For many months I have been praying...
For many months now I have been praying for two young men, unknown to me, who were to face a firing squad in Indonesia. I felt such sadness for their families and friends. My heartfelt cry was Lord Deliver them!
I went to bed the night before their execution, knowing what was going to happen but still hopeful...still praying for a miracle, not only for Andrew and Myuran, but for the others who would stand with them and face a firing squad. I woke early and turned on the radio and heard the grim news. In the stillness of the early morning, slow, silent tears slipped down my face. Tears that no-one else saw for people I never knew. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt unforgiving.
Sitting with my cup of tea I thought about the lives of these two men. How, stupid choices when they were young defined the next 10 years of their lives and ultimately their deaths. I thought about how one man sitting somewhere in Indonesia had the power of life and death over Andrew and Myuran. How with a nod of his head he could condemn or save! I wondered at the callousness of a man who could not see beyond "saving face", who dug in his heels and would not see that life can be redeemed.
Sitting...I heard the cries and screams from their families break the morning silence and my heart broke. How did the executioners feel? What kind of people could do this? What sort of justice system allows this killing when their cases were still active in Indonesian courts? So many pointless and useless questions surged through my head.
Yes...what they did was wrong. Yes their crime deserved consequences. But isn't 10 years in an Indonesian prison with the sentence of Death hanging over your head enough of a consequence? I think so.
Their lives over the past 10 years had value. Their lives blessed others and helped to give hope when hope seemed far away. The penalty of death was laid down on an Andrew and a Myuran who no longer existed...they had moved on from those young, thoughtless boys into mature caring adults. The sum of their lives was more that the few foolish years that saw them facing the barrel of the executioners' guns.
The Death Penalty signifies that the sum of one's life is no more than the worst moments of a life. It signifies that there is no hope for a human being beyond their mistakes. It defines a person as having no other possibilities except that for which they were condemned. It offers no Grace. There was no grace for these men.
As I sat on that sad morning I heard that Mary Jane Veloso was saved at the eleventh hour. I thanked God for her life and some semblance of Hope was restored. My anger and sadness remained. My stomach churned as my mind conjured images of bullets and bodies and death.
Life will not be the same. How can it be? There are now mothers and grandmothers grieving for the rest of their lives. Brothers and sisters who now have no brothers. A wife without a husband.
A nation without two of its sons.
Yet...there is this still small voice that tells me there is Hope in this world...that there is Grace and Justice and Mercy...that is it ok for me to be angry and sad...but it is not ok for me to hold onto a vengeful anger in my heart....there is too much of that in our world...
Andrew and Myuran died singing Amazing Grace...the least I can do is live it.
"In the still night air of Nusakambangan island, condemned prisoners sang Amazing Grace just after midnight. They also sang Bless the Lord O My Soul before their song was cut off by the crack of gunfire."
100 years ago to day at Gallipoli
Words are not needed for this post. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
I wanted to create a beautiful soap for Compassion Day this year.
I thought about designs for labels and fragrances that would suit my theme.
I settled on a heart-shaped tag that reads, "Known, loved and Protected", and decided on a Rose Geranium and Violet fragrance.
I purchased my oils, essential oils and pink Australian Clay for colour and set to work.
With heaps of enthusiasm I decided to make a large 3 kilo batch. Everything was going perfectly....until...I added the essential oils! My soap went crazy! The whole batch seized and became unworkable...read my troubleshooting page for more information on soap making going wrong.
The oils made this soap mixture move so fast! There was no way I was going to get it into the mould...so I did my best to colour it and sort of "gloop" it into my mould and hoped for the best.
It smelt lovely and looked like a layered hot process soap...it just wasn't what I had envisaged for my special occasion soap.
After 24 hours I went to un-mould and found oily droplets over the entire upper surface of my soap....by this stage I was feeling bitterly disappointed. So...I cut the soap into bars and gently patted the oil and left it to resorb as per usual with excess oil in a soap.
NO such luck!
Oil oozed everywhere and the soap looked dreadful. I tried all the troubleshooting tips but then decided to throw this batch away and start again.
I rethought my essential oil fragrance and decided to move away from the floral scents as they are notorious for soap seize! So for Compassion Day this year we have a lovely peppermint scented bar of soap!
I will post some pics when it is cut and wrapped. I hope that you like it and support the work of Compassion...
click like and share the love!
Mongolia- Some pictures for you to enjoy
Last October I traveled to Mongolia with my 15 year old son, Samuel, and others from our Church to work and help out in Mongolia. I can't believe that it has been 12 months already!
