Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It Came Back to Bite Me!

Ok, so I started this whole blog thing to help women take care of themselves right? Well, God has led me through a situation to give me yet one more testimony to share to hopefully encourage others. He could just speak to me and give me a story to tell without having to live it, I guess it wouldn't be as believable though, right?

So back in the fall, work at the salon was slow, it always is that time of year. I was offered the assistant manager position at Fashion Bug and it seemed to make perfect sense. I love my work, wanted to make more money, seemed like a no-brainer. Boy was I in for a surprise. Let me say first that I still do love working for Fashion Bug, I work with amazing women. We are fortunate to not have the whole "drama" thing that usually goes on when you get a bunch of women in one place for any length of time. The position however, was much more stressful than what I thought, mostly, I feel because of my personality type. I was also trying to stay in the salon at least one day a week, which wasn't leaving much opportunity for a day off. After a couple of months, I do feel like I really had the hang of things with my new position, but I realized that it just wasn't fitting in with the rest of my life. Trying to take care and spend time with my family, being involved in church activities, and working at the job that I really enjoy which was the salon.
I was faced with a very difficult decision, that really didn't need to be. I felt like I was failing my family to give up steady reliable income, not to mention the health insurance I would be able to provide for us. But in exchange for that I was miserable. I had periods of my ears ringing, and chest tightening, which I have figured out was anxiety. I wasn't sleeping well. The moment I woke up in the morning, I would feel my chest get tight, breathing was hard. However, giving up the position would seem like failure, or at least make me a "quitter" and my pride wasn't ok with that.
I realized that the only time I was not feeling completely stressed out was when I was at the salon. Especially while giving a facial or pedicure, the more "pampering"services, which is what I love the most. But once again, as a mother, I was riddled with the quilt of feeling like I was making a decision that was risky for my family. I soon realized that I needed to do what I had been saying here for a long time.....I had to take care of myself, I had to make decisions that were right for me. No amount of money was worth being exhausted, stressed out, and missing my family. Last Thursday I finally broke down and told my manager that I didn't think the position was for me. She was so sweet and completely understood. She even asked if there was something she could do to make my job less stressful. Once again, I realized it wasn't the job that was stressful, it was just that it wasn't fitting in with my life, and that was causing me stress.
I hadn't even blogged because I was in such a funk, I couldn't enjoy anything. How was I supposed to encourage others when I was about to lose it myself?!?! So, I said all that to say this. Our health and well-being and peace of mind are not replaceable. What seems to be the right decision sometimes isn't. I was working against what God designed me for, it was never going to work. I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn more about myself. I don't look at this anymore as failing or quitting, I just learned of another thing that isn't for me.
I am stepping out on faith, believing God will provide, and if I keep listening and following His lead He will guide me to great success, a success not necessarily measured monetarily!
Have a great day. It's good to be back.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Facing Your Giants

Facing Your Giants is a book by Max Lucado. He gives direction on facing the "giants" in our life by comparing them to the life of David. Not only did he face Goliath, the literal giant, but also other trials throughout his life. This book is light-hearted yet has a very profound message. It is definitely a "read-over" for me. I read through the first time, now I want to go back and really study and it and spend time pondering the lessons I have learned from it. There is a study guide in the back of the book too, so I found that to be a real bonus. Max Lucado's humor and wit make this an interesting book to read. If you are facing a "giant", and we all do, I recommend this book.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Encouragement for Moms of Toddlers

I can't believe how quickly time has passed. How am I suddenly the mother of two teenagers? I have felt a slight panic lately that my time for mothering is almost over, and I don't know what else to be. I know that my kids will always need me, I still need my parents, but the everyday caring won't be there anymore. So, for those of you with little ones, I know you don't want to rewind that Disney movie for the one hundredth time, and you would like to step into the tub without having to remove the truckload of bath toys, but I assure you it will go much too quickly.
Let me share with you something that happened the other day that may encourage you that you don't have to be perfect for your children.

