Products I love.. (for the ladies!)

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So, I thought I’d share this quick blog post about a few things I’ve found that work for me, and that I love and use.¬† Hope you find this helpful, because you know…all us hot chicks need to stick together!ūüôā

Rosehip Seed Oil…..oh how I love it, let me count the ways!!¬† It doesn’t break me out (jojoba, coconut, argon all broke me out), it moisturizes without making me greasy, it works to remove waterproof mascara like a dream, I use it on my lips too and it keeps them soft and chap free.¬† It’s cheap! I get mine at a health food store for about $7 but you can find it on Amazon too.¬† It’s great stuff, Google all the wonderfulness to see things I haven’t listed here!

Clarisonic…..yes, it’s a bit pricey (I put off getting it for 2 years!), but ask for it for Christmas, or Mother’s Day or just buy it your dang self, cause you’re worth it!! This has been the biggest game changer for me, in terms of breakouts.¬† I think it’s because it gets my skin REALLY clean, and I use a LOT of products on my skin, so it’s necessary to get them ALL off at the end of the day so my skincare can work better.¬† I know there are some knock off/other version brands out there, so any of them is better than a washcloth or your hands.¬† Try it and you’ll love it.

Aveeno Foaming Facewash….I have used it for YEARS.¬† It works great with my Clarisonic, and it does help keep my skin clear of break outs.¬† They have a cream version, but I’m not as big of a fan of it, it leaves a coating on my skin that I don’t care for, but it would work well for super dry skin.

Vaseline with Cocoa Butter….I have literally used this for 10+ years to remove waterproof mascara (I use it now, to get off anything the rosehip seed oil leaves behind).¬† I think this is why at 43 I have very few lines around my eyes.¬† I also dampen my skin then add a layer of vaseline when my skin is super dry, it DOES NOT clog my pores, and my Dermatologist told me she does this too!¬† I also massage it into my eyelashes to keep them long, soft and healthy. PS…if you don’t want to use Vaseline for whatever reason, feel free just to use the Rosehip seed oil.

Body Scrub….you could buy a tub, but I make my own and this is how…I buy a big ol’ container of Safflower oil at the grocery store, I don’t use Olive Oil, because it’s more expensive, and it has an olivey (is that a word?) smell to it.¬† The safflower oil is odorless, but contains all the same essential fats as EVOO to moisturize your skin….next, I throw in some plain ol’ white sugar.¬† See, nothing fancy so far.¬† Then I add a tablespoon or two of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.¬† Mix it together, adding oil until you get the consistency you want, I like mine a bit thick so it’s good and exfoliating.¬† Now, get in the shower and SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB. Not only does it smell like delicious chocolate, but the cocoa powder gives a bit of color to the scrub, so you can see if you miss any spots.¬† Once scrubbed, rinse off ( I use a bit of Ivory Body Wash on my hand just to get the brown cocoa color off) and voila, you will feel so soft and¬†buttery that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

Aussie 5 Min Hair Miracle….This stuff is the best.¬† I leave it on for 5 min when I have the time, or throw it on and rinse it out when I don’t…either way, I’m left with soft, silky that you’ll toss your hair around like you’re in a TV commercial.

Banish the Brass….if you are blonde, or silver/grey haired and you want something to seriously banish the brassy yellow tones.¬† L’oreal Professionals Silver Shine shampoo, you can find it on Amazon.¬† It is the darkest purples of any shampoo I have ever purchased and you only need the smallest amount, leave it on about 5 min once a week and there ya go, gorgeous NON brassy hair!¬†¬†Also, if you find that you are getting a build up of the purple from this or any other purpled toned shampoo, Suaves Daily Clarifying shampoo will remove it, and it doesn’t strip my hair as badly as some other brands, plus it is SUPER CHEAP, so it’s worth trying because even if you don’t use purple shampoo, we all get product build up every now and then.

