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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Proverbs Challenge

With the encouragement of my face book friend and fellow blogger, Sherri Murphy I am once again doing the Proverbs challenge. There are 31 days in January and 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. The goal is simple, read one chapter a day. It is easy to remember your place in your reading, you just follow the date. I have to confess my bible reading has been very lacking lately and like before, now that I have purposed to pick it up and read it every day it has become "addictive" again.

Actually this leads me to a small prayer request that I need to share. We all have times in our lives when we are closer to God than other times. Peaks and valleys, everyone has them. There have been times when my relationship with God has been so intimate and powerful. My prayers seemed stronger, I was in tuned to everything around me....walking "in the spirit". Not sure how to describe it exactly, but felt like I picked up on little things God was trying to tell me or show me. Because of ridicule or doubt from others, sometimes I would doubt myself.

Now, like many other times before, I have a strong desire to get back to that place...with one reservation. Every time I make my way back to God I am faced with a trial. I know, it's an attack from the enemy to keep me where I am. I went through this back in the spring. I felt a real calling from God on my life. One day I was so excited and ready for whatever it was he had for me. I went to chapel at Katelyn's school that morning and was encouraged, I prayed and confessed things in my life that were not godly, and surrendered myself to whatever it was God wanted from me. That very night we had the biggest "blow up" in our house that we had ever had. It was basically an argument over something small that led to everyone yelling, my son left the house and I was driving around town at almost 10 o'clock at night to find him. I decided that if growing close God meant that every time I tried I would have to face a battle that I would be content with a so-so relationship with Him. I have since repented of that, knowing it isn't the right attitude to have, and certainly not obedient to the word.

So to all of you believers and prayer warriors out there I have one request. Please help me pray against an attack again. I know we all face trials, the scripture says to "count it joy" when we have trials and temptations. I am not there yet. I already have challenges in my everyday life, I am not asking to be exempt from that, I just don't know if I am up for a major battle. I am going to cling to the word that reminds me that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It would make me feel better knowing I have people I care about on my side, helping me fight the "powers and principalities" that will come up against me. Thanks ahead of time, I already know there are some of you I can count on. If you like, leave a comment and let me know what it is I can pray for you about. There really is strength in numbers.
Be encouraged in the Lord and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So Far, So Good!

Ok, so I am still feeling recharged and focused on taking better care of myself. Again, baby steps. I have not made a huge declaration of all the things I am going to cut out of my diet, instead I am first focusing on what I need to add to my diet. On my way to work yesterday I stopped by the grocery store. Thinking about my post on antioxidants, I headed toward the produce section and was very happy to find blueberries on sale...thanks God. (seriously, our "grateful list" should include even the small things we encounter in our day we are thankful for) Anyway I grabbed a 6 oz container for $2, also picked up some concord grape juice, and a container of vanilla yogurt. Oh, and pistachios were 2 for $6...gotta have some fiber.

I got to work just before noon and had enough time for a Healthy Choice steamer thing, which was really good. Very small, but good. The rest of the night was pretty busy, I had set out a little bowl of the pistachios so I knew how much I was eating (never eat from the bag) and just picked up one or two when I went to the back room. A little later in the evening I tossed some blueberries in my yogurt and because I was busy, didn't have time to sit down and eat it so again, just grabbed a bite here and there. I have found in the past that "grazing" really works for me and it did this time too. By the time I left work at 8:30 I was not really hungry. Usually my stomach is growling and I come home and eat too much.
So if you think this is something that would work for you, give it a try. If you are a stay-at-home mom, set out something healthy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and nibble on them as you are doing your housework or chasing that toddler around. If you work outside the home and are able, keep healthy snacks around to hold you over so you don't feel as hungry at meal time.

I know this is something you have heard before, and it isn't rocket science. But don't focus on it as a "diet" or "weight loss plan". Just think of some things you need to be getting from your daily diet and add them in. I was not primarily trying not to eat when I did this yesterday, as I said, I just wanted to get some healthy stuff in and found that after I did I wasn't as hungry for anything else. Remember this is a blog about taking care of ourselves, and eating right is a big part of that. So slow down, make some preparations so you can grab something healthy and quick. It will make you feel better physically and mentally because you've done something good for YOU!
Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Great and Powerful Oz Has Spoken!!

