Cherishing the Snow Days

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My sweet snow angel

As a high school teacher from North Carolina I can say that I typically love and hope for a couple of snow days throughout the year.  As Southerners, the few good snowfalls we get put so much of our busy lives on hold.  Most of us get a day or two off work and get to enjoy cozy days in our homes and playing outside with our little ones.  We are seriously like kids in a candy store, and it is so much fun.  I know our neighbors to the north and west are more accustomed to this weather and shake their heads at our behavior, but it really is a special treat for a lot of us, especially the kiddos.

As a teacher, I tend to get a little extra time off, and you will never hear me complaining.  Except for this week!  Our exciting and beautiful snow happens to fall right in the middle of first semester exams, completely complicating my best laid plans.  We have no idea when we will give our next exam and we are probably going to lose some much-needed work days that we use to prepare for second semester.  My teacher plans have flipped completely upside down.  But, there’s snow on the ground.

As I was listening to my five year old sing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” at the top of his lungs while I was rocking my nine month old to sleep for her morning nap, I remembered this verse from our Sunday school lesson this past week.  Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Nothing like a good snow day to re-establish your steps.  I am reminded that no matter what happens, I’m where God wants me to be.  Today is a day to treasure and make the most of, no matter the inconvenience and future stress that may come with it.

In Sunday school last year, we studied My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen.  Last year I chose the word FOCUS.  We were expecting our second child, and I was preparing for a long maternity leave.  I knew my life would be transformed and I wanted to make sure that my FOCUS remained on God.  I chose Hebrews 12:1b-2a as a verse to focus on, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”  Unfortunately, I hijacked my own word, and my FOCUS changed from God to work and life.  I became overwhelmed with the many tasks I had to accomplish before entering into motherhood a second time and my word just kind of fizzled out.  I was so disappointed with how the study turned out that I decided not to pick a word this year…until God said I should give it another try.

It’s funny how things work out, but after getting opinions from Sunday school classmates and hearing a friend’s word for the year I decided to pray and give it another try.  In fact, I came up with a word one day while working in my classroom and now I can’t even remember what it was.  It has seriously left my mind.  Clearly, that was not the word God wanted for me.  So the other day, I was driving down the road (in precious silence) and the word CHERISH popped into my head.  I remember thinking how beautiful it sounded and instantly knew that it was mine.

Life as a teaching mommy of two little kids has challenged me in ways I never expected.  Mornings are insane, afternoons are hectic, dinner is crazy, and bedtime is exhausting.  And in the midst of all of the chaos, I CHERISH those moments.  The sweet little smiling faces that I get to love and nurture are the most beautiful treasure.  For this year, my plan is to CHERISH the moments I’m in and make sure that those around me feel CHERISHED as well.  I know that for my word to be a success, God has to establish my steps.  Here’s to CHERISHING the snow days, the work days, the insane mornings, the hectic afternoons, the crazy dinners, the exhausting bedtimes, the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the “I love you’s,” the time-outs, the stories, the games, the puzzles, the cartoons, the laughter, the noise and the love.  Thank you Lord for putting me on this journey!

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How an Unregimented Mommy Tried to Keep her Summer on Schedule

As a mommy and teacher I really look forward to summer.  I love the one on one time I get to spend with my sweet little boy spoiling him rotten, but I also save summer for working on those hard areas of parenting as well.  For instance, the pacifier was traded for my old teddy bear the summer Emmett turned two.  And we potty trained the following summer when he turned three.  Summer is big in our household.

Little man will be starting Pre-K very soon.  This will be the first time he has been in someone else’s care other than church and family, so I feel a little nervous for him as he makes this transition.  (He’s kind of a handful…but he’s cute!)  Summer Schedule Post 1Also, this is just one step closer to real school, and this mommy is not ready for him to grow up yet.  Before summer started I set some goals for us to make sure that we made the most of our time together and to help him prepare for the changes ahead.

Although we do have routines in our home, especially at bedtime, I would definitely say that I am “routine challenged.”  I’m more of a go-with-the-flow mommy and person.  I tend to have a lot of structure in my classroom, but on my own time I like to be a little more laid back.  However, it can be so easy for summer to slip by without accomplishing a lot.  So I decided to take advantage of all the time we had together to help him make some serious learning gains but also have a ton of fun.

