Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Favorites: Lush Deodorant Bars


     I really like this product. For years I have been trying to find a good alternative to deodorant. I have settled on the crystal but have never felt 100% in love with it. We all know chemicals under your arms isn't the best idea. But sweating through your shirts, and gagging your friends, isn't fun either. 

     Scott and I were in Victoria last month. I went into a Lush store to chat with them about a deodorant bar I had been hearing about. I try to stay out of that store because I can easily drop money there due to the ambiance. Most of their products are hand made and organic.They have mastered the art of presentation. Their soaps and bath bombs are so adorable. They add glitter, flowers, fruit, leaves and lots of other fun things. I was a little concerned the deodorant wouldn't work since it is so cute. It is made from sodium bicarbonate and is infused with essential oils. The manager told me you rub it on dry, and as your body heats up your pits actually smell GOOD. 

     I am happy to say, it WORKS. So far I have used it for two months and still have over half left. Not bad for $7.95! It is kept in a cute little silver tin. I forced my family and friends to smell it the first few days. The bar that is, not my armpit. They all agreed it smelled refreshing.

     I was pretty happy about this product because so often, natural beauty products don't always work great. I want to be an earthy, tree hugging, Tom wearer just like any other PNW girl, but...... I don't really want to smell like one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Great Way To Make Someone's Day

         We complain a lot around here about a lack of parking places. I know of one place that always has good parking. I wish it didn't. I wish I had to circle around for 20 minutes in order to find a spot. I am speaking of the nursing home where Scott's grandmother lives. It is much too empty if you ask me. I shouldn't talk though. I am not there enough. But, I have decided to change that.

 Because what seems to be a small part of my day, ends up being a huge part of another person's day. 

     I have been thinking about this all afternoon. A moderate amount of effort on my part turns out to be life changing for my children and for those they connect with in that nursing home. 

Their small presence in that place sparks a flame. That flame warms a heart. That heart then feels loved. And that love brings peace. 

     We call our Grandma, "Frammy." Our visits always go the same.  Today was really sweet and paints a good picture of most of our visits there.

     We pile out of the van and go inside to find Frammy. There are various men and women in wheelchairs in the hallways sitting quietly. It never fails. When they see the kids their eyes light up. They sit up a little and watch them intently as we march by. Our kids always say hello to them and know many by name. Havensong is used to this routine and she hugs the ladies and fist bumps the men. It makes them SO HAPPY. I especially enjoy the men's reactions when this tiny little girl holds her little fist up to "pound it." Then she waves, blows kisses and yells, "Die!" (She can't say "Bye" properly.) 

     Today we went to Frammy's room and she passed around snacks for my kids. Havensong does not hug easily, but she instantly climbed up onto her great grandma's lap and got a back rub. Then they sat there on her bed, eating red licorice and peanut butter cookies while Frammy told them they were the loveliest children to ever breathe air. She told them they were beautiful and talented and EXQUISITE.  She told me I was such a good mother. She said they were lucky to have me and I was lucky to have them. Where else can you go and eat snacks while being affirmed for 30 minutes straight? NOWHERE! It's not gonna happen anywhere else. And Frammy isn't the only one who lavishes attention on my kids. Her roommate does, the nurses do, the other residents do. I leave there thinking, "Man, we are pretty darn amazing!" It's a great ego booster, let me tell you. 

      Chase knows to bring a quarter with him each time we visit. He always uses it, and today was no exception. We walked Frammy out to the courtyard to sit in the sun and get some fresh air. There is a rectangle area of cement surrounded by grass and trees. There are usually a few residents out there, if they are lucky enough to have someone visiting them. They can't go out alone, so only the ones with family or friends with them are outside.

 So here is what happens. It's so awesome....

     Chase stands at the edge of the cement and he tosses the quarter. As it lands, it spins in different directions. Then Havensong runs after it and tries to find it. She picks it up and brings it back to her brother. We do this for an hour or so. 

But this is the fabulous part: The residents watch this game so intently, you would think it was an Olympic event. They all try to guess where the quarter will land. They gasp when is flies unexpectedly into the dirt, knowing it will NEVER be found. They laugh when the baby puts her tiny foot on it to stop it from spinning and holds it there while Chase tries to pry it out from under her shoe. They watch over and over and over, as Chase tosses the quarter up. The sunlight catches the metal as it flies past them, and I swear I see the glimmer reflecting in their eyes. 

