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Reframe the Behavior

“Kids do well if they can,” Dr. Ross Greene

My kid is pretty clever, spends too much time on screens that we don’t adequately regulate, scores average or above average on standardized tests, is generally liked by his peers, and still doesn’t fall into that magical perfect harmony when it comes to the bell curve of ease in school. Up to his first year in preschool (he had two different schools), he was the most popular kid (What?!), gentle, and often asked his peers how he could help when they had fallen, for example. 

We started to notice that he doesn’t fall into that perfect bell curve when he moved from the play-based preschool to the academic-focused pre-k, and we were called because he punched a kid in school. Turns out the class had 14 boys and 4 girls and a very inexperienced teacher. When he moved to kindergarten, we got a similar call. When we dug deeper, we found out that our kid was stuck in a corner while the hordes of children were coming in from an activity. So, we did as good parents ought to, and we sent him to professionals. We have now been to no less than 10 professionals to try to “fix our kid.” 

Our kid doesn’t need fixing. He is PERFECT the way he is. Our SYSTEMS need fixing. Last year, a very difficult year, I was introduced to Dr. Ross Greene and his thinking in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions. This infographic is a great summary of what he has researched and teaches. 

Check out the link too, put out by a Canadian group. It’s a great toolkit for educators. In the scenarios I mentioned, there were stressors that created anxiety and shame in my kid and he reacted thus. It was the environment that created the thought, the feeling, and then the action in my developing kid.

Dr. Greene says often, “Kids do well if they can.” 

That means the onus is ON US to create environments where kids can thrive. That means the onus is on us to create environments where kids can do their best thinking, to have great feelings, to do amazing actions. 

Toolkit: https://self-reg.ca/toolkit2017/

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Your Kids’ Pajamas

Encased in chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals. That is your kids’ pajamas. And, if you are my age, my pajamas as a kid too.

I don’t often truly understand the Chemical Life we live. How those 80,000 approved chemicals truly affect my – our – day today. 

This came to light, for me, the other day when a friend shared an already viral video on Facebook. A mom was actually just shopping in your typical all-in-one grocery store, and she pointed out all the “flame resistant” pajamas. I actually never really thought about it before, what made these PJs so flame resistant? Another friend of mine noted how grossed out she had always been by these, and now considering their origin, I absolutely concur.

Here’s the thing – house fires are scary, and kids on fire is a scary thing. So, from what I can piece together with about an hour or two of internet research is that some time, long, long ago, we decided those were too scary to leave to chance. So, we started adding chemicals to all sorts of things – pajamas, couches, and more. But, like so many things with chemicals, we trusted in the chemicals ability to keep us safe rather than check to see if it interfered with anything else. That coupled with narrow sited choices and some choices just by chance that then became the norm, we went with these chemicals to keep us safe. In some cases, just because California did.

It’s like the story of the pot roast. It’s part urban legend and part truth (for example, this actually happened with my mom). Daughter cuts off the end of the pot roast and mom looks on, “Honey, why are you doing that?” “Because you did,” responds diligent daughter. “Oh, honey, I did that so the roast would fit in the pan. Yours fits as is,” responds clarifying mother. Granted, chopping off the end of a roast is far less daunting than ruining your health through ill-effects of chemicals. However, the point remains. How often do we do things because that’s the way another generation did? Too often I would argue, and it is now getting in the way of our health.

Video mom comes up with a great simple solution – avoid pajamas and buy loungewear instead. And, one final to-do: always read your labels. We read them when we discuss essential oils, regular “medicine”, food, and don’t forget your clothes too. 

Some References for You

  • Children’s Sleepwear Regulations: https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Childrens-Sleepwear-Regulations
  • A Flame Retardant That Came With Its Own Threat to Health: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/a-flame-retardant-that-came-with-its-own-threat-to-health.html
  • Potential disruption of endocrine system: Flame retardants can mimic estrogens, 3-D images show: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102716.htm
  • Endocrine Disruption and Flame-Retardant Chemicals: PBDE-99 Effects on Rat Sexual Development: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367877/
  • Are brominated flame retardants endocrine disruptors?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850103
  • How to find flame-resistant pajamas for kids, without toxic chemicals: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/how-to-find-flame-resistant-pajamas-for-kids-without-toxic-chemicals/2017/11/08/fe587216-c32d-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.b7f27121afde

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Not Blacking Out

I received a few requests by Facebook messenger last night to “black out” my profile. The last one I received was just a few weeks prior, and before that maybe a year. The thinking is that women, in solidarity, will simply black out their profile picture to show “men” what a world without women is like. 

