I’m “just” a mom…

Ah, the time of year is upon us. It’s time for the homeschooling moms to make any last minute changes, curriculum purchases, or plans created for the coming terms. This year instead of the normal 2-semesters/4-quarters I am going full on Charlotte Mason and making this a 3-term year. At this year’s homeschool convention I had the opportunity to meet with the lovely Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason. It was through meeting this extraordinary woman that I was able to brush away much of the confusion regarding homeschooling my special needs boy. Sonya Shafer is a homeschool mom, creates Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum and speaks at conferences and conventions. Most importantly, she is the only person I’ve met thus far who has continued to homeschool a child through such a difficult diagnosis. Her daughter is 18, is still homeschooling and will be for a very long time. Mrs. Shafer doesn’t doubt for a moment that she is meant to mother this child full-time. It was through her encouragement that Chris and I were able to come to the tough decision to continue homeschooling all three of our children. I knew that my oldest and youngest would continue to stay homeschooled as it’s proven to be superior to mass public schooling in every way, educationally, socially, human-ally. But my middle child is different. I wasn’t sure if being his mom was really my job. I love him more than myself, but I thought that parenting him full-time was too far out of my scope of training. Mrs. Shafer helped me to see that I am the most qualified person on earth to teach him and guide him for most of his waking hours.

This kid’s been diagnosed with everything under the sun at one time or another. I was told he had autism. I was told he had PTSD, but no one knew why. I was even told that he must have been sexually abused as a baby. A sociopath I knew tried convincing me that my boy was also a sociopath. Entertaining that thought and allowing that breed of crazy into our lives was like an exciting nightmare. Definitely not awesome. His special needs were once used to try to scare us into making bad decisions. In trying to get to the truth so I could effectively parent my son and help him reach his full potential as a human being it feels like I’ve been through a mommy-war. I have dealt with jealous mothers, nasty mothers, and judgmental moms. It is very lonely being a full-time mom of an undiagnosed different little boy. Lonely for him and lonely for me at times. Fortunately, for the most part I am met with kindness and understanding. We try to stay connected with homeschoolers or some sort of church family so that we are never alone. This has been a very, very long and heartbreaking journey. As you can imagine not many children want to play with the kid who throws a fit like a baby trapped inside a older child’s body. Homeschooling moms tend to be especially understanding, even if they don’t have special needs children themselves. I love you, fellow homeschooling moms.

In researching all of these labels suggested by well-meaning friends and family, and even the crazier ideas suggested by the crazier people, something never quite fit. I agreed with autism, as I knew he was somewhere on the spectrum from the time he was two years old, but there was something more. I know my kids well. I’ve made it my round-the-clock job to know my kids as a homeschooling mother. And a while back I came across something that seemed to fit, but I passed on the information I found as it would have been too painful to even consider. A couple of months ago our son was hospitalized, admitted by me, his mother. He was put through intensive therapy and testing. And we finally got answers that fit the questions we had been asking for years..

We discovered that he will not “grow out” of this, there is no medication for him, and this is not a problem that counseling will solve. He is developmentally delayed. He is mentally handicapped and does have mild autism. It’s why he can’t bathe himself, brush his teeth properly, or feed himself without making the mess of a toddler around his chair. It’s why he behaves like a two-year old when uncomfortable and it’s why he couldn’t communicate how he felt even though he eventually learned to speak properly. He cannot understand concepts that we assumed he could understand. He doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome, but looking at this little boy, it’s apparent that there’s something different about Hunter.

People who were once close to us have stepped away because of him. They don’t like him or don’t understand him. It takes a special kind of person to show the patience and love that’s required to be with Hunter. Anyone who is unkind to him because he’s handicapped doesn’t have much of a place in my life. I don’t have time for small-minded abusive rednecks. There are only a handful of people who have not been able to tolerate Hunter’s handicap and they are out. Unless they, you know, grow hearts.

I love and value my friends and family more than anyone because they know that I can’t make every play date. Hunter doesn’t run the show at our home, but we have to make special allowances for his needs. It can time hours simply getting him ready for a trip to the library. Trying to rationalize with a person who isn’t relational takes time and special skill that I am still learning. We keep a schedule, but life doesn’t always care about my schedule. Sometimes Hunter’s needs come first. Like I said, it’s a very lonely job and I highly value my friends and family who have stuck with me through this.

