To What are you Giving Your ALL?

 

I have been in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel for what seems like forever, for several reasons:

  • My tendency to get busily distracted in, as Stephen Covey calls it, the ‘urgent and important’ or the ‘non-urgent and unimportant’ facets of life
  • My commitment to inductive Bible study—very rewarding, but it takes a minute , and
  • (unintentionally) what seems to be quickly developing into a more detailed study of the life of David

Today, I was reading the infamous story of David and Bathsheba, found in 1 Samuel 11.   Of course, even if you have not read the Bible, you might know the highlights:

  • David sees Bathsheba naked, and is struck by her beauty.

 

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 016

Rembrandt’s “Bathsheba,” via Wikimedia Commons

  • He takes the ovulating Bathsheba to bed with him, and she becomes pregnant with his child.
  • His first attempt to cover his sin is to send for Uriah, currently away in the military, and allow Uriah to go home and make love to his wife.
  • When Uriah does not go home, David sets the stage for Uriah’s death; David then takes Bathsheba for his wife.
  • The Lord is not pleased with David, and David’s adulterous/ murderous actions trigger a series of events which tear apart David’s kingdom.

 

As is often the case with inductive Bible study, I saw something totally different than I would have otherwise focused on in reading this passage.   I pondered first on how David found himself in this position.   After all, as Nathan prophesies to him in 1 Samuel 12, ’I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms.   I gave you all Israel and Judah.  And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.’ (vs. 8, NIV)   But David lost sight of his many, many blessings.  Why?

  • He was, relatively speaking, alone. (1 Samuel 11:1)
  • He flirted with his sin, then rationalized it, instead of fleeing from it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Timothy 2:22)
  • He tried to somehow make right what was already wrong.

 

These lessons speak for themselves about the value of being surrounded by wise counsel and understanding self.   If I fully take in how David slipped, it forces me to deal honestly with the sin in my own life.

There is another aspect of this passage that is missed because of the focus on the life of David.   This story, a piece of “juiciness” in the midst of (literally speaking) war stories, completely overshadows the ability to peek into Uriah’s heart.   Unlike David, Uriah ‘had nothing except one little ewe lamb’ (vs 2 Samuel 12: 3, NIV), the lovely Bathsheba.   His station almost seems counter-intuitive in this age of ‘naming it and claiming it.’    But yet, even this one blessing he was willing to lay down for his greater commitments to the Lord, to David, and to his country.

Uriah, unlike David, understood without fail what was important to him.   It cost him everything, but I dare say that he left this earth in peace about what he accomplished while here.   Is this where I am living today?

My Natural Hair Journey, Chapter 33: (Not so) Fiery

After toying with my increasing strands of grey hair for a number of months and years, I made a decision  several years back to try henna.   The promise of a natural, gradual color change and the hair health benefits had me sold.

That was three years ago, and I have not regretted the decision–not even once.   I love henna.   I love the way my hair still maintains its pre-henna reddish brown appearance, but then something special happens in sunlight, almost like revealing a well-kept secret.

070

(forgive the glare from my glasses–I am still working on my selfie skills)

 

reg and b march 2016 outside ctab

But, if I had a “bone to pick,” so to speak, it would be that 90+ percent of my gray is in my hairline.   Since that bone would be moreso with God than with the henna manufacturers, I suppose I’ll keep quiet.

What that means is that the henna is fiery red where it covers the grey, providing those sunny highlights everywhere else.

0603161933a.jpg

(shown here with a little of the grey that it normally covers)

 

As much blue hair and green  and pink streaks as I have seen in recent months and years, I suppose that, on one hand, I am just fitting in with a younger crowd, yes?  Well, not exactly.

I used Jamila Henna for these past three years.  In truth, I am averse to a permanent dye, but I did want a noticeable change.   I confess, however, that I sure would prefer a more gradual transition from the fire to the ember that is my coif right now.   So, I changed my henna process by actually using Moroccan henna, which is more suitable for darker brown or even black highlights (when mixed with indigo).   Moroccan henna boasts a lower percentage of Lawsome (the dye molecule in henna plants), and is advertised to produce darker highlights than the almost orange-red of the Jamila or the Red Rajisthani.  I mixed the Moroccan with amla powder, beets and dried hibiscus flowers in order to avoid hair that would eventually be too brown for my personal taste.  My recipe is based upon an article I found at LavishlyNatural.

So, this is darker, right?

0619160921a-1.jpg

Maybe.  That’s the thing about henna.  You won’t know for a while.

