Beauty and Magic and Moments

Saturday Mornings mark a momentous occasion around here: relaxing.

I may work from home, but it’s a lot of work and little play. My Michael is up at 5 a.m. and most days doesn’t return till after 4 p.m. Then, after a hug, kiss, and quick 30 min catch-up, we both make our way respectively to the gym/living room for an hour or so of exercise. The evening draws to a close with shoveling sustenance into our droopy food-holes and catching a 60 minute show before lights out. Well, lights out for M, anyway.Β I, of course, cannot sleep without Words to quiet the chavish in my head.

This last Saturday, Michael and I partook in one of our favorite activities: finding new music to download. Good music — much like books and movies — is often hard to find, and . . . you have to sit idly through a lot of not-so-good music before you’re rewarded. Noisetrade is an awesome site you can download and sample music for free. FYI.

As we did this, Michael was at my desk, in front of the laptop, and I had perched on the end of our bed. Each time a new song began to play, Michael and I would involuntarily shift toward one another, eyes searching and seeking the other’s face, silently ascertaining how the other felt about the song. This went on for some time.

My angel-pup, Bella, had been fast asleep beneath the folded back layer of our bedspread, curled up with something mommy-scented to sweeten her puppy-dreams. At some point, though, she roused, realizing mommy was nearby and offering the creme de le creme of real-esate; with the subtly of a lightening strike, she bounded across the bed, crawled onto my lap, and wedged herself perfectly between my arms. And, as women often do, while holding small, vulnerable things in their arms, I began to rock from side to side. She was asleep within seconds, and I . . . drifted. The song playing at that point was something slow, but with a firm beat. It settled in the pulse of my heart, changing the rhythm ever so slightly. I let it carry me. Lull me. Take me out of our bedroom, and to a place petal-soft and buoyant and cerulean.

Unbeknownst to me, Michael — Psychologist by day, Photographer by weekend — had slipped a sly hand. Hearing something, or perhaps sensing a shift in energy, I opened a curious eye to find him capturing Bella and I. Our eyes met and he spoke inaudibly:

Don’t move,” his eyes said, plain as our soft gray sheets. I promptly closed my eyes and resumed rocking.

This is Michael’s capturing.

At first glance, I suspended in awe and marvel. Look at us; my sweet girl and I, perfectly content to hold one another. But, after a moment or two, my smiling lips faltered as I began to notice the flaws. So many of them, I thought. Being morning time, I had no need for things such as make-up, jewelry, or attire more confining than sweats. While Bella may indeed look perfectly adorable and lovable, her mother . . . well, she has begun to show signs of aging. Hardly noticeable, I know, but an organic photograph isn’t always kind to its subject. Michael assured me we were beautiful, but I had doubts.

I asked him, “Do you think we could try this again? After I’ve cleaned up a bit?” The understanding man he is, he looked at me, smiled, and replied, “Of course, but we won’t be able to recreate that moment.”

Nothing more need be said. I understood, or rather, understand, all about moments. I create them all the time.

I had a choice to make: try this again when I was “beautiful” and contrive a moment. Allow the world to see me as is. Keep this picture to myself.

For someone who’s believed that all she’s had to offer the world for the last ten years is a pretty face, maybe you’ll understand this was a difficult decision. In the end, though, the moment is what I wanted.

I have no children of my own, and I may never. Should God decide to move some pieces around for Michael and I, this might happen in the future. But for now, that trusting and pliable little creature on my lap is what I have. I love her — fiercely. I will protect her at all cost. Contemplating, for even the lesser half of a millisecond the truth that the end of her life will precede mine, is anguish. We won’t think about that now, though.

So I decided. I decided that, if the price of the moment was my flaws and imperfections, then I would pay it gladly. This is, the real me. Strip away the make-up, the hair, the coquettish smile, and you have a woman and writer who loves her Jesus, loves her husband, and loves her animal. The esoteric complexities and intricacies of the human soul call for higher-understanding, but the way I see it, He created me to look a certain way, and though I might choose to festoon and adorn this shell of mine with baubles and paint, the woman beneath doesn’t change. Who I am is not on the outside, but on the inside.

My beauty is amiable.

My beauty is generous.

My beauty is compassionate.

My beauty is perennial.

No amount of years or wrinkles could ever detract or diminish what the Creator wisely fashioned into something conceptually alive. Whether you are a man or woman, your beauty, your true beauty, is impervious to time.

Take a listen to this song, will you please? It’s one of my favorites.

I pray you a blessed day, my friends.

