Costumes and Christianity – Quick, frugal and Pin-worthy…

BeFunky_01-06-2007_01;13;33PM.jpgI cheated a little bit.

This really isn’t entirely about cheap Halloween costumes.

That’s my daughter on her third Halloween. She’s 20 now.

Someone gave us the costume and it was one of the only ones that actually involved a sewing machine.

Through the years she dressed up as the monster of the marsh (character courtesy of the Sammy Keyes books), Charlie Chaplin, an ice queen (blue lips included), Laura Ingalls, a sun-tanned girl (I thought the idea was lame until she explained she meant overly tanned with skin hanging off.) and many more. With the exception of a couple of school play costumes, these usually involved Goodwill, spray paint, costume makeup and colored hair.BeFunky_01-06-2007_01;39;19PM.jpg(The Ugly Caterpillar actually involved a trip to Hobby Lobby for flower mesh but it was for a play. A pattern, fabric and stuffing seemed way too daunting.)

Cheap, fun and relatively easy – because I really love costumes and I’m really not good at crafty.

To us, in the midst of children in perfect costumes and ones hastily pulled off-the-rack, she looked great.

But definitely not Pinterest-worthy. (I’m not very Pinteresting.)

We had a fabulous time dreaming up ideas. I got to spray her hair til she coughed and put on makeup that made her want to rub her nose.

The best part was that she stayed in character. The ice queen was evil and proud with her frosty hair, the monster of the marsh went wild and growly in its green hair and face and Charlie Chaplin mimed his request for candy, tipped his hat and then shuffled off with his walking stick.

The point of this however, wasn’t really to write about kids, costumes and frugality. (That’s where the cheating part comes in.) But it seems that my favorite blogs these days are all by moms of cute and incredibly clever children or are geared toward a frugal lifestyle. I don’t think anyone wants to read about Martin Mac – an almost weekly meal at our house. Two boxes of mac and cheese.pizap.com14146890272421(Not Annie’s, definitely not homemade, not even Kraft. Aldi’s brand for less than $.40 a box.)
Mix in a little ground beef or whatever leftover meat you have along with canned or frozen veggies and maybe some sauce.

Our version of Hamburger Helper. It’s good, inexpensive and different every time.

But definitely not Pinterest-worthy.

I think to some extent, we all desperately want to be someone worth pinning. A person held up as noteworthy. We don’t feel as good as the Proverbs 31 woman, Paul, Francis Chan, Jen Hatmaker or our Bible study teacher. And we want to be better homemakers, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, Bible students.

Better Christians.


Better Christians? What does that mean?

Does that mean knowing God better? Loving people more? Looking more like Jesus?

Many times in our poor striving little brains, it doesn’t. Instead it means praying, studying, reading or worshipping the way we think we are supposed to.

We get so confused.

2 Corinthians 1:12 expresses the way this should look beautifully: “For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.”

Simplicity and Godly sincerity.

Can I do that?

Can I utilize the wonderful Bible studies and women’s retreats to spur me to action rather than make me want to be a Pin-worthy Christian? “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Corinthians 2:5)

Costumes or Christianity. I may not Pin-worthy

But God is. And that’s all that matters.

“But he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 10:17)


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I know someone…

Good-Wife-s-Guide2There is a woman at our church and I don’t know whether to place her in my learn-to-love love file or ask her out for coffee. She’s perfect. Too perfect. She’s a member of what I call the shiny-haired crowd. You know who I mean. Perfect hair, perfect blowout, no split ends. I have perfectly shiny hair for about an hour once every six weeks when I’ve been in the care of my wonderfully gifted stylist. It isn’t his fault. I’m just blow dryer challenged and console myself the rest of the time that I have a good cut and color and look better with “the messy look.”

But I digress. She looks great in her clothes, which fit beautifully and are either handmade or purchased at incredible discounts. Her four kids, three adopted, are homeschooled, come to church on time well-dressed, well-behaved, knowing the answers to questions and without Kool-Aid surrounding their smiles. Her husband is a leader in the church and in the city, she has her own blog, teaches a Bible study and sells her crafts on Etsy with proceeds benefitting a women’s group in Africa.

So, coffee or learn-to-love list? The thing is – she’s really, really nice. She doesn’t brag about all this. She just does it. On time, neatly and without a fuss.

You know her. And you may have disliked her from afar. She’s the Proverbs 31 lady. So no, she doesn’t actually go to our church but I have really struggled with liking her.

When we went to India a few years ago, the director of the Leadership Training Center asked me to teach on the role of women in the church – a much tougher subject there than even here in the states. I chose to do one of the sessions on Proverbs 31.

There I sat, humbly facing a room of the real deal.560691_412548522099280_1442205332_n

Young and old, these women know the meaning of hard work. Many of them got their work out of the way before walking to take taxis in from the villages for Bible study. I’ve seen their homes. They weren’t using vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. And a taxi ride into town could euphemistically be described as an adventure.578101_412556885431777_1334881308_n

And I was teaching them about the Proverbs 31 woman.

I don’t know if they got much from the lesson but I did. I learned that Mrs. P. doesn’t have to have shiny hair or sell crafts on Etsy. These ladies are kind and gracious and loving with hearts for service that are sold out for Jesus.

Really sold out.

When a person forsakes Hinduism, there is a very good chance they will be forsaken by their family and even persecuted so Christianity is not something these ladies take lightly. And the words I had for them reflected back to me from their lovely faces, as a lesson that I need to remember here in the states.

It isn’t about being wonder woman.

(It isn’t even about having a perfect blog.)

It is about getting out there and using what I have – in a sari, a suit, or a pair of blue jeans; with shiny hair or a messy ponytail; craftsy or not – and loving people. That’s what Mrs. P. did, isn’t it? When you boil down all of those cool, impossible things that she was fabulous at – making clothes, fixing wonderful meals, helping the poor – it was all really about serving.

We serve perfectly with imperfect hair through imperfect blogs, spreadsheets, muffins, paint, telephones and coffee cups.

And when we serve, we love. When we love, we reflect Jesus.

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:10