Lavender: For the love of health

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Lavender, the “Swiss Army Knife” of oils, is a staple in this home for one simple reason: IT WORKS FOR PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING!  I really do wish she sold this oil in 8 ounce glass pump containers…because we do use it that much!  Laundry, perfume, pinkeye, blisters, burns, fever, hand sanitizing, mood, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, oral health, hair growth, and ON and ON! It’s even made appearances in Blueberry Cheesecake, and lemon water! But one of our favorite uses this time of year has got to be in the diffuser…but not just straight Lavender, but rather Lavender Thieves Blend!

A blend like Thieves is amazing all on it’s own but it, for me, is a little too…cinnamon smelling when I have a cold (kinda knocks my sense of smell around a bit…like a sugar hyped bully).  But, I KNOW we need to diffuse it in the house and use it on our feet (because it DOES help my family stay well and, if sick, kick the germs to the curb more quickly).  So, again, What’s a country girl to do?  And you know who had the answer?  DUH, ladies, come on…C A M P  W A N D E R!!!!  She always has the best suggestions & life solutions!  I felt like such a dork/loser when I read it too!  I thought, Psh, you add LAVENDER! DUH!  And she’s created Lavender Thieves to help those without the “mixology gene”.

This house is a germy one (a Firefighter/Paramedic + Teacher/Nanny/Tutor + Dog + anyone else who may visit = Germ City)!  So I am constantly diffusing!  So go grab your diffuser and add the following germ-butt-kicking combination:

Luke warm water to the fill line (we love our Zaq Mirage diffuser…it runs for almost 10 full HOURS)

4 Drops Thieves Blend

4 Drops Lavender (or just 8 drops total of Lavender Thieves)

When the Flu strikes (if ever…because we are faithful with our EO regimen and our Plexus supplements, we aren’t plagued by all that garbage like we used to be), we use Lavender and Lavender Thieves on the bottoms of our feet.  When it’s really bad, we add a drop of Melaleuca and a drop of stinky ole Oregano to the mix.  I don’t know WHY, but adding those 2 seems to further speed recovery (in our house) from all ailments that are accompanied by fevers!  I will say that Oregano is NOT a favorite as far as smell profile (yeah, I think it smells like FEET), but it’s one we always have handy “just in case”.  It’s also been known to be anti-parasitic so the floors and counters get a steaming with 3 drops of that plus 5 Lavender in the tank (I have a HAAN steamer with a Carpet Glide attachment…which I use on the mattresses as well).

As I mentioned initially, Lavender also has wonderful uses helping with hair growth, reducing swelling & itching, and helping eliminate fleas.  This household has successfully used Lavender (with 2 very large, very stinky dogs) to combat fleas and the occasional “Oh, mom, I’m a silly puppy and I bit a bee by mistake and I have a swollen face” moment.

I think, by now, it’s obvious that Lavender has a lengthy list of awesome uses.  It’s versatility and affordable price point make it a must have for every home.  BUT, let’s be clear, all EOs are NOT created equal!!  I would feel comfortable ingesting Camp Wander EOs because I know their owner and trust her sourcing (she’s a true stickler for quality).  So, read, research, and DO NOT overpay!  You don’t need super secret rewards programs and wholesale memberships to get the best oils!!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY,
and be comfortable with being YOU!



In love and strength

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{If this offends you, please, just move along.  I’m quite done with being blasted with hateful, rude words and defending myself.  If you cannot be kind or rational, go about your business and leave us be.  Thank you.}

Yesterday, my sweet city suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a radical terrorist.  49 of our citizens, one of whom I personally knew, were gunned down in a hateful, bigoted act of terror by a man who’d never met them…all in the name of ISIS.  Our city grieves and is in shock.

These were our friends, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, family, loved ones… our fellow Americans.  And as we’ve been going through these last 24 hrs, I have been absolutely stunned, both in good and bad ways, by what I have witnessed.

I want you to know that I have wrestled with this next bit.  The decision of whether or not to address what I’ve seen…but I know that the conversation is already taking place and I feel being heard is important.  I also feel that, since I was verbally accosted today by a complete stranger, I deserve to, without being screamed at, give my response.


Our citizens and even those outside the city and outside our state have lined up in droves (in line for upwards of 5 hrs) to give blood.  KEEP IT COMING!  There are still many in the hospital and numerous listed in “Grave” condition.  The blood supply will need to be replenished many times over the coming weeks.  Please, if you are able, go to your local blood bank and give!!   And others have showed up to bring ice water, snacks, provide port-a-potties, and fans.  You are all amazing and we appreciate every single kind act!  Watching our state unite to hug, pray, support, give…it makes me so proud to live here!  This was an attack on our freedom as Americans…and we need to stand together and stand STRONG against these terrorists!!


Let me begin this passage by saying I am ashamed of those of you advocating the violation of our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendment rights in the aftermath of this tragedy. You are running about like scared children, blaming everyone and everything but the radical islamic terrorist scum of an individual that committed this heinous act of terror.  Demanding the ban of firearms.  Demanding “assault weapons” bans and confiscation.  I am stunned that individuals have immediately hijacked this tragedy of our loved ones to further their political agendas.  I am shocked that, as a firearms owner, I’ve actually had to defend myself to people who’ve never met me, have NO connection to this tragedy, and have NEVER even SEEN the firearms used in this terrorist act.  People seem to think that their fears, opinions, and political agendas are more important than those we lost, those who grieve, and those who are law abiding citizens and have NEVER committed a crime.  I am so angered that, in the midst of our grief, we must even field this conversation.  I don’t want to have it.  But, I know the right thing to do is to meet it all head on.  I am sick and tired of being attacked by individuals with erroneous information, insane accusations, and absolutely insane & unconstitutional demands.  So let’s get this over with so I can go back to my life.


