Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cut off and isolated - (its not as serious as it sounds)

To all who follow my blog - thank you - and I have confession to make. We moved into our apartment sad about our lack of internet access (we had chipped in and shared a wireless connection with friends at our previous place.) And then opened our MacBook and voila, discovered that we picked up at least five signals from apartments and offices around us. So... we used it. We decided that if people left them un-password protected we wouldn't feel guilty about using their connections. We didn't download large files, or live online, we rationalized. Right or wrong we did it. And now judgment day has come, well, sort of. As of Saturday passwords have been erected all around and we are cut off from the cyber world. Oh well, I will now have less temptation to battle about how I use my time. And, we do have a library with wireless access just half a mile down the street so I can tap in every other day or so. But, I guess the point of sharing all of this is that my habit of posting almost daily will have to be adjusted accordingly. No, no, don't weep. And to all those closet readers out there... COMMENT!! I found out this weekend that two of my old friends (you know who you are) joined CSAs after my postings on the subject. Until then I had no idea that they had ever read a single post! I want to know if you read. I want to interact with you, and grow alongside you. Perhaps next time I wander down to the library I'll post a link over to a great blog post about the value of commenting. Thanks again for stopping by!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Soil for the Soul

“When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be -- I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
- Wendell Berry

Today I am looking out my window into bright greens and blues, procrastinating on a CT project I'm working on, and dreaming about our CSA which will start sending goodies soon. What is a CSA? Perhaps all those who would be reading a blog are savvy enough to know that CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, but perhaps not. I only learned about it a few years ago. Twenty minutes south of us there is a small holdout organic farm that is sustained by early spring member donations. Each year those who choose to join pay out a lump sum at the beginning of the growing season to provide capitol for the farmers. As soon as plants are ready to harvest we start lining up weekly to reap our bounty.
This ties us into the land and agricultural community in a small and yet powerful way. We make the sacrifice financially with the growers and thus we share the risk with them. If its an amazing season our fridges and freezers and pantries will overflow with the goodness of fresh, locally grown, organic, veggies. If its a bad season for our crops we take the hit along with the farmer. Ben and I found ourselves actually praying for rain for the first time last summer (yes, there were a few Christian rain dances included). It felt so wholesome, from our suburban, apartmented, vantage point, to have a place where our nails could get black with beautiful, rich soil. I know, for those of you out there who actually live on farms this might seem rather pathetic and synthetic, but for those of us who can't for whatever reason right now, this is salvation! Saturdays we drive down and pull weeds with abandon, and chase our lil rascal through the rows of our meals to be; eggplant, zucchini, kohlrabi (no we didn't know what this was either until we joined up!).
And then we return home grateful, souls refreshed, ready for another week bricked into our home, with no soil but that in our potted plants to call our own.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gratitude Monday week 4: on Wednesday

Sorry for the belated Gratitude day - my whole life has been a bit belated recently - if that makes any sense :)

