Monday, August 27, 2007

Curly Hair Woes No More!!!

See this girl over here- "Fearfully and wonderfully made" and all that. I know that model subjected herself to curlers, hairspray and a half an hour of teasing with a comb to get that look. However, that is me every morning. No kidding.

I am the girl with the curly hair like you've never seen. I love walking into a salon. The heads turn. I see stylist turning red and breaking out in a sweat. Suddenly everyone is on "break".

I was born with beautiful blond curls like Shirley Temple. Old ladies used to call me angelic and children on the bus would fight to sit behind me so that they could bong my curls. It was all cute and fun until I hit that awkward stage. For me this was 3rd grade. The year I got glasses. The year my hair got dark and became wire like in nature. The year my front teeth were halfway present. (I have always been a bit delayed on the dental calendar). And to top it off my ears stuck out a little bit more that I would have liked. I actually made an ornament for my Mom that year with my school picture and cut my ears out because they so annoyed me. I thought she wouldn't notice somehow.

As a child I knew that I was unlike other girls. Other girls feathered their hair, used blow dryers, changed hair styles according to the "Facts of Life". In our classroom the girls would line up in a row and comb eachother's hair while the teacher read a story each day. (Can you say "lice epidemic"). Guess who was always in the back of the line? Guess who never had lice?

Being reasonable, I opted for the short cut. This was the only one that was manageable in the humidity of Indiana and the only kind of haircut my mom knew to give on the back porch. At night I would wash my hair and then use tape (yes, Scotch tape) to adhere the curls to my forehead in the hopes that it would by lying down in the morning. Strangely this did not seem to work.

Thankfully, by the time I was in high school I had found a hairdresser, Taffy Dinkle, who sought to tame this mane with a variety of straightening products, Afro-gels, conditioners and the like. I made it through being able to have the tall bangs which never went flat.

In my college years as bangs were going out, I joined the crowd and took the two year commitment of wearing a headband. It was well worth it and I've never turned back.
I actually let my college roommates brush my hair out one night after months of ceaseless begging. Needless to say, it was the talk of the dorm. I believe they referred to me as a "dandelion gone to seed".

Amazingly having children has actually relaxed my hair by 50% I'd estimate. It's getting calmer and grayer at the same time.

I know this little biography of my hair may seem trivial and self-centered. I apologize. But those of you in similar circumstances know the struggle and the blessing of naturally curly hair which are many.

Now I have five girls of my own with varying degrees of curl and like every mom I want them to appreciate the distinct beauty that God has given them. I want them to be okay with being different than others on the inside and outside. But I also don't want them to be so constantly preoccupied by their differences that they are reluctant to focus on what's most important. It's all a balance, isn't it?

And to help me along in my quest has come a hair product like none other.


Such a simple and strange word, but this product is like nothing I have ever known. And trust me, I've known about every major brand. I don't know exactly how it works, but it turns dry, crazy, frizzy hair into silky, light, bouncy curls. I can even wake up in the morning without the haystack!

I reluctantly bought some conditioner and gel after my last cut thinking that it was just another empty promise. But it worked better than anything I have ever used and the small tubes actually lasted me five weeks!! Now that's a miracle!

The price is comparable to any other salon brand. But for Shirley Temple curls in 90% humidity at age 35, that's priceless.

(Pictures to come)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Grandma's Recipes

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I am not a gifted interior designer or rarely have an original idea of a creative vein. However, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite, one-of-a-kind, inexpensive, yet very special decorating ideas.

Sean and I both have a fondness for our grandmothers with memories centered closely to food and the kitchen. I can distinctly remember my great-grandma's kitchen and the way she served each item individually in a pretty, delicate dish. Pudding never tasted as good as when chilled in a little saucer with whipped cream. My favorite memory of my Grandma Click involves her teaching me to bake and use the electric mixer on her lap board (she was in a wheelchair). She had many a blouse with a streak of batter across the chest because I lifted the beaters out of the bowl without turning the mixer off. Oops. Yet she always let me try again. Sean's Grandma had a knack for making animals or shapes out of food. I believe bear pancakes were his favorite.

In memory of these great ladies I have been able to collect a few of their recipe cards and have them framed in my kitchen. We have buttermilk pancakes, ginger snaps, biscuits and "green fluff" of the pistachio pudding/whipped cream/marshmallow/crushed pineapple variety. My favorite quote on the card comes at the end with the famous words, "Its always good." I used scrapbooking paper for the backgrounds in kind of old fashioned print. I found the frames on the clearance rack at Meijer. All in all I spent less than $2 for each.

Our Grandmas have all passed away, but I love looking at their handwriting every day when I'm cooking. I think about the hours they spent working in their kitchens without the dishwasher, or microwave, or radio, or air conditioning. I think about my mom or dad running around the kitchen in their pajamas asking for breakfast. I think about the dinners that they burnt (I know it's genetic) but ate anyway because it was all they had.

