Misplaced Shame

 

 

I often feel ashamed that I’m not a better housekeeper.

 

I mean– I just don’t keep a good handle on things, I guess. It seems every time I think I have things under control, I turn around and things blew up all over the surfaces.

 

My husband’s MBA work has taken over the coffee and end table. My kids art supplies and proud homework achievements spill out over the dining room table and the hutch. The kitchen table seems to be the landing spot of all sorts of randomness. My counter space is so quickly overtaken when I embark on a half dozen simultaneous kitchen projects and, if I don’t put the griddle away right away, I lose almost 50% of that space straight up.

 

Sigh.

 

I come from a family in which the women tend to be better at this than me– I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I don’t put more effort in. I don’t know why I can ignore the papers sliding onto the floor in favor of trying a new orange chocolate scone recipe– but I can.

 

It’s not that I don’t like or appreciate a completely tidy home–  I do! I just lack the drive and determination to keep mine that way, I guess. My husband passes zero judgment on me about the whole thing– in his opinion, I work plenty hard– so I think that makes it easier for me to let things get away from me. Still, I let myself feel shame because of it.

 

One of my good “IRL” friends is incredibly neat. She will confess that she actually feels like she has obsessive thoughts about cleaning and she can’t have things out of place or unscrubbed or she starts feeling twitchy.

 

I feel intense pressure when she comes to my home.

 

I’ll suddenly look around somewhat frantically. Now– I KNOW my house isn’t “dirty.” The bathrooms are cleaned, the counters wiped, the dust bunnies vacuumed. Laundry is almost always caught up. It’s not perfect, but there’s nothing disgusting happening here.  But… still. I’m not looking at any carefully cultivated tableaux around here. Not even close.

 

And I hate that. I hate that I would feel anything but joy at the idea of a friend coming over. I hate that I can’t make my stupid self just do a better job already– what is WRONG with me? Why don’t I just fix myself already and do a better job? Other people can. Other people do.

 

And, then, as I look over at the jam-packed “art center” and inwardly cringe, I hear an email alert on my phone.

 

It’s from my impeccably neat friend.

 

“Hey–” it reads, “as you’re no doubt flitting around trying to pull your house together, please know that I have never– not once in my life– made brownies without a mix.”

 

I smiled.

 

Sat down and laughed.

 

It’s true.

 

She feeds my kids goldfish and capri sun and entenmann’s cookies and you know what? I don’t care. It’s never occured to me to judge her for that. So she doesn’t bake or cook much– so what? What do I care? It says nothing about who she is, as a friend or a wife or a mother.

 

But I feel shame about myself. I feel bad about my own shortcomings. I assume others see FAILURE stamped across my forehead when they see my far-from-perfect abode.

 

Is it possible that that label is written in invisible ink? In ink that only I can see?

 

Maybe it’s time to try to release the misplaced shame. Maybe I need to accept that, while I could definitely do better, my goal shouldn’t be to have a home as tidy as the tidiest of my friends or family.

 

I know one thing for sure– that thing you think makes you a failure? That thing you think you don’t do as well as everyone else? It doesn’t make you a failure.

 

And maybe it doesn’t make me one, either.

 

 

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A Peek in JL’s Shopping Cart

 

 

Well, hey there! Guess what? I was actually OFF yesterday from working in the school. It was a very deliberate move on my part and one I try to make, ideally, once a week. Working every day outside the home leaves me feeling frantic and behind in my house. Sooo… I try to take a day here and there to do some shopping and get caught up. Yesterday was that day!

 

I did some grocery shopping to get us through the next week or so and thought, you know what I haven’t done in awhile? Shared a peek into my cart with you all!

