Are you feeling a bit afraid? Me too. Sometimes I walk outside and think, holy crap is all of this really going on? Are we really in a pandemic? In a month so many things… More
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Is it important to redeem something that has been lost? I suppose there are some qualifiers to that question.
If the redeeming process would bring some kind of harm to another, it would have to be well thought out and caution would be in order.
But what if certain places or certain locations, were keeping you in a bit of anxiety or turmoil when you went near them or when you thought about them?
I have been intentional about facing those very types of situations in recent years. Because of difficult situations that were going on in my life, and the choices I made during those particular times in specific locations, even the thought of the area would bring me a certain amount of stress and I would want to avoid.
Since I have been on a journey of health and wholeness, alarms go off in my mind when I feel resistance like, avoidance, toward anyone, anything, or any place. I have learned to stop and ask myself what is going on inside of me. Many times, it would be so much easier to override the pricks in my consciousness and stay busy. But I believe, as we take the courage to face “the giants” in our lives, we will find they are not giants at all just really loud naysayers who want to keep us from walking in courage and truth. Even if those naysayers come in the form of our own thoughts.
So, in that spirit, I made peace with a particular lake this week. Let me explain. I have been working on taking care of myself, giving myself what I need to create a peace reservoir. I have been taking three large pieces of paper a day to write…just so I write. I have been indulging in little things that make me happy like, a container of raspberries or a massage or a new, fun pair of socks!
So there was this particular lake that I needed to make peace with and redeem for this new chapter of my life. It is a beautiful area and I do not want the beauty to be avoided or be mingled with a residue from the past. So, just as I would prepare to have a date with my husband by making breakfast, making a carafe of coffee and a tote of applicable accessories; as well as a journal, book and Bible and head to a beautiful scenic area (okay, maybe our dates are a little different than most:), so I did, by myself, to this memorable lake.
I had so many thoughts on the way and an excitement about how God would meet me there. I was there for a good hour and half alone, writing away, enjoying my yogurt topped with berries and almonds drinking my coffee. when the first ice fisherman appeared
I know that many in our area ice fish, but I never saw the process….I actually never did see the whole process. The man dressed in Camo emerged and opened the gate of his pick -up truck to grab his auger and hammer and head down to the ice. He walked out onto the ice cautiously kind of shaking each leg as he moved slowly forward. He pulled out his auger and began to corkscrew the ice close to where he was standing. He stopped, took a thoughtful look around and realizing that the ice was too thin so he moved on. Two other sets of ice fisherman did the same thing. I guess the ice was just too thin for safe fish retrieval, good call.
Each time the fishermen would come, I would watch them for a bit and return to my writing. I wrote all kinds of things. The feelings I was having as I took in all that was going on around me. The gratefulness of being able to drive there and spend hours alone. The recognition that I was not the same person who was there years before.
While I was there, I got a text from a friend who encouraged me to listen to a podcast from Zig Ziglar on the importance of telling your story and encouraged me to continue to tell my story to help others who may find hope in it. I took the next hour to listen to that podcast and was inspired to write this very blog because of it.
So the question looms, why should we redeem? Well, I personally feel that it is a travesty to compartmentalize segments of your life as, off limits, because you abdicated something or had something taken from you. It probably stems from the spiritual foundation that God is all about redeeming.
For example, when there is a devastating forest fire and all seems lost, with in just a few years, there is a return of lush woodland and new life. Beauty from ashes.
We happen to live in an area where oil was first discovered. During the Oil Boon the creeks and streams were so polluted that it exterminated the wild life and threatened the welfare of towns who purposely built along those very waterways. The once flourishing towns became ghost villages almost overnight and the water was poisonous for years. But after years passed, the once unsafe water has become safe and crystal clean brimming with new life.
Jesus came to redeem us to God. God so loved us that He sent His son to buy us back, to recover us, to exchange His life for ours, and to convert us into His image. No matter how broken or messy our lives had become, He wants to create new life out of them, a life that matters, a life that positively affects other lives…He wants to redeem.
No area, thing, or relationship is beyond redemption. I believe, because I have seen it over and over in my life, that if I have an open mind and a willing heart, things once lost can be recovered and used for good. Just as ashes can produce life to new seedlings, broken pieces of our lives can create a whole new marvelous mosaic.
Kahle Lake was really a small redemption for me in the scheme of things but it already has a new set of memories and enthusiasm tied to it. It may take many days, months, or even years, but everything has the ability to be redeemed, used for a new purpose and bring new life.
In a new year, it is really important to step back and take inventory to see what you have to show for the 12 months you have just lived through. I relate to Agnes De Mille, especially the last year, I have been saying things like,” I am throwing everything at the wall and I am seeing what sticks.” I have been stepping out on a limb, leaping in the dark and walking by….faith.
I have really, courageously, put myself out there. I have written a book about failure and how to recover from it, and that was not with out some repercussions. I not only thought it was the right thing to do, but I thought it was what I must, absolutely do, in an effort to progress with my wholeness and help others with theirs. But because that brings with it a certain vulnerability, I have wrestled with uncertainty as to if I went about it the right way.
I have spoken at church services and events when I have been asked to, knowing that this is the direction I must ultimately blaze, and then wishing I would have said things a different way or didn’t say a particular thing.
I have come up with classes, taken them to different venues and hoped people would sign up. Many times they did. Sometimes they didn’t. I started a new forum and winced when I would walk into the room, hoping I was never the only one who showed up- I never was.
I stepped down from a few roles while picking up new ones. Seizing the opportunity with confidence in one hand and complete unbelief that I am the person speaking or the musician who was asked to play or the employee who now does intakes with patients.
It was a year of great relational tribulation piercing the very tenderest places of my heart. And it was the year that I was convinced there was no stopping now or no sitting down when there was only one way to get to the other side of my,’ living just under my potential,’ that I have put up with for far too long in my life.
I have fiercely loved when I would have rather, easily, been apathetic and I have seen the fruit that is born when you keep loving and keep forgiving.
It was a year of joy, tears, wrestling with myself and God, surrender, struggle, surrender again and fruition.
A year of leaping in the dark, getting bruised and leaping again. My mouth is quieter. My ears listen better. My feeble knees are getting stronger and my thigh muscles are becoming more defined. And, despite the dark, I am seeing more acutely and have made friends with, not completely knowing.
Thank you for reading. Blessings to you today and in your new year.
This is the Holiday Season, it is exciting and exhilarating in many ways, but for many it is filled with anxiety and depression.
I happen to be a person who loves the notorious, Hallmark, picture- perfect, movies because they always turn out the way I want them to! But that is seldom true of real life.
When there is so much going on and so much expected, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and focus on stress. It takes intentionality to be aware of the subtle blessings in life and cultivate gratefulness, especially during times of overwhelm. But that is exactly what we need to do.
We do have the ability to change. We do not have to say yes to everything that others ask us to do and we can take extra measures to carve out self care during this bustling time of year.
Here are a few suggestions:
Be intentional about eating food that makes you feel light and healthy. Start with three days this week that you will intentionally eat well and take notice of how it makes you feel physically.
Drink more water than usual. Add some lemon, lime or cucumbers to it, for an uplifting change!
Take the first 10 minutes or more of your day and pray or journal. Focus on the things you have to be thankful for. We take for granted running water, warmth, food, technology and the ability to think.
Make the decision to stretch or exercise every morning for 15 minutes and see how you feel later on in the day because of that decision.
Break out the essential oils you have laying around and pick out 2-3 that you love! Put a few drops of each into a spray bottle, fill with water, shake well and use as a room deodorizer. Remember that most essential oils are anti-viral and anti-bacterial- so it will not just brighten your mood, it will also support your immune system!
Pick out special cards for those people in your life that you need to say, “I love you”, to. Writing is very therapeutic.
Surround your self with positive music that has encouraging lyrics.
Take a walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air.
Take a bath or hot shower. Put Epsom salt in the bottom of the tub for added stress relief. Better yet, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil into the Epsom salt first. A few drops of Eucalyptus will open up the respiratory and refresh you! (In Epsom first, not straight in water as it can irritate the skin if it lays upon water alone)
Choose to say,
” I am thankful to be alive today”, even if your not feeling it, choose to focus on the gift of life.
There! Those are some ideas to jump start you and get you thinking! You have the ability to change and make this day, and everyone to follow, better than the one before!
I am right here, journeying along with you and I would love to hear from you today! Happy Holidays<3
Yesterday I had the privilege of working a long side (my husband, pictured here:), but also, another very gifted and intellectual man, Dr. John Neyman. The seminar was held at Cornerstone Church of Clarion who warmly and authentically welcomed us to share. John wrote a book called; “The Neyman Strategy”, out of his life long career of counseling people with various issues, namely, anxiety. He shared the information from that book and more, in his seminar, “A Day Of Grace”.
If you get the chance to schedule this doctor of Theology, Psychology and Behavioral Specialist in a town near you, which I highly recommend, my husband and I will most likely be supplying the music for the event and sharing a bit about our story.
Dr. Neyman’s over arching theme is; change your thinking, change your life. His passion comes from his own life journey, where he walked in dark trenches himself and met God there. That led him on a path of faith and a voracious desire to become educated in every way so that he could grow and help others.
He shared many stories of the transformations that happened in seemingly hopeless cases. He once asked the City Of Pittsburgh to give him their most difficult behavioral case, and they did! It didn’t happen over night, but freedom eventually came to the tormented person who others would have written off.
God says in His Word in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Science backs up God’s Word for this! In recent years, the neuroscience field has proven that new neural pathways can be created when we meditate on positive, life giving thoughts and subsequent actions.
One of the strategies that Dr. John teaches in his book and at his seminar is, meditating on scripture for 7 minutes a day in 1-minute increments.
We are given second, third, forth, chances when we apprehend this tool! How am I so certain? Well, God did this very thing for me after I came through a great challenge and subsequent failure. I could have been left in depression and in the bondage of guilt and shame, but God lead me by His grace into His path of light and life. I wrote about this journey in my book; That’s Not Who You Are.
The very method of renewal that Dr. John spoke about for hours yesterday, is the same method I used to recover from failure. I spent hours and days, studying scripture, meditation on it, writing it down, writing songs and blogs about it, speaking it, memorizing it, trusting it, and trusting God- not my circumstances. It transformed me. It didn’t happen in a minute, it wasn’t the microwaved, drive-through version, it was deep, wide and continues to sustain me.
I was able to share a bit about that at yesterday’s seminar and connect with people who have been touched by the pain of hopelessness. I share how God is a God of hope, second chances and new life! I share how God made Himself so real and intimate to me in such a dark time of my life. How He brought others to surround me along the way as I surrendered my control to Him.
If that is not the God you know, I invite you to rediscover Him again, through His son, Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and He does not disappoint! No matter what you are going through, addiction, depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure…He has every answer and has given us the tools to illuminate our lives. There is nothing that you could have ever done or do, that He will not welcome you with open arms when you come to Him for help. He delights in mercy.
It is to Him, I am grateful to have the privilege and the honor to work with and along side so many amazing people<3
To inquire about a Dr. John Neyman event, call: 724-712-9449
Who doesn’t need, uplifting peace, these days? Anxiety proves to be a growing epidemic in our world causing ill health, among all age groups and genders, in a multitude of ways.
I have recently created a new product called, Uplifting Peace. One of the facilities I work through is called, Peaces For You-Therapeutic Massage Spa. I created this fragrance with the owner, Kammi Stiller, and her clients, in mind.
For this particular blend, I started with a substantial oil….Neroli. According to Eden’s Gardens, Neroli was named in 1680 when the princess of Nerole perfumed her gloves, stationery, shawls, and bathwater with the scent. For centuries, Neroli has been added to cosmetic preparations, colognes, and perfumes. Today it is one of the ingredients in Eau de Cologne, a classic cologne.
Neroli is pricey, but worth it. It is derived from the flowers of the bitter orange plant. It has a sweet and bitter orange aroma. One drop of Neroli is all that is needed to permeate a blend or fill a room with it’s exotic, calming fragrance.
Once I chose Neroli as my base essential oil, I then added the essential oil, sweet orange. Sweet orange softens the bitter aroma of Neroli without overshadowing it. Sweet orange also adds the “uplifting” chemical element of the peace blend. I then blended these together in fractionated, odorless, coconut oil to deliver optimum aroma and quick absorption.
Neroli is known for helping stabilize high blood pressure, inducing sleep, quelling indigestion, treating anxiety, headaches and even colds.
If you love citrus aromas and wish to have, Uplifting Peace, this is the blend for you! Please contact me with any inquiries you have about Neroli, or finding ways to insert Aromatherapy into your life! I would love to hear from you today:)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
What would we do without this verse…this truth? I think I would have given up and died, honestly. At a very specific time in my life that I had a major failure, I repeated this verse often. In the months that followed that failure, I would scribble; “there is therefore now no” on slips of paper to keep the truth constantly in front of me. It was so impactful because I did not trust myself to continue to make right choices and I condemned myself for the former choices I had made. I was very in touch with what Paul wrote here in Romans 7:15-25;
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do. If then I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do: but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. How if I do what I will not to do, it is not longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
While I was in sin, making ultimate choices to sin, I would will to do good, set my mind to do good and then do evil. I take heart in Paul’s example and so should you. Even though he was dedicated to serving God, he fell short of God’s moral standards. He was conflicted, a place I found myself many times. But as he clearly states in verse 8:1, we are free from the law of sin when we walk according to the Spirit, remembering that we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is who started turning to, continually, for my “escape”. I chose to agree with the truth that Jesus was the only power able to save me from all the lies of the devil would tempt me with and all the feelings that accompanied them. Jesus is where our freedom is found, one second, one minute and one day at a time.
Father of mercy, Jesus savior, Holy Spirit of truth., continue to walk with me in freedom through Jesus Christ who has made me free. I set my mind, will and emotions on the Spirit and I pray for the Spirit to keep me. I desire freedom from my bondage and complete healing. I look to You, Spirit, to provide all that I need according to your rices in glory. Help me to continually turn to You for relationship, attention, affections, strength, peace and love. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.