Does anyone else like Dr. Oz as much as I do? I don't watch Oprah a lot anymore, but always tried to tune in when I knew he was going to be on. Now he has his own show! Unfortunately I am not always home when he is on (I have to get one of those DVR things). I went to his website, and was a bit overwhelmed...information overload! He has so many "challenges" and "programs" what to do first, do I want to look younger in 30 days? diet with a buddy? find out my "real" age? lol
For those of you who aren't familiar with Dr. Oz, I'll fill you in. He is a medical doctor, and like I said, started on the Oprah show. He is probably most known for his direct approach on what he is talking about. He either has graphic images or has actual organs from cadavers that are diseased and compares them to healthy ones (again, real ones). Its sounds weird and disgusting but really helps you see what he is trying to teach.
I did go to the website about a month ago to look at his anti-aging checklist. There are several steps to the program, and again I felt overwhelmed, so I have decided to implement one or two steps at a time. Of course I won't get as quick of results, but not sure how much I believe in all that anyway.
The first thing I am going to start with is antioxidants. Oxidation is aging from exposure to oxygen (what happens to an apple when you slice it). If you put lemon juice on the apple it keeps this from happening. Antioxidants do the same thing for our bodies. Foods rich in antioxidants are great for cancer prevention. Foods with deep colors are rich in antioxidants. Blueberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes. I love concord grape juice and am going to drink at least one serving every day. You should have at least 5 servings a day of antioxidant foods or beverages, such as green tea. If you are reading this, you have access to a computer, look up a list of the foods, there are a lot of them, surely you can find a few you like and make sure you are eating them. Here is a link to Dr. Oz's website. If you get a chance watch his show and see what you think.
We've all heard the saying "It's all in perspective" One of my New Year's goals is to look at the good in situations that seem bad or trying. You know, the Pollyanna So, I leave you with at thought I had today. If its seems that everyone wants something from you, it must mean you have a lot to offer! Be blessed!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Have Practiced What I Preached!

I did it, I am off to a great start. Last night I made an appointment with myself for a nice bath and exfoliating, and shortly after 9 pm I was in the tub! I didn't have a good scrub on hand, so just like I suggested, I went to the kitchen and mixed up 2 TBSP of sea salt and 1 TBSP of olive oil and because I like the smell just a splash of baby oil. It felt so good to get the dead skin off. When I got out of the tub I dried off and immediately put on some intensive lotion for extremely dry skin. I am not kidding, today I can still tell that my skin is softer than it was and I haven't itched at all today. I even took time to wash my face and put on some of my skin care products that I like to use.
Tonight I got on my new exercise trampoline that I got for Christmas. I have to always remind myself that it is ok for exercise to start with "baby steps", and that any time spent exercising is more beneficial than doing nothing. Each night I will try to do a little more than before. I really wanted to come straight to the computer, but knew if I did I would end up here and not get anything else I am going to use computer time as a reward for getting everything else done that I need to.
I have so many ideas and discussions that I can't wait to share with you all. Especially because each thing I suggest, I know I have to do here is to a great start to a better "us". Be Blessed!

Just let it go...

A couple of you have already asked me about managing time or not bogging yourself down with obligations. This may not be the best advice, and surely not what you would get from a lot of people, but if you feel like housework and chores are keeping you from your family, if at all possible, let it go! Figure out the best time management skill for you and put it to work. Life in my house is a little unpredictable so making a week long schedule will never work. I do things a little more short-term and plan a day at a time.
Let me say first that as a Christian I know that when I start my day with the Lord, it goes a lot better. Pray about your time management. Ask God to help you see priorities, give you the perseverance to get chores done, avoid the temptation of distractions, and spend some time with Him. I am a visual learner, so I love object lessons. Some years ago, I was at a ladies evening at church and a woman talked about time management. She had a quart jar, a bowl of beans, and three objects, I think maybe small blocks. The three objects represented bible reading, prayer, I think church, and the beans represented responsibilities or chores. She began by having us name things we must get done throughout the day, laundry, dishes, cooking. Each time we named one she added a scoop of beans to the jar. After it was full of chores the other stuff would not fit it. She then dumped out all of the beans, put the important stuff in first and the same amount of beans fit perfectly....even got the lid on. Now to some of you, that may be elementary physics, but it obviously impacted me enough that I still remember it. It makes a great point. Start your day of with God, read His word, talk to Him and he will guide the rest of your day...bumps and all!
The beginning of this blog was no way to imply not doing what needs to be done so that you can play all day, but make sure you don't let quality time with your family be replaced with that last bit of dusting that needs to be done, and those supper dishes will be there later. My children are 16 and 13 now and I can tell you it goes by quickly. I already look back and ask myself "did I hold them enough?" "do they have memories of us spending fun time together?" Most of you have probably heard this poem but it is one of my favorites, I will leave you with it:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Have a blessed day, go rock your baby while I grab a tissue!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let' Back up a Bit

Usually when someone speaks about a subject, and especially gives advice about it, it's because they are an expert on it. Let me say that is not the case here. And I am right there with most women not taking time out for themselves. One of the reasons for this whole idea was to work on this myself, with encouragement from other women (or men).

