small steps to something big

I started this blanket for Toby. I am by no means an expert knitter.  "Advanced habitual beginner" is an accurate description of my level when it comes to knitting.  I know just enough to be dangerous with some knitting needles.  I know the knit stitch and even though I love to purl, I have to look up how to do it every dang time because I don't do it enough and so I forget.

I decided I wanted to knit this blanket for Toby.  Because Alivea has a whole quilt and I have so many pictures of her in the cute little outfits I made for her.  Because we were poor and somehow I thought that sewing is what every stay at home mom did.  I know now that I was also still searching for myself.  Don't laugh. I wasn't searching for myself like the 18 year old who doesn't really want to go to college.  I wasn't searching like that.  I was searching like the "I have no clue what Jesus is doing in my life but this feels bigger than me but I'm not really sure how to step into it or just settle and let it wash over me so I'm going to find and try all the things to make me feel like I'm doing this right." Yeah that pretty much sums up the first 8 years of my parenting.

So this blanket.  I bought myself some circular knitting needles and 3 skeins of this beautiful yarn and got to work.  I know all the knitting experts are laughing because they've figured out that I need way more yarn.  Like lots more yarn.  {I haven't figured out what I'm doing about that yet. I'm just kind of flying by the seat of my pants. I will not be winning any knitting circle awards and I'm okay with that.} I bought the things and I started knitting.  I had to start over twice because I knitted about 10 rows and then somehow looked up and realized I had a circle.  And last time I checked circle blankets are not a thing.  So I had to rip it out and start over.

I'm a good eighth of the way through this blanket now and I just looked at it today and it hit me what I had accomplished and how much the knitting of this blanket is so allegorical for my life right now.

This blanket is slow-going.  I try to knit a row or two a day but that's really all I can do.  It's about 100 stitches wide and sometimes one or two rows is all I can fit in.  But those one or two rows a day has added up.  And it's added up quickly.  I don't ever really notice the difference that those one or two rows makes on any given day.  It's not like the blanket grows by inches everyday, but after a week or two I can see it.  The showing up everyday- it matters.  Guys, I'm seeing this in so many areas of my life right now.

I've been doing this ONE THING CHALLENGE with my team.  I'm showing up in my team Facebook page everyday and doing one activity to build my Young Living business.  Just one. I've had to stop myself because sometimes I want to do more.  That's the competitive side of me.  And doing one feels small.  It feels like a cop-out some days.  But those consecutive days of just doing one thing are adding up to big things in my business.

This blanket still has a long way to go.  A long way.  I expect it will take me all year.  And I'm fine with that.  And building my business.  And raising my children.  Those will take time too.  And I'm fine with that.  I'm not in this business or this life for the sprint.  I'm here for the marathon.  I'm here to learn and grow and become the person that God is calling me to be.

I was thinking about this while knitting this morning and thinking about how the old me would have quit a long time ago.  I would have quit this blanket and a lot of other things.  Because hard and slow is not where I'm comfortable.  I'm way more comfortable with the pedal to the medal and burnout and too much coffee and just wearing myself down.  It seems like that's been the theme of my life these past few years.  So this slowing down thing, this taking small steps thing, is way out of my comfort zone.

But I think this is where Jesus wants me now.  He wants me and is calling me to this place of rest and slowness and still.  He's calling me to build something bigger with little steps everyday.  He's calling me to consistency and sitting and quiet.  And it is taking every bit of me to obey.  It's taking every bit of me to stop.  It's taking every bit of me to just hold her hand while she's watching tv, instead of running off to get some work done on the computer since she's occupied.  It's taking every bit of me to read that book to him before bed, even though all I want to do is run back out to the living room and veg in front of the tv.  It's taking every bit of me and it's breaking me.  In a good way.

