Sunday, April 28, 2013

God's Love Never Fails ...



"Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
 It always protects, always trusts, 
always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love NEVER fails."
  
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV







Here is a picture of Positano, Italy.  My heart has been longing to make another trip there.  I think really, my heart is longing for another encounter with God's love.  The love that washes away all the debris and difficulties that life seems to throw our way.  A love that is more powerful than all our mistakes and weaknesses.  A love that is more powerful that the hatred of men.

It was here, in the little Italian villa on the Amalfi Coast that I gave my life back to Jesus Christ in 1996.  This town will forever hold a special place in my heart.  The enchanted walkways, the beautiful beach, the delicious food and wine; but most of all because I met Jesus and was forever changed while there.  

This morning, I was pondering my spiritual journey and God's great love for broken and hurting people.  God was reminding me of my encounter with Him on the veranda of the Le Sirenuse Hotel - overlooking this beautiful coastal villa.  He was reminding me of something very specific about that encounter with Him.  His love covers sin.

It was here, looking at this view, that I sat reading a book called, The God of Surprises by Catholic Priest Gerard Hughes.  As I read this book, tears streamed down my face as I read about a God who loved hurting, messy and broken people.   

In this season of my life in 1996, I was a complete mess.  I was still married to my ex-husband and going through a very, very painful divorce.  And because my heart was aching to be loved - I began dating a new guy in the midst of that divorce.  The guy I was dating was Mike (now my husband). 

Within 3 months of our dating, I became pregnant.  And because I had two abortions prior to this in college, I could not face having a third abortion.   So, here I was still married to my ex-husband and now pregnant from a guy I had only known for three months.  I felt completely lost.  And so, like I always use to do - I just wanted to run away.  So, Mike and I took a month off of work and decided to go on a backpacking trip to Europe.  I was five months pregnant.   

While there, in Europe, I picked up The God of Surprises book and I began to read it.  

As I was reading the book on the veranda of the Le Sirenuse Hotel, I felt God right beside me.  I could feel His warmth and comfort.  The more I read, the more I cried.  Something was being unlocked inside of me as I read the book.

All I could see in myself was my sin and shame.  Divorced, pregnant and struggling with intense anger and hate.  I was completely lost.  However in reading the book,  I felt Jesus standing right next to me.

And instead of pointing out the obvious facts of how messed up I was (I already knew this and was spinning in a pit of self-hatred) He reached out His hand to me and whispered,"Lori, do you want to come home?"   As He whispered this to the inner most parts of my being, I sobbed uncontrollably.  

He did not sit and condemn me for all the mistakes I had made.  He didn't point out that I was committing adultery.  He did not point out that I was gong through a divorce.  He did not say to me, go away you are too messy for me to be in a relationship with.  He did not point out what a grumpy, angry, bitter and hateful person I was becoming through all the pain and abuse in that marriage. 

Instead, He looked right into my eyes and said, "I want YOU, mess and all".   My mess did not intimidate Him.  Like the prodigal father - His arms were open wide to me!

His presence and his whisper forever changed my life.  

I grabbed God's hand ... and as I sobbed through every gasping breathe ...  I said, "Yes Lord, I need you and I want to come home".

I didn't say any fancy prayer for salvation.  I didn't follow anyone else' prayer.  I didn't repeat the four spiritual laws to Him.  And He didn't give me a big message about my sin and my need to repent.  

His love and presence just penetrated into the depths of my being - to the place where all the shame and self-hatred were piling up.

So, as He has been reminding me of this today, I can't help but contemplate my faith and how it is expressed in my life.  Especially when it comes to LOVE.   I can't help but want to know this love more and more so that my life not only reflects this love but that it is controlled by this love.

"Let Christ’s love controls us." 
- 1 Corinthians 5:14 NLT

My prayer has been for His love to fill the broken crevices of my heart and for it to overflow from me - so that religion does't lead me nor control me - but His love does.

I know it is important for us to understand the consequences of sin in our lives, to know how it brings us into bondage and how it leads to death.  But for me, when I have been in the midst of the biggest pit of my life, entangled by sin - it was not a message of sin that brought me out - it was the presence of love that brought me out.  Whether it was through that book, or the love of Christ in family and friends that did.

