Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

Learning through Breaking

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Brokenness doesn’t come from badness. Brokenness comes, instead, from woundedness. God doesn’t break us because we’re bad, but He breaks away the  the self-made scars that we’ve grown over our wounds to heal ourselves. The wounds only appear on the outside to be healed, but underneath the surface scar there is still putrid, rotting flesh that is unhealed. It is unhealed because we cannot heal ourselves.

Self-protection is not healing. Self-protection is hiding.

Like Adam and Eve tried to cover their naked wounds with inadequate fig leaves, we try to cover out wounds with fig leaf clothing. Fig leaves weren’t made to heal or cover us. I so often look to wrong things for healing and covering. When I’ve screwed up (again), I reach for pride to cover my screw ups. I look around for blame to hide my sin. I look to and for people to validate my feelings.

Those are fig leaves. And fig leaves cover and heal nothing.

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But Jesus. Jesus and His blood. That is where healing and covering is found. He heals us. Slowly. So very very slowly. And just like a physical cut heals from the inside out, His healing starts deep inside of me, so deep inside no one, not even me, can see it or feel it. But He is working.

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Wounds are ugly. Self-healed wounds are uglier. Jesus healed wounds are beautiful. Because Jesus makes all things beautiful. Because Jesus alone knows the beauty that lives deep inside the human soul.

coffeebeans

 

This might be a little overly simplistic, but coffee beans do not make a good cup of coffee until they are broken and ground fine.

They also are the most fragrant immediately after grinding.

The coffee bean is grown green. It is useless to make a good pot of coffee until it has been roasted. Roasting always requires heat. Always. When roasting the green coffee beans they will within the first 3 to 15 minutes crack, they will crack again within 15-120 seconds after the first crack ends.

In roasting coffee, the beans crack. They break. High heat breaks them. Then they are ready to be removed from the heat.

High heat breaks them. Just as it breaks us. It breaks away the skin that covers the bean, just as it breaks away the self-made scars we’ve produced to protect ourselves.

Then the bean is ready to be broken again and ground up fine. It seems the breaking process never ends. In grinding the beans the fragrance is released. Just as when we are ground fine by God’s grinding us release the fragrance of what is inside.

That still isn’t all. The coffee bean when it is grown but left green is of no value to the coffee drinker. The coffee bean when it is cracked by the heat of roasting, or broken by the coffee grinder still has no value as coffee and is unusable in that state until it has been placed in coffee pot and had hot, boiling water poured over it. That is when it produces the desired result. That is when it fully is what it was grown to be.

Lord if it’s true that nothing is so ugly something beautiful can’t be made from it, please make something beautiful of me. Thank You for being the Creator of all and the Re-Creator of all that is damaged and broken. Thank You for being the Light that shines in and out of the broken. Thank You for being the Truth in a life filled with lies.
Please be with me to deliver me and Re-create me in You into something usable. And then Lord, please use me.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Enough Already by Barbara L. Roose {A Review}

As women, we all struggle with our own ugly battle with beauty. We look in the mirror and see flaw after flaw after flaw after flaw after flaw ad infinitum. Books have been written telling women how to view themselves, how to be beautiful, what beauty is, and what beauty isn’t. We are bombarded by it at every turn, every glance on the shelves at the store checkout lane shows us more and more what beauty is. And we feel measureless to keep up or measure up. 

Until now. Barbara L. Roose has written what in my opinion is the best book on beauty available. She writes with grace, kindness, and understanding.  She points us toward Jesus in every chapter, not because our external appearance doesn’t matter at all. But because we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. Every cell, every pore, every inch of our being was designed by Him.

My favorite chapter in the book is on the topic of God’s Paint Palette. She talks about how to end the racial segregation, and racism we all face and experience. This was the best thing I have read dealing with this issue.

This book is a must read for every female.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Life as it happens., Money Saving Tips

Look Ma, No POO!

I have searched and searched for my post from January explaining the ins and outs of my going “‘poo free” only to come up empty. Surely I didn’t just dream that I blogged about it. I know I did; I am so confident of that very fact that I remember some comments about it. But maybe that was on facebook…that thought just right now, this very minute occurred to me.

Anyway, here I am willing to extol my great wisdom on being free of ‘poo. This will be a very short blog post.

