The Face of Beauty: Mothers-in-Law

Mothers-in-law too often get a bad rap.

So today, here at Beauty Minute, it’s Mothers-in-Law Day. A day to celebrate the beauty of mothers-in-law and to give them some much deserved honor.

Happy Mothers-in-Law Day!

Here’s my tribute to my mother-in-law. . .

I first met her on August 7, 1988, her 66th birthday, a few weeks after her son and I had started dating. I was understandably nervous about meeting the mother of my new boyfriend and didn’t know the proper way to address the birthday card I’d picked out to give her.

Should I put her first name? Mrs.? What do you call the mother of your new boyfriend?

He told me to just write “MOM” and to not worry about it. Although that sounded way too presumptuous, I did it.

In our first moments of greeting I nervously handed her my card–only I handed it to her upside down. She roared with laughter as she read it and sang out in a loud voice, “WOW!”

I was mortified! Was she mocking me? I wanted to shrivel into a corner and hide. Then she turned to me, took me in her arms, and greeted me with such genuine acceptance and joy I was overwhelmed!

From that day on she was never Mom, but always WOW!

If she was WOW, I was wallpaper. I did everything to try to fade into the background. I tried not to be noticed—not to attract any attention.

She wore gold shoes, drove a bright red car, wore neon green and pink (often together) and had a voice to match! When going about town to do errands I spoke to no one. When out in public with her I would secretly pray she would not talk to people.

I was embarrassed. She spoke to everyone, asking personal questions, giving advice, and teasing total strangers! It seemed she didn’t care how much attention she drew to herself.

She even called the newspaper when a tree blew down in her backyard just to get her picture on the front page with her new granddaughter!

I tried to be invisible when I was with her, but wherever we went people knew her. I was noticed because I was with her.

It was uncomfortable.

As the years went by I slowly began to have a deep respect for her fearless approach to people. She had suffered many hardships in her life. Her family had lost their farm in the Great Depression. Two beloved sisters passed at young ages, then her husband died three months after their son (my husband) was born. This forced her to be a single working mother in the late 50’s and through the 60’s–an unusual role for a woman in those days.

She could have become bitter, sad and withdrawn, but she chose instead to enjoy life and enjoy people. She had no fear of rejection—she didn’t even understand the concept. To her it was inconceivable that people should be afraid of one another.

I was, on the other hand, bound by fear of people, and her presence in my life made it very obvious. Over time, I began to loosen up a little, but unfortunately, it wasn’t until she became terminally ill that I realized what a valuable influence she was on my life.

I spoke with her candidly one day in the Hospice unit and told her I was sorry I had been embarrassed by how outgoing she was. I admitted I was basically afraid of people to which she replied, “I know, and I could never understand that.” I told her I wanted to be less afraid and more like her. She seemed pleased and patted my hand…

Soon after, she went to be with the Lord—an event she looked forward to with great anticipation, and the Lord gave me the honor of being with her as she took her last breath and moved her lips as if to speak…”Wow!”

She may be gone, but the influence of her presence in my life is not.

my red shoesI was wallpaper when I met her, yet now, on occasion, I wear a bright, bold color, and I even own a large collection of red shoes! (She would be so proud.)

Her presence in my life revealed a bondage of fear in me and gave me a building block to a freer future. I will never be a WOW; she was the one and only WOW. But I pray I may continue to be touched and influenced by her example and may the Lord set me free, as she was free!

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)

Linda Crawford

May today be a happy and beautiful Mothers-in-Law Day!

 

 

More Faces of Beauty:

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Lygon Stevens

Lygon Stevens

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Writing in the White Space: Astonished by His Grace

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 ESV

Astonished by His Grace

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God. . . Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. Romans 11:33, 36 MSG

Cathee“This is the piece I wrote after spending the night for the first time at my daughter’s home.

I placed her for adoption when she was born, so sleeping in a bed that she made up for me had a real impact.”

Cathee Poulsen is the author of Thresholds & Passages and Quiet Places, books that lead to a peaceful rhythm of worship, work, rest, solitude and community.  She’s a word-stringer by profession and obsession, hopelessly devoted to Jesus and Bob and recognized in public places by her laugh. You can follow her on Twitter @CatheePoulsen or at her website http://catheepoulsen.com

Writing in the White Space “is a canvas to be painted, a sky with endless possibilities for combinations of light and dark to streak across it . . . art waiting to happen.”

White space is where creativity can breathe and come to life within us.

We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.

More Writing in the White Space:

Vytvoreni

Vytvoreni

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Six Minute Sabbath: Everything is Possible

Everything is possible

Mountains to climb, storms to endure, raging rivers to cross.
Famine and fear, battles and brokenness.
In His HandBe still and know.
He is God.
All things are possible.