The other morning I found my oldest daughter, Hannah, hard at work in the kitchen. Following the recipe on the wall she was making Grandma Ahart's buttermilk pancakes. She was taking requests for shapes.

It just makes me smile.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I've been tagged?

I was always the girl tagged because I'm a slow runner and usually laughing too hard at myself to get the words, "Not it!" out in time. So here are my 8 random facts about my marriage:

1. Sean and I actually knew each other years before we "knew each other". He was the "new kid on the block" in our youth group during our junior year of high school. Very cute, very smart and a bit odd. He read a book by Einstein and owned the first CD player I had ever seen. I do remember his smile vividly, though. I don't think we ever talked.

2. We both went out of state to college. He went to school in St. Petersburg, Florida and I went to Tennessee. We saw each other in the summers or at the annual college retreat.

3. We started loving each other during a mission trip to Mexico building houses. He needed someone to sit on a board while he sawed. I'm a good helper:)

4. We never officially went on a first date or any other date for that matter. We were happy just being together- no special occasion needed. From the wood cutting scene to the wedding was 11 months.

5. We opened up our wedding gifts/money cards in the car on our way to the honeymoon to determine how far we could drive. That's living on the edge. We ended up in Northern Michigan where we saw the replica of the World's Largest Cherry Pie.

6. We were both in school our first year of marriage so we had little funds. We got our food from a scratch and dent grocery store and we learned to beat the Simon-like game in the lobby of Little Caesars for free crazy bread at least once a week. Good times!!

7. We have special names picked out for each other for when we are old. I'm "Grandma Sweet" and he is simply "Blue" (it's the eyes).

8. Our wedding day was one of the best days my life. We married in the morning and tried to keep it as simple as we are. I wore a linen dress and he wore a black suit. I had the same flowers that my mother had (yellow roses and daisies). I will never forget the expression and smile on Sean's face when I walked down the isle. I knew that I would be loved forever.

And there you have it.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Falls

"The voice of Jehovah resounds on the waters; The glorious God thunders forth from the height. The LORD is upon the great sweep of the waters- The LORD's voice in splendor! The LORD'S voice in might!"

"The LORD on His throne sat above the great deluge! The LORD on His throne sits as King without cease! The LORD is the One Who gives strength to His people! The LORD is the One Who will bless them with peace!"

Psalm 29:3-4, 10-11

We drove into Niagra Falls, Canada last night at 9:30. We booked a hotel conveniently located within a quarter mile of the Falls and we were excited to get there in time for the 10 pm fireworks. What we found when we got there was a sight indeed.

The streets were flooded with people walking blindly among the lights and sights of a tourist trap unlike any I've ever seen. We were moving at a snail's pace just trying to get through the throng. It was not uncommon for pedestrians to not even see our 15 passenger van's bumper literally 2 feet in front of them. There was Ripley's Believe It or Not, a 4-D movie theater, Rainforest Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe, several wax museums, a huge faris wheel, stores and restaurants everywhere. It was craziness. It was like a glutton's feast of man-made fantasy and "thrills".

My kids were astounded. "It looks like the State Fair!" "Where are all these people going?"

We saw the fireworks and got situated in our room. The partying continued into the morning hours as evidenced by the flowers that topped our car this morning thrown down from the overlooking balcony.

The sunrise however revealed and entirely different scene. The streets were quiet and clean from the morning rain. We headed down to the dock hoping to cast off early on the Maid of Mist which is exactly what we did.

Somewhere along the line we have traumatized some of our smaller children with amusement or water park rides that we claimed were fun but they beg to differ. Now they always ask, "Is this a medium ride or a fast ride? Really? Do you promise?"

When we told them we were going on a boat ride they pointed in horror to the Falls and cried, "I'm not going down that!" We explained in every way possible that we were not riding down the falls and hoped that the fun, blue poncho might serve as a distraction. Not.

With a little bit a trepidation and drama we got the spot right at the front of the boat and we were off.

The next twenty minutes were glorious to me. The sound of the water's roar grew louder and louder as we approached the center of the horseshoe. The wind was clean and the mist refreshing. And there we were surrounded by the sheer power, pure beauty. This was not another summer thrill ride. This was the work of the Creator, God of heaven and earth. It was made by His own Hand and for His own glory. It can never be imitated.

I thought of the Israelites as they crossed through the Red Sea and the wall of water that surrounded them. What faith they demonstrated as they heard that roar being held back as God delivered them.

I thought of the first man that followed the sounds of these particular falls and what his eyes looked like as made this discovery. He must have fallen to the ground in utter amazement.

I thought of God's voice in Scripture often being referred to in terms of roaring water. Though I have never audibly heard his voice, I have His written words and the Holy Spirit. I know that this is a more sure voice. Wow.

I thought of the children standing beside me and Rebekah in my arms. How I desire that they will grow in their love for God to the extent that they, like that boat, would turn from the man-made temporal pleasures and sail into the reality of living for God's glory. I pray that, as the Psalm says, in all the craziness of this world God will grant them strength and peace.

May it be so for me and for them.