Saturday, April 30, 2011

Moving Makeover

weddingAlmost two years ago my son got married (I love my DIL!) and I was only months away from a significant birthday... the big 5-0. As the mother of the groom I wanted to look my best for the big day (and for all those pictures that would not only be in a lovely photo album, but would end up plastered everywhere online!) and the skin care and cosmetics I had been using were out of step with my aging skin. This month I'm sharing a few tips that made a big difference for me.

Whether you're preparing for a special occasion or just need a fresh look, here are some ideas to get you started.

•Invest in a consultation with a skin care and makeup expert (you can find this in one person). I inherited extreme frugality from my mother, for which I'm thankful, but it was time to stop using random makeup samples, playing Russian roulette with over-the-counter products, and trying tips from magazines that weren't realistic for me. The consultant informed me of my skin tone and the products that work best with my skin. She showed me how to play up my good qualities and tone down the bad ones. This turned out to be one of the best investments I've ever made!

•Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Getting rid of the dull, dead skin cells will add a healthier glow to your skin. I keep exfoliating cream and a hand-held, battery operated exfoliation device in the shower. It has a brush that spins round and round to gently slough off the dead skin cells. My face looks and feels so much better!

•My new, indispensable cosmetics? Face powder and bronzing powder. After applying my makeup, I brush on face powder that is the same color as my foundation. Then I follow up with the bronzing powder. I use a light touch so that I don't look like George Hamilton (remember him?) and I brush a little on my neck and chest. Later in the day or before I go out for the evening, I retouch with the powders and I'm good to go!


•This next tip is for those of you who have straight hair like me. You've heard about back-combing (teasing) to add a little height or volume. My friend who cuts my hair put me on to the best tool for this. This many-toothed comb works great and can be purchased at any beauty supply. (The picture doesn't do a good job of showing you that there are THREE rows of teeth.)

•Ok. One more tip when you want an easy change from your straight, long hair. After washing your hair, while it is still very damp, tie it in a knot on top of your head and let it dry. I do this before I go to bed at night. In the morning I use a hair pick to gently smooth over the bed-head look and the ends of my hair are fun and kinky. This technique saves time in the morning and gets me in touch with my inner hippy.

•Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions of other women whose appearance you admire. I found that the eye shadows that I had tried would fade and become a murky mess after only an hour! When I met a woman whose eye shadow looked great, I would ask her what she was using. I got some helpful information, she was glad to be complimented, and we had something to talk about!

Send me your best beauty, home, fashion, and health tips! Email them to Ann at

-Ann Kelley

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Class Spotlight

Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church
Elmhurst, IL
Julie Albin, Group Leader
Marcia Huizinga, Community Life Director

The unique thing is that, in addition to the study, we include field trips to the best shopping places, tourist attractions, restaurants, etc. in the area. This helps the group connect and acclimate to the community. Our latest study ended in December but chose to continue on with another book study and a social outing once a month for this semester.

This ministry has been such a blessing in our church and we hope it will continue for a long time.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The BLOOM Newsletter

Bloom is sent out three times a year. Would you like to receive Bloom in the mail? Send us your name and address by emailing or call us at 480.991.5268, Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm, MST.

Click Here to see the latest issue of BLOOM

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Monthly Challenge

"By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger.... Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations-the City designed and built by God."

Hebrews 11:8-10 (The Message)

Let Go: You've said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place or stage in your life, whether willingly or reluctantly. Is your focus behind or ahead? On the past or on today?

Start Over: You've heard it said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Choose to characterize your life with the expectation of God's perfect plan to offer "a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Move Ahead: Start or end every day this month with Scripture to keep your eyes on an eternal foundation and to remind you that your life and future is in the hands of a loving, trustworthy God. Here are some verses to get you started: Psalm 31:24; 37:3-5; 40:4; 42:11; 46:1,2; 71:5; 84:11,12; 125:1; Proverbs 3:5,6; Luke 12:32; Matthew 6:31,32; I Peter 1:3; 5:7.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moving Tips

Celebrating Easter

This year Easter is on April 24th. You may be far from family and old friends but as Easter approaches, we encourage you to implement the traditions that you've established for this holiday. Familiar traditions will help provide you and your family with a sense of continuity and stability in the midst of change.

Do you have special Easter items that are still packed away? Locate your holiday boxes and unpack them. This step is important to moving forward with this new stage in life and will help bring familiarity into your new home.

Are you looking to add some new Easter traditions? This month's Tips for Moving on are some fun Easter ideas for you and your family. They also provide a great opportunity for you to invite another person or family to join you.

Easter wreath. Create a wreath for your front door using silk spring flowers, colorful ribbons, and symbols of Holy Week attached to it.