Today, I am not sure what is going on in the depths of your being.  What internal struggles you might be facing.  But one thing I will encourage you to do - is to show your deepest scars to Him and ask Him to heal you.  He has the power to do so and the power to love the most broken and hurting places of your life.  He will lead you, guide you and help you to forgive those who have hurt you deeply.  His love will fill up those broken places and He will display His love and His life through you.  Like a stain glass window,  the colors of His presence in your life will shine through.

Praying for all those who are hurting today.  To experience His love that can transform the deepest of wounds.  Don't wear a mask with God. Show Him everything that is going on inside of you. He is safe and He will keep all that you share with Him confidential.  He is a good God.


"I pray that from his glorious unlimited resources 
he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. 
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 

And may you have the power to understand, 
as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, 
and how deep his love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, 
though it is too great to understand fully. 
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life 
and power that comes from God."
- Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT




Friday, April 26, 2013

Stillness; Knowing God

“Be still, and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10




"Be still, and know that I am God."  So often we often think we need to do more, pray more, worship more, intercede more in order to experience more of God in our lives.  In recent years I have began to think this might be one of the greatest religious traps we can fall into - the trap of doing versus the trap of being.  The trap of doing ministry for God rather than from God. 

We start believing that somehow through our own efforts we can achieve more of God's presence in our lives.  We end up coming to God to get something from Him rather than to be with Him; to simply ... hang out. 

These religious activities in and of themselves are not bad. I am a firm believer that the spiritual disciplines help us in our spiritual journey towards maturing in Christ.  Each one provides us with viable ways of connecting with God.  They do help us to grow in our relationship with Him.  

Here, in Psalm 46, the Psalmist is telling us something very important regarding our spiritual lives and our intimate journey towards knowing God more.  

He is giving us a secret ... a gateway ... a key to how we can know God more intimately and it is know the doorway of "stillness".

In the Hebrew, this word stillness means to cease striving, doing, moving.  It means to become absolutely still in the inner most parts of our being so our hearts, mind, soul and spirit can become focused on the One True God.   In Isaiah 26:3, we are told that those who keep their minds focused on God, will remain in peace.  This sounds easy, but in actuality, stillness is a difficult journey in the inward man.  

I know for me, the journey into stillness was not an easy one.  In 2002, I went on my very first 8 day silent Sabbath retreat with Mark Yaconelli and Youth Specialties at the San Francisco Theological Seminary.  I had been in a busy season of ministry and I wanted to get away for some one on one time with God.  I thought a silent retreat would be 'the ticket' and so, I signed up.  Since I had heard it that 'to be still means I will get to know God better', I wanted to experience a silent retreat.  

The very first day at the retreat, I felt like I was crawling out of my skin.  I wanted to find something 'to do'.  When we got to the retreat, we were told we couldn't listen to worship music, read a book (other than the Bible), nor could we got talk to anyone during the whole retreat (other than to God).  We had to be alone with ourselves and alone with God.  

Needless to say, I found my heart and mind wandering about it's merry way - thinking about everything BUT God for the first few days.  I never knew how quickly it was for my mind and heart to wander.  I thought about my kids who were toddlers at the time, who were at home with their dad.  I thought about my dreams, my passions.  I thought about life in general.  My mind wandered into every topic imaginable.  

The more I sat there with God, the more I became uncomfortable with myself.    The more I wanted to find someone (other than God) to talk to.  However, in the quietness of that week, God began to open my heart towards Him in ways I never knew were possible.  He began to peer into the depths of my soul, to the places where I really needed to know Him and His love.

At that time, this was in the early 2000's, I had been in and led quite a few Bible studies, attended Christian conferences and been to the women's retreats where I was always busy with activity - singing, studying the Bible, talking and praying with others.  I was never really alone and never still before God for any length of time - more than an hour or so.  

Never had I gone on a retreat where I just sat there - still with nothing to do ...  but to be fully alone with God - me and Him - and no one else.  Not my worship music, not a good book, not without my friends.  Just God, me and my Bible.  

