Though she's recently started putting creative little outfits together and twisting her hair into cute little do's, I am quite happy to see that much of the time Ruby is pretty unaware of her looks. At times she's a jumble of gap toothed grins, funky styles and hair in her face. Then there are times that she just takes my breath away and I can so see the young woman that she's becoming. In a world where there are so many unrealistic standards for girls and where so many young ones are overwhelmed at an early age with what they "should" look like, I am longing to see my girl grow in confidence and strength. I want her to learn that her real beauty is in a heart that loves and cares and finds her purpose. I want her to know how pretty she is on the outside will reflect that.

Makeup artist Molly Sterns says: A women looks beautiful when she feels beautiful. I want Ruby to feel beautiful, as she knows how loved she is by the Lord and her family and as she becomes lovely by growing beauty in her heart. As a mum, I am conscious to steer her clear of shallow shows and commercials that accentuate insecure attempts to make girls feel like they should look a certain way. Even with things like editing her pictures with her watching, I am not "fixing" things on her face so she feels like she needs to be edited in real life. We build her up and want to give her lots of opportunities to be smart and learning, to be creative, to be active and also to feel pretty and special. I think there's so many things that need to be acknowledged in a girl as she grows. I am also careful not to tear myself down in front of her, to take care of myself and not harp on and voice the things that I could let myself want to change about the way I look. I want to model for her the things that I am trying to grow in her. I am also thankful that the friends she has are girls who are generous and beautiful in a wonderful variety of ways, girls who are encouraging.

She's been growing her hair long ever since she heard about Locks of Love about two years ago. She loved the idea of giving her hair so that a hairpiece could be made for a child who was sick, either with cancer or another illness that caused hair loss. She's been excited along the way but in the last month or two before we planned to cut it, I could tell she had some mixed feelings and was a bit sad about cutting her hair. Though I didn't want to push her, I did want to encourage her to follow through with her intent.

We took some images the day before we went for the cut. I wanted some clean, simple images of how beautiful she was with long hair.

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She is ever so pretty to me but even more so as she gathered her courage and experienced the gift of being able to bless another person. It was really neat to see how she just beamed and in the process of giving and letting her heart be expanded, looked every bit as lovely with her haircut.

Oma arrived and made the occasion so special as she cheered on our girl and made her feel like a million bucks. We went to Great Clips where they gave Ruby a complimentary Locks of Love haircut and sent in the hair for us.  I appreciated the kind stylist who explained just what he was doing to her hair as he put in small ponytails which he clipped. Then he  gave her a super little cut.  He was also very patient with me as I took a bunch of photos. I so appreciate businesses who participate in great programs like Locks of Love.

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Then Oma took Ruby to Fred Meyer and let her choose some new hair goodies.

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That is one proud mummy with her very, very beautiful girl.

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