My son won’t get to graduate high school as a teenager. He will most likely need to be homeschooled his entire life. I will never stop working with him and I will never give up on him or his education. His IQ is low. It’s why he stopped learning at the same rate as other children in kindergarten. He has the reasoning and the problem solving skills of a toddler. He doesn’t understand when children are mean to him as he thinks everyone is his “friend.”

Like most moms I am 100% devoted to my boys. Unlike most moms I have also created a full-time job out of parenting and teaching them for the last 7-8 years. Fortunately, this would become necessary as Hunter can’t be left alone. He needs someone who knows about developmental delays in children to care for him if me or his dad are going to be away. He needs special education. Homeschooling is the best education for a special needs child so that’s what we give him. We have sacrificed a second income, more stuff, bigger house, etc. so that we can homeschool. I was able to gain some coursework credit in child psychology and early childhood education which helps a little, but homeschooling experience has been the real lifesaver in learning to help Hunter. After finding out about Hunter’s diagnosis we decided that we would live in a two bedroom apartment in the worst neighborhood in KC if it means raising our kids right. All that matters is making sure all three of our kids are given every opportunity to reach their goals and to give them experiences that will develop well-rounded human beings who care for one another.

As I make last minute preparations for the new school year, I’m nervous because I have a very full schedule ahead of me. And while nothing is promised I know that whatever happens this year, it won’t break us. I am the hedge of protection around my special little boy, around my other two amazing sons and even around my handsome, hard-working husband. And while we may not have a ton of money or a super large home, I know who has my children’s heart from the time they wake up until they go to bed at night. And I know who has mine. No one can take that from us.

Love,

Jackie

Thank you

Last week I celebrated my 35th birthday. I had one of the greatest birthdays I can remember. My family, my husband and his parents made the ordinary Friday into an extraordinary day for me. It was a joy seeing my little boys having fun in the pool and on the water slides at Oceans of Fun.

Absent loved ones cast a bit of shadow during quiet, uneventful moments. My writer’s heart led my pen to paper as I naturally “wrote it out” in my journal. It was then that my faithful worn and tattered journal mirrored back what I was made of spiritually. More than ever, writing deepened my faith that the Spirit will defend me when and if I needed to be defended. It will shower me with truth and honor when I need it most. Passing along pain inflicted onto me will only take away the blessing of becoming a person of substance.

Hurting people hurt other people and I don’t want to keep the cycle going. I am creating a legacy for my children. There is another option, forgiveness. Hurting people can decide to stop hurting others and instead forgive. Sick or mentally ill people should be forgiven immediately and offered help, if done in love and not out of selfish ambition. If defending myself means slandering another, or sharing secrets that are not mine to share, I would only be as low and dirty as those who hurt me. My belief system, which has developed over decades has given me wisdom that I can’t take credit for, grows when mature choices are made. Such as, it’s better to wait until anger has passed before writing for a public journal, book or blog. In memoirs I am only permitted to share my story, my journey and only if it helps the world. Heals it somehow. If I feel wronged, there’s no need to air out dirty laundry. Truth has a way of showing itself.

About two years ago I was offered a book deal and turned it down. I didn’t want to shine. It was a story I had written which started out as a series of journal entries through years of therapy. I was so afraid that if I said yes, if I fulfilled a dream of writing about how I overcame one of my darkest years, that instead of supporting me and being happy for me, I would be thrown out like trash. No one would have suffered, I made sure that no legal action could be taken against anyone in the minor details I would need to share. The story is a positive one about me. My doctor, who has helped me through the thick of it was very encouraging, as were my friends and loved ones. But I was still trying to please everyone. It wasn’t until I realized that nothing I could do would please everyone that I decided I needed to do what was best for my family. It was time to finally enjoy the hard work I had put into getting healthy and strong. So I’m putting together my first book.