I want to tell you the truth.  From my heart.  I want to, as a Constitutionalist, challenge you to look beyond your fear & opinions and see the facts and the law abiding citizens on the other side of your fear & seething hatred.

I was told (screamed at) today (by a mean, vicious, insensitive individual) that all guns are “evil”, are unsafe, should be banned, and that as a firearms owner, I’m a primitive fetishist without a brain who lacks forward thought or the ability to care about anyone but myself.  Well, tell us how you REALLY feel!  Sheesh.  You don’t even know me, but, by all means, pass your judgement.  *knuckle crack*…let’s tackle this first bit about “guns are evil”.

First of all, basic English (the language & the subject…you know, that thing in school you were supposed to be taught) makes that statement absolutely untrue and obliterates the argument immediately.  Inanimate objects have no ability to possess, act, or be anything but inanimate.  They can do NOTHING.  Firearms possess no consciousness, no autonomy, no life.  Firearms require a human component (or a gross lack of adherence to the safety rules) to cause harm.  A firearm cannot load itself. A firearm with no chambered round cannot chamber it’s own round.  Now, let’s address “guns are unsafe”.

Here again, we find this statement is made erroneous merely by sentence structure and basic rules of the English language.  However, let’s move beyond this and dive into something I mentioned above: firearms safety rules!  These are basic rule that EVERY SINGLE firearms owner should adhere to, obey, and respect.  If you cannot or do not, you should not own a firearm…PERIOD!

1. All guns are loaded.
– There seems to be some confusion on this.  Let me clarify.  ALL firearms are loaded.  If you unloaded the firearm, walked the ammo and magazines (NO, they aren’t “clips”…PLEASE don’t use that word…you sound stupid) to another room and returned to your firearm, it is STILL LOADED.  even after you clear the chamber, it’s STILL LOADED.  Are you understanding the point?  Treat every.single.firearm as if it is loaded, no matter what!  This step, if it were truly observed, would ELIMINATE the majority of “accidental” shootings (which we in the firearms world call “careless discharges” or negligence…because, if an “accident” happened with your firearm, you were NEGLIGENT/CARELESS/STUPID)! Yes, STUPID. I’m harsh, I know.  However, there’s NO excuse for negligence or carelessness in the presence of something that, when used improperly, can prove potentially deadly.  A healthy respect/fear of what could happen if you aren’t always safe is good…NEVER forget the potential power contained in your hands.
2. Never point the muzzle at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
– My granddaddy taught us this one as “Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction”.  This means at the GROUND, never at people, animals, or anything else unless you intend on blowing it away.  Unless you are aiming at a target, an animal you are hunting, or someone coming to kill you, you best have that thing in a safe direction.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you’re prepared to fire.
– I’m not sure WHY this one is so difficult for people.  When your finger is ON the trigger, you’re a gnat’s butt away from firing.  If you aren’t on target and 100% committed to firing a round at said target, get our flipping finger AWAY from the trigger!!  Don’t increase your trigger-pull pounds…just obey the safety rule.  Goodness.  And, you guessed it, if you cannot obey this rule, you shouldn’t own a firearm.
4. Always confirm your target, as well as what’s in front, behind, and around it.
– You are responsible for every round that leaves your firearm.  WHAT?  Let me say it again: YOU, and ONLY YOU, are RESPONSIBLE (I know, not a word you hear very often) for EVERY.SINGLE.ROUND leaving your firearm.  Careless discharges, misses, ALL of them!  THIS is why we practice!  If you cannot stay on target and be responsible for all your rounds, you have NO business owning a firearm.

“Guns should be banned”.  Stupidity should be banned.  Blerg.  I have the hardest time with people uttering these words because it is immediately clear they have ZERO grasp of our history or the significance of the Constitution of the United States of America, The Bill of Rights, or the foundation upon which this nation is built.  I get it, you want people to be safe.  You want to protect people from evil.  You want to stop these psychos from killing.  You know what?  I do too!  That’s one of MANY reasons why I own firearms!  WHAAAAT??  Let me share something extremely personal with you. (CAUTION: NOT for young readers)

