My mother gave me a book—perhaps shortly after I graduated from college—called Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, written by Anne Ortlund in 1977. It has become one of those books that has shaped me markedly—at least my thoughts, if not always how I live.
The book is significant, first of all, because my mother selected it for me. It thus bears her stamp of approval, plus shows how well she knows me—I need extra help being disciplined. It also carries the message of the importance of being/becoming a “beautiful woman,” again, even more significant because it is my mother who believes this is important for her daughter.
I received this book long before I moved to Pasadena from Washington state or visited Lake Avenue (Congregational) Church, where Anne’s husband, Ray Ortlund, had been the senior pastor for many years. When I first read Anne’s anecdote about visiting an office supply store in La Cañada after giving a seminar to a “luscious-looking crowd of 150 women” only to find that it was sold out of the notebook products she had recommended, I had no idea that one day I’d live just down the freeway from that exclusive Southern California enclave.
It was Anne’s description of her notebook (or planner as it might be called today) that intrigued me most. My annual attempts at organizing myself via any number of variations on a diary, calendar, notebook, planner or journal, were often modeled on Anne’s description of how she put together her planner—a calendar first, followed by sections for goals and various other lists—and her preferred dimensions of the planner (7” x 9”).
Related chapters discuss goals, daily scheduling, and a woman’s desk.
My image of Anne is from the small portrait on the back cover of her book, perhaps when she was in her early 60s? So, I was shocked to read she was 89 years old when she died on November 4.
Having been reminded of this role-model-via-book, I am encouraged to revisit the many areas of my life—both private and public—that could be more disciplined and, thus, become more beautiful.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between discipline and beauty?
Join the Newsletter
Subscribe to get my e-mail newsletter.