Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dignity Police

Would you consider joining a new vocation? It's one where we, the Dignity Police, would live fully into our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being (BCP, 305).

Here are some of our dignity paraphernalia:
1. Orange spray to dissipate free-flowing flatulence produced by unsuspecting patients.
2. Hair brushes, combs, hair spray and "bed head" products to coif matted and cow-licked hair
3. Lip gloss, with just a tinge of reddish-brownish natural lip color

Our duties would be to attend to post-surgical patients or those preparing to move on to God's eternal love. We'd coif hair, close legs, cover up private parts, shut eyes, and remove hand mitts.

I know, I know, we are all made in the image of God. It just seems that to respect the dignity of every human being we need some assistance. Call in the Dignity Police!

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. - Ephesians 5:21

How do you respect others, in this moment?


I've been following a trauma patient (T) at the hospital for seven months now. Following his accident, this young adult became paralyzed from the neck down. It's been quite a journey.

For the first few months, I didn't quite know what to do. I would visit for a few minutes and T was out of it. He was on a ventilator and in coma, so I simply prayed silently to myself. Once he began waking up, becoming aware of his environment and learning what had happened, he was angry. He was difficult for me to be around. I mostly prayed for God to give me courage to go into his room in critical care and for forgiveness for my not wanting to go in there. I still showed up.

Then one day, T looked right at me and speechlessly invited me in. He was still on the ventilator. He could not speak but he moved his half-paralyzed arm so that his hand grasped mine. I held his hand as I watched the vital-signs-monitor.

For the first time, he and I watched TV together. After some minutes, I began to leave (as was my custom) and he asked me for something. He mouthed it several times and I kept apologizing for not understanding him, but since he was grasping my hand I had no place to go but keep at it. His perseverance and patience with me allowed me to hear that he wanted me to pray.

I prayed for God’s mercy to heal T in a way that God knows and thanked God for T's patience with me.
I prayed that God would help me know how to be with T so that we could journey together.

When I left the room and de-gowned, I was dripping with sweat.
I felt very embarrassed and inadequate. It was about this time that I mentioned to my supervisor that I didn’t quite know what to do with T. Thankfully, this critical support has opened an abundance of creative lessons for me.

The grasp-point was a milestone in our relationship, me and T. Since that day, I have learned to "be" with him as well as "do" with him. Mostly, there are no words that matter. Only his grasp on which I have come to trust and depend. I felt it again today as he fearfully shared his most recent diagnosis of declining health. How long, O Lord, how long? read the bubble over T's head.

I imagine that God's got a grasp on me. I sometimes don't quite understand what God is saying, but since God's grasping my hand, I have no place to go but to keep at it. Thanks be to God for mutual companionship - with me and with T and with us together.

The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. - Genesis 25:25-26

How has God got a grasp on you in this moment?


Last Sunday the gospel text was Luke 4:1-13. You know the one..."Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness..."

The sermon offered three main questions for me to think about:
1. What is the wilderness for me in this time of my life?
2. What am I full of?
3. What are my core temptations?

That wilderness, for me, is that unsure place - where I am not sure what is next and not sure what is emerging as a result of being not sure. Sounds circular. Feels that way, too. Not only am I working in an unfamiliar region (The South) where eating meat is the central topic at lunch (I'm a vegetarian), I am in an ecumenical setting where the liturgical calendar is not central - Jesus is. Oh, and by the way my one-year residency will be finished in four months. What is next for me? I could go on, but suffice it to say that my wilderness is vast and desert-like. (Thankfully, my colleagues are holding my hand and guiding me along the way.)

What am I full of? Well, Ursula, my inner critic wants to cry out that I'm full of ... well you fill in the blank. My loving and compassionate self wants to answer that I'm full of hope. Most of the time. My intimates would reveal that I'm often hopeful, even though I do battle depression on occasion. That hope, for me, leads me to Jerusalem this Lent.

As for my core temptations, this Lent they are right in the cross hairs of my spiritual life. Be rigorously honest. Convert condemnation to compassion. Allow the tension of complacency.

This Lent, I am, with God's help, going to be present to my Now and take on my Wilderness.

Join me?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Name Tags

I read a thought-provoking piece about name tags the other day.

In this article, the author recalls a young boy "...who walked into class every day wearing one of those name stickers that read "HELLO, My Name is ..." taped in the middle of his chest. And every day the sticker said the same thing in bold black marker, "HELLO, My Name is I HAVE A NUT ALLERGY." The parents were understandably concerned about what might happen when their son moved from his present school, which has a "No-Nut" policy, to a new one where any food is allowed on the premises without a hall pass. "

This made the author wonder what it would be like if adults walked into new or familiar communities with just one thing about us written boldly across our chests -- a word or phrase to help others learn something important about us.