I have just read the book How To Reach Your Full Potential for God. It talks about finding your gifts and talents and using them the way God intended for you to do. I have been really thinking about this, wondering what my gifts are. Katelyn was sitting at the table and I said to her, "Don't just think of something nice to say, really think about it, what do you think my gifts are? What am I good at?" She thought for several seconds then said "Uummm, You are real good at being a mom!" Melted my heart.
Trust me, I am not telling this story boastfully, I am telling it because I have not been a perfect mother. We struggled financially during the "single" years. I jokingly say we have had everything but our oxygen supply cut off, if we would have had to pay for that we'd have been dead! I have not always checked homework and backpacks, I have lost my cool and screamed at the top of my lungs, I have said "bad words" in front of my get the point! Even though I did not always do things perfectly, thank God, my kids still see "perfection" in me. They remember trips we went on, how I used to act out scenes of Peter Pan with them ("I'm a codfish!") eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a blanket in the living room while we watched tv. The simple things. I have never been able to give my kids a lot monetarily, I guess I didn't have to.
So, once again, if you are the mom of toddlers and every now and then you make a boo-boo, it is OK!! Let the kids see your mistakes, otherwise they will always try to live up to an unreal standard. If you make mistakes, they are more likely to tell you when they make one. If your kids think you are great and that you are doing a good job being a mommy, that is all that matters.
Remember, take good care of your kids, but take good care of yourself. Don't beat yourself up over something that they won't remember...or at least won't hold against you, lol.
Have a great, imperfect, mistake filled day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review

My first book to review for Thomas Nelson is How to Reach Your Full Potential for God. I signed up to be a book reviewer a few weeks ago and knew I had selected this book and that it was on its way. I gave a testimony at church one Sunday night about how I have become content with a so-so relationship with God because I knew growing closer to Him would bring attacks from the enemy. I said that I was ready to face whatever it took to have a closer, intimate walk with the Lord. A couple days later my book arrived in the mail. I looked at it and there was a sub-title, Never Settle for Less than His Best. I promise I had not looked at it when I ordered the book, God has such a sense of humor! Here is the review:

I was afraid this was going to be another "health and wealth" book. I do believe that God wants His best for us, however I do not believe that having a great attitude will always keep you from trials. This was not the case. Author Charles Stanley shares his own experiences and gives the reader real tools to reach their potential for God. A lot of it was things I knew but needed to hear again and from a different perspective. It wasn't just a good book to read, it has really changed my outlook on things and made me realize there are changes I need to make in my life. The author reminds us that God has put certain gifts, characteristics, and desires in us that if used right will help us to find our purpose the He has planned for us. When this happens we have reached our full potential for God.

I would encourage anyone seeking direction for their life to read this book. It is a very easy read. It is not in a "workbook" style full of fill-in-the blank questions. Once again, the author shares his testimony and stories of other people's experiences to encourage and guide you in seeking God's will for your life. It is one that I will keep close by and read again I am sure!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Girl Power

Has it really been almost a week since my last blog? Man, time sure does move quickly. Once again, life has been busy and crazy, but I am still making time to do some things for myself.

Sometime back I heard radio personality Delilah, talk about having a "Girl Network". How we all need a group of women around us that we can talk with and take time every once in a while to go out and have a good time with. Her words rang very true for me a couple of weekends ago.

The owner of the salon that I work at took all of the girls from there out for dinner and a movie as part of our Christmas present from her. We didn't mind that it was already a couple weeks into January. Actually, I think it was better that the holiday madness was over. Anyway, we went to Red Lobster for dinner and it was soooo good. We talked girl stuff of course and had a great time. After we to see "It's Complicated", I never laughed so hard at a movie in all my life. It was a double treat for me because Steve Martin and Meryle Streep are two of my favorite actors and they were both in it. It was so nice to be watching a "chick flick" not worried that the company I was with in might not be enjoying it....they were! There were actually parts of the movie we couldn't hear because we, and everyone else in the theatre were laughing so loud. The movie is a bit colorful, so if you are easily offended, you might want to skip it. The point to this is not to recommend a movie of course it is to remind you that we all need a "girls-night-out" every once in a while. I know this is even harder for those of you with toddlers, finding a baby-sitter and everything. But it is very important that you try. When you are relaxed and recharged you feel better and have more energy for taking care of everyone else.

Since moving to West Frankfort 6 yrs ago, it has been a little bit lonely for me. I have a lot of acquaintances and have met some really nice people, but no one that I have become good friends with. I have to say that I am very thankful to be back in Harrisburg even if it is only one day a week. The friendships that I have made at that salon since May mean the world to me, and now I feel I have my "network"!!

So, I am ordering you! Stop what you are doing, look at the calender, call some girlfriends, co-workers, church members, whoever, and set a time to go out (or stay in). Have dinner, go to or rent a movie, anything that gets you away from the everyday routine. I guarantee you are going to enjoy it.
Have a great day, and enjoy your night out...I'd love to hear all about it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Take Care of Your Hands

I looked down at my hands a few days ago and realized a part of myself I have neglected.....especially my cuticles. Just as I explained that exfoliation was essential to skin care, yet often forgotten about, so is cuticle care a big part of healthy nails.

