Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going Green

The past few months I have been changing out my cleaning and beauty products (full of chemicals) for naturally made products.  In other words – we've gone green.  I've replaced our laundry & dishwasher detergents with homemade detergent which costs just pennies.  I've replaced our fabric softener with plain white vinegar.  I use Bare Minerals makeup instead of the chemical-laden junk from the store.  I've replaced our toothpaste with a baking soda, peroxide, and tea tree oil paste.  I've replaced our underarm deodorant with my own homemade stick made from baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils.  I've replaced my shampoo with my own homemade shampoo made with castile soap, coconut milk, water, and essential oils. (Really works for Jed!!)  I've traded in bleach and Comet for vinegar, water, and tea tree oil.  I've even traded in our air fresheners for naturally made baking soda and essential oils. (Tea tree oil – a jack of all trades!!  I love it!)  I even was looking at the “ingredients” in baby wipes and started making our own wipes after seeing all of the chemicals that are added.  And although I've been struggling with some health issues, I am feeling better as the days go on.  I've traded in my Sweet & Low for stevia or real sugar and can tell a difference in how I’m feeling already.  We're purchasing more organic foods and try to steer clear of processed foods/artificial flavors.

I started acupuncture back at the end of March and was one of the lucky ones that it worked for.  Unfortunately my body has been in this unwell mode for so long that it’s going to take quite some time to “undo” the damage.  That being said, if you go into any kind of alternative medicine expecting a “get well quick” mentality, it won’t work.  It takes time for our bodies to become unwell, it takes even longer to get them back to optimal health.  It’s frustrating, it’s irritating, and it tests my patience and endurance.  But I know that I am on the road to better living by eliminating so many of the toxins that are present in our daily lives.  The one toxin I’m not able to completely eliminate is STRESS and it’s probably the biggest toxin in my life.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 90% of all illness and disease is due to stress – and I can testify to that!  BUT, I also am able to realize that in this season of my life, stress is inevitable and unavoidable.  Having two small, sometimes challenging, children to raise in today’s society is stressful!  There is a noticeable difference in my composure when my children are around versus when they aren't.  I’m not going to sugar-coat it:  My kids can drive me nuts!  It’s difficult to be “stress-free” and calm when you are being pulled in a thousand different directions.  But I reiterate, I realize that is just the season of life that I am in right now.  And soon, sooner than I like to think, I will be wishing for this season of life to be back instead of the “empty nest” season. 

Alot of you have been asking me for the recipes I use, so consider yourselves very lucky….I’m giving away all of my beauty secrets here!

Homemade Recipes:

Baby Wipes: (and I used castile soap instead of baby wash – because of all the chemicals in baby wash even!) http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/homemade-baby-wipes-recipes.html

Air Freshener : (I made one for the back of the toilet and one for in the refrigerator) http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2012/03/easy-baking-soda-air-freshener-tutorial.html

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Reclaimed 5:17

Awhile back, in November as Jed and I were walking out of our friends’ house, I noticed in their “burn pile” that they had a whole slew of twigs.  The “thrifter” in me thought, “You should do something neat with those twigs.  Grab some and take them home.”  Hector the Collector I am.  At any rate, I put the twigs down in our basement in a corner where I figured they would lie until we moved or our house burned down.  Moving forward, it’s now December.  One night, I was laying next to Jed trying to fall asleep to no avail.  I was crying and praying and talking to God about healing and restoring my friend Laurie’s marriage.  I felt so incredibly helpless to help her and my heart was broken for her.  I was asking God to give her strength and to help me to help her.  I was praying that He would hold her close to Him and comfort her.  Like a bolt of lightning, I suddenly had a moment of pure clarity…unexplainable.  God told me what to do with those twigs!  For weeks I had been listening to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by the David Crowder Band and one of the lines just kept hammering in my head:

“Let thy goodness like a fetter; bind my wandering heart to thee.  Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.  Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

That was it!  I was asking God to bind her heart to Him!  My mind was racing, I sat up and woke Jed up asking him if he was awake because I HAD to share this vision!  He mumbled something and rolled over and I was left in astonishment.  God had told me to take those twigs and make a cross, get a glass heart (I was picturing a big fat, red, shiny heart), bind it to the cross with twine, and somehow have “Bind Thy Wandering Heart to Thee” on there somewhere and then BREAK that heart!  In essence, I was bringing that song to fruition. 

