Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Works for Me Wednesday

What is the first thing you notice about people?  Many immediately notice eyes, or teeth, clothes or are attentive to body language. I'm a hair person. A new style is something that pops out to me in a friend or when meeting a stranger, hair is something I pay attention to.  Healthy hair and a cut I like often causes me to pause before becoming envious!  Just kidding, but I do appreciate good hair.

My obsession with hair is probably because I struggle with my own. I've learned to make friends with my hair instead of fighting against it! That means knowing it and letting it be what it naturally is made to be.  As one who has fine hair, through the years I have used tons of products which were supposed to give me full, voluptuous hair, sleek and shiny tresses and gorgeous tousles.  Mostly, these products just weighed my hair down!

I've finally found a shampoo product that works well with my hair.  The tradition I had for much of my life of shampoo and  conditioner was actually working against what I wanted to achieve. The cleaning agents in shampoo are usually sodium laurel sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate. These clean the oils from hair but can also strip all the natural oils and can be harsh and cause irritation. Shampoo bars are different. Shampoo bars are an all natural conditioning shampoo in a solid bar form. Although the process for making a shampoo bar is the same as making soap, shampoo bar recipes are specially formulated with natural plant oils, butters, botanicals and essential oils that nourish your hair and scalp.

I've been using shampoo bars for a few years now and love them!  They don't weigh my hair down and keep it conditioned due to the natural moisturizing ingredients.  I don't even use conditioner!

My favorite place to purchase these bars is Chagrin Valley Soaps.  They have a page filled with information about shampoo bars.  

So, if your hair is needing  new cleaning routine, check out shampoo bars.  Remember, some people, always notice your  hair!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Gift of Morning

I'm all about newness.  A chance to start over brings a sense of excitement and anticipation.  A new day, week, month, school season etc.  I love all new things!  What a fresh thought this week I had. Each new morning is a gift from God.  Another day, another glimpse of His goodness and another opportunity to do better than the day before. 

Over half my life, I've been a 'night owl', one who went to bed late and rose later in the morning.  Sleeping in for me was a true treasure, that I loved and did often.  Until, the children started school!  What a difference it makes, 'having' to get up early.  My sleep pattern changed to adapt, but out of necessity, not choice!

When our 3rd child was born, he was a terrible sleeper!  Slept very little at night and took short naps during the day.  He would usually wake me up very early, then after being fed, would go back to sleep, just about the time I needed to be getting up!  There is nothing more miserable than being woke up, then drifting back off only to have to get up a short time later!  So once he woke me early, I went ahead and got up.  That short space of time gave me the ability to get some things done and eventually I began to enjoy the early mornings.

Summer always brought the opportunity to sleep in a little later.  One summer, sweet hubby had back surgery and part of his recovery was to walk.  We would wake up at 6:30 each morning to walk together before I had to be at work.  At first it was unheard of..6:30 on a summer morning, but again, it worked well and I began to see that time as precious.

This year, the first days of summer began with that rejoicing of sleeping in a little later.  Although now, 7:00 is considered sleeping in!  As an avid walker, I began to juggle how to get my daily walks in while struggling with the heat of summer, jobs and dodging evening thunderstorms. Early mornings seemed to be the answer.  If I got up at 5:30 (just like school days), I could get a good walk in and get home in time to get ready for work. 

As I adapted to this new schedule, I began to enjoy it.  Getting up followed by coffee and devotion and a time to be outside as the day awakens is a beautiful time.  Inspirational podcasts while walking keep my mind and heart focused with great things for the day.  Taking time to see the sun rise almost takes my breath away.  The hush and stillness of the expectation of the new day is a powerful reminder that God is in control and of His great love.  

For years, I never understood why people would 'want' to get up I know.  A new morning is a gift from God.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Good Plans Make for Great Weeks

