Monthly Archives: February 2013

some tips for red lips

I have gotten several requests for this post lately. So… here you go! Sorry guys. Come back on Thursday.
It may scare you. Intimidate you. Would you be brave enough to leave the house with it? Can you pull it off. Yes. You can. Red lipstick is your friend. The benefits of a berry pucker is huge.
Red lips make you look classic. The pop of color on your face gives the illusion of being well rested. As a mom I use this trick alot. But my favorite thing is that red lipstick makes even a pair of jeans and a simple T-shirt look like a chic outfit. It is a 30 second thing that creates a very big impact look.  I have two small kids. Not a lot of time to get ready. Honestly I do my hair & make up in ten minutes total.
On a day when I need an extra punch I put on red lips. I feel confident & polished. Its amazing what it does for your mood. I always get compliments when I wear it. Following the compliment most women then say:
” I wish I could wear red. But I can’t “
I am here to say that you can. You just have to get the right shade and right formula. So, here is my very practical lesson of the day. Some tips for red lips:
  • Create the perfect canvas for a red mouth by keeping the rest of your makeup smooth & simple. Mascara, concealer and some foundation. Maybe a hint of subtle blush if you are older and or don’t have much natural flush. But keep color minimal.
  • Exfoliate your lips. (You should be doing it anyway). Get a toothbrush wet and lightly brush it over your lips. Now you have a smooth surface.
  • Dab a lip balm on your lips to keep them looking soft under your color.
  • Use a neutral lip pencil that matches the shade of your natural lip, not the lipstick.
  • Choose the right shade. Red lipstick varies from coral to burgundy.
    • If you have cool undertones look for blue-based reds. Think crimson or a pinkish coral.
    • If you have warm undertones look for reds with a bit of orange in them. Classic fire engine red or coral.
    • Deep complexions can wear rich shades like burgundy and dark berry.
    • If you don’t know what your complexion is look at the veins on the underside of your wrist. If they are blue then you have a cool complexion. If they are green then you are warm.
  • Pick your formula. You can go for a classic, retro matte red. Or opt for a sheer red gloss. It just depends on the overall effect you want and how bold you wish to go. If you have thin lips stick with a gloss.
Okay. Red lips are my favorite. Give them a try!


February 27, 2013 · 1:56 am

sunday kind of love : to this day project

Every Sunday I share with you something I love. Found this video a few days ago and had to share it with you. To all who have been rejected, scarred, lonely… know that you are loved today!


February 24, 2013 · 1:28 pm

the one cuss word every Christian should say

Today I am going to tell you about the one cuss word every Christian should say. I say it on a daily basis. Two things are happening right now. Some of you are already offended ( you probably won’t be by the end ) and others of you are laughing at what I am considering a ‘cuss’ word here. Probably that division has more to do with geography than anything else.

So, what is it that I think you should say?


We tend to dismiss this statement  as either mild profanity or a simple phrase. But, it isn’t. Sure, people use these words in ways that can be offensive or meaningless. I’m not suggesting you use it as profanity. No need to say it after your team looses or to express your irritation when a driver cuts you off. But, you should say it to Hell. (saying it in this context isn’t really profanity, so you can breath your sigh of relief now)

The words are actually really powerful. Telling Hell “NO!”. I do it all the time.

When I am tempted to believe a lie about who I am… Hell no!

Reading about another bombing in the middle east… Hell no!

When I begin to feel lonely and small … Hell no!

Each time I learn of a child who has been abused … Hell no!

See how powerful the phrase is? If you are a Christian ( and not all of you are ) you need to add it to your vocabulary.

Remind Hell that it has no power over you. Remind Hell that it looses. Remind yourself that you have the authority to tell Hell “no”.


Filed under Faith, Fire

stewarding dreams


Landon Sheeley print

A while ago I was at a party having a great conversation with a new friend. We were discussing how hard it is for him with his little kids to keep growing in the things he is passionate about. He is a musician. It brings him life and there is a desire in him to teach music at a community college. If you hear him talk about it, you know that he would be incredibly successful. It made me want to take up music…but I know better. It would be a short lived trend.

