Friday, March 30, 2012

Through the Pain

That is one of my favorite video clips. I get chills and fight back tears EVERY time I watch it.

There is no substitute for perseverance. In the video the coach says, "It's all heart from here!" And it's true. Your heart - if it is right - will carry you through when times get tough, when everything in your body is telling your mind to STOP. Your heart is what will keep you going.

When I'm running and I get that side stitch, I've learned that the best thing to do is to run through the pain.  I'm not gonna lie - I used to let side stitches get me. I used to think that I couldn't go on because of a little pain in my side. But there's always going to be pain along the journey, isn't there? And what good does it do us to stop moving forward to focus on the pain? Not one lick of good. In fact, I would strongly argue that when we stop to focus on the pain, we're doing ourselves more harm than good. 

When the tide is out and you aren't sure if you're going to be able to make it - whether it's through a physical exercise or a stressful situation - dig deep and remember, IT'S ALL HEART FROM HERE!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mid-Week Co-Wash & DC

Even though I love running and how it has become a part of my lifestyle, I must admit, I've kind of let my hair care fall by the wayside as a result. So last week, after my second run of that week, I decided to co-wash and deep condition my hair. I had to do something - my scalp was itchy and dirty from sweating and I knew I couldn't let it go until Sunday (my usual wash day). In hindsight, maybe I should've done a ACV rinse before co-washing, but oh well!

So here are the results after I rinsed out the DC. My hair was soooo defined and pretty soft, I just had to take pictures!

I'm still figuring out how to wash my hair more than once a week without looking like something the dog dragged in, lol, so stay tuned for more posts as I share my learning process!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Greater Than Me

To be quite honest, I was a little hesitant to start posting on topics other than hair. After all, my passion for hair was the whole reason I created this blog. But I knew that if I didn't then I wouldn't be honoring God. I wasn't sure what to expect, but whenever I receive positive feedback from any one of my Facebook friends - even if it's only one person - it's confirmation for me that I'm in God's will. And if I can touch one life, if my example can inspire just one other person to reach for that Greatness inside of them and step out on faith, then I know I've been successful in letting my light shine For His Glory.

Can I tell you, it's the most amazing and humbling feeling, running and keeping this blog For His Glory. Every time someone messages me and shares how my journey has touched them, I stop whatever I'm doing and, through tears that I cannot hold back, thank God for using me to help that person hear His voice.

Yesterday it hit me that this 5K is not about me; it isn't even about fundraising for breast cancer research (I know that sounds awful, but please hear my heart): it's about inspiring those around me to do whatever it is that God has laid on their hearts to do. I mean, He gives me all these awesome ideas for posts every time I run. I know these ideas are not my own because I'm just not that awesome, haha, but they are my responsibility to post.

Every time I run, I now realize that it isn't just for me, but for someone else as well. 

This is greater than me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Mind Game

Yesterday felt like my most challenging run yet. Shortly after I started out I realized I'd forgotten to eat! (Yes, I know, a big no-no but we moms sometimes we forget to eat! lol) Then it was really warm out and my mouth felt soooo dry! I'm not gonna lie - a couple times I wanted to stop. I literally thought I had to stop because I was so thirsty. It sounds silly now but that is actually what I thought while I was running.

Of course I didn't stop, though. There's this stubbornness inside me that refuses to quit anything. I finished my run, pushing myself several times to up my pace, and when I looked at my stats at the end, I was shocked: I'd run 3.62 miles at a sub-twelve-minute pace - my farthest distance yet! I wanted to cry because I was so proud of myself for keeping at it, for pushing myself, not just through the physical discomfort but more importantly through all the mental battles. All my hard work had paid off.
Afterwards, while reflecting on my run, it slowly began to sink in...

If I had stopped running, it wouldn't have been because I was PHYSICALLY incapable of finishing - it would have been because I was MENTALLY incapable of finishing. 

Which brings me to my point: when you're challenged, what are the first thoughts that pop up in your mind? What actions do you take (or not take) as a result of those thoughts? Today a friend of mine reminded me of the power of muscle memory. This can easily be translated to our thought patterns because when you believe something for so long, it can become difficult to see reality. Instead of seeing the truth, you can become trapped in a vicious cycle powered by your beliefs, and then positive change can seem like an impossible dream.

