The Lily Series- The Beauty Book

The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue is a non-fiction book that addresses questions and concerns that pre-teen girls often have. This book has been added to The Lily Series and speaks as if fictional Lily is talking to the reader. There are Q & A, quizzes, illustrations, scripture, journaling, and activities in every chapter.  The book discusses general beauty information like how to clean your face to prevent pimples,  how to give yourself a manicure & pedicure, when should you wear makeup, should you get piercings or tattoos, what if you are too tall or have to wear glasses, etc. The focus is to embrace the way God sees us and how he created us instead of focusing on what the world portrays as beautiful.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and think that it would be good for a pre-teen who is starting to deal with issues relating to her body and her concept of what beauty is. I’m not sure that the publisher’s suggestion of ages 7-11 is appropriate. My oldest girl is 5 and I just don’t see the information in this book being relevant to her in only 2 years. I would suggest an age group that is slightly older like in the middle school ages.

*****

On a side note that has more to do with Biblical context instead of Beauty issues… There was one thing that stood out to me as being negative and that was in the discussion of tattoos (which is a touchy subject to a lot of people so I will try to explain my point as best as I can without getting into the debate of right or wrong). The author’s advice to girls when it comes to things like tattoos, piercings, makeup, etc. is talking to parents and respecting their decision on the subject. I do agree with this advice! The issue that I have with her discussion of tattoos is how she quoted scripture without giving explanation. Here is the Q & A I am referring too. This comes after several Q & A’s relating to piercings and tattoos that addressed appearance, pain, danger etc (which were all answered to my satisfaction):

Q: Would it be all right to get the kind you just stick on?

A: Is it all right with-you guessed it- your parents? They might not like even the idea of a tattoo, real or fake. Leviticus 19:28 does say, “Do not…put tattoo marks on yourselves.” Of course, Leviticus 19:27 also says, “Do not… clip the edges of your beard.”

…and she leaves it at that. To a pre-teen or anyone who has not studied scripture, this statement could cause a lot of questions. People often refer to Leviticus 19:28 as why Christians shouldn’t have tattoos but the same people do trim their beards, cut their hair, eat pork, or do other things listed as forbidden in the old testament. She fails to explain the old law versus the new law and how there is a difference between ceremonial requirements (which are no longer binding under the new law–such as cutting hair) and moral requirements (which are binding–like do not worship other Gods or do not commit adultery). I realize that my issue with this goes far beyond what was probably intended by the author and that it is a subject that can easily be talked about and researched with parental guidance. I just felt that I should caution that the way it was worded could cause more questions (which is a good thing if the parents are willing to have deeper discussions!)

*****

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Thomas Nelson provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Beauty Book: It’s A God Thing

By Nancy Rue / Thomas Nelson

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The Pretty Princess Phenomenon

I have been bombarded lately with differing views of the Princess culture that is influencing young girls today. Movies, books, toys, clothes, etc. are all feeding the princess frenzy.

In Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Girls, his daughter Danae described why the princess story line is so captivating:

“1) Beauty. Every girl wants to be considered physically attractive, and princesses take it to the highest level…”

“2) Song. Every Disney princess has a beautiful voice, and some of the story lines are based around that talent…”

“3) Beautiful clothes. Princesses wear lovely gowns in bright colors, and little girls love to mimic their heroine’s attire by donning similar costumes…”

“4) Handsome suitor. A princess is always pursued by an attractive male prospect, and he’s usually a prince–someone any girl in the kingdom would love to have. Through all the ups and downs in the story line, a princess always gets her man in the end…”

“5) Rags to riches... One thing is true for all: in the end they all live in a castle with the man of their dreams and with riches galore…”

“6) Happily ever after. This is true for every Disney princess, but unfortunately not for the rest of us. Nevertheless, the concept of marrying a handsome prince and living happily ever after (no conflicts or problems) is appealing to young dreamers who hope that one day they will have the same privilege…”

“7) Dreams coming true. A princess expresses her wishes and dreams early in the story and always sees them come to life in the end…”

“To be a princess is to be considered beautiful, to be pursued, and to see all your hopes and dreams come true. Now who wouldn’t want to be a princess?”

Dr. Dobson quotes another woman (Riann Zuetel) as giving another perspective:

“I think wanting to be a princess is more than just feeling beautiful. Girls and women long to be treated like they are something special and worthwhile. Our culture often treats women like brainless sex objects who are put on this planet to satisfy men’s desires, sometimes at the expense of their own sense of self-worth… When a girl sees herself as a princess, she feels valued for who she is. Being beautiful is just the icing on the cake, so to speak. She is equal, worthwhile, and special. Most important, she has the confidence to wait for Prince Charming to come and not settle for second best or a loser, no matter how long it takes.”

The other side of the story is explained in the July 2010 issue of Parents Magazine. An article called “The Princess Diaries,” written by Gayle Forman, suggests that the princess fairy-tale culture is responsible for young girls growing up too fast and becoming “racy.”

“Around age 6, a girl’s interest in Belle or Tiana will probably give way to a fascination with iCarly and High School Musical. She may also become more interested in edgier clothing, from short skirts to T-shirts with slogans such as “Flirt” and “Daddy’s Expensive Little Princess… There’s a name marketers use for the idea of pushing young girls to dress and act grown up: KAGOY, and acronym for Kids Are Getting Older Younger. It started more than a decade ago with the newly branded “tween” market and has shifted toward ever-younger girls–who are being encouraged by companies to wear makeup, high heels… and skimpy crop tops…”

“…there’s no doubt that marketers are amplifying both princess culture and the precocious look that many young girls gravitate toward. Although you may have pretended to be Cinderella when you were a kid, your daughter likely takes the royal role more seriously and might want the Tinkerbell sheets, the Little Mermaid wallpaper, a Disney Princess kitchen set, and a Barbie Sparkle Lights Doll to fuel it. And while you may have borrowed lipstick and mascara from your mom’s drawer just for fun, your 6-year-old might take it one step further by buying a $9 preteen makeup kit with her allowance.”

Dr. Dobson addresses this view by saying:

“I’ve seen no evidence to support the supposition that little girls who think of themselves as princesses are more likely to become brats or strippers when adolescence approaches. That strikes me as ridiculous.”

“Admittedly, however, life is not always a Cinderella journey… But we are here talking about children, after all. There will be plenty of time for them to learn about pain, sorrow, and other intricacies of adult life. Or as one mother put it, they have the rest of their lives to become jaded. Let’s let children be children while they are children.”

Earlier in the chapter, Dr. Dobson actually suggests that the princesses promote purity:

“Modeling virtue is one of the reasons I like the movement. In a subtle way, the Disney stories present a wholesome image of virginity until marriage and then lifelong love thereafter. They also promote femininity, kindness, courtesy, the work ethic, service to others, and “good vibes” about one’s personhood. Where else in the popular culture do you find these values represented in such an attractive way?”

Another big concern that parents have with the princess culture is that it leads children to think that every girl should be beautiful, thin, and “perfect.” Dr. Dobson also addresses this:

“Not every little girl can be “the fairest in the land” and look like Ariel or Sleeping Beauty. There is, therefore, an aspect to the princess fantasy that parents should recognize and respond to with wisdom and sensitivity. An overemphasis on physical attractiveness throughout childhood can create an expectation that some kids will never achieve…”

As someone who loves the Disney movies; I have never had a problem with the princesses. It wasn’t until recently that I made a decision to get rid of some of our Disney movies which included a few of the princess themes. My reasons had nothing to do with the princesses themselves but because I didn’t want to expose our girls (ages 1 & 3) to the scary images along with the evil things portrayed in those particular movies. We are perfectly fine with them liking the Princesses themselves–and they do love the princesses! We just decided that there are other ways to let them pretend, play with, see, etc. the princesses without them watching the movies.

Personally, I think that pop culture is more responsible for sexualization of younger kids than the princess movement is. Consider real superstars such as Brittney Spears, Miley Cirus, Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, etc. These real idols tend to dress provocatively. As girls get older; I believe that they look up to actresses and musicians more so than fictional fairy tales. I believe that clothing lines are mimicking real people and not the princesses.

Bottom line is that we are the parents. If we have a problem with what clothes are on the market; then we should find a place that sells what fits our standard (I always had to have a one piece swimsuit). If we have a problem with a 6 year-old buying makeup with their allowance; then we should tell them that they are not allowed to buy it (I wasn’t allowed to wear make up in public until I was in 7th grade). I agree with Dr. Dobson’s view on the parent’s responsibility and so I will allow him to have the last word:

“[We should] carefully scrutinize and select that which will be allowed into the lives of our children. Our job is to teach and interpret for them what they need to understand. They will learn far more directly from us than from storybook fantasies. The princess movement can be handled in this manner. Ultimately, mothers will have to decide whether or not to introduce their girls to this and other forms of make-believe. It is my belief that the good outweighs the bad in the princess movement…”

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Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women

By Dr. James Dobson / Tyndale House

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True Beauty (Mother’s Day Series- 4)

Mother’s Day is finally here and as Pastor Brian pointed out in today’s sermon; Mother’s Day does not only celebrate moms but all women. I pray that all of you have had (or will have) a blessed day! If you missed any previous posts in my Mother’s Day Series; see the bottom of this post for links to them. Today, I would like to take some time to honor my moms (yes, I said: “moms”). Also, I have a guest writer further down that I will introduce in a couple of minutes.

There was a lot of bad things that went on throughout my childhood; but God put a strong woman in my life who got us through them all. My mom’s strength and faith kept our family moving forward even through the lowest points of life. Until recently my relationship with my mom was always rocky. As the oldest (I have 2 sisters and a brother); I had to grow up quickly and learned how to be independent at an early age. I don’t know where, when, or why my anger started to be a major oppression for me. But, I do know that a lot of it is because of the hardships our family endured as I was growing up. My mom did not have a Godly example for a mother as she grew up. When she raised us; she relied on the example of Godly women who God placed in her life at various times. She was never perfect but I know that she did the best that she knew how. She always put her children before herself; often sacrificing more than most moms do. As we have watched our mom; we have also grown to be strong and full of faith. Her example of what a Godly woman should be; will forever be the reason that all of us are serving God today. Thank you mom. I love you!

God put another strong woman in my life who became my step-mom. Because I was already an adult when she and my dad got married; she did not have the chance to actually be a mother to me. Instead she became a friend. She was unable to have children of her own; but God provided her with 4 from another family who she could call daughters and son. Even though she is no longer married to my dad; she is still a friend, a mom, and grandmother as far as we are concerned. I hope that she knows how blessed we are to have her in our lives.

We have all heard horror stories about in-laws. I never assumed that I would have a good relationship with the mother of whoever I married. But God had a different plan. He gave me another strong woman of faith who has to be the best mother-in-law in the world (I have the best father-in-law too)! I know that she loves me like she loves her own daughters. She has been supportive of me in good and bad times. I’m not sure that she has completely forgiven me for giving birth to and keeping her only granddaughters in Japan but since we have skype she doesn’t complain (too much :)). I am truly blessed to have her as another mom.

God also blessed me with a Godly heritage from my Grandma (and Grandpa) and other women in my family. Thank you for always being there and supporting me through prayer and encouragement. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the other wonderful Godly women who have become my family. They will always be apart of my family no matter where they live or how often I will see them. So that I don’t offend (in case I accidently miss someone); I am not going to post names. But most of you should know who you are. If we ever had a deep emotional conversation (laughing and/or crying), if you have at some point held me accountable by asking the tough questions or confronting my sins, if you ever listened to me as I leaned on you and cried my way through a painful moment in life; then you are one of these women. Thank you!

I am going to stop tearing up now and end on a more humorous note. Remember those Kendal Bloopers that I posted last month? Well today; Shane sneakingly gave Kendal a rose to give to me (and of course, I did not notice it behind his back before he gave it to her). She handed it to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day”. I said, “Thank you! Its so pretty! Did you get this for me?” Kendal immediately and excitedly replied with, “No Mama, it’s my pretty flower. Daddy gave it to me!”

Now I would like to introduce you to my husband Shane;

who graciously honored my request to write a message for my blog today.

As long as I can remember my mom has been my biggest fan. In good times and bad, in right, and especially in wrong. She was always in my corner. Through her love and even her discipline; she did her part to raise me and make me the man I am today.

I later got married and found myself with yet another mom in my life. I was in awe of her strength and virtue. I don’t believe that I could “do no wrong” in her eyes (because I most certainly have). But I do believe that she never turned her back on me. Even when I was at my worst.

It must have been gut wrenching for my mother to watch me grow, invest time and energy into my life, only to let me go. I can honestly say that my mother did her job well in preparing me for that next chapter in life; but I didn’t really understand forgiveness until I met my mother in-law at my darkest hours in life. When I turned my back on my family, they both loved me through it. Though probably not “my biggest fan” they were one of my biggest supporters. Through both these lady’s example; my wonderful wife has learned how to be a woman and a mother of love and virtue. A fact that holds my respect.

My life in the military has allowed me to meet all kinds of people. I’ve been “adopted” over and over again by the families of my buddies. When one of us would go home for the weekend; we would all tag along. This would and probably did overwhelm the families houses we invaded. The couches we’ve slept on and the refrigerators we’ve raided. But the “MA” would love on us and invite us in as if we were her own. What is it about a mom that makes her want to do such a ridiculous thing as to raise more children. In our case, five or six hungry Airmen. I recall one particularly special woman whose hospitality helped me in a time when I was away from the home and life on my own was very new. She brought reliability back into our lives. Because she made it ok for us to to always “come home.” Interactions with my new found brothers at her house will always remain among my fondest of memories. I was deeply pained when I learned she had passed away. Though my pain was not the same as her real family; we all can say that we were truly affected as she was mother to us all.

It would be very easy this time of year, for all of us to get carried away, with yet another “Hallmark holiday” by paying our simple lip service to these ladies. Send them a card, make our  phone call and then go about our day. I challenge you to take this time to reflect on how your mother has helped you to be who you are today. I know that not all families were as complete as mine growing up. Maybe this time of year is yet another painful reminder of this fact. But I submit to you all that whether or not we had a good mother;  she has left an imprint on us in one way or another anyway. The simple fact that she gave us life is good enough for me. It’s what we choose to do with the life she gave us is what makes us who we are today. From her example good or bad we still learn about who we are and who we want to be. I am truly blessed and thankful for all the experiences I’ve had with my mothers. Everything from the good to the not so good has helped me become the husband, the father, and the man that I am today.

My hats off to you ladies. I am your biggest fan. ~~Shane

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“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28-30

To all of the wonderful women in our lives: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)

Southeast Botanical Gardens-Okinawa, Japan

Today was such a beautiful day! So, as a family, we went to the Botanical Gardens for the first time since living in Okinawa (about 3 1/2 years). What a beautiful place…and its about 10 minutes away from our house! I do not claim to be a photographer but I love to take pictures (especially of flowers). So here are few of my favorite pics from today!

One of my favorite colors!

I love Butterflies!

We saw several different colors of similar flowers with the lily pads:

Peach

Yellow

Purple

White

Periwinkle

and Pink

Okinawa is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. We have such beautiful scenery here! How can you gaze on such beauty and not praise God for his amazing creation!

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6

And two more of God’s beautiful creations!