Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dehydrated Apple Snacks

Dehydrated Apple Snacks

This is a recipe for pure deliciousness.  These taste like candy!  These dehydrated apples have a bit of an orangy flavor with a hint of clove and cinnamon.

about 1 cup lemon juice
about a quart of water
about 10 drops of doTERRA On Guard Essential Oil Blend
about 3-4 pounds of apples (use at least partially tart, definitely firm type.  Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, etc.)

dehydrator (I use an Excalibur, but any one will work, even a solar one)
mandala or other slicer to get even, fairly thin slices
glass 9"x13" cake pan (not metal, it reacts with lemon)

1)  Wash apples very well to remove any wax or chemical residue (organic is best, but if not, wash well).  To do this, you can fill a pan with water and add several drops of doTERRA Lemon Essential Oil, or you can use Wild Orange Oil or Grapefruit Oil.  The essential oil helps to break down any waxes, oils, or pesticides.  Rub apples well with your hands or a very clean rag while in the oiled water. Rinse apples well under running water, just to make sure all of the residue is gone.

2)  In the glass cake pan, combine the lemon juice, water and On Guard. There should be enough liquid to fill the pan 1/2-3/4 of the way (enough to cover the apples.  You can re-use the liquid for more than one batch, but add more On Guard for each batch, since it sticks to the apples).  I give approximate measurements because basically what you want is something like unsweetened lemonade. The acid in the lemon juice helps to keep the apples from turning brown.  If you don't have lemon juice, you can use citric acid or ascorbic acid.  I prefer lemon juice though.

3)  Slice the apples into approximately 1/16" thick pieces.  You don't need to peel them.  I sliced mine on a mandala and just pulled out the seeds for a pretty star shape in the center, and the parts without pretty stars, I just cut in half trimmed out the core bits.  Doing it this way created a lot less waste than cutting wedges and coring the apple.  However, you can also just slice wedges, but try to keep them even in their thickness so that they dehydrate evenly.   As you get them sliced, drop them into the lemon/oil/water mixture.

4)  Lay out slices on your dehydrator trays without overlapping them.  Do not rinse them, just take them out of the liquid and place on the trays.

5)  Dehydrate at 95-100 degrees for 6-8 hours.  Slices won't get crispy (I tried), but will be slightly flexible.

6)  Eat.  Enjoy.

NOTE:  I developed this recipe and made these dehydrated apple slices and they are amazing!  When I tasted one of the slices after I had dipped it, I was afraid I had added too much On Guard because it was a bit bitter and strong.  Instead of wasting the slices, I put them in the dehydrator anyway, and they taste amazing.  Addictive even!  I'm looking forward to tucking them into care packages or munching on them through the winter.  I'm not sure if the 100 degree temperature is too hot to maintain the health properties of the oil or not, but the taste is amazing anyway!

On Guard is 10% off for the month of November 2012!  You can order yours at www.mydoterra.com/livingmindfully

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Year Healthier

Deb and I just celebrated ONE YEAR as Independent Product Consultants with doTERRA!!!  We get amazing benefits as IPCs, also known as being a Wholesale Member.  I’d like to share some of these benefits with you, and give you an idea of why we are so enamored with these oils and this company.

The first and foremost benefit we get from our membership with doTERRA is that we have access to some of the best essential oils we have ever experienced.  doTERRA checks every bottle of oil with a mass spectrometer.  You may have seen this process on CSI or Bones, or another super high-tech forensics show.  In case you haven’t, the mass spectrometer is a thingy that checks the chemical composition of whatever is being tested.  doTERRA has rigorous standards of specific chemical compounds before they will put their label on it.  When someone asks me if they are organic, I happily tell them that it is BETTER THAN ORGANIC because this process of approving only the best oils assure that there are no contaminates such as GMOs, pesticides, herbicides or weeds.  Plant sources for doTERRA oils only come from the finest plants grown in the most ideal conditions for that particular type of plants.  doTERRA only distills the most potent plant parts in order to ensure that only the purest, strongest essential oils become doTERRA Oils.  Only the very best make it through their process to make sure each bottle of oil is CERTIFIED PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE (CPTG).

Through these amazing oils as well as doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack (a daily regimen of vitamin, mineral & herbal supplements along with essential oil capsules that also include omega 3’s and antioxidant oils), our lives have radically improved.  Aimee has been able to better manage the Epstein-Barr virus that she carries, has been able to better manage mood fluctuations and menopause symptoms (including hot flashes).  Despite working with kids, she has not gotten half of the infections and crud that her coworkers and kids at work contract and spread to each other and back to themselves.  Deb has been able to work with her doctors to greatly reduce her prescription drugs and over the counter supplements.  Her pain levels are reduced, her moods are better, she is getting fewer migraines and illnesses even though she has an incurable immune disorder (common variable immune deficiency) and she cannot take the only treatment available through conventional medical means.  Her doctors are amazed and excited to see how well she is doing.  (Before using doTERRA, she was visiting the ER an average of once every 5-6 weeks needing treatment for chest pain, migraines, upper respiratory infections, etc.  We have gone once in the past year). Deb now has a vitality that she hasn’t had in years.  Woohoo!

Although there is absolutely no minimum monthly order (unlike most multi-level marketing programs), we get another series of benefits since we do place an automatic monthly LOYALTY REWARDS ORDER, which we can change at any time just by jumping online.  With each order that we place, we get a certain percentage of “Loyalty Rewards Points”.  These points can add up.  After being consistent with ordering for at least 3 months in a row, we can start using those points to get FREE PRODUCT (we pay $3.00 for $100pv worth of product per 100 points.  It may seem to take a while to accumulate points at first, but as the months go by, the percentage you get in points increases.  Next month, we will be up to the maximum of 30% free pv (personal volume) for every Loyalty Rewards Order (LRP) that we place.  If we place an LRP worth 125 pv before the 15th of the month, we get a free product-automatically!  This month, we got a 5ml bottle of On Guard, a product that we use every single day and order every month anyway.  In the past, we have gotten lemon, oregano, peppermint, Breathe blend, Balance blend, white fir, and other amazing gifts.  Every once in a while, they add other offers as well.  By increasing our December order, we even got a free bottle of Frankincense oil.  (We actually didn’t order more than we expected to for that one, because, being December, we were buying lots of great CPTG oils as gifts for our friends and family.)  We have also gotten fantastic sets of essential oils for cooking.  (see some of our recipes in an earlier blog post or check out these recipes highlighting doTERRA's summer sensations oils.)  

As WHOLESALE MEMBERS (IPC), we get 25% off the retail price of all doTERRA products.    That means that with a typical Loyalty Rewards Order for us, we save about $50 per month.  That’s not bad for paying an initial $35 sign up fee, which includes the $25 annual fee plus $10 for a start up kit.  With our $25 renewal fee, we also got a free bottle of peppermint!  So our membership has already pretty much paid for itself!  (See my earlier blog post about peppermint to learn why this is well worth the price!)  As IPCs, if someone wants to take advantage of these amazing products and signs up under us, we get a percentage of whatever they spend, as long as we maintain our Loyalty Rewards Orders at a minimum of $50 (which are keeping us healthier, happier and even flavors some of our food, so of course we maintain our LRP orders).  With all the products that we use and love from doTERRA, we easily spend at least that much. And, this month (August 2012), for the first time, we are getting a $50 bonus check because 3 people that signed up through us as IPCs placed qualifying LRP orders.  Adding theirs to ours gave us the 600pv our team needed for doTERRA to cut Deb, whose name the account is under, a check.  If we had been pressing it, we probably could have earned this earlier, but we just let the amazing products and company standards sell themselves for the most part. 

I must add here, that even with adding a Lifelong Vitality Pack each month for each of us, along with the oils that We are using to keep Deb healthy despite having a compromised immune system, we are still paying less than we were for all of her prescribed drugs and Dr ordered supplements.  (Do not alter your medications without consulting your doctor and going very slow with this process.  You may not be able to get the same results that Deb has.  She has some great doctors who are open minded about complementary modalities and who open more as they see her improve.)  She feels so much better than she did when dealing with all the negative side affects of multiple medications, and the expense of the supplements she was having to take-Ugh!  

We use doTERRA oils for so much more than massage or air freshener.  We use them as mood stabilizers, pain relief, cleaners, antibiotics, perfumes, cooking and diffusing into the air to clean and refresh the house.  Even the animals use them.  For example, Sky, one of our dogs, had a badly damaged nail, and we treated it with On Guard.  She didn’t get an infection or anything, even though she runs outside in dirt and who knows what germ-ridden stuff, every day.  You can read an earlier post about relieving Sky’s trauma with Balance Oil after we rescued her from being tied up outside in the cold and rain without food or water.  Like me, Balance is her favorite.

doTERRA is committed to using not just the best oils, they are also a company that supports its members with webinars, seminars, essential oil news, conventions and up to date information on the most recent and exciting scientific studies being conducted on essential oils.  They are committed to not just relying on ancient wisdom or anecdotal evidence, they also look for scientific studies to support their work and our education.  I never knew essential oils were so powerful until I started reading their educational materials.

We would love to help you get discounts and earn free products from an amazing company.  We have tried a lot of different essential oil brands, from very expensive, rare ones, to inexpensive off the shelf at the health food store.  By far, doTERRA is the best oil for the best value that we have found.  The superior quality makes us confident to use them in and on our bodies.  Their soaps, body wash, diffusers and educational tools are all exceptional.

There are a lot of links included in the text of this blog entry.  click on any of them to get more information on the subject highlighted.  Most of the links connect to our business website, www.mydoterra.com/livingmindfully


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Finding Cool Relief with Peppermint Oil

Candy canes.  Toothpaste.  Tea.  Patty.  These are a few of the things I used to think of when I heard the word "peppermint".  Since being introduced to doTERRA essential oils a year ago, I now think of words like:  cooling, pain relief, alertness, chocolate bark, headache and moles. (Moles?  Keep reading).
This summer in particular, we have been using peppermint oil every day. 
When I get too heated while working in the yard on these hot, dry days of 2012, and when I get hot flashes, or when the air conditioning at work isn't quite low enough, I take a cool damp rag or bandana, sprinkle a few drops of doTERRA's CPTG peppermint oil on it and drape the cloth over the back of my neck.  It feels like my own personal cooling system.  (Who'da thought a minty spicy oil would have a cooling effect?)  I am sitting on our deck right now, watching the dogs play in the 79 degree weather at 9:30am, with a damp, pepperminted purple bandana on my neck to cool off as I write this.
If I don't have Deep Blue or Past Tense oil blends with me, I pull out my peppermint to ease aching muscles or headaches.  Since being introduced to doTERRA oils, in the past year, I have only taken a dose anti inflammatory medicine twice.  I used to take them daily, often every 4 hours for chronic pain.  The only times I have taken them since joining doTERRA was this spring, during the first really heavy lifting and grunt work of the yard and garden. 
I must confess that sometimes, if I am getting ready to meet someone after work and I haven't gotten a chance to brush my teeth, or if my mouth tastes off from being too dry when I forget to stay hydrated, I'll put a drop of doTERRA peppermint oil right in my mouth, either on my tongue or under it.  I get an instant, powerful, WHOOSH feeling in my mouth and up through my sinuses.  I love to take a couple of open mouthed breaths to feel the coolness, run my (now minty) tongue around my gums or swish a swig of water around my mouth to spread the sensation throughout my palette.  Yum.
I work midnights, and some nights, no amount of daytime sleep or strong black coffee can clear my head.  At those times, I am so grateful to uncap my doTERRA Peppermint Oil and breathe deep.  It makes me more alert and energized than any amount of caffeine can do. The aroma goes up my nose, through my sinuses and straight into the limbic part of my brain, the seat of emotions.  The peppermint aroma in my brain makes me more alert, uplifts my mood, and sometimes, even transports me back in time to my kindergarden year while making peppermint cookies with my mom (I took them to school to share).
I read in a couple of different organic gardening articles, that moles don't like peppermint oil.  So, I took another reputable brand of peppermint oil outside with me one day, determined to put a couple drops in every mole hole that my dogs had dug up, before refilling them with dirt.  And, as I worked in the 90+ degree heat, even though I was drinking water, my mouth still had that stale taste you get from being dry.  So, I put a drop of that other reputable brand peppermint oil on my tongue, and I gagged and rushed into the house to brush my teeth with doTERRA's On Guard Toothpaste because the taste of that other oil was so horrible!   It had a rank, sour taste with barely a hint of mint flavor.  We had used this brand for years, but never cooked with it or took it internally.  DoTERRA oils were the first essential oils we had ever thought to take orally, they were the first essential oils we ever felt confident enough in to know they were safe and pure.  We had used that other peppermint oil for things like massage (never again because whatever goes on your skin goes into your bloodstream, and I no longer trust that brand), taking the stink out of latex paint when redecorating the house, and things like that.  Since I have been using doTERRA oils for a year now, inside and out, I guess I had a momentary lapse and figured this other oil would bring me at least a measure of relief from my skunky breath.  Although this other company advertises. "Purity tested/quality assured", their quality and purity are nothing like doTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils.
I should have had my first clue the very first time I received an Aroma Touch session.  As soon as the peppermint and Wild Orange oils were applied to the bottoms of my feet, I tasted the flavors of both in my mouth and felt the refreshing coolness of the peppermint, as if I had brushed my teeth through my feet.  In all my years with using that other oil for massage and to cool my feet, I have never experienced that cooling sensation/taste when it touched my skin.  The fact that I taste the wonderful minty fruitiness of the oils on my feet are great evidence to me of how putting something on your skin goes directly into the blood and other permeable tissues throughout the body.  The skin is, after all, the largest organ of the body.
I should have had my second clue when the website of the other "pure peppermint oil" said that you can use it for aromatherapy in diffusers but to carefully mix with a carrier oil for any other use.  DoTERRA's CPTG Peppermint Oil can be diluted with Fractionated Coconut Oil, or another carrier oil for sensitive skin, or for children, or just to make it go further when used topically.  And, it can also be ingested as is, right from the bottle!  I have sensitive skin, yet I  use doTERRA Peppermint oil (and any other dTERRA oil or oil blend) directly on my skin without being diluted by a carrier oil, and I have never had an itch, rash, or any negative reaction.  (That is not to say you won't.  Everyone is different and allergies or other sensitivities may come in to play for you.  Click here for some basics on using essential oils safely.)  
Even though that other brand of peppermint oil is less expensive, it is pretty much useless to us now.  Deb and I now understand the wider range of amazing benefits we can get from Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Essential Oil, and now that we have experienced the difference, pretty much the only thing we will use that other peppermint oil for is to scare the moles.  I hope it doesn't make them sick if they accidentally ingest it.  I doubt if I could get them to brush their tiny teeth (do moles have teeth?) with doTERRA On Guard Whitening Toothpaste to get the taste out of their mouths either.
Some uses for doTERRA Peppermint Essential oil:
Use in cooking (see our recipes for peppermint bark, and peppermint "tea" that we posted this past winter)
Reduce Nausea
Relieve Diarrhea
Ease Sciatica/nerve pain
Minty fresh breath (I said that already, but I can't help it.  I love the phrase)
Increase alertness
And more
*these statements have not been approved by the FDA and are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any of the above issues or illnesses (although there has been some research that supports many of these uses)

Friday, June 29, 2012

MindFull of the Forest AND the Trees

"Mindfulness takes many forms and always leads toward more skillful action."  This one sentence from the second of a two volume set of books entitled Edible Forest Gardens, took my breath away, and also sums up my gardening actions and thoughts since reading these two texts by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier.
We have just crossed the sun's path at the solstice in this year of 2012, and I am still planting my gardens for the summer.  As I weed and sow, I find myself being more mindful in the way I sow and with the plants that I cull as "weeds".  The emphasis of these volumes is on promoting healthy polycultures in which more than one species is planted together, hopefully complementing or even helping one another.  Although they are focused on perennials and woodland plants, Edible Forest Gardens has inspired me to plant as much diversity as possible within each of my annual vegetable beds in order to better cultivate "plant communities" in each area.  For example, in one bed where I have grown tomatoes for too many years in a row, I planted corn, peas and lettuce.  The peas will help to feed depleted nitrogen back into the soil when I leave them to decompose after they are spent.  The corn will not only provide us with juicy ears to eat fresh or cut off the cob and frozen, their height will help to shade the lettuce which is sensitive to excessive light and heat.  The spent corn stalks will either get composted for next year's vegetable garden, or cut up into mulch for the forest.
Dave and Eric (I have fondly come to feel that I am on a first name basis with them through their writing!) pack these pages full of valuable information as basic as how to properly plant a tree and why.  They also tell you amazing facts like that there are up to 14 different species per square yard in old growth forests.  I guess sometimes it is hard to see the forest for (or among) the trees!  There is so much information, I had to keep stopping to assimilate it all, and it was such a good read, I couldn't wait to get back to it.
Even though this set is crammed with information, Dave and Eric seed in stories of mishaps and successes, photos, diagrams, philosophy, ethics, and ecology among the tightly grown canopy of facts.  Books like this, full of research figures and technical detailed “how to” instructions can often be so boring that readers just want to jump to the parts that they deem relevant to their very narrow immediate needs.  Honestly, I did do that.  I didn't skip around out of boredom though, I did it out of enthusiasm.  Although both volumes can be read individually, each makes reference to the other in a way that connects them, like roots of different trees that grow together and graft naturally underground, sustaining one another with an ongoing dialogue (you can read about that phenomenon in volume 1).  As I came across each cross reference, I was like a dog with a bone and grabbed for it, sometimes finding myself reading a few chapters before, at last, returning to the other.  This is not a criticism of the way the volumes are constructed, rather it is a compliment to the seamless way one can swing from one branch of the tree book to another without losing any of the depth or intricacy.  The only problem with this compelling urge to follow these cross references is that I wanted to carry both hefty volumes at the same time, which made my burden heavy, but also worked as training for the carrying and other work I am doing as I ready our own edible forest.
Their idealized vision of living in a culture where edible forest gardens are the norm and where is bounty enough for all, resonates with my own belief that we are all connected and that each of us can do good in the world, if even on a small scale. 
Their Edenesque vision also reminded me of the idea posited by John Hick, in which the garden of Eden is in a future to look forward to, to strive toward creating, rather than as a lost Utopia.  Also, Dave and Eric’s level headed approach to native species vs non-native vs invasive, reminds me of the conversation I once had with an autumn olive, an invasive species of bush with yummy berries that can be found all over Michigan.
Eric and Dave provide facts for all kinds of things having to do with edible forest gardens, including site preparation, root system structures, the role of fungi, the importance of bugs, and what can grow under a black walnut tree.  Yet, they make no claims at all that this is everything there is to know about forests or gardens or dirt or mushrooms or…  In fact, right from the get go, they acknowledge that there is not enough research or resources to instantly know how to build the perfect forest garden.  Even if such a formula was possible with variations in soil, nutrients, microclimates and existing flora,  I would guess that if anyone claimed to know such a formula, that the adventure and natural magic of growing and discovering how to create such a masterpiece would disappear for them.  Much of the allure is, yes, in becoming more food independent and locally focused, but the allure is also in the mystery of not knowing exactly what comes next, or how the garden will grow.
They talk a lot about observation.  Observing your own forest garden, old growth forests, and groupings of plants, to see what works and what doesn’t.  Observing which plants attract the beneficial insects and animal partners you want, which plants like one another, and which ones appear at war.  With this observation, naturally, comes questioning.  Toward the end of the second volume, they extend this to mean even more than questioning the roles of the ecological niches within our forest garden, but an even deeper mystery-that of our own inner landscape.  “What does what you observe in the forest garden tell you about yourself?”

I have left some “weeds” in my raised beds,
like violets and catnip to confuse pests
and attract beneficial insects.

I took all of the pine mulch out of my blueberry beds,
added worm poop, 
and planted tomatoes and peppers with the blueberries.

                 I now know that dandelions and other deep-rooted "weeds" 
                  are "dynamic accumulators"
                      which will add lots of extra nutrients to my compost.

    I let last year’s carrots to flower and go to seed for the insects to enjoy.

Thanks to my sister Mig's generosity, we have gotten and begun to spread our first ten yards of mulch to begin our own forest garden!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mindfull of Sky

About two weeks ago, a dog showed up in the neighbor's backyard.  She was tethered to the picnic table without food or water.  It was cold and rainy and she just looked our way lethargically when Deb or I, or even our dogs tried to get her attention.  She had very fine, white fur with dark spots, although her white fur looked grey with dirt and mud.
Deb went over and talked to the neighbor who said that he was just watching her for a friend.  Deb said that we were going to take the dog to our house if she was not better cared for by the next day.
The next day rolled around, and the night before had been less than 40 degrees and rainy.  The dog was still outside, shaking and curled up as tight as she could get under the picnic table in the one very small almost dry spot.  She had a nearly untouched bowl of food by her side, and another bowl that had been overturned, likely by the tether that was attached to her collar.
Together, we again knocked on the neighbor's door.  When he opened the door, we had our leash in hand and said we were taking the dog to our house, and that his friend can knock on our door when they want her back.  They had lost their house and had no where to keep her until they got a new house.
He said okay, he would call his friend.  He was very polite and completely understanding our position.
We walked around the side of the house to get her.  We tried to coax her as she shivered and looked expressionlessly at us from under the picnic table, but she didn't budge.  I reached my hand under the bench, mindfull that her fear, hunger, thirst and cold may make her a danger just out of panic or desperation.  I gently moved my hand toward her nose so she could smell me, which she did, but halfheartedly, then turned her head away.  Her eyes and snout were a bright pink, showing clearly through her sparse hair.  I took the leash in my hand and attached it to her collar.  She lifted her head brightly for the first time.  She was fully aware that something was about to change.
I unhooked her tether, so only the leash was attached, and with a very gentle tug she came out from under the picnic table.  She lifted her eyes first to one, then to the other of us and fell into step beside us.  Two steps along, and her skinny tail lifted straight toward the cloudy sky.  (We found out later that that is her name, Sky.)
We walked the short distance to our front door, but when we tried to coax her to go through it, she put on the breaks the way only a stocky, muscular, solid dog can do.  Because we didn't yet know how she would react, we decided that I would take her around the side of the house, through the gate into the backyard, where she would meet our dogs on open turf.
About 15 steps into the yard, she plastered herself to my leg and slowed.  Her tail drooped.  Her head drooped.  She began to breathe just off enough to let me know that she was very anxious about being on this side of the fence, where she knew that other dogs live.  I stopped.  She stopped.  I pulled out my belt pouch that I always carry with me, containing eight different small vials of essential oils inside.  I pulled out my favorite one, Balance, and put a drop on each of my index fingers and brought my thumbs to meet my fingers so I'd have Balance on both front and back as I gently massaged the tip of each ear (where I now saw that she had sores from scratching her ears with uncut toenails).  Within about 1 1/2 seconds, she snuffled and humffed as she let out the breath she had been holding.  She took a deep breath and her muscles relaxed.  She sniffed, then gave a quick lick to the fingers that had just given her courage and security and Balance.  Her tail lifted, she met my eyes, and we moved on as the other dogs excitedly tumbled out of the house on to the deck to finally meet up close the sad little dog from next door.
The dog, whose name we still did not know, quietly endured the obligatory sniffing of behinds and circling round by the others.  instead of reciprocating, she plastered her body against my leg, looking up for reassurance.  Even after I removed the leash, she chose to walk with one of the humans instead of running with the pack.
She was hesitant to get on the couch with us, even when invited, and she definitely would not jump on the bed. although once she did get on the couch, she nestled between us, obviously used to being loved by humans.
I brought her into the shower with me to wash off the cold and layers of mud.  She escaped and I ended up soaping her up outside the shower, then bringing her back in wile she sat there looking betrayed as I gently hosed her off, cooing loving words and gentle rubs as I rinsed.  (Deb has since also showered her without any great escape and much less mess on the bathroom tile to mop up.). Then, when she came out of the bathroom, she did what wet dogs do, she shook as much water as she could all over the house and smiled a toothy smile.
That was on a Monday.  On Friday, while I was sleeping off my midnight shift, her family came to pick her up.  The kids were overjoyed to see her and she gave them sloppy kisses, but she had grown comfortable with us.  Deb said that she acted reluctant to go, but did go.  The family had found a house and were in a rent to own situation, so they could have their Sky back.
On Monday, there was a knock on the door, and this big guy in a red shirt was standing there when I answered.  Deb recognized him as the father of Sky, and her beautiful human boys.  He had tears in his eyes as he said that the current house owner knocked on their door that morning and told them that because of her breed, if Sky lived there, they could not stay. He cried as he talked about how hard it was to leave her the first time and he had had her since she was tiny and his kids love her and he wants her to be where she will be loved and cared for and he remembered how happy she was with us.
So, now we are the loving mamas of Sky.  And our friend, Lydia fell in love with her too, but can't have a dog in her apartment and with her very long work hours.  It would be unfair to have a dog cooped up all day while she is working to save lives in the ER.  So, we are all co-parenting her together, and her boys know that they can come and see her anytime.
It takes a village to raise a child.  Apparently, it takes a village to love a dog as well.  And loved well, she is.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March is Wash Your Hands Month! (okay, not really, but it can be)

The On Guard blend of CPTG essential oils has been found to kill and prevent the spread of some very hard to kill bacteria.  Their hand wash uses this blend, along with other ingredients to provide a safe and effective alternative to harsh hand washes full of chemicals that may not be so good for you.
DoTERRA offers great products utilizing their Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils.  They are committed to providing products that are healthy alternatives to what is commonly found on superstore shelves.
I recently heard a story on NPR's Living On Earth, briefly highlighting some studies on chemicals commonly found in products that we use every day.  This story was disturbing on so many levels.  May of the chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis have not been widely tested for safety, yet they are in constant contact with the skin of many of us.  The skin is the largest organ of the body, and substances that come into contact with the skin can enter the bloodstream within seconds.  Take a moment to watch the video in our sidebar that demonstrates how quickly Balance Essential Oil Blend enters the bloodstream and helps to normalize the cells when applied to the skin on the bottom of someone’s feet.  If a drop of Balance can have a positive effect so fast, imagine the damage that may be done when you unwittingly slather toxins all over your skin in the form of lotions, cleansers, shampoos, make-up and laundry detergents.
On Guard Foaming Hand Wash with two dispensers normally retails for $30.00.  This month, March 2012, it retails for $27.00.  If you are a Preferred Customer, this month it is $21.60.  And for Independent Product Consultants, it is $20.25.  These prices include one bottle of Hand Wash, and two foaming dispensers so that you can enjoy this experience at more than one sink in your house.  (By the way, one of our friends just told us that it smells good and lasts a long time.)  We have already placed our order.  Have you placed yours?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We Fought the Cold and the Oils Won**

Living in a cold climate, such as we do in Michigan, can sometimes leave us a bit slower than usual and a lot sicker than usual.  Even though spring is right around the corner,  as I sit here watching the first of a big snow roll in, I thought I could offer some ideas to boost your health and your mood in this time before we turn our thoughts to seed sewing and barbecues.  With cold and flu season in full force right now and on through spring, maybe this post is not quite as late as I feared.
To help prevent catching these nasty bugs, and to help keep from sharing them with those in your life, I can’t stress enough the importance of washing your hands.  Of course, our moms told us to wash our hands as kids, and our doctors tell us that, and even public restrooms post signs reminding employees to wash their hands, and how to wash their hands.  I won’t detail the how to.  I trust that you already know how.  If, in the case of no running water around, you could resort to the harsh alcohol based hand sanitizers that are being hyped everywhere, or you can kill germs and smell good by using On Guard essential oil blend.  Deb and I each always carry small bottles of On Guard with us, and we use it every day.  When I can’t get to a sink, I put a drop in my hand, and rub.  doTERRA also makes a whole line of products using On Guard, from Foaming Hand Wash to wipes and toothpaste.  On Guard smells great (think orange and clove) and contains oils that can kill bacteria, mold and viruses.  We diffuse it in our house using our beautiful Lotus Diffuser pretty much daily.  We make sure to diffuse more often if one or both of us is starting to feel a bug coming on, or if we have friends coming over who may be sharing latent germs with us.  With Deb’s immune system compromised, we always want our home to feel welcoming, yet she needs some extra support to stay healthy.  Using On Guard or Breathe oil blends in the diffuser lets us open our home with confidence and love.
We have invested in some empty roller bottles (kind of like mini deodorant roll-on bottles).  We each keep a roller bottle of On Guard nearby as we are getting dressed for the day, and again, right before we crawl in for a winter’s nap.  We roll the On Guard on the bottoms of our feet to help our bodies fight off anything we are exposed to.  The feet have large pores, which draw in the oils and send them into the bloodstream very quickly and efficiently.  Also, the feet have reflexology points that correspond to all of the vital organs and systems of the body.  As those areas are stimulated, especially with the added love of the oils, each system is stimulated to help it function properly and stay healthy.  (Other oils also can be used this way as well.)  The ears and hands have reflexology points for each part of the body, too.  Remember the trick of using On Guard when you don’t have water around?  You can also use that moment to stimulate the reflexology points in your hands.
I work with teenagers, so of course, I am exposed to colds, flu, MRSA, ringworm, and any other kind of ick that you can think of.  These oils help to keep me healthy, but inevitably, no matter how diligent I am, at some point, something is bound to catch up with me, and through me, to Deb.  
In our time since committing to using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade doTERRA oils whenever possible instead of prescription or over the counter medications, we have stayed healthier and have recovered quicker than ever before.  We definitely do still see our doctors and nurse practitioners (and veterinarians, for our pets), but we try to rely on natural remedies first.  (Since doTERRA came into our lives, I have not had to take NSAIDS for pain, and Deb has been antibiotic and emergency room free for the longest time in about ten years!  Even our doctors and veterinarians have perked up their ears and want to know more about our success with the oils.)
I have had three instances this season where I began to get really bad ear aches.  Each time, I thought I would have to go on antibiotics for an ear infection, but committed to try the the oils first.  Basil oil is most recommended for ear aches and ear infections, but we haven’t yet fully stocked up on every oil, so I used the next in line of recommendations.  I took a bit of doTERRA’s melaleuca alternifolia oil on my fingertips and massaged my entire ear with it.  (just a drop or two is all it takes).  I worked all around the rim and lobes of my ears, and also massaged the interior part of my outer ear.  I did not put the oil in my ear canal.   There are cautions against that.  (Besides, I am very careful of my ears since my brother punctured his eardrum when we were little.)  The pressure in my ears was bad enough to make my jaw, neck and head hurt, so I put a bit more on my fingertips and massaged behind my ears and down the side of my neck, following the path of my eustachian tubes, where I could feel the congestion, inflammation, and pressure.  I also tugged lightly on my ear lobes, helping the oils to work better into the tubes.  I did this 2-3 times in a day, and each time I had the problem, my ears were fine by the next day, usually much quicker.  (I also put a drop of On Guard in my mouth 3-4 times per day when I felt the infection begin.)  Phew!  Doctor visit, antibiotics and pain averted!
Deb and I did both end up with the creepy crud cold going around.  Sneezing, coughing, headaches, just general miserable feeling.  Because of Deb’s lack of a working immune system, it took her a few weeks to totally get over it.  Keep in mind, that a year ago, this would have meant a trip tot he doctor’s office and anti-viral drugs, along with an antibiotic to prevent the viral infection from turning into a bacterial one as the cooties collected in her mucus membranes to percolate.  (And, of course, there would have been side effects from the antibiotics to boot.)  
The cold hit fast and hard.  I was supposed to sing in church in a few days, and I was so congested and snotty and miserable that the minister was already trying to decide how to replace me in the service.  I assured her that I’d be able to sing, but I may sound a bit nasally and scratchy, but I should have most of the sneezing, coughing and groaning in misery over by Sunday’s service.  That conversation was on Monday.  I used ⅔ of a large box of tissue on Monday alone!  Tuesday was our official planning session meeting, and she was very surprised when I walked in with Monday's red nose, but only an occasional sniffle and a voice a bit gruffer than usual.  I assured her that at that rate, I would be fine and ready to sing on Sunday.  (I was ready, and it went great, even with two accapella solos.  Not scratchy, not nasally, and I could hear my pitch perfectly, which I couldn’t if I was full of mucus.)
Here is what we did to get well:
*We diffused doTERRA’s On Guard and Breathe essential oil blends, alternating them each time the diffuser ran out of water.
*We used Zicam, an over the counter natural cold remedy consisting mainly of zinc.
*We used On Guard on the bottoms of our feet and put it in our water-plenty of water.
*We used doTERRA’s Breathe essential oil blend to keep our lungs open, with just a bit under the nose.
*We got plenty of rest.  (I even called in to work one night because, working midnights, a good, restful healing sleep is hard to come by.)
*We watched funny movies (laughter stimulates the immune system).
*We gargled with 2 tablespoons warm water mixed with 3 drops lemon oil and 2 drops of Frankincense.  We gargled with this solution for 45-60 seconds then held it in the mouth for another 15-30 seconds, then swallowed the whole thing.  The taste wasn’t bad at all.  (The first time, I meant to use lemon and On Guard, but grabbed the Frankincense on accident.  When I gargled with it, My sore throat was IMMEDIATELY relieved.  Deb’s result was a bit slower, but again, she does not have a functioning immune system and she did get better!
*We bought Puffs with lotion, since the regular tissues just weren’t protecting our worn-out noses.  I usually don;t care what tissues I use, but I have to say that I felt so much better honking into those.
*We ate soup and spicy food.  Soup just makes you feel better, and hot spices are a traditional folk remedy for colds and flu.  Spicy food also tastes good, although our taste buds were barely working.
*We drank tea, and limited our dairy because dairy can cause mucus buildup.
*We tried to be patient and compassionate with one another.
*When at work, I sprayed my work area down with a solution made up of 4oz water, a drop or two of On Guard, and a few drops of lemon.  This not only sanitizes the area and smells good, but it likely helped prevent my cooties from being passed on to my coworkers.  with the same solution, I also sprayed down my steering wheel, blinker switch,, door handles, radio dials, etcetera.  After all, I kept sneezing while driving and closed up in that small space.
That is how we are dealing with this winter's round of sickness.  You may try one or all of them.  You may have some tips that I didn't mention.  We would love to hear from you and how you are maneuvering this cold and flu season.