That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

No Shampoo

A few months ago, I decided to try and go "no shampoo."  This can also be known as the "no poo" method, but I'm not so much a fan of that label :).  I have a perfume allergy, and shampoo has always bothered that.  It's nearly impossible to find a fragrance free shampoo, and even when I did find one, it was very expensive.

I had read about the "no shampoo" method online, and I thought I may as well give it a try.  I was a little nervous to start it at first.  A lot of articles I read talked about a "transition period" that your hair would go through, and that it may look greasy for a while until it adjusted to produce less oil.  I've never had super greasy hair, but I thought I'd better wait until after my wedding to start messing around with it!   I really hated spending so much money on expensive shampoos that never worked.  Even the non-scented ones seemed to make me break out.  So, in August I started my "no shampoo" journey.

There's a couple of different no shampoo methods.  I started to use baking soda to wash my hair.  I was surprised that it worked so well.  The greasy "transition period" that a lot of blogs talked about didn't really happen with the baking soda.   However, it did take me a little while to really figure out a good regime of washing and conditioning my hair.  Here's a couple of tips that I learned from my "no shampoo" experience. I hope MANY other people will try to go no shampoo too!  My hair is so much healthier now, and I'm saving tons of money by not buying expensive shampoos!  It's been worth it.

Baking soda dried my hair out very quickly!  My hair tends to be dry anyways, but it got excessively dry!  I actually created a lot of breakage by overusing the baking soda, and because it was dry, static was a problem too.

Washing Frequency
This also contributed to drying out my hair.  When I was using shampoo, I washed my hair nearly every day.  Sometimes I'd try to let it go for a day, but it would get greasy.  I started using baking soda every other day, and sometimes every day.  That was WAY too much.  I went down to using it only once a week to try and let my hair recover.  Now I've got a pretty established, balanced hair washing routine, so I use baking soda about every third day.  When using no shampoo, don't wash your hair too often, and try to let it get a bit greasy before using baking soda again.  I find since using baking soda that even when my hair is greasy, it doesn't look as bad as it did when I was using shampoo.  I can actually leave it for three days without washing.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Conditioning
This was another mistake I made.  Most of the blogs I read talked about using apple cider vinegar (ACV) in conjunction with baking soda.  At first I just used baking soda, and only a little ACV, mostly because I was afraid the ACV would make it too greasy.  Bad idea.  Dry hair.  When my hair got SO dry, I would use baking soda every other time I washed it, and use just an ACV rinse in between.  Now I've got things balanced again, so I use baking soda and ACV together every time I was my hair, which is about every third day.  I also use regular conditioner about once a week.  I have very long hair, so I just use it on the ends.  In the winter, my hair is always dry, so I find the regular conditioner helps keep the static down.  I'll probably phase that out in the summer.

Less Is More
This has become my rule with the no shampoo method.  When using shampoo, I always used a lot, because I liked to have a lot of lather, and it made my hair feel cleaner.  It's hard to get past the psychological feeling of using less.  Our brain thinks less is not as clean.  With baking soda, only a very little is needed to clean your hair.  There is no lather, so it's a bit harder to tell when it's clean as it feels different in water than when you use shampoo.  I'm also very gentle with how I massage the baking soda through my hair.  My hair is fine and baking soda is quite abrasive.  Therefore, I need to be gentle or I end up getting a lot of breakage.  Less is more with ACV too.  It needs to be diluted with water, and you don't need a lot on your hair to condition it.  I have it in a spray bottle, and just squirt a bit on my hair, mostly on the ends.

There will always be a bit of a learning curve when you go no shampoo, because everyone's hair is different.  It took me about 4-5 months to really figure out what worked best for my hair, but I am so happy with the results.  My hair feels much stronger.  I also get a lot fewer split ends.  I don't use a blowdryer on my hair, and only a little heat from my straightener each day to tame the fly aways, but when I was using shampoo, I'd still get a lot of split ends.  I'm also saving a ton of money, and I love that!  I probably spent $50-$75 a year on shampoo and conditioner.  That may not sound like a lot, but in 10 years means nearly $750 of savings!  It does add up!  Baking soda and vinegar cost practically nothing in comparison, and because you use so little it lasts way longer!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As women, we love beautiful things.  Even as little girls, we loved to get dressed up in pretty, frilly dress, and wear a sparkling necklace.  We loved princesses' beautiful ball gowns, and diamond tiaras.  We love to curl our hair, do our make-up, and make ourselves look pretty.  We love a sparkling waterfall, and shining rainbow, and radiant jewel.  We LOVE beauty, and that's good!  I've been thinking about the concept of beauty and how it relates to God.  Of course, like everything else in the world, beauty has been corrupted.  The world thinks beauty is being thinner, taller, prettier, more muscular, more seductive, and the list goes on.  None of this is presented as beauty in the Bible.

The word "beauty" is in the Bible 49 times.  Here are some things in the Bible that are described as beautiful.