As provoked by this author, I, too, am wondering what my nametag would say. As a hospital chaplain, I am very aware that many times the nametag says, "HELLO, My Name is.... Angel of Death." We chaplains are called to every death. And, I'll have you know, not every visit we make is triggered by death.

Sometimes it reads, "HELLO, My Name is...THIS IS ONLY AN INITIAL VISIT. DO NOT BE ALARMED," which is how my disclaimer-oriented introduction proceeds. Sometimes it reads, "HELLO, My Name is...TELL ME YOUR STORY, YOUR ACHES, YOUR PAINS, YOUR HOPES, YOUR DREAMS." Sometimes it says, "HELLO, My Name is...FATIGUED."

I reflect on the power of naming. Here at the hospital, my official nametag has my formal, 8-letter name. I don't recall anyone ever calling me that on purpose, except my evil 2nd grade teacher. My usual introduction is simply my 5-letter nickname. I'm sure it's confusing to most people since the two names are very different. It would be like reading "JEAN-PIERRE" on a nametag and having the person introduce themselves as "Dixie." That's why most of the time, my introduction is simply, "HELLO, I am The Chaplain." I think that they won't remember my name, and if they do call me by my full-length name, that's okay. It's not what I'm known by but that's not important.

Still, I reflect that the act of naming can be powerful and formative. I sense that my acceptance of namelessness at this point in my residency means that I am somewhere in the twilight zone. Or, as my supervisor wants to say, "liminal space" or "The Threshold." You know what that feels like? It's windy and uncertain. Kind of here. Kind of there. Careful that the door doesn't slam on me or hit my backside and push me one way or the other.

If naming is an act of godly ethics, then naming is also a gift of divine power that God has chosen to share with us. In the beginning God invited Adam to name God's creatures, to choose how certain life forms would be identified (Gen. 2:19). This gift of divine power and the responsibility to use it care-fully are still in our hands.

Today, my name tag reads, "HELLO My Name Is...WORK IN PROGRESS."

What is your name tag, showing up in this moment?
The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. - Genesis 32:27-29

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Good News

In my circles, this phrase has a pretty specific meaning.

Today, however, it means just that. Good news.

  • Good news that after three months after a driving-drunk car accident and resultant paralysis, the patient is able to use a wheelchair, will move to a rehab hospital very soon (possibly this week) and plans to speak at high schools about the effects of driving under the influence. His mother is so proud.

  • Good news that the patient who suffered a sudden, massive brain bleed last Wednesday and whose chance for survival was extremely low, today wrote (scribbled) a short note to her seven grandkids, can sign yes (thumbs up) or no (two fingers) and even the I Love You hand sign. Her ex-Marine husband's eyes are filled with tears of joy.

  • Good news that the WWII vet, hospitalized for a month for internal infection and pneumonia, has begun to eat (well, drink) real food and will move to a low-care facility soon. His wife, holding his hand, looks forward to him coming home.

  • Good news that the woman with Parkinson's-induced paranoia and disease-related GI tract issues could down a giant fruit smoothie and spoke with some conviction about her upcoming memoirs, which will be useful to care providers for patients with Parkinson's disease. Her husband, by her side through each step of this month-long journey, beams with gratitude.

As a Chaplain in a hospital, I find good news is rare to hear and even more rare to hear it all in one day! For me, that's Good News. God is doing a new thing in our lives in so many ways.

Cantate Domino
1 Sing to the Lord a new song; *
sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.
2 Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; *
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations *
and his wonders among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; *
he is more to be feared than all gods.

Psalm 96: 1-4
What good news is showing up for you in this moment?


From today's lectionary reading, Proverbs 30:4:
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?
Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and the name of his son?
Tell me if you know!

Today's readings reminded me to keep considering who is God?

Sometimes, I act as if I am God and I suffer when I realize that I am not.
Sometimes, I complain that I'm not in control and I suffer when I realize that I am not.
Sometimes, I moan that things are not going as "they are supposed to" and I suffer when I awaken to my own hubris that I know how things are "supposed to" go.

I think these verses speak to me about awakening to the coming Lenten journey.

On NPR's Speaking of Faith, Krista Tippett interviewed the late Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue about the importance of poetry in Celtic and Irish culture, history, and spirituality. In the ancient poem, "Song of Amergin," I found myself reminded to reconsider who is God?

