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How Aging Women Display Their Inner Beauty

Updated on March 22, 2017
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MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the prospect of joyful aging. She explores and shares habits of happy seniors.

The thirty-year old photograph of my former husband and me is one of my favorites. Occasionally, someone asks why I keep it, and I always answer, “I like the way I look in that picture.”

During a visit from two of my little cousins ages eight and ten, they were admiring the portrait when the younger one asked, “Why did you leave him?”

“I thought I was too pretty for him.” I joked.

“Yea,” she said while gazing at the younger version of me, “you were really beautiful.”

I thanked her for the compliment, and immediately she added, “Well, you can go back to him now. You’re not so beautiful anymore.”

I could not help laughing, but her older sister did not think it was funny. “You shouldn’t say that," she chided.

The outspoken darling replied, “She’ll be alright. She’s strong.”

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

— Sophia Loren

When the reality of fading physical beauty sets in, aging women do well to remember that their inner beauty still shines in their strength, as in all their other virtues (some mentioned in the alphabet below). In this article, we will admire the beauty in four of these many virtues and appreciate their emphasis on being beautiful more than looking beautiful.

The Alphabet of Beautiful Traits

Column No. 1 (A-F)
Column No. 2 (G-M)
Column No. 3 (N-T)
Column No. 4 (U-Z)
A - Awareness
G - Gratitude
N - Neatness
U - Uniqueness
B - Bravery
H - Honesty
O - Optimism
V - Vivacity
C- Confidence
I - Insight
P - Patience
W - Wisdom
D - Decency
J - Joy
Q - Quietness
X - eXcellence
E- Elegance
K - Kindness
R - Respect
Y - Youthfulness
F- Fairness
L - Loyalty
S - Strength
Z - Zest
 
M - Modesty
T - Tact
 
Fill the blank with one of your positive traits: " My _______ is a display of my beauty."

Beauty in Strength

Painting by Aleksander Mroczkowski
Painting by Aleksander Mroczkowski | Source

The strength of the building is not in the glossy paint which is put on to make it look attractive; the strength is in the steel which lay hidden inside the walls. Without the steel, the gloss has nothing on which to stand.

Similarly, the essence of real beauty is not the glossy glamor which youth lends to women; the essence of their beauty is the foundational virtues built into their character.

Sadly, in some women, self-worth declines with loss of physical beauty in later years. Not so, for those who nurtured character as much as they nurtured looks.

Strong character is always attractive; physical features decline gradually until they are not so beautiful anymore.

Character strength equals beauty in women when:

  • Wrinkles line the face, but they do not reduce the motivation seen in their smiling eyes.
  • Gravity pulls at their breasts, but it does not reduce the strength of love and compassion within their bosom.
  • Cellulite forms bumps on their thighs, but those same thighs form a lap for the grandchildren who feel the beautiful strength of a grandparent’s embrace.

It is the strong support that aging women give and the long-lasting influence on the recipients which feel so beautiful.

Beauty in Self-Acceptance

Women who reach the retirement age, have had much practice in acceptance ("the act of taking or receiving something offered" - Dictionary.com) . They accepted job positions which, though not their first choice, helped to develop their work skills. They accepted people and situations, recognizing their power to influence results. As they age, they extend that spirit of acceptance to the approval of what they have become. They love who they are.

Not that they set aside their ambitions and passions, but they do not burden themselves with memories of mistakes they made or opportunities that slipped past them. Neither are they jealous of other women who gained more than they did. They carry around a sweet attitude of contentment, counting their blessings and parading to the younger women the beauty of graceful aging.

Self-acceptance frees them to pursue another level of living—the level at which fading looks and decreasing physical abilities become reminders of the great odds they have survived. They tell stories of struggles, accentuating the successes. By accepting that their lives are beautiful, they become part of that beauty.

Beauty in Optimism

Some people give an ugly impression of old age. They wear a constant frown and they curse at their current incapacities. Folks prefer the company of cheerful old ladies who share positive perspectives when they confront the complications of aging.

Millions of young and old women are inspired by Jenny Joseph’s humorous optimism in her poem beginning, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple | With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.” She decided to start wearing the combination colors immediately, “So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised, | When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple!

Red Hat Society for Women over 50 Is Inspired by Jenny's Poem

Photo by lorigoldberg
Photo by lorigoldberg | Source

Thank God for the optimistic old women who share laughter even while they are aching.