It was there at this retreat in 2002, where it felt like God put His hand on my head and said "Be still Lori ... it is time for you to really know who I am and it is time you really knew how I felt about you."  When he whispered that statement to me - I kinda freaked me out.  Because really ... deep down, I had a feeling God did not love me nor did He like me.  I had this deep seeded lie in me that if He really knew me, He would not want me.  I felt like He was saying to me in the stillness ... "I want the broken and fragile little girl in you to know who I am and how much I love you".  And so, my journey into the depths of stillness began.

You see, in stillness, all our cares, concerns and worries of this life come face to face with God.  The lies we believe about God and the lies we believe about ourselves come face to face with the God who is the Truth.   When we are still, God is able to connect with us and reveal Himself to us.

In stillness, we are forced to come face to face with the God who loves us despite all the stupid things we have done.  Like the prodigal father in the book of Luke, in stillness we come to experience and know intimately a God who comes running to us, to hold us, to love us - one who is not looking at our sin, one who is not condemning us or shaming us - rather, we meet a God who He is overjoyed that we have come to Him.  The problem I believe in why many do not want to enter into stillness, is that somewhere, deep within us - we have a false belief system about who God is.  We believe if we truly allow God to see us - He will shame us, condemn us, reject us, or leave us.  So, we never fully allow God to penetrate into the deep places of our hearts.

I am in a season right now of returning to what I personally call, "a simpler faith".   Nothing super spiritual - just returning to my life passage in Philippians 3:7-11, where I consider all things as garbage compared to the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus intimately!  And as the psalmist tells us, one of the ways this happens is through the spiritual discipline of stillness.

I think as God's people we are missing out because we are often never taught how to enter into stillness and how to encounter God in that spiritual discipline.  We don't provide opportunities for people to learn the spiritual disciplines and we don't disciple people in how to have an intimate and thriving relationship with the God who created them.   

We, in our flesh and broken lives, avoid intimacy at all costs because intimacy requires transparency.  We live with masks on - lying to our families, to our children and to God about who we really are.  We keep our pasts a secret and no one ever really knows us deep on the inside. These masks keep God from knowing us and they keep others out as well.  In stillness those masks come down and God comes in.

Over the past six years,  I allowed so much religious busyness to keep me from growing in my intimate knowledge of God.  I kept myself busy with good and Godly things - I just avoided being in a place of stillness with God.  

So God, has been calling me back to stillness.  To consider all as garbage and to know Him.  To be so still, that He can peer into the depths of my being.  To love me, shape me, mold me, correct me, prune me and heal me. But most of all - to love me! We all need times and seasons when we need to be reminded of who God is and who we are to Him.  Life can throw us some curve balls and we must run into God and into stillness when those come.  

The picture above was taken today ... during my silent prayer retreat.  I now, spend at least a day a week with God in stillness.  Not because I want to be super spiritual but because I am in a season of needing to hear His Truth.  Being reminded of who He is, what He can do and who I am to Him.  

Whatever you might be needing in your life today, be courageous  and find some time to be still and to know Him.  

If you don't know where to start, grab a Bible and decide to spend an hour alone with God. Start by slowly reading through the book of Psalms and stop when you feel God tugging on your heart.  That moment when a verse pops out at you.  Stay there in those verses and ask God what He wants to whisper into your heart.   

The Psalms are a living prayer journal for you to read, written by people who poured out there hearts to God in the midst of their circumstances.  

God will be sure to meet you on the pages of His Word and there - He will forever change your heart with the Truth of who He is and how precious you are to Him...

 ... no matter what you've done past or present - God can wash it away in a moment of time - when you are alone with Him in stillness.  

Today .... "Be still and know that He is God" and He is 100% completely for you! 







Monday, April 8, 2013

Keep Walking!


"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me."  
- Psalm 23:4 NIV

Though I walk through the darkest of valleys ... through the roughest of times ... in those moments when it feels like evil is all around me -  I will choose to fear no evil and trust that YOU my God are WITH me! Yes, Your rod and your staff; they comfort me.