With the weather so cold right now, it's an even bigger challenge to keep our hands, cuticles and nails from getting dry. The first thing you need to get it some cuticle remover. I believe Avon sells it, or you can find it at Wal-Mart or if you have a Sally Beauty Supply near by, you can find a really good one there. Also, pick up some orange wood sticks, they are long wooden sticks with a flat edge on one end, or there are different styles of metal cuticle pushers out there too. I prefer the metal kind, I think it works better and it's reusable, so no trash. Apply the cuticle remover to the base of the nail, where your cuticle is and leave on about 5 minutes then push back the cuticle, you will probably see a lot of dead cuticle left behind that you can scrape off with your pusher. I know this sounds trivial, but cuticle care, as I said, is essential to healthy nails, and will help them to grow quicker.

After you have pushed back the cuticle, you can shape and buff the nail. The next important thing is to get good cuticle oil. You will love what this does for our hands and nails. If you keep the cuticles soft and pushed back and oiled you will have less cracking and peeling (hang nails). If you have a nightstand beside your bed, keep your cuticle oil and some lotion on it. That way, if you forget before you go to bed, it's right there for you to use and you won't be washing your hands for several hours so it has time to soak in.

Look, you put your hands through a lot in a day. Think about all your hands do in a days time, washing, dishes, laundry, cooking....if you are a mom of toddlers, you are changing diapers, wiping noses, tying shoes. So treat your hands to a little t.l.c. If you have time and a little money, go get a manicure. If you have a beauty school nearby you can get one really inexpensive, the students give them for practice at a good price.

Dear God, bless the hands of the women reading this. Guide them as they go through their day of responsibilities, giving them strength and wisdom. Show them your will for their lives, then give them the perseverance to see it through. Amen.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Color Your World....But Not Your Own Hair!

Hold it right there sister! Yes you, in the color aisle at Wal-Mart. Drop the Clairol box and back away...that's it. I know, I know, you were broke and desperate. Don't worry help is here. Just glad we got here in time.

Believe it or not hair color is one of the things that inspired me to start this blog. I have witnessed way too many bad color jobs walking around, at least I am hoping they were a result of an at home attempt and not a professional beautician. Some people might think by me giving you tips on coloring your own hair, it would be taking business away from myself. I don't agree. Great chefs still go out for dinner right? First, I will advise that if you can afford it, you really should let someone professional color your hair. Your stylist will be able to suggest the right color, and techniques are changing all the time that can keep you up-to-date. Highlight and/or lowlights are very hard to do yourself, and I do not recommend messing with lightener (bleach) without knowing exactly what you are doing.

If you are just wanting to color gray or go a shade or two darker or lighter, you can do it yourself but let me give you a few tips. First the basics. Hair ranges in shade from 1 to 10, 1 being blackest black 10 being the lightest blonde. Hair color is mixed with different volumes of developer depending on the lift or deposit desired. I honestly do not know what level is in the boxes at retail stores, probably 20volume, it is sort of universal. I usually use 10 volume to darken, unless covering a lot of gray then I go ahead with 20 to lift the gray hair. If you are dark brown you are not likely to get a pretty shade of light blonde from a box. So, when you go to buy color don't just look at the picture or read the name of the color. Look for a color level, I think they all have it on the box. Also, I have never needed to check, but I will bet each company has a website and toll free number you can call for advice.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with hair color is not knowing that color will not lift color. If you apply hair color and the result is too dark, you can not get another box of something lighter. Now you have to go into "bleaching" to correct it, or wait til it lightens with shampooing. This is where "color correction" starts and will cost you a small fortune at a salon. That is why I go back to my first advice, get it done professionally if you can. Some people are just out to make a lot of money, I am out to help a woman look her best. Even though color correction can be very lucrative it is difficult and damaging to your hair. Oh, that reminds me of one more thing. If you do anything yourself and then go to a salon, tell your stylist everything you have done. If I think your hair is that brown shade naturally (although I can usually tell) and you don't tell me you colored it and I try to lift with color, you are probably going to turn out Bozo orange. Or brown with a nice orange part.

Trust me, I am not trying to discourage you from coloring your hair. A new color, or a richer version of your natural color can be a great pick-me-up and also helps to soften your hair. A big part of feeling good is knowing you look good. But, once again, I see constant reminders that doing it yourself without knowing what you are doing can be disastrous. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about this subject, if I don't know the answer I will try and find it for you.

Speaking of hair color, I will end with something very funny a friend of mine said one time. (she was blonde, I will throw that in first) We were talking about hair color and she said "Oh I don't have to color my hair, I just do the roots" hhmm and if those roots kept growing?? lol