Archive | September 2016

Washing Your Face with…Oil?

It may seem counter-intuitive to add oil to an already oily face, but it may be the best thing for acen-prone skin (and believe me, I have acneic skin). When we have acne-prone skin, we tend to want to strip our face of oils. That way our skin is squeaky clean, which means it wont be shiny or pimple-central.

The problem is, this just doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is because when you strip your face of oils with harsh cleansers, your skin thinks there is an oil famine and, concerned about dried out skin, it begins to over-produce sebum (the natural oil produced by your skin). And the result is squeaky clean skin quickly transforms into where’s-my-oil-blotting-tissues skin. So by complimenting and even adding healthy and non-comedogenic oils to your skin, you are telling your skin; “Skin, you are hydrated. You don’t need to produce any extra sebum.”

So how do we apply this concept to our skincare routine? First. Be certain you are using a very, very gentle cleanser made without synthetic detergents. I’m currently using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (check Amazon or your local health store). A good bet is something that says, “soap” and not “cleanser”. If it’s a cleanser, just make sure the ingredients are gentle.

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My routine:

  • First, I apply a hot and damp washcloth over my face for a few moments to help open my pores.
  • Then, I mix a little bit of soap with a little bit of Jojoba Oil. I gently wash my face, neck, and upper chest, and rinse without scrubbing. (Acneic skin needs very gentle care. No scrubbing.)
  • I spritz my skin with rose water/hydrosol (an excellent, gentle toner).
  • Finally, I pat my still-damp skin with a few drops of a healthy, skin-loving oil blend that I have lightly rubbed into damp palms. Only a few drops. 3-4. Oil is very concentrated. If your skin feels oily afterward, you used too much oil or oil that is not easily absorbed by the skin.

I wash with Jojoba specifically because the chemical make-up of this wonderful oil is almost identical to human sebum. This makes it highly qualified to attach to the “dirty” skin oils already on your face and allow the soap to more effectively wash those oils away.

Great oils to include in your final step moisturizer could be:

  • Avacado Oil
  • Marula Oil
  • Camellia Oil
  • Vitamin E or Sunflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Babassu Oil
  • Shea Butter

Great ESSENTIAL oils to consider:

  • Tea Tree
  • Frankincense
  • Cedarwood
  • Cajeput
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Palmarosa
  • Myrrh
  • Turmeric
  • Black Pepper
  • Carrot Seed
  • Geranium
  • Rosemary

I personally, do NOT recommend Coconut Oil on acneic skin because it is comedogenic. It’s more likely to clog pores and create acne. But it is a very cleansing oil, high in lauric acid, so a good alternative to it is babassu oil – which has a very similar fatty acid profile but is non-comodogenic.

Blessings.

Verse of the Day:

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;” (Colossians 3:12 NASB)

Who is Elohim? Part 1

imageTo start our exploration of God and faith, I decided to take us to the very beginning. God introduces Himself in the very first verse of the very first book of the Bible. “In the beginning, God…” (Gen. 1:1 NASB). The Hebrew word used here is Elohim. Therefore, Elohim is our first name for God.

But what does it mean? What is the original meaning of “Elohim”?

I decided to ask Scholar Joe-Bob. Joe-who? Scholar Joe-Bob is the multiple commentaries that I snore through…I mean!… give my full, fascinated, and undivided attention to every-single-word in order to bring Faithful Reader the most accurate information possible. So what does Scholar Joe-Bob think Elohim originally meant?

He. Has. No. Idea.

I’m serious. Scholars do not agree. They do not know for sure. But! Despair not, Faithful Reader, because the Bible gives us clues. First. Elohim is an interesting word because it is used singularly but it is a plural word. “El” is singular, while “Elohim” is plural.

Why use a plural word in a singular context? Oh, the theories abound. But for sanity’s sake, let’s take a look at Genesis 41 before we start talking about the Trinity.

“Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” (Genesis 41:38 NASB)

Well, quite frankly, Pharaoh, probably not. Stick with Joseph; he’s a great choice for 2nd-in-charge. I would hire him myself if I could.

Where were we? Ah yes. Elohim. Pharaoh. Joseph. In the passage, the word “divine” in the Greek is…wait for it…Elohim! From the context, a modern interpretation of the phrase might be “…in whom is a supernatural spirit…”. But in ancient Egypt, there was no “supernatural”, there were only gods. And so Pharaoh is basically attributing a form of deity to Joseph. As the Bible interprets, he is calling him “divine”.

So we can take three clues from this passage’s usage of Elohim:

  • It’s used in reference to a supernatural occurrence (unexplainable by natural law).
  • It’s describing the traditional concept of “deity”
    It’s used in a singular context.
  • Thus, Elohim can be used singularly and can be used to describe something supernatural or in Bible days; divine.

For confirmation, we see Elohim used in basically the same way in the following verse:

“The king said to her, ‘do not be afraid; but what do you see?’ And the woman said to Saul, ‘I see a divine being coming up out of the earth’.” (1 Samuel 28:13 NASB)

Naughty King Saul! Summoning the spirit of Samuel the Prophet? Don’t think he appreciated that.

