Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Experimenting with Oils

      A couple of months ago, I was presented with an opportunity to be a part of something that peaked my interested in two ways - it had to do with adoption and essential oils.  Though we've had our share of experience with the first....the latter has been something that I've wanted to experiment with for quite some time.  I've also desired a way to help other adoptive families - long term - that is manageable with our crazy busy lives.  I'm not sure if that will really be the outcome, but either way I'm thankful for the push it gave me to start learning.  I shared here about some of the ways we've been opening up to alternative, more natural remedies, over the past few years.  Our experiences have been nothing but positive, so I have been very excited to take this next step.  So for the past couple of months I have been trying to learn all that I can about essential oils....but most importantly, we've been using them in our daily lives, which to me is the true test.  I hope that if there are others out there who are interested, but hesitant, I can help.  I'm happy to answer any questions and I'm also waiting on a few items to arrive so I can share some samples!  I said I would give an update on my experience, so here it is............

      Let me start by sharing a few basics I've learned and why I'm so excited about them.  The biggest reason is that they are natural....and safe.  I also love that they've been around forever....though their popularity may just now be catching on, they're really not new.  These oils are all Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.....they have all been tested to be sure there has been nothing added or taken away....just pure oils.  Equally exciting is the fact that this is not a one size fits all way to promote health and wellness.  So if you find that one particular oil does not help in one area, not only are there many other single oils or oil blends to try, but that oil is also helpful for many other things.  I love that there are options, and that I never have to feel that I'm wasting anything.  To take that a step further, there are also options in the way that you use the oils.  They can be used aromatically, internally and topically.  To get the full effect, I did purchase and try a diffusor in order to use the oils aromatically.  I'll share more about that in a moment, but I will say my preference is to use the oils topically, which just simplifies things even more - no need for extra supplies, you can use them anywhere, anytime....simple is often best.  Okay, one last thing before I share some of my first experiences.....I have some 5ml bottles and some 15ml bottles....I wondered if it was silly to purchase the smaller size, thinking it wasn't very much.  We have used several of them very often, and haven't even made a dent in them.  You basically use one drop when applying topically, so they last forever, which is icing on the cake for me! 

  I wouldn't say I was wishing for a reason to use the oils, but I may have been waiting expectantly.  I also will admit that I had somewhat of an ultimatum mindset - they will solve every problem and we won't get sick anymore....or they're useless.  Sometimes I can be pretty skeptical...and overly concerned that I may just be imagining something.  I should also add that I had only purchased three oils at this point....so while they had a large list of uses for each, it was still a tall order.  My first stomach ache came and I looked up what to try.....I had one of the options listed for stomach aches, so I applied and waited.  I was actually shocked to really feel it working....not what I had expected.  Ultimately my stomach still hurt and I dug a little deeper into skepticism.  (Just being honest here!)      Within a night or two I had a sore neck....I have no idea why and I was just dealing with it most of the day without even thinking about the oils.  Falling asleep was proving to be difficult, which jogged my memory and I applied some peppermint and lavender to the sore spot.  Within a couple of minutes the pain subsided and I fell asleep.  My hope was restored a little : )

A few times now I have had headaches (not super common for me) and I've applied some peppermint oil, just to my temples...and really, each time I'm amazed.  Almost immediate relief.....I've found the peppermint to be one that I can always actually feel working.  Caleb started with a cold last month so I applied some Breathe (an oil blend which includes peppermint and eucalyptus as well as additional oils, and is great for relief from colds, congestion, etc.)  to the bottom of his feet before bed, added a few drops to his humidifier and prepared myself for a long night.  Typically he's coughing most of the night, and though he does fairly well "sleeping" through it, it's impossible for me to sleep while listening to him cough.  The first night....nothing....I heard nothing.....he slept soundly all night, and so did I.  I was shocked.....and thought maybe it was a fluke.  Three nights later I started to feel hopeful....these were really working.  I soon found myself with a cold and started applying the Breathe, and now adding On Guard (my newfound hope prompted me to branch out and order a few more oils).  I felt that although we were still getting sick, our symptoms weren't as severe, and we seemed to be recovering more quickly.  We've been through a few colds already this season between the five of us, but really none have lingered on and on as they typically do.  And we've been able to sleep despite them!    

