The awesome stranger at the Top Salon Contest

Awhile back I mentioned that I was going to be in a fashion show and a makeover contest, then I never followed up about them. Both events were great. The fashion show was a fundraiser for the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation, which is a great group that gives funds to local women to help pay for the non-medical costs associated with their treatment.

The makeover was a really big deal that took me way out of my comfort zone. The first thing we did was take before pictures looking dowdy. I wore sweats, which I am not unfamiliar with. Then we made a video where I told the 5-minute version of the story. That was to increase the talk about the show. The model’s story isn’t a publicly judged part of the competition, but they felt that in the past people with good stories did better. I’m not sure if this link will work because it’s through Facebook, but this is an attempt to link to the video. After that we picked out the snazziest outfit we could find because the models would be judged while on the catwalk in front of over 600 people. There were 4 judges and everyone in the audience got to vote too, but it was unclear what percent of the vote the audience comprised. We started the makeover 24 hours before the event and I looked different than I expected. I was surprised that the colors worked for me, but the final product looked good.

The experience was really nerve-wracking. A few weeks before I became very aware that we weren’t going to win. Not to say the judging is a sham, but there were undertones that the event coordinators were really focusing on certain people. Then it happened that one salon was honored with a lifetime achievement award then happened to win the Top Salon Contest too.

When I realized it was very unlikely that we would win I was humbled. I had been on such a roll with God as of late, where I had been shown favoritism time after time that I sort of started to expect it. After a lifetime of being the least favorite, always second place, etc. I really enjoyed the change. I gave Him the credit but deep down there was some sort of pride that I had sort of done something right to deserve it. Like I had finally stumbled upon the magic trick to have an easy life. So, it was really good for me to not win. I found peace beforehand with the concept that while I thought we should win (the winner’s story got published in Tallahassee magazine) to glorify God, God doesn’t need any help being glorified. It’s my job to do it, but not within my constructs of good and bad ideas. Within His.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”–Prov 16:9

I prayed beforehand and felt that any ways I could draw attention to God’s awesomeness would make that night/experience a success. We didn’t win the contest but it was definitely successful. I got to know a lot of ladies from the salon (if you live in Tallahassee, go to Haute Headz, they are the best!), and had the opportunity to tell one of the other contestants about His miracle. Plus, I was reminded that people still remember me from last year. You might recall that back then I was getting recognized and stopped several times per day by people who were following my blog or praying for me. That has virtually stopped, but one highlight of the night was when it happened as I walked the runway: I was terrified, much more scared than I’ve been in a long time. My dress was sort of damaged so didn’t fit properly so I had to be really cautious about showing my booty, and we had missed the practice and was unable to get any look at the runway before I walked down it. The cheering was so loud I never heard my music, which is what I had used to emphasize my “moves”. Anyway, I couldn’t see anyone because of the lights, and a few steps in someone (I couldn’t get a good look but really think she was a stranger because no one I knew was sitting in that area) shouted some really inspiring words at me about what I’d been through. About how far God has brought me.

That was one of the most memorable moments of the night. I wonder if the woman realized I even heard her, let alone how much it meant to me. There was something intangible about it. It was just LOVE. Straight from above, for that moment I needed it. It takes me back to the days of strangers stopping me when I was bald and telling me I was beautiful. One time three people did it in one trip to the drugstore. Back then I noted it, but it just added a drop to my empty heart. Now I remember that stuff and hold it dearly. God used so many people to show me His love. He practically beat me over the head with it and I couldn’t accept it.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”–Lk 12:6-7

It was so personal and timely, utterly encouraging. It also reminds me how amazing it has been for strangers and virtual strangers to support my family and me so much. That they would care so much about and for me. Thank-you to that woman for her devotion and support! Thank-you to the awesome ladies at Haute Headz who made me look amazing (pics below), Ashley Easom (hair), Darcy and Monique plus everyone else there, thanks to my amazing friends Christine Boulos, Caroline Fleischer, Jenni Cox, Jennifer & Justin Menendez, my awesome mom, and to my biggest fan of all, the incomparable Yaacov. He is the best husband I could hope for. We were made for each other and his strengths during this cancer journey bolstered my weaknesses so much, I can’t imagine going through it with anyone else.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” –Gal 6:2

Yaacov and me. He was grinning all night so I will try to keep at least parts of the makeover up.

                                                             Awesome ladies of Haute Headz

                    Great friends who always support me: Caroline Fleischer, Christine Boulos and Jenni Cox

                                                                My mom is so cute.

Ashley did my hair, styled me, got me a tan and makeup person, and coordinated every part of the makeover.

What I’m Here For

A lot of people are dying of cancer. It is awful. Every day I hear of people who die or are about to die. Sometimes I wonder why I’m not one of them. I’m not the only one, either. You should see the look on people’s faces when they haven’t seen me in awhile. They expect me to look like I’m on death’s door. They ask how I’m doing and are shocked when I tell them I’m healthy. When I complete my medical forms and the only pills I have to report taking are Tamoxifen and a sleeping pill, the doctors prod me, thinking I just refuse to take the others. But it is all true. God has brought me through this, against all odds. 

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

I know my job is to glorify Him. To share the story He blessed me with. But why me? I deserve it less, appreciate it less, report His awesomeness less, than many. Than most. I’m not complaining or anything, just recognizing my futility in this life.
Tonight He reminded me so clearly of three of the reasons: Yaacov and my babies. Day in and day out I am tired and struggle to get through the hours. I am crabby and impatient. I am no one’s version of a perfect mom/wife. But I’m here. And I’m healthy. And I’m climbing a steeply uphill mountain toward perfection. Naomi just woke up screaming. I don’t know what upset her, but I know what she needed. Mommy. She hugged me like a lifeline, so safe and secure. She knows she can count on me and I am so grateful. Because of God’s compassionate nature, she wasn’t ruined by the death of her mother as I feared, and instead has been blessed with my being perfectly healthy.
Every moment is a gift, whether you’re like me and are on borrowed time because you were miraculously healed of a terminal disease, or you’re healthy as a horse with nothing but time on your side. All these moments add up to equal our contributions to this world but we lose sight of that goal sometimes. We focus way too much on events that don’t matter, and forget the impact of each tedious, boring, seemingly unimportant one.  
Matthew 7:7-11 – God is like a loving father who gives what his children need. If we ask, we will receive.

I pray that everyone who reads this will have an “Aha” moment tomorrow. Lord, hit us over the heads with reminders of your presence. Of your love. Your truth. Remind us how you treat us like your precious children or let us see the fruit of the love we have for you and your people.
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,