So! Part 1 of our study of Elohim reveals a plural word used in singular contexts (but it is used in plural contexts as well – more on that to come) and in reference to human beings that are exhibiting some form of supernatural reality and are therefore being referred to as divine. Hmm…what does that remind me of? A divine human being…could this be a foreshadowing…a teeny, tiny hint of Jesus? (Honestly, I have no idea. Scholar Joe-Bob has nothing to say. In fact, I believe he is taking a nap.) But it’s an interesting thought.

Come back next week for Who is Elohim? Part 2.

Safely Ingest Essential Oils

So, I’ve seen a lot of posts that suggest consuming essential oils by diluting them in some tea or water and then drinking. And this is okay if you are absolutely certain the specific oil you are consuming will not irritate your mouth or throat if it’s used undiluted. And you are absolutely certain the essential oil is safe to consume in the first place. If you are not sure of these two things, get a professional opinion or just don’t do it. Try an inhaler instead. Because water and oil. Do. Not. Mix. Dropping essential oils in water and drinking is the same as just dropping the oil directly on your tongue. 

Why would you want to ingest essential oils in the first place? Just diffuse or apply topically.

Oh, darling, I’m so glad you asked. You see, there are a few ways most people absorb essential oils.

  • Diffusing into the air
  • Applying to the skin
  • Inhaling through a tissue or inhaler
  • Ingesting

Diffusing disperses the oil throughout the entire room. So you are only breathing in some of the oil.  This is great for young children or pregnant women because the oil is strongly diluted. Skin application is great but your body only absorbs so much of the oil this way. Inhaling directly from the bottle, tissue, or inhaler (especially an inhaler) is an excellent way to absorb a higher amount of the essential oil. But your body still does not absorb all of the oil so the therapeutic impact is still diluted. Which is perfectly fine for most purposes. When you ingest essential oils, your body absorbs 100%. It’s like drinking a LOT of therapeutic herbal tea.


So how to consume essential oils as safely as possible?

Here’s three tips you can use if you know the essential oil is safe for consumption.

  • Put oil drops in an empty pill capsule and swallow as a pill.
  • Blend the essential oils in a smoothie and drink. The thickness of the smoothie will keep the oils diluted.
  • Thoroughly mix drops of oils in a tsp of honey and then mix the honey into a cup of water. Drink. The honey will act as a sort of light emulsifier. 

Blessings.

Verse of the Day

How to Make Homemade Play-Dough. Easy!

Once kids start playing with play-dough… Game over. You go from perfectly color separated balls of dough to wads of marbelized mud dough in two hours. Play-dough isn’t terribly expensive but when you go through it quickly…thy does add up. Much cheaper to make your own. I tried this to make some for my Jojo and it turned out great. Perfect texture and stretch. 

Granted, my son is still young and he had no interest whatsoever in this weird stuff I was trying to show him. But that ziplock bag I took the dough out of…now that’s fascinating. 


This is a classic play-dough recipe easily found online:

  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1/4 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tarter
  • 1 Tbsp Oil (vegetable is fine)
  • Food Coloring (# of drops is personal preference) 
  • 4-6 drops Kidsafe essential oils for scent (optional). You can also try a flavored food powder like jello or koolaid that might add color and scent. I haven’t tried this yet, though. 

Add flour, salt, and cream of tarter to a non-stick pan or skillet. Mix together. Add water, oil, and food coloring. Mix over medium heat, stirring continuously, until a ball of dough forms. Remove dough from pan and allow to cool. 

If you would like to add scent, try to mix in a few drops of kidsafe essential oil like lavender to the dough and knead to blend in. I particularly like lavender for this use because it’s easy to find, the scent is relaxing (great for rambunctious kids), it’s antibacterial (play-dough that also helps sanitize busy hands? Wow), it’s safe for contact with young skin, and will not harm the child if they eat chunks of the dough. 

Do not omit the cream of tarter. It’s important for proper texture. Buy it in bulk if you plan to make a lot of this dough. Salt acts as a preservative. The oil provides smooth malleability. 

Verse of the Day:

What is Truth?

“Pilate said to Him, ‘What is Truth?'” John 18:38 (NASB)


According to the Bible, Jesus is truth. Jesus is the foundation and existence of reality. It is through the Word of God that the Universe came into existence. Jesus is the Word of God. (John, Ch. 1.)

When Jesus claimed the title of “I Am” in John 8:58, He was claiming an all encompassing, all powerful, divine existence. He was claiming to be God.

If truth is Jesus… and Jesus is God… then…

Who.

Is

God?

That’s what we are going to explore every Friday on this blog. We are going to explore God. Who is God? Who is He not? What does He have to say for Himself? And what does He want with humanity?

We are going to embark on a massive adventure to discover the God of the Bible, the Creator of the Universe, the Source of our salvation.

Welcome aboard the ship of USS Faith Friday.

