Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why do we go to worship?

Where do you worship? 
Worship. It's on my mind a lot. Living a life of worship, Who we worship, how we worship, and going to worship. I love worship and I love to help other people worship, too. I hear a lot of people commenting on the worship service they attend (or avoid attending).  They use language that refers to 'being fed' - as in, "I'm just not being fed by this pastor's sermons" or "I need to go somewhere where I'm being fed." Or maybe they say, "That message really fed my soul!" Pastors like to hear that. Sometimes, we choose our worship service based on the musical style - some love to sing from a hymnbook accompanied by an organ. To others, that is a totally foreign atmosphere and they feel more at home with a few guitars, some drums, and a lead singer. Still others look for things like pastoral prayers, Scripture reading, location.  A lot of people choose a worship service based on what's available to their children. Sometimes, people attend a church because they grew up there and it is their home. 

These aren't bad things. There is nothing wrong with attending a worship service that teaches you God's Word in a way that you can understand it. And there is nothing wrong with singing praises to God in a style that is comfortable for you. And let's be honest - we want our children to know Jesus, right? So why wouldn't we look for programs that meet their needs in order to help them get to know our Savior?

But there is another component that we need to examine when we go to worship - the state of our hearts.  Is it just me, or has anyone else ever mentally 'checked out' on a given Sunday because we've sung that song too many times, or we don't really like that song, or that soloist isn't our favorite person in the world? What if the guitar was out of tune, or the pianist kept playing wrong notes... would we still be focused on worshiping the Lord, or would we be distracted by the details? 

I am often reminded of how the Israelites worshiped in the Old Testament. They went to the tabernacle to praise the Lord where His presence was.  In Psalm 84, the Psalmist writes about worship:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
 (Psalm 84:1-2, NIV). 

The Bible does talk about what instruments were used in worship, what the tabernacle looked like, and how it was set up. But what does it really focus on? The presence of God. The Psalmist doesn't talk about which worship service he liked best, or which instrument helped him sing, or what flavor of incense he preferred in worship. He wanted to go to the tabernacle because he yearned to be in the presence of the Lord. Later in the Psalm, he says, 

"Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;"
 (Psalm 84:10, NIV). 

The Psalmist would rather be basking in the presence of God than anywhere else. So while it's ok to have preferences on style and type of worship, I think we can do better by making sure we are going to worship to be in the presence of the Lord. Before I step foot across the threshold of the sanctuary door, I need to do a heart check and remind myself that I am there to worship God with my church family. If I want my soul to be fed, if I want my heart to sing with praise, then I need to focus on the One whose presence is worthy of all my worship. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Look 10 Years Younger

10. Stand up straight - Just like your mother always said! You will look thinner, younger, and much more in shape.

9. Lighten up your makeup! First, lipstick: Forget those dark browns and burgundy shades. Instead, switch to a lighter pink or a soft nude. Lessen your eye shadow: Skip those dark, deep colors, and go for neutral shadows with just a hint of shimmer (NO GLITTER unless you are under the age of twelve). Keep your eyeliner very thin and close to the eye. Use a light hand when applying foundation. Caked on powder or liquid makes those wrinkles stick out! Yuck. Especially in the eye area.

8. Whiten your teeth. There is nothing like yellow teeth to age you. Give up coffee and tea for a few days while you use an over the counter teeth whitener to lighten you teeth a few shades. Or try a whitening toothpaste or rinse. Or consider veneers from your dentist if the discoloration is permanent.
 
7. Use a concealer..You can hide those dark circles under your eyes by lightly patting on a little concealer under your foundation. You'll look more alive, refreshed, and youthful. Also use it to hide blemishes, blotchiness, and age spots.

6. Drink enough water. Dehydration makes you feel - as well as look - tired and 'fuzzy'. Drinking your eight glasses a day will help your body get rid of water retention, which also makes you look old and tired (especially around the eyes).