Easter devotions. Acquire an Easter devotional to use during Holy Week with your family. Your new church may provide one for you. (If you do not have a church home, we encourage you to find one during this special season.) Christian bookstores are a good resource to check for a devotional.

Make homemade treats. Pretzels originated as a Lenten treat! Some say the twisted center is arms crossed in prayer. A traditional Hot Cross bun has long been a symbol of Good Friday. Today they are sold in bake shops and supermarket bakeries throughout the Easter season. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.

Egg decorating kit. Provide all kinds of decorations for kids to use while decorating their Easter eggs: egg dye kit, crayons, stickers, glitter glue, markers.... your imagination sets the limit! For Christians of the Near East, the Easter egg represented the tomb from which Jesus broke forth. They were often colored red to symbolize the blood of Christ by which all believers were given a share in the new life of Christ.

Easter egg messages. Before dying the hard-boiled eggs, use crayons to draw pictures or write phrases like "He is Risen" or "Hallelujah" on each egg. Because the dye cannot adhere to the egg through the crayon wax, the message will be easy to read.

The cave and the stone. Provide a hands-on image of the boulder miraculously rolling away from the entrance to Jesus' tomb. Let your kids craft a small pot out of clay. Lay the pot on its side and allow to dry. Ask the kids to find a rock large enough to conceal the opening of this pot. Discuss with them how Jesus was placed in a tomb that was sealed by a large rock. Or, if they know the story, allow them to tell it to you. Discuss how only an act of God could put the guards to sleep and move this big stone that guarded the grave. On Easter, replace the rock with flowers and celebrate the resurrection. Read together: John 20:1-3, 5-8

Gift of service. Reflect Jesus' love and extend it to others by visiting the sick and the elderly or by serving at a homeless shelter.

Celebrate your baptism. The connection between baptism and Easter can be traced to the church's first centuries. During this time the whole of Lent was not only a time of penance but also when people were prepared for baptism, which was given only once a year at Easter. Do you remember when you or your children were baptized? Discuss this event with your kids and show them photos of their baptism if you have them. Light a candle to commemorate the event.

Celebrate with neighbors. Invite your neighbors over for Easter dinner or have a potluck.

Neighborhood parade. Organize an Easter parade and egg hunt for the children in your neighborhood. Provide items for kids to decorate their bikes and have a bike parade. During the Middle Ages in Europe, people in their new Easter clothes would take a long walk after Easter Mass. This was a kind of procession preceded by a crucifix of the Easter Candle. The tradition evolved into Easter Parades.

Conversation starters. Along with candy treats, place small symbols of the Holy Week inside plastic eggs for your children to find. What a great way to talk about Christ with your children.

Celebrate the resurrection. Attend a sunrise service on Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Moving Story

Encouragement in the midst of loss and worry...

Hi Susan,

A while back you contacted me on my answering machine after I had joined your online community. It was such a pleasure to hear your voice! Can I tell you that I still have that message on my answering machine? I can't seem to bring myself to erase it. It is such a ministry to me and I had to write to tell you thank you.

I had the opportunity to take your [Moving On After Moving In study] when I relocated from New Mexico to Oklahoma about 4 years ago. I have since moved again from Oklahoma to California and sincerely missed this class!! All this to say that your online community and newsletters have sure been a blessing to me. Now that I have made two major moves in less than 4 years I have had such a feeling of loss, uprootedness, worry, and unsettledness that it has been overwhelming to say the least.

One of the hardest things to find when you move is a church home as well as a ladies' Bible study. California is such a different mission field than Oklahoma and it has been much more difficult here making friends, finding a good Bible study and women who are like minded and share my faith. Will you pray with me that I will find these things? My children have also had a hard time adjusting to this move. Will you pray for them to find Godly friends as well?

Thank you again for all you do and the ministry you supply to countless numbers of women who need to know they haven't fallen off the face of the earth. God Bless you!


Christy in California

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Devotional

A new beginning, a chance to start all over, a new opportunity to bloom...

...all you need is someone to come along side you, believe in you, and tell you that "you can do it!" How many times have you wished for these very things, and yearned for words of encouragement? That "someone" who will give you all these things, and more-is God Himself! With an unwavering faith in God, an inner strength that comes from Him, and an enduring perseverance that comes from trusting Him-you can do it!

God will enable you

You can have victory.

"...with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

God will equip you

You can step out in faith today.

"...equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:17

God will embrace you

You have the assurance of His presence.

"...I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

God will encourage you

You have His promise.

"...God who gives perseverance and encouragement..." Romans 15:5

Scripture to Remember: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Question to Consider: Am I ready to trust God completely with my life?

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage and boldness for a new beginning and a chance to start over in life. Enable and equip me, embrace and encourage me, as I take the first step. Amen

Thought for the Day: Today I will persevere with an unwavering faith!

- Susan Miller