You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free.

-Tom Petty

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Feminine Friday- Sarah Palin

I would like to dedicate my Feminine Friday to Sarah Palin. I know that I am not the only one who feels sadness over the election of my biggest disappointments is that Sarah Palin was not voted to be in the White House. I still pray for her continually and am watching for how God is going to use her now...

But this blog is not about politics. It is about Sarah herself- and how she has inspired me as a woman.

Let me begin by saying that I do not think just any woman would be able to do what she was hoping to- be the Vice President of a country and raise a family. I believe a woman can only do both things well if she is called by God and does her work through His grace. So, I am not writing this blog in any attempts to suggest that we should raise our daughters to think less of mothers who are stay at home mommies. I am one of them:)

But, we need to realize that firstly, mothers who work outside the home while raising a family should not be judged because God calls and equips us for various things (although I hope that any mother who does do both prayerfully does so and remembers that her family is her priority); and secondly, I believe God would have all His daughters cultivate their intelligence and knowledge whether or not they stay at home or are balancing a career and a family.

I love this quote written on the front page of "Team Sarah": "If Governor Sarah Palin's historic candidacy proved anything, it is that women can meet these challenges without sacrificing their femininity. And thanks to Gov, Palin's leadership, there are more women in this battle than ever before. The very women whom the women's movement had convinced were invisible now know their power."

That is always one thing I admired deeply about Sarah Palin. She was meeting the challenges that God put before her, but in doing so did not sacrifice her femininity. She has remained a woman with a compassionate and tender heart; a wife with a beautiful love for her husband; and a mother who cherishes her children and all children. Sarah Palin is an amazing role model for our daughters, and for ourselves! I know that she is not perfect, as no human is, but it is evident that she has not neglected any part of her womanhood.

*I love how she is a "toucher" like my humble self:)

1)Our spiritual life is the MOST important. Sarah loves God deeply and has chosen to follow Him with all her heart. She committed her life to God when a young teenager, and never turned back.

2)As we grow in our intimacy with God, our character should reveal Who it is we follow. Sarah is a woman that exemplifies integrity, hard work, and courage in what she does. Although it is obvious that she has kept a soft feminine heart (one that shows love and mercy and warmth) at the same time she reminds us that a true feminine heart is also strong. How so? Strength of character. Strength of will. An amazing secret to life is that a woman can only keep her heart soft if she is a strong woman. It takes incredible strength and trust in God to remain vulnerable and open as a woman.

3)Sarah has obviously also cultivated her intelligence. I have started reading a biography about Governor Palin and I discovered that since a little girl, she has loved to read newspapers. She would read from the top to the bottom, from the upper left corner down to the lower right, every word. She loved to read books in general. Our intelligence can be cultivated. It does not matter if we are working outside the home or not, God wants us to be women of knowledge and women of sound thinking. He gave us brains to use!! We need to keep learning, and keep using our brains- remember if you don't use it you lose it LOL! Never stop reading books. Do not say that you don't have the time. Cultivate your intelligence in any way God shows you to...but don't neglect it.

4)Another area we may neglect is our physical bodies. A chrisitan may say that inner beauty is all that matters. Well, if one has a beautiful form but is not beautiful in spirit, the end result is pretty ugly. Yet, we have no excuse to neglect our outward beauty. Yes, we need to be healthy. We need to stay in shape for health reasons. But we must not forget the importance of beauty. In the book Captivating, it was written that nature is primarily beautiful, not primarily useful. A woman who takes care of her body shows the world much about the beauty of God:) Next week I think I will be writing about this topic more in depth. Sarah Palin is obviously physically beautiful. She works hard to maintain her feminine figure. She works out; she has run marathons. She inspires me as I am still working on losing at least ten pounds, although fifteen may be ideal.

In these ways, Sarah has shown us women that we can all have faith in our precious Lord- a faith that is strong enough to allow our feminine hearts to flow out tenderly and a faith that is strong enough for us to stand firm in godly character whether or not those around us are. Sarah has shown us that a godly woman can be quite intelligent, since of course God is the one who gave us women intricate and amazing brains. Sarah has also shown us that you can have so much inner beauty but now allow your beauty to end there, on the inside!

In my humble opinion, Sarah Palin is an all out amazing and inspiring example of true femininity!

Lastly, I want to comment on the last sentence in the quote I shared above:

"The very women whom the women's movement had convinced were invisible now know their power."

God has given us women power, love and a sound mind! I am thankful for feminists of yesterday who fought for my right to vote on Tuesday. The first feminists were against abortion. They believed women should have the rights a man has, but they also believed a human soul in his mother's womb has rights.

Well, us christian women believe the same. I am sure all of my readers believe that a woman has the same God given rights as a man. (I am not speaking now of husbands and wives and the beautiful gift of submission). I am speaking of men and women in general. Yet, we also recognize that an infant inside of a woman is also a human with rights. This is the type of women we are: pro-woman but also pro-life. Sarah Palin has been a long time member of a group called "Feminists for Life", a group that believes in a woman's rights but also in the rights of the unborn.

