Monday, May 30, 2016

Why I don't shave my pits and other things that might gross you out

Wow...I'm surprised you clicked on through or maybe you just want to see how truly weird I am!  Either way...welcome to the post!  So, why don't I shave my pits anymore?  Honestly, it all started in March when I went to shave like always, with a razor that had only been used less than a handful of times (it was still cold and snowy).  What I came away with was an intense razor burn.  Not your little bump, but an actual burn with blisters and all.  In fact, it was a little under a half dollar piece large with numerous little blisters, almost like salmon eggs.  I wish I would've taken a picture to show you all, but I was in misery and wasn't thinking.

So there I was with a horrible burn under my armpit.  Think about it.  It's moist, can't dry out, can't bandage.  It wasn't a good location for an injury.  I couldn't move my arm without intense pain.  I was still nursing, so every time we cuddled, it hurt.  My arm got swollen, red and hot almost all the way up to my elbow.  This pain and healing went on for over a month!

Of course, during this time I obviously put a hold on shaving.  I had to put a hold on deodorant.  Pretty much everything except castor oil and lavender essential oil.  It was a long miserable month.  And when it was over...I was afraid.  Afraid of going through that horrible, miserable, completely excruciating experience again.  So...I announced to Stretch (hesitatingly, because, let's face it, I've been programmed for over twenty years that I need to have that area shaved).  He asked with a laugh, "You afraid?"  I replied, "Absolutely!"

As a sidenote, while I was contemplating this lifestyle change, I started wondering why we shave our armpits to begin with.  Not surprising, it was a shame tactic of the magazine Harper's Bazaar in 1915 advertising tank dresses and "women would need to first see to "the removal of objectionable hair."", because anything us women can be made to feel shamed about is free game.  Of course the men, who at the same time began wearing more and more revealing clothes were not encouraged to do the same.  Surprised?  Yeah, me neither.  On the flip side, there's like this whole trendy movement going on with not shaving your armpits.  Women throughout the country are rebelling and not shaving, posting pictures and some are even dyeing their pit hair.  So, unintentionally, I'm hip!

So while it is still an adjustment for me to be comfortable with hairy armpits, there are some good things that have come from it:

1.  I no longer have itchy pits.--Yep, since starting to shave no matter what type of razor I used, technique, cream or soap, I'd always have those annoying itchy little bumps.  Now, they are gone!

2.  I don't sweat as much. -- This one surprised me since I'm one of those people who used to have to apply antiperspirant twice a day.  I'm not sure if it was because my pits got a detox that month I didn't use anything or if it's from not shaving, but now, I just put on a little Tom's deodorant and there I go!

Now for the other things you might find gross:

I brush my teeth with dirt -- Well actually it's clay..... and charcoal and salt.  I've started making my own toothpaste from the recipe over at A Return to Simplicity, and I love it.  I made a batch before I left but the mason jar broke making the toothpaste trash.  So there I was in Colorado without my favorite toothpaste.  Fortunately, I found a decent replacement at Whole Foods called EarthPaste.  While I don't like it as well as my homemade stuff, it's still pretty good.

I don't wash my hair. --  Ok, that's not entirely true.  I wash my hair, but with my homemade shampoo and only every three days, two if it's being unmanageable.  For about 9 months I washed my  hair with about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of both baking soda and borax mixed into about 1/4 to 1/2 of cup of water.  This worked for awhile, but then I noticed a build-up on my scalp.  So I took a few weeks off and used regular shampoo, which didn't help the problem.  I began researching alternatives and after playing mad scientist came up with a good one I really like.  I mix equal parts of Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap and coconut milk into a travel squirt bottle and store in the fridge.  Then when I'm ready to wash my hair, I still use the baking soda and borax like before, add about 3/4 teaspoon of the soap mix and 1/4 cup of warm water.  I then pour it on my dry hair when I get into the shower and voila! shampoo! I love it and how my hair is after using it.  Now, I have super short hair, so you'd have to adjust for your length.  I also had that oily detox mess when I first switched over a year ago to the no-poo method, but once I added the borax to the soda, that cleared up really fast.

I don't use chemicals on my tub. -- While I still use a traditional cleaner on the toilet (I do have three males using the thing--eew), I've stopped using it on my tub.  There just always seemed to be a film of it on the tub, and I really didn't want my bathing babies to come into contact with that.  So...I now use the Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap and one of those green Scotch scrubbers and while I'm in the shower wipe everything down.  It works like a charm and gets all the grime off, even after washing the filthy dog!