The next day, with a determined purpose, I got to work on that cross.  I stopped at Hobby Lobby and found the most perfect, couldn’t have been any better heart.  It was a “seashell” jagged heart pendant.  Best part?  ON SALE! ;-)  I got the pendant, some copper wire and some twine.  I had found an awesome font for “Bind My Wandering Heart to Thee” on Pinterest which…seriously?...It. Could. Not. Have. Been. More. Suitable. 

I went home and made the cross.  Want to know the kicker here?  Laurie collects crosses and has a cross wall in her dining room!  How’s that for divine vision?  I wrapped the cross up and delivered it to Laurie one night before Christmas when we got together for some “girl time”.  The best gift I ever gave.

The cross on Kelli's "Redeemed" paper

And as the old saying goes, “the rest is history”.  Eeeeeerrrrk!  Stop the train.  Not in this case.  My vision was so much more than I could ever imagine.  An acquaintance of mine, Kelli, saw the cross I gave to Laurie.  She approached me later and asked where I came up with the idea for the cross and I told her the story.  An instant bond was made.  Kelli was in the process of writing her testimony for our women’s Christian Retreat Weekend and before I even had the cross made, she had made the underlying theme of her talk to be….you guessed it…”Bind My Wandering Heart To Thee”.  Seriously?  God was telling us that we needed to become fast friends!!!  In comes Kelli’s vision:  Kelli had the vision to make 80 of these crosses for all of the women who were attending the Christian Retreat Weekend.  BIG project.  Not only did our friends step up to the plate to pitch in and help us, but we ended up making 120 crosses for attendees and leaders!  AND THEN…yes, there’s more…she made another 80 or so for the men’s Christian Retreat Weekend for each attendees and leaders as well!  Unbelievable.  We have also asked another “crafty” friend, Kate, to join us on our newest adventure.  I am just astonished at how one tiny vision has snowballed into something like this.  Only God could have engineered something like this. For sure!

And no, the story does not end there.  After the men’s CRW, Kelli approached me about making these crosses and selling them.  All the profits would go to a women’s shelter.  From there God got a hold of both of us and her idea morphed into something a little bit bigger than we had anticipated.  We decided we would take “old” things and make them “new” and sell them at Farmer’s Market, along with making the crosses. All of the earnings will go to a few select LOCAL charities.  People like to see with their own eyes that their donations are being put to good use.  We were both finding all kinds of things in nature that we wanted to “repurpose” and “recycle” for our newest adventure.  For me, this whole idea of recycling “junk” is very appealing.  I am a thrifter at heart and am just amazed at the finds I’ve gotten at Goodwill, St. Vinny’s, consignment stores, etc.  Not only that, but being environmentally responsible has recently caught my attention when I realized that my body is in so much pain because of my environmental factors!  When Kelli & I were discussing the name, we had originally decided on “Reclaimed 21:5” because during our pastor’s sermon two weeks ago, he visited Revelation 21:5 which states, “And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true."  Really?  Why not just stamp “Revelation 21:5” on our foreheads to get our attention God!!  Well, after some discussion, we both decided part of our mission is to spread the Word that Jesus takes the old and makes it new.  Just as we are new creations in Christ, so will our “nature inspired creations” be.  And so then it just stuck…”Reclaimed 5:17” Reference 2 Corinthians 5:17 which states, This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  And both Kelli and I can attest to that!  We were both broken and beat when Jesus found each of us, and like a mother nursing her child back to health, restored us.  He made us new.

I now think of my life in the following terms:  B.C an A.C.  Before Christ and After Christ.  Before Christ I was a lost and wandering soul, just surviving the days.  And now since Christ has found me (yes…He found me, not the other way around!) and I accepted Him into my life, He has given me LIFE and PURPOSE and HOPE.  I am no longer just surviving.  I am living.