There are seasons in our lives when we might struggle in the midst of tremendous darkness.  This darkness could be spiritual or it could be due to troubled circumstances.  Maybe it is the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one, maybe a friendship you held dear no longer exists, maybe you are walking through a divorce, maybe your partner is struggling with a porn addiction ... or maybe you or someone you know is struggling with intense depression, anxiety or mental torment. These seasons, can bring on intense waves of hopelessness and despair.  

It is in these moments or in these seasons when we are faced with our greatest temptations: 1) to be offended with God and 2) to close the door of our heart to trusting Him.  This enemy comes to whisper to us, saying that God has forsaken us and left us alone with the darkness. He whispers lies about how God no longer cares and how God has no power to defeat the powers of darkness.

We might not even be trying to think these things but these whispers do come as very subtle whispers to our heart, like the serpent did with Eve in the Garden.  The enemy came to deceive her about who God was and what He said.  He tempted her to believe that she could live her life apart from God. To believe the serpent's whispers over the voice of God.

In the darkness, the enemy whispers - "see, God does not care about you!", "if God really loved you why is He not here for you now?".  "if God really had power then why will this mental torment never end? See,  you prayed and yet God did not answer you! See, if God cared about you He would come when you needed Him!"  The enemy will stop at nothing to seek, kill and destroy your faith.  And often, he will use the people closest to you - to try to stop the movement of God through your life.  Like he did with Peter, when Peter tried to reason with Jesus to not go to the cross.  Jesus responded with a bold rebuke, "get behind me Satan."  Then he looked at Peter and said, "you are thinking with the mind of man not with the mind of God."  


Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God,
but merely human concerns."
- Matthew 16:23 NIV

These whispers come like waves that hit our soul. They are the lies about God and His nature that come to us in the midst of these dark valleys.  It is here, in this place of darkness where we have to contend for Truth.  We have to move in the opposite spirit and choose to trust the light/Jesus is with us - despite what our surroundings might be saying.  We have to see that the enemy is a liar and that in God alone is Truth. 


"He was a murderer from the beginning,
not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies."
- John 8:44 NIV  

We have to discipline our hearts, our minds, our souls to focus on the Truth that is in God's Word and declare it in the midst of our circumstances!  

"For God is with Me!  His rod and His staff will comfort me!!".  You have to strengthen your spirit by declaring the Truth!  Be strong and declare this truth over your heart today!

You can't walk through the darkest of valleys with a passive heart.  You must discipline your heart, mind, soul and spirit to agree with God.  I don't say this flippantly.  I say it as a warrior who has battled and knows that God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to lead us into victory.   

If you are too weak to do pray, ask someone to pray for you.  Don't do this journey alone.  Live transparently before God and before people.  Ask for help from trusted friends.  There is power in a community that prays together ... ones that contend for the hearts and lives of one another!

If you don't have a church community right now, then search the internet for Christian prayer organizations and submit prayer requests online.  There are people out there who love to pray for people.  They've been called by God to pray for the broken-hearted and hurting.  Ask these intercessors to pray for you.  

But most of all, turn to God in your season of need.  Turn to Him and don't be afraid to tell Him everything that is going on in your life.  As you open your heart and mind to Him, He will come and help you.  

The help might not look like you want it to look - but He is a God who cares and He is a God who hears. He will do what is best for you - even if it seems like everything is going in the opposite direction of what you are thinking you need.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:4-5 NIV

Keep trusting God even though it feels like the darkest of valleys has been going on for years.  Keep trusting Him to develop your heart and your character in the midst of the darkness.  Keep holding out your hand to him and KEEP WALKING!  Don't set up camp or house in the darkness.  Don't sit, don't linger - KEEP WALKING with God through the darkness.  


Tell Him your struggle to believe; to trust.  Tell Him about the doubts and your fears ... and let Him renew your spirit with the Truth of His Word.  He will be faithful to meet you where you are at.  He will comfort you in your time of need.  Allow yourself to be comforted, to be held, to be led and to be loved in the midst of your pain and suffering.