This rarely happens, but Saturday found me with a day to spend at home, no place I needed to be AND...all the housework was done!  Laundry caught up, supper in crock pot and a day ready to do what I wanted to do!  Sweet hubby had some outside work to do, so once Gunsmoke was over and he headed outside, I grabbed the remote, hit the couch and took in an hour of The Pioneer Women on the cooking channel!
Would you believe that The Pioneer Woman is trying to eat healthier?  Right up my ally!  I found  a few 'have to try' recipes that will be happening this week at our home.   Then another show came on - Farmhouse Rules with more delicious recipes to try! 
This little blog of mine was started many years ago as an effort to be an encouragement to Christian women.  Not from one who has it all together, but to invite others to come along on the journey towards being a godly woman.  Amidst the challenges, joys and daily routines of life, God's grace is always there.   On days like today where is time to breathe, I love to plan.  Then I love to share here and keep a reminder before me! 
Here are two recipes I'm trying this week!
I'm using prepared hummus and leaving out the artichoke for the first try!!
Getting in a few mom points with these easy cookies!
I visit a lot of blogs and love how many have a passion and focus on one area.  I'm a little scattered and have several areas that important to me!  Some of my passions are family, creating a cozy home and a healthy lifestyle.  Good plans make for great weeks and when you can incorporate your values into actions, it's a great step to fulfil your passions of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Day at the Beach

"You can take the girl away from the beach, but you cannot take the beach out of the girl."  

I grew up as a child in a beach town.  Going to the beach was a regular family event. When as a teenager, my family moved away from the town with the beach, guess where we went for vacations?  Yep, the beach!  The beach is just a part of who I am!

My sweet hubby doesn't share that beach passion.  He is a mountain man, raised as a child vacationing in the mountains, swimming in mountain creeks, camping and enjoying the rugged outdoors. In our 27 years of marriage, he introduced me to mountain vacations which I dearly love, the majestic sights, the crisp, cool hikes and cozy mountain cabins, are all perfect in the fall.  But in the summer....I want the beach!  He doesn't see past the sticky salt air, the heat of summer and the sticking sand to experience the joys of the wind, waves and water.  But, bless his heart, he tolerates it almost yearly for me..what a great guy!

When we go to the beach, we have different ideas in our minds on how the day is to be spent. This year we went for a quick beach trip and it was probably the best trip ever. We decided it was ok to have different plans and merged what we both love about the beach together and spent a little time doing our own thing.  

Early morning walks on the beach were beautiful and the only cool part of the day.  Walking, talking and watching the sun rise were a perfect beginning to the day. Evening walks as the sun set were a perfect finish to a day with time spent together.  

The middle of the day, is where we have different ideas about beach time. He prefers the coolness of the motel room and some down time to relax. That is what vacation is for! My inner child comes out as I begin counting how much time we have left there and determine to make the most of the day. This year, we enjoyed early morning walks, breakfast together, then some beach time. After lunch, while he regrouped in the room, I hit the pool, then the fitness room, back to the room to get ready for evening plans.  But it worked out perfectly.  

One of the purposes of vacation is to enjoy time together and make some memories...mission accomplished!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now??

Communication.....used well brings great benefits, but when a lapse occurs, watch out!  Misunderstood words or actions can bring chaos.  It is an important skill to communicate well and one that can continually be improved.

When we communicate to others, we want them to listen, hear and follow.  Often times, we miss the mark!  The hearer may hear what we are saying, but may not really listen.

Here are some valuable tips to help when we speak so that others will truly hear.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME! Timing is the first key. You may be ready to talk, but are they ready to listen? Never drop a bomb! “There is a right time and a right way to do everything” Eccl. 8:6 (GN).

2. PLAN YOUR PRESENTATION. Think it through first. Especially plan your introduction and your supporting illustrations. Don’t start with the detail. In TV they move from the long shot to the medium shot to the close up. “Intelligent people think before they speak. What they say is then more persuasive” Prov. 16:23 (GN).

3. BEGIN WITH HIS OR HER NEEDS. A listener is always asking “Why should I listen to this?” and “How will it benefit me?” If you answer those two questions up front, you will have their undivided attention. “Speak only…according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” Eph. 4:29.

4. LISTEN FIRST! We get into trouble when we make assumptions. Be willing to hear the other side out first. “Be quick to listen and slow to speak” James 1:19.

5. SAY IT POSITIVELY. No one likes to hear bad news. Learn to be both realistic and optimistic at the same time. You are never persuasive when you are abrasive! If you have bad news, say it up front in a factual, non-personal way. Then quickly move into a constructive mode. “The mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is” Prov. 16:21 (GN).

6. CLARIFY YOUR CONCLUSIONS. Summarize and recap what you’ve said. Be specific. Restate what you’ve decided on and what you haven’t. “Agree with each other in the Lord” Phil. 4:2b.

7. END WITH AN ENCOURAGING WORD. Exit lines are important. Even if the discussion was heated and you both took some heavy shots of criticism try to end on a high note. “A word of encouragement does wonders!” Prov. 12:15 (LB).