I own firearms for skeet shooting, hunting, and personal protection.  Why?  As a young woman, I was the victim of a sexual assault.  I went out with my boyfriend at the time.  He became angry when I refused to drink and stay later at a party.  Embarrassed at how he was speaking to me in front of others, I walked outside. HUGE MISTAKE.  He propelled me by my upper arm into the alleyway.  He screamed at me, slapped me, and then violated me in an unimaginable way.  This was the beginning of a cycle.  It happened multiple times over the next few months.  Why did I stay? He told me no one else would want me.  I was a “broken vessel”, “Damaged goods” and NO ONE would ever believe me.  A friend finally convinced me to tell someone.  When I reported my sexual assaults, I thought I’d have an advocate.  I felt so relieved as I blurted out the horrific details.   “Finally”, I thought, someone would protect me from the monster.  Instead,  I was made fun of & told “You probably wanted it”, “We know him and his family…you’re a liar”, “If it did happen, it’s your fault for being alone with him”, “You kept going back so that’s you’re fault”, “Awe, look at her cry to make it more believable”.  I was crushed.  I ran from the building and buried my shameful secret.  Young, scared, and alone, I believed what they’d told me.  I lived that way for many years…embarrassed and thinking it truly WAS my fault because I didn’t do something to stop him.  Broken, weary vessel.  Thank goodness I met a wonderful, empowering, kindhearted man (and married him).  He made clear that I was not the broken vessel this monster told me I’d forever be in everyone’s eyes.  He taught me to become my own advocate and helped me learn how to use a handgun.  I had been proficient with rifles for my entire life but handguns and the realm of personal protection were something new.  So, WHAT does all this have to do with protecting people and stopping violence?

As I train & practice, I become sharper each day.  I am empowered and feel safe: I can protect myself.  I am confident and don’t live in constant fear.  I don’t have to rely on someone else to “save me” should my life be in danger.  My firearms, both handguns and rifles alike, are “equalizers”.  What does that mean?  That means, as a woman, I don’t have to fear attackers that could overpower me…I have the means to protect myself from them.  So, when you talk about “banning guns”, you talk about taking away my ability to protect myself as a woman.  And, the AR-15 you’re losing your MINDS over?  It’s a beautiful, customizable platform upon which women (or men) can build a rifle for hunting or home/family defense.  If you don’t want people to lump all Muslims together based on this man’s actions, why do all firearms owners get lumped into the boat with his actions?  Terrorists, criminals, and mental whackos are NOT the majority!!  We need to stop punishing the many for the crimes of the few!!
*And before you throw that “need” word out there: No, right now, I don’t “NEED” an AR-15.  However, should someone enter my home or should I want to hunt, I will absolutely “need” an AR-15.  But then, you don’t NEED a fire extinguisher until there’s a fire or an epiPen until you’re in anaphylaxis.  Do you really need a big screen TV or a $40,000 automobile?  No.  But, you’re free to get them if you want them.  Why does need have ANYTHING to do with owning ANY legally obtained firearm??  It shouldn’t and it doesn’t. Another side note: our rights aren’t based on NEED.

Now, the last part of the accusations: Primitive fetishist without a brain who lacks forward thought or the ability to care about anyone but myself.  
Primitive: Well, I do eat Paleo, have solar power for my home, go camping and hunting and like old movies.  My owning firearms makes me “modern”…primitives didn’t HAVE firearms…they had spears!
Fetishist: Do you even KNOW what that word means?  I don’t think you do.  I actually don’t believe firearms have powers, supernatural or otherwise.  Only PEOPLE have power.  I also don’t believe objects have power over people.  So, guess what?  That means I’m NOT a fetishist.  Maybe I should buy you a dictionary for Christmas.  Oh, wait, you’re a PC Nazi, you don’t say “Christmas”.  Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Ahem.
Without a Brain/Lacks Forward Thought:  What are we, 12?  Well, I OBVIOUSLY have a brain (duh).  And, if your definition of “forward thought” is violation of an individual’s Constitutionally protected rights through banning and confiscation, I don’t want to BE a “forward thinker”…because it’s backward….and primitive. Ahem.
Ability to care about anyone but myself: This one is my FAVE because my entire support of firearms and training and empowering people (especially women) to learn to shoot and defend themselves blows this one out of the water.  I don’t want anyone to have to WAIT on someone else to save them, protect them, advocate for them.  It’s our right and responsibility to protect our own lives.  We shouldn’t have to be beholden to someone else.

Look, if you’re afraid of firearms, in ANY FORM, or just aren’t educated on them, I want you to do me a favor.  Just do this ONE thing for me: Men and women ALIKE-Go and find a group of women who shoot (Well Armed Woman chapters, Pink Pistols, or Women’s NRA groups are super accepting and helpful) and 1.) TALK to them (be open and up front about your hesitations and what you’re doing).  Talk to them about WHY they shoot, own firearms, or concealed carry.  Don’t be inflammatory or rude.  Ask polite questions to gain information.  Fact find.  You NEED FACTS!  Ask about safety, rights, and their WHY!  2.) GO SHOOTING 3 times with them.  Shoot a handgun, rifle (an AR-15 if they have one), and shotgun at least 3 times each during these outings!  3.) At the end of your 3rd outing, revisit your beliefs with your newly gathered facts and experiences!!  And, if you REALLY want to go a step further, go to a gun shop and go through your state’s process to purchase a firearm (unless you’re a prohibited possessor).  Also, learn the difference between Semiautomatic and automatic…they are NOT synonyms!!

Now, I hope that, since we’re adults, we can move on.  I hope that I’ve suffered sufficiently and have now answered your rants and clarified my position.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, my family and I are going back to grieving for the loss of our friend.

