Courage · encouragement · Family · inspiration · Patriotism · Summer · travel

Facing the Storm 

While in conversation this week with my husband, just catching up from all the “stuff” going on, I noticed there’s so many life changing and significant things happening in our country right now. The obvious ones are the hurricanes (Harvey & Irma), but there’s also massive wildfires in several states, a huge earthquake in Mexico, I could keep going but you guys get the picture. We’ve got political junk going on, news media lying left and right, confused people causing and participating in riots….just lots of madness seems to be everywhere. There just seems to be this heavy fog or burden weighing us all down and that in itself can be exhausting.
However, the reaction of many great Americans last week in Texas was phenomenal, absolutely restored my faith in the people of this amazing country. People from all over the country sacrificing their time, money, resources and safety to rescue complete strangers is what makes me proud to be an American. After watching all these people pulling boat after boat to go save some people they don’t even know, I was ready to go borrow a boat and go down there myself!! All of it is so inspiring.

Just yesterday my husband was telling me about this neat meme he saw. F.E.A.R.- Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise……….did you goose bumps like I did? Now, don’t get me wrong there’s a time and a place for both of those. Most people should be forgetting everything and running from these hurricanes, but without those who rise and face it, so many more people, families and animals wouldn’t be alive today. With all the junk going on like I mentioned above, to still know there are good, noble, brave people out there makes me feel like it’s not as bad as it seems. We all have some good in us and it’s times like these that it shows.

This F.E.A.R acronym can apply to so many different situations and to all people. It could be a serious illness that you’re facing, or a failing marriage, maybe it’s severe depression, or just the stress of life. We all have to decide whether to forget and run or face it and rise. I hope I can always face it and rise when it’s necessary. Well, except for those times when we do need to run, like these hurricanes for instance.

I know this is a overly simplistic view, but it really struck a chord with me and I hope it does with you too. Be careful out there folks!

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DIY · Essential Oils · Gardening · Skin Care · Summer · travel · Wellness

Summertime Essential Oil Must-Haves…

Alright guys, if you love essential oils and can’t live without them, or if you’re just curious and wondering what this oil craze is all about…I have put together a list of the top 10 must-have essential oils for summer.

I must start up by saying that I’m not going to push a particular brand on you or bash any other brands that I don’t use…for some reason there tends to be this rivalry among oil users to convince others that your brand is the best.   With that said, I have to reiterate that pure quality oils are a must, or they simply won’t be effective, and can even cause harm.  You cannot buy quality oils at the grocery store (not even organic chains), pharmacies or over the counter.  You pretty much have to order from an essential oil company or through someone who sells for the oil companies. If a company’s main focus is not on essential oils I can guarantee that their oils are not 100% pure, organic or therapeutic grade oils. Now,  I know you’re thinking it and yes I do have a company that I use and trust for my family and business.  I could go into a whole other post about why I choose this company, but for now we’ll just say they are 100% pure, organic and grown in the most natural state that the plants thrive in.

Ok, so now onto to the summer must-have list! I will list them from 10 to 1, 1 being my favorite and/or most useful for summer.

10. Vacation Car Oils –  Can I get an amen?!  If you have kids, this is vital in order for your family to arrive at your vacation destination with your sanity and the majority of your hair.   For my family it has double purposes.  I have 3 members of my family that get car sick…seriously bag carrying, pulling over in the nick of time…car sick.  So, it is a must for me to carry peppermint oil and the digestion blend, Digestzen.  Simply applying to the stomach and even just smelling these can ward off this awful feeling for my family.  Secondly, I carry relaxing oils like Lavender, a grounding blend called Balance and a calming blend called Serenity.   You can imagine the value these calming oils can have on a van full of bad attitudes, restless legs and cooped up kiddos.  On a road trip these are priceless to me!!


9. Poison Ivy Blend– Also, a yearly tradition is for someone in our house to get poison ivy or poison oak.  I can testify it is awful and so annoying to have that constant nagging feeling to scratch.  For this you can use Lavender “neat” (undiluted – full strength), or Cypress and Peppermint with just a few added drops of Witch Hazel.  Apply as often as needed.  (Caution: limit use of Peppermint on little ones under 1 year old).

