missing pieces

I believe that we leave pieces of our hearts wherever we go. Sometimes those pieces are left with places. Sometimes they go with people. But either way, they get scattered & give us something to miss when we have to leave them. Our heart can go on without them, that’s for sure, but there are still feelings of homesickness that arise when we are placed so distant from them.

Although my body is in California (for now), my heart is in so many places.

A piece of my heart is in the greater Chicagoland area, in the suburbs. Where I was born & raised. Where my roots are. Where my life was established. Where family is. Where I met Jesus. Where old friendships originate. It’s my true home. One that forever holds a significant fragment of my heart.

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A piece of my heart is at Olivet. My alma mater. The best four years of my life (thus far) were spent there. Where I ventured out & started a new stage of life. Where I learned a lot about who I am, and who I’m not. Where I established some of the sweetest friendships I’ve come to know – especially the ones that became family. & as a result pieces of my heart are with them too. There’s a piece in Kenya with Hannah as she is teaching fourth graders at a missionary school. Another piece is in Alaska with Taryn as she is finishing up a long summer of being a nanny in an entirely foreign land to her. There’s another piece in Minnesota where Vanessa & Joe are settling into a new home while managing her PT school & his full time job responsibilities. I’ve got many pieces in Michigan, Indiana, Missouri & still in Illinois. As my family has spread out far beyond what I ever thought possible, my heart is going with them.

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A piece of my heart is in Southern Illinois. Where we spent the first year of our marriage. Where our family’s foundation was laid. Where I transitioned from the college life to true adulthood & started my first full time job. Where we came to be a part of an incredible church that deepened our faith & has forever changed our hearts. Where I experienced God actively working in my heart more deeply than he has since I first came to know him in high school. Where our time with the people we were building relationships with was cut short.

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My heart is in a lot of places. It’s been aching lately of the distance between. I wish I could create a space that could combine all of these people & places. Where we could go on living together forever in perfect, wonderful harmony. But the fact of the matter is that’s not how life works. & the even bigger reality is that’s not how following Jesus works. If I had stayed put in Joliet, & never ventured out for college, I never would have met my family at Olivet. If Adam & I waited another year to get married, I would never have moved to Southern Illinois & gotten plugged into Vine Church, or built relationships with those that I did. As much as I want to hold it all close & never loosen my grip, God’s asked me to unclench my fists. He’s asked me to keep moving & look towards Him & His plans. To trust in His faithfulness. To keep going out into the world & investing in places & people by sharing the pieces of my heart.

The good thing about having scattered pieces is that when we’re reunited with them, we feel at home. We feel the over-joyed, fulfilling peace that comes when we meet up with the long lost friends. I may be getting real deep & abstract here, but the truth is, I’ve been missing my pieces lately. & as a result, I’ve been homesick for a whole lot.

I got to speak to that piece of my heart that’s in Africa this past Friday night. Every time we talk we marvel at how God has placed us literally on opposite ends of the earth & in entirely different circumstances, yet we are still experiencing & going through a lot of the same heart issues. We’re both adjusting to new places, dealing with homesickness, & learning to trust God with the details AND the big picture. & we came to the conclusion that it’s okay to feel homesick. It’s natural, normal & expected – especially when you have pieces of your heart in so many places. But what’s not okay is letting your homesickness infect your every day. When you let it become all you think about. When you let it prevent you from investing in & making the most of where you are at. When you let it cause you to look in the rearview mirror more than you look out the windshield. If you do those things, you’ll be living in memories that have already passed. You’ll miss out on opportunities to make more, & potentially even better memories. You’ll miss out on more people & places that can host a piece of your heart.

I’m trying to pick myself up by my nonexistent bootstraps & keep moving forward. Those homes & those people are a part of who I am. They’ve helped shape me & mold me. They’ve helped push me to where I am right now. & no doubt they are what keeps encouraging me ahead. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to visiting with some of these heart pieces in a week and a half, however short that time may be. I believe that God has perfectly planned the timing of this upcoming trip for us. But after it’s over, I only hope to keep trusting in my faithful God as he pulls me onward for my good & for His glory.

no make up month: part two

I officially packed away my make up on July 14. That means I have now gone over two whole months without a drop of it on my face. In part one I explained why I chose to create this challenge for myself, but now I’m excited to tell you about how it has impacted my face, & more importantly, my heart.

