Surprising Beauty Products (a few of my favorite things)

Pamcookingspray.com
Pamcookingspray.com

You don’t have to go far to find the secret for beautiful nails and skin… just walk into your kitchen! I love the old Pam Secret.

Part 1: Spray on top of a thin coat of nail polish for a perfect, shiny finish. The accelerant in the bottle (found in any spray bottle of any product) will speed up the polish dry time to about two minutes (just make sure your polish isn’t too thick).

Part 2: Spray a light coat over your legs fresh out of the shower and rub it in. You’ll have the perfect summer sheen! ($3)

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Speaking of summer sheen, I’ve sworn off tanning beds. I’m always on the lookout for the perfect sunless tanning product.

I am almost ashamed to say I got this one from my mom (shout out!), and it is amazing. No orange. No streaking. Instant glow and peaks a few hours later, darkening for days (put it on every third day or so). Cheap! ($7)

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I keep coming back to Crest white strips for teeth… after trying just about everything out there at one time or another. Using it consistently for the allotted time, the results last longer than any other product I’ve tried. Also love their whitening rinse.

Your turn… what are a few of your favorite products?

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Stay tuned for more beauty products/fashion shots from more authors, in our Ugly Duckling Transformation Series! (We can call it that because we’re referring to ourselves. ;))

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You are Strong

on-a-budget

I live in the south where sometimes people break into random conversations with strangers.

(We do that here. It’s called “being polite”. For introverts, it’s called “being assaulted”.)

It can happen anywhere, any time, and recently it happened to me.

A stranger asked me what I do, and I said, I write books for teenagers. How ironic, she said, because she teaches school to teenagers.

There was that awkward silence that happens when you’ve been assaulted, and so I blurted, “What do you want to pass on to your students most?”

And she said, “Respect. There’s so little of it these days.”

Then she got on her phone and cussed out her husband for being late to pick her up.

(True story.)

That wasn’t the only assault that happened that day. A few minutes later I stared at a TV screen and heard another stranger say, “Do you see those two lines right there? YOU’RE HAVING ANOTHER GIRL!”

And my husband’s eyes got big and my three-year-old shouted “NO!” and I thought Heavens To Leah, what are we going to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I am crazy about girls. I am one. I wrote a book for some. Because hey, I navigated some strange teenage years while trying to figure out the most important thing, which was, ironically, what that school teacher said I needed most—respect.

For myself.

bekahhamrickmartin-com-1

Let me tell ya, sometimes when you have two X chromosomes, you’re going to get the wrong message. You have to coach yourself that you can do anything a man can do. That you are gifted and talented and intelligent. That beauty is overrated.

And so as I stared at that giant television screen with no penis staring back at me I thought, how in the world am I going to teach TWO innocent little girls what I struggled for so many years to figure out? I mean, I could hand them this newspaper column, but somehow that lacked the motherly touch.

And then, out of the panicked silence, my inner voice reminded me… you have to learn to respect yourself. Again.

So here I am, and this is my declaration: I refuse to yell at myself inwardly for not being “man enough”. I refuse to tip-toe toward my dreams while thinking I can’t accomplish what’s in my heart. I refuse to sit by while others do what I have always wanted to do.

And I refuse to forget that part of what I’ve always wanted to do is love two little girls—little girls who are relying heavily on me to show them what respect really is.

New Release!

9780310749691_imageWe’ve had our own brand of crazy over here at the Martin house (more on that soon), but I wanted to make sure you know about this–

I feel super blessed to have shared my thoughts in the study notes for this Bible! Have you picked up your copy? Not for my sake, but because Zondervan has just done an awesome job compiling so many useful tools in this version.

Pick it up for your group or for yourself today!

 

I Believe in You

wandering_girl

I see you wandering there…

When you think you’re all alone.

Can no one else see the ocean that threatens to swallow?

 

 

 

 

 

How did you reach this empty place?

I want to hold you. 

To hit the brakes, grab your hand, and grasp it until you know…

You are not alone.

I believe in your story.

I believe that those who visit the barren places will not return empty.

I believe anyone who ever changed the world first visited the wilderness.

I see it in your eyes–that you are about to spring into a depth you never knew existed.

Dear Friend,

I believe in your story.

backpack

When Someone You Love has Been Abused

when-you-love-someone-whosWhen you love someone who’s been abused,you approach her gently, as the wounded startle easily.

When you love someone who’s been abused,your heart aches for the way her scars sometimes tear into open wounds once again.

When you love someone who’s been abused, you count the cost before you commit; you may not know what the future holds, but you are willing to walk through it with the one you love.

When you love someone who’s been abused, you accept that there will be good times, and there will be weeping times if you feel at all. You will come to the end of yourself some days, and that’s okay, because…

When you love someone who’s been abused, you know there is no greater love, because God himself laid down his own desires… and it is by that power you will love someone who has been abused.

When you love someone who’s been abused, you will encounter a depth of experiences your own life didn’t offer. You will know not only dark sorrow, but amazing joy, because when someone who has been abused is loved…

It sets that person free.

How do I know?

I am she.

 

Why Kids Are Leaving Church

wh30-ways-toI get to decide where I’m safe.

No amount of guilt or shame will ever change that.

-Michelle Pendergrass

I sat in the church classroom, completely paralyzed. For ten years I’d loved these kids and others like them, watching each heart and each trial and each suicidal tendency… only to see these fragile stems become torn and beaten down by spiritual pressure.

The leaders, the ones I’d grown to love… didn’t see their admonishments as verbal abuse. They saw it as verbal encouragement to do the right thing.

Looking back, I realize that the “encouragement” of those days was a result of fear.

Fear that these kids would fail.

Fear of the tough questions.

Fear that they would make the same mistakes we did.

Fear that they would get hurt.

Fear that they would leave the church.

My youth leader friends had good hearts. They may have been in the right place, but the pressure they placed week after week on the kids to perform — to ignore the tough questions — to serve wholeheartedly when they were hurting — all of this pressure left everyone disappointed because it didn’t work.

At some point we have to stop caring more about results than people.

There were attempted suicides. Broken relationships. Agnosticism. Anger. And on that day, in that classroom where I could no longer bear to see so much heartbreak, I walked away from what I saw.  

if-they-did-notBecause on that day, I began to realize that I could make a bigger difference in these kids’ lives if they did not associate me with this church and the “God” who had no grace or room for brokenness.

(My relationships with the group deepened immensely when I walked away. They gathered in my house (with leaders’ permission), shared in my life, walked and talked and cared deep. We cried together. We laughed together. I moved on to serve in another church simultaneously.)

I left on good terms. I sat down with leadership, and we talked.

But it felt like I was speaking a foreign language… like when I used the words “spiritual abuse”, I was a hypochondriac diagnosing all of us with an imaginary disease.

Looking back, I wish I would have thought through it more. Explained my heart, explained the damage I saw, explained what I wanted to see happen for these kids.

Because here’s what I find again and again now that I’m older: people who are being spiritually abusive, or spiritually abused, don’t often recognize it until it’s too late.

And it will be too late. Because spiritual pressure–a focus on what Christianity looks like, rather than caring like Christ no matter the results–doesn’t work. It might yield the desired results for a time, but eventually people who buck up and conform without grace fail. I see it here and I see it here again. 

Pressure doesn’t work. Loving people does. We were never designed to be the Holy Spirit in anyone else’s life. 

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This is the beginning of a series on Spiritual abuse and the damage it can create.

Your thoughts? Please share in the comments.