Thursday, November 13, 2014

Labor Day (a little late :)

I am pretty sure we hadn't had family pictures officially taken since Jacob was Silas' age. Oops. Life happened and we just got busy. How nice it was though to get these pictures and see how much our family has changed since then. We've added one, soon to be another, and have all grown in hard, stretching, beautiful ways. Introducing: my family :)

"Don't smile Jacob, no laughing, either." -worked quite well.

I can't believe how big he is. When he sits in my lap his head can no longer fit under my chin. It hurts my back to carry him. He is so strong and fast. He is smart. He is 4. He loves his brother so much. And it makes my heart cry tears of happiness that he is excited to be a big brother, again.

This is what it was really like having family pictures taken. I was trying not to stress out at the lack of the boys'  understanding of what we were trying to accomplish and instead embrace their excitement for being in a new place to run and play. And they did run and play, lots :)

Classic Silas. He is 1 1/2. He is a wild child. If we would have had him first... I mean, he is spunky. He prefers adventure. He is a risk taker. How can one little tiny person stretch your limits so far yet your heart has grown larger than ever imagined just upon meeting him? 

I'm pretty sure he was asking me with his eyes why in the world was I letting Bubba take off with him in the wagon. 



Jacob looks exactly like James did as a child. And Silas will eventually grow into his teeth :)

love my family :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My lemon went to Omaha!

My husband was out of town for work all last week in Omaha. The night before he left, he was packing his things and I was trying to be a good wife by not telling him which oils he could and couldn't take with him on his trip. He took the lemon! I had just run out of my lemon sugar scrub and didn't get to make more before he left :( this lemon scrub is the only face wash/scrub I have found that doesn't irritate my skin or cause me to break out. I love it because it is inexpensive to make and it WORKS. I use it at night and don't have to reuse it in the morning. The main reason I use it at night is because lemon is photosensitizing. This means you should avoid using on skin exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays. Using it the night before, gives the lemon time to basically soak into your skin and wear off. 

I also love to use the scrub on my legs. I rub it in to exfoliate, then rinse it off. There is enough moisture left to where I don't need shaving cream, I can just shave my legs! And afterwards you don't even need lotion :-)

I combine all ingredients in a glass jar and keep it in the bathroom. This recipe usually last me about a month. Here's my recipe:
  • Himalayan salt - 1/4c
  • Sugar - 1 3/4c
  • Coconut oil - 1c
  • Lemon essential oil - 10-15 drops (this oil is only 5¢ a drop!)

In case you are interested, here's some info about the ingredients!

Himalayan salt is a pink salt which comes from the heart of the Himalayan mountains. It contains the full spectrum of 84 elements and trace minerals. This salt is completely different than traditional table salt, which is so processed that it is void of any possible nutrients. Himalayan salts cleanse and detoxify the skin – which make it perfect to add to a facial or body scrub. Along with cleansing, Himalayan salt balances the pH in your skin. For me, this meant less redness and irritation on my face – which makes me less self-conscious if I don't wear make-up. 

You probably know that's not good for your body to consume refined sugar, however, it's great for your skin! Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the environment into the skin. So using sugar as an ingredient in this scrub, it actually helps hydrate your skin. Sugar is also a natural source of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is typically used to treat sun damaged or aging skin because it encourages cell turnover and generates fresher, younger-looking skin. Finally, and the most obvious, sugar is an excellent topical exfoliant. 

Unrefined coconut oil contains fatty acids and has many medicinal properties. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently than long-chain fatty acids. When consumed, they go straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they are converted into energy. (I'll write another blog post later about why I add coconut oil into my morning smoothie!)  One reason why coconut oil is great for the skin is because it contains lauric acid. Lauric acid can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. -Which is great for acne prone skin or just a clearer complexion in general! You may think that by washing your face with an oil, your face would be left "oily", but that's not the case. When rinsed well with warm water, coconut oil leaves your skin with just the right amount of moisture. 

Lastly, lemon essential oil! I prefer to use Young Living essential oils because I know their seed-to-seal promise. This promise means that from the very beginning - even when seeds are selected - to when they're planted, harvested and distilled, there are no chemicals, additives or alterations. This promise makes me feel safe to use their products on myself and especially my children. Did you know that lemons contain a supply of vitamins and minerals that is greater than any other food? Lemon also has the ability to clean toxins from any part of the body. There are many properties of lemons, some of which are: antifungal, astringent, anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant, diuretic, and expectorant. Lemon is also great for acne and many types of skin conditions. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Another shout out to my main man, Thieves! I am currently aware of three different cases of Hand-foot-and-mouth Disease that is going around. In case you're not aware what this disease is, it is a mild, yet highly contagious, viral infection that is common in young children. The symptoms include sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. There is no immunization or specific treatment for this disease. And the symptoms usually clear up in 7 to 10 days. Ten days of having painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue or gums can seem like an eternity for both the child and parents.