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The most obvious change (& perk) in the past two months is how getting ready is a breeze now. I throw on an outfit (which has become much easier with a new tactic of mine. I’ll be sharing about this in the days to come), brush my teeth, and I’m good to go. If we’re doing something worthy of a nicer hair-do other than my natural long locks or a bun, then I plan for it. I’ve had no frustration. No feelings of defeat. No icky moods. It’s basic. It’s easy. It’s freeing. & it’s amazing how quickly I can be ready to head out the door. Talk about minimal living!

This next change may be all in my head, but I feel as if my face has brightened up. Now this could be from the glow of the California sun, but I’ll get real honest here & confess to you the disappointing fact that I have failed miserably at my goal of getting the most tan I’ve ever been while being in California. I’m not much more tan than I was when I came out here (that’s embarrassing). So honestly, I don’t think that’s it. Without my make up it seems like dark circles under my eyes are a thing of the past. Or, if I do have them, I’m not as attentive to them anymore. I feel fresh. I feel bright.

Another simple change that I anticipated was that I don’t have to be concerned about my make up smearing or wearing off throughout the day because I don’t have any on to begin with. There are no surprises when I look myself in the mirror (except maybe the constant wonder at how eyebrow hairs grow in so fast that they seem to appear out of nowhere – surely I can’t be the only one who ponders over this). When I do look in the mirror, I see my face. Not the make up. Not the cover up. Not the worn off eyeliner. But the real deal. The beauty that the Lord made in me in all its natural goodness. & as a response I shout out a little “Thanks God” in my head. Because he has shown me so much grace over the years in this small part of my life, and I’m finally embracing what it is that he calls beautiful all on its own.

I did still reach an ultimate test on this matter – because what’s a challenge if it’s not at all challenging. That test came in the disguise of the inevitable, occasional zit (oh the horror!). The mornings I’ve woken up with a pesky pimple forming on my chin have been the mornings that I briefly considered reaching for my foundation. Alas, I did not. & ya know what, I got over it (after a couple statements to the hubs that sounded suspiciously like complaints. Whoops!). Yes, I’d still be a little self conscious about the one spot on my face & look at it in the mirror periodically throughout the day, but the truth of that matter is, it goes away. Even if I did cover up that unwelcome nuisance with make up I would still be worried about it just as much. & since I wasn’t adding any additional oil or product to my face it likely cleared up much faster. I call that a win.

But let’s get down to the heart of the matter. Throughout this process I’ve had quite a few people tell me that I don’t look too different without make up. & the truth is, I don’t. I, as my own worst critic, obviously notice the minute differences, but other people don’t see too much change since I didn’t wear that much to begin with. Some people have told me “you’re one of those people that doesn’t need make up. You’re naturally beautiful without it”. & to those people I first say another heartfelt thank you for your kind, flattering, encouraging words. But the concern that rose within me was that every time it was spoken to me it came with a tone of exclusion. Like these people we’re saying this about me, but not believing it about themselves. & to that I say, rubbish.” I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: I did NOT do this to draw attention to myself. I did this so that I could realize & begin to firmly believe that my natural beauty is more than enough. & that all women (& even men too – we’re not excluding you fellas) are made stunningly. That each & every one of us is beautiful, because God says so & because He made us to be so. When you’re looking to the world’s standards or definitions, you can lose yourself. You can feel like you don’t fit or measure up. But I’m here to say & continue saying that the world is WRONG. Who are “they” to say that God’s creation isn’t good enough? Who are “they” to try & change what God already made to be lovely? What “they” have to say is rubbish, I tell you! Embrace these truths. Believe them about yourself. Don’t waste anymore time believing the lies. You. Are. Beautiful.