Allow God's grace to sustain you.  Walk hand in hand with Him through it until the day of your dawn arrives.  KEEP WALKING! 

Allow Him to be for you in the darkness what He could not be for you in any other season of your life.  Let Him be the light that surrounds you.  The friend that carries you.  The One who surrounds you with His presence.  Choose to believe Him.


If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me 
and the light become night around me," 
even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
- Psalm 139:11-12 NIV


us to 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pope Francis - "Jesus Waits Patiently"

Here is my dad's recap on Pope Francis' homily (aka sermon) on Sunday.  I am really enjoying the new pope.  Something about him stirs my heart to want more of Christ and the simplicity of our faith: love.


In his homily today Pope Francis focused on the theme of God’s mercy. Noting that the Gospel reading for today is about St. Thomas seeing Jesus after his resurrection and how when he first heard the news of his rising from the dead he did not believe it."

And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits."


"And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. ‘My Lord and my God!’: with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. Pope Francis observed. “He let himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.”


“Brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis urged, “let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!” He also pointed to the disciples on the road to Emmaus as a good example of “God’s way of doing things.” 


God “is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people,” recalling how Jesus walked with the despairing disciples, patiently explained the Scriptures and gave them communion. 


"God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive!"


Pope Francis stressed one final point in his homily: “God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life.” “Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith.


As he came to the end, he said that in his own life he has “so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood.”


- Larry G. Rowe


Coastal Scents - "Camo Quad" Review

I have been trying out many concealers to see which products really work to cover up those dark circles and even out my skin tone.  Unlike many make up artists who like dabbing on concealer after they apply foundation - I like to do the opposite.  I don't know why, but I have applied my make up like this for over 30 years!

I like to use my concealer to balance out my skin tone both under my eyes but also along my nose and my chin.  I like to use it as preparation for my foundation.

I have tried many brands of concealers from the high end products to the drug store brands.  I have tried creams and I have tried powders.  Some of them work better than others.  Some sit in my make up studio unused because the quality is just so poor!

However, in all my searching, I keep coming back to this amazing and affordable product!  It truly works wonders! 

What is it  ... you might ask?  It is The Coastal Scents - Camo Quad in Medium.  This product can be found at Coastal Scents online. Search their web-site for "concealers".






Product Review


Product & Product Use 

Five stars!  The Coastal Scents Camo Quad is an amazing product that helps to cover up blemishes, dark circles, dark spots - or really, any imperfections in the skin you are trying to cover up.  This one concealer compact comes with four creamy concealer shades.  The shades can be blended together to create the perfect color for your skin tone.  This product is available in three skin tone shades - light, medium and dark. The product provides medium to full coverage and blends beautifully on the skin!

This product is also very versatile.  It can be used for multiple purposes in addition to it's use as a concealer.

For me personally, I typically use only one of the colors as my concealer in the medium quad.  I was getting a little frustrated throwing away the extra product with the other three colors.  So, instead of wasting the other colors, I began to experiment with them to see if they would work in other ways and sure enough - they did!  The white and the lighter color I began to use as an eye shadow primer and the darker color was perfect for contouring and shading!  Now, this product was really becoming a winner in my make up collection!  I was no longer throwing away unused product.  

Pricing 

Five stars!  The price of this Coastal Scent Camo Quad is $7.95.  I personally, have found that one camo quad lasts me about 2 to 3 months.  And as noted above - I use it now as a concealer, eye primer and for contouring!  I have tried concealer products that range in price from $3 to $45.  Nothing can come close to the price + value + quality that is in this product!

Performance 

Five stars! The performance of this product is amazing.  As noted above, it provides medium to full coverage and works beautifully to cover up any of the skin's imperfections.  It also works great as a light primer to even out your skin tone and prepare the way for your foundation.  If you are one who likes to use your concealer after your foundation - this product will last you even longer than it does for me!

Preferences 

My personal preference for this product is the "Camo Quad in Medium".  This color quad works perfectly for me both in the winter and in the summer because I can easily use the multiple colors to work with my changing skin tone.  The other colors also work as an eye primer and for highlighting and contouring!  This product is an all around winner and a daily staple in my make up routine!