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54 thoughts on “Beauty and Magic and Moments

  1. “an organic photograph isn’t always kind to its subject”… What a graceful way to say that. But it’s the organic moments captured we love the most. You have my praise and respect for embracing the beautiful rawness of the moment and sharing it with others. Well done.

    • Thank you . . . I appreciate the compliment. It is the organic moments, the ones our hearts truly long for, that I yearn to bring to Light. Only in my shortcomings, do I really begin to see myself.

      Hope your day is blessed, Creative Noodler.

  2. Very nice blog, you made me tear up!! πŸ™‚
    And you are BEAUTIFUL inside and out!!
    And that lil angel of yours is PRECIOUS!!

  3. What a beautiful photograph! The tonal value is amazing. I think you’re exquisite. The models we see on magazines look way too overly made-up, in my opinion. Maybe that’s becaue I wear very little make-up myself. Many prefer the natural or organic look.

    • Oh, Susan . . . exquisite is one of my favorites words, but not one I have ever used to describe myself. The compliment is like being wrapped in scented-mist. Thank you for taking time to give this girl a wide smile. πŸ˜‰

      I agree with you, absolutely; I don’t understand why we praise the fallacious and contrived. We all know that no one looks like the women we see on the covers of magazines. So why propagate that sort of message? It’s maddening and sad, all at once.

      Yes, I can tell from your picture that you are a natural beauty.

  4. Beautiful music, beautiful photograph, and beautiful words. You have a gift, my friend, to capture what we all feel with your words. I certainly don’t have the words to tell you just how privileged I feel whenever I get a glimpse into your world. Thank you for posting this. It helps me to understand myself just a little more.
    ❀ Beth

    • Beth,

      You may not fancy yourself a weaver of words, but you never cease to leave me feeling sparkly and fresh with your sweet voice and genuineness of heart. Thank you. I, too, am privileged; privileged to have met you and frequent a tiny part of your beautiful world.

      Xoxo

  5. That was a good post, and congrats for deciding on this picture instead! I always try to tell my wifey that she’s most beautiful first thing in the morning before she puts on her makeup and does her hair, but she never listens to me. SIGH!

    • Thank you, Drew. As I said, it was difficult, having thought for the latter part of my life that my face was the extent of what I had to offer to the world, to show its naked form, but I am grateful and thankful to know that beauty really is skin deep.

      Don’t ever, ever, ever stop telling her that. She may feign indifference, but it is YOUR opinion that matters most. Don’t forget that!

  6. I love this post Cara! First because you painted such an intimate picture of you and your husband (and Bella) just spending quality time together and connecting through your love of good music. But also because you reminded me of what we are really made of, inside and out; when we peel away the layers of “baubles and paint.” Some people are blessed with natural physical beauty and some are not. But true beauty comes from within.

    With or without makeup, His beauty is evident and radiates all around you my dear friend. Thank you for being you!

    I love you to the stars!

    Lori

    • Ah, Lori. If you love me to the stars, then I must love you to the furthest reaches of the Heavens. πŸ˜‰

      You are such a stunning example of Love and Light. And not to mention an intrinsic beauty. I am blessed to know you.

  7. Thank you for sharing your sweet story that I didn’t want to end. It brought me into your peaceful world for a few moments. Your picture is lovely and fit perfectly into your finely woven tale…honestly, the first thing I noticed was your amazing cheekbones, it didn’t occur to me that your were in an “organic” state. You are lovely both inside and out!

    Have a blessed day!

    elisa

    • Elisa,

      I wish you lived close enough to “do coffee” with. I would so love to sit down with you and just talk . . . about photography and art and writing, and anything else we could come up with. Thank you. Thank you for the kindness you give generously. YOU are a beautiful woman.

      • That makes me smile, E . . . After a tumultuous night of little sleep, I am just waking up and sitting down to get start work for the day. I have my trustee cup of coffee, though, and as I sip and savor it, I will think of you. πŸ™‚

        Have a glorious weekend, my friend!

  8. Dear friend, your organic moment is stunning. A true and elegant beauty. And truly a beautiful writer. I’m in awe of your talent Cara! Can’t wait for the book πŸ™‚ hugs to you!

  9. I love this. So beautiful, so true.

    I know how you feel. In one memorable moment of high school a stupid boy one Todd me I’d never mean anything more to a guy than the size of my breasts (he used a less flattering word), saying out loud all the fears and insecurities of my adolescent-becoming-adult mind. Thank God I chose not to listen. Mostly. But I still remember it, so what does that say?

