Coconut Oil

This month, I purchased a gallon of coconut oil. I heard about the many benefits and uses of coconut oil through one of my favorite blogs: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2007/12/natural-body-products-on-a-budget-part-1.html. At first I was skeptical - I had always heard that coconut was one of the worst fats! However, after doing some research, I have been convinced that coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats to eat. I have very little understanding of science and molecules and such, but apparently because of the structure of its fatty acids, coconut oil is quickly processed by the body and turned into energy. A quote from "The Coconut Oil Miracle":

"It is easily digested by the body and unlike other fats (which tend to go to fat stores), the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are used by the body for metabolism. Coconut oil is uniquely rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid chain that is a prime ingredient in mother's milk, which helps to protect infants from sickness. The lauric acid becomes 2-monolauren in the stomach which has been shown by research to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitical properties."

Obviously, fats are still meant to be used sparingly, but I am planning to start replacing some of the vegetable/canola oil in my cooking with coconut oil.

In addition to being used for cooking, coconut oil can be used as a lotion, hair conditioner, massage oil, and in deodorant! Last weekend, I decided to try making homemade deodorant, using the recipe from the Passionate Homemaking blog. I made a small batch, which contains:

2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. coconut oil
4 drops peppermint essential oil

I am very happy with the results! It works at least as well as my old Dove deodorant, costs less, and is completely natural. I have been concerned by reports that the aluminum contained in storebought deodorant is linked to breast cancer, so I am especially happy to have this easy alternative! I store it in a small glass jar that I purchased along with my coconut oil and peppermint essential oil from Mountain Rose Herbs: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/bulkoil/a-c.php. They seem to have competitive prices, but I am planning to look around to see if there are any local places that sell the same type of coconut oil, so I don't have to pay shipping! Let me know if you want to borrow a bit of coconut oil to try it out. :)


Anniversary, Soap Nuts, and Wedding!

FYI, one of my favorite blogs is giving away soap nuts: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/06/soap-nuts-giveaway.html. I am really curious about this natural way to do laundry, and will probably buy a sample even if I don't win! They can be found at http://www.natureoli.com/. Now that I'm a mom, I've become much more cautious about what I feed myself and my family, what chemicals we come in contact with, etc. I have started by changing some of my grocery shopping over to organic (dairy, eggs, some fruits) and am looking into using more natural cleaning supplies. It's one of those things that can be overwhelming, but I'm trying to take baby steps. :)

Kyle and I had our second wedding anniversary this week! It's incredible how fast time goes by, and how much God has blessed us and provided for us throughout our relationship. Marriage is a hard thing. People don't usually tell you that up front - but it is evidenced by the millions of divorces that happen in this county. But as Christians, we see our marriage as a covenant before God. A covenant can not be broken. It's not a matter of feelings. It's a choice to love each other, to sacrifice for each other, to enjoy life together. And with God as our foundation, I know that we will enjoy life together as long as we're both living! :) It has been such a blessing to see our family start to grow, even though most people would have waited longer to have their first child. We know that our dear son is a blessing from God, and an incredible visible sign of our oneness... he does look like a mesh of Kyle and I! :) It is so incredible to see him grow, and to watch my husband grow as a father. He is wonderful.

We leave next week for our dear friend Claire's wedding! We have been best friends since sixth grade, and have watched each other grow and change in so many ways. We were there for each other through lots of crushes and broken hearts, and have also been there for each other as we found "the one"! (They started dating just six months after Kyle and I!) It is such an inspiration to see how God has grown their relationship and kept them self-controlled, and I am honored to be a part of their big day. :) I am nervous to be away from my baby for a long weekend, but I will have plenty of fun things to keep me occupied!

And my God lesson for the week... He's been teaching me that He doesn't care so much about what I do, as much as who I am. If I am in Him, good things will flow from that. But if I'm not spending time with Him, no matter how hard I try to do good, it won't work! Thank you, Lord, for being all I need! :)


Tozer, Satisfaction, and Short Sales

I'm re-reading The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer. Here are some of my favorite parts from the chapter I read yesterday on "Removing the Veil":

"He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation. Now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart. The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure for most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and God is in us."

"God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is."

"With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus' flesh, with nothing on God's side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?"

If you are a Christian that hasn't read this book - put it on your summer reading list. If you don't have a summer reading list, make this the first on the list! :) I rarely re-read books, but this is one that is so full of God's Word and delight in Him that it speaks to me new each time I pick it up.

This time, I've been convicted that only God can satisfy me. So often, I get frustrated when my family or friends or work do not meet my wants and needs. But I can't expect them to be perfect. Only my Creator and Savior truly knows what I want and need - and only He has the ability to provide it. When I turn to Him to fulfill me, I am never disappointed - but I am always left wanting more! The more I seek Him in this life, the more I know of Him - and the more I realize that I don't know. As He forms me into His image, I become more like Him - and I realize even more of how far short I fall. The Christian life is simple - there are no secrets. God has made His path clear; to obey Him and delight in Him. But it is so hard, when our old self is always wanting to disobey Him and delight in created things.

Praise God! He has made us to suffer for a little while so that we may truly live with Him for all eternity! On earth, we are always striving, always falling short - but He is preparing a place for us where we will be satisfied forever. I need to fix my eyes on this goal...

In other news, my dear hubby and I are still waiting to hear back on the house we put an offer on in April. Since it's a short sale, the seller's bank can take their sweet time to decide whether to accept our offer or ask for more money. Meanwhile, we are still looking at other houses in case we can't afford their counteroffer. This week, I was starting to get discouraged. But today, I was remembering the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years before reaching their home. If they had just been obedient, they would have made it there much sooner! I am determined to obey the Lord and trust in His timing and plan.

I was reading a blog yesterday about a woman's mission trip to India, in which she visited a young woman's home that was the size of a small closet. She had five people in her family, and some of them had to sleep on the streets because they couldn't all fit in their home. Who am I to complain that I don't have enough space? My small family of three has so much more than that family will ever have. God is teaching me to be thankful, and to be a good steward of what he has given to me. I don't always need to be seeking more things. I need to be seeking Him.

With that said, I do still want a house. But I want it to be God's house - not mine. I want it to be a place where He is glorified, where people feel at home and loved, where my family can grow and serve others. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if my home is the size of a closet or a mansion, so long as I serve the Lord with what He gives me.

Blessings! And don't forget to pick up a copy of The Pursuit of God. :)