1) The Oil Cleaning Method
Ya'll this has changed my life. It has saved me bookoos of dollars. It has helped my skin SO much.
Here's the gist: if you are a human female and wear makeup, you have to take that makeup off or your skin will shrivel up and die a slow pimple filled death and you will hate yourself. Or something. Over the years I have used a great many things to clean and de-makeup my skin: cleansers, soap, wipes, etc. I have also used a great many different moisturizers. I have tried the high end (with somewhat better success) and the low end (with not great success). I have used Clinique, Neutrogena, Oxyclean, Cetaphil, Ole Henriksen, etc. I have tried various forms of natural, organic cleansers. I have very interesting skin because I'm really not oily (usually more dry), I have big pores, and I break out like a mad woman despite the fact that I'm 31 years old. I have broken out worse (cystic acne and just regular old white heads) since I had my hysterectomy than I EVER did as a teenager. Stupid hormones. I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide and I get super dry and irritated from most cleansers.
So I've wanted for a long time to stop the madness. I was keeping the pimples at bay by using a make up remover wipe and then moisturizer and I only use Bare Minerals mineral foundation and eye make up (if I wear liquid make up, even for a day, I am breakout city.). But I was fighting a losing battle.
Until I came across this magnificent blog post. I think I found this on Pinterest. I was intrigued. I mean it just makes sense "like dissolves like." I have had great success over the years with essential oils, so I have become very familiar with the simplicity and effectiveness at using oil to help your body. I actually had some castor oil (this is very important!) and sweet almond oil on hand and decided to give this a try. At first I just mixed the oil up in appropriate ratios in my hand, rubbed it on my face, and then did the steam bath with a washcloth. I noticed all my makeup came off easily. My pores looked clean. And I wasn't dry. At all. I decided to keep trying it. Night after night my skin began looking better and better. It wasn't red or irritated. My breakouts decreased. When I ran out of sweet almond I decided to spend a little more on jojoba because of its other beneficial properties. It has helped my skin even more! Honestly this has been the most amazing find for my skin. I'm not going to say it's a miracle and I have zero pimples, because I do still have some skin issues, but they are significantly improved. Enough where I don't feel like I have to wear makeup every day. I feel like the dark circles under my eyes are improved. My skin just feels and looks better.
So from me to you, you should give this a try. It will last you far longer than a bottle of facial cleaner will, at a fraction of the cost, and I bet you will not have to put moisturizer on after you clean either (if you perfect the ratios for dry/oily/combo skin). I don't. I rarely use moisturizer anymore at all. My skin is balanced. Please give it a go and tell me what you think!!
2) Starbucks Refreshers
I have been trying to de-soda myself. I'm not going to lie and say I don't give into the temptation occasionally, but I have been drinking a TON more water and go many days without have a soda at all. These bad boys have helped me:
This is my go to drink at Starbucks and I have also purchased them some for at home (they are delicious either way). They are made with green coffee beans so they have a good amount of caffeine in them, but they don't taste like coffee at all. More like a refreshing punch beverage. They are low in calories because they are made with mostly stevia. So caffeine, low cal, no scary ingredients=yay!
3) Our pool
This summer has much benefited from this little gem:
Our kids have enjoyed endless hours here. We have had pool parties. Mom and dad have enjoyed it also. I am so thankful for the $89 this cost (plus some pool chemicals, but nothing crazy) because of how much fun it has been for us. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
4) Tacos 4 Life
This Conway hot spot has become my new favorite restaurant. Not too expensive. Fresh and made in house. And how many other restaurants do you know of where you buy a meal and they give a meal to a kid who needs it around the world? This is legit and I am super glad to make my taste buds happy and support these guys. If you are in Conway, you need to do yourself a favor and go eat here. I love that Arkansas has become a foodie place. Blesses my ever lovin heart.
Okay so that's very general but here's the crux: the fact that we live in a technology driven age so that I can pull up worship from Bethel/Jesus Culture and sermons from all over the world, any time I want to. This has blessed me more in this season than I can really communicate. The Lord speaks through His people. He inhabits the praises of His people. This is good stuff. I think there is no reason for us to feel in this day like He isn't speaking because I'm convinced that we only have to seek Him and He desires to be known by us. Thank You Jesus that you long to fellowship with your kids.
5) My kids
These guys are the ones that keep me going. Even on my worst day I get out of bed because of them. Because I love them. They make me laugh. They make me think. They teach me and humble me and break me and give me joy. Being a mom is so freaking amazing. It is so hard and so wondrous and rewarding. God help me to continue to grow. Help me to love them right and like You would, and out of what You put in me. Help me teach them Your truth. Help me bless them like crazy. Help them feel secure in my love and Your love for them.
6) My husband
This guy. My best friend. I am beyond grateful that if I was going to have to walk through these dark, treacherous paths, that God decided Dwayne would be the partner by my side to do it with me. We are constantly feeling this stuff out together. He loves me with such a beautiful Jesus love. He rarely complains. He is steady and determined. I love him more than words. Thank You Jesus for seeing fit to give me this good gift. Thank You for our bond and unity. Protect us Lord. Protect what You are building in us. Help us war for each other and cheer each other on.
7) Being off Facebook
Ya'll this has been so crazy good. I have zero regrets and don't see myself going back. I'm not going to say I don't have wistful moments realizing who all I am not talking to. That does make me a little sad. But the benefits far outweigh the losses. My mind is so much more quiet. I truly believe that had I not gotten off when I did, that so much that the Lord has spoken I wouldn't have heard because I was constantly letting Facebook be the voice I was listening to. Also, truthfully, I see the depth of my friendships. I am "out of sight and out of mind" of so many people that I considered myself close to on Facebook. I haven't spent a lot of time dwelling on this, but I see how Facebook creates this false illusion of true relationship. I love how much more meaningful my relationships are becoming on the "other side." I love how I'm not struggling with discontentment or jadedness or anger towards others' opinions which were a constant influx in my life on Facebook. That was actually a lot of the noise! More than anything I love how my relationship with Jesus has changed and become more central. I have such a long way to go but I love how my desperation has increased and He has responded. We must be still for Him to speak, and I want His voice directly. So, yes, this is a good thing!
So there's an encouraging update. Please keep praying for us on all other fronts. Love each of you!
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?