Thursday, October 20, 2011

Olive Oil...not just for bread...

I have a confession to make.  I am obsessed with natural living/food/exercise blogs.  I spend hours reading about vegan cooking, nutrition, and juice feasting, ect.  It is a bit ridiculous, because I don't practice these things very well in my life.

I firmly believe nutrition and exercise lead to a more balanced life, so I am always wanting to incorporate more balance into my life in these areas...but I have a very long way to go, and much room for improvement.

Saying all of that, recently I have been curious about all the chemicals that come in contact with the largest most exposed organ of our body.  Our SKIN and for this blog post, more specifically my FACE!!

I read here about a different method and have been trying it out for the last 3 weeks.  Obviously, I am still in the experiment stage and will keep you posted on my thoughts :)  I will not go into the "how to" of the oil method bc if you are interested you can read about it.  Currently, I am only using olive oil, not the combination of castor oil/olive oil.

I have been using olive oil to clean my skin at night.  These are some things I like so far about it:

1.  It removes all of my make-up really well
2.  It is cheaper than most facial cleansers
3.  My skin feels soft, not oily after using
4.  I don't have to use moisturizer (another money saver :)
5.  It is chemical free and very gentle on my sensitive skin
6.  After washing the oil off, it is virtually odor free (Ryan doesn't like the smell of many other "natural" cleansers I have tried)

Things I am hoping for that I have not seen yet:

1.  The wrinkles around my eyes to look less noticable (maybe this is expecting to much haha)
2.  The pores on my nose to look smaller.  So far they look the same.
3.  Less breakouts.  As a self-conscious girl I struggled with my skin through out high-school and college and used many different harsh products(lots of benzoyl peroxide,  salicylic acid that left my face red and flakey)  The last few years my skin has cleared up and even before using the oil I was pretty content with it.  However, I haven't seen a difference.  I've read that people with bad skin problems have started using oil and it has cleared up.  I can't really say if that is true because I started with relatively clear skin.  I am just hoping it continues to keep my skin clear.

Things I don't like:

1.  The process takes a while.  You have to place a hot rag on your face multiple times a night.  Not sure how conducive this will be living in India.
2.  It is messy.  Oil feels greasy and leaves a film on the sink that you have be sure and clean.
3.  The smell during cleansing.  Yep, it smells like you should be scooping the oil off with some garlic bread.

So there you have it, my adventures in natural face cleansing thus be continued...

Have any of you used the oil method or have natural products you love, recommend??

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inception, Inside Man, Ocean’s 11

What do the movies Inception, Inside Man, and Ocean’s 11 (12 & 13) have in common? For one thing, they are all very creative stories involving high crimes and revenge. We love to be entertained by and marvel at movies like this, don’t we?! It’s exciting to witness brilliance put into action.

Kristin and I were talking this morning about how amazing the human mind really is. Many of the artistic expressions of our culture display so much brilliant creativity that people are capable of producing.

Kristin read to me this quote by N.T. Wright: “One of the tragedies of rebellious humankind is the sheer waste of God-given intellectual powers: think of the clever criminal working out cunning, detailed plans to commit the crime and escape undetected, or the clever dictator thinking how to crush opposition, to keep people in the dark as to his real selfish motives, and to stay in power. Fancy using your God-given thinking power for purposes like that.” (From p. 17 of Wright’s commentary on Romans.)

Wow, we have so much potential to use our “God-given intellectual powers” to create things that are beautiful, God-glorifying, life giving, culture-celebrating. And yet we so often settle to leave “creativity” for the entertainers in our culture.

But truly we are all called to reflect God’s creativity into all areas of life, work, and play… What if we all fully engage in creative thinking to find ways to lead our families, cities, nations, global communities into true human flourishing – into a world that beautifully and powerfully reflects God’s glory?!

In moving to India we hope to find creative, self-sustainable solutions to issues in society that keep people from living to their full God-image-bearing capacity. Jesus came to lead all people into freedom from spiritual and physical oppression, blindness, poverty… (Luke 4:18,19). And because of the world-changing events of his life, death and resurrection we can participate in ushering in such a world as God empowers us.

