My grandmother just died.
I am sitting here, typing, because death brings emotions we are supposed to process to express. So I’m checking, looking into finding words to say what I feel right now.
Grandmommie and I had little to no relationship. For years I wished it were different. The problem was Grandmommie loved me but she didn’t like me. You can love someone deeply but not like them. I realized that a thousand times in little moments but couldn’t put it into words in my own mind until I was in my early 20’s. I chased after her wanting her to approve of me, to find something she could like… but it always came back to the words she said and the disapproval. It hurt then. It hurt a lot. Especially in contrast with her words that were kind and approving for others. Those words, however much I craved them, were not for me. I learned to accept it. As I got older, in learning to like me I had to remove her voice from my head.
When I was a newlywed she and my Grandfather would be traveling just 35 miles north of my home on a cross-country trip to go see my sister. This was great, they would be so close to me they could come see my life, see my cute little home and see me…really see me. Like a dream scene, I saw it clicking in their eyes that I wasn’t a loser. My husband wasn’t crazy for marrying me. They had asked him at our wedding why would he marry me? He was so impressive and I was so unaccomplished. It was the one smear on a perfect day.
BUT if they came to my house they would really see me, raw, and of course they would like me. They would be proud…when I made the invitation explaining it would be a small detour and I would make them a meal, I wanted them to see my home…the reply, “it’s not worth it, you understand Leta.”
And I did. I understood.
They didn’t say it in a mean tone. The facts were simply that detouring from the goal, the pre-plan wasn’t worth it—for me. I just wasn’t a priority. I got it. I hung up that phone and for the first time at 24 years old I forgave them for not liking me. I forgave them for not caring and promised myself to not expect it from them. That the hurt I felt wasn’t their fault it was mine for wanting something that couldn’t be given. They had been consistent in their approach to me—it was I who kept hoping for something different. I was causing me this pain.
I didn’t cry. It was what it was.
They are good people; they are loving and solicitous to many in the family. Just not to me, and that day I got it, I understood and I let be what was.
Going forward my responsibility was, as the Bible says, to “Honor thy father and thy mother.” I did that. I honored them with living a good life.
At times our paths would touch and I noticed I could let the disapproval slide. It was just their perception. They didn’t see me, the real me. And that was—well, I don’t say this in a tone; I say this matter-of-factly, with no bitterness—their loss. I didn’t have to make it my loss. I moved on.
One day 17 years after the day I let be what was.
I got a call in November 2012 and I was 39 years old—it was Grandmommie. She started by telling me about her mother, her voice was tenderly emotional. I had never heard this side of her. I didn’t know how to respond. I listened as she shared feelings with me. Then she said it, words that I’d never heard her say, “I am sorry.” She apologized for how she had treated me saying she “had wronged me”—we had a moment. A moment that I never anticipated having until at the feet of Christ. I felt it, she meant her words—the most amazing part was I felt forgiveness, the realization that I had forgiven her long before. I wanted to make this easy for her. I said, “thank you, this means a lot.” She told me she respected me, how I had dealt with the death of my daughter, she respected my connection with God.
Then it was over.
I would call on special days; we would talk for a moment. She would ask me about my parents, especially about my mom, her daughter. They talked often with her and she would want to know from me how Mom was really; my mother has health issues, skipping along the surface, never deeper. My mother told me that is all she needed to feel close. I don’t know really how to have a surface relationship, and I am not capable of duplicity, but I could have these brief conversations with Grandmommie. I could give her that.
I had received more from her than I ever thought I would in this life. I didn’t give into the hope that there would be more tender conversations, there weren’t. I helped buy her an iPad. She was grateful. That was the closest we ever came in the last 3 years.
Now. Right now. I know my grandmother and I are closer than we have ever been.
She isn’t truly gone, she is with my daughter, and she is in a good place where all the cloudiness of earthly perception will melt away. It’s more likely now than it ever was that she might stop by and see my life, see my house, see what I have created and say the words, feel the words I only heard once. She will be proud of me. She will even like me. She will get me. My exuberant personality that always bothered her as so inappropriate and unlady-like—I think she will find herself able to laugh with me now.
I am funny. I am really likeable.
Grandmommie helped me see that, because her perception made me really look at my own self-perception. She taught me that I can’t see myself through other’s eyes and I cannot expect or need from others what they cannot give.
So here I sit a couple of hours after her death thankful she was my grandmother. Because she taught me to forgive, to love others for who they are and to let be what is.
Will be seeing you around.
Before my daughter, Katelynn Faith was born, we knew she had a rare chromosomal anomaly. We knew that Katelynn’s differences had made her special and she would be given every opportunity to find her way in life. Katelynn is strong. During her time at the hospital, people could see how special she was. She was surrounded in a sterile, cold environment, and yet she locked eyes with those around her. People could feel her presence and attentiveness.