I am somewhat “crunchy”. No, I don’t mean I’m bony and would crunch if you ate me like an over-cooked french fry.  I mean “crunchy” as in this definition from Urban dictionary,

Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

No, I’m not a vegetarian, vegan, tree hugger, etc. I’m just tired of ingesting chemicals. I’m tired of eating chemical-laden food, chemically altered food and I’m equally tired of chemicals in everything. I’m tired of not having any idea what is what the products I use. I’m tired of not being able to pronounce the ingredients in commonly used items. Such as shampoo and conditioner.

I’ve also just been on an all-around health kick. I’ve (almost) completely cut out white flour and sugar. I do on occasion splurge but those are few and very far between.  I choose healthy or healthier menu items at home and when we dine out. Because it’s smart.

Now I’m not claiming to be a genius, but when I look at the epidemic of obesity in our nation, and knowing that my town is leading the state in the rate of obesity, or in other words, in my state, my town has the highest ratio of obese people. It just makes sense. I, myself, a few years ago was on the borderline of obesity and overweight for my height. Yes, it’s true. Not many people know that. I’ve worked hard and I’ve had to be ruthless about what I put in my body. Things I have loved have been cut out. I used to love a a mocha. Now when I feel like splurging a little, I find I no longer love or even like mochas. No great loss there.

So what does all this have to do with going ‘poo free? Commercially manufactured shampoo and conditioner is full of chemicals….chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. (Or at the very least have the potential to be.)

Shampoo is really, a fairly new item. Marketed to us as a necessity of life. If you don’t use shampoo and use it every day, you’re less than what you could be and probably should be.

Shampoo actually strips your hair of everything good and necessary.  Your scalp has oils in it that your hair needs. Shampoo strips all of them. Which is why your hair is so nasty if you don’t use conditioner. Conditioner puts some man-made, chemical-laden oils back in so you can at the very least get a comb through your locks.

I have started using a mixture with a 1:1 ratio of baking soda, yes, the baking soda you use to bake with, and water. One Tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water. I use warm water, mix the baking soda until it dissolves and then I pour it into a pump bottle and keep it in the shower.

You might need more or less baking soda for your hair. Experiment a little and see what ratio works best for you.  Just make sure you rinse it well. You definitely don’t want white flecks in your hair.

For conditioner I use the same ratio, only I use apple cider vinegar and water. (still 1 tablespoon to one cup) I have heard white vinegar also works well and might in fact, work better. But I haven’t tried that yet myself.

I do not rinse the “conditioner” out. You can, I don’t. No, my hair does not smell like a salad at best and vinegar at worst. It smells remarkably like…get this…hair. Yes! My hair smells like hair. Not like some perfumed conditioner I spent a lot of money on. It smells like hair. And manageable? You bet!

Besides the way my hair looks and feels, I love the money saving factor. I shop at Sams and once a month I buy 13 pounds of Arm and Hammer Baking soda. Yes, 13 pounds! I spend between $6 and $7. All of it is used and not just for hair. Maybe I’ll blog in the future about other ways I use baking soda. When I was purchasing shampoo I was spending $12-$15 a month on shampoo and conditioner. Whoa! Talk about a significant savings.

Now, using baking soda and apple cider vinegar in place of shampoo will not do anything to combat the obesity rate in America. If only it were true. But it will help your scalp and hair look and feel nicer, be easier on your pocketbook in a global recession and will rid you of a lot of unnecessary chemicals.

Now, doesn’t that make it worth looking into? I thought so!

 

(Doesn’t it figure, I just found the blog post. You can find it here.)

Posted in Life as it happens.

Free of ‘Poo

You might remember in January I gave up on ‘poo. No, not that ‘poo…shampoo. I have kept with my no ‘poo do. The picture, on the left, was just taken moments ago. As you can quite plainly see, my hair has not vacated my head, nor has it done anything weird like turn green and purple. It is the softest, healthiest hair I can ever remember having.

I did just learn a new trick though. See I thought you rinsed everything out of your hair (except “leave in conditioner”) so I had been doing that. But I read yesterday I don’t have to rinse the vinegar out. So yesterday and this morning I’ve left it in and oh. my. freaking. word! My hair is soooo soft and tangles are a thing of the past.

I know you’re thinking my hair smells like a salad at best, and at worst vinegar.  It doesn’t! It smells like hair.

I was telling my children yesterday to leave it in. When my youngest pipes up, “I usually add them.” Now you might remember we use baking soda for shampoo. I had to ask her to explain, “I put the baking soda water on, rub it around on my head. Then I add the vinegar water, rub that in and rinse the whole thing at once.”

I’m sure my eyeballs popped out of my head. I quickly told her not to do that anymore because quite frankly it’s not a good idea.

