Friday, June 29, 2012

Speaking and Listening

Speak less to others
& speak more to God.

Why is this so hard sometimes?

It would eliminate a lot of conflicts.

It would produce some really awesome things.

So much peace, we often forfeit.

Oh yeah, and listen more...

To Jesus.

by TomJRaveloJR

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Super Simple Homemade Lotion

Last week, I was down to my last drops of homemade beeswax cream. My skin was dry and I needed to make more cream. But, our schedule was so crazy! Then, this recipe fell on my lap! AND it was super duper simple. Really. All you need are a few ingredients and a blender or immersion blender.

The last time I made body cream, I made a lot. A lot lot. So much that I couldn't use it all before the allotted time to use it. So when I found this super, simple recipe that makes little batches at a time, I was sold. Trust me. If I can do it, you can too!

Super Simple Homemade Lotion
adapted from

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon shea butter
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
2 teaspoons aloe vera gel
10 drops essential oil

1 dark colored glass container
rubbing alcohol
paper towel

1. Place all ingredients in a blender or immersion blender cup.

2. Mix.

3. Put some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

4. Rub the inside of the glass container (sterilize).

5. Use. Should be good for a few months, but I think that it will be gone by then.

*There is some grit to this lotion due to the shea butter. But, it quickly as you rub the lotion onto your skin. If you are a bit, how can I say this, anal, you can melt the ingredients in a double boiler, let cool, add essential oils, and then mix together. No grit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This past weekend was filled with different activities, performances, birthday parties, and a 3 day revival meeting at our church. The speaker has been a mentor to my husband for several years. He helped my husband to see that the heart of ministry was not some great sermon, not some great church program, not some state of the art building, nor a mega sized congregation. He showed my husband that Jesus was the heart of ministry. So simple, but something that can be forgotten. Something that some of us need to be brought back to. Something that is not always popular, even in Christian churches. Jesus, simple and clear.

Usually, I am with the children during these types of events. I normally would teach, do crafts, and eat snacks with the children. This time, I was able to go to the adult side. (Just one of those times that I can't help but be thankful for my cancer.) The Korean speaking adult side. The side where I don't fully understand everything. 

But, God was there. He helped me to understand the parts that He wanted me to understand. He helped to pray for things that I needed to pray to Him about. He helped me to see what I needed to see. Because He convicts our hearts, in His time. 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hands in the Air

In 1991, I remember going to my sister's church in New York. We got there a bit late, I think, because we were sitting in the very last pew. There was a woman in front of us that really impacted my life. I didn't know her. I wasn't introduced to her. I just saw her.

It was the beginning of the service and people were already singing when we got there. It was then that I saw this tiny woman reaching for the sky. Reaching on her tippy toes. Trying to reach higher and higher. That is when my sister whispered that the woman had recently had a miscarriage. My heart felt such sorrow for her. I couldn't imagine.

My sister wasn't trying to gossip or say something mean. Those of you who know her know that she is not. She was trying to explain why this little woman was reaching for the sky with such determination. How this woman was showing her faith. She was reaching for her Savior. She was reaching for her King. She was reaching for her Comforter. There was such earnestness. There was such desperation. There was such longing to be touched by her God.

Up to that point in my life, I had been really shy and self conscious. So self conscious that I couldn't even think of raising my hands to sing to Jesus. Okay, there was this time at a youth group retreat. I was singing this song, "I want to be a sacrifice, Lord take all of me..." I closed my eyes (to shut out other people and not feel self conscious) as I sang and raised my hands because it was the desire of my heart. When I opened my eyes, I realized that I was in the middle of the seating, and that I was the only one lifting my hands. Felt more self conscious. Come on, I was in high school.

Over the next few years, I was directed to the hands down arena. The reason being that I had seen so many people raise their hands as a show. I know, that is a judgment that I made that I had no right to make, because only God really knows our hearts. But, I had had some pretty discouraging experiences with some, let's say, charismatic personalities.

But then, I saw this woman. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. Not because it was a show. Not because it was weird. But because of her determination to praise her Savior despite her circumstances.

Her faith challenged me.

To reach for Jesus no matter what.

To not be afraid to raise my hands in praise to Him.

To raise my hands despite my situation. Despite my feelings. Despite other people. Despite me.

It's  not about me. It's about Him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Organic Make Up Remover

Coconut oil. That is all you need. It is easy to use. It is chemical free. It even moisturizes your face. You just rub some on your face and wipe off with a tissue. Then continue with your cleansing routine.