Every morning before going to the NICU, I remember sitting on my bed, looking at my wheelchair. I would think about what I needed to accomplish. I knew the day demanded more than I had; getting out of bed and getting ready was already so draining. So, God and I had a conversation. I told God how much I felt I could do of my day—usually less than 10%— and asked him to take care of the rest. I knew he had to carry me, because I had to be awesome, I had to be beyond my best for my three children depending on me. They looked to my attitude to see if they could get through this. I would not let them down because I was their mom.
I have been blessed in my life with having a close relationship to God. I know he has carried me and comforted me in some of the hardest times of my life. My relative, Stephen, is going through the similar need to ask God to carry him when he can do no more. Stephen has a Chiari Malformation Decompression, which is a rare brain disorder. Last year, a surgeon tried to fix the problem, and was unable to help. Stephen’s condition has been worsening, with Parkinson shakes, Grand Mal seizures, and periods where he doesn’t know who he is or where he is. He has liquid pressing against his brain, which is an additional problem that is causing a lot of complications. Stephen has been unable to work for more than a year because of his condition. In November, he was told his brain was starting to necrotize (die) and that he didn’t have much longer to live. When my niece, Sheraya found out what was going on with her cousin, she stepped in with fundraising to help pay for some of the medical costs. As Stephen’s story spread, a specialist on Stephen’s condition from New York got involved. In January, Stephen went to New York to see Dr. Bolognese and found out his condition was NOT fatal, and is operable.
My niece, Sheraya, has spoken to me about how it’s hard to see Stephen suffering. He’s in his early 30’s—and when he was younger, made decisions that led him down a scary path. It’s hard to see him change his life so drastically, and to have made his peace with God, only to have him now suffering daily from this illness.
Now we have hope, we have a goal—to raise the money for Stephen to get back to New York and get the surgery he needs to save his life. Stephen, and his wife, Lesley, are so upbeat and positive. Throughout the whole experience, Lesley has been looking forward, and has not lost faith that Stephen can get the help he needs. Stephen is taking life by the horns, and fighting a battle that is overwhelming. If you are interested in learning more about Stephen’s story or helping him get to New York, you can go to his website, BelayingStephen.com or his fundraising site, gofundme.com/belayingstephen.
I’m grateful for all I have in my life, and the fact that we were able to care for Nathan through the bus accident and heart attack, and then Katelynn through her time here. As much as we try to look on the bright side, the bitter truth is, crummy things happen in life. But, we can choose to come out of those experiences stronger, surer of ourselves, and more determined to love and cherish the people we have.
In 1989 big eye-shadow and big hair ruled. I was 16-years-old and was bold with my makeup too—I wore brown eye-shadow hesitatingly applied. Self-criticism held me back from enjoying those over the top eye-shadow styles of my youth. In my book I talk about how I was able to find my way out of the cycle of not appreciating what I had. Now, 25 years later, gravity has become an issue as I feel my wisdom growing, and I can totally appreciate what I have—beautiful, mature eyes.
If you only look at beauty magazines and Pinterest for your makeup application tips you may have laughed out loud as I cheer for my mature eyes—we could get really frustrated with our eyes because they are not the same as they were in 1989, 1979 or 1969. Time happens and our eyes shift. That shifting isn’t bad. I believe that ageing is beautiful and I want to help you see it!
As an early makeup artist most of my work came from brides. Those girls had the young eyes you find in all the magazines. You can really do anything you want with eyes like that—just look at the crazy makeup tips you find. I want the tips I share to help you feel more comfortable and see yourself as the beauty you are. I believe we are all beautiful; we have just been trained to think that only perfection is beautiful.
I have a ton of makeup tips for mature eyes—but here is my concern: if I just start posting these awesome tips you may not see what I am talking about. You need to be retrained first. You are beautiful. You are perfectly normal. What is being sold to you in magazines as “the standard” is not normal.
Look at this:
In this example, notice what you don’t see. There are no wrinkles, no hinge on the outside of the eye. We get this hinge wrinkle from the movement of the eye.
Now look at these:
These ladies must have been moving their eyes too much. With all these wrinkles, they must have had years of too much squinting in the sun. The problem is… these are nine year old girls! But THIS is the standard we are held to.
She is fabulously airbrushed to a standard of perfection that we all fail to meet. Because it is not real.
Here is a picture of me (please notice what a good hair day I am having).
I look stinkin’ hot and I am real. You can tell this picture hasn’t been edited because look at this picture and notice what you see.
It’s like I have wrinkles—shocking!! I look great for 41 as I use SeneGence skincare. Look at this without makeup on and see the real “normal”.