I paused considering – first – where did this come from? Second, how many men on my friends list actually scroll through their friends’ list on any given day, and would they notice all the little black squares? I am not convinced… (Another thought on blackout days.)

So, what I chose to do instead was post an address to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that another friend posted. I figured a few of my like-minded women friends would appreciate the suggestion to act in a positive way. 

What I got was a triggering post, escalated by two family members staunch in beliefs friends and I have moved beyond, in conjunction with our own healing. And, those friends called out the staunch beliefs in polite and impolite ways – expressing anger, rage, frustration, and general fed-upness. 

So, why would any of this be triggering? Because we live in a rape culture. Triggering, maybe? Maybe. Consider this. A rape culture is defined as “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.” Consider this, when men come forward, 30 years after sexual abuse by a priest has been committed, they are considered brave. (*Caveat, more than 20 years ago, I recognize this wasn’t the case.) When women come forward that they were raped, abused, or any other sexual act done onto them without consent, they are called liars.

Do you see the double standard? 

Here are more examples. These came from Southern Connecticut State University.

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television (see Molly Ringwald’s take on Sixteen Candles)
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped

How can we move beyond a Rape Culture then? Let’s try two simple steps.

  1. Believe victims – I know we selectively honor “guilty until proven innocent”, and yes, the proof is important, AND we need to stop making the perpetrator the victim. Believe the women and men, and find corroborating evidence. 
  2. Teach and honor consent – stop making our kids hug and kiss relatives, honor how people want to be touched, and respect it. (Teach Consent breaks it down as: ask, listen, respect. They have a lot of great tools on their website.)

So, I’m not blacking out today. Today, I am going to say to you, “Stand up. Speak your truth. And, don’t back down.” Now, pardon me, I have to write my thank you note to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for doing the same. 

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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. 

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

cristi graduation

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. 

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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.

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Amavi

Amavi, the 2018 doTERRA Father’s Day Collection

It’s from Latin (and Spanish), and it means, “I love.”

So, what better way to show Dad you love him than with the doTERRA Amavi Father’s Day Collection. It is universally appealing, highlighting the unique aroma of CPTG essential oils like Buddha Wood, Hinoki, and Litsea along with the doTERRA Balance blend. The collection includes a 10 mL Amavi Touch, Amavi After Shave Lotion, and doTERRA Onyx Balance Bath Bar. Each product is expertly crafted to evoke the feelings of a hero’s heart while supporting the fearless in spirit. Not only does this collection help uplift and refocus your mind throughout the day, it also creates a simple daily regimen to clean, soothe, and hydrate your skin.

Order today, and get two-day air… when you ship on your loyalty rewards order (and you can have more than one), you get the points back next month. Two-day air should get it to you by Sunday. 

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Introducing Master Classes

You’ve probably seen a lot of “master classes” floating around. Famous people like Maclom Gladwell and Gordon Ramsey are sharing their craft. Experts in writing, cooking, or acting are sharing their knowledge widely. 

I’ve been teaching “master classes” for a while, but they went by another name. So, we are calling them what they really are – a master class on essential oil use. I have been an expert in natural remedies for almost 20 years, with the last four focused really on using essential oils in our homes for our health and well-being.

So, each month, starting with June, the master classes will coordinate the theme with my newsletter. This month, we’ll talk about “summer play”.

What is included in this master class? We’ll go over at least 10 ways to support your summer with essential oils. The class will be 30 minutes. Plus, we’ll have 10 more minutes for questions. Know that space is limited. Each person who registers will receive the recording to listen to, as long as you need!

Register for this month’s class now. And, I’ll see you on Friday, June 15 for our first essential oil master class.

