Friday, May 28, 2010

Repairer of Broken Walls

*Imagine that "fasting" in this passage represents all outwardly religious acts: prayer, reading the Bible daily, going to church, giving money to the poor, teaching Sunday School, etc.*

God says:

For day after day they seek Me out; they seem eager to know My ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask Me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.

'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and You have not noticed?'

Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife . . . You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? . . .

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The LORD will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. . . .
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Excerpts from Isaiah 58

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

design envy

Do you ever struggle with design envy? Or house comparison? Or decoration jealousy? I do. Especially when I check my 12 favorite blogs everyday to see what's new and what these incrediably talented women (who seem to have lots of time on their hands) are doing with their houses now. And then the other day I stumbled across this blog. It's a must read. Please do read it. I was so encouraged & inspired to find my own style & go for it.

With the surge of decorating on the internet that has been going on for a long while now, it’s easy to get sucked into house envy. We see what everyone else has in their homes and I’m not so sure this habit we have of peeking in the windows of all our online friends is a completely healthy one.

It seems that now that there is SO much out there to absorb and mull over with all the styles and visual overload, we can start to get dissatisfied with what we have. It becomes “oh my gosh, I love that, I want MY house to look like that!"

While there is certainly nothing wrong with getting inspiration and ideas from others in blogland, just be careful that you are going in a direction because YOU truly love it and not because it’s the thing to do this year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sipping Coffee & Killing Gnats

One of my bosses gave me a flower like this for Christmas. It's an amaryllis. (I think they used to name girls "Amaryllis." Remind me never to use that name for future children . . . or dogs.)

When it blooms, the flowers are big and lovely. Mine was done blooming about 3 months ago and now just the leaves are growing. Every few weeks the leaves die and then more grow.

There is a funny thing about my office-amaryllis: it attracts little gnats. I have no idea where they come from or what they are. Kind of remind me of a fruit fly, except that there's no fruit at my desk.

Where's the connection to coffee? It's coming. I have 1-2 cups every day. I'm a sipper, so I always end up with a little bit of coffee at the bottom of my cup since it's pretty much cold by the time I get there. And I have a bad habit of leaving my cup on my desk every evening and just putting it in the kitchen dishwasher in the morning.

For awhile now, I've noticed in the morning that there are drowned gnats in my leftover coffee. Apparently they like coffee but don't know when to stop. So, leaving a cup on my desk overnight (or sometimes even for a few hours in the afternoon) seems to be an effective way of killing off the ever-growing gnat population at my desk.

I think I'm going to continue my leaving-coffee-out routine.
Beware of my cold, hard-to-resist coffee if you ever visit me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Curly Hair Rules

The title is misleading. I don't mean "rules" in the "to be superior or preeminent in; dominate by superiority" sense but in the "principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc." sense. Over the last ten years, I have tried to help my curly hair, instead of working against it. Sometimes people ask me how I get my hair to be not-so-poufy and tangle free and split-end free . . . so I thought it may be beneficial to capture in print the strategies that I developed for my dry/thick/curly hair.

1. Shampoo your hair twice a week, any more than that will dry out your hair. Only wash the scalp because that's where the oils are concentrated while shampoo will dry out the rest of your hair . . . the ends will wash sufficiently with water and shampoo running through them when you rinse. Any shampoo will do - I use Head & Shoulders and Dove.

2. Condition a few times a week and use Cholesterol, a deep conditioner for dry, thick hair made for African-Americans. I never have tangles since I started using this in high school. Only condition the bottom half of your hair with a small amount and let set for a few minutes before rinsing. You can find Cholesterol at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart. (If your hair is not very dry, this conditioner may make your hair oily. Find something a little less intense but use the same process.)

3. Never comb your hair with a brush; use a wide tooth pick or comb instead. Better yet: use your fingers. And only comb your hair when it's wet; otherwise you'll simply succeed in breaking your hair and making it frizzy.

4. Optional: use a leave-in cream after shower when hair is wet. For example, I currently use Sunsilk Captivating Curls (basically, whatever I can find on sale and seems to work well). Only put on the bottom half of your hair. (See the pattern? Wash the top. Condition the bottom.)

5. Use moose after the leave-in cream. I found that the price tag on the mousse makes no difference. I once tried Paul Mitchell mousse (6.7 oz for $10) and I actually like my Herbal Essences mousse better (6.8 oz for about $3 on sale)! Plus, I go through it so fast that I definitely do not want to spend $10 every time. Use amounts proportionate to the thickness & length of your hair. (My hair is shoulder length currently, and I use about 1.5 handfuls.) Note: gel will work similarly, but will make your hair stiffer and tends to flake.

6. Let your hair air dry. Blow drying will only frizz & dry out your hair. Diffusers can help but I have never been successful with them. (And no - going out with a wet head in winter has never made me sick and I've been doing it for about 15 years now.)