Resources for you (if you REALLY care about facts, you’ll delve into these):




Firm Foundations

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I’ve spent a great deal of time this week, through my tears, thinking on foundations.  No, not the ones we create within ourselves or through learning, but actual, concrete foundations.  You know, the one your home likely sits on?  Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why have I been pondering cement through emotional outbursts?  Well, take a walk with me.
Everyone knows we’ve been looking to rip up the carpet and put down this really beautiful, high quality laminate (because it eliminates that nasty, germy carpet…and the doctor said so).  I was stoked when the floor FINALLY arrived from the manufacturer.  It’s just so pretty and this meant we could begin the cathartic and liberating experience of ripping out all that carpet.  WOOOO!  First thing Monday, we did just that.  We started by clearing the living room.  Of course, this meant our Maligator would think he’d been promoted to head honcho and had been given ALL the new, available space.  Sorry dude, gotta move!  Then we removed the base boards and began pulling up the carpet from the tack strips. For reference, tack strips should be called velociraptor yard sticks…they’re awful! Then on to rolling it up and ousting the old, thin, cheap, garbage padding (it smelled a bit like old food and feet).  We vacuumed up an insane amount of sand and concrete debris from removing the tack strips.  Then, as we prepared to move to the next area of carpet, we discovered cracking.  And my fears that we bought a “Holmes on Homes” style house are confirmed.  But who’s gonna “make it right”?




Now, at this point, let me say that cracks in foundations occur all the time!  Homes settle over time and as they do, small cracks appear.  Well, of course, our crack can’t be a small one. Oh no, it, in true Magnolia Homestead fashion, MUST be HUGE!  I mean, if you’re gonna crack, go for the gold, right?!  Our foundation cracks are small in some spaces but almost a half inch in others.  Worse still, the cracks appear to be through & through and NOT just surface cracks.  Sigh.  During “discovery hour”, we also learned our foundation is grossly uneven…meaning concrete leveling MUST occur for us to lay the laminate. I need a little sign on the wall that says “bang head here”.

I know I’m supposed to trust God and His plan for us.  I know I’m supposed to be filled with positivity, light, and joy.  “Perspective” I tell myself.  And yet, here I am, almost in tears…again.  I have had enough of October. Frankly, 2015 can pack it’s junk and move on right now!  It’s just such a disheartening and stressful time.  But here’s the real kicker.

It’s my fault.  No, I didn’t crack the foundation…I’m not talking about that.  This entire venture, from the purchase of THIS HOUSE, was me.  My usual head-strong pushing. Yes, we both loved the house when we walked through, but I found the home and pushed that we go see it.  Had I not done the searching, found this home, and pushed to see it, we never would have moved here.  That’s the first rip.  The second is my diagnosis.  Were it not for this ridiculous Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome, we’d be blissfully unaware and still have carpet.  The next is, we went from having a paid for home to now having a house payment because we pulled equity out of the home in order to have the funds to pay off our bills and my car, repair/replace the fence, get fireman’s truck a new set of tires and a brake job, and do the much needed renovations to the home.  It’s clear now that we won’t be able to finish the items on the list.  I have this immense guilt about me.  Why?  My husband.

My husband, Fireman, works hard.  I don’t mean he works and comes home. He works tirelessly every single day to make this home livable, safe, and to provide.  He often goes to bed far after me and wakes before the sun.  He maintains yards on his days off, does all the vehicle maintenance (which, let’s face it, is more and more with his ever aging truck), and even plays the roll of handyman.  He is constantly on the back burner because something else takes precedent.  Whether it be my health, the house, or whatever…he never comes first.  He stands quietly, without complaint, and hacks it out of the wilderness.  I wish, so very badly, I could fix all this for him.  Just one time I’d like to be able to swoop in and save him.  The man I love deserves so much better.  He deserves a truck with reliable air, new tires, safe brakes. He deserves to have someone else do the work every once in a while.  He deserves to be able to look at our life savings and not fear whether or not it will carry us through this crisis or the next.  Most important, he deserves a safe, functional home for himself and his family.  But I cannot give any of that to him.  As a wife, when your hands are tied and you’re helpless in the moment, it’s frightening and it stokes a sadness within me I haven’t felt in decades.  There’s nothing I can do but pray and encourage him.  That and beg the thoughts and prayers of those like you upon him and this house.

Of course, I have moments of humor intermixed with anger.  I sit and, though I love this little house, I wish I had a bulldozer to mow this whole house down as start from scratch (HA, me on a piece of heavy machinery…that’s hilarious).  But that escapade would take hundreds of thousands of dollars (even thought I’m pretty convinced, that’s what it would take to “make it right” as Mike Holmes would say).  I have visions of me pressing a button and releasing a wrecking ball…in grand, old school cartoon style.  I even have moments where I consider taking my hand and just punching through the drywall….but then, I’d probably hit a stud. But, I keep myself in check…barely.

So, as we await the estimate and meeting with the Contractor on Monday, I would just ask that you pray for God to move in big ways.  We absolutely require miraculous, divine intervention at this point.  There’s no way we can move forward without help from above.  Only He can use this for good…because I have yet to find any in this situation.

Perhaps this is a reminder on the significance of foundations in our lives…When the path is darkening and all that is around you seems to wane and evaporate, it helps to have a firm foundation.


Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!
 *And, Make It Right…the first time (unlike the builder of this home)



Hell Week

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It is no secret that we love the Lord.  As I type this, I pray it helps someone today!  I just want to share this week in the hope that God may continue to bring us comfort in this difficult time and that He is able to comfort someone through this outpouring of my imperfect heart.  Love y’all!!


