Monday, March 9, 2015

9/52


Girl is waving & clapping, saying all sorts of "hiiis" and "Mama" and "Dada", loves to giggle and wrastle with sissy. Shakers & singing too! Such a sweet girl.


Always special, always spunky and sparkly. Loves dressing up so much right now! Mondays you're starting at Outside Kids- I think we like that full day of independence to make the rest of the week that much sweeter.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

:: the scientist in me ::


Image via iheartphotograph
Much of my postings lately have been of the essential oils variety, sorry.  And maybe you think I am jumping on the crazy essential oils train, but I have always had an apothecary in me.  As I see it, studying, learning, sharing healthy knowledge as I learn it could'nt ever be a bad thing.  As Gemini, I have always identified with the twin in my astrolgical sign.  Lately, I have begun to see this as a gift rather than a curse (currently channeling scientist-musician rather than often-thought happy girl-angry/sad girl).  So, with the love in my heart, I'm waking up the scientist in me who's been hibernating for years!  (If you are annoyed and looking for more musical posts, take heart, we have an inspiring interview with the One, the ONLY Caroline Keys coming up very soon!)

Until then, we heard this song at our friends house recently and I can't (won't) stop listening.  Love!



And now, a little background.  I guess you could take it back to my preschool days, playing outside in the Spring and Fall in my backyard.  I loved to fill little bottles with water and plants, telling myself of their natural properties.  Last year, it was SO nice to have three different kinds of mint growing in the garden of our lovely Bitterroot rental (I misssss that house!)

Anyway.... flashforward to my 6th grade science teacher, Mr. Gianotti who taught us Astronomy.  My time in that classroom was so uplifting and encouraging and opened up so many possibilities- linking ancient history to the future.  It was incredible!  At this time, I was feeling a very strong pull to go to the moon.  My Dad's childhood friend was working for NASA and I dreamed of stepping onto the moon every night.  I dreamed of careening through Space in a spaceship.  I would paint Planets, listen to The Planets, dreaming big, wild dreams.  Someday, I would explore space.


Enter my fear of veins, doctors, physical testing.... and as I got more realistic with my dream, I learned of the extensive tests astronauts had to go through to leave the planet and became discouraged.  While emersing myself into my language & music classes, I casually enjoyed the rest of my science classes in High School, and didn't take one aside from a beginning physics class in Bozeman.  During college, I dated a forestry major who would tell me about species of trees and soil and other natural wonders.  It was fun to hike around & learn about the science of nature as we breathed and touched it.  I think Science is one of the coolest things to share with others.



Somewhere along the way, I came to see myself as a musician/music teacher and that was that. While I love being called as a music teacher in society, I want to keep learning about the human body, the natural world around us, and share to create more health & connectivity through it all.  Wake up the scientist in me, the yogi, the guru.  Balancing my yin & yang.  Yup, I know I am getting crunchy.  I have been reading more about the lunar phases, and trying to remember some basic chemistry in relation to essential oils.  Learning about the seasons and their relationship to our bodies and cycles in life, finding more about Chinese medicine, becoming intrigued in the long past of humans taking care of themselves.

Our lives are such a gift!  This very planet we live on, these amazing vessels that hold our souls, are beautiful mysteries.  While I love teaching music a few days a week, and want to find time to play more, I am also feeling this urge to settle something in my health this year.  To finally put some bulls to rest and feel more comfortable with me.  It is exciting to know that I am choosing to pursue peace through cleansing and seeking knowledge, I can expand on it and share with my daughters as they grow up.

With this relatively new obsession propensity toward essential oils, their Daddy has been encouraging me to "check out a book or something" from the library- challenging me to defend essential oils in a scientific context, rightfully so since I've been spending our hard-earned money on them.  The only aromatherapy books they have in MT libraries are on hold like 4 times, and I decided I just wanted one to savor & devour with a highlighter and some pens.