I began by making a list of some chores Emmett could help with around the house, such as feeding our dog and making his bed.  Then I thought about his strengths and weakness and created a list of academic and behavioral goals for him.  For instance, he is already reading simple books at age four, but his handwriting is a hot mess.  So, I found resources that helped practice writing the letters and words he already knew.  I had a ton of workbooks, flashcards, and dry erase activity books for him to use for his math and alphabet lessons.  I organized everything into a crate so that I could pull out resources as needed.  I finalized his Chore Chart and printed it out so that we could keep track of his progress with stickers.  He LOVED earning stickers.

At the end of the first week, he had earned all of his stickers, so his reward was to take a trip to the bookstore and pick out any book he wanted.  He was so proud of himself, and was extremely motivated the following week.  Emmett with StickersOne of the things I really like about this chart is that he can do the activities in any order he chooses.  We are at that stage where he wants to be independent, and everything has to be his idea.  So, giving him some freedom to choose his activities helped him truly take ownership of his accomplishments.

I wish I could say that we stuck to our schedule and that everything worked perfectly.  Actually, no I don’t; there was a lot of fun to be had this summer.  Emmett Collage

We had play dates, lunch dates, a beach vacation, park days, shopping trips, etc.  The idea was great for our days at home where boredom may set in, but on our days out we couldn’t always get everything accomplished.  And I’m totally okay with that.  He definitely learned a lot about responsibility and earning something instead of simply having it handed to him.  I think a really good way to modify this idea for our real life is to take out the days of the week and just aim for a certain number of activities per week.  That way, a fun day out won’t look discouraging.

Even though things didn’t turn out perfectly, I do plan on doing some type of rewards system like this again next summer and possibly during his first year of preschool.  I will update this post with any new links to documents as I create them.  What are some ways you kept your kids entertained this summer?  Post your ideas in the comments please so I can “borrow” them!

Thank you for reading!

 

Cleaning Out the Inside

Woohoo!  It is summertime!  Can you tell that I’m a teacher?  If I’m being honest, I look forward to summer every year because by the end of the school year I am DONE!  At the beginning of summer I find that I have to take a couple of weeks to recharge and reorganize my neglected home.  I would definitely not win a Good Housekeeping award during the school year, but when I’m at home a lot throughout the summer I appreciate having a tidy house. I also like to revamp my plans for the next school year, but that is a topic for another day.  Now that I’m a mom, more than anything I look forward to time spent playing with my little boy, and being able to share that extra time with him is nothing short of precious.  This year, before summer even started, I set aside some time to tackle a few items on my massive household “to do” list so that I could spend more fun time with my little boy and less time to cleaning and reorganizing.

My first task was to tackle our downstairs closet.  We have a fantastic closet space built into the back of our staircase, and over the years it has become our catch-all for anything and everything.  At our New Year’s Eve party this year, one of my girlfriends opened the door looking for the trash can, saw the disaster, and immediately started apologizing and freaking out for invading our private hot mess.  Most people have a “junk drawer;”  we have a “junk closet.”  So I chose to start my yearly clean out in this abyss.  This was my process:

  1.  I took EVERYTHING out of the closet!  Nothing got left behind.  If you don’t take it out, you’re more likely to hang onto it.  (At this point it became very clear to me that this process would take all day, require lots of prayer and deserve a glass of wine when I finished.)
  2.  If it was mine or my child’s and we didn’t use it or didn’t like it, it got tossed.  Absolutely no holding on to things for a “yard sale” that is never going to happen.  I showed no mercy and did not consider sentimental value.  If it had been left in the junk closet for years, it couldn’t have mattered that much to begin with.
  3. I made a junk pile for my husband and encouraged him to be just as merciless when deciding whether something should stay or go.  He has a tendency to hold on to things.  He gets it from his mama!  Love you Jan!  However, once he got started tossing things, he really warmed up to it and helped me out a ton.
  4. When it was time to put things back, I spent some time putting things into groups: Closetmy husband’s things, cooking gadgets, Emmett’s art supplies, cleaning products, etc.  I am amazed by how much more functional this closet space is.  Originally, I dreaded the, “Mommy, can we paint?” question because I had put the paint up out of both of our reaches.  It usually fell on my head when I tried to get it down.  Now it’s in a convenient spot for me to get to, but not easily accessible for his sneaky little hands.  My heavy cooking gadgets that I use frequently are also easy to get to, so I don’t hurt my back lifting them from too high or too low off a shelf.
  5. I bought the cheapest whiteboard I could find at a local craft store along with some
    CommandCentral2

    Command Central

    pretty dry erase markers.  We are using this board for “to do” lists, reminders, love notes, and inspirational Bible verses.