     "OH LOOK LOOK!" they exclaim as he throws it behind his back with finesse. When it goes missing they wring their hands. But he always finds it. Chase loves the undivided attention and tries to get a little trickier each time he throws it. 

Today he did the ol' "pretend to throw" trick and held the quarter behind his back as his sister went running to find it. The residents leaned forward to see where it went. He held it up and said, "SHHHH..." to them, with his finger pressed to his mouth. 

They were NOT amused! How dare he trick that precious baby?! They glared at him and shook their heads. He wasn't catching on to their frustration. I leaned over and told him he better cough up that quarter fast or he was going to have trouble on his hands. He still didn't understand. I pointed to their faces and said, "They are gonna run you down if you don't stop teasing your baby sister." He skipped over and gave her the quarter, much to their relief.

      After we walked Frammy back to her room we made a circle around the nursing home to wave goodbye to everyone. I stopped into the nurses station and told them how impressed I was with the staff. I have been in many state run nursing homes, but the Christian Health Care Center in Lynden is a cut above. They truly treat the residents with respect and care. Still, there is no replacement for that one on one connection. Nothing takes the place of eye contact and laughter. Everyone needs to know they matter. I am going to try my hardest to be there throughout each week. 

     Forgive me if I sound preachy. But would you consider making friends with an elderly person in a nursing home near you? It is easy to forget they are there because we can't see them. But they are there, and they need visitors. I promise it will bless you more than you can imagine. And your kids will feel like little champions in there. It's a win-win situation in the biggest way. It is a moderate amount of effort that yields maximum results.

 (And don't forget the quarter.)

What To Say To A Friend In Need

What do you say when a friend is in need?

     "Well, that just sucks." 

        I think that is a perfect way to start. I have learned a few things over the years. Both, as the one melting down, and as the one searching for the right words to say. I have tried to be a good listener. I have failed miserably. But when I just offer good ol' sympathy, it goes a lot further than some feeble attempt to make sense of their pain. 

     "That would really make me upset too."

     It matters not if they are hurting as a result of a bad choice, or a "self-whooping," as we call it in our house. So what if you have heard this same complaint a hundred times? To your friend, in that
moment, they just need validation. Or understanding. Comfort.

       "There must be a lesson here for you."
       "Everything happens for a reason."
       "God has something better for you."
       "Everything will work out in the end...just wait and see."

       Don't say that. Well, say it if you must, but not right away. In the middle of tears or torment, just listen and try to relate to what your friend is feeling. Empathy can heal a wound faster than sound advice. Kindness will suck out some of the poison that is stinging your friend's heart. Their pain will feel a bit more bearable. There is time later for logic, but in that moment, just say,

     "I hear ya...."

     Don't rush over it, or dismiss it. Let your friend vent, then you nod, then you hug, then you say, "that sucks."  

And repeat if necessary.   

     I love this piece of advice written by noted Scotsman, Ian MacLaren:
      Most of us are acutely aware of our own struggles and we are preoccupied with our own problems. We sympathize with ourselves because we see our own difficulties so clearly. But, “Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”

          It is so true! We are all just traveling along, all on a journey, all tired and happy and mad and sad and glad. Let's try to cut each other a little slack. Most of us are fighting hard battles....

     I have had a couple of friends (and sisters) who have mastered the art of empathy. They know who they are, because they are the ones who get my late night texts, and frantic-freak-out phone calls. Thank you for allowing me to be honest and then telling me how LOUSY it all is. Thank you for crying and laughing with me. Thank you for loving me right through my bad attitude without trying to "fix" me. 

....Because we all know what a mountain of a task THAT is! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just Call Me Mommy

       I know it is recommended that parents who adopt should read about attachment. I have to say, I read very little about it. I bonded with my daughter the second I saw her, and I knew eventually she would bond with me too. It took a while. At first, she strong armed me. She tolerated my kisses. She held my hand, but would not cuddle much. The first day I got her I put my face right in front of hers and blinked my eyes at her. She blinked back. Then I blinked one eye at her and she copied me. It was our tiny way of communicating. She was responding to me, and it was beautiful. We kept doing that. I will blink at her across the room and she always blinks back.

