Daily Writing: A Summer Day

Today started with recording my essential oil master class, twice. I didn’t get the Zoom link sent to my attendee in time, so the recording would have to do. Zoom has a beautiful way of doing teleconferences, on the cheap. You can get up to 40 minutes free, and have most of the features that make that program great. And, you can do this without having some mystical Cisco account. 

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I have found though, that Keynote does a much crisper, cleaner job of recording slide shows. So, even though you don’t get the picture in picture with my face, you get a better presentation. So, the morning and after lunch was spent tidying up the recording, making the actual video in iMovie, and uploading it to YouTube. Sign up for my newsletter (left or right) and get access to all sorts of fun things.

Once I got those things done, I was determined to go to the pool. Levi has been asking for this for a long time, and I just didn’t want to spend the money. Husband and I shifted some things around, and I made it a goal to go at least once this week. My desire to play and work on my money story at 1:20 pm PST was not lost on me. 

So, play we did. We are back home now, changed, drying, and enjoying some individual screen time. I am writing. The kiddo is playing a bumble bee game in Roblox. For an hour and a half, though, we played. We floated, practiced swimming, we looked for rings. We dodged fellow pool-goers, and we even swam some laps. 

Community pools fascinate me. I didn’t really grow up with one. I grew up with free swimming access by way of my grandparents, my aunt and uncle who live on Lake Superior, or the local beaches in my hometown. The idea that one pays to swim is a strange one, but in the city for quick access, that indeed is what we do. 

I’m okay with paying, as the pool is well-staffed with young lifeguards, and it is kept clean. The community pool dynamic, though, offers a slice of a microcosm that I think is fun to acknowledge. 

First, the diversity of people is wider than most places we frequent. There are varied ages, ethnic backgrounds, and maybe varied education levels. We all congregate in this shared place. Typically there is one or two obvious goals: play and exercise. Today, there were two or three groups of boys who looked like they were between 13 and 16 playing basketball in the water. There was a boy of about 10 and his sister of about 8 or 9 playing together by tossing a ball and splashing each other. There were several moms with babies, floating and playing in the water. And more. This brings me to point number two, there was no disagreement between parties. That is, the boy and girl didn’t interact with the basketball players. The moms and kids stayed to themselves. There was a quiet choreography as we all shared the shallow end, dodging, smiling and nodding, and playing nice. 

I’ve observed this trend, specifically in the pool, on more than one occasion. I’ve observed this at community ponds/lakes where sometimes there is a lifeguard on duty, and sometimes not. It’s probably a visible trend on the playground too, but I haven’t specifically noticed that. There seems to be something about pool play, where maybe because of the heightened danger, that people seem to be more respectful. Maybe it’s just our local pool that is walking distance to our house?

I don’t know what the answer is to my observable trend. But, on this day, this full moon, lunar eclipse Friday, I wanted to acknowledge how easy people were at being kind. And, I’d like to invite you to pass it along. Remember, kindness is free, so give it away. 

Election Review

I first voted in 1996. For the 2000 election, I wanted to create a chart that described the candidates, so there was an easy comparison. At the time AOL Time Warner had done one that was pretty good, along with a few others. (Must’ve been a collective consciousness to inform the electorate.) There was talk, constantly, of the lesser of two evils. 

In 2004, after the second presidential election I participated in was decided by the courts (remember the Florida Chads?), we had another narrow battle of donkey vs elephant. In 2008, the margin wasn’t as slim, but the vitriol spewed took a bent not quite heard in some time. (See 270towin for past election details.) No longer were the candidates simply white males. Now, we had white women and a black man participating, and the tones changed. Threats cut deeper and more below the belt. We continued to showcase our lack of civility and our desire to … just get nasty. 

In 2012, the first black president won again, and then in 2016, the country seemingly revolted. Or, the Russians interfered and manipulated our populace. (You did see how if you’re liberal, you saw one Facebook feed, and if you were more conservative, you saw another, right?) Regardless of the reason, we have a need to be more aware of what’s going on around us, raise our critical questions, and talk civilly to our neighbors about the issues that are important to us. We have to learn how to hold disagreements. We have to learn to hear when people are “advocating at the top of [their] lungs that which [we] would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of [ours]” (The American President, 1995). 