I went as an English teacher and had a fantastic and rewarding experience. My students ranged in age from 2 years to 70 years all in the same small room. I remember one evening there was no light and so I taught by the light of one candle and my trusty iPad. I had no other equipment.
We sang songs, played games and learned words and phrases. They particularly loved learning about Australian animals and singing Kookaburra sits in the old Gum Tree.
These amazing students were singing in rounds in the dark by the light of a candle!!! And it was one of the most memorable times of my life....just lovely. I hope that you enjoy some of these pictures taken in Mongolia. Enjoy the slide show!!
leave a comment if you like these pictures!! Has anyone else been to beautiful Mongolia?
Soap Especially for Compassion Day
One of the reasons why I support the work of Compassion is it Works!!!
I have visited 3 of my sponsor children and have seen the difference the work of Compassion makes in the lives of these children and their families.
I have had the privilege to see Compassion Child Survival Projects in action and the faces of many smiling mothers and their chubby babies who are not only alive...but are thriving because of the interventions and programs available to mothers through Compassion.
For Compassion Day this year I have been thinking about a special soap to celebrate Compassion Day and raise funds for the Child Survival program.
After thinking all sorts of ideas, such as, heart-shaped soaps, rose scented soap, and even soap on a rope!...
I have decided to make a simple bar of soap using Olive oil, Coconut Oil and Soy Bean Oil, superfatted with Avocado oil and scented with Peppermint essential oil.
I am busily making up Compassion tags on my computer to label the soap, and experimenting with different fonts and designs. I have settled on a heart-shaped tag with Compassion's "known, loved and protected."
If I start making these soaps today, then they will be ready for Compassion Day.
If you wish to order one of these soaps then please contact me via the contact page on this website or via Facebook to ensure that you don't miss out!!
But don't forget that any soap purchased from AllSorts of Soap will help to support the work of Compassion' s Child Survival Program.
Place and order today!
If you have any other soap ideas for Compassion Day then use the comments section on this post.
Do you know that 100% coconut oil soap is drying on the skin, even though it is so moisturising and conditioning in its natural state? I love to use coconut oil on my skin and on my hair as a hot oil treatment, yet when it is made into a 100% coconut oil soap, it is drying.
Soap is made with fats, liquid and lye, and each oil/fat has specific saponification values. We also know that oils have long and short chain fatty acids which react with the lye in a chemical reaction to create soap. This chemical reaction is called saponification and some oils saponify at different points along the fatty acid chains. Olive oil soap is very moisturising as it contains oils that will not saponify, and so are left free in your soap to moisturise your skin. On the other hand, Coconut Oil is so efficient at saponifying that there are no free oils left in the soap to moisturise your skin. Having said that, coconut oil helps to make a fantastic, cleansing and sudsy bar of soap when used at up to 30% in your soap. Any more than 20-30% Coconut Oil tends to be drying on the skin.
Many shoppers when looking for a natural bar of soap will purchase a 100% Coconut Oil soap thinking that it is good for their skin...they do not realise that even though Coconut Oil is fantastic in its natural state, it is not so great as a 100% soap. So don't be fooled by lovely eco-friendly looking packaging, emotive words such as natural, pure, vegan etc...Read the ingredients!!
Having said this, I love to use coconut oil in my soaps as it helps to create a hard, sudsy bar with a lovely sheen, and it has excellent cleansing properties. I like to combine my Coconut Oil with other skin loving oils such as: Extra Virgin Olive oil, Rice Bran Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, and Soybean Oil. This ensures that the soap is moisturising, nourishing, mild and great for the skin!
This recipe has been adapted from a recipe for soap on DIY Natural. I changed the measurements into grams and some of the American terminology into a more Aussie friendly English, whilst still retaining the main ideas of this recipe from DIY Natural. There is a link to this website at the bottom of the post.
Safety: Please refer to the instructions for the 100% extra virgin olive oil recipe in Soapy Conversations. Just remember: Wear gloves and eye protection. Make sure there are no small children or pets around your work area. Always pour the lye into the water and not the other way around!!
