Welcome to the first episode of Feels and Flowers, a Christian podcast that celebrates the gospel truth that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose. New year, new decade–new podcast! We start off with a bang: talking about the search for beauty. And guess what? I’ll disclose my own embarrassing story about my life-long search for beauty.
This episode is based on Genesis 1, which reminds us that we are God’s precious children, and we are beautiful (yes, despite the flaws, quirks, and scars) simply because we are all created by Him. I also include snippets from Psalm 139 to show how unrelenting the love of God is and how wondrous you are simply because you were planned by him long before you were born. Finally, a brief look at the rose, some of its uses throughout history, and how you can use it to make yourself feel pampered and lovely.
Find show transcripts and extra features (like essential oil blends) at www.feelsandflowers.com
Send me flowers! Your comments and emails will make my day. Follow me on Instagram @feelsandflowerspodcast and email me at email@example.com. Finally, Don’t forget to subscribe to the show!
Read the Transcript
Mirror mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?
Don’t tell me. I already know the answer.
— [THEME MUSIC] —
Hi. Welcome to Feels and Flowers. A Christian podcast that celebrates the beautiful gospel truths that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose. I am your host Paula Perez.
Now this is my first episode, and I would like to dedicate it to Erin and Melody from the Heaving Bosoms podcast, and all the wonderful cultists and new friends I have made there that have inspired this shy and reticent me to get my message out there. Love you guys!
Now, This week’s podcast is based on Genesis 1. The creation.
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:26-27)
There is so much to unpack in these two verses, but I will focus today on the creation of humans and how by our very own nature we are beautiful.
But first, today’s flower. The Rose.
Roses were used in antiquity for many purposes. Long before they were used in perfumery or given as tokens of devotion among lovers, roses were used as medicinal plants as well as cosmetics.
In medieval Europe, “rose juice” seemed to have been something of a cure-all for many ailments like fever, inflammation, or pain. Whether they were effective or not, roses were used to stop any kind of excessive flow, they were used for eye health, for female reproductive health, to increase fertility, in burns, wounds, and sores, and even as prevention against cholera and the plague. Roses were so valued that they could be used as payment for rents or fines.
Today we primarily use Roses for their cosmetic and symbolic values. Learn my favorite uses for Roses before you go… But thats for a little later. Now, back to what we started….
— [THEME MUSIC FADE OUT] —
Mirror mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?
Don’t tell me. I already know the answer.
You know people always assume that the wicked stepmother in the fairy tale is the villain of the story. I would say that the mirror hanging on the wall is the real villain of the tale. At least of my tale.
Ever since I can remember I have always looked at the world with a different perspective than most people around me. After all, while my profession is graphic design, my life’s pursuit is and always has been Beauty.
I always, always, look for something good or beautiful around me, and I like to carry the discovery of that pretty thing with me all day long. This pursuit has put me in some awkward situations at times: I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve stopped in the middle of the sidewalk just to look up at the clouds or birds, and people bump into me or stop and look up in the direction I am looking at. They few people that actually ask me what I am looking at give me weird looks when I tell them that the setting sun is casting beautiful shadows on the rain clouds. It’s fun. I love looking for beauty in nature, or music, or art, and in people—especially people. It is my own little scavenger hunt.
But for years and years, this little game always stopped short whenever I looked into a mirror. I remember how it began.
I was six or seven years old and I became the only kid in the classroom who wore glasses. I was four eyes: myopic (my-uh-pic) and with a lazy eye to boot. A doctor jokingly said that he could replace my lazy left eye with a real-looking glass eye for a little while–long enough for the lazy eye to have a little rest. I was terrified, and since then whenever I looked at the mirror I saw a freak.
Nine years old and my family and I moved to Southern California. New country, new customs, new language, new school. I became hyper aware of how everything about my identity set me apart from others. And nowhere was it more obvious than in what I saw when I looked into the mirror. Gone was the sharp navy blue uniform of my old private school. Instead I had to use regular clothing to school–clothes from a different country that simply made me look odd. I DID look odd, of course. These were the nineties–everyone looked odd. But I wanted to be like the American kids. I wanted to wear jeans and sneakers. I wanted to be blonde!
Failing that, I abandoned my glasses, and walked around squinting. Convenient, that: I didn’t have to look too closely into the mirror.
I was ten years old when the bullying began. Merciless and incessant. Day in and day out, taking the school bus became a torment. The name calling was particularly brutal, and I was made fun of because of my skin color (among other things)… I hid myself during recess and lunch breaks. Books became good friends. I could run away from who I was in them. But I was soon reminded of the reality whenever I looked into the mirror.
Oh, how I hated looking into it. Because I saw that no matter what I did I could never change my skin color. My parents could plead with me try and tell me otherwise, But I was convinced that as long as I was trapped inside my skin I would continue to be ugly. During that time I tearfully prayed to God for two things: that I could find a gateway to Narnia or some other land of adventure, and that he would let me be beautiful when I grew up. Instead, I discovered Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes, experienced my first unrequited love, got acne, and began to gain weight.