The wrinkles, the downward pull of the eye. Notice how you don’t see it on the first picture? It is because I used my makeup as a tool to guide the beholder to where I want you to look. (In my next makeup artist blog I am going to start teaching you those tricks.)
As you are out there looking at Pinterest, see if they are real tips on real faces or if the unreal standard of beauty will make you think that nine-year-old eyes are old because they are not airbrushed.
One of the first questions I got from people when I wrote How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness was, “When is there going to be an audiobook?” You, my readers have said you want to hear the stories, not just see them. I’ve heard you want to have it read to you as you drive, work, run errands. I know the real truth, you want to hear my hilarious voice tell you jokes and have me entertain you! Since my book shares many personal stories from my life, I knew I was the one that had to read it. I’ve worked hard to record my audiobook, working to give life to the words through my voice. I’m so excited to have the audiobook available for all of you.
Listen below for a sample from the audiobook.
If you pre-order before December 15th, your CD copy of How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness will be only $15.
Click here to pre-order a copy. CD copies of the book will be mailed out by December 15, and will arrive in the United States before Christmas. Merry Christmas and enjoy!
From the time we are little, we are taught about the danger of strangers. We’re told scary things about how they lurk with menacing plans.
My dad owned a small trucking company. When I say small, I mean small as in my mom was the other driver, and we kids were the set-up crew.
Dad was often the stranger who stopped and helped the car on the side of the road with the hood up. It wasn’t uncommon for us to find a lady with a car full of kids. Dad would tinker on her car and soon have it up and running. He always had extra fan belts, duct tape and rope on hand, saying “you never know when someone could use it.” The people he helped often thanked him for his kindness with tears running down their faces, but Dad didn’t do it for the glory or any reward. He knew it was the right thing to do, and he quietly helped strangers.
I remember one late night in the middle of a snowstorm Dad saw a car stopped on the side of the freeway. He stopped and helped get the man’s car running. As my dad was leaving, the man gave him his card and said he wanted to help out my dad in return someday. That man was an internationally known dentist. It just so happened that not long after that stormy night, I was in a serious bicycle accident. I knocked out three of my teeth. That man was the one that came to the hospital, and made sure I got the care I needed; even though my parents were in-between insurance companies. This stranger saved large portions of my upper jaw bone.
My mom loves people. She says she never meets a stranger. One time we were out hiking, my mom went ahead to make lunch for us at the car. When I got to the end of the trail, I saw Mom sitting on the tailgate of our tan Toyota pickup truck surrounded by bikers, laughing with them and giving out sandwiches. I imagine some women would be horrified to find a pack of bikers around her vehicle, but not my mom. She offered them food and drew them with her wit. She learned one of them was a fan of Shakespeare. I’ll never forget seeing them quoting Shakespeare to each other over sandwiches of white bread, bologna, and that horrid cheese you have to unwrap the plastic from.
For me, the worst pains of my childhood didn’t come from strangers. It came from those who were in a position of trust who violated that trust.
So, when I became a mother I had a decision to make; to teach my children about the danger of strangers or to teach them that they needed to trust their inner voice, regardless of who the person was. I chose the latter.
This is what I tell my kids. If someone asks you to keep a secret from your parents it isn’t okay—ever. If someone touches you in your privates it isn’t okay—ever. I tell them they are people and their feelings and opinions matter. They know the voice of what is right and what is wrong speaks inside of them. I tell them to listen to that voice, and if they do, they will recognize danger. I tell them that while using that voice as a guide, they can have enriching experiences like meeting a biker that is a poet; a dentist that will save their jaw; a single mom whose tears of gratitude will teach lessons. I try to show them, like my parents showed me, that helping others when it may not be convenient is always the right thing to do.
I think they’re learning it. The other day at Costco I started a discussion with a couple in the line behind me. As we stood out by the carts they told me they were from Poland. We talked of hard work and their years of living under communism. They told me what makes a good Kielbasa sausage and the pride they feel in their children. They hugged and kissed me, told me I was beautiful and a good mother. Soon after, my daughter told me she wants them over for dinner. I do too… and after our discussion, I had better buy the right Kielbasa sausage.
WARNING, pictures of my dental surgery are below.
I admit it, I love my wiggle tooth, but I didn’t always.
When I was nine I knocked out my front three teeth, and the excessive dental work began. I hated the gap, it made it so obvious what missing and what was so clearly wrong with me. The funny thing is that those feelings of inadequacy were really coming from me, and not from others. Sure, kids teased me, but what made the situation worse was how I handled it. In my book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness I teach how to get over self-taunts and about how to change the perceptions of ourselves to see the radiant women we really are.