What are your beliefs about yourself and when was the last time you challenged them?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Won't Go Back

Right now is the moment
Today is the day
I've been changed
I've been changed.
I have waited for this moment to come
And I won't let it pass me by.

I won't go back
I can't go back
To the way it used to be
Before Your Presence came and changed me.
~"I Won't Go Back" by William McDowell

This song encapsulates how I've been feeling lately: like a new creature. I know in my heart that my old self has passed away and I am so glad!!! I feel like I've been asleep all my life and have just woke up to who I really am and, what's more, who I can still become in Christ.

Yesterday as I walked onto that high school track to run sprints with this song playing in my earphones, I couldn't keep the tears from welling up. With every once of my being I knew that I have waited for this moment to come - for me to know in my heart that I am reaching for my potential every. single. day. That there is literally no cap on how far I can go if I consistently push myself and strive to fulfill that greatness in me that yearns to be tapped into and let out every day. 

I used to be shy, timid, afraid and unsure of myself. Like a child, I would take one step forward only to take two steps back, as if I were ashamed of having tried to become the person God made me to be. I trusted and relied only on myself to become, instead of trusting God.

I won't go back
I can't go back
To the way it used to be
Before Your Presence came and changed me.

God WANTS to take you higher...will you let Him?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


"Insanity" - doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results
I used to subconsciously believe that I was taking the necessary steps to change my life. But then it hit me. I was doing just enough to get by, and I wasn't actually changing anything, especially how I thought.

Before I started running, I used to frequently think, "I really need to exercise," but I wouldn't take the consistent steps to make it happen. Then I would feel guilty for not working out. Is that not the silliest thing?! I mean, why not just DO what I know I need to do and get it over with, right? lol. Ah, hindsight....

So how did I make running a part of my lifestyle? I started out small. I set a goal to run at least once a week, but if I didn't get a run in, I wouldn't guilt-trip myself - I would just get it in the following week. Pretty soon, running became a joy instead of a chore on my neverending to-do list, and now it is a passion.

But what if I hadn't started running? Where would I be now? I shudder to even think about it. Certainly not moving forward with my goals in all areas of my life, and definitely not nearly as disciplined or confident. 

I used to despise running long distance. Now I love it. I simply took one small step after another and those seemingly insignificant steps opened up doors that I never knew were closed. 

What doors of opportunity are you allowing to remain closed because of your daily choices?

Running FHG!

"Every day, in every moment, you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life." ~The Slight Edge
I know I've been posting a lot lately about running, but y'all don't understand how much it has become a part of me! Much like my passion for natural hair, running has become ingrained into my lifestyle. 

As I shared a couple of posts back, I signed up for my first 5K last weekend and I'm so pumped!! While I will be running to support breast cancer awareness and research funding for the Komen organization, I will also be running, of course, FOR HIS GLORY! I decided to get a t-shirt printed to wear on race day that says For His Glory across the back. It would be nice if I had some other people running with me, but I don't mind running by myself. :) 

Big Hair, Big Confidence

While wearing my hair in a big braid-out recently, I noticed something: I felt more confident. At first I thought it was because of how I was wearing my hair. But then I realized that it wasn't my hair that was lending me confidence, but rather the way I've been thinking that has brought on this new level of confidence.

I've been writing a lot lately about philosophies or thought processes and how they affect our lives. Now more than ever before I understand how true this is. You see, because I decided to change how I think about myself (yes, how you think is always a choice) then I became more confident, not only in who I am, but in what I pursue. Once I got honest with myself about how I thought about certain areas of my life, then it became much easier to change my thought process in those areas - for the better. It's kind of like I "cleaned house" internally and removed all the junk that had been clogging up my thoughts for years and preventing me from moving forward.

As for my big hair? Let me tell you, it doesn't hurt feeling as fabulous on the outside as I do on the inside! ;)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Messy, Dirty Hair!!