  6. Most of our bill pay is done electronically; however, the important mail we do receive goes straight into our filing cabinet tucked below our coat rack.  It may not be the most beautiful cabinet, but it is definitely functional and keeps me organized.  Having a place for the endless paper is a MUST for organization!

I am proud to say that three weeks later I am still loving my downstairs closet more than ever, and I’m having zero trouble keeping it organized.  I’m glad that I did this before summer started.  This process would have been much harder if I had tried to do this by myself one day while my husband was at work.  We also tackled our upstairs bedroom closet and dressers together and ended up donating three trash bags full of clothes that we simply do not or cannot wear.  I am amazed that the closets and dressers are still quite full, but putting laundry away has never been easier.

Once the “clean out and toss” process was completed I noticed something incredible.  Our house was instantly cleaner.  We had a place for everything, and it was just so much easier to put things away.  It became more beautiful on the outside because of the work we had put into the inside.

The whole process made me reflect on my spiritual life as well.  We worry so much about what we look like on the outside and how we are perceived by others, but we really need to be taking care of our insides first.  In Romans 8:6 we read, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  I am all about life and peace. What would happen if I spent as much time in prayer and reading scripture as I do getting ready in the morning?  In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we read, “So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  This verse is self-explanatory in reference to where our priorities should be.   Jesus didn’t beat around the bush in Matthew 23:27 when he said, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”  We hold onto so much emotional “junk” that truly interferes in our relationships with ourselves, with God, and with each other.  Ephesians 4:31 says,”Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to just get rid of all of that?  To ruthlessly toss it all out like I did to my closet?  Sometimes, we may recall something from the past, and just the thought can conjure up those feelings of anger, hurt, malice, etc.  In 1 John 1:9 we learn, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Jesus is our answer for cleaning out our insides, and we got him when these feelings bubble up inside us.

One of my favorite things about my closet clean out was putting everything back in an organized way.  If we remove all this “junk” from our spiritual interiors, what goes back in its place?  Colossians 3:12 gives this advice: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  I know we may not always choose kindness, compassion, and patience in our relationships, but these are beautiful qualities that radiate from a Christian heart.  As we seek to improve our spiritual life, we pray that God puts these qualities in our hearts.  So, my goal for this summer continues: out with the junk, and in with the good!

And now, onto more “clean out and toss” projects:  the bonus room/playroom.  Then, my computer!  Prayers requested!

Thank you for reading!  Please comment and follow me on social media.  If I don’t already follow you, please direct me to your work.  I love reading what you have to say!

Devotion to Prayer

As a Christian I have always believed in the power of prayer and the importance of prayer as an integral part of building a relationship with God.  However, praying is one of the weakest areas of my spiritual life.  I find that I often forget to do it; or if I remember, I may end up falling asleep or struggling to keep my mind focused.  My amazing Sunday School class is currently reading The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible Study by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.  We selected this study because many of us wanted to strengthen our prayer lives and learn how to be more disciplined and devoted to prayer.

As we began the study, I stumbled upon Psalms 8:3-5, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”  I was humbled again by the very fact that God actually wants to talk to us.  He made this entire world, universe, everything…and he wants to chat with me.  He could do anything He wants, but He really desires to hear my thoughts and share in my daily life.  He wants me to listen as He communicates His plans for my life.  He wants that relationship with every single one of his children.  Prayer is an amazing privilege to come before our Creator and lay at His feet the desires of our heart.  Why is it such an easy thing to bypass?