1. I am so grateful for my husband who never lets me settle into complacent, mediocre living. He challenges me to keep my mind sharp, to live in a manner consistent with my expressed beliefs, and to be excellent in the spheres of life in which I flutter. He is such a wonderful man to walk side by side with through life. (Yes - sometimes I do have to remind myself that its wonderful to be constantly called farther up and further in!)
2-5. I again am grateful for my families proximity, generosity, and helpfulness. This week has been a bad week for cars in our family. An inopportunely bad week. It all started on Monday when I loaded up the car for errands, turned the key, and... Bilbo (our forest green Volvo) wouldn't start. The radio etc worked so I knew it wasn't the battery. From the back I had a concerned little voice pleading "Go, go, gooooo?!" And I had to tell him that our car was "broke". "Boke? Boke?? It boke...no..." So, I called my mom and cancelled our plans, and she
sent out my dad to try to jump us just in case. So within a few hours my dad came and tried to jump us to no avail. My parents are amazing.
Ben had a business party in the city that I had been planing to drive to that my sweet mama babysat during (4:30-11:30 yikes!) (For those who went to high school with me, it was on the Odyssey. Remember our after Jr/Sr "cruise ship?") So instead I hopped on a train and everything worked out ok. Yesterday they let us borrow a car, and it worked fine all day until I made the unwise decision of running over to check out the house my grandparents were emptying (they run estate sales and sometimes let us treasure hunt) less than 1 1/2 hours before I was supposed to hop on the train for the second night of festivities, this time at the ESPN zone, that my mama was again babysitting during. Right as I turned onto the street where the house was located I heard an awful metallic grating noise. I pulled over, looked under the car, and sure enough, some misc. car part had partially dislodged and was dragging on the ground. "Great! Now I've broken their car too!" So, I called my mom and she came and picked me up in her car, so I could get home in time to freshen up and go downtown. We lingered and talked a bit when all of a sudden my husband called me in a panic bc he had arranged for his wonderful brother to use his AAA to tow our car for free, but I was gone with both sets of keys! "Where was I? Why did I have both sets of keys? Did I think I had time to go to the mechanic with his brother?" By now it was 4 and I had to catch the 4:57 into the city. My wonderful husband had been coordinating things with his brother from afar, and had failed to let me in on the details. So, things were a bit crazy. But, with the help of all of my family, our car got to the shop free of charge, my parents car was fixed sans my help, I was whisked home and prepped in time for my second evening out getting to know Ben's new coworkers, my son was fed and loved, and through all that I came home with bags and bags of beautiful linen tunics, tribal jewelry and rugs, art books, vegetarian cookbooks, vintage toys for lil rascal, a gorgeous sheet set, stationary, Aveda beauty products, perfumes, etc etc etc.
6-9. And the night at the ESPN zone was a blast. We don't make enough of an effort to get out alone together. Since Ben didn't have any clients at the event it was "revert to little kid - fun time." Ben called it "guy heaven" but I thought it was more like a deluxe Chucky Cheese! We walked up the stairs and waitresses were holding trays full of icy drinks. To our left was a long table set up with chefs who would make you burgers to order on the spot and to our right was a room full of lazy boys, 20 television screens, and tables and tables full of more food. (They even had great veggie options -yea!!) Once we had eaten to the point of bursting (mmmmm.... I can still taste the pound cake topped with fresh whipped cream and berries!) we took our unlimited play cards and ran into the game room and skied, kayaked, bmx raced, rode motorcycles and race cars and motor boats, played basketball and had tons and tons of fun just being stupid together. This night also reaffirmed something that I love about his job - a lot of people brought their whole families. It was adorable to watch guys wave running with their pig tailed 10 year olds! I really appreciate the family friendly attitude in his company - at least three of the lead guys have five or more kids - thats not common anywhere anymore, let alone in the world of finance,
The beautiful finale to our evening was a raincoat-less, umbrella-less, run from the train station to our apartment late at night, in the midst of pounding rain. I love being in the middle of rainstorms at night - it makes me feel alive.
10. Today I am just grateful simply for a day OFF. Other than grocery shopping and cleaning house, I have NOTHING on my agenda, so I get to crash for awhile, while my poor husband is plugging away at another day of work. (Although I found out last night that their lunches have been at the Ritz all week bc of their conference, so I don't feel too bad for him!) Plus, tonight my beloved brother comes home from college for a week (although my sweet brother in law leaves tomorrow), and we already have plans to hit the free iced coffee promotional at Dunkin Donuts. PS Did you know that they often give out free munchkins if you bring your kids?

Wow this post is different than most of mine - HA! The ESPN Zone, the Ritz, Dunkin Donuts...
Forgive me, every life needs a bit of variety!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Wellspring of LIFE

"The condition of most men and women seems to me a life in death, an abode in unwhited sepulchres, a possession of withering forms by spirits that slumber, and babble in their dreams.
There is nothing for man worthy to be called life, but the life eternal--God's life, that is, after his degree shared by the man made to be eternal also. For he is in the image of God, intended to partake of the life of the most high, to be alive as He is alive. Of this life the outcome and the light is righteousness, love, grace, truth; but the life itself is a thing that will not be defined: it is a power; the formless cause of form. It has no limits whereby to be defined. It shows itself to the soul that is hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but that soul cannot show it to another, save in the shining of it own light." George MacDonald