I've had this confidence lately that I've never ever had before in my life. It's so amazingly refreshing and awesome - I wish I could explain it better. Maybe in a later post. But I used this newly discovered confidence to turn the camera on myself tonight prior to washing to capture something different: my messy, dirty hair! I figured hey, it isn't fair to only take pics when my hair looks exactly how I want it to. Y'all deserve it ALL! LOL! They were fun to take and I feel like I became more comfortable in front of the camera. So I hope you enjoy these raw, fun and candid pics. :)

Big, Puffy Ponytail

How I wore my hair for the past few days...gotta love the big, puffy ponytail ;)

Gel Sealing

I actually used this pic in a recent post where I'd reset my hair in between
wash days. But I did use gel in this pic to set the style, so that's why I'm
including this pic here.
Tonight makes my fourth wash day with the protein conditioner added into my regimen. It's also the fourth wash day that I've used gel to seal. Previously I'd never been too interested in using gel to style because I thought it would leave my hair hard, crunchy and dry. But I researched gel as a sealing "tool" and, even though I didn't find much information to confirm this suspicion, I had this hunch that, when used properly, gel could act as an amazing sealant.

I was right!

The gel adds definition to my braid-outs, and it also appears to enhance the sheen of my hair. And - get this - my hair is SOFT when I take out the braids!! Yeah I know, who woulda thunk it?! LOL!

Here's the order of product application:

1. Apply coconut oil to each dampened section of hair.
2. Apply modified KT leave-in (only 1tsp of each oil + Vitamin E oil)
3. Rub a little bit of gel between my hands and run both hands down the section of hair.

I braid up each section as I go and then criss-cross them around my head to stretch them out (not too tight though) as seen in this post. After taking the braids out, I've been resetting my hair in braids a second time that week and taking them out again to wear a braid-out. I'm aware that by increasing the manipulation in my regimen I'm making my hair more vulnerable to breakage, but I'm comforted by the fact that I'm balancing this change with the protein I've incorporated into my regimen as well. I'm still seeing growth so that's encouraging. I still don't plan to straighten it until after my 5K in May. Maybe that will be my reward to myself for completing the 5K.... ;)

A word of caution: should you choose to use gel to seal, keep in mind that more products = more product build-up, and if left unchecked, product build-up can lead to breakage. Make sure you're washing your hair at least once a week with a moisturizing shampoo or a softened shampoo. 

Seed of Greatness

I recently shared with my Hubby that when I run I feel like I am running God's Excellence out of me. That's the only way I know how to explain it. I still haven't seen the movie, but I've heard there's this line in Chariots of Fire that also captures how running makes me feel...When I run, I feel God's pleasure.

Growing up, I was never a great athlete. I played sports, but I didn't have the right mindset. I always doubted myself and my ability to perform. As a result, I didn't do anything extraordinary in athletics. Now, as an adult, I realize that if I'd had the right thought process or philosophy and the confidence that comes with that, then I could have become a much better athlete. Similarly, growing up I didn't believe I could have long hair, and because of that belief I never did. My hair would only grow to just below my shoulders and break off.

But how many of us limit ourselves in one area of our lives or another because of how we think or how we see ourselves? Running has helped me believe that God's seed of greatness is inside of me, and because of this newfound belief, I now see that my potential is only limited by me. I've known about this seed of greatness for some time now, but knowing and believing are two very different things. I can know that it is possible for me to run 3 miles, but unless I believe that I can, then I have already mentally defeated myself and severely hindered my ability to do so. Chances are, I won't even attempt to run 3 miles.

Whether you believe in God or not, everyone has that seed of greatness inside of them. It's the reason our spirits soar when we watch that inspirational movie of the person who won simply because they refused to quit. None of us were meant to lead mediocre lives. I run because I know it helps me grow that seed of greatness inside of me. What are you doing to grow the seed of greatness in you?


When I started this blog, my intention was to share my hair growth journey. However, I never could have anticipated that this one seemingly small area of my life - my hair - would have the power to influence other areas of my life. If you follow my blog then you already know the success I've seen as a result of disciplining myself with how I cared for my hair inspired me to start running last year. Well, that urge to run is still in me. In fact, many times while driving, when I pass a runner, I find myself wishing I could pull the car over, get out and run with them! LOL! I've been training for the past several weeks and I registered for my first 5K two nights ago. I'm so pumped!!!

