by Suzanne Niles 


Does this make me look fat? I’m having a bad hair day aren’t I! Do you notice anything different about me? These are just a few of the questions that make men want to run for the hills and hide. They know for a fact that answering them could possibly endanger their very existence. Skillfully answered they could end up the hero, but give the wrong reply and it’s definitely the dog house.

Why do we do it? Are we really unsure of the answer or are we fishing? Do we need someone else’s opinion or can we ascertain the truth by looking in the mirror ourselves. Are these questions even that relevant? What if we altered the questions we most often ask to look totally different?

Am I exhibiting self-control in my life? When you see me do I exude joy? Is it obvious that I have Christ living inside me? Aren’t these the things that we should really be concerned about? In fact, why are we here? Is it to win a beauty contest or to win souls? Why do we get wrapped up in the importance the world places on the outward appearance when we should be focusing on the inward?

So, are you an innie or an outie? Most of you may be saying, well I focus on both and that is actually okay. We certainly don’t want to go about sharing the joy of the Lord with someone when we forgot to brush our teeth and put on deodorant. However, we don’t have to have every hair in place to greet someone at the store or share a kind word with those who paths we cross. 

How many times ladies have we avoided someone or scooted down the next aisle because we ventured out unpresentable thinking we wouldn’t see anyone.

How many divine appointments have we missed because we just didn’t want someone to see us “looking that way”?

So strike a balance. It is important to be well groomed but put things in perspective. Check your heart before you check your lipstick. I have developed this belief that God allows people to see me the way that He wants me to be seen. He has given us His Holy Spirit to live inside of us and when we allow Christ to have control the beauty that is seen is His. Amazing when you think about it; the God of the universe makes us His temple!

Let’s all be more concerned with the condition of our heart, the warmth of our smile, the kindness in our words and the willingness to help those in need than the impression we make with our physical appearance. Ask any woman who has lived into her senior years…time marches on and leaves it’s footprints on your face! No matter how many creams, cosmetic procedures or units of Botox someone may utilize eventually age will get the better of you. But a beautiful spirit developed from a Christ like heart…that my friends, will reveal the very best of you.

I Peter 3:3–4 The Message

What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes — but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.


By Claire Yorita Lee 

“Mommy, basketball is hard and our team never wins.”  My 8-year old, Sparkles, recently joined a new basketball team of girls.  Unfortunately they play against other 3rd graders who've been playing for 3+ years.  But yesterday Sparkles scored for her first time ever during the game. Not only did she make two free throws, she made a bucket too!  They're also the smallest team out there.  When I saw her afterwards I told her I was proud of her.   She turned to me and said, “It's because I prayed before I went in.  I asked God to please let me make a basket.”  

I didn't really want my kids to play on a basketball team.  It's not that I didn't want them to learn a sport but more that I didn't want to make the commitment.  I mean, 2 days of practice and then a game!  It seemed like way too much, especially in elementary school.  And depending on the times of the games. I might not be able to go to church, which bummed me out.  But somehow, a spot on a team opened up, and somehow, it worked out that both Sparkles and my 6-year old, Pigtails, could each join a team.  

At first it was overwhelming.  But then as we started getting to know the parents, watching the girls play and actually get better, suddenly it became kind of fun.  Despite taking up our entire weekend, somehow our family got used to the schedule, and began enjoying the time together (or not together, depending on game time!).  Friends and family came out to cheer on the girls, which really made them feel special. 

Yes, it's true, Sparkles' team doesn't win very often (so far they've only won 1 game since she started playing), but the truth is, it doesn't matter.  And yes, sometimes I have to dash out of church to get the kids to their games, but it's okay.  I had no idea the kind of growth my children would experience from this, and while I felt slightly guilty for taking them to basketball instead of church on the occasional Sunday, I realized that, no matter where we were, God was going with us – even in a small prayer, on a basketball court, in the middle of a game.  Now that's something to really be proud of.


By Suzanne Niles 

I like to think he was looking for treasures and not trying to give Grandma a heart attack trying to figure out where he went! I decided early on that there would never be a question of his location on my watch. Maximus is all boy, inquisitive, afraid of nothing and always looking for the next adventure. To Max, everything is something new, something to be conquered. Born with the natural propensity for climbing anything that has something to grab onto and having the stamina of the Energizer bunny, he is a force to be reckoned with. One that steals my heart with every dimpled smile and fills me with love at every snuggle!

Viewing him peeking under the bed gave me the thought that he could be searching for something wonderful. Trying to get him out from under it proved how intent he was on finding it. It made me think about the difference between the imagination and vitality of a young child at play and an adult making their way through every day demands of life. When did we lose our fervor? Do we still have that unabashed determination and the imagination to go with it? If not, what can we do to recapture it? I have decided that I am going to embark on my own treasure hunt to regain the enthusiasm and zest for life of my younger years.

I, Suzanne Niles, plan to wake up every morning with a fresh outlook at a brand new day. One filled to the brim with opportunities and new things to learn. A day where I apply myself to new challenges and determine to do it with a wide eyed anticipation of discovery. I promise that when I look in the mirror I will not be disillusioned by the passage of time that appears on my face but will believe that you are never too old for something new! The possibilities are endless and there for the taking!

Let’s be honest; life can get messy; difficult. Sometimes we can focus on what was, not what could be. Sometimes we stay stuck when we could pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and refuse to give up. It’s a choice, isn’t it? Life is short. Let’s live every day to the fullest, be the person God created us to be and accomplish what we were put here to do!

I am choosing to live like new today, and then tomorrow and every day after that. I will lend a hand to those in need. I will share what I have been blessed with in order to bless others. I will smile, I will be open and I will love. 

But first, I am headed to collect that snuggle!


by Claire Yorita Lee 

"Mommy, who wrote the Bible?"  My eldest, Sparkles, is questioning everything and I love it.  “Were they like really there... With Jesus?”   Not going to lie, I almost always want to point her to our pastor, Sunshine, or as Sparkles calls her, “my 52 year old friend.”  I just don't wanna say anything blasphemous, however, I gave her an answer.   She nodded, satisfied, then turned to me and said, “Well, did they have cell phones when Jesus was around?”

It's funny to think my kids will never grow up in a world without cell phones.  At the touch of their hands they can communicate with someone on the other side of the world.  It's amazing how immediate information is, they'll never really have to look things up in an encyclopedia, they have wikipedia.  They won't have to memorize phone numbers, or worry about having an exact meeting time and place because they'll have the luxury of being able to contact someone anywhere at anytime.

I'll admit, I too am attached to that device, especially when I'm maneuvering the streets of LA.  I plug everything into Waze to see what's the quickest way to my destination, sometimes even when it's only a mile's drive (I mean, here you never know, it might take you an hour to go 1 mile – I'm not joking). I can look up recipes at the grocery store, while simultaneously talking on the phone, and emailing someone all at the same time.  It provides me with serious multi-tasking.



Anyway, I told Sparkles she doesn't get a cell phone till she's 16.  I know I'll probably cave earlier, but I'd rather keep her expectations low.  In the meantime, I'll have to remind her that while Jesus didn't have a cell phone back in the day, He's available to her anytime, anywhere about anything.  Now that's something to be attached to.