It’s been an absolute downpour of flaming piles of doo-doo from September 28th through today.  That old phrase about “when it rains, it pours”…accurate to the letter!  But When the week began, I didn’t realize it would be this way.  I thank God for His goodness, His love, His eternal grace, His mercy, and His comfort…because without it all, I’d be lost in an ocean of despair and anger.

As most of you know, I have the privilege of being a tutor and nanny in the afternoons for a wonderful family and their 2 incredible boys.  Well, their handsome, sweet dog, Clint the Dalmatian, turned 14 years old Sept 23rd and then began, over the next 4 days, to exhibit signs that it was “time”.  At first it was decreased appetite, him not wanting to be alone (he had to be underfoot every moment), and difficulty walking (tripping while walking and when he’d stand in one place, he’d fall).  As the days progressed, it became apparent that he was not getting better and he appeared to be “looking for a place”. And then, one morning, he could no longer stand at all.  Through tears and prayer, they made the difficult and emotional decision to have Clint put to sleep.

Many people don’t understand how tough this decision can be for families who see these animals as more than “just a dog”.  They celebrated his achievements, just as parents celebrate that of their own children. Clint had been a championship show dog!  They showed me his ribbons and medals as well as his photo album.  Such pride and love for this canine! Clint had been with this family since before the boys were born.  He was, in many ways, the original child…the first born.

After speaking with friends and asking about options, they decided not to take Clint to a veterinary clinic.  Instead, they had a wonderfully sweet vet, Dr. Stacey, come to the home.  This allowed the entire family to love on Clint, feed him cake, and talk to him in his final moments.  It was precious and beautiful to see how much love this family had for their precious Clint.  There were no dry eyes Sept 30th.

As we moved into October, we prepared to celebrate my birthday on the 2nd.  Then we received word that our Plexus family had lost someone.  Danny Volovlek went home to be with the Lord in the early hours of the morning on October 2nd.  He passed in his sleep after a long battle with Pancreatic cancer.  Danny leaves behind his beautiful and sweet wife, Lorie (together 26 years) and 2 boys.  As we wept and prayed for them, we didn’t much feel like birthday celebrating, so, we just spent time together and hung around the house. He was laid to rest today…we’re so thankful to Lorie for keeping everyone in the loop with her YouCaring updates.  What a blessing and honor it was to be included in this journey through her writings, updates, and honesty!!  She never hid anything in the updates or fluffed/embellished.  She wanted even those far away to know the pain, the joy, the realness of all that was happening…thank you!

This next portion is still raw, fresh and something we as a fire department family are crying out to God over.  The funerals haven’t even occurred yet.  I apologize for any overly graphic details…we are a medical family and being detailed is our norm…so, if you have a weak stomach, you may not want to read past “It’s a blind hill” in the next paragraph.

On October 4, as my husband settled into a day on shift at his department, they received horrible news.  One of their own firefighters, Diana Gilboy, who’d just celebrated her 10 year anniversary with the department, had just been transported as a trauma code to a hospital.  We would later learn that she was killed in a motorcycle.  It was a club motorcycle ride and Diana and her passenger, Sarah Winter Harmon (Sarah Post) were riding, with helmets, up a hill.  It’s a blind hill.  According to the investigation, the moment they topped the hill, a truck pulled out of a driveway…neither the driver of the truck nor Diana had time to do anything.  There weren’t even skid marks at the crash site.  The bike struck the driver’s side of the truck, rupturing the fuel tank on the bike, and exploded.  Diana, Sarah, and the truck driver were all burned by the explosion.  The people on the ride with these two wonderful women could only watch…there was nothing anyone could do.

My husband, a man of few words and guarded emotion, called me choking back tears.  The moment he uttered the news, I couldn’t breathe.  After I hung up the phone, I fell on my knees in tears. I cried and prayed, listening to this over and over.

These women, in every sense, were generous, vibrant, wonderful individuals.  They had hearts for service.Diana, 43, was a firefighter paramedic (“a damn good one” I’ve heard from the lips of individuals who never give a compliment unless it’s been hard fought and earned), a kind and social spirit, and the most amazing motorcyclist I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.  She’d even been approached with the opportunity to race professionally…she was AMAZING!   Sarah,34, was a nurse for our local Florida Hospital as well as a nurse for Hospice of The Comforter and a flight nurse.  She had a contagious smile and a beautifully sweet spirit.  Our community has been hit hard by their loss.

I try to wrap my head around this last week…trying to understand why these things happen.  The only answers I can find are 1.) God calls people from this life when their tasks are complete in His plan.  Only He knows the hour…the moment we will breathe our last. 2.) God has a purpose and a plan in every single moment of every single day.  We have to stop asking “WHY” and turn to HIM…He’s the only one with the answers, the comfort, the plan.  3.) Don’t try to put earthly understanding on eternal matters…that’s why it doesn’t make sense.  But make no mistake, no matter the situation, God has the ability to use it for good…though we may not have understanding of how or see His impact immediately.

I’m so thankful for a loving God.  I’m so thankful for the friends he’s surrounded Fireman and me with…and the journey He’s allowed us to take on this path!  I’m thankful for the comfort and overwhelming joy He fills us with in times like this.  You know, I felt guilty yesterday looking through photos of Diana when I found myself smiling…almost laughing.  And then I thought about how God uses our memories in times like this to give us joy…to quell the sorrow or drench the anger we bear in loss.  “Joy in all things” my Aunt used to say.  And Now, over 2 decades later, I know what she meant.  I shouldn’t have guilt over a smile or my joy in my rememberings…that’s God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the life and sweet moments with those we’ve lost.  Lord, I’m running for your heart…may I ever continue to grow in you and gain understanding…til I am a soul on fire for you in all things!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



And THAT’S what’s up!

