Friday, February 27, 2009

Two's for the Road

Wow was today a day (or two) to remember…but we probably won’t because our brains are so addled right now that we can barely think straight.

It all started last night, Thursday. My daughter’s massive dentist appointment went perfectly and she had no problems whatsoever. Praise the Lord for this because her teeth have been a huge concern for me recently. Anyway, my husband had taken the day off which was a relief because my sister, Karee, had come down with a fever over 102 degrees! She was our designated babysitter and one of the drivers for our caravan of vehicles. When my husband and I finally arrived at my mom’s house to load her truck we saw how HUGE this truck was. It was a 26 foot truck and we were meant to share it. About halfway through the night we realized that there was NO WAY that both Mom’s stuff and our stuff would fit on the same truck as planned. We were right, Mom filled the truck with her stuff alone. This left me and Eric to rent a truck last minute which, amazingly, we were able to do, along with the towing unit for my car…which I have to drive…Yikes!!!

Oh man!!! We have packed and packed and moved and moved these last two days and now we are so tired that we can barely see straight and we are going to be driving for three days!!! My sister likely had pneumonia, my mom is stressed to the point of throwing up and we are all stressed to snapping…

Pray for us as we take this journey. I will see ya on the other side!!! (And I will give you more details when my brain has had time to process them...)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ultimate Packing Tuesday!!!

We leave on Saturday! We load the truck on Friday! We have a massive dentist appointment (that will take at the very least all morning and most of the afternoon...that's a different story) on Thursday! We have a doctor's appointment and an oil change on Wednesday! Which leaves me with today. To pack. The whole house. Granted, I've not been idle these past few weeks, so a lot has already been done, but even more needs to be done! I'm a list maker and I packed my paper already, so here is my list of things to do today! And just for fun: a few pictures!

What has already been packed (notice the lack of couches and end tables...yup, we sold 'em!):

*Finish sorting and packing random things in living room

*Print fun paper and pack up printer

The other half of the living room...yet to be packed (hoping to sell that gigantic entertainment center too!):

*Clean out kids' room (everything except the beds!)

This was actually taken in the living room. When I had cleared out the glass door portion of my entertainment center, the kids climbed in...

*Clean out spare bedroom

*Pack books
*Pack kids toys

You can see the boxes of books in the foreground on the right, behind them is the wall full of toys and the rest of the room is mostly empty boxes and already packed stuff, ready to move out to the living room.

*Laundry Monster...need I say more?
*Finish packing up unessentials in bathroom
*Pack Master Bedroom
(this is the trickiest room because Eric is staying behind for a little bit!!!)
*Remove all removeable items, return only essentials
*Pack up the packables
*Pack a suitcase per person with the clothes for the trip
*Pack an open box with clothes for next few days
, keep it next to the larger "everything else" suitcase
*Pack the kitchen and dining room
*Finish doing dishes and clearing counters
*Clear out all cabinets
*Pack up "not-to-be-used" food
*Pack up snack food for the trip
*Pack up all dishes...moving to "cold food only week!"
*Start cleaning!!!

Okay, I have officially wasted over an hour doing this "quick" post! Gotta run!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Something Fun to Balance the Rest

These are the states I've visited. Many of them were visited while driving or "training" but I have actually been in all these states...I've impressed myself! :) I have actually lived in: California, South Carolina, Texas and Washington (soon to be Colorado too!). I have visited, as in more than just passed through, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado (I was 16!), Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, and Wisconsin! WooHoo! I would LOVE to make it to the East Coast sometime....

Apostate or Heretic?

A little internal turmoil will really get you thinking, but, before I get in to all that, perhaps a short history is required. I grew up in a Catholic church and the large majority of my large family is Catholic with varying degrees of devotion. When I was 12, my parents got a divorce and through that process, my mom left the Catholic church. We began attending a church called Inland Community Church and we were very happy there. My mom wished for more hymns instead of the praise music, but she loved the verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible. She grew as a Christian and we grew to become Christians. It was at this church that I was baptized as a believer. However, problems eventually arose (as they usually do) and we discovered the youth pastor struggled in sexual sin (with the girls of his youth group) and the associate pastor was stealing from the church. After an all out confrontation with the church leadership, my family and several others, left the church and found a Calvary Chapel. Calvary was a breath of fresh air for sermons that had gone downhill since we first began attending ICC. Calvary Chapel's are known for their verse-by-verse Bible teaching and their back to basics style. They are good, Bible believing people, but... they seem to take things a little too lax, like wearing blue jeans to church among other things. It was really the blue jeans that got to me first, which is why I mention them.