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

You are beautiful

You are beautiful

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

To Create

To Create

Beauty from Brokenness: Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. Psalm 18:20 MSG

El AnatsuiWhat do you do when a piece of art immediately makes you cry?

You listen.

Because, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, art has the ability to:

“speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement.”

El AnatsuiEl AnatsuiThese pieces of art by the Nigerian artist El Anatsui are made from discarded liquor bottle caps. On a walk one day he came across a trash bag of these caps, brought them back to his art studio, and began to create art tapestries by linking them together with copper wire.

But the art is more than art to El Anatsui:

El Anatsui“I have a feeling of the presence of layers of people, right from the people who make the drink, the people who drank them, my associates and myself.”

He also feels a connection between Europe,  Africa and the Americas . . . because alcohol was an item traded for human slaves.

The destructive effects of alcohol have fueled abuse of many humans all over the world, destroyed many a family, and left many discarded hearts with sorrows, wounds, and lingering regret.

I stood in front of the first piece of art and cried, for how alcohol has created brokenness in my own world.  As I moved to listen to other pieces, I cried for how alcohol continues to create brokenness in our world.

Just this morning I read a news article of a teenage girl who drank too much at a party, and in a semi-conscious state was stripped naked and abused by two drunk teen boys. Nobody at the party stopped it.

Brokenness.

I wonder, if she could see this piece of art, would she see the small piece of it that is the story of her life–rewoven into a tapestry of hope, beauty and new life?

Would she, could she, see how much more the divine artist–THE creator, God–can take the pieces of brokenness in all our lives and weave them into a tapestry of such beauty?

I cry more. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is a small glimpse of the beauty of heaven . . . where all brokenness is redeemed, all the stories of our lives are joined, and every discarded remnant of pain turns to joy.

Where we become beauty from brokenness.

I pray you hear the hope in this art today–the hope for the beauty that can be wrought from the broken pieces of your life and mine.

Linda Crawford

Linda Crawford

The art of El Anatsui is currently on exhibit at:

The Brooklyn Museum through August 4, 2013

The University of Michigan Museum of Art through May 5, 2013

Meet El Anatsui and see more of his art on this short video:

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

The Becoming of an Artist

Photo: The Banner

You planted a flag to rally your people, an unfurled flag to look to for courage. Psalm 60:4 MSG

balcony bannerThis picture from Wednesday night of this week inspired a question that turned into one of the most beautiful and meaningful beauty moments of my week. I shared the conversation below on Facebook, and it seemed to inspire others as well.

So I’ll share the beauty with you. May it bless you as it has me.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

bannerQuestion to hubby: “What’s the meaning of the banner they hang over the balcony before the pope appears?”

Hubby: “Flags were invented because from a distance you can’t see where your commander is in battle. They mark his presence.”

Holy Spirit:

“My banner over you is LOVE.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Are you in a battle today?

Linda CrawfordLook for the colors of God’s flag!

Praying for those of you in the midst of a battle. 🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

 

More Photos:

The Tree

Focus

The Kingdom's Perfumery

Anything Can Happen: The Beauty of Bacon . . . and Cats

On your feet now — applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Psalm 100:1-2 MSG

catCats and bacon have been invading my Facebook timeline.

Yes, this is dog

And a few dogs . . .

When my husband and daughter couldn’t stop laughing over “yes, this is dog,” a few weeks ago I finally asked, “whats a meem?”

More laughter.

Now you know why I still don’t twitter and have trouble operating the remote control for the space command media center in our basement.

Just in case there is one other person in the world who hasn’t heard of  “memes,” let me help you. A meme is defined as an idea or thought (image, joke, quote, symbol) that spreads from person to person (goes viral) and becomes popular.

Why does the joke, image, thought, or idea go viral?  Nobody’s been able to answer that question for me yet.

I’ve noticed that images of cats and bacon–anything bacon–have become particular obsessions for memologists, or meminators, or memaholocs . . . whatever they call themselves.

Bacon statsSo I had bacon on the brain last week when I went to a group of serious writers and asked for contributions for Anything Can Happen Thursday. Here’s how I explained it:

“This is an open day for anything…humor, maybe a bowl of ice cream, why you love bacon, some music, a painting of your cat…”

Here’s what one brave writer submitted:

Bacon poem 2

Mick Silva, a poem with a cat and bacon deserves its very own meme.  🙂

displeased scottish fold red cat on window portrait

Praying for the beauty of bacon and cats, smiles and laughter, to color your life beautiful today.