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That's What's UpShew!  Whirlwind!  That’s what the end of July and the beginning of August have been so far!!  God is moving in THE most amazing ways right now and we are just SO thankful!  I am most thankful for a sweet and WONDERFUL friend I had made through Spark Naturals, Amy Sasser!  She shared something life changing with me…and when you find something that changes your life, you don’t keep it to yourself…you share it!

Now, y’all KNOW me. I do NOTHING lightly or without research and agonizing and praying over it. I love NATURAL products with no garbage in them, REAL facts, and products that do what they SAY…like my Essential Oils!  Well, I was recently introduced to a product (actually, a group of products) that has literally changed everything! I had a testimony after only 7 days of use and I NEEDED to share!!

Y’all know I have pretty much been in pain for the last 4 years (almost 5) and it’s gradually become unmanageable. I had been going through testing and doctor visits. I was diagnosed right at 4 weeks ago with Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome. That means I have 3 (or more) Autoimmune diseases all at the same time. Lupus, Celiac, and MS. You can imagine how that diagnosis went over…like a boat paddle to the face! I poured my wretched soul out to the Lord and prepared to wallow in my misery. That’s as far as I’d brought you guys when last I posted.

Well, my friend, Amy, had been reading my posts and my frustrations over feeling like complete garbage, limited number of foods I was allowed to consume, pain, potential medications, and our financial woes from the list of things the doctor wants us to do to our home in order to keep me well.

Amy reached out to me and said “Hey girl, contact me”. I literally had nothing to lose so, I did. She talked to me about some products she uses in addition to her Essential Oils.  She got me set up with a 7 day trial of something called Slim. She told me she thought it could help with a few of my symptoms. Again, Y’all KNOW I am the skeptic to bar all skeptics BUT, I was firmly planted at the bottom of my Barrel of life with NOWHERE to go but up…so I figured I’d indulge her. After all, WHAT could it hurt?
Now, y’all, this is ONE tiny packet of Slim every morning in one of my waters…that’s IT! NOTHING ELSE CHANGED!!!

Day1: (Tues, July 28th): Cleared the morning cobwebs out of my head almost immediately and I didn’t need my second round of Anti inflammatory meds (OTC meds, not prescribed). Ummm, I haven’t been able to FUNCTION without those meds for the last year!! HUGE!I love Slim
Day2: (Wed): Got out of bed more easily…less pain and (again) didn’t have to take second dose of Anti Inflammatory meds
Day3: (Thurs): I was able (for the first time in YEARS) to eat breakfast early in the morning with NO upset tummy and (again) didn’t have to take second dose of Anti Inflammatory meds (also the day I watched the Block Party and signed up for discounts)
Day4: (Friday): NO Anti Inflammatory meds AT ALL this day, increased appetite, NO Diet Coke {I used to have at LEAST 4 16oz or larger PER DAY-I Craved it!}) and weighed that night to find 4 pounds GONE.
Day5:  (Aug 1) Felt SO good, was able to attend a kayak testing with my husband (Had some tears over this because he’s always wanted me to do these activities with him but I’ve not had ANY desire to because of pain and depression and flat out have NOT been able to because of limited movement, exhaustion, etc).
Day6: Went for a 4 mile bike ride after church…hasn’t happened in YEARS.
Day7: (Aug 3): I feel better than I have in probably a decade, lost 6 pounds, my clothes fit better, and ALL I CHANGED was adding one Slim every morning.

I say all of this knowing that if Amy hadn’t reached out, I’d still be chugging Diet Coke, pounding Anti Inflammatory drugs, and be stuck in a bleak little rut. I NEVER expected a little pink drink with vitamins, ALA, and plant extracts to do ANYTHING like this. Our bodies are all unique and they respond in different positive ways to nutrition…for me, it was the missing piece of my puzzle!  **Aug 4 I began Triplex (which is the Slim with 2 other products: Bio Cleanse and ProBio5).  More natural products with Vitamin C, Biflavinoids, and enzymes. HELLO happy gut! Again, improvement beyond my wildest dreams!!!  I kinda have to keep pinching myself!

My Epiphany since beginning Slim & then Triplex:

No more headaches or joint pain
No more mood swings (shut up!)
More energy and no mid-afternoon crash
No more anti inflammatory meds
Ability to eat breakfast at a normal time
No more daily “angry stomach”
No more foot blisters (which I’ve suffered from for about 6 YEARS)
Better sleep
NO soda or junk cravings
Oh, and I’ve lost 10 pounds (total) and my clothes fit better!

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NINE DAYS, people!!!  9, nueve, NINE! Holy flipping health, Batman!!  So, I tell you all this knowing that someone else out there is struggling. I know what that feels like and I would love the opportunity to help!! I want to see people healthy, gain their freedom and lives back, all while God gets glory!!  This company is filled with Christ loving people and I’ve met MANY of them already!!  I’m on this incredible journey and I’d really love to share it with YOU!