Posted in Uncategorized

Older than I thought.

English: Chinese stop sign showing character 停
Image via Wikipedia

Last night Catherin noticed Mr. FullCup’s white hair and commented on it. “You’re hair is white on your head and here” as she rubbed her top lip. I asked her if she knew what that meant and she assured me she did.

“Zat means you are old!”

We found out her American parents are both older than her Chinese parents. She asked how old we were and the conversation went to other things. Until she looked at me and said,

“YOU’RE 72??!!!”

Not quite, I have a couple of years before I get there but she’s close.

The past two days I have felt a cold coming on and honestly, I wish it would either come or leave. I’m tired of feeling like I’m coming down with something one minute and then next think I’m crazy because I feel fine. Maybe it is because last week on Wednesday I consumed no fewer than 5000mgs of Vitamin C.  So obviously I have confused my poor body into thinking it should be sick/no, it shouldn’t be sick.

This morning I awoke the sound of snow pelting the skylight. The girls and I needed to run today as we are a week behind, last week was just too crazy, topsy-turvy to run or even desire to run. Yesterday I felt a cold coming on (see above paragraph if you’re like me and have already forgotten it). Snow was not in my plans at all.

Neither were the crazy loony drivers this morning. Oh my word. A car runs a stop sign right in front of someone and somehow managed to not get hit. A car pulls onto a busy street going the wrong direction and doesn’t get smacked. I wanted to smack the driver.

I would love to stay snug at home (remind me to tell you something Beanie said yesterday) all day. But alas, I will have to venture out again. We have a meeting for host families today after school and then the girls have piano lessons.

Anyone have any ideas for supper? I have two pounds of hamburger set out and I’m pretty clueless.

Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

Soul Sisters

In case you haven’t noticed I’m white. Whiter than white. I am white to the very core.  And it bothers me. Greatly.

From my earliest days I have been fascinated by “brown” people. Honestly that is what I thought they were. The first time I heard the word “black” in reference to a color of skin I thought they were warped because everyone can plainly see they aren’t black, they are a beautiful shade of brown.  When I was around 6 my sisters and I all wanted dolls for Christmas only I was rather specific I wanted a “brown baby”, no white baby for me.

I got one. (And shock of all shocks I just found the doll on ebay,http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-1976-Mattel-Tender-Love-N-Kisses-Black-Baby-Doll-/320648069627?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa81d41fb#ht_623wt_1037) I named her Jaffa Banana-Scotch.

I was so into brown people my favorite color was brown.

Can I be honest and just say brown people still fascinate me. Honestly I don’t know. I am the furthest thing from a racist, I have no thoughts at all of superiority, theirs or mine. I just love them. I have long longed for, and just thought, “Hey I should pray about it”, a black friend. In some way I feel my life would be complete if I had a black friend.

I mentioned I’m white to the core. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. Shoot I can’t even clap in rhythm. I don’t have it. I probably never will. When I dance, I scare myself. When I sing, I scare everyone else.  I honestly believe that in Heaven I will be black. It just won’t be heaven for me unless I am black, so I can sing and dance and clap in rhythm.

I’ve decided there is a black girl deep inside me struggling to get out but she is trapped under all the white.

But tonight. Tonight hope reigns! I was chatting with some friends about my keloid scar. A few years ago I had a cyst removed from my neck and now I have an ugly keloid scar.  I was telling my friend I just had to call and make an appointment for them to cut it out and take out another cyst, when another friend looked at me and said, “You can’t do that!” I guess it just isn’t done. If you have that kind of scar, you have that kind of scar forever.

I was mortified. Honestly, I have worn my hair down more than usual just because it hides the ugly scar on my neck. But no more! I’m going to wear it up with pride and maybe even point out my ugly, beautiful scar because it means I have “very dark blood in my veins”. This same friend who told me I will have it for ever told me genetically brown/black people are more prone to keloid scaring and so it shows that I have black genes in my ancestry.

WAHOO!!! I am a BLACK WOMAN!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn’t funny how when we think something is ugly we will hide it for all it’s worth until someone tells us about it. Then we realize the scars we thought were ugly are really a thing of beauty.  When I think of Jesus’ nail scared hands and feet, I don’t see ugly scar. No, I see a thing of beauty.

Just as His scars are beautiful, so are my scars when I give them to Him. The scars I try and hide so no one sees that I’m less than perfect, He takes and makes into a think of beauty.

Oh for the desire to trust Him enough to give my scars to Him.