Linda Crawford

Are you a writer? In addition to being a amazing poet, 🙂 Mick is an amazing writing coach and shares an inspiring Monday Motivation for writers every week free at Your Writers Group.

More Anything Can Happen posts:

Bad Hair Day?

In His Hand

Genius

The Face of Beauty: Me

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Linda Crawford

For far too many years I could not call myself beautiful.

Today I’m going to say it publicly for the first time.

I am beautiful.

Because God says so, and has since the time I was fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my mother’s womb.

Since my birthday.

Which just happens to be today.

This year, unlike past years, I really want to celebrate it.

I want to embrace the gift of joy, give thanks for the beauty of God, count my blessings, and celebrate LIFE.

I want to put on a silly birthday hat, blow a noisemaker, and let the world hear me sing of what Jesus has done for me:

I once was lost . . . now I’m found.

I believed I was worthless . . . now I’ve found my worth in Him.

I looked for love in all the wrong places . . . now I’ve been found by His love.

I hid in darkness and shame . . . now I shine in THE light.

I spoke harsh words against myself . . . now I listen to His words of worthiness.

I suffered my pains alone . . . now I am healed by THE Healer.

I truly was blind . . . now I see.

I really see.

What Jesus has done for me.

Beauty for ashes, a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness . . .

I was a captive–now set free!

In celebration of my birthday I’m sharing my story of finding Beauty in the Dark at Internet Cafe Devotions. Click here to read.

I hope you’ll join in the party.

Here’s a party hat–let’s celebrate all that Jesus has done!party hat

It truly is a very, very Happy Birthday for me.  🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

More Faces of Beauty:

Pope Benedict XVI

Amanda

Lygon Stevens

Writing in the White Space: Margins

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatnessPsalm 145:3 MSG

Margins.

The outside limits. The white space beyond the words. The boundary lines of life, the edges of the impossible.margins

I live here. In the margins, between the margins, and sometimes beyond them.

I write notes in the margins of my Bible. Scribble comments in the margins of a favorite book. Doodle in the margins when I’m bored.

There’s room to play here, in the white space of life, yet I’m constrained by the boundaries of the margins.

I know if I stray off the page, go over the edge, color outside the frame–I’ll mess up the furniture…and perhaps my life.

There are a lot of words inside the margins in my life.

“Friends” share many (too many?) words inside the margins of the white and blue “book.” They make me laugh, sigh, grit my teeth, and occasionally cry. But even the white space inside the margins feels full and noisy. I occasionally jump into the frenetic jump-rope game long enough to recite a few words, then jump out again to spectate…and wonder if anybody even noticed I played the game.

It’s too crowded there to play…or breathe.

But the margins of my writing pad are all mine. The margins in my Bible are all mine. And it’s here, exploring, studying and playing in the margins of His words and mine, I discover the healing joy, the love, and the life of the white spaces of my life.

Bible marginsI see the beautiful in the margins of life here, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

I am hemmed in by His presence, and freed to live beyond the margins of my human circumstances and emotions.

His words are illuminated by a light from within. The margins become a place to digest them, to breathe, rest, play, and become.

I ‘m safe here, living within and beyond the margins with Christ…and

I no longer fear the emptiness…or the edge.

LindaLinda Crawford

This devotion was shared at Internet Cafe Devotions and Coloring Life Beautiful, and was inspired by Ruminate Magazine

 


More writings in the white space:

The Colors of Faith

Vytvoreni

Vytvoreni

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Cold

©2013 Linda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: You Are Beautiful

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

There were days past when I would criticize every little thing about myself.

My nose was too big, my freckles too many, my clothes too frumpy, my voice too soft.

Nothing I did ever seemed to be good enough . . . for me.

I never felt beautiful.

I constantly bemoaned my imperfections, until the day my husband stopped me, looked me in the eyes and said . . .

“Who are you to curse what God has deemed beautiful?”

Ouch.

I realized God knew far better than I did what was beautiful . . . and He said I was.

Beautiful.

And so are you. 🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

 

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Love is

Love is

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

Beauty from Brokenness: Recycled Orchestra

Instruments from trash
“Despite living in dire circumstances, if a person has initiative and is creative, even trash can become an educational tool that could change someone’s life and the lives of others.”

An kid’s orchestra in a landfill. Cellos made from oil cans, saxophones from spoons, violins from metal pans. 

Inspiring. Beautiful. Wonderful. Amazing.We send back music

And challenging.

Imagine what we could do if we transformed the trash in our own lives to art and music.

Imagine what you could do . . .

 

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

 

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

The Life Quilt

The Life Quilt