Hey friends, remember when I went to Hollywood? Yeah, still can’t believe that happened.
When this video showed up all over my Facebook feed, it reminded me I owe you some stories, something about Tinseltown and movie stars and stretch limousines. (Also, super embarrassing for this camera shy momma.) Except, when I think about those whirlwind of days, the material trappings of a very lovely trip are not what I think about first.
Oh, don’t worry, there were plenty of material trappings and I am not ashamed to say that I reveled in them. Good food, fancy hotel rooms, stretch limousines, pampering(!!), fancy clothes, jewelry that I may have offered to trade my house for, and an impossibly long red carpet that we inched our way down in one of the more surreal moments of my life. And thankfully, I have photographs to pull out when I want to remember the exterior glitter of a Hollywood existence.
But here’s the real value of my trip, the moments I don’t have a photograph for, and the memories that are indelibly woven into my heart and soul. There are two, in particular that I would like to share.
On the day of the premier, we were so fortunate to be pampered by the staff of Spoke And Weal, LA. Not only did we get the full hair and make-up treatment, but after some whispered consultations on their part and some awkward questions on cost and scheduling on our part, the salon graciously agreed to treat our guests for free as well. So unexpected, and SO appreciated. Doing my make-up was the oh-so talented Dell Miller (who happens to be featured on the TLC show, Style By Jury), and the second person I want to tell you about.
From the moment I sank into the chair, I felt beautiful. Not because of my dry and patchy skin, or the extra deployment wrinkles rapidly congregating in the corners of my eyes – all so fetching, but just no. No, Dell was encouraging, complimentary, and genuinely happy to be sharing in my excitement at being a part of this experience. He made me laugh, told me fun Hollywood and high fashion stories, complimented my skin, and acted like it was perfectly natural for me to be in his chair getting all dolled up for a red carpet. He verbally and physically highlighted specific aspects of my appearance that ARE beautiful and brought them out in the best way-a MAJOR confidence booster for this weary mama. I will forever love (and occasionally wear) my Barbie pink lipstick, thanks to him.
It may not sound like much to you, but it is the moment that stands out more than any other. I don’t take much time to make myself feel beautiful in a way the world can measure, but to be cared for by a stranger in that moment made such an impact on me and I am so very thankful Dell was the one wielding the brushes on me that day.
Second, on the day prior, we were fortunate enough to go shopping with Sarah Drew, the star of the movie and a full time cast member of the television show Grey’s Anatomy.
Most of the minutes we spent with her were a whirlwind of dresses, shoes, camera people, and exaggerated hand talking. (Okay, that last part was just me. Always me.) But after choosing dresses and shoes, we were whisked away in a stretch limo to Beverly Hills to pick out our jewelry. (Editors note: Never in a million years did I imagine writing that sentence). It was quieter in the limo, and most importantly, there was no one filming our conversation.
In the meandering way that these things happen, we were able to share real and difficult personal events that shaped who we were as Christians and as mommas. In addition, Sarah talked to us about being a Christian in Hollywood, how her faith was portrayed on her hit tv show, and how it impacted her story lines. She was gracious, funny, humble, and honest.
And for that brief moment, crammed into a luxurious limo in Beverly Hills, we came together as women, as mothers, as sisters in Christ.
Because it’s all level terrain here at the foot of the Cross, though the pedestals of the world loom high outside the gates.
We would all do so well to remember that.
So, to the Erwin brothers and your gracious wives. To Mr and Mrs. Hank Erwin, Dell Miller, the entire staff at Spoke and Weal, and Mr. Martin and Kelly Katz. To our stylist, our camera crew, and our minder Laurie, (who had the patience of a saint). To David and Karis Almgren, crew members on the movie who took care of Second Son the whole first day. To Kenny the limo driver, and the sales clerk at the MAC store who spent an hour giving me eyeshadow lessons. (I’m 35, y’all. That’s a whole other blog post!)
You treated us with respect and value. And tapping my (VERY SPARKLY) toes down an iconic altar in the cult of celebrity worship, it mattered. More than you will ever know to this non showered, yoga pants wearing, dirty minivan owning, ex-helicopter pilot and soon to be momma of four from flyover country.
And your stories, the ones not splashed across tabloids and gossip websites, are the ones I most loved to hear. For two lovely and surreal days, your stories became a part of mine. This is the Hollywood that sticks with me.
I am eternally grateful for it and you.
FUN BONUS: For those of you who made it to the end, I am giving away a copy of Mom’s Night Out on DVD. Share my story, leave me a comment, maybe tell me YOUR most surreal moment ever and I will pick a winner from the comment section.
UPDATE: In January of this year, Dell was admitted to the hospital with a lifethreatening and rare infection. Thankfully, he is home now and recovering. Please click here to read more about and support his fight for recovery.
All my love.
SECOND FUN FACT: In what should not be a wholly unexpected foot in mouth moment, I did tell Sarah that I was not that impressed with her job because, I too, at one point, had a very cool job. To be fair, it was in the context of the fact that I was more excited about her being a Christian than being a famous actress. Sarah, if you ever read this, I’m so sorry!! She is a phenomenal actress and I binge-watched 4 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy just for her. Also, the most selfies I ever took in a 48-hour period. EVER.