Abena's Pages

"Natural Beauties Who Follow My Blog"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Braid-Out" 4 years 1 month

Pierre (My DH) told me to stop taking photo's of myself because he would like to be my photographer. Now I know some of you ladies know how it is, you get up, husband gone to work, hair looking just like you like it and you want to get a picture of it exactly how it is :) or.......is it that I am impatient? Either way, here are the photo's I took this morning. I will try to wait for Pierre next time ((((LAUGHS)))))).

Monday, August 27, 2007


Your Personality Is

Guardian (SJ)

You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.
Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.
You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.
You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!

What Type of Food Are You?

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Friday, August 24, 2007


A Good Read That I Borrowed From the Lock-it-up Group


What every locker should know: LOCKING TIPS:
No matter how you started your locks, texture, length, or stage of your journey- remember that these tips should apply to all lock wearers...

~Locking is about patience, so it is a long term commitment that might last 2 years or more for the locking to be complete. Be 100% sure that this is the step you want to take.

~Your hair (no matter what texture) will frizz during the process. Know that this is a normal process -all lockers will have to go through this experience so relax and don't stress!

~For people with looser curl textures or naturally straight hair, accept that frizz might always be part of the locking process.

~Love those bumps! It adds character to your locks.

~It seems no 2 people with afro hair has the same texture, naturally your locks will look different.

~There might be times when you are feeling impatient, stressed, bored and negative about your choice in locking -don't worry, this is very normal -especially during the teenage phases when locks have their own mind. Take a deep breath and remember that this time will pass. Enjoy the journey, don't waste time on stressing over it!

~Be prepared to learn a few lessons on the way and throw out your old perceptions of beauty.

~Keep a lock journal to remind your Self how far you have come!
~Collect headwear and experiment.

~Your locs are unique and beautiful. No one else's locks will be the same as yours so don't compare your locs, just love and accept what you have.

~Use products that are light so there won't be any product build-up in future.

~If at any stage you are uncomfortable with what your locktician is doing to your locks, don't be afraid to be very clear and let them know or change lockticians. Go with your instincts! They are your locks and you know whats best for them, so don't let others tell you otherwise. Your locktician should work with you, not against you.

~NEVER use any products that contain mineral oil and petroleum as their ingredients.

~Locking should not be an uncomfortable or unhygienic experience. Wash your locks regularly and always keep them clean.

~Water is your best friend throughout the locking stages.

~Healthy body, healthy locks.
~Use minimal of products to avoid build-up.

~If you're concerned about how the locks will look early on and/or that your loved ones will reject you if you decide to lock, then you shouldn't be considering them.

~Be willing to accept any and all stages of lockdom, including the negative reactions you may receive from family, friends, and strangers.

~You are not alone - get support from good friends or other means (forums are great for this!).

~There is a wide spectrum of locking techniques and methods, from the super cultivated locks to the super organic lock methods. Each are beautiful in their own right and no method of locking should be seen as 'more acceptable' or 'more beautiful' than the other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Naturally Fine"

* Naturally Fine*
What’s up with natural hair?
/ "*So God created man in His own image*; in the image of God He
created him; male and female He created them."---Genesis 1:27 /
/"I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days
was seated; His [God’s] garment was white as snow, // *and the hair
of His head was like pure wool*…"---Daniel 7:19 /
/^" His [God’s] head and //*hair were white like wool*, as white as
snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire…"---Revelation 1:14/*/ /*

I’ll never forget the day that I shaved my head (for the purpose of
removing the perm from it) for the first time. I walked into my
school’s cafeteria to the gasp of women and the smirks of men. Some
of these college-educated individuals were even brilliant enough to
state the obvious: "Shellie, you cut your hair!" while others asked
what I was still trying to figure out for myself, "Why the heck did
you do that?"

It was many years later (ten to be exact) before I was able to come
to any sort of resolve---at least one I could be fully at peace with
and proud of. To be honest, my initial motivation was to fulfill the
desire of my boyfriend at the time---a northerner who found perms
and hair extensions to be an overly-dependant accessory for southern
women. Then, it was because my budget could better afford a one-time
fee for a really good pair of clippers over the $50-100 dollars it
cost every other week to go the beauty shop. But even through those
times, I was still not ready to free myself fully of chemical
treatments and so I sported a texturized mini-fro, which basically
means---yes, I still had a perm in my hair.