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This has been an even better experience than I ever anticipated it to be, especially considering no make up month has turned into no-make-up-two-months-so-far (although that doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it). I’ve experienced God’s grace & love abound in my heart. It’s made more of an impact on my life than I even intended. Probably because it was not simply about accomplishing a challenge. It was not about doing it just to do it. It has been much more than that. It’s come from something that has been rooted deep in my soul. It’s been motivated by the desire to shove away my temptations & run toward Jesus. So it hasn’t been just a month long challenge for me. It’s been a heart matter. It’s been a lifestyle change. & It has been incredibly reassuring & affirming to feel so broken off from the feeling that I need make up to go anywhere. I’m filled with hope in Jesus for the road that I am on.

catching up // vol. 2

Time is going by ridiculously fast. I’ve said it more times than I can count lately. I can’t believe it’s already mid-September. I can’t believe we have been living in California for 4 months. More than that, I can’t believe we leave in a month! I can’t believe that Boone is almost 4 months old & is getting taller before my very eyes. & I can’t believe how quickly time escapes me each day. With that being said, I haven’t had the chance to post because this past week is another one that flashed before my eyes. So here’s another update on some recent on-goings in the real Pruim life.


We have had the wonderful, magnificent, tremendous pleasure of having family come visit us back to back this past month. Adam’s parents came first over labor day weekend. Their visit was full of the highlights that the lower central coast of Cali has to offer (or at least the ones that we’ve found so far). Naturally, this included an immediate stop at In-N-Out, a tour through Pismo Beach (which of course had to include getting uncomfortably close to a pelican on the pier for the sake of a picture), a walk through the Danish town of Solvang (complete with some coconut pineapple ice cream for me), dinner at a BBQ place in San Luis Obispo, & a new-to-us experience of whale watching in Morro Bay, followed by some exploring of the town’s local shops, including a place with at least 50 different flavors of salt water taffy, and a beef jerky store (no I didn’t know they existed either) where we all tried different kinds of root beer – yes root beer, not beef jerky.

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The whale watching experience was certainly the highlight of their visit. We saw whales immediately after leaving the bay & proceeded to follow them around for the next two hours, while they surfaced, spouted water, & dove down to show their tails. A frequent whale watcher on our ride said it was the best whale watching experience of his life, so we take that as confirmation that it was extremely awesome. Whales are awesome & all, but the BEST part for me was the mass amounts of dolphins that we passed through & that swam alongside our boat. Guys, I’m talking dolphins on dolphins on dolphins! A hundred at least. I was half tempted to just jump in the water & go swimming with them (obviously the better half of my senses persuaded me otherwise).

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The captain of our ride didn’t let us end our experience without almost being killed by a whale that jumped onto the boat…just kidding, it was a plastic whale. [No real whales or people were harmed in the making of this photo-op].

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While the Pruims were in town, we happened to stumble upon the Lompoc farmers market & discovered that the reason that the town is considered the “City of Art & Flowers” is because there are 40+ murals painted all over town. On the weekend between our parents’ visits Adam & I made a date out of walking through town trying to find as many of them as possible. They were literally everywhere.

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This past weekend we were graced with the presence of my parents. Their visit included similar, but still different experiences. I took them to Solvang, where we found a giant clog to put Boone inside of (because what else do you do with a giant shoe & a puppy), and I also got myself a panama hat that I am absolutely smitten with. No joke, I wore it all weekend.

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We also took them to Pismo & brought Boone out onto the beach. The boy is still a digger at heart & loves the sand, but he is certainly not a fan of the ocean. While walking along the shore he even jumped into someone’s giant sand-fort in order to avoid the tide just barely touching his paw. He’s a baby about it, but it’s quite entertaining.

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The rest of their visit involved some intense putt-putt golfing, plenty of poolside time at their hotel, games of Skip-bo, and a quick stop to Stearn’s Wharf in Santa Barbara before I saw them off at the airport yesterday afternoon.

Having family come to town was just what the doctor ordered for our home-sick selves. Spending time with family & catching up on life has filled up our love tanks. It’s also helped to break up the time we have left being so far away. Plus, it’s helped bring us another week closer to the soon-to-be-quickest-Pruim-family-trip-of-our-lives when we come home for approximately 43 hours for one of our best friend’s wedding at the beginning of October.

