Tag Archives: staci eldredge

Thought-Collage Thursday // Everything is Beautiful

*Everything is beautiful in its own way
Like the starry summer night or a snow-covered winters day

nate dirks quote beauty

If beauty just fades away, are all attempts to rectify it just hopeless endeavors?

I am like, 5-minutes from this particular age I cannot believe I am approaching. Soon I’ll be closer to my 60s than my 40s and when the heck did that happen?

So, I look at my split ends and these lines that just appear like the crackled sands in the Arizona desert around my eyes. My teeth are shifting and my current face shape has morphed into a form completely foreign to me. My metabolism, once so responsive to my outlandish demands, has betrayed me thoroughly.

If I could figure out how to do this aging thing gracefully, I would. But what the heck does that even mean? Does it mean just to go with the flow? I’ve always been too obstinate for that, yet I have never  had the desire to focus al lot of time on my looks or to spend copious amounts of each day fixing all things falling – and I sure don’t have the energy to start now!

But of course I want to be considered beautiful. I mean…Sometime. Before I die.

I would love to have that exotic gorgeousness of a Sophia Loren, or the classic sophistication of a Helen Mirren or a grace-filled quality like Blythe Danner – a beauty that just gets better with age. Granted, they started out very beautiful, but unlike so many women who seem to be chasing youth with plumpers, fillers, surgeon’s knives and soft-focus, there are these certain women, in spite of all the signs of their age, who are only more warmly burnished, more lovely, a beauty radiating from somewhere deep inside. Yeah – that! Please!

I’ve always heard that beauty fades. And that is that. And in our culture, youth = beauty, generally speaking. And now I am careening recklessly in a whole new direction. So what does it mean? Is all lost?

marie stopes quote on pinterest

In a book club, we’re reading Staci Eldredge, Becoming Myself – Embracing God’s Dream of You

Is it any wonder, as I ponder the seemingly unavoidable fading, I keep coming across beauty quotes on Pinterest and thoughts about it in books I am reading?


Staci Eldredge tells the story of a day she had her hair done and it was a good hair day.  She looked in the mirror and knew she looked pretty. Then she put on a “nicer” pair of jeans for a meeting she had coming up, a red top and some earrings. She says in the book it wasn’t her usual look, but she loved it. She was feeling it. Her friend stopped by and told her, “You are inhabiting your beauty!”

She realized that she had worn the jeans before, she’d worn that top, she’d worn the earrings, but something in her spirit had relaxed and she was embracing herself, her own loveliness. She was inhabiting her beauty.

I like that because it really speaks of everything God believes about us – that we are created in His beautiful image. Our part is just to inhabit, embrace our beauty.

Quote found in Becoming Myself: “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” – St. Augustine

In another chapter, she speaks of her type-A, driven mom, who, at 71 discovered how to inhabit her beauty though being ravaged by cancer. “Beauty will come,” Staci encourages us! Her mom began to loosen control and became softer and gentler. Staci says that through it, as her mom actually thanked God for the unexpected diagnosis, calling it the most “awesome, rewarding, and glorious time God has ever given me,” in her mom’s final months, the beauty that was always there began to come forth in her.

What? you mean it’s just hiding in here somewhere?!?  :)

“The Grand Canyon has been carved by water over years beyond counting into one of the most beautiful displays of nature in the world. My face, too, is being etched. My soul is being carved. Forces are at work sculpting me – my life, my views and my beliefs – honing and shaping and changing me. The process is sometimes painful and sometimes unnoticed, but the effect? Oh for the grace to see the effect as beautiful. To be able to see our lives, our bodies, our faces, our souls sculpted by time, our choices and the hand of our relentless, fierce and loving God as beautiful displays.”  -Staci Eldredge, Becoming Myself – Embracing God’s Dream of You

roald dahl quote on pinterestRoald Dahl quote


Diane Keaton book:  Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty


I recently picked up a couple of books by film actress Diane Keaton. She is just fantastic! I love her talent and the subtle, quirky details she brings to the characters she plays. She also directs and produces and SINGS (best part of the recent And So it Goes) and lots of other things.

Stormie says that she and I are Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore in Because I said So, which I think is TOTALLY inaccurate, since I would never traipse about in spiked heels whilst carrying one of my cakes. But I digress.

I didn’t know Diane could write, but she can! And I LOVED these thoughts:

“These old-as-dirt days have one advantage: I’ve learned to see beauty where I never saw it before. But only because my expectations are more realistic. My favorite part of my body is my eyes…because of what they can see. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I wanted my appearance to be more interesting than the beauty that surrounded me. It was a fool’s folly.