 

So here you go…

 

IMG_20150409_101834

 

 

 

My first stop was a local supermarket chain. I love going there early in the morning because it’s just me and a few old guys, typically. :) Anyway, I went there for three things– to return some bottles to get my deposit money back, to pick up canned cat food, and to hit the discount bread rack. Here’s the deal– I LOVE to bake bread. And I still do. But I have also learned that my store’s bakery bakes fresh bread every morning and then, the next morning, sells it for 90% off. Bagels, english muffins, and specialty breads all for less than a quarter a pack? I love both the value and the convenience and I always go take a peek to see what I might find…

 

Big Y

 

  • 20 cans Friskies cat food– $10.00 (I admit I picked out the varieties with cheese because our kitten is a cheesehound just like me.)
  • 2  1L bottles seltzer (Seltzer is my beverage of choice when I get home from teaching!)– $1.00 (plus 10 cents deposit)
  • 2 loaves Maple Cinnamon bread– $ .56
  • 2 loaves Blueberry bread– $ .56
  • 2 loaves 100% Stoneground Wheat bread– $ .54
  • 3 packages multi-grain English muffins– $ .57

 

Total:  $14.03

 

 

Next, I went to ALDI. I got there just after they opened, at 9AM. I honestly had no list and no real plans other than to get my husband more nacho chips and buy a few dozen eggs. I mean, I knew I’d buy more– I just didn’t write anything down. So here’s how that played out!

 

IMG_20150409_102524

 

 

  • 3 dozen large eggs– $5.85
  • 1 gallon milk– $3.19
  • 2 packages mushrooms– $1.58
  • 1# baby carrots– $ .69
  • 2 green peppers– $ .99
  • 3# yellow onions– $ .99
  • 1 loaf garlic romano bread– $1.79
  • 3# bananas– $1.29
  • 1L seltzer– $ .59
  • 2# angelhair– $1.79
  • 1 bag nacho chips– $1.19 (for hubby!)

 

IMG_20150409_103228

 

And…

 

  • 1 roll Spring-themed paper towels– $ .69
  • 2 jars organic natural apple sauce– $2.58
  • 2 bags oyster crackers– $1.78
  • dark chocolate PB– $1.75
  • 1 giant can mini-ravioli– $1.29
  • 2  2L lemon lime soda– $1.38  (for the husband!)
  • 1  4 pack energy drinks– $2.49  (husband again!)
  • 1  4 pack Cadbury eggs– $1.69  (aaaannnnddd… one more for the husband. :) )
  • 1 bottle organic apple juice– $1.49
  • 12 oz. farfalle pasta– $ .99
  • 1# turkey breast lunch meat– $3.49
  • 2 jars marinara– $1.98
  • 1 bag shrimp & crab ravioli– $2.45
  • 2 cans tuna– $1.30
  • 8 oz. pepperjack– $1.79
  • popcorn kernels– $1.19
  • white American singles– $1.89 (<– I messed up when I grabbed these– I usually buy pre-sliced white cheddar for in our sandwiches. I could lie and tell you I plan to return them and fix it, but the truth is we’ll just eat them. I know they’re “fake cheese.” We’ll survive. And I’ll be more careful next time! ;) )

 

Total: $51.84

 

And that did it! Well, I did run to Walmart to grab some fun and funky plastic Easter eggs for next year– I saw them before Easter, but waited for the 75% off markdown. ;)

 

Thoughts? Questions? What good deals have YOU found lately?

 

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Uncut Diamonds

 

 

We teased our children about how spoiled they are. Not only did the “Easter Bunny” bring them some fun little doo-dads and treats– like cool new leak-proof water bottles!– they had even more goodies rained upon them. There were the expected baskets from Bama and Papa. The random treat here and there from school friends. Then, the man who sits behind us every week in church surprised me on Palm Sunday with some gorgeous hand-painted tin pails packed chock-full of all sorts of kid-awesomeness to give them. Lucky little ducks, I have! Still, I didn’t anticipate the man who sits in FRONT of us showing up at our doorstep Easter morning with three gloriously wrapped and bowed baskets for our little ones. So much generosity and kindness abounds around us.

 

This last gentleman also pressed an Easter card into my hands along with a bit of gourmet chocolate. He didn’t linger. Just wished us a blessed Easter and was on his way.

 

The card itself is lovely.

 

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I opened it to read the pre-printed message inside and was surprised to find it filled with his hand-written thoughts…

 

“In life it is said, ‘enjoy the little things… for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things…’

 

Your daughters’ smiles and laughter, I am confident, bring our parishoners and definitely myself a ray of sunshine to every Sunday’s morning mass. Our Sundays are brightened with a couple of smiles and a bit of laughter that makes all else or any gloom or distraction melt away. These brief moments and small but very signifcant minutes take up the most room in our hearts.