We chose, "The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils the Science of Advanced Aromatherapy".  I am interested in Essential Oils in fighting disease in my own body and for loved ones if I can help as well.  This book just came in the mail and I am just bursting at the seams to dig in with a highlighter & a notebook.


I'm gonna slow-slice my health journey here as an archive.  I know that I'm not the only one going through some health challenges, so somewhat candidly, I'm going to share about my issues here might encourage others get to a better place in their lives.  Yes, a longer post coming (when my new YL delivery arrives) about a cleanse, but first a few found passages from the introduction:

"Aromatherapy is not a luxury.  It is an inexpensive way to maintain health and to treat many diseases naturally."

"There is no substitute for cultivating an understanding of the natural way our soul and body works and how that precious natural balance can be maintained."

"We will not discover the true benefits of essential oils unless we explore the real beauty that lies in their authenticity."

The book then "gives us many answers to deeply understand the co-evolution of plants & human beings" and "continues professional validation of essential oils as serious healthcare products."  The author goes through the foundations, the scientific basics, knowing the authenticity & safety of oils, and healing with essential oils- from how to apply and skincare to advanced methods such as hepatitis and cancer.

An interesting website to check out if you are interested in oils is OilTestimonials.Com.  You have to register, so that they can have verification and ensure quality testimonies.  Once you log in, you can search for any oil or ailment and find some really encouraging stories.  There's an option for people to be contacted through their testimonies, so you could also have the opportunity to ask someone more questions about someone's health experience if you are going through something similar.

I am choosing to believe that anything is possible. We may all have one career or another, but it doesn't mean that other lines of knowledge from science to a language or an instrument or a trade, need to die.  We were all given beautiful minds, we can let more light out of them.

My challenge is to convince my husband of the validity of what he's considering a crock, hopefully through making bigger, needed changes in myself with the help of the oils.  More soon.

//

From "Stellarscapes" by Oriol Angrill Jordà- this artist is so beautiful, check out the site!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

essential oils // everyday essentials



My first, first-hand observation of the medicinal power of essential oils was last year when we contracted the icky hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which really threw a wrench in the end of an already-stressed, busy, tired, pregnant time in my life.  My music teacher friend sent a premade mix of teatree, lavendar, and fractionated coconut oil, I sprayed it on the bumps which were driving us crazy like chicken pox, and they stopped itching and literally disappeared with regular application in two days.  It was empowering to me, in that stressful time, to be able to spray something natural and gentle on my sweet toddler knowing I was helping us feel better without strange side effects.

Even before that time, I've been using oils like lavendar, lemon, tea tree (melaluca), rosemary, and lemongrass for my own ailments like stress, skin issues, yeast infections, and focus. I have been following a few bloggers and friends who utilize Young Living oils and have been drawn to them as a lifestyle change for our family.  Maybe you've seen essential oils online or in the news lately too- for everything from eliminating unnessecary toxins from our lives, to natural pain-relief and sickness treating (and saving on over-the-counter medicines), to relaxing naturally for sleep, etc.

These holistic, plant-derived oils have been used throughout centuries and civilizations to boost wellness.  While these oils may become "essential" to one's lifestyle, they are not named in that sense.  They are the * essence  * of a plant, the immune system of a plant, which our bodies know how to use.  Wonderful!



I don't love the idea of giving my kids high-fructose corn-syrup with their medicine or eating food off a surface that's been cleaned with chemicals.  I do love the idea of giving them natural, gentle oils to help them feel better when they have an ear infection coming on, a cut, respiratory issues, or just need to relax.  Starting new rituals like rubbing my loves' feet before bed, I'm finding more rhythm with these new rituals in my life to better balance of how I spend the rest of my time, which is filling up quickly.

So!  Here's my rundown of our shiny new medicine/utility cabinet & ways I've tried using it all.