Well, this year, we have midterm elections, on top of necessary local politics. As a citizen of this country, it is YOUR job to stay informed of issues that dictate your life. You don’t stay informed? You should lose your right to complain. Did you know that typically, since I began voting in 1996, about half of all eligible Americans vote? In 1996, it was a whopping 49% (down from the previous year). In 2016, it had risen to 55%. Only HALF. Half of all people who can exercise their civic duty and makes a choice for this country actually do so. It doesn’t matter to me that we have 200,000 registered, a stunning landmark for sure. We are still only exciting around 50% across the whole nation to exercise their civic duty. This is a problem. Especially since voter turnout is usually higher in presidential elections. And, it’s the small elections that matter a lot. 

Your mayors, commissioners, and county boards decide your immediate life. Your states dictate how your schools will run and how your roads will be updated. They set the tone for your immediate culture, what is important to you. At the national level, we should be choosing those we feel best to represent all the best we have to offer. 

Now, the trick is, we need people to run for office that we can feel passionate about choosing. So often, since I started voting in 1996, those around me complain more and more about terrible choices and the lesser of two evils. You don’t like the choices? Then YOU should run for office. If you are a Democratic woman, connect with your local Emerge branch and they will even TRAIN you to run for office. 

If we learned ANYTHING from the last election is that WE have been too complacent. We have been sitting on our laurels NOT talking about the things important to us, and we are now, I daresay, represented by a fool. A fool we collectively chose, no matter who you voted for. Because I guarantee there were many you didn’t talk about politics to, because they were too controversial and you didn’t want to raise a fuss. I am a part of that you, as well. There are many family members and friends I dared not talk politics for fear of injury or misunderstanding.

This is one of the reasons I started my listening campaign. Check it out if you want to learn more.

I will leave you, though, with this tool. The New York Times has put together a comprehensive map of which electoral voting precincts voted in which way. (The only thing that would make this map better is if it were distorted for the population.) 

I’m not sure how I will continue to write about politics, but it is becoming quite clear to me at the time of this writing that this is something I must do. So, stay tuned. Be a part of the conversation. Host a dinner party. But, above all, hold your tongue when someone says something you disagree with and really try to hear what they are saying. I promise you there is a kernel of truth there that is important. And, if you don’t even try to find that kernel of truth, we will have another shit election like the last 20 years of elections I’ve participated in. Let’s change this. We have it in our power to do so. 

Deconstructing Privi​leg​e

Two people I love shared this dated opinion. So, now I feel like I must respond. It is an opinion piece called “What Has America Become“, and is written by a man named Ken Huber. It was printed in the Iosco County Herald on June 9, 2010. The current originating Facebook post shows it as being shared in 2013. I note this because the copied image is without the date, and by posting it three years later, and then being repeatedly shared 5 years after that, it has a timeless quality that isn’t actually wholly relevant to today.

Mr. Huber complains that America has become the land of the double standard, and he continues to list a series of ironies he feels are unfair. You must understand that I live on the “left coast“, where my progressive politics color my views.

He has a list of complaints, where he sees Congress and Progressives getting their way and ruining our country. He even goes on to claim that “communists” and “Socialists” threats are just rebranded progressives. He complains about unfair border policies and lack of God in schools. If I shall opine for a moment, this sounds like complaints from an old, angry, white man, whose privilege is coming under question, and he doesn’t like how it feels.

Well, if Progressives are so bad, what do they believe? Check out this “Progressive Manifesto“, where ThinkProgress defines four tenants of freedom, opportunity, responsibility, and cooperation. Progressivism has a history that goes back more than 100 years, with a definition more akin to “[an association] with science, rationality and an approach to government and society reliant on knowledge and empirical methods”. (NPR 2016)

So Progressives want to think critically, using verifiable facts to create policy? 

Mr. Huber essentially complains that he can’t be racist, we are letting too many people into our country, and we have to restrict personal liberties because he believes his God would want it that way. 