Looking back, I was confident enough to wear my mane short, but not
confident enough to wear it in its truest form; some people choose
to call it nappy, but I choose to call it natural. Ironically, it
wasn’t until one of my very first trips to my mother and
stepfather’s home in South Africa that I mustered up enough courage
to go without the texturizers and gels to which I had grown so
accustomed. "Shellie, you are so beautiful," my Zulu stepfather
said. "You don’t need all of that stuff."

My African-American mother agreed. "We African-American women have
been so disillusioned by thinking that we have to have some sort of
chemical in our hair to be attractive; that straight hair is ‘good
hair’. It wasn’t until I came out of the European society that I was
able to fully see and embrace our natural beauty without all of the
make-up and perms. We don’t need it. You don’t need it."

But whenever I retuned from the motherland, ironically many other
African-American women who claimed to be just as "conscious" as my
mother was on the issues of natural beauty and black pride were the
same ones who were manipulating me into thinking that indeed I /did/
need it: "You would be so cute if you would perm or at least press
your hair out"; "What do you have against perms?"; "Oh Lord, you
always have to be different from everyone else"; "You neo-soul types
kill me"; "A woman’s virtue is her hair, you know---grow it out";
and even a little girl who to this day continues to say, "I don’t
like your hair…you look like a boy" every time I see her.

I don’t know if it is southern oppression (I am a Nashvillian), the
pressures of society in Corporate America; the infiltrations of the
media whether it be print magazines or television (especially the
video chicks on BET and MTV); the upbringing of those from other
generations who perhaps were told that "nappy is ugly"; or simply
the personal preference to have straight locks rather than tight
curls (which are all naps are, by the way), but when someone is at a
place where they encourage others to stray from their God-given
right to be and look exactly the way God made them, something is
very wrong; with them, not the people who choose the natural lifestyle.
To make sure that it was not just a "southern thang", I did some
research and found that unfortunately, many women across the country
believe that "straight is great" and much more attractive than those
who opt for afros, locks, twists or non-synthetic styles.

Bill Gaskins, a photographer featured in the /Good Hair, Bad Hair /book
which addresses these very issues stated, "The title [of the book]
refers to the terms used by black women themselves to define
different types of hair. ‘Good’ hair is sleek, smooth, fine,
straight and long. ‘Bad’ hair is coarse, kinky, coiled short and
nappy. Such beliefs are obviously derived from a narrow definition
of beauty that is marketed and promoted in America’s fashion and
beauty industry. Their power as a raced-based measurement, however,
goes beyond a personal statement of choice in approaches to
hairstyle and exposes the social and political implications for
African-American culture."

Cultural historian, Bruce Tyler goes on to say that due to the
nineteenth-century pressure for African-Americans to "properly
groom" themselves, "When female slaves attempted to change their
nappy hair to good hair, they were hoping for inclusion through an
imitation into Western beauty standards. Hair was slicked in waves
with axle grease, wrapped with string to make it straight and
relaxed using concoctions of potatoes, potash, lye and heavy fat."

This concentration carried on into the twentieth-century with Madame
C.J. Walker’s invention of the straightening comb and the continuous
upgrades of lye perms which remain to be heavily popular even today
despite the warnings that pregnant women and girls under the age of
twelve should refrain from using them due to their hyper-sensitivity
to the chemicals, which should cause us all to ponder, if perms are
not good for them, what makes us think that all women are not
at-risk to some degree?

As a matter of fact, Nappturality.com states, "Around 75% of Black women in America regularly, permanently alter a genetic racial trait, their hair. In doing so, many suffer scalp problems, hair loss and chemical-related disorders," and "Chemically relaxed hair is not healthy hair, no matter what it looks like on the outside. Extra care and special damage control
measures must be employed to prevent the relaxed hair drying out and
breaking off."

However, the issue here is not whether or not one has the right to
have whatever style they wish whether it be permed, pressed,
colored, weaved or styled in its natural state. No, the real concern
is that it appears that many women feel the need to /defend/ their
desire to wear their hair in the state that God created it, rather
than succumbing to the pressures of tradition, society and other
women. The fact is, as black women, no matter what you personally
decide to do with your own hair, the /last /individuals to challenge
their sisters’ right to a natural style and the first who should to
come to the defense and encouragement of it should be the black woman.
So why don’t we do it? Is it possible that like so many other things
in life, we attack what we do not preference or personally

Moreover, like the film "Mean Girls", perhaps like the
high school cliques and college sororities that we were a part of in
our youth, could it be that we continue to confuse conformity and
individuality, believing that we all must look alike to fit in? Or
maybe, just maybe we are subconsciously threatened by anyone who
steps out and does what they want as it relates to self-expression
because there is a part of us who wishes we had the same creative
boldness and innovation.