Last July, I had the opportunity to confront this ideology head-on and I started wearing skirts more often. I felt convicted to dress modestly and femininely, not something I could accomplish well wear tight blue jeans. I found an article on headcovering and tried that out, but it became too much of a challenge and I stopped. I was still wearing skirts and I still believe skirts should be the staple of a woman's wardrobe. The one MAJOR thing I was lacking was a community of like-minded believers. This is what I craved. I started looking for churches, and even found an Independent Fundamental Baptist church in town, but we were moving and I was still unsure of myself and my convictions and felt like rocking the boat wasn't the best decision for this moment in time. I am still looking for a group to belong to and that is what worries me, the fear that I will choose my beliefs based on group participation and less on what is actually correct.

Here's where I get down to the real nitty gritty. One of the most frustrating things I am dealing with right now is the name-calling. Everyone takes a stand on so many different issues, from Calvinism to Arminianism, skirt length, headcovers, beards, lifestyle (agrarianism), homeschool method, child-raising, Bible on and so forth. What really gets difficult is that (particularly in the Calvinism versus Arminianism debate) we label the "opposition". The Arminians call the Calvinists heretics and the Calvinists call the Arminians apostates. All the other issues follow along with these two groups and I just get so frustrated!

What am I to be: an apostate or a heretic?  

And what concerns me even more is that, unlike my mom, who was convicted to leave the Catholic church after seeing that confession wasn't right and that Catholicism created people that "did" church on Sunday by just putting in their time (the real story is about the women chewing gum and gabbing behind my mom through the portion of the mass just after communion where the Catholic is at their most "holy" because they have just consumed the body and blood of Jesus Christ...I remember thinking that I had better pray quickly before he was digested out of me and I would be left powerless...anyway, these women got in the way of my mom's worship of her Savior (yet another aside, my mom was a Bible-reading Catholic) and we left the church.) and the failure of the priest to absolve her sin of divorce, I feel like I just want to belong to a group

Of course, I want to please God in what I do and that truly is first and foremost in my mind, but lately I have been wondering what exactly I am supposed to do. I am tired of being "tossed by the waves" and I fear for doing the wrong thing. I am okay with following whatever "rules" need to be followed, I just need to know that I am following God and not man, nor man's interpretation of God. I think at the root here is this utter frustration with who I am and where I stand in God's kingdom. Am I really a part of it? Are my actions sanctifying me? Am I truly serving God my wearing skirts, covering my head and choosing hymns over modern praise and worship? Are these things really important? And why, why do we demean other Christians? To separate ourselves from them, to define ourselves better? Does that not also cause us to puff up ourselves, just a little? We agree that Christ is the Savior of this world and that we are only saved by grace, through faith, right? Does the rest of it even matter? I imagine that the God who took the time to send His own Son to die on a cross for us would have some details about how to live and how to worship Him. Does it all really hang on Matthew 22: 37-40,
Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'
What does that mean? Does that mean that that love really is the bottom line...that "all you need is love?" What does it mean to have the law and prophets hanging on it? I would dearly love some answers here. Nothing has tried my faith so much as this.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Simple Solution

Marriage is a great thing, but it is really hard to keep that fire lit!!! Eric and I have been dealing, for what seems like our entire marriage, the difficulty of finding time together. See, I'm a night owl and he is an early bird. I can very easily stay up past midnight on any given night, provided that I don't have to do anything before 10 in the morning! Home keeping has become an indulgent "job" for me in that no one is here to force me to rise (or set) with the sun. I just label myself as "not a morning person" and I refuse to begin my day. My children have already begun their day, so they get the square babysitter until I can function, which is usually past naptime. Obviously, this needs to change. 

Eric, bless his heart, has tried to stay up a little later with me so that we can talk or spend time together but he needs to be up at 5:30am, sometimes earlier and staying up even until 10 or 11 is difficult for him. We have tried taking a date night, but that is just impractical with our time and budget to be the main thing that this couple uses to connect. While reading Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God by Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancy, the author mentioned that she had a "tea time" with her husband in the morning before work everyday. After watching Eric struggle to read his Bible the other night because he was talking to me, I offered to wake up with him, make some coffee, and read a chapter from the Bible a day.