What Mr. Huber is missing is that he has lived on the top of privilege his whole life. What he is seeing is all people are created equal with unalienable rights coming to claim their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And, that means the white, property-owning male has to share the stage. 

Astrology, Essential Oils, and Minerals

Sunday, my friend Marjan and I held a class in her home. The topic: astrology, essential oils, and minerals. Let’s back up a little bit… 

I have been interested in astrology pretty much my whole life. Knowing my sun sign is in Pisces, I’ve read, often, that I’m drawn to mysticism, and drawn I am. I actually believe that all beliefs hold truth, and our job is to in part make sense of it for us. There are lessons for us to learn. 

Many years separated my seeking out of astrology knowledge, however, until a friend found an astrologer she resonated with. And, I found myself clamoring back on the bandwagon. I have so loved this journey of planning in tune with the celestial bodies around us. It adds a dimension of connectedness to my world that I really cannot get enough of. 

That same friend said, “Michelle, you should pair astrology with oils.” I flat out said, “No.” Why? Because it’s too complicated. You can’t distill an oil for a person based on their sign. Each person’s astrological markup is as unique as their fingerprint. So, it would be doing a disservice to someone to say that they should use Lavender because they are Gemini and must like to communicate. 

I did, however, put it on my to-do list – for next year. 

Then, we went on vacation. And, we did all the vacation things. Which for me, it meant that I let my scheduled things go on social media. Engage in some soft touches with people regards to all the things I do. But, mostly, it was me trying to be present on vacation, something I think too few of us actually do (practice mindfulness). 

And, then, I got a text from Marjan – will you help do an essential oil and astrology class. I can’t figure out the oils, she said, but I can do the minerals. And, she fumbled through my schedule, which for some reason didn’t work the way it was supposed to, and picked a day one week from the text where I actually had other plans. Suddenly, we were doing this in sort of one of the most inconvenient ways possible! (Not really, but it wasn’t the scheduled flow I had “planned”.) 

So, we did it. I jump started my research. I got some inspiration. And, we packed about 20 lovely women in her little living room to discuss astrology, essential oils, and minerals. And, I finally made my blend. 

Because astrology is complex, quite simply there are a lot of influences at work, I decided to find a list of oils for each sign that would support the lighter qualities of that sign. Then, I thought we could build blends based on our sun, rising, and moon signs. So, this is what I had to choose from for me. 

I am a sun Pisces, Aries rising, with my moon in Libra. 

Pisces

Lighter attribute and keywords

Sympathy, compassion, universality, intuitiveness, inspiration, renunciation, sacrifice

Suggested oils

Passion, Lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Rose

Aries

Lighter attribute and keywords

Leadership, self-esteem, initiative, activity, pioneering, ambition, enterprise, courageous, energetic, impulsive, optimistic, egotistical, innovative, original, strong drive, leader, enthusiastic, extroverted, competitive, self-reliant, self-assured

Suggested oils

Cassia, Bergamot, Jasmine, Slim & Sassy, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Lemon, Rosemary, Marjoram

Libra

Lighter attribute and keywords

Affability, balance, harmony, companionship, charm, social grace, justice, courtesy, hopefulness, artistic ability, attractiveness, fairness

Suggested oils

Balance, Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Melissa

My Process

So, when I went to make mine, which I had preloaded with minerals (Citrine, Tourmaline, Turquoise, Amethyst, and Aquamarine), I pulled out the oils for each sign I resonated with. I think I started with: Bergamot, Jasmine, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Basil, Melissa, Lavender, Sandalwood, and Patchouli. There was some doubling up of my chosen oils, for example, both Libra and Aries had Black Pepper as a choice.

Whenever I make an oil blend, at this point, I am largely guided by my intuition. What do I think would smell good? What do I want to feel? And, then I choose one, ask those questions again, and add, “What would go well with what I already have?” And, I proceed until I am done. And, I always hope I don’t overdo it. This is what I came up with: 

  • 33 drops Sandalwood
  • 5 drops Bergamot
  • 2 drops Black Pepper
  • 2 drops Melissa
  • 2 drops Basil
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • Filled the 10ml roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil and sweet almond oil 

Want to learn more about how I did this? Let’s connect in person and chat. 

