Are you a PRINCESS?

Princess

Are you a PRINCESS?

A dear friend of mine’s husband is the most amazing father. Although he coaches both of his sons’ little league teams and is consistently a #1 provider, husband and all-around fantastic guy, it’s the relationship with his young daughter that gets me the most. I love witnessing the affection and adoration he shows for his young and impressionable, but tough and sweet little girl.

“Who’s the most beautiful girl in the world?” He asks as she blushes and looks up at him.

“Emmie-loooo is the most beautiful girl in the world!” He gives her a squeeze. “Next to mommy, of course.” He winks at her and kisses his wife.

She is his little princess.

Does he realize the tremendous impact of his behavior? As this young lady matures, it morphs into what she believes about other male relationships and in how she expects to be treated.

When do we stop thinking we are worthy to be adored, respected and treated like a princess?

“There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you”  –Jonny Diaz

 

But, maybe you never learned it from your father.

And if we don’t learn these things from our parents, as a youth often times we are influenced by fairy tales. Disney has capitalized on this concept. Just admit it: Who didn’t have dreams of prince charming? Who else also wanted their personality to be so serene that all the animals of the forest would flock to you? Who didn’t want a prince to show up with perfect shoes and to rescue them from evil step-mothers and housework?

On some level we identify with these stories.

My favorite fairy tale was the “Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Anderson.

http://www.fairytalescollection.com/HansChristianAndersen/ThePrincessandthePea.aspx

Before I was even a teen, I was into makeup. I spent hours in front of a mirror playing with the color palettes attempting to reproduce looks like the girls in the magazines. I painted my fingers and toes a different color every night. (Yep—CRAY-CRAY!!)

Deep down, with my not-even-necessary training bra and my plain face, I thought people might mistake me for a boy. As I grew into my teens, I believed others wouldn’t see me as beautiful without the powders, liquids and gels. Accompanied by the hours spent feathering my hair and the latest Mary Kay cosmetics, I carried these false beliefs into my high school years.

I tried all the techniques, tricks and tips I had to be what I thought made up “beautiful.”

What I would’ve loved was to be like the “Princess and the Pea.” When the raging storm washed away all the outside trappings and evidence to the eyes that she was royalty, there was another test that would prove she was who she claimed.—Despite the other’s inability to see who she truly was, this test, if passed, would reveal her true identity!

No looks, no make-up, no perfect hair—Just a test! Even if the face and body that God created her with was washed away, this test would reveal her royalty!

I love this because –I am really good at tests!

But…

The thing about fairy tales is–they are not reality.

I am certain the prince doesn’t know how to do his own laundry.

Wild forest animals are NOT that friendly and, seriously—a GLASS SHOE?

That princely carriage turns into a pumpkin and the housework NEVER goes away!

Here’s the TRUTH:

God created you in His image (Genesis 1:27)

God knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

Embrace the YOU-niqueness of YOU!  As Jonny Diaz’s song tells us: There could NEVER be a more beautiful you–

“So turn around

you’re not too far
To back away

be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late, you can be saved

If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear, they can all be washed away

By the one who’s strong, can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears

dry, all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world

He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light, He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl”

–Jonny Diaz

With God as your father, you are adored. There is NOTHING you can do to change how beautiful you are to God.

When you know Jesus as your Savior, you are an heiress into His royal family.

You are always His princess.

No pea required.

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UNIQUE

Image

CREATING YOU UNIQUE

Cooking shows have been around for years (like Julia Childs) and continue to grow in their popularity. Now, not only can you find them on the Food Network and cable channels, but prime time has hosted Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, The Taste and many more!

I love watching a master create a fabulous feast by utilizing everyday kitchen ingredients — like my mom at Thanksgiving ;). Sometimes these Master Chefs use the kitchen tools and gadgets only found in specialty stores, or an ingredient I have never heard of, but my favorite is when the creation is crafted from the mundane.

Isn’t that what creativity is about? Picking and choosing from the ordinary and, by someone’s special talent, gift or touch, morphing it into the extraordinary?!

…….

I was amped up from a day of pumpkin spice lattes and couldn’t get to sleep. I got to thinking how cooking parallels writing. A good writer can utilize the everyday mundane events, filter it through their perception and out oozes one of two things:

1)     A sumptuous, smooth, creamy concoction worthy of topping William and Kate’s wedding cake

OR, quite possibly,

2)     A travesty to the taste buds worthy only of “decorating” the nearest lawn as the latest fertilizer! (Get my drift?) Pee-ee you!

You win some, you lose some.

Yet, both serve a purpose. And #2 -no pun intended- very likely could’ve turned out to be the most fabulous fertilizer known to man!

—–

Whether your creation is cooking, painting, writing, decorating, building, acting, speaking, dancing, singing, parenting, managing or whatever-ing—There is only ONE YOU.

Your filters: your past, your life events, your perceptions, experiences and what makes up you, are completely and utterly unique to YOU.

You are one of a kind.

“You knit me together in my mother’s womb…I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13,14)

That always amazes me. The ultimate Craftsman, Creator and Master took the everyday ingredients of flesh and bone, hair, skin and cells and He creates a masterpiece each and every time. Something so diverse, there will never be another.

I work in the Identification Unit. Fingerprints are utilized to identify individuals because science has shown them to be unique and permanent.

Their genesis is in the womb and they persist past death.

They identify you as His unique creation.

Each and every fingerprint found on your hands (and feet) is absolutely unique. There never has been another with the same fingerprints and there never will be another, EVER, with the same.