However, Thieves essential oil can shorten and heal it much faster. It is a blend of highly antiviral, anti-septic, antibacterial, anti-infectious essential oils. Thieves was created from research of a group of 15th century thieves who rubbed oils on themselves to avoid contracting the plague while they robbed the bodies of the dead and dying. When apprehended, these thieves disclosed the formula of herbs, spices, and oils they used to protect themselves and exchange for more lenient punishment. 

In 1997 Weather State University in Utah demonstrated it's killing power against airborne micro organisms. One analysis showed a 90% reduction in the number of the gram-positive Micrococcus luteus organisms after diffusing for 12 minutes. After 20 minutes of defusing, the kill-rate jumped to 99.3%. The ingredients in the Thieves essential oil blend are: clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary.
  • Cloves is the most anti-microbial and antiseptic of all essential oils. It is anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-infectious. 
  • Lemon has antiseptic like properties and contains compounds that amplify immunity. 
  • Cinnamon bark is one of the most powerful antiseptics known it is strongly antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. 
  • Eucalyptus is anti-infectious antibacterial antiviral and anti-inflammatory. 
  • Rosemary is antiseptic and antimicrobial. It is high and cineol – a key ingredient in antiseptic drugs. 

How do you use Thieves to treat hand-foot-and-mouth disease? In a glass bowl, dilute one part essential oil to four parts coconut or olive oil and rub into the affected area. (We use coconut or olive oil because these are "carrier oils". They aid in carrying essential oils through the skin for healing.) For sores in the mouth and throat, massage into neck and side of face. Because viruses like to cling to the spine, also massage into the spine. Repeat this application three times a day. To make this easier with children, you can prepare this mixture ahead of time and keep it in a glass jar on the counter so you can just rub your child with it when he/she is in their chair at meal times. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ice-bucket Challenge response, sort of...

I am not going to lie, I've gotten some pretty good entertainment from watching so many people have ice cold water dumped on them. I think it's great to see awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis spreading so quickly across the world.

My husband, James, graduated from Dupo High School in 2004. As a student he was a member of Air Force Jr. Reserve Officers' Training Corps and was taught by Chief Master Sgt. Donald L. Blanchette. "Chief" served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm and retired after twenty-three years of service. After which he went on to teach ROTC at Dupo from 1997 to 2008. I have heard so many good stories about James' time with Chief. And I finally had the privilege to meet him about one year ago at an ROTC reunion I attended with my husband. Although it was neat to go and meet people he went to high school with, the purpose of the reunion was to honor Chief Master Sgt. Blanchette. Chief had recently been diagnosed with ALS and the disease was progressing quickly. By the time I met him, he was already wheelchair bound, unable to walk or move his arms and legs. He was a very friendly man, smiling and talking with his former students. I didn't even know him, but it was so sad to think that this well-accomplished man only had a short time before he would no longer be able to turn his head, talk, and eventually swallow or breathe. It was hard on James to see someone that he had such good experiences with, and learned so much from, to be dying slowly with no way to stop it. Chief passed away May 20, 2014 after his battle with ALS.

I remember meeting a red-head in physical science at Collinsville High School, probably in 2001. Since I never graduated from high school, I'll just tell you that Nikki graduated in 2005. She is one of the sweetest, most enjoyable persons to be around, and quite smart. And even though we haven't been as close since we have each started our families, I still think of her as my best friend. We've known each other through many awkward phases and break-ups from bad boys. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of playing broom ball or sand volleyball until midnight. I knew her mom and her aunt. And as the years went on and I started working at a local hospital in 2007, I got to know her dad. Darin was an IT Tech at the hospital and I worked in the lab. He was always happy and would tell lame jokes and was just plain easy to talk to.

In January 2009 I had the honor to be in Nikki's wedding. And Darin was so sweet! It was his only daughters wedding and he selflessly prepared all of the food for the wedding reception! It was my job to make sure he knew when to come up from the church basement to see his beautiful daughter walk down the isle! Four and half months later, Nikki was in in my wedding and Darin was our personal chef. It was wonderful. And everybody loved the food :)

We moved to Carbondale had a baby, and moved back eighteen months later. I started working at the hospital again. Nikki had a baby. I had another one. She had another one. I quit my job when baby #2 came, so I haven't seen Darin since then.