      I will never forget that first night we had together. She woke up in the middle of the night, crying so hard. I went into her room, gathered her up into my arms and took her to our bed. She hated it. She pushed at me and turned her face away, wailing over things I had no privy to. Things she knew, things she had lived and could not tell me. I wanted to comfort her, but she wouldn't have it. I took her back to her room. I rocked her in the dark. She whimpered and perched herself on the edge of my lap. I had to wait. I had to be patient, knowing one day she would accept my love.

     Over the next year I poured affection onto her in heaps. Rarely did I pass by her without wrapping my arms around her and kissing her face. She called me "Mommy" but I still didn't know if she knew that a Mommy was different from an Autumn or a Beau. It was just my name. She let me hold her closer, but there was still a slight stiffness in her. She never put her head on my shoulder. (Unless she was already asleep and I tricked her.) That is the universal Mommy-Baby stance. I so wanted her to cuddle like that, but she refused.

       She started to come into our bed with us in the mornings and cuddle. Yes, I often had to bribe her with my iphone but she started getting more cozy. She would hold my hand and get upset if I had to let go. I was seeing little glimmers of attachment. If she happened to fall asleep then I could cuddle her. But she usually squirmed away even then.

     She then went through a total Daddy phase. He was the only one she wanted. She would cry for him and beg me to let her go so she could run after him. I was, of course thrilled, but also a little but sad. I was used to being MOMMY to my kids, and that had always meant I was the main attraction! To Havensong, Scott was in the spotlight. She adored him. Still, I waited. I knew one day that little girl would look at me and see me for who I was. The woman who loved her most on this planet. I know I didn't give her life, but I gave her ongoing love. I fought for her. I waited five years to hold her. I held her in my heart before she took her first breath. I still look at her and think to myself,

"How on earth did we manage to get you? How did we pull this off? What miracle is this? You, who came from a far far away land to become my daughter."

     Last month was a very emotional month for me for many different reasons. I found myself tripping over my tears at every turn. I was pretty much a mess. I didn't know what to do with myself. My family was patient with me, but I was in need of serious comfort. I was feeling angry at myself and had a very overwhelming sense of defeat. I needed God to stretch out his Arm and comfort me. The Arm I read so much about in the bible. It seems when people were really freaking out; God always outstretched his Arm.  Psalm 136:12 says;

With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;

     I needed His strong arm. I got it, in a much smaller package. Two arms, actually. They were very tiny and belonged to my baby girl. One night I decided to put her in my bed to sleep. I thought she would do her normal fussing over me being too close to her. Instead she scooted over and patted a spot next to her and said, "Peez sit." So I did. We scrunched down into the covers and she smiled happily. And she let me snuggle her all night. I needed a little teddy bear and she happily obliged. For five nights straight she was next to me. Not fighting against it or pushing me away and saying, "Move."

     She finally let me close. It is as if in the darkness, when nobody could see, she let me become her mama. 

      Her guard was down. She wanted me all day. She cried when I left her side. She napped with me, ran all errands with me, and became my sweet little shadow. It was perfect timing. I needed her as much as she needed me. We were quite a little team. I felt so grateful, there was not a lot of room in heart for regret or pain. How could there be? 

What a blessing her little arms were to me. 

And I am happy to tell you, I finally feel she knows what a Mommy is. And she knows it's me. 


Saturday, August 25, 2012

5 Reasons I Love My Husband

   I told my husband he should support my writing more. He told me when he sees some writing he will happily support it. He has a valid point there. I love to write, but wonder if I have anything to say that has not already been said under the sun. I have lately  felt more than defeated, a tiny bit crazy, a lot lazy, and mildly cynical. What kind of audience would that draw?! But, I told Scott I would just write, so here is my new start. And maybe I will get back to book chapters, magazine submissions, and journal entries.

I am in the process of switching over to so I figure I better get a handle on my attitude before I start a new project. I would like to make a difference, share love for others, live the gospel, and be inspiring. So, I spent most of the night looking at blogs. I wanted to see what people are reading these days in the blogosphere. There are some amazing websites out there, like Ann Voskamp and Jennifer Smith. I love Ann's poetic style. Sometimes her words strike such a deep chord in me, I can only whisk away the tears. Jennifer's authentic way of connecting to people is refreshing and feels safe. She clearly is a blessing to many women.

But there are many that just don't sit well with me. And well, mostly make me want to yak. They are  fluffy and so "You are God's Princess." I don't want to receive a sparkly crown in the mail with I order their book. Where on earth would I wear a crown? Safeway?

