Saturday, July 30, 2011

No 'Poo Update

It's been almost two weeks since I began the no 'poo challenge.  Surprisingly, its gone pretty well so far.  Our three day trek from Philly to Louisiana was probably the worst my hair has looked.  I went maybe three days without washing my hair--and it looked--bad.

On day two we stopped in Memphis to see my best friend from college.  I felt a little embarrassed to see her parents with my grease ball of a head.  So, I sort-of sheepishly, sort-of awkwardly asked my friend if I could "borrow" a teaspoon of baking soda.  She actually thought the whole no shampoo thing was interesting, and she was shocked to see how good my hair looked after washing it with baking soda.

Now I am washing my hair with the BS (baking soda) and ACV (apple cider vinegar) about every other day.  Eventually, I will try to whittle that down to a couple of times a week, then to once a week or so.  My hair has done well without blow drying it or putting hairspray on it.  I didn't think my bangs would do well without hairspray, but they stay put for the most part.

Overall, I've got to say that I'm pretty happy with my choice to go shampoo free.

I found inspiration and information on going no 'poo at Keeper of the Home and Crunchy Betty.

Would you go no 'poo? What's stopping you?

Friday, July 29, 2011

What I'm Learning from God Lately: Trust

God is doing a lot in our lives. A lot. Our lives have changed drastically in the past two years.

The backstory:
Ever since a junior in college I wanted to get my PhD in English.  All I could think about was getting into grad school.  Getting into the best school.  Being the best student.  I prayed and prayed, agonized and begged.  O God please let me get into grad school.  My GRE scores were less than stellar, so I was sure I would be rejected by all schools.  Nevertheless, I got in!  We moved from Louisiana to Delaware. It was like all my dreams had come true! This was it! My life was finally starting.

So, I went, I studied, I wrote.  I was in an MA program, loved it and was sure I wanted to go for the PhD.  Once again I started the process with God. Please please pleaseeee let me get in.  Like before, I got in. I was so excited and sure this was what I wanted.

Yet, once summer started God began tugging on my heart.  I say this not to be cheesy (although I know how it sounds), but because that is exactly what He did.  I was a strong believer.  I loved God. I wanted to serve Him.  However, I was learning that I was believing with my head and not my heart.  God began telling me that a PhD was not what He had for me.  There was so much more I could do with my life.

After much prayer and thought I decided to leave the PhD program.  And, for the first time in my adult life, I wasn't in school. It was a weird but interesting time.  I finally could do things because I wanted to rather than because I was supposed to.  It was nice.

My husband and I moved from Delaware to Philadelphia (because how much more exciting is the city!) Once we settled in, God started teaching us about loving others.  We started thinking and praying about what it means to live the Gospel.  How do we help our community, the world?  We felt led to participate in missions and started seriously looking at missionary organizations.

Our spiritual lives were significantly changed. Our perspective changed. We felt like we were finally living for something that mattered.  And, we were praying for direction and the ability to obey when God called.

Sure enough, He did. And it wasn't what we expected.  We were visiting Louisiana for a wedding.  My husband and I both felt that God was calling us home.  So, we moved and here we are.  Trying to figure out how to live the Gospel, trying to find jobs, and figure out our lives.

So, back to what God is teaching me lately.

Trust and letting go.  I am an over-thinker.  I over-analyze everything.  For me to let go of my ambitions and seek what God has for my life has been both freeing and frightening.  It is an amazing feeling to live in the present and trust God for provision.  But, it is also stressful--I like to be in control of my life.  To relinquish that control is. . . tough.  But, I'm glad I'm trying.  And, its going well.  I feel at peace--even when it seems there is an impending storm--the blackening of clouds ahead.

I know, though, in both my head and my heart, that God is there and He is in control.  It feels good!

How has God taught you to trust Him? Do you find it difficult sometimes?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking the No 'Poo Challenge

Yesterday I began participating in the no ‘poo movement--which means not using shampoo! 
The argument behind the movement is that besides the fact that shampoo has all sorts of unpronounceable chemicals, it also strips the hair/scalp of its naturals oils (called sebum).  Thus, it is necessary to use conditioner--and a vicious cycle begins.  If we take shampoo out of the picture, the scalp will begin producing the appropriate amount of oil to keep the hair clean and healthy.  It makes sense when you think about it.  We use a product--that didn't exist until the 20th century--that we don't really need and one that causes us to use more products.  Why might your scalp be dry?  Because you put oil-stripping chemicals on it!
I’ve had dandruff for quite a while.  I've tried all kinds of anti-dandruff shampoos and it never gets better.  Now, I'm curious to see if going shampoo-free will rid my head of the annoying white flakes.
Won't your hair stink? be greasy? be dirty?  Actually, no.  During the transition period--which could last a week or a few months--my scalp will overproduce sebum (its natural oil) so my hair will probably be greasy for a while.  But once that stage is over--voila! Some good looking hair!  (Let's hope!)
My method right now is to mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water. Massage it into my scalp. Rinse. Then mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Massage.  Rinse.  As I go along I will probably have to adjust my routine depending on how my hair reacts.  And, hopefully soon I'll get some essential oils to throw into the mix--then I'll smell pretty :)
I'm on day two and I don't really see a difference yet.  It just looks like I didn't wash my hair today--it doesn't look greasy or dirty.  Just not "freshly washed."
Day 2:

(Do note that I've been packing and cleaning all day for our upcoming move.)
In an effort keep writing and take an interesting challenge, I'll be updating you on my progress.  It will probably get bad before it gets good, so it should be an interesting next few weeks.  Especially since its July and I'm headed back to Louisiana.

Welcome to Live Better. Live Wholly.

Welcome! I started Live Better. Live Wholly.* 1) becuase I love to write and 2) because I'd to motivate myself to try new things.  Unfortunately, though, I haven't been a very consistent writer (besides journaling).  I have started and abandoned a few blogs over the years, and I realized recently that my problem was that I wasn’t focused enough to keep me writing.  After a few weeks of posts, the blog would fizzle into obscurity.
So, here we go again.  I am once again setting forth into the blogosphere! And, with a new focus--an adventure that will probably take me in all sorts of interesting directions.  This blog will chronicle my journey attempting to challenge the status quo of America by asking a lot of questions in an attempt to somehow find and reconnect with the natural.  

Today we are inundated with information telling us that everything we do/eat/drink is bad for us--yet everyone keeps doing the same things.  Our society has a plethora of "new" diseases which quite probably have resulted from our wonderful world of processed food and the like.  My attempt is to continue asking the kinds of questions I've been interested in, the big one being: Why do we do the things we do?  And: Why do we use shampoo and then conditioner? Why do on third of Americans giving birth have C-sections?  Why do we keep eating processed food?  Why do Americans think it is okay to be drowning in debt?
An important thing about being a Christian, I think, is not simply accepting the status quo, but questioning it and thinking about it.  I'm not saying that the status quo is bad--there are a lot of things we do because we've learned from history. But, there are also a lot of things we do because some big corporation is really good at telling us we should.  And, if we take more care of our bodies, won't that lead to wanting to take care of other people's bodies?  How are we to care about poverty when our most immediate goal is our next puchase?  My goal, I guess, is not only exploring alternative ways of doing things, but changing my perspective on the world.

Hopefully, this blog will not only be a place where I ask and explore questions, but where you can ask and explore questions too.  What question has been bugging you?