One of the obstacles to my prayer life is busyness.  I find that I do want to pray, but I have difficulty making time.  By the time I lay down at night, I’m exhausted, and prayer takes a backseat to the many things on my “to do” list.  One of my favorite quotes from this Bible study says, “Prayer isn’t something to add to your ‘to do’ list.  Prayer empowers the list.”  That is worth repeating.  Prayer EMPOWERS the list!  What?!?  I’ve been doing this wrong for 30 years!  I can make a fantastic “to-do” list, but if we’re being honest, what good is my “to do” list without God?  God’s list and plan for my life are always going to be better than my own.  Many of us feel like we have to accomplish our goals by ourselves.  We don’t like to ask for help, and we like to be in charge.  But, what a wonderful feeling to literally hand over your responsibilities to God-you know, the one who made everything-and just be free to follow His lead.

Our Bible study directs us to examine the prayer life of Jesus and compare that to our own.  First of all, have you ever thought about how interesting it is that Jesus prayed?  He was God in the flesh, and yet he still set aside time to pray to his Father.  If he needed to pray, how much more then do we need to pray?  Jesus is our perfect model for strengthening our prayer life.  Jesus prayed in quiet solitude, in the early morning and the late evening.  He made time to get away from his work, his friends and family and just go to his Father.  He prayed before and after the major events of his life, seeking God’s guidance throughout his journey.  Although you can pray anytime and anywhere, Jesus’s model shows his devotion to his Father by setting aside a specific time and place where he could focus on God and eliminate the distractions of the world around him.

In this particular study, we are also encouraged to pray about our prayer lives.  I had never thought about the importance of praying to be better at prayer.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22-“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Don’t you think that God rejoices when we ask Him to help us get better at something He has called us to do in the Matthew 21first place.  We ask God for all kinds of things.  We lay all of our problems and wants at His feet.  So, why not ask Him to guide us as we pursue a deeper relationship with Him?  After all, if He’s the one guiding us, we are more likely to succeed.

As I consider my personal prayer life, I have come to the (scary) realization that I will definitely need to adjust the time on my alarm clock because the only time my house is quiet is the early morning.  This is definitely not my finest hour, but I can see that starting my day in scheduled prayer (with coffee) will help me give my “to do” list to God and keep me in spontaneous communication with Him throughout the day.  I can’t wait to continue this study, and I hope you will keep reading, praying, and supporting me on this journey as I ask God to revitalize my prayer life.

Thank you for visiting!  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.  Also, I would love to include you in my prayer life, so if you have a prayer request, please mention it in the comments as well.

Love,
Brooke

Alleviating Allergies with Essential Oils

 

Hi everyone!  With allergy season being upon us, I wanted to share a few tricks we have been using to help alleviate the seasonal sniffles.  Although no one in our household has severe allergies, we do each experience mild allergy symptoms at certain times throughout the year.  Our little boy tends to have a runny nose and some coughing, while my husband and I both deal with occasional scratchy throats and itchy eyes.  Most of my research regarding allergy treatment with essential oils has suggested using a combination of
lavender, peppermint, and lemon.  I call this combination the “Allergy Trifecta.”

Below are some suggestions for using this combination to treat allergies:

  1.  For adults with severe allergies, I blend one or two drops of each oil in a small glass bowl with 1 tsp. of coconut oil and apply directly to the bottoms of toes, back of neck, and bridge of nose.  I have also used this combination behind my ears when they felt really stuffy.
  2. For convenience, I add 8 drops of each oil to a 10 mL glass roller ball and top with fractionated coconut oil.  This is a little more than a 10% dilution.  I apply as often as needed to the reflex points on the bottoms of toes, the back of the neck, and even the bridge of the nose.
  3. I also make a roller ball for kids, using less of each oil depending upon the age of the child.  I use 2 drops of each oil for my four year old, which is a 3% dilution.  This is a high dilution for a youngster, but with severity of symptoms I chose a higher dilution.  The younger the child, the less oil I would use.  Peppermint oil is not generally recommended for use on children under 3.  Eucalyptus may be a better substitute for young children.  You can read more about diluting essential oils and access my dilution cheat chart by visiting my Dilution of Essential Oils page.
  4. Diffusing two drops of each oil throughout the day is also an effective way to help with allergies.  I also like to add some eucalyptus to the blend to help with breathing.
  5. Placing a few drops of these oils in the shower and deeply inhaling the steam  is a great way to help open up airways.  Eucalyptus works great in the shower as well.