After a recent $14,000 hospital stay, subsequent testing, as well as hours upon hours of psychotherapy my son was recently diagnosed with autism, depression, and a severe mental handicap including low IQ. In old-school layman’s terms, he is mildly mentally retarded, although that word is not recognized by the medical community anymore. He does not have Down’s Syndrome which is why we never thought to have him checked for that problem. It was because of his disabilities that I was being cast as a bad mother. It was a deep cut. One that involved lying to try to get my other children taken from me. One that involved a plan to hurt me. I still think some days that I will never get over the pain of being called a bad mom. I have given everything I am to be a good wife, a good daughter and a mother bear protector of my children. I taught them to read and write. My older boys fit flawlessly into the school system when I had health problems and could only homeschool my youngest for about six months. They are amazing children. Taking them from me would be more damaging than a knife to the heart. All three of my boys are equally pieces of me and I need each one to continue to breathe. When my boy was in the hospital after a neighborhood kid had bullied him so bad that he wanted to die, I felt like I was crumbling. And that’s when I was hit the hardest. It was when I needed to prove to myself that I was willing to walk the walk that I talked. Would I seek revenge and blog about it? Would I call out the specific actions that would ruin reputations? Would I safe face? No. That goes against the person I want to be and have worked so hard to become.

What do I do when it hurts so bad? Just the opposite… I will shine. I show the people who love and care about me that I am still the same girl with the heart willing to give you anything. I am going to write my book because it’s what people who love me want for me. It’s my dream come true born from ashes. A beautiful life formed from a nightmare that almost crushed me. I went through hell and I kept it quiet because I needed to be strong, but now is the time. My biggest supporters tell me how I am going to be encouraged through this process and that it will help many people, mostly myself. I learned love, forgiveness, humility, honesty, hope, faithfulness and strength through the process of healing from a horrible event. I didn’t do it alone. I needed community as well. Travelers along my path were instrumental. I needed each person who was brought my way at the time when we came together. If life is allowed to flow naturally, it has a way of making the best out of the worst. I want to share this in a big way. I want to make it a book.

It took a long time and hard work to build this life. 14 years to build upon a reputation of peacefulness, reverence for the Divine and offer complete forgiveness of the most heinous of crimes. Hurting people hurt other people, so when I am hurt I choose to forgive on a daily basis so that I do not hurt others in return. We will all have to answer for how we’ve lived this life and I can look at myself in the mirror each morning with know I have loved and live an honest life. I was not always an easy person to love. There were only a few who were more precious to me than I’ll ever be able to put into words. I learned love through them.

As a young addict I learned to hurt myself in order to escape hatred for who I was. Like other lies, something inside me told me I wasn’t worthy of anything greater that a human trash can. Through faith and kindness of those who loved me I was able to learn how to receive goodness and to pass it along to those who needed it more than me. Which in turn only strengthened my faith. I can recognize hurting people easily because I was the one inflicting my pain onto others for years. It took needles in my arm to numb that level of pain. Yes, I know what it’s like to loathe myself.

Was my birthday difficult without loved ones? Everyone who loves me was a part of the day in one way or another. All one-sided relationships were busted wide open. Although it was cold and thoughtless for “loved ones” to be, well mean for lack of a better word, at such a difficult time, I learned who loved me only for what I could give them. I learned that I made the correct decision when stuck in that hard place I mentioned. My friends and family made the day joyful. With all that has been going on recently I needed it, I needed to see my little boy smile. His recent diagnosis was a real blow to my heart. I needed to be with people who wanted nothing form me other than my company. I needed people who know the real me to send their blessings. And they did. Thank you.

Jackie

 

Living on Love only

Freedom From Violence

I am writing a book. It’s why I hardly ever blog or spend time on social media anymore. I write and edit and work on research and fact check and investigate every chance I get. I write this book every day. And it’s healing and it’s going to help a lot of people. The journey of discovery is bringing up a lot of pain. I see it as necessary. There’s no way around the pain in order to write through the events of the last 7 years. Looking through medical records, police files, interviews, and all sorts of files and reports I am stunned by one thing I have found to be lacking within myself. I see it every time I look into the face of my husband. Forgiveness.

Here is what forgiveness is NOT:

Admitting I was wrong.

Forgetting or ignoring ongoing harmful behaviors.

Letting people continue to hurt…

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In spite of flaws, love always wins.