Outside of our weekend adventures, life is continuing on as it has been for the past months. My weekdays are still full of the daily grind, random errands, & quality time with Boone. Speaking of him, he is growing by the second (& he certainly LOVED getting some extra adoration from his grandparents these past weeks). Our transition to Minot is quickly approaching – faster than we even realize. I’m trying to start mentally preparing for another cross country move before I start physically preparing for it. I’m certainly praying for a strengthened ability (& extra peace & trust in the Lord) to handle the stress & the transition. We’re hoping to make the most of the last month we have in the Golden State, because just like the last four months here, we know that it’s going to pass in the blink of an eye.

Does anyone have any recommendations for things to add to our California countdown list?

break off these chains

First off, I want to take the time to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who are here reading this blog. It has been something that my heart has felt pretty strongly about for awhile, so to have your support simply by reading the words I write means more than you know. What means even more is the continual affirmation I’ve been receiving from many of you. It genuinely warms my heart to hear some of you sharing that you like what I have to say, or that you connect with what I’m posting. The encouragement & support has been wonderful & I thank Jesus for this opportunity to share my heart & my life with you all.


Before I post the follow up to my No Make Up Month, I want to share something with you. Last week I was flipping through a journal of mine that I’ve poured my heart into occasionally in the past year & a half, & I came across a few pages that I titled “Break Off These Chains.” I wrote them back when we were still living in Southern Illinois, so many months ago, but they still resonate with me today. They reflect & emphasize a lot of what I have already shared with you, & what I plan to continue piecing together in the future. These words came straight out of my heart in the midst of struggle. They’re raw, transparent & sincere. & yet there’s still hope in them. & hope is something that is most definitely worth sharing.

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“At the age of almost-23 I have been significantly impacted by the materialistic, self centered culture that I live in. In many ways I’ve let my heart & mind become saturated in vanity, comparison, & pleasure. & my heart & mind have suffered because of it. Junior high & high school are typically known as the breeding grounds for self esteem issues & comparisons, but the last year of my life has been the hardest time I’ve ever had in dealing with these issues. I’ve cared about my clothes, my hair, my appearance more than ever before. I’ve looked at my home & life through the lens of Pinterest & wanting it to be picture perfect. & I’ve felt the insecurity as I came to believe it didn’t all measure up. But that’s the thing about “picture perfect” – you only see the small fraction of a second that was captured & think that everything about it bleeds perfection. But you don’t give a thought about everything it took to make that picture. You don’t think about all of the messiness in between the shots. I have been damaging my heart as I’ve compared my clothes, my home, my abilities, my experiences, my marriage, my relationships, my faith, my whole life to everyone else. I’ve bought into the lies that [this] isn’t good enough, or [theirs] is better. & when I do feel like I’ve mastered something, I take pride in it. But the satisfaction lasts about as long as it takes for me to get those 25 likes on Instagram. Why do I do this to myself? I know how toxic it is. I know that confidence in Christ is worth so much more. I know that the things I’m worrying about most of the time are superficial. So why do I do it? Why do I let myself get caught up in it? If I were being blatantly honest, its because those few moments of praise, or accomplishment, or satisfaction I get make me feel good. So I keep striving to get to a point where I can experience that all the time. The thing is, I will never reach a point in time when I have it all together. Things in this world will always come up short. I’ve known this struggle for so long now – the balance between low self esteem & pride. It’s been brutal at times. But I know the solution too: Jesus. God created this world as good. He created it to be enjoyed & admired. But He didn’t create it to be enjoyed & admired more than Him. Time & time again I have brought myself to his feet making the commitment that I will turn away from this world towards him. & in those moments I know what it is like to experience true joy & fulfillment. But then I pull a “Lot’s wife” & look back, & I’m snatched back into emptiness. I’ve tried to obtain more self confidence, & that certainly is pleasing at times – being comfortable with who I am & owning it. But I still come up dry sometimes. That’s because I need to be seeking confidence in Christ. Confidence in the cross. Not confidence as the world sees it. But confidence that I am known & loved by the creator of this world. Confidence that I have freedom in Him because he died for my sins – including my pride & my struggling self esteem – & rose again to defeat them. As I take greater steps towards submitting my life to His will, I hope to fully commit to the freedom I have in Christ by letting go of the things that bind me. It’s about time I do, & it’s about time I do it for Him.”

I’ll leave you with this: Hope can be found in Jesus. We just need to allow ourselves to turn to Him for it.


