We are all building something. It is up to us which materials we choose.
As like all people, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows. During the downs and lows, I felt stagnant. I felt as if I was stuck in mud, marinating in gloom and doom. What I did not know was that even in those down/low times, I was building. I was building with inferior materials of guilt, self-pity, anger, and insecurity. Those things are flimsy and degradable. Once I realized those things were not going to improve my position or outlook, I had to first get out of the mud and that required some help. Sometimes you aren’t capable of getting out of the mud on your own. You need something to grasp onto. I latched on to my faith in God. I realized I had sank so deep in the mud that I allowed my hands to get stuck as well. I had stop reaching for help. Wiggling my hands free from the mud was a choice I had to make and I made it. That was one of the best decisions of my life.
Once I reached out my hand and let faith lead the way, I was given the materials to construct an abundant life. I did not find them! I did not purchase them! THEY WERE GIVEN TO ME!
It had to be my choice to wiggle my hand free from the mud, reach out and believe. That was all I had to do. God took care of the rest. I made a choice to accept that I could not build on my own. I had to get rid of the inferior materials to make way for the premium-grade.
I would like to challenge all of you who feel you are stuck in the mud to at least wiggle one hand free. Have faith, reach out and believe.
We have all been planted. Some can bloom in their present situation. Some need to be uprooted and transported to an environment conducive to growth. Regardless of your situation, you owe it to yourself to blossom.
Sometimes change needs to happen. If your present situation is not to your liking, by all means, do something to improve it. Things could always be worse, but they could also be better. There is always a bright side. Don’t be afraid of the light. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if there is no sunlight on your side of the fence, nothing will grow. Make a move! Go out and find the sunlight to fuel your growth.
Prints and original wood burnings by San Francisco artist Nidhi Chanani
I would like to share a story a much older friend of mine once told me. She said a friend of hers who was so embarrassed by the spider veins on her legs that she never wore shorts or skirts out in public. She would wear them if she was in her home or out in her yard gardening. She didn’t experience any discomfort as a result to the various shades of purple that covered her legs other than how she felt others would react to them. One day her grandson came over for a visit on a hot summer day and wanted to spend some time outside. Wanting to accommodate her grandson she told him to wait while she put on a pair of shorts. As she exited her bedroom wearing her shorts, her grandson shouted, “Grandma! Look at your legs!”
She sadly looked down at her legs and said, “I know honey.”
Then her grandson said, “They’re beautiful! They have flowers all over them!”
There are times in life when we allow our insecurities to rob others of the chance of experiencing our unique beauty. I would like to challenge all of us to share our beauty with the world. Become your own personal standard of beauty and love it.
I was recently at a function and I did a lot of handshaking. One woman reached for my hand as she introduced herself and as she withdrew it she mention how my hands were unusually soft. I have been told so on numerous occasions. One of my friends once touched my hand and quickly withdrew her hand from mine. She said that my hand was so soft that it didn’t feel natural. I’m not sure how to take that, but that was the only fearful reaction I have ever encountered. I have always been asked what my secret was to baby soft skin. It is very simple.
I do all of the things that most people do. I was dishes, I garden, I clean my house from top to bottom, and I even get on my hands and knees and clean the floors. One thing that most people find surprising is that I don’t use glove while I do any of the aforementioned things. The only exception is when I am gardening, and I only use gloves when I am at risk of being injured by thorns and other prickly things. One of the reasons I don’t feel the need to use gloves is that I use all natural, nontoxic cleaning solutions. By not using toxic chemicals to clean my home, I am saving my skin from damage. I also do other things that I feel keep my skin silky soft.
IBourgie’s Secret to Silky Soft Skin
- Don’t use harsh chemicals. Many of the the things I used to clean my home are also edible. After cleaning my home it usually smells like a Greek salad. I am fine with that, but sometimes I use natural essential oils if I want a particular scent.
- Keep it cool. No one loves a hot shower more than I do, but hot water can be drying to your skin. I like to end my shower with a cool shot of water for a few seconds. I used to take scalding hot showers, but not the water is just warm enough to keep me from shivering.
- Drip dry. I hardly ever use a towel to dry off after a shower. I only use a towel if I am in a hurry. I step out of the shower and just hang out for a few minutes while I do my hair or sing Journey songs in the mirror. Then I am on to #4.
- Moisturize! I can not emphasize this enough. I use a natural oil after I shower to lock in the moisture. My favorite is coconut oil. I’ve found it to be very light and not greasy. It also absorbs into the skin rather quickly. If you have some really dry areas, I would recommend a butter like shea, mango, etc. I use shea butter on my feet, elbows, and knees.