Two questions have been swirling through my head for the past few weeks.
The first: What is the best path to goodness? Is it through intentionally choosing to treat others well and hoping that our outward righteousness will seep into and change the pattern of our souls, or through basking in the presence of our Lord and our Healer so that eventually our hearts are so likened to His that we naturally live well and are full of Life?
Though we must always seek obedience, I recognize often the dangers of forcing myself to act righteously when its not in accordance with the attitude of my heart. I risk deep pride issues and hypocrisy. I become pleased with myself that I seek to care for people as Christ taught or that I try to be a good steward of our finances or our ecosystems; but then when I really search my heart I realize that I am not yet good. I am merely acting as if I was good. Neighbors will go home and I will find myself at least inwardly complaining about the waring nature of their visits, or as I spoke of last time, I will find a deal at a thrift store and buy it rationalizing that the money will go to a good cause, its recycling, its creative treasure hunting, whatever, while when I get down to the truth of the event, its just gratuitous, consumptive behavior, needing to buy and own, in order to be happy.

The second: Did God intend for us to live ascetically, set apart like the Desert Fathers, spending all of our energy and time on purifying our souls and coming into right relationship with God in that manner, or does He want us to live our lives deeply rooted in His creation, earthily, getting dirty, making mistakes, but LIVING, and learning in that way to live in harmony with Him and His creation?
As my husband and I have talked about this recently I think that I have worked out a bit of an answer. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can be a mystic, constantly drinking from the wellsprings of God's Life, eyes focused on Him, while still having your toes digging into the soil, your arms around your loved ones, your body dancing. You do not have to separate yourself from the world to avoid being "of it." He says to be "in", not "of". This though does not mean that we shouldn't take seriously the need to have our souls refreshed and centered on our life purpose through spending serious time intentionally focused solely on His love, filling our minds with His words. If we truly hunger and thirst for righteousness we must come to the table and eat. I much, much, too often am slack in this area thinking that I can just live with my hands and feet according to His will and maintain my hearts alignment with it also. I have found this to be untrue. I guess this answers my first question also. When I don't renew my soul and its life at the fount of Life, my attempts at good deeds and good living fall hollow. I serve my husband and son, but my soul is grudging and resentful. I feed my neighbors and invite them into my house, but I only have food to share with them, not love or compassion.

For Mother's Day, my husband gave me Madeleine L'Engle's new novel, The Joys of Love. (It was on its way to publication prior to her death and was written in the late 70's. ) In it a character struggles with coming of age as so many of L'Engle's heroines do, but she particularly focuses on learning to have a truly gracious heart.

"Aunt Harriet took me because it was her Christian duty, not because she wanted me. Please, Jane, if you ever see me doing something because it is my Christian duty, stop me."
"You aren't apt to," Jane said, "You're too good a Christian."

I hope that eventually I will come to a place where His life flows out of me so that I live like Him due to the overflow of His love in my heart, and that I too can avoid doing things merely out of "Christian Duty."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update: the Battle has been won - now on to my battle against the Deal Demon

As I sit in my living room, breathing in the clean, wet smell of drying clothes hung everywhere around me, I am celebrating. Why? Because the battle has been won...

Score: netti pot 1 - sinus infection 0.

Thank you so much to everyone who gave me advice about this. I plan to buy golden seal as soon as possible and have thrown out a lot of not so subtle pleas for my husband to get me some Lavendar and Tea Tree Oil essential oils soon. It is so nice to be able to breathe and smell again, and I am quite proud of myself for not succumbing to antibiotics. (Sorry Emily for suggesting that you needed to last month. I didn't know it was possible without them!)

Through my recent expedition into the world of natural medicine I have learned more and more about my body. It is interesting. Yesterday I felt 100% better, today I'm having a 10% relapse and I know its bc I skipped a day of sinus irrigation and have been sneaking sugar! Oh the delicious evil stuff. I used to think its only danger was for my waist line, now I know its dangerous to my health! My friend Annie just recently wrote a whole post dedicated to sugar the "miracle drug" I think, that cures all grumpy, new mom, ills. I say beware - I've been there- don't become a strung out sugar junkie. (JK - sort of).