    You thought you had a pretty face to offer the world, I thought my only power lay in my sexuality. Two girls, two lies that too many choose to believe. Satan lives it when we believe. But we’ve got the word of the Lord, and we can choose to believe better. I remember the day I read Psalm 139 for the first time, and knew instinctively that if I could write those words on my heart I could believe in my own beauty and worth beyond the physical. I’ve been there. Thank God I can choose not to be there anymore.

    • Those remarks never quite leave us, do they? Truth be told, I think this partially explains my fervency to use words to heal and bear hope. So many use their tongues for destruction, never understanding that hate leaves scars, not bruises. Our Savior is bigger than that, of course, the ultimate Healer, but it doesn’t mean that we should be flippant or irresponsible with our selection of words or the frequency in which we use them. We shall be held accountable for the hurt we cause.

      I am so glad you chose not to listen, Christy! You may have been forced to hear such an ugly comment, but the power to choose is always yours. You are beautiful, my friend.

  10. First of all I love the photograph, you are stunning. Second of all, I cannot stop reading what you have to write! You have such a way of saying things…I only dream of being able to convey how my “moments” are for me and you do it so eloquently. I am so happy you found me…because I am the winner here in being so lucky to read you.

    Thank you for such a beautiful post Cara.

    • Ninali,

      I can hardly put into words how humbled I was (am) to receive your comment and the comments of others who had such lovely things to say to me. Truthfully, my heart was brimming near overflow on Monday evening. Thank you for taking time away from what I know is a very busy schedule to bless me with your kindness. I am so glad to have met you, Ninali. Your spirit glows. We are equally lucky to read one another. πŸ˜‰

      I hope you are having a wonderful week, my friend.

  11. Now Cara, that is a portrait! It’s the portrait of a woman I’d like to know – contemplative, guileless, a little quizzical – totally unguarded, and unselfconscious as she exists, in the moment, full of love and gentleness, protective and independent. Nurture this woman and keep her as your role model and mentor for she is a reflection of you that you cannot see. This is the beauty that is Cara, the real Cara as her God intended her to be.
    lol
    πŸ™‚
    Wednesday 9 am.

    • Oh, Mere, you say the most interesting things. I am always curious about your perspective.

      This woman you speak of, yes, I know her. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but I am learning to look up and recognize her amid the daily rigamarole. Thank you for confirming her existence.

      Your friend,
      Cara

  12. You are lovely.
    (Bella is a dolly but sorry hon – you stole the show)

    This was a fabulous capture of a very natural and beautiful woman – you.

    Thank you for posting this – you were honest, open and I believe you speak for us all when you recognize that you can see the flaws that your lover does not.

    You are going to be one of those women who age with elegance and grace.

    Your man person is a lucky fellow – I bet he knows it well.

    Peace to you,
    M.L.

    • It was your comment that started my day, M.L.

      Usually, as I am just waking up, I like to take a glimpse at my inbox and see what I have waiting for me once I am awake enough to do something about it. Your words, and abundance of kindness, put the very first smile of the day on my face. Thank you for that. I continue to feel incredibly humbled by all the gracious altruism received from this post.

      Elegance and grace: when I look at my mom and see how lovely she still is at 62, I imagine this might be true. I hope, however, my heart continues to richen and mature, staying soft and trusting fully in the things not of this world.

      I hope you are well, friend. It was good to hear from you.

      Shalom,
      Cara

  13. Michael did a wonderful job capturing such a precious moment. Thank you for sharing this with us so honestly and openly. You have shown that you are beautiful both from within and on the outside. And awww.. Bella looks so contented in your arms .. adorable! πŸ™‚

    • I will tell him you said so, thank you! And I thank you, too, for your kind words.

      Yes, Bella is at her happiest when she is snuggled in my arms. If it were up to her she’d have herself strapped to my chest in a bjorn. LOL.

      Have a great weekend!

  14. your words, the music, and the photograph is beautiful. Your husband captured such a honest moment between you and your sweet baby. I know that critical voice your referred to far too well. Its often tough to squelch its harsh words, but you obviously did because you posted the stunning photo and found the words to describe your authentic feelings. What courage!

    I also hope you two found some great music. Listening to good music and being in nature are the quickest ways to awaken my soul!

    • Thank you much, Amber, for your kind words and encouragement. You brought a smile to my heart.

      And Re: the music, we did! I have been meaning to make a blogpost about it, but among the this’s and that’s, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Have you heard of Allie Moss. She is my lust at the moment. Her songs are stunning. And yes, I agree, nature and music . . .it hardly gets better than that.

      Happy Sunday, love.

  15. the beauty of the photograph is the truth of it…the sense of REAL clearly visible in shades of gray without the need for color even, because the COLOR is the sincerity of the photo…lovely in its simplicity and implicit vulnerability

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