To a Truly Beautiful Person… by Sherrie Hansen

I’ve always been amazed that a flower so delicate, so perfect, so truly beautiful could rise from the murky waters of my fish pond. My basement was once flooded with water from my pond, so I can testify to the fact that it is not at all nice and smells awful, too – algae, fish excrement, scum, dead bugs and rotting leaves all add to the mix.

Yet a bevy of beautiful water lilies float serenely on top of this water throughout the summer – shining in the sunlight, radiantly blooming despite their humble beginnings and shadowy pasts.

My new release, Water Lily, is the second novel in a trilogy about three sisters set in fictional Maple Valley, Iowa and Red Oak, Minnesota. Water Lily, which begins on the night of Jake Sheffield and Michelle Jones’ 20 year class reunion, takes a look at topics like beauty – inner and outer, the self-esteem issues women and men face as they mature, and for two characters, a dance with breast cancer.

Water Lily… Once upon a very long time ago, Jake Sheffield and Michelle Jones graduated from the same high school.

Jake can’t wait to take a trip down memory lane at their 20th class reunion. Being with his old friends is like guest starring in a favorite episode of Cheers. Everybody knows your name. Everybody’s glad you came.

The last thing Michelle wants to do is dredge up a lot of old memories and relive a part of her past that wasn’t that great in the first place.

Will the murky waters of the past destroy their dreams for the future, or will a water lily rise from the depths and bloom?

“Hansen’s Water Lily captures the emotional upheavals of a woman’s lifetime struggle with her self-image. Will that struggle come between her and the man she loves, or will outside forces do that instead? Hansen is a natural story-teller, adept at presenting frustrating circumstances, likeable and unlikable characters, misunderstandings, tender moments, and steamy love scenes. Water Lily kept me reading and touched my heart.”   Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar By the River.

It has long been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet as a society, we often define beauty and sadly, measure our self-esteem, in terms of movie stars and football players. What makes a person beautiful to you?

I’ve been signing each copy of Water Lily I’ve sold “To a truly beautiful person”  because I’m sure that on some level each of them is beautiful – whether fat or skinny, short or tall, big-nosed or small.

While we’re talking about true beauty, I’d like to ask you to think of someone you love – mother, father, spouse, friend or hero, and write a brief response about what makes them beautiful to you. (Make sure you leave an email address so I can contact you.) My objective husband and I will be reading your responses, and on October 7, choosing someone from those who respond to win a free, autographed copy of Water Lily .

You can learn more about Sherrie Hansen at:, http://www.SecondWind, or


Filed under Sherrie Hansen, writing

12 responses to “To a Truly Beautiful Person… by Sherrie Hansen

  1. Melinda S

    A truly beautiful person is someone who sees the world through love. They have an abundance of love in their heart and are ready to share it with any and all that they come in contact with.

  2. I believe what makes a person truly beautiful is not their outer appearance, but their everyday actions. A truly beautiful person will look beyond what they want and see what others need. They will give of themselves without wanting anything in return. A truly beautiful person is unselfish and doesn’t have the “it’s all about me” complex.

  3. says beautiful means:
    1. having beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about; delighting the senses or mind.
    2. very pleasing or satisfying.
    3. beautiful things or people collectively.
    Beauty is all these things. A pretty flower is beautiful. A new car is beautiful. But those are tangible things. To me, true beauty is intangible, it’s an abstract quality that comes from inside a person. It shines in the face of a mother looking at her child, an old man looking at his beloved wife. People don’t have to look physically beautiful to be beautiful. If they are good and kind and loving, their beauty flows from within.
    Martin Buxbaum said, “Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.” I believe true beauty comes from the heart!

  4. Lonnie Arnevik

    ….what makes them beautiful to you?
    Your question brought my daughter Kayla to mind. Yes she is beautiful on the outside, but what makes her truly beautiful to me is that she is also beautiful on the inside. Loving, sensitive and thoughtful, always the peace-maker…. wanting to be everyone’s friend, past transgressions forgotten. I admire her for these traits very much. Hearing this, Kayla would be very quick to list off her own imperfections, but even the thought of her doing that makes me smile. She is funny and a sweetheart, and I thank God for her every day.

  5. Sandra Harmon

    My daughter is a truly beautiful person…..her beauty comes from the inside and she shares it with everyone. She has not had an easy life….16 major operations in 37 years, a Traumatic Brain Injury at age 26, the loss of her fiance to cancer 6 years ago….despite all this, she always has a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone she meets. She is one the kindest people I know.

