Beauty from Within

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers who are so selfless with their time and generous with their love & devotion.  I had an amazing day with my family today.  I am one lucky Mom!

This past week, my heart was touched by an experience I want to share with you!  It seems appropriate to share it on Mother’s day.  During my childhood/teen years I struggled with self-esteem issues, as many teenage girls do.  It wasn’t until I was close to 30 years old that I really figured out who I was and owned it!

I have a daughter and I realize more than ever how important it is to lift her up, to tell her she’s beautiful, and support her as she grows and realizes who she is.  Who is she to me?  She’s a smart, beautiful, funny, inquisitive, lively yet introspective, loving little girl.  I can’t wait to see who she will become as a tweenie, as a teen, as a young woman.

The job of trying to raise a daughter who values who she is, weighs heavily on my shoulders.  It’s so important.  Everyday as I drop my kids off at the doors of their school I tell them to “Just be the best YOU you can be”.  That’s all I can hope for.

My sister Roxy has this amazing friend Michelle whom I met a few times during my teen years.   I hadn’t heard from her for years until a couple of months ago my phone rang and her cheerful voice greeted me on the other end.

She works with youth in Edmonton.  She was inspired by a program ran in Alberta called “Beauty from the Inside Out”.  She has tailored her own program here in Edmonton, where over a period of a few weeks, she works with a group of  preteen girls to boost their self-esteem.  She works with the girls to explore the art of self-expression through play, communication, and positive thought.  She empowers them to be exactly who they are and embrace their beauty inside and out.  What a wonderful program, the world needs more wonderful people like Michelle!

She asked me if I would volunteer my photography services for the girl’s graduation day.  They had several other services donated for their graduation: Clothing, hair, and makeup.  I jumped at the opportunity!

As I drove to the shoot, I prayed that I would be able to capture each girl’s unique beauty both on the inside and on the outside.   I met 11 beautiful, lively, giggly girls!  They were incredible!  I brought a dry-erase board with me and asked each girl to write something empowering about themselves….they wrote statements such as

“I am Beautiful”

“I am an Artist”

“I am Smart”

I took pictures of each girl proudly holding up their statement.  They had a lot of fun posing for me, and I was so drawn into their sparkly eyes that carried within them so much wisdom and strength for their young years.

I left the shoot feeling so empowered!  I watched their confidence grow with each click of the shutter.  These young girls will grow up to be amazing, confident, strong women.   I am reminded once again, to empower my children to be the best version of themselves they can be.

From my own experiences, I have learned there is power in words…both uplifting and demeaning.  There are damaging messages all around in magazine and T.V. ads that support the idea that women/girls need to change who they are to meet a certain standard of beauty…yet the pictures we stare at are airbrushed and manipulated.  They aren’t real!

So, I just want to thank and encourage all you Moms that take the time to uplift your children daily.

To all those Moms…

Who kiss their kids on the forehead when they fall, and encourage them to get back up.

Who impart the wisdom they have learned over the years, and support and nurture their children to figure out their unique path in life.

Who encourage their children to go after their passions and dreams and to make no apologies for being themselves.

Who show their children what compassion, love, and kindness looks like.

Who teach their children that a true measure of beauty comes from what’s in their heart, not what’s on the outside.

What a gift children are to all of us and what a blessing it is to make a difference in their lives.  Happy Mother’s Day!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

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