Tag Archives: Beauty

Podcast 30: Jane Reed Henson

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Jane!

Jane Reed Henson is an artist, author and photographer who loves life and really loves Jesus. She delights in sharing her journey of spiritual healing through different aspects of art and writing. Her concept that living painterly, embracing the brushstrokes of life, allows for a freedom like no other has truly given her the strength to live life fully while following God’s great design for her life. She is the creator of the “Painterly Living Workshops”.

Jane is also a foster adoptive mom who advocates for the unconditional love foster children are so deeply in need of. In her latest book, Beyond Expectations, Jane shows the value and the ability we all have within ourselves to love and transform the lives of others through letting go of our expectations of them and seeing them through God’s eyes.

Jane has authored Women of God Live Redeemed, Living Blessed and her cookbook, Simple Quinoa. Her first release “Blessed With MS” is currently in a review and editing process as she rewrites this memoir from a new perspective. Jane is also penning a new book, The Art of Painterly Living, full of soulful spiritual healing though the use of art to be released soon! She spends her days following whatever calling God places in front of her. Some days she paints, others she writes and some she looks through the lens of her camera and captures whatever God places in her day.

She considers herself a free spirit of sorts. She freely follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit and fully embraces wherever she is led.

Her website is: https://www.janereedhenson.com 

She is amazing and you will love her! Enjoy!

All great paintings require restoration over time. Some of the greatest earthly paintings of all time have had restoration work done. Even the Sistine Chapel underwent a cleaning and restoration in order to get centuries of dust and candle soot off its walls and ceiling. As a newborn we are a blank canvas. Through the years we are covered with our own dust and soot. These come in the form of hurts, losses, let downs and broken relationships. At times we can be covered so deeply in suffering that the dust is caked on and it is hard to restore us to the glory we are meant to be. Just as a restoration artist has to recognize and know the design of the original artist in order to restore, we cannot be restored until we accept and recognize God’s design for us.

Jane Henson,
The Art of Painterly Living


Airbrush my heart

One time someone asked me, “What color is your hair, really?”

After my initial cringe, I answered truthfully, “I have no idea”.

My real hair color is buried beneath years and layers of fake color. I went through periods of time where I really believed that you could never be too blond. (Who am I kidding? I still believe this. Of course, it has to be the right blond.) I’ve gone through periods where I’ve decided I wanted to go natural and ended up so dark, people didn’t recognize me. Turns out my natural hair color is dirty dish rag blah. That didn’t last long.

Why am I telling you this?

On some level, I guess it’s a confession.

I have another one.

I airbrushed a photo of myself. Actually, it was fun so I started doing it to a bunch of photos. Here’s an example.



After I did this, something interesting happened. My daughter walked into the room and told me the airbrushed photo made me look like a freak. As I was patting myself on the back for being a good mother and teaching my kids about the importance of inner beauty and not to be focused on appearances, my other daughter came in and said, “Cool, you look so pretty! How can I do that to my pictures?”

We all see outer beauty differently. There is no perfect standard of outer beauty. However, I think we can all agree on the things that make someone beautiful on the inside.

We can change ourselves on the outside pretty easily. Whether it’s airbrushing a photo or highlighting our hair.

I wish we could change our insides like that. I wish we could pay someone to transform our hearts. I wish we could make an appointment to become more compassionate or more forgiving.

Instead of changing the way people see us, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a treatment we could undergo that would change the way people felt around us. That they would feel better when they left us, they would feel loved and accepted, lighter and more joyful.

There is no easy fix for inner transformation. Subtle changes occur over time as we become more of who God intends us to be. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. We learn that things that come easily don’t always last. Real change takes time.

The paradox is that our wrinkles, our aging, our “not perfect” outsides are part of our inner transformation. As our outer beauty fades, our inner beauty grows. Acceptance is a big part of growing older. Being able to accept your flaws with humor and grace is tough but when we do, we are accepting our natural evolution. We are saying, “Yes!” to how we are changing. We realize the wrinkles come from many years of laughter and good times in the sun. We acknowledge cellulite and stretch marks are badges of honor from motherhood. You get my point. We look older because we have LIVED. Our living…our really living…laughing, crying, hugging, having babies, surgeries, accidents, sicknesses, training, teaching, loving, learning, partying, cleansing, losing weight, gaining weight, running, sitting, mothering, friending, suffering…all of it adds up to who we are.

Why do we want to erase who we are?

This has me wondering…If we fight so hard to stay perfect on the outside, are we cheating ourselves? Should we be walking through the disappointment and insecurity that growing older can bring up for us? Shouldn’t we work toward acceptance? Isn’t this one of the “sharpening” tools God uses to transform us?

I don’t have the answers. I just know that in the end I want to be beautiful inside. And I want to be grateful for all of my life. Because the tears I cried made me stronger and the laughter I shared filled my heart and soul and the sun nourished me and the food I ate made me full and the relationships I’ve had taught me and the struggles I’ve had made me lean on God. Which is the whole point. Blond hair or not.

As we get older, we can’t lean on our looks but we can lean on God. Less me, more God. That’s the way to inner transformation.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

True Beauty

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever met someone who “glows”? Someone who is really happy and vibrant and ALIVE?  I know a woman like this.  She is not always smiling and she is not cheesy or corny or fake in any way but I can tell she has JOY in her heart.  And because of this, she is beautiful…absolutely radiant.

Someone asked me how old she is and I have no idea.  I looked at her again and tried to figure it out.  I still have no idea.  I don’t care.  It doesn’t matter.  Her beauty is timeless because it’s INTERNAL.

 She says she is living her Dharma.  I agree.  (Dharma: essential quality or character) She is living an authentic life. 

Truth is Beauty, beauty Truth.   –John Keats

I learned this Keats quote in high school humanities class.  We had to ponder what it meant.  Volumes have been written about this and no consensus has been met.  It’s personal I think.  Just like all good poetry and writing, it’s personal and of course, it’s universal too.   

I think it means that when you are living your truth, (your dharma), you are beautiful.  When the world lives in truth (kindness, love, compassion, unity) it is beautiful. 

External beauty fades.  It is temporary. 

Internal beauty is forever.  It is eternal.

I want to teach my daughters that beauty is not found in a bottle of miracle cream or a new outfit.  Those things can make you feel better and they can be fun but real beauty is internal.  What is inside of you?  What is in your heart and soul? Who are you? What is your truth?

These are tough questions.  Frankly, it’s easier to make an appointment at the dermatologist or go buy some new lipstick.  I mean, I can’t tell you how good I feel after a highlight and haircut.  Throw some new shoes in the mix and I’m unstoppable!  Literally, it changes your day when you feel like you look good.  I get it.  External beauty and products and fashion are fun.  But they are temporary and we have to remember they are not where real beauty comes from. 

It’s always more difficult to do the real, internal work.  But it’s worth it. 

I guess that’s what they mean by “growing old gracefully”.  This is not the same as giving up or letting yourself go.  It is the opposite.  It is being authentic.  It is embracing your truth, your experience, your wisdom, your kindness, your essential self. 

Look inside yourself.  You are beautiful. 


©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
Photo of Ann Patchett’s book via McBeth on Flickr