Ok...I think that's about all the gross stuff I can think of at the moment.  Hope I didn't scare you away!

Until next time....God Bless!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Awake, O sleeper!

One of Alaska's first signs the the sun has returned for spring.

At around 4 o'clock yesterday morning, I was sitting in the recliner next to Maddox's bed, nursing him back to sleep, when I heard the most beautiful noise that I haven't heard in a very long time.  No, it wasn't quiet, silly.  It was the sound of birds greeting the morning sun with song.  As I sat there listening to them sing their praises, I realized I  couldn't remember the last time I had heard the birds sing.  When I step outside our door at 8:30 in the morning, the glorious song of four hours earlier is gone.  Possibly the abundant noise of a busy house overwhelms the sweet music of the birds during the day.   I've also never noticed much singing during the frigid months of winter.  Maybe they're too busy surviving in their little bodies to worry much about song, or maybe we don't have enough nests around our place for us to hear them during the winter?   Maybe it's too much darkness for them to sing brightly?

That beautiful music got me to thinking.  What else have I been missing because I've been sleeping?  What had God been wanting to shine on me, but I've been too focused on the things pleasing to man (i.e. mom) rather than God?  Since starting this whole autonomous experiment thing, I've spent a lot of time researching education, it's purpose and what I'd like my children to grow up experiencing.  I'm becoming more and more convinced that allowing children to choose their own direction in their everyday learning will give them the skills and passion necessary to be an adult who chases their dreams rather than settling for the norm.

With that, I'm going to completely honest with you...I struggle with this mom-business.  In Ephesians 5:1 and 2, God tells us to "be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  I love my children intensely.  I love being able to stay home with them and experience life with them.  But do I imitate God in my interactions with them?  So many times during the day I hear myself speaking to one of them in a voice that's harsh or impatient.  I find myself wanting them to immediately act the way I'm expecting them to act and listen to what I'm saying to them, then not truly listen when they are talking to me.  I don't think Jesus would've talked to the disciples with sarcasm or impatience when He had to, once again, explain what He was talking about to them.

I've definitely improved in my attitude and interactions with my children.  We are no longer bogged down and stressed with the unnecessary deadlines and guidelines that came with curriculum-based learning.  We've had much more fun, hugs and kisses, exploring new and exciting things, and having deep (and not-so-deep) conversations about everything and nothing.  But I want more.  I believe God wants more for our family as well.

Ephesians 5:8-9 says "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)"  I feel like the birds as the sun is rising wanting to sing out in praises, but I also know there is still darkness I been reluctant to let God shine upon.  Or maybe it's more that God is gentle and merciful in His exposure of our darknesses.  Maybe He's more like the sun that rises slowly on the horizon.  It's not one minute dark and the next bright.  The sun is a gradual, patient yet strong force, searching and seeking out the darkness until it's chased it all away, pushing it over the edge of the earth.  That's what I pray God does to me.  That He continually and mercifully and patiently reveals my darkness to me, so that I might "discern what is pleasing to the Lord" and take "no part in the unfruitful works of darkness."

You know, the Bible says in Ephesians 6 that chidden are to "obey your parents... for this is right."  I wonder if it'd be easier on our children to obey, if as parents, instead of focusing on the verses in chapter 6 about children, we focused on chapter 5's message that we are to "walk in love."  What would happen within our families if we took the directions in verses 19-21 to heart and "address(ed) one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." (emphasis mine).  Now I'm not saying we should go around singing everything like we are in an opera (though we had a few hours we did that one day and had loads of giggles).  However, think about when you are worshipping God, really truly calling out to Him in song, whether out loud or in your head.  For me, when I sing to my Lord, He fills me with joy and peace and love and acceptance.  What if we took that attitude, that feeling God infuses into our spirit and, through His guidance, interact with each other in the same manner?  If we uplifted one another, gave thanks for one another and mutually submitted to each other, parents and children alike, out of our love and respect for each other and God?  What would that do to our families?  I'm telling you...the light just reached over the horizon and exploded into that dark part of my soul, creating a paradigm shift within me that I'm not sure how to follow.  But I'm up for the challenge, one step at a time, as I walk as a child of the Light.  Will you take the challenge with me? Until next time:

"Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead, 
and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:14b