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beauty

WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL

I’m such a softy (in more ways than one). My body, my ever evolving, almost forty year old body has softened. But, my heart, oh heavens, my heart is softened even more toward kind, humble, “give you your flowers” people. Kindness is, without question, my kind of beautiful.

When I was a little girl, people who knew my Mom would see my Sister and stop in their tracks with an “Oh, Glenda, this must be your daughter. She’s the spitting image of you.” I knew they meant she was beautiful because, like my Momma, my Sis is beautiful, too. And, closely behind, I would make my way into the picture and the same person would say, “Now, who are you.” Oh, Jesus, keep me near! My Mom would say, “This is Jill. She’s my youngest. And, while she’s so much like me in ways, she’s the spitting image of her Daddy. And, if you knew him, you’d know how special that is.”

I would think to my little self, “Dang, if I don’t look like my Mom, I must not be as pretty.” Do you love that? Not that I wasn’t pretty, but “as pretty.” God love me. When that sweet Mom of mine wasn’t having to reprimand us for bad behavior (mostly my Sister, Susan, of course… wink, wink… love you, Sis) she was praising the heck out of us. “You look beautiful today,” she would say, or “I’m very proud of you.” We could’ve both been headless monsters, but, we would’ve never known. Because, to our Mom, we were beautiful.

Now, when people who were more acquainted with my Daddy would see me, they would and, to this day still say, “You are Don Lide made all over.” That has always made my heart smile because, while he was not with us in a physical sense, he was still very much with us and it showed up in the curl of my hair and the blue in my eyes. He was special. I knew that. So, I was good.

My Sister always felt like the people who thought she was so beautiful also thought she was a little tart. And, I thought the one’s who thought I was like my Daddy didn’t necessarily think I was a raging beauty, but, I had heart, personality and a whole lotta’ spunk. My Sis and I “LOL” at this all the time. But, you wanna’ know something, it didn’t matter what the outside world said about us, in our little world, our Momma was raising us up with confidence in who we were ultimately from, God.

I recognize how fortunate I have been and continue to be to have parents who praised their kiddos when praise was due. I know that sometimes, it was hard to find beauty in us (especially in our teenage years), but my Mom was never at a loss when it came to praising her two daughters. No, she was unabashed in her mission to raise girls who were confident. It wasn’t about having the hottest hairstyle or on trend clothing, no, it was about who’s image we were made in and who we really were on the inside.

To close, this last Sunday at church, we had the opportunity, as we do each Sunday, to turn to our neighbor and say hello. And, so, Patrick and I did just that. The last two women I greeted were seated right in front of us. I noticed how beautifully dressed and perfect their hair was earlier because, duh, I’m a girl. We check these things out like it’s our job. I reached out with my hand to shake their hands and said, “Hello.” And, after one of the ladies said hello, she held onto my hand, looked straight into my eyes and said, “You are so beautiful.” And, I knew that she was seeing ME. She was seeing my heart, the light in my eyes and the joy and confidence that comes from my Maker.

That Sunday morning, I nearly cried like I do almost every Sunday morning. I’m so moved by the music and the scripture and the hearts of the people there. The moment my husband sees a tear, from periphery, I see his half hearted grin and slight shake of his head. God love him. How he puts up with me, I will never know. Point being, beauty is moving. It is everywhere. And, it should command our attention in such a way that we are both moved and inspired by it.

If I haven’t told y’all lately, every single one of you are beautiful. It might be your Carrie Underwoodesque legs or your sweet smile or your heart. But, know this, you’re beautiful. I know because I am a purveyor of all things beautiful. But, that heart of yours, oh, THAT HEART! It’s a perfect TEN!

I hope you’ll take in more beauty today (especially yours). May you give it wings to fly to the person who most needs to see it, be moved and inspired by it. I say, we start an all out Beauty Campaign. It should consist of this… Walk tall, knowing the truth about who you are and where your confidence comes from. And, “give someone their flowers” by acknowledging something beautiful in them today!

Stay Divine, Beautiful!

JL PARISH

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