Several years ago I met a wonderful woman and the joined class she led. It was for women who needed healing from various problems. It was a class that gave me another piece of what I needed to heal from shame I had once felt. For a lot of things, but mostly from things that happened to me that weren’t my fault. I loved the class so much that I began training to teach one myself. I shadowed this dear woman who is now a great friend when she taught a class at the local mission. Then the youth pastor at our church had me share about the journey to healing with the youth at our church. Afterwards I began meeting with a group of teenage girls who had been on their own healing journey. I never felt so humbled in my life to be hearing these girls fears, their honest feelings and how they feel insecure no matter how popular they are at school. These opportunities would come at a time when I needed them most. Within a year of my husband’s subdural hematoma. I was lost and had no idea how to navigate my world and it was through the class and through helping others, not to mention therapy galore, that I got well. I learned to be a better mom and a better wife and finally a better person than the one I was before.

No one has a perfect family. We all do the best we can with what we are given. I knew I was loved as a child. My children never lack love from me and my family and friends. But all it takes is one person, one event, one hurting and sick individual to change the way one feels about himself or herself for the rest of their lives. I also learned through some of the leadership classes with the church and through my own psychology courses at school that it only takes one person to destroy a child’s self-esteem. The actions of one sick person towards can change the course of their lives. An adult shamed as a child grows up to think so low of themselves that they end up on drugs, with eating disorders, in abusive relationships, acting out sexually, depression, suicidal behavior, never knowing that they are worth more. These are trademark behaviors of adults shamed as children. It isn’t just sexual and physical abuse that cause problems, although they are the certainly the most severe forms of abuse. The characteristics of a dysfunctional family cause anxiety, unpredictability and stress for those who grow up in them. Families don’t become dysfunctional on purpose. Having an absent parent, long term illnesses, addictions and excessive outbursts of anger don’t happen overnight. It is easy to slip into dysfunctional patterns. It takes work to get healthy. It takes hard work, years of learning healthy behavior and an environment free of blame or hiding feelings. It takes God in our home to be a healthy family despite the drama that comes up against us. The healthy family is not problem free, health comes in the way problems are handled.

No one blog post can tell how to remain healthy because each family has different problems and different needs. About six and a half years ago I left a violent situation. When I came back twenty minutes later what I found was horrifying. And I knew then I would never be the same again. I have spent the years since that night getting well. I have learned so much about myself and why I am the way I am and how to be healthier. I was warned that when one person gets healthy, not everyone will be supportive. I found that to be true as when I finally decided to set boundaries for the first time in my life, I was met with not only a lack of support, but rage and hostility. It’s easy to love those who love me back. How am I going to respond when to those who don’t love me? With love and forgiveness. It’s what well people do.

My child was admitted to a hospital last week. By us, his parents. We didn’t understand why certain things were happening. I now know that my child is going to have a tough road ahead of him. He was hurt by adults he trusted. He was acting out in ways that should have been obvious to me, but I chose to believe that it was illness making him behave this way. He has autism so it was not a huge jump to add another diagnosis onto that one. It turns out that the problem is one that is fixable. Like me, he will need a lot of talking, honesty, painful feelings work, and boundaries set so that he can learn to have self esteem again. He is still in the hospital.

When my husband was injured it was easy to forgive. He was an adult and we are in a healthy place to see truth for what it is. When my kid gets injured, I want to kill somebody. My Grandmother who was a very wise woman said to me once, “Every mother is capable of murder.” I finally get it. Fortunately, I have had over six years of weekly help and groups and therapy and meditation and writing. Harboring anger and bitterness would undo all of the hard work done so far. I am tired of keeping people’s secrets to the detriment of my family. I have protected those who would not do the same had the shoe been on the other foot. I made excuses for why violence was okay when everyone in my life told me that it was not. I have gotten well and that scares people who choose to remain sick. Or protect those who are sick and won’t get help. One of my doctors recently told me that if someone is suffering from psychopath or sociopath disorders (which are more common than I thought) that those around them will eventually either have a nervous breakdown or begin to take on traits as they enable that behavior. Recently I made the final choice in a long list of choices made to live a good life. I had to take a step back from an unwell person who refuses to get help. It’s hurt my family tremendously and we would love nothing more than to see healing, but I understand better than anyone that getting well is a choice one must make for themselves. But I will not enable a sick person who has caused drama and damage. Writing down all of the difficult times in my life, the drama, the violent events in my life helped me to see that it was all connected to a lack of boundaries in one specific area. I saw a pattern. So I set up a barrier and stopped the pattern. It’s not the problem that makes a family dysfunctional, it’s how a problem is handled that decides how healthy we are.

