Appreciating Beauty Within

Artwork by DD, Shoshana

Made-a-Move #12   Putting thoughts into writing


Morning musings….

Appreciating Beauty Within

To cover or not to cover – that is the question.

I think this is a basic principal of what modesty is all about – appreciating the beauty within.  In clothing, speech, actions, etc.  So often, the more that is revealed, the less the true beauty is seen.  Ever hear someone you are not very close to talk about details in their life to the point you think “Too much information – I didn’t need to know that.”  On the other hand, when you have a very close relationship with someone else, their divulging the same level of detail makes you appreciate them that much more.

An artist’s masterpiece painting

The artist themselves and other art experts can look at a finished painting and marvel at the beauty of the brush strokes, the materials used, how this piece compares to others done by that artist or by other artists, use of color, placement of the objects, and other intricacies.  Some art enthusiasts would be able to recognize the beauty and author of the piece even in an odd location, or found rolled in a corner of an attic.  For the general public to appreciate it as a masterpiece, the artwork is partially covered by putting it in a fancy frame, is hung on a wall with special lighting, and may even be covered at times with a curtain for protection.

Royalty – kings & queens

Close your eyes for a moment and picture a king and queen amongst other people.  How are they distinguished from the masses?  How do they speak?  How do they carry themselves? How is their clothing different from others?

The Torah

In the Jewish tradition, the holiest book, called the Torah, is generally kept rolled shut, covered with a decorated velvet covering (or ornate box), crowned and placed in a beautiful cabinet when not in use.  It is clearly recognized by all, even those totally unfamiliar with it, that it is considered highly special.  Those who are more knowledgeable about it, stand in respect when it is taken out, and appreciate the profundity of the words inside when it is uncovered and read.  Those even more knowledgeable can even recognize the beauty of the details of each of the hand-inked letters and the parchment it was written on.

The Jewish Woman

So many people have the misconception that orthodox Jews make their women cover their hair and wear modest clothing to hide their beauty from other men to not tempt them.  Their theory hits a brick wall when they then try to understand how these same women wear beautiful clothing, hats, and wigs.  The modesty rules are not being bent hypocritically – it is the theory that is in need of adjustment.   Just like the art expert, or very close friend, the woman’s husband and immediate family can appreciate her true beauty with or without the fancy coverings.  Traditional Judaism recognizes the incredible beauty, strength, insight, and closeness to G-d that women have.  The modesty customs are not so much to hide the women, but rather to provide a frame by which their special status can be recognized and appreciated by others.  On her wedding day, the woman was recognized and treated like a queen.  Modesty is a means by which she can carry that status throughout her life.

Through modesty a person’s inner beauty can shine through for all to see and appreciate.

The wind beneath their wings

Made-a-move #10

The wind.  That is what I strive to be in so many ways – the wind beneath the wings of others to help them soar.  That is when I feel like I am soaring – carried on the wings of the people around me that I help in some way.  That’s the common denominator in the wide variety of things I have done since the middle of high school – from being a youth group board member, a care attendant, an occupational therapist, a wife and mother, a sewing teacher, a start-up company administrator, a preschool cook involving kids in the kitchen…

My move for this week was to further develop and add pictures to a web site my DH set up for my oldest daughter.

Friends very kindly commissioned my DD to make painted glass plates that were to be sent out as part of a gift package to many people and included a bio card (with her new web address) to help promote her artistic talents.  To that end, I learned how to upload pictures of her work and combed through my picture directories to create a growing online portfolio for her.

The wind beneath their wings.  Seeing the YouTube posting of that song from Beaches makes me hold back tears, but the song is so me.  I want to be a strong wind that helps and encourages others to ever higher heights.

Wind Beneath My Wings lyrics
Songwriters: Jeff Alan Silbar;Larry Henley

It must have been cold there in my shadow
To never have sunlight on your face
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way
You always walked a step behind

So I was the one with all the glory
While you were the one with all the strength
A beautiful face without a name for so long
A beautiful smile to hide the pain

Did you ever know that you’re my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed
But I’ve got it all here in my heart
I want you to know, I know the truth, of course I know it
I would be nothing without you

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be
I could fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings
‘Cause you are the wind beneath my wings

Oh, the wind beneath my wings
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings
Fly, fly, fly away, you let me fly so high
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings

Fly, fly, so high against the sky
So high I almost touch the sky
Thank you, thank you
Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings

(adapted from:

Come fly with me!

