Thursday, April 6, 2017

I'm sitting outside, barefoot, directly on the ground, gazing up on the sunlit leaves. It is just what I need, body and soul.

There are dozens of theories why this would would be so, and most of them sound a little nutty.

 I recently read a study supposedly suggesting that rats are more emotionally resilient when exposed to green lights. Since the rats in the control group were kept in total darkness, the whole thing sounds rather fishy to me.

I don't know.

All I know is what poets, sages, and sensible grandmothers have known for ages: that when I am barefoot, pain ebbs out of my body, and when I am surrounded by glowing leaves, my soul is restored.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Joy is all around us... but we have to choose it. We have to seek it out. Joy will never force itself upon us--that is against it's nature.

Pain has no such inhibitions, and will push joy out of your consciousness if you let it.

Don't let it.

Joy is quiet, but it is there, embedded in all things beautiful. And beauty is as real and ubiquitous as the laws of gravity and light.

Beauty is the name mathematics goes by when we feel it rather than think about it. Everywhere that there is matter, there is math, and everywhere that there is mathematical order, there is beauty.

Beauty is everywhere, and your life depends upon it; the graceful dance of respiration, your pulsing blood, the electric poetry of your nerves.

You don't have to notice it. It will never force you to pay attention to it. But it is always there. You wouldn't be here otherwise.

Even pain has it's own peculiar beauty.

Beauty has it's own peculiar pain, too. You cannot escape pain, and unlike joy, you can't always ignore it either. But you can fight for joy and beauty anyway.

Pain is a much smaller part of my life now than it has been in the past. I've been getting to knows​ my body better, and finding lots of self-care techniques. With the right nutrition, my joints don't dislocate nearly as often, and when they do, I have a toolkit full of ways to deal with it.

But last night I didn't get nearly enough sleep. My feet hurt, my knees hurt, my elbows hurt, my fingers hurt, and my neck hurts. I ought to be grateful that I don't have any ribs out, but pain sucks even when it's less pain than you're used to.

So I'm fighting hard for joy. Here are a few things that help:


Listening to other people's music helps some, and so does making my own music. The real magic is in making music together with others. I'm so glad my flute choir rehearses to tonight. I need it.

Prayer is in this category, too. It is a powerful thing to enter into the song of the angel choirs. My voice is fumbling and often cracked and out of tune, but they are very gracious, and welcoming to beginners.

(Come to think of it, my flute choir is rather like that too, welcoming and supporting and challenging musicians of all levels of ability. If you are in the DFW area and you play the flute, you should NOT miss out on the opportunity to play with us!)

---Light. We don't always have much control over how much light there is around us, but we do have control over how much we pay attention to it. We humans can't gaze straight at the sun without getting burned, but plants feast voraciously upon the light, and over it up to us in a form that can nourish us, body and soul. Every sundrenched leaf, every blade of grass offers up a gift of joy. It will never force itself on you. You have to seek it out. This is pretty effortless in springtime in North Texas, but in some times and places, looking for light is arduous work. It is 100% worth it.

---Smells. What we breathe matters. A lot. If you can smell it, it's affecting your brain chemistry.

I'm sitting here peeling and eating clementines as I write, and they are so, so good. I'm confident that the part that I eat will help me soon, but the fragrant oils from the peels are naturally wafting up to my nose, making their way to my brain, and lifting my mood right now.

Fragrance is always affecting you all the time, whether you pay attention to it or not. So pay attention.

A lot of us find Young Living's Joy essential oil blend very helpful. But although I absolutely LOVE the smell when I'm happy, when I'm discouraged I find it obnoxiously over-cheerful. (Same goes for the Stress Away blend, by the way.)

Blending it with frankincense makes it wonderful though. They smell sublime together, and frankincense is the sort of smell that knows all about pain. If frankincense can make friends with joy, well... maybe I can, too.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Helping Daddy hand wash clothes is Johnny's new favorite game. Laundry has been one of the most difficult issues in transitioning to the RV life, but we're finding our rhythm. Hand washing a few essentials allows us to go a little longer between trips to the laundromat, and saves us time overall. And baby gets some water play, which he thinks is the best thing ever.

There's no way we would do this with any other laundry detergent, but I feel better about these ingredients than the ingredients in most baby shampoos!

When we first got the Thieves laundry detergent free as part of a promotional, Andrew was hesitant about using it-- he definitely didn't want any strong smells lingering on his clothes, even something so pleasant as Thieves!! But once the clothes are dry, there isn't even a noticeable fragrance, just nice clean clothes without any itchy chemical residue.

The Young Living lifestyle isn't necessarily involve more fragrance. We're slowly getting rid of all the sythetic fragrances that have been threatening our health, and replacing them with products that smell good SAFELY.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It's a drizzly damp day, which for me always means tired and achy and gloomy. Gray days are beautiful for drinking tea under a fluffy blanket, but they are a miserable context for pretty much any other activity.

