Hope Wanted: Inquire Within

February 29, 2016

All Images
Jennifer Hagler Photography

By Laura DiFatta

Have you ever gone into a store looking for one thing and then end up leaving with something entirely different? On a recent day this winter, that’s exactly what happened to me. I went into a clothing store with a particular agenda. I could have had no idea what I’d actually leave the store with.

A few feet inside the door of the shop, I was greeted warmly by a salesperson at the store, whose name is Hannah. We chatted politely for a few minutes. I happened to remember that a friend had recently mentioned Hannah’s name to me and had told me how helpful she had been. I passed this compliment on to her. Hannah remembered my friend. As an aside, this friend is currently walking through deep crisis and is doing so with intentional faith in God. Hannah and I began to talk about what an amazing thing it is to witness faith in dark circumstances. Our conversation gradually turned to Hannah’s own experiences of walking through darkness and pain. Hannah revealed something about her past that shocked me. That is when I began to realize the real reason I was there. My agenda went out the window. She had my attention.

Hannah is the kind of girl that if you were to assume anything about her, it would likely be that she “has it made” and that she has led a charmed life. She is a vibrant twenty-two-year old who is beautiful, calm, confident, sweet and has a great sense of personal style.

But, my assumptions about her had been wrong. Hannah began to tell her story: when she entered the seventh grade, she began to be bullied. The people who bullied her had been her closest friends, but they turned on her. Every day, she was laughed at, made fun of, mocked and ridiculed. She was slandered and left out intentionally. She longed to be included and accepted, but she was not. She began to believe what she was being told about herself. And she hated everything about herself. She told me that she cried every single day from eleven years old to thirteen years old and that she began to think that taking her own life would be the answer.

Not only did Hannah experience being ostracized at school, she constantly saw through social media that she was indeed being left out. She had the “proof” before her eyes. Every day–what she perceived as “everyone else being happy and having fun,”—played out right there in her hands on her smartphone. This exacerbated her feelings of loneliness and self-hatred. She began to agree with others: she was a “loser” and her life was worthless. She had very little hope. She wanted to escape from the pain. She had my undivided attention.

In what she deems a divine rescue, God showed up. Hannah needed a haircut. The lady who cut Hannah’s hair exuded joy. Hannah wanted what she had and she told her so. Her hairdresser said that she had joy because of her relationship with Jesus and she invited Hannah to go to church with her that coming Sunday. Hannah had mixed feelings. She was familiar with “church,” but had been turned off by people who claimed to be Christians, but acted very differently from Christ. But, she saw that this lady was different. She didn’t just talk about church, she showed love and she exuded joy! And so, Hannah went with her to church. Once there, she heard a man tell of how he had been a homeless drug addict, but that Jesus had rescued him and freed him from drug addiction and had given him joy and peace and Hope! He said that because of Jesus’ love and power and rescue his whole life had changed! Hannah desperately wanted what he had.

In the past, Hannah had always looked at God as pointing his finger at her in judgement with an expression on shame and condemnation. She had envisioned Him telling her, “You’re just not good enough,” just like all her bullies had done. She definitely hadn’t trusted Him. But now, she was hearing about Jesus—God’s own Son– who actually came to walk this earth to show God’s love in flesh and blood and to seek and save needy people just like her! She realized that He came and paid for her past, present and future sins—her brokenness–and met all her needs—out of love! He gave her what she could never earn–freely—which is what makes the gift of God a grace-gift! She had nothing to give Him, but He offered her everything! The truth that the God who created all things, also created her with inestimable worth began to sink into her thirsty mind and heart. On that day, Hannah’s new life began.

She began to read the Bible where she soaked in Truth that replaced her flawed thinking. What she read transformed her thinking about God and about herself. She read, Truth like: “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” “you are loved with an everlasting love.” She read that God has “plans” and “good” specifically for each person that He has a “hope and a future” for every life He created. And she realized that every day, she had a choice: to listen to what the world had to say about her or to trust in what God has to say about her. Her choice was so clear that it felt like a choice between life and death.

And so Hannah made her choice. She chose to place her trust in Jesus. She realized Jesus had come to be the Way to forgiveness and peace with God. He became her confidence, her firm place to stand—her Rock. He always was, she just hadn’t known it before. She had been deceived. Where there had been a vacuum of hope there was now a well-spring of joy! Hannah would never be the same. And she’s been praising Him ever since.

And that’s not all! As she began to heal and believe her God-given identity: redeemed, beloved, new, holy and dearly loved, she, in turn, began to tell others about the Hope she had found.