See, here is the catch…he has to wait. He has a growing family. Instead of buying new music equipment or going back to school for his Masters, he has to buy a car that will fit his family. Work a job that isn’t a long term passion so that he can provide for his new baby. He is doing the right thing. Our chat ended with him asking me a question. How do I steward the things that God has put in my heart, when I can’t act on them yet?

As you are reading this there are little ideas or big dreams sitting in your heart waiting to burst out. But, like my friend, you can’t do anything about them yet. Or can you? If God put something in your heart, it is your responsibility to steward that. What does that look like?

Here are three thoughts:

1. Be patient. Time is a great sifter. Waiting helps sort through what is God’s dream and what is us being ambitious. Over time the word of God remains and all the bits that we added flake off. If we can’t stay on fire over a period of years, then it probably isn’t the flame we are meant to carry. If I ran with every dream that came through my mind, I would have been everything from a rancher (ha!) to a military intelligence analyst. (double ha!). While we wait, we pray. We contend in heaven for what we want on earth.

2. Build in Your Heart. No one starts a business and then builds a business plan. That would be stupid. We don’t just sit on our couch waiting for the “magic moment” when we get the go ahead from God to run with these things…or wait around till our kids are grown and we have more time. No, we build. We learn, read and prepare for what He has for us. The season of waiting is key for getting our lives in order. Get real with your fears, insecurities or any other issues that would hender you when its time to run with your God given dreams.

3. Bloom where you are planted. If you can’t thrive where you are, you won’t thrive in the next place either. Its easy for me to think that my daily activities aren’t that important & I will be a hard worker when the important things come along. Not true. If I can’t keep my house clean, I can’t lead an organization. Thrive in your heart & in your place of planting… wherever that is now.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that when we are faithful with the little things we have been given, He will makes us ruler over much. This means don’t blow off your marriage waiting for more important things to come. Don’t mismanage your finances because you are waiting for the next big thing in investing to pay off. We don’t look over the people in our lives to see which people are coming next. Engage and flourish.

Don’t sit on your dreams waiting for the perfect time and environment to start. Just start dreaming them. Maybe it is just in your heart for now, but steward what God has put in you. The world needs more dreamers.


Filed under Faith, Fire, My Life Thus Far, Whimsy

89 years of AWESOME.


This is a good one people. Today is my Grandma’s 89th birthday! If you knew my grandmother you would be as smitten as I am. She is funny, beautiful and full of life.

This is a lady who intentionally didn’t buy a book for her Spanish class in college so she would have to share with the guy she thought was cute. ( nevermind she had a boyfriend at the time) Her plan worked and my grandfather proposed on the 4th of July several years later.


My grandmother at 16 (yes, I know you can see my reflection. I’m not a photog)

Her life is laced with delightfully funny stories. During WWII, her girlfriends all knit scarves, hats and mittens for the troops. It was their duty of course. Problem was her knitting was so bad the army rejected it. Must have been really bad. She passed on her non-crafty genes to me.


In snowy North Dakota where she grew up.

We would get together over coffee during my college days and she would talk to me about life, God, and falling in love. She and my grandfather loved well. Her wisdom is deep and transparent.


With Grandma last year on her birthday.

Now, I take my kids to her house for popsicles and she tells them her latest jokes. She shares her parenting advice and I listen. I look at her beautiful face that is still full of life and hope. And pray that I will be as lovely one day.

I pray that I will leave a legacy that extends through generations just like she has done.

I really, really pray that my skin will glow at age 89 without a sunspot to be seen.

I pray that I will love my family the way she has.

I pray that people smile and light up when they see me. Just like they do when they see her.

I pray that I will love God with my home, resources and time the way she has.

I love you Grandma! Happy Birthday! 

