This is school vacation week in New England. Many families are getting away for a time of refreshing and renewal. A break from the bitter cold and brutal winds can give us strength to continue to endure our harsh winters.
It’s not a bad idea to get a break from a mild winter like this one, either.
Vacations are refreshing, healing, comforting, why? Typically, it’s not just the break in routine that gives strength to the soul. Often it is the beauty that we surround ourselves with when we get away.
My fourth child was due to arrive just before Christmas. We were building a home at the time and it was not ready for occupancy. I remember feeling anxious about bringing a newborn home to our temporary living situation–a large, open room over my brother-in-law’s garage. With two young boys and another young family within earshot, I feared the sleepless nights would be a problem for the whole house.
Every mom wants her nest in order–beautifully decorated and sanitized–before her new baby arrives.But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Imagine how Mother Mary felt ridding a donkey across the country during the “nesting stage” of her first pregnancy.
There are two well-known nuggets of wisdom that will help anyone stay on a budget when grocery shopping. They are also brilliant policies for anyone shopping for clothing:
1. Don’t shop hungry
An empty belly makes the mind less focused. It is human nature to kick into survival mode when in any physical need. If you are feeling weak and desperate, any food placed before you is appealing–no matter what the menu plan was for the week. The same is true for clothing shopping. If you go shopping when you feel unattractive and underprivileged, any new outfit may be appealing, no matter what you actually need.
Wether you like to shop or not is a big indicator of your Img.ID:
C: I shop very seldom
N: I shop very practically
D: I love to shop
I: I like new things but mostly shop for others
R: I love to shop for shoes (even if I don’t always wear them)
G: I am a very smart shopper
Click the letter to learn more about that Image Identity, including What2Wear, click here to take the Img.ID quiz.
When is the last time someone said something encouraging to you as a person?
You are very good at that.
You are so strong!
You are beautiful.
I hope it was this morning that someone validated you as a person, but I know that in reality it may have been a long time since you have heard a positive statement about your looks, strengths or qualities. For some reason, most of us hold back from “speaking life” over each other.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!-Deuteronomy 30:19
The primary factor in determining your Personal Image Identity (Img.ID) is your physical appearance. Just as a rose by any other name is still a rose, so are you the style of beauty that your physical attributes indicate that you are. Anyone could say that a rose is just a flower, or they could call it ugly, old, deformed or anything else, but it is still a rose.
People may point out your commonality, or they may critique your every attribute, but when you get down to the core of who you are, the truth is, you are beautiful.
Every flower is beautiful, no matter which species, whether it is budding or beginning to dry out. It doesn’t matter its size or color. This is also true of you. You may feel as if you are too old, have gained too much weight, or hate your coloring, but you are still beautiful. People may have told you that your nose is too big or picked on your differences, but focus on anything too closely and you may miss it’s beauty, too. In order to make peace with your beauty, you must take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. Continue reading Do you Feel Like an Ugly Duckling?→
You are invited to a formal event. How does your heart respond? Some women (and men) enjoy dressing up and socializing. Others feel quite the opposite.
The way you respond to certain lifestyle choices has a lot to say about which style of beauty (or attractive) you are. While your physical attributes are the major indicator of which of the six styles (your personal image identity or Img.ID) you are, your personal preferences are the confirmation. If your physical style does not fall in line with your personal preferences, then you likely have a secondary style or you are in the midst of a Beauty Battle.
A number of factors come into play when it comes to our personal preferences. The culture, economy and standards of our formative years are certainly strong influences on how we feel about certain lifestyle choices, especially if we have a compliant nature. It is natural to choose that which we are comfortable with, but sometimes we follow the examples set before us without even considering other options because it is all we know. Continue reading Take this LifeSTYLE Quiz→
If you are like most women, you may very well skip this one important step in your self-care regiment. After all, it does seem a bit frivolous and there’s already a lot to do to get ready for the day. You take the time to clean your face, and surely you use a moisturizer before putting on your makeup, getting dressed and eating, but throwing in this one extra step of using a toner is just too much. Really, applying toner only takes one minute at the most, but hey, every second counts, right? Why do they put in that silly step anyway?