Today is day two and though I'm tired in the morning (I still manage to stay up later than he does...), I acknowledge that a morning routine is essential. The other advantage is that I'm up before the kids and therefore capable of being ready to start the day when they get up. I haven't managed to shower before they woke up the last two days, but that's not too terribly bad. As much as I abhor waking up early, this is my labor of love to serve my husband and children and so far, its working! I actually find myself happy to be that's a shock!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


When I had originally decided to write this post I had just finished my morning reading of The Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It was February 8th and the title of the entry was "The Cost of Salvation". Before I go much further, I will mention that if you click on the first link above, you will get to a homepage that has the original text and KJV scriptures. You can get "today's reading" or you may browse whatever day you'd like. I did not know about this, so I purchased an "updated" version at my bookstore. It claims that it is "An Updated Edition in Today's Language" and uses the NKJV; I didn't think twice about purchasing it. Now I wished I had just purchased the original! Anyway, I wanted to quote what I had actually read, but I will just copy the original version (or what I should have read). Clear as mud?

February 8th

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God's purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify Myself."[John 17:19] The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God's standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul's? Are we prepared to say - "Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace"? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit's ministrations in us? [Emphasis added]
So there you have it. Need I even comment on it? When I read this the other day I just sat there, shocked. I want to go out on a limb and say that this process of sanctification is not taught anymore. I have been going to church all my life and though I hear rhetoric like, "become more like God" no one has really ever pointed me to a place where I can confront this issue. It is an unpopular one! Modern Christians are satisfied with grace by faith with the mistaken notion that we don't have to do anything else! How else do we read Philippians 2:12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

I have always been a little bit confused about what to do now that I am a Christian. I knew that I was supposed to do the right thing, but I have always heard it describes as something that just naturally happens, that now that you are saved, you suddenly begin to act like a Christian. I just could never understand why I didn't. Am I not really saved? Did I get saved but not receive the Holy Spirit? Why can't I do the right thing? I seriously tortured myself with these things thinking that I was a faulty Christian and that the process just didn't work for me! Of course that's not true!!! What has happened is that I've been sold a pack of lies, that the Christian life is a sudden, instant change and it's not! Salvation might happen in an instant, but it is a constant struggle then to die to your flesh and actually become more like the God you now serve.

So what does this mean for me? It is so easy to become me-centered. People have this defense mechanism that they use to ward off sanctification. They call it legalism. That somehow having to improve yourself or follow the letter of the Word is somehow adding to the gospel. In my computer's dictionary it defines legalism as, "excessive adherence to law or formula; THEOLOGY- dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith." Hmm, very interesting. I depend on moral law to live my life, I don't just have faith that I am doing it all right. If that were all that was required, why do have a Bible with 66 books worth of information? Obviously, God has a plan and a way of doing things. However, I can't take that Bible and do all the right things without any faith, for faith without works is dead, James 2: 14-26.

This has lately become so important to me as I read about headcover, modesty, staying at home...without these commands being from God I am wasting my time. If these commands are from God, then I am wasting every minute that I am not obeying them! I can see that my path of sanctification is going here: to learn to be a woman of God; to dress the way that God wants me to dress (even when it doesn't follow current trends), to submit where He wants me to (even though its unpopular), to live my life in a way that is, at its very heart, different. I want to call attention to God to glorify Him and His perfect order of things. My flesh gets in the way and needs to be removed. The question remains now, am I prepared for the cost?

Monday, February 16, 2009

No-Poo Challenge, Day 8

I poo-ed.

The thing I learned by doing this is that if I ever needed to, I could do this. Thing is, I don't need to right now. I am pumping my body full of Slim-Fast...not a health food there and I use deodorant and lotion. I probably wouldn't have quit, even for those reasons, if it hadn't been for the visiting of a good family friend from out of town. I just didn't want to cover my head without conviction or suffer through the evening with oily hair. So I washed it. Thus ends the no-poo challenge.

BTW, still working on that post you should have already read, but I'm packing my bedroom today, so it'll have to wait...less than two weeks to go before we move!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

No-Poo Challenge, Day 6 & 7

So far, so good. I left my hair down on day 6 just to test the waters, but I did cover it with a blue handkerchief style cover from Wal-Mart. I had a dentist appointment to go to Friday, so I knew that wearing it up would be uncomfortable. It looked just modern-country enough that I wouldn't get extra long jean skirt gets me more than enough because I cut my denim into a 6 gore skirt and that is not the typical "denim" pattern. Anyway... After my dentist appointment, I realized that though my hair probably didn't look much dirtier than normal, it just didn't feel the same and I put it into my standard ponytail with the ends not pulled through all the way.

Day 7 dawned and I didn't get in the shower right away (gotta love lazy Saturdays...okay, well I love lazy Saturdays) so I didn't even mess with it, I washed it (per the no-poo instructions) and blew-damp and put it up and covered it. I love this style!!! It is ridiculously simple, it stays put and it keeps my hands out of my hair. The only problem with it is that it doesn't look normal. (See my post to follow about've probably already read it if you read from my blog page...if you haven't, well maybe I got tired. I plan on writing it directly after I post this err, post.)