Is there any part of this that you can relate with? I know I’m not in this alone. Feel free to share in the comments below or contact me by email.

how my puppy ruined my routine

Seven weeks ago today we brought home the sweetest little fluff ball of a puppy we’ve ever laid eyes on. Bringing Boone into our family has been such a wonderful treat, but it’s also brought about a lot of changes to our lives. Let me just give you some examples:

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MY MORNING ROUTINE

Pre Boone: I grew accustomed to starting off my mornings with breakfast at the table while reading my Bible. After I finished I would wash my face, put in my contacts, & brush my teeth. Then I’d do a clean sweep of the apartment which included making the bed, picking up any clothes that we so lazily left on the floor, doing the dishes, and tidying up the kitchen. I was in the habit of exercising after this so I would either go for a run or do some yoga in our living room. Typically after this I would be due for a shower. By noontime I would finally be ready to start whatever leisure activity I had in mind for the day. It was structured. It was productive. It kept me on top of things.

Post Boone: I still start my mornings with breakfast & Bible reading, but I’m usually interrupted 20 times to feed Boone, to take Boone outside, to play with Boone, to pay attention to Boone, because for goodness sake the boy is the most energetic & attention seeking in the AM when I’m simply trying to wake up. Running became nonexistent upon his arrival due to trying to avoid putting him in his kennel so often. While I was skipping running-time, I stuck with yoga. When the yoga mat comes out, Boone comes a runnin’. Without fail. He can be asleep in the hallway, but the dog has this sixth sense of knowing when the yoga mat comes out & is on top of it within seconds. While I do yoga, he lays in the spots that I need to be. He licks my feet, & my ears, & my armpits. And those downward dogs become challenging when your puppy is licking your armpit just because he likes how your deodorant tastes. I still eventually get through my routine at some point in the day. It’s just broken up. It takes longer. It can feel inconvenient at times.

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MY SLEEP SCHEDULE

Pre Boone: I was at the point that I achieved a solid sleep schedule where I’d go to bed around 10 or 11 and wake up at 8 or 8:30. A glorious amount of sleep that left plenty of time to be productive & enjoy the day.

Post Boone: Initially the little guy destroyed the sleep routine I worked hard to achieve. I was sleeping on the couch for a couple weeks in order to keep him calm in his kennel. I wouldn’t get to bed until 11 or 12 & then woke up at 3 AM and again at 6 AM to let him outside without interfering with Adam’s sleep. And then there was the task of getting him to go BACK to sleep. Thankfully his bladder control has steadily increased & he can sleep through the whole night without having to go out. However, on the mornings I wake up to him whining sooner than I’d like, I’ll bring him into bed with me so that I can sleep for a bit longer. Usually he wants to play at this time so I throw a toy to the end of the bed for him to be entertained long enough for me to just fall asleep again, and then like clockwork he wants some human attention. So he lays by my head. & he pushes and scratches my face. & he licks my ears. & he lays on my pillow, & eventually on my head. & he tries to eat my hair. Until finally I remove all sources of distraction and we fall asleep together for at least one extra blissful hour.

FAMILY OUTINGS

Pre Boone: We had the time to do whatever we pleased whenever we pleased. We could go adventures if we wanted or we could stay in & take it easy. We could make last minute plans. We could be gone all day. We could do it all without a second thought.

Post Boone: Our activities have to revolve around Boone. Doing anything with him can go something like this:

Can Boone come with? No? We won’t be gone for more than a few hours so we can keep him in his kennel.
Oh, we’re going to be gone all day? Maybe we can get a friend to watch him?
Oh, Boone can come with today? Do we have his food, water, a bowl, and toys? Wait, I forgot to grab bags to pick up his poop!
Now we’re here & Boone is trying to eat every woodchip, rock, or leaf that he passes. Proceed to pull the slobbery object out of his mouth’s grip.
Boone’s overwhelmed by all the people, so he plants his bottom on the ground refusing to walk. Drag him a little to get him going again & reassure him he’s okay.
We can’t bring Boone into this store. I’ll wait outside with him while you get what we need.
Boone’s tired from walking all day. Carry him so he doesn’t stop every five seconds.
Oh but wait, we have to stop every two seconds to let all the admiring passerby pet him & ask us what kind of dog he is.