Essential Oils are generally used three ways:

  • Topically- 
    • use a drop or two on body area affected (or on the feet or hands for the VitaFlex reflexology benefits) 
    • when in doubt, dilute using a carrier oil like coconut oil, sesame seed oil, apricot oil, there are tons of options.  Diluting doesn't lessen the affectiveness of the oil, just makes it easier for our body to absorb.
    • on children, do your research on which oils are safe for them, and always dilute using a carrier oil like coconut oil
    • avoid eyes with all oils! If you get oil in your eye, use a carrier like coconut oil to cleanse, not water.

  • Digested
    • use sparingly and drink out of a glass or a steel bottle
    • cook & bake with the oils using small amounts
    • oils can break down plastic over time which would be yucky, make sure to use ceramic, glass, steel, etc. 
    • I do not recommend digesting any other oils other than Young Living

  • Respirated
    • use a diffuser (do not use in a humidifier)
    • put a drop or two in your hands and inhale
    • place a drop or two in the bottom of a warm shower
    • breathe in the bottle   
*These are powerful, and you don't need much for them to work.  Start small and reapply for best results.  

Ok, and here's a breakdown of the oils I am using now via the Everyday Essentials Kit!




Singles:

Lemon- drinking warm lemon water can be great for digestion and for a looming cold.  Lemon is cleansing, great for adding to a spray water bottle for cleaning, dropping in smelly shoes, adding to laundry or a diy beauty treatment like a honey facewash.  A drop between the palms, rubbed together and inhaled is a nice way to wake up if you're dragging from a sleepless night or just need a lift me up in the late afternoon.  A drop or two is also really tasty in a homemade icing!

Lavender is the "swiss-army knife" of oils.  When in doubt, use lavender.  The scent of Young Living lavender is amazing!  This oil is gentle and great for babies, relaxing, and focusing. Any skin irritation around here is generally soothed with lavender, and we have sensitive skin.  Great for small cuts and bruises.  Lovely to diffuse, too.  

Peppermint is one of the oldest & mostly highly-regarded herbs for aiding in digestion.  This uplifting oil can help with headaches, reducing fever, comfort for a cough, helping alertness, soothing an upset tummy, clearing sinuses, helping with stinky breath...  It is 4 times more concentrated than peppermint extract, and you can use it in your baking, too!  Personally, I love to put one drop in my palms, rub together, and breathe in.

Melaluca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) is great for cleansing skin.  You can put it on a zit that is starting, add to your skincare recipes to liven up skin (I have a great facial mask made by a friend with this oil in it), add to your shampoo for dandruff, add to your oral hygiene (if you are oil-pulling, this oil, thieves, frank, and lemon are all nice additions), for ear-pain, you can rub behind the ear with a carrier oil, or rub up and down spine to support a the immune system.  

Frankincense is obviously an ancient oil, as we know from the Three Kings.  I didn't expect to fall in love with this oil as much as I have, but I love it!  Frank is great for helping with alertness and focus, and aleviating nervous energy.  Great for conjestion in kiddos and just calming them down in general.  I have been using it on my skin- a drop or two in my palms and over my face makes it feel so soft.  It is reportedly good for scars & stretch marks, as well, so  I've been putting it on my belly-button (I have a stretched-out pregnancy scar from my old piercing).

sorting Frankincense gums

Blends:

Thieves (blend of cloves, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary) I am in love with the scent and taste of this oil.  I have been drinking it to keep this cold at bay and it's helped me feel much better.  Thieves is an anti-septic, and cleans amazingly! (You can also buy thieves cleaning products through YL).  Many people use this on their feet to strengthen the immune system when there is yuckiness going around (similar to the doTerra OnGuard blend).  Thieves is named after a group of apothecary/thieves who used this blend while stealing from people during the Black Plague.  They were pardoned for sharing this life-saving blend.



Joy (blend of bergamot, ylang ylang, geranium, coriander, lemon, tangerine, jasmine, roman chamomile, palmarosa & rose oils) It takes a bit to get used to this scent, but  during this time-of-the-month, have been massaged three drops in a bit of coconut oil on my belly to help with cramps.  Adding a drop of Citrus Fresh on my chest & helped with feeling refreshed and a little less like holding back the floodgates.  I am loving this scent combined with peppermint, too!  Very uplifting.