Hand & Body Soap Recipe (Cold Process)Ingredients
I like to immediately wash out my Lye water jug or container and then fill it 1/4 of the way with clean water and a little Apple Cider Vinegar. As I finish with each utensil, I pop it into the jug and let it sit. I don't like to leave my bowls etc. to sit as I don't have any other bowls or equipment, so I like to wash it immediately in hot sudsy water. Just keep wearing your gloves as you really haven't finished making your soap until clean up is finished :)
If you are not making anymore soap for a few days, then letting your bowl sit is great as it turns to soap and you don't need to use detergent. Be sure to place it where children and other inquisitive adults can't touch the lye laden soap.
Once I made some coconut and cocoa cupcake soaps late at night and then went to bed. These soaps really looked like edible cupcakes...firstly they were cupcake shaped and finished off with a cocoa frosting, they were sitting on my kitchen bench on a baking rack. My hubby was out playing tennis and so did not see me making the soap. Just before I fell asleep I thought about how realistic the soaps looked, so I jumped out of bed, wrote a big bold note, "This is soap and not cupcakes!" and left it on the bench near the soaps. The next morning Hubby said that he walked in, saw the cakes and was just about to take one when he noticed the note! I laughed but was very thankful that he did not actually take a bite...it would have been a nasty shock!!
With thanks to http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-soap-2/
Be sure to leave a comment and check out the Quinoa and Chia Milk soap on Etsy.
I went shopping at my local Indian grocers and while I was searching for my supplies I noticed a lovely bottle of Rose Water and just below it, a packet of red tandoori colour. I began to wonder what it would be like to make a soap using rose water and tandoori colour. So, on an impulse I bought the bottle and the colour and couldn't wait to get home and try it! I used my tried and true 3 oil recipe with Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Sunflower Oil and used the rose water for my liquid. It smelt wonderful! I wasn't sure how the fragrance of the rose water would stand up when mixed with the Lye, as an awful lot of heat is generated, so to be on the safe side, I froze the rose water.
I decided to make a cold process soap using the red tandoori colour mixed with a little oil. So far, so good. The rose water appeared to keep its subtle fragrance and the teaspoon of tandoori colour turned one half of the soap a lovely rosy pink. I poured the soap into my mould, covered with plastic wrap and wrapped in a towel to keep warm. I was so excited and couldn't wait until the following day when I could unmould and cut. I just love that part of soap making! It's sort of like unwrapping a present each time!. Well, I unwrapped, and was shocked to see that my lovely rose coloured soap had turned a deep, vibrant tandoori orange! Not what I had in mind at all! I was looking at a kilo of tandoori soap with a hint of rose.
Well it has been curing for a week now and the tandoori orange is not fading. I'll take some pics and post them for you to have a look at. I am thinking that the tandoori colour is going to prove to be very stable and vibrant. If that is the case...then I will know to only use the tiniest, tiniest bit of this colour in the future. It is just so vibrant!
I would be interested to know if anyone has had success with colouring their soaps with food colours that are oil soluble.
Update: the soap is cured and the colour has remained strong and vibrant. No fade at all. I can't sell these soaps as I did not cut them very evenly and they look a bit shoddy...but next batch will be perfect!! I can't believe how the tandoori colour "pops"!
Star Anise and Cardamom Soap with Almond Milk... or I just wanted to make some soap during the Cricket!!!
Have you ever just been sitting watching Telly (television for any non-aussie readers) and just got the soap making bug? Well the other night as I was watching a riveting Cricket match between Australia and India I did just that...decided to make some soap. So keeping in tune with the Australia/India theme I went to my spice cupboard and raided it for aromatic spices and found two of my favourites...star anise and cardamom. So out came the soap making gear and my trusty spice grinder and I went to work filling my kitchen with the most wonderful aromatic scent of ground cardamom and star anise. I decided to make a basic 3 oil recipe using Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sunflower Oil with a base of Almond milk. I had my Almond milk already frozen for such a time as this! This made a lovely creamy mix that looked good enough to eat. At a reasonably thick trace I added my freshly ground spices and it smelt good enough to eat! So now I have a soap to remind me of Australia's brilliant win against India in the World Cup Semi-finals...:) Of course I won't tell my hubby this as he is Indian and takes his cricket very seriously!!! But still...I can't help a secret inner smile every time I look at my spicy, fragrant soap!
Have you ever had a similar experience when you just needed to make some soap late at night? Please feel free to share your experiences!
Hi! Welcome to my Soapy Conversations about Soap and AllSorts of other Topics! I live in NSW Australia and I am a mother of five, Grandmother of Five and I sponsor seven children through Compassion Australia. I love making soap, reading, teaching English, and being an Advocate for children and women living in poverty.
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AllSorts of Soaps