Well guess what? We are NOT invisible! Praise our dear Father, we women who believe as Sarah does are not invisible! We do indeed have a God-given power to fight for the rights of both women and the unborn, in all humility:) Sarah Palin has indeed shown us it can be done, if we doubted before. So, ladies, let us be inspired and learn from her example all the ways God can move through a woman who loves Him with all her heart!

And let us keep fighting for the precious babies that are being of the most motherly, feminine things we can do is fight for them!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Feminine Friday-FLY

Today for "Feminine Friday" I would like to share a video which I put together some time ago. In honor of my 7th anniversary, which we celebrated on the 22nd, I share this wedding montage. The song playing is called "Fly" by Sara Groves. It is my favorite love song and makes me feel very feminine. Her voice in this song is tender and lovely. She sings of desires I myself have...feminine desires:) For those who do not know, my husband does not have arms; he had an accident when he was a teenager and was forced to have them amputated. Just so that you all don't wonder:) But I love this song and we had a beautiful wedding. We released white doves...when we were courting, my hubby gave me a "nickname" of sorts: Sweetdove. One of my greatest "desires" is to fly:)

Enjoy the montage!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Women Want to Be Beautiful

My daughter Sarah showed me a picture she drew the other day. In it was a portrait of herself and next to her was standing her friend. He is the son of our friends here in Florida who are also from NY. Since we get together with them regularly, Sarah has played with Alex much. More than any other little boy lol:) So, I guess it is just natural that she has chosen Alex to marry LOL! Yes, she told me that she is getting married to Alex.

Back to the picture. In it she is giving Alex a leaf. That is a sign of love for my children. They give me leaves, and other natural treasures such as rocks, all the time. Cute, I thought. But then Sarah told me something else regarding this photo which I found intriguing. In a sort of wavy bubble, she also drew a picture of herself dancing. She told me that bubble is Alex daydreaming of her ballet dancing and that Alex thinks she is pretty. WOW! This coming from a SIX year old!!!!

You see, I NEVER told Sarah about the dream I had when I was a teenager. This was THE most wonderful dream I ever had! And I am not ashamed to admit it. In my dream, I was gracefully dancing in a beautiful long dress, and some boy was watching me dance. Not a boy I knew. All of a sudden my feet lifted off the ground and I began to slowly float up into the air, sort of dancing gracefully through air. That boy's gaze never left me. He was in awe of me. In awe of my beauty. I felt more beautiful than words can describe.

It is so funny how I never told Sarah about that dream, and yet her feminine heart, her young heart, has the same desires.

Now I dance for God:) And I know that He delights in me.

The thing is, women want to be beautiful. Think of how much time most women spend on makeup and searching for lovely hairstyles, beautiful or attractive fashion, dieting, etc. Do men care as much about those sort of things? Nope. This is the way God made men and women. The Bible says that woman is the "glory" of man.

There is a song that says:

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed.

I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful.

Then she cries out [to God]:

Won't you help me back to glory

Yes we women have a deep desire within us, one which we may have hidden, to be brought back to glory. To be brought back into our original place in God's magnificent creation. One of glory. One of captivating beauty.

Later the song proclaims:

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

I love to hear You say who I am is quite enough. Yes, God finds me "quite enough"...He is pleased and delights in me. I am amazed. Yet, He makes me beautiful. His love gives me an inner beauty that is captivating:)

I have been reading a book entitled: Captivating. It is about the soul of a woman and it has been, for me, a life changing book. The authors write about some of the deepest desires of a woman, and one of them is to be beautiful. Yet not only on the outside, but to possess an inner beauty that is captivating.

"Ruth may have been a lovely, strong woman, but it is to her unrelenting courage and vulnerability and faith in God that Boaz is drawn. Esther is the most beautiful woman in the land, but it is her bravery and her cunning, good heart that moves the king to spare her people." (from the book Captivating)

More from the book:

"Many of us have hardened our hearts to this desire, the desire to be the Beauty. We have been hurt so deeply in this area that we no longer identify with, perhaps even resent, the longing. But it's there...A woman yearns to be seen, and to be thought of as captivating...we desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are."

"Why is the notion of a hidden princess (and a prince who comes to find her) so enduring? Is there something in our hearts that is trying to speak to us? Is it just fantasy, escapism? Or is there something more? The desire of a woman's heart and the realities of a woman's life seem an ocean apart. Oh, we long for romance and an irreplaceable role in a great story; we long for beauty. But that's not the life we *have*. "

"We are reminded of Pascal's metaphor, that our unmet longings and unrequited desires are in fact "the miseries of a dethroned monarch." Mankind is like a king or queen in exile, and we cannot be happy until we have recovered our true self...A woman's struggle...points to something glorious she was designed to be. The great emptiness we feel points to the great place we *were* created for. It's true. All those legends and fairy tales of the undiscovered Princess and the Beauty hidden as a maid are more accurate than we thought. There's a *reason* little girls resonate with them so."

