for when you think nail polish isn’t a good way to serve others

Here’s a secret: I don’t brush my hair.

Recently, my family managed to lose every hairbrush in the house. It did not faze me. It’s like saying we misplaced a screwdriver. Ah, well, sorry to hear that, but it doesn’t impact me.

Now, let’s discuss my daughter. She’s put together. She’s fancy. She matches her clothes with her earrings. She knows where hair brushes are located. Oh, and my girl knows her nail polish.

Today my daughter told me she wanted to hold a nail polish stand. This was the perfect time for me to delve into all of the reasons a nail polish stand is superficial. It was also a good time for me to rant about the twenty some bottles of nail polish we own and how our money could and should be spent differently.

After I finished my mini-lecture, I felt proud (gross). Another nugget of wisdom I tossed down on my child. Where’s my cape?

As my girl was leaving the room, I wondered what she would possibly do with her nail polish stand money should one of our neighbors drop by her stand, and so I asked.

“Buy more nail polish,” she replied.

Did my recent talk mean nothing? Does she already have the nod and pretend you are listening thing down?

“For the girls at Steadfast House (local shelter).”

Experts say as we age, we often lose our creative potential. We conform to the guidelines set by schools or friends or life. I believe it.

My girl took something she knew how to do, was good at, and already possessed the resources to come up with an idea to serve others. That’s creative.

And it’s a good reminder about backing off and letting my daughter teach me about what comes naturally to her.

So, if you are in need of a quick summer manicure, I know a girl who will be sitting in the sunshine waiting to paint Marine Scene, Ivy League, Grape Icy, or seventeen other colors on your nails.

Photo credit.

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Amy L. Sullivan
SERVE Editor Word lover. Book devourer. Music addict. Amy is a Northern girl who found herself living in the South. She drinks sweet tea, turns her nose up at okra, and attempts to tell her daughters "yella" isn't a color.


  1. Love it Amy! We need those out of the box ideas. Just awesome. :)

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Thanks, Heather. Can I reserve you a spot? Ha!

      • There are days Amy, when I wish we lived closer! 😉 Tell your dear girl to keep rockin’ it. I love it when they “school” us.

        • Amy L. Sullivan

          Thanks, Heather,
          I will tell her she has long distance cheerleaders!

  2. Beautiful. My girl is like that too. So surprising sometimes how much they absorb. She’s following in her Mama’s footsteps :)

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      I wish she was following in my footsteps, but on most days, she’s creating her own! Thankfully, this is a good thing! Thanks for reading.

  3. I love little A’s heart. Very sweet. Now, my little A is right there with you on the no hair-brushing policy. It is a constant battle. Maybe it’s time to let her stop brushing her hair because it just might be that she doesn’t brush it as an adult anyway, lol

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Hair brushing is totally overrated! Tell your girl I’m on her side!

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Susan, She really is a sweet thing. Even with the emerging tween attitude, she teaches me things every day!

  4. I have a co-worker who is becoming a nail tech in her spare time so that she will be able to go to nursing homes and do manicures for the elderly. This post reminded me of her… Great post! So sweet! :)

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Ohhh, I love the heart of your friend. I used to volunteer in a nursing home, and the days the hair and nail people came in were such fun days for the residents. Yeah for your friend!

  5. Aww, Amy, your little girl has a tender heart. I love it. Isn’t it wonderful when we see their little innocent hearts that have naturally sinful tendencies turn towards Jesus so much quicker than ours? That’s how I see it, anyway. My girls and I sat down to pick out a Compassion child to sponsor, and my girl–she said, “Mama, I want the oldest one they have–because those kids–they never get picked.” We got an 18 yr. old.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      And your girl is right! Those older kids never get chosen. We all know that, but your girl chose to act. Love it.

  6. I don’t brush my hair either. God is okay with that. Ministry is anywhere, wherever God wants it to be.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      I knew I liked you.

  7. Nice Amy. Next generations always seem to be better parents than the previous and you are a great example of that.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Dear LS,
      Thank you for your kind words.

  8. I love it when a child makes us pause and look at something differently. She sounds amazing!

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      I need all the pausing I can, and yes, amazing? She sure is (says the smiling mom)!

  9. love it! love it! love it! – What a great place to minister the love of the father, too. Don and Katie Fortune’s book “Discover your Spiritual Gifts” talks about the giver gift – how they are gifted at making money for ministry:) When I taught “Standing at the Crossroads” at a college ministry for 6 weeks,one girl had met God, gave her life to him and thought she needed to drop out of college to be a nutritionist (something she had wanted to be since she was little) – and go serve God. She couldn’t see that her mission field was through the nutrition field – sometimes secular jobs are the vhicle to drive through a mission field:) Love your daughter is driving that vehicle! Proud mama moment for you!!!

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Ahhh, I love what you say about secular jobs being our mission field. So, so true. And, I haven’t read “Discover Your Spiritual Gifts”. Thanks for the lead.

  10. Sandra Heska King

    So. Awesome. Buy more nail polish. I love your girl. She’s investing in something way more important than a product or the superficial. What she wants to do is an investment in love and the eternal. Sign me up.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Saturday at 12:30. You are on. Do you like green or purple?

      • Sandra Heska King

        Let’s go with purple on my fingers. Can she do green on my toes?

  11. Claire Florine

    How awesome is this story!!! You have an incredible daughter. Our students in CRU summer project just got off of a poverty simulation and the women were discussing the desire each women has to feel beautiful. During the simulation they were tired, dirty, smelly, and could not put on the usual makeup, wash their face with their usual facial scrub, or get a good night’s sleep (they slept in a parking garage). It might be “just” nail polish, but it could make an otherwise tired and worn out woman feel truly beautiful.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      You know, I’ve always wanted to do a poverty simulation. I’d love to hear more about this.

      • Claire Florine

        The students’ things were taken from them (most notably, their phone and money and car keys). They got an “allowance” (paper money that they could “buy” food with from the staff), and they slept in an enclosed church parking garage from a Wednesday evening to late night on that Friday. The staff (including myself) was instructed to be cold towards the students in order to represent the lack of voice or power which homeless or the poor have in our society and culture. It ended up being an extremely powerful experience for the students.

        I too wish I could have participated. As staff, it was more about the student’s experience, but I would love to do a poverty simulation sometimes in the future. I live in an area with a lot of poverty, and so I think it would help me to understand what my literal neighbors go through.

  12. She’s so awesome. Seriously, big things in store for that girl!
    Glad it went well!

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Awww. I think so too! Thanks, Mariah.

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