Oil Cleansing Method + Acne Update!

Hello!

We are still loving in some weird times. Things are opening back up and moments of "normal" are returning. As much I am ALL for that... the slow pace of life and routine that I (we were all) forced to dive into will be missed. While it was challenging and hard, so many blessings have come from this time. 

One being... an appreciation for my skin! HA.
I'm serious. For the majority of my life I was constantly thinking about, worried about, disgusted with, or irritated with my face. My unclear, blemish-ridden skin. 

I was scrolling through old pics and came across old blog pics from 2013-2014. I was shocked to see how terrible my skin was. I read my old blog entries... oof. The struggle was so real. And hard. 

These are the old pics:

July 2014

But, today. Oh, today.

July 2020


I posted this pic on IG a while ago:


This was back in April. I discovered the sweet spot of natural light from my window (it's seriously amazing). I was working from home, not going to Mass, not going anywhere really, sooooo... no need for makeup. I have no makeup on in this pic (ok, mascara and some lip color). Juuuuuust bare skin. One of the gifts of this time was getting comfortable seeing my face and skin for what it is. And... loving it. Yes, there are scars. Yes, there are wrinkles. Yes, there are crows feet.

But, I see my face and I'm not disgusted. I don't pick it apart. I don't feel like I need to hide it.
Seriously freeing.
And a gift.

Here is the run down of my previous OCM and acne chats! These list all the other things I have tried, including oil combos, so if that is of interest to you... happy reading!!

Acne treatment frustrations- ie, not taking the pill. (June 2014)
OCM + Clarisonic (July 2014)
OCM Update (January 2015)

My routine is pretty much the same. However, I don't use the Clarisonic Mia 2 or witch hazel anymore.

NIGHT

  1. If I have mascara or eye makeup on I will use the Neutrogena makeup removes wipes to remove it.
  2. Floss and brush teeth. (HA! Might as well give you the whole shebang)
  3. With clean hands, I will then take some coconut oil from the jar (about a quarter size, maybe), soften it with my hands (not an issue right now b/c my bathroom is fairly warm during the summer months) and then rub all over my face.
    • Enough to really rub it around all over, but not dripping off.
  4. Let it sit there for a bit, while I grab my washcloth and get the water pretty hot. 
  5. Wipe off my hands, rinse washcloth.
  6. Begin wiping off the oil from my face. I will rinse of the washcloth a few times until I feel like all of the oil is off.
  7. I wash my hands (Bath & Body Works Vanilla Coconut foam hand soap), rinse my face with some water.**
  8. Pat dry with towel.
  9. bareMinerals SkinLongevity- Vital Power Infusion (it's a serum type thing for moisture and such. I love it! I've been using it for years!) all over my face
  10. bareMinerals SkinLongevity- Vital Power Sleeping Gel Cream all over my face (love this stuff, too!!)
** Sunday/Wednesday- wash face with light scrub/exfoliator wash. Whatever I have around!

MORNING

  1. While in the shower, I take a different washcloth and wipe my face and neck.
  2. I don't use any cleanser or anything. 
  3. Only water and washcloth.
  4. Pat dry with towel
  5. bareMinerals SkinLongevity- Vital Power Infusion.
  6. Done.

Other notes:
  • I try to wash/switch out my washcloths about every 2 weeks
  • Same with my pillow cases (although I get lax with this more than I'd like to admit!)
  • Clean hands are key
  • You are beautiful no matter what your skin looks like!

ALSO. I just want to acknowledge- this will not work for everyone. Like I have said, I have tried alllll sorts of treatments and cleansers and combos of oils. Once I started with coconut oil... everything clicked and fell into place. For many, coconut oil does not play nice. For me... it works. Part of the deal is patience and trying something and patience and trying something else until you figure out what works for YOU!!

Let me know if you have any questions! :)

So much time to think.


"What a weird time we are living in, huh? A worldwide health crisis, not seeing our friends and family as we usually do, routines out of whack and so many unknowns. No doubt, there is a lot of extra difficulty these days. Worry, fear, and uncertainty can stir up the deepest parts of our hearts: old “stuff” that we had already “dealt with” or even new “stuff” that is throwing us off even more. Perhaps this sudden stripping away of normal life reveals parts of ourselves that we didn’t even know needed attention. What if this time of social distancing and quarantine, as hard, scary, and confusing as it is, is a way that the Lord is asking us to let all it go - comfort, routine, normalcy, expectations, etc. - in order to see who we are underneath? To see where His love, His light, and His Mercy can rush in to comfort and heal. 
That is exactly what the Lord did for me when I moved to Honduras in 2012 to serve as a nurse. I had left my job, moved away from family and friends to a new country, new culture, and new language. Everything that had been holding me together - my “normal life” - was now gone. This transition ended up being one of the lowest points of my life..." read the rest of what I wrote here.