That kind of creativity blows my mind.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle most nights with finding something new to throw together for dinner and often end up making the same old thing. Yet, our Creator never struggles. We are marked as His unique creation before we are born, created with grace and divinely unique through (and beyond) our death. A divine masterpiece each and every time!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

So, whatever good works you were created for, my hope is that you recognize your uniqueness; you embrace YOU and all that went into you as a special creation.

And, like Kathryn Stockett from the movie The Help so beautifully put it, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

And, I would add, you is Unique!

 

 

AUTHENTICITY – Part 2

DSCF8820AUTHENTICITY -PART 2
The whole truth…
Why do you write?
Who is your audience?
As a new author, I was doing research on book signings and book release events. My friend and “research partner” Pammy and I entered the doors to The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona as wide-eyed, innocent information gatherers. Both of us are “lovers of books” and could hardly wait for this day. With its shelves laden with adventures, mysteries and thrills, the excitement we felt at experiencing a new bookstore was palpable. The chairs were set in rows and the two empty seats in front of the rows captivated our attention. Yet, what we learned that day paralleled the day my sister and I found out about Santa Claus; catapulting us out of our innocence and into a harsher new existence.
Barbara Peters, the owner of The Poisoned Pen, the “emcee” for the event and a lawyer by trade, had no issue with sharing her knowledge with everyone. She and the author of “Going, Going, Ganache” (a cupcake mystery) by Jenn McKinlay had a very open discussion about Jenn’s book, her fun characters, the cheeky titles of her books, her genres and her journey as an author, librarian and mother. The discussion turned to publishers and talk began about “ghost writing.”
Up to that point, I thought ghost writing was simply when a person hires someone to write down their words for them or when someone who hasn’t yet embraced their “author-hood” writes under a different name. (–Like when Stephen King began his writing as Richard Bachman.)
Ignorance is bliss.
I had no idea that publishers will hire writers who can most similarly write like other authors (i.e., Clive Cussler) and thus mass produce more books (at a cheaper rate) and still sell it as a Clive Cussler novel. (Notice that now the Clive Cussler novels will acknowledge the additional writer!) Yet, this was the truth that was shared so openly. I felt like the new kid in junior high English who appeared to be the only one in the class that had the wrong answer and was trying to hide this fact from the teacher and the other students while reviewing homework answers.
I dared not look around to see if others had the same shock I was feeling for fear of giving away that I had no idea this happened. I refused to look at Jenn and the owner. I tried to steady my breathing, I glanced at the book shelves that overflowed with hundreds and thousands of books; the hard work of hundreds of authors filled this room—or did it? This new truth seemed to howl out at me like open mouthed skulls screaming out from the valley of the shadows of death.
To me, this isn’t ghost writing but more along the lines of the forgers and frauds. Truth be told (by these two people “in the business,”) it happens more than you would guess.
Like a well taught liar, deliver enough of a truth and it seems entirely plausible.
Is this slippery concept of authenticity really something all writers strive for? Or is it just a dead idea?

And yet, it seemed to make sense.
This is America. We like to mass produce things. We like to sell things and create them as cheaply as we can. The good old All-American dollar. All of a sudden I didn’t feel so bad for taking nearly two years to get my first book written and published. If these other writers have a staff of others cranking out titles for them (for the publisher,) then what harm does this really do to me? I had to rely on the other theory that there MUST be other good and decent, talented authors who refuse to let another writer take on their name and write THEIR stories.
My friend and I departed the doorway of The Poisoned Pen, stumbling into the harsh noon sunlight of the Sonoran desert radiating off the black asphalt. Our innocent endeavor forced our eyes to open into a new, scorching reality.
“Did you know that about writers?” She looked at me sideways as we approached the car.
My mouth still agape, “No idea. They talked like everyone knew?”
“I KNOW! And I felt totally stupid.”
“Me too! But now I’m kinda pissed…”
“Me too…”
We drove in silence as we digested this new information.
I remembered reading that when commercial airlines first took off, the barf bags were used all the time. It would seem that people do, quite literally, have a tough time digesting and adjusting to new ideas and new things. As more and more people took more and more flights, the barf bag use declined quite measurably. Fly now and the bags are so rarely used and rarely even found on a flight.
I felt like I needed a barf bag.
Yet, as I chew on this new idea, tossing it around my taste buds, I am learning and experiencing a new flavor. When I wrote my first “piece” and put it out there, I didn’t want to take credit for it. I didn’t want my name on it. In “Masters of the Mountains,” my name is found nowhere. I was simply the author included in the telling of that tale of Jim King’s Paradigm Racing Team. I didn’t want my name in there because of who I was writing for and because of the purpose behind that book.
When I saw the beauty of the photo of Central Park (see Part 1), and witnessed the ideas morphed by Heidi Rosner for The River for the cover of my book “grace,” they both show the truth of the beauty of the places.
And, as I thought more and more about my purposes for writing and who I write for, I realized that I would be okay with the title of “ghost writer.” I could handle the criticism of others who might call me a fraud, a forger, (ha ha—like I will ever be) a-“mass producer!” Whatever anyone wants to call it–If you are doing what you love then I believe you only have to ask yourself this question:
Who are you writing for?
I need only to read Hebrews 12:2 to remind myself who I “ghost write” for:
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” King James Version (KJV)
When I digested my own truth of who I write for, the bitter taste evaporated and was replaced with sweetness. There is only One that I write for; only One I have to satisfy with the words He has given me. Bottom line—Aren’t we are all ghost writers?–filling pages with the authentic, genuine reality of what the ultimate Creator has given us? We become the translators of our experiences; sifting the golden perfection through our wiry sieve of life. We are those made in His image and made to be the reflectors of His light; those made to have life abundantly and to tell those stories, worthy of an audience of One.