- Exfoliate (gently). Sometimes you need to get rid of the old, dry, dead skin that is hiding the new and fresh skin underneath, but don’t overdo it. Use a gentle means to exfoliate. You do not have to scrub vigorously to exfoliate. I use a sugar and honey scrub to slough away dead skin because the sugar dissolves preventing you from over scrubbing.
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of drinking enough water, but it is very important for you insides as much as it is for your outside.
The most important thing is to love the skin you’re in and all that is housed within it. If you genuinely care for yourself, you will do all you can to preserve your health and well-being. If loving yourself is at the top of your list then all things will fall into place, including silky soft skin.
I have been having a really good time finding easy, natural, and inexpensive cosmetic treatments. I recently mixed this little concoction in my kitchen the other day and I absolutely love it.
IBourgie’s Minty Sweet Lip Balm/Scrub
What you will need:
organic raw sugar
A small container with a lid
Mix equal parts honey and coconut oil in your container. (If it is less than 70 degrees or so the coconut oil will be solid. If the coconut oil is solid put it in the container first, put the lid on the container and run it under hot water until the oil liquefies. Then add the honey). Next mix in 2-3 drops of peppermint oil.
Use the honey, coconut oil, and peppermint oil mixture as a lip balm. It will be sticky, but I promise you it won’t be on your lips long because it is impossible not to lick it off. When you do, your lips will remain super soft. To use a lip scrub simply apply the honey/oil mixture to your lips. Then apply the organic sugar with your finger and gently scrub your lips. Once you are done you can rinse it off or lick it off. It tastes pretty good. The scrub works best after a warm shower.
I like to use a tiny dipstick to apply the lip balm as to not contaminate the solution. I only make a small amount, and I store it in the refrigerator.
I have noticed a trend of celebrities and others posting pictures of themselves with no makeup and I think it’s wonderful. I have also heard many of my peers grump and groan about how beautiful whatever celebrity looks even without makeup. Then they will quickly mention how celebrities have the resources and access to the best beauty treatments, personal trainers, personal chefs, etc., and that is how they are able to look their bests. I totally disagree. Certainly celebrities have the money and opportunity to take advantage of the latest and most expensive beauty regimens along with personal chefs and fitness trainers that will beat them into shape, but the average everyday person has access to some pretty amazing things as well.
Here is how anyone can look like a celebrity on a budget:
- Put good things in your body
The one thing I realized when I began to treat myself better is that purchasing quality food can be pricey. This was very disappointing to me, but I have always found ways to have quality things on a budget. So I started growing some of my own food. I don’t have a farm so I grew what I could. I grew herbs on my porch and vegetables. I purchased organic non-gmo seeds and I was so proud of my gardening and enjoyed serving and eating things that had planted myself and it costed me less than $20 . No matter how little room you have around your home it is possible to grow something of your own or at least make an attempt. The main thing it to only put good things in your body. When you take care of the inside the outside will also transform.
- Put good things in your mind
Stress can destroy your body and mind. I have always said that stress is not something that is given, but something you take. Remove yourself from stressful situations. This may mean finding new friends, or a new job, or just taking time to relax and let go. How many times have you seen a person who looked 10 years older than their actual age? That’s stress. If you feel that stress seems to follow and force its way into your life, overpower it with things that give you pleasure. Provide yourself with enough pleasurable things that the stressful things seem minor. Enjoying life can have an amazing effect on your outer appearance.
- Put good things on your body
Some of the best beauty products can be found in your kitchen and are very inexpensive. I use coconut oil as a conditioner for my hair and as a moisturizer for my body. I brush my teeth with baking soda (my grandmother taught me this and I have never had a cavity). I rarely wear makeup, but when I do I look for the most natural and eco-friendliest. Recently, on an episode of The Doctors there was a segment that showed how to use what is in your kitchen as makeup. They used powdered green tea as eyeshadow, cocoa powder as a bronzer. I was surprised how great the model looked after. I haven’t tried any of these, but I will be trying the green tea eyeshadow in the future.
What I would like to challenge all of us to do is to take care of ourselves inside and out. We must also remember that our goals should not be to look like someone else, but to be the best at being ourselves. Once we begin to love and appreciate ourselves we will not envy others. We have to nurture our minds and our bodies, and to do so we must chose what we expose them to. Live the way you deserve to. Never think the best is unattainable.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
― Audrey Hepburn