May our minds be liberated by our King to imagine what part we can play in this great drama of God’s kingdom taking root in every community on earth!


Monday, October 10, 2011

two for two

On October 3rd we celebrated our two year anniversary!  Two whole years of marriage and we have learned so much and yet have so much left to learn.  

Because we are in East Texas right now, we were able to go back to Elmwood Gardens where we got married to celebrate.  It was fun strolling through the gardens and reminiscing.  

In honor of two years, I decided to tell about the two main(or most important) things I have learned by being married to James Ryan Hartsfield.

1.  Being honest is hard, but oh so good.  
To know someone's strengths, weaknesses, joys, quirks, and brokenness and let them know yours is an extremely sanctifying process.  

I used to (and still do...) want people to think I am a strong, smart, independent woman.  The one thing I never heard from Ryan when we got married was, "you are such a strong person."  At first I didn't think he admired me the way I thought he should....I'm so dumb.  The truth is that I am not any of those things on my own and he never expected me to be.  He dropped those expectations and helped me to drop them and see myself the way God really sees me.  Yeah, I am needy, over-analytical, dependent,  AND extremely loved and accepted by God.  It was really freeing.  

In no way do I think you have to get married to learn this, but God used Ryan in that way for me.  I long for us all to feel the freedom to drop our masks and pretenses and actually lived with each other like this, it would be AWESOME.  I am pretty sure the kingdom of God will be like that, lets be kingdom bringers now!

2.  Covenants are based on a promise, not a feeling
This past year we moved to Pennsylvania and it was hard. We had been married less than a year and weren't close to family and our group of friends was very small.   There were many days that I did not feel like being there.  There were even days when Ryan and I sat on the couch together and wondered why we felt so lonely and wondered if this was some sign, or horrible point in our marriage.  It was those days that we learned to trust in the covenant that we made, because someone greater made an even stronger, more lasting covenant with us.  God strengthened our trust in him which in turn strengthened our trust in each other.  

Andrew Peterson says it better than I ever could in part of his son "Dancing in the Minefields":

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
'Cause He promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of this chaos baby,
I can dance with you

I love you Ryan Hartsfield!  Let's continue to dance :)

We tried to recreate.....

 This awesome pic....hmmm ....we failed haha

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another reason I love Chik-fil-a....

Yesterday, Ryan and I were leaving College Station on our way to celebrate our 2nd anniversary so we decided to stop at Chik-fil-a.  Yes, we have reached that point where we are leaving in a month and so we are trying to eat at all of our favorite places WAY to much!  It's almost gross...

Anyways, we were sitting there enjoying our chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and sweet tea when a really cute, blonde, very pregnant girl with a toddler on her hip walked over to our table.

She introduced herself as Ashley and said she saw us and felt like God wanted her to come tell us something.  (Honestly, at this point I started feeling a little nervous of what she might say...)

Ashley-  I just wanted to come encourage the two of you.  I, mean I love Jesus and I saw yall and God gave me this picture for yall.  It was a picture of a rock and ...are yall married?

Me- Yes.

Ashley-  I just saw that you are building your marriage on a strong rock and wanted to tell you to keep doing that.  God also told me that there are some really big things coming up in your lives, but that you can trust him in the midst of these big things because He is that rock.

Me(and Ryan)-  Wow....(sat there a little awkwardly)

Ashley-  And I just wanted to encourage you to trust God in the things that you want, the desires of your heart.  You can trust God to give you the things you are praying for right now.   So, I wanted to encourage yall with those things.

Me(and Ryan)  - (still getting over that I have never had a stranger share something like this with me in the context of chik-fil-a)  Well, today is our wedding anniversary and we are about to move to India and we are praying about adopting a baby......

Crazy, huh?  God is faithful and continues to surprise and stretch me.
Have you ever had any experiences like this??