No Dark Corners

We need to be Your hands and feet
And show Your love to all we meet
You give us much, it’s time to share
And deny the world’s definition of fair

No one turns on a lamp and hides it away
It is placed on a stand so all can stay
If our eyes are good and full of light
We can share it with others hoping they’ll see Your might

The church, we are the Bride of Christ
Bought and paid for with a very high price
The blood that was shed by the Lamb of God
Has cleansed us complete no matter where we’ve trod

He’s our Bridegroom to be; we must live like it’s so
A legacy to leave of a blood-bought soul
Help us to remember who we are
Let us picture the hands that bear the scars

Help us shine Your light in this lost, dark world
Your Kingdom, here, can be unfurled
When we lift up Jesus’ holy name
Then no dark corners will remain

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Inspired by Luke 11:33-36 (NLT) and Pastor “G” who challenged someone to write a song about it. So much for taking a nap! LOL! Thanks for the new poem God!

 

How to drink enough water daily and improve your health – Part 2

I found this really good article. Sometimes I wonder if all the water I drink is really doing anything. Is it in there long enough?  This is good info.

“Being well hydrated is also about the foods you eat. Eating fresh, whole, raw, organic fruits and vegetables will help to keep your body hydrated. A high water content fruit or vegetable will provide your…

Source: How to drink enough water daily and improve your health – Part 2

Thoughts from a Hike Through Creation

Loblolly trail5

God has been a busy guy this year……just, in my life alone!

 

I’m so glad He’s personal. It took me many years to truly understand that. But I get it now……or at least, in all of the last year’s trials, things are finally, really starting to sink in. God IS love. How mind boggling and freeing, it is to completely know that!

 

 

As an adolescent, I frequently begged God to show me unconditional love; trying to replace the perceived lack of love from my dad. In my eyes, dad played favorites with us kids (4 of us) and I had made it my life’s mission to finally be good enough for him (yet again, perception). For years, I obsessively searched to find true love here on earth by sleeping with any man who showed me attention. I had no intention of ever getting married or having children. First off, I didn’t want to be responsible for messing someone up. I didn’t believe I could be a good mother. As for a love relationship, I never wanted to commit to someone for fear of being let down by a man. Before Hubby, my longest relationship lasted less than 6 months. I left before “they left” (there’s that darn perception thing again!)

 

My entire life, dad had made it very clear that men didn’t want to be with fat women.  I allowed myself to get into a love/hate relationship with food. I developed eating disorders and battled with the very substance I needed for nourishment. I yoyo-ed up and down the scale from 130-298 lbs. I was always having to replace my wardrobe, sometimes replacing nearly new items.

 

3 years ago, I joined my friends in a challenge. It is called the Daniel Fast (I have other posts written about this subject. It’s taken out of the book of Daniel). This experience was life changing. It taught me a new respect for my temple.   My views on my body have drastically changed from childhood. I know that it’s not about what man’s eyes see, it’s about keeping my body in proper function so I can accomplish everything God needs me to do.

 

Since August of 2012: I’ve been cigarette free from a 25ish year addiction (I still use the ecig, but I have 2 more steps to go to get off the nicotine completely),   I’ve been really watching what I put into my body as far as preservatives and dealing with food intolerance problems I’ve had, I’ve done a lot of research on what is needed for my body. We all have the same basic stuff that goes on with our bodies, but each one of us is also an individual and we have to learn how OUR bodies work .

 

Last year after my dad died, I had an uncontrollable urge to walk. It’s very therapeutic, actually. Well, when kiddo and I went to New Mexico I kept myself busy in other ways. Hubby suggested that we start walking together while I’m here with him. I was ecstatic! Walking a lot was never his favorite thing to do, so I just did that kind of stuff by myself.

 

We’ve been hiking the William B. Umstead national park. It’s beautiful. The frogs and birds sing to you the whole time you walk. There are streams to cross and lakes to sit by.  I can’t wait to see it in the spring…..all green and fresh.

 

I’m so glad that God is changing my perspective about a lot of things. I’ve always been fascinated with creation. I’m so thankful for the time I get to spend with God and Hubby!

 

This is where the healing begins!

 

Back to Basics: Shampoo Free Update

This is the 5th or 6th week since I started my shampoo free experiment.  The flakes are gone; actually, those only lasted for about 3 weeks all together.

I did have to wash my hair with shampoo twice last week while I was in Oklahoma. I had no choice. The stuff I was digging in was quite questionable….with the rotting food and who knows what else that had been stewing under the rubble for a week.  I’m sure some people had just gone grocery shopping before the first tornado hit. My friend dug up a whole ham at the first house (poor thing kept finding all the meat). On the last day we were there, we split into 2 groups and the other group was talking about this enormous rat and its babies that they uncovered. So, yeah……I washed my hair with shampoo.