Schedule Appointment

Midnight Ramblings

I love staying up late. Everyone is in bed.  My obligations for the day are complete. I am listening to a playlist where nearly every song I can sing to, sway to, groove to. This is my time of the night. I live for this time of the night

And, this time of night gets in the way of my desires of waking up at 6 am, and “getting a good start to the day.” I look longingly at my neglected journal, where I love penning my thoughts with my TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen, inked in Noodler’s turquoise. But, the time to write is before the kiddo gets up, with a cup of coffee. And, when I stay up late, where I also thrive, I do not have the capacity to get up at 6 am. 

A quick selfie of me, at my computer, just before writing this… 

Alas, I sit here at 1:02 am, keying these thoughts into my blog in my newly updated website. This was actually a struggle! I refuse to pay a monthly fee when I can get the same function for free. The challenge I am facing is which theme works with which plugin, without error. And today, I struggled to find it. 

I think I have something that will work. I have ditched the landing page (I hated this interruption before getting to my site. And, besides, isn’t that what this static front page is for anyway?) In this theme, you can have “sliders”… it’s been so long since I used these header sliders! So, I chose to create custom images that linked to the thing I wanted to “advertise. The sidebar seems to to be working, on all the page, so that will remain with a permanent newsletter sign up. 

I am thankful for Canva and its ability to keep my branding consistent, so creating images is quick and succinct … and on brand.

I invite you, now, in these wee hours of the evening, take a look. What do you think? I pay for hosting with my site, and not much more. So, what you get is the time I spent researching, dabbling, and trying things until I think they work. 

And, my hope – that I can squeeze in a few hours of sleep AND rise at 6 am. Let’s get these journal pages written! 

cristi graduation

Happy Belated Birthday, Cristi – Support a Domestic Violence Center Near You

Domestic violence rudely entered our lives on July 19, 2007. Today, you would be 40, having had your birthday just two months ago. Eleven years ago, I hope I called you on your birthday. Ten years ago, I didn’t know that would be the last birthday you would celebrate. Eleven years ago, on July 20, I became educated on the reach of domestic violence.

A year ago, I spent the day with a new friend. She’s a PR professional expanding her local reach. The day ended with a light dinner at her sponsored table for an event. The event was “Roots of Resilience”, the annual fundraiser for SAFE of Columbia County.

Before that fateful day, I knew of domestic violence in abstract terms. I remember an SNL skit that laughed at Bill and Hillary’s relationship, suggesting that he was the victim. (1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. ) I knew of domestic violence with other bad jokes of men in “wife beater” tank tops, the illusion that only uneducated, poor, white men are the perpetrators of abuse. The truth is grayer. The truth shows us that domestic violence crosses all demographics: race, socio-economic, education. Though poor economies can raise the effects of abuse, economics is not a cause of domestic violence.

The Wheel of Power and Control

When I got home from your funeral, I spent a little time educating myself on domestic violence. Learning some of the harsh truths and taking the time to understand patterns of control. In a sense, I find I am hypersensitive to language when I hear things that sound like controlling behavior. I found this widely shared image that helped put things in perspective for me. I wish I had known about it before you died. Maybe we could have had a conversation about what you needed to feel safe in your relationships.

Wheel of Power and Control
From the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, www.duluth-model.org, shared by SAFE of Columbia County.

Help Us Really Hear

One of the reasons I think we didn’t talk about all those things is that the busy-ness of our lives – we let it get in the way. We don’t listen to each other. We don’t really hear each other. We allow bad behavior to be swept under the rug instead of standing up to abuses and intolerance. We all have our own lives to lead and live, after all. 

In honor of the 1 and 3 women and 1 and 4 men, I encourage you to stand up to oppression far and wide. Start saying, “NO!” You will not tolerate that racist slur, that minimization, that gas lighting. It’s not right, it’s hurtful, and it doesn’t help those we love. 