 

8. Allergy Blend– For those summer allergies like Ragweed…whatever may be the trigger… LLP is the relief you need.  Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint blended with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) is a great way to use it topically, but diffusing and/or taking it orally are very effective as well. Remember, do not take essential oils internally if the company advises against it.  My company does inform you if an oil is safe to be ingested or not.


7. Cooling Mist Spray– Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how great this trick is when you’re standing in line at Disney or some amusement park roasting in the sun.  All you need is Peppermint oil, water and a spray bottle.  The cooling effect peppermint has on you is remarkable. Tests can actually prove that peppermint can lower your body temperature.  Hint: those fan spray bottles (like at Disney) are even better with just couple added drops of peppermint!


6. Super Sleep Blend– Alrighty, I’m just being real. Summer can be hard for us parents to get our kids to bed…and let’s face it, we need quiet time occasionally in order to be fully functioning adults.  There are usually a couple nights a week where I have to whip out this sleep blend to get my rascals to bed.  I blend 30 drops Serenity (restful blend), 15 drops Lavender and 10 drops Vetiver all in a roller bottle with FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil).  Roll it on wrists, pillows, and (if necessary) on the bottoms of feet and behind ears.  It works like a charm…even for my night owl.


5. Bug Bite Blend– If your family is like mine, and you’re outside a lot, then without fail, someone probably forgets to apply bug repellent and you end up with itchy, scratchy kids.  This blend is a great relief for them when they just can’t stop scratching.  There’s actually 2 variations of this blend, and both are great. First is 25 drops Lavender, 15 drops Melaleuca mixed with some FCO in a roller ball, applying to bites as needed. Second is the allergy blend listed above as #8, which also works well for bug bites.

4. Stress and Anxiety Blend (Chill Out)– This blend is a must for me when the whole day (for whatever reason) has been difficult or just plain impossible.  This is a 50/50 blend of Serenity and Balance(grounding blend).  Add 30 drops of each, topped off with FCO, to a roller bottle and you’re set. Roll that sucker on your wrists, behind ears, back of the neck, over your heart…maybe not all at once…but really find the area that works best for you, and reapply until your sanity has returned.


3. After Sun Spray– OMG, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement for this blend!!! It has helped me and my kiddos when we have gotten too much sun, and (well, let’s face it) when I (mom) have forgotten to reapply the sunblock.  No more sleepless nights or chills from being severely burned. I apply this blend at the first sight of pinkness on any of us.  I generally apply 2 times before bed and by morning we’re usually tanned already. If not, keep applying. It not only tans, but it also removes the heat from the burn and helps to prevent peeling as well.  The blend is simply 20-25 drops Lavender and 8 drops Peppermint filling the rest of a 2oz spray bottle with FCO.

2. Lavender– Yep, that’s all.  Lavender is a must around the pool and to have readily available if your kids run barefoot outside.  I’m not kidding when I say Lavender will take out a bee sting or wasp sting…any sting…in a matter of seconds!!  Someone in my crew, without fail, always manages to get stung by the pool, and Lavender is my life saver.  I rub it onto the sting area and count to 3 and they’re already jumping back in the pool…after screaming just seconds before from an awful sting.  Seriously, this makes my mom job so much easier!


1. Bug/Pest Repellent– Yes, this is a must-have for our family.  Three of us I think attract bugs from the neighboring counties!  So, I spray us all down…including my dog! It’s non-toxic, and I don’t have to fret over wether or not they get a bath every time I apply this repellent like I did when I used products containing Deet and other harmful chemicals.  The blend consists of  25 drops Terrashield, 8 drops Peppermint, 8 drops Lavender, 8 drops Lemongrass and 6 drops Cedar Wood with the remaining amount of the 2oz spray bottle being filled with spring (or distilled) bottled water.  Be sure to shake well before each use, and you can reapply as needed. Click here for more info on this blend. 


