Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the category “Perspective”

For the Ones Who Can’t Hear “Beautiful”

You shun it as though it were a four-letter word.  When it comes you refuse to hear, refuse to let it attach to you because, surely, you ought to resist that flattery.
Be humble and all that.
You secretly hope that the words are sincere, and inside you desire to wear them gracefully, to be them and believe them.
But your enemy tells you otherwise and you listen to him instead.  To the father of lies?
You have to choose what you wear.

Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness ~ Gen. 1:26

Your Father has said beautiful since you were born.  He’s made beauty in the world, wonder that you capture with camera or imagination or just sheer enjoyment.
Yet you,
created in His image,
won’t listen.
You have eyes to see it all around, but you wonder if it’s ok to see it in you.  As if vanity came from simple appreciation.

Is it ok to think that I look nice?

You ask me one Sunday before church, and I’m remembering the time of no jeans and no mirrors because I was so weak and so consumed.

Imago Dei.  All of us, the image of God.

Yes.  It is good.

Take a little  time in that mirror and gaze at the image of God.  Be blessed by His beauty and comfortable with your skin, your hair, the color of your eyes and the marks of distinction on your face.
Praise Him for infinite imagination, thank Him for hairspray and mascara and jeans if you must.
And then move on from that mirror and see beautiful  all around you, in others.  Go tell someone they’re beautiful and tell them why.  If you don’t see beauty then tell them why Jesus is Beautiful.  Talk about Him.

Attach yourself to Beautiful when you can’t believe He’s attached to you.

When you hear beautiful, wear it.  Be it.

Put it on with your cross and remember the ugly beautiful, the One Story so dangerously beautiful that it saved you from being forever ugly.

Someday, when your husband tells you you are beautiful, believe him.  Believe him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling him a liar.
There will be unlovely days and sweat-pant days and days of acne and bloating and extra pounds.  There will be days when no one says beautiful to you, but won’t you still hear it?
Won’t you listen to the One Who is inside, who created you imago dei and ever lives to display Himself through all His creation?  Through you?

Believe Him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling Him a liar.

Because, really, beauty-full is what you are.  Don’t cover that up.

{And by the way, beautiful is for boys, too.}


The Lost Art of Presentation {It’s Better Than it Looks}

I’ve read The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  I know all about fresh flowers and art work and candles and lovely music.

And I think that’s all great.

But if I had a dollar for every meal that I’ve prefaced with, “It will taste better than it looks,” I could redecorate the whole house.

Somehow, I just miss the whole presentation of it.

My family has gotten good at naming these mystery meals:

  • almost chicken sandwiches
  • What Is It?  AKA, Manna.
  • Oh-No Casserole
  • Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday on Thursday

I make lopsided cakes, not-so-round pizzas, green “Orange Julius”, and I’ve served soup in strawed cereal bowls.  To guests.

But it all tastes good, really.

Suffice it to say, I need to work on my presentation skills.  I need to work on presentation because what I’ve made actually is good, it’s just cut short by the appearance of things.

Who wants to dig in to a meal with questionable results?

I thought about this the other day as I mixed several different leftovers into a meal.  Shelby asked what it was and I said, “It’s kinda like…”.  Not very reassuring.  I need to at least have a name for what I’m serving up.

I thought about the importance of presenting things in a way that was not only appealing, but also true and indicative of the contents.

I wouldn’t put whipped cream on the veggies just to make them look good, and I wouldn’t put the pie in a blender just to make it easier and faster to consume.  Both of those things are good just simply because their ingredients are good.

 But sometimes good things are disguised in bad packaging.

Eventually I was thinking about the gospel.  About all the ways we try to package it up nice and tidy, the ways we manipulate situations to make sure the gospel gets inserted, the way we live like presenting the gospel is uncomfortable.

And I thought about how our presentation, be it style or attitude or just sour character, can turn people off.

We are the presentation of the gospel to the world.  Through nature and logic and miracles and the risen Christ, He reveals His goodness.  And also through dirt-made-image-bearer.  Mankind.  

It’s the grace of God that brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).

Because those things aren’t appealing to everyone, should I therefore tweak the presentation a little, make it more palatable?  Or should I be in-your-face with it and forget tact and respect and love for my neighbor, all in the name of getting the gospel out?

We are the presentation of the gospel.  The aroma of Christ is the stench of death to some, and to others the hope of life (2 Cor. 2:16).

Can I say to someone that it’s better than it looks?  Because it is, of course, but how does it look on me?

Please join in the comments and share your thoughts on presenting the gospel with our lives.

{We are hosting 18 people for dinner Sunday, by the way, and I have no clue what to make.  Something that looks and tastes lovely?}









Last week I told you all here how I was freaking out in the camp trailer.  Now that I am ‘stable’ again, I can laugh at it all.

Isn’t that sad?  That the perspective I need comes only in hindsight?  Such is the way of the forgetful.

But as I was clicking through pictures last night I found this proof of my freaky-ness and had to laugh at myself.  And then scold my daughter for capitalizing on my insanity with her camera.

Here is the posed picture:

See how sweet and serene I look, all happy and excited about packing up my household?  Don’t I look so organized and together, neatly placing household items in the box?

And then the real me let loose:

Crazy lady, swallowing her tongue.

If you can’t laugh at yourself today, then at least you might laugh at me.  It’s ok.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. – {Pro 17:22 NKJV}


Giving Thanks

I’m thankful for these people…

(they’re as goofy and fun as they look!)