 

Your son’s weekly dedication and devotedness every Sunday is admired by all.

 

I have taught my sons to always be respectful, humble, confident, and to have compassion for everyone. Many have commented to us that they display these qualities. I light up when this feedback comes my way.

 

So know that their smiles are a reflection of your teachings. They are truly uncut diamonds.

 

So enjoy this Easter and we hope that we could express our sincere thanks for brightening everyone’s weekly Sunday.”

 

 

And I got all choked up and misty.

 

 

I share this not because I want you to think I’m so awesome. Trust me– I’m the mama whose patience often runs thin and who shoots daggers with my eyes if I see my son fidget at the altar. I am as imperfect as they come and I make no attempt to hide that.

 

However.

 

To have someone tell me I must be doing something right? To have someone share what he sees when he looks at our little family ? To have a man who’s further into the journey of parenthood than I point out the good?

 

Oh, what a treasure.

 

Share the good, sweet friends. Share the triumphs. Let’s be honest with one another like this gentleman was with me– we all like to hear the good feedback! It helps keep us going when the going gets tough.

 

You’re doing awesome, my friends. You’re making a difference in the world and the lives of others.

 

Keep on keepin’ on.

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It’s not about the priest.

 

 

It’s not umcommon to hear Catholics say it: It’s not abaout the priest.

 

communioncloseup

 

And it’s not. Not, really. That’s one of the fundamental beauties of the Church– and, yes, “Church” with a capital C when used in this manner. Theoretically, the priest doesn’t matter. The Catholic Church is steeped in ritual and tradition and having a different priest in the building really doesn’t change what you can and should expect.

 

The readings will be the same.

 

The gospel will be the same.

 

Reconciliation will be offered.

 

And, above all, the Eucharist will be present.

 

So, at the end of the day, it’s not about the priest.

 

* * * * *

 

That much is true. The Church is not about the priest. It remains the Church no matter how many different priests come and go. This is true even about the Pope, in case you were wondering. The Church carries on even without a new pope until a new one is chosen. Because it’s not about any one man. Ever. (Well, unless that man is Jesus. But I digress…)

 

* * * * *

 

None of this, however, could prevent the fat tears from streaking down my cheeks when, two Sundays ago, I learned that Father Larry will be leaving our parish.

 

One year ago, during Lent, Father Larry was away for almost three weeks. I was reminded of this when TimeHop sent me an email recalling my Facebook status, “I’m going through Father Larry withdrawal!”

 

And I was. It was hard not having him there when we were all so very used to seeing him a few times a week.

 

And now I’ve learned that he’s heading back to Canada.

 

And I cry.

 

My chest feels tight.

 

I’m already feeling a little lost and he’s nowhere even close to gone just yet.

 

I feel kind of silly about it, to be honest. I hold my head high and repeat, along with other good Catholics, “It’s not about the priest.”

 

And then A. says from the backseat, “He’s walked beside me as my faith grows. He taught me how to serve at the altar. I don’t know what to expect without him.”

 

I gaze in the rearview mirror and murmur, “I know, buddy. I know. And he’s the only priest your sisters even remember.”

 

A. looks out the window. The trees fly by. I flip my left turn signal and hear him again.

 

“But he’ll be closer to his parents, and that’s good. And we’ll get a new priest and we’ll make him feel very welcome.”

 

I smile. He continues,

 

“And maybe, one day, I’ll write him a letter and you’ll bake him those lemon cookies he thinks are amazing and when he gets them in the mail, he’ll think of us and smile. You think?”

 

 

Yes, sweetheart, I do.

 

I thnk that’s just exactly right.

 

And I think the Church will be just fine.

 

And, eventually, we will be, too.

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Menu Plan: Conference Madness

 

Well, hey there! It’s Tuesday, which used to always be my “menu posting day”, so I feel like I’m actually on a track a bit. How ’bout that? :)

 

This is our “off” week in terms of activities. Don’t get me wrong– we still have gymnastics, karate, art class, chorus, orchestra, beginner band, and a host of church-related activities, but we’re still down four activities from the OTHER week. So, we consider this a break!