Teeth!¬†¬† I know this one will either be your idea of awesome, or you’ll hate it.¬† However, in the morning I brush my teeth normally with toothpaste.¬† At night, I use a mixture of coconut oil/baking soda and a drop or 2 of peppermint oil.¬† Mix well, store in a container and brush your teeth with this mixture.¬† Just be sure to SPIT IN THE TRASH NOT IN YOUR SINK, because the coconut oil will clog your drain.¬† Trust me on this.¬† Now, what will happen is that your gums will get healthier, your teeth whiter.¬† I love it, and I will do it forever.¬† Your mileage my vary.¬† PS you can also try oil pulling, but it gags me to do it, so I don’t.

Okay, that’s a few of my favorite things.¬† If you want to know more, let me know and if you don’t….well, then I guess we’re done here.ūüôā

The title of Hero is never wanted…

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We often call people that rush into danger, that sacrifice their lives or their personal safety Heroes.¬† However, no one ever¬†WANTS to be a Hero.¬† I have never heard someone that I would consider a Hero say, “I did it for the glory and to be called a Hero!”¬† In fact, so many times, they say that they just did what had to be done.¬† They just did their job.¬† They just did what anyone would do.¬† But, that isn’t true….

There is something inside every Hero that makes them different.  It makes them see the plight of their fellow man and understand that THEY are the ones called to help.  That THEY are there to protect.

A Hero doesn’t care if you are black, or white, brown, or green.¬† A Hero doesn’t care if you are young or old.¬† A Hero only knows that you need HELP, that you need THEM, and they will come, they will step out of the crowd, they will put on the uniform, they will stand between you and whatever it is that threatens to harm you, without concern for themselves or their personal safety.

In a world where lawlessness has become the new normal, I pray there will be enough Heroes to counter it….to step up and say NO MORE to those that wish to prey on the weak, and¬†the innocent.¬† I pray they will continue to put on the uniform of our law enforcement and our military and stand ready to do battle with evil.¬† I pray they continue to hold the blue line, to defend freedom, to be Heroes.

In Dallas, evil thought it would win.¬† Hate thought it would triumph.¬† However, the Heroes stepped forward, as they always do.¬† They suffered loss, immeasurable loss, they were scared, they were hurt, but they held the line.¬† They didn’t falter.¬† Heroes died that day, and my heart breaks for their families, for those they left behind.

I can’t comfort you, as you deal with your loss.¬† I can’t hold you as you cry for your loved one, but I can tell you that because of the brave sacrifice of your loved one, the world is a bit safer.¬† They died as HEROES.

#PrayForDallas #ThinBlueLine #SupportOurMilitary #ThankYouForYourSacrifice

Why I pray for you…

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A while ago, I was on FB and I saw a prayer request for a child, of course I said a prayer. I believe that if someone requests a prayer, that if you are a Christian you should say a prayer for them.   However,  I decided to take it a step farther.

I began praying for the stressed out mother trying to wrangle her children into the car, I prayed for people that I passed by with disabilities, I prayed for anyone that I felt needed a prayer.¬†They never knew, I didn’t tell them…I just kept on walking and sent a silent prayer up for God to bring them comfort, healing or whatever He knew they needed most.¬† I did it, because in this BIG world, too many people are too self involved to see the plight of others…and by doing this one little thing, I became more aware.¬† I began to SEE people, not just faceless forms walking by as I hurried about my day.

What I didn’t expect was the sense of gratitude and peace that it brought me.¬† As I began saying prayers for others, I realized more and more how blessed I am by God every day.¬† I began to feel a serenity in knowing that maybe I couldn’t relieve their stress, their pain, or their worry, but I know who can, and by saying a prayer to God for them, I was doing what I could at that moment to bring them comfort.

