Friday, 27 February 2015

What Did I Do?: Ueberraschung!

Well, I feel like I'm finally getting caught up on things I was behind on and moving ahead. I must say I have been feeling a little computer illiterate trying to adjust to this new piece of technology. As you will no doubt notice, when I'm busy, I'm not very creative with new ideas. It's made even more difficult when I'm left without a computer to research anything on. I also lost part of my idea list, so I have to try to remember some of my ideas.

February 19: I won! 

On Thursday, I won an interesting Facebook challenge posted by my friend Kevin Abell. The prize? This Monroe thermometer. I don't think I've ever won a Facebook conversation before and it's also my first picture with Kevin.

 February 20: According to Knowledge Nuts, people have a false idea of how many rats there are in the world, particularly in big cities. News sources have exaggerated the numbers, saying there are twice as many rats in New York City as there are people, but it's not true. Personally, I think I only ever saw one rat while in NYC, that was running along the subway track. I admit I got pretty excited about it. Maybe it's because of signs like this one that I didn't see more.  Yep, I had to take a picture of one.

February 21: On Saturday, I learned about bed bugs, how to detect them, and identify bed bug bites. I had a bit of a freak out on the weekend, but now I can rest assured I don't have bed bugs.

February 22: On Sunday, I tried eating a kiwi with the skin. I really like kiwi when it's ripe and sweet and I've heard of people eating the whole thing, but the fuzzy skin has never appealed to me. Well, I determined to try it, especially after watching my nephew munch through the skin and explain how healthy it was. I looked at the kiwi before eating it with more contempt than a piece of raw fish. I managed one crunchy sour bite, then sliced it in half and scooped the inside out with a spoon. But now I can say I've tried it. If it had been a little riper, it might have not been so bad.

February 23: I can't wait for the day I can go to the pool in a T-shirt or even a sweater. It's way too cold. But to another swim class I did go, and it was rather grueling. I hadn't been to the pool in two weeks and not having exercised since my last class didn't help. I'm still learning not to drink pool water when I sink. When I came up coughing and sputtering to no end, people stared at me like I almost drowned or something. It reminded me of a similar experience I had a few years ago in the Atlantic Ocean. It was a little traumatic.

I also learned some interesting things about James Dole, "the Pineapple King" who turned the whole Hawaiian island of Lana'i into the world's biggest pineapple plantation. In 1927, he offered a $35,000 cash prize for the winner of an airplane race from California to Hawaii. The conditions were very dangerous. Add that airplanes weren't exactly what they are today and that nobody had ever flown to Hawaii before. Many entered the race but only two actually finished it. Ten people died trying. In the end, the winner shared the prize money with the second contestant to finish, but alas, they weren't the first people to fly to Hawaii. Two army pilots got there before the race started.

So that was tragic and James Dole felt really bad, for good reason. But back in 1913, his company made a machine that peeled 100 pineapples a minute. That's pretty cool. It would take me entirely too long to just peel one. I'm afraid though I might feel a little guilty from now on when I buy Dole pineapples. Not fair.

February 24: You know those annoying parking meters? Well, I found out who came up with that idea. Carl Magee, a U.S. reporter invented the parking meter. He was an interesting man who exposed corruption. However, he also shot and killed a bystander when he got into a fight with a corrupt judge he had just berated in his newspaper. The judge didn't get shot as intended, but someone else did. He was acquitted, however, and when he moved to Oklahoma City, he came up with the idea of the parking meter in 1932, in order to resolve the city's massive parking problem.

February 25: What I'm about to share next should be taken with a grain of salt. I apologize to my readership who won't be able to understand much of what I will share next, and to my Mennonite, Low German speaking readership, I apologize for my horrible spelling. I never did become proficient in reading or writing my mother tongue. Also, I can't use an umlaut, so I have to improvise. And I'm definitely about to become less serious.

I learned a number of new things through an afternoon of browsing a Mennonite cookbook compiled in Mexico. I must say it provided a fair share of amusement to me, a Mennonite born and raised in Canada. Although my roots are in Mexico, I've only been there to visit a handful of times. What made this cookbook particularly interesting was the different German words they use for things. It seems to have a wealth of great recipes if you can figure out how to read and understand them. In all likelihood, this cook book is correct in the German it uses, and the Low German language I'm used to is just so far removed.

