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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Taming of the ‘Do

What started out as a silly Facebook joke (a friend posting Before & After pictures of herself and encouraging others to do so) has turned into something else entirely! Since I had not primped and preened myself for the day, I decided to take that “challenge” literally and post my own pictures.

beforeafter

Yes, first thing in the morning, I resemble Troy Polamalu.


I’ve now been asked to share my beauty secrets *gasp!* for the Taming of the ‘Do. I seriously cannot believe I am posting this, but…well, if it helps just one of my friends have less Bad Hair Days, it was worth my public humiliation! ;)

The Taming of the ‘Do

I think I have tried every shampoo, every conditioner, every hair care product and styling aid known to man, yet I never seem to find anything that works for long. It hasn’t always been this way. My long, curly hair used to be soft and shiny, but after having children and growing…older…my hair had become coarse and brittle. Any curly-haired girl will tell you that’s a bad combination. I tried home remedies that made me want to gag. (I hate mayonnaise on my sandwich, let alone in my hair! bleh!) Nothing was helping.

“…there’s small choice in rotten apples…”

Apparently, there’s small choice in hair products too. Many half-empty bottles and spent dollars later, I was strongly convicted that this was not working. I was ready to cut off my tresses and start over…again. While trying to settle on a cut, I came across this post and decided to give it one more try. All natural hair care? Well, the chemistry experiment I had been trying wasn’t working…why not?

I followed the directions for “shampooing” with baking soda and “conditioning” with apple cider vinegar, aloe vera gel, honey, and lavender essential oil. It takes about a week or so for your scalp to return to its normal state, but I was pleased with how healthy my hair looked and felt. I also used the “plopping” technique after washing my hair and my curls never looked better! I felt like Shirley Temple;) Hard to believe that I was only washing my hair once or twice a week!

My mom, former hair stylist and beauty queen, visited during this time and had commented on how healthy my curls looked and felt. HUGE compliment coming from my mom!

Eventually, my hair started getting dried out again, so I revisited the article and found some updates. About this time, I also decided to give the Curly Girl method a try, still skipping shampoo, but using only a silicone-free & sulfate-free conditioner. (I use Nature’s Gate because my hubby loves the way it smells.)

I’ve now combined both of these methods: Washing once a week with baking soda and water helps to combat any greasiness. Washing with the no ‘poo, conditioner only once a week, keeps my hair nice and soft. I use no other hair care products or styling products. Whether I leave my hair curly or straighten it (usually around day 2 or 3 after a wash), my hair is clean, shiny, and soft. Since the natural oils have balanced out, I don’t get frizzy or greasy, even when it rains. And in the Pacific Northwest, that’s quite an accomplishment!

 curly

Now that I’ve found something that works, I don’t think I’ll be changing it again! I welcome any feedback or questions, or even if you feel the need to tell me you honestly think I should have skipped this post!

“…And thereby hangs a tale…” 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Waiting

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

Waiting is never easy. I think that God created us with this overwhelming anticipation for Him and His Kingdom, that we never quite learn to slow down and just wait.

We are waiting on the LORD right now. Waiting for His Timing. Waiting…and trying to be patient.

Soon…He will call my father-in-law home to Heaven. Soon.

It seems cruel to hope that his time will come soon, but he has been suffering. We have been praying for God to be merciful and take him home NOW…but then He reminds me that He is merciful…Yes, He is…and I will praise Him always, even in my waiting, even in my heartache, even when every part of my tired body screams for rest….even then I will praise Him.

 

Praise You in this Storm
Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
 
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
 
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will life my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
 
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
 
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
 
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Passover

“In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”
-Leviticus 23:5-6

passover

Last weekend, as part of our journey to celebrate biblical feasts, our family observed Passover. I did not expect to find myself so emotionally moved by the experience…but I was! As we read through the Scriptures and discussed the symbolism of each verse, each act, and each food, we discovered Christ in each part of it!

WHY didn’t we do this sooner?!

“…Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten…Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.”
-Exodus 13:3, 7

We began by searching our quarters, our home, for leaven. Being that we are not Jewish, this was more about teaching our children principles, and not about the regulations. With a candle to light our way (“I am the Light of the World”), we searched every room in our home (see upper left photo). Traditionally, this is done with a wooden spoon and a feather –think: dustpan & broom – so that you do not come in contact with the leaven. We did not have a feather handy, so we substituted a long-handled paintbrush. We collected the bits of bread into a paper bag and tied it closed with a bit of twine, sealing it off.

The leaven represents the sin in our lives, revealed by the Light of the World. It must be removed, so we can be restored to the Father!

The next morning we burned the bag of leaven. (lower left photo)

Just as only Christ can remove our sin, the fire burned away the leaven from our homes.

Our Seder dinner was a joy for our family. With family in town, we were able to celebrate this special time together. Each food on the Seder plate (bottom right photo) represented a part of the Exodus story:

  • Maror, or bitter herbs (horseradish) to represent the bitterness and harshness of the slavery the Hebrews endured in Egypt
  • Charoset, (chopped apples, spices, and nuts)symbolizing the mortar used to build the storehouses
  • Karpas, a vegetable (italian parsley), like the hyssop dipped in blood, to be dipped in salt water, for the tears shed in pain by the slaves
  • Z’roa, a roasted lamb shank bone (we used a chicken neck) for the sacrificial lamb
  • Beitzah, a hard-boiled egg, symbolizing the festival sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem, and a sign of mourning at the temple’s destruction

We also had our 4 glasses of wine (grape juice), matzoh bread, and other traditional elements. (For more info, you can find lots of information here.)