Hope this review was helpful and I think you will really be blessed with adding this amazing product to your make up wardrobe!  You can't beat the quality of product for the value - anywhere!

Love and peace,

Lori


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pope Francis ... "Life has Scent"

Below is a great reflection from my dad's Facebook today.  I thought I would share this for today's blog.  


The more I watch Pope Francis and listen to his teachings and watch how he is interacting with the Church, with people and with life - the more I am intrigued by this amazing man of God.  


What Pope Francis is living out is the real deal - genuine, authentic humility. He reminds me of Mother Teresa. He is more focused on the sheep (priests and people) than he is on building or expanding his ministry (the Catholic Church).  


His leadership is sure to change the Catholic Church and ignite a new passion in the hearts of people.  People matter to God.  He is close to the broken-hearted.


Below, my dad recaps Pope Francis' exhortation to Catholic Priests to engage in the scent of life and to embrace those who are hurting.  


"LIFE HAS SCENT"

1 Corinthians 12:17 reminds us that as superior as the eye and ears,mit would not do if they were the sole members of the exclusion of the smell. Life has scent.

Pope Francis urged Catholic priests to go out among their flocks and know the people they serve like “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep”. They need to go to the "outskirts” where there is “suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.”

He added that God is not encountered “in soul. -searching or constant introspection.” Although self-help courses “can be useful in life”, he said, they can end up minimizing the power of grace.”

He warned that a priest who never puts his heart on the line “never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks.” Instead, he said, he becomes a manager rather than a mediator. In some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with "the smell of the sheep".

Pope explained. “This I ask you: be shepherds, with the "odor of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”God’s anointing, he added, “is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone.”

It is not intended just to make us fragrant, he added, “much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.


He added that God is not encountered “in soul. -searching or constant introspection.” Although self-help courses “can be useful in life”, he said, they can end up minimizing the power of grace.” 


He warned that a priest who never puts his heart on the line “never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks.” Instead, he said, he becomes a manager rather than a mediator. In some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with "the smell of the sheep". 


Pope explained. “This I ask you: be shepherds, with the "odor of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”God’s anointing, he added, “is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone.” 


It is not intended just to make us fragrant, he added, “much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.


He added that God is not encountered “in soul. -searching or constant introspection.” Although self-help courses “can be useful in life”, he said, they can end up minimizing the power of grace.” 


He warned that a priest who never puts his heart on the line “never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks.” Instead, he said, he becomes a manager rather than a mediator. In some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with "the smell of the sheep". 


Pope explained. “This I ask you: be shepherds, with the "odor of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”God’s anointing, he added, “is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone.” 


It is not intended just to make us fragrant, he added, “much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.


He added that God is not encountered “in soul. -searching or constant introspection.” Although self-help courses “can be useful in life”, he said, they can end up minimizing the power of grace.” 


He warned that a priest who never puts his heart on the line “never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks.” Instead, he said, he becomes a manager rather than a mediator. In some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with "the smell of the sheep". 


Pope explained. “This I ask you: be shepherds, with the "odor of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”God’s anointing, he added, “is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone.” 


It is not intended just to make us fragrant, he added, “much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.  


- Larry G. Rowe






Obsessive Compulsive ... Disorder or Cosmetics?

Obsessive Compulsive?  No, not the disorder.  The new cosmetic line!  This is a quick and short beauty review on one of my new favorite lip products on the market.  Why do I love it?  Because of it's long lasting staying power!  

This new line (at least to me) is called "Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics" or for short - OCC.  I am not sure how I first heard about this product line but since I love trying new beauty products, I had to give this lip product a try. Here is my first official beauty review! 

The past few weeks I have been fighting a serious lung infection and been on bed rest.  Since I had to rest we decided why not rest at the beach and in the sunshine.  If I needed to stay put for a few days, I couldn't think of a better place to kick back on my lounge chair than at the ocean.  Off on a five hour drive to Santa Barbara we went.