So to all you mamas, the ones just starting out and the ones who've been at this for a while, if you're feeling restless and you also feel like "you have no clue what Jesus is doing in your life but this feels bigger than you but you're not really sure how to step into it or just settle and let it wash over you so you're going to find and try all the things to make you feel like you're doing this right", just stop and breathe.  And do that next small things.  In your life, in your business, in your relationship.  Do the next small thing.  Don't worry about the five steps after that.  Just do that one thing.  God doesn't call us to stop or use our children as an excuse, but He has given us these moments and trust me, they go by fast.  So just be still and just do that one next thing. It may not seem like a lot today, but two or three weeks from now you'll see the effects of that one thing. And you'll see that big thing you built in really small steps and it will be amazing.

what i'm reading- february 2018

Books are my happy place.  Seriously.  I can be tired as all get out, like crashing on the couch as I'm supposed to be watching a movie with the hubby-tired, and I still have to read a few pages in my book/books before I go to bed.  It's been something I've done for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes I don't even finish a chapter but something about reading some words on a page before I go to bed just calms my brain down.  #leadersarereaders

Here's what I'm currently reading.  You know, just in case you need a few ideas for your nightstand.

I'm a science nerd.  This book has hands-down the best explanation I've ever heard of how the periodic table is arranged the way it is.  That will come in handy when Alivea is in high school.  This book is full of the behind the scenes stories of the elements that make up the periodic table.  I've read about why the Nazis loved Tungsten and also about this cool party trick where you can make a special metal spoon disappear (hence the name of the book).  

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

I'm a rebel when it comes to books.  If everyone is reading it, I don't.  I like to wait until a book is really old and everyone isn't talking about it anymore and then I read it. Most of the time, this is the way I like to read books- sans the masses of other people reading it.  I've known about this book forever.  It's pretty much a classic for stay-at-home mom's.  I picked it up at my library because of it's classic-ness and because I've been feeling this pull lately.  The pull to be "hands free".  I've felt super convicted lately that I am on my phone and computer and tablet way too much.  Basically, there is too much time in the day when something else is in front of my face.  And my children see that something else before they see me.  That needs to stop!  This book is 7 parts super convicting (in a good way) and 3 parts "pat you on the back because this mothering/working gig is hard".  I've felt convicted and encouraged in every chapter of this book and maybe I'm not completely "hands free" yet but I am more aware.  I think that's a step in the right direction. 

Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly

This book is full of so many one liners.  The kind that really sock you in the gut and also make you want to wave that white hanky like you're in church.  The subtitle is "The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground".  It's good, people.  It's a call to women to rise up and believe we have something to offer and not because we are good or because we do good things but because He is good and He calls us good.  This book is a call to the women of the church.  It's a shot in the arm and a good scriptural exhortation all at the same time.  I've never read a book before where I am seriously on the floor humbled and crushed at the Grace of this Good God one minute and then pumping my fist in the air like I'm at a concert because suddenly I'm filled with awe and wonder about the work He has called me too.  It's such a beautiful thing.  Some things in this book even made it into my first Podcast episode.  You should check that out here.

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

I'm not gonna lie.  This is not an easy read.  I'll be reading this one for a while.  This book is all about the enneagram.  If you don't know what that is, I'm not expert enough to explain it.  Sorry.  It's basically another personality type test.  I do like this one the best out of all of the gem and color and letter ones though. I do feel like it explains me and my struggles and my tendencies better.  The book is pretty exhaustive in that it dives into each personality so deeply.  I do care about people and I want to learn how to relate to different personalities better so I'm sticking with it but it's gonna take me a while. 

What about you?  Are you reading anything good right now?  I'm looking at my next 4 books.  I'll be finished a few of these soon and I'm excited for my next four.  I think I'm gonna revisit some classics.  Have you taken the enneagram?  What number are you?  I'd love to know.

Also, you probably noticed that little box that appeared when you first clicked over to this site.  I'm starting a weekly newsletter.  It'll be kind of like a weekly coffee date between you and I.  I'll share my favorite things from the internet this week.  You brew your cup and I'll brew mine and we'll laugh and maybe cry at some amazing stories from the interwebs.  I'd consider it an honor to meet with you in your inbox every week.  Refresh this page and enter your email to start getting those.

This post does contain affiliate links.  Visiting those links if you are interested in purchasing any of those books helps to keep this little site running.  Thanks in advance.

episode 1 with erica simpson

This past Thursday I had the most amazingly fun experience over the phone.  I recorded my very first podcast episode with my friend Erica Simpson.