The atmosphere in our home was one of anticipation…What does this mean? Why are we doing this? Our telling of the story, going through the traditional order, was…long. My 10 year old son finally put his down on the table, listening, but no longer able to participate. I kept getting choked up when it was my turn to read God’s Word…Thankfully, my husband carried us through, and our meal was delicious!

Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, our sacrificial Lamb to die for our sins, so that we may be saved from death by the covering of His Blood. Thank you for saving Your People and providing for their every need…then…and now! May we always be ready for where you will lead us.
In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Amen!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Planting Seeds

Originally posted 2 years ago, this is still my "go to" plan for starting seeds!
Happy planting to you :)
tika nicole
…I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…
Leviticus 26:4
We moved to Oregon, my husband’s home state, 8 years ago. Shortly after we bought our first home, I decided to try my hand at planting a vegetable garden…But I’ve never done this before!…Thankfully, my neighbor had a lifetime of experience and was happy to share her wisdom. I miss the days of chatting with her over the fence, or dropping in for a cup of tea. With her advice and encouragement, I learned what to plant and when…and we have enjoyed the harvest each year!
This year, my younger son declared that he would be in charge of planting this year’s garden…Praise the LORD! Since we are trying to save money wherever possible, that we should be resourceful in the garden too.
While looking for an affordable way to start my seedlings without dumping a fortune into cute little black trays that won’t last through a second season, I stumbled across this post on Pinterest from Bonzai Aphrodite, and was inspired to give her newspaper pots a try. I liked the simplicity of her idea to wrap the newspaper around a can, but round objects weren’t going to fit very well in my rectangular box! And being the orderly girl that I am…I had to devise an alternative.
SAM_0728

Here are my square seed pots~
Starting by spreading out the newspaper.newspaperpots1
Cutting or tearing down the center.newspaperpots2
And across the middle again.
Here, I folded a 3x5 index card folded in half lengthwise (like a bookmark), and used it as my guide to fold over the edge of the newspaper 1.5”. newspaperpots4
I repeated this twice (for a total of 3 fold-overs).newspaperpots5
and slid out the index card. The folded edge will be the top edge of the pot, reinforced by the folds to hold its shape.
Next, I used a box of plastic wrap to wrap the newspaper around, forming the square shape of the soon-to-be pot.
newspaperpots6
newspaperpots7
Here’s the tricky part. You want to slip the top edge under the flap closest to the box, and gently adjust it as tight as it will go. No need to wrestle with it, you just want it to hold its shape.newspaperpots8
Now it will look like this:
newspaperpots9

 And you can turn the box on its end, with the newspaper “sleeve” at the top. newspaperpots10
Fold down the edge of the newspaper closest to you, as if you were wrapping a birthday present.newspaperpots11
Fold in the left and right sides.newspaperpots13
And fold the final point down towards you.newspaperpots14
Slide the newspaper off of the box and allow the point to pop up a bit. When it does, you’ll want to tuck that little flap inside  the pot, so it stays put.newspaperpots15
Flip it over…

newspaperpots17
and there you have your nice & tidy little seed pot!
Now my little green-thumbed son is ready to fill them with soil and start his seeds a’growing!
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Expand

He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do,
and keep me
from all trouble and pain!" And God granted him his request.
1 Chronicles 4:10
So, I’ve been praying. God had already revealed that He was leading my family a new direction…a bit of an Extreme Home Makeover Winking smile, but some of those changes are in the little things too. It’s not just about simplifying our lives, eliminating distractions, and growing our family… It’s also about little things for me.
Years ago, the Lord had placed it on my heart to minister to homeschool mamas in my community. He had placed me in a unique situation where I was meeting a wide variety of mamas. At the park, in my classes, at church, at the homeschool group I joined. Time and again, I would meet a new-to-me mama and she would confess her loneliness or her need for fellowship with other homeschooling moms. Oh, my heart cries out! I feel your pain, Sister! ♥ So, I started hosting  a monthly moms’ night…A Gathering of local homeschooling mamas meeting for a little food, fun, and fellowship. Three years later, I find that I am the one being blessed as I get to witness new friendships being born before my eyes, precious prayers exchanged, and laughter…lots and lots of carefree laughter. So good for the soul!
I recently asked the Lord, Is this still Your Will for me? Shall I continue to provide this meeting place? Is there more you would have me do? Oh, that you would bless me…again?…and expand my territory! It is for You, LORD, for Your Glory, that I do this…Be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain! 
And the Lord granted me my request.
Starting with the expansion of my blog, to share a little more of our family life as dedicated homeschoolers (Really, anyone who homeschools has to be pretty dedicated!) and the everpresent goal of seeking the Lord in all we do.
I appreciate your prayers in this, for the days ahead and for the challenges the big changes are sure to bring.
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lemons

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I’ve heard this said many times over the years. In fact, many of those times, it was heard coming out of my mouth! I am not an optimistic, sunshiny person by nature…I speak sarcasm fluently. I am easily discouraged and short tempered. This is the result of many years of allowing my failures and short-comings define me…instead of listening to my SAVIOR who loves me.
Bitter…
I don’t want to bitter. Lemons are bitter…sour…
lemons
…but I don’t have to be!
It is a choice for me to look for God’s handiwork in my life…and marvel in it.
It is a choice for me to listen for His still small voice…
and obey.
It is a choice for me to speak words of thanksgiving…
when I’d rather cry in self-pity.
And yet I wouldn’t have it any other way!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
-Philippians 4:13

So today, instead of making lemonade, I made Lemon Brownies (Lemonies? Yellowies?)