She began to have a passion for giving hope to young people. She knows from experience how inundated and distracted they are by cultural messages that are empty and give no lasting hope. She knows how false and empty and deceiving the constant barrage of social media is. She knows firsthand how desperate young people are to know they are loved and accepted, but that many are basing their worth on things that aren’t trustworthy. Many are hurting. Many are confused. Many feel hopeless.

Hannah shared some startling statistics about suicide and drug overdoses in American teens that shocked me: every single day in America there are an average of 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in kids ages 10-24 and the second leading cause of death in college age youth. There is a crisis of hope in our youth.

And so Hannah is on a mission. It is a holy one: she is a determined Hope-bearer! Her message—”God loves you! So much, that He sent His Son to rescue you and to give you new life—now and also eternal life with Him! He is mighty to save!” She wants desperate people to know: “You are not alone! There is no circumstance and no situation that is beyond the power of God to redeem!! You are loved deeply and forever! Your pain and all your brokenness and longings can be made right!” Her eyes were bright and she exuded joy as she talked about this great Hope.

And so, multiple times every week, Hannah leaves the “safe” and goes to the “dangerous.” She sits in a little building that is a place of refuge for the broken, she sits with young women who have only known brokenness. These teens lives have been ravaged by the poor choices of others. They are living in circumstances of brokeness and pain. And they are taking hold of Hope as sure as a person dying of thirst would grab a flask of water. They have seen and experienced the pain of this world and they have tasted the good Living Water for their souls: Jesus! Hannah sits and listens to their stories, she visits them—even some who have been taken by the foster system and relocated—because she loves them. And they know it. She has experienced the love of Christ and she in turn is being the church as the church was meant to be. She knows she is loved generously. And so she loves generously.

The meaning of the name Hannah is, “grace-gift—a gift of unmerited favor.” And in the Bible, Hannah is used as a verb to describe, “a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need.” In the Bible, this is most used to describe God’s actions toward people. God—who is the same yesterday, today and forever–graciously and compassionately gave to Hannah, who had a deep need. And in response, she is going and doing likewise.

God redeemed Hannah’s pain. He allowed her to see the unreliable nature and emptiness of the world’s approval and He drew Her to Himself! God was weaving His love story in all her moments and has given her purpose and joy! He can do the same for you! He writes the script!
I left the store that day with no new clothes, but with something incomparably better: a story of hope! Hope given…through a hairdresser and then a former homeless drug addict to Hannah and now through Hannah to young girls in desperate circumstances…
Who knows where Hope will show up next?! But I do know this, I want to be a part of giving it!
Will you join me?

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

The Artistry of Botox

Advanced Uses

February 22, 2016

discussing the "usual" areas of the face where Botox is commonly used

discussing how Botox can help improve "cobblestoning" on the chin

discussing the muscular bands on the neck and how they can lead to skin laxity

All Images
Taylor Campbell of Seiler Skin

By Buffy York

I told you last week I would be having several new guest bloggers in the coming weeks and months and today I am excited to have Dr. Warren Seiler of Seiler Skin sharing the low-down on the many uses of Botox.  I have recently become a patient at Seiler Skin and the attention to detail paid by him and his staff is unparalleled.  The photographs above were taken after my initial hour long consult and we were discussing how Botox can “lessen the blow” of wrinkles and lax skin delivered by aging.  Dr. Seiler will be appearing monthly on the blog so be sure and check out his video at the bottom of the post and if you have any topics you would like him to cover in the future please let me know.

The Artistry of Botox
Warren B. Seiler III, MD

First of all, I would like to thank Buffy for inviting me to contribute to her great blog. I am excited to educate and share information with all of you.

To introduce myself, my name is Warren B. Seiler III, MD and I am a Board-Certified Cosmetic Laser Surgeon in practice since 2007. After general surgery residency, I completed training in cosmetic laser, injection and aesthetic procedures before starting my solo private practice in Homewood (Birmingham) Alabama. I subsequently received a specialty Board Certification from the American Board of Laser Surgery, the only certifying Board in Laser Medicine and Surgery. I focus my entire practice on laser and injection procedures. Due to my passion for educating practitioners and patients on these procedures, I am a trainer for Lumenis Laser Company and Allergan (manufacturer of Botox, Juvederm, Voluma, Kybella, Latisse and SkinMedica).

In this first blog, I would like to share my knowledge and experience with Botox and it’s multiple common and advanced uses (some techniques are less well-known than others).  Currently, I have performed just over 10,000 Botox procedures.  I have trained multiple physician and nurse (legal in some other states) injectors in the advanced techniques using Botox, Juvederm, and Voluma.