Definitely weird times were are living in. I do hope and pray that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy!

Fortunately, I am still working, mostly from home. So, that was an adjustment. Many other things cancelled. Lots of Zoom meetings/meet-ups. I can't wait to stare at a friend's face IRL and not through a screen.

Nuts. I am praying that we are closing in on all of this and we can start getting "back to normal." Whatever that will look like.

I know many people are taking this time to learn new things, be creative, etc. I am not one of those people, but I am...

  • Trying to build better habits for prayer.
  • Being better about journaling.
  • Getting things done around the house.
  • Actually cooking myself meals.
  • Being intentional about reaching out to people.
  • Going for walks. Lots and lots of walks. You may recall that I love them.
  • Trying to write.
I am also sorting out lots of thoughts and feels and all the things. Trying to keep bringing them to Christ. As I allude above, this time really can be challenging on an emotional/mental level if we are now faced with hurts, wounds, thoughts that we usually stuff away with the normal of everyday life. There are parts of my heart that the Lord is shining his light on for more healing. And it's so hard.

It's hard for a person like me who can quickly take all of my struggles and wounds and sins and weaknesses and RUN with it and get caught up in how not great of person I am. 

But that is a lie.

Jesus says to St. Faustina, "Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace." Diary of St. Faustina, 1485

One of the things that the Lord is doing during this time is making me THAT much more aware of my weaknesses so that I CAN bring them to him. It's not the first thing I think to do, because who wants to go to Love and Perfection itself when you are SO FAR FROM THAT.

But, that's the thing with Mercy. And what I think the Lord is trying to show me over and over and over. It brings Him JOY and consoles His sorrowful heart. His heart literally poured forth mercy on the Cross to shower upon the world and not many people take advantage of that. And it brings Him so much more pain. His mercy is unfathomable and endless. 

He wants me.
He loves me.
I bring Him joy.
I console His heart.
All of me
And when I do choose to go, this is how I imagine it...
Sticker from Just Love Prints


Same goes for you.

Not really a life update, update

Well, hello there.

I did go to Seaside in August. Per usual. And it was glorious.

Not sure what one writes after months and months of... nothing. I know I say this each time I have a very long break, but I do miss this space. I do miss writing. It's just.. I don't know. It's hard to just sit and write. My distraction level is through the roof when I stare at the screen. And I just can't get myself to pour out anything.

The thoughts are there. Oh, so many thoughts rolling around in my ol' noggin. But, often times they are thoughts between me and the Lord, me and friends and me and family. You know?

Anyway. This past week. Man. So many things. So much that I actually would like to hash out in writing, hopefully on this here blog. 

This past week some more layers have shed, or beginning to shed, exposing who I am. Me. In all of my imperfect, God-given glory. 

The more that I am exposed, the more I realize there is no shame in who I am. Just like all of us, we have stories to share. Stories that are at times wonderful and fun and harmonious, but usually intertwined with lots of messes, pain and frustrations that leave us a bit tattered, scarred and, yes, a bit shamed.

We have so many choices in this life. We can choose to continue to be defined by all the negative and bad. We can choose to ignore the wounds. We can choose to stay down. We can choose to reject help. 

But, by doing that we are choosing to not be who we are meant to be.

We aren't promised a pain free life. Nope. Through our pain, within our suffering there is hope. The hope of something more. Something bigger. Something to grab onto that can keep us going. 

We can choose to hope. And with that hope, we are exposed to who we are. To confront our battles with an extra oomph. To rejoice in the good and beautiful moments! We can love ourselves better. Love those around us better. We can share our stories without shame. We can support one another. We can lift each other up.

What do you think??

So much more I'd like to touch on, for sure. 

In light of sharing our stories... I did a thing a few months ago where I shared more about the affects of my parents' divorce for the Catholic Herald... you can read that here. This has all been an ongoing healing process, and I am still amazed that I can share it!!

For those of you who follow me on social media, you will have seen that I was hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis for the beginning part of last week. Not only do I want to share more about rhabdo (which I will b/c it isn't that well understood/known), I have some things I would like to share about the week regarding asking for help, family, community, etc. Sooooo maaaaany thooooughts! :)

With that, it's time to get ready for Mass!! So looking forward to actually going to Mass today! Don't take it for granted, people.

I'll be back! (I hope!)
Blessings and hugs,
Jen

It's ok to be sad sometimes.

There was a time when I would write and talk about the single life so much. I mean, I even helped found the Not Alone Series (anyone still around from those days?! Haha... jk. I'm just being dramatic), which was completely dedicated to all things single life, from the Catholic lady's perspective.

It still exists, just not in blog form. We have a private FB group, that Laura is still keeping alive (God bless you). And there are still single ladies.