The jar above contains 14 ounces. I think that I paid $10 for it. I have used it for making lotions, cooking, and taking my makeup off. I started using it as an eye makeup remover when I ran out of the one that I was using. I had read in many blogs that it could be used as make up remover, so I gave it a try. When this worked, I started using it to take off the rest of my makeup.

Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees. When I bought the jar above, it was cold outside so it stayed solid white. As the weather got warmer, the solid white turned to a clear oil. This does not change the quality of the oil. It is still usable. It still has all the properties it had as a solid, so do not fret.

Some of you might be wondering about the smell. Yes. It smells like coconut. I got used to it. If this person with the sensitive shnoz can handle it, I am positive that you can too.

The best part is that this make up remover is organic, natural, paraben, phthalate, not-good-for-you-chemical-free!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last Week

Last week was supposed to be a restful time for me. My sister-in-law took A2 and A3 from Tuesday to Friday. They slept over, went to their cousin's VBS, and had a ton of fun. I had A1 at home because he was going to be tested (standardized test) on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It was supposed to be a quiet and relaxing time minus two children. Didn't happen.

Last week turned out to be one crazy week. From Tuesday until Saturday, I was driving here and there. I used up a tank of gas in a week. This has not happened since I don't know when. There was a last sports class, teacher meeting, saying goodbye to some good friends who were moving to another state, TKD class before belt test, belt testing at 3 different times and 2 days, oncologist visit... I was completely exhausted. I wanted to write but was too tired.

Sunday, we also had an outdoor picnic with all the same denomination churches in this area. I left my house at 9:15 am and got home past 4:00 pm. It was so much fun but it was another really long day for me. I came home, took a shower, and conked out. Lately, whenever I put my head down, I conk out. I know I shouldn't drive my body to exhaustion but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Green Shake (that turned purple)

We were really blessed last year with a Vitamix mixer. One day, a huge and heavy box came in the mail. At first, we weren't even sure who had sent it to us. It was such a blessing. Made me cry. THIS is how good God has been to us! We use it all the time.

When I don't feel like chewing on vegetables (I know, sounds a bit lazy), we get the mixer out and throw in a bunch of vegetables and some fruit. A huge mound of vegetables turns into a drinkable concoction. So much easier... I also make a shake when I know that I am going to be a bad girl and eat something that I shouldn't. Or, after I have been a bad girl and eaten something that I shouldn't. Drinking green shakes make me feel a bit better. I might also add that green shakes do a great job of clearing your system...

I go to Whole Foods once a week, and I usually get a few staple "shake" ingredients: organic kale, carrots, pears, cabbage, and frozen blueberries. We also use rice milk, bananas, chia seeds, and the new discovery of coconut water. I throw these things into the mixer and have a great tasting shake. No added sugar.

You can add nuts to your shakes to add more flavor. I choose not to add nuts because A2 and A3 have nut allergies. We wash the mixer well, but I don't want to risk any emergency room visits.

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't need as many sweeteners as before. The more vegetables I eat, the less sweeteners I need. My goal is to become less dependent on sweeteners. Those of you that know me well know what a sugar addict I was. But ripe bananas and carrots do a great job of sweetening up a shake. Really!

There are so many "green shake" recipes out there. Quite honestly, there could be a million more. The reason is that you can use so many different ingredients and you can tweak it to match your tastes. Here is one version of a green shake that turned purplish. Use what you have.

Green Shake (that turned purple)

2 kale stalks
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 - 1 cup of rice milk
1/2 cup of coconut water
1 scoop of coconut ice cream (someone made this for me and I thought that it would taste good in the shake)

1. Wash kale. Tear off leaves from stem. Use only leaves.
2. Place all ingredients into a mixer and blend.
3. General rule for mixer: place soft items on bottom and harder items on top.
4. Drink.

Turned purple because I used extra blueberries because I didn't have any carrots.

My friend made this coconut milk ice cream especially for me with this very cute label.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Waters of Marah

I love reading through the Old Testament. It is so exciting and full of lessons that challenge me. This is one of those stories. It is found in Exodus 15:22-27. The Israelites had experienced the parting of the Red Sea 3 days earlier. They had been traveling in the desert and had come across the waters of Marah. This oasis turned out to have bitter, undrinkable water. That is when the grumbling began.

Instead of choosing to trust and believe God (who had brought them out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea for them to cross on dry ground), they chose to do what is natural to all humans: complain! They chose to keep their eyes on themselves instead of on the One who had delivered them from the Egyptians.