Something I have often noticed is that our Low German vocabulary is rather small. We don't seem to have words for a lot of things, or we just take English words and pronounce them to sound German. And there are things that are just different between German and Low German. Well, to understand this cookbook, I think you needed to be proficient in German, Low German, English, Spanish and possess some imagination. It also seemed they have some food products in Mexcio that we don't have in Canada, or perhaps we just couldn't understand them. There were a number of canned milks that showed up in recipes, but we could only figure out evaporated milk for certain.

My favourite word I learned was ueberraschung, which means surprise. This was through a recipe for Schokoladenueberraschung. To learn that ueberraschung meant surprise was a surprise! I didn't know we had a word for surprise! Maybe if someone had thrown me an "ueberraschung geburtstag fest" when I was a kid, I would know this stuff! I also think the word sounds an awful lot like our Low German word for "backwards", but maybe that's just me.

We figured out that plaetzchen are cookies and kuchen is cake. To me, kuchen means cookies and cake is cake. And we figured out that kekse are cupcakes. Karrotten Kuchen is carrot cake, but I say "gelmehren." We eventually determined zimt meant cinnamon, since it was in with recipes for Cinnamon Rolls. At home, that's still just koernel rollen to me. When providing instructions for icing cookies or cakes, it uses the word "streiche", oba ekj do kuchen beschmeiren. Schokoladenschnitzel are chocolate chips. I get the chocolate part, but to me schnitzel is milanesa.

One of the ones that had us stumped for awhile was Schlagsahne, which we finally concluded was whipping cream, or whipped cream. To me, cream is Schmaunt, and if I'm reading a German recipe, it's Rahm. This made me wonder, if whipping cream is Schlagsahne, then what do they call Schmauntfaht? There are a lot more examples, but I simply can't write about them all.

Ah, yes, we Mennonites are a unique people with a unique language, and we could argue with no end about words and pronunciations! With this cookbook, the nice thing is if you need clarification on a recipe, it not only provides the name of the woman who submitted the recipe, but also her Campo number, phone number, and husband's name if applicable.

In the end, what is my conclusion to this matter? Dit es bloss nicht wo wie dat gelieht han!

And for the song I was singing constantly this week.

"If you wanna know how far My love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If you wanna see how much you mean to Me
Look at My hands, look at My side
If you could count the times I'd say you are forgiven
It's more than the drops in the ocean." --"Drops in the Ocean" by Hawk Nelson

Monday, 23 February 2015

What Did I Do?: Raw Sushi!

I'm finally back! I got a new laptop, had a busy weekend, and now I'm hoping to finally be able to reorganize and catch up on things. It was a hard week. If humiliation could kill me on the spot, I would have been done last week. I am thankful for grace, even when I lose sight of it and try to keep my head above the water myself.  A bit more on that later, but first, what did I do?

February 12: On Thursday, my whole morning started bizarre. I stole (I mean, ahem, picked up) a shield from somebody's car that had gotten stuck under my car and was dragging along the road, which made me stop on a busy city road to get out and dislodge it. Yeah, that's a mouthful. I also had a Coffee Culture craving for some time, which I don't indulge easily because it's a little more pricey. But I needed to try something new, so I got a Chocolate Chai Latte and a Spinach & Feta Twister. Two lattes and said pastry cost me a whopping $14. It was good, but certainly overpriced. I came home only to discover my laptop seemed like it had finally died. It lasted five and a half years and had given me fair warning that it was in its last days, so I had most of my important files backed up. Even so, such things are an inconvenience. And I learned, never splurge on unnecessary things because I think I'll be okay financially. Always be prepared for the unexpected.

February 13: Working at an arena, I serve a ton of fries with those little wooden fry forks. One of the condiments we put out is malt vinegar. I don't get what the deal is with malt vinegar, or why people want it on their fries. I couldn't recall ever having put even white vinegar on my fries. So, in a little time to breathe, I threw in some extra fries for me and ate fries topped with malt vinegar and a little fry fork.

Rest assured, I don't serve such epic proportions of food to my customers. I merely wanted a taste, lest I shouldn't like it. But I found it rather enjoyable. Then I took the rest of the fries and turned it into a poutine. I don't easily crave it, but did it ever hit the spot. And then my craving was satisfied for some time.