So…there you have it!!  The top 10 oils to make your summer easier and more enjoyable.  If you’re needing a place to buy quality essential oils, click here to access my website.  Feel free to contact me for more information, or with any questions you may have about essential oils.  

adventure · inspiration · travel

Wanderlust

For the past two weeks, I have been in Alabama with my parents and other family who live down there.  I was born and raised (for the most part) in the Birmingham area (Walker and Marion counties).  Much of my family, and many of my dearest friends still live there, so my son and I go every summer to spend some time.  Each year, we try to find places to go that we’ve never been before, just to explore and get out of town for a bit.  I inherited a healthy dose of wanderlust from my mother, so when we get together we tend to find an adventure or two.

This year, Mother and I decided to drive south about 2 hours toward Montgomery, to a little town that most Americans have heard of at one point or another:  Selma, Alabama.  Neither of us had ever been before, and both of us had always wanted to see the Edmund Pettus bridge, where African American protesters were brutally attacked by Alabama State Troopers in 1965.  (If you’d like to see enlarged versions of the pictures below, just click on the images.)

This is an important piece of American history, and something that every Alabamian should see at one point or another.  So we hopped in the car, my teenage son in tow, and set out on our little journey.

Another stop along the way that we decided to make was to a place called Old Cahawba.  It was the first Alabama state capitol – a bustling, booming river town on the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers that was also the site of a large Civil War prison that housed over 3,000 Union soldiers over the course of the war.  The town no longer exists, as it was long ago burned to the ground and abandoned, but there are some ruins left to see, a couple of standing structures, and a few cemeteries that are teeming with pecan and magnolia trees.  I’ve been all over the state of Alabama throughout my life, and I have never seen so much Spanish moss as I did in Dallas County!  It truly was a sight to behold.

It was a lovely day, and more than worth every gallon of gas and every moment behind the wheel.

Our second excursion was a little to the north in Franklin County, Alabama to a little town called Phil Campbell.  Our destination:  Dismals Canyon.  Now, Alabama is known for its caves and caverns, as well as its wilderness and vast national parks, but I had no idea that this canyon was there!  So, my mother, my son, my sister-in-law, my nephew and I packed a picnic lunch and set out to spend our day exploring the Dismals Canyon.  If you’ve never been to this place, I recommend you spend the time and money to go!   Not only did we spend the day hiking and taking in the many wonders of nature in this beautiful, hidden paradise, but we also opted to return at dusk for the night tour to see the Dismalites.  What are those????  Well…they are nothing short of a mystery and miracle of nature!  The Dismalites are a bio-luminescent larvae that are only found in Dismals Canyon, New Zealand, and Australia.  To say it is a unique experience is putting it lightly!  In the dark of night, these “glowworms” illuminate the walls and crannies of the caverns inside Dismals Canyon.  They are at peak season in the summer, and it will blow your mind when you see them.  I was unable to get a decent picture of them, as are most people without professional cameras and an undisturbed environment, but below is a picture of them that I am sharing from the Dismals website.  (Click here to visit their site.)

Dismalites_simulation_598px

Although I didn’t get any of my own pictures of the Dismalites, I did get a picture of the elusive Trap Door Spider, and a glowing centipede (their venom causes them to glow under a black light).

As to be expected, I took TONS of pictures that day, so I’ve made a short slideshow of some of my favorites to share.

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The beauty was, at times, breathtaking – and the air was dense with more history than my human mind could comprehend.  I came out of the canyon exhausted, exhilarated, and with a head full of questions and stories to tell.

So I share ALLLLLLLLL of that to say this:  get out of the house this summer and explore your state!  We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  The US is massive, and full of every sort of landscape that you can imagine.  Be it the oceans, the cities, the mountains, the deserts, the lakes and rivers, the various battlegrounds and settlements of the past…the list is endless!  No matter where you live, I know you are within an arm’s reach of something that will blow your mind!  Awaken the wanderlust within and make some memories!