Erica and I at Young Living's Grand Convention in Salt Lake City

Erica is my internet turned telephone turned in-real-life friend and I am so thankful for her.  She's one of those friends that after you spend time in their space you're just thankful.  Erica and I don't get to catch up often.  She's wrangling two babies and my older babies are usually fighting or just plain being loud even though they've been quiet all morning.  #momlife

Even though we don't get to chat often, she's one of those friends who always has my back and she's the first friend I told about this little podcast that I was starting.  And I'm so glad she agreed to be my first guest.

In this episode we chat transracial families, learning to do our kid's hair, the comparison game that moms play, this most beautiful thing called social media, the struggle to do it all, and so much more.

I have to tell you this real quick before you head over to iTunes and check the episode out.  The episode did not turn out at all like I planned.  I had a plan.  Oh yes, I had a plan.  But Erica and I got chatting and like all good conversations do, we just twisted and turned and the end result really is beautiful.  I am so pleased with how it turned out and I hope it blesses you.

This whole thing.  This taking your thoughts and putting them out there (with your voice instead of typing with your fingers) is hard.  It's not an easy thing.  But it's a growing thing.  It's a molding and a shaping thing.  

I'm so excited for more episodes of Lemon + Frank: The Podcast.  It's going to be a fun thing.

Also, make sure and follow Erica on IG @eeverydayart and here are some books we mentioned in the episode in case you want to check those out for yourself:

lemon + frank: the podcast

Y'all.  I've wanted to host a podcast for like years now.

I'm serious.  I feel like I've literally grown up on podcasts.

From Serial to Mike Rowe's The Way I Heard It to Jamie Ivey's Happy Hour Podcast, I've literally spent hours in my car, in airports, and early in the morning before my kids wake up crying, laughing and just soaking in all the wisdom and good stories and conversations from my favorite podcasts.

The thing I love about podcasts is how simple and how accessible they make everyone seem.  It's not a lecture, it's like you're listening in on someone's conversation or gathered around listening to your favorite uncle (or father-in-law, in my case) tell his famous stories.

Lemon + Frank: the podcast is coming.

It's gonna be a whole lot of conversations with my favorite people on the planet.  I hope it's a shot in the arm to you.  I hope it bends your heart towards the Savior and I hope it just gives you a little bit of bravery to do that thing.

I've working on a lineup of some of my favorite humans and you get to listen in on our conversations.

I'm so excited.

We're in the process of recording our first couple of episodes and then Lemon + Frank: the podcast will be available for iTunes and Google Play.

I'm so excited.

what january taught me

January taught me a lot of lessons. 

She taught me that I can survive 4 days at home by myself in a huge snowstorm with 2 children. #ihatesnow

She taught me to re-love makeup #hellosavvyminerals

She taught me that my daughter has passions and I'm learning how to encourage those passions.

Alivea and Mia discussing their plans for tiny houses for the homeless in our community.

She taught me that baby wipes double as makeup remover wipes and dryer sheets. #mylaundrysmellsbetterthanyours

She taught me that my son is capable of soothing himself and keeping himself busy and that maybe just maybe all the time I spend on preschool activities for him is not wasted.  I just can't push said activities on him.  He has to find them himself. #sheesh

She taught me that bullet journaling is my preferred method of record keeping and planning.  #i'vespenttoomuchmoneyonplannersidon'tuse

She taught me that my daughter, who will turn 10 in a few months, wears the same size shoe as me. #wherehaveallmyshoesgone

She taught me that even in the midst of hard, uncertain times, our family is gonna be okay because we have each other. #jesusbuildsthecoolestfamilies

She taught me that I are never too old to push play on something or in my case record. #moreonthiscomingsoon

Thanks January for all your lessons.  Now, I'm excited to see what February will bring.

self care

You know that phrase right? Self care.

Can I be honest and just say that I hate that phrase?  I've always thought that it sounds kind of icky and kind of selfish.

That is until I needed it and I needed it badly.

Isn't that how it always is? You don't realize how much you need something and dare I say, you maybe make fun of something until you really need it, like you REALLY REALLY need it.

I've been putting myself to bed early lately.  That's step one in my self-care routine.

I need sleep and plenty of it.

I've also been using all my emotional oils and also using lots of oils for digestive system support and respiratory support.

Did you know that your digestive system and your emotions are directly linked?