 

It’s conference week, so my kids have early dismissal from school. That makes the schedule kind of weird, but I’m not complaining. I actually kind of love conference week. We really like our kids’ teachers and I like having a chance to chat with them. Honestly, I just really like talking with people! And it’s fun to hear about how your kids are when they’re away from you. :)

 

So, with all that said, here’s what we’re eating this week. You’ll note some “specialty” breads on their– those are all things I snagged at a major grocery store bakery early one morning last week. It was all “day old” and marked down 90%. Garlic breadsticks for 19 cents? I’ll take ‘em!

you gotta eat

 

 

Sunday: 

B–Cereal, Apples, Milk ( before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Ham & Eggs with Cheese, Maple Cinnamon Toast, Fruit

Mid-afternoon Snack– Sausage, Cheese, & Crackers

D–Sunday Supper at Bama & Papa’s– Hawaiian Pork over Cabbage

 

Monday: 

B–Bagels /w PB, Apples, Milk

D–Crab & Pepper Jack Rotini, Broccoli, Garlic Breadsticks

 

Tuesday: 

B–Cinnamon Roll Bread, Scrambled Eggs, Apples

D–Beef & Rice Burritos, Salad

 

 

Wednesday: 

B–Cereal, Apples, Milk

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice (date night)

 

 

Thursday:

B–Cinnamon Maple Toast, Applesauce, Milk

D–Chicken & Veggies with Teriyaki Noodles

 

 

Friday:

B–Egg Wraps, Orange Slices

D–Pizza (The yeast arrived! And my family was delighted. Once again, my two giant pizzas were demolished. What can I say? We won’t be giving up yeast anytime soon…)

 

 

Saturday:

breakfast pizza

B–Breakfast Pizza

D–Carnitas Haystacks w/ oodles of toppings

 

 

 

And that should do it!  

 

 

 

 

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3 Things I Wish I Hadn’t Done with Essential Oils

 

 

I honestly thought I would save this part of my “oily experience” until later in the conversation but, the more I thought about it, the more important I thought it was to just get it out there. I’m going to tell you about a few ways in which I used my oils early in my journey that I now regret.

 

I want to be clear about a few things before I even get into this:

 

  1. I was not harmed, to my knowledge, by doing any of these things. In my opinion, being okay doesn’t mean it was a good choice. However, I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that I’ve suffered horrible ill-effects from these choices– I have not.
  2. There are people, LOTS of people, who will disagree with me about some of these having any potential danger. That’s okay. Disagreeing is not a sign that either party is unintelligent. I have concrete reasons for feeling the way that I do and that is enough for me. You need to make your own decisions, of course.
  3. I do not judge others for making different choices for themselves, but I DO take issue with people insisting that their choices are appropriate for everyone.
  4. In ALL instances, I will be referring to essential oils that are pure and unadulterated– please note that this does NOT mean that I am speaking of only one brand, since there are multiple companies who meet very high standards in the oils they produce. It does mean that I’m never talking about contaminated, corrupted, or otherwise inferior product. This is important to note so that no one attempts to make the “Oh, but it’s okay with XYZ brand!” argument. Fair enough?

 

Okie dokey.

 

Let's talk about essential oils

 

So, when I got my first set of essential oils, I was super duper excited and I was very eager to try them. They smelled amazing and I’d read a ton and I couldn’t wait to apply them in all sorts of wonderful ways. So I did.

 

I added oils to my water.

 

Now, listen. If I read that sentence out loud, I immediately see why I should have questioned this decision for myself. Oil and water simply do not mix. The oil floats on the top of the water, rather than mixing in. Sure, you can shake the heck out of it before each sip and that might work. Here’s what I know– essential oils are wonderful and powerful and I don’t really want to risk having them hit my sensitive mucous membranes undiluted. While I did not notice any issues (other than tingly lips when I added a drop of peppermint), it’s something I just choose not to risk anymore. For me, it’s a better, safer choice to just squeeze ACTUAL citrus in my water or throw in few a mint leaves. Honestly, it’s also cheaper. And there are vitamins in the fruit. So there you go. I still use and adore my citrus oils (lemon, lime, sweet orange, blood orange, grapefruit, tangerine– I love them all) and my mints (peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen.) I just don’t put them in my water.

 

I dumped undiluted oils on my skin.

 

Shortly after I got started using my oils, I tore my meniscus. I was in SUCH pain and I was eager to avoid surgery. I started doing some (not thorough enough) research and came across wintergreen and lemongrass as oils that might help. I was thrilled to give it a shot.

