Saturday, March 30, 2013

Battle of the cosmetics

For my birthday, my wonderful sister gave me a gift that every girl loves - cheap cosmetics. Who doesn't want to try a new blush? So, I excitedly started wearing Elf blush in tickled pink.

I liked the blush so much that I decided to do a little experiment with my daily staples - my foundation primer, and my foundation. My face can shine through anything, and I have an odd undertone that is tough to match. I have tried so many combos of primer and foundation - pricey brands like MAC, Mary Kay, Clinique; cheap brands like Cover Girl and Physicians Formula. I really only have one that kinda works. That's Estee Lauder Idealist primer with Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid foundation. I'm pretty happy with it on a daily basis, but I still get some shine through, and it's so expensive. 
Primer -  $60
Foundation - $25
Total - $85

So I bought the Rimmel #2 Face Primer/Mattifyer and the Elf Flawless Finish Liquid foundation.
Primer - $6
Foundation - $6
Total - $12

The result? It's almost the same. I do like the expensive stuff a little better, but the cheap stuff works. The drugstore combo gives me a great finish and it lasts pretty long. If I blot mid-day, it does 90% of what EL products do. So... that means I'd be willing to pay 10% more to get that extra 10%, but let's say I'd be willing to pay 15%.. that's $13.80, so I'd be willing to pay $14. Not $85. I LOVE the EL products, but... for $12? Elf & Rimmel will do. 

Do you have a cheap product you love? Or an expensive product you'll shell out your kidney for?

By the way, if you love natural products, check out my friend's Etsy shop {www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyBeautifulBandB}. I use her nighttime face oil and it's lovely. Definitely worth every penny, especially since profits go to benefit orphans.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus, friend of sinners

It's Holy Week, so I'm not fighting about anything on facebook. I am not going to blog about gay marriage. I am going to blog about my conversation with my husband last night.

"Does gay marriage affect me?" I ask Robert, as I'm brushing my teeth.
"What are you talking about?" He asks. Then I remember that I'm the news correspondent in our family and quickly update him about what's going on in the world and on facebook.

{We didn't get a good answer to that question, by the way. We talked it over and went through a lot.} 

Robert is reading through the Bible right now with a group of men at church, led by our pastor. He is right in the worst of the Old Testament right now - judges, sin, punishment, demolishing of nations.

I'm reading a Bible study about revival in your heart with our women's Bible study. I'm in the middle of studying God's holiness and my heart. I'm in the middle of reviewing the message on the cross.

Image Copyright Cory Schoolland,
used with permission

This was not the most conducive background for a debate about gay marriage, the state, the church, etc. While Robert is talking about God smiting Israel, I'm talking about personal repentance. So we didn't get anywhere other than discussion, which is not a bad thing. I was thinking about that juxtaposition, what Robert's reading and what I'm studying, and I realized, it's not by accident. It is what everything is about.

What a strange overlap, no? That sin is so severe. That we are all so broken. That we actively choose to wander in the dessert over obeying and loving God. That we are eternally doomed to destruction because of our actions. That is the horizontal line of the cross. We are broken people. That horizontal line is pointing right at us, people.

Then there's Jesus. Jesus who came to fulfill the law so we could be relieved of it's burden. Jesus who looked at the "church" of the day and confronted it. Jesus who said that we are to serve and be poor and get dirty and love more than we are comfortable loving. Jesus, who endured a painful, shameful death... for me. That is the vertical line of the cross. We are broken people, and Jesus saved us anyway. The line, it's coming right down to the lowly and undeserving.

John 8 tells the story of the woman caught in adultery. I am the Pharisee, eager to condemn and act righteous, and I want to have something to call "wrong" so I can see myself as right. I am the woman, caught, shamed, sinful, both deserving of my punishment and so desperately in need of grace.

What does Jesus say to me? Two things.

1. Let you who is without sin cast the first stone.
2. Neither do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.

What does this show me? 1 - I need to fight for justice. I need to be more loving in the way I view other people. I need to put down the stones.
2- I am wretched, and Jesus saved me. He calls me to so much more than a life of sin or a life of stone throwing.

I don't know what this means for you. I'm not judging your responses to issues at hand or your convictions. I only know what it means for me. I only know that those 2 statements are very convicting and seem like an impossible challenge. I only know that, as Easter, approaches, I will only have one prayer, one praise. The praise of salvation. The prayer for more love, more of Christ in my life.