I wrote this post, not to pat myself on the back, but because sometimes we don’t think of the little things we can do to bring God into not only our life, but also into the life of others.¬† In church we have prayer requests, and of course I pray for my family and children, but it never really dawned on me to pray for people, just because my heart told me too.¬† So, I’m sharing this, so that maybe the next time you walk by someone and you see that they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, maybe you’ll say a prayer for them.¬† Maybe, you’ll start to see that spreading light, love and Jesus is what a world that is full of hate, anger, and crime needs.¬† Maybe, you’ll find, like I did, that the more you pray for others the more your heart expands with compassion and love for God, and for our fellow human beings.

Now, and it pains me to have to say this….if this blog posts gets any anti-Christian comments, I will delete them. I am not going to put that kind of hate and bigotry out into the world.

America…the land of the “free” stuff.

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America was built on the principal that with hard work ANYONE could achieve success.¬† It’s been proven time and time again, that people that are willing to work hard, can overcome great odds in America and become wealthy.¬† However, those same people are being persecuted by those that don’t want to do the work. They don’t want to get the education, they don’t want to work the hours, days and years it takes to become successful.¬† They want it handed to them, just like Obama phones.

I hear all the time about how these people want the 1% to be taxed at a higher rate to pay for all the “free” stuff that they feel entitled too (Sound familiar Bernie Sanders fans?).¬† That’s a GREAT IDEA, lets tax the hell out of the people that run the businesses that employ thousands upon thousands of people! (Note¬†the sarcasm, trust me..that sentence was dripping with it.) As they are taxed at a higher rate, what do you think they will do?¬† They will leave. They will move their companies, to countries that have lower tax rates.¬† They will lay off workers to save money.¬† They will increase the price of goods and services to the consumer, to offset higher taxes and costs.

But, you’ll say, that the wealthy 1% has all the money locked up and they should be doing more “good” with it….like giving¬†you a free education! Why should they?¬† If you want an education, apply for scholarships, grants, and get a student loan.¬† The harder you work for something, the more rewarding it is when you accomplish it.¬† Will you end up with debt, probably….but, the good thing is,¬† you can probably find a job¬†with one¬†of the top 1%’s companies, making a decent living, so you can pay off that debt.

Do you realize that if we taxed the top 1% at 100%….there would just be enough money to fund Medicare for 3 years.¬† THREE YEARS.¬† Hmmmm….so, what is your plan when the top 1% runs out of money?¬† Who will fund all those fabulous “free” things now?¬† Wait, I know who….EVERY TAXPAYER.¬† Not just the uber wealthy….no no no, it will be funded by tax increases on every working American.¬† Woohoooo for “free” stuff!!! (Yes, more sarcasm.)

On a side note…what if you were the 1%…would you want to be taxed at a much higher level than everyone else?¬† You worked hard, you got an education…you FINALLY were successful, and now you are taxed for a huge chunk of your money, to give “free” stuff to people that aren’t as motivated, hard working, or smart as you.¬† Sure, why not.¬† I mean, we’d all be chomping at the bit to share our paychecks with those sad, misfortunate people.¬† So, how about this…the next paycheck YOU get…take 90% of it, and donate it to a homeless shelter, now do that with EVERY paycheck.¬† Don’t you feel better? Isn’t it great giving away all your hard earned money?¬† I wonder how long it will be before you feel like you’re working for nothing, and that those “lazy bums” at the homeless shelter should be working too!

We are a compassionate country.¬† We have Medicare and Medicaid.¬† We have federally funded grants for college.¬† We have food banks, food stamps, rent subsidies¬†and homeless shelters.¬† We try to take care of those that truly can’t take care of themselves, but there is no need to coddle those that CAN, and just want the easy, lazy path to success.¬† You might say that because of your race, gender, or ethnicity that you are at a disadvantage, that all the money is locked up by wealthy “old white men”.¬† Yet, Oprah Winfrey is both African American, and female and she is one of the wealthiest women in the world, and no one handed her ANYTHING. She was dirt poor and she made herself, no one gave her an Obama phone.