 

Here’s the thing– both of those oils? Are real powerhouses. Wintergreen is amazing for pain and inflammation and lemongrass has a long history of being helpful for tendon and ligament issues. I wasn’t completely off-base in what I was doing. However, instead of mixing the essential oils with an appropriate carrier to get it to a safe dilution level (which varies based on oil, age, health, and usage, for the record), I just sprinkled on some drops and hoped for the best.

 

The potential for skin irritation increases greatly when oils are used undiluted, also called “neat.” Furthermore, a carrier oil helps spread and “hold” the EO on the skin which enables it to more effectively do its job.

 

Again, I was not knowingly injured from this and I’m not an alarmist– however, I do wish I’d been more careful and appropriate when using those oils.

 

 

I took oils internally for a cough.

 

Again, early in my journey, I had a nasty cough. It was keeping me from sleeping and I was over it. I read the testimony of several bloggers who said that lemon, orange, and peppermint, either by capsule or mixed into honey, would quiet a cough. I was sold! After all, those are all oils from stuff we eat anyway, right?

 

I mixed a drop of each in a spoonful of honey, swallowed it down, and finally experienced some relief. Truth be told, I think the honey did as much as the oils and the peppermint kind of numbed my sore, irritated throat.

 

So, if it worked and I didn’t notice any harm, why do I regret it? Well, plain and simple, I’ve found better ways to treat cold symptoms since then– steams and (diluted) rubs have proven far more effective and, in my opinion, carry fewer potential risks or side-effects. Additionally, I’ve learned a lot more about how to tweak the oil combinations to best treat our symptoms while being safe for whichever member of the family I’m treating– e.g. there’s no reason for me to use peppermint on my five-year-old when multiple aromatherapists caution against its use on children under 10 (or 6, depending on who you ask.) Spearmint is a safer, and still effective, choice for her. I know more, now. And I know better. So I try to do better.

 

 

So, there you go. There’s a short list of some ways I used my oils that I now regret. I’m sharing these not to incite panic and not to virtually scold anyone who chooses to use their own oils in these ways. I’m sharing them simply to show how knowledge is fluid. And that’s okay. It is truly okay if you change your mind about what is best or safest for yourself or your family.

 

I think about when my oldest was a baby. Back then, they marketed “Tylenol Cold- Infant” formula. This is sort of mind-boggling to us now, since recommendations for appropriate ages to receive cold medicine have since changed. Of course, when I was a child, we took baby aspirin– and now everyone knows aspirin for children is a huge no-no!

 

Should we feel awful about the things we ate, drank, or took when we didn’t have any reason to believe it wasn’t a good choice? I don’t think so. But I do believe we should commit to being life-long learners…

 

and that applies to essential oils, too.

 

 

 

(Note: If you love and are passionate about a certain brand of oils, that’s awesome! Glad you found a good fit. Feel free to share your experiences using oils, but please do not mention brands or solicit sales here. Any comments doing so will be deleted or I’ll ask you to edit it. Thanks for understanding!)

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Menu Plan: Shamrockin’ It

 

This week is an exciting one! Not only do we get to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, but we get to celebrate the official first day of Spring come Friday. Woo hoo to THAT!

 

I am the only non-Irish one in this household (though my fake red hair fools a fair number of people ;) ), but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in celebrating! I like these “little” holidays, to be honest. I’m not a fan of going all over the top but, let’s face it– it doesn’t take a whole lot to bring smiles and delight. I love that!

 

So here’s the plan for this fun and happy week:

you gotta eat

 

 

Sunday: 

B–Cereal, Appkes, Milk ( before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Pancakes, Sausages, Grapefruit

Mid-afternoon Snack– Shamrock Shakes

D–Turkey & Pinto Burritos with homemade salsa

 

Monday: 

B–Breakfast Burritos, Juice

D–Beef & Tomato Soup (in the slow cooker), Garlic Breadsticks

 

Tuesday: (St. Patrick’s Day)

B–Bagels w/ Green Cream Cheese, Green Grapes, Green Milk

D–Hot Dogs, French Fries, Pickles, Salad (What can I say? I did not produce cabbage lovers! ;) )

 

 