In short, he complicates things.

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But that’s because he’s a puppy. For the most part we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we brought him home with us. We knew that he would be time consuming and needy. We knew that we would have to sacrifice time and money in order to care for him. We knew that our lives would require some adjustments. That’s all a part of caring for a living being.

& even though some days he wears me out, or annoys me, or doesn’t listen to me, or bites me one too many times, he is still SO worth my time, love, & energy. He’s the cutest little fluff ball I ever did see. He’s incredibly smart. He’s energetic & playful, yet laid back & calm. He’s an excellent snuggle buddy. He’s hilarious too. He makes the goofiest noises, and does the silliest things that leave us cracking up all the time. & the best part is that he is incredibly loving. Regardless of if I leave him home for 5 hours or two minutes, he is equally excited to see me when I return. He has that tail wagging, eyes-light-up kind of excitement that makes me feel cared for; that makes me feel wanted & needed; that makes me feel like I matter.

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In those times that he is non stop in my face, barking by himself on the floor, or ringing his bathroom bell just to make noise, I have the choice to either tell him off & get annoyed, or I can give him what he is deeply desiring: my time and affection. There have been times that I’ve stopped myself from pushing him away from me when I’m trying to read and set my book down so that I can spend some time playing with him. Even if that means throwing the same toy repeatedly down the hallway for him to fetch, then so be it. That means that I get to have that quality time with him and he gets the stimulation and play time that he needs. I have to give up myself sometimes to give my puppy what he needs. This has given me a glimpse into the challenges of parenthood. I get so flustered by parents that ignore their kids or put electronics in front of them to avoid spending time with them. I want to be the kind of mom that is spending time with her children. I want to be the kind of mom that makes her kids a priority in her life. I want to be the mom that is outside playing catch or swimming with her kids on a summer day. I want to be the kind of mom that builds forts, or does crafts, or cuddles my kids until they’re old enough to think I’m too lame to hang out with. I want to invest in my children. Sure, there will be plenty of days that they wear me out, irritate me, or push me to my limits. But they are in need of plenty of fresh starts. They need forgiveness & grace & mercy as they learn to operate in this world. & I’m the one responsible for teaching them how to do so. I want them to know that they are loved, cherished, and wanted in my life. & having a puppy has been the perfect practice for that. It’s also been the perfect opportunity to affirm us that children are nowhere in our desired near future (sorry to disappoint all you hopeful friends). A puppy is enough work in itself right now. But just like children will be one day, despite the time, sleep, & energy we have to give toward him, every bit of it is worth it.

Because of that, I’m perfectly okay with him ruining my routine.

no make up month: part one

[Disclaimer: For those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may remember back in July I posted that I would be declaring the next month “No Make Up Month” for myself. I didn’t give much of an in depth explanation knowing that I was planning for this blog to get started up, and hoped to share more about it here. So after completing a month+ of wearing no make up I’m hear to finally explain what it’s all about.]

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This is my typical make up routine for days that I leave the house: Start off with a little coconut oil as a moisturizer. Apply a layer of powder foundation to even out my complexion. Draw some eyeliner along my water line (but not on my eyelid because Lord knows I’ve tried & failed at that enough times to give up). Depending on the day’s activities some mascara might make an appearance, which usually will be proceeded by frustratingly wiping away the multiple smudges I made in putting it on, meaning those spots will be touched up with a little more powder. Possibly repeat the last step if I smudge it again (frustration x2).

& that’s it. A basic routine with all drug store brand make up. It’s nothing extravagant or special. Yet despite the simplicity, it’s still one that becomes frustrating at times for a girl lacking make up skills like myself. I never bothered to gain those skills while growing up, so I’ve always kept it simple. & I’ve always been content with that – well, the simplicity part at least. But I’ve still spent some mornings feeling defeated as I’ve had to fix the spots around my eye for the third time because I just couldn’t get that mascara on without smearing or clumping some of it (I’m sure the few male readers I have are totally identifying with the struggle). Then I kick off my day in a lame, if not bad mood (because I’m a woman, & we’re just too darn sensitive sometimes).