I am the wind on the sea. / I am the ocean wave. / I am the sound of the billows. / I am the seven-horned stag. / I am the hawk on the cliff. / I am the dewdrop in sunlight. / I am the fairest of flowers. / I am the raging boar. / I am the salmon in the deep pool. / I am the lake on the plain. / I am the meaning of the poem. / I am the point of the spear. / I am the god that makes fire in the head. / Who levels the mountain? / Who speaks the age of the moon? / Who has been where the sun sleeps? / Who, if not I?

I pray

God, help me to remember who You are
and in so doing, remember whose I am
Awaken in me your love.


How is God showing up in your moment?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I sat in a nearby coffee shop. Fatigued. Tired. Eyes burning. Waiting for the time to leave for my off-call non-work-related appointment in a half hour. I'm catching up on emails, mindlessly googling my way down some bunny trail when a song begins to seep into my head and heart.

The soothing sound of Paul Simon's acoustic guitar plays. His comforting voice refreshes me. My feet are tapping...

...And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To {somewhere else} where my heart lies.

....And as a {blog} I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing {blogs} I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so {You} see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is {You}.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of {You} go I.

= = = = =

Is it okay that I've changed a few words in Kathy's Song, written in 1965, to allow it to seep into my life, in this moment?

How is refreshment seeping into your life, in this moment?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I first met her when she was simply the "family member" of a loved one in critical care.

I met her again just recently, after she self-admitted into the behavioral health unit. As she shared her story, she described her stack of losses - death of father, divorce, estrangement of daughter, death of new husband, loss of job, lack of financial support - and all that contributed to her emotions getting out of control. "There is this big boulder sitting on top of my life. I just want to be me again and I don't know how to do that!"

This conversation resonated so deeply for me because I, too, feel the weight of stacked losses. It hit a nerve for me. I have my list of losses and we connected in that.

Perhaps God is the boulder that is sitting on top of my life, I wrote in my journal. I wonder if this boulder is keeping me from flying around, from getting busy. Or as we say in 12-step programs, "don't just do something, sit there."

I imagine that God is saying, "I am heavy for a reason. I am holding you down to the ground of all being - the source from whom all good things flow and that is right here, right now."

My lament:
O God, you are weighing me down,
Every part of me is heavy,
even my tears fall.

And, God, there is heaviness in my heart.
The losses seem to be stacked up.
Teach me, O Lord, how to be with you.

Oh Holy One, do not forsake me;* be not far from me, O my God. Ps 38:21

What is your lament, in this moment?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blog Alert!

I confess, I'm completely stealing Nathan's blog idea.

Here's the deal - there are four of us residents and three of us have blogs. Okay, we are geeks. Misery loves company? Allow me to introduce you to the other two bloggers now and their experience of this year.

Nate's 'Davar' - Nathan's blog - has a catchy subtitle. It's simply, "I laugh. I write. I care." This about sums him up! He's the one who keeps me grounded and honest and prevents me from saying "that's interesting."

His blog contains both personal and professional anecdotes. You can smell his dog here , you can learn about his practical joker here, sense his tender compassion here and there, or his ability to be present here.

I'm sure you won't be disappointed! He keeps showing up in the moment.

On Call - The Spartanburg Year is the title of Erin's blog.

After serving as a pastor for a decade and a half in the
7th Day Adventist tradition, Erin brings humor, perspective and a natural talent for pastoral care to our team.

She shares her smooth, silky words with readers on this blog. We all agree, she has kept this blog restricted to only "approved: readers for too long. We want Erin to Come Out Of The Closet!

All of you out there who read this.... (all three of you!) it's time to make Erin's blog open to all readers so you too can enjoy her whitty writing and gift for story-telling.

Click on the link above to see her blog. If access is still denied, you can email her by clicking here. To help you out, I've included a sample message to a stranger for you to copy and paste... just add your name!

Dear Erin,

Reading Vicki's blog lacks context without your insight! Please open your blog to the public so I may enjoy some quality blogging, and so that I don't have to get your address from Vicki and begin texting you while you are driving. Your compliance will make this easier on both of us.


On her site, be sure to read, "Bear Hunting," "Cheese Pastor," "Chaplain Down," and "Wading In" (one of her favorites).

So, there you have it folks. Two quality blogs full of wonderful, heart-warming and wrenching, sad, hilarious and whitty stories about life and chaplaincy.

That's how you show up to the moment!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Very often in the intensive care units, the patients wear "Peek-A-Boo" mitts.