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Filed under Beauty, Faith, My Life Thus Far, Sunday Kind Of Love, Whimsy

three things communism taught me


Roman Cieslewicz poster circa 1968

I was looking up my Myers Briggs personality type yesterday. I discovered that I share the same personality as Mao Zedong ( Dictator of Communist China) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of Iran). Hmm…

After being sent into  a brief identity crisis, I found myself sifting through my experience with a country that has lived under an oppressive government. Russia. I lived there right after communism fell during the early/mid 90s.

Those years were probably the most shaping years of my life. As an adult, I am constantly realizing how much communism taught me. Here are three lessons I learned:

1. You can’t make decisions for other people. 

We didn’t control the heat in our building. To be honest, I’m not really sure who did. Heat just turned on one day in early fall and off in late spring. That sounds like a good thing for living in Siberia. Logical even. The hot water pipes would crank up and our radiators would soon be fiery.

But it wasn’t. It would get sweltering. We would have to open our windows to let the -25 degree air in. Yet, in another person’s house, perhaps the heat was not enough. Buildings were different. Pipes were different. Personal preferences were different.

The same was true with people’s beliefs, professions and families. You can’t make choices for people.

2. You need to ask ‘why’?

An American moving to post-communist Russia has a lot of questions. Why are your wedding dresses hot pink? Why can’t you open a window on a train until a specific date in May? Why are their so many lines? Why is everyone yelling at me?

There was a large department store called TK.  It was several stories high and there were many escalators. When they worked they were escalators, otherwise they were metal stairs.

At the bottom of each escalator there would be a woman sitting in a chair. Her job was to watch the escalator. Why do you need someone to sit and watch an escalator all day? No one could answer that question. They didn’t know. The government just gave her that job. It baffled me, but they didn’t seem to question it.

My friend Olya came to visit us shortly after we moved back to the States. She had her own series of questions. Why does everyone have such big cars? Why are the supermarkets stocked with so much food and yet there are hungry people? Why don’t schools teach foreign languages in elementary school like they do in Russia? I told her that is just the way it is here.

Communism taught me that I do need to ask ‘why’.

3. In the end, we are all just people. 

For decades, Russians were our enemy. They were portrayed as cold and heartless. But they aren’t. Russian culture is warm when you get down to it. They will feed you all the food they have if you come over for a meal and spend hours listening to your story over tea.

One of the greatest privileges I have had is to see the world. I have had walked the streets of Syria, the villages of Sudan, the busy shopping districts in Beijing and the romantic streets of Paris to name a few.

People are people. They all want to love and be loved. Mothers all of the world rock their babies to sleep. Men carry the daily stress of providing for their families. Teenagers dream of falling in love. Teachers give so much in order to educate a generation. Doctors work effortlessly to bring health to their communities.

People are passionate. We speak different languages, live in different environments and believe in different faiths.

Communism was hard on the people of Russia. But they lived through it.

Communism taught me that people are the same everywhere. Made in the image of God and longing for value.

So, when you read the news about North Korea or Iran, remember that a government isn’t a culture or a people. Remember that behind a headline there are the true stories. Individuals similar to you.

As you probably know, communism didn’t turn out to well around the world. Lets learn from it. Lets not be arrogant in our opinions about what is best for people, or forget to ask ‘why’. Most of all, lets remember that we are all just people and we are all desperate for a God who loves us.


Filed under Faith, Global, My Life Thus Far, Politics

what about when love hurts?


via Amanda Pries

Valentines Day sends everyone into a panic. Either you are panicking because you have no one to spend it with or you are panicking because you are scrambling to get  a gift for that special someone.

It is good to celebrate romance. It is great to buy my kids treats and write silly poems about how much I love them.

But, I cried yesterday thinking about Valentines Day. I was getting my son’s Valentines Day cards ready for him to take to preschool for his friends. An ache started in my gut and then spread to my eyes & tears started popping out.

I thought about my two Ugandan kids who don’t know that I love them yet. They don’t even know I exist actually. Three years I have been in the adoption process &  I still wait. I still love.