Earlier this year, a friend from the hospital asked me if I knew that Darin had been diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy. At the time I didn't know exactly what MSA was, but from what I knew, it wasn't good. My heart sank for my dear friend. The relationship that I have with my dad means the world to me and I can't begin to imagine all of the thoughts and feelings she and her family are having. I have been a horrible friend as of late because I haven't brought it up. Even when I know it stares them in the face every day. I haven't asked about him because I don't care. I care a lot. I care so much that when I am at home playing with my boys and I start thinking about it I just start to cry. I hurt for them so bad. I hurt for the loss my friend is experiencing in a slow and painful way. What I need to do is grow a pair and talk. People need people to be real. To experience life with them, to share joy, to help carry the burden.

ALS and MSA are similar, but here is the difference: ALS is a neuromuscular disease that destroys motor neurons whereas MSA is a neurodegenerative disease that destroys motor neurons. ALS is usually more aggressive than MSA, but both diseases are a devastating battle ending in death.

I originally thought I would expound more about why I am choosing to not do the ice bucket challenge, but I'm actually going to leave that part pretty short and sweet. I don't have all of my facts straight yet, but from what I've been reading, the ASLA may support embryonic stem cell research. I think stem cell research is an brilliant discovery and has helped MANY people already. It is truly amazing how God created the human body and how stem cells can, for example, be taken out of a knee and injected into the back of the same person and those cells just go right to work, transforming into the cells needed to promote healing. That's probably one of the reasons God made them! I just cannot, in good conscience, support embryonic stem cell research. I think IVF is awesome because once the embryo is made, it is then implanted into a uterus to CONTINUE its formation into life. But to fertilize an egg to create an embryo and then never implant, but end the process of life that has already begun? I just can't do it. I would love to understand more where the ALSA stands exactly on this topic. Until then, I will find a way to donate to ALS/MSA research without funding embryonic stem cell research. And I continue to pray and ask you to pray for Darin and his family :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I found a journal entry that I wrote almost exactly two years ago. Two. Years. Ago. I read through it and it felt as though I could write it now. Sometimes it's frustrating when I think I'm in the same spot in life that I was years ago. But at the same time, I'm grateful I feel hope. Grateful I am loved by Him. Grateful I can be encouraged by something I wrote two years ago.

"...I am loved and approved. I am beautiful. I have a purpose.

Oh, what it would feel like to believe with my entire being. To be so sure of who God has made me to be. To fearlessly live in that truth and boldly love. Why then would I choose to believe anything different? What causes me to settle for anything less? What do I really have to be afraid of?

Nine months ago I could have never imagined that I am thinking, processing, learning, struggling, the way I am today. Nine months ago was far from just an experience. It was more like God put jumper cables on my heart and shocked me back to life; where since then I have been learning how to breathe, walk, love, and be loved again. In the past nine months I have had glimpses of freedom in my life that I never knew existed before. I have also seen some of the deepest, darkest, parts of my soul.

As far back as I can remember, I have always thought, "Is this it?" towards life. Only recently have I been hearing from God, in the midst of my messy life, "No, I have more." I remember the first time I realized there was actually hope in my heart. How relieving! Holy crap, how terrifying! How uncomfortable; would God really think that much of me to actually have a purpose for my life? To care how I feel, or how I am unable to feel? And he didn't just stop there, he has been teaching me how to feel. In ways I have never felt emotion before. I don't know exactly how to explain this yet, but it is definitely there.

So why am I so afraid? What is keeping me from giving all I have to just bask in the freedom I have already been given? How do I get past these fears that paralyze me and make me believe I will never change? What is it that's so threatening?

Approval (addict). I don't believe God is sufficient to meet my needs, therefore, I starve for all the approval I can get. Which leads me to being trapped; which leads me to fear. How much of my life is driven by fear? I've been shocked as I have been realizing that my whole life seems to be driven by fear. Afraid people won't like me if they really knew who I was. Afraid what would happen to my body if I stopped micromanaging everything I put into it. Afraid if I try to change people will think I am a fake. Afraid what my family thinks of me. Afraid how people view/judge my parenting, or lack thereof. Afraid to speak my mind because what if someone tells me that I really don't know what I'm talking about.

Through much fear and hesitation, I have decided it is time to start making my way through this forest of lies I have lived in for too long. There are definitely times I feel like quitting, or like I am wasting my time and energy. But it's in those moments of freedom that I know there is more."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cedarwood and Sleep

Whether five hours or nine hours, we all need sleep. And unfortunately for some us, the quality or quantity of our sleep changes throughout life for many reasons.  Take for example, my grandmother.  She is eighty-seven years old, has raised five boys, has thirteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren.  And judging from the stories my father has told me about his childhood, I can guarantee that my grandmothers sleep was affected.  Although her boys have been long gone from her house, she has never adjusted back into healthy sleep habits.  Growing up we would drive to Chicago at least once a year to visit her and other family.  We knew not to worry if we heard footsteps at 3am.  It would be Grandma, having an ice cream cone.  Then she would go back to bed.  As she has gotten older, getting to sleep and having good sleep have become even more difficult.  So I started to look into a few things for her.