5. Moisturize! Dry skin makes wrinkles more noticeable, but soft dewey skin looks young. Even oily skin can get dry in the winter. Use an oil free moisturizer.

4. Avoid trying too hard - you just age yourself when you try to wear clothes and styles that aren't right for your lifestyle and your body shape. Choose clothes that skim the body without creating lumps and bumps, but especially choose clothes that make you feel confidant.

3. Wear a peachy blush high on your cheekbones - you want your face to pull "UP" not "DOWN". Blend well!

2. Revel in who you are and enjoy this stage of life the best that you can. Happiness and joy are the bet anti-aging products ever invented. And they're FREE!

1. SMILE!!!! You are most beautiful and youthful when you are happy and smiling! The more you smile, the better you will feel and the better you will look!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Five Steps to Faster Hair Styling

Speed up your style time with these five simple steps.

Long hair can take forever to style. Even hairstylists need to leave extra time to blow dry and style long, thick hair. More than once, I've had salon clients apologize to me because their hair took so long to blow dry. Since my hair is neither long nor thick, I had to learn a few tips from my stylist friends whose hair is heavy and long. Here's what they taught me.

Blot dry. The first thing you need to do after you shampoo your hair is to gently blot it dry. Vigorous rubbing and scrubbing with a bath towel is truly counterproductive when you're trying to style your hair fast. It just roughs up the hair's cuticle, making it look frizzy and damaged. Hair is more fragile when it is wet, so over time, all that rough treatment can cause damage, especially to delicate strands. Instead, gently blot your hair with a soft towel. Carefully squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

Apply the right hair products. Investing in the right hair products will speed drying time and styling time. Applying the wrong hair products will be counterproductive. For instance, if your hair is fine and thin, applying a heavy straightening balm will weigh it down and make it look greasy, rather than volumized. Choose products with the least amount of alcohol, which can dry out strands and make them look frizzy or dull. Choose professional salon products that are created for your hair type, texture, and style. Purchase these products directly from a salon, as salon products that make their way into a big box or discount store could be expired, spoiled, or damaged.

Blow dry. Blow dry your entire head of hair as quickly as you can, until it is about 80 percent dry. Always try to aim down the hair shaft (from the roots of your hair towards the ends) for the smoothest, sleekest look. Be gentle, but be fast.

Style. First, you'll need to finish blow drying your hair. Now is the time to blow dry one small section at a time, with a round brush or a paddle brush, to achieve your desired style. The larger the round brush, the more volume you can create on top, and the straighter you can make the ends. Continue to blow dry down the hair shaft so you get a sleek, frizz-free look. Once hair is completely dry, you can curl or flat iron it. Flat ironing wet hair will cause damage and burning, so don't start until your hair is totally dry.

Finish. Put the finishing touches on! A bit of shine serum, a little pomade, or your favorite hair spray. Use a brush or your fingers to create the look you want.
Even though you want to dry and style your hair in a hurry, always be gentle. Treat your hair with the right care and styling and it will look great and be damage-free.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Simple Steps to More Even Skin

Healthy glowing skin is one of the most important keys to looking beautiful and young. But most of us, like myself, a cosmetologist, aren't born with perfect, even, beautiful skin. My skin is oily, with a touch of pinkness in my cheeks. Some of us have a scar here and there, a little blotchiness, or some discoloration. But with the right products and the right application, you can have the even skin tone you want. Here's how.

Choose the right products. The first step to more even skin tone is to choose the right products. If your skin is drier, you'll want to choose products that are creamier in texture. If your skin is oily or blemish prone, like mine, look for products that are oil-free and contain salicylic acid. You'll need cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, foundation primer, concealer, foundation, and powder.

Prep the skin. First, make sure you are eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water - I always notice a difference in my skin when I don ' t drink enough water. Consult your doctor or nutritionist for more information, but keep in mind that there are certain foods that help clear the skin and other foods that can make blotchiness and acne worse. Cleanse, tone and and moisturize twice a day. Blot dry with a clean towel or allow to air dry.

