Monday, February 23, 2009

Pay it forward.

I won the pay it forward over at Young Homemakers!
Since I was one of the three winners I get to host my own 'pay it forward'!

So here's how its gonna work:

The first three people to comment on this post will win a homemade prize from me! I have to get it in the mail within 365 day's. I will get it in the mail sooner that that though, long as a hurricane doesn't hit the post office...or an elephant doesn't crush the prizes...or any other horrific catastrophe doesn't occur...count on it coming sometime within the next month.

Now, the three people who win a prize, MUST host a 'Pay It Forward' on their blog. They will send a homemade gift to the three people who won and so on.

So what are ya waiting for? Leave a comment!

Friday, February 20, 2009

One year of being a curly girl.

This time last year I started an experiment! I was to do something bold and daring, something that, if I had told my friends and family before hand, they might have questioned my sanity. I was going to embrace my natural hair…no more flat ironing it every single day, no more hiding it in a ponytail, no more anything that would hide what God put on this head of mine!

Here is how it looked the first two weeks

I'm still unable to find a picture of my hair straight and down. I'm thinking of straightening it tonight just to do it and to take a picture for y'all.

Before I show the "now" pictures I want to share what going curly has taught me. I'm sure some of y'all are thinking "yeah right what can hair teach some one", well I'll tell you. First of all it has taught me acceptance.
Accepting my self the way God made me, not the way my friends look or how Hollywood thinks some one should look. What first got my into this horrid cycle of frying my hair into submission was none other than my best-friend. She was beautiful; she and everyone who saw her knew it. Little did I know she had curly hair! Until one day, it rained. Her hair looked just like mine, slightly frizzy and poofy. Then one day, before a youth event at our church, I went to her house to hang out. That was when the self inflicted abuse started. In my best friends bedroom. As skilled as she was with that flat iron it still took an hour- hour and a half! All the compliments that night left me sure of one thing. Straight has was good. My hair was bad.
While she was not to first person to straighten my hair she was the person who got me into doing to daily.

Second it taught me that being different is okay. Really, it is. Here I was 13 and already hating every thing about my body simply because my best friend did. I was short and skinny with "that" hair as people called it. I wore glasses and was clumsy. Some how I always blamed my hair on my misfortunes. Most of my friends were Mexicans with dark skin, hair, and eyes. I was white, boy was I white, with bright hair and bright eyes. Needless to say I stuck out! I tried everything to blend in but in time I realized that maybe God didn't want me to blend in. Maybe I'm God's "sore thumb"...OK lame joke but ya get the idea. I stuck out.

Thirdly, Beauty is more than what is on the outside. Yes the outside does count a little, but loving your self for who you are is what beauty really is! A truly beautiful person not only accepts how she looks but how those around her looks. She thinks others are pretty and lets them, in a sincere and honest way, lets them know

As strange as it seems the one thing that I swore was ruining my life is now the one thing that every single day people compliment and notice. I get asked all the time "do you hate your hair?" "My daughter has curly hair like yours but she flattens it every day! What do you do to your hair?" To this I smile and tell them how I use to hate my hair but I learned to love it by accepting it. While this may not be a purely Biblical based thought itis so true, If you love your "faults" then those close to you will learn to see them as your "trade mark". I can't say it enough, being happy with how you look is the first step to being truly beautiful. I deal with the doubts every single day just like y'all. "Am I to skinny, is my nose to big, are my eyes to big, am I to short, is my hair out of control etc. etc. etc." In the end I always end up closing my eyes and thanking God for how He "fearfully and wonderfully knit me in my mother’s womb". I may not always like what I see but I know God does, and that does count for something.

OK back to hair. Here is the method! You can also find this on Wikipedia
I found out about the method the YLCF site. Here is their translation of how to get your curl on.

Curly Care
the Curly Girl Way!

"My philosophy is, `Blow-dry straight, you're happy for a day; stay curly, you're happy for life.'"
-Lorraine Massey to The Toronto Star

So how does a Curly Girl care for her curls? Lorraine Massey's curly care principles include:

* don't use shampoo (except if you're a wavy girl, and then only a little bit once a week)
* never blow-dry your hair (unless you use a diffuser)
* never comb your hair
* use lots and lots of conditioner

Curls needs lots of moisture (think conditioner) to maintain their curl. But the main ingredient in most shampoos is a harsh detergent (such as sodium laurel sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate), which dries out your curls (making them frizzy to boot!).

As Lorraine Massey told New York Times, "The curly-haired can leave their hair hydrated with natural oils and clean their scalps quite well by rinsing only with hair conditioner once a week or less. Rubbing the scalp firmly with fingers is enough to loosen dirt."