1.  Aaron's and the priests garments.  Exodus 28:2
2.  Holiness.  I Chronicles 16:29, II Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 29:2, Psalm 96:9
3.  Precious stones. II Chronicles 3:6
4.  Zion.  Psalm 50:2
5.  The grey head. Proverbs 20:29
6.  The LORD of hosts.  Isaiah 28:5

There are warnings in the Bible about beauty too.  Proverbs 31:30 tells us that " is vain...".  Beauty is good, but beauty in and of itself is empty.  God is not against beauty, but He is for beauty on His terms.  God's standard is perfect, and thus, God's beauty is perfect too.

I find it interesting that the first mention of the word "beauty" in the Bible is in relation to clothing.  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.  Exodus 28:2.

There's a lot of time and effort going into the fashion industry these days.  Clothing retail and design is a huge money making endeavour.  If fashion was a country it would rank 7th in GDP.  That's as big as Canada. A lot of money gets spent on clothes that everyone thinks is making them look more beautiful.  But, is it really beauty?

There's a lot of discussion in Christian circles about clothing too, and about modesty. However, I find there's very little discussion about beauty, and yet the Bible clearly relates beauty to clothing.  The priests in the Old Testament had a very special function, and God wanted them looking their best. The priests' clothes were beautiful by God's standards, just like the rest of the tabernacle.

The Bible calls those who are saved priests in Revelation 1:6.  It also calls us kings in the same verse.  Kings and royalty dress beautifully too! The priests were to be dressed in beautiful garments in the Old Testament.  Has God changed?  No.  God still wants His children to look beautiful.  The problem is that culture has defined beauty as something it is not.

We need to be careful that our emphasis on modesty is not just about being covered, but also about being beautiful.  Not beautiful on our terms, but on God's terms.  God has created us to enjoy and appreciate true beauty.  I think one of the greatest lessons in beauty is to look at Creation.  Think of a rainbow, the trees in the fall, the ocean.  God created all these things and they are beautiful.  Colour is beautiful.  Order is beautiful.  God is not the author of confusion, but of order.  These principles can be applied to our clothing too.

The more we learn about God and His character, the more we will understand what He views as beautiful.  God's beauty should transcend all aspects of our lives.  I have chosen to apply it today a little to modesty, because I believe we spend a lot of time trying to define modesty, and we neglect to appreciate that God wants us to be beautiful too!  Don't let the world define beauty for you.  Let God define it.  Get into the Scriptures.  Learn about God.  Who He is.  What He loves.  And what He calls beautiful.  Then let your life reflect His beauty in you.  Not just in how you look, but in how you act, speak, and think too!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Time for an Update

I definitely think it's time for an update!  I've let my blog go for so long, I'm not even sure if anyone reads it anymore :P.  I hope you do!  

The biggest change that has happened in my life recently was... GETTING MARRIED!  Kendall and I were married on July 13 in a beautiful outdoor ceremony.  God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and I am truly thankful.  

So, my single days are over... forever!  I will be honest, part of me misses that life, but I'm super excited about what the future has for Kendall and I.  I guess I'll have to update my "About me" page and take out all the references to being single.. LOL.  I am very thankful for God allowing me to be married when I was 31 years old.  I lived ten years on my own after graduation from college, and I have gained so many valuable experiences through that time.  Many times I was lonely and I honestly thought I'd never get married!  Every single person thinks that.  But, I was  OK with that!  I knew God had the perfect plan for me, and I would highly recommend to all my single readers that you ENJOY that stage of life.  I wouldn't go back and change it!  I think I'll do a post soon about what I learned by being single for 10 years :).

I'm still busy at work.  My music Academy continues to grow.  God has blessed me again this year with good teachers and lots of business.  

Church is good :).  Kendall has been a great blessing to our church.  He jumped in with both feet and has been helping here so much.  He and I have started teaching a combined Sunday School class to the children.  We sing, teach a Bible lesson, and do Scripture memory each week.  It's been lots of fun.  We've had several visitors to the church over the last several months, and we are praying for the salvation of some of them, and that God would see fit to add more people to our church.  

Here's a pic from our wedding :).  

Friday, October 18, 2013

The REAL Purpose

God has a purpose for your life!

It sounds cliche, but there is some truth to it.  However, when I speak to people who call themselves Christians, I often find that the "purpose" that they believe God has for them is far from what the Bible teaches.  A lot of churches today preach this in a self-centred way.  God has a purpose for YOU! God desires fellowship with YOU!  God loves YOU, and there's nothing you can do that will change that!  God is seeking YOU!  God is pursuing YOU!  To the person sitting in the pew (or chair) it becomes all about ME.  You have worth.  You have value to God.  You are special. Is that what the Bible teaches?

I think the most dangerous thing about this sort of message is that it does have SOME truth to it.  That's why it's so deceiving.  The truth is that God does have a purpose for you.  God does love you.  But God is not about YOU!  God is about GOD!!

