Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time with our Children is Precious

'pre-cious: (adj.) (of an object, substance, or resource) Of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.

I saw the saddest story in the news today. A little four-month-old baby boy passed away in his sleep. We hear about these things happening from time to time, and don't always stop to ponder the grief of the mother, the father, the family of the little one. But this story struck an even deeper, sadder chord with me. 

This baby died in a daycare facility.

Now, infant deaths do occur, many times for unknown causes, and pretty much anywhere, whether the child happens to be at home, with grandma, on vacation with the family... But the saddest of sad, to me, is that this one died among strangers. His mommy wasn't the last one to hold him, feed him, rock him to sleep. That sad thought is overwhelming. I do not mean to criticize this poor mother at all, because I do not know her reasons for leaving him there. But, to me, it is worth any sacrifice it takes to make the most of our time raising our babies, especially since we do not know how much (or how little) time we have.

Are any of us guaranteed another embrace? Of course not. Therefore our time with our children is very, very precious. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Pesky Zealots

We've all probably come across one of them. It's the person who is always excited about something, and they can go on and on about it if anyone gets them started. They know what they love, and it spills over into every aspect of their life. There is no doubting what they are about; they are zealous about their love, and everyone knows it. Sometimes the things they say might cause everyone in the room to roll their eyes, but only if the people in the room do not share or at least understand their passion. A psalmist said, 

Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. My ZEAL hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

Now, this guy Mr. Zeal takes God's Word seriously. He would not be welcome at any typical party. He may not even be welcome at the typical church! He has found God's Word to be righteous and very faithful. What does that drive him to do? Not only guard it, hear and heed it, but also to tell others! His zeal consumes him, and he can't stand it that others are oblivious to its wonderful, life-giving, eye-opening Truth. He will likely share things he has learned (whether solicited or not), warn others of their sin and the consequences of it. He will never be one of the "cool" crowd. He is not knowledgeable of worldly trends, t.v. shows and movies; he has neither time nor patience for any of that, and he is sure that those things will amount to dung in eternity. He is consumed with one thing: Loving the LORD with everything he has.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." To love Him is to keep His commandments. Therefore, the above verse from Deuteronomy may be read:

Thou shalt {keep My commandments} with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Mr. Zeal may be uncool. But he may just be right on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My (Healthy) Beauty Secrets

It's no secret that most commercial skin care and beauty products are full of unpronounceable chemicals. In just a matter of seconds after application, those chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream. Over time they can contribute to hormonal problems and other health issues. I've made it my goal to eliminate as many of them as possible from my skin care regimen. Here are some of the things I use instead.

Baking Soda. I use this for so many things! I keep a small cup of b/s in my shower and use it to wash my hair about twice a week. It has a mild exfoliating effect, so sometimes I use a tiny amount to wash my face. (I have slightly oily skin. Those with dry skin should probably not use b/s on their skin.) Occasionally I use baking soda for brushing my teeth, but it has a strong flavor. (There are plenty of good recipes online for homemade toothpaste, which are better tasting, but I don't always take the time to make toothpaste.) I also use baking soda to make my own deodorant.

Apple Cider Vinegar. This is also kept in my shower, diluted in a plastic squirt bottle. ACV is an excellent hair conditioner, to use after rinsing out all the baking soda. Sometimes I put it on a cotton ball and swipe it over my face to refresh my skin after washing. It's good for skin and nail fungus, and taking it internally is good for the complexion.

Hydrogen Peroxide. This is the alternative for commercial toothpaste that I use most often. I have some in a small spray bottle, so I can spray it onto my toothbrush and directly onto my teeth, then brush. It whitens the teeth over time. (In fact, most if not all of those expensive tooth whitening systems are made with hydrogen peroxide.)

Banana Peels. Yes, banana peels. They are full of nutrients that are good for the skin! I cut a large piece off the peel and rub the inside all over my face until the chalky-looking white stuff is gone. I leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse off with warm water. It makes a nice mask that firms up the skin, and I've noticed that it clears up blemishes quickly. It leaves my skin feeling very soft and not over-dry.

Essential Oils and Healthy Carrier Oils. I'm learning how to use essential oils for health care, but beyond that they make some really nice custom fragrances! I use Sweet Almond Oil, Sesame, or Olive Oil for carrier oils (because that's what I have), and add drops of different e/o's until I have a scent I like. Sometimes I use this to moisturize dry spots like my hands and elbows, but it's too, well - oily - for use all over. Thus the next beauty secret...

Healthy Moisturizers. First of all, I reduce the need for lotion by avoiding the overuse of soap in the shower. (I've found that using just warm water and a bath pouf gets me very clean without drying out my skin. I only use soap where it's necessary.) But I do need lotion sometimes, facial moisturizer every day. The stuff I buy is as basic as possible. Right now I'm using a nice lotion I bought in the States, called "Everyday Shea". For my face, I have a homemade moisturizer from Generation Cedar. Occasionally I might use a commercial lotion I was given, but it's not the norm for me.

So there are my own healthy beauty secrets. What about yours?