Keep Joy

At the beginning of a new year, it is tempting to want to toss old things, habits, feelings, weight, or memories.

The tradition of the New Year’s resolution, holds much pressure to choose a vice, and be rid of it. We then, work to carve them out, with a chainsaw, in a 21 day fix, fitness, prayer, get out of debt , sobriety, or tidying plan. Sadly, the focus here, is bound to cause dissatisfaction. These quick fix strategies are generally unsuccessful, as evident, simply by watching the amount of cars at the gym decrease by the end of February. Yet each time, we think this will be the year!

We know deep down, if it were that easy, we would have done it a long time ago.

Perhaps instead, “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of…” as Marie Kondo suggests in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingAlthough her book is based on cleaning up spaces, I believe the concept could also definitely be applicable to the things that make up our lifestyle.

To this, I began asking myself:

What do I love about my life? What brings me joy?

In answering, I guarded myself against confusing joy for temporary bliss that is generally followed by guilt. Think pie.

For this mission, joy is all good. From the source, to the experience, to the outcome, joy is solid, nourishing, and produces results I can settle into, and feel joy there too.

I have definitely not mastered this concept. It’s probably not even original. But it was my idea for the new year, and I’m sharing it here hoping it might encourage someone else to try something new.

I propose we let joy and gratitude be our focus this year. Let’s allow them to be the biggest most time consuming part of our days!

Here is my plan, if you would like to peek!

  • Sip hot tea and pray each morning.
  • Practice yoga. It feels so good.
  • Listen to books that help me grow, while I drive to a job I love.
  • Prepare, eat, and share wholesome meals, that warm and keep my people well.
  • Take a walk with those people and discuss the day. Highlight the joys.
  • Read stories to my 8 year old boy.
  • Teach others about yoga, wellness, and college access.
  • Take a run with a playlist that makes me feel strong and sexy. Go somewhere beautiful to complete that run.
  • Take walks after work with, Willow, my black lab.
  • Paint my nails a color that makes me feel strong and sexy.
  • Eat one piece of good chocolate.
  • Watch one episode of mindless television with my husband.
  • Continue tidying my home for the final time, as Marie promised!
  • Write about what brings me joy.
  • Share joy with others.
  • Love God. Love others.

My list might change or grow. Who knows?
Maybe, and I won’t put much thought here, I might just squeeze out a vice or two for lack of time or focus on its needs?

If you’re willing to try this with me, I’d love to know what’s on your list!

Back to joy. Keep that. Stay there!

Atomic Ranch Yoga

This month, a dream came true.

In January 2016, I said, out loud, that I would be adding yoga, to Wander in Harmony, this September. It was not a thought out business plan. There was no money or financial backing established. I simply said to a loved one, “I think in September, I will launch some yoga.”

The where, the when, the how much, was not available. Only the idea was birthed. I prayed on it. The only way you can pray for a dream that isn’t, by the brain’s definition, a worthy cause. It sounded something like this, “God, I would like a yoga center. Is that something I can have?”

I had to ask, because by my heart’s definition, yoga brings quiet, rest, and, by literal definition, connection. It’s a retreat in practice and a gift when available. It’s the intentional movement that keeps my body, soul, mind, and relationships, healthy.

I’ve taught in various spaces. Each space invited a season for sharing my practice with others. Each precious to me. This September, I wanted to establish a space in Saginaw (also home for me) that would offer yoga, a place with some roots to grow, so I could share the benefits yoga provides for me, with others.

My timid prayer brought a new friend, yogi, and dreamer, into my life. Jen Flippo, a complete stranger to me until June 2016, invited me to teach at her dream for a home yoga studio, to begin, this September 2016. Yes, really!!! I couldn’t hardly believe it. But after only a few hours of conversation, it happened.

On September 13th Atomic Ranch Yoga opened and offered not one but two classes- both beautifully filled with wall to wall mats and yogis.

I am beyond grateful for Jen, this space, and the opportunity. I learned that it’s okay to dream and to ask for dreams. The answer might be no or wait. But when the time is right, the answer may very well be yes!

Grace to Fail

I am recovering perfectionist. Although no coins are given for this recovery program, I should have a few. I am still growing, learning, and failing. The greatest difference is I have now discovered the grace, we all have, to do so. Grace to fail, was a foreign concept to me, not so long ago.

Perfectionism’s greatest accomplice is Pleaser.

Once incredibly overburdened about what the world thought of me, I existed mostly to please them- ALL of them. In my confusion, I believed that I was much bigger than I actually was. I believed that when people were cruel, it must in some way be my fault. I believed when I was offended, I had the right to offend; I couldn’t please them anyway. I believed in fairness and thought if I worked hard enough, I could accomplish anything, get anyone to like me (even those I did not like myself), and I was convinced I was in control.

Brokeness has a way of letting the light in- I read this on Instagram- I think. And it’s true. When I was at the end of myself, I encountered a moment with my Creator, where I was urged to put down the things I could not control and to continue doing it everyday for the rest of my life.

The things I could not control…

All. Of. It.

I started running about the time grace to fail began seeping into my life, and my favorite part was and still is the sunrise I witness approaching mile two. It is a simple reminder of how incredibly small I am and just how magnificently grand He is. This revelation changes things- HE is big and we are small.

I even began stopping in the middle of my runs to collect photos of these sunrises for my instagram account @cheskafaith, so I can go to those moments in the middle of a hectic day and find my point of reference.

Knowing I have this grace allows me to extend it to others too. This is actually the coolest part. People are not as scary anymore. I’ve learned, that they too, are simply trying to navigate. Nothing is personal. People on journey sometimes want help with their baggage, and sometimes they do not. And it is all fine. Grace to fail means we can all just be and it works.

I’ve discovered putting things down, extending grace to myself and others, and remaining pleasing, soley to the One who created me for His pleasure, is a practice; it is not a destination- much like yoga. Thankfully, there is joy in the journey, when there is grace to fail.

I wish you many sunrises.

Sunrise

 

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4

 

 

Confessions

Ok it’s confession time. 

I am a YL oiler but I am also human. I eat Hot Cheetos and fast food from time to time. I sometimes drink wine, eat chocolate, and consume too much dairy, gluten, red meat, coffee, and sugar- the shame!

More often than not, I do my best, to feed my family and myself real food, well sourced and local when available; but I have several lingering questionable habits from my college days of working at the bar and eating dinner out of the garnish tray or off the appetizer menu. 

Overall, I’m a healthy woman over 40. 

So, how do I get away with all of these nutritional no-nos? Simple. Moderation, intentional movement, and supplements to help cleanse and support my body.

My favorites? Here’s my shopping list:

  1. Ningxia Red- super antioxidant drink that gives me the perfect amount of energy and immune system support. 
  2. Super B- energy, mood and immune system support. 
  3. Longevity- antioxidant; flushes out the wine and bad food choices, while supporting the immune system.
  4. Omegagize- the highest quality fish oil I can buy. Brain, skin, hair, and joint support. 
  5. And many, many bottles of Young Living essential oils for my skin, immune system, sports injuries, and mood/sleep support. 
  6. Life 5- excellent quality probiotic; keeps my stomach happy and supports my immune system.
  7. Protein Complete shakes to start every day right!

As you probably noticed, my systems are super supported! This is good news. Working two jobs and raising a family takes lots of energy, stamina, and a strong immune system. My YL supplements keep me supported and happy. My family benefits from the extra support too!

Give yourself a little grace, good food, and YL supplements.

 

More on why…

Why Young Living?

I started a healthier journey in February of 2011 and although I had no idea where this journey would take me, I can tell you I am pretty pleased. I started using Young Living to change my health. This quickly evolved into watching the lives of our family, friends, and now even strangers’ lives improve. I have found healing, encouragement, education, and newly the blessing of added financial security with Young Living.

The company’s mission statement includes Wellness, Purpose, and Abundance and I can tell you, that is exactly how it entered my life- one phase at a time. I did not ever think I would be part of an MLM, would host classes, or sell anything. But clearly, God had bigger plans for the knowledge I have gained. I am grateful for each and every person I have the privilege to share this new way of life with and I get chills every time I hear reports of oily miracles! And it is equally as rewarding to know, that people are learning the value of living in a chemical free home.

Summer 2014, I traveled to Utah to see the Young Living headquarters, leaders, farms, and founder- Gary Young. I realize this sounds a little goofy, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have been changed by this opportunity. This trip added first-hand knowledge to my research about YL purity and standards. I saw the Seed to Seal process and put my hands in the YL farm soil. The land is incredibly beautiful and worth seeing, if only for this reason. In addition, I connected with other people passionate about seeing a cleaner, healthier world. It is an amazing thing when you find your tribe and another way to serve others all in one place!

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St. Marie’s Farm, Idaho with Gary Young 2015

Generate Income with Young Living

I honestly didn’t think business building was something that I wanted to do. Yes, referral checks were nice from time to time, but I never imagined it becoming a substantial income. Yet, it has.

How does this happen? It’s not a piece of gluten-free cake, but it was organic to my design. I like sharing good things with people. I am a teacher at heart. I love Young Living oils and would buy them and share them, even if I was not getting paid to do so. Finally, I found a community that takes personal development, philanthropy, and education seriously, and makes a fun adventure out it.

Young Living is a multilevel marketing company. What does that mean? Well for Young Living, it means our founder Gary Young, decided that the best way to get these amazing essential oils and products into the hands of consumers, is by the hands and teaching of other consumers who use and love them. Using essential oils and understanding the importance of living a chemical free lifestyle takes some learning, and having a community you can learn from, just makes sense. So, Young Living compensates consumers for sharing their products. 

I have traveled more since working with Young Living than ever before. I love this! I would have never imagined myself spending my summer vacation time in Utah or Idaho, but because the company paid for me to go, I did. During the retreats, I visited YL farms, met other crazy oilers like myself, went river rafting for the first time, and was amazed by the beauty of an area, I probably would have never seen, if not for this opportunity.

In addition to the organization trips, my YL income has made it possible for my family to take a family vacation the last 3 years debt free. We’ve spent a week in a beach house, a week at Disney, and a week in Chicago. What’s more, we have been able to live more comfortably financially the rest of the year too. And because of the knowledge we have about supporting our bodies with essential oils, we have also enjoyed these years with improved wellness.

I also had the opportunity to go to an Oola Conference and work out what a balance life looks like for me and my family. This has changed how I see and approach life and has made everything I do better. Although Oola is not solely affiliated with YL, my team encouraged and paid for me to attend. Living well and on purpose is a lifestyle that is well supported by my Young Living community.

Like the oils, I get to share the business aspect of Young Living too. It is really a great opportunity to see people begin a journey to wellness while earning money and building dreams, simply because you took the time to show them how to do so. The community with whom I have the privilege to work alongside helped me get where I am through guidance, instruction, and support. I believe that we are all committed to serving others first and constantly do the work to grow, learn, and be led by our Creator, to do what He has called us to do for others through this company.

If you’re wondering how to get started, contact me. Another great opportunity to learn about all of the amazing aspects of Young Living is to attend the international convention in June. This is one of those educational adventures I told you about and you will not be sorry! This organization has been life-changing. I’d love to share it with you!

With Young Living, you really do have the opportunity to live better! Join us.

Visit with us in person at our yearly Education Expo:

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Medicine: the good, the bad, and the ugly.


I have been off the grid a couple of weeks dealing with a strange but semi-serious issue. I have also gone back and forth about sharing this issue with our Young Living community. Mostly, because it’s personal, but also because the nature of the issue isn’t generally appropriate for social media. With that said, you have been warned, this may be TMI.

13 years ago, after the birth of my daughter I had an IUD inserted. Immediately following insertion, I knew it was a bad idea. I wanted it out, but I waited until the 6 week follow-up appointment, to see if I would change my mind. I had not.

However, when the doctor attempted to remove it, she could not find the strings. I was scheduled for a procedure to locate it in the uterus; it was not in there. The doctor’s final word was that the device must have fallen out.

I still felt like something was not right, but had no medical proof or means to do anything about it. I had discomfort, even through another pregnancy, and hormonal irregularity, for years to follow.

Last week, 13 years following that procedure, I went to the ER with pain in my right side, that had replaced the previous discomfort. A CT scan revealed that missing IUD attached to an inflamed appendix. The doctor removed both. A few days later, I was re-admitted with further complications, and had a 3 night stay to correct the situation.

Yes, really.

So why am sharing all of this?

I regularly teach about the importance of listening to our bodies. This is a great example of why this is so very important. I didn’t know enough thirteen years ago to advocate for myself or demand better answers.

I do now.

Every step of the way, this time, I have asked questions and been involved in my care. I am using my oils for my immune and emotional support. Overall, I am just really relieved that the discomfort in my side was not in my imagination.

I am puzzled as to why my medical professionals, dismissed it for so many years. But I am absolutely more confident in my ability to assess when something is not right with my body.

At one point, I even began avoiding the doctor and finding alternative ways to heal. I’m glad this happened, because I have learned a lot about nutrition and supplements to support my body. However, there are times when I need a doctor and the fact that I hesitate to seek treatment is probably unsafe.

So, I write this post to urge you to always listen to your body. As an oiler, I am not anti-medicine. I have been surrounded by good caring medical professionals the for the last two weeks and I am grateful beyond measure.

I do believe we should all be educated consumers, who work to find doctors who will value our questions and requests regarding our healthcare. We need these professionals on our sides.

However, I will never blindly trust any food, drug, or FDA approved medical device. Anything I put in my body or in my family’s body will need to be researched and ultimately approved by me. If you’re wondering if my issue is a rare one, just google IUD lawsuits. It’s a sad but real problem. These devices are still on the market and used by people I love.

I can also tell you that it is very easy to get medication in hospitals and at doctors offices. But the benefits long-term are not always what we need. With each prescription, I sit pen in hand, asking about the side effects and necessity of each. I have said no to several drug suggestions that were not pertinent to my recovery but merely for resting. I replaced my resting meds with my oils and have done well.

Over the years, I had to learn to discern the difference between healing meds and symptom stoppers. I am grateful to be a part of a community that makes wellness and education a priority. Otherwise, I may have accepted the false diagnosises, meds, and side-effects, for my condition which was actually a foreign object.

I appreciate your prayers as I heal and get back out there!

Chemical Free Skin Care

Have you tried Young Living Essential Oils for your skincare needs? If not, you are missing out on a luxurious, chemical-free experience! These oils have been used throughout history to keep skin healthy and radiant.

The skin is our largest organ. This means unhealthy skin is often a result of illness or toxic overload inside the body. Likewise, everything that touches our skin also has the potential to enter our bodies. So, due to our bodies natural give and take relationship with the world around us and it’s portrayal of our internal health, good food, hydration, chemical free environments, moisturizing, and cleansing, all contribute not only to healthy skin but healthy living. Hormonal balance and stress reduction will also improve the appearance of skin.

Take a look at some of the skin benefits of the oils featured above:

Frankincense- anti-inflamatory, antiseptic, anti-aging, and scar prevention.

Patchouli- tightens loose skin, prevents wrinkles, UV protection, and reduces puffy appearance in the skin.

Myrrh- helps with wrinkles, chapped, cracked, and inflamed skin.

Geranium- blemishes, eliminates toxins, may balance sebum, and improves the look of pale skin.

Carrot Seed- wrinkles, sunburn, and dryness.

Manuka- chafing, rashes, oily skin, and mild sunburn.

Thankfully, in addition to supporting the skin, essential oils support all of the systems in the body for whole body health. Products that are filled with toxic chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, overload the liver and kidneys, and are often carcinogenic. Curious if your products contain these types of toxic ingredients? Take a look at the label and look for aluminum, alcohol, DEA/TEA, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Talc, or Parabens (Poepping, 2015).

Young Living Oils are also a cost effective way to care for your skin. Each 15 ml bottle of YL oil contains approximately 250-300 drops of the highest quality oil you can buy. One drop a day in your palm and dispersed over the skin with a drop of warm water would means 9 months of skin care. Some of the more valuable oils might seem pricey, but at $73.50 for a bottle of Frankincense, the cost would be less than $9 a month. Serums can be blended for even less. Generally, a serum is 10 ml of quality carrier oil and 15 drops of YL essential oils. There are recipes all over Pinterest and in The Chemical Free Home books by Melissa Poepping, for exploring.

The YL formulated skincare line is also fantastic and last for months due to their concentration. My daughter and I share the Sherlume moisturizer and it has lasted us about 5 months. I simply add one to my Essential Reward order every 6th month, get 20% back on that product, bringing it to $5.42 per person per month. If I didn’t share it would last 10 month! Super affordable and clean skin care!

The ability to change my daily skin routine, if the need arises, is incredibly valuable to me. Stress, traveling, food choice, weather, and pollution levels, change daily, and all affect my skin, so I am grateful for my YL oils and their versatility to support my skin care needs.

 

 

 

 

References:

Higley, A. & C., (1996-2010). Quick reference guide for using essential oils (12th ed.). Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health

Poepping, M. (2015). The chemical free home. Essentially Sweet Health, LLC.

 

Dilution

One of the beauties of YL products is the potency. Dilution is an available and recommended option for many products.

Here are two examples of how I dilute.

I dilute all shower gels, hand soaps, and facial washes, 1 part product to 3 parts water,  in foaming pumps. This is a highly effective consistency for my family and a incredible value.
     Next, oils can be infused into a larger batch of carrier oil for easier application.

Here is an example of a facial serum that I mix up. It is almond oil and about 5 drops of each oil shown. This is perfect for my face this season. Next month, might be different, due to weather, diet, hormones, etc… So, the ability to easily change my blend a new batch, to meet my skincare needs is a great benefit.

There are great recipe books available. The Chemical Free Home by Melissa Poepping is my favorite.  However, learning to listen to your body, researching the benefits of certain oils, and developing what works for you and your design is a lot of fun too!