On Saturday, there was something that was really bothering me. Something that kept preoccupying my thoughts and was making me feel down. That is when God reminded me of this passage. The passage that I was going to give a children's sermon on Sunday. I felt as if He was asking me if I was going to choose to trust Him. I, unconsciously, gritted my teeth because I didn't want to let go of my complaining. I thought that I was right in my thinking.

But God... helped me to see. It was no use complaining. It was only getting me more upset. It would not change the situation. And that is when I had to ask Him to help me. I basically prayed:


This situation is getting me really upset. I don't feel like it is right. You see everything. I can't do anything to change the situation. Help me to give it to You and allow You to take the situation into Your hands. I want to choose to look to You instead of the situation.

In Jesus name,

And you know what! I felt so much better. As I let go, He took care of the rest. I could function again.

A short distance from Marah, the Israelites came to Elim. There were 12 springs of water and 70 date palm trees there. If only they had just trusted Him and waited. Unfortunately, they chose to complain and complain they did and continued to do... Don't let the enemy rob you of the peace that can be yours in Jesus.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bakery Indulgences

I blame my friend J for getting me addicted. Actually, I should blame J's husband, J, for getting her addicted and then having her get me addicted. Are you following me?

A long time ago, J introduced me to the marzipan cake at Swedish Bakery (Chicago). I thought, "Marzi-what?" Marzipan is a sweet almond paste that is rolled out and used to decorate cakes. I wasn't particularly fond of almond flavors (had too many almond cookies growing up) but I gave it a try. The flavor, in combination with the custard cake (don't know how else to describe it), custard, and whipped cream was PHENOMENAL!

I later learned that this type of cake is called a "princess cake" in Sweden. Trust me, I know, because I looked all over the internet and cook books for a recipe. Tried baking it twice, but it wasn't the same.

Another friend of mine had a marzipan cake from Swedish Bakery for her wedding. I might have gotten her addicted to this cake. Can't remember. But, there was cake left over and her father packed me a New-York-pizza-pie-sized piece. I was stuffed from the dinner and cake at the wedding. BUT, I was pregnant with A2 . By the time we got home, I had finished it. And I am not ashamed to admit it! Come on! I was pregnant. All you women, out there know, what I'm talkin' about!

Well, a while back, my husband had to drive someone to the city. He decided to drive to Swedish Bakery and get me some goodies.

Puff pastry apple thing

So puffy, so apple-ey good!

Yummy bread

Swedish Princess Roll

So thankful to my husband for making the longer trip to get this for me. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to have a lot of sugar, but once in a while... The cake comes in roll size so that you can have portion control. It is during these times that we have to say, "Uhhh, sorry A1 and A2, this has nuts in it!" So bad, so bad! But, more for us!

If you are ever in the area, stop by this absolutely fabulous bakery. But, DO NOT go there on Saturday! It is crazy and you will have to wait for over an hour. You have been warned!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Simply Tiramisu

This is a super simple recipe for tiramisu. I got this recipe from my homeschooling cousin who has toddler twins, a 6 year old, grinds her own grain, and bakes her own bread. She gave it to me years ago but she forgot about it. I had to reteach it to her. But, this is a tested recipe that I have made again and again... when our budget allowed. It is decadent, rich, not too sweet, and simply delicious.

One thing: you need to make this and let it sit in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours. That gives all the ingredients a chance to soak in. I once made this the day that we were going to someone's house. When we ate it, it wasn't quite right. I realized that this recipe needs time. Please listen to me and make this ahead of time. You will be thankful for waiting.

Sorry about the pictures. I made this at night and the lighting was not ideal.

Simply Tiramisu

6+ cups of strong, strong coffee (cooled)
1 tub of marscapone cheese (16 oz.)
6 egg yolks
2 Tblspn. sugar
heaving whipping cream
3 packages of lady fingers (there are 4 in one bag of lady fingers)
dark chocolate (or unsweetened cocoa powder)

1. Make strong, strong coffee. You want the flavor so don't skimp. Use a lot of coffee grounds and use a high quality coffee (not instant). Pour in bowl and let cool. I used a French press.

2. Separate yolks from egg whites. Place yolks over a pan of boiling water. Continuously mix yolks so that they don't scramble. Eventually, they will look paler and will be a bit runny. Take off double boiler and let cool. (You don't have to do this but I like to cook the yolks rather than use raw yolks).

3. Once cool, place egg yolks in bowl with marscapone cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar. The sugar doesn't seem like much but it is enough. Mix until smooth.

