Wanda: Boring in Beige to Beautiful in Blue

Two “Beautiful” Stories today . . .

Jenna’s Story

My auburn-haired granddaughter Jenna is very cute, and people frequently tell her how pretty she is. From an early age (here at 3 1/2), she has loved to primp and preen.

2009_Jenna dressed up as princess

Even before she turned two, she would wake up, put on a gaudy plastic tiara and blue Lucite high-heels and toddle around her bedroom, every inch a princess. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with play-acting. But since then, in our Nana/Grand-daughter talks, I have reminded her that there are two kinds of beauty, the inside and outside kind. One lasts. The other one fades. Last year for her 9th birthday, her Grandpa and I collaborated on a gift to help her remember the meaning of inner beauty as she blossoms into a young woman.

It looked like this:


 Here is the verse close-up:

03Proverbs_for Jenna_01gr_4x6

We have talked about the meaning of those solemn and ancient words from the King James Version: favor, deceitful, vain — and have discussed what the verse written centuries ago might be saying to a young girl like her today. She knows for sure that there is nothing wrong with being attractive, but looks are not the most important thing in her life.

to be continued . . .

Wanda’s Story

I don’t know Wanda’s last name, but I know what she looked like before/after her appearance on the TV show “What Not to Wear.” Hosts of the show, Clint Kelly and Stacy London, help Wanda, a family therapist from San Diego, transform from boring beige to beautiful blue. In the course of the metamorphosis, the 47-year-old career woman, reveals that she grew up in a Mennonite culture and thought of beauty as something “to be frowned upon,” something even “dangerous” to use her description.

Here is Wanda’s frumpy before and stylish “after” look:


You can see her “before” pict and hear a snippet of her story on this short YouTube

For Wanda, no more “monochromatic modesty or khaki catastrophe.” She exclaims at the end of the show: “Now I can walk into the future with my inside and outside more coherent.” In the grand finale, a band of friends and relatives gather around the stage to applaud the transformed Wanda who glitters in stylish heels and a purple “date” dress.

As the banner on my welcome page shows (Mennonite prayer veiling paired with a pair of sassy red heels), I can certainly relate to Wanda’s viewpoint. You can read about it in a former post. My own metamorphosis from plain to fancy did not happen nearly as quickly as hers, but over the years I have tried to focus on the qualities that reflect inner beauty just as I try to model them for my grand-daughter Jenna.

What about you? Maybe you are not 40-something anymore. You might be 50, 60 or beyond. Still there’s beauty at any age. That’s certainly what I think.

Do you (as Wanda now thinks) believe your inside and outside appearance should match?

How do you define Beauty?

Coming next: Moments of Discovery: Mother’s Quilts




Beauty in Jars: 2 Vignettes

Beauty in Jars I

Yesterday morning, Mom assessing my cosmetics on her bathroom vanity: “What are you doing with all that stuff?” She doesn’t wait for an answer. “I wouldn’t know what to do with it all,” see adds as she eyes my jars of moisturizer, foundation, concealer, makeup remover.

MomMeBeautyblog  Mom continues, “I’m happy with the face God gave me. If He had wanted it different, He would have made me different.” This from the now elderly woman whose husband said to her when they were dating, “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

 God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.      Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Beauty in Jars II

Mother has a smooth complexion for her age—genes or good eating, maybe a combination of both.  She is definitely a foodie, always has been. After eating a breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios, juice, a banana and coffee, she asks, “Do we need a piece of chocolate now?” as she opens the box of confections from NaNa’s Homemade Sweet Treats in E-Town.

Our last chore together this PA visit is to wash the jars for canning in her basement cellar—Except for a few vintage jars, she’s giving most of them away because as she nears 95, she’s says, “I’m done with canning.” The jars filled with tomato juice, beets, peaches, apricots, pickled cantaloupe, strawberry jam, and pickles were simply beautiful as they lined her wooden shelves each season. There were even green beans before she had a freezer. Every year, her mother-in-law Fannie helped her chop an array of fresh vegetables for piccalilli, or what the PA Dutch call chow-chow. Now she’s donating most of the jars to Goodwill, but keeping a few vintage Ball and Mason Jars. A few have metal clasps that hug the glass lids.

VintageCanJars MomG'byeCanning Jars

            Vintage Canning Jars                       Mom saying goodbye to canning

 All the cliches come to mind here: Beauty is where you find it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You’re beautiful inside and out.

I say, “Beauty is ageless.”

What memories of canning, long ago or recent, do you have? Share your story!