  • An old woman disagreed with the doctor who said that the pain in one of her knees was due to old age. “Couldn’t be, she informed him. “The other knee is just as old.”
  • My aunt lived on a hill and when she could no longer walk down the path, she said, “Staying up here gives me an advantage. I’ll be ahead of most people when it’s time for us to fly to heaven.” She was a favorite aunt.

Optimistic old women make other people like their company. The beauty they put forth in attitude and words affect others over distance and time. The beauty in their optimism is lasting.

Beauty in Faith

Some of the best stories about the beauty of faith are told by children and grandchildren who had mothers and grandmothers praying for them. Many of the offspring reaped positive life-changing results, because the old women choose to pray, and not to worry.

Faith in God affects the aging women’s poise and mood. Sarah in the Bible story laughed out loud when God rewarded her trust in Him:

And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6 (NLT). . . She believed that God would keep his promise (Hebrews 11: 11).

No amount of Botox can create beauty comparative to the beauty of godliness in aging women of faith.

© 2016 Dora Weithers

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    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 10 months ago from The Caribbean

      Mary, you inspire me. Thank you for your very wise insight.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 10 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am over 65 now and I feel much better inside. I am no longer bothered by things that used to get me so I can appreciate things that come my way as well as almost everyone. I just love being older.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Barry, I know that you're not being sarcastic because you only need take the time to notice her. I appreciate your input.

    • profile image

      Barry 12 months ago

      A woman with all those qualities in the beauty alphabet is a treasure. Where can I find her?

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 13 months ago from The Caribbean

      Geri, I pray to be one of those older women. Thanks for your feedback.

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 13 months ago

      What a beautiful article, MsDora (no pun intended). I have seen older women whose inner beauty radiates so much that they appear beautiful on the outside, too. I especially liked the Alphabet of Beautiful Traits, and the sentence below it for us to fill in the blank with a trait. An excellent way to mindfully put these traits into practice!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Glenis, I'm sure that your positive attitude is more beautiful than the color of your hair. We learn gradually. I will check on that poem. Thanks.

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 14 months ago from UK

      I like your positive attitude towards the physical changes we undergo as we grow older. They can be difficult to accept - I'm soon to be 69 and I've finally decided to stop colouring my hair. There is a most beautiful poem about ageing by W.B. Yeats entitled When You Are Old.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Vespa, you make me smile. My regards to your grandmother. My appreciation to you for such a pleasant feedback!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 14 months ago from Peru, South America

      Thank you for the pep talk! My grandmother is a member of the red hat society and she is a beautiful, strong woman. I agree that what we carry inside is more important than the outside. Thank you for this beautiful article.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 15 months ago from The Caribbean

      Teaches, I totally believe like you do that faith translates into beauty. Thanks for your valuable feedback.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 15 months ago

      I so enjoyed this article. As I am getting older, I realize it is our inner attitude and beauty that is timeless. I loved your ABC on Character strength equals beauty in women. Thank you for encouraging women to express themselves through character. I am sharing this with others. Faith in God does make a difference when it comes to true beauty.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

      Shauna, you're a great model for aging women. I love your attitude and thank you for sharing.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 18 months ago from Central Florida

      Dora, this is one of the most beautiful pieces I've read on aging women. I love the comparison of a woman's strength of character to the hidden support system of a building. If anyone is having a hard time dealing with lost outer beauty, that's the section to read as a reminder of what's important.

      I was just remarking to someone the other day that I'm in a good place. I'm comfortable with myself as I age. Things that once seemed monumental no longer carry weight. Priorities fall into place effortlessly and I'm free to be me.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Deb, I feel more beautiful now; I think most of us are. Thank you for sharing.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 20 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have known the beauty of many women in their winter years. Some of them are more beautiful than those that are in the spring of their lives.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Swalia, we're on the same page with regards to beauty. You stay beautiful!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 20 months ago

      Amazing hub! Physical beauty may fade but inner beauty lives forever. Yet we hanker for outward beauty ignoring the beautiful soul inside.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Dream On, you are blessed to have witnessed the virtues of those aging women. I'm sure that they influenced the positive outlook you've been sharing. Your comment reads prophetic-like. Thank you and I receive that.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 20 months ago