February 14: On busy days, I take it pretty easy. After having some awesome sweet potato wedges and ribs for dinner, I had a "double date" on Valentine's Day. Translation: I took my nephews to a hockey game and they loved it. I'm not sure I've had sweet potato fries or wedges before, but these were certainly the best ones I've had.

Also, just to fluff my day, I pulled out a dictionary. Yay for printed dictionaries when the computer is down.

curare: a resinous bitter substance prepared from certain S American plants, paralyzing the motor nerves, formerly used to poison arrows by Aboriginals of S America, and as a muscle relaxant in surgery

February 15: Sunday was definitely the highlight of my week! I heard a faculty member from Heritage College & Seminary, had a shift a work, and then had a special sushi outing for dinner. I had a Japanese teacher one year in grade school, and she introduced us to a California roll kind of sushi, so I had had sushi like that before. But one thing on my list this year was to try raw sushi. I had never been so excited to eat raw meat!

Of course, I had to take pictures for my readers. I started off with some sort of crab sushi.

This is a spicy salmon roll.

This, I believe, was the spicy dragon roll. This was one of my favourites. The orange sprinkles are fish eggs. They added some texture. So now I've had raw fish AND fish eggs.

A yummy fried tempura shrimp. It was so good I just kept eating. Then I noticed something crunchy.... Don't eat the tail!

I had some of whatever this is too.

This here was as hardcore as I was able to go: a slice of raw salmon on top of rice. I had two little bites of one piece and I was done. I determined I am not ready to brave sushimi, which is just a piece of raw fish.

I even braved a teensy tiny bit of green wasabi.

Fiddled with chopsticks and dropped one of the floor. Had a mango salad, which was good aside from the fact that the mangos were green.

I tried green tea ice cream for dessert and finished with a cream puff and some cheesecake. All that was missing was the coffee.

February 16: pareve: "(of food) being or containing neither meat nor dairy and so kosher for use with either, according to the dietary laws (includes fruit, vegetables, fish, etc.)"

Pareve is an adjective pertaining to Judaism, but does anyone else find that definition confusing?

February 17: I made Garlic Bubble Loaves on Tuesday to go with a pasta casserole for lunch. It was one of the funnest breads I have made. You shape the dough into little balls, and then roll them in melted butter mixed with garlic powder and parsley flakes, then place them in loaf pans. It was super fluffy.

Carbs are supposed to make up the largest part of my diet, right?

February 18: And finally, I was reading Anne of Green Gables on Wednesday, where Anne talks about a piece of poetry that she likes, or rather two lines in particular.

"Quick as the slaughtered squadrons fell
In Midian's evil day."

Anne doesn't know what 'squadrons' means, and it occurred to me that I didn't either, although I had a slight idea. So I looked it up.

"squadron n
1. a principal division of an armoured or cavalry regiment consisting of two or more troops.
2. the basic administrative unit of an air force, usu. consisting of two or more flights.
3. a formal unit in a navy consisting of a number of ships.
4. often jocular an organized body of people or things."

Now, back to one of my thoughts from the beginning. In the midst of a slightly crazy week, this song was on my mind a lot last week. I go to music a lot when I'm down. This is probably my favourite song so far from For King & Country.

"My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders" --"Shoulders" by For King & Country

Monday, 16 February 2015

What Did I Do?: New Desk, Snow Head, and The Message

I've had a busy and eventful week. I feel like I've accomplished some things. This post is late because Thursday I found myself without a functional laptop, and then I had a really busy weekend. I'm hoping to get a new laptop this week, but I can't promise my next post will be on time. So my updates may go back a little ways.

February 5: I tried my first bottle of Vitamin Water. I'm not a fan of flavoured water, but this is a little different. I chose the lemonade flavour, which is the most popular flavour where I work. It was pretty good. I'm getting a good dose of vitamins in liquid form for my body to be able to absorb easily. It had a pretty good flavour, but that is because there's also 32 grams of sugar in a bottle.'re being healthy, but only kind of.

