Going Grey – The End of a 2-Year Experiment

Yesterday, royal watchers celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. 63 years ago, HMQ first took her oath to uphold the laws of England and of God and to profess the true gospel. Then a crown was placed on her head, symbolising the  honour and authority bestowed upon her.

Today, there’s another, less famous celebration of a crown of another sort, the second anniversary of growing out my grey hair. It all started with a tenacious little Bible verse that I couldn’t get out of my head.

Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)

I wondered what I was missing by covering a physical trait that the Bible deemed honourable. I decided to carry out a two-year experiment to understand better both our cultural views and Biblical truth about grey hair by growing out mine.  Continue reading

Beauty: The Bigger Story

Very grateful to Cheryl Weber and 100 Huntley Street for taking a moment to talk beauty – just a piece of “The Bigger Story.”  Capture

I’m trusting that the message would reach the hearts of those who need to hear it, that it would be a stepping stone to freedom from many women. We all have beauty stories. I’m taking a guess here, but they probably contain brokenness, hurt or confusion. Let God transform your story and find healing.

42 years to learn

22 truths that took me 42 years to learn… and, by all projections, a lifetime to perfect:

1. Get your sleep, eat well, go for a walk. These are the best first steps to solving what ails you. If nothing else, it puts your mind in a better place to tackle the problem(s).

2. Pay attention to the words of those who stammer, stutter or blush because they are spoken with courage.

3. Embrace your tears. Those who know me know I cry almost daily. One friend has taken to calling me “Tina Tears.” Their involuntary appearance STILL takes me by surprise and, truthfully, sometimes embarrasses me. But I’ve learned to welcome them. I was marked with them in my early 20s when I received Christ. In welcoming these tears, I’ve discovered that they are a good gift. Tears detect beauty, break down walls, open the heart, and speak grace. They adjust my eyes to see what Jesus wants me to see. When your tears make a surprise appearance, acknowledge this good gift.

4. Welcome interruptions. Like tears, most gifts from God are not the things we planned or expected. The things that were/are an interruption in my life: my husband, my kids, my friends, and, well, 42 showed up kind of suddenly…  I can’t rightly say what good thing in my life wasn’t born out of interruption, even the things which initially seemed troubling. So welcome it all as God’s benevolence.

5. Banish offence. I believe it is possible to live a victorious life if we rid ourselves of offence. To qualify the term, I’m referring to when someone insults you either directly or indirectly, whether real or perceived. Root it out with prayer, kill it with kindness, walk through life unscathed and free.

6. Love others by keeping a record of rights. We know from 1 Corinthians 13 that when we keep an account of offences it is unloving behaviour. We like to either hold onto our offences and nurse them and/or throw them at others like a weapon once we’ve accumulated a good number of them. Is it possible to love by keeping track of, placing importance on, and speaking of the good things we see in others? I tried it. Suddenly, my husband is the most interesting man in the world, my kids are angels, I love Monday mornings, I have the best friends a girl could ask for, and I am saying hello to strangers on the street.  Gratitude is the outcome when we keep track of the good things.

7. Practice good gossip. Get caught talking well about other people. (That Karen is so amazing. Bob sure throws a great party. Don’t you just LOVE our pastor? And so on.) Start a new trend in the workplace, build the joy in your home, revitalize your church through good gossip.

8.  Asking for help is an act of generosity. Be specific with your needs and those who love you will thank you that you’ve let them in.

9. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.” Guidelines for life and social media from Romans 12:15-16.

On parenting (teens)

10. “Good for you!” “Use your words,” and “Play nicely” remain solid parenting principles well into the teen years.

11. Your teens actually do want to spend time with you. Force adventures on them, even if they resist. Do things together that make you hold your breath, use your muscles, tempt fate (within reason), laugh out loud. You’ve all just received a shot of perspective and joy. Now repeat.

Cockram Family Adventure

12. You are the boundary your teen needs to push against. Confirm for your teens that their home is a place where are they are safe to wrestle and doubt. Parents, this is Part II of your labour pains. There will be great rejoicing at the end of it.