Purification (blend of citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, melalueca, lavandin (a lavender hybrid), and myrtle) This one is known for being an insect repellent (I can't wait to try this summer), and for difusing unpleasant odors (put in the laundry, garbage can, shoes, dishwasher, etc).  I tried some dilluted in coconut oil when James had a tickle in his throat.  It seemed to help!

Stress Away (blend of copaiba, lime, cedarwood, vanilla, ocotea, lavendar) this one has a yummy scent and can be massaged, diffused or ingested. I know many people drink it in their coffee or as tea. I have been rubbing this on my feet, neck & temples before going to bed... I am a teeth clencher/grinder and it helps relax me. 

Pan Away (blend of wintergreen, Heilichrysm, peppermint & clove) this one is amazing in a carrier oil for sore muscles, growing pains, cramps, headaches.  After a long run, I rub on my hips so they don't ache.  


*the current bonus oil is Citrus Fresh (blend of orange, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon & spearmint) is delicious in water, smells amazing diffused, and a little sniff from the bottle is so uplifting!  It's complimentary to many of the other oils as well, and is rich the antioxidant d-limonine. Citrus is said to help stimulate creativity (lovely diffusing while we were painting the other day) and to help relax & uplift. I agree and citrus is my favorite of fruits and scents.  I always think of Grandma's Clinique Happy!



Speaking of diffuser, we have been using ours non-stop.  It's really easy to fill & clean and has a few different settings like a light, intermittent diffusal, and a quiet relaxing sound.  We usually leave it in the girls room, but the other night we had it in our room and the sound on the intermittent diffusal helped relax & put me to sleep.

Oil drop icons via OilCollective

//

Why I chose Young Living rather than another brand:

 Young Living has such a strong reputation for purest of oils and most specialized blends, which Ive hear over & over by word of mouth & online.  Young Living practices a "Seed to Seal" promise from seed, to cultivate, distill, test, and seal- they are in full control throughout the whole process, utilizing a Scientific Council, working with Farms worldwide.  

Many other brands (most that youll see at the grocery or for cheap on Amazon) use additives which is why they can sell with such low prices. If you are hoping to injest oils or use them on small children, make sure to go with Young Living.

I had purchased a few doTerra oils from a friend & compared with the YL when we received them in January. I noticed that the YL oils are more concentrated.  All you had to do was smell-- I even had James try blindfolded, too.  Young Living has a huge selection and so much knowledge & experience within the company.

Theraputic-grade essential oils, like YL & doTerra have the highest frequency, and therefore are the most effective at working against infection.  Read more about that here.  

Young Living may seem expensive, but when I think of this essential oils journey in terms of improving our livelihood & longevity, I feel much most comfortable with choosing the best.  Plus, the wholesale prices are a great deal, especially with the perks of being a part of this company.

If you are interested in these oils, check with your local healthfood store if they carry Young Living.  Go in and smell them, try one on your wrists.  Maybe buy one!  Then, once you sign up as a wholesale member, you will save so much!  




Want to sign up?  I would love to help you along with your journey and sponsor you, answering and referring your questions to info that will help you.

{I am also happy to order a product for you to try and share my wholesale price.}

---->> I am learning everyday why so many are saying these oils have everything from hormone-balancing benefits, to help with allergies & sinus infections, to natural ways to detoxify your home.  The life-force of a plant combined with our bodies, it makes sense and why not unlock the possibilities for you & your family's lives.  I hope to be sporadically posting about our journey with essential oils between my music teaching and mothering on an extra Instagram account: snowmooneo, so if you do feel so inclined, follow along there, too!