It's true.  It's a crazy thing to think about but it's true.  Just think, have you ever felt nervous and nauseous?  Or have you ever been anxious and had diarrhea? Remember the stomach ache on the first day of school.  It's a real thing.

Did you know that grief and breathing problems go hand in hand?  You don't have to believe me, I'll link to some studies at the bottom of this post.

So besides putting myself to bed early, here is the rest of my self-care routine right now.

  • Bergamot and Stress Away. Lots and lots of Stress Away. I'm wearing these on my scarves during the day and also on my wrists as a perfume.  I literally smell them all day long.
  • Frankincense on the crown of my head.
  • DiGize on my belly.  DiGize is great for my belly to help it function properly.  
  • Thieves down my spine.  I don't have time for germs and stress can really compromise your immune system.
  • Rutavala on the bottoms of my feet.  It's the most amazing calming blend ever.
  • Rose Ointment on my hands.  This time of year my skin is so dry and this Rose Ointment is just a little extra pampering right before bedtime.

Do you have a self-care routine?  Is there anything you do that really calms you down? Do you have any habits or routines to purposely spoil or pamper yourself?  I'd love to hear about them.

And here are those links to scientific studies I promised:

The Gut-Brain Connection
Greek Medicine: Emotions and Organs

Linking up to a few fun blog parties:

almost and waiting

We were supposed to be moving next week.  We were supposed to be signing our lease and our contract to purchase tonight.  We were supposed to be shopping this weekend for some new furniture.

It's over now. We are not moving next week.  We are not signing our lease and contract to purchase tonight.  We are not going shopping for new furniture this weekend.

Yesterday morning we got the news that we lost our house.  The one we had prayed for, the one we had said no to several times, the one that had chased us down.  The one we felt was the perfect fit for our family.  We lost it.  Another family was more prepared than us and didn't need to rent for a few months.  They could close next month and offered more money.

Yesterday my heart was raw.  The breath was sucked out of me.  And then the flurry began.  The flurry of phone calls to cancel the cable and the electric.  The realization that half of our life is already in boxes and some of it is in a trailer in our driveway.  The realization that we've already given away furniture that we didn't think would fit in the new house.  The realization that we've moved our life and planned our life around this move and around this new house.  The realization that I had to call all of our friends and family that were so excited for us and tell them what had happened.  The realization that I had to tell my daughter that the house she was so excited for would not be ours.

Those realizations sucked.  Seriously.

And then came the other realization, the one that I had when my daughter started crying and saying that God never hears her and why do these things happen. The realization and what I told her was this

God is in this.  He is.  He always has been.  I have no explanation for what happened.  It hurts and it sucks and I can't understand it.  And I don't have to.  What I do have to do is trust.  Trust that He is good and that what He has planned for us is better.  Trust that He sees our family.  Trust that He knows ours needs and our desires and He cares about both.

Having to speak those words while holding her little face and feeling like you're a little numb yourself inside is hard and humbling.  I trust Jesus.  I wasn't lying.  And I'm thankful for this refining fire of parenting where I am forced to come face to face with these truths and I'm forced to speak them out loud to her.

Because the truth is that while I'm speaking them out loud to her, my soul is hearing it too.  And I'm preaching to myself because myself needs to hear it.

I know Jesus has our family.  That's all I know at this point.  I do not know how long it will take us to move or where we will move.  I don't know what type of house He has in store for us.  I don't know anything about that.  But I do know that our life is a little lighter right now.  I'm sure we'll have to unpack some stuff but we may just keep some in boxes.  We're still looking for a house.  And we know there is one out there for us.  Maybe it's not even on the market yet.  Maybe it's still full of love and laughter and it's just not ready for us yet.  And that's okay.

I've never been great at waiting well but something tells me that I'm going to learn.

"Almosts" and seasons of waiting are hard.  We all have them.  Some are super long and hard and scary.  But I'm confident of one thing- there is no such thing as total darkness.  There is always light.  It might be just a little bit.  It might be hard to see.  It might take some straining to see it but it's there.  And Jesus is always near.  He is.  So whatever "almosts" and season of waiting you are in, if you're in one- please know this.  You are not alone.  You aren't.  I'm right there with you.  And "almosts" and seasons of waiting don't last forever.  They don't.