What, then, is the moral of this story?   For me, I am constantly learning–and admiring–how God put in His creation every single thing that a woman would need to look and feel lovely.   Also, while I experiment with a shade of red that I can completely enjoy, I am learning to stop complaining and just settle into my “silver halo.”   Ha ha.   Be blessed, dear friends.

The Season of Stretching

My husband and I had discussed repeatedly, in round-about ways, how we might get here or there, or what looked like the best option to move the kids around to where they need and/or want to be.   Knowing my preference for visuals, I casually said, “Let me write all of this down.”   At that point, what I had known for weeks and months became crystal clear as I noted every trip, every deadline for each child, and every anticipated paycheck.

summer 2016 calendar rev 1

This summer season promises to be one that will stretch us in a number of ways–physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Exciting things are happening within the family.  We have one kid who is starting college, one kid who is close to leaving college, and we are in a season  of parenting that we have not seen in 18 years: two adults parenting one (at least, inside the house).   You would think that I should be ecstatic about fewer people in the house, and I suppose at some point I will be.   Maybe.   But the “getting there” phase that is our summer is the part that has me dazed and overwhelmed.

I have had to remind myself of how excited I was as this year began, and the promises of God that I saw almost immediately after praying and fasting at last year’s end.  I have also had to remember how faithful the Lord has been to give business ideas and strategies.

All of that has kept me busily plodding along in 2016.   Yet, somewhere, somehow, I have also–at least temporarily–misplaced my passion.

Somewhere in the last two months, life became tedious enough until the simple act of getting out of bed, giving the Lord a few waking moments (getting up earlier than the kids to spend more time has also been an issue since the time changed), and accomplish each day’s tasks has become more and more difficult.

Of course, in the spirit of one who knows she is off-kilter with the priorities of God, I have beaten myself badly for not “getting it right,” which then adds discouragement and frustration to my growing list of issues.   I blamed myself, believing that if I were somehow “deeper,” my apathy would miraculously vanish.   Reading through the book Fervent was a Godsend moment for me in terms of realizing how easy it is to lose your first love.   I love this line:

My distractions don’t make me a bad person; the fact that other items steal my attention away from Christ makes me a normal person–a person with whom the devil can gain a foothold and convince me that I didn’t have a chance at the victory of a “deeper” warrior, so why bother?

This week coming is a rare quiet week amidst all the busy-ness of what is quickly shaping into a whirlwind summer.   I am looking forward to basking in the Lord’s grace, of surrendering my plans, worries, and cares.

0604161424.jpg

 

0604161858a.jpg

With the dorm room completed and four of us headed home, we are now finished with one of no less than about 10 significant events that will occur over the next three months.  My simple prayer is to love the Lord with all my heart, my mind, and my soul.   I know, even in my distractedness, that everything else–wisdom, discernment, joy, peace, everything–will flow from there.

 

Something Happens When You Turn 50

It is interesting that, though this post has been crafted on my mind and heart for weeks now, I am actually typing it on the day after the legendary Prince expired.   This musical icon was so much a part of the soundtrack of my teen and young adult years until the news of losing him struck me like a brick.   Indeed, it seems as if we have lost a host of great musicians at a timing that is considered “all too soon.”   The lesson of all of this, in my mind, is to live my life to the best of my abilities on today; tomorrow is not promised to any of us, regardless of our fame and fortune.

I have posted for years now about living strategically, being true to purpose, and understanding your spiritual anointing and appointment.   It occurs to me, not being too far off the age of Prince, or MJ or Whitney, for that matter, when they left this earth, that I have begun to look at life—and death—a little differently.  (Consider this also a what-I-have-been-doing-the-last-month-such-that-I-have-neglected-my-blog update).

In short, something happens when you turn 50.

Aches and pains, though intermittent, come out of nowhere and for no reason.

Taking a nap feels like you just heard the juiciest secret.

You realize that there is more time behind you than ahead of you, making you even more attentive to how/ when/ where you spend your energy.

That same realization prompts you to be ever more cognizant of your habits—eating, exercise, and all things everyday maintenance.

bryant terry cookbook collage

If my post sounds too morbid thus far, take heart: 50 does not imply that you need to start grave digging just yet.   In fact, these are the years of simple indulgences without guilt.   Having begun our family at what some would consider a ‘late age,’ (I birthed our oldest child just before I turned 30), I am still not an empty-nester yet.  But I can see it from here, along with a season where not every need we have will take its place behind growing feet, braces, and college tuitions.   I haven’t been a huge shopper since I went to college myself, but it feels good to let the make-due woman go and buy a new shirt or pair of jeans once in a while.