We’ve started our own ‘Give Thanks’ journal this year, to cultivate eucharisteo and to open our eyes to all His gifts, and give us perspective.  Each day, each in his own writing, counting down all the ways we are loved.  Some write more than others, and I try to let the Spirit lead and not nag about how we need to be more thankful and why don’t you go write something in the journal…just live the thankfulness.

  1. rainy days and soup for lunch
  2. hail bouncing on the porch
  3. the sound of the salt shaker as mommy makes lunch
  4. whole wheat pancakes, made by Jake
  5. sunshine on a cold morning
  6. hot coffee with my husband
  7. good food to put in lunch boxes
  8. company coming!
  9. the tape on mommy’s nose : )
  10. school books all over the place
  11. smudged ink from lefties
  12. hamburger stew
  13. Just So Stories
  14. Grandma Sharri bringing fresh eggs
  15. daddy making hot breakfast
  16. I am thankful for Jesus
  17. my dog, Oliver
  18. un-real sky colors
  19. Sharp Paynes with straight-A’s
  20. Ice cream on the way home from ACE
  21. mommy and daddy kissing
  22. CNN student news during breakfast
  23. listening to mom smack on her breakfast (?)
  24. Hearing the keyboard
  25. siblings who serve and thank each other
  26. kids getting up with their alarm
  27. quiet evenings
  28. I am thankful for my family
  29. family lunch time
  30. family laughter!
  31. working together to move out of the garage (making room for the next owners!)
  32. blogging
  33. watching mom shoot dad with the Nerf gun
  34. a warm happy birthday from Ethan, Bailey, Jacob and Shelby
  35. the nicest birthday card ever from my beautiful wife
  36. Sundays in Camas Valley
  37. my handsome Prince Charming (daddy)
  38. On a Sunday morning, 45 years ago today, God blessed me with a beautiful baby boy and gave me a promise that he would be God’s warrior.  What a gift!
  39. Jacob helping Shelby do her dishes
  40. having friends over to play
  41. watching mom pay bills
  42. watching dad’s face as he talks on the phone
  43. Jacob being willing to learn a new game with dad
  44. Young friends still wanting me to do their hair
  45. daddy’s chocolate
  46. quiet mornings and hot coffee
  47. Shelby doing Bailey’s chore for her
  48. my handy husband
  49. Bailey’s smiling eyes
  50. the opening of Bravo’s
  51. my good friend
  52. God’s helpfulness in difficult times
  53. listening to mom and dad talk about our Wildcat house
  54. chocolate chip cookies after dinner, served by Bailey
  55. four kids in the hot tub together
  56. father and son discussing herbivores and vertebrates, playing Linkology
  57. Shelby’s animated communication
  58. seeing the cat fall asleep in his food dish
  59. watching baby Hope look at the fire
  60. seeing Hope’s face as a I walk out of my room
  61. seeing my sissy ask for milk and graham crackers for breakfast
  62. Read alouds
  63. tea-time and poetry

That’s the first 15 days of a new year, counting down gifts with these lovely ladies.  And today I’m also thankful for the blanket of snow wrapping our little valley.


“…you did well that it was in your heart.” – 1 Kings 8:18

I have a lot of good intentions.  Send that card, make a meal, just pick up the phone and call.  Most of my good intentions end up being the burdensome-undones, though; the things I coulda-shoulda-but-didn’t do.  If everyone was just blessed by my thoughts of them and the things I could do for them, life would be grand!

Doesn’t really work that way, though.

And it’s good that it is in my heart to do these things.  I know God sees those intentions.  But I really need some follow-through, some tangible evidences of my thoughts.

I’m always comforted by King David’s life.  The man-after-God’s-own-heart who had Good Intentions, but was sometimes derailed by sin or bloodshed; God saw his heart.  God saw David’s life as one whole pursuit of Him, and the bumps along the way didn’t negate the intentions of his heart.   Like when your 7 year-old tries to bless you and ends up baptizing the floor in milk – you know his intentions were for good.  His humanity just got in the way.

I’m not making light of David’s sins.  And I’m not making excuses for my un-done good.  One of my words/goals for the year is intentional, because I desperately need to live and love on purpose.  And if Christ is in me and moving me according to His purposes (Ephesians 2:10), then every Good Intention is an opportunity to obey Him and bring Him glory.  Every missed opportunity is a chance to do it right next time.


This is the beauty I get to run in.

One of the best places on earth, full of His glory, His people, His creation.  I run past crazy alpacas, bewildered cows, geese on the ponds, beautiful open fields.  Rarely a car passes, and the driver almost always waves.  Sometimes the fog is rolling over these mountains like sea billows, sometimes the sky above them is fiery red and orange.

But this is where my eyes tend to focus.

Isn’t that a lovely white line?  So straight and simple.

Shoulders hunched, eyes down, I shuffle along this white line.  Like Eeyore in the Hundred Acre Wood.

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.

“Why, what’s the matter?”

“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.

“”Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.

“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

Just the other day I realized I ran through the valley this way.  So I purposefully lifted my head, my eyes, my thoughts.  My smile followed suit.  This.  Is.  Beautiful.  I love to run here!  I am blessed to live here, and abundantly blessed to be able to run here.

I just needed a change in perspective.

 I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? 
My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. – Psa 121:1-2 NKJV

One of my favorite words, perspective.  Probably because I so often am snapped to reality and see where my perspective has gone astray.  What if everything I did in a day was done with God’s perspective?  What if I stopped taking for granted His artwork all around and instead began to live enjoying it!  Little ol’ me, walking in His gallery?

For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,  – Romans 1:20a NKJV

We all want our work to be appreciated.

I will look up ; )

10 steps to stay alive to the beauty of God’s world

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