If you’re wondering if it’s for you, Check out this video!

I LOVE y’all with my whole heart and I want the absolute BEST for you!  Read, Research, ask questions, and feel free to pick my brain!!!  If I don’t know the answer, I will find out!  And THAT’S what’s up!

In the meantime, Check it out!

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Let me guide you to success

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



The space between the posts

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life bannerIt’s been agonizingly long since I’ve posted.  Our lives have been in “crazy mode”.  Between trying to take the equity out of our completely paid for home (a more difficult task than even I imagined) and the health crisis we completed only to jump right into another…frankly, it’s time for Jesus to take the wheel on this bus ride…cause I just can’t adult anymore this month…or even this year!  But, let’s catch y’all up!  Hankies are recommended, ladies.

So, some of you who are connected with me via Spark Naturals and my Facebook happenings already know this but I’m gonna go through it all for everyone else.  I’ve been going through a massive amount of testing and doctor visits.  I was pretty sure , for a while, that my doctor was actually working for vampires in secret and just taking my blood for their nutritional benefit (har har).  No really, I’m actually shocked there’s any left!  But, he really WAS using it for labs and testing purposes.

I’ve been suffering from strange skin rashes, memory lapse, tingling in my arm (which I totally thought was a pinched nerve), headaches, fatigue, and a myriad of other odd symptoms that, to me, just didn’t add up.  From digestion to inflammation, there was too much going on for it to just be something small. Booooo! So, I went to see a doctor…who’s also a D.O. and a holistic health practitioner (I wanted someone who’d not just slap some meds on me and call it a day).

A little more than 2 weeks ago, we sat down to hot dogdiscuss my symptoms, tests, medical history, etc for a diagnosis.  I was ready for a diagnosis with a plan, and a fix…you know…a “this is what ya got…this is how ya treat it” diagnosis.  What I got was NOT what I was prepared for.  Like a train blasting through a rickety old barn and turning it to matchsticks…the diagnosis came: Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS).  All I could mutter is “What the HELL is that?”.

As I sat, pretty much in absolute shock, I listened to him spew the elephant sized diagnosis.  Multiple  Autoimmune Syndrome is when a person has 3 (or more) autoimmune diseases present.  He began with Celiac Sprue.  “Piece of cake” I thought as I sat in my chair.  I already dabble at 80% Paleo…we’ll just max it out and Celiac won’t be an issue.  Then he said Lupus Erythematosus.  He explained about diet and lifestyle changes and inflammation.  Again, I thought, “Hey, I can do it”.  And then he uttered the words that nailed the coffin shut: Multiple Sclerosis. I was flabbergasted and blown away (and not in a good way).  How in holy heck was I going to deal with this?

I get one, maybe two…but ALL THREE?!?!? No way!  And how could I go so long without knowing this…didn’t my doctors before pay attention?  We went over enzymes, antibodies, fluid tests, blood work, medical history….and at every turn, the same diagnosis and conclusion was reached.  As far as other physicians not coming to this conclusion, they didn’t have the entire history, symptoms, tests, etc to paint the whole picture.  And that wasn’t all the news he heaped upon me.

headacheMy immune system was SHOT.  He told me he was shocked that I hadn’t ended up in the ER or died with my profession (preschool teacher = germs).  He asked me how I fought germs.  He was happy when I told him diet, sleep, hand-washing and essential oils.  He told me to keep up my routine and to keep using the EOs and to increase my use of them in an attempt to bolster my system.  He also told me to add a few supplements, foods and vitamins (which I’ll list below).  He told me I needed to decrease my exposure to germs immediately (he suggested quitting my job…I laughed).  He told me we’d have to rip ALL the carpet out of our home, rip out anything in our kitchen and main living spaces that wasn’t easily cleanable (he demanded we oust the old, scary laminate for nonporous, solid surface counters like quartz…I laughed because WHO’S PAYING FOR THAT?!), and he said we need to rip all the duct work out of our home and upgrade it to solid runs with a unit that has some form of germ elimination over and above a simple filter. Again, Where’s that cash coming from?  You see our dilemma and source of stress.

So, now that we’ve closed on the loan to pull the equity out, once the money arrives, what we’d planned to do originally to fix our home and make it functional will have to sit on the back burner.  That’s devastating having lived here 5 years and scrimped and saved and planned.  Now it’s 1600+ sqft of flooring, kitchen reno, and air quality that take precedent.  Sadly, the budget still isn’t large enough to correct all those items.  My poor firefighter husband is at a loss.  He wants so badly to fix things, but we simply cannot stretch the cash that far at this time.

LoveLife_0-1024x633So, you see, our life between the posts has been fraught with valleys and potholes…and doodoo on the shoe.  But we’re still hanging on and hacking it out of the wilderness one miry day at a time.  We’ve given it up to God because, at this moment, there’s NO way to do all the things we NEED to do in order to keep me healthy.  But God is the miraculous provider…emotionally, physically, monetarily…Somehow, He’ll cover us in His grace and merciful giving and wash this away with a blessing.  We don’t know how, but we stand waiting on the Lord in faith…which, I have to tell you is the single greatest test of my faith.  I don’t wait well.  I don’t like to have to count on anyone but myself for solutions, money, help, strength.  This one is a stretch for both of us!  Prayers welcome!

To Him be all the glory and honor and praise…and may it be a pain free, energy filled week!  All my love!

