Tag Archives: outer beauty

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.BlueBelleBooks.com, http://www.SecondWind Publishing.com, or http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/.

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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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