Back to turning 50.  You grow more attentive to seasons, and the inevitable changes.  If there is one thing that reminds me of growing older (besides night sweats), it is my incredible shrinking family.  This was a recent trip to the Georgia Aquarium now that our youngest can actually remember what she saw, and our first trip, with my sister in tow, almost 10 years ago.

ga aquarium collage

You pay so much more attention to the people around you, your connectivity to them (or lack thereof), and what each person’s presence means in your life.   I had my growing pains, but I miss these guys so much.

parent collage pic 1 april 2016

So, as I grow more intent in my Bible study over my medicinally purposeful teas and research even more ways to eat leafy green vegetables (did you know that they are great arthritis fighters?), it occurs to me that even the future of this blog is up for grabs.   Everything has its season, and I just want to be ready for whatever path the Lord places before me.

‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’  1 Samuel 3:9.

My Natural Hair Journey, Chapter 32: Eating for Two

It’s been a minute since I have written anything about my hair, and the journey to health and wholeness which began with the simple decision in 2010 to transition from my chemical perm.  The truth is that there comes a point when natural is the status quo, and, unless you are an aspiring expert or a style setter, there isn’t a whole lot to say.

My twist-out was its freshest about 5 days ago.   BUT, with the kids gone for spring break, I was proud that I managed to put my hair into 4 big twists at night.  I will be the first, however, to admit that honeymooning can wreak havoc on a hair regimen. (wink)

 

0320161401.jpg

So, this morning, like every morning this semi-vacation week, I took my twists down before dashing off to a matinee with the family, and only later did I actually look at my style.   It’s Texas-sized (at least for me)!!

I think that somewhere, we (collectively speaking) have gotten off-track with hair care and maintenance.   And of course, some of that is to be expected in an industry where there are millions to be spent and made.   Between the numbers of professional hair care lines, and the numbers of would-be/ wanna-be professionals who cry out for subscriptions, e-book and independent product line purchases, you could spend the last of your cents and sense on all things natural hair.   Personally, I just turned 50, and I have become quite introspective when it comes to my own cents–and sense.

I don’t care about what celebrity is using a given product, or how fabulous her hair looks (even if we only get to see it before she has her weave reattached).

I subscribe to no one’s You Tube channel, although there are some ladies who are truly inspiring.  I have seen the hair vlogging community evolve from a group of ladies whose only motive was to help those coming behind them, to a full-blown business opportunity where product loyalties are regularly bought and sold.

I have a few styles that work for me, and I don’t venture too far from them, even though I Pin many hairstyles as inspiration and motivation.

Hair, and this phase of my “journey,” is strictly about health, and at this point, I spend much of my time adjusting my regimen–from the inside-out.  I eat with two in mind–me and my hair.

herbal teas for hair

Years ago, I posted my observation that when I, as mama, went natural, everyone went natural.   Stated otherwise, as the manager of the house, when I changed my diet, everyone else’s diet changed, more or less.   I am increasingly cognizant of what ingredients exist in what foods, and what is the impact of that food on my hair as well as my overall health.

Teas are just one example, and my newest fetish.  Though I have always been a coffee and tea drinker, only recently have I begun to drink them for function in addition to simple relaxation.   I’ve been drinking the two pictured above like water once I found out the MANY benefits of stinging nettle and a new way to get more of my new favorite detangler, marshmallow root, via this “throat coat” tea.   Flax seeds still remain my favorite styling gel, and they make great smoothie ingredients.

There are numerous places to get good natural product and DIY-type information.  These are just a couple of sites that I like to peruse:

http://lavishlynatural.com/

http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/category/hair/

Last, but certainly not least, there is always the ingredient dictionary to which I refer time and time again:

http://www.tightlycurly.com/ingredients/

It’s all about being intentional–a word we all hear quite a bit in these times.  We are called to be intentional about how we use our time and our resources, including family time and spousal time, and  time spent on professional and personal goals.  Intentionality can just as easily apply to fueling yourself so that you can be effective in doing all of these things, and having healthy hair, skin, and nails as an added benefit.

As proof-positive of how convinced I am about dietary changes, I am actually in the market for–I cannot believe I’m saying this–beets to plant!!   The energy plus the red dye potential as a henna additive?  Forget about it!

Still not ready to take a closer look at your diet for your coif’s sake?   Consider this article regarding the dinner for two.   I’d love to “hear” about how changing your hair is changing your diet, too.

 

 

p.s. After all my excitement, I found out that beets are a fall /winter veggie in our state.  Oh, well, here’s to 2017, if the Lord tarries.  Oy.