Tag Archives: beauty

Are You a Truly Beautiful Person? by Sherrie Hansen

When I was 16 years old, I weighed 80 pounds less than I do today. I had double the amount of hair on my head that I do at age 53 (and it was brown, not gray) and half the amount of hairs on my chin. Yet for some unimaginable reason, when I was a teenager, I thought I was fat and ugly. Not only did I believe it, I felt it – physically. I spent every moment of every day feeling huge, gawky, clumsy, and out of place.

My latest release, Water Lily, addresses the subject of beauty – inner, outer, perceived, actual.

The main character, Michelle, has an “ah ha” moment when she’s helping her thirteen year old niece, Theodora, pick out clothes from her cedar chest to wear to a retro day at school.

From Water Lily:
The jeans she’d worn in high school fit Theodora to perfection. The top accentuated her niece’s small, high breasts and the indention of her waist. Her first thought was that she’d been insane to be dissatisfied with that body, that beautiful body.  She’d grown up believing she was unforgivably fat and inherently unlovable, when all the time, she’d looked like Theodora did now? She reeled as the truth peeled years of misconceptions from her eyes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty these last few weeks. I recently attended my 35th class reunion and – well, to be honest – no one looked as beautiful as they once did… at least on the outside. Conversely, I spoke to some people who are – have become – truly beautiful, on the inside.

Age has a way of refining us, of making many of us more beautiful. Others, including some who have retained much of their youthful beauty, seem to have become bitter, brittle, hardened, and haggard, traits that make them appear unattractive both inside and out.

It raises a lot of questions about beauty in my mind. What makes a person truly beautiful? Does a person have to believe they’re beautiful for others to perceive them that way? Is loving yourself a prerequisite to being lovable? To whom is a woman beautiful when she’s had a breast removed and lost her hair to chemotherapy? To those who already love her? Or can her inner beauty shine through so strongly that even strangers take notice and are drawn to her?

I don’t have the answers. I do know that in nature’s grand scheme, a beautiful water lily rises from the murky, watery depths to blossom in the sunshine.

It’s taken me most of 35 years to start to believe that I am a beautiful person. Working on Water Lily these past few months has given me some “ah ha” moments of my own as I’ve contemplated what it is that makes a person truly beautiful.

As a result, I’ve started looking at – seeing – people differently. I’ve started to notice the beauty that’s in my own back yard, to see beauty in the ordinary, everyday things that surround me, to appreciate people who are beautiful on the inside even though they may look a bit crusty on the outside.

I dedicated Water Lily to the friends, family members, and acquaintances in my life who have helped me to believe I am beautiful. Their ongoing love and encouragement means the world to me…

I’ll leave you to think about beauty on your own, but in case no one has said it recently, you are truly beautiful.

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Beauty in Your Own Back Yard

My first published book – Night and Day, by Second Wind Publishing – is set in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota and Copenhagen, Denmark with a brief interlude on Prince Edward Island, Canada. My tagline, “It’s midnight in Minnesota and Daybreak in Denmark”, speaks to the fact that Jensen and Anders connect via the internet, each from their own far-flung corner of the world.

My work-in-progress, Wild Rose of Scotland, is set at St. Conan’s Kirk on Loch Awe. The first book in the series, Blue Belle of Scotland, takes place in Tobermory, a picturesque old village whose rainbow-colored storefronts are reflected in the waters off the Isle of Mull.

Sherrie with Alphasmart at Tobermory

Here I am, writing on my AlphaSmart, in the lovely village of Tobermory, Scotland.

For a writer / innkeeper / restaurateur / pastor’s wife whose life is too busy and complicated to plan another vacation anytime in the foreseeable future, “traveling” to or revisiting these exotic locales in my mind is like taking a mini-vacation. Hopefully, my readers will also enjoy visiting the quaint spots that provide a backdrop to the adventures of Jensen and Anders and any other of my characters who are lucky enough to find their homes in such beautiful places.

