Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pure & Natural

So here's the thing. In my last post I claimed that my bath products were 99 percent organic. What I have learned since is that it is very difficult to make such a claim.

To be certified organic, sustainable, and so forth means that you will always and I do mean always, use only and buy organic ingredients. This is the equivalent of having production, seed growing, storage, processing and packaging as organic.

At Soaps by Deni, I do strive to only use the very best and purest ingredients such as: Organic Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Pure essential oils, 100% Pure Vegetable Glycerin, Certified liquid castile, raw honey and more. But I cannot claim my product line is All Organic. Don't be bummed! Just know that I will continue to make pure and natural products for you that do not contain toxic substances: sodium laurel sulfates, propylene glycol, formaldehyde. My hand sanitizers and foaming soaps will not contain triclosan.

I feel badly that generations of parents proudly bathed our babies with Johnson and Johnson products (for the smell alone) and now the truth is out about how many bad things are in their baby wash and lotions.

Well, I just needed to clear the air and I will change my wording to say All-Natural or Pure & Natural because I for one don't want to mislead my customers. I will continue to stay away from chemicals and substances that cause reactions or make us itchy and miserable. And my products will still continue to be safe for babies and children.

Until next time,
Breathe
Deni

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is me. Not exactly a Glamour Shot but my husband took this photo last weekend to use for the shameless promotion of my burgeoning SOAPS BY DENI business.
I've been making my own 99% organic goat milk and oatmeal based soap for nearly a year now. Actually, come Thanksgiving it will have been a year since I crafted the first batch of oatmeal & honey. What a fun year it has been. I've been blessed to help friends and family who need soap for various allergies and medical issues, like eczema and psoriasis.
I am now branching out into the fun world of bath products, room sprays, muscle rubs and such. A year ago I believed I was making soap for myself to save $$ on the organic goat soap I'd been buying.
All I can say is, God is good. It's not cliche in this case because I've loved meeting my customers in person and hearing your stories. We all share a common thread of allergies or just wanting to make the world a better place by not using toxic chemicals and synthetic ingredients on our bodies. I mean, we are doing a good thing together.
I've been able to give back to my local community by donating a proceed from each bar that I sell to Greenwood's Meals on Wheels program. I've been able to help others go on mission trips as well, or to pay it forward in the drive-thru lane. Blessing others has definitely blessed me, far beyond all that I could imagine.
In closing, I appreciate those who have been there with me since the beginning...KK you get your due props here as being my #1 fan and "soap pimp" in GWD. I love ya'll.
til next time, breathe. namaste
Deni

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Poverty in Paradise



It's easy to leave the cares of this world behind when you are on vacation; especially when you are on vacation in a tropical paradise. But what happens when your tropical paradise is constantly bumping shoulders with 3rd world poverty? Then, what as a believer are you to think or to feel. As we spent the past week in St. Lucia, a lush island surrounded by mountains, beautiful foliage, and beautiful people, I found myself saying, "Oh my gosh, look at that shack built into the hill; or they have no running water here." Frankly, I found myself looking at the surrounding poverty through new eyes. Last week was my first real encounter with such incredible poverty. This is how these people live I asked?
I cried a lot. I wanted to know how the locals walked up and down mountain roads every single day of their lives to catch a ride to work. Or, how women carried such heavy baskets of fruits and vegetables on their heads. Or, how a man who was missing his left leg, pushed himself up the mountain road while in a wheelchair. He was old, or rather he looked old and worn out when I saw him. He had no shoes on his feet and very little clothing on his body. And no one, including my husband and I stopped to give him a ride.
Every day locals tried to sell us their goods, be it necklaces, fruit, molasses, or baskets woven out of palm fronds. Some days we said yes and listened to their stories. Other times we politely said, "No thank you." But for most, selling wares such as these was the bane of their existence. We did see people with higher paying jobs, but mostly we saw and experienced locals wanting to earn their living by providing a simple service for you. For $2 American dollars I will be your tour guide they'd say. Or I will find you a taxi. Or a parking space.
Real life collides with tropical paradise. Too often in America, only the homeless fit our comfortable definition of the poor. Or those who can only afford a single-wide trailer on a tiny piece of land. My eyes have been opened and I am still seeing the man in his wheelchair, slowly pushing himself up the side of a mountain in paradise. More thoughts to come.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Soaps by Deni

My goodness it's been so long that I cannot remember the last time I posted anything, so here we go. I am going to share my story, one that I feel may lend some support to those of you who suffer from chronic medical conditions.
Around the time I turned 39, my body decided to give out on me. I could no long read fine print and had to get bifocals. This was totally unfair, as everyone had told me that your eyesight typically goes down hill after 40! Case in point, I paid a small fortune for new glasses with hidden bifocals and Crizal lenses. My cheapo reading glasses from Walgreen's were no longer going to cut it.

Which brings me to medical issue number two. I was diagnosed with an unusual form of arthritis that caused swelling in my hands, feet and various other body parts. My family doctor was stumped and sent me off to the rheumatologist. I was diagnosed with RA negative vague spondylitis and handed a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Problem #3. I had always been a girl who tinkled 15 plus times a day. I just did and I often woke up at night with bladder pain and pressure. Diagnosis: Interstitial Cystitis. Sigh...not just over-active bladder that could be treated with Detrol or Ditropan. No, I had to change my diet and seek the help of a urologist and begin a new regime for this disorder. Seriously<TMI, I know, but this was my life at age 39!

