Thursday, March 26, 2015

Operation: Get Healthy: Essential Oils

Sometimes people ask me about essential oils.  Do I use them? How do I use them? What brand do I use? What oils do I use for ...insert ailment here...?

In an attempt to streamline my thoughts and research I'm answering all those questions here.

*Disclaimer: I am not an Aromatherapist or a Doctor.  Just a regular gal who wants to keep her family healthy.

Do I use oils?

How do I use them?
I diffuse and use topically (safely and conservatively...keep reading!).

What brand do I use?
I primarily use Plant Therapy. I like their approach to EO use.  I trust their practices...they tend to be conservative about EO usage.  I appreciate their business integrity.  HOWEVER, there are other brands of EOs that are very high quality.  I always recommend finding the oil company that you are most comfortable using. your research!

I mentioned above that I use EOs safely and conservatively.  Let me explain.  In my research I have found the following things repeated over and over by know, the people who go to SCHOOL to learn to use EOs safely and correctly...

...You know what, before I make this list I would like to remind everyone reading to do your own research.  Some of these points will contradict what others may say about EOs.  The articles are from Plant Therapy's site & blog because they sum up my research very well, and their info is very accessible.  Again, this is my research, and I use oils conservatively.

Here we go...

1. I don't use oils on children under age 2.  Their little livers are not developed enough to process the EOs. An alternative for children under age 2 is to use hydrosols.  Hydrosols are the water remaining after steam distilling the plants used to make  EOs.  You can read more about them here.

2.  I use a select few oils on children ages 2-10.  Some EOs are not safe for young children.  For more  on that, I trust this info.  I use the chart below for my kids, and when others ask for recommendations about what to use on their own children.  I have this chart printed and taped inside a cabinet in my kitchen for easy access.
*Plant Therapy sells a KidSafe line of EO synergies that I HIGHLY recommend checking out! You can check it out here. And, no I don't get paid by Plant Therapy...I just really like their products and the integrity of their company!
by: Plant Therapy

3. I always use a carrier oil when using EOs topically.  Essential Oils are not actually oily.  They are highly volatile & concentrated oils distilled from plants (ok, that's a super short description!).  High quality EOs should evaporate quickly.  Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of a plant (again, super basic description!), and they have their own therapeutic properties.  Carrier oils help carry EOs into your skin.  EOs can actually burn your skin and also can cause negative reactions.  Carrier oils dilute EOs to safely carry them into your skin and blood stream.  You can read more here.

4. I never...EVER...ingest.  This is not purity issue; it is a safety issue.  I am not a doctor.  I don't pretend to be.  I don't know enough about the individual constituents of each EO to know about how it will react in my body.  Side note: The FDA does not regulate EOs. This is a great article on ingesting that quotes a very reputable Aromatherapist.  

5. I use specific EOs only for pregnancy and nursing.  This wasn't an issue until about 20 weeks ago. :) This is the chart I use to know what EOs are safe for me and Baby M:
by: Plant Therapy

I know I sound like a rep from Plant Therapy. (I'm not!)  I know I said "do your research" then only gave you articles and posts from Plant Therapy.  Here's the reason: I trust them.  These articles and posts are from Aromatherapists who want people to use EOs safely.  I have read other articles and books and such on the topic of essential oils and safe usage.  The ones I trust say the same thing as the links I have posted.

Hopefully, this post is helpful to someone.  These are my opinions; although based on research. I won't pretend to be a Doctor or Aromatherapist.  I don''t know nearly as much as I would like to about EOs.  I am just one person who did some research to come to her own conclusions about EOs.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Operation: Intentionality: Rhythms & Routines

At church Wednesday nights, our Family Ministries Director has been focusing on the "Rhythms & Routines" of our families. The focus has not been to add anything more to our family life, but instead to figure out how to invite Jesus into our already existing rhythms and routines.

This past week, she asked us to focus on what interrupts our rhythms & routines, and she focused on three main areas: fear, distraction, & busyness.  We were asked to choose the one that is the biggest problem for our particular family.  I, being the rebel that I am, decided that none of these interrupted our rhythms and routines quite as much as laziness.  Sure, at times we are distracted by the TV. And, yes, fear is occasionally the reason we don't start new things.  Occasionally, we are even a little busy.  However, laziness is more often than not the culprit.  You see, we don't have a great routine.  We have a rhythm, I guess.  But every day seems to be different than the last.  The reason for our lack of routine is absolutely my own fault.  I SUCK at routines and schedules.  I just don't like them.

But, I digress.

You see, we choose -yes, we are intentional about this- to be not busy.  We choose to leave room for relationships and spontaneity.  We don't have a ton of activities.  We aren't on a bunch of boards, or councils.  We don't schedule too much ahead of time.  That seems to stress us out.

But, when does all of this cross the line into laziness?
When I choose to turn the tv on instead of playing with the kids.
When I choose to plan so much time away from my house (playdates and such) that I ignore the housework that needs to get done.
When I neglect things that need to be done (homeschooling).

Worst of all, it's laziness when I don't make the effort to invite Jesus into our every day lives.
It's laziness when I don't even recognize that God is opening doors for our family.

Has my laziness deprived my family of some of God's sweet blessings? Have I been too lazy to look to God first in every situation, and how has my family unknowingly suffered for that?

There's something to be said for regular rhythms and routines in the life of our families.  They can provide stability and a help little ones cope better with transitions.  They give me an excuse to say, "O my gosh! We do this Every. Single. Day!" and really mean it!

But, rhythms and routines are nothing without Jesus at the center of them.  He is the reason we do everything.  EVERYTHING!  He's the reason we get together with friends.  He's the reason we brush our teeth.  He's the reason we take care of our homes.  He's the reason we learn and teach.  He has given us bodies and brains and friends and homes...we do everything in His Name in order to be good stewards of the things and relationships HE has given us.

But, inviting Jesus into our rhythms and routines is exactly that.  It's an invitation.  An invitation is inherently intentional!  We make the choice to give up our lives, and hand them over to God.  We make the choice to give Him the space and freedom to move. To grow us. To stretch us. To enhance our lives. To bless us!  Gosh! I don't want to miss that!  I don't want to miss out on what God wants to do in my life -and in the life of my family- because I am too lazy to invite Him!

In conclusion (have you noticed that I also suck at ending my blog posts?!), I want to be intentional.  In my relationship with Jesus. In my family. In my home.

This is my prayer...
 ...because praying with intention that my heart will be clean and my spirit in the right place, will align me in His perfect peace, and will keep me walking with Him in every aspect of my life. :)