Lessons from painted nails

+ other good things you should know

I’ve never really been one to paint my nails.
At least not in recent memory. I like to sport a fun, summery toenail polish in the summer as much as the next girl, but fingernail polish? Nope. 

Chatting with my girlfriend circles on Marco Polo* this past year has invited all kinds of conversation, from serious to surface and back to serious again. We might start with a string of Polos that go on a theological deep-dive, and then someone will chime in with a random note about her favorite guilty pleasure song or new nail polish and the whole discussion pivots. 

As I listened to my friends ping pong back and forth about the new polish colors they chose for the fall, my mind flashed to my Gammy. She’s my mom’s mom and although she is currently in assisted living, she is a force. She built a successful business from the ground up in the 90s, drove a red convertible mustang not too long ago, and always, always wore bright red nail polish on her freshly manicured fingernails. You could say it was her signature. 

I never gave it too much thought but I realized I wasn’t painting my fingernails because I felt like it drew attention to my hands that I didn’t care for.

As I sat thinking about my Gammy and her signature nails, I realized that her hands are my hands. We share the same long, thin fingers that probably would have served us well if we had learned to play piano. Nothing stopped her from wearing those fire engine red nails, and wearing them proudly.

Inspired, I rifled through my bathroom closet for my small stash of polish and promptly painted each fingernail carefully. It wasn’t perfect, but I liked it. Mostly because it felt like a small, sweet connection to my Gammy.

Since then, I’ve discovered it’s surprisingly soothing and restful for me to take the time to sit down and paint my nails.

I have to devote the time to it.
I have to plan for it (you can’t very easily change a diaper with wet nails).
It doesn’t allow for much multitasking (my natural state of being)…besides maybe having Hamilton on in the background.
I have to practice patience if I want a good result.
It’s kind of like a small gift to myself.

When I turned 34 on January the 8th, I found myself walking the aisles of Target to see if they had a birthday gift for me. (Definitely treat yourself to a Target birthday run…simply justify with needing to use your 5% off birthday promo! Wink wink.) 

Naturally I grabbed a new pair of lounge pants (said the work-from-home-homeschool mom) and then I headed for the nail polish aisle, fully prepared to splurge on the expensive brand this time. As I peered through the rows of pink, blush, berry, and gray bottles, a tiny yellow sticker caught my eye. “ESSIE, was $11.49, NOW $3.44.” I could almost hear Target singing happy birthday to me over the loudspeaker. I grabbed five pretty colors and went on my merry way. 

I came home. Got the kiddos off to bed and changed into my new lounge pants. Started Hamilton from the beginning and got to painting. Happy birthday to me, indeed. Thanks for the inspo, Gammy. 

What’s one new thing you can try in 2021? What do you need to rethink? It can be as small and seemingly insignificant as painting your nails. :)

*By the way, if you’re not using the Marco Polo app, download it immediately!


Good & beautiful words I’ve read lately

“Refreshing your feed will not refresh your soul.”
- Hannah Brencher (from her email newsletter). As I step further away from social media, this has been reassuring my why.

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”
- Elisabeth Elliot

“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life.”
- Deuteronomy 32:47. When I’m struggling to stick with my chronological Bible plan (which I am currently two weeks behind on), I think of this verse. This is why we are to be in the Word daily. Are you working through a Bible reading plan? If not, look into following the Bible Recap plan which also has an accompanying podcast.

Article: The Kingdom Call for Conservative Christians
This is a well written, thoughtful article by one of my favorite Bible teachers that has given me much to think about.


Books I’ve just finished + Current reads

You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love, by Allie Beth Stuckey
Five stars. A quick but important read for women of all ages, she discusses the top 5 myths being told to us by our culture and replaces them with the always relevant Truth.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by Abigail Shrier. 
Five stars. I know it sounds heavy, but I consider this a must-read for parents of girls, whatever their age. The author is a journalist (not conservative, btw) who was tipped off to the staggering spike of adolescent girls experiencing “rapid onset gender dysphoria” and seeking medical gender transition - all brought on by social media, peer and internet influence, anxiety, and loneliness.

Currently Reading
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. So far, so good.


Homeschool Days

We recently started back (on January 4th) and something I love about homeschool is getting to decide our pace and scheduling. We slowly merged back in, adding in a little more work each day to make it less overwhelming. 

As we enter the second half of the year, I’m more aware than ever of the juggling act that is homeschooling with three young kids. We do a lot of recalibrating and resetting as needed but the kids are thriving and that’s my primary goal. It has already been a great adventure and a refuge for our whole family.

This past week we learned about earthworms and tardigrades (go look those up!) and the kids have spent several afternoons outside digging for worm friends. They keep naming them Finn Jr. and Aven Jr. and it’s become a catch & release situation in our garden.

We use the Little House on the Prairie series as the base of our curriculum and since we’re three books into the series, Aven and I have started watching the Little House on the Prairie show through Amazon Prime. We LOVE it. I watched it growing up, but it’s been so long there’s a lot I don’t remember. It’s somehow engaging for our whole family, and I swear every. single. episode has the agenda of making me tear up. I catch myself thinking maybe we should live the Little House life…it’s just refreshingly simple and there’s something very appealing about that, especially right now…yes?


Be encouraged.

The Good News is never not Good News. In fact, when it seems like any good thing is hard to come by, the Good News of Jesus is made even sweeter. Keep living it. Keep telling it.


In case you missed it, I’ll link my most recent blog post here: Motherhood Is Not A Shiny Thing.

I can’t thank you enough for reading this first issue of my newsletter! I won’t be sending them weekly, just 1-2 times a month. I’d love for you to respond to this message if you have any thoughts, questions, or feedback. And if you enjoyed it, please pass it on to a friend!

Talk soon!
Shanna

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