If you were in my kitchen right now (surrounded by boxes), we'd drink some coffee and we'd choose to focus on the good things.  We'd choose to think on the stuff that's going right.  Even if it's just the hot coffee in our mugs.  We'd probably smell some essential oils because they always calm me down.  And we'd just chat and laugh.  And I'd tell you that it's going to be okay.  It is.  And you'd tell me the same thing because that's what friends do. 

And then you'd go home and I'd go back to my crazy life but we'd both be a little stronger and stand up a little taller because we would know that we're not alone.

rutavala (let them all sleep)

A few months ago, I got this roller in my monthly Young Living box.

You guys.  It smells so amazing.  It's a blend of Lavender (hello calming), Valerian (hello grounding), and Ruta.  Ruta is an herb that is grown and distilled at Young Living's Ecuador farm.

Here's the thing I love about this roller.  Convenience.  I can literally just swipe my son on the back of the neck.

Does anyone else have a hard time getting your little one to stop long enough to put oils on the bottoms of their feet?  Or is it just me?

This roller makes it so easy to just swipe him as he runs by.

I use it myself too.  At nighttime it's the perfect calming blend.  I just roll it on the back of my neck and on the bottoms of my feet.  And it smells so good.  I seriously could wear this one as a perfume.

What oils are your sleepy time oils?  I'd love to know.

modern farmhouse in the city

We move in 12 days.  12 days from today will be our first day in our new house.

This has me not only in panic mode because I am decluttering and packing all the things.

But it also has me in major house envy mode.  I am pouring over Pinterest and the decor magazines at the grocery store.

There are a few trends I am loving for the new house and I wanted to share them.

First, my style is definitely modern farmhouse with a little mid-century modern mixed in.  I love chalk paint but I also love my vintage Pyrex from the 70s.  I love wood but I also love a little metal.  I'm complicated like that.  I love real art but I also love cheap prints in great frames.

Here are some decor trends that I am sure to incorporate into our new house somewhere.

The Layered Rug look from The Crazy Cat Lady

Succulents from The Blondielocks

White Farmhouse Style Table with Colored Chairs from Paddington Way

Words that Matter from Smallwood Home

Night Sky Poster from NightSky

Rae Dunn Pottery from Liz Marie Blog

I know it's not the things that make a house but I am having a lot of fun dreaming and thinking about this home and the love and the people we will fill it with.  I'm committed to providing a safe space for my kids to land and for my husband to come home to.  And I also want our house to be the one where the coffee or tea is always on and where the dining room table is always open for a good chat.  You may have to move the homeschool books aside, but otherwise it's open.

i got that from her {repost}

This post originally appeared on my old blog on October 3, 2016.

Why do the most amazing conversations with my kids happen in the car? I swear.  They do.

About two months ago, I was riding with my kids and Alivea started asking me questions about her birth parents.

Mommy, do you know anything about my birth father?
No, not much, baby girl.  I know he is black.  That's all I know.

That is all I know.  It's sad.  These conversations are sad and hard and I have this strange mix of feelings every time we head down this path.  My first thought is that I am going to vomit and my second thought is one of gratefulness.  I am so glad that my daughter feels safe and knows that she can ask me these hard questions.  She has a lot of questions.

Mommy, do you know anything about my birth mother?
Yes, sweetheart, I know that she loved to sing and dance.  I know that she loved to do hair.

That is about the extent of what I know about her birth mother.  I literally have an 8x11 sheet of paper with blanks like you would fill out on the first day of school.  This sheet of paper is all I have of my daughter's birth mother, her first mother.  It's all I have of the woman that carried her for nine months. It's all I have.

I could tell Alivea was struggling with this conversation and what I had told her.  She started crying in the back seat.  It was a hard cry.  I asked her if she was okay and she said through her tears

Mommy, those are all the things I like.  I'm thinking I must have gotten that from her.

And I melted into my seat.  We cried and I reassured her that yes, she probably did get those things from her birth mother.

I was keenly aware in that moment of just how strange this adopted life is.  I felt like I was watching all of this from above my car or something.  I had this sense that if Alivea was my biological daughter I would be jealous that she had this affection for another woman, for another mother.  But it's not like that at all.