While I am on this subject that makes me feel like a decrepit old woman discussing my aches and pains I suppose that I will continue, for the sake of potential advice gained, and tell you that I think I have mild Psoriasis on my knees. My mom has a mild case, and I know its genetic. Oh how terribly itchy and unsightly!! But its receding through my home remedy of apple cider vinegar (dabbed on) and also the occasional baking soda and water paste. I've been almost itch free for 2 days, and the swelling and inflammation are nearly gone, so perhaps my home remedies are working! I just thought that I would share this as you guys had so many wonderful ideas for me last time. Any takers? Advanced cases I've looked at online are sobering, thus, I am trying to pay attention and take it seriously.

PS Another "Works for Me" that I accidentally left off of my last list. I realized a few months ago that my son was wearing holes in his clothes that are my favorites while perfectly good but less exciting options were decaying in the back corners of his closet. Therefore I have devised a new system that, yes, "works for me." As soon as I wash and dry lil rascal's clothes I sort them into outfits on hangers (saves time and space) and put them in at the left side of his closet. Every morning I then simply grab an outfit from the right side, and voila, he is clothed. (I'll make exceptions for special occasions or weather purposes, but otherwise I stick with the system!~)This way his clothes are rotated so none of them feel left out and none of them get overly worn out.
PPS For those of you who know me, I am following more and more in my grandmother's footsteps. Which means, I love thrift store shopping. Its becoming my vice, (that and cookies) so I need to put the kibosh on it. But, I have had a few excellent scores in the past two days, that I have to share -
2 new looking kenneth cole oxford shirts for my husband for 50c each. He's new in the business world for those of you new to my blog, so we're beefing up his work wear options.
1 vintage Neiman Marcus drop waist, v neck and backed, cobalt blue with white trim, sun dress. Also 50c. (As soon as it's over 70 degrees out, I dress almost purely in skirts and dresses. I'm AWKWARD in shorts and tanktops!)
1 retro gap sweater for 50c.
1 apron with wonderful pockets made from traditional Swedish printed fabric for 2.25
1 silk, blue and green batiked, knee length skirt brand new from Neiman Marcus for $5 (this was my splurge, but with all the pleats and gathers I'm sure the fabric alone would have been worth 5 times that, and its one of the most beautiful skirts I've ever seen.)
and finally
1 needed navy blue puma bucket hat for lil guy. (He's a strawberry blond uber fair one who I keep in necessary layers of sunscreen, rash guards (stretchy beach surf shirt), and big hats all summer.) $2
1 pair of blue and yellow Quiksilver board shorts for 1.99 for my lil dude. Now he can be a rock star surfer at the lake this summer.

but that did all add up - over $13 I think, so I'm swearing off those little dens of iniquity - I mean thrift stores - until some real needs come up in my home.

All right, that's all till next time! I look forward to hearing your advice for my aches and pains.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gratitude Monday Week 3

1. My 5:30 bike ride next to my husband as he ran this morning! I actually wore shorts it was so nice out. (Put "Loving Movement" into my day, check. Fly Lady's new May habit. A good one as we prep for swimsuit season I must say.)
2. Sunday dinners at my parent's house! Delicious food and so good to be with family. I love this weekly tradition.
3. Also, the leftovers my mom packs for Ben's lunches. Yea for kind moms!
4. Rowan's sweet little voice. He's begun to love to sing. (PS For those of you who follow this blog regularly, we figured out where he learned his singing style. The talent show in Little Rascals - hilarious!)
5. The Prairie Path!! It is so nice to be close to such a great trail system that preserves a bit of nature in the midst of the suburbs.
6. The gorgeous weather yesterday for our all Parish (Anglican) picnic! I'm avoiding sugar right now to try and kick my cold (its WORKING, YEA!!!) but I decided that I can partake on Sundays, and someone brought the most delicious chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Ooh lala, does anyone have a recipe for those?
7. For Free Cycle. What a cool way to share stuff, get to know people around you, declutter your house, and keep perfectly good things out of landfills. Thanks for the tip Emily!
8. The green onion plants we are receiving from our dear friends digging up their yard for an expected move.
9. The fact that God really does love me. Its one I have to remind myself of. It seems the more intentional I am about trying to live well, the more I see all of the sick ugliness in my heart.
10. The movie camera my parents just handed down to us so that we can catch lil rascals craziness on tape for all of time!
For all of these things I thank you Lord...