February 6: On Friday, I finally decided to get rid of the old office desk I was using and buy a new one. The desk I have been working on for the last year in a half was in really sad shape. I had to clean my room and office, and I figured getting rid of the old desk was a good start. One less thing to clean, right? So I took all of it apart, and took all the wood out to the garage. Then I headed to the store in search for the desk I had seen advertised in their flyer. It took awhile. There was one in stock and it was in a trailer, so I decided to buy the product without actually seeing it. As the employee loaded it into my car (the box just barely fitting into my back seat), I asked about how heavy it was. He gave me an estimate of about 60 pounds, maybe more. My next thought is, how am I going to get this big, awkward, heavy box into the house and up the stairs to my office? The box was a LOT heavier than 60 pounds, and after getting it into the house with help, I unpacked it on the kitchen floor and carried the pieces up to my office.

Late that afternoon, I began the task of figuring out all the pieces and getting the frame together. Anyone who has seen me try to use tools and do physical work that requires thinking of this sort would understand the significance of this. Luckily, all I needed for tools were two screw drivers and a hammer. I really wanted to finish it Friday night, but after 10pm and still quite a ways to go, I decided it was best to call it a night if I wanted to function the next day. And when I did that, I realized I had done something wrong with the drawer I had started assembling. Well, for my first time trying to put together a desk, I figured I was doing all right.

I finished it the next night, after working for a couple more hours and getting the drawers put together right. I must say I felt rather proud of myself. I could follow instructions after all...for the most part!

February 7: Aside from finishing my desk, I consulted Knowledge Nuts once again to learn something new. I learned that during the prohibition, the U.S. government ordered manufacturers to put poisons into alcohols, especially those commonly used to distill into other drinks. An estimated 10,000 people died from it and thousands more became seriously ill. That's bad. Just saying.

February 8: Sunday afternoon, I ventured outside into the cold and freezing rain intending to build my first upside down snowman. My determination wasn't as strong as I thought. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold. But hey, "Do you want to build a snowman?"

Well, I couldn't get the snow to pack together enough to build a body. And it was cold, and windy, and icy. So it ended up being a photo shoot with a snow head. Hmm.

"Strawberry lips, shining in the summer sun." It's more than just a song. Oh wait, it's winter.

Does anybody else look at these pictures and want to scream "Wilson!"

And anybody who thought perhaps I was crazy but wasn't quite sure is a little less doubtful now! There are days I'm amazed I don't die laughing at myself.

Oh, and I learned what a pangolin is, although I only learned how to spell it now while writing this. Looking at a picture of the animal, it reminds me of an armadillo. The meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and China and the pangolin can only be found in six zoos around the world.

February 9: Monday I braved icy conditions to go to my swim class again. The technique my instructor was determined to get me to master was learning to swim on my back, roll over to a front crawl, roll onto my back to breathe, and roll back to a front crawl. That was not the end goal of this exercise. I think I have to wait until my next lesson to get there.

In the evening, I enjoyed going to visit some friends for dinner and had Brazilian Cheese Buns. These are a unique, gluten free bun, with a nice cheesy flavour. They complimented the tasty soup well.

February 10: On Tuesday morning, I put aside my religiosity and read The Message for my devotions. My response to this is very lengthy and I shared it on Wednesday in my article "You're NOT Hopeless (Despite What The Message May Suggest)". I encourage you to read it if you haven't already done so.

I also had the opportunity on Tuesday to read Fifty Shades of Loved edited by Rachel Starr Thomson. It's a good, quick read that points to a true Love, as opposed to this world's counterfeits. One of the writers shared something that gave me a good laugh and I think it describes the mindset of a lot of single young women.
"I am in distress at all times and in a myriad of ways--I'm broke, I'm lonely, I'm fat, I'm hungry, I can't carry all the groceries, I can't lift my sofa to retrieve my remote, etc.--and I have been waiting for Mr. Save-My-Life to sweep me off my feet, solve all my problems, and make me feel good about myself. I try to put myself out there and let him know where I am and what I am doing based on my iPhone locator. When is that dude on FB I've been creepin' on going to get the hint from my damsel-in-distress status updates?" --Fifty Shades of Loved
Yep, that pretty much sums it up!

February 11: I tried a new recipe for Oatmeal Drop Cookies. They had quick oats, oat bran, raisins and walnuts. They're okay, but not on the definitely-have-to-make-these-again list.