Alivea is my daughter.  Through and through.  There is no denying that or taking that away.  There is no undoing it or covering it up.  Alivea is also A's daughter.  Through and through.  There is no denying that or taking that away.  There is no undoing it or covering it up.  And I wouldn't want to either.

This woman.  This woman I have never met gave me the greatest gift in the world.  I've actually started to grieve for A.  I know that she made her choice and she didn't make it lightly but I also know that her choice had consequences.  And not just consequences for Alivea.  I live with those everyday. I'm suddenly more aware, as Alivea gets older, of the consequences for A.

The other night Alivea sang in a talent show at church.  She sang a portion of Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"  She's never sang a solo before in front of such a large group of people. When it was almost her turn, I was watching her on the front row and she was shaking and I knew she was crying.  I made my way up to the front row and tried to make her feel better.  She was so scared.

I ended up having to go with Alivea up on the stage and hold her hand through her entire performance.  And I cried like a baby through the whole stinkin' thing.  Because I'm a baby and because my baby was singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and because I could feel the love.

I was so proud of my daughter.  She did something brave and scary.  She did it even though she was scared.  She did it even through tears and uncertainty.  And I cried myself to sleep that night.  I cried myself to sleep thinking of the woman, who gave Alivea life, and yet who is missing all of her life.

I cried because she has not seen the way this little girl carries her baby brother around on her back.

I cried because she has not listened to Alivea and Mia giggle at the silliest things at 10:00 at night when they are supposed to be sleeping.

I cried because she missed Alivea's performance in the Nutcracker last year.

I cried because she hasn't been here for the skinned knees and learning to ride a bike.

I cried because she missed hearing Alivea gasp when she saw the Statue of Liberty.

These are just a few of the things she's missed.  She will miss so much more.

I cried because she is missing out on knowing one of the coolest kids on the planet.  She is missing out.  But with that truth also comes the truth that if she was here, I wouldn't be.  If she was here, Denny and I wouldn't get to see and experience all of these things.  That is one of the hard truths of adoption.  Our joy and our love and our adventure and our family- all of those things- are because of brokenness and heartache and pain.  We carry those with us everyday.

Denny and I have the best of A.  We live with the best of her everyday in the form of this little girl and I have to think that almost 9 years ago when A was filling out this paper, when she was writing down that she loves to sing and dance and that she loves doing hair, that she was probably wondering if her little girl would love those things too.  She was probably thinking about all of the things she was going to miss.  She had to be aware that the choice she was making was a hard one and would continue to be a hard one for years to come.  Every birthday, every holiday, every first day of school.  She knew she would miss those.  And yet she did it anyway.  Scared and trusting, she did it anyway.

Denny and I are forever grateful.

if we could have coffee {repost}

This post originally appeared on my old blog on August 14, 2016.

If we could have coffee.  If we really could.  Like if you lived close to me.  

If we could have coffee, I'd probably arrive late.  It's the season of life I'm in.  I always intend to be early, but then I spill something on my shirt (probably some coffee) or the cat needs to be fed. Or something.

If we could have coffee, I'd probably be wearing my ripped jeans and a cut-off tee shirt.  It's my favorite look this summer.  I've had these jeans for a few years and they've been worn in all the right places and a few weeks ago they finally ripped and I was like "Hallelujah!"  I think I've worn them 3-4 times a week since then.

If we could have coffee, I'd have to meet you at my local bakery.  Dunkin' Donuts coffee is bad and so is McDonald's.  So we'd have to meet at the bakery.  And that means we'd also have to eat donuts. We'd have to.  I think it's a law or something.

If we could have coffee, you would probably smell me before you saw me.  And in a good way. I'm really loving my essential oils these days and my motto is "the more the merrier".  I love all of them and I wear all of them.  So I hope you like peppermint and rosemary and orange.  All at once.

If we could have coffee, I'd talk about my kids.  And I'd talk about adoption.  And I'd talk about essential oils.  And I'd talk loud.  I'm sorry.  Only I'm not sorry.  Not for any of that.  

If we could have coffee, I'd want to listen to you.  I'd love to hear about you.  About your life. About your cats.  Or disdain for cats.  (I understand that too.)  I'd love to hear about your home renovation project.  I'd love to hear about that cool thing you made out of pallets or about your latest Pinterest fail. (I understand those too.) 

