Expectant Mothers & Ethics

Ok, ladies, I need your help to settle a disagreement between my husband
and me. 

According to Joseph, it is unethical for me to park in front of one of these…

I, on the other hand, am fully convinced that after 2 1/2 years of waiting on this baby, if I don’t qualify as an expectant mother, then nobody does!

Am I right, or am I right? Please cast your votes, America. ;)

Update: I meant for this post to be lighthearted and funny, but I’m afraid that didn’t necessarily come across in the way I intended. I think it would be best for me to close the comments, and just let everyone know that I have no plans of taking parking spaces from pregnant women!

Help Melissa Be a Good Mommy

You already know I’m excited about bringing Evangelle home. Big-time excited. But, I have to admit, I’m also a little bit nervous.

In a few short weeks (Lord willing), Evangelle will become the major focus of my ministry efforts. She’ll be 9 months old when she arrives home and will be facing a world of adjustments—new food, new language, new people, new side of the globe, etc., etc. I’m truly grateful that I have the opportunity to stay at home and be a full-time mommy to Evangelle during this crucial time of transition. She’s going to need all of the love and attention that she can get, and I’m more than willing to provide it. 

But here’s where the nervous part comes in. I’ve never been a mommy before!

Of course, I’ve been reading and planning, but still, I have a lot to learn. So, I was thinking… Maybe you can help me!

I’ll bet you know something that I should know about being a mom, and I’m hoping you’ll be kind enough to share your wisdom with me. Pretty please?

What do you wish someone would have told you before you had children? What practical tips, tricks, habits have made a difference in your home? Have you learned any spiritual lessons that you now believe are vital to motherhood? 

Big or little, simple or profound—whatever advice you have to share, I’m ready to take notes!

Image: Allie Hylton

My Favorite Health & Beauty Products

The pursuit of true beauty—that is what this blog’s all about. As Christian women we know that it’s the development of our inner beauty that truly matters in life.

But…

That doesn’t mean we have to ignore outward beauty. As Matt Chandler says, “If the barn needs painting…” :)

So today, I wanted to tell you about my favorite health and beauty products. It seems I rarely find much that impresses me in this arena, but since I’ve actually found a few products to be helpful, I thought I’d tell you about them. Maybe you’ll find them helpful too.

I deal with dry skin year-round, but once winter sets in, I might as well start bathing in lotion. Dry skin on my face is especially bothersome. I’ve tried a number of different facial lotions over the years, spending more and more money as time went on. As it turns out, the products that have helped me the most are also the least expensive.

I picked up Pond’s Cold Cream and Pond’s Dry Skin cream during a BOGO free sale at a drugstore this winter and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. My skin has become much better moisturized without developing the usual complication of breakouts.

I know everyone’s skin is different, but if dry skin is your problem, Pond’s may provide a solution for you too. 

Sensitive skin is another familiar issue for me. Since my longstanding childhood struggle with eczema, rashes and unexplained skin irritation have been my frequent and unwelcome companions in life. Last year, my lips decided they couldn’t handle any lipstick or moisturizer, including ones I’d used for years.

When Neosporin released their lip health line, I decided to give it a try. Lo, and behold, after all of the new lip products I’d purchased, this one worked wonders for me. The irritation and dryness disappeared within days of using both the daily and overnight therapy. Neosporin has kept my lips moist and healthy as promised.

Neosporin Lip Health is available at drugstores, Target, or Wal-Mart. 

I’ve saved my favorite product for last. My sister apparently got all of the good nail genes in the family, because I ended up with thin, flimsy, and brittle nails while hers were naturally strong. Once again, I tried multiple products over the years with little to no results until one of my college roommates told me to try Nail Envy by OPI.

This product really works. You have to be faithful in using it (one coat every other day), but based on my experience, I can honestly say that it transforms weak nails. Sometimes I use it on my nails alone, and other times I use it as a base and top coat.

The other day someone complimented me on my nails, and I mentioned how much Nail Envy has helped. She said, “You mean those are your real nails?”

Nail Envy is expensive in the stores (around $16), but you can find it online for almost half that price with shipping included.

Check it out on Amazon. In my opinion, it’s been well worth the price. Now, my sister gets to envy my fingernails. ;)

What are your must-have beauty products?

Wayback Wednesday

This post first appeared on Precious Adornment in May 2010.

Looking through photos of my childhood recently, I noticed an interesting trend. Well, make that two trends. The first was the fact that during the early years of my life, my birthday suit was apparently my favorite outfit. That’s a discussion for another day. The second common feature was the fact that sugar and I were never very far apart.