Sources

SAFE of Columbia County
The Gateway Center of Portland
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Statistics
Dispelling the Stereotypes
7. How does the economy affect domestic violence?

Other Notes

This post was started on May 13, 2017. That would have been Cristi’s 39th birthday. At the time of publishing, we both would be in our 5th decade. I will celebrate the lessons I’ve been gifted through this grief and awareness. 

Must Have​ Oils for Travel

Confession: when we drive, I take all of my oils. I simply cannot decide, when we’ll be gone for a month, what oils I need or will need in the off chance this crazy thing happens. When I fly, I have to pare down my list to a current list of necessities – which varies depending on where I will be traveling. 

So, choices sometimes have to be made, and if they have to be made, here’s a short list of the oils I would absolutely not leave home without. 

  1. ClaryCalm – because I need all the hormone support I can get
  2. Thyroid Support (Lemongrass and Myrrh) – gotta keep it in homeostasis 
  3. Rose – we all need more love
  4. Frankincense – the oil of truth is great for grounding, skin, everything
  5. Correct X – because sometimes you need a band-aid too 
  6. Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint (mixed in a 1oz spray bottle, and backups to refill as needed) – damned pollen count in varied places 
  7. Melaleuca – skin support! skin support!
  8. DigestZen – tummy support! 
  9. Forgive – we don’t always travel on our best behavior 
  10. OnGuard – when flying or driving, you come across so many different people, places, and things – so lets put the protective blend to good use

There are so many oils I am leaving off this list because I wanted to try and reduce it to 10. When I’m going out and about, when I am home, I carry a lot more than 10 oils on me. I carry more than 10 oils in ONE pouch. And, sometimes it’s necessary to pare down and use what you have to the best of your abilities.

One thing I absolutely love about using oils to support my home, my health, and my family, is there is literally an oil for “that”. So, when I do bring even just ten oils, I have a way to mitigate pretty much any scenario I or my family encounter.

What does your top ten list look like? 

Add a Little Harmony to Your Day

It started out as any typical endeavor… I grabbed the necessary materials, and I arranged them just so. I propped up the tools and arranged them just so. Then, I began mixing, matching, showcasing. When I was all done, I reviewed. And, oh boy! You couldn’t see anything!

I got ready to film! Look at those neat rows and piles.

I love watching videos of people making things. And I haven’t yet figured out my set up yet to be able to adequality film me working in my journal or making oil concoctions or changing out my facial toner recipe. You see, I got all set up to do the video, but I didn’t have the tripod nor my phone angled just so. So you got to see this desk the whole time, rather than the making of the blend. So, instead of a video, you’ll get a blog post!

The Harmony Collection is an adorable collection that was unveiled as a gift for Mother’s Day. They still have some in stock! It comes with three oils you cannot order wholesale regularly, two 10ml steel roller bottles, pipettes, labels, and a book of blends. 

The spicy, fresh, uplifting oils are Green Mandarin, Star Anise, and Pink Pepper. You can read more about the oils and the kit here. I flipped through the recipe book and stopped on the Harmony Signature Blend. I could go no further, I had to make this beautiful blend. It includes a range of oils, many of which are not included in the 3-oil kit. So, I pulled from my oil collection and got to work.

The recipe book guided to add drops slowly and smell as you go. You may want to revise if you do not like the direction of the scent. I had no problems, so I made it accordingly. The recipe is:

  • 45 drops Copaiba
  • 32 drops Hawaiian Sandalwood
  • 15 drops Green Mandarin
  • 5 drops Arborvitae
  • 2 drops Black Pepper
  • 1 drop Blue Tansy
  • Fill with FCO in a 10ml roller bottle

Sometimes I smell the arborvitae first, sometimes sandalwood. I love how these oils constantly surprise. So, not only have we made a beautiful “perfume” to wear whenever… this “perfume” supports my cellular function, uplifts my mood, and connects me with the divine. I’d encourage you to check out this Harmony Kit if you haven’t already. 