Which brings me full circle to medical issue #4. I developed allergies or sensitivities to any number of things, most troublesome were highly fragranced laundry detergenst, body washes, soaps, latex, adhesive tape (Band-Aids), perfumes and the ilk. I scratched myself silly, especially at night when my histamine levels were going haywire. My urologist explained that there was a connection between the bladder and the amount of histamine your body releases. I tossed the ALL detergent, bathed in Aveeno and decided to try organic goat milk based soaps.

The rest may be history folks. My bladder is now a-okay thanks to the marvels of modern science. My RA & OA, well, that's an ongoing battle. My eyesight continues to change every year but I am thankful for multi-focal contacts and my expensive glasses.
I can no longer bathe with Victoria's Secret or B,B, Works products. I make my own 5 gallon buckets of laundry detergent every few months and use a little pure essential oil to add some mojo.

Last November I made my first batch of Honey & Oatmeal soaps and have since thrown my self in the realm of Natural & Organic Soap for myself and others. My company is called "Soaps by Deni" (say Denny) and I am loving it. No more itching and scratching myself to death. Check me out on Facebook soapsbydeni@facebook.com or email me if you want more information. Life is always full of ups and downs and really I wouldn't trade the last nine years of medical issues for anything since I'm now doing better and have a product line I can be proud of. So, if you have sensitive skin or just like "organic" soap, check us out or email me at neenbob@gmail.com.

I'm hoping to launch a website soon but in the meantime, I ship anywhere in the US, and accept paypal. My current lineup of soaps includes: Honey Oat, Honey Oat Almond, Lemon Lush, Citrus Blast, Funky Sister (patchouli), Cucumber Melon, Sage & Spearmint, Coffee n Cream, Coconut, Coconut Ginger, and a few others. That's it for now! As my husband says, If it makes Me Itch, it's not in going to be in there. Only pure essential and fragrance oils used.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shards

Shards
Shards. Brokenness. Hurt. Heartache. Pain. Grief. Anger. Self-doubt. Unworthy. Despairing. Physical ailments. Broken-heart. Divorced. Lonely. Unemployed.

What are the shards that you carry?
Jesus collected broken people just like you and me. He wants to make something beautiful of your broken pieces. He longs to make you whole.

Matthew 11:28 says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me---watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  (the Message)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Searching for Perfection

Last month I stuck my toes in the sand. Florida beach sand. I dug them in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Just me, two friends and Florida sunshine.

The lyrics for Zac Brown's song, "Toes" comes to mind when I'm at the beach. Really...sing it with me- I got my toes in water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today. Life is good today. Well, I may have had my toes in the water, my a*# in the sand and although there wasn't a cold beer in my hand, life was certainly good. It was an epic trip.

My friends and I spent hours combing the beaches for shark's teeth and shells. Girlfriend Yvonne is a virtual shark tooth "whisperer" if you will. She spots them so quickly and differentiates between mere black grains of sand to pick out the gray/black sheen of a tooth. It's a skill I do not possess.

Me, my quest is different. I search and collect perfect seashells...and I quickly discard the broken ones, the ones with perceived deformities, even the ones whose color does not impress me enough. I will pick up a shell, turn it over but toss it if there is a hole on its underside. Over and over I repeat this process. And yet, God has littered beaches with millions of tiny shards of light and beauty for me to witness. His majesty is on display in every minute fragment of sand, silica, glass, stone and shell. With foot or hand I reject more than I keep, ignoring the lesser in order to find perfection.

Again in my life, I find this never ending search for perfection. It seems to overtake me in the strangest of times and places. On a beach, my favorite place in the whole world. Never quite satisfied even in a seashell? How does this happen I wonder?

That I am walking on the beach, talking to God, his beauty surrounds me, overwhelms me in the lapping of the waves, the sunlight on my face, my toes in sand!! I am rejecting part of His beauty. Am I saying, "Just show me the perfect shells so that I can take them home with me to put them on display?" I value these shells to fill my pretty, decorative bowl. Ouch. I didn't want to take home shards of shells, but the lesson was there for me to learn.

What if God sees me or you as the not so quite perfect specimen and rejects us flat out, based on our appearance or performance? What chance would we have to experience his love? I think this day spent on the beach was to remind me that God loves me & his creation in spite of brokenness. I think he specifically chooses us in our broken state and does not reject us no matter how flawed we are.

My friend Robin reminded me that God requires brokenness. He loves you and me as broken, flawed people and uses us for his purposes. He requires a broken and contrite heart. Really, we're all just shards of a shell that will never be perfect this side of eternity. We are shards.

So do we search for perfection because we know we are so flawed? He is the only perfection we will ever find. The broken/flawed shells I brought home are a better representation of us and our humanity. It seems the Lord requires brokenness in exchange for beauty. If we only give Him the shards of our lives, He in turn gives us something beautiful...the only true beauty we will ever know.