My hair was the softest it’s been in….well, since I quit shampoo. I resisted the urge to use conditioner. I didn’t need it though. I wish I had known that for years that my hair didn’t really need conditioner. I could’ve saved a lot of money.

You know, the whole 100 strokes a day hair brushing routine women did way back when?  I did some research on the best brushes to use on hair to disperse the natural oils. The brushes they used were boar bristle….which cause major static, especially for those of us who are “electric people” and carry a LOT of static on a normal basis. I found one at my local pharmacy for $12. And then I went back and got a synthetic one for $4 (it came with a free comb too). It still makes a bit of static but not near as much as the boar bristle. I read that a mix of real and synthetic is helpful with static probs too.

My hair looks a little better than it originally did and it’s less “nappy” (as my son said) feeling. I did read that sometimes it takes months for hair to adjust to not using store-bought shampoo.  I threw out the yucca root shampoo I made. I’ll probably try a different recipe, once I order my bulk herbs again, with the root powder. I’m still messing with the amount of baking soda necessary also. I think it has a lot to do with hair texture and how much hair you have as well. There isn’t really a tried and true one size fits all formula. I feel like it takes forever to rinse it out as well. I also cut out the ACV (apple cider vinegar).

Back to Basics: Homemade Toothpaste

Frankincense tastes awful!

Like I said in a “Thoughts from a Box of Baking Soda”, I’ve done the natural toothpaste thing before. I did it for about 9 months. It works wonderfully. The first batch I made was 2/3 cup baking soda, ½ a bottle of food grade peppermint oil (from the Wilton section in the craft store candy making aisle) and water (to consistency). My first batch lasted about 3 months. I stored it in a ziplock baggie. After my second batch, I couldn’t find the peppermint oil anywhere in the area any longer.

My son and I originally bought it to make hard candy along with a plethora of other flavors which we ended up using first. It had been in the cabinet for about 6 months untouched, so I used it. When I ran out I searched everywhere in the area. I knew I could buy it online but I couldn’t justify the expense especially when my dudes won’t use anything but store-bought stuff and it would just be for me.

I tried it with cinnamon oil, but it wasn’t cinnamon flavor, it was more like the powdered kind in liquid form. It was too weird. After the batch with the cinnamon I gave up. Colgate usually has good coupons anyway, so I went back to my old ways.

At the time, I was trying desperately to save us money in any way I could. But my dudes, being the worldly guys they are, weren’t willing to make the necessary changes. We had taken in a wayward teenager who had been kicked out of his house (man that kid could eat), as well.  I made up some homemade laundry soap (which Hubby and son claimed “didn’t work on them”…..spoiled brats!), some homemade dishwasher detergent and homemade hand soap in an attempt to stretch our budget. My family was too resistant and I had to go back to the “normal” way of doing things (the kid we took in wasn’t the problem, he would try anything).

When I got the frankincense to use for painkiller, I also bought the powdered version. In my research on frankincense I discovered that for centuries it has been used for maintaining healthy teeth. So I did a search on how to make frankincense toothpaste.

It tastes horrendous!!!! But, in the 2 days I’ve used it my teeth turned 2 shades whiter, they feel cleaner than they ever have before and my breath stays fresh all day. I am amazed and it is completely and totally worth 5 minutes of discomfort every morning.

I have terrible teeth to begin with. All of my molars are caps, my mouth is full of cavities that I’ve been working on slowly due to lack of funds, and I wish I had discovered this years ago!

I couldn’t find a recipe for it. I used 2/3 cup of baking soda, water to consistency and I dumped in what I thought I could handle of the frankincense (I already knew it tasted terrible). I put it in a leftover container and just stir it with the end of my toothbrush before use because it separates.  You only need a dab on your toothbrush; I go back for a 2nd dab for the lower teeth (I brush my uppers first

I always exercise while brushing my teeth anyway. It actually helps to distract from the taste. For years I’ve done squats, standing crunches lunges and wall sits while brushing.

I can’t believe how amazing my teeth feel hours and hours after brushing. ). I think the taste would improve with peppermint oil, but you already know I have none. I might have to look into getting some online. Either way, I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

Back to Basics: Shampoo Free 2

It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve used shampoo and conditioner. At first, I thought my hair was protesting the change. Now, I’m not so sure about that. Unless my hair is taking its own sweet time adjusting, I think the texture of my hair is going to be significantly different now. It is a bit straw-like, thick feeling (not greasy but different…it’s hard to explain) and I have plenty of static (which I’ve always had a problem with).