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Marriage: a Formula for Success

I was making small talk. Okay, for me small talk can be a range of things. I believe everyone has a story to share. So, the get-to-know-you questions came up, and in there was, “How long have you been married?” I always have to think about that. “Almost 12 years.” “Oh wow, that’s a long time. What do you think are two things that have helped you?” Without thinking, I responded, “Stubbornness and loyalty.” Later, I returned the question after learning he’s been married 11 years. “Knowing that you are two whole people coming together,” he waxed poetic.

I sat on this for a few days, and I decided to post it to my Facebook world. I love the responses I got. Check it out! 

Communication and laughter and being able to accept when your SO tells you you’re being an ass

Compromise. Knowing we both can’t always have it their way all the time. And laughter…we can be huge dorks

Pick your battles, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Well damn. Mine would be similar to yours. We’re having our 10 year wedding anniversary this year and I would say service and loyalty. By giving and remaining true to standing by each other… you can get through all of the harsh crap that surfaces every now and again

Compromise. Knowing we both can’t always have it their way all the time. And laughter…we can be huge dorks

Hmmmm…..humor, communication, and knowing our roles. Hopefully, that doesn’t sound bad, but having a child with special needs we don’t always have a lot of time so we do the jobs we have strength in.

Softball and chocolate

Owning my own [stuff] and committing to basic emotional literacy such as “I statements” and a profound desire to “fight fair.” There will always be issues and annoyances, but I choose to focus on the many good things we have and to be a loyal, loving friend. That they are as committed to that as me makes it possible.

“If my brother annoys me there are two handles by which I can pick that up,” as a Stoic saying has it: “By that , it annoys me or that he is my brother.”

Laughter

Communication, yes of course! I also believe that at the end of the day your spouse needs to be your best friend. Laughter, fun, and not taking things too seriously helps too

My friend’s grandmother was married for 70 years and said simply ‘love.’

My mom was married for over 30 years said “there were times I did not like your father but I never stopped loving him”

I got divorced during year ten with my ex and I’m I’m year 6 this year. But what’s helping my husband and me through life is laughter, every day!

Choose to love every day. Even days when it’s hard. Choose to love.

Compromise and communication. We make sure to know what is going on with each other and make all big decisions together. We also make sure to spend time together each week doing something – dinner, movie, shopping, something that is just time together.

Commitment to mutual joy, focusing on the compatibilities.

My partner thought for a long time and then said, “Liking each other a lot.”

Respect, laughter, play, and friends

The best way to ensure a strong marriage is to work on yourself.

You put up with one another’s shit and you know how to let go so the other can grow.

Being willing to dive into the hard stuff and come out on the other side stronger. Giving space for each person to remain their own person. Laughing till you cry at ridiculous and small things.

Forgiveness and understanding

  1. Respecting the other person
  2. Actually liking the other person.
  3. Fighting fairly. We haven’t had that many fights in 20 years of being together. But in each of them, we have never been mean.
  4. Being on a team
  5. Always give more than you receive. If you are both in it like this you never come up short.

We also give each other a pass on social/family gatherings. I let him know when it’s really important and he comes along happily.

Conversation. forgiveness. putting up with some random quirks that bother you, without letting them GET to you.

At my marriage we had our friends and family write words on rocks to help remind us how to be in a relationship. While we are no longer married we do still abide by that advice because it’s even harder to maintain a good relationship when you are no longer together but still share parental responsibilities and family.

Respect and be nice! Always be grateful for what the other person does for you and the family and say thank you often.

Lace your fingers together. See how snug and tightly woven they are? He met my weaknesses with his strength. And I tried to do the same for him. He was the wind beneath my wings.

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How Green are You?

More than ten years ago I co-authored two green guides with a colleague. And, then she moved and I remained, and life kept coming. At that time, I had the itch to know more green stories. 

I am resurrecting a ten-year-old idea: the green interview to ask, “How green are you?”

I am inviting you, to come talk to me about all the ways you are green in the world. Then, your story will be showcased on my blog in the fall. 

I’ll take as many stories as I can get! And, for now, I’ll highlight the top eight. My goal is that this will be a repeating feature on my blog. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wrap it up into a new guide for a new age of going green. 

Click here to get started.