But we all can’t live in Colorado. Nor can we go on vacation all the time. The trilogy of books I’m currently getting ready for publication – Stormy Weather, Waterlily, and Merry-Go-Round – are all set in Osage, Iowa, just 11 miles from where I live. The stage for these books is set with cornfields, cabbage patches, and contented cows grazing in pastures. The secondary characters are small town… well… characters. And it’s not one bit boring. To the contrary, writing about my hometown has been very enlightening.

Looking at my very ordinary world through the eyes of my characters has shed a whole new light on what was once deemed plain. These people see things in my world that I never would have noticed. With their help, I’ve discovered a whole new meaning to the phrase, Beauty in Your Own Backyard. It’s amazing, the things I see when looking through the rose-colored glasses of the three Jones sisters.

So, wherever it is you find yourself, take a look around. Whether you’re reading – or writing – a book set in Windermere, England, Apple Valley, Minnesota, Moonstone Beach, or Weedpatch, California, there are beautiful sights to behold no matter where you go in the world – a simple wildflower, a spectacular sunset, the moon glinting off a lake (or maybe even a mud puddle).

I took this photo in Scotland. Isn't it funny how you notice things when you're on vacation that you never take the time to really "see" when you're at home?

I took this photo in Scotland. Isn't it funny how you notice things when you're on vacation that you never take the time to really "see" when you're at home?

And next time you’re lucky enough to be able to take a vacation to some lovely new location, by all means, take your camera, your moleskin journal, your steno pad, or your Alphasmart. Take photos, record each memory, soak in every ounce of scenic beauty that you can.

All I’m suggesting is that when you come home, keep your camera out. Try looking at your own, everyday world through the eyes of someone who’s seeing those same, familiar haunts for the very first time. Take notice of the extraordinary, and you’ll discover all kinds of unique beauty – right in your own backyard.

When I got home from Scotland, I realized I had the same flowers blooming right in my own garden. That's when I resolved to start seeing the beauty in my own backyard instead of waiting for another vacation to enjoy the scenic sights around me.

When I got home from Scotland, I realized I had the same flowers blooming right in my own garden. That's when I resolved to start seeing the beauty in my own backyard instead of waiting for another vacation to enjoy the scenic sights around me.

Learning to see the Cinderella side of your soot and ashes world, to appreciate the sights you take for granted, will make you a better writer, a better mother, a better lover, a better everything under the sun.

Sherrie Hansen

Night and Day



Filed under books, fiction, life, Sherrie Hansen, writing


Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’


The other day, I was a patient waiting patiently for the nurse to call my name. I grabbed the magazine closest to me on the waiting room table and perused the pages. The publication was an interior decorating magazine aimed at people who have six figures to spare. Each of the rooms was decorated with an abundance of top-dollar items designed by well-known names and firms in their circles.


I have no idea who they were. 


Obviously, I am not in that circle. On one cream colored wall was a framed drawing in a childlike scratch of x’s and o’s. My thought? How sweet, the wealthy homeowners framed artwork created by their child or grandchild.


Nope. The artwork, which looked exactly like something one of my kids would have rendered at the age of three, was some kind of a big deal by some famous artist.


I can’t remember his name and it really isn’t important to me, however it does make me want to give the kids a pack of crayons and some poster board and see if I can’t get rich selling their scribbles as art since that seems to be all the latest rage.


Books are similar. People will buy any book written by an author they have heard of, even if the book itself isn’t any good. There are forums across the internet devoted to authors who have created one good book, and a lot of mediocre books. Readers rave about how many they have read and the plot points of each, and if anyone disagrees with the fanatical ravings, then they are immediately quartered and drawn by the other members of the group.


Now, I am off to go find an artists page and let the fanatics there know that if they insist on adorning their walls with a particular style of impressionist artwork, I can get them quality originals for a fraction of the price. All I have to do is build the name recognition.

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