Seventh Grade. Again, new school, but the name-calling continued. In hindsight, I think it was mostly juvenile teasing but I took it the wrong way. I took the nicknames to heart, and they crushed me. I looked into the and saw the changes of my early teen years. I was now officially “fat”, I frowned all the time. I no longer hoped to find beauty. How could I, when every day I was confronted by what I saw in the mirror?
High school came around. Against all odds, I found happiness in public high school when at last I achieved my one ambition in life: to become utterly invisible. I knew I could never hope to be beautiful, but I could at least be normal—unremarkable. I wore drab oversized clothing. Grays. Blacks. Loose jeans. Sneakers. I was just one of the many faces in the vast sea of kids that made up the student body.
However, I was not to be unremarkable. Somehow I stood out in each and every single class because I was the brain. I earned top grades, my teachers loved me, and the other students befriended me in hopes that I would do their homework or tutor them.
I liked that. I began to be a do-gooder at school, at church, and with my friends. I volunteered. Because maybe the girl in the mirror could be redeemed. Maybe accomplishment and works could make up for the fact that she was not beautiful. I also found that I liked wearing glasses after all. I suppose they became a symbol of my intellect. I looked into you, and for once seeing my glasses in my face felt right. I was just a little proud because my glasses made me feel smart.
But I still avoided taking too good of a look into the mirror. Because there I continued to be confronted with the fact that for all the awards and good deeds, and the good opinion of others, it meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. I was and always will be a pursuer of beauty. And I could not find it in me.
I wish I could say that I experienced an earth-shattering moment in my life that set about the change. That I suddenly acquired an inner determination, or I had a come-to-Jesus moment that changed my life.
Nope. Especially not the religious conviction. If anything, the general attitude in my old churches was that a woman should not actively seek beauty. Churches teach that beauty is fleeting. It is vanity. Churches encourage women to be beautiful for the sake of finding a good christian man. A good christian woman, I was taught, had to emulate the proverbs 31 woman of virtue who gets very little sleep doing all kinds of good deeds.
But let me tell you that being virtuous and doing good deeds gets pretty exhausting when you weigh over 200 pounds and are running on 5 hours of sleep each night. Throughout college and as a professional I always complained of migraines, I was always sick, grouchy, sluggish, irregular. I was always hungry. I was referred to a nutritionist to address my issues. Sugar was eliminated from my diet, carbs were carefully portioned out, I ate more vegetables. I drank water. I just went with the flow, and like a dutiful student I did my homework. I began moving more. I started running.
Let me tell you: It felt great.
My knees and ankles thanked me for the change. I felt happier and more positive. I wore brighter colors. I was no longer jerked about by mood swings caused by sugar spikes. When I began to heal my body, my mind followed, followed by my soul. Beauty inevitably followed. And so I lost at last the attitude that I had imposed upon myself that I was not beautiful, simply because I became full of positivity.
One day I looked into the mirror and was surprised when I found beauty staring back at me. It was my face, but I was smiling. The girl in the mirror glowed. She looked like she felt powerful. And she was. She had fought against her demons and won.
So I smile into the mirror at last, because the girl I see there is beautiful. I see a complex individual. Marvelously flawed, beautifully scarred, Fascinating, contradictory, and full of quirks. A beautiful human. Warm and alive, and unlike anyone else. Imperfect as we all must be while living on this earth, but cast in the image of God’s own perfect self. I am God’s beautiful creation.
So I smile into you at last, because the girl in the mirror–the fairest of them all–is me, the one who is willing to look for the beauty in everything and everyone she meets–including herself.
I am loved and worth loving.
You are loved and worth loving. You are beautiful because you were wonderfully made, and whether or not you want to believe it, divinity exists, and it exists in you. You were made in God’s image. Oh, I know you see flaws, I know it’s hard to see past them. I also know you’ve heard the lies from those who tell you that God cannot love someone like you because of who you are, what you’ve done, or what flag you wave. But before you were anything else, you were His child. I know you are not perfect. No one Is! But you know, all the little chinks in you exterior from the fights of life make you even more unique, and tell of a story worth sharing.
It took me years to get to this point, of believing that I had any beauty inside and any worth. But hopefully this is a start for you. Remember, God created your inmost being; he knit you together in you mother’s womb, and made you in his image. You were wonderfully made because all of God’s works are good and wonderful.
— [ THEME MUSIC ] —
If you’ve reached this far, thank you for listening. Please be aware that future episodes of Feels & Flowers may deal with the topics of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc. Rest assured I will put Content Warnings at the top of each episode.
Like I promised, my favorite uses of rose is as a facial toner. You can purchase rosewater or make your own by simmering fresh, organic, pesticide-free flowers. You can also use rosewater in drinks: add it to lemonade or in floral teas. You can spray rosewater onto your face, your body, or your pillow to relieve stress.
Rose essential oil is extremely pricey due to the insane number of flowers needed to extract just a little bit of oil (up to 8000 pounds of roses to extract 2 pounds of oil), If you are lucky enough to have rose essential oil, which is also known as rose otto, or even rose absolute which is extracted via solvents rather than by steam distillation, then I have some blends you might enjoy on my website feelsandflowers.com.
That’s all for now. Send me flowers! Your emails and comments will make my day! If you’d like to reach me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also follow me on IG: @feelsandflowerspodcast
See you next time. God Bless.
— [THEME MUSIC ENDS] —