For nearly eight years I hustled day in and day out as a single mom. My goal was simple--survival. I saw no finish line, and accordingly, there was no time to sit around and ponder things like the meaning of life, my life's purpose, what I was here to do, and whether I was making a difference or not—let alone making God proud. Those thoughts never entered my mind because there was so much more at stake than me. At that time, my life was not about me, or what I wanted, or what I thought I deserved. It was all about my kids. I simply did what I had to do--like it or not.
Fast forward to today and I am no longer struggling to survive. I married a wonderful man who was willing to take on all of my burdens and release me from all of their weight. And yet I still find myself struggling. Back then, my identity, my "story" was "single mom, super woman, overcomer, and survivor." But that's not me anymore. That was my story then, but it's not my story now. And therein lies my identity crisis. I have heard it said over and over again that everyone has a "story"—that we need to tell and share our "story"—as if there is just one. Life is more like a collection of stories with changing themes and transitions. And as such, our story is always evolving and will never truly end. In some stories, there are good chapters and there are bad ones. Some chapters are short and sweet, others are agonizing, painful, and dreadfully long.
Right now, my chapter is unclear. It's uncertain. It's confusing. And it doesn't entirely make sense. As a control freak, this part of my story feels more like a mystery, where for a while, you're not 100% sure how things will play out. What I do know however, is that the real Author of my story already knows the outcome. And because of hindsight, I can see how His hand helped shape all of my stories to date. It makes me feel a bit better because I have the assurance that He's in the middle of writing this part of my story too, even though I don't know when or how this chapter will end.
Sometimes, you may find it difficult to serve others. It’s an understandable and common challenge, especially if your willingness to serve is blocked by built-up resentment. Perhaps you have been taken advantage of in the past, or maybe when you served others before, your efforts went unnoticed, unappreciated, or were never reciprocated. It makes sense then, that you would find yourself reluctant to serve now. If this is your current experience, there is something you can do to help chip away at any residual resentment.
Take out a sheet of paper and make a list of everyone you resent. Review your list and choose the person for whom your resentment “burns” the most. Ask yourself the following questions. When you have time, return to the list and complete the questions for each person you listed.
Declare the situation resolved by stating your intention and willingness to forgive the person. If you want to take it a step further, once you have completed the questions for each person, burn the entire list as a symbolic demonstration that you have released the past.
First, let me be the first to say that I am not a proponent of recreational drug use. I am not advocating legalization of marijuana for kicks. However, because of the research I have conducted for my mom, my cousin, and various friends who are currently confronting serious health issues, I have learned a lot about alternative therapies, including medicinal marijuana. And its benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Marijuana is often misunderstood, and because of the controversy that surrounds it, its proven and effective healing properties have been largely dismissed and ignored. I want to dispel some of the misconceptions. And my hope is that eventually, our Government will understand its benefits and make it more accessible to those who truly need it and could medically benefit from it.
Presently, marijuana is legal in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Other states, such as Virginia, enacted laws decades ago allowing for the possession of marijuana if individuals received prescriptions from doctors. Federal law, however, prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana, rendering those laws invalid. Doctors can only write a recommendation for medical marijuana, which is different than a prescription, which leaves me asking how does this help those who reside in states like Virginia? It’s a potentially deadly catch 22. And who pays the ultimate price—patients and their families.
Sometimes, life matters more than the law.
Misuse of Terms
Part of the problem surrounding marijuana is the frequent misuse of terms. Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the hemp plant, which is known scientifically as Cannabis sativa. Hemp contains cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief from pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. They perform medical magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health.
In practical terms, “hemp” is used to describe the food and fiber variety of the cannabis plant, and “marijuana” is cannabis that’s grown to enhance the THC chemicals that make you feel high. Like THC, CBD is a single cannabinoid found among the over 100 other cannabinoids in cannabis. Unlike THC, however, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive.
The FDA has said that products labeled as "CBD" cannot be legally sold across state lines in the United States due to evolving medical regulations and quality concerns.
So, if cannabis is illegal in much of the U.S., and some of its components are strictly regulated, how can one safely get access to the medical benefits of this plant?
Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, meaning shipment between states is legal. Hemp has more CBD than THC naturally, making it an ideal source of CBD from cannabis and one of the reasons why hemp oil is the preferred source of natural CBD for thousands of people.
Know the Facts
What You Can Do
If you see the benefits of growing cannabis, and it's currently illegal in your state, take action. Write your local Congressman. Advocate on the Hill. Regardless of how you do it, use your voice to help effect positive change.
* (Virginia law requires that, before growing industrial hemp as part of an industrial hemp research program, an individual must obtain a grower’s license from VDACS. In order to obtain a grower’s license, you must first obtain a written agreement with a public institution of higher education that documents that you are a participant in that institution’s industrial hemp research program.)
I have always had an affinity for antiques and rustic things. I also have a love for poetry, song lyrics, and inspirational quotes. Making our reclaimed signs allows me to combine all of the things I love and bring old things to life. I waited way too long to ignite the creative fire that burned inside. If I could pass along one thing to any of you, it'd be don't wait. God gave you a gift, and an interest in the things that will cultivate and nurture that gift. They're there for you to share and bring light to the world!
In the last phases of our soap-making process we cool the heated oils and the lye water mixture until they are within 10 degrees of each other. For a mixture with added sugars like honey and milk, we prefer the temperatures to be between 100-120° F. Once the temperatures cool, we combine the two and thoroughly mix them until they begin to thicken into a cake batter kind of consistency. Once it reaches this thicker state, we can pour it into the molds. Because of the additional sugars in our recipe, the soap will heat up to incredibly high temperatures--up to 180 degrees. This is known as "gelling" or "gel phasing". We then put the molds in the freezer overnight. This prevents the soap from overheating and causing a soap volcano.
We cure our Glory Bars for a minimum of six weeks. Although they are ready and safe to use after six weeks, they get better the longer they age.
In this phase of our soap-making process we measure out all of our oils and ingredients according to weight, not volume. It's critical to measure according to weight because some oils are heavier than others, and you need to ensure that their weight, when combined with the lye and water, will result in a solid and safe bar of soap. If weighed amounts are off, your soap can turn out lye-heavy and be harsh and drying, or it can be oil-heavy and turn out greasy and soft. Therefore, to ensure the most accurate measurement possible, weight measurements are used.
Weight: Weight is determined by the heaviness, or mass, of the particular item, and is measured with the use of a scale.
Volume: Volume is the amount of space that the item you're measuring takes up. It’s a common measurement in food recipes, and recipes where ratios are more important than precision.
Glory B's unifies all of what I love most—the earth and its natural elements like stone and wood; the creative arts, whether through the written word, or photography, or paint; and helping others to make the world a better place.