So after a week, I have to say that the major difference is in how my hair feels and less how it looks, though keeping it up all day long, I don't really get ample opportunity to observe this. What I did notice yesterday is the tendency of my hair to form "clumps" or groups of strands which obviously lead to the appearance of dirty (oily) hair. That I have thin hair that is prone to be oily and clump may be adding to the problem, or not. Lately, I have been feeling like I want to quit, feeling like there isn't a real purpose in me doing this. It marks be as weird, like a person who would consider cloth diapering or even worse, home-made menstrual pads (neither of which I do but both of which I am considering doing!) This really has been a challenge because even when I feel like I have give up attempting to be fashionable and instead choosing to dress modestly and femininely, my hair is something altogether different. Interesting when you throw the whole headcovering debate right into the middle of that!

I am committing to do another week of this routine, but if I don't begin to see rapid change here, then I will probably just go back to the old song and dance. What do you think? Anybody willing to step out and do this with me?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No-Poo Challenge, Day 4 & 5

I almost "poo-ed"!!! But, I didn't. Day 4 was difficult for me. My hair was feeling awful and it wasn't feeling "wet" in the shower. You know how oil and water don't mix? That's how it felt with my hair. By the time I got to smelling the vinegar I was just ready to quit! Instead I decided to trust the process and because I wanted to smell good, I used my wonderfully coconutty smelling conditioner on the ends of my hair and rinsed quickly. The pleasant smell was really enough to lift my spirits and once I got my hair up and off my back (and covered) I forgot about it.

Day 5: With a new resolve from my lessons learned yesterday, I am feeling surprised about my hair. I completely expected the front of my hair to be the most oily and nasty, but it is surprisingly dry...almost too dry! What is oily is the center back...and man is it oily!!! The good news is that I don't think anyone else would notice, so long as you wear it up. I didn't cover my hair today because I had errands to run and I just wanted to test it out. I put it in a claw clip in a French twist because I knew it wasn't ready to be worn down. I did just fine and I don't think anyone would have noticed, but it still feels dirty and that makes me self-conscious. Tomorrow, I want to blow-dry it straight and see how long I can last with it down. I am sure it won't be long (it wouldn't be very long if it were clean!), so I'll probably lift the front off my face with a clip but wear the back long. We'll see.

So far, I'm glad I did this experiment, though I still believe that I will be washing my hair regularly with shampoo, perhaps I will just wash it less...lots of stuff going on, hopefully I'll get a different kind of post up soon!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No-Poo Challenge, Day 3

Not so good today, I'll just say that, right up front. My hair is definitely oily today though I took the time to blow-dry my hair and I wonder if anyone who didn't know me would think anything was up. My biggest concern about wearing it down would be that it would begin to look dirty quickly. I am still repulsed by the smell of the vinegar, even in its watered down state. My hair has been pretty "static-y" lately when I have brushed it, but it's also winter, and my hair is prone to static and frizziness.

But, lest I post an entire blog post without saying anything positive: I am enjoying being a consumer rebel by trying this. I know that, worst case scenario, I could always go back to shampooing my hair and that this is an experiment. I am really looking forward to the idea of having healthy hair so I am going to keep on plodding along! I am also still covering my head and though I think my head would look okay without the cover, I think I would be constantly feeling my hair which would only exacerbate the problem. Scarf-covers work for me!

Oh, before I forget, I did make two purchases that I wouldn't want to be without for this challenge. One, I bought a wood comb (real wood, not a plastic comb that looks like real wood) and a 100% boar hair brush. I found both at my local Wal-Mart and I love them. The hairbrush is really good at moving and redistributing the oils in your hair and the comb prevents breakage. Plastic combs are made in a factory in a mold and can have tiny points on them that can scratch your scalp. Never brush your hair when wet, only comb it. This is NOT something I have practiced in the future because I needed to get all those tangles out, before my hair dried and the tangled caused serious breakage (not to mention pain)!

On to Day 4...

No-Poo Challenge, Day 2

Day 2: My scalp itches like it normally does when it is dirty but I feel like my hair should be clean. As much as I HATE the smell of vinegar, I like the way my hair feels after the apple cider vinegar rinse. All in all, my hair is well on its way to oily. I have kept my hair covered the last two days and I would highly recommend to anyone who is attempting to do this that they invest in a few that they like that match everything. Without it, I would probably have washed my hair by now...however, my hair didn't feel too dirty today but tomorrow marks the longest I have ever gone without washing my hair. The plus side is that the oils in my hair make it really soft, but I don't want to touch it too much. I knew this was going to be a rough week or two, so I don't expect to have positive feedback for a while, but I don't know of any other blog that has chronicled the whole process, ups and downs, so I intend to.