13.  Parents of teens, you will need to add a sense of humour to your arsenal. No doubt about it, your kids will laugh at you, but if you join in, it means they are laughing with you.  Believe me, they’ll show you just how funny you didn’t know you are!

On marriage

14. Making the bed together is the best first thing to do each day. Bravo, you’ve accomplished something together. Now go, rock this day. It’s the two of you against the world. I also highly recommend unmaking it together at the end of the day, if you catch my drift…

15.  Dissatisfaction is never the other person’s fault, it belongs to you. Once you identify this truth, you can save/build/enjoy your marriage by ending the blame cycle and attending to the necessary changes in your own heart.

16. This one is for the wives. I’ve learned this little tip over time. (Don’t tell J-M, but it works like a charm). Whatever question you want to ask of your husband, ask it three times.  This is what it takes to get: 1) his attention, 2) the jokes out of the way, and 3) his real response. Try it and report back to me. We might be onto something.

17. Lighten up. If I may generalize, I think this is one of the brilliant things a man adds to a marriage – an easy going perspective. Women can place such importance on their deep thoughts and over-processing the minutiae.  If men and women are polar opposites in their thinking, perhaps the truth can be found in the happy medium. Emphasis on the happy.

On Faith

18. Faith is our spiritual muscle we must activate and exercise or else we become ineffective and unproductive. Train like an athlete. Digest good nutrients (truth). Work it off with strength training (service). Don’t get spiritually obese by only taking it in and never putting it to use. Don’t run yourself dry by always serving and never replenishing your reserves. And, just as importantly, rest once a week.

19. Worship God completely. Like, use every part of you – your voice, your strong legs, your wingspan, your thoughts, your heart, your eyes, your touch, your gut – to love and praise him. Discover how he wants to heal and restore every inch of you.

20. Thank God for the activists. They increase our proximity to the heart of God. They help us see and love the poor, the needy, the abandoned, the destitute, the lonely. So next time you see an activist coming, don’t squirm in your EZ chair, receive their good intentions and consider how you might take action with them.

21. Trade in Karma for Grace. Jesus paid what you owe. Best deal ever.

Final Word (For Now)

22. Seek after beauty. I have spent the past two years trying to understand what beauty is, where it comes from, where it can be found, who owns it. I can say with great joy that there are very real answers to these important questions. They all lead to a Creator God who decided that beauty is the way in which he would communicate his message of love and truth.  Look for beauty, find God.


Related Post: 40 years to learn

Going Grey @ 7 Months: What’s Underneath

This is my brother, Mark.

Mark Grey

He thinks it is a terrible idea for me to go grey.

I’ll give you a sec to think that one through.

I asked J-M if it would be wrong to post Mark’s picture, seeing as I’d be ungraciously outing him for an obvious double standard. J-M paused, then suggested I should add arrows.

Now we’re talkin’! Like this?

Mark Grey Arrows

This guy thinks I shouldn’t go grey. He says it’s a TERRIBLE idea.

Interestingly enough, it’s only been over the last few weeks that I’ve discovered just how much I am greying like my brother, with those J. Jonah Jameson silver temples.

j-jonah-jameson

That has been an interesting part of the experiment, realizing what weirdos your hair follicles are. The right side of my head is much whiter than the left. There are parts that are mostly brown (at the back) and only a little bit of salt with the pepper at the top of my head and bangs. If I had a brush cut, I’d look like my bro, but since I wear my hair down and long, it hides the grey underneath and it confuses people. Sophia suggested I tell people I’m going mousey greyish brown instead.

I have turned a corner since my last update. It happened quite by surprise when a friend tagged me in this article showing 26-year-old actress, Zosia Mamet, who decided to colour her hair “antique grey.”

Zosia-Mamet - grey hair

I don’t even know who Zosia Mamet is. Wait, now I do, I just Googled her.

That’s another side effect of aging, I don’t recognize anyone on magazine covers anymore. While I’m in line at the drug mart, People Magazine tells me they’re famous, so they must be. But as far as I’m concerned they just look like the girls who go to my kids’ high school. Mallory, isn’t that girl from your math class? You should tell her to put on a sweater. I feel a small comfort when I see Julia Roberts or Jennifer Aniston in the magazine stands – yes, I recognize these people – and Oprah’s a constant, so that puts me at ease.