Wednesday: 

B–Breakfast Burritos, Apples

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice (date night)

 

 

Thursday:

B–Applesauce Muffins, Bananas, Milk

D–Slow-cooker Chicken Legs, Egg Noodles, & Carrots <– This is a meal that *I* do not like. My family, however, loves it and it is both simple and frugal. Soooo… it makes it on the menu plan every month or so. It’s good to model eating something that’s not your favorite every now and again. ;)

 

 

Friday:

B–Cereal, Grapes

D–Pizza! (I bought yeast. I’ve made 5 different yeast-free recipes from bloggers whose recipes I’ve adored in the past– not a single one was worth repeating, in our opinion. So… I ordered yeast via Amazon Prime and it’ll be here by then. My family will rejoice. Ha!)

 

 

Saturday:

B–Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon, Cinnamon Rolls

D–Spaghetti, Green Beans

 

 

 

And that should do it!  

 

 

 

 

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Reading to Myself

 

 

He said it so off-hand. That’s what made it so profound for me, actually. Those simple little words: “I was reading to myself.”

 

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Let me remind you for just a second that, as a preschooler, A. was labeled “profoundly delayed.” The fact that he didn’t speak– and I mean didn’t speak AT ALL– until nearly three years old was at the crux of that. We can argue about the benefits and limitations of such labels all day long but, no matter what you think about it, that’s what the paperwork said.

 

Of course, once A. figured out how to talk, it was an odd process to get to fluency. It’s not that he lacked any sounds or vocabulary– it’s that he would TALK like he was READING. He would sound out each and every letter— cuh-uh-puh. Cup. It was sometimes tempting to just go back to sign language because it was so much faster, but we were so darn thrilled he was speaking, we patiently waited through his painstakingly slow sentences.

 

Eventually, he got much faster and smoother and, about that time, he started reading anything and everything to us. He’d pick up a book, magazine, article, cereal box, WHATEVER and read it. I’m not talking about simple board books or familiar stories here– I’m talking about technical magazines and full-length novels.

 

At 3.

 

Mere months after uttering his very first word.

 

Interesting, right?

 

And it was. Honestly, we still weren’t going all nuts about it because we were still working to catch up on the areas where he’d been found lacking.

 

So, that was then and this is now. He’s ten now, and, realistically, pretty much every one of his peers is a competent reader at this point. Sure, they have different reading levels and interests and proficiencies, but reading is certainly nothing uncommon in 4th grade.

 

The other day, we were, again, joking about how incredibly talkative A. is and how funny that is, given his start. Then we recalled how he started reading well before 3 1/2.

 

I smiled at my boy, “It was so funny, A, because you didn’t even talk until you were three and then– boom!– you started reading!”

 

He looked up at me, a curious look on his face.

 

“You mean reading out loud?”

 

“Well, yes,” I replied. It seemed an odd thing to ask.

 

And then he added, in the most off-hand way…

 

“Before I could talk, I was just reading to myself.”

 

* * * * *

 

My mind was blown.

 

I had never even considered that possibility.

 

But… it makes sense.

 

And, if it’s true, can you imagine???

 

I’ve said it before and I”ll say it again– raising this kiddo is a fun and crazy ride.

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Let’s Talk About Essential Oils, pt. 1

 

 

Opening the Conversation

 

Let's talk about essential oils

 

1. Where it all started:

 

Let me take you all back in time to when I was, oh, about eleven years old. I was obsessed with a series of books called Sunfire and I was especially obsessed with one called Cassie. Anyway, long story short, that book had me captivated with the ideas of beading moccasins, subsisting on corn meal, and, perhaps most of all, creating poultices to heal wounds. I can remember sitting in the sand outside of a cottage in Newport, Rhode Island, weaving long seagrass together and mashing random plants on a slab of slate, certain I was concocting some healing wonder. Obviously, I was not.

 

Still, those seeds were planted and never really fully went away.

 

A few years ago, my husband and I were watching a documentary and, in it, they spoke of a birch tree and how it has been used since ancient times for pain– that it contains the same compounds we use in aspirin. My fascination was rekindled and I confessed to my husband that I had always been interested in the healing powers of plants and herbs and that I wished I knew more about them. He may have been more amused than intrigued, but he encouraged me to pursue it and research it, then.