Random note: Now I get excited when I see other people learning something new, or even aspiring to learn new things.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

You're NOT Hopeless (Despite What The Message May Suggest)

Note: Prior to reading this, I want the reader to understand a few things. It has been a long time since I have written something like this. What follows is my perspective on a paraphrase of the Bible, but more than that, it's the truth I came to see through it. This is about so much more than The Message.  I make no efforts to be politically correct. I don't think I need to. Even if you don't agree with my perspective on The Message, or my faith, I ask you to consider the rest of what I have to say. Please, please, read down to the end.

As part of my New Year's Resolution, yesterday I decided to read The Message, Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the Bible, for my devotions. I had never read The Message before, except for excerpts quoted in books. To say I don't think highly of Bible paraphrases is putting it lightly, but the opinion is not based on much personal experience. I currently read the ESV, and aside from that I most frequently go back to the KJV, although I have also read a few other translations.

Reading The Message for myself was about putting my religiosity aside. It was about actually reading something for myself instead of just forming opinions based on what I read from other sources. I basically picked up where I was reading and ended up reading Matthew 20 - 24, which I had to do online, since I don't have a print copy. I decided, that as much as I wanted to, I was not going to pick up my ESV Bible and compare while reading. Having said that, this morning I read through the same chapters in the ESV.

As I was reading through the passages, a lot of it, especially the parables, didn't surprise me too much. It reminded me of how a speaker might expound on a passage in his message to simplify it or help the reader understand what is being said. I felt that there was some inconsistency in the language used. Peterson seemed to randomly switch between staying close to the original text and using modern language and analogies.

There were several times I found myself going "Really?!" in disbelief at how Peterson said something. At other times, I admit I had ideas of how he could have said something better. Before I go any further and get to the real point of my article, I want to say this: What I'm not saying is that people shouldn't read The Message. I can see that it could be useful, and also allows the reader to understand what something might look like today, that we can't necessarily relate to in 2015 North America. However, I do not think it can be read as the Word of God for solid teaching and instruction. It could be a useful supplement, but I don't think it should be used as a primary source for teaching and searching for truth.

As I read, I think the chapter that unsettled me the most was Matthew 23. Here Peterson deviates a lot from Jesus actually said and replaces with modern analogies. Where Jesus pronounces woes on the scribes and Pharisees, Peterson writes "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds!" (Matthew 23:13) The ESV translation says "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" In the following verses, where the ESV uses "Woe to you", Peterson uses "You're hopeless".

This made me stop and think. Jesus would not say that. I really couldn't believe that Jesus would look at a group of people and call them hopeless. I couldn't believe that Jesus would write the scribes and Pharisees off as a hopeless case. Why would Peterson say that? I admit, there are times when I look at people and think they're hopeless, when I allow myself to believe they will never come to the light. But that is only when I forget about the great redeeming power of God. It's only when I look at them through my limited human perspective and forget the deep love and compassion God has for them. No, despite what Peterson said, the scribes and Pharisees were not hopeless.

Later last night, I lay in bed pondering this. And I got angry. Staring at the ceiling in the dark, in a whisper I shouted "No! No!" I was angry that someone would put those words in the mouth of Jesus. And slowly tears filled my eyes and began to slide down my face. To suggest that Jesus would look at someone and call them hopeless?! Yes, that was enough to make me cry.

As I continued to ponder this last night and today, I concluded it was simply impossible. If Jesus looked at the scribes and Pharisees and said "You're hopeless!", in essence what He was also saying is "I can't help you." Let me add some further context. At this time, Jesus is speaking in the temple just days before he is arrested, beaten, stripped naked, and crucified for ALL HUMANITY. It is mere days before He is to go to the cross, die a brutal death, be buried, resurrect, and thereby conquer sin and death. And He's telling the religious leaders they're hopeless? If Jesus  were to imply that they were a hopeless bunch, then He's also saying that the sacrifice He Himself is about to make, the greatest one this world has ever seen, is INSUFFICIENT.

