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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encouragement · Family · friendship · From the Editors · Night shift

The Night Shift Family – Let’s Talk About That

So, I know this is sort of a different subject to focus on but, nonetheless, it’s something I feel the need to share about, to help others better understand the lives of a night shift family. I’m going to attempt to compare below the “normal” day-to-day happenings for day shifters and then night shifters in a sort of timeline fashion. Granted, there are always things that pop up and our schedules always get changed, but from my own life, and those of friends and family, this is a generic idea of what each shift would generally encounter through out a normal day.


Timeline for typical day shifters:

  • 6:30ish– get up and get ready for work and school
  • 7ish-breakfast and off to work
  • 8ish– kids on the bus or take to school
  • 8:30ish to 12ish-errands, grocery, play time, crafts or creative time, play dates, library, maybe the zoo (which includes picnic), really whatever needs to be done, probably coffee time, dr.appts., or maybe homeschool time if that applies.
  • 12ish-lunch
  • 1-2ish rest and/or nap time. Which is also rest time or catch-up time for mom
  • 3ish-getting kids from school
  • 4ish-getting homework going and getting things together for dinner
  • 5-6ish– spouse home from work, dinner time and cleanup
  • 7ish-family time or outside time, maybe a sports practice or household duty like cutting the grass, maybe an ice cream trip
  • 8ish-winding down for the night and getting baths
  • 9ish-bedtime for kiddos
  • 9:30ish to 11:30ish-hubby and wife time (insert your own details here) lol
  • 11:30ish and later-sleeping (hopefully)

 This is how a typical day runs for us:

  • 7ish-getting up and ready for school and the day (all while being quiet as a mouse, dad is sleeping)
  • 7:30ish-breakfast (again no dinging spoons on bowls or slamming cabinets-have to be quiet)
  • 8ish-getting all the kiddos to school (unless some are too little)
  • 9ish-quiet time, coloring, a cartoon or very quiet play and also getting small ones dressed for the day, oh and don’t forget coffee time! Or maybe homeschool time if that applies
  • 10-11ish– real quick errands or a fast grocery trip, also could be homeschool time
  • 12ish– lunch and wake spouse up
  • 1ish-household stuff like cutting grass, garden, laundry and loud cleaning like vacuuming and dishes, things that are too loud in the mornings.
  • 2ish-try to spend some family time, try to catch-up on schedule details and family plans since we haven’t got to speak to each other since the day before around this same time. (usually nap time for smallest)
  • 3ish-start dinner and get kids from school at 3:30
  • 4ish-sit down for dinner and start cleanup; spouse starts packing lunch for work and getting ready (sometimes there is sports practice and I eat later and hubby leaves before I get back)
  • 5ish-spouse leaves for work; me and kids start homework
  • 6ish-sports practice and/or game, finish homework
  • 7ish– outside time, play time and snacks
  • 8ish-start baths and house cleanup
  • 9ish– getting everyone in bed. Takes 30-40 minutes for just one person, some nights longer.
  • 9:45-11:30– quiet time for me..usually paying bills, maybe a Netflix show or finishing tasks around the house
  • 11:30ish and later-hopefully sleeping

I know the schedules may not seem much different from one another, but this is really a day in the life of a night shift family, with each parent working separately on different ends of the clock. All the while, I juggle kids, dinner, messes, homework, sports, baths, bedtime, etc.  My poor husband is sleeping or working while all this hustle and bustle is going on, and he knows he’s missing out on some great stuff…but he does it for our family. I know some who would say, “Why go to such lengths of being quiet?” or, “Why cater to when he’s getting up?” My answer is, would you want your spouse only getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day? Which leads to awful health issues later like high blood pressure, diabetes, and eventually heart disease…and don’t forget…feeling like crud as well.  My job is to ensure the health and safety of my whole family and that includes my husband too.