One thing I came across was Cedarwood essential oil.  I learned that when you inhale cedarwood, or apply it directly to your skin, the limbic region of our brain is stimulated, specifically the pineal gland.  Now I just finished taking a psychology course, so the many functions of the brain are fresh in mine!  The pineal gland produces hormones, one of which is melatonin. Melatonin is what influences our sleep and wake cycles.  Melatonin also helps regulate other hormones and keeps our body on "rhythm".  This rhythm is our internal clock that plays a critical role in when we fall asleep and when we wake up.  Because our body produces more melatonin when it's dark and less when it is light, being around bright lights close to bedtime, or dim lighting during the day,  can disrupt ones normal rhythm, or melatonin cycle. Melatonin plays an important role in reducing stress by thwarting excess cortisol production, so it's good for everybody.

Knowing this, I bought my Grandma two bottles of essential oil.  One is a blend from Young Living Essential Oils called Tranquil, and the other is the single oil Cedarwood.  Tranquil has cedarwood in it, but also has lavender, roman chamomile, and (for a carrier) coconut oil.  I gave her both in case she didn't care for the cedarwood scent alone.  I brought these to her at the end of June when I was driving through Chicago to pick up my boys at my parents. She came with me to Waukesha and I showed her how to easy the oils could be applied with the roller fitments I had attached. We applied them before she headed home that night.

My grandma called me the next day and told me how shocked she was that she actually slept through the whole night for the first time in over thirty-five years. She sounded well-rested and didn't complain once during the phone call, which is rare! I think that getting ones sleep/wake cycles straightened out is the first step in achieving overall health and I'm so glad that my grandma is experiencing just that. She says the Cedarwood and Trainquil help her calm down at night and sleep well.

I've also read a little about how cedarwood can stimulate hair follicles for hair growth. So I've been experimenting with that by putting a few drops on my fingertips and massaging my scalp at night. I've only been doing this for about a week, so I haven't noticed growth yet. However, my hair feels healthier and I have been sleeping GREAT.

...and sometimes I experiment with essential oils on my children... Silas is a great sleeper, logging at least twelve straight hours a night. Jacob, well he sleeps ok.  He sleeps through the night most nights out of the week, but on the others you can find him crawling into our bed at 2am.  I do not sleep well with an extra person in our bed.  More power to you if co-sleeping is your thing, but it is definitely not mine.  So on the nights he comes into our bed, I don't sleep from then on.  One would think I would put him back to bed, but for some reason, although I'm awake, I'm not awake enough to escort him to his room.  So after seeing the oils help my grandma and improve my sleep, I didn't hesitate to try it with Jacob.  Most of the time I apply essential oils on the boys, it is on the bottoms of their feet or directly where needed.  I know this oil is safe for children over two years of age, so I put two drops on the top of his head and rubbed it in.  He calls it "the oil that helps me stay in my bed all night."  Jacob is still his normal self in the mornings so I'm unable to tell if the quality of his sleep has changed, but he does stay in his bed, so the quality of my sleep is definitely better :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

I love a good thrill.  Not a scary movie thrill, but an adventure type of thrill.  I've been known to climb abandoned silos with my camera to take pictures of mountains.  On canoeing trips I get excited about white water and steer toward it (I've never tipped my canoe.)  When I lived at home, I used to love taking our dog rollerblading because with her I went so much faster than I could on my own.  Skydiving is on my bucket list.  And I love working in an ER.  Just talking about his has me on edge wanting to do something fun!  Anyway...James and I were at the Grand Canyon six years ago this month and there was this ledge that I just had to climb out on.  I don't recall there being a sign or anything saying you weren't supposed to...I just had to climb over a fence to get there, no biggie.  It was beautiful. I would totally do it again.
And then I had my second child. And he is exactly like me. Silas throws the most dramatic fits about the littlest things. He is a climber and an adventure seeker. Totally different than when Jacob was his age. We have had to buy a gate for the stairs. I take him down from desks, tables, and other furniture multiple times a day, by which he is so confused. If he gets used to these adrenaline rushes this young, he's going to be doing some crazy things in another twenty years.

One of Silas' thrills used to be to see how hard he could rock his high chair. His high chair isn't a stand-alone, it's one that attaches to a regular kitchen chair. And at the time we had a high table with high chairs.  So when he would thrust his body forwards and backwards, I would have to quickly swing my foot over to the bar of his chair and catch him before he would tip himself over. He would respond in one of two ways: frustration for stopping him, or excitement because he felt a little bit of a thrill.  I kind of enjoyed the thrill, too, of catching him at the last second, but I came to the conclusion that it probably wasn't the safest way to operate things.