Simplify to find freedom Part 2

Simplification that "works for me"

Recently I realized that keeping everything tidy and my lil guy out of trouble was harder than it needed to be. Here are a few of the changes I've made to correct that:

1. In my living room I have one couch and one futon that I kept "artistic" and colorful throws and pillows on. But, keeping them straight enough to really look nice and be an overall positive in the room was more work than it was worth. So I removed the throws and even though a stain now shows here and there, I'm happier with this final result. (Esp on the futon as we sleep on it every night so I have to completely remake it every morning!!)
2. Same thing in lil Rascal's bedroom. I used to have his crib made up with a fitted sheet, a folded feather comforter, two soft, furry blankets folded at the head, a pretty sheet folded over the comforter and a quilt hung over the edge, with a few favorite stuffed animals arranged through out. It looked great, but he developed a bad habit of chucking EVERYTHING out of his crib when he was mad about naptime, so I was constantly remaking that bed. I eliminated one of the furry blankets and the top sheet, and its much easier to make.
3. I kept getting frustrated bc I would clean his room and then as soon as I had left him playing for 10 minutes while I finished up dinner or something I would return to find EVERY toy he owned strewn about. So, now I put half of his toys up high in the closet, and the other half in his cabinet behind locked doors. I also got rid of all his little toys that he no longer played with. Now, he has to ask for a toy before he plays with it. I'm a bit more sane and I've heard that that is better for a child's development bc it forces them to really focus on one challenge at a time and increases the chances that they'll really pound away at it until they figure it out, rather than just throwing it down and moving on to the next toy.
4. I got sick of telling him not to touch cords and outlets and the computer and printer etc etc. So... I rearranged. Each morning I put away the phone charger (oh yes the brilliance is astounding, I know.) I moved the computer and printer onto a high shelf and off of its precarious perch on stacked suitcases. Now their cords are safely tucked away. Ben got rid of his record player that we had to always keep lil rascal from drumming on (though we only listened to it quarterly I think. We loved the idea, but it was too fragile to listen to with a toddler around and too loud to listen to while he was asleep! Catch 22. ) It made a good present for a friend.
5. We now stash the kitchen chairs in the bathroom so we don't have to constantly pull our boy off the table and clean up his salt and pepper sand castles. I also joined Free Cycle and scored a three tiered metal hanging fruit basket for the kitchen. No more bruised apples and pears as I try to convince the lil one that they're NOT balls. That seems to be a hard one to catch on to.
6. I'm also trying to weed out the clothes we don't wear / need. Limits the size potential of our clothing piles!
7. Here's one you might think is gross. But, I've been thinking, every load of laundry I do here costs me $1 (and that's with line drying) otherwise it would be $2. It also wears out the clothes, and uses lots of water, soap, and energy. (Not to mention my time and energy as I wash, and sort and fold!) So, I'm trying to be more discriminating about what goes in the laundry bags. "Is it really dirty, or did I/they just not feel like hanging it back up?" That's really the main question we ask. I'm a firm believer that showers don't need to be taken every day, and that clothes don't need to be washed after every wear! :)
***** Ok, these two are my next ideas to implement****
8. Every night we put lil boy down and then hang out for a couple of hours before we get ready for bed. That means that our clothes get dropped in the living room instead of hung up (our closet is in his room), and I have a pile to put away each morning, that I may or may not get to. Yes, sometimes that pile becomes a monster that starts to take over. So I'm going to try to talk Ben into changing into his night stuff with me before we put lil rascal down, and ... putting our clothes away.
9. I'm also toying with the idea of finding old wooden framed windows, putting hinges on them, and putting them on our book shelves stacked two high. Then I'll put latches on the other side. (Does that make sense? They would be like window doors and would keep the little one from climbing adventures and pulling all the books off the shelves day after day after day...)

Why did I share these often common sense ideas? Because I figured that I am probably not the only mom who occasionally gets so brain dead that I can't think of creative solutions to solve simple household problems. Then I waste so much energy chasing the boy, getting mad at the boy, feeling bad about getting mad about the boy, cleaning up after his escapades etc... You get the point.