On my fifteenth birthday my dad told me I was becoming   pretty young lady. My mom said I had a pretty smile. One of my teacher’s complimented me on my pretty new dress. I was old enough to understand that pretty was a poor cousin to beautiful. Pretty was the stuff of being friendly but not being friends. Pretty was the right dress…Pretty was Sandra Dee, easy and light. Pretty fades. Beautiful was Natalie Wood, deep like the ocean…Beautiful makes you come back for more. It makes you ask questions. It’s vast, unknowable and magnificent. That’s part of its power.

…there is no beauty without pain. Beauty flourishes on sorrow. It’s enriched by the knowledge that life is fleeting, sometimes cruel, and often ends without resolution. That’s what makes beauty deep.”

So, I’ve concluded – I don’t think beauty does fade.

Following my vast  ;)  research on beauty:

Beauty doesn’t fade. Beauty deepens. The first glimpse of a small green tomato on a vine thrills, but doesn’t compare to the complex, intoxicating flavor of the deep red glory of the fruit toward its end. That depth cannot be purchased at the grocery store. Or in a bottle.

Beauty doesn’t fade. Pretty fades.

Pretty gets dull, becomes passé, begins to sag and will fall to the ground despite the use of expensive fixatives.

But beauty, the real stuff of it – the part that began inside anyway and is waiting for the right moment to explode to the surface, dazzling and bright, knocking the wind from bystanders, that beauty – it deepens in time. It seeps into the broken places of our hearts and minds and covers scar tissue and heals our soul and calms our spirit and strengthens our bones.

Once it has erupted in magnificence, even after it has splashed on bystanders and returned like the ocean tide to its giver, there will be no lack. Because it will settle deeply.

Beauty doesn’t fade. It deepens. And if the sorrows of life that etch and wound and change us end up revealing the treasure within, then there is actually hope!

*And everybody’s beautiful in their own way.
Under God’s heaven, the world’s gonna find the way.

 *Lyrics: Everything is Beautiful by Ray Stevens (Ray Stevens and Jake Hess both won Grammy Awards singing it)

Song for a Sunday // The Living Years

I was having this Technicolor dream the other morning –  vivid, rich hues (slightly cross-processed) and warm, strong light. The greens were deep, the reds were pure, the grass was soft. The world was right.

*”There’s a light in the window and the table’s set in splendor, some one’s standing by the open door…” – Dottie Rambo

morning at peaceful valley july 2014

In the dream, to my left was a big white house with a wraparound porch. The driveway and street were lined with cars, trunks open, families packing up to leave what had been a loving and happy gathering. All around were my kids and their families. There was much hugging and kissing, so much peace and satisfaction and love flowing like wild water down the mountain in spring. It was going to splash you, love was!

middle st. vrain at peaceful valley july 2014

I was on the front sidewalk playing with Kai, talking to him, singing him songs. Then I actually heard the sound of Rambo’s music coming from the direction of the house, like I would  have heard it from the hi-fi growing up:

*”I can see the family gathered, sweet faces all familiar…”

I asked Malakai, in my dream, “Kai-Kai, wanna dance with me? Let’s dance!” He was wearing a little light-blue suit with a bow tie, barefoot. He wrapped his arms around my neck (he’s only 1 1/2), me on my knees, and I held him tight and we were swaying, laughing.

It was one of those utterly perfect moments.

Inexplicably, in my dream, in this happy, joyous, loving, golden-light space, I looked up while Kai and I were dancing and there was my {Uncle Bill}, smiling at us from across the sidewalk. At the exact moment, I realized my {Aunt Rosie} was on the front porch talking away, hugging people good-bye, passing out travel sandwiches. And then I realized, it wasn’t just Dave and I and our children and theirs, but my parents were there, too and my siblings and nieces and nephews and people I’ve known across the years and loved.

I should mention, specifically, that both my Aunt Rosie (my dad’s older sister) and my Uncle Bill (married to my dad’s younger sister) passed away years ago. So having them so sharply present was this really sweet and surreal moment.