"Beauty is the essence of a woman. We want to be perfectly clear that we mean both physical beauty and a soulful/spiritual beauty...the world cheapens and prostitutes beauty, making it all about a perfect figure few women can attain, but christians minimize it too, or overspiritualize it, making it all about "character"...God gave Eve a beautiful form and a beautiful spirit. She expresses beauty in both."

They share a story about a little girl (friend of theirs) who was walking around the offices, stopping by each door and singing for all who would listen, expecting to be delighted in. "A little girl in her glory, unashamed in her desire to delight, and be delighted in."

Another little girl of 6, like my Sarah, shared with her mother about a dream she had. In it she was a queen and wearing a long beautiful dress. She said it was the most wonderful dream she had ever had. Her mother asked her why. Her answer? ""I just love feeling that way!" "What way?" "Beauty."

Woman, in the core of her soul, wants to be breathtaking. God planned it that way.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feminine Friday- Long Hair and Dresses/Skirts

Two things that really make me feel feminine are my long hair and my dresses/skirts.

I personally just love long hair, and I am trying to grow mine longer. I think there is something very womanly and beautiful about long hair. Just look at the art I have chosen on my sidebar here and you would know that:) In fact the Bible says that a woman's long hair is her glory. I do feel "glorious" with long hair. These are recent photos of me as I grow my hair:

I also personally love to wear dresses and skirts. It is not that I feel these are required of me, or that they are the only modest way for a woman to dress. No, it is just that I love to wear them! Long, flowing dresses and skirts make me feel beautiful and feminine and lovely. I love when the wind gently blows them. And I just think that these are more comfortable than tight jeans, for instance.

So, I guess long things make me feel feminine:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Feminine Friday- My Perfume

This meme is hosted by the Barefoot Mama. It sounds like lots of fun! Here are the guidelines:

An outfit that you own (or a photo of a favorite look) that exhibits your femininity (does not have to be a yourself!)
A hairstyle, accessory or piece of jewelry that is special and makes you feel beautiful
Something in your home - can be non wearable, of course - that represents your femininity (it can be anything!!)
An inspiring or thought-provoking article, book review or quotation on any topic related to femininity
Feminine Friday is not about being a cookie-cutter. Share what femininity means to you and how you define modesty, beauty and being a Daughter of the King. I look forward so much to seeing what everyone shares!

About a month ago, I purchased myself a lovely bottle of perfume. It is called "Virtuessence of Esther". Yes, it bears my name:) I had discovered this perfume a while back, and had ordered a sample. I loved the fragrance and so did my hubby:) Not too sweet or too spicy, just very alluring:) I feel very feminine wearing this perfume. I also appreciated what was written on the company's website regarding their goals:

"Inspired by her integrity, strength and beauty, this one-of-a-kind floriental fragrance captures the heart and essence of Queen Esther."

"We are motivated by the virtuous women of the Bible and want the women of today to see themselves in them as they triumphantly faced their fears, endured their hardships with valor, walked in the strength of God, and embodied virtue. 'Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a women who fears the Lord, she shall be praised'" (Proverbs 31:30)

"Our exclusive Virtuessence® line is designed to put you in the mind and place of those whose physical beauty we have never seen, but whose actions and heart created a legacy - each in their own way. We capture the mood and essence of each woman we feature. Our flagship product, Virtuessence of Esther®, takes in the scene of Ancient Persia with the flower gardens, sweet incense, and rich oils. Walk with Esther as she bravely strides the halls of the palace to approach the King in order to save her people."

A beautiful concept, a beautiful fragrance and a beautiful bottle.

* Top notes: Lily, Orange, Ylang
* Middle notes: Cinnamon, Ginger, Jasmine, Clove
* Base notes: Vanilla, Amber, Musk, Patchouli, Frankincense, Sandalwood

*These are all photos I took of my actual bottle. I love how the hand-carved crystal bottle reflects the colors of a rainbow, just as a diamond does:)

On their website, there are links to a radio interview with Rachel, who I have also personally emailed by the way and she is very sweet and offers remarkable customer service. She is a homeschooling mother and had the beautiful idea to create these perfumes:)

On the website are also links to reviews of this particular perfume, including one from "Victoria's Own" website where "Virtuessence of Esther" was named among the best for 2007. Here are some of the descriptions in the various reviews:

"I want to let you know that Esther is just magnificent...I am bowled over by the top notes, just an out and out beautiful experience, and the mid and bottom notes are so womanly and warm, I think you have created a great fragrance. I have smelled hundreds and hundreds of perfumes, from the most high end and rare to the most common, but this one has really captured my imagination." (Julie)

"To be frank, I almost cry smelling this perfume oil. Never in my life, I found a scent so beautiful, richly complex, deeply motivating." (Montie)

"It reduces down to the most intimate, warm, soft, intimate and yes, noble scent of woman, pure woman. Yielding and feminine yet gallant, generous, unique, inspired." ( JulieOlivia)

"The fragrance is just lovely; delicate, feminine and soft... The bottle itself is a beautiful display item, display case worthy." (Victoria's Own)

You can learn more and purchase this fragrance here : Virtue and Valor