While here in the ocean villa of Santa Barbara, I made a trip to the local Sephora for a beach haul.   I picked up the OCC lip tar in the color, "Strumpet".  I was looking for something fun and sporty to wear to the beach and to lighten the mood from being sick.  I knew a new lip stick would do the trick!

Here is a picture of me sporting my beautiful new pink lip stain on the way to the beach!  






BEAUTY REVIEW

Product

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) - "Lip Tar".

This lip product is what those in the beauty industry would call a lip or cheek stain.  OCC calls their product a "Lip Tar".  For me, tar makes me think of pavement.  This does not sound so appealing for a lip product.  So instead, I might just call it a lip stain in this review because that is what it really is - a staining product for the lips!  Tar, stain - it's all the same.

I love this product because of it's staying power.  The reason most people buy a lip stain versus a lip stick is because they are wanting something that will stay on their lips for hours. They don't want to make regular trips to the ladies room to touch up on their lipstick after eating, drinking or simply socializing.  

These OCC Lip Tars (aka stains) are potent and long lasting.  A little bit of product goes a long way.  It applies onto the lips like soft silk and it has a slight mint smell to the product.  Wonderful!  

Product Use

This product comes with a small lip brush in a clear pouch. To apply the product put a little bit of this product either on the tip of the brush or on some sort of palette. You only need a little bit - like only the size of the head of a pin.   

Be sure NOT to put this on the back of your hand because it will stain your skin and take some serious cleaning to get it off.  How do I know?  Because the first time I applied the OCC Lip Tar (aka stain) ... this is exactly what I did!  I often use the back of my hand as a palette. It took some intense scrubbing to get it off my hand.  

You only need a very little bit of product to cover your whole lip area.  It is better to start with a little bit of the lip tar.  Start to build your color slowly to achieve the depth of color you are wanting.

I recommend first putting on your lip liner before putting on the OCC Lip Tar.  This will not only help you "color between the lines" but it will also keep the lip tar from bleeding.

The great thing about this specific product is you can mix any of your other OCC lip tars to lighten, darken or change the color of your lip product all together.  Just find something to use as a palette and mix away!  

This product works great for make up artists who are looking for a top quality, long lasting lip product for your clients.  This one is a winner!

Key things to remember: 

  • Use a lip liner first to help keep any color from bleeding.
  • Build the color on your lips lightly and slowly. 
  • Allow it to ample time to dry.
  • Mix multiple OCC Lip Tars for additional colors and effect. 

Price

The price for a single tube of OCC Lip Tar runs about $18.00.  Sephora has an amazing deal where you can get five lip tars for $49.00.  This is definitely the better value.  I have not seen it in any Sephora store.  You can go to Sephora's Website and search for "Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics".  You can also find a great assortment of colors on the OCC Website.

The price for an individual tube of OCC Lip Tar is still a great value.  A lipstick from Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clinique, Urban Decay, Smashbox, Too Faced, or any other top make up line will run you between $15 to $25 for one lipstick.  This lip stain will last you months even if you use it daily.  

You literally only need a drop of this lip tar to cover your lips and give you lasting color all day long - even while you eat and drink! 

Performance

As noted above, this product's lasting power is amazing!  It will stay on for hours.  You will find only a tiny bit of product rubbing off on your coffee cup or straw.  You can literally put this on and forget about it as you go about your day.  For me, it stayed on even after eating lunch and a late afternoon coffee.  

Personally, I am not one who likes to put on my lipstick every hour.  I would rather not wear it than to hassle with touching up my lip product.  So, I am always looking for a great long lasting lip color that will stay put.  This one does the trick.

Preferences

I have purchased quite a few of these OCC lip stains and my favorite colors so far are ...
  • Anime - a seriously neon fuchia pink.
  • Electric Grandma - a coral frost.
  • Grandma - a classic coral.
  • Memento - a midtone pink plum.
  • NSFW - a true, balanced red.
  • Stalker - a blue based red.
  • Strumpet - a seedless grape red (shown in picture above).





I hope you enjoy these lip tars as much as I do!  If you are flexible on color choices, the value kits at Sephora can help you save up to 50%.

Have a super blessed day as you love yourself well!

Love and peace,

Lori