Values Awakened

[March 28, 2012, I wrote… ] To take care of those we care about. That’s what we want. I know this to my core. Yet, growing up (my twenties and younger), it’s as if no one I knew talked about this. All I heard was Left v. Right. Conservative v. Progressive. Democrat v. Republican. No one, except college professors, talked about how the terms can be interchangeable and that there are no longer hard and fast definitions. We went to school. We went to work. We did our homework, our jobs, we played our sports, and we talked about who we had a crush on our silly jokes. A few friends and I were concerned with the environment and curious about government, but although we might have learned the rote mechanics — we didn’t talk about what we believed. We didn’t talk about our core values.

This is the final visual of my personal values.

[Today] Six years later, I have defined and redefined my values with the help of a local business consultant, Michelle Gay. When I wrote this post, I was noticing that our labels don’t work and our society is shifting, sometimes uncomfortably. Something I have noticed for a long time now is that we need to come together and retell our stories. We need to rehash what is important to us, and what we hope for. Assessing our values, together, is one way of doing that.

Michelle argues that before you bring your values to your business or to a group, you should get in touch with who you are first. She has started opening up her values exercise to the masses, with the first such workshop held at the beginning of June. I have now taken a look at my values three times with Michelle. Watching her evolution of teaching this workshop is remarkable. It started as a sit-down, reflect activity – which I found very beneficial. Michelle likes kinetic moving, though, and she had to move it up to the wall, so she did. In a few hours, with guided steps, participants dig deep in their values, writing, pasting, and tearing down. Then, we defined what those words meant. I often write “love” or “heart-centered”, and each time I carve away at the definition a little more – so even my own two definitions aren’t alike!

Michelle argues we must define these words we use so we can have a better chance at understanding where people come from. The exercise does not stop at defining the terms, however. Next, she pushes us to consider how we lead with these values, writing down three different ways for each defined value. We finish with a power statement. (See one of my power poses above.)

After three times of doing this, I am working on owning: I am a lioness. For more about my values, click here for personal and here for business.

This is the final visual of my business values.

Vitamins

My mother told me, when I was selling books door-to-door, to take my vitamins. I spent 20 minutes staring at the options in the aisle to the chagrin of my friend who I had just told, “I’ll be quick.” 

I had no idea what to buy. I had no idea what one thing was good for over the next. I knew I needed something to aid my diet that consisted largely of peanut butter and jelly. But, I had no idea what. The supermarket certainly didn’t have educational signs telling me how to assess my diet! 

Fast forward several years, and I worked to clean up and improve my eating. And, still, things didn’t feel quite right. Well, when doTERRA was introduced to me they were holding an amazing promotion, and that promotion has come around again. (Seriously, if you don’t have a wholesale account yet, every month is a good month to sign up!)

The promotion is: buy 100pv, spend 100pv, and get the vitamins. Why would you even want doTERRA’s vitamins? Because the same quality doTERRA puts into sourcing their oils they put into the supplements. Why do you even want a high-quality supplement? The bottom line is the Standard American Diet just isn’t good enough. And, our bodies need support to edge towards their optimal life. And, a good quality vitamin can support that path. 

Here is a list of some things the supplements support:

  • General wellness and vitality,
  • Antioxidant and DNA protection,
  • Energy metabolism,
  • Bone health,
  • Immune function,
  • Stress management,
  • Cardiovascular health,
  • Healthy hair, skin, and nails,
  • Eye, brain, nervous system,
  • Liver function and digestive health,
  • Lung and respiratory health,
  • Gentle on the stomach, and they are
  • Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free!

Are you with me? This either sounds amazing, or crazy, I’m guessing. Well, let me tell a little story. When I sold books door to door, I was walking for 13 hour days. After that adventure, I had pain in my feet when I would wake up. After a while, it would go away. And, it would return if I sat for long periods until my feet got used to walking again.

After I was on the supplements for just 3 weeks, I no longer had that feeling in my feet. My body was so supported overall, that whatever deficiency was aggravated by that stress 20 years ago, it was counteracted by these beautiful vitamins. 

If this sounds like a great deal, let me tell you that it is. Join with a wholesale account today, add to your collection next month, and get your vitamins at no charge. Want to learn more? Great, let’s meet.