      I relearned so much from your hub today. When I was in my early twenties I spent a lot of time with the elderly, mostly woman. When I could of been doing anything else in my life I chose to be around women who made a difference and always will in our lives.I have seen the ever lasting look. The bright, smart, gentle,charismatic unbelievable charm. It is one of bravery and courage. Fearless and loving. You just know you feel so blessed to witness and be a small part of it. I could never put my finger on it. NowI feel it again some thirty years later picturing you talking or standing poised, sitting relaxed in your favorite comfy chair. I will always respect and appreciate the love that you radiate. People say looks fade and what I see is true beauty that is so much more. Thank you for writing this hub. I think you found the secret of eternal youth. It is a way of telling the world I may be able to move as fast or do the things I use to but I am a wonderful person and you have just begun to see my talents. Have a beautiful day.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Flourish, thanks for the comment; the last sentence is precious. Thanks for your valuable input.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      Loved the message, the witty anecdotes/jokes, and that alphabet! Wonderful! For women who have relied so heavily on their looks it's quite a wake up call to feel it fading. Find beauty within and value the total package.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Missy, thank you for reading and commenting. I can tell that you spend time in reflection and that you practice awareness. Thanks for your input.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      Hey, MsDora, I really loved reading this. As I have gotten to middle-aged now, I think about how it will be for me to settle with my looks inside myself more than on the outside. I think I have already done a good job of realizing what is coming, and I take my own unique steps for doing so. I take selfies a lot. I take selfies of me looking good with make-up, and then I'll take a selfie of me without. I'll even take selfies of me when I'm sick, and I'll post them all. People may think that I do this, because I love myself, and well, I do to an extent, but why shouldn't we love ourselves, right? However, I also do this to prepare for something I know is coming. The other thing I do, and have been doing for years now is; when I see an older person or couple, I watch them, I really truly observe them. I wonder about the lives they've lived, and sometimes I swear I can see them when they were young. Then, it just turns beautiful. Aging becomes an attractive thing, and we should all be encouraged to grasp it with loving eyes and light hearts. I believe this is exactly what you do MsDora. I know I don't know you well yet, but when I stop by to read something of yours, your wisdom and grace take over the page.

      Many Blessings to you, MsDora. I loved this!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Chitrangada, we older women finally figure out what's important about life and about us. I appreciate your kind comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Glenis, I would love to belong to a group like yours. Thanks for sharing such a positive activity involving beautiful ladies for a really great cause.

    • profile image

      Glenis Rix 20 months ago

      Glenis Rix from the UK wrote a comment which I (MsDora) deleted because of a link within it. Sorry, Glenis (something about not posting links in comments).

      However, I re-entered it --MsDora.

      "I'm living Jenny Joseph's poem and having the time of my life. At my age (68) the focus is on staying fit and healthy, loving my friends and family, rather than fighting a losing battle with wrinkles."

      For Glenis' link to "A Day in the Life of a Pensioner" copy the disheveled link into your browser and close the spaces. ( http: //www. pensionerspages. co. uk/2016/03/senior- citizens- shake- some- moves.html)

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Maria, you said it well: There is much to embrace with the ageing process." So much of life we can still enjoy. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, thanks for the reminder that our aging beauty is the result of God's grace, and it shines still brighter when we give Him the credit.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, some aches come with the package, but they are signs of life. Thanks for your input. Enjoy the peace and calm and stay beautiful!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Faith, I'm blushing! Just so you know, I feel surrounded by beautiful younger women here on HP though I cannot see them literally. I pray to deserve the sweet things you say and also that I influence you all to stay beautiful. God bless you all.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Manitata, we see beauty in both you and your work and even in your comments. Thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 20 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What a beautiful hub!

      I am sure this hub will make every aging women feel beautiful and they will be able to identify what makes them beautiful at this age.

      Inner beauty and strength is so important for women.

      Loved these lines from this hub, "When the reality of fading physical beauty sets in, aging women do well to remember that their inner beauty still shines in their strength, as in all their other virtues."

      Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      Maria Cross 20 months ago

      Inspiring writing, MsDora. You remind us that whereas physical beauty will always fade, beauty of character can grow with age - if we let it. There is much to embrace with the ageing process.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 20 months ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks for sharing this. It is what we all need to hear. We know it is only skin deep and aging will happen to us all, but it seems depressing to watch until you realize the grace within and character God has been building.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 20 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Another winner Dora. I think aging leads us to find who we really are instead of trying to be everyone else we admire. It is a time for calm and relaxation and I am enjoying it more all the time. (Well except for the knee pains. lol)

      Great fun read.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 20 months ago from southern USA

      You are the epitome of true ageless beauty, MsDora. Your wisdom, grace, kindness and the Faith you share all exudes much beauty and you are a beautiful mentor to all, especially younger women. I especially loved the part about the grandmother holding her grandchildren. It's so true that I feel beautiful (not physically) on the inside when I know and feel how much I am loved by my grandchildren. This should be read by all, so I am sharing everywhere.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 20 months ago from london

      A timely message at the very end. What a great and beautiful Hub! Should be educational to and benefit many women, indeed men also. Reminds me very much of my Growing Older; Glowing Wiser, but yes quite different, sweeter ... more charming.