Prime. You'll want to apply primer to create the right surface for your makeup to stick to - I like primers by Mary Kay, Smashbox, and Benefit. Your makeup will cover better, you'll need less, and your skin will look more even. Some primers can fight shine or help disguise large pores - the choice is up to you.

Conceal. Dot a tiny bit of concealer on blemishes or discolorations, and then blend well with your pinky finger. Use a stippling motion around the edges to gently blend the concealer into your skin for a smooth look. You can also use a flesh-toned concealer to highlight dark shadows around your eyes, nose and mouth, giving you a brighter, more youthful glow.

Apply foundation. Carefully apply your foundation with a brush, sponge, or your fingers. A brush will give you a heavier, more velvety finish, which may be best for people with severe discolorations. Your fingers will give you a lighter layer of coverage. Be careful when applying so as not to remove your concealer in the process. Blend well, especially along your jaw line. Add more in areas that need it, but make sure to blend well. I use Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Make-up to even out my skin tone.

Powder. After your foundation has been applied, set it with a light dusting of powder that matches your skin tone. Choose a matte finish for oily skin, a more dewy finish for dry skin. Dust powder evenly, but I prefer to use a mineral powder foundation for extra sunscreen and buildable coverage.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Reading List

Summer gives me a little bit of a chance to catch up on some reading, and I usually end up reading more than one book at a time! Here's my summer reading list, tell me, what's on your list? If you are interested in any of these books, please consider purchasing them through our Amazon store!
Thank you!


The PrayFit Diet by Jimmy Pena

Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Stand Strong by Nic Vujicic

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma

Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simple, More Sustainable Life by Nancy Sleeth

Worship Leaders: We Are Not Rock Stars by Stephen Miller

Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders by David Earley

Encountering the Book of Psalms by C. Hassell Bullock

The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

Spiritual Warfare by Jerry Rankin
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here's a few links to some of my latest work... enjoy!


Conquering the worship leading jitters.  A few thoughts on how to work through your nerves when you lead worship, for worshipleader.com.

A Primer on Hosiery Lessons on tights verses leggings for Lehigh Valley Family Magazine.

As Sure as the Sun - Review.   A review for Worship Leader Magazine of Ellie Holcomb's music.

Beauty Guru: Five Perfect Products for a Simplified Makeup Routine - for Yahoo Shine.

The Father's Love.  A sermon (video) on the prodigal son.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thank you God, for the awe of autumn.

Thank you, God, for the awe of autumn.
For the golden, crinkling leaves, prancing and flittering as the sunlight peeks about crisscrosses of nearly barren branches.
For the warm and hearty scent of pine, as it is glinting, charring, in the smoky woodstove.
And for the soaring of geese in shifting constructions and a scattering cacophony of voracious blackbirds, pecking about, the drifting in of snow birds, preparing for the cold to come.
Thank you for the rustle and then silence of the wind; first blustering and then not, around and through and under and over the jumbling, tumbling, jostling leaves.
Who could conjure up a crisp new day?
With a chill that can take your breath away or a dewy dawn softness that slickens the earth.
What creature here could ever illuminate the deepening afternoon with a burning, burnt orange sun?
Who would dream up the quick dash of a squirrel? The moseying meandering gait of a groundhog?
The flicking chipmunk’s tail as it snatches up seeds, darting this way and then, that?
A sunken in squash, baring its savory seeds, or a crispy, crunchy head of kale or a left-over ear of corn, drying in the faintest hint of almost-gone summer sun?
Who could imagine such gifts, these? The passing of time, as one season blurs on, becoming the next.  The slow changes that surprise; the subtleties of earth that never disappoint if one pauses to see.
And breathe.
And think.
And be blessed.
Who sends the warming sun and the frigid chilling breeze?  Who tells the robins to go, and the chickadees to stay, and the graceful deer to search for their mate?
Who calls the heart ever to Himself? There is but One.

Thank you God, for the spectacles of fall. 

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