The Rambo’s song was still playing in my ears as I woke up:

*”I can see the crystal river, I must be near forever…”

I must have been near forever, and it was perfect there, in this dream.

kai and amelie july 2014


I am not sure what makes us dream the dreams we do, sometimes; not sure what brings a person or place or thing into such expressive clarity as we sleep. Mulling it over later, I realized it may well have been the result of both missing Kai (he has had a busy summer) and my brother Joe mentioning getting us all together for Thanksgiving this year, a feat of gargantuan proportions, if it could ever, even happen.

silly grands august 2014

But I am also working on the chronicles, the photo books and journals of our family’s lives. I have 33 years worth of pictures and keepsakes I am determined to date and organize. I am in a groove, currently. I pull out a photo box with one child’s name on it and sort them into the years of their living. Then I paste them on to pages with notes about the occasion and in an hour or two, I hold the evidence of one child or another of mine from birth to adulthood and it flies by so fast, my head spins. And yes, I cry sometimes, thinking, “Oh I wish I could have known how fast those fleeting days were going and slowed time down and held that little baby a little longer, cuddled that growing child, kissed those feet, tucked my daughters and son in to bed once more…”

I was a church-busy mommy in the 80s and 90s. And I can tell you that almost nothing else I ever did when my children were young has any meaning, comparatively. I hope that serves as caution to some one who is reading, to some one with babies who are wearing you out. They ARE the Important thing right now (I capitalized Important on purpose). Thirty years later, those grown children are all that matters. And you just hope you instilled what you really meant to instill somehow…

Geez, I didn’t know this was going to be so heavy. Sorry.

Today my parents are celebrating 57 years of marriage. They married at the age of 18 in 1957 and they have made it 57 years. And I can tell you that nothing is as important to them as family, either. They have invested so much of themselves in to churches and people and yet, I know I have a place reserved for me in their hearts. I know my well-being and life take precedence over the busyness of years gone by, God now restoring the years we may have lost along the way.

I am so blessed that I still have both of parents here.  I mean, I am going to be 55 soon – and I still have mom and dad. How fortunate is that???


So, this song, The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics, is the one I wanted to share on this beautiful Sunday. Because life gets busy. Life goes fast. I know when you’re young, you think there is so much more left ahead, and there is, but time doesn’t just fly these days. Time careens at breakneck speed, faster and faster and out of sight before you can get your bearings.

So, I look around and these are my living years. And they’re yours. And I have things to share and tell the people I love. I have conversations I don’t want to let slip by. I want my people to know I love them, even if and especially when we are not seeing eye to eye.

I want to spend my vitality on my children and theirs (thanks to Staci Eldredge for that terminology) and the people God has placed in my path ~ friends who have become family. I want to love and honor my parents for all I am worth because my perspective has been enlarged and as time slips away, so, too, do the demands I once wanted to impose relationally in my more self-absorbed youth.

The Living Years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

When else can we do these things? We can only do them now, in the days we have.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4.14 nlt

“…people are like the grass.
    Their beauty fades as quickly
    as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40.6-8 nlt

*Dottie Rambo song lyrics, I’ve Never Been this Homesick Before

The Lost & Found

I once was lost, but now I’m found

feeling lost

In her book, Becoming Myself ~ Embracing God’s Dream of You*, Staci Eldredge says that on our journey to becoming who we were really created to be, we get lost now and then.  I know that is true, because I have been lost several times.  Each time I gather my bearings and get set back on track,  I think it will never happen again – I’ll never be that far away from where I should be again.

“The road of life is filled with many tempting parking places.” – seen on my high school music room chalkboard…I may have been the person who wrote it there

I thought that was a hilarious quote when I was a teen-ager.  But it hasn’t been the parking places that have gotten me off-course so much as my need for speed and the desire to get a move on – even before I know where I am really supposed to be going.

I got lost in the late 80s, then again in the early 90s (really lost).  I got slightly off course in my late 30s and ended up in outer Siberia in 2006!  And {true confession} I have been trying to find my way back to civilization in this most recent year or so.  I got lost.  Again.

And so – I LOVE this, yes, I do.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”   Luke 19.10 NLT

And I think of those paintings of Jesus with that one lost lamb in His arms and I realize I have always thought that meant He’d come for you before you were one of His actual followers, but then – you better stay in the flock.  I thought each sheep got one pass for being found.  Now I know – He comes and finds us every. single. time.

jesus and the lambclick image for source

His eye is on the sparrow – and I know He watches me

Not too long ago, in a time of deep soul-searching, pain and regret, I was questioning the love of God at all for me.  Why would He, how could He (?) when I can make such a terrible mess of things, hurt people I love the most and somehow manage to ruin His entire plan of salvation for the whole earth by my ineptitude?  (ego, anyone?)…I was having one of those snot-filled, Bible-clutching, for-such-a-worm-as-I moments declaring my utter worthlessness to God.  My thought was – well, He is surely finished with me now.  I won’t have more chances, He’ll discover what I always knew – I wasn’t worth saving to begin with.  I have let Him down, for good.