You’ve already seen me not just with my hand in, but with my arm around the cookie jar. You’ve seen me grinning in eager anticipation before devouring a piece of my first birthday cake. Here’s another photo which captured my involvement in a sweet, but rather sticky situation…

8 months old and already I was raiding my parent’s pantry. (Note also the exposure of the birthday suit.) Shameful, isn’t it? My tastebuds made me do it.

My mom says the item being stuffed into my mouth in this photo was a plum. At least I went for natural sweetness that time.

For the last photo, how about a little game of Where’s Missy?

I bet you can’t guess…

Ok, maybe you can. If you guessed “the girl with her head in the mixing bowl,” you would be 100% correct. But, hey, at least I had all of my clothes on this time. :)

Study Break

See that little person there with all those books? That’s me. Starting tomorrow, I’m grounding myself from all internet activity aside from email and research tools for approximately 10 days.

Even as I type this, I’m wondering, “Can I do it?” But do it I must. Over the next few weeks, I have several final assignment deadlines for my biblical counseling classes at The Master’s College. And I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to complete everything required, I simply have to unplug myself from all my extracurricular online activity for a time.

While I’m taking my internet break to focus on my studies, I thought now would be a good time to feature something like a “Best of” series on Precious Adornment where I choose some of my favorite posts from the past to share with you all over again. It will kind of be like rerun season, only better, because you’ll probably see a lot of things you didn’t catch the first time around and it will only last for 10 days instead of half of the year.

Oh, and I would totally appreciate any prayers you would like to send up on my behalf–I really need the Lord to provide me with energy and concentration, both of which I seem to have only in short supply in recent weeks. Lord willing, this will be a spiritually beneficial time for me as I eliminate some of the distractions that keep my mind spinning 24/7 and focus more on His Word as I write my final papers.

Please continue visiting while I’m away. You can kind of be like the nice neighbor who stops by to keep an eye on my house while I’m out of town. :)

Thanks and see you soon.

Photo: Sergio Roberto Bichara

How I Spent My Weekend

I’ve always thought that doing wedding photography must be one of the most stressful jobs in the world. I mean, what if something goes wrong and you fail to capture one of the most important events in a person’s life? I could never handle that kind of pressure!

For some reason though, I decided I would like to begin making wedding cakes. After my first attempt at this last weekend, I’m beginning to think I may not have chosen a much less stressful line of work! I had a very busy few days before the wedding, but praise the Lord, He brought me through the adventure successfully. I don’t think I would have made it without my husband’s assistance with the delivery or my sister’s prayers!

Here’s the finished result…

I was so blessed to get a text message from the bride yesterday letting me know she was very pleased with the look and taste of the finished result. Yay! Can’t wait for the next opportunity! :)

An Anniversary Story

This past August 7th for the first time in our married life, Joseph and I had to spend our anniversary apart from one another. :( He was taking classes at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts, and I was staying with my sister and her family in Tennessee during his absence. It’s not the way that either one of us would have preferred to mark our 7th year together, but since it couldn’t be helped, we decided to postpone our anniversary celebration until a later date. This weekend is that later date.

In honor of our belated anniversary, I thought I would re-post this little story that I shared last year for those of you that may have missed it. Hope you enjoy.

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Joseph growing up on a farm somewhere in North Carolina. Miles and miles away, there was a little girl named Melissa growing up in the state of Indiana. Day after day, they spent their lives with no earthly idea that the other existed. Until one day, when they had both grown up quite a bit, Joseph and Melissa each packed their suitcases and traveled all the way down to Florida to enroll as freshmen at the same small college…

…where they went on for another 4 years without any notion of the other’s existence. By now, Joseph was a grown-up, and he returned to North Carolina to start working hard at his new job. Meanwhile, back in Florida, Melissa continued on with even more school. Neither one had a clue just how close they had come to missing out on their one chance for true love, and they would have gone right on without knowing if God hadn’t brought His marvelous plan into being.

Suddenly, after 2 years had passed, Joseph decided he had to return to take a class at the very same school where Melissa was still studying away. She would only be there for 2 more weeks before her summer vacation–could he make it in time? Fortunately, he arrived with little time to spare. A “chance” meeting in town brought him face-to-face with one of Melissa’s closest friends named Christi whose clever mind quickly schemed, “Hmmm…he’ll work for one of my friends.”