I’ve tried adjusting the amount of baking soda, not using the apple cider vinegar, and just rinsing with herbal infusions. Maybe it will chill out after a while. We’ll see.

I tried making a batch of yucca (pronounced “Yuck-uh”) root shampoo too. Yucca root is supposed to lather. Different cultures have used it as shampoo and soap. I grew up in New Mexico and the state plant is the yucca. All those years I could have been getting free shampoo and soap….I had no idea.

Now that I live in VA, I have no access to it. So I bought it at the grocery store (for $6). I washed it, peeled it and pulverized it in the food processor. I froze what I wasn’t going to use right now. The recipe I had said to dry it in the sun or in the oven on 200 for an hour or so. Since it is usually overcast here, I opted to use the oven which made it rubbery. I tried it with no success. It didn’t lather at all.

Apparently the kind they have in the grocery store isn’t the right version (who knew there was more than 1 kind?).  I found another recipe that uses root powder (which I can order online). I think I’ll try laying the frozen stuff out to dry too, though. I’ll let you know how my experiments go.

Back to Basics Challenge 1: Going Shampoo Free

No, I didn’t just decide my hair never needs to be cleaned again.  I’m just not going to use shampoo and conditioner any longer. They cost a lot of money and are packed with chemicals that I can’t pronounce. My hair has been stuck in a cycle. I pull out all the natural oils with shampoo and then coat it in some creamy chemical based gunk; in return, my hair goes into overdrive trying to replace what should be there and gives me dandruff. Fun, cycle huh?

 

Our parents and grandparents (my generation at least) only washed their hair as often as once a week. Some only did it once a month (that’s a little much for me). My grandmother lived with my mom, brother and me when I was a child. I remember every Friday she would wash her hair. I used to think she was gross because society told me I needed to use shampoo and conditioner every day in order to have clean hair. Her hair was always healthy looking. I never made the connection.

 

So what was used for thousands of years before shampoo and conditioner? Baking soda, herbal infusions, and even yucca root (aka soapweed) in some cultures for shampoo and apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and herbal infusions for conditioners…..just to name a few.

 

I quit shampoo more than a week ago. I’ve washed my hair twice and I did use some corn starch mixed with cocoa powder (which I spent much time brushing through)for dry shampoo in between washes to control the oil. My hair is used to being washed squeaky clean every four days. I have flakes galore, my hair feels coated and it’s a bit on the frizzy side, but it’s going through a transition not to mention I live in VA (high humidity). Everything I’ve read online suggests that it’ll take 2-4 weeks for my hair to understand what’s going on. I’ve been force cleaning it for 38 years. I can understand the tantrum it’s throwing.  Thank God for hair ties.

 

Did you ever hear that women used to brush their hair 100 strokes a day? There’s a reason for that. It’s to pull the oils through the hair and loosen up any dirt that might be chillin’ out on your scalp.  It’s not just an old wives tale. So I’ve been brushing my hair before I wash. I made a bottle of baking soda “shampoo” (for lack of a better term) with 1 tbsp baking soda dissolved in 8 oz. of warm water which I apply to my scalp and work through my hair (I might switch to distilled water due to our severely hard water and might cut back just a tad on the baking soda. The recipe is not set in stone). I made sure to rinse well. Both times I’ve used a conditioner of 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with an herbal concoction I will refer to as “hair tea” (the herbs I used were sage, stinging nettle and  rosemary which I steeped in boiling water for about an hour first. Those are herbs for dark hair and dandruff). I might delete the vinegar (which by the way does NOT make your hair smell like vinegar) until my hair stops throwing a flaky fit. A blog I read suggested that I might be over conditioning too quickly.

 

We’ll see how things are in a few weeks or so.  By the way….no pics of me til I get my coif under control. I’ll show you what it looks like when it learns how to be hair again.

30 Day Hair Challenge Day 30

Well, then. I made it. 30 different off-the shoulder updos in 30 days. I now have some cute, quick, easy to do styles in my arsenal. I know this post is a day late. But I did finish my challenge. Yay, me!

Day 30:

Here is another one to repeat.

Part your hair in the middle. Make 4 thin braids. 2 at the top front, 2 at the top back. Gather the rest of your hair, twist and swirl into a bun. This took 5 minutes.

Day 30 of my hair challenge

30 Day Hair Challenge Day 28

Day 28:

Make 2 thin braids from the front of the head, band to hold for now. Separate the rest of your hair in half and braid each chunk. Pin the small braids to the back of the head. Fold each big braid in half and then lay across toward the opposite side of your head. Pin to secure. This took about 5 minutes.

Day 28 of my hair challenge