America is a great country, or at least it was.¬† Now, entitlement and political correctness is ruining us.¬† Like water on a foundation, eventually it crumbles.¬† America has long been the nation that everyone wants to come too, because opportunity abounds here.¬† There are so many stories about people coming here (LEGALLY) from other countries with $15 dollars in their pocket and a suitcase and they make something out of themselves, they become successful.¬† Not, because they were given “free” stuff, but because they worked hard.

So,¬† here is what you are REALLY entitled too….nothing.¬† Just because you were born, doesn’t mean the world owes you a damn thing.¬† We are all on this Earth together, we all came into it the same way..naked and screaming.¬† Our lives are what we make of them, from start to finish, our success or failure is OUR responsibility…no one else’s.¬† Your parents kept you safe and fed, not because you were “entitled” to it, but because they loved you. America loves you too, and it is giving you the freedom to achieve whatever dreams, goals, or aspirations you have, if you are willing to work for them.¬† But, you…and I are not ENTITLED to anything.¬† The sooner we ALL understand that, the better.

 

The war on women.

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So, there is supposedly a war on women because we have to pay for birth control and don’t make as much as men. That sucks for us, but that isn’t the war on women that I see…

I see a war on women in rape cultures, where the raped woman is always wrong and has somehow enticed the rapist. In India a woman and her boyfriend were attacked on public transit, he was brutally beaten and she was literally gang raped to death. At one point they pulled her intestines out of her rectum and then they were thrown alongside the road. That was on PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. The sex trade, where children and women are enslaved and raped, they are without hope or choice. Or girls that are raped, then accused of fornication and beaten, or killed as a way of their families keeping their “honor”. Let me be the first to tell you there is no HONOR is accusing a victim, or further abusing them. Rape is the most vile, disgusting act of cowardice…it requires a man to become nothing but an animal that preys upon the weak. Someone that can’t get sex through consent then takes it without consent.

I see a war on women in domestic violence. Men that feel because of their status, money, or ability to run with a ball that they are somehow entitled to slap, bunch, or beat a woman. The culture that believes that women are “bitches and hoes” and that it is perfectly acceptable to use physical violence against someone you profess to love. There is no excuse for a man to hit a woman..EVER. We are no match for you physically, our bone structure is thinner, our muscles smaller…we can not defend ourselves against an enraged man intent on doing us harm. Again, cowardice and a sense of entitlement is at the core…a feeling that she somehow deserved it for displeasing him. A man that hits a woman is NOT a man.

I see a war on women in kidnappings. I see it in genital mutilations. I see a war on women in abuse, humiliation, and violence. So, how do we stop this?

Men must stand up and be men. Don’t accept abuse of women as part of a culture, or lifestyle. Don’t condone a lack of respect by listening to music that promotes it. Don’t be apathetic when you hear another man call a woman a bitch, or commit any act of violence against her…speak up, stop it. You are men for a reason and it’s not to abuse women, it is to protect us. If men stop condoning or ignoring this behavior in other men, if there voices ring strong and true that this is NOT okay, the men among you that are abusive cowards will listen.

The brutality of the world we live in will only change if we all take steps to change it. The beheadings of innocents, the war on Christianity, the war on women, the perpetuation of all acts of violence will never stop as long as no one takes a stand. It will never stop as long as people will stand around and videotape a man beating a woman instead of intervening, which can be as simple as calling 911. We have become a world of people that expects someone else to do something, YOU do something. If we all speak up, if we all take a stand, if we all say no more, then maybe one day we can all live on this planet in safety.

I don’t have to see it..to believe it.

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I have never seen the plains of Africa…I have never seen wind…I have never seen the bottom of the ocean or the molten lava of a volcano, but I know they exist. For me, God and Heaven is just as real.

I watched the movie “Heaven is for real.” tonight, and I was surprised that in the face of what they were being told, in what they professed to believe, they still doubted. I guess, in a lot of ways it’s human nature, even the Apostles needed reminded to have FAITH.