Our perspective of God is so dismal today.  Many view God as the magical fix to all their problems and woes.  He's not.  He is God!  The Creator of the Universe!  He is holy, perfect, righteous, and just.  Before God, all our goodness becomes and filthy rags.  When Isaiah saw the Holy, Lord God of heaven he fell on his face and cried out... "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips..." (Is. 6:5).  Isaiah's vision of God immediately revealed his own sin.

What is God's purpose for us?  

1.  That sinners be saved.  Repentance and faith is another message sadly lacking in the church today.  That's because it deals with things we don't want to confront.  It deals with sin, and sin offends.  Churches would rather preach a loving, gentle, kind, God that has a wonderful plan for your life; than to offend someone by pointing out their sin.  The truth is, you will never know God's purpose for you until you come to Him totally empty of yourself and put your complete faith and trust in His forgiveness for sin.  God IS loving, gentle, and kind.  He is also holy and just and will punish sin.  But, God is merciful and waiting to forgive.  I fear many souls have been lost because no one has been brave enough to present BOTH sides of God.  His vast mercy AND His righteous judgement.

2.  That Christians tell the lost of salvation.  Once you have placed your faith and trust in Christ for salvation, God's purpose for you is simple.  Preach the gospel.  Tell others.  Be a witness.  Many Christians are busy today being involved in church, teaching Sunday school, leading worship, having Bible studies, singing specials, cleaning the church, etc.  They are busy, but the reality is, they haven't witnessed to one person in years!  I know this is true, because was that person.  I was busy in church.  I served in full time ministry.  I played the piano, sang in the choir, worked on the bus, was at church every time the doors were open!  But, I didn't witness.  I didn't pass out a single tract.  I was just busy.  I still struggle with this!  It's easy to be busy, because being busy makes it look like you are being a good Christian.

God does have a purpose for you.  He wants you to be saved, and He wants you to tell others how to be saved.  I think a lot of Christians are not doing this, because if they were, I'd be getting more tracts in my mailbox.  I'd be seeing them out on the streets preaching.  I'd meet them witnessing at the park.  Jesus' last words to His disciples sums it all up.  "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  Acts 1:8.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What Kind of Christian Are You?

I ask this question of myself frequently.  Usually the answer is, "...a pretty pathetic one."

It seems like whenever I feel like I'm just getting to the point where I'm really focusing on the Lord, and I'm really getting a lot out of my Bible reading, and I'm praying, and all my ducks are in a row, so to speak, the Holy Spirit tugs at my heart and says, "... but what about THIS area" or "... what about THAT thing I want you to do."  Oh yeah... there's always something else isn't there.

The truth is, the Christian life is one of constant growth and learning.  We will never "arrive" at the place where we have "made it" as a Christian.  Where everything is perfect.  If we got to that place, we'd be dead and in heaven.  It can be discouraging at times to think we'll never get to the point where we are the perfect Christian, or even the best Christian, but it's not God's intention that that should discourage us. Instead, we should be motivated by the fact that it's possible never to stop growing closer to God.  Isn't that a great thought?  But, I think some Christians do get discouraged and give up trying to become better people, because it's hard.

Here's something I've been thinking about recently.  What's wrong with trying to be better?  I've had a lot of people put a guilt trip on me because I try to have a higher standard for my life.  I don't get that at all!  Shouldn't we want to be better people as Christians?  Shouldn't we want to sin less?  Shouldn't we want to be good, righteous, holy, and pure?  I really don't understand this idea of trying to justify ourselves in our sin.

The justification goes something like this, "Well, we're all on different levels in our spiritual journey, so we can't judge each other."  Ok, I get that different levels thing, but why is it that this excuse (it really is an excuse) is always thrown out when someone is confronted with sin?  Don't you want to know if you are sinning, so you can stop?  Sometimes Christians justify themselves this way, "Maybe it's wrong for you, but the Holy Spirit hasn't convicted me of that yet, so it's okay for me."  I don't buy that one either.  I think that if a Christian has a conviction we should never make an excuse for not having that conviction ourselves.  Instead, I think we would do well to go to the Scripture and search out the conviction to see if it's an area we need to change in our own lives.

I think many Christians are content and complacent when it comes to spiritual growth.  I also think that many Christians view spiritual growth as some warm, fuzzy feeling and if I have a good feeling I must be in the right place spiritually.  Meanwhile, the practical day to day areas of their lives are a mess.  Why are we so scared to confront sin?  We ignore our own sin and the sin of others.  In today's Christian culture, a preacher who stand in a pulpit and says something like, "Drinking alcohol is wrong!  It's sin!" is immediately labelled as legalistic and adding "rules" to Scripture.  I mean, heaven forbid we add a rule to the Bible!  Oh wait... didn't Jesus say, "If ye love me, keep my commandments"?  And a commandment is....???

So, what kind of Christian are you?  I'm not trying to label anyone, or determine what kind of Christian anyone else is.  But, I think we ALL need to take a step back and evaluate our attitude toward sin and toward spiritual growth.  Do we ever even think about the fact that we sin?  What do we consider spiritual growth?  Is it just a good feeling, or is it taking steps to remove sin from our lives and replace it with righteousness?