So I decided to get a different kitchen set. I put it on Craigslist and it sold rather quickly. So I found a different kitchen table and chairs rather quickly.  I tend to not judge anything by its appearance, rather imagine what I can do with it to turn it into what I am looking for. So the set I found wasn't particularly pretty, but I had Pinterest ideas stored up and got to work.  I sanded, primed, and painted until it was done. In the mean time, there were a few nights we had to have dinner as a picnic in the living room. I'm happy how it turned out. And because of the lower style chairs, with the legs being further apart and more angled, Silas cannot tip himself over. It was funny because the very first time we put him in his new chair, that's what he tried to do.


    LATELY, it seems the norm around here looks a lot like this.  If someone dropped by unannounced chances are likely that one child would greet you at the door in his birthday suit while I come trailing behind, holding the other while he has a mid-life crisis.  There would be toys all over the living room, dishes in the sink, and overflowing laundry baskets.  Your feet might stick to my kitchen floor, so use the front door.  I try to remind myself this is a season, but sometimes I just don't feel like a good-enough mama.  I try not to add up my self-worth from my children, but when they consistently defy how I handle things, I start to question my own judgment.  This sets me up for a tailspin of going over all the ways I feel like I am not succeeding as a parent. 
    I know this is just a season, but parts of just suck.  I want to try to enjoy them in the midst of the suckiness.  I want to really soak up every piece of life they have to offer.  I want my heart to be in a spot where I can help guide theirs.  I don't want the meltdowns and defiance to throw me for a spin.  I want to be able to love them more through it all.  I want to focus on the main point, which is loving Jesus, rather than getting caught up in petty things. 
    People have a tendency to only share their highlights on social media.  And I totally get it, because that's exactly what I do.  But I want to do it differently, although from an outsiders perspective it will probably look the same.  When I share things I want it to be with intention.  I want to intentionally engage with my children more.  I want to intentionally guide their hearts.  I want to listen to them better and understand how God made them and appreciate their uniqueness.  I am supposed to be an example of what God's love is like, so I choose to love.
    What's not to love anyway? Once I stop focusing on the crazy stuff, I am captivated by their beauty. Their smiles and laughter. And how their little arms wrap around my neck. I never want to lose sight of theses things. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

NEW: KidScents Oil Collection

During the 2014 Young Living global convention, a few new products were unveiled for the first time! The one I am most excited about is the KidScents Oil Collection. This collection consists of ready to use, gentle oils, designed to meet the needs of infants and children. These can be used for: fevers, biting during nursing, sleep issues, calming, upset tummies, boo-boo's and more!

This collection will be available to the public in July 2014! Here is the information we received at convention! Contact me with your questions!

KidScents Oil Collection

4-5ml essential oil blends and 2-10 ml roll-on blends all diluted with coconut oil - designed specifically for use by kids. Comes as a kit with KidScent backpack included. KidScents® Oil Collection is a comprehensive kit that addresses the most common concerns of childhood. This kit includes six, mild essential oil blends, formulated just for children:
o GeneYus™
o Owie™
o Bite Buster™
o TummyGize™
o SniffleEase™
o SleepyIze™
Conveniently packaged in an easy-to-carry case, each collection comes with 2 roll-on fitments for easy application, especially for Owie™ and TummyGize™. This arsenal of proprietary blends has been formulated in the appropriate strength to meet the needs of children.
With KidScents Oil Collection, parents and caregivers can safely and effectively navigate children through childhood to become healthy and happy adults.
TummyGize™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Mentha spicata† (Spearmint) leaf extract, Mentha piperita† (Peppermint) Oil, Citrusreticulata† (Tangerine) peel Oil, Foeniculumvulgare† (Fennel) Oil, Pimpinella anisum†(Anise) seed oil, Zingiber officinale† (Ginger) root oil, Elettaria cardamomum†(Cardamom) seed oil
SleepyIze™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides
SniffleEase™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Eucalyptus bicostata† (Eucalyptus blue) oil, Bursera graveolens†(Palo santo) wood oil, Lavandula angustifolia†(Lavender) oil, Hyptis suaveolens† (Dorado azul) seed oil, Cinnamomum camphora† (Ravintsara) leaf oil, Myrtus communis† (Myrtle) oil, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Origanum majorana† (Marjoram) leaf oil, Pinus sylvestris† (Pine) leaf oil, Eucalyptus citriodora† oil, Cupressus sempervirens† (Cypress) leaf/nut/stem oil, Eucalyptus radiata† leaf oil, Picea mariana† (Black spruce) leaf oil, Mentha piperita† (Peppermint) oil
SleepyIze™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Lavandula angustifolia† (Lavender) oil, Pelargonium graveolens† (Geranium) flower oil, Anthemis nobilis† (Roman chamomile) flower oil, Citrus reticulata† (Tangerine) peel oil, Citrus aurantium bergamia† (Bergamot) peel oil, Boswellia sacra† (Sacred Frankincense) oil, Valeriana officinalis†(Valerian) root oil, Ruta graveolens† (Rue) oil
Owie™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Abiesbalsamea† (Idaho balsam fir) needle oil, Melaleuca alternifolia† (Tea tree) leaf oil, Helichrysum italicum† flower oil, Canarium luzonicum† (Elemi) gum oil, Cistus ladaniferus (Cistus) oil, Chamaecyparis obtusa† (Hinoki) oil, Eugenia caryophyllus† (Clove) bud oil
GeneYus™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Boswellia sacra† oil, Callitris intratropica† wood oil, Cedrus atlantica† wood oil, Melissa officinalis† leaf oil, Picea pungens† tree oil, Bursera graveolens† wood oil, Ferula galbaniflua† resin oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, Citrus aurantium bergamia† peel oil, Commiphora myrrha† oil, Santalum paniculatum† wood oil, Pelargonium graveolens† flower oil, Aniba rosaeodora† wood oil, Cananga odorata† flower oil, Hyssopus officinalis† leaf oil, Picea mariana† leaf oil, Rosa damascena† flower oil
Bite Buster™ Ingredients: Caprylic/capric glycerides, Tanacetum vulgare† (Idaho tansy) oil, Cymbopogon nardus† (Citronella) oil, Bursera graveolens† (Palo Santo) wood oil.
†100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PTSD... Is there hope?