It is good that today is Sunday. My soul needs rest, and my aching limbs are enforcing it.

Still, there are things that need doing, and although rest is one of them, procrastinating is not. I find myself sitting on the couch, hoping that maybe in five minutes, my knees won't ache so bad. This strategy never works.

Ironically, I really could be feeling better in five minutes if I just got up and did the things. Took the supplements, drank the water, changed into something a little bit warmer. Went outside barefoot and listened to the trees breathing.

But it's never going to happen unless I will myself to do it while it's still hard.

Willpower is a funny thing. It is very good for moving the body around, but it has very little direct power over the soul... except by way of the body.

So I am smelling nutmeg, frankincense, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang, drumming up the courage to do what I must, delegate what I can, and let go of the rest. Choosing a fragrance to smell is such a very small choice, and yet interesting enough to distract me from my elbows, knees, feet, and thumbs.

If I deploy that tiny spark of will correctly, I can create a physical context that makes the next act of will a little easier. With the smell of courage in my nostrils, I can think through what I really need, and ask Andrew for some water and my supplements. The water and the supplements don't fix everything, but they make it easier to put on a sweater and go sit outside on the grass while the kids play freeze tag.

The clouds press down like a thick blanket, and Andrew just went inside to make me another cup of tea. When I finish writing this, we will probably read a bit of Virgil together. It is a gloomy day, but always when I am brave enough to press into the gloom, I find that it is good.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


If I could only have one essential oil, this would be the one.

Copaiba essential oil is distilled from a South American tree resin, and its fragrance is very subtle. At first I could hardly even detect it at all, but now it reminds me of a sweeter, gentler version of frankincense.

Don't be fooled, though: this oil is a powerhouse. For me, it has been nothing short of life-changing.

Traditionally used as a digestive aid and health tonic, copaiba makes a lovely tea. Copaiba Vitality comes in the premium starter kit, and is FDA approved as a supplement and flavoring. Try mixing a drop or two with honey and warm water!

Taking Copaiba internally has made a big difference in my health. It helps me stay on an even keel, both physically and emotionally, and since I started taking Copaiba I've actually almost enjoyed winter. ;)

Copaiba’s strength is in its gentleness, and it's relaxing properties help the body to receive the full benefits of other oils. This makes it a powerful addition to almost any blend, and it is the primarily ingredient in Young Living's incredible Stress Away blend.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Let's talk about hydration! Our bodies are mostly made of water, and if we don't drink enough of it, we're mostly a mess! Whenever you're not feeling well, one of the first questions to ask yourself is, "Am I getting enough water?"

All my life I've had a REALLY hard time remembering to drink water. I simply wouldn't notice that I was thirsty, until I was badly dehydrated.

Adding citrus Vitality oils to my water is helping me get into the hydration habit. Tangerine is my favorite, but I also love Citrus Fresh, Lemon, and Orange.

In so many ways, essential oils are teaching me how to listen to my body. When my water tastes amazing, I start paying attention to it. I drink more of it, and then I start noticing how good it feels to be hydrated. And then I start noticing my thirst sooner, craving not just the citrus flavor, but also the hydration itself.

Since oil and water don't mix, I was initially skeptical about adding essential oils to my water. However, when I add them to my glass water bottle, the oils seem to adhere to the glass, releasing a teensy bit of flavor with every swallow. Sometimes I refill my bottle several times before needing to add more oil.

Essential oils can break down some plastics, so if you try this, be careful about what container you use! I feel safest with glass. With its silicone protective casing and wrist strap, this one is my absolute favorite.

What is your hydration routine?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Citrus Fresh chicken

We were all set for a wonderful chicken artichoke casserole last week, but that jar of mayo in the fridge? Not exactly empty, but definitely not two cups. 

No big deal. Andrew makes a killer BBQ sauce.

We got more chicken, and also mayo. We were all set to try again for the artichoke recipe... except for the parmesan cheese.

So it was back to the drawing board all over again. We weren't exactly sick of BBQ chicken yet, but we didn't want to risk it. That sauce is way too good to overuse.

Anyway, I looked up a few recipes, but we didn't have exactly the right ingredients for any of them. Good thing too, because I'm in love with the combination that we improvised!

Citrus Fresh Vitality is made from grapefruit, orange, mandarin, tangerine, and lemon peels, with a hint of spearmint. This recipe would be wonderful with fresh zest and herbs, too!

Citrus Fresh Chicken

10 chicken thighs
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. honey
8 drops Citrus Fresh Vitality 
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Rinse chicken, Pat dry, and arrange in baking dish. Combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and rub dry mixture into chicken. Mix Citrus Fresh into honey, whisk in vinegar, and pour over chicken. Bake at 350° until juices run clear, about 40-50 min.