"Oh Jesus,
friend of sinners,
break our hearts
for what breaks yours."
- Casting Crowns

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've been out of college for over 6 years? no way.

If you don't know this, I didn't have exactly a stellar time at my alma mater, Wheaton College. It's too long to write about, so I won't. I will summarize by saying this - it was a dark, difficult time for me. The one bright spot in my college career was when I chose to leave for a semester to do an urban studies program via Westmont in San Francisco. A big thanks to Matt for getting me to do that, btw. The friends I talk about "from college" are 90% from that one semester. {I don't tell people that because it's kind of embarrassing, but I digress}

Regardless of the pain, discomfort and depression of my college years, I am thankful every single day for the education I received. With each passing year, I realize what a true, precious gift it is. As much as going through the Survey of Old Testament for 3 hour blocks in a night class made me truly understand the suffering of Job, at least I surveyed the Old Testament. As much as New Testament felt a little tedious at times (I mean, 3 of the books are the same, people, and you have to talk about it over and over and then contrast it with the one that's different, it gets old), I remember so much of what we learned. I remember professors who had devoted their lives to studying specific materials coming right out and saying that had totally different views on topics from what I had ever been taught (mind blown, right?). I remember learning how to read texts, how to study, how to pay attention and take it seriously. I remember being stunned in a Survey of Calvin History & Theology when I read about how Calvin lived in poverty and with daily taking of the elements. I remember memorizing Scripture in Spanish and having to understand it's new implications, because not all the words are the same.

I remember Urban, that semester in which everything about faith seemed to change for my college years. I remember feeling hope again. I remember learning how to hear, to learn, to love and advocate for the less fortunate and hated. I remember being pushed beyond my limit in what I thought about hard work, faith, culture, values, and friendships. A part of me believes I would 100% not be able to do my job today if I hadn't been prepped for that type of environment in that semester. What I do requires both an attitude of openess and being willing to say "I'm game" (#urbanjoke) and to deal with the hard realities out there. And when I see an argument about faith going on today, I write on my professor's Facebook wall for the name of a book we read because it changed my life and I need to share it with friends. I'm grateful I read it 5 years ago, not 5 months ago. I'm grateful other professors and friends start chiming in immediately with the title and author.

Would I do it all again? Would I choose, knowing what I know now, to go back and undo and choose differently for that time in my life?

I'm not sure. But I can be thankful. I can be thankful everyday that what they taught me informs my faith and life today. I can be thankful for the gift of those professors, for the moments where God chose to speak to my heart & brain (#wheatonjoke), and for the moments that made me into who I am today.

Friday, March 15, 2013

How did it go..?

Not too long ago, I wrote about my sick grandmother, about how inspiring she is
 
She and my mom came to visit last week, and I've had quite a few people ask me how it all went. I know they just aren't asking what we did, I know they are feeling out for how we are handling the fact that she has cancer and she only has a limited time left on the earth.
 
A good friend asked me this "How did it go...?" question, and this is what I wrote her back.
 
It was wonderful to have them - I felt like I was begging them to come back, which made me feel like such an adult. Like I realize how precious this time is with them, how fast it's slipping away. On Friday night, I sat with an asleep Abram in my lap at the restaurant (some things never change ;) ) across from my grandma and I wanted to stop time. She's dying, it's real. Abram is growing up, one day he won't fall asleep in my lap. I wanted to hold onto the moment so desperately, but I knew it was sand slipping through my fingers. I know I may not have many dinners left sitting across the table from my only grandparent, holding my already too big nephew, watching my husband play with my niece who is obsessed with him. I wanted to find the cosmic "pause" button and hold it all too tightly. It will all change, and sooner than I care for. Sorry, I sound so depressed and I'm not... it's just... how it is. I'm not ready for her to be dying, but I know all at the same time it's not something I can do anything about.

I did talk to my grandmother a little about raising 6 kids before there were even microwaves. I mean, how can you raise 6 children without even having a microwave?!?!?!?! She said it didn't matter, she still uses a pot to heat things on the stove. She talked about how wonderful it was, to have them in her life, how she just got them one at a time and figured out how to do it one at a time.