Tag Archives: beauty

Beautiful Things

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This is something I found a while ago, and I’ve just been saving it for a rainy day.  I am just winding down the second of two intense weeks at work.  It’s nice to breath and watch a few minutes of creativity.  This makes me think of several of my students who are doodlers like I was when I was a teenager.  I wish I could give this song to each of them.  {Hearts to you kids!}

Um, Thanks… I think.

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Last week I went to a graduation where I saw several Costa Rican friends that I hadn’t seen in a few months.  One friend dramatically exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!  Have you lost weight?  You look so good.  The last time I saw you, you were much fatter!”  Um, thanks… I think.

This is one cultural difference that I have yet to get comfortable with.  In Latin America, a physical description of a person’s body is just that… a physical description of a person’s body.  This is in contrast with American culture where a physical description of one’s body can be the same as a judgement of character, a determination of worth, or an obvious truth which must be carefully danced around to avoid being “politically incorrect”.  It is a touchy subject, a taboo.

tug-of-warIn America, a person is very much judged on their presentation.  If someone looks professional they are treated differently than if they dress like a student.  However, we are proud of our individuality and religiously defend our right to express ourselves through our appearance.  These two features of our society pull at women like a child playing with silly putty.  Women feel a strong pull in the one direction to live up to a particular standard of beauty and another pull in the other direction to be a unique individual.  It’s a difficult balancing act.

In Costa Rica, I have observed that women are proud of their curves.  It does not matter what your body shape, every woman can dress sexy if she wants to.  I feel none of the body consciousness that I feel in America.  I actually don’t feel like I look all that bad compared with other women.  But in America, the pressure to be something you aren’t is intense and unrelenting.  It’s nice to be in a place where the female body is accepted and even celebrated in all it’s shapes and variety.

In Costa Rica, it does not matter how much money you have.  Every woman can dress professionally if she wants to.  I remember when we first arrived here we would drive through very poor neighborhoods with dilapidated shacks as houses.  I watched in awe as the doors would open and professional looking business men and women would emerge to start their work day with a walk to the bus stop.  Clearly these people took a lot of effort to rise above their circumstances and try to make something better of themselves.  I was impressed.

Here, people dress how they want to dress, and speak frankly about their bodies.   I really do find their disregard for political trip-wires to be quite refreshing.  People say what they want to say and no one takes offense.

fatmouse_lPeople refer to each other by their ethnicity, skin color, physical features and eating habits.  Within one family you could have the nicknames Chino (for someone who looks Asian), Negr0/a (for a family member with darker skin), Gordo/a (for a chubby loved one), or Chancho (piggy).  And the Costa Ricans love to add “-ito” or “-ita” which is the diminutive for adjectives making Gordita into a term of endearment.  So one might call their wife “my little fatty” like we would call a baby a “butterball”.

The honesty can be refreshing… until someone calls ME a little fatty.  Then I don’t like it at all.  I really never know how to respond when someone comments on my weight so directly.  I usually just smile and say “Thank You”.  I know they mean no malice.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/people/71164184@N00″>Sumith Meher</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-SA</a>

Photo credit: <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Bigplankton”>Bigplankton</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/”>Public Domain Mark 1.0</a>

Beautiful Surrender

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It’s late at night and I’m thinking deep thoughts.

I’m thinking that Surrender is not always a bad thing.  Think of surrendering to the contagious laughter of a friend.  Think of surrendering to the pure ecstasy and joy of holding your first child for the first time.  Think of surrendering to the first stomach dropping scream of a fantastic roller coaster.  Think of surrendering to your destiny, your purpose in life.  Think of surrendering to a peaceful sleep at the end of a long day.  Think of surrendering to love and all that that means.

When you surrender to the HOLY love of God, you have nothing to fear in that kind of surrender.  The rags of your life that you turn over to God are exchanged for perfection and beauty.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You let go of a life that does not satisfy you, a well that turns out to be empty.  And in exchange you receive the deepest satisfaction, a fountain that flows cool and refreshing.

The drowning death of baptism is the ultimate surrender of the old me to the new life of Christ in me.  And it is beautiful.

Here before your altar I am letting go of all I’ve held, of every motive, every burden, everything that’s of myself.  I just want to wait on you my God.  I just want to dwell on who you are.  Beautiful, beautiful oh I am lost for more to say.  Beautiful!  Beautiful, oh Lord, you’re beautiful to me!…

Here in your presence I am not afraid of brokenness to wash your feet with humble tears.  Oh, I would be poured out till nothing’s left.  And I just want to wait on you my God, I just want to dwell on who you are.  Beautiful, beautiful oh I am lost for more to say.  Beautiful! Beautiful oh Lord, you’re beautiful to me…”  (Beautiful, by Gateway Worship)

I will surrender myself to that kind of Holy beauty.  It might tear me apart with it’s fierceness, but I’m not afraid.  I’ll let it consume me.

Like Mary who broke her Alabaster Jar of perfume to annoint the feet of Jesus- once the breaking happens, there’s no going back.  There’s no putting that jar back together again.  It’s an all or nothing commitment.  I am not afraid of being broken if I’m to be broken for Jesus.  I am not afraid of being poured out at his feet.  That is my surrender.  And it is a beautiful surrender worthy of a beautiful God.

EARTH without ART is just EH

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I had lunch with a missionary friend of mine the other day.  She talked about her deep desire to just be a normal woman, a mom and wife with few responsibilities outside her home.  She said she envied her sister who is not a missionary and does not have to write newsletters to supporters.  She day dreamed about taking art classes and expanding her new veggie garden.  She longed for her childhood days on the family farm where they worked just to survive without a thought as to how their lives appeared to others.

She said, “I just want to care for my family and to fill the world with beauty.  Is that enough?”

I smiled.  I’m pretty sure that’s one of the main purposes why God made women to love beauty.  God is the Creator of all things beautiful.  He’s the Artist.  I too am an artist.  Speaking as an artist, I like it when people are inspired and moved by what I make.  I think God likes that too.  He likes it when we are inspired and moved by what he makes.  God made Woman and she was exceedingly beautiful.  Man was moved by her beauty.  Woman looked around her and saw the exceeding beauty of Nature.  Woman was inspired by Nature’s beauty to create more beauty through her Art.  It’s a layering effect of appreciating beauty which brings glory and pleasure to the Great Artist.  It’s a reflecting of the very nature of God within us.

As an artist, there is something in my soul that comes alive only when I am creating.  I feel like it’s an extravagant element in my personality.  Creating art doesn’t actually DO anything in the grand scheme of life.  It’s not particularly productive or practical (that’s the other side of my nature at war with my artistic side).  But Art reveals something about us spiritually and enhances our relation to God.  I relate to God on a deeper level when art is part of the equation, because my Creator made me this way.  I think he wanted there to be some people who can appreciate the beauty he creates.  These people are just extravagant touches to his Grand Masterpiece.  When I appreciate beauty, it brings glory to God and that pleases him.

So is it enough to just want to fill the world with beauty?  Maybe, because it brings Glory to God and mirrors his character in us as we long to create beauty as well.  Maybe for now, that is enough, my friend.

http://www.deshow.net/cartoon/fantasy-art-painting-566.html

here’s the website to this artist’s page. Josephine Wall. http://www.deshow.net/cartoon/fantasy-art-painting-566.html