I have been pleased with the results of using these oils on a regular basis to keep allergy symptoms at bay this season.  We did give our son OTC allergy medicine for a couple of weeks as well, but we are currently just using a small amount of the oils at night on him as a preventative measure.  If you are struggling to find remedies for your allergies, this may be worth a shot.  Allergies are a challenge because people have different triggers, so this blend may not work for you.  I have heard positive and negative feedback, but for us, it has been successful.  Peppermint, lemon, and lavender oils all have so many different uses, so they are a great investment if you are purchasing oils for the first time.  I will be happy to share my experiences with you!  Please follow the link below to access my business page!

DoTerra Essential Oils Business Page  Trio

Happy oiling!

Brooke

“Hey Mommy! It’s Baby Jesus!”

Saturday morning I was downstairs grading tests while my little (almost four-year-old) boy was upstairs playing with his Thomas the Train toys.  All of a sudden, I hear…nothing.  Silence.  Such a scary thing for a mommy of a little boy.  Silence means he’s up to something that I’m not supposed to know about.  So, I race upstairs to his room expecting to find mayhem and something that will require at least a bath.  Much to my surprise, I find him quietly sitting on his bed (naked?) reading his new Bible.  When he saw me watching he said, “Hey Mommy!  It’s baby Jesus!  He’s so cute!”  Can you imagine how much my heart melted?  I still don’t know why he was naked-I think it had something to do with Adam and Eve, but I was so proud to find him reading his Bible.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more intentional about teaching our little boy about God.  We try to be at church every Sunday, and we are so blessed with wonderful church staff and Sunday school teachers that do a great job of sharing God with our kids.  But, a couple of hours of learning about God on Sundays isn’t going to really make it stick.  We can’t place the job of teaching our children about Jesus strictly on our churches.  The Bible tells us that it’s our responsibility!  Mommy Monday Verse 1 Real

So I started looking for ways to teach him about God at home in a way that he could understand.

Some of my girlfriends recommended a few resources, and I (the Easter bunny) did a little shopping.  He is loving his Bible that we read a story from every night, and he adores doing the activities in the sticker-story books we have bought him.  It can be challenging to find resources for children that use kid-friendly language and present abstract concepts in a way they can understand.  But we are thoroughly enjoying all of the items pictured below.  Some nights he insists on sleeping with his Bible.  So sweet!  In addition, he has fallen in love with Veggie Tales, and we have Bible song jam sessions every morning and afternoon in the car.

Todder Bible Resources

Hearing him talk about Jesus and sing his little songs brings so much joy to my heart and encourages me to keep teaching him…even if he sings that “Joshua fought the battle of Jerry-ho.”  I know that as he grows, his faith will mature and change.  He may struggle with faith and have lots of questions, but I hope that his daddy and I are planting a seed that will bloom into a true disciple of Christ.  We can be sure that our children will encounter a variety of beliefs and viewpoints as they grow and take on the world, and I want my little boy to have a solid foundation on which to stand.

Now, if I could just get him to eat his veggies!  (I really thought Veggie Tales would help with that one!)

I would love to hear how you are teaching your own children about God at home.  Please feel free to share your success stories in the comments!

Hope you have a terrific week!

Brooke

Honey, Your Toes are on the Internet

toesYes, friends!  Those are my husband’s toes.  He was asleep when I took the picture.  We have been married for almost nine years, and I am convinced that I have the best husband in the world.  He’s handsome, smart, hard-working, hilarious, pretty much the whole package.  Over the past couple of years he has developed the incredible ability to snore louder than a foghorn.  It is actually quite impressive.  However, if he falls asleep before I do, I have to result to kicking, poking/punching, shushing, and rolling him over to get any peace and quiet. He tells me to slap him in the face.  I haven’t done that yet, but it’s tempting.  Handling sleep deprivation is not one of my better qualities.  And of course, he feels bad for keeping me awake.

So, when I started researching essential oils, some of what I read offered advice on treating snoring.  Several sources mentioned using Thyme to decrease snoring by applying it to the bottom of the big toe, but Thyme was not a part of my original kit.  (It’s on my next order of oils!)  The company I purchased my oils from makes a terrific oil blend called Breathe.  I have used it on the bottom of my feet and my son’s (diluted, of course!) to help with colds and allergies, so I decided to try it out on my dear hubby.