I’ve learned in my nearly 20 years of working with women in beauty, that we all have an area, feature, or something we just don’t like about ourselves. Yes, there are makeup tricks that can minimize facial features to bring out our best; but I really love helping women see how beautiful they really are, and helping them start the real work—seeing themselves differently. I can meet with you one-on-one through Skype. I am here to help you see that you are far hotter than you think you are!
Through helping other women, I actually got so good at changing my perception that I LOVE my wiggle tooth! I’m not saying that I want to have a retainer with a tooth attached my whole life… but then again, maybe I do! The tooth is such a relatable subject and always an instant icebreaker. I often joke that “I am soooo HOT, I don’t need all my teeth!” It is funny– I like funny. But Mr. Greene doesn’t love it so much… I guess when he takes his wife out a on a romantic date, he would like to look across the table at a full toothed smile. It’s particularly annoying to him because we have already paid to have it repaired, and I’m putting it off because it’s so funny. I guess I can see his point of view on this.
So, on October 16th, I reluctantly dragged myself to the oral surgeon. I was so sad—not only would my adorable toothlessness be gone, but I knew it was going to hurt. I’m not really one who thinks being drilled on is fun. With that said, I firmly believe in choosing to have fun in any situation — here in this picture with the drill head attached to the recently placed implant.
I would like to point out that my lip color survived all of this with grace— meaning it stays on like a rock star! I forgot to take pictures that night of my still perfect makeup because I was high—you know, legally drugged up—since it really hurts to get drilled on. The important thing that every girl needs coming out of oral surgery is to know that her makeup is still there and looking awesome. I can help with you with that part, but the missing-tooth hotness, you will have to take care of on your own. I can show you how to bring out your best without looking like you tried too hard. If you want amazing skin, and want to know where to put your makeup and the right colors just for you that stay looking perfect all day until you take it off— I can help with that.
As for my tooth, in four months, after the bone heals around the implant, I will get a new set of not-as-hot-though-very-expensive-teeth. I firmly believe that Mr. Greene will miss the wiggle tooth. Although, if we’re being completely honest… probably not.
While writing my book, many people, places and events inspired me. This blog is to help look deeper into the inspiration behind some of the moments in my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness.
The quote above was inspired by a woman I met at one of my Hotness Workshops. She was a mother of four children that were close in age. As so many of us do in that process, she lost a tinge of sanity, a lot of peace and the figure she had before she became a mother. At the workshop, she shared with the group a powerful story of how she learned about positive self-talk.
One day, after she got out of the shower, she looked in the mirror and felt that what she saw was not flattering. She was struck by the changes in her body. She said, “I grabbed by tummy, disgusted with myself that I was this fat! How could I let this happen?! I started to call myself names… and then I felt something stop me. Hadn’t this body birthed four healthy babies? That was a gift. I felt an impression that I was never to be so unkind to myself again. I felt that it was from God.”
After she told her story, the room was quiet. We all knew we were guilty of being unkind to ourselves and even bullying ourselves at times. Her experience spoke that truth into our hearts, in a clearer way than I could ever express. The truth was that God doesn’t want us to feel poopy about ourselves. Don’t be mean to that amazing body you have! It was made ON purpose for a purpose.
Choose to be nice to you. Honor yourself with your thoughts. Feed your mirror kind things.
If you want help with this, my book is available by clicking here.
The company Jamberry nails has a very cool concept. Instead of waiting for what feels like eternity (at least to me) for your nails to dry, you can use these nail wraps. They’re made from vinyl and once you know what you’re doing, it’s really easy to apply. Even better- the wraps last for weeks.
You all know I do makeup, all day long. Because of that, I love long-lasting, easy beauty. I love looking great without the fuss. I’ve found Jamberry fits in perfectly with that mentality. They’re gorgeous and I particularly like them on my toes.
So, when Jamberry called me to speak for them, I was not very dignified on the phone. I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak for a company that does something so cool.
Jamberry organized an amazing show for their executive level leaders, and I brought the Hotness™ to share. While I know you’re dying to hear the details, I can’t tell you all about it because they asked me to participate in the same show again. I’ll be traveling with them to Orlando, Florida in January. Jamberry treated me very well and even gave me the swag bag they gave their hardest working leaders. All of the attendees received a copy of my book at the show.
Recently, I also spoke at “The Women Empowered Conference” put on by the Ogden/Weber Chamber. They gave each attendee my book in the swag bag. It’s such a thrill to be able to speak and have the attendees be able to learn more about How to Embrace their Inner Hotness!
I had the opportunity to be on Fox 13’s Good Day Utah segment yesterday to discuss my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness, and the importance of self-esteem and being nice to ourselves.