      Keira has quite a few dental issues from years of lack of care.  When we first came home she had one particular cavity and abscess that bothered her constantly.  We had two more days to wait until the tooth was pulled and the pain had increased quite a bit.  I looked up what to use for cavities and also sore throats as her throat bothered her as a result.  I found that Melaleuca could be used for both so we applied it and within a few minutes she felt some relief.  On another occasion Levi was sticking his finger in his ear and saying "ouch"......this is of course one of his favorite words so I wasn't sure how seriously to take him, but he was pretty insistent and it was concerning me a bit.  I applied one drop of Basil behind his ear and within a few minutes he seemed to have forgotten.  He never mentioned it again.   Twice now I have felt myself in that starting-to-get-sick phase....scratchy throat, headache....just not myself.  Each time I've applied some On Guard and Melaleuca to the bottom of my feet a couple of times throughout the day.....and both times I have remained well.  Amazing!  When I tell you that last year at this time we had each been sick a handful of times since September, I am not exaggerating.  By mid winter, I truly felt that people thought we were lying when I'd have to cancel on them because someone was sick.  It was crazy.  So far, this year has been a different story.  Sure we've caught a few colds, but our level of wellness is no comparison to last year.  

        Some oils are more geared towards your mood.....Serenity for instance is used to promote relaxation and alleviate stress, and can be used to help you fall asleep.  This is where I have found some good results using the diffusor....though again I have to say that it seems to work best in a small, confined space, which can be somewhat limiting.  I still prefer to apply them topically, but I did find it relaxing and calming to diffuse the Serenity one evening when I was having a hard time winding down for the day.  

        The oils pictured are those that I have and have experimented with on some level so far.  I have a few more on the way that I'm really excited about so I'll be sure to update on those as well.  If anyone has any questions, or would like to try an oil for a specific problem, please feel free to send me a message, I'd be happy to help!  

Monday, November 3, 2014

National Adoption Month

       So it's National Adoption Month, and while I realize that's all I ever talk about, I couldn't go without mentioning this.  I'll never forget where I was at on October 31, 2011 after a few months of God putting adoption on my heart.  I. Was. Done.  I was overwhelmed, and decided that we could really still just close the door.  We hadn't really shared openly with many people, and it was just too hard.  Despite God's constant prying on my heart, and the fact that I literally woke up and went to sleep thinking about it, I had my mind set.....we just couldn't adopt.

      Well, the next morning was naturally November 1st.  I had never been aware that it was national anything month in the past, but I very quickly learned that first day.  There were billboards as we drove down the highway....radio programs....tv programs.....contestants on tv programs that had nothing to do with adoption talking about how they were adopted......it was out of control.  Needless to say, for the first of many times to come, my plans, my desires and my idea of what was best flew out the window.

      So often people commend us for adopting our children....and typically share the reasons why they could never do so.  I may just top all of you in the list of reasons why we shouldn't, couldn't, or just weren't going to.  Because we're just like everyone else.....we're just ordinary people....we haven't done anything incredible....we aren't amazing.....I promise.  We're two very human, often selfish, people who have our own plans for what we want our life to look like.  But that's the thing....this isn't about us...it never has been.  I assure you, the only reason anyone is even slightly compelled to read the updates on this blog is because of the way God has changed hearts, provided every step of the way (x two), equipped us (in a million ways), put so many people in our path to support us, chosen two incredible children for us to have the privilege of loving, taught us to step out in faith, been forever faithful, kept His promises, moved mountains, and taught us so many other lessons that have forever changed our lives - for the WAY better.

    The reason why I share this when I think of National Adoption Month is because I think so many people are so quick to believe the lie that they just can't adopt.....and to focus on all of those reasons (like I did).  It doesn't even us have to be adoption.  Hosting programs are currently recruiting families to give a child the opportunity to have a family this Christmas.....to come here and experience the love of a family for maybe the first time....and possible even the last.  I know one of the most common questions about hosting is if it's really fair....or worth it.....to just have a child come for such a short time.  There are SO many reasons why it's beyond worth it....but let me just say this......our daughter was told so many many lies.......that she's crazy, that she's not beautiful or valuable, that we wouldn't love her, that she'd never be able to kiss a boy or get married or have a baby.....basically anything that would damage her......that would take away any hope and any possibility of a future with happiness.  In six weeks......six weeks......you can see the load taken off of her shoulders as we reveal the truth to her when she tells us each lie.  As she's realized she is beautiful.....precious......loved forever...our daughter forever......and that she has hope and a future.  She's giddy, and it'd evident.  Six weeks.  So yes......4-6 weeks of hosting a child could change their lives forever, even if the only thing you do is help them to understand the truth about who they are.

     It's never about us...."our hands our empty" on our own....and  God's "not dependent on any mortal man".......but if we want to live life abundantly and truly follow what He's commanded us to do, it may require us to step way out of our comfort zone and do something even when we have a list a mile long as to why we shouldn't.  It doesn't have to be adoption....you can fill in what God's tugging on your heart about....