OK what are your ideas in this realm? Please do share...

Friday, May 2, 2008

PS An Update on the Sinuses

PS Update on my sinus battle...
Day 3
not much better - not worse...
I feel way better after using the Netti Pot (water and salt), but its only a temporary fix. (Does anyone know how many times a day its safe to use it?)
This morning I was so clogged that I couldn't use it until an hour after my Mucinex. The water would just go up and.... stop. It never came out the other side. Lil Rascal has started imitating me. He will tip his head to the side, stick a finger (which I believe represents the pot) up his nose, and go mmm mmmm. Ahl done! I need to be so careful about what I do in front of him!

Oh... idiocy confession on my part... I used the term homeopathic thinking it meant any sort of self treatment with mostly natural products... I was a bit off.
plus I am using Mucinex.

I think I'm going to have to boost my strategy (currently ginger/lemon/honey from scratch tea 2-3 x daily, netti pot morning and night, mucinex a few times a day, and garlic garlic garlic in my food, but not between my toes!)
I think I might use some of your suggestions. (Fancy that?) Thanks for them!

ALSO... last nights first dinner with neighbors went well. We invited an African American family over from downstairs (2 middle school girls and one mom with MS). Ben and I recognized at least three area that we need to pray about, we need to grow in:
1. Normally we make friends with people who share some commonality with us. How can we befriend people very different from us in a genuine way so that we don't view them as charity cases?
2. Cross cultural communication can be very difficult when communication styles are different. Their style seemed to be more of taking turns telling long stories when we are used to dialoguing. It was hard to know how to further conversation and engage everyone.
3. I realized that right now I might be trying to do things that the ideal me would do, but that I am not yet the ideal me. Its not from an overflow of the heart. Its from an act of stubborn decision. "This is the right way to live. This is how I will live." I need more love.
Please pray for us as we continue these weekly dinners with various neighbors.

PS Does any one know a good place to buy essential oils? Thanks!

Fun, cheap, natural

For those of you who have asked, here are some of the recipes I've been using for natural home and body products:

I have all the ingredients for the household cleaners, but have not needed to use them much yet b/c I am still finishing up the expensive but delightful Mrs. Meyers products I got with a gift certificate still left from my wedding two years ago. (We bought them 3 or 4 months ago. As a plug for them they are natural and have nice gentle scents like, geranium, lemon verbena, and lavendar.)
The ingredients I have for the cleaners are:
Baking soda - (Used it today with a bit of peroxide on a sponge to scrub the tub. It worked great and the best part was that since it was all natural and gentle I was able to scrub the tub with my baby in it!- *If anyone knows a reason why that was a bad idea please let me know.)
Borax (found in the laundry aisle of most major supermarkets) - around $3 Its a laundry booster and great disinfectant. Mix 1/2 c. borax w/ 1 gallon hot water and your favorite fresh herbs, strain after 10 min if you want. Store in a spray bottle and use as a disinfectant spray.
White Vinegar - I use it most often with baking soda to dump down my drains, followed in a few minutes by a pot of boiling water - helps unclog and freshen them. Its also a great glass cleaner.
Castile Soap (I got Dr. Bronners online 32oz for $8 at IHerb I think, but I think something like Murphy's would work and be cheaper.) - this can be used for anything - dishes, skin, deodorant, floor soap etc. Its supposed to be even gentle enough to be used as a baby soap! (I'm not sure if its safe for eyes though so watch that.)Its super concentrated so almost always dilute it. Mix it with baking soda or borax and lots of water to mop your floors.
Lemon juice - Can be combined with hot water and lemon juice in a spray bottle as an air freshener.
Hydrogen Peroxide -

They suggest using essential oils to scent them, but that starts making them pricy...
(I got almost all of my ideas from a funky website (that I can't promise is legit in any way, but I like what I've tried) called Loretta's place. Not super professional but it has "worked for me!" It has tons more recipes so go there to continue learning.)

For skin care my mom found these sweet little apothecary bottles at a thrift store, disinfected them and gave them to me, so my concoctions are oh so pretty and it makes all of this more fun.