The theories vary as much as the people who conjure them up, but
this piece is not to encourage the sisters who process their hair to
change their style any more than it is to make the natural sisters
appear better than the rest. If I did that, this whole recitation
would be pointless. What it is to do is remind women---all women
that beauty does not come in any one form and to be natural is not
being "rebellious", "un-kept" or "avoiding beauty’s fullest potential."
On the contrary.

Since the beginning---which was the Word, we were created in the
image of God---an image that Scripture describes as having hair like
wool (the dense, soft, curly hair of sheep---hmmm); moreover,
historians have documented the pressures that have come with living
in a Western civilization, including the preoccupation with the
chemical processing of the hair to look more like European women. As
the Word also says, with wisdom, we must also desire to obtain a
clear understanding.

Without a doubt we are all made in the image of God, which in turn
makes all women beautiful, but there is something special about a
woman who chooses to look and then live (a whole ‘nother piece) as
God created her, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Natural
doesn’t just mean "nappy" because the reality is that so many of us
have other heritages running through our veins that causes a variety
of textures as it relates to our hair. However, living naturally
/does mean/ that we will not put ourselves in physical or financial
harm just to look contrary to our original creation and that we will
refrain from denouncing those who do not have the desire to succumb
to modern-day peer pressures of America’s distorted and oftentimes
contradictory definition of what’s in and what’s out as it relates
to being beautiful.

Because the reality is, when you truly believe in your own
individual beauty---the one you see before the Almay, MAC or Cover
Girl; the one who doesn’t frown or tear up at the sight of new
growth or being without hair color or extensions; the one who can
smile at her skin tone, facial structure and size; the one who
commits to celebrating her good points as well as her "flaws"
without reservation, apology or the applause of others---you can’t
help but embrace the originality of others.

Especially when they can do the same thing. With their hair…or
©Shellie R. Warren/2004


Sunday, August 19, 2007

OT "God's Not Mad At You, He's Mad About You!"

“God is not mad at you, He’s mad about you!”
Written by Sister Abena aka Chosen Vessel

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

When you read the scripture above do you think it applies to you? If you are born-again, and you are not walking after the flesh but after the Spirit, then guess what, this scripture is screaming your name. Condemnation will destroy you if you let it. Webster’s dictionary defines condemnation as a disapprobation; an expression of strong disapproval; pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable. Purposely God has scripture after scripture in His holy Word reminding us that we are forgiven (1 John 1:9), we are set free (John 8:36), we are loved (1 John 4:9-11) and I can go on and on, yet we still feel unworthy, guilty, doubtful, worthless, hopeless, and the big one FEARFUL. Did you know that every negative emotion or thought that you feel about yourself God is saying the opposite about you? Did you know that not only does He love you when you are walking after the Spirit but He loves you just the same when you fail to surrender to His will?

Beloved, please never, ever question Gods love for you, because His love for you is non-negotiable. He loves you with an everlasting love that you cannot even comprehend. Now, does the Bible stating that God loves you unconditionally mean He does not care what you do or how you live your life? Absolutely not! Do not be deceived by the devil and believe that God does not care how you live your life, for Romans 6:14 says that for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace. Ok, lets move to the next verse and read the entire passage, because if we stop there we may fool ourselves to think it is ok to sin because we are under grace, but Romans 6:15 goes on to say, what then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not!

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Please tell me child of God, what is the better choice, sin leading to death or obedience leading to righteousness? I think we would all answer this question the same way. But I want to take it one step further and take a look at Galatians 6:7-8 " Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." This is where the trick of the enemy of your soul can come in and have you deceived to believe that since you are born-again this does not apply to you.

But, do not be deceived child of God, you are loved and forgiven but there are, I repeat, there are consequences for your sins. Sowing and Reaping works both ways.I submit to you that John 10:10 says that, “The thief (devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy but I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

So take a hold of the promises that God has made to you from His heart to yours and live the abundant life that He so desires you to live. The first step is to understand that you are loved by God with an everlasting love and the second step is for you to make a choice to obey and receive the blessings that are set aside for those that obey Gods holy word. If you want supernatural blessings to overtake you, then you have to make a conscious decision to obey Gods word and become a slave of righteousness (Romans 6:18).