The Basic Steps of Curly Care

1. Step under the "waterfall" of your shower and rinse your curls well (but don't touch them!).
2. Once-a-week Cleansing Step: Using your fingertips and a bit of conditioner (gentle shampoo if you're a wavy girl), gently rub your entire scalp. Rinse well.
3. Gently but generously and evenly distribute conditioner through your curls. Wavy Girls, rinse well. Botticelli Curly Girls, rinse 'til your curls feel right. Corkscrew Curly Girls, rinse for just a second. (Rinse with cold water to "seal" the hair shaft.)
4. Use your towel to "scrunch-dry" your curls, gently scrunching towards your head.
5. Spread a small amount of gel over your palms and scrunch your curls in an accordion motion. Repeat until all your curls have been scrunched (scrunching the canopy last), but don't over-gel!
6. Use claw clips to arrange and style your curls (click here to see examples), twisting any last curls into place. Then don't touch your hair while it dries! (Use a diffuser on the coolest, lowest setting if you must speed the process.)
7. Bend over and shake your dried curls to give them more volume. Enjoy your soft, springy curls!

Extra Tips

* Thin your conditioner by adding water to the bottle and shaking well, in order to allow for a more even distribution of the conditioner throughout your hair with less to rinse out.
* Blondes, mix lemon juice with your conditioner to eliminate product buildup and discoloration of your hair.
* Use a mustard-like squeeze bottle with nozzle to cleanse or treat your roots only.
* Use cold water, especially on the last rinse, to “seal” the hair (hot water strips the natural oils that protect your hair).
* Hang in there for at least three weeks. You may have to wean yourself off shampoo gradually, as it takes a bit for your scalp to adjust, so shampoo a bit if you must, but don’t give up yet! Curly hair is happy hair!

My changes to the method:
My hair is to long and thick for the clipping method to really work with out giving me a killing head ache, so when I have an important day or I just have some free time in the morning I do what is called "plopping". Here is a very helpful video on how to do it; while Jessi calls it "plunking" it is still the same thing, just a difernt name. Sometimes, when I'm rushed on the weekends, I will wash my hair after work on Saturday nights and plop it while I sleep or at least for part of the night!
I also use baby shampoo or a this natural shampoo instead of cutting it out all the way.

For those who are older or have your parents permission check out the curly girl forums for helpful tips! When I first started Naturally curly's site was extremely helpful and encouraging! Thanks guys!

OK, so for the now pictures.

I'm not saying that straightening your curly hair or curling your straight hair is wrong. You just need to learn that there is nothing wrong with your hair the way it is naturally.
Sometimes I straighten mine; some times I’ll curl it a little more for concerts when it is looking a little flat. So, for the sake of your hairs health, please, practice moderation! If you do use a flat iron or curler, make sure you use some sort of a protecting product on your hair first. I use this. It works wonderfully and doesn’t take a lot, it doesn’t even leave a film on my hair the next day!

So, if your an incognito curly girl, give this a whirl, the looks on peoples faces will be worth it when they first see what your hair really looks like. Be warned your friends will want to touch it! A lot! My first few weeks where kinda crazy. At choir my hair would get touched and played with though rehearsal. So be ready for your friends and family's' shock. Oh yes, and for brothers to throw stuff at the back of your hair to see if it sticks in your curls... or to randomly flick your hair...or pull a curl just to watch it bounce back...gotta love em =]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Encouraging manlyness in our brothers.

Gentlemen are the kind of husbands that most girls want, but who is encouraging the boys of today to be the men of tomorrow? Yes, the parents are but honestly most boys will act the way girls encourage them to act.
If a boy does some stupid bone-headed stunt and gets female attention more than likely he will do this more to receive praise of the opposite sex. If a boy gets attention from lewd jokes and sexually derogative comments from girls he will learn that this is how you get a girl to notice you!
Sure, his parents tell him that girls don't like it up the girls are telling him something far different by their actions!

So what can we, as tomorrows women do to encourage the men of tomorrow to become true gentlemen? Please remember that not all of these are proper to use on males outside your family, as it may be seen a flirting or you may seem to have a romantically inclined interest in him when you may simply be trying to build his manners.

One: Wait for him to open the door for you. I will often wait outside the door for my brother to open it for me. Now if his hands are full I will open it for him but in general I allow him to. Of course I am able to open it my self, but it makes him feel like a good guy and shows him that I appreciate his good manners.

Two: Ask him to carry heavy objects, unless he is physically unable. I have two brothers, A 16 year old who is much bigger than I and a 13 year old who is about the same size maybe a tad smaller. Now my 16 year old brother loves to show off his manliness around me. He'll open jars that I can't, open the door, take out the trash if its dark out or at least walk with me, and countless other things.
It may seem like I'm being lazy or that I'm pushing work off onto him but he loves it! He honestly gets upset with my mother and I when we carry heavy stuff instead of asking him to help up! I'm not saying have your brother or father do all the physical work but now and then ask them for help and watch their manly ego grow as they embrace their God given role.