“Peter is also the Apostle who asked Jesus to let him walk on water. One night, the disciples were out in a boat after Jesus sent them ahead while he went to pray by himself. Later that night, the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake. They thought he was a ghost and became terrified. Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27). Peter replied to the Lord, “If it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” (Verse 28). Jesus told him to come. Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. Then Peter saw the wind and the waves and became afraid. Starting to sink, Peter cried out, Lord! Save me!” (Verse 30). Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt me?” (Verse 31).”

More: http://www.essortment.com/saint-peter-apostle-43941.html#ixzz39CewLP8G

You see, we are fearful of what we don’t fully understand, of what we can’t see or touch or feel….but, God gives us FAITH to take that fear away. I have lost so many that were dear to me, a mother, father, sister…as well as aunts, uncles, friends, cousins. Yes, I grieve the loss…yes, I miss them, terribly. However, I wouldn’t wish them back to this imperfect world for even a minute if I could. They are in Heaven, with no pain, no sorrow and a choir of angels to sing with…how selfish would I be to want them back here.

I know that because Jesus died for my sins, I will be there too one day, singing with angels, speaking with Jesus, walking on golden roads. I will see the light and love that glows from God our Father…and I will fall to my knees in praise, in love, in happiness.

Just because you don’t see it…doesn’t mean it isn’t real. The Devil wants you to believe that it isn’t, because then you have no hope…no boundaries. Life is not without adversity, not without pain…even Jesus had pain on the cross. We have to remember that God is GOOD. He knew you before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye, he knows every hair on your head, and his love for you was so immense that He gave his only son to die for you…for me…so that one day, we can experience the joys of Heaven.

In this day and age, being a Christian isn’t “popular”. Christians are being persecuted all over the world for their beliefs. There are those that will cry that the Bible is just “stories” and “myths”. However, I believe. My faith is unshaken. My hope, my joy, my love, every part of me that is good, I owe to the grace of God. This world will try to bring hate, misery, and lies into your life, but if you know the secret then you can stand up to whatever comes your way. The secret…God is good. God loves you, and Heaven is for real.

Rheumatoid Disease is a blessing!

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I have Rheumatoid Disease…aka Rheumatoid Arthritis.¬† However, that’s a misnomer, because unlike regular Osteoarthritis, RA doesn’t JUST affect your joints, it’s an autoimmune disease that can affect your entire body, especially your heart.¬† It is a crippling disease that slowly deforms your joints. Painfully forcing them into new positions.¬† So, now that you know what it is…I’ll tell you about my journey.¬† Yes, you will probably be bored to tears, but my blog…my rulesūüėČ

In the late summer of 2013 I went to bed…perfectly normal…and I woke up barely able to walk and with hands that were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist or grip a glass.¬† My first thought was “WHAT THE HELL?!”¬† I was in a lot of pain, the pain in my hands felt like I’d laid them on the ground and let a truck drive over them.¬† My feet, well…it was like walking¬†with 2 painful balls on the soles of my feet.¬† The pain was so intense, I literally tried hobbling on the sides of my feet when I had to move.¬†

I didn’t know what the heck was going on, but I started rationalizing that I’d ate Chinese food and probably added too much soy sauce and the sodium was why my hands were so swollen (although this didn’t explain the horrid pain, I was grasping at straws).¬† My feet, I assumed I had walked too much and had given myself stone bruises…on the bottoms of both feet…because, I’m just that talented.¬† Anyhow, I assumed that I’d whine and hobble around for a few days and be fine.