Bizarre to love someone so much that it hurts. To love someone who doesn’t even love you back. Who doesn’t know you exist.

Whoever said love isn’t supposed to hurt was lying. Now, it shouldn’t be abusive or violent. They are right about it not hurting in that way. I have a friend who left her abusive husband this year and will be celebrating tomorrow alone. I ache for her pain and couldn’t be more proud of her bravery.

But, to be honest. Love hurts.

Loving the child you don’t have yet. Loving your neighbor as yourself when they couldn’t care less about you. Loving a home that is far away. Loving the teenager who says mean things and shuts you out. Loving your students who are disrespectful.

We are all loving someone this Valentines Day. But not all of us will have our love returned with a rose and a smile.

Does the love that hurts matter too?

I know for a fact it matters.

For God So Loved The World… ( John 3:16)

Six words that changed the course of mankind. God loved a world that didn’t love him back. God loved a world that offered Him a cross instead of a heart shaped balloon.

He still loves us today even when we are hard to love. He still loves you today even if you don’t acknowledge His existence. He aches for people.

If you find yourself feeling a love that hurts tomorrow, I know God can meet you there.

And if you have a hot date and happiness surrounding you tomorrow…Enjoy!

But, if love hurts tomorrow, celebrate it as well.

It matters that churches keep loving their cities even when it stings. It matters that parents keep loving children even when they seem so far out of reach. It matters that people remember the gift of loved ones lost. It matters that hospice nurses love the dying even though they know the outcome. It matters that a sister keeps loving her drug addict brother who brings nothing but disappointment. It matters.

Celebrate that we have the human capacity to love. Celebrate that there is a Savior who loves you even at your worst.

Celebrate that love matters.


Filed under Adoption, Faith, Fire, Kiddos, Whimsy

An Unseasonable Sunday Kind of Love



It’s a Sunday Kind of Love today even though its Monday. I didn’t post it yesterday because…well, I forgot. So, here it is now.

Even though it is February and some of you are covered with snow… I am not. Texas seems to have already given winter the boot.  It was so warm the other day I had to pull out some summer clothes. In the process I pulled out my swimsuit. Now, I hate the beach. I don’t even like the pool very much, but I do love my vintage inspired swimsuit.

I’m loving one piece swimsuits in general. I used to think they were drab, boring and only for fuddy-duddys. Then I had kids and began the frantic search for a bit more fabric on my swimwear. Lets face it, some things are better left unseen.

I found a vintage inspired one piece from Guess that is white with yellow polka dots. I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on it. You can be modest and adorable by the pool. Here are some other great one pieces to consider as summer approaches.


 via Modcloth


via Modcloth


via Modcloth

For those of you still drinking hot chocolate, enjoy. As for me, it’s time to break out the self tanner and do a bit of cardio. Summer is around the corner!




Filed under Sunday Kind Of Love

be a voice, not an echo


Sometimes our world is so noisy it is hard to hear our own voices. It seems we are all screaming the same things louder and louder in an attempt to be heard first.

echo : be repeated or reverberated after the original sound has stopped.

We have glorified the echo. The retweet, the share, the klout.

To be an echo is so attractive to my insecure & unsure self. I know what people want to hear. I know what they will like and pass on. So, why not say that?

I’ll tell you why not. Because we each have our own stories to tell. Our own experiences to convey.

They may not interest everyone or go viral, but they matter all the same. Our stories, perspectives and humor. It is unique to us.

I know sometimes I don’t feel that there is anything original about myself. I am a mom, a wife, a blogger. Me and a bazillion other people on the internet now. But no one else has my story.

Maybe you feel like you don’t have anything worth saying because you don’t feel very stand-out interesting. Perhaps when you talk it seems like no one is listening. But no one else has your story.

The world needs you. It needs me. Each of us telling our stories and speaking our truths.

There are some things only you can say. Be a voice, not an echo.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Sunday Kind of Love: Kid President

I don’t usually post about politics, but this is a president I can get behind.


February 3, 2013 · 1:43 pm