Let me tell you, when I told my husband that I was going to rub oil on his big toe, there was quite an uproar.  Jokes about witchcraft and trying to kill him in his sleep have become quite common in our house.  Even my girlfriends have had quite a laugh over this practice.  However, after applying the diluted oil to his toes and chest and rubbing it in, his snoring has not bothered me at all for several nights in a row.  The foghorn noise became more like typical heavy breathing.  He snores quietly for just a couple of minutes, and then it basically dissipates.  In addition to using the oil topically, I also started diffusing the following sleepy time blend for a couple hours at bedtime.  It could be that the aromatherapy from the diffuser is helping him not snore as much and helping me get a better night’s sleep as well.  I’m not waking up at all throughout the night, so if he is snoring, I don’t hear it.  This, of course, could all be a coincidence!  But we are both sleeping well, and he is not waking up with a sore throat from snoring all night.

Sleepy Time Diffuser BlendSleepy Time Diffuser Blend

3 drops Breathe

2 drops Lavender (best oil ever!)

1 drop Cedarwood

1 drop Frankincense

(Eucalyptus would be a great substitute for Breathe.)

I have no formal research or data to back this claim up, but if you are struggling with snoring, and want to try something like this I will be happy to share our experiences and help you find oils that are safe and work for you!

I will update this post as I experiment with other blends, and if this stops working, you guys will be the first to know!  Click here to access my business page or email me if you are interested in purchasing oils!

Brooke

Does accountability “rejoice your heart?”

Proverbs 27   One of the most amazing things about God is the way He communicates through His Word.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something in scripture that spoke directly to something I had experienced that day or week.  I was cleaning out my nightstand the other day as a part of my spring cleaning process (which is not going well), and I found a bookmark given to me several years ago by a dear friend and spiritual mentor.  The verse on the bookmark comes from Proverbs 27:9:  “Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.”  The first part of the verse caught my eye because I’ve recently started using essential oils, and I can say that this verse is true in that regard.  However, it was the second part of the verse that truly captured my attention.

In Sunday School class we recently watched the movie War Room, and now we are doing the corresponding study.  One of the topics in the series relates to accountability, which is kind of an uncomfortable concept throughout the Christian community. So, upon finding my bookmark with that special verse, I started pondering my own heart and thinking back to that Sunday School lesson.  If we’re really honest, being held accountable for our actions is probably not high on our list of favorite things.  Does a friend’s honest counsel really rejoice our hearts?  Do we actually value a friend’s frank advice or would we rather have our friends simply make us feel better?  Who do we seek out when we need guidance: someone that will tell us the truth or someone who will sugar coat it into a falsehood?   Proverbs 27:6 states, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”  And then verse 17 continues, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  As humans our first inclination when being contradicted is to become defensive, but my prayer is that God opens our hearts so that we hear the love through the criticism.  That way, we will be more open to honest evaluation of our areas of weakness.

Another verse we studied during the lesson was Ephesians 4:15: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”  Holding others accountable can be just as uncomfortable as being held accountable.  We don’t want to be perceived as judgmental or hypocritical, because we aren’t perfect either.  How do we speak the truth in love when we have all of these imperfections ourselves?  It is so much easier to brush people off making them think everything is fantastic, when in reality, there may something important we need to say to them.  Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  We are called to hold one another accountable and to encourage each other daily as stated in the verse above.  Accountability isn’t necessarily about the negatives.  Who have you encouraged today?  Who have you prayed for today?  Who have you shared a piece of scripture with today?  My own answer to these questions is completely unacceptable!  In Galatians 6:2 Paul writes, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  We aren’t called to be islands, handling all of our struggles by ourselves.  The benefit of Christian community is that we have each other to lean on as we strive to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Let’s be honest with each other and ourselves, so that we can live out our faith authentically in a world that truly needs to experience it.  And by all means friends, hold me accountable, speaking the truth in love!

Happy Sunday!

Brooke

Getting Started (and Getting Burned) with Essential Oils

I’ve recently purchased a set of essential oils from a well-known oils company, and I’m really enjoying learning about them and experimenting with different blends.  As a former “oil skeptic” I finally decided to take the plunge after having a “duh” moment and struggling with some minor health issues.  It occurred to me that if oils could be harmful and dangerous as many of them are, why can’t they be just as helpful and useful?  Out with the skepticism and negativity!  After dealing with a reoccurring ear infection of my own for four months and my son’s allergies starting up, I hoped to find some natural remedies to use along with the medicines our doctors had recommended.