It lasted THREE MONTHS.¬† Seriously.¬† I got an apt after about two weeks to see my primary doctor and he looked at my hands and said it looked like RA to him.¬† He ordered lab work and set me up with a Rheumatologist.¬† It took 3 months to get that appointment.¬† So, my labs came back….and nothing was strongly positive, but everything was elevated just a bit. My RA Factor was negative.¬† I figured that was that…I didn’t have RA and we’d look into some other cause.¬† My doctor then burst my bubble by telling me that 30-40% of patients with RA are “sero-negative” which means the lab work is negative, but all the signs and symptoms are there.¬†

While waiting to see the Rheumatologist, I started thinking about this…wondering how long I’d had it.¬† About a month before this all happened, I’d had an issue with my left shoulder/arm.¬† I woke up, in so much pain I thought I was having a heart attack! My blood pressure was up, and I don’t have high blood pressure…and I just felt that there has to be something terribly wrong, if it wasn’t a heart attack then I’d somehow dislocated my shoulder in my sleep, it was that bad.¬† Off to the ER I went, and after a ridiculous amount of money spent, they told me my heart was fine, and they didn’t know why my shoulder/arm was bothering me, they discharged me with a prescription for blood pressure medicine….which I have never taken, because I don’t have high blood pressure.¬† My blood pressure was high in response to the pain in my shoulder.¬† Needless to say, I was frustrated.¬† Then I thought back farther….

About 2 years prior to this, I had seen my doctor and he’d done a CRP test on me (C-Reactive Protein).¬† This test is to see how much inflammation is in the body.¬† Mine was high…very high…so high, he was afraid I had colon cancer and sent me for a colonoscopy.¬† Which luckily came back normal.¬† He never investigated further as to why my CRP was high.¬† Sitting in the waiting room of the Rheumatologist, I started putting it all together.¬† The summer both my ankles swelled up and I could barely walk all summer.¬† The pneumonia out of no where that almost killed me.¬† The way my knees would suddenly swell and get stiff.¬† The unexplained pain in my shoulders that would sneak up on me and ruin days of my life at a time.¬† Now, my swollen hands that felt like they’d been crushed.¬† I saw the pattern.¬†

My appointment with my Rheumatologist was interesting.¬† He looked at my swollen hands, ordered more labs and said he’d start me on Methotrexate…which is low dose chemotherapy.¬† It’s suppose to knock out my immune system to it can’t attack my joints.¬† I refused.¬† No, I’m not a glutton for punishment, but I wanted to start low….as low as possible, and see if I could control it with something less….scary.¬† He said he’d start me on Plaquenil (this is the medicine of choice for malaria).¬† He wrote the prescription, but told me¬† as he handed it to me that I’d be back for the methotrexate, because my hands were “very bad”.

I took the Plaquenil.¬† Over the course of 8 weeks my “flares” decreased…and then there was a window, where I felt normal.¬† I rejoiced!¬† I decided that the crazy doctors had no idea what they were talking about and that I didn’t have RA…after all the lab tests said everything was negative.¬† I stopped the Plaquenil.¬†

The thing about Plaquenil is it takes about 6 weeks to build up in your body to become effective, and it takes about half that to leave your body.¬† I was on a happy cloud of pain free bliss…for about 3 weeks.¬† Then, I started feeling so tired, I ran a low fever, and I started to hurt. My hands swelled, my ankles swelled, I was miserable.¬† Lesson learned, I took my Plaquenil.¬†¬†He was right, I¬†came back for the¬†Methotrexate (he threw in prednisone for good measure too). I have Rheumatoid Disease.

However, I feel blessed.¬† It could be worse.¬† There are others that deal with things that are far worse.¬† I can look at this as a punishment or a blessing and I see it as a blessing.¬† Pain is a very motivating factor and there were things in my life that needed to change, without the pain of RA….I doubt, I’d have been motivated to take those steps, to make those changes.¬†

I know RA is scary, it’s painful, and it’s incurable.¬† I know that one day, I may be crippled by it…however, that day isn’t today.¬† Each day that I can move, I can type, I can walk, is a blessing and one that I will do my best to appreciate and enjoy.¬†