All quality skin care systems include a toner.
Cleansers are designed to pull any built-up oils, makeup or dirt from your face. In order to work, they naturally disrupt the acidity of your skin. The toner is designed to bring the ph balance of your skin back to it’s normal state. Also, toners are humectants, so they also help to bind the moisturizer to your skin.
After studying cosmetology (granted, it was thirty-two years ago) I should know the importance of toning my face, but I’ve been guilty of skipping this step, too. Life is busy, and it’s easy to ignore small details, especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Most habits take time to form or reform, and self care is no different.
Routines gradually evolve for better, or for worse.
As our schedules and needs change, our habits change, too. I started skipping my toner soon after I started using an essential oil (EO) skin care system. EOs are, by nature, ph balanced and because they are complete molecules, the skin absorbs their moisturizing benefits easily. In my mind, the need for toner somehow became less urgent and I got a bit lazy in my skin care regime.
Recently, I realized was out of cleanser and moisturizer, yet I had extra un-opened toner in my cabinet. I brought the toner back into my regime simply because I didn’t want to waste this precious product. About two weeks later, after just hitting a new decade and feeling old, I was amazed at how much my skin had “toned up”. I may be feeling older, but my skin was looking smoother and tighter! There are two other amazing benefits of toner, which I needed to be reminded of:
Toner deep-cleans the skin. We tend to think of toner as an anti-bacterial, drying agent designed to aid oily skin in fighting acne. As we age, we may think this is no longer important to us, but in reality clogged pores are still dirty, whether they cause blemishes or not.
Toner tightens the skin. As you apply toner to your face, it cleanses the pores of any residue your cleanser left behind. It also closes the pores and tightens the cell gaps, reducing the ability of impurities and environmental contaminants to penetrate the skin. This process also reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
How silly I was to skip such powerful product!
There’s a life-lesson in this…
(I can hear my kids groaning now.) But, come on, you knew it was coming, right? Image-coaching is just not enough for me; I’ve got to do the life-coaching, too. Here it is:
When life gets busy, let’s be careful not to skip important details. I think of how easy it is for us to do quick “clean ups” in our relationships. When we mess up, we may easily say we are sorry, but do we take the time to be sure there’s no seed of bitterness developing in the one we offended? It’s the deep, heart to heart apologies that make our relationships strong and tight, let’s not be afraid to take that step.
When we do good and behave well, let’s be careful not to rely on self-righteousness. No matter how “clean” we think we are, no one is completely pure and holy. Every one of us needs a deep cleansing (daily!) and only Jesus is pure enough to be our spiritual toner. It’s through repentance that we are clothed with His righteousness, let’s not be afraid to seek His forgiveness.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:8, 9
As an author and speaker, my passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those I’ve struggled with, such as betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, I love to use my profession, along with my experiences and training as a Biblical life-coach to help others find confidence. This is why they call me the “Image Consultant without the shopping obsession.”
The American culture may consider skinny healthy and beautiful, but that is not always true. In my experience, “skinny” was better described “sickly” or “drawn.” My struggle with weight was always in keeping it. After reaching forty, however, it became easy to keep meat on my bones, but, even then, weight-loss wasn’t a challenge. When my clothes got too tight, I simply cut out some carbs and increased my activity to be able to return to my “proper” size. Now I’m nearly fifty; I understand the struggle. Apparently making simple shifts in the diet is no longer enough. I need to make a bigger commitment to change.
Losing weight is like wardrobe weeding; there are two approaches.
It seems obvious that the tendency to compare your life with others’ is second nature and cannot be stopped.
No wonder the social media has created such an epidemic of self-consciousness. With each visit to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest… we find ourselves faced with the temptation to compare our lives to the pictures we see. We know, of course, that what we are only shown the “postable” parts of our friends’ lives, but we still compare what we see to the parts of our lives that we would never post.
When you walk into a room which shows up first, you or your clothing?