Pray this: Lord, please help me to see myself through Your eyes and not my own eyes because sometimes my eyes are tainted. Help me experience Your love like never before. I pray that You allow Your Spirit to work in me each day and enable me to walk after the Spirit and not the flesh so that I can experience and embrace the abundant life that You have already made available to me. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Brought to you by His Chosen Vessel Ministry
Written by Sister Abena aka Chosen Vessel
©2007 Sister Abena

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"My Carol's Daughter Order"

I just recently placed an order to refresh the products I use from Carol's Daughter. Below are the products that I use religiously for my hair from Carol's Daughter. It is hard to find good products for my hair type because one I have very thick hair, two my hair just holds onto oil, three, I need my hair to feel SUPER clean and four I love my hair to smell good.

Carol's Daughter Tui Hair products have met every last one of my needs. The oils/hair sheens are light, not oily, and they smell divine; the shampoo lathers and cleans pretty good and of course it also smells divine; finally, the leave-in conditioner provides a softness to my locks. I just wanted to share some of my hair regime info with you all, especially for those of you who are searching for some good product choices.

*An added bonus is that Carol's Daughters products are all natural.

Tui Herbal Shampoo

Tui Leave-In Conditioner

Tui Jojoba & Shea Butter Hair Sheen Tui Hair Oil

Note: Carol's Daughter is not the only hair products I use, just apart of my top "3." I did an earlier post a few months back highlighting some other products I use.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Happy 4 Year Locversary To Me"

Chosen Vessel Locked July 15, 2003 {Before}

"My locks free-style, right after getting out of the shower"
August 11, 2007 {After}

"How Long Are You Going to Let Your Locks Grow"

Survey: How long are you going to let your locks grow?

BTW- I am almost at 4 years and 1 month, for those of you who have asked me WHERE ARE THE PHOTO"S of my 4 year+ anniversary, I am still working on them. I plan on washing my locks this weekend and getting the photo's posted by early next week.

*The reason I am posing this survey question is because I am curious to see how long you want your locks to grow. My locks are growing so long I am not sure if I want to let them grow until they stop, to see the potential, or just stop at, maybe, my bra strap............WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS???????

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SISTERLOCKS- Keeping It Natural Not Nappy!

Sisterlocks - Keeping it Natural Not Nappy

HeadedBy: Priscilla ParhamHairstyles come and go. Over the decades we have seen big hair, flat hair and moussed hair. Our hairstyles have been fried, dyed and slicked to the side. What does it take for an African American women to go completely natural? Contrary to popular belief, going natural does not mean going nappy.Going natural for most means a lifestyle change and not simply a short-term hairdo. With the societal brainwashing of straight hair being best; even worse the negative stereotypes of kinky hair being "bad hair," often times black women are raised not knowing how to properly care for their own natural hair.

There are a number of natural hairstyles one can choose, from afros to cornrows, twists or dredlocs just to name a few, but Sisterlocks is the best at offering freedom and versatility. Sisterlocks use a special locking technique with natural hair. In appearance, they look similar to what could be called very neat micro-dreadlocks.

Listed below are 5 distinct characteristics normally found in women eager to go natural. Women willing to side step commonly accepted views of beauty as reported by U.S. media markets and sometimes even black society itself.

Characteristic 1 - TrailBlazer. She often blazes new pathways, loves to initiate and to do. This self-starter is frequently the one to get something off the ground.

Characteristic 2 - Honest. She tends to be direct and honest with people. If you really don't want to know the answer, then don't ask this audacious woman.

Characteristic 3 - Fearless. When the world is telling her, "You are too thick, too ugly, too dark, too outspoken and nappy-headed, she completely ignores them and continues forward. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. She defines her own beauty.

Characteristic 4 - Earthy Mother. She is usually juggling three or four balls in the air and not dropping a one. You will find her raising her children or someone elses' kids; taking good care of her household; she is middle or upper management at the office; and of course there is a business or hobby on the side. Where does she find time for herself? Her hair is the least of her worries, she requires it to be healthy, neat, clean, and stylish.

Characteristic 5 - Decisive. She knows what she wants. Sisterlocks are a permanent hairstyle not a fad. They require nurturing, a skilled stylist and patience to get started. This woman is committed and in it for the long haul. African American women are the luckiest when it comes to the availability of hairstyles, because of their unique hair type and texture there is a veritable buffet of choices. You can go to sisterlocks.com for more information on the history of sisterlocks or to find a stylist near you.Rejoice in your uniqueness and beauty, You Go Girl!

Copyright (c) 2007 Priscilla ParhamArticle Source: ABC Article Directory For more thought provoking and informative articles and audios by Priscilla Parham visit freeiq.com/priscillaparham . Priscilla coaches on awareness and goal setting for your health, your business and your relationships, motivating others to rebuild from the inside-out.