Three: Encourage polite speech, not only by reminding them that it is not polite to speak harshly to women, as well as to men, but also by speaking the way a lady should. I have two teenage brothers so I know how hard this can be, especially when they go around singing "That song" or quoting "that", yeah it can be hard to speak nicely. If, heaven forbid, they make a comment that praises or accepts poor treatment to ladies, just tell them that girls hate it and not only that but that its simply not right. I am not a feminist, I'm not talking about poor treatment as in equality of the sexes but as in men pushing or using women, talking lewdly about the way they dress, or even just being hateful and vile.

Four: Make clear what acceptable behavior towards girls is.
When they hold the door open for you, thank them. If they compliant your outfit or the way you look thank them and tell them how good it makes you feel. Any charteristcs that you would want in your husband praise them in those areas. When they play with a child or help a mother with something tell them what a great trait that is for a man. Let them know that they are wonderful! Don't be quick to jump all over them when they do something wrong but fail to uplift when they do something right.

Five: Ask their opinions and listen to their thoughts. "Which shoes do you like better with this dress" or if you are cooking "would you taste this for me". Value their thoughts. Talk to them. Communication is very important in all relationships, if your brothers are unable to tell you what they like and what they think in a proper way how will they do so with their wives?

Six: Let them protect you. Often times when we are out and about if they notice a guy looking at me or sometimes they come up and try and start up a conversations my brother will walk up and just stand there...watching the guy. Once your old enough to be in a relationship and your in the right setting I'm sure this would be very annoying but in public, at 17, and since I'm not interested in them it is very nice. Again, tell your brothers that you’re glad they are watching out for you. They cannot read your mind. They do not just know that your glad they are doing this for you.

Seven: Pray for them. Daily. Pray for them the way you would want your future husband’s family to be praying for him.

While I know that it is the parents’ job to raise the children I think that we, as sisters, can help encourage our brothers. You never know, your future sister-in-law might be doing this for your will-be-husband.

Not only is this good for your brothers, it is good for your future husband, if the Lord gives you one.

In “authentic Beauty” By Leslie Ludy there are, I believe, three sections written by her husband about “studying manhood”. Those passages are very insightful how guys think; one of them is about this very topic, encouraging guys to godly manhood. If you read this book for no other reason those three sections are worth getting the book for. While I do not understand the male mind, those sections do give some ideas about bringing out the best in man by being the type of ladies the Lord wants us to be.

Note: My brothers are wonderful and when I speak about lewd and vile behavior in boys I am not speaking about them. Those are simply traits I have observed in other boys. Not my brothers.

So...your homeschooled...

This is one of the many questions I get asked all the time. When I work in the mornings/early afternoon during in the week I get that condemning stare from people who try to pose their question as merely curious, yes I know some people are really just wondering but there are those who just want to try and start something. Here's how they ask "so how old are you? You don't look old enough to be out of school" 'oh I'm not I'm home schooled' "oh...I thought...never mind, that is neat". I even had one lady flat out ask me if I was a single mother or high school drop out!

When I was much younger and my mother would take all three of us out shopping we'd get stares and every one asking "why aren't your kids in school??". Now, most people ask "Do y'all homeschool?" Its kind of neat how its becoming more accepted but there still are a few people who just don't get what homeschooling is.

Common misconceptions about homeschoolers:

1. Their educational weakness is because they are homeschooled!
When anyone sees my handwriting or spelling, they automatically assume that it is because I'm homeschooled. When I find out a public schooler is bad at,say, reading, I don't say "oh well, he goes to public school its to be assumed", no we realize that its his or her weakness. People need to see homeschoolers weaknesses the same way.

2. They never ever ever leave the house.
OK this one is slightly true. I do not go out and hang out with friends a lot, but I do have other things I do. I work and I sing in a homeschool choir and do a lot of stuff with them.
I use to take art, drama, was in two choirs, violin and even ballet until the kicked me out for being oh so clumsy and ungraceful. I also use to volunteer at the public library until my work schedule forced me to stop, also a food pantry until we changed churches and I was no longer welcomed there.

3. Homeschoolers are geniuses!!!
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA, that is my favorite! Some homeschooled kids may be exceptionally smart but I'm not one of them.

4. They don't get along with the outside world!
This one makes me giggle, I am a very social person. I enjoy talking to and being around others, Yes even non-homerschoolers. I know that they can't help they go to a brainwashing facility that is paid for by the government five days a week. -sigh- Ok, lame joke but still, you get the point. MOST HOME SCHOOLERS ARE SOCIABLE! Some of aren't but some of the public school kids aren't either!

Here are some videos about homeschoolers that make me laugh, and hopefully will make you as well.
You might be a homeschooler if... Its kinda funny...most of these apply to me and my family.
If you are more conservative with your music you might want to mute this one.
Homeschooler Song Who is scarier? Homeschoolers? Or "out-siders" that make videos of us?

The other
homerschooler song!

Diagnosis: Homeschooler

This post was not meant to educate anybody about how homeschooling works. It was purely because I got bored! When I get close to graduation I will be post about why I like homeschooling and why I think its better then public/private schooling.

Anyways, I'm off to get ready for church!
Peace out fellow "homies"