Now on to the first thing I need to get started dry skin. It's winter, the air is cold, our houses are dry because of furnaces or possibly wood heat and it takes a horrible toll on our skin. I have found one thing to be most effective in this area and that is exfoliation. Quite often when I am giving a pedicure or other spa service my client will complain about their dry skin. Usually they tell me that they use lotion regularly and it just doesn't help. My question to them is always this, "Are you exfoliating?" I usually already know from the appearance of their skin that the answer is "no". Dry skin sits on top of the good skin and is very absorbent. When you apply lotion, it is "sucked up" by the dry, dead skin and never reaches the good skin below. If you first exfoliate that dead skin away you will notice a big difference after you use a good moisturizing lotion. There are all kinds of scrubs out there, sugar, salt, oatmeal, etc. My favorite to use for pedicures is called Sea Salt glow by Creative. It is very coarse, so you wouldn't want to use it on your face, but anywhere else would be fine. It has a subtle lavender scent that is wonderful. I know that Mary Kay makes a microdermabrasion scrub for your face that I have seen people have great results from as well. If you don't want to buy something (remember, I am thinking about budget as well) you can use things that you probably have in your kitchen. You can make a great scrub out of sea salt and olive oil. If you are prone to acne, be careful about sugar. Google it, find one you like, and share it here! Be sure with any scrub that you wipe down the tub when you are finished so the next person that steps in doesn't slip!
I have decided for the routines or habits I need to get into, face washing, exercising, that I am going to have to make an "appointment" for them. We all want to say we just don't have time, no it's that we don't make time for ourselves. A few of you have already asked about saying "no" to keep from overloading yourselves with responsibility and like the Nike ad says, you have to "Just do it". I have really started thinking before saying yes to a favor, or that client that wants in on my day off, or even the co-worker that needs me to cover for them. This may sound corny but the second I say "no" I feel a weight off of me, knowing I am not going to have to juggle my schedule or wear myself out for one more thing on my to-do list. This is a hard thing for me, because I always want to help out , but have realized that I just cannot do it all.

So, I have penciled myself in for 9:00 pm tonight. Household will be winding down, it will be a good time before bed to take a nice bath (and yes Jay, that is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about) scrub away the dead skin, and cleanse and moisturize my face before turning in.
I have a feeling you all are right about this blog thing becoming addictive, it is already alot of fun!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Put yourself back on the list.

A few years ago Wynonna Judd went on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about her struggles with her weight. She thought if she voiced her plans of weight loss in front of millions of viewers it would make her feel more accountable and would encourage her to keep trying to lose. When she was asked about gaining the weight her answer was very interesting. She said that she had alot of responsibility, a list of things and people to take care of and she was the woman that "forgot to put herself on the list". That is probably true for most women. We are so busy taking care of so much, or maybe mismanage our time that we really don't take care of ourselves. I am not talking about the "spoiling" ourselves with huge shopping sprees or indulging in sinful foods (although that can be therapeutic in moderation). I am talking about really taking care of ourselves. Eating right, skin care, finding quiet or "me"time, if you are Christian, growing in that. Your complete spiritual, physical, and mental well being.
There is something that has inspired me to start this blog. I know that the economy is bad and we are all penny pinching right now, and because of this I have encountered some women with bad "do-it-yourself" color and cuts. Now, as a cosmetologist I could look at this as a way to build business, let people screw up their hairs so I can fix Actually it is sometimes very difficult to do that. But I am having to watch my budget as much as anyone else and would rather give some tips then let a poor fellow "sister" go around with awful hair!
Also, I am really hoping that this turns into more of "community". I want to hear from other women too. Have you found a product or time-managing skill that has helped you out? Read an inspiring book or anything else that could be helpful to other women? What I don't want this to be is some New Year's resolution type of thing that falls by the wayside in a week a two, and so I am not making any huge goals about how often I will blog. Just whenever I think of or find something worth sharing. Speaking of the new year, I wish everyone a very happy one. I do have one small goal of becoming a bit more computer literate, I would love to do a few video blogs, it would help out alot, especially when we talk about bikini waxing....just kidding!
The first thing I am going to do is work on a better sleeping habit, so I am now going to bed! Goodnight friends!