- DebBee


My Shiny Sink

Made-a-Move Monday #5

Like puzzle pieces coming together, my brain made a switch this week.  Little messages have been seeping in and resulted in my making a switch from past habits to now starting to take care of things to completion better – not leaving dishes, papers, etc. in my wake to take care of later.

My tangible move for this week is a decluttered living room that has stayed that way for 3 days!, kitchen and dining room floors washed, dishes washed after dinner meals 4 nights in a row, and… a Shiny Sink!!

I shined my sink today!

Those familiar with The Flylady will understand the full significance of my shiny sink.  In short, “the Flylady” has great advice for getting people to change their disorganized habits, get into healthy routines, learn to love and care for themselves and their homes – all with small steps.  And it all starts with a shiny sink.  For the past several years, I’ve been running around so busily the clutter in my house and brain has grown to suffocating proportions.  My rut was too deep to even think about trying to jump back on to Flylady’s wagon.

So what were the messages that came together this week?

  1. I work at a school that follows a Reggio Emilia philosophy and emphasizes the importance of recognizing that children are competent.  Adopting this philosophy is viewed as being on a journey.  Rather than feeling guilty for not doing things perfectly (one of my downfalls) the staff are reminded that we are all on a journey and we are growing with all experiences, including the ones that don’t go as we would have liked.  Everything is positive in this light.  Rather than being paralyzed living in regrets and dealing with things from the past that were left unfinished, I can start fresh and move on with the here and now.
  2. Make-a-move.  Do.  Weekly postings of concrete “doings.”
  3. “Life is short” – we need to make good use of the time we have (from A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen)
  4. Really, I used to be an organized person.  Rather than just looking at WHY I and my things have become so disorganized (6 kids, house, job, husband, too much stuff, no funds to hire help, overtired …..), I stopped and asked WHAT is stopping me from being organized?  WHAT is stopping me from cleaning my house?  Somehow, asking these questions gave me the reins to take control of my life.
  5. Guests were coming (Friday night) – Done with CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome – a Flylady acronym)
  6. Listening to the music I loved listening to 25 years ago, when l was as I would like to be – happy, confident, high on life, able to focus, accomplishing, etc.

I’m sure there were other puzzle pieces that helped with my brain switch.  But, I am just happy that things are coming together and am excited to see where my journey is going as I continue to be committed to Make-a-Move.

Announcing: Made-a-Move Mondays


Here it is, last day of Winter break and I have accomplished none of the projects I have been dreaming about doing – I got one of them set up for someone else to do during break.  It still sits out waiting for me to make use of it.

Paints ready and waiting

My paints have been calling me.... no answer... "Line is Busy"

I was able to put over 2 hours into making and decorating a cake for someone – but no time to do the artwork I want to do for my dreams.

My DH has been begging me to “Do Something”.  He believes in me.  He has been infinitely patient with my plans to make and sell all kinds of things I dream of doing.  But finances are increasingly tight and my ability to focus and accomplish continues to allude me.

I’m going to take the advice of the Rabbi Friedman video clip I saw yesterday and not waste time, and derail myself further, by asking WHY I am not doing what is so clear in my mind that I want to do, but instead work on the question of WHAT I am going to do about it.

In a recent posting, Darren Hardy spelled out what I need to do about it.  He stated: “It doesn’t matter your goal and it doesn’t matter your anchor, the formula is the same.
Take your goal and anchor it with something tangible. Track it and display your tracking publicly.”

I am very determined and dedicated  to keep my commitments to others and I am careful of what commitments I agree to – whether it is to my employer, to my kids, to people I bake bread and desserts for, etc.

So, here is my commitment to YOU, my DH, my Uncle S, and myself.   “Made-a-Move Mondays” -  My commitment to be SNM – Stuck-No-More!!!  My commitment (bli neder) to post on every Monday (IYH) something, anything, I created in the past week.  – It could be one of my crafting projects, a writing, a prototype ….  Something tangible – not just more ideas to add to my wish list.  Not just progress for setting things up for future projects – but actual things I completed.