I said all that to say, we night shifters want “play” time or “talk” time too, or would like to socialize with friends, but when we’re able to do that most of our friends are at home with their spouses having dinner and having family time of their own. If I called to talk at 7 or 8 on any given night you probably wouldn’t answer because you’re spending precious time with your family, just like I’m doing for a precious hour or so earlier during the day. And let’s not forget my school aged children only see their daddy for about an hour when they get home from school, and that time includes sitting down for dinner and my husband getting ready for work. The weekends are absolutely sacred to us.  We have just a couple days with a few hours to focus on our family and try to makeup for almost zero (whole) family time we get during the week. By God’s grace, and by keeping our family centered in Christ, we have been able to handle this way of life for 16 years now.

I’m not saying us night shifters have it harder really, but there is some extra responsibility that falls on us and that’s ok, that’s how families work…we work together. I can only imagine how a single parent feels and the lengths they go to, to try and cover the roles of both parents. So, if you’re a day shifter have a little grace for those who have to do life a little differently. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it would be. Don’t assume they’re too busy for you or have new friends…just realize they’re doing life the best they can.

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.  

encouragement · inspiration

Finding My Peace in Oriole, Indiana

I have been sick this week.  I’ve had a nasty cold that’s just been doing a number me, gradually working its way down from head to chest.  On top of that, there’s been a lot of mental stress and anguish going on in my life.  I work as an educator in the public school system in Louisville, KY, and I am also VP of the PTA board at our school.  We are gearing up for the close of this school year, and it is a whirlwind I must say.  This is a busy, busy time of year for us all – students and teachers alike.  We have state standardized testing coming up, and about one zillion end-of-the-year events and activities – all for which we must prepare.  And…that’s just my professional life.

Last week, our family cat unexpectedly passed away.  We were so devastated by it.  He was our baby, and we have truly mourned his loss.  Getting over the death of a pet is so hard!  And with it being so sudden, we have been left stunned and just downright sad to be without our boy.

But…the big stressor that I have had weighing on my heart is a very hard situation that my parents (and thus, all of us kids) are going through.  My dad has Alzheimer’s, and this past week my mother had to do one of the hardest things she has probably ever had to do to date – she had to move him into a nursing home.  It has altered our lives forever…mostly hers and his…but all of us feel it…that pain of letting go.  I tell people about it, and they are sympathetic – as much as they can be – but the heartache isn’t their reality…it’s ours.  But we all go on.  What else are we going to do?  Dad is happy – as he always is – so we go on.  Moving with the changes of life is much easier than fighting against the current.

So yeah, it’s been a difficult season as of late, and I’ve had trouble finding peace.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day with some friends that I don’t get to spend time with very often, and we spent our time together way out in the country in a little place called Oriole, Indiana.  We talked for hours, laughed, watched my friend Lori’s bees going to work, rode the Mule (an ATV) all over back, country roads, and we ate.  Yes, Lord, we ate.

Sometimes, just getting away from all things related to your stress is what you have to do to get yourself to reset.  For me, an Alabama girl who has been living the city life for quite some time, getting away to the country, hearing the peepers sing in a cemetery far away from any highway or noise for miles, smelling the wet dirt of a freshly tilled country garden that’s been watered by a long spring rain, and seeing the peaceful swish of content cows’ tails in a silent field of green grass, that’s the ticket.  Watching the sun set over a still river, undisturbed by barges and speedboats, that’s the way to my heart.  Being with friends who just always seem to bring peace and joy with them – in the way that they treat one another – in the way that they love one another – through their laughter and gentle teasing – in every story and testimony – that’s what it takes to bring my pieces back together.  I am reminded that life is good.  I am reminded that simplicity brings peace.  And my heart is full.  Because in the country I am away…and I am able to hear God speaking again.  Because there is no ignoring God when you see this kind of beauty.  He’s all around.  He is in every smile, in every breeze, and He’s even in that smoky flavor of the chicken that’s so good it changes your life.  His is in the remembering of a time and life I left behind in body but never in spirit.  He created that sunset that pierced through the darkness shrouding my soul, and He gave those peepers their song…just a’singin’ in the night..singing me back to life.

So my advice to you, if you’re going through hard times, is get away.  Just find a way to remove yourself from everything for a bit.  Find a place to meet with God, really meet with Him, again.  Let Him minister to your soul and pour peace into every crack that life has created.  He will do it.  Find your Oriole.  Find your peace.

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