      Well-written and inspirational Hub. I love your creativity with the beautiful traits. My Gratitude to the Divine; to humanity, is the inner trait and display my Beauty. Glory Be!!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Yecall, Thanks for your insightful contribution; and well said. Hopefully, aging woman know when to stop focusing on fading beauty.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Ahorseback, wish your comment was inside the article. Hope other men share your view. That woman would not mind going to dinner with you and your wife. (Laugh).

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Lori, we both inspire with our pens. Thanks for the kind words.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, Katherine Hepburn is another good model of beautiful aging. Thanks for mentioning her.

    • yecall profile image

      yecall 20 months ago from California

      You are so right and this is what we all need to be reminded of. Of course, it is not so easy in a culture that is obsessed with outer appearance. Even more fleeting than beauty is youth which everyone is always trying to recapture. This is a very good reminder!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, happy that I made you smile. True, beauty is everywhere. Thanks for the kind comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, I agree that "who I am rather than what I do or how I look" is what matters. Well said! Thanks for your input.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 20 months ago

      There is a beauty in older mature women that can never be outshined by the naïve vanity of youth , Show me a woman who has pride in herself , pride in womanhood , pride in her grey hair and smiley wrinkles , and I'll proudly take her out to dinner !..........shhh ,don't tell my wife !.........:-}

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      Lori Colbo 20 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      SallyBea took the words right out of my mouth. Your inner beauty is in your strength, Grace, optimism, and devotedness to the Lord and your mother. Whenever is see "Ms Dora" I know I'm going to read something inspiring.

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      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Such an important message. I think of Katherine Hepburn when I think of beauty in aging.....the inner beauty will shine if allowed to do so.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 20 months ago from England

      I always love your hubs MsDora, purely because youu find the beauty in all things, and this really made smile and agree with you, nell

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 20 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I think that acceptance of who and what we have become is one of the greatest challenges of aging, at least it is for me! I am finding that I need to accept that my contributions to this ever-changing world are in who I am rather than what I do or how I look. Life has many twists and turns, and those who have weathered most of them are able to provide great stability to the younger generation. Our wisdom helps them to see that the future is indeed bright, in spite of what is happening now.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, glad you enjoyed the article. Your conclusion puts on the same page. Thanks for your input.

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      William Kovacic 20 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Beauty - yes, that sums up the hub, You did a wonderful job of making your point. I especially liked the part about your cousins and the woman with the "old" knees. A beautiful mix of humor and truth. I definitely believe you're as young as you feel.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sweet Eric, You're becoming a real expert at compliments. Thank you and know that all the love you preach in your sermons is affecting me positively.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Frank, you say the nicest things in the nicest ways. "Practical" is important to me. Your support and encouragement mean much to me.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Word, I think you have the ideas for another beauty topic. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Devika. The idea really came from that conversation with my little talkative cousin.

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      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Somehow the way this was written was the same as the concepts it brought across. One could just feel the ageless beauty of the author.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

      MsDora, there is no strangeness in your hubs... they are practical and I think you create a landscape where readers will yearn to be... I so agree with Sallybea.. :)

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      Word 20 months ago from Chicago

      Well Dora, I hoping to get a glimpse of that younger beauty with your ex-husband... Anyway this article was a beauty. I think your beauty continues as you maintain your health with properly and timely eating, resting, faithfulness, praising God and being most positive for the rest of of living a beautiful lifestyle. Your wisdom is always appreciated. Chalk up another one at top of the charts.

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      Devika Primić 20 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi MsDora, isn't that amazing?

      The inner beauty shines through the aging process. A lovely idea for a hub and you share with truth.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, I'm honored to have you read what I write. thanks for your kind words and for sharing your very practical views.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 20 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      One of the reasons why I am so attracted to your writing, is that it displays an inner beauty and strength of character which is something which all of us can aspire to. Beauty is on the inside in my book, on rare occasions they sometimes combine. From a photography point of view I would always choose to shoot a well lived in face and body:)