In the mornings I use either an apple cider vinegar "balancer" or a lemon juice witch hazel combo.
Apple cider is 9 parts water to every 1 part vinegar.
1/2 c lemon juice, to 1 cup water, to 2/3 cup witch hazel.
Store and apply with a cotton pad.

Then I moisturize with organic coconut oil. Strange I know, but my old roomate did it and it worked wonders for her skin and made her glow and smell yummy all the time so i've been dying to do it. I can't vouch for this one for my skin yet bc I just started using it. I also have slight concerns that it will make me fry in the sun. Even at pricey whole foods you can get 15 oz for 7.99, and you only need a tiny bit each time. Don't go overboard or you will look like a grease monkey!

At night I clean my face with... sesame seed oil. Ben laughs that I smell like food, but he likes it whenever I do anything funky like that. Rub it on with a cotton pad and wash it off with a hot, wet, wash cloth. Follow with one of the toner options. I'm currently spoiled bc my mom shared a gift certificate with me to the lovely L'Occitane store and I am using their almond apple creme at night and their olive something eye treatment. Bye bye dark circles and those faint hints of beginning wrinkles! But, alas, I'll never buy them again bc they are uber expensive. (Also, if you ever find yourself with a gift card to a place that sells Origin products, their "have a nice day" cream is the best I've ever used.)

If I have a blemish I put a bit of straight lemon juice on it and it disappears overnight.
For blackheads make a mask of oats, honey, and a bit of hot water and leave on for 10 minutes. I've thought it was better than Biore Strips.

I've also been brushing my teeth with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. No, it doesn't taste great, but it costs pennies, is natural, and my teeth feel smoother and cleaner than with normal toothpaste.

All right, well that's all for now. I hope that answers your questions. But please remember with the skin products how different every one's skin is, so even if it works for me it might not for you.

PS Mom, if you got this far, I finally gave lil boy his first real haircut, sides and back.
And, he adopted a candle stick and ran around our apt singing, bobebobe baaaaaaahhhhh!!! At the baaaaah! portion he would throw his arms open and sing to the sky. Where does he get this when we don't have a TV? Worship at church? Anyways, super funny!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reading to my 19 month old/ Universe-Disturbers

I try to read to my lil rascal as much as possible since I credit anything positive going on in my brain and IQ to the great books I heard growing up.
At breakfast I read to him from a Madeleine L'Engle devotional called Glimpses of Grace.
And currently during his wind down times before naps and "night, night" I read him Farmer Boy, the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband's childhood. In the past we've read The Silver Chair, The Princess and the Goblin, Tolkien children's stories (sadly he didn't like the Hobbit yet) and Dance in the Desert by Madeleine L'Engle just to name a few. I know, I know, he's only 19 months old. Perhaps I should be reading him picture books, but he asks for these. "Buhk? Mo buhk puhleeez."
Here is an excerpt from today's L'Engle breakfast reading.
"Jesus was a great universe disturber, so upsetting to the establishment of his day that they put him on a cross, hoping to finish him off. Those of us who try to follow His Way have a choice, either to go with Him as universe disturbers (butterflies), or to play it safe. Playing it safe ultimately leads to personal diminishment and death. If we play it safe, we resist change. Well. We all resist change, beginning as small children with our unvarying bedtime routine, continuing all through our lives. The static condition may seem like security. But, if we cannot move with change, willingly, or reluctantly, we are closer to death and further from life."

This idea keeps coming up with Ben and I. How can we live it out? How can we integrate it into our lives? Even though we see it riddled throughout Scripture it rubs Ben the wrong way. He is so heavily trained in medieval philosophy that many of his fundamental values are based on temperance and balance. But Christ seems to upset that and call for radical life. His life was not at all temperate and balanced. If we are to follow His way the world will hate us. If we are lukewarm He will spit us from His mouth.

(quote continues)
"If we disturb the universe, no matter how lovingly, we're likely to get hurt. Nobody ever promised that universe disturbers would have an easy time of it. Universe disturbers make waves, rock boats, upset establishments. Gandhi upset the great British Empire. Despite his non-violence, he was unable to stop the shedding of blood, and he ended with a bullet through his heart. "

How do we live that life from our suburb? How do I live that as a mom who has that deep maternal instinct to protect my family. Any takers on this one?