I'm so excited to be here in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Young Living global convention. It's only the third day, and I've learned so much already. I'm sitting in my hotel room right now eating lunch and I'm trying to process everything I heard this morning. I have so much to share on energy, how to be successful, helping autism, mental illnesses, and the health of our children. But the thing that has me experiencing "leaky eye syndrome" (as Dr. Gary Young puts it), is when they had a "Freedom Panel" on the main stage. The freedom panel was a group of five people the talked about trauma and it's two different stages: Big "T" Traumas, such as war, natural disaster, major injuries or accidents, abuse or assault, major medical challenges, or a death of a loved one. And Little "T" Traumas, such as a loss of the job, a loss of a significant relationship, or a chronic lack of support.

Kimberly Mahr is a Licensed Clinical Therapist specializing in Complex Trauma and EMDR. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.

Kimberly talked about the limbic system in our brain and how it is involved in our emotions, motivation, memory, and learning. Did you also know that the sense of smell is the *only* sense connected to the limbic system in our brain? And that when we smell something it connects immediately. Kimberly talked about some essential oils that she diffuses in the room with her clients during sessions. She diffuses frankincense for it emotionally protective quality. She diffuses Ylang Ylang, which helps people who have experienced trauma to open up their memories and explore their feelings. And lastly, she also diffuses lavender. Lavender is known for its highly calming effect on everyone, from infants to adults.

Back to the Freedom Panel. The first person to share a testimony was Sargent Major Jess Johnson. He was in the army for years as a medic and experienced helping other people who had lost limbs in battle and other serious injuries. Sgt. Johnson said his main physical issue was sleep. He was simply unable to sleep. His second problem was the emotion anger, which for him he said one way it came out was in road rage. Sgt. Johnson said he applies frankincense under his tongue every day and in the past few weeks, his wife pointed out that he has only had to check his anger three times a week. This is a huge improvement for Sgt. Johnson.

Dr. Tom Reed spoke next. - Dr. Reed said he has seen PTSD in his brother when he came home from Vietnam. He has also seen in his office, when someone came home from Iraq. But the most profound and heart wrenching case of PTSD Dr. Reid has heard occurred and a six-year-old boy. He read us the story from a piece of paper, written from Katie's (the mother) perspective.
    "We were getting ready to adopt Zac, age 2, and Ella, an infant. Both Zac and Ella suffered from drug abuse inutero, and satanic and black magic abuse. Zac is now 6, Ella, 5. Zac would have vivid memories that tormented him day & night. Hugs were physically scary and painful for him. He hadn't slept a full night in 4yrs. He took multiple psychiatric medications and Ella had to be removed from the house during his rages because he would become so violent. He would throw things, break things, threatened to kill himself or me; he even broke my leg during one rage.
    By divine province, I was late to church and ended up sitting next to someone at who offered to teach me about EO. She taught me about the oils of Scripture and frankincense. I tried frankincense on Zac's feet at night. For the first time in four years, he slept through the entire night, not waking up once and woke up an entirely different child. He went to school and his teacher noticed a difference. After school we went to walk and he held my hand for the first time. He asked for my forgiveness for the first time. I know diffuse release and forgiveness on a daily basis. When he starts to struggle, he asks for the oils."
It's about healing. God is our healer. And he's healing this little boy.