No, the scribes and Pharisees were not hopeless, and I do not believe that Jesus ever would have wanted someone to think that. In fact, Jesus held ALL THE HOPE IN THE WORLD FOR THEM. Jesus said a lot of hard things in His ministry, and there are a lot that I cannot understand. But I cannot accept this idea. If you look back two chapters when Jesus is speaking in the temple, He shares a parable and asks a question of the religious leaders. After they answer, it says "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.'" (Matthew 21:31b-32, ESV)

When I read those last couple verses, I can gather that the religious leaders were far from the kingdom of God. But there is absolutely no indication that they were beyond redemption. Just to make sure I wasn't totally in left field with my ideas, I checked Merriam-Webster's definition of "hopeless". Some of the definitions were "having or feeling no hope"; "unable to be changed"; and "incapable of redemption or improvement". If you serve Jesus, let me ask you this: Does that sound like something your Redeemer, THE Redeemer, would say? I also looked up "woe", as used in the ESV, just to make sure the word didn't mean hopeless or something. According to Merriam-Webster, "woe" as an interjection is "used to express grief, regret, or distress." I also looked up the word in Greek as used in Matthew 23, and it is indeed an interjection, "A primary exclamation of grief", according to Blue Letter Bible. From this evidence, I can certainly conclude that Jesus did not think the scribes and Pharisees were hopeless. However, He was deeply grieved over them. He extended the same invitation to them as to everyone else, but they weren't willing to receive it.

I want to take this further and relate it to my own life, and also speak into the lives of my readers. No one is hopeless. No one is beyond the redeeming power of Jesus. (The one case where I hold back is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and I'm not going to involve that in this discussion due to my limited understanding.) God has carried me through a lot of pain and brokenness. I know the hope that is found in Jesus. I have experienced some intense battles. One truth I'm learning is that the Gospel is sufficient for all things, and I choose to believe it even when I'm not immediately changed the way I want to be. Even when my spirit and flesh are at war with each other, and I allow flesh to win, I still cry out to Jesus, because I know that Jesus is my ONLY HOPE!

Now I want to say to my reader that you are not hopeless. No human being is so sinful or so religious that God cannot save and redeem them.  His grace extends to everyone. And I want to say to everyone, no matter what you have done, or where you find yourself, you are NOT hopeless.

To the liar, the cheat, the thief, and the fraud. You are NOT hopeless.

To the the rapist, the molester, the trafficker, the brothel owner, the pimp, the prostitute, the hustler, the john, the exotic dancer, and the porn star. You are NOT hopeless.

To the slave owner, trader, and beater. You are NOT hopeless.

To the fornicator, adulterer, homosexual, and ashamed or unashamed sexual addict of any kind. You are NOT hopeless.

To the abusive, negligent, or absent parent or spouse. You are NOT hopeless.

To the murderer, the terrorist, or the drunk driver that left a trail of broken, bleeding hearts. You are NOT hopeless.

To the mother and father that left your unborn baby bloody, dismembered, and disemboweled in the garbage at the abortion clinic, and to the doctor that did it. You are NOT hopeless.

To the mentally unstable, the depressed, the alcoholic, and drug addict. You are NOT hopeless.

To the medicator, the one hurting yourself to cover up a deeper pain, the one who thinks this world would be better off without you, or the one who thinks you just can't face one more day. You are NOT hopeless.

To the politicians and courts who are corrupt, who allow unspeakable injustices in our world, who allow parents to murder their children, who allow doctors to help people kill themselves, and who try to educate our young children in immorality. You are NOT hopeless.

To the broken, bleeding, abused, orphaned, widowed, lonely, enslaved, and abandoned. You are NOT hopeless.

To the person bound to the letter of the law, to the self-righteous, the religious, and the scribes and Pharisees of today. You are NOT hopeless.

If I forgot or didn't mention you, I want you to know something too. You are NOT hopeless.

No matter who you are, where you've been, what you've done, or what's been done to you, you are NOT hopeless. Jesus is HOPE. Jesus is LOVE. Jesus is GRACE. Jesus is REDEMPTION. And that extends to EVERYONE.

You are NOT hopeless. Jesus wants YOU!

Friday, 6 February 2015

What Did I Do?: Tears, Hormones, and Hair Treatment

It's been another rather low-key week, picking out small things I learned or did differently through the course of my days, although I've had some other thoughts brewing. I'm excited to be registered for the Justice Conference this year in Chicago! I'm looking forward to my mini summer vacation and hearing some awesome speakers and artists. That trip will make for a lot of new things to share.  But for now, what about last week? I've got one month down now!