Blogging is funny. The internet is funny. The need for the community that we established is still so very needed, but it's really hard to sustain because, well, life. Ladies get married. There are other priorities. Plus, in today's social media world, it takes some serious effort and planning to maintain a community that wants to encourage, inspire and build up the kingdom of God with an ever transient group of people.

Yet. I miss it. When I was in the throws of loneliness and depression in FL, NAS was a rock for me. I am so thankful to the women that I met, the love that we shared and the memories that we created.

No, this is not an announcement that I am reviving the old Series back. It's just more of a digression from the main topic I had on my heart to share. Which is:

It's ok to be sad about NOT being married.

Recently, I have been a bit bummed. It's not uncommon for me to feel a little off and out of sorts every so often, it's just part of my ebbing and flowing of depression. Yet, this time I realized it was very specific. I was bummed about not being married.

Typically when I realize I am sad about it, I am veryvery quick to push it away. Think about something else. Drown out my thoughts with something mindless (ie social media). Tell myself that this is not how a vibrant, "living in the now" Catholic lady lives!

Oy. So healthy, right? Hey, I am a work in progress.

This time, however. I allowed myself to be sad. I have a habit of pushing away sadness or hurt (not typically frustration/anger, however... just being honest up in here), in the name of "it's not that serious," "who really cares?" "people are dealing with some way more serious stuff," etc. etc. And specifically with the single life, I do it in the same of "this is not how I am supposed to be as a 'joyful, striving-for-holiness, living in the moment single Catholic woman!'"

No.
Lies.

It is not fair for me to minimize my struggles and pain. Yes, people are going through their own things. Some far more scarier or more difficult or whatever. But, that does not in any way negate my own struggle. Or yours.

Nor, does striving to live an authentic, joyful, Catholic life mean that sadness doesn't happen. That is preposterous, right?! Of course!! Struggles, sadness, grief, pain, etc are just part of life. Period.

And when you feel so deeply in your heart that marriage is part of the plan and it hasn't happened yet (I hope!)... it's a bummer. It's sad.

I am sad that I am not married yet. I am sad that marriage isn't part of my story yet.

Somehow I had an unrealistic expectation for myself that was influenced by this blog and the Series. I subconsciously told myself that I had to have it all together! I had to show everyone that I was living "in the now!" That my life was awesome as a single person! That I loooooved being single!

*chuckle chuckle*

In reality, I didn't have it all together, I am SURE that anyone could have told you that. But, sometimes your mind (and the devil) do tricky things. I don't have it all together. Sometimes, I'm sad. Some days I hate being single. Dating is exhausting. Etc. etc.

So... I was kind of off my game for a few days. I felt far from God. I mean, hello, why would I reach out to the Lord with all of this?! (please note sarcasm) Blah. But, I acknowledged my sadness. I named it. I journaled. And then I went to adoration. Jesus and I had a good chat. I may have been a bit sassy. I was just keeping it real with Him. He gets me.

Instantaneously I felt lighter. I felt a sense of peace. I was able to walk with a little extra skip in my step. And then I literally bumped into this cute guy...

JUST KIDDING.

No. I honestly didn't feel much different right after my prayer time. But, I have since felt the fruit from it. My sense of peace is increasing. And there are no boys in the picture. That would have been idyllic, and I realize that happens for some people, but I would say that for most of us, the lightening bolt God moments don't happen. Life is filled with more small, quiet "a ha" moments of grace.

And it's just as beautiful and breathtaking if you let it be.

Not sure how to wrap up here, but to say... if you are sad about not being where you desire to be (whatever it is for you), then be sad. Acknowledge it. Name it. But don't stay there. Give it to the Lord. Do something that brings you joy. Surround yourself with the people that love you. Allow God to remind you that you are, without a doubt, a wonderful, beautiful, worthy, beloved daughter of His.

Please pray for me, and know of my prayers for you.
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A simple walk



I have taken up walking.

Ya know... when you go outside, let the sun hit your face, breathe in the fresh air and put your feet to the pavement.

Walking.

It's just wonderful.

It really combines multiple things that I love: being outside, moving, exploring, and thinking. I am not sure when I just decided to walk around my neighborhood, but I am glad I did. I discovered a little park! It has a stream and leads to another park through the woods.

I don't always want to go. But, I do. It's part of my routine now. At the minimum on Sundays and Thursdays... and then any other time I can get it in there. I always, always feel good when I get home. It always feels good when you allow your body to move. Especially my body getting beat up multiple times a week with Kempo, walking is a nice, less stress yet active thing to do.

Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I listen to podcasts. Sometimes I pray.

But, I am always walking.


The blue skies get me every time. All the heart eyes.

What is something simple that you do for yourself that you may even take for granted sometimes?!


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