 

2.  Read, read, and read some more.

 

I’m a tad skeptical by nature (though I won’t claim to be “the world’s greatest skeptic.”) I can also be cynical in some circumstances. Still, I won’t deny that I was fascinated to read some of the tales about successes people were having with herbs and essential oils. Quite frankly. some of them sounded downright… miraculous! And that’s what made me cynical.

 

I never doubted the power of plants, however. I mean– I’ve known since I was a child that peppermint soothed a queasy tummy and ginger helped keep nausea at bay. Wintergreen relieves pain and inflammation and has long been used in certain pain creams. Some of my family members joke that I recommend peppermint tea for almost anything that ails you.

 

So, when I considered possibly branching out beyond herbal teas, I knew I needed to read. And, as much as I love a good anecdotal story, I needed to read material from SCIENTISTS and AROMATHERAPISTS. Sure, I kept reading the accounts from my friends and fellow bloggers and that was interesting enough. But it wasn’t enough to convince me that I wanted to slather these things all over my body.

 

My number one recommendation if you, too, like to “know your stuff” before dipping your toe in? Be sure you’re reading some impartial research. Deliberately seek out the works of people who are NOT affiliated with a particular company. Here’s the thing– I have a brand I love most of all, too. But I don’t blindly trust everything they publish. Anytime someone stands to gain money from you following their specific advice, it pays to be a tad skeptical. Their words might turn out to be true! But it’s better to do a little research and be sure.

 

3. Making mistakes, despite my research.

 

So, here’s where I get all upfront and honest with you all– although I had read, read, and read some more, I still did some things with my essential oils that I now regret. I’ll tell you more about those as time goes on, but I think it’s important to admit that I’m definitely in the “do the best you can until you know better” camp on this one (<– thanks, Maya Angelou.) I engaged in a couple of potentially risky usage behaviors, thankfully on myself and not my children, that I now choose to avoid. The good news about that is this– I’m not incredibly judgy about how people use their oils. I mean, there are things that make me a bit nervous, but I also know that I made some choices that would probably make others cringe. Learning is fluid and what I know today may not be all that I know tomorrow. And that’s okay.

 

4. Why talk about it?

 

Essential oils have blown up in crazy ways. I am 100% positive that some of you reading this are sick.to.death of hearing about them. I get that. And, you know what? I’m totally cool with you ignoring any of the posts I write on the topic. I am definitely not here to waste your time or add noise to the conversation.

 

But I do want to share some of the successes we’ve seen. I will warn you– mine are not stories of miracles. Mine are stories of our lives being made better thanks to essential oils. Most of my happiest successes actually involve the synergy of natural healing and modern medicine. I have not completely overhauled our lives. The ibuprofen is still in our medicine cabinet! I still have a bottle of peroxide on the shelf. And I still make my peppermint tea with herbal tea bags.

 

Maybe a few of you are more like me– you love the idea of learning something new and you welcome adding something beneficial into your life, but you’re not looking to abandon everything else. You’re not looking for a whole new lifestyle or a new marketing job. You just want to explore and experience what essential oils can perhaps do for you.

 

And if that statement rings at all true for you? Then you’re in a safe place. Let’s chat about some stuff, free from brand names and sales pitches, and see where it leads us, okay?

 

Let me know what YOU want to know. And we’ll dive in. :)

 

 

(Note: If you love and are passionate about a certain brand of oils, that’s awesome! Glad you found a good fit. Feel free to share your experiences using oils, but please do not mention brands or solicit sales here. Any comments doing so will be deleted or I’ll ask you to edit it. Thanks for understanding!)

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Irish by Marriage

 

 

I’m German.

 

And Norwegian.

 

A bit of Czechoslovakian thrown in there, too.

 

March Lovin'

 

 

I am not Irish.

 

Despite my fair skin.

 

Despite my green-blue eyes.

 

Despite my never-ending supply of green in my wardrobe.

 

But, hey!

 

I’m Irish by marriage!

 

So bring on the shamrocks and rainbows and blarney!

 

And Shamrock Shakes.

 

Definitely the shamrock shakes.

 

:)

 

How about you? Are you Irish? Or Irish-by-marriage? 

 

 

 

More fun festive stuff for this time of year:

 

 

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