4. To make the mixture a bit "lighter," add a bit of heavy cream. As the mixer is turning, you want to add around 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. You might need a bit more. Watch and see the mixture "fluff up."

5. Dip lady fingers and place in desired pan. Don't dip them for too long (soggy) or too short (dry) of a time. The pan I used fits one package of lady fingers for each layer.

6. There are 3 layers, so you have to eye 3 portions of the marscapone mixture. Spread one layer and then add another layer of lady fingers dipped in coffee. Do this until you have 3 layers. The top layer should be of the marscapone mixture.

7. Top with grated dark chocolate or sifted, unsweetened chocolate powder.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roid Rage

It has been almost two weeks since I went to the orthopedic surgeon. He's the one who gave me the cortisone shot that made me cry. Remember? I didn't tell him at the time (I'm like this a lot), but my heart felt weird. I could feel it beating in my body. I thought that I should tell the doctor but I didn't. I'm a bit delayed in those things. I thought that I should wait a while and then tell him, but I forgot. Then my arm hurt and went a little numb. It started feeling better after a few days. It's still not 100%, but I can raise it a bit more and that dull pain isn't there when I lay down.

BUT, it all started on my mom's birthday. I felt it all day. I had no patience. I wanted to yell. I was not a good momma. I was not a good wife. I was not a good daughter on my mom's birthday. It didn't help when the L's pizza we picked up to take to my mom's was messed up: no cheese on half of the pizza was turned to "extra" cheese... don't get me started... I know you didn't, but don't get me started.

Well, we got home from my parent's house a bit late. There was a sink of dishes to do. My husband was exhausted from having had a very long day. My children were cranky because they had partially fallen asleep on the way home. My husband collapsed on the bed and slept. I had no choice but to do the dishes. That was when the crankiness, bad attitude, impatience from the day hit me... head on. I wanted to throw the dishes that I was washing. I wanted to break them and not have to clean them up. I wanted to see them smash against the wall. I wanted to punch a hole in the wall. But, I didn't want to clean that kind of mess up. Who does?

So I kept doing the dishes, and that is when the thought came to me. Could it be the cortisone shot? Essentially, it is steroids. I thought of my gentle, calm friend who had the feelings of wanting to "hurt someone" when taking steroids for an illness. So what did I do after finishing the dishes? Looked up "cortisone shots + anger" and I got my answer. My husband doesn't want me blaming the drugs, but he isn't going through this crazy, emotion-packed roller coaster that I have been on. Menopause. Cortisone (steroids). I wasn't this crazy before, was I? Don't answer that!

Don't mess with a woman's hormones.

Don't mess with cortisone... Not that I can since the doctor gives the shots. Just saying.

I have another appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Thursday. I am scheduled to get another cortisone shot on my left shoulder. But, I've decided not to get the second shot. I think that my arm would feel better but the emotions aren't worth it. The shots don't even "cure" what has been happening in my shoulders. The shots just offer temporary relief through a painful injection of steroids that can cause you to want to throw things and punch holes in the walls. Just saying.

Last week was kind of crazy, but I am feeling much better. I think... Just stay out of my way!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ant Wars, Part II

I apologize for the lack of posts. I've been tired. I've been foggy and groggy. I haven't had the energy to write. There was a bit of mental energy strain last week and not enough for writing here. But I do want to continue with my reporting on the ant wars that have been taking place in our home.

The ants have come and gone. There have been times that I would find a lone ant in a place that I hadn't seen one before and I would load up on more natural ant killer. They are currently lining one of my walls. Then, the ants would disappear. At this moment, I am very happy to report that I have not seen any ants. But we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

This is the recipe that an A-girl showed me. She had had some ant problems and this seemed to work for her. Hope that it helps.

By the way, save all of those plastic, take-out lids! They work great for this.

Also, I filled a couple of large yogurt containers (that have lids) with soaked cotton balls of this ant killer inside. I cut little triangles on the sides (down low) so that the ants could go in. I placed these containers outside near a spot that I had seen a lot of ants. I went outside last week to see how things were going and there were A LOT of ants inside that container. Some alive, some not so alive.

If you have a natural way to get rid of these pests, please share your story.

Natural Ant Killer

1 cup of sugar
3 Tblspn. borax
3 cups of warm water

1. Mix sugar and borax well.
2. Add warm water and stir.
3. Store in a jar.
4. Saturate a cotton ball.
5. Place on a jar lid.
6. Grab stray ants and throw them on the cotton ball to get things started.
7. Wait.
8. When the cotton balls dry, rewet.