The day my oils came in the mail I was so excited, but I was also dealing with a terrible headache that I just happen to get once a month.  It’s precious, really.  It’s basically a nauseating pain that pretty much debilitates me while it lasts.  I used my normal OTC medicine that occasionally helps dull the pain, but I decided to try my oils too.  I had read/heard that peppermint oil could be helpful in treating headaches, so I rubbed a drop straight onto my forehead where it hurt the worst.  Y’all, I’m not kidding, my headache pretty much went away and was replaced by a pleasant cooling sensation.  Even the nausea was gone!  I was able to cook a whole meal for my family, no problems!  About an hour later I felt it coming back and immediately reapplied the oil and all was well.  Please read the rest of this post before you start dousing yourself in peppermint oil!

So, a few days later I got another headache, of course.  And this one was BAD!  Worse than the one a few days before.  So, I thought, let me try two drops of oil instead of one.  Just a few minutes after applying the oil, that wonderful cooling sensation from my first experience became a somewhat painful burning feeling.  I had to go wash the oil off my face right away, and it took some time before it stopped burning.  Later, I learned that oil and water don’t mix, and I should’ve removed the oil with a carrier oil.  Whoops!  What a lesson I learned in researching your oils before using them!  I’m so thankful that it was me and not my little one that experienced a negative side effect.  After this experience, I started researching topical application of oils and learned that most oils need to be diluted before application.  There are several dilution charts available that give great recommendations on measurements for dilution, and I created one for myself that you can access below.

Essential Oils Dilution Cheat Chart

My advice is to research your oils before using and use a very high dilution ratio when applying for the first time on yourself, and especially on your children.  For a quick headache fix, I would dilute 1 drop of peppermint oil in 1 tsp. of fractionated coconut oil before applying.  For convenience, I created a roller-ball recipe based off several recipes I’ve researched, and have had great results  without the burning!  This goes with me everywhere!  See below for directions:

Headache Relief in a Roller:

25 drops of peppermint essential oil

10 drops of frankincense essential oil

10 drops of lavender essential oil

Combine these oils in a 10 mL glass roller and fill the remainder of the bottle with Fractionated Coconut Oil.  Apply to head, temples, and back of neck as needed for headache relief.

This particular recipe is using an almost 25% dilution, which is a very high dilution.  I would only use this blend for acute headaches that occur infrequently.  You would want to reduce the amount of peppermint oil if you have particularly sensitive skin or if you are using this oil on children under 12.  Peppermint oil is not generally recommended for use on children under age 6.  As a rule of thumb, the younger the child, the more you need to dilute the essential oils.  Use a dilution chart to help you formulate the correct dilutions.

Before using any recipes with oils please read my words of caution on my Essential Oils page and read my Dilution of Essentials Oils page.  Your safety is top priority!  I would love to hear how you use oils to treat headaches, and if you try out this recipe let me know how it worked for you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Brooke

A Well-Oiled Life

Hello and welcome to Well Oiled Reflections!  Thank you for visiting.  My name is Brooke.  I am a 30 year old mommy of one sweet little (four-year-old) boy, and I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for nine years.  In addition to being a mommy, I also teach high school Spanish and help teach my adult Sunday school class at our church.  Our family is super busy, much like yours I’m sure!  I am constantly searching for ways to enhance our daily lives so that we can spend more time enjoying each other and this wonderful life we have been blessed with.  Philemon 6 says, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  My goal with this blog is to share anything useful that I come across and try out so that you can learn from my experiences.  I truly believe that life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself, so why not learn from each other?  Topics will include meditations on scripture and Biblical studies, recipes, housekeeping tips (if you could see my living room as I’m writing this you would snicker), essential oils information (I’m new at this!), parenting adventures (no way will I tell you how to raise your children!), teaching strategies, and anything else I can’t help but share.  With so much negativity in the world, I pray that you find these posts uplifting and take away something useful that makes your day a little better!   Thank you for visiting the blog.  Stay tuned for new posts and please join in sharing your own experiences!

Much love,

Brooke