GNO with Cathy Barnes: Spinning Plates, Urban Decay, and Loving Your Man

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I am a wife, mother, and a daughter of the King. God has blessed me with a rich and varied life. I have been a dancer, police officer and art teacher, and have participated in everything from beauty pageants to search warrants. 
 
I have been married to my hero, Jeff, for 26 years. We’ve raised two wonderful adults, Allie (25) and Charlie (22), and are enjoying the incredible bond that comes from weathering years of experiences together…. good times, and bad—joys and sorrow.  I am blessed to be working with children every day teaching them about art, and the Ultimate Artist—God.  I love drawing, painting, reading, …and  picking up a gun for some target practice now and then.
What is a lie that you believed as a younger woman that you don’t believe now?  
The lie I believed as a younger woman was,“You can have it all!” A full time career, a family, and a rich personal life – and it will be GREAT! It will look just like the pictures in the magazines accompanying articles on this subject. You know the pictures I mean. Classy businesswomen in pencil skirts; heels, minus the midriff bulge, carrying a buttery leather briefcase in one arm, and a smiling baby in the other, trailed by two immaculately dressed school children who are not fighting.
I guess“having it all” needed to be defined for me. See, for me it meant breezing through all of these areas without struggle. I felt that if there was struggle involved, it meant that I was falling short in some ways. For years, I was “doing” it all, but I wasn’t “having” it the way I wanted, or rather the way I thought it should be. I felt I was failing if things weren’t perfect. The snapshots of my life, my home, etc. didn’t match the magazines. “Having it all,” to me, meant all my plates were up on their sticks, spinning hard and steady, whizzing along – a picture of perfection. My plates at times were wobbly; some slowed down, some hit the floor and I would repeatedly be picking up the pieces. I felt like I was inadequate when every area of my life wasn’t spinning right along. In today’s culture, many women are doing it all and are stressed and burdened by what I consider the myth of  “having it all.” I’ve learned that when you are handling many things at once, some areas will, at times, invariably slip. You will have to rely on God to cover all the bases and forgive yourself when things go wrong. You have to learn to let go of perfectionism, comparing yourself to others, and laugh things off. You will have to make choices and compromise. No one, and I mean no one, sails through it effortlessly. You can do it all, but it will require letting some things go, being ok with imperfection. Having it all implies it will be easy. It’s not.
What woman most inspires you and why?  

Years ago, while volunteering at my church’s Vacation Bible School, I worked with a woman who has continued to inspire me over the twenty years I have known her. Her children were young marrieds when mine were just beginning elementary school, but the age gap was never noticed. I still joke that when I grow up I want to be just like her.
She is a godly woman whose deep relationship with the Lord shines through everything she does. She raised her three children through the Vietnam years while her husband flew jets of the deck of an aircraft carrier. She endured the separation and loneliness, not to mention the many moves associated with military life, by maintaining that strong relationship with God, and by living out the commitment she made to her husband. Her age does not define her, as she continues to serve the Lord in a variety of ways. She is positive, upbeat, and has a wonderful sense of humor. She maintains a beautiful home and has the gift of hospitality, making a visit to her home a treat. She seeks ways that she can be helpful to others: cooking meals for others in times of need, and offering her help in a variety of ways. I am blessed to have had her be a part of my life all these years, and have tried to follow her lead as I have grown older.
What is the best beauty/fashion tip that someone gave you?  
Wear black and hold your stomach in. Oh… wait… no… just kidding. I guess the beauty tips that have worked for me are:

Use make-up to enhance your looks, not to cover or change your looks. Less is more unless you’re on the stage. On the other hand…. If you wear so little that no one knows you’re wearing it…. What’s the point? Find the right colors of blush, lipstick, and eye shadow that work with your complexion not clash with it. 
      If you want your eye shadow to last and not wind up in the crease of your eyes, use a really good eye shadow base. The best I’ve found is by Urban Decay (found at Sephora). 
·       As you grow older, avoid high
      shimmer eye shadow and go with matte. 
      If you want to keep your skin looking smooth into your older years, stay out of the sun!
As far as fashion goes…. Forget the trends, and go with the styles that look best and flatter you. Sure, Uggs may be the rage, but if your legs are like tree trunks they may not be the best choice. Find someone you can really trust, and ask them if a particular look suits you. If they say, “no,” believe them!
What advice would you give a young bride?
Love your husband more than you love yourself. I’m old fashioned, I guess, so young brides may cringe at what I am about to say. Over the years, I have taken great pleasure in making our home a place that my husband looked forward to coming to at the end of his day. I loved the days I was able to have something cooking that smelled good when he came in the door. The house may not have been immaculate, but I did try to pick up the clutter so that his first impression when he walked in was one of order – not chaos. I tried to make myself presentable, and welcoming. I took pride in this and still do.  I want him to see his home as a haven, and not something to dread going to. Now, was I able to do this every single day? Did I feel like a failure if it didn’t happen? NO. But I have always loved taking care of the man who takes care of us so well. In return, I have received that same love and consideration back. Last year, he returned from Afghanistan and spent a year at home while I worked full time. When I came home each day, there was something good cooking on the stove. The house was neat, and he was waiting to hear about my day. As I have loved and served him over the years, I have received it back in spades.
Take delight in taking care of your husband more than you seek to be taken care of. Watch and see— it will come back to you as well.
What has God taught you about trusting Him?  
He never fails if I will be patient and not take matters into my own hands. If I need reassurance, I look back at all the sticky situations or things that I was worried about in the past that God brought me through so well. He does not let me down.
Your friend, 
Cathy

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