A friend of mine, Ann-Margaret Hovsepian, recently included this quote her newsletter from a post I posted on Facebook 

She wrote:

"One of my quirks is that I have to remove certain products from their packaging as soon as I bring them home. For example, supplies such as toilet paper or paper towels go right into my "backstock" cupboard, but without their plastic wraps. That way I can grab a roll without wrestling with packaging each time but, also, it just looks better. Instead of gaudy packaging designs, I see a neat stack of white rolls. Other items that are cello-wrapped for bulk sale (such as tissue boxes or soda bottles) are also released from their packaging. Dish soap and liquid hand soap go into clear glass dispensers. Even my mouthwash goes into a tall glass bottle. I'm not obsessive about this but I do like to minimize the amount of commercial packaging on display in my home. After all, it's the product that I want to see and use, not its container. 

It occurs to me that this principle should apply to people, too. We need to recognize that what's inside our outer packaging is what's really valuable and beautiful. (Conversely, sometimes outer packaging is deceptively attractive compared to what's on the inside. But that's a conversation for another time!)

As beloved women in my family are aging, we've recently had conversations about things like thinning hair, missing teeth, varicose veins, loose skin, and wobbly legs. Sometimes I hear comments such as, "Ahh, I don't care if I look old," and it makes me smile. Other times I hear (or say), "Oh dear, what will people think? I look terrible," and that breaks my heart. I'm not one to suggest that we become completely careless about our outward appearance—cleanliness, hygiene, and self-expression through personal style are signs of emotional and mental well-being.

However, I believe we miss out on life if we're either too busy primping and trying

to look perfect or afraid of being seen because of how we look.

These are two traps that are really, really hard to get out of.

I love this quote from my friend Cheryl Carvery-Jones, founder of Alopecia World

and a woman who boldly embraces being mostly hairless

as a result of her autoimmune disorder:

"Focusing our energies on getting to a place of self-acceptance is where the real cure is.

I really don't want my self-confidence to be attached to my hair, my weight, my skin color . . .

I don't want to go through my life with the false idea that

only when all my circumstances are totally lined up in my favor I can feel confident."



Neither do I, Cheryl! The reality is that very few of us, if any, ever reach that point where "all (our) circumstances are totally lined up in (our) favor," especially as the years march on. We rob ourselves and others when we live in fear and hold back the gifts we've been given to share with the world. If I can offer you one encouragement for this week it's this: Don't fuss too much about your physical imperfections. Just be yourself and choose to be seriously joyful. As Proverbs 15:13 says, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful."   END

My favorite line " After all, it's the product that I want to see and use, not its container. " I 100% believe that a person can be beautiful with or without thier hair, young or old, slim or curvy, tall or short.  But I need people to see more than just my "shell"

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Ann-Margaret and I worked together for many years at a publishing company in Canada and in addition I attended the church that her father Pastored.

Ann has been writing professionally for over 25 years and illustrating colouring books since 2015. She's written hundreds of articles and have authored, co-authored, or illustrated multiple books, several of them bestsellers.  But even more than that I consider her a friend <3

Visit her website for more inspiration:  http://www.annhovsepian.com/

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