These attractive white mitts, made by Posey, are for "...Patients who disrupt medical treatment by pulling at their IV line/catheter or are prone to self-injury..." I have seen how these mitts help patients who, in their sedated and altered mental state, are unable to restrain themselves from automatically pulling out their respirator or IV lines. While they look kind of scary, they are a good thing.

"It's a feature, not a bug," as we used to say in the computer programming business.

Today I met a woman who was very lucid, although she could not talk. The ventilator prevented her from doing so. I'm sure she was sedated, but she had something to ask me. Her mitted hand and arm motions indicated, "can I write something to you?" As I responded with, "you would like to write something?" she pulled off her mitts (note: SHE pulled her mitts off), held my pen and pad of paper and wrote down a question for her nurse. "I will go ask your nurse that question. Be right back."

I found her nurse and asked the question. Then, I realized the seriousness of what was going on. I innocently left the barely sedated patient un-mitted in her room across and down the hall. The nurse told me that the patient is prone to trying to pull out her respirator and that she needs to keep the mitts on so that she can heal. With some amount of terror in my heart (quickly get back! don't let that patient do the pulling on my watch!), I returned to the patient. She was fine. I took a deep breath and explained to the patient that she needed to keep the mitts on and why.

I felt like I was a scolding school teacher. Bleh. She looked at me with puppy dog eyes as I put her mitts back on and explained to her that they were a good thing. The bubble over my head read, "Really, it's a feature, not a bug!" while the bubble over her head read,"Yea, right. Bla bla bla."

I wonder how God puts mitts on me sometimes. Perhaps to keep me from disrupting spiritual treatment by jabbing at my Love lines? Perhaps to keep me from pulling out my Respirator - that enlivening thing that keeps me breathing. Perhaps to keep me safe when I am innocently prone to self-harm. Maybe this is how I am saved, today.

Restore us, O God of hosts; show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved. Ps 80:18.

What mitts are you wearing, in this moment?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Catchy Tune

My mother always had a tune in her head. I'd hear her humming as she went about her day. Sometimes, I'd ask what the song was and she'd deny humming. I like to think it was her way of praying.

The other day I was paged to the room of a woman who was dying. The nurse indicated that it would be very soon. When I arrived, I found one daughter, two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter in the ICU room with the patient, who was about 97 years old. The woman looked at me briefly and then closed her eyes again.

As I hung out with this family for a while, we talked to and about their loved one who was before us. She was comfortable. I asked about the woman's spiritual life - her faith community? Oh, the daughter said, she was a believer. Then they began telling stories of her life...

I heard someone humming. Maybe I made it up, but I thought it was one of the daughters. What is that tune? She denied the humming, so I laughed about how my mother used to hum. I wondered out loud, did your mother/grandmother/greatgrandmother ever sing? Oh yes, she loved to sing those old hymns... you know, This Old Wooden Cross, and ... then they began to name the hymns.

Could anyone in the room actually sing them? Well, one daughter sidled up close to the bed and made an attempt. I joined in a bit on the refrain with some humming of my own. We really did try. Eventually, the daughter sang one that I knew!

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
We sang this silly 1940's song a few times and laughed. Okay, it wasn't actually any old hymn but at least we could sing it all the way through.

The greatgranddaughter wrapped up our singing with a round of Amazing Grace.

The woman was still going strong - strong blood pressure, strong heartbeat, strong breathing rate. I graciously exited the room and told the family that I would check in later. The family was ready for a break, so they all left to get some food.

Not ten minutes later she died.

When I re-joined the family in the waiting room, they were quite ready to go home. They felt like they had said their last goodbyes. Our greeting was rather curse, for my taste, but they were really tired after being in the critical care unit non-stop for days. I know it was not about me... they were ready to get on with their lives.

I have found myself humming that silly song recently. And praying.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. - Psalm 63:4-6

What tune is arising in your heart at this moment?

Window To The Soul

You've heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul?

Their mother lay on the ICU bed, near death. Her daughter was on one side of the bed and son on the other. As I walked into the room, the daughter was bent over, whispering and chattering in her mother's ear. The room was filled with the extended family as they all knew that this woman's time was near. The daughter and son did not notice me - they were appropriately engulfed in being with their mother.

The doctor came in to re-explain what it meant to withdraw life support. They would remove the respirator. They would provide pain medications. They would stop giving medications to boost her blood pressure and instead allow her to continue her course as long as she wished to live. The family agreed.