7. For those with super thick hair, please get your hair thinned!!! I wish someone would have told me about this when I was 5. The benefits are endless: my hair is not as poufy; I can wear it down more often; it allows me to cut my hair chin-length and not have to wear it long for the rest of my life; my ponytail isn't 2 inches thick, etc. You can have your hair thinned either via razor or thinning-shears. Both are effective; the razor gives more texture. I've had mine done both ways...sometimes both at the same time if it's feeling especially thick. I usually only have the bottom layer thinned, so there are no short pieces sticking out.

8. Get your hair trimmed at least every 3 months. The ends of curly hair will tend to get dry and frizzy first. Plus, hair will grow in differently and curl differently depending on your season of life, so regular trims will help the difference not to be so severe.

9. A comment about straightening. It is fun to do . . . to switch it up every once in a while. But remember that it is damaging for your hair (the blow drying and the heat from the straightener), especially if you do it often. I only straighten mine a few times a year (mostly because it's such a pain to do and takes forever). Plus, I have this theory that the more you straighten, the more your hair "forgets" what it is like to be curly and will therefore take longer to get back to its natural "bouncy" state.

10. You may be wondering what to do with your hair on the days that you do not shampoo or condition. One option: throw it in a ponytail. Another option: don't be afraid to just wet down your hair - either in the shower or with a squirt bottle filled with water. I find that wetting my hair down will give me a "brand-new slate." Either just "reuse" the mousse from the day before (sometimes there is enough on there to last two days) or add some more product and you're ready to go.

These are the strategies I discovered over the years. Mostly it was trial and error . . . trying to help my curls be as healthy (and easy to care for) as possible. So just find what works best for your hair and perhaps my tips will help along the way.

If you are curious about some of the points I mentioned above, I welcome any questions or comments. And please chime in if you have a strategy of your own to add to the list.

From a girl who is just trying to enjoy the hair God gave her,
Jana :)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Amy & I are basically friends made in heaven.

  • Fall '06 - We met in a smelly house-dorm in the "little Italy" of Sydney, Australia. Two strangers became like sisters in the course of 4 months studying abroad.
  • Spring '07 - Jana flew to visit Amy in New York. A day in the city, a day on Long Island visiting the family, and another day in the city seeing "Beauty & the Beast" on Broadway.
  • Spring '08 - Amy flew to visit Jana in flat & slow-paced Indiana. It was a pretty restful weekend - Krispy Kreme donuts, coffee, good conversations and dinner with all of the Eberlys.
  • Summer '09 - Jana got married and Amy drove out to Indiana to be a part of the big day.
  • Spring '10 - Amy flew to Indiana again to observe Jana's newly married life, the new house, and life in Indy.

We like to eat together (especially sushi, tim-tams, and guacamole).
Drink coffee together (especially flat whites).
Talk together (4 hours in a coffee shop and we didn't even realize the afternoon flew by).

I sure love my friend Amy.

Pictures from the most recent trip:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the real words

Bryce & I listen to songs in two different ways. He first notices the actual music (melody line, the band, quality of the recording, etc.), while I can't help but focus in on the words. To me, a good song means that it has good lyrics (and also good music). I love words, phrases, sentences, word pictures . . .

Usually the lyrics jump out to me. I listen through a CD just a few times and I'm already familiar with the words.

However, there's one song by Shane & Shane that I actually was singing wrong. (In my defense, the chorus is muddled and hard to understand.) I'm pretty sure Jess was in the car with me when we read the correct words. Although I'm usually a stickler about staying true to the original song, I actually like my translation better. And so I continue to sing it my way.

Sitting around the fireplace
With a friend who’s been through it all
Solomon, wisest one
Tell me what you have found
Under the sun, under the sun
He answered

Get over the sun
Where life is hidden

Then he put on
A somber face
Talked about how
The rich man will waste
Away in the ground
Where the poor man is found
Painted up, like a clown
Under the sun, under the sun
He answers

Son you’ll soon be done
A life spent on some shiny god
Who leaves you empty

In my head, the chorus went something like this:

Get over yourself
Where life is hidden

(Don't laugh until you listen to the song - it really does sound like that.)

It makes sense to me. Get over yourself . . . and that's where you will find true life. I find the bridge of the song particularly haunting: son, you'll soon be done [with life] . . . spent on some shiny god who leaves you empty. Am I wasting away my life on a "shiny god"? I think the god I usually run to is myself&me. So, "get over yourself," Jana, and find the true life that is hidden.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday's Proverb

A clean house covers over a multitude of decorating blunders.

When my house is clean & organized, it seems to somewhat make up for my lack of decorating. "Lack of decorating" describes the current overall deficit in any sort of design, flow, plan, or color scheme in our house currently. If my house is smelling wonderfully and looking spotless, then I don't seem to notice the design blunders (of which there are many) quite as much.

To me, clean means everything in its place, bathrooms smelling like Lysol, floors mopped, carpets swept, furniture dusted, laundry done, kitchen shiny, etc. Oh - and add in the new aspect of the great outdoors - a clean house now includes a mowed lawn, trimmed bushes, and a swept sidewalk.

Right now the inside of my house is dirty.

So I am most definitely noticing the lack of decorating/design/color/plan/scheme/life.

Two options: spend money or clean.

I think I'll clean.
And ask the husband for some help.