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.
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.
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
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.
Balance, Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Melissa
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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,
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.
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.
This is the “king of oils”. Sourced from Somalia and Oman, doTERRA actually created a cooperative with existing farmers of Frankincense. So, why do we even call it the “king of oils”? Because this complex oil can support the whole body in a variety of ways. Frankincense essential oil supports a healthy immune response, promotes overall skin health, and supports a healthy inflammatory response in skin cells.
Frankincense oil blends well with citrus oils like Lime, Lemon, and Wild Orange – among others. One of my favorite blends is for after school grounding and focus. I will take 1-2 drops vetiver and frankincense and add 4 drops of wild orange. The uplifting citrus pairs very well with the whole grounding of vetiver and frankincense. Often, study time is much calmer when this is diffusing!
Frankincense can be used for a variety of things. Here’s a short list:
Add to your DIY facial toner to support healthy, glowing skin
Apply after your morning shave to provide relief to razor bumps
Diffuse on your car ride into work for a calming, relaxing fragrance to set you in the mood for working
Use in your prayer or meditation, as it is the Oil of Truth, to help you get into alignment with your truth
Take daily under your tongue or in a veggie cap to support overall cellular function (pro tip, try it for a month and report back any findings)
Click the links below for more!
Below is a doTERRA video on the sourcing of Frankincense and why their Frankincense is so different.
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!
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.