I welcome you to join me in being SNM.  Share with me how you are making a move to be “stuck-no-more” – what are you committing yourself to accomplish?  What progress did you make on that commitment this week?

Wishing all a good, happy, healthy and successful 2012!!

Lets grow and blossom together!

- DebBee

To Make a Prairie


An important part of tending a beautiful garden is taking the time and effort to get rid of weeds and prune unhealthy growths away.  Last week we got over 9 bags of “over-growth and weeds” out of our house for garbage and donation pick ups.

It is amazing what you can discover.  In my attempt to get rid of some the “weeds” (ie clutter) in my closet, a few weeks ago, I found a whole prairie!

The prairie was in a book published by Scholastic Inc., I am Nobody! Who are You? Poems by Emily Dickinson.  I read through the pages, searching to glean one(s) that spoke for me.  The message that I took away from the book was about the incredible gift of perception Emily Dickinson had through really taking the time to see, perceive and describe the details of simple things in life.

Initially I thought that my challenge in building a business of my own was in the fact that I see so much potential in the basics that I don’t move beyond them to become an expert in anything.  But, then again, Emily Dickinson managed to write about 1800 poems with just the basics – a deep look into the basics.  Appreciating and seeking to utilize basics is what I love – searching for the basic truths in life, without all the frill, is what draws me to the spiritual philosophy and lifestyle we have chosen for our family.  So, how does this fit into the poem I found myself attracted to?

Thoughts to ponder…

  • A prairie occurs naturally when allowed to.
  • When we lack and want to “make” something that is generally natural, we need to begin with a small element of it.
  • A key ingredient is to allow ourselves to dream – to visualize what we want.
  • Through dreaming, we can tap into the essence of the thing we wish to make and enjoy it.

So, what is my “prairie”? What do I want to “make”?  I have a lot of dreams.

Perhaps I dream and pray for things that are too big?  Maybe I need to go back to the basics – the clover.  And then,The Prairie.

To make happiness in my home it takes a smile

and one kind word, -

One smile and a kind word,

And a positive view.

The positive view alone will do

If words are few.

I know a beautiful “prairie” is in store when we start with, and concentrate on the basics, and grow from there.

- DebBee

The Glasses


When life is busy, it can be overwhelming to be seeing all of the input around us all of the time.  With having 6 kids and facing mood swings of several members of my family, I know I have to put ‘blinders’ on to block out some of the constant conscious and semi-conscious demands for my attention.  I think the busier we are, the more we need to filter out some of the frustrations and distractions so we can focus on completing what we need to.  So, on go the glasses.

Different types of glasses can serve the purpose – blinders to block peripheral distractions and tinted glasses to filter out some of the constant input. They work, so we use them. When we have a high stress lifestyle, we depend on them to get us through.

But, then there is the down side to the glasses. The faster we race around to get things done and stretch ourselves beyond our human limits, the more dirt and smudges get on our glasses and cloud our vision. Sometimes, as the glasses get darker, a person’s view of the world and their life becomes darker and more negative. The blinders give tunnel vision. So much of the beauty around us can be missed. When people see darkness, the more others tell them ‘the bright side of things’ the more annoyed they get because ‘seeing is believing’ and they know how dark things are.

Sometimes life gives a ‘wake-up call’ with a splash of water in our face that clears some of the dirt away. These can be inspirational movies, books or speakers; meeting someone who really wants to be able to have kids and cannot; hearing others who comment on the special things they see in your life; etc.

Other times, major curve balls in life knock the glasses totally off, as we hear about in life-changing events as told by survivors of cancer and tragedies, such as in the stories we heard from 9/11 survivors.

We need to stop, take a break from the constant running, and take a clear look around us. Other people face similar challenges that we do and maintain a happy outlook. If life looks dark, it could be that we just need take off and wash our ‘glasses’ – to truly see and appreciate the good things in our lives. It is so much better to stop, look, see and appreciate the beauty in our kids rather than just hearing from others how wonderful they see them! We need to see and appreciate the good and beautiful things that we, ourselves, do rather than others just telling us about the great things we did that we didn’t notice – ‘all-in-a-day’s-work.’

As we just passed the anniversary of 9/11, let’s stop racing and take our own glasses off for a good cleaning. Let us really appreciate the incredible blessing of life and the beauty around us.

- DebBee