I could have taken the time to learn more techniques to diminish my struggles, but in all honesty the thought of that sounds horribly displeasing to me. So I’ve just stuck to it, hoping that I’d eventually get better. & some days are okay, but other days are spent being overly dissatisfied over such an insignificant matter.

I’m not even sure when I came to believe that I needed make up to feel prettier. I used to use the excuse that I wore eyeliner to make myself look more awake (because morning’s & me have never gotten along if it’s before 8 a.m. or I don’t get more than 8-9 hours of peaceful sleep). Yet by the end of most days my eyeliner has worn off enough that I have even darker circles under my eyes than I started with. Then at some point I added mascara into the mix. Why? Probably because that’s what everyone else was doing (along with telling each other to jump off a bridge, I’m sure).

As discussed here, our transition out to California has led to the decision to live my life more minimally. Since this time I’ve spent a lot of my days doing things around home without really leaving our apartment. Therefore, I don’t give make up a second thought. & let me tell you, it’s a nice break on those days to not have the grimy feeling of a layer of unnatural product on my face. It’s a relief to be able to rub my eye when it itches without worrying about messing up my eye make up. & it’s especially great to not get a headache at the end of the day from it (the headaches most likely being caused by my make up irritating my contacts & eyes). The more days I was spending without make up, the more I thought about taking a break from it. I could save a good chunk of time in my morning routine because I wouldn’t be fussing over it. And if I did that I’d also save myself from the irritation and frustration I explained above. AND I’d be irritating my hubs a whole lot less because I wouldn’t always be running late to go somewhere when I didn’t plan for the reapplication step of the process.

In the midst of pondering these thoughts, God did what he usually does when I spend time thinking over life changes. He gave me the extra push. A friend of mine posted Colbie Caillet’s music video for her song “Try,” found below. & I cried.

This was a beautiful encouragement, motivation, & inspiration to me to fully embrace my God-given beauty as it is. I haven’t been doubting that I’m beautiful. But I have been struggling to believe that I’m beautiful enough. There are days that I feel like I don’t measure up because I don’t look as good as this girl, or that one. The truth is we are all fearfully & wonderfully made in God’s image, therefore we shouldn’t feel like we need to add anything to us to look or feel beautiful. We don’t need to spend time covering up our insecurities or “enhancing” our look to measure up to other women. We’re already called beautiful by the God who created the amazingly beautiful world we live in. He’s made the mountains & the oceans & & the stars & the flowers. He makes the sunsets & the sunrises. He’s seen & made the most magnificent sights on earth. & he still calls US beautiful. That is such a heartwarming, encouraging, & freeing word to a woman who has given into the lie that she’s doesn’t measure up in her appearance & as a result has let it become a controlling & life-stealing idol in her life this past year.

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Make up in itself isn’t the evil I’ve been facing. Sometimes it does make me look & feel [extra] pretty. It’s nice to get dolled up for a fancier occasion. But I don’t want to be enslaved by the belief that I need it. I don’t want to get caught into the mindset that I need it to look good on an everyday basis – especially when I’m doing something that clearly doesn’t necessitate it (like going to the beach or playing volleyball, which I’m guilty of putting on some make up for both). & so I have been breaking this chain in my life that has held me back for too long. I made the decision to pack up & lock away my already minimal make up collection for the entirety of a month so that I could open the locks on my heart. As I did, the word FREEDOM just bellowed in my soul. Due to my minimal efforts in the make up department already, this wasn’t a huge shift in what I looked like. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s one small step for pushing back against my temptations, & one giant leap for freeing my soul. (That’s how the phrase goes right?)

I didn’t do this to gain attention for myself. I was never fishing for the compliments I received after posting about this (although they were very affirming & kind). But I did this to bring more awareness to the fight that I know many women are battling. One that discourages & tears down & strangles women on a daily basis. I’m here to tell each and every one of you that you are beautiful. You are enough. You don’t have to try. You are cherished. & you are loved. Simply because of who God created you to be.

I’m SO looking forward to sharing with you soon about how the last month+ of no make up has gone for me. Be on the lookout for that update soon. Until then, maybe it’s time for you to give yourself a break from the things that are holding you back or tearing you down. If that’s the case for you, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to comment below, or contact me by email.