Friday, July 20, 2012

Beautifully Broken

Nearly five years ago, we made a 12 hour journey to St. George's Island, Florida.  Seven months pregnant with an eleven month old--loved the beach experience, not the drive! 

I was fortunate to bring home a large seashell memento.  The summers leading up to now, I would bring it out of storage along with the rest of my shell collection to decorate our home.  

Beach life in our land-bound, Tennessee home. 

A self-proclaimed aesthete, I revel most in God's handiwork.  The beauty of nature surpasses our own humble attempts of its replication--continuously revealing God's majesty.

And so, I displayed the whole part.  The seemingly most beautiful side.

On whim recently, I turned the shell over, revealing the broken side.

Jagged edges.  Parts missing.  Yet depth unveiled.  Mesmerizing internal spiral design shown through a portal, likely caused by the ravaging sea.

In this life, we can't escape brokenness.  We can find beauty in layers.  By God's grace, brokenness enables our souls to grow and flourish.

Daily reminders help us mend our cracks, faults, wounds--not hiding, but enriching--revealing.

Beauty is not perfect, not yet.  That awaits us in Heaven.  For now, we work on our producing good fruit.  And as every arborist knows, more pruning = greater yield.

Wonder in your own beauty, imperfect as it may be.


Thursday, March 22, 2012


by Jena Sanders

 blossom |ˈbläsəm|
  • mature or develop in a promising or healthy way
  •  seem to grow or open like a flower 

Weathered thru winter, God's handiwork springs forth.  Foliage shoots up from bulb long planted. 

Greater promised, closed bud transforms.  Petals explode--layers of colour.  Beauty encompasses.

In this fallen world, experiencing sharp pain--hurt, cut through the core, we blossom.

Colours, character emerge.  Shades deepen as edges soften and furl.


Time tolls.  New generations bloom.

Body withers.  Beauty morphs.  Til, long last, eternity in blossom.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Healthy Dyeing

By Jena Sanders

Hair dye.  Have you tried it?  If you are like the average woman and some men, you probably have changed or enhanced your hair colour at one point or another.  Whether trying to cover gray or just changing pace from your natural hair colour, there are endless hair dyes available on the market from which to choose.

My first experience changing hair colour occurred in my late teens.  I tried to recapture the dirty blonde locks of my early youth and I opted for inexpensive DIY brands.  In retrospect, this was not a good idea to unprofessionally attempt to turn my naturally dark brunette hair blonde.  The end result was more brassy than not.  Returning to my natural colour after a couple of years,  I was content with my dark brown hair that grew much healthier without the harsh bleaching processing.

That is, until I began to notice gray hairs creeping into the brown strands.  For a couple of years, plucking would suffice to keep them at bay.  However, in my mid-twenties after the birth of my firstborn, I knew this habit would be too time consuming to continue on regular basis.  With the demands of motherhood, and ever increasing grays, I started looking for other options. 

      {Not that there is anything wrong with going gray and, indeed, Proverbs 16:31 NIV states, "Gray   hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."  In fact, my paternal grandmother was mostly gray by her mid thirties.  She had beautiful hair--thick and wavy, styled shortly.  I thoroughly admired her lovely silver locks.  But at this point in my life, kicking off my thirties, I find myself too vain to start "going" gray.  I would venture to say throughout my forties, also, I would prefer less salt, more pepper.} 

Well on my journey to healthy living, I sought hair dye that did not contain harsh ingredients such as ammonia, peroxide, heavy metals, PPD and substances that over the long term would not be healthy for my hair, or body, or potential baby.  At first I opted for henna powder, a natural dye derived completely from the tropical shrub.  Mixed with liquid, it creates a mud-like mask.  After a couple of tries dyeing my long hair with a muddy mixture that came off in clumps (much easier to have help applying it), I realized this method was not for me.

     {I would, however, recommend giving henna powder a try or two, as it is probably the most natural form of semi-permanent hair colour.   Results can very, but your hair is left incredibly shiny and soft as the henna coats each strand, while naturally nourishing the hair.}

Continuing my search, I tried a brand that was healthier, free from some of the harsher ingredients, but smelled pontent and still contained some harmful ingredients.  While the gray coverage was good, I still wasn't too impressed.

Finally, online, I came across the brand Surya Brasil; and more specifically their henna cream.  Surya Brasil started back in the mid-nineties, successfully selling worldwide, their first product--henna powder.  They released their henna cream version in 1997 and subsequently have grown to include other natural cosmetic products.

Their vision from their website states, "Surya Brasil respects the interconnectedness of all life and strives to create for consumers a healthier lifestyle and thus a healthier world through the use of its products. The company brings together Nature, the Science of Ayurveda, and Technology thus harmonizing the human with his environment while respecting the animal and plant kingdoms for the purpose of preserving a better world -- one that is ecologically sustainable and socially just."

Henna cream (pictured above) is semi-permanent and does cover gray (my personal experience is that the colour is lighter on gray hair appearing more as highlights).  It does so without harming the hair, and claims it is the only hair colouring product to contain fifteen organic extracts that treat the hair and scalp.  Moisturizing, conditioning, and revitalizing, henna cream leaves hair shiny and soft.  Its mild smell results from using essential oils for fragrance (Rose, Sandlewood, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine--all used in various SoJoy Spa products, coincidentally).  The healthy ingredients, along with its ease of use and affordable price, makes henna cream an excellent alternative to other dyes on the market.

If you are interested in natural hair dye that is good for your hair and your health, I would highly recommend trying Surya Brasil's henna powder or henna cream and perhaps their other eco-conscience hair products.  The dyes come in a variety of shades and are suitable for most hair types.  Although one is not able to purchase directly from their website, I purchase their henna cream, along with other vitamins and supplements from or

Here's to eco-chic, natural living.  Nothing wrong with a little glam to soften the crunch.  ;)