Whether or not you have had Botox, you might not be aware that getting great results with Botox is about the art of injecting, knowing the face and neck anatomy and proportions, and how injecting one area might affect another.  It is also extremely important to comprehensively consult with each patient and take the time to understand their concerns and goals.  The injector must also look at the face/neck as a whole and evaluate many aspects before simply injecting a product into an area.  Some injectors may take a very standardized approach with Botox, simply and quickly injecting the same areas and amount in every patient.  An experienced and specialized injector will individualize Botox treatments to what each different patient needs and can achieve depending on their anatomy.

You may know that Botox can help reduce movement, lines and wrinkles in common areas like the forehead, between the eyebrows, and the crow’s feet.  However, Botox can also be used to lift the brow, reduce nose wrinkles (bunny lines), reduce upper and lower vertical lip lines, reduce mouth/lip frowning, help perk up the lip, soften a strong jawline in women (reduce a masculine look of the jaw), and even give a lower face/jaw and neck lift when injected into the muscular bands of the neck (platysmal bands, popularly called the Nefertiti Lift).  Botox can help with common headaches, migraines, TMJ symptom, and even under arm sweating.

How does all this work?  The injector must really know the proportions and anatomy of the face.  Botox works to soften muscle movement to reduce lines.  Don’t worry, if done correctly, you can have a normal look without heaviness, freezing or crazy brow!  And, you don’t need a ton of Botox in most cases.  My patients are happy to see that I get great and natural results with about half of the typical amount of Botox because I know just where to put it.

It’s not your responsibility to know what is causing your aging look or what areas to inject/treat.  That’s why an injector needs to take a specialized approach and evaluate what you need as an individual to look more youthful.

So what happens as we age and why?  Here is how I look at the entire face and neck.

When I first met with Buffy and started to discuss some of her concerns, I watched her face and neck movement and expressions.  I noticed that she was very active in her facial expressions (movement that can cause the skin to crease and form noticeable lines).  She also moved and flexed her neck muscles.  I told her that in addition to helping her with her upper face lines and movement (typical areas to inject Botox such as the forehead, between the eyes, and crow’s feet), I could help tighten her lower face, jawline, upper neck and decrease her frown with Botox.  She was surprised to hear me mention that.  For example, I showed her in a mirror how she strains her neck muscles (neck banding) and that pulls the skin forward and causes neck skin laxity.  She never even knew that she did that!  I told her that many people make facial expressions with other “less recognized” areas that can cause wrinkles and skin laxity.  This is why the injector must look at the face and neck as a whole, notice “every day movement” that can affect how the skin looks, and understand how to assess all areas.  Sometimes face laxity can be caused by a strong neck muscle that I can relax with Botox which results in a nice lifting to the entire face and neck.

So, what was happening in Buffy’s neck?  With repetitive straining of the frontal neck muscles, the neck skin is constantly stretched and pulled forward.  Eventually, the skin “stops trying to go back to where it should.”  This causes neck laxity and a less well-defined jawline resulting in a more aged appearance.  In the right patient, Botox can be used to soften those neck muscles and the skin will start to retract to its normal tighter position.  This gives the patient a mild to moderate neck lift after several treatments.  Botox in the neck muscle can also help to reduce the neck banding, commonly called the “11s.”

Next, Botox can be injected in the chin to reduce chin “cobblestoning” or wrinkling and can help reduce the muscle that makes the corners of the mouth turn down as a frown.  Don’t worry, if done correctly, this technique results in evening up the corners of the mouth but not making you look like the Joker as some fear!

I would also use Botox in the more common areas to reduce upper face wrinkling, lift the brow, open the eyes, and reduce crow’s feet.

Finally, Kybella can help reduce neck fullness from fat and/or the “double chin.”  Filler, such as Juvederm Voluma, can then be used to lift the mid and upper face and cheeks.  Combining all of these advanced techniques results in a non-surgical face and neck lift with natural results.

You can look more youthful without pain, downtime, bruising or anyone thinking you had a facelift!  Yep, you heard that correctly. . . you don’t have to bruise and have pain with injections.  I take my time, hold pressure and use ice and numbing techniques when appropriate, and even use a cool state-of-the-art device called the Accuvein to minimize any bruising.  If you have had an unpleasant experience before with some of these procedures, you would be surprised to see that injections don’t have to hurt and bruise and leave you questioning results and your decision to receive them.  In the right hands, the procedures I have discussed can be very beneficial, safe, and painless.  Trust that you can see a more youthful you when you look in the mirror!

This is not a sponsored post and no goods or services were received.


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