Licensed Professional Counselor Ryan Watson shared his journey of how he got involved with neurofeedback. He asked questions like: Does it change the brain? What parts does it change for those locked in PTSD? He showed us a picture of thermal readings of someones brain. This person was in a psychiatric unit locked in fight mode from PTSD. He wasn't communicating or talking with anyone. He then showed us another thermal reading which was taken only minutes after the first one. In the time between the two pictures were taken, Dr. Watson used three different essential oils on this person: Idaho Blue Spruce, which decreases cortisol levels; Sacred Frankincense, which brings brain inflammation down and helped pull him out of fight mode; and Copaiba applied right above the ears, which is also an anti-inflammatory. This man's brain calmed down in ways he never imagined possible. He actually talked with Dr. Watson afterwards and said, "I feel like I can live my life again."

In closing...Dr. Gary Young was asked what the top oils to deal with emotional distress would be. His response was that we are all individuals and all have different chemistry; and our needs change all the time. So there are different single oils and different blends based on the current need one has and will appeal to people differently. He suggested picking an oil that's right for you and use it when you've been triggered to bring you back down. Dr. Young went on to say that each one of us has our own "closet" of trauma and are affected differently. The first formula he made for dealing with PTSD was Trauma Life.  The first people to try it were very defensive, cold, and unresponsive. After 24hrs, the had a conversation and said they slept for 5hrs. Even reiterated the importance of solving sleep issue first. Next, rage was the biggest issue. They used Forgiveness essential oil for 24 hrs. Then, these people reported that they slept 8 hours and didn't feel rage which normally consumed them. These people experienced freedom for the first time since experiencing trauma. They experienced freedom from pain, the deep hurt, the scars inside. They let the anger and hate move out of of their DNA so they could move on with their lives.

I'm pretty sure I cried during this entire freedom panel. What really affected me was how all of these people give credit to God. They know God is the true healer; the giver of life. And we find these essential oils in God's creation. God doesn't want us to live in bondage or to be trapped by our fears and our memories God wants us to live in freedom so we can ultimately live for him and know his love.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beauty in the Storms

I absolutely love thunderstorms. There's something peaceful about listening to the fierce wind and surging rain. People can manipulate and control many things, but they don't have command over the weather. And there's nothing I can do to change it either. So when it's storming outside, I find it easy to enter a state of calm. I find myself sinking in to the unpredictable beauty of the storm. I am free to rest. Free to be still and relax.

Until the mud dries up. Then I better get out of my tranquil trance. Because chances are I was actually spacing out and my boys are probably running around naked. And because I also love beautiful weather; being outside and going on picnics. And I am excited for many more of these days to come this spring with my family.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Before I sat down to write about this one I had to organize my thoughts because there are so many good things I could say about Valor! So I guess I'll start with the basics... Valor is an essential oil blend containing the following oils: Rosewood, Blue Tansy, Frankincense, and Spruce. The description in the EO desk reference says this, "Balances energies to instill courage, confidence, and self-esteem. It helps the body self-correct its balance and alignment." And I have found this to be true when we use Valor.

Although Valor came in my Everyday Oils kit I ordered around Thanksgiving, I didn't start using it until recently. All I can say about that, is that I wish I would have started using it sooner! I want to make the most of my oils and use them the best ways I can, so I've been doing more research lately. And when I learned Valor could help with confidence and courage, I immediately knew how I wanted to try it out.

My parents gave us a gym membership for Christmas (yay!) and I couldn't wait to start going. It was perfect timing to get serious about working off left over baby weight and we could all benefit from getting out of the house during this long winter. So we started going to the gym. I love working out, so that part has always been great. However, every morning we would go, my 3 year old would freak out when I brought him to the child care area. Screaming. Not letting go of me. Tears. Those tears break my heart. He loves playing with other kids and usually does great when we go places. But for some reason, he seemed to have heightened anxiety when we got to the gym. This went on for a couple weeks until I realized what Valor was, and that I already had it in my living room. So we gave it a try.

Jacob is used to me putting Thieves oil on the bottom of his feet every morning, so he didn't question when I told him I also needed to put a drop of oil on the back of his neck. I didn't want to tell him anything and risk throwing off my experiment! So off to the gym we went. We parked and went in, so far so good. The anxiety would always come once we got to the child care area. We walked in the nursery and he let me take his coat off and hang it up. I said, "Mommy's going to go exercise for a little bit and then I'll come right back for you, ok?" He said, "Ok, Mommy." Gave me a hug and a kiss and started playing. This threw me off! I just stood there for a minute, confused, yet proud. No melt down, no tears, and no clinging to me like he's never going to see me again.

