally a hugger. One of my favorite things about moving to New England was the assumption that everyone’s personal bubble would be as hefty as my own (and let me tell you, it’s hard to live in the South with a bubble like that—hugs lurked around every corner).

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The Fairest of Them All

Lights flash and the crowd cheers as a once-frumpy mom prances onto the stage, hair gorgeous, makeup perfect, and clothes flattering and feminine. As petty as it may sound, I honestly love these moments. The newfound confidence just emanates from a creature who finally feels as pretty as she is.

Growing up in the church, I heard quite the assortment of beauty stances, each with its own set of verses backing it up. Some advocate no makeup at all, while others urge paying attention to every little detail. Peter and Paul seem to prefer ladies wearing potato sacks, but the godly couple in Song of Songs are major fans of pleasing aesthetics. Then add the sultry tips from the adulterous woman in Proverbs, the year-long beauty treatments Esther “endured,” and the bit about how looks are fleeting; talk about confusing!

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Orphans No More

Some of my favorite people are orphans. And of course they’re fictional characters. Anne Shirley, Harry Potter, Amy Pond, Frodo Baggins, Christine Daae, Dorothy Gale, Quasimodo, Lilo… throw in the functional orphans (hello, Eliza, Pippi, and Huck!), and you’ve got quite the crew ready to take on the world.

When I was little, the four siblings fending for themselves in an abandoned boxcar seemed so free, so romantic. No one made them eat their broccoli or go to bed while it was still light outside or wear horrible frilly socks to church. Lucky. They didn’t know how good they had it, cooling their milk in the stream and cleverly solving mysteries whenever they wanted to!

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Home

Have you ever had a theme song for a particular season of life, an anthem that if you were quiet enough, you could almost hear spinning through the air? For the entire first year we lived in New England, mine was Home by Phillip Phillips. Nothing too flashy or deep; it just caught at me and carried me along. As a native Okie, being transplanted to the frigid Northeast was quite a shock to the system. My family, my friends, my comfort zone all stayed snugly put in the heartland while I journeyed far away. I did a lot of thinking about home during that time—what does it mean, where can we find it, why does it matter, things like that. Here’s what I learned (then and since):

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Taming Your Wild Heart

I set out to title this post “Cultivating a Quiet Heart,” but the picture I found was too perfect to not use. The power, the emotion, the effect: all work together to portray exactly what it looks like to settle yourself down into an attitude of calm when everything inside screams for action, for noise, for running wild with itself in forgetfulness.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

(1 Peter 3:4)

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