  6. A fine post, Sherrie, and I wish you well with Water Lily and all your literary endeavors.

    It’s difficult to define beauty; what one person sees as attractive often leaves another unmoved. For years Julia Roberts was on everyone’s sexiest woman of the year list; yet she did little for me. I’m sure George Clooney has his detractors. But, beauty certainly doesn’t guarantee happiness any more than money can (although money can’t, unequivocally, buy poverty). Some of the unhappiest, loneliest people in the world are celebrities and athletes.

    Men are perhaps hard wired to pick a mate based on her “child-bearing” body even as women select a mate based on her perception of him as a “provider and protector.”

    We all tend, I think, to judge others on their presentation. After all, we’re taught that we must wear certain masks throughout our lives. One mask to work, where we must be politically correct; if you’re courting someone and want them to like you, you wear another, perhaps hoping to become what you think the other person wishes you to be. True love can come only when our masks come off and we can see our partner for who they truly are—the good with the not so good—and not look away.

    And we judge others on their outward appearance, too—her hair is too long for her age; I remember him from ten years ago and he looked much better then, without the extra twenty pounds he now carries; that outfit isn’t very flattering to her figure.

    And yet one cannot totally discount appearance as necessary to our first attraction of a partner. From across the room—before you find out she voted Democratic in the last presidential election, before you learn she’s a member of NOW and bashes men on her blog, that she’s a vegan, that she detests sports and sees athletes as sweaty with little between the ears, that she prefers chardonnay to reds, or that she’s high maintenance and looking for a bad boy in need of fixing (not what you do to the family canine) and spent years trying to change her previous boyfriend only to dump him in the end for not being the man she met—it’s appearance, chemistry, pheromones, animal magnetism, whatever, that first catches your attention. It’s no different in the animal kingdom. The bird with the most colorful plumage draws the most attention.

    All of which has brought me to this place in my life: wiser but lonelier; less hopeful.

    Twenty years ago a red flag held a different meaning for me. Sure they could be showstoppers, or they could be mild annoyances that can be dealt with during the bonding process. Rarely was I deterred by a red flag back then; perhaps I’d be happier, healthier, if they had.

    On the other hand, when one reaches 50, red flags often are what we make them into and come in handy when we’re looking for a reason not to get close to someone, or to prevent them from getting close to us. There will always be red flags, but there comes a time in life when it’s easier to walk away than to risk them.

    As I sit putting these thoughts to paper I recall a missed chance at a relationship. It seems, for women, too, that inner beauty is, as is outer beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

  7. I have several beautiful people in my life and am grateful for each one. For instance, my daughter, is a beautiful person. She gives freely without asking for anything in return. She’s determined to make the world a better place for those around her. That in itself is true beauty.

    Other things I think makes a person truly beautiful is not their outer appearance, but what is inside and the way their true self radiates from within. To be unselfish, giving, grateful, and radiate happiness and love is truly a beautiful thing.

  8. sue brandes

    I love water lilies. I remember thinking they were amazing when I was a little girl. Love your book cover. I have to say my MIL who has since passed. She loved everybody and everything. She never made judgements. And she was just a really loving person.

  9. My Mum is my beautiful person.

    Not ’cause she doesn’t judge–she does, just as much as when I was a kid. But then she steps back and lets me judge for myself, and respects my decision.

    Not ’cause she’s drop-dead gorgeous–we’re far too much alike for that. But she cares enough about how she looks to dress nicely all the time, so other people enjoy the sight of her.

    Not ’cause she’s perfect–never was, and neither am I. But she accepts me and encourages me. She cares about me, and about everyone else. I don’t feel picked on for her special care, but I feel special ’cause she chooses to care so much.

    I guess that makes Mum like a real-life water-lily; beauty that flows from what lies underneath, not disguising it, but real and welcoming and brightening my life.

  10. Beautiful is the person who extends a hand when you need it most and everyone else looks the other way. Beautiful is a person who does not judge and sees beyond color, age and position in life.
    Beautiful is the person who smiles at you and means it.
    The only person I know who is like that is my son, 99% of the time anyway:). He is a person who gives and does good when you think he’d have nothing to give – he will find a way:)

  11. My son is truely beautiful. He’s so open and loving and sees the world as a place of delight. It reminds me what a gift life truely is.

  12. Look to the eyes and feel the warmth, then you see, a truly Loving person.

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