She was right, of course, because Joseph met Melissa that very week, and their lives were never again the same. Melissa had been difficult to impress in the past, but Joseph won her heart more quickly than she would ever have dreamed possible. He was exactly the man she’d waited for all her life. 

Today, Melissa thanks the Lord for that little farmboy from North Carolina whom she once never knew existed, because he grew up to become the man she can’t imagine living without.

California or Bust!

“How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Proverbs 16:16

Back in the late 1800s, people began flooding by the droves into Santa Clarita, California, after a man named Francisco Lopez discovered a few nuggets of gold while digging up some wild onions. News of his expensive lunch blazed like a prairie fire across the country, luring prospectors to the site with big dreams of striking it rich, and so began the period in history which we know as the California Gold Rush. Even though mining has long since been prohibited in Santa Clarita, I can tell you from experience, there’s still gold in them thar hills. Actually, there’s something even better than gold there, and that’s the reason I’m on my to Santa Clarita right now.

The time has come for my annual trip to the Master’s College to take more classes in the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling program. This is my 3rd year in the program, and I’m so grateful for the way the Lord has used the MABC to supply my soul with that which Solomon described as being more valuable than gold–the wisdom of God’s Word. Next week, I’ll be soaking in lectures for two classes I’ve been working on for the past few months–Theological Basis of Biblical Counseling and Methods of Biblical Change. I am more than a little excited about the prospect (no gold mining pun intended).

Since I will be busy, busy over the next 8 days, things may be a bit quieter than usual at Precious Adornment, but I hope to continue posting daily Beauty Supplements for you to enjoy and maybe a little update or two about what I’m learning. Oh, and if I happen to see John MacArthur while I’m out there, I’ll be sure to let you know. ;)

A Very Veggie Birthday

I told you a while back that I would keep you updated on my cake-making progress, and I finally have another cake to show to those of you who may be interested. After trying a new recipe and producing not one, but two disasters in one night, I started all over again yesterday morning using one of my standby recipes for my niece’s birthday. I’ll have to resume my quest to find a fabulous strawberry cake recipe from scratch some other time. :( 

Addison has only recently discovered and become completely enamored with Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales, so I thought they would provide the perfect theme for her 2nd birthday cake. I considered a few different decorating ideas before deciding to model fondant figurines for the top of a 2-layer 6″ round cake. Sculpting has always been an interest of mine, so I love having a chance to get a little more artsy with fondant decorations. All went well until I decided to speed the drying process yesterday afternoon by placing the figurines over an air vent in my home. Apparently you can do this as long as the heat is on, but not when the air-conditioning is! A few hours later, my husband called my attention to the fact that Bob and Larry were turning into a gooey mess. Joseph kindly helped me out by turning the hair dryer on the slimy veggies until they dried out a bit while I finished frosting the cake with buttercream. Thankfully, another disaster was averted and the damage to the fondant turned out to be basically unnoticeable.

Here’s the finished product…

Although it took a lot more work than I had imagined to get the job done, I learned a few new things that will help me in the future, and that is, I suppose, a necessary (and sometimes painful!) part of the process. Addison seemed to be quite pleased, so in the end, making the very veggie cake was well worth it. :)

Photo: Taaron Parsons

An Aunt & Her Niece

Most families deny the existence of favoritism within their midst.

Mine openly embraces it.

We all know who the family favorite is. Her name is Addison Jane, and today we celebrate her 2 years of life. She is without question the best earthly gift God has given us. 

Happy Birthday, Addison Jane.

I honestly never knew an aunt could love a niece so much.

Recent Cake Creations

I’ve mentioned to you before that I enjoy making cakes every now and then, and I wanted to give you a little update on my hobby. Cake decorating provides me with a way of expressing creativity without getting quite as stressed out as was common for me back in my art school days. Of course, I still get stressed out with decorating cakes, but at least this way the mental distress is limited to the space of hours instead of days or months.  :)

In recent weeks, I’ve tried to be more purposeful about developing my baking and decorating skills in the hopes of turning this hobby into a little side business at some point in the future. I thought you might enjoy taking a look at some of my recent creations. Although working in fondant is a lot of fun, all of my recent cake requests have been for buttercream. Every cake is a learning process for me, and so far God has graciously protected me from causing any major disasters!

First, a church baby shower cake…

 A birthday cake for my friend’s mother

 Another baby shower cake

 A Valentine’s cake for the ladies in my Bible study

 And finally, a birthday cake for my friend’s little boy

Hope you enjoyed the photo tour! I’ll keep you updated on my progress.  =)