So how do I handle my problems? Honesty. Lots of therapy and counseling. Helping those who are going through what I have walked through. Making sure that my children know they can be whoever they choose to be and I will be proud of them. Acceptance of differences. We talk about everything in our home. My kids come to me and tell me things I never thought they would trust me and I am so grateful for that. They are growing up to be emotionally healthy people. Even if they stumble across problems they will know how to handle them correctly and that’s what will keep them from dysfunction.

I am writing a book and using my journals and some research I’ve done as the jumping off point. I’ll be putting together a media packet and making sure it’s marketed in every state and hopefully give the interviews I once turned down. The journey to healing these last six to seven years have been incredible. The few people I have opened up to have encouraged me to take what I have and share it in hopes that it will be helpful. It has helped me tremendously writing all the things I was never allowed to say. Now that my child is beginning his own journey, I feel more than ever a renewed connection to the road I have walked. This will be my story to tell. What I felt and the struggles that went on inside me and what finally had to happen for my soul to heal. It will be about how I let go of blame and shame and learned to forgive because not forgiving was making me bitter. My lack of boundaries kept me from telling people to get lost. I was angry when I realized that I had the right and responsibility to stop letting unwell people hurt me, but chose to let them because I hadn’t yet learned my worth as a person. We are not obligated to lay down our lives as mats for others to step upon. We are not obligated to protect those who continue to hurt us. Our first obligation is to get well and healthy so that we may live a somewhat functional and healthy family life. It’s only when I discovered I was worth enough to be loved and valued that I could stop focusing on the problems and simply love and value others. It’s a good way to live.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Jackie

Living Loudly

Who knew I could feel so happy and alive inside and my body could feel so tired and pained at the same time? It comes with the territory. Let me ‘splain…

A few years ago I found out that I had cancer in my thyroid. Barely thirty years old and three young boys to raise, it got my attention. I have been a bit of a research junkie my entire life, but when I saw the pathology report and learned that Hashimoto’s disease and cancer were invading my throat it became a somewhat part-time job of mine to stay well educated alongside my doctors. I want to see my children graduate high school and possibly college. To dance with them at their weddings and to kiss my first grand baby one day. Naturally when I was assured that the cancer in my throat was completely removed with surgery and some minor radioactive pills, it stopped my heartbeat for a moment to learn that I had cancer in my bladder.

It was stage 0 and I was brought in immediately to take out the cells, biopsy them and make sure none were left inside. But this is a cancer that comes back. And when it does, the cells need to be removed or else it turns into stage 1 bladder cancer. The survival rate beyond 5 years decreases dramatically beyond stage 1. I take very good care of myself. When I get sick I visit the oncologist who removed the original cells and handles all my additional bladder needs. This includes a process called dilation, which numbs my bladder because I suffer from a condition called Interstitial Cystitis. And, yes I do mean suffer as it is extremely painful. The flare ups are a bit like labor pains. It played a very minor role in putting my kids in school for a bit after homeschooling for so many years. IC is a progressive condition. When a woman is diagnosed with bladder cancer, especially at my age, IC is usually present right along with it. I joined a support group for IC because it’s now medically recognized as one of the top 10 most painful conditions affecting American women today. In an effort to talk about anything except cancer with my family I decided to make support groups my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on and my venting place. I just wanted to be Jackie in real life. Wife and mother and daughter and sister. I never wanted to be sick girl or the girl with cancer. And those of you living with cancer know what I mean.

I am not terminal. I am not dying of cancer, but living with it. Fortunately I have a very treatable stage 0, which doesn’t occur in many of the organs, but it does in the bladder. I am lucky because I have been a stage 0 for a year and a half. The worst things for me… lack of sleep and being on my feet for periods of time. Best things for me… lots and lots of rest and sleep and small amounts of walking, unless I am bleeding or in pain. It has been through the love and support of those around me that I remain well rested, stress free, and in a non-toxic environment. No man or woman is an island. I also like to think I have guardian angels who look out for me.