Definitely looking forward to this process being over...I want to know what my hair really looks like.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No-Poo Challenge, Day 1

Over the past few months, I have been reading about this "no-poo" challenge, where the "poo" stands for shampoo. The idea is that there are so many BAD chemicals in shampoo that we should not "shampoo" our hair altogether. That doesn't necessarily mean don't wash, but don't use regular shampoos. The whole idea is that today's shampoos are designed to remove oil, but much like antibiotics, they don't discriminate good from the bad and therefore strip our hairs of the natural oils that would normally be present. We then add the conditioner to attempt to replace the lost oils. Your hair is able to regulate its own oils though; its much like a supply and demand situation. The more you remove your oils, the more your hair tries to replace it. The goal, then, is to let your hair stabilize where it needs to. 

There are two ways to do this. First, you can wash with water. Yup, that's right, your hands scrub and all you put on is water. Second, you use a baking soda paste (1 tbsp baking soda plus water to form paste) and rub that in to your scalp only. Let sit for a minute and then rinse with water. You then take 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and mix in a large cup with enough water to fill it and you rinse the ends of your hair. Let sit for a minute and then rinse out. There is actually a third, which is to just wash with conditioner (not shampoo). From the detail, you can assume that I am choosing the second option and I found details of it here.

So today was day one. I didn't plan ahead, I just jumped in and I hope to go at least 30 days. What do I have to lose? There is a "transition period" where your hair has to adjust to the oils which can take up to a month or so, but I figure that I can very easily cover my head if it becomes nasty. My biggest worry is that I won't be able to stand it. I HATE it when my hair gets dirty and won't let anyone touch it. I anticipate suffering somewhat for the first few weeks, but hopefully it won't be too bad. If I can't take it, I might just try washing with conditioner that day and hoping that the smell of the conditioner makes it feel today, I washed my hair per the instructions on the website and it feels very soft and it was slightly curlier than normal. I went ahead and blew-damp (not dry) my hair because I do that normally, but I also covered it, which I usually do. There were far fewer tangles than normal because I didn't try to wash all my hair, just the roots. That was a welcome relief because I usually have very tangly hair. Stay tuned to see how long I go. Hopefully I will be able to get some are really important here!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Coolest Things Ever!

I was doing my typical morning procrastination reading of my favorite blogs and Lillibeth over at The Pleasant Times (which is, by the way, a charming and entertaining blog to read) had blogged about the rabbit trails she takes while homeschooling. What was so cool is that she mentioned LibriVox's website which is an entirely free website for audio books within the public domain. They are read by volunteers and are therefore, FREE! (They also have the link to the Gutenburg website if you like reading on the screen...I don't.)

Though that it cool enough, it doesn't necessarily explain the need for a post except that we are moving and will be travelling a long distance with one adult per car. That means that I need to have a good supply of music and something entertaining to listen to while I drive...or I fall asleep! I have been looking for inexpensive versions of some of my favorite classics, but I just can't find them. The one copy of Pride and Prejudice that I found was $45.00!!! For an audio book??? I had just about given up because I didn't want to pay for a monthly membership or anything like that. I am not normally in my car for long hours, so listening to audio books isn't in my normal routine...though it might become part of it now! As we speak err, write/read, I am downloading two versions (of P & P) into my iTunes as a podcast and I plan on downloading everything else written by Jane Austen and then I will go exploring. Lillibeth had mentioned Dickens, which would be interesting since Dickens was meant to be read aloud so perhaps I'll try Oliver Twist or something. Anyway, lots of fun on that website! Check it out!!!

The second coolest thing I found the other day....I know, how on earth do I have time for such things? It's a mystery to me as this Modest Clothing Directory. It is a really good website that caters to all different groups searching for modest clothing (Jewish, Islamic, Mormon, Plain, and Christians). They have links for headcovers and for clothing. I haven't even been able to explore the whole thing, but I am looking around for something special to fit into once I lose all this weight and though my sister's choice of bridesmaid dress is there as well, I still want something of my own choosing to use as a reward. So, I have been searching for something pretty and modest that I can buy when I have lost this extra weight. (There are also pregnancy sites and plus size sites too...). All in all, it's worthy of a bookmark and I will be using it in the future for my clothing and my daughter's as well!