After life support was removed, the mother lay there very still.

One family member looked at me and said, "Can we take off these silly mitts now?" Yes, of course. (The mitts are used on patients to keep them from accidentally pulling out any IV or tubes. They look like ridiculous boxing gloves.)

When we took the gloves off, this woman's soul was revealed through the stories they began to tell.

"These hands fixed my hair last week when I was getting ready for an interview."
"These hands prepared my dinner when I was very sick and could not care for myself."
"These hands made me breakfast even when she could not eat."
"These hands played the piano and the church organ for 25 years."

We all held hands and prayed.

These hands were the window to her soul. As she passed through death into eternal life, this woman's family held her hands in prayer and in love.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:1-2

What is the window to your soul, this moment?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Famous Last Words

It occurred to me the other day how much pressure our society places on dying people. Families gather around to hear their last words, their last uttering, their last hopes and dreams.

In the book Death Comes for the Archbishop, author Willa Cather describes this moment with colorful anticipation:

" a dramatic climax, a moment when the soul made its entrance into the next world, passing in full consciousness through a lowly door to and unimaginable scene. Among the watchers there was always the hope that the dying man might reveal something of what he alone could see; that his countenance, if not his lips, would speak, and on his features would fall some light or shadow from beyond. The "Last Words" of great men, Napoleon, Lord Byron, were still printed in gift-books, and the dying murmurs of every common man and woman were listened for and treasured by their neighbors and kins-folk. These sayings, no matter how unimportant, were given oracular significance and pondered by those who must one day go down the same road." (Page 170)

Since ancient days, it seems, we wait for those last words of our loved ones.

In my experience now with over 100 death experiences, not one person has uttered any "last words." I hate to bust anyone's bubble, but it's just never happened on my watch. Their last words were said way before they were in the hospital. And that gives me reason to pause.

I am realizing that the last words are the words spoken not by the dying one, but by the ones who loved, the ones who accompanied, the ones who shared the last moments. These are the family members, the survivors.

Their "last words" are often unrepeatable as they are so sacred. I can only hint at the kinds of last words that I have heard - and no words that I use will be sufficient. These words are said in fire, in whispers, and cloaked in grief or joy.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
- 1Kings 19: 12-14

In this moment, what are your famous last words?


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- David Wagoner, in Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems

I first heard this poem while watching the film Deep Presence: Meditations on a Wild Coast. The poem is growing on me...I am beginning to understand why and how.

I have felt lost (and sometimes still do). Lost in this geographical region, in this subculture, in this vocation, in this disconnected-from-the-world apartment (we don't call it 'the hermitage' for nothing!) and in living part-time away from my honey. The lost feeling follows me like a shadow, encouraging my depression, my own self-pity.

Ah, but the long hallways and trauma bay beside me are not lost. The blue sterile gowns and gloves I wear with infectious patients are not lost. The great number of families in the critical care waiting rooms are not lost. All these give me a sense of Here. This is a powerful stranger.

When I feel lost, I must ask permission to know it and to be known by it. This place I am in breathes. I listen and hear the echoes in my heart.

Here has made this place around me. Here is making it's way into my soul as a powerful stranger whom I accept with fear and trembling.

Here is the grace of God. Here is the Spirit of the winds. Here is not lost. I must let it find me.

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. - Exodus 3:4-6

From what are you NOT lost, in this moment?

Beauty Tips

I entered the enlivened conversation mid-afternoon. Three elderly women in the behavioral health unit sharing beauty tips. I had to pinch myself. It was so fun!

"My mother says that mustard crust will get rid of crow's feet around my eyes."

"Oh yea? Did you know you can take an orange and just squeeze the juice directly on these rings, here, under your eyes and that will be so refreshing?"

"Well, I heard from a white woman that you can take Crisco lard and paint it on your face, like this...and do you know that in the morning you will feel like a whole new woman?"

"Once I even took a piece of fat back, doused in salt, and rubbed it all over my body - it was so cleansing - then I felt soooo beautiful!"

"Oh, have you tried honey? Yea, baby, you just drip honey all over your face and then down your neck... it feels so good!"

"I even took egg whites one time, and pasted it right here... it really helped my neck wrinkles."

"You women and your make up - you don't need any rouge or lipstick! Try cool-aid! I'm telling you, I can't read or write, but I can do natural make up! And it don't even get on the collar of your man!"

The bubble over my head was, "Just think... if it doesn't work, at least you can eat it!"

Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. ...When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. Esther 2:12...16

In this moment, what is your natural beauty tip?