Tantrum Survival

Being a mother is such a humbling experience. My little chipmunk sends me through 500 emotional experiences a day. He gives me constant heart attacks (reference photo 🙄), constant joy, frustration, compassion, aggravation, delight…all rolled up into one precious but crazy moment.image

He’s a professional with tantrums now. They were so CUTE…when he was 10 months old. I mean, it was like… Oh look, he’s learning to have a tantrum! Awww. That’s what other parents are always fussing about. So adorable. Aaaand…cute tantrums are now fewer and fewer in between.

He had a tantrum in the store a while back…he wanted to play with the products. Can’t blame him. He has no idea why he can’t play with the shimmery, shiny make-up. And I respect that. But he still can’t play with them. So I made him sit in his stroller instead of allowing him to run around terrorizing the store. (I gave him leeway in a craft store once…oh my. Half the store’s employees had to assist with clean up. God bless those patient souls.)

Anyway, I went in to get a maximum of three products. But with a young one shrieking his head off in the stroller, I spent a while just wandering the store trying to remember just what in the world I actually came in to buy. I left with just one of those items and about 500 snacks. Now, I’m actually a patient mom. Usually. (Easy to say with just one kid, right?) But this endless, public SCREAMING sent my stress level through the roof. If it was a spiritual test of my patience, it was authored by Satan himself.

The thing is, I really didn’t want my son to know his tantrum was affecting me. I really try to just ignore tantrums. Not punishing them, nor encouraging them. Just ignore. Whether or not I actually succeed in not snapping my son’s head off, well… anyway. As I roamed the store with my screaming spawn offspring, I gritted my teeth and snatched random items off the shelf.

When I finally survived check out, Josiah simultaneously stopped bellowing like a banshee (what a coincidence). I marched outside and took several deep breaths. Applauded myself for surviving that experience. And then, since I determined enough time had passed since the tantrum to not be rewarding it – like, 30 seconds – I shoved some caramel popcorn in Josiah’s mouth in hopes that if he’s too busy chewing, he will be incapable of making any further noise during our walk home. Problem solved. This method, ladies and gentlemen, is called rewarding tantrums preventative parenting. Then, I calmly strolled next door to the convenience store, bought an ice cream Snickers bar, and shoved that in my mouth.

Lesson?

Give yourself some grace. Motherhood is hard. And when you do survive a storm, don’t be afraid to reward yourself. Despite anything else… is your child still healthy and safe after a fierce tantrum? Yes? You didn’t abandon him in the middle of the store so you can run into a closet, curl into a ball, and rock back and forth in hysteria? Good job, Mom. You deserve a Snickers.

Verse of the Day

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Hydrocortisone Cream Alternative

Hydrocortisone Cream is an over-the-counter steroid treatment for agitated skin. It works rather well for temporary conditions – insect bite, temporary rash, etc. However, it can be as much a a curse as a blessing for chronic conditions. Hydrocortisone Cream is only meant to be used for up to a week before the skin needs a break from it. Long term use can actually dry out and thin our skin – making it more sensitive and agitating the original problem. The problem is, people with chronic skin conditions have a hard time finding anything as effective and yet safe for longer-term use.

I know because my skin is very sensitive and very easily agitated. And I’ve definitely over-used hydrocortisone. Soooo…here’s my solution:

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Semi-DIY Skin-Soothe Cream

1 Tablespoon of any cream or lotion (preferably all natural because essential oils may interact with synthetic ingredients) OR 1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel (or even coconut oil or shea butter or some other carrier oil is fine)

10 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Optional)

10 drops German or Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Optional)

5 drops Carrot Seed Oil (Optional)

1 drop Clove Essential Oil (Optional)

Why these ingredients?

  • Helichrysum is the Big Daddy of soothing-agitated-skin-essential-oils. It is the absolutely best option for any chronic itchy skin condition. (Some people say any skin condition. Period.) It is on the expensive side but you do not need much. A 5 ml bottle will have approximately 80-120 drops of essential oil; there is an average of 25 drops essential oil per milliliter, but this, of course, varies between essential oils. For an alternative; Aura Cacia (the brand found at most health stores) has a diluted version for around $20 that works pretty well when applied directly to the skin without further dilution. However, if you have a chronic skin condition, and you need more Helichrysum over the long-term, it is more cost-effective to buy this oil undiluted. This is the major anti-itch/agitation ingredient in this formula.
  • Lavender is very skin soothing and anti-bacterial.
  • Chamomile is very healing to damaged skin.
  • Carrot Seed is skin’s best friend. It is very nourishing and regenerative for any skin type.
  • Clove is a natural numbing agent. But only use a minimal amount because it is very strong and too much may cause skin agitation. Robert Tisserand recommends a maximum dermal usage of only .5% for Clove oil.

Directions

Pour the cream/lotion/aloe in a glass or stainless steel container (essential oils react to plastic). Add essential oils of choice. Mix. If the container is not opaque, store in a dark place to avoid light degrading your essential oils.

As always, when using essential oils for any therapeutic purposes, only use a given essential oil for a maximum of three weeks, then take a one week break (you can use regular hydrocortisone cream during this week off). This will prevent your body from desensitizing to the oils.

Blessings

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