Recently my health took a bit of a nosedive. It came right on the heels of an emotionally draining time. The two are very closely related and I believe that getting strong as I seek to forgive & find peace within myself, the connection between my body, mind and soul will give me my best shot at staying a stage 0. It’s been a while since my last biopsy and unfortunately I need another one. In a perfect world, it would be immediately. I’ve not felt well in the last few days and while I’ve been sick before, these changes are ones I was told to watch for by my oncologist. Staying off my feet and getting more sleep than the average person doesn’t fly when I’ve got to get a part time job. One that has me doing the exact opposite of what good ol’ doc told me to do in order to keep my bladder healthy. I can’t work a night job and stay off my feet. The stress of the conflict alone has caused my morning pee to turn bloody. That’s actually the least gross thing happening to me right now, as fellow bladder cancer survivors and IC sufferers will agree. I’m wearing make-shift diapers. Because we can’t afford real adult diapers. Trying to get a comfy night’s rest in a diaper made of tissue and padding is awesome. Not.

My youngest son turns 7 this week. Due to circumstances beyond our control we lost income we had needed. Income outside of what my Husband was making. So… every penny goes to our home and our bills and what’s left we use to buy food with. Let’s just say that we are finding ways to get real creative with rice and beans! Thanks to a dear family friend we have a gift for our son’s birthday and Husband is taking a paid day off work to make it extra special. But it couldn’t be a more awful time to be on the losing end of a broken agreement.

As for the biopsy and procedure to remove any malignant cells, well… I’ll let you know how it goes when we get the money. We never would have moved here had we known that the terms were conditional and that we would need every spare penny to continue to finish out the lease. I feel like my life and the most valuable people in it became bargaining chips to others. And I feel betrayed. Because I let someone get close to my family and found out that you really can’t trust anyone these days. Cancer has made me a strong fighter. I fight for my health and for time on this earth. Which makes fighting for my family a gosh darn cake walk compared to what I’ve lived through already.

I did everything I could to spare friends and loved ones the gory details of my cancer… who wants to talk about cancer all the time? Which is what happens when some people find out I have been diagnosed. Others have been great friends who continue to treat me as though I am the same Jackie I’ve always been. And I appreciate and value them so much.

Us cancer folks, we sure are dramatic and problematic! Kidding. Actually, it’s the cancer support group friends who are the most comfortable in talking about life and death and everything in between in the most honest and rational ways. Do you know what it feels like to have stage 0 cancer? Confusing. I am not obviously sick. I don’t get chemo treatments or radiation therapy. But I deal with the pain of real cancer. I feel the panic when I see blood in places I shouldn’t bleed. I need to eat well and sleep a LOT in order to stay healthy. People, even those who know I have cancer, have alluded to my laziness. I’ve learned to deal with the self-centeredness of people without cancer with a heaping spoonful of grace. Because it’s a problem you can’t understand until you or your spouse go through it. It’s all consuming during times of sickness. And at best, it’s the lurking nightmare waiting for me to close my eyes so it can strike during times of wellness. Yeah, I don’t have cancer in the muscle wall of my bladder. It’s only a stage 0. So I don’t get to complain. Not like the people who lose their hair or deal with radiation exhaustion, which I’ve heard is a million times worse than normal cancer exhaustion. I don’t want attention from people so I don’t talk about it with anyone other than my family (hubby and sons), my doctors and my support group. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I simply choose to live my life outside of the “cancer girl” label.

We were hit hard with an unexpected financial loss. I am waiting on that miracle that I know is coming because God would never leave me hanging, I hope. Positive expectations and prayer are sturdy legs to stand on when the future is unclear. My biopsy co-pay alone is hundreds of dollars and due at the time of the procedure. Then we make payments on all the other procedures done while I’m under anesthesia, like removing suspicious cells and dilation treatments. We are still making payments from my last one. Which was over a year ago. I need to not put any stress on myself right now. I need to stay off my feet until I am medically cleared as it can mean the difference between a simple procedure and complete chemo/fighting for my life struggle. I am so tired that it has taken me about a week to write this. I get a paragraph along and then fall asleep. I’m not lazy. I’m living the best life I can with cancer. Yes, it’s stage 0 and it is scary. No, I won’t feel sorry for me or allow anyone else to feel sorry for me either because I am loved and valued by some pretty amazing men in my household! The best part of randomly falling asleep at the computer? Being awakened by my boys kissing me as they nudge me with their dirty little hands from playing outside all afternoon. I love waking to their gentle touches on my arm. Their skin still so smooth and smoochable, even when covered in a layer of mud. I will not leave them. I will live to see them happily achieving their dreams as grown men before this defective bladder takes me out. It’ll be quite a while because I’m not done raising them, and I’m not done accomplishing my goals.