One way to find out is to listen to the compliments you get. Are about you or your outfit?There’s a big difference between, “You look beautiful!” and “What a beautiful dress!” As women, we enjoy a compliment, and we should. It’s like a hug that simply affirms us and encourages our spirit.
The bearhug of all compliments–the I want for every one of my clients–is: “Oh, wow, that is so YOU!” The wow factor is by far the biggest confidence booster, don’t you think? How often do you get a “wow”?
I’m sorry. I know, that was a painful question.
I don’t get them very often either, and, hey, I know how to dress true to myself.
I wonder if Mary was in nesting mode about this time 2000 years ago? I imagine that the innate desire to prepare for her baby was strong in the young mother’s heart as she traveled along the dusty road to Bethlehem.
Classics (like Marry) desire orderly lives (even when it’s not); add the responsibility of a new dependent and they can become intense. We all can. Our babies need us to take care of certain matters like a clean environment, warm clothing, proper nutrition, comfort and compassion. As women, we are designed to meet those needs and when our hormones are completing the process of producing a newborn, our emotions follow suit. We start “nesting.”
When I had my first child I was disheveled and displaced, trying to make a home in my parents’ unfinished basement. I remember returning from the hospital to find my dad putting in a bathroom for me. At the time I didn’t appreciate his sacrifice of love as much as I should have. I now understand how much work that was for him and appreciate that he chosen to do it while I was away for a few day in order to spare me much of the mess. I certainly was grateful to have my own facilities but as a new mom who wanted her baby’s environment to be clean and calm, I’m afraid I focused more on the chaos than the blessing. The ironic part is that even if there was no construction going on, and my nest were perfect, the environment I gave my baby boy was far from “calm” because of all the chaos of my broken marriage.
Inner turmoil cannot produce a peaceful environment, no matter how perfect our exterior.
With the birth of the Christ child, we see that a peaceful spirit can, however, produce a perfect environment even in the midst of total chaos. I allowed all my stress to rob my peace, but Mary started going into labor while traveling on a smelly, boney donkey with dust stirring up in her face. When she arrived at her destination there was crowds of people too busy and concerned with themselves to even notice her desperate need for a place to give birth. I was ignorant and unappreciative to my generous parents, but I would have lost it on Joseph! The best he could provide for Mary was a bail of hay and a feeding troth! How would you respond if that was your hospital bed and the crib for your kid?
Most women want a "perfect little nest" for their newborns, but at other times in life, in order for you to be at peace, what is important to you?C: Organization, respect (The Classic)
N: Comfort, simplicity (The Natural)
D: Excellence, esthetics (The Dramatic)
I: Creativity, compassion (The Ingénue)
R: Comfort, compassion (The Romantic)
G: Productivity, justice (The Gamine)
Your desire is a big indicator of your Img.ID, click the letter to learn more about that Image Identity, including What2Wear.
Mary (a Classic, who typically plans her future with detail) got through her chaotic entrance into motherhood and shared the experience with those who came to visit her. Classics are typically well educated and gain great social status. They are also very private, independent people who don’t always find it easy to be around those they do not relate to, so the fact that Mary even allowed nasty, unwanted social outcast (shepherds) to come into her space to visit her showed that she had a profound peace that surpasses all understanding.
That’s the love and grace of God.
That’s what makes the nasty nativity story so beautiful.
If you find yourself struggling with a chaotic life right now, I encourage you to seek peace and pursue it. There will always be times when things don’t go as we wish, but if we allow God to be involved, He can turn it into something beautiful.
As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference in the lives of women and girls all over! To be part of this movement, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Goodreads and consider having her speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.
It is never wise to grocery shop when you are hungry because your cravings can get the best of your budget. Your family may love all the junk food you bring home but, after the sugar high drops, they’ll be disappointed when you cannot put together a complete meal for them.
A desperate trip to the mall can produce the same disastrous results.
You have a soon-coming wedding or special event and need a great outfit. Your closet is full of items that are tattered and worn so you find a moment to stop and shop, but money is as tight at time is, so you head straight to the clearance rack. From the wide variety of last season’s leftovers you may find a great deal but the real question is: Continue reading Never Shop for Clothes Naked or Needy→