This burning desire to run does not surprise me though. I've posted before about how disciplining yourself in one area of your life often leads to discipline in other areas. It's just how it goes.

For example, back in November my Hubby started a weight management program (last time he weighed himself he'd lost 18lbs!!!). Now, when my Hubby commits to doing something, he does it and makes no excuses. So naturally I began tailoring my food shopping and cooking to his needs, and consequently we all started eating better, healthier foods (thank you, Honey! :)). Our healthier diet went hand-in-hand with my running because if you've ever worked out on a consistent basis then you know how working out makes you want to eat better and take better care of yourself in general. As a result, I am very disciplined about what I put into my body.

Then in January I went for my regular dental check-up and was told that I needed to improve my flossing and fluoride use to avoid getting a cavity in one of my molars. Now truth be told, at that point I'd only been flossing occasionally - just enough so I wouldn't get scolded by my hygienist, lol. But this news motivated me! I can't STAND having dental work done, so knowing that I could quite possibility prevent that by flossing and using fluoride daily was exciting to me! Since my dental visit I have only missed one night. No matter how tired I am, I force myself to floss and rinse with fluoride. Even though I initially changed my dental hygiene habits as a result of negative motivation from my dentist, this has still become yet another area in my life where I have chosen to discipline myself.

Back to what I was saying in the beginning...when I created this blog I had all intentions of writing only about my hair. But now I have so much more to share and I truly feel God has called me to do just that. So from here on out I am going to post about anything and everything - For His Glory. Stay tuned - you're guaranteed to get the natural hair tips you crave - and a whole new perspective on life! :)

Bobby Pin Sealing Results

I spritzed my ends with water then applied my New Natural Oil Blend.
As you can see, this technique is effective. My ends were shiny, soft
and most importantly, sealed.
Looks kinda funny with my braid-out, but I didn't care! It felt so good
rockin my hair out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bobby Pin End Sealing Technique

Whoa, that's a mouthful, isn't it? LOL! I have Shelli of Hairscapades to thank for this one. I read her post yesterday about Cipriana's sealing technique, and since I wanted to make sure my braided-out ends didn't frizz overnight, I decided to give it a whirl tonight. I carefully spritzed my ends that were still clumped together from the braids and squeezed the excess water from them. (I'm glad I purposefully decided not to separate the braided sections too much because I don't think I'd still have such great definition tonight and I most likely would've had to re-braid some of it.) Then I applied my new natural oil blend to seal. I'll post the results soon!
To get my "fuzzy halo" to lay down, I applied my new natural oil blend
down both sides of my center part, then followed up with gel.
All pineappled and ready for nite-nite! See you in the mornin', tendrils!

Updo on a Braid-Out

After my awesome 2nd day hair braid-out, it was chilly and rainy, so to preserve my definition I opted to tuck my wavy locks into an updo.

Softened Shampoo Recipe

Here's the recipe I've been using prior to applying the protein conditioner to my hair. I've modified it each time, but here's the way I made it last time.

1oz sulfate shampoo
1oz grapeseed oil (LOVE this stuff!!)
2oz water

Shake in spray bottle. It's very convenient that there's water in it; that way I don't have to worry about it distributing and lathering evenly since I apply this mixture with the shower water off. Thanks to the grapeseed oil, my hair doesn't feel stripped and straw-like afterwards. Back when I switched over to a sulfate-free shampoo, I swore I would never go back to using sulfate shampoos. But fortunately I follow Shelli on Hairscapades where I learned that you need to clarify your hair prior to doing a protein treatment so that the protein can bond to your hair and do what it's supposed to do. YAY for natural hair friends! :)

2nd Day Hair ~ Gel Braid-Out

This is going to be a quick n' dirty post, lol. These are the pictures from when I reset my hair, after wearing my natural curl pattern, which I posted about here.