I'm not going to lie, I was a little skeptical. Was this the oil really helping him? Or was his behavior just a coincidence? There was only one way to tell for sure, so I kept applying the Valor before we would go to the gym. We have now gone to the gym for 2 1/2 months without Jacob experiencing anxiety or break-downs. That makes this mama very happy :)

My friend Wendy told me that Valor is often referred to as "chiropractic in a bottle". After all, it does claim to help the body self-correct its alignment, right? I go to a (great!) chiropractor regularly, yet most of the time I would be hurting by the time my next weekly appointment would roll around. I could definitely tell the chiropractic care was helping in major ways, but my body just kept going back to the ruts it was used to. So after I found Valor to be such a help to Jacob, I decided to start using it myself. Before I left for an adjustment (I think it was just over a month ago), I applied one drop of Valor with a dab of coconut oil to the bottoms of my feet. My actual adjustment wasn't much different than other ones, but what surprised me was that I was able to go two weeks before my next appointment. I was nervous, because when my back starts hurting it often becomes difficult to accomplish day-to-day tasks without experiencing noticeable pain. So I went back after two weeks. I still needed an adjustment, but wasn't hurting like before. As a result, we've been able to cut our monthly chiropractic budget in half. This also makes me happy :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


'Tis the season for colds, germs, and stuffy houses. If my babies wouldn't freeze their little noses off, I would open the windows for some fresh air! In the mean time, I use Purification. This is an essential oil blend containing 6 oils: Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavandin, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Myrtle. Purification cleanses and disinfects the air and neutralizes odors. Like most oils, you can use it three ways: apply, diffuse, inhale.
    Purification can be directly applied to your skin or diluted with a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut. So if you need to disinfect/cleanse cuts, scrapes, spider bites, or stings, simply put a couple drops onto a cotton ball and apply directly. I have also massaged Purification with coconut oil into the skin between my thumb and pointer finger, and on the pads of my feet. These places are directly connected to your sinuses and the quickest way I have found relief from a stuffy nose/sinuses.
    I love my diffuser. And this winter, Purification has probably seen it the most. Now that my 3 year old goes to preschool, we not only have our own germs, but also those from the other children he is with for the day. My favorite place to diffuse Purification is in the living room. We all spend a lot of time there and it's the main coming and going area. I diffused it for the first time when my 3 year old was developing a cold and quite congested. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty grossed out with the outcome... From breathing the air in the room where Purification was being diffused, his congestion lessened and everything loosened up and came out of his nose. Ew. I won't go into the detail of what it looked like or how often we blew his nose unless you ask ;)
    Inhalation. I absolutely love how you can benefit from the oils by simply breathing. Rubbing a couple drops between your palms and cupping your hands over your nose while you take deep breaths clears sinuses and kills some germs along the way. This may just be me, but I feel like it also perks up my senses and clears my head :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I'm a practical girl, so if one product can serve many uses, you have my attention! Frankincense is one of my favorite oils for this reason. So I would like to share a few ways I enjoy it's benefits.

Frankincense has been here for a long time. In fact, it was given to Jesus as a gift when he was born. Since ancient times, Frankincense has been used in many religious ceremonies, and is still used in some churches today, which I think is pretty interesting. Because of its natural mood uplifting abilities, I often diffuse Frankincense in my living room. This oil has proven itself to be the fastest way to calm and balance my emotions. What if I'm on the go and don't have time to diffuse and enjoy? Twist the cap off and take some deep breaths. You can have the same benefit without actually using the oil. -Which is something I love about essential oils. And since Frankincense is among the pricier oils, I love that I'm able to benefit from it without worrying about using it up quickly.

(A little secret: even though visiting relatives can be great, I'm going to be honest and say it can also cause stress. So often I will toss my frankincense in the diaper bag so I have it when I need it :)

Frankincense has an excellent rejuvenating effect on skin through its ability to repair skin cells so I began using it on my breakout-prone face. After washing my face at night, I use one drop of Frankincense with a couple drops of olive oil and give myself a little face massage. After a couple weeks I noticed the wrinkles around my eyes were less noticeable. My complexion is brighter & if I break out, it is cleared up quickly. Although, since using the oils, especially Progessence Plus, I hardly break out anymore, which is awesome.

Do your joints get sore when the weather changes? Or do you have arthritis? Frankincense can really improve the bodys ability to manage inflammatory. When applied topically, Frankincense can sooth sore muscles, alleviate the discomfort of wounds, injuries, or pain. Simply use a drop or two and massage with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut or olive oil) into the area you need inflammation relief. It can even be used for relief of menstrual cramps. Add a couple drops to your bath and it can not only ease your cramps, but it supports your hormone system as a whole. Because of Progessence Plus and Frankincense, I no longer dread that time of the month. I feel like I have more days in the month now that I don't experience hormone headaches, cramps, or PMS. If you struggle with any of these and are looking for answers, I would love to show you how things can change :)