Oh, it was ugly.

Suddenly, a very clear picture was in my mind.  I won’t say it was a vision, except that I can still see it vividly and  I do feel the God of the Universe imprinted something into my heart for good.  I like to share it so my friends can remind me when I start feeling melancholy and sorry for myself –  when I go off-track again.

Here is what I saw, in full-color:

A mom with a toddler entering a Target store.  She puts the toddler on the floor for just a second with the instruction to stand right there while she gets the seat ready and cleaned and hoists her bag into the back of the cart.  The toddler looks at her and down the aisle.  And of course – that baby girl takes off down the main aisle between Health and Beauty and the grocery side.  The mom calls out, the little girl looks back,  but keeps going, passing aisle 6.  I see the mom disentangling her hand from the straps she had been preparing in the seat for the little girl’s safety.  I see customers strolling nonchalantly in front of her as she tries to break free and go.  The little girl looks back, passes aisle 7, then aisle 8, then darts to the left.  But the mommy knows exactly where she is, for in spite of all going on in that store, even though people were in her way – her gaze never lifted from her tiny treasure who was running madly down that store  aisle.  That was her girl, her baby and she pursued with gusto.

And I saw that scene in my mind’s eye and with it came the understanding.  She had told that baby girl to stay right near her.  But when the little one took off, she did not say, “Well – that’s fine.  If she is not going to obey she can just go then.  I am going home.  I don’t need this.”  No – the mom watched, and stayed focused, never losing sight and went to get her daughter.  I think of the old hymn,

“O Love that will not let me go…”

Sometimes we do run out ahead.  Sometimes we take off like a bat out of hell to go do good things, things we think will please God and we have darted to the right and then to the left and then when we crash we think we’re alone, but the loving gaze of the Father has been on us all along.

He imparted to my heart that day – where are you going?  I’ll go there.  If you turn right, I’ll turn right.  If you go left, then I’ll follow you left – I am not going to lose sight of you.  I have got you in my sights regardless of which way you go.  Where do you want to go, Jeanie?

Scandulous, I thought!

Even if I make my bed in hell

My heart was pounding with this image of a small girl and her mommy in Target – wondering if I had concocted some imaginary view of Almighty God to make myself feel better, but His word confirms this for us:

Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139.7-10 AMP

I love how the NKJV translates verse 8, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”  Talk about a love that does not let go!

So, be encouraged…

Feeling lost?  Did you get a great idea and take off down the aisle trying to move mountains for the Kingdom and finally end up in a place you can tell you don’t belong?  Are you through trying to justify how you got here and willing to admit that your personal GPS failed you and you need directions?   Can you admit you are desperately, wholly lost and need rescuing?

I have so been there.  So just stop for a minute, and listen.  He has not wiped His hands of you.  The scar remains – the signifying mark of His dying and undying love for you.  He has not cast you into utter darkness for disobedience and He totally, completely knows how to get you back to the narrow road.  You are just lost.  Listen:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30.21 NIV

And just like that! *snap of the fingers   You are found.  And that is some pretty amazing grace.

{{Learning to trust Jesus, learning to love Him because He first loved me, Jeanie}}

becoming myself staci eldredge

*CLICK HERE: Becoming Myself ~ Embracing God’s Dream of You, is available for Kindle for only 99-cents through February 19, 2014.  Get it! 

And the veil is lifted…

We are not static.  We are not just standing still.  We see ourselves: growing, going forward, whole, healed and changing for the better on good days.  On the not so good, we feel like we are one step forward, 2 steps back, like we’ve lost footing, we’re not where we should be, want to be, like changes we didn’t want have been imposed on us, upsetting the settled lives we had planned so carefully.  We judge ourselves everyday, don’t we?

2 Corinthians 3.18   “And we all, with unveiled faces who contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His very likeness in ever-increasing glory.”

David C. Cook just released the first video session of Staci Eldredge’s Becoming Myself series.  In it, she says we long for change in us because we are meant to have it.  She says our very dissatisfaction with our weaknesses reminds us that they are not our destiny and that God promises to transform us – in ever-increasing glory.

becoming myself

How intriguing is this?

“What if change is simply Me unveiling who you really are?”