//

(The above suggestions are for Young Living Oils only and have not been evaluated by the FDA.  There is a big pendulum of oils companies out there, as far as cost and quality, additives, shelf-life, etc.  I am obviously not doctor, nurse, or healer, just trying to help ease mine & my family's ailments naturally, and want to share a bit about what I'm learning as I go! xoxo)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A reflection of who you are...

favorite oil for cleaning
... we are listening to Pea Green Boat, and it's Saturday again.  I like this line from a song: "a reflection of who you are."  I need to write.  The weeks are seeming to barrel by leaving little time for personal blogging during the week.  I'm logging 10 hours a week on Glacier Park Boat Company work, learning more about wordpress as I go and starting to expand to other online tasks for them, too.  Plus my music-teaching/outreach schedule is starting to fill up more which I love, but I am working on maintaining a balance in the home (hopefully an even better one than before)



I'm striving to instigate more circles of productivity in all areas of my life.  More regular spurts of activity, uninterrupted, to be more productive.  Running, cleaning, (dreaming about getting up earlier too but still haven't made that one happen).  As we become busier, we're needing more routine, to save time.  Something as simple as a planner which I haven't used in so long, is becoming very very necessary.

love the light on evening runs


Driving to and from North Valley Music school or my longer Friday commutes to music schools, I dream of the connection we all have, this web of people and lives.  I think about the brief interractions we have with some people, and how they can change us forever.

When I was pregnant with Josey (and Eliza), many of my friends would share the stories of their friends who'd had babies with me.  One woman I heard a lot about, and loved meeting was Tamara.  The mom of 5, she loved homebirth and midwifery.  While I wasn't quite ready for a homebirth at that point in time, I stored the bits and pieces Tamara shared about her experiences with me.  She was so kind and open and gave me confidence in a time of newness with my pregnancy and motherhood.

Last week, Tamara lost her first daughter Savannah in a car accident, at 21.  Her niece and Savannah's best friend was killed, too.  The news shook me in my moods last week, as that sudden news of death is always jarring.  Last Fall in the Florence family, a beloved student/athlete/musician/role model was killed in a car accident during his Sophomore year of high school.  I still think about him everyday.  Why do these things happen?  James reminds me of how safe we need to be when driving and how we can only do what we can do, and make the best of it.  

Savannah's life goes on, her organs were donated to five different people.  She saved five lives.  That in itself is so amazing!

//

That notion - making the best of it, living without regrets- has been on my heart.  I know that if I'm honest with myself, I hold back a lot.  Naturally, I'm an extrovert, who is also ultra-sensitive.  I tend to want to reach out more to people more than I do, because I've become accustomed to holding back my impulses to be more like everyone else, not rock the boat.

Yet, that's just not me.  When I hold back, I am filled with a sense of regret that blinds my ability to enjoy the present.  Finding a healthy balance between the outside world and my immediate family (especially, my husby), puts me at ease.  With all of that, I'm striving to follow my intended path for increased positive impact in the world.

Have you thought about that lately, your impact on the world?

I love the Flathead Valley

It seems that we're in a time of true change, everytime I hear the news, it seems like this pendulum is swinging in our culture, and it might settle somewhere better.  In my 28th year, I'm thinking so much about my place on this planet and with the people around me, the people who have already become connected to me through past experience, and who I want to be as a whole.

As I look ahead at my own life path, as a person who strives to bring music & happiness to others, I see that this is going to take a bit more work, more shaking it up, than I'm used to.  The tasks ahead are challenging, but are going to really take me out of my comfort zone.  I can do it though, and the more I can release holding patterns in my life & in my body, the better I can be.  Let it gooooo!  Let it goooo!

Big waters
I learned recently that traditionally, the Chinese believe anger to be a creative seed.  Several times this week, I have felt spurts of anger when annoyed (which were sadly channelled back toward my headstrong toddler), and have been yearning for a way to rechannel those feelings.  Today, we went to the beach and I drew in the sand with my hands and I realized that my creativity IS my life force and I need to be getting it out more effectively through my life work to achieve happiness.

Goal-setting is good, it's usually why I write.  (Writing Your Way to Happiness)

If you're reading, hope you have a great, recharging weekend!  

Welcome, March!


Parents and children

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