It’s been a while since posting and I guess I just haven’t had much material to work with, as writing comes from my blood, from my heart. I got sick this week and it reminded me of all I have left to do. So I have to get better. And there it is… something to blog about. I am LIVING with cancer. And today I am in the lead because I got to wake up and kiss each one of my sons and I finally got to finish my blog post. So have a wonderful week friends. And just in case I don’t write again for a bit, have a really happy summer! Grow lots of fruits and veggies, herbs and flowers. Make the most of this wonderful season!

One Another

When we feel loved we are better equipped to love as well.

There has never been a more desperate need for women to shine. Women, mothers, survivors. Instead we sometimes suppress the truth, hiding our light instead of shining. Or worse, we snuff out the light in others to make ourselves appear brighter. It is for this reason I never try to be the most experienced “one” in the room, in a group, in anything. I am too sensitive and my heart is too open and vulnerable to allow insecure women to hurt me again and again. I see a doctor, a physchiatrist. With more degrees on his wall than I have fingers on my hands. He is my unbiased feelings thermometer. When do I need to change, and when is it should I enforce boundaries because others can’t get their crap together? I suggest every person get one of these. Mine’s name is Chuck. He’s a great old former Marine, runs a rehab, and if I was in jail and could make one phone call, he would be the one. Again, I highly recommend therapy.

For years I was obscuring my own light within. As I felt powerless over anything I gave in to all the lies a young woman can tell herself. I’ve lived through hell and back. I’ve earned the right to shine, to let the light out! The weekend of my brother’s high school graduation I was taken. I went to the high school that I attended just 3 years earlier (I was two grades ahead of him, but graduated a year ahead of my class through alternative school) and afterwards I went into the city to get dope. It was something I did every day, or every other day. I drove from Jersey to Philly and parked my car on a street with very little traffic. I walked to my usual spot to get what I came for and that day I was taken. For a day and a night I was held against my will. I had no concept of time and only know it was a day and a night because my family told me that’s how long I was missing for. I felt nothing during the experience. The men who took me kept giving me drugs. I was so numb that I could barely speak. I remember knowing it was all wrong and wondering if I was going to die in that place. It was an abandoned row home in a place that nobody would ever know to look for me. Everyone I loved was either gone, those closest to my heart dead, and my family all celebrating my brother’s graduation wondering why I was such a horrible person for not showing up. This was before the days of cell phones. I was still a teenager.

I remember being strapped to a table and if I didn’t fight them they didn’t hurt me as bad. The people were speaking Spanish and I didn’t know Spanish. Had they not been keeping me drugged, it would have been one of the defining moments of my life, but like I tell Chuck, it doesn’t bother me, it just makes me strong and vulnerable, a guess that rare combination is the silver lining of that whole experience. I was let go the next day but I remember feeling hurt all over. I figured my family would be mad at me for missing my brother’s party so I called a big, bad scary man who I shouldn’t have been mixed up with. But I felt safe knowing that he would come get me and nobody would mess with me. As I waited on the street for him to come I bought what I came for and I used it until I was so numb that nothing would ever hurt again. This went on for another few years. My parents eventually found out about what had happened and they got me a ticket to Florida. I never told anyone exactly what happened in that house, when I was tied to the table for what could have been 6 hours or what could have been 24 hours. I really don’t know as I kept nodding off. I just remember what people told me. Had I been sober I might not have been able to live through it. I hear people don’t live through stuff like that, but I did.

Mothers raise us. They are grown, have answers, meet needs, ask for obedience. Daughters are growing. They ask for things, are insecure, ask for affirmation and answers. “Why?” is often what daughters ask. I read a book several years back by Lisa Bevere where she likened relationships between women to be like this. She writes about women in groups, communities, churches and