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



Recommended by my D.O.:

9 servings of Fruits AND Veggies a DAY (when I fall short, a greens supplement of choice to help).
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – protein/short chain amino acids for my skin, bones, joints, cartilage, etc
Garden of Life Mykind Organics B-12
Smarty Pants Prenatal (because it has Folate instead of Folic Acid) Vitamins
Raw Camu Powder (Navitas is what I purchased)
No Less Than 100 Ounces Water DAILY (I’m gonna float away) and NO Soda or Caffeine or Fake sugars or White Sugar

Mean, Clean, and Stress Free!

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Before we start this one off, I want to tell you that you’re a smart cookie and that you CAN DIY this next mixture I’m about to thrust upon you! So, boot-straps UP and get to brewin’!!

You’ve heard me talk many times about a post from Camp Wander regarding something called “DIY Purify” (I believe, originally from Dawn over at  First of all, I am in LOVE with this fresh, herby, clean, and germ fighting mix!  No home should be without it!  Not even you single men can do without this one- your Bachelor pad stink is no match for this!  And, wouldn’t you know, it’s just what my classroom and household needed today as we get ready for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving festivities.  Think of it like a “pallet cleanse” for your house/car/wherever… refreshing, germ smacking, and a superb odor eliminator!

Now, Pause a moment.  I’m a stress carrier.  I am a “never let em see you sweat” kinda girl and I bury my stress DEEP.  I tote that trunk AROUND!  That can get to you after a while!  SOOOOO, I rely a great deal on the de-stressing properties in many of my Essential Oils and EO Blends!!  Like that Frozen chick says “Let it GOOOO”!  Heh!  We will NEVER be without a diffuser for this very reason!  And our favorite anti-stress, relaxation, “I Am Enough”, “I Am Lovable and Capable” Essential Oil: Frankincense!  You’re wondering: what in the HECK has that got to do with “DIY Purify”?!  SO glad you asked!!

You know me & my little “MacGyver Mixology” couldn’t go too long without combining these two powerhouses!  I just cannot control myself!  Super glad I didn’t!!  “DIY Purify” + Frankincense = Clean, refreshing air and grounding, de-stressing undertones!  It’s Deodorant, DIY Room de-stinker, Calming, refreshing, and you can EVEN use it in your wash powder or as a competent of Cloth diaper stripper!!  I also know for a fact that it helps with car funk.  Don’t you look at me like that…you know very well that those 33 rotting french fries, 167 stale Cheerios, and that 2 month old lollipop that your sweet ones have neatly tucked between your seats and on the floor are a wretched stench!  Don’t be ashamed…it’s life.  Accept it!  De-stink it! De-stress!  Move on!

Where/How In The World Can I Use It?

I HATE conventional detergents and household cleaners/disinfecting sprays!  They are harmful, expensive, and, frankly, their “fragrance” is offensive to my nose…BLEH!  I like DIY Purify in my natural alternatives to these items!  I really love this in my Laundry Grind, in a spritz bottle w/ Warm Water and Witch Hazel as a surface cleaner, and on cotton balls in various places around the house to repel bugs & stink.  I’ve also used it to clean the HVAC Coils and filter in our home along with adding it to baking soda for carpet deodorizing!  And I know from reading that you can use it for repelling mosquitoes, Cleaning a skunked dog (DO NOT use on cats because of the Melaleuca), and for earaches!  Such a versatile blend!  Who knew?  Want a more comprehensive list? CAMP WANDER!  Find the Posts [H E R E] & {H E R E} & (H E R E)!

DIY Purify


White Fir: With traditional uses for tense muscles, fever, chills, coughs, and aiding with the bodies natural defense system, this woodsy, aromatic Essential Oil makes a fantastic base for this blend!
Lemon: This Essential Oil is known for it’s Anti Anemic, Antibacterial, Antibiotic,  Anti Microbial, AntiRheumatic, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Astringent, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Disinfectant, and Insecticidal properties.
Lime: Historically, Lime essential oil has been used to help cool fevers & help the immune system fight off sore throats, colds, flu, coughs and asthma. It also has traditional uses in helping with depression and an exhausted mind when used aromatically. Lime may be used topically to help with poor circulation, obesity, cellulite and as a toning agent to clear oily skin and acne.
Citronella: From insects to detox to disinfecting, this tart, earthy EO rounds out the Citrus notes in this blend and aids in germ elimination.
Melaleuca: A key ingredient in soaps, creams, lotions, and disinfectants throughout the world, this Australian beauty is a bacterial butt kicker with properties that include Antimicrobial, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Fungicide, Insecticide and Stimulant. Historically, Melaleuca has been used for centuries to help the immune system; it acts as a stimulant and helps the body fight off disease, bacteria, infection, virus and illness.
Cilantro: Not just for cooking or flavoring Salsa, Cilantro has also been used in Chinese medicine for its digestive and antioxidant properties! I’ve also recently read it can be helpful as a component in a heavy metals detox: who knew?!

And just add 8-10 drops of good ole “Frank” (Frankincense) to the mixture and use a few drops of the mixture in the diffuser, a spray bottle w/ warm water, or wherever!  Simple, safe, effective!

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



Irish Blessing

From my family to yours, a very safe, Happy Thanksgiving!  May the Lord bless you and keep you!