Late Summer 2008

Dear Friends

Coming of age during the 70s, my friends and I were encouraged to be all we could be, using our minds, talents, and gumption. That was part of our 'liberation' -- being set free to pursue our dreams even if that meant breaking into once male-dominated fields. Fast forward to today, and is it just me, or does 'being all we can be' seem to equate with being air-brushed flawless, supermodel thin, and younger than Hannah Montana? Throughout history, men have traditionally been recognized for their achievements and skills while women have been recognized for their outward beauty, but hey, it's 2008! What's with this beauty-at-all-costs obsession? Since childhood, we're told that it's what's on the inside that counts, so what gives? When did we become so obsessed with our looks that we'd rather take a mid-life trip to the plastic surgeon than to Tuscany? We can point our finger at Hollywood, the media, or even Barbie all we want, but Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't joking when she said, 'No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.' In other words, nobody is mandating that we inject our foreheads with botulism toxin and fill our lips with collagen.

When I read that over 7 million American girls have an eating disorder and that surgery for breast enlargement has increased 257% since 1997, I sense that something is rotten, and it's not in Denmark. As a certified esthetician, of course esthetics are very important to me, but if my choices are motivated more by my eroding self esteem than by my desire to be vibrantly, beautifully healthful in mind, body, and spirit, the results are bound to have a pretty limited expiration date. Whenever I find myself tempted to measure my own worth by my bathroom scale or by comparing my middle-age middle with that of a 30-year-old dancer's, I think of my hero, a young woman I met last summer.

I met Courtney when I was volunteering at the Angel Faces Retreat founded by another hero of mine who endured serious burns over 50% of her face and body at age nine. Teenage girls from all over America come to this annual retreat to meet other girls with facial differences. In an age where the prevailing message is to mask or remove any disfigurement as quickly as possible, these girls live with significant scarring even after numerous surgeries and skin grafts.

Although Courtney has been burned over much of her face and body, she radiates beauty. Yes, the effects of the fire are clearly apparent, but she exudes so much kindness, self confidence, and spunk that she outshines most of her flawless-appearing peers. No way is Courtney going to shrink into a corner just because of some physical differences! And nor should we! Sometimes it's difficult to stay balanced in the midst of so much glamour hype, but the next time any little goblins in your mind whisper that you're not thin enough, young enough, or flawless enough, please think of Eleanor and Courtney. Life's way too short to miss out on anything just because you don't like how you look in your swimsuit! Let's commit to being more comfortable in our own skin and remember: our daughters and granddaughters are watching.

P.S. If you would like to know more or donate to Angel Faces, please visit their website at

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

Midsummer 2009

Early Summer 2009

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Early Spring 2009

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Holiday 2008

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Midsummer 2008

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Late Spring 2008

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Holiday 2007

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Late Summer 2007

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