Red Hair and Realization

For years, I hated being a redhead. If you’re redheaded, maybe you know what I mean. We stand out in a crowd like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and grow up hearing chants of, “Hey, Carrot Top, I’d rather be dead than red on the head!”

There’s no denying this hair–bright red from the moment I was born.


My whole family was redheaded–all six of us. When we went out in public, people stared like we were The Addams Family.


One day my discontentment got the best of me as my lifelong friend Robin and I headed toward the beach.

I stared at her.

I want to look just like Robin. Tan smooth skin. No freckles.  And definitely no clown-red hair.


Here I am–my skin white as the glaring sand.

We stretched out on our blankets and Robin covered herself in Baby Oil.

So I did too.

No sunscreen.

No zinc oxide like Mother always made me wear.

Getting a tan can’t be that hard.

All day long I copied Robin. Flipped over when she did. Applied more Baby Oil every hour or so.

She never said her skin was on fire, so neither did I.

Even though it was.

That night I smiled through my pain. This thin cotton shirt hurt like the dickens.

At 34, I got skin cancer. (I wrote about it GUIDEPOSTS magazine .)

Probably because of all the times I’d gotten sunburned.

Trying to be someone I’m not.

Over the years, Robin and I’ve had lots of good talks. We’ve thanked God for giving us life, loves, and laughter.

And He’s changed my thinking.

When you finally come to love yourself, something amazing happens.

You stop doting on yourself.

You forget about yourself.

Then, my friends, you’re free to love others.



P.S. Here’s Robin’s incredible blog ALL THINGS HEART AND HOME.

From My Heart to My Toes

Last week I got a crazy idea.

Why don’t you try a new color on your toenails?

I’d never ventured from two basic toenail polish colors–something in the cinnamon family or Cherry Red. And always clear for my short fingernails.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.

But I have red hair. My choices are limited. No oranges. No pinks.

Let go. Live a little.

Toenail polish color shouldn’t have been such a big deal, but it was. I asked the young girl behind the counter at the nail salon which color she’d suggest. She studied the bottles of polish on the wall.

“I like this one for you.”

She chose hot pink. Neon pink.

“You’re kidding. I don’t wear pink. Especially hot pink.”

“You should try it.”

I handed the polish to my manicurist. She smiled. “Good color.”

As I put my feet into the warm bubbles, she took a phone call. I tiptoed across the floor and swapped the scary hot pink for safe Cherry Red.

She ended her call. “Changed your mind?”

Something seemed to gently insist that this was about more than nail polish.

“Okay,” I said. “Go with pink.’

As she swiped electric pink on my big toe I almost said, “Never mind. I don’t like change.”

Aha. The truth.

By the time she finished foot number one, I knew one thing. The color made a bold fearless statement. A smile started from my heart. “I love it!”

“Don’t be afraid of the unknown,” God seemed to say. Looking at my feet, I remembered the scripture from Psalms 139:1 (ESV). “O Lord, You have searched me and known me!”

If He knows me, surely I can let go and welcome change. The unknown. Even risk wearing pink.

Is God calling you to something new today?