  Honestly, I would like to see some posts about how failure is an everyday occurrence but God redeems. About lack of faith or naughty kids but God's Grace saves the day.  I know hope shines brightly in those moments, and frankly it's refreshing to see someone else get angry besides the the person in my mirror. As I scrolled through the lists, I saw countless plastic smiles and perfect hair do's.  I read dozens of blog posts titled:

  5 Reasons I Love My Husband."
7 Recipes To Wow Your Family

Lady, I know you are married to Mr. Wonderful.  But please tell me you want to accidentally punch him in the head some nights as you roll over in bed. Love him all you want, but don't tell me you live in fairy-tale-land all the live long day, because that just depresses your poor women readers ME.

 Lend some hope.
Throw me a bone.

Am I the only one who fights with Prince Charming? Are he and I so unique? Blessed with opposite personalities that make our home oh so colorful?

I happen to know that when you are in an ongoing, close relationship with another human being, there will be friction. It is going to happen. People fight. I just know it. No, you don't have to dump your glass of ice cold apple juice over your spouse's head in the heat of the moment, but if you do, could you at least have the decency to tell me about it?!

As much as I would like to, I just cannot have a recipe section on my new blog. I cannot make my 7 Amazing Recipes  look beautiful before, after and while I am cooking it. My fare will never be that pretty. I don't have those white little dishes to place my measured food in before I put it in the pan. My iphone would never do baked salmon justice anyway, unless I used Instagram, I guess. Then it would at least look retro or grunge. But I don't have time to write down all of the steps for people. When my friends and family want recipes, this is what we do. We take a picture and text it. WA-LA. I guess I could post these pictures on my blog.

     And I don't need 7 recipes anyway.  I just need 1 good one that I can make 7 times in a row.
     Without them knowing.

             The title of my post is 5 Reasons I Love My Husband, so I have decided to go with it.

1. He takes very good care of me. And us. He loves to provide for his family and is always going above and beyond to do thoughtful things. For instance, he ordered Autumn a fancy little nail kit so she can run a nail salon out of her bedroom for her friends. She gave me a manicure today. I love that he supports our kids interests and takes them seriously.
2. He loves God. That probably should have been number 1. But I am not doing this in order of importance. It's 2 AM.  He loves the Lord with all his heart and that love trickles down to his family. Mistakes are made, but as he likes to say, "When the fight breaks out, the first one to the cross wins."

3. He is giving. He has always given freely to others. To our friends, to our family and to strangers. He loves to help people and make their day a little brighter. Be it a coffee, a book, or a place to stay for the night. It is something that just comes naturally for him.

4. He is funny. I hate to even admit this. Because some of his jokes I have heard for 21 years. But he is quite jovial and when he gets going, he can make you cry or pee your pants from laughter. I guess it's one of the reasons I first loved him. One of my favorite things to do is get all cozy in bed after the kids are tucked in (around midnight at the Lindsey house) and watch the Office and laugh. It's so comforting smiling with Scott. And his dimple is very adorable. Except I sleep to the left of him and his dimple is on his right cheek. Hmmm. We may need to switch sides. If you look closely, you can see his dimple in the picture below.

5. He goes to Walmart and Costco for me. If you don't live in Whatcom county you just can't imagine what a sacrifice of love this is. It is an act of kindness to the nth degree. When he returns safely home with our paper towels and big sticks of butter, I just want to kiss him. He usually looks war torn and wide eyed, but he does it to save me the hassle and for that I love him. For that, it goes on this list.

  6. He is obsessive about shutting my dresser drawers. Seriously, what would I do without him keeping my clothing from getting chilly? He can be sitting at the kitchen table, and FEEL my drawers open. He will stand up, walk calmly to our room, and push his hip up against each drawer. Slam, slam, slam, slam. I often wonder if he even knows he does it. He is on a business trip now and I am sure he is twitching in his sleep. Why? (I am so laughing alone in our room right now.)

Oh wait, that was 6 reasons. But I am not sure that last one counted.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Feet

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Funny Daddy

 Havensong has such a great sense of humor. She catches subtle humor, but mostly she loves slap stick. Especially when it involves Daddy. He is getting up there in years so I was worried he was going to pull something while they were singing the  Itsy Bitsy Spider  last night. Daddy doesn't just read the kids a book, he reads it to them upside down. And he doesn't just sing songs, he flings himself against the wall when the lyrics lend to the occasion. Like in this video below. She has watched this video NO LESS than 100 times since last night.