The House That’s Building Us

There is a place in our house where the energy feels different to me. I noticed it when we first moved in 4 years ago. Our house was built in the 1950s and we are only the third family to ever live here. Shortly after we bought the house and moved in, the seller we had just purchased from wrote me a letter. It was handwritten, and very descriptive. It told the story of our house, about when it was built and the land it was chosen to be built on. It told the story of the man who built it and the family that he raised here. It told the story of how she herself had been invited to this house when the first family lived here, and when she walked through the front door she fell in love with the way she felt, and she dreamed of living here someday. She went on to tell the story of how the family’s breeze carried them in a different direction and the house went for sale, and she made it her mission to make it her own. She told me about small quirks to be on the lookout for, like how to twist the opening to the air filter cover just right in order to get it to stay closed. It was a very thoughtful letter, and it left me feeling lucky to be the newest memory-maker in this beautifully crafted house that I am so happy to call my home.

The letter mentioned the family names of the builder and former owner of our house, and as luck would have it, about a year after we moved in, the strangest thing occurred. I was managing an apartment community in Greensboro at the time, and one afternoon a file landed on my desk. It was a new lease to be signed for a new person moving into the community. While flipping through the file, I noticed a name. It was the name of the person who grew up in my house. What are the odds that someone who grew up in the same house we had recently moved into, would be moving into the community I managed?! My immediate thought was to reach out, and to let this person know who I was. I sent him a very short email, introducing myself as Community Manager to Lincoln Green and adding a P.S. line to say that my family had recently purchased the house he grew up in, and sorry to seem like a stalker but I just had to let him know of the connection! He replied to my email almost immediately and we both looked forward to his move in day so we could meet face-to-face.

Our first meeting was full of conversation about his time in the house. Turns out, he spent his childhood and teenage years here. While moving in, we found a tiny Olan Mills picture of a family of three that was clearly taken in the 1970s. I told him about finding this picture and without even seeing it, he confirmed that the kid in the picture was him. I asked him about the stained glass stepping stones in the back yard and he told me where he buried the pets of his past. I asked him what memories he had of the cool nooks and crannies I had already discovered in the top of the closets and what he remembered about the attic.

One afternoon shortly after he moved into the apartment, he came into the office to pay his rent. I was returning from lunch and we crossed paths in front of the clubhouse. I smiled, said hello and as I was about to walk into my office, I turned around and went back outside. “Don!” I called for him as he walked to his car. “I have a super-weird question for you.” He grinned and walked toward me. “Did anyone ever die in this house?” I asked.

He looked at me, gave a slight head nod and replied, “Yes, actually. My grandmother died in that house.” I got chills. Not a scary kind of chills, but I felt validated in a way that I didn’t know I longed for. I went on to ask what room was hers, and where she died. As it turns out, the very same place in our house that has always felt different to me is where she took her last breath. He went on to tell me that she died peacefully, and it then made so much sense to me.

I’ve never felt afraid in this room. In fact, this room was Sadler’s bedroom when we first moved in. Now, it is Everly’s bedroom. And while I knew there was something very different that I would feel when I walked into this particular room, it was never a negative feeling. But, it’s a strong feeling. One that I feel mostly when in one particular corner of the room.

Once Everly was born, things began to change for me. Because Sadler was breech, she was delivered via cesarean in 2012. Everly was delivered vaginally, and I am 100% convinced that her arrival earthside opened me spiritually. The short 15-months since Everly’s birth have been the most momentous, wild-flowing and riveting months of my entire life. I’ve found God carrying out glory and promise in my life at every turn. I’ve made some of the biggest, boldest, most fearless moves ever I could have ever dreamt, and I know the best is only yet to come.


This corner of Everly’s bedroom has become my sanctuary. Without fail, every time I sit in this chair to rock her before nap or bedtime, the tears flow like rain down my cheeks. This is where I pray. This spot is where God moves me. This is where I hear Him, and my heart opens to speak to Him. This spot is where I take my deepest breaths, and where I feel the safest. This spot is one where I hold my child and feel connected with her more so than when I am in other places. This spot is special to me.

Our  neighbor commented to me today that our house has never seen so much happiness. She would know, she has lived here for almost two decades. It made me feel good to know that our family has brought renewed life to this beautiful house. Regardless of what lives may have ended here, the life we are creating here and the joy that is being cultivated here will hopefully create a legacy to be told to future families that live here. Maybe I will write a letter, too.

Reflections: First Two Months

Since this journey began, I’ve noticed things. I’ve felt shifts within my being that have moved me to tears, brought me to my knees and made me laugh until I’ve ached. Some of the things I have noticed about my daughters and my husband and myself are things that never caught my attention before — it wasn’t there to give. I was here, but I wasn’t here. I saw them, but I didn’t see. Being home for the last two months has slowed me down. The stirring has stopped just enough that I am able to notice things that were always there before, just not deserving of my time in my “busy life”. I’ve found a way to stay still and calm (for the most part) and present.

I’ve noticed a tender, undenying compassion in Sadler that led her to cry — actually sob outloud — during a Disney movie. The movie was Brave, and it was the scene where Merida is reunited with her mother. I came into the room to check on her when I heard her sobbing. When I saw her sitting there on her beanbag looking up, my heart immediately swelled. Her eyes connected with mine and she smiled just a little as tears slid over her little cheeks and onto the floor. I held her head on my chest and kissed her forehead and I cried, too. I knew at that moment that she had compassion and it brought joy to my heart. Partly because I realized that my girl had a gift, and partly because I actually watched it happen.

I’ve learned that Sadler likes to take her tiny toys apart, only so she can see how they were made and challenge herself to put them back together. I’ve watched her develop patience with herself and her sister and the dog. She has become more aware of what she has to do to keep her stuff “safe” from their impromptu takings.

I’ve learned that Everly is more observant than we realized and she mimics her sister’s every move. There isn’t a soul she has encountered that doesn’t earn her whole smile, as she truly does draw in everyone she meets. Her energy is strong and she is going to need much protection as she grows up innocently.

I’ve noticed an ebb and flow in my marriage that brings both peace and calamity, all in sometimes what seems to be the same wave. I’ve learned that silence wins arguments and that being louder doesn’t make you right. Marriage is a team effort and both teammates have to be willing to give 100% all of the time, not 50% each most of the time.

I’ve discovered that cooking dinner early in the afternoon so that it’s ready when Reid gets home from work makes a big difference in our evening. We have time for walks in the neighborhood and playing in the backyard and I’ve learned that we need these moments in our life. It’s the little things that reset us to what’s important in the middle of it all.

I’ve learned that cleaning my house is easier to do in small doses, rather than try to tackle all at once. Monday and Friday are laundry days. I fill in Tuesday thru Thursday with something different each day: floors, bathrooms, dusting, windows, etc..  It has made for an easier approach for sure and I feel less overwhelmed with trying to do it all every day.

I’ve remained determined to show respect to my husband continually, because I’ve accepted that he needs my reminder of this all of the time. I’ve discovered that love and respect reciprocate one another in very natural ways if you just let them.

I’ve taken time each morning to devote my heart and my thoughts to God. I was given a daily devotional book in January for my birthday (by a person in my life I hold very dear to my heart). I started reading it right away and quickly caught up to the day the book was given to me and I haven’t missed a day since. I find relevance in the author’s daily thoughts to my own journey and am receptive to the message the scripture provides. Sometimes this may only be a two-minute window that I have to share with God as I read, but I make sure to make time for those two minutes. I just don’t feel that my day is the same without it. It sets the tone for my heart for the remainder of the day and reminds me where my I should place my focus.

I’ve launched a business! Who knew that something that has literally been right under my nose for two years would be a vessel for financial freedom, a way to share my unwavering passion for natural solutions, and a way to use the skills I developed and sharpened while in my decade-long property management career?! I certainly didn’t, but here is what happened: I was standing in the laundry room in early January, and my heart was heavy. How can I make money from home so that I can help contribute to our family and lifestyle?  I had created profiles on UpWork to dive into freelance consulting opportunities or entry level writing gigs. I had bagged up everything I could find to sell on MICIT or at a yard sale for quick cash. But as I was standing there at this very moment in the laundry room, I remember, it was as if the Lord said, “Look to your left…” and there it was. Etched into the wooden box that contained my arsenal of essential oils, our go-to for sickness and cleaning products and cooking and emotional health and first aid…the words were there. And I literally laughed out loud! doTERRA. It was my answer. And God has already shown that it was a smart realization, yet one I could have never realized sooner than now. This was my time. I’ve found my place and I’ve only just begun. I’ve helped family and friends get essential oils into their homes. I have had the time to spend teaching others how to use essential oils and have shared oils with strangers.  My heart has remained full along the way, which is how I know I’m exactly where I need to be. Excited for what is to come just isn’t a good enough way to describe it. I am euphoric.

As Spring is upon us and the Dogwoods are blooming and we all find ourselves feeling a little more alive, I am thankful for all that the last couple of months have provided me. I never dreamed of a life where I could blog in the afternoon on a Tuesday while my baby girl naps, all the windows open in my house as the afternoon breeze reminds me to be still. I am expanding in abundance and love and success each day as I inspire others around me to do the same. I choose joy.

 

 

 

 

Amen. Namaste.

img_1134-1I grew up in church. It was a Southern Baptist church; the pews were wooden with fabric cushion. The hymnals were blue, and they were sporadically placed along the backs of each pew in attached wooden shelves. There were little pencils in little holes next to bigger little holes that were there to hold your communion cup. There were cards for first-time guests to fill out, and there were envelopes for tithing.

Church was a place we just automatically went. My great-grandparents and/or grandparents generally took me along with them on Wednesday nights. First we would go eat at either K&W or the O’Henry Grill, and then I would go to the Youth service while they went in “big church”. I remember being shy in youth group because I was so little in comparison to the “big” kids.

I remember years before that attending Vacation Bible School and making crafts out of popsicle sticks and coloring pictures with Bible verses written on them. I remember being in a play as a 7-year-old and thinking I was the coolest kid on the planet because I was acting. I remember around this same time, singing a solo on Sunday morning and being terrified when the time came in the music for me to start, and instead of singing I ran straight off the stage and into my cousin Sissy’s lap as tears rolled down my cheeks. I remember lots of softball games on Friday nights watching my dad play. I remember covered dish lunches in the Fellowship Hall and that I always had to find what Mama Dot or Granny brought because I knew it was likely one of my favorites. I remember laying across Mama Dot’s lap during the church sermon and getting some of the best back scratches the world’s ever known. I remember being baptized by Pastor Bud and even remember what I wore that day.

I have lots of memories of church growing up, but none of them really include much about God. As I grew into an adult, I drifted away from the familiar place church offered me and my family. I found myself choosing sleep over sermons on Sunday mornings, often to nurse a hangover or just catch up from being exhausted. People in the church “family” started to ask questions. Gossip set in. My parents (finally) divorced. My life fell apart… and church didn’t make the cut for what was important to me at that time.

As I went off to college, not much changed. I made good grades, held sometimes two jobs at a time while taking a full-load of courses at NC State. I made some great friends – some of whom are my very dearest friends today – but church and God wasn’t something that was talked about much in my circle of friends. If it was, I don’t remember. Which only tells me it wasn’t impactful if it did indeed happen.

Almost a year to the day after I graduated from college in December 2006, I went on the first date with my husband. We had known each other since 1994 but never dated throughout high school. Our first date turned into moving in together, which turned into engagement and marriage and 2 beautiful daughters. But at first, church wasn’t something we did together. It wasn’t something we did apart. It wasn’t anything that we even talked about — at first.

We would go to church with my grandparents for the Easter service once in a while, and I recall attending his niece’s christening about 7 years ago. But we didn’t have a church that we attended regularly and we didn’t spend a great deal of time talking about our plans to change that. We were content in our lives with what we had and what we were doing and who we spent our time with. We didn’t pray. We didn’t talk about God. We just lived our lives.

It wasn’t until this past Fall that I made the connection. I decided to read a book called The Power of Now that was a turning-point in my life. This book talked about being present in each moment that we are living and breathing, and to actually pay attention to each breath that we take; it was a reminder to “stop and smell the roses” sometimes. This book was so much more for me than I can even begin to describe here… I remember not being able to put it down, and I had not read a book from start to finish in almost a decade. I remember wanting to tell everyone about it, and I tried. But I quickly learned that it was not something everyone wanted to hear. Not everyone wants to hear about a riveting self-help book that I read. Have you lost your mind, Candice? was the translation of the look on their faces when I shared it with some friends and loved ones. But that’s just the thing, I felt just the opposite: almost as if I had found my mind. Or at least myself.

I have been visiting an incredible hot yoga studio for about a year now and was able to relate to the points the author made about paying attention to your breath. Each time I would go to yoga after reading this book, I found myself channeling deeper into my awareness of my breath, and it became easier each time. I started noticing my breathing while at home sitting on the couch or cooking dinner. I started to notice when I had found my innermost feelings of peace and stillness. I noticed and embraced the quiet in my mind and in my body. I was thankful for the yoga teachers I have been led by in my practice as of late who have reminded me to just breathe.

I realized that the feeling I felt of warmth and white: that was God. And it was then that I began to connect the dots between my version of universe God and church God.  I realized that they were one in the same. I realized that the inner stillness I had found and recently tapped into was God within me. I started to literally see things differently, with more color, and with more appreciation of the beauty within everything around me. Once a lens that only reflected black and white images, I now see so much color.

Toward the end of last year, we visited a new church and my heart was open to accept everything that it had to offer. I found my inner stillness and peace and tears streamed down my face as my sweet friend poured her heart out through song on the stage. The walls were black, the lights were dark and the spirit of God was in that room. I was so moved. I was inspired to keep digging within to find God within me, and I am happy to say we’ve been back several Sunday mornings since this fist visit and not much has changed. Same tears. Same stillness and peace. Same good music that makes me cry every.single.time.

This week marks the one-year-anniversary of my return to work after maternity leave when Everly was born. Only one year ago I was in such a different place spiritually and emotionally. I couldn’t (wouldn’t) even engage in conversation with you about God. I didn’t want to. I was going through the motions to earn a paycheck and daydreamed about what life would be like in another version of it. I looked happy, but I wasn’t. I knew there was so much more to be gained but couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

Today I am happy to tell you that I fully accept that I am nothing without God. He is at work within me and I rest my case in arguing that I have a better way to do this. I am at full mercy of  letting go of fear and worry and anxiety in order to live fulfilled and am in awe of what God has planned for me. I start each day with personal time devoted to my relationship with God and appreciate the difference it has made in my life.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”      

Proverbs 3:5-6

I hope and pray that I may always be able to stay mindful of something as simple as breathing. I pray that I can teach my girls to slow down and enjoy life each day rather than being busy in the process. May you find the color in your world and see it brightly. Namaste. And, Amen.

 

 

 

21 Ways We Use Essential Oils in Our House

I feel compelled to make a list of all the ways we use essential oils in our house currently (or have used them in the past). I love sharing my experiences with oils with my friends and family and hope that this list will educate you, if even the slightest bit. I didn’t have all of these oils on hand in the beginning. I started building a stash over time and before long I had found the “staples” to my collection that we most frequently use and share. Perhaps something on this list will be useful to you and your family. There really are a lot of random lifestyle changes we have made by replacing common household products on our shelves with these little brown bottles.

41101925 - essential oil with natural herbs , alternative medicine
41101925 – essential oil with natural herbs , alternative medicine
In no particular order, in fact I will start how my day started. Everly was burning up with a fever.

  1. Fever – I rubbed Peppermint oil down her spine every half an hour, basically all day long. Her fever never went over 101 and she remained comfortable for the most part throughout the day. I put 10 drops in a roller bottle and filled it to the top with fractionated coconut oil. Any carrier oil will do, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this kind.
  2. Teething – I rub Clove Bud oil directly on the gums. I put 10-15 drops in a roller bottle and top it off with fractionated coconut oil. I put a little bit on my (clean) finger and rub it directly on Everly’s gums. She loves it, and it keeps her gums from itching and driving her nuts.
  3. Immune Boost – during flu season and when anyone in my house is sick I rub everyone down with a mixture we call “Flu Bomb”. This is 7-10 drops each Lemon,  Oregano, On Guard ( Protective Blend), Frankincense and Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil), topped off with fractionated coconut oil. Each of these oils has different properties that make it useful and although this blend doesn’t smell the best, we live by it during sick periods and generally speaking to keep everyone well. I also put 3-4 drops of On Guard in a veggie cap (basically I make my own supplement) and take it daily to help keep my immune system strong. I’ve only been doing this for about 10 days and have felt 100% aside from a migraine yesterday.
  4. Headaches – depending on the kind of headache I am having will determine which oil I grab. Yesterday’s headache was a whopper and I tried several things before I got it right. First I grabbed Past Tense, a blend that is a mix of peppermint, lavender, wintergreen, chamomile and lots of other yummy smelling plants. I carry this in my purse and use it frequently; I put a dab on my temples and behind my ears, sometimes on the back of the neck, too. It really all just depends on where my headache is coming from. Next I grabbed Deep Blue (a blend that acts similarly to Icy Hot or Ben Gay — you get a yummy cold and then warm sensation). When this didn’t offer much relief, I put a drop of Frankincense on my thumb and pressed it in the roof of my mouth. This usually works all of the time for and did offer some relief for a little while. The final straw yesterday was Clary Calm, a blend that is filled with Clary Sage (my favorite), lavender and bergamot. This blend is fantastic for menopause, period cramps and unbeknownst to me until yesterday MIGRAINES. I slathered it across the back of my neck and on my forehead, and finally found relief after almost 2 hours of pacing around my house pulling my own hair, throwing up and wondering how on Earth I would survive with a 14-month-old needing me, too! Thankfully, after essential oils combined with a dark room, a warm therapeutic pillow and a little peace and quiet, my headache went away.
  5. Mood/Aromatherapy – this one really does depend on who has what going on. Liquid Xanax is currently the front-runner around here. It’s equal parts Balance (Grounding blend) and Serenity (Calming blend) , topped off with fractionated coconut oil. When Sadler (age 4 1/2) is being a jerk, I rub this on the back of her neck and put a dab on each wrist. It smells so good that I tell her it’s perfume. Then I usually put some on myself. We all use this one, a lot. Wild Orange is a favorite also for just calming down if I’m feeling stressed or just need “to take a chill pill”. Literally opening the cap, closing my eyes and taking a big whiff will calm me down every time. This one is nice to diffuse when you work with a bunch of difficult people, it generally will make everyone pretty happy (and if no one else, it will make YOU happy as it blows in your face as you sit at your desk).
  6. Allergies – Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint combined with fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle are great to have on hand for seasonal allergies, bug bites and any other time when you would tend to reach for an antihistamine. Admittedly, my husband still believes that his over-the-counter allergy pill works best for him, but if you put these three oils in a veggie cap and take one daily it will do the same thing without all of the harmful side effects of a man-made pill. But we are programmed to reach for pills and it takes a village to re-program ourselves and our loved ones.
  7. Seasonal Depression – I tend to feel some blues in the colder months and last year was the first time I tried this. I put equal parts Wild Orange, Frankincense and Lavender in a roller bottle and applied it to my wrists and the back of my neck. It  smelled so yummy and really made a difference. I shared this one with co-workers and they fell in love with it, too.
  8. Deodorant – I am slowly but surely learning how harmful deodorant can be to our bodies and sweating in the armpit area is an unfortunate thing for me. I’ve been blending equal parts Patchouli and Ginger in a roller bottle and applying it to my pits in the mornings rather than use deodorant — I call it “Patchouli Pits”. It keeps me from sweating and smells very nice (I realize Patchouli is an acquired smell to love, and it happens to be on my favorites list these days. Smells like a dirty hippie and I can’t get enough of it.)
  9. Congestion –  Breathe (Respiratory blend) is one that we use religiously. It is a blend with Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Cardamom and Lemon that will legit open your nasal passage the second you inhale it. This is our go to when anyone is snotty, has a cough or showing signs of a cold. I use this one straight from the bottle and don’t always dilute it (especially on myself and Reid). I apply it to the chest, down the spine, bottoms of the feet, under the nose…and I diffuse it almost every single night in our bedrooms. It’s great for people who snore and makes your bedroom smell nice while you’re sleeping.
  10. Rest/Relaxation – diffusing at bedtime is a great way to increase your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep. We have a diffuser in each bedroom and may not always diffuse the same things in each room. Almost all the time, I diffuse Serenity at bedtime. It’s a blend with Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, Vanilla and Cedarwood (it’s the same blend that goes in Liquid Xanax). It has such a great calming effect and is even great to diffuse in rooms where your pet sleeps. I also have a roller bottle of Serenity, about 15 drops, topped off with fractionated coconut oil. I use this on Everly at nap time and will use it myself if I feel a restless night of sleep ahead. I’ve given this blend to friends to use during times of sleepless nights and they have also reported better nights’ sleep.
  11. Muscle Aches – if Reid has a back ache or I am sore after hot yoga, I will grab Deep Blue. I have a bottle of this oil, and it also comes in a lotion that has a full bottle of the oil in it already. It’s just easier to apply if you want to cover a larger surface area, but both are good to have on hand. Similar to Ben Gay or Icy Hot, once you put this stuff on you feel a cold sensation, followed by a really warm one. It feels very nice and offers immediate relief. I’ve recommended this product to friends who Cross Fit and they swear by it. I also know some firemen who use it and think it’s good stuff for muscle soreness.
  12. Infections – when I was pregnant with Everly, I got yeast infections almost monthly it seemed. I started using Melaleuca in the shower, just a drop on my wash cloth before I washed my lady parts, and it kept me free from anymore nasty yeast infections. (Sorry if TMI – you will always run that risk reading my blog). Doing this daily became more of a preventative measure rather than treatment and I have told several friends about the benefits of this one.
  13. Cooking – since essential oils come from plants, I was pleasantly surprised to learn all of the different oils that you can purchase to use when cooking. These are a few we have cooked with before or that I have on hand to cook with when I need that ingredient: Dill, Cumin, Oregano, Ginger, Lemon and Lime. We have even used Ginger to spice up some “white liquor” we were gifted; added a few strawberries to the jar with just about 5 drops of Ginger essential oil…tasty stuff.
  14. Splinter Removal – Sadler got a splinter in her foot over the summer. I immediately went on Pinterest just to satisfy my curiosity and searched for an essential oil to remove a splinter. Turns out, you can make a paste with baking soda and Lavender essential oil that will draw out/dissolve a splinter. I tried this, and it worked! I mixed about a thimble-full of baking soda with 3 drops of lavender and used my finger to spread it over the splinter, put a Band-aid on it and the next morning it was gone! Granted, this was not a very big splinter and I realize we might not have been so lucky if the splinter were a little worse, but thankfully this did the trick for us when we needed it. I knew better than try to use tweezers (or even my finger) to pluck that thing out of her foot. That would have sent her straight over the edge and I pick my battles 😉
  15. Cuts/Scrapes – my littlest is crawling and pulling up on anything that she can get her hands on and has bumped her head a time or two in recent weeks. The most recent incident left about an inch long scrape on her head that did not bleed, but the skin was cracked. I put a drop of Frankincense on it immediately when it happened and have done so every day since. It quickly scabbed up and the scab has almost fallen off completely; you can barely see the spot and I feel pretty good about it disappearing completely in just a few more days if I keep doing this. On Guard is also great to use when you have a fresh scrape, simply to keep the risk of infection at bay.
  16. Skin Care – I have not always had a good skin care regimen. In fact, I am guilty of going to bed without washing my face on a nightly basis – unless I shower at night, which happens but isn’t that common. My point is, I haven’t always done the best job at taking care of my face. I just turned 35 earlier this year so there isn’t a better time to start taking care of myself, right?!  Frankincense is great for wrinkles. You can put a drop directly into whatever product you have on hand, or you can use dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your neck, forehead, around your mouth – any part of your skin that you want to take care of, just careful not to get it in your eyes. (One thing to note about using essential oils, if you get them in your eyes remember: oil and water do not mix. You will naturally go to water for rinsing out whatever oil you get in your eyes but will definitely want to grab your carrier oil instead. Using another oil will assist the oil that’s in your eye with leaving your eye as quickly as possible.) Rose is also good for your skin and I have used it personally. There are other oils that greatly benefit your skin that I have not tried personally. However, I do use the anti-aging skincare line that the company sells and have found it to be pretty amazing stuff.
  17. Breath Freshener – a drop of Peppermint oil on your tongue is a great way to freshen your warm, afternoon mouth. It’s great to do after you’ve had too much coffee, or even when you need just a little afternoon pick-me-up. I’m thankful that these come in a nifty beadlet form; basically a drop of Peppermint essential oil inside a little tiny capsule like a breath mint that you just pop between your teeth – it’s powerful stuff and really will wake you up! I’ve heard that others use Peppermint on the tongue for allergies. It makes sense to me, considering that an effective blend I’ve been using personally and mentioned earlier has Peppermint in it. These little beadlets are just easier to take, compared to turning a bottle of peppermint up in your mouth (which is totally doable, by the way).
  18. Room/Air Freshener – diffusing essential oils has really become by standby when the house stinks. I use a great blend called Purify (Cleansing blend) that is fresh like clean linens; this one has been handy since we got the new dog 😉 Lemon and Lime are also great odor neutralizers. My hubby loves the smell of lemongrass, so we tend to diffuse that
  19. Nausea/Vomiting – whenever I have a tummy ache or someone is puking God forbid, I always grab the Digestive blend — its blended with Ginger, Peppermint, Fennel, Coriander and Fennel (it smells very similar to licorice). I rub it clockwise around the belly button (I don’t recall why I do it this way but it has something to do with the direction in which our digestive tracks flow).
  20. Mosquito Repellant – hands down best bug spray I have ever used. TerraShield (Outdoor blend) combines Lemon, Eucalyptus, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla and other essential oils and it doesn’t smell nearly as awful as your common bug spray. This comes in a 15ml bottle or a pre-mixed spray bottle that use for simplicity sake.
  21. Cleaning – I make my own cleaning supplies generally and have been for a couple of years now. A quick and easy recipe: equal parts white vinegar and hot water with 10-20 drops of whatever essential oil I am in the mood for: Wild Orange, Lemon, On Guard, Purify, Lavender, Lemongrass…I also love making my own vacuum powder by using an empty glass jar. I poked some holes in the lid to the jar, filled it about 3/4 full with baking soda and 20 drops of any of the oils mentioned above. I sprinkle this on the rugs and couch about 15 minutes prior to vacuuming — it really does help to deodorize in my house at least! I make my own furniture polish with equal parts olive oil and vinegar and 15 drops each Wild Orange and Lemon. I also make an all-purpose cleaner with borax, washing powder, blue Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, hot water and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. All of these items are safe for my kids and pets, I know exactly what is in them and they actually do work to clean.

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments! Happy oiling!

 

 

I Am Randall

this-is-us-randall-anxiety-today-170217-tease_c8bfaa76dd3d71f4a84ce55aff20367d-today-inline-vid-featured-desktop

We have been watching This is Us for several weeks now. We binge-watched the first half of season 1 in a couple of nights because we were hooked after the first episode. For those of you who don’t watch this show, if you are reading this blog you are on the Internet and I imagine you’ve seen someone talk about it at least. It has only been on for this first season and is currently running. Although I am not a big TV watcher and do not have much to compare this statement to, I do believe the writers of this NBC drama got something very right with this one.

The show tells the story of triplets (two of the three pictured here –no they are not biological siblings). The one on the right is Randall. He was dropped off on a firehouse door step in the 1970s by his  father, his crackhead mother having passed away right after he was born just a few days prior. His father left him in a cardboard box on the doorstep and it wasn’t long before a fireman found him and took him to the local hospital. Meanwhile, in the same hospital a woman gave birth to triplets; one of the three babies was stillborn. As fate would have it, a baby in a box was brought to the hospital that day, so the baby in the box became part of the triplets and joined the family that day, too. Their parents called them “The Big Three”.

In this picture, the one on the left is Kevin. He is one of the triplets born this day. His sister, Kate (not pictured here) is the other biological sibling.  The writers of the show did a remarkable job weaving the relationships of these three very different, yet strikingly similar individuals. The show utilizes flashbacks in every episode to deeper explain the life of Randall’s birth parents and the relationship of the triplets’ parents as newlyweds and through their lifetime.

When I watch this show, I find so many relatable themes and appreciate the messages hidden in the dialogue and dynamics between each character. I usually start crying within the first few minutes of watching, and have been moved by not just one or two characters on the show, but almost all of them at some point or another. It really is a feel-good show and I have enjoyed watching it each week.

The picture above is from a scene from last week’s episode. I won’t spoil any of the details of the episode in the event you haven’t watched it and think perhaps you will, but Randall suffered a panic attack in this episode. In this picture, his brother comforts him during his attack. As I watched this episode, my heart felt it would nearly implode with empathy as a wave of realization surged over me: AM WAS RANDALL.

I had my very first panic attack when I was in college at NC State. I was driving down Hillsborough Street on my way to campus for an exam. I had studied for the exam, and knew I would do well on it. But I was worried and stressed out about how tired I was and couldn’t stop thinking about rent that was due and life just simply seemed to overwhelm me at that very moment. Suddenly my chest tightened and I seemed to gasp for breath and I felt more afraid than I had ever felt before. I called my daddy and one of the only things I remember him repeating to me was, “Breathe, Candice. Just breathe.” He told me to look around in my car for a paper bag or something to help me breathe more easily. Of course I had nothing to assist with this, so I just pulled over and cried. And cried. And cried.

These have continued throughout my life, the most recent one being earlier this year. Yet for some reason I am able to say today that I suspect (and am so very hopeful) that it may just be the last one I will ever endure. I have grown as a person since my last panic attack — spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally — I have tapped into a part of myself that was guarded with lock and key. I have learned things about myself that were often hard to accept, yet rewarding to recognize in the essence of beauty. I have let go of fears, worry and resentment that unconsciously weighed me down. I have given my life back to God and accepted that I am not meant to control what happens to me, as my fate is written and was already unfolding. I have laid down my boxing gloves in the fight against myself and feel better and stronger and more capable than ever before.

As I look at this picture I am overwhelmed with pain for Randall and can empathize so wholeheartedly with his place in this moment. Yes, I realize it’s a TV show but this is real life, folks. People really do suffer from these terrible things: panic attack, mental breakdown, stress-induced trauma, nervous breakdown — call it what you will, but make it a point to be aware of your loved ones and offer support when you are able. Be understanding and don’t ever throw rocks. Support is critical to the delicate souls who suffer with these types of challenges in life and often times a genuine smile and a hug can make a really big difference in their day.

I share stories like this about myself in hopes of being a beacon of light for someone. Yes, I may make myself vulnerable to judgment and criticism, but I feel the overflow from my heart as I tell my stories and dwell on the possibility of positive impact rather than the fear of negative judgement. Through self-reflection, a whole lot of patience and the grace of God I strive daily to keep these fears at bay. Of course I have setbacks and I don’t always succeed, but I refuse to give up. Life is breathtakingly beautiful and it took me 35 years to realize this. However, this morning I was reminded that it doesn’t matter when you start, it only matters how you finish…

Choose Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Chiropractic Helps Us

When I was 16 I was in a car accident. It wasn’t a very bad one, a guy who was on his cell phone rear-ended me, and I walked away with some neck pain and a dented back bumper.  My mom suggested that I go see a chiropractor. As it turns out, my grandmother had worked part-time for one and she called and made an appointment for me within a week of the accident. I remember going in for weekly visits and laying face down on a cold leather table while my back was massaged with an old school electric massager. He’d adjust my neck during each visit, but admittedly I wasn’t a fan of the “neck pops”. He sent me home with a special pillow to offer more strategic support for my neck and after about 12 weeks of seeing him as many as 3 times per week, my neck felt normal again.

Flash forward 18 years. I just had my second child, sweet Everly Jean. She was a very unhappy baby for the first 10 weeks of her life. She was by textbook definition a “colicky” baby: she kicked her legs and screamed as the biggest farts rolled out of her tiny body, she refused sleep and SHE CRIED FOREVER. I developed leg muscles quicker than I’d hoped due to incessant bouncing and walking through the house in efforts to console her. There we many days that she literally cried all day long. Reid would come home from work and I would be crying, too. We were miserable, and there were several days that I just knew she would cry for the rest of her life.

I had heard of chiropractic care being helpful for other families dealing with similar challenges with their kids. I put out a poll on a Natural Living/Attachment Parenting Facebook group that I am part of to find out if anyone in our area recommended a good chiropractor for children. I was quickly given anecdotal referrals to at least 3 chiropractors in the Triad who see children. Before I could even make the first phone call, one of doctors that my friends were referring actually contacted me…the power of social media! Within 24 hours, I was sitting in Dr. Kim’s office for Everly’s consultation. I had briefed her over the phone as to what all we were dealing with, but during the in-person consultation we dug much deeper into Everly’s personality, sleeping habits, diaper habits, nursing habits, etc. Dr. Kim began to explain the central nervous system to me in a way I had never noticed it before. I remember sitting in the chair in her office and literally feeling mind-blown, thinking to myself, “how can everyone in the world not know about this?!”.

Chiropractic means to move with the hands. God thought our central nervous system was so important that he encased it fully with bone in order to protect it, right? If our nervous system is functioning 100% properly, then the organs on the other end of all these nerves will function 100% properly. If the bones (vertebrae) that are protecting these nerves are causing any type of interruption or dis-ease on the nerve (sublaxation), then the organ that nerve leads to will not function as it should. Moving the bone back to its proper place (chiropractic adjustment) allows the nerve to function as it should. When our nervous system is “in check”, our body can function as it is intended. It makes complete sense, right?!

Each time you are adjusted by a chiropractor, your immune system is boosted up to 200%. Adjustments are simply getting rid of sublaxations. Back when I was 16 and fresh out a car accident, I thought chiropractors were only needed for instances such as this. I had no idea that chiropractic care was really preventative care rather than reactive care. I love the reaction that people tend to give me when they learn that I have been (and have taken my 2 children) to the chiropractor and they say, “what’s wrong?”. NOTHING is wrong! That’s what is so beautifully right with it all! Our bodies were designed to heal themselves, but they cannot do that if they cannot function 100% and if the nerves aren’t fully circuited back to the organ they serve. Spinal interference/sublaxations are caused by three things: emotional trauma, chemical trauma and/ or physical trauma. In our day-to-day we deal with things that stress us out, make us worry and too often times we are in unhealthy relationships, all of which can and will cause emotional trauma. What we put on and inside of our bodies has an affect on our central nervous system. Everything from our shampoo and conditioner to the type of ground beef and butter we eat, down to the lotions and sunscreens and fruit snacks and caffeine–that old phrase “you are what you eat” really does make so much sense. Physical trauma is everything from the repetitive way you hold a cell phone to your ear while driving, the posture you adopt while sitting at a desk or the way you carry a diaper bag on the same shoulder every day. Keeping your spine free of sublaxations will give you the best shot at being the best version of YOU.

Everly and I have been seeing Dr. Kim ever since March 2016 when Everly was just 10-weeks old. The first time Everly was adjusted Dr. Kim explained that when babies come out of the birth canal, they get pretty jacked up on their exit and have sublaxations the second they take their first breath. She reminded me that when a baby is in utero it is in a position so that the head is down and the feet are up toward the sky, and she explained that when you hold a baby by the feet upside down in this position, it mimics the position they held in utero. This is a comfortable position for them and instinctively, their arms should float down toward their feet when you hold them this way. Dr. Kim dangled Everly upside down by her ankles and I watched as her tiny spine took the shape of the letter “J”, as her arms shot straight out like the letter “T”. Everly stayed so calm, and I remember being surprised that she hadn’t freaked out. After just a few seconds of suspension, Dr. Kim signaled for me to grab Everly’s head as we laid her back down on the special pillow used for baby adjustments. She ran her fingers down Everly’s spine to locate the sublaxation. She worked her magic to make a few small adjustments to Everly’s spine and flipped her back over again, grabbing her by the ankles and suspending her up into the air. Before my very eyes, my child hung straight down and her tiny little arms floated down to her feet, literally a completely different sight than what I had witnessed less than 3 minutes prior, and still no freaking out!

The very next day, almost 11 weeks into my 12-week maternity leave, Everly smiled at me for the first time. She didn’t cry all day. I recall weeping as I videoed her late that afternoon, because the way she was acting was something I had never seen before. I wanted to attribute it 100% to her chiropractic adjustment the day before and was sad that I hadn’t taken her sooner. I felt like I had finally met my daughter and she has literally been a different child since that first visit.

Sadler and I also see Dr. Kim regularly. We go at least once every other week, but sometimes we go every week. If one of us starts to express symptoms of health that make us feel icky, we go in for an adjustment. Thankfully, Everly has never had to see a medical doctor for a sick visit and has never taken any prescription medications. I wholeheartedly believe that keeping her clear of sublaxations has played a major part in this and can honestly say the same for myself and Sadler. Yes, we still get sick but we are able to recover much faster than we would have a year ago, and often times with fewer medical interventions.

I notice a lot of chiropractic offices in our city when I drive around and it makes my heart happy. We drive 30 minutes to see Dr. Kim and while I know there are other doctors closer to our house, there is no one I would rather have in my life to fill this role. Aside from being an amazingly intelligent doctor, she is a beautiful person inside and out and God put her in my life for so many reasons. She is expecting twin girls any day now and we got to see her this weekend for a special maternity party before she goes out on leave.

drkim

The best part of this whole story: after almost a year of trying, my husband will be getting his first adjustment tomorrow. He has been for his consultation appointment (and no, unfortunately adults don’t get suspended during consults, only the babies!) and to say that I am excited for his journey to begin is merely understated. I cannot wait to hear how good he feels tomorrow afternoon.

 

Reflections: Week 1

After a full week of being at home with Everly and not working outside the home, I am left feeling full. As I sit to write on the evening of this abnormally sunny Sunday, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the time that truly belonged to me this week. Time each day this week was well-spent, and seemed to go by at  a slower pace than when I sat behind a desk. I am grateful for this change of pace and can already feel the impact this decision will have on my family as we embrace our new normal.

Monday was my first day at home with Everly. The entire day offered a surge of emotion, welcomed by the quiet of the house amidst our presence. Our day began around 7:30 in the same bed. It was a nice bonus to get to sleep in. I made French toast for breakfast -something I could have never dreamed of doing in my “old life”, we always seemed to be running late and eating on the go. It’s amazing what you are capable of when your desire meets your ability. After we dropped Sadler off at preschool,  we went to Costco and were home in time for lunch. Rocking Everly to sleep for nap on a Monday morning was the first glimpse of  the many blessings around the corner for us. I weeped tears of joy as she drifted off in my arms. Once she was asleep, I felt compelled to share a post with social media that sparked so much love and encouragement and words of strength and affirmation from so many people that know and love our family. I was truly overwhelmed and beyond inspired by the kind words and support that people shared in reaction to our story. It has moved me and provided great momentum, somewhat of a turning point in my journey.

When Everly was in daycare, the teachers often commented on how she hated taking naps. Ironically, she took a two-hour nap on our first day home together.

love

Everly is 13-months old and while not yet walking, she crawls all over the place and pulls up on anything that she can grab hold of. She will tirelessly work to come find me wherever I am in the house and greets me with the biggest smile, arms held up uttering some sort of grunt or moan. She makes hilarious faces, and she is quite vocal. Mrs. Pam, our beloved daycare teacher used to say that Everly was her “little but loud” baby – when she would call her this, it often reminded me of Shakespeare’s quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Though she be but little, she is fierce”. Sounds about right.

Having dinner ready by the time Reid got home from work each day was my favorite part of the week. As of late and right up until I left my job, he had been cooking dinner most every night because I was working late hours. Even on nights when I came home on time, he would still offer to cook just because he wanted to. I enjoyed taking that role over this week and can honestly say that I look forward to holding it for a while.

cookingCooking has always been something I enjoy. There is something about finding a good playlist on Apple Music, pouring a glass of wine and dancing in the kitchen while cooking that just heals the soul for me. Prior to having children, I recall coming home from a long day at work and finding my peace and joy in the kitchen. Cooking a colorful dinner for Reid and I was my favorite part of the day. Once Sadler was born, this slowly slipped away as bottle-washing, laundry-washing/folding/sorting, pumping, nursing, diaper- washing (we used cloth diapers for several months when Sadler was little), changing, feeding, etc. seemed to take the lead.

By week end, our house was cleaner than it’s ever been. I have been over-the-moon excited about the time I now have to do things I have been “listing” and day-dreaming about for quite some time. Having the ability to spend more time making our house a home has already made a positive impact on me in so many ways. Hearing my 4-year-old say, “Daddy, I love our house”, completely unsolicited and out of the blue this weekend, was music to my ears. I became filled with joy and humility and closed my eyes as I had a small celebration on the inside because I knew I had made a difference in her day. It’s the little things. Not just for me, but for everyone. Having order and tidiness and cleanliness in the home just makes life better.

I had a party planned at our house on Saturday to share my love of doTERRA essential oils with some of my friends and family. Throughout the week, I picked up things here and there in preparation and checked things off my list to get ready for everyone to arrive Saturday afternoon. Low and behold, without warning and certainly without welcome, the stomach bug found it’s way into our home at 3AM on Saturday – poor Sadler was a sick little girl and the weekend didn’t quite turn out as planned. We spent our time in our PJs and extra naps were taken without prompt. Everyone got plenty of “oil downs” with blends to keep our immune systems boosted and diffusers were going in every room in the house. So far, everyone else in the family has remained in the clear but we are continuing to monitor conditions and administer TLC as needed. Thankfully the weekend offered unusually high temperatures and every window in the house was open, offering a nice cleanse of the air and energy as the sunshine beamed in.

Reid surprised me with some antique glass jars this week, one of his co-workers gave them to him and he thought to bring them to me. I couldn’t resist using this beautiful, extra-large Mason jar to showcase some blue hydrangeas I picked up this week.

16665228_10104050434633439_1189175361314659255_o

I decided to keep Sadler home from preschool today to offer one more day of rest and recovery. The house is quiet, and my heart full. I am thankful that joy found me when it did.