January 29: I tried brushing my teeth with baking soda. I can be rather picky about my toothpaste when I can afford to be and like to avoid fluoride. Since I was out of good toothpaste, I thought I'd try an alternative I already had. Although I like the idea, it would be hard for me to always brush with baking soda. Aside from it being distasteful, I found it was harsh on my gums. I may keep trying it occasionally, or I'll just find good toothpaste again.

January 30: After a long day, I found this intriguing article again on Knowledge Nuts entitled "The Different Types of Tears".  That's right! There are different kinds of tears for the different things that make you cry! Emotional tears flush out stress hormones, while reflex tears caused by irritants contain antibodies. Tears also have an effect on hormones. The smell of a woman's tears reduces testosterone levels in men. This fact reminded me of the time years ago when I learned that the smell of a man's sweat affects a woman's hormones. Crazy stuff!

January 31: When you don't have a funnel at work, use a slushie cup lid! I can't take credit for this idea because it wasn't mine, but it definitely helped me get more mustard in the bottle, than down the sides, like my initial attempt.

February 1: Sunday morning in church, a footnote in my Bible grabbed my attention. It explained that when LORD was spelled in all capital letters in my Bible, it means YHWH. This was according to a footnote pertaining to Exodus 3:15. I have so often wondered why LORD was often capitalized and had speculations, but never actually knew what it meant. Now I know. I also did a little further research later on and found out that YHWH is the most holy name for God. Jews even hesitate to use it because it is so holy.

February 2: Monday morning, my swim class was cancelled due to a winter storm, and so I ventured to try my hair treatment. I've wanted to try this for years, but never had, and I recently picked up the Bulk Herb Store treatment mix from a local retailer. It's an herbal mix that is to be combined with vinegar or lemon juice, eggs, and olive oil or mayonnaise. It's supposed to repair damage, make hair soft and shiny, and bring out natural highlights. You can use vinegar for red highlights, or lemon juice for blonde highlights. Since I haven't cut my hair since June, it was seriously in need of some help. I naturally have curly, frizzy, crunchy hair that is hard to manage and make it look good, especially without styling products.

I like the idea of red highlights, and although I have a little dark red tinge in my hair, I wanted more. My plan was to do the treatment with apple cider vinegar, although I can't stand the smell of it. But I hadn't gotten to buying some, and I really wanted to try the treatment Monday. I had lots of lemon juice though and I resigned to the idea of going for blonde highlights. In the end, I just wasn't sure I was ready for that and I settled for just using white vinegar instead.

If you ever decide to do a treatment like this, I will warn you: IT STINKS!! The smell of the herbs and vinegar mixture is certainly not tantalizing and it looks like manure. I was on my own to get it in my hair and it was interesting to figure out just how to do that and get it evenly in there. Unfortunately I don't think I had the mixture hot enough, and it dried pretty fast. By the time I was done, I was reminded of a "Little House on the Prairie" episode of what Nellie and Laura looked like when they were done fighting in the mud. That was me. And there were crumbs of mud-like gunk all over the bathroom floor and vanity. I wrapped around plastic bags and a warm towel and waited about an hour before rinsing it out, after which I had to rinse dirt out of the shower. I waited several hours and shampooed it before going to work to get the olive oil out. The smell didn't come out after shampooing it, but by the next day I didn't notice it, much to my relief.

In the end, I didn't get the highlights I was hoping for, although I do have more red shine than I did before. My ends could still handle a trim. Most people wouldn't notice a difference, unless they have been secretly studying my awful hair.  However, it is now incredibly soft, which I love! That crunchy feeling is no more. I haven't tried leaving it down yet and let it dry without product, but I love how soft it is on its own. People may not notice that though, and I can't walk around asking everybody "Ya wanna feel my hair?!!" Well, I could. But that could be weird. I still have enough herb mix for a couple more treatments, so next time I think I'll try the lemon juice and see if I can go brighter.

February 3: I tried a new recipe again. Anyone notice how I really like to bake? This time it was Oatmeal Raisin muffins. They turned out well, but not as great as the ones I baked last week.

February 4: I learned that the goblin shark is the world's rarest shark, according to this Yahoo article. However, I don't believe all the claims they make about this rare deep-water shark.

And I'm embarking on reading the entire Anne of Green Gables series this year, and I started the first couple chapters Tuesday night. It turns out the fiery Anne Shirley has some good insight that's relevant to my goal this year.

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?" --Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery