Lettres, Ladies, and Libraries

 

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This past weekend Honest Aromas was a vendor at the Oil City Belles Lettres Club bazaar. It occurred to me that I didn’t know why the Belles Lettres started. I mean, I used to take my children to their building downtown to perform for the Jr. Schubert club, and my husband and I held formal youth group dinners there, but I was not sure what the ladies at the Belles Lettres actually did.

Well as it turns out, the founders of this club were amazing!

The Belles Lettres Club was formed for the purpose of studying literature and maintaining a library (the name Belles Lettres comes from a French phrase for fine writing, and is a general term for a type of well-crafted literature). An active member of Belles Lettres, Cora Hull Ramage, began corresponding with Andrew Carnegie of Pittsburgh. She requested that Mr. Carnegie donate money for a library. He agreed to donate $44,000 to build the library, provided that the citizens provide a site and guarantee $3,000 annually to maintain it.

Andrew Carnegie once said, “A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” Over his lifetime, Mr. Carnegie contributed an estimated 150 million dollars to nearly three thousand libraries in the United States and Great Britain. Oil City was fortunate to be one of the recipients, but the library hasn’t received any Carnegie money since.

CarnegieLibrary-300x199The women of the Belles Lettres Club went to work and raised over $11,000 to purchase the present site at the corner of Central Avenue and West Front Street.

On July 6, 1904, the Carnegie Library of Oil City opened its doors with five thousand books that were donated by the Belles Lettres Club.*

WOW! You go ladies!

 

*Information from http://www.oilcitylibrary.org/index.php/information/history/

It’s The Little Things…

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This vase may look rather large in the picture, but it’s only a one-ounce cobalt bottle filled with tiny Bluets I picked out of the grass in my yard! I am presently reading Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and this definitely made my ongoing list of a thousand gifts God has given me!!

Carefully picking these little beauties and trimming them to fit in my little aromatherapy bottle delighted my soul. I presented them to my daughter Gabrielle as we were working at Honest Aromas yesterday, and her face erupted with joy at the fairy sized bouquet!

This is the bottom line in life: gratefulness=fully living. We have to slow down and smell the flowers. We have to stop and take it all in. And many times, we have to make ourselves see the good in our own lives. I am thankful I can read and I am thankful I can write. There are many people who cannot. I am thankful my olfactory system works and I can smell the oils I blend with. There are many people who cannot. I am thankful I can walk and bend and use scissors to cut flowers, and even get a well deserved pain in a muscle from overuse. Some people have no limbs. Gratefulness=fully living.

On an aromatherapy note, you do not have to smell an aroma to glean the benefits from essential oils. It is truly affecting your body at a chemical level as it works its way through your olfactory and circulatory system!

But for those of us who can enjoy the odor, it is delicious! I put drops of essential oil in everything, a small bottle of water to mist the rugs and rooms of my home (Lemon), my shampoo (Lavender and Rosemary), my face oil (Frankincense, Tea Tree and Lavender mixed in a carrier of course), etc. I love walking into my home (or driving in my essential oil-permeated car) and being uplifted and relaxed by the immune system-building oils that I breathe in!

It’s spring, there is new life popping up everywhere! We can have new life in ourselves as well. We do not have to stay the same. It’s the little things in life, cared about and cultivated and mixed with gratitude, that make life fully alive!

Walks and Aromas!

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This pic was taken from our favorite bike trail. Spring is bursting with beauty and aromas! I love the smell of the earth this time of year. Many times it reminds me of the smell of vetiver!

According to Pompeii Organics, vetiver has a very earthy scent. It is incredibly thick, taking its time to come out of the bottle. That slowness is an amusing parallel to vetiver’s effects on the body: it is calming and sedating, and has a grounding/soothing effect on emotions.

Vetiver is also pain-relieving, antifungal, and antispasmodic. It stimulates the immune system and its decongestant, expectorant properties make it good for colds.

If you are interested in purchasing a sample of this oil, let us know—we can’t wait to share it with you!

What Are You Thinking?

 

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Thinking: we all do it. Some of us are better at hiding it than others, but no matter who you are, the things you think about will affect all of your life choices. We have amazing minds, and I don’t think we can be reminded enough of the benefits of renewing our minds.

I have written a lot of blog posts on this idea over the last year. The following is what I wrote one morning on my Facebook page. Although the focus is on shame, it ultimately goes back to what we think about ourselves:

According to the book Unashamed by Christine Caine, shame-based thinking says, ” I am not ________ enough” (Thin enough, smart enough, victorious enough, successful enough, Christian enough, a good enough parent, a good enough spouse, etc.). But those are constant lies that many of us have believed. It isn’t what God says about us. It isn’t the truth. In Genesis 2:25, “Adam and his wife were naked and they knew no shame.” That was what God created. Jesus took shame on the cross, and His Blood will wash away all of our shame if we let Him work in our lives. Run to Him! He ALWAYS wants to bring wholeness and healing to His children no matter what you have done or where you have been. He loves you so much that He died on a cross for your sin. You ( and I ) are no shock to Him! If you walk around continually defeated, feeling like you are missing the mark, remind yourself of what He says about you. You are completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Him! He is the one you are living for, so His approval is the only one that matters. He is love. Let Him free you of your shame so you can be the person He created you to be. ❤

Do you walk around continually defeated? Do you question everything about yourself and all the decisions you make? Consider taking time to question what lies you are believing about yourself. It cannot happen overnight, and it cannot happen when you are rushed. But as you take quiet time and reflection and begin to ask yourself hard questions, you can be free from these untruths that have been holding you back in life.

Here are five essential oils that can help clear the mind as well:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Juniper Berry
  • Peppermint
  • Sage or Clary Sage

As an aromatherapist, I regularly use and carry all five. I am here on this journey with you! You are not alone and you are loved!

Are you interested in trying these five mind-balancing oils? Have you experienced the power of renewing your mind and thought patterns? We want to hear from you today!

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

Perspective

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I think this is a great reminder for all of us, not just how we see the people in our lives, but in how we look at ourselves! Perspective matters.

I’ve been meditating on the fact that I am deeply loved, fully accepted, completely forgiven, and fully pleasing to God. I can often forget that when I see myself through the filter of my mistakes. But if I look at myself through that truthful perspective, I tend to see others through it as well.

Perspective and perception have even more to do with holistic health than what supplements and essential oils you use. You can be literally “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

So today, take some time to encourage those around you in their strengths. Think about people’s strengths and tell them about it! We all get encouraged when we hear those things.

What are your strengths? What are your loved ones’ strengths? We want to hear from you today!

Refocusing

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What do you do when you run into someone you would really rather not see?

We all find ourselves in situations where we would rather not run into that person. Maybe it’s just because we’re having an off day and would honestly prefer not to run into any person! Or maybe an unfortunate circumstance happened, and there is still some friction in the relationship. Or perhaps, the problem is within yourself, and you haven’t made amends in your heart toward that person.

I’ve had many such opportunities in the past year, and like it or not, I’ve had to face the music more than once. In my   situation, I caused harm. I asked for forgiveness and some of the people I hurt have extended it to me. Others are on their own journey with it, and I respect that. But what do you do if you come face to face with someone and you would prefer not to?

Here are some of the things I have put into practice when met with these uncomfortable situations:

  • I breathe deeply through my nose and out through my mouth.
  • I release endorphins and serotonin by giving a big, beautiful smile! ( Or in some cases; gently smile, nod and in both cases, keep walking.)
  • I lift my thoughts to God and choose to love Him most.
  • I turn my thoughts to my husband and the journey we have invested a lot of time and energy into.
  • I turn my thoughts to my children and how I want to support them and be the best Julia I can be for them.
  • I realize if I always avoid awkward situations, I make a practice of hiding, and I do not want to hide.
  • I feel the pain. I acknowledge that this is reality, and it hurts!
  • I realize the next time I see this person it will not hurt me as much as it does today. Every day I am getting stronger.
  • I choose to be love, be grace, and be beautiful.
  • I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and use me right where I am.
  • I remind myself that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to God, and that this is the basis of my self-worth, no matter what others may choose to think about me.

 

There are times when you run into someone you would rather not see, and it’s really hard to recover from it, even if you’ve taken some steps ahead of time to prepare. If this happens, you may need to take several days to recover, and that’s OK. Some difficult situations are, well, difficult. Maybe they simply overwhelm your mind. Don’t beat yourself up. And if complete downtime is required, find ways to find times for yourself where nothing is expected of you so you can refresh.

Facing a situation is refocusing your thoughts.

I have followed these steps over and over in my mind when I run into a difficult situation with a person I would rather not see. I realize that in the long run, going through the situation is better than avoiding the situation. Then I give God what I can’t control, knowing He can work all things for good, and what’s more, He wants to!

I hope these ideas are helpful to you, as well. Sometimes being healthy means knowing yourself and your limits, and it means being thoughtful enough to plan ahead for your own mental and emotional well-being. Life is a journey, and it’s okay to make little maps to help yourself navigate it. 🙂

What are some ways you refocus your thoughts in a difficult situation? I want to hear from you today!