Anyway, Zosia’s new hair has made her a little more famous in the middle-aged circles as this article was shared around Facebook. My first reaction was, “No, no, no, no, no, no! Grey does not belong to the young! She has not earned this!”

Crazy, right? Since last month I was sad-ish about it and this month, I’m defending it as a prize. My reaction showed me that I do indeed believe that grey hair is a treasure, only for those who have been through some significant years of experience. Through such experiences, we have also received stretch marks, wrinkles, minor sun damage, and, hopefully, a bigger, better understanding of the world around us and our place in it. Grey hair is an honourable, outward expression of our inward maturation. (Wow, does it feel good to feel good about grey hair again.) But when young adults or teens colour their hair grey it feels like a white lie.

But if that’s true, if the young do not “deserve” Gun Metal Grey, do the middle-aged deserve the Medium Roasted Chestnut or Luminous Honey Golden Blonde?  I suppose fair’s fair – we started this, borrowing from our youth, we can’t be upset if the young want to mimic old age. Perhaps we should be complimented.

Then, another friend sent me this article that grey hair is an actual, bona fide trend for 2015!

Grey-Hair-Leads-the-Way-for-Colour-Trends-in-2015

Grey Hair Leads the Way for Beauty Trends in 2015

I let myself become thrilled that I might be TRENDY. I encouraged my baby sister to go grey too!

“Becky! What do you think! Everybody’s doing it!”

I told you, I don’t have any grey,” she said.

“Oh no! Poor you!” I said.

I’ll let you know she is also against my growing out my grey, but posting her picture doesn’t have the same effect as posting my brother’s. But she’s still cute, so… here.

Image by Stephanie Ironside (Iron & Bragg)

Image by Stephanie Ironside (Iron & Bragg Photography)

Now I’m starting to see this in a couple different ways. When grey hair goes trendy and the starlets and young ones try it on for size, it could actually be a good thing as it puts a premium on grey hair, perhaps a small improvement from when we were collectively devaluing it (if not for others, than for ourselves). Maybe it gives us the push we need to explore it for our own heads or embrace it when our friends/siblings do.

After reading the Zosia article, I contacted my hair stylist. “Barb, can we do something about this? Can I just colour my hair grey??” I was elated to think that I could cut out the time-dragging part of this experiment and move straight to trendoid!

Barb is not only the best cutter and colourist, but she is a good friend and I’ll tell you why. She asked very tactfully if it wasn’t important for me to go through the whole process? She could do it – strip my hair and then add a fashionable granny grey toner to it… but it wouldn’t match my current hair growth, of which I have already put in seven long months. More importantly, it might be skipping a valuable process – the learning that only comes with the experience of growing it out. I was trying to skip out on the meaningful stuff.

Wasn’t she kind to remind me of that? To actually turn me down so that I can reach my goal for my hair and for my soul. It’s selfless really.

You know, another time (more recently than I like to admit), I asked her if I should get a perm and she didn’t laugh at me. She’s a keeper.

So this is me, with my mousey grey brown hair roots and J. Jonah Jameson temples hiding underneath, at 7 months.

Grey - 7 months with arrows

By the way, that’s my friend Sharon with me in the pictures on the right. She is my exact same age and not a stitch of grey. Poor thing.

Going Grey – Six Months Bites

As of today, it has been six months since my last colour appointment. Six months since I made that fateful decision to grow out my grey. As an experiment, I said. It’ll be worthwhile, I said. Oh, if I could talk to the six-months-younger me now.

I’d say, listen, you young, innocent thing. Enjoy those breezy ponytail days when you could toss your hair in the wind without a care and your biggest worry was whether you should get highlights or lowlights, cut your bangs on an angle or straight across. What you think are “bad hair days” are really just “hair different days” – no one says your hair should have body every day! Drink in the compliments about your colour and highlights, even if that colour doesn’t really belong to you. You still wear it well! (And that summer tan helps too!) Straighten that hair, curl it, braid it, pin it, scrunchy it, but promise me, six months younger self, that you will EMBRACE your colourful locks. Fear not what’s ahead (but don’t look forward to it either). Continue reading