Spritzed and applied my new natural oil blend, focusing on ends. The KCCC was
still very "active," (for lack of a better word) so I didn't have to reapply.
Actually the water seemed to "reactivate" it; I think I could've worn my natural
curl pattern a second time around if I'd wanted to.
Re-braided and then randomly decided to use this stretching technique.
Each braid is stretched and bobby pinned across my head. It's snug but
NOT tight. I didn't wake up with a headache, lol.
The KCCC caked a little in the front, but I just put water on it.
The twisting technique I learned from Teri LaFlesh. Only, I don't tuck
the twisted ends back through the braids.
Ta-da! I was THRILLED with my 2nd day hair!

It's All In Your Head

It amazes me how our perspective shapes how we view the world - and ourselves. I'm re-reading this awesome book called The Slight Edge and the author talks about this very thing. Our "philosophy," as he calls it, ultimately determines our success in life. He says, You can look at anyone's actions and trace back, through the attitudes behind those actions, to their source: the philosophy behind the attitudes.

I would never be where I am today on my natural hair growth journey if I had never changed my philosophy about beauty. When I constantly used to straighten my natural hair, I did it because I believed that straight hair was synonymous with beauty. I didn't think my kinky coils were beautiful. Today, thanks to my new philosophy about beauty, my hair is well past BSL and on its way to WL. Yes, I completely abandoned my straightening regimen for a better one which allows my hair to thrive. But if I'd never thrown out my old philosophy then I never would have changed my regimen and my hair would still be breaking, unhealthy and at the same medium length that it hovered around for years.

I'm still growing and stretching the boundaries of my current philosophy to include bolder and bigger hairstyles, even frizz, but I'm proud to say that I've already come a long way.

What is your philosophy about your hair and how has it affected the health of your hair and its growth?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Protein Makes Detangling Easier

It's been so long since I've posted, I know! And there's so much to catch you all up on.

For starters, I've been implementing a protein conditioner into my regimen for the past 3 wash days and the results have been phenomenal! And when I say "phenomenal" I am not exaggerating. Reduced shedding, stronger hair, easier detangling and styling. Yes, I'm serious! For the past two wash days - including this past Sunday - I have not used a tool to detangle my hair. This was previously unheard of for me; I never used to believe I could detangle my hair without a comb or detangling tool of some sort. No longer! 

Here's what I've been doing/my new regimen:

1. Finger detangling each section with coconut oil. Since there was gel in my hair (yeah I know, I'll get to that later!) I lightly spritzed each section with water and then ran coconut oil through, gently detangling as I went. When I'm done with a section I twist it.

2. Hop in the shower and soak my head, handling the twists gently so they don't unravel. Then I turn off the water and squirt my softened shampoo at the base of each twist, making sure I'm concentrating the shampoo only on my scalp. (The recipe for my softened shampoo will follow in a later post.)

3. Unravel each twist and gently squeeze the shampoo down my hair. Repeat with each twist then turn the water back on and unravel one twist at a time to rinse all the shampoo out.

4. Apply protein conditioner in like fashion, unraveling one twist at a time and then twisting back up. When shampooing and conditioning, I apply all my products from the front sections to the back sections. When I start rinsing out the protein conditioner, I also start from the front to the back, which allows the product to sit for the allotted time.

5. Rinse out protein conditioner and while keeping my hair under the running water, I gently finger detangle each section as I rinse. My hair detangles SO. MUCH. EASIER.  I don't even need my Tangle Teezer!

6. Follow up with a deep conditioner. Let it sit in my hair under shower caps for a period of time, which is determined by my schedule that day. Rinse and style.

For the past 3 wash days I've been experimenting with gel. I know, *gasp*! I've been using it for additional sealing on top of my modified Kimmaytube leave-in.

Freshly washed and DC'd hair with modified KT leave-in and KCCC
to seal. Loosely braided to preserve curls so I could wear my natural
texture the following day.
After taking the braids out the next day. My hair was, of course, still wet.
It felt strange but fun wearing my natural curl pattern!
Later that day, after air drying and shrinkage. My hair go crunchy
in most parts, but I didn't mind. I was lovin my curls!
Close-up of my dried, shrunken tendrils :) Love 'em!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...