If we could have coffee, I also want to tell you a few things.  Besides things about adoption and orphans and essential oils.  I'd want to tell you to be brave.  We all have things inside of us just screaming to get out.  Projects, books, newspaper articles, songs, craft projects.  We all have them. And we have to let them out.  The world is only blessed with one of you.  And one of me. And it's a shame if the world doesn't get to see your "you-ness" or my "me-ness".  (Those are words, trust me!)

No seriously, the tagline of this little blog is "...let the brave begin."  Your brave could begin today. And maybe mine will too.  One thing I'm learning lately is that bravery needs to be renewed on the daily.  Just because I was brave yesterday doesn't mean I'll be brave tomorrow. Just because I nailed it yesterday doesn't mean it will be easy tomorrow.  

Tomorrow has it's own troubles (Matthew 6:34). And needs it's own bravery, I'd like to add.

If we could have coffee, I'd love to give you a shot in the arm of bravery.  I'd love to tattoo some bravery on your forehead.  So when you wake up tomorrow and the world looks scary and hard, you look in the mirror and you're reminded of your bravery.  Because you are brave.  And I am brave. And together we are brave.

So today, even though we can't meet for coffee, pretend we just did.  Pretend you just told me all about your cats and how your husband left his wet towel on the bathroom floor again.  Pretend you told me that scary thing, that thing you are afraid to voice to anyone else.  Pretend you just told me about this crazy idea you have.  You know the one.  The one that as soon as you said it, you wanted to quick grab all the words and shove them back in.  That one.  Pretend you just told me all about it.  About how even though it's scary, it makes a part of you come alive when you think about it.  And then pretend this.  Pretend that I just high-fived you, hugged you, and maybe cried a little.  Because I'm a sympathetic crier.  And I'm also a crier at all things inspirational and uplifting.  I especially cry when I see someone being brave.  And even if you don't feel brave, it's okay.  Because I've tattooed bravery on your forehead.  So when you wake up tomorrow and it all just seems like a dream, go look in the mirror.  And let your brave begin.

WHY DIFFUSE {the top 4 reasons}

When people first hear about essential oils, they usually hear about diffusing first.  That's usually the first place people want to start.

Today, we'd love to share the top 4 reasons you should be diffusing in your home.

First, let's chat diffusing for a second.  Diffusing is when you are dispersing an essential oil into the air.  You should be using a diffuser that is made for essential oils.  Essential oils are very concentrated and so you should not place them into a humidifier or vaporizer.

Also, essential oils should never be heated.  So please don't place them in a warmer.  Heating essential oils changes their chemistry and can also compromise their therapeutic value.

1.  Our brains and our emotions.  Our sense of smell is the only one of the five physical senses that is directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain, which is where our emotions are controlled.

So smelling things can make us feel things.

2.  Smell and memory.  Our sense of smell is also linked to our memory.  You know this is true.  You smell things and then you remember things.

3.  A little goes a long way.  Essential oils are volatile liquids extracted from plants and they can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts because they are so concentrated.

4.  Sesquiterpenes- a little molecule with a big name. Sesquiterpenes are a class of molecules that are super special.  They can surpass the blood-brain barrier.  There's this barrier, called the blood-brain barrier, that protects your brain tissue from contaminants and toxins in your blood.  Researchers have long thought that if they could find something to pass through that barrier, that maybe they would be able to intervene in certain neurological issues.  In 1994, researchers found that sesquiterpenes can penetrate this barrier.  Not only can they penetrate, but they can help increase oxygen to the limbic system of the brain.  This then leads to secretions of antibodies, endorphins, and neurotransmitters.  And guess what?  There are so many oils that are high in sesquiterpenes. Frankincense, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, German Chamomile and lots of others.

So there you have it.  The top 4 reasons you should be diffusing essential oils.  

And just in case you need some more encouragement, how about a few fun diffuser combinations to try out.

diffuser recipes from Erica Simpson at @eeverydayoils

If you need help getting a diffuser and getting started using your essential oils, please call your nearest oily friend.  If you don't happen to have one, please click the link to the right and I would be happy to help you.  You can also email

Happy Diffusing!