When I was a teenager, I felt terribly awkward and unattractive. Girls all around me knew how to fix their hair, put together an outfit, and put on makeup to bring out their best features. I tried to mimick them, but something always felt off. My attempts at beauty made me look worse. I came to the conclusion that they were the pretty ones and I was plain. Trying to change that would make me a poseur.
I was especially awkward when I first met my husband. I had thick bangs that made the rest of my hair look thin and deemphasized my eyes. I was struggling with horrible acne and had both breakouts and red scaly dry patches from the drugstore remedies I was using. I wore only enough makeup to try to conceal my pimples — tinted pimple cream (Yes, I’m serious.) My uniform was a boxy t-shirt and jeans (rolled sleeves, tucked in and bloused) with well worn tennis shoes and gym socks.
We attended the same older youth church classes, went to the same camps and weekend church retreats, even went hard hat, water crawl, unmarked trail cave exploring in the same small group, but rarely spoke. The beautiful girls would fawn all over Darren and I turned my back. I didn’t bother to find out if he was worth getting to know, because I didn’t stand a chance.
The first retreat that I organized something happened that made me turn around. At our first meal, Darren mentioned that he wouldn’t be staying on the grounds since his farm was just a mile away. I told him he didn’t need to pay as much since we wouldn’t be charged for his lodging. He said, “But will YOU be ok? (Meaning, “will you have to pay out of your pocket if I don’t pay the full amount?”)
I said, “It’s tight, but I think we will come out even.” He handed me his full amount plus a little extra just to make sure. (Picture me, bangs and pimples, holding his money, staring at him way too long, with my mouth open.) Later that weekend, we were having a Bible class and Darren participated quite a bit in the discussion. As we went to our separate sleeping areas and the girls stayed up late talking about boys, one girl remarked, “He has spiritual depth.” I fell asleep thinking about that.
It was well known among my circle of friends that I wanted to marry a farmer. A church friend from college was trying to set me up with a young farmer (YF) he grew up with. YF hadn’t shown any interest in me whatsoever, and I couldn’t even remember meeting him before, but the friend would come over and tell me all about his good points and why I should be interested. Then the friend helped me write some letters to ask about farming.
YF, happened to be Darren’s roommate at a college a few hours away. When my letters arrived, Darren would tell him, “This is a great girl. You should be interested.” Then he helped him write the responses, complete with cutting out pictures of farm implements from catalogs, gluing them to notebook paper and explaining what they did. YF drug his feet. He never did ask me out. My friend pushing me toward him, decided if YF wasn’t going to ask me, he’d take me out himself, and Darren decided the same thing.
Before our first real date, Darren drove up a couple of times to visit me and my roommates at college (board games and snacks), and eventually transferred his enrollment to my school. Since my school was closer to his family farm, He told his friends, “I need to move back to check on my cows.” They still tease him about calling me a cow. Nobody was fooled–except me. I felt so unlovely that I denied he was interested in me until our first real date. (Funny that before the date, Darren had already spoken to my father, professed his love and gotten permission to try to win my heart. And his grandmother had already tried to give him her wedding ring to encourage him to propose. I was clueless.)
Our first date was a day at Darren’s farm. He asked in such a way that it felt like a friendly gesture to give me the taste of real farm life. I wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to make a good impression though. My roommate loaned me her clothes–name brand jeans and a cute flannel shirt. I bought new work boots (and gave my faithful tennis shoes a rest.) Looking back, I realize how ridiculous I must have looked, showing up pressed and pristine, with the tags freshly cut off my clothes. We were about to get MUDDY. I was there to work, not for a commercial tour, lol. My first job was to ride in the tractor and jump out to open the gates so he could get through more quickly. My first hop out, I landed in a HUGE mud puddle. The mud went up over the TOP of my new suede boot and sucked it right off my foot. Darren laughed and laughed…. I did not.
After we married, Darren helped me see the potential for beauty that I had. He encouraged me to experiment with makeup and hair and showed me how to shape my eyebrows. As the brother of 3 gorgeous sisters, he had picked up a lot of beauty tips along the way. I asked him one time, why he married me, when I was so plain and he had such an eye for beauty. There were beautiful girls all around! He said, “I could see how beautiful you were through all those bangs. Those other girls didn’t have the inner qualities I wanted in a wife, and when they dove into the swimming pool their faces came off! I knew what I was going to wake up to in the morning when I married you.”
It took me YEARS after marriage to finally feel comfortable doing my own hair and applying makeup. My Mary Kay director was a huge help to me in this. After I turned 30 I realized that I wasn’t a poseur if I wanted to look my best. I just needed more help to learn how.
I remember being invited to a few parties as a young married bride and walking into homes of couples as young and new as we were and being amazed at how beautiful they were! I chalked it up to them having more money than we did, but that wasn’t the case. They just knew some basic things about putting together a home that I was clueless about–just like I was with fashion, makeup and hair. In fact, a lot of the homes were smaller than ours. They selected a home that they could AFFORD to furnish beautifully. While I selected the biggest home we could afford and put furniture in it that we took off the neighbor’s curb.
I thought of myself as a decorating dummy for years, but really I just needed to learn some things. Stupid isn’t the same as uneducated, so if you’ve felt like a dummy when it comes to your house–stop it. We all have to start somewhere. Some people have natural talent, that’s true, but the rest of us can be taught.
In my quest for beauty I have studied magazine photos, subscribed to blogs, and picked the brain of my friends with interior design degrees, but still felt the need for more guidance. My home just didn’t feel right. I needed a class that had order and steps–that made sense of the chaos of all the tips I had gathered. I can’t tell you how many times I bought the wrong thing, but didn’t realize it until it was too late to take it back. I thought investing a little bit in myself might save me a ton of money in bad shopping choices. When I found the Cozy Minimalist class, I hoped it was the final piece that I needed to put everything in order. It was.
Here’s a little video that gives a taste of the class I took. If you love it, you’ll love the class.
You can get $10 off the enrollment fee if you use this link and put my name in the referral box. The class is now closed, but I’ll be sure to let you know if they hold another session.
If you take the class and still find yourself struggling with your space, I’d be glad to look at your photos and tell you what I would do. Just keep in mind, I’m the girl who thought tinted pimple cream was makeup. The rest of this month I’m going to go through my steps of how I plan out a room, set a budget for the space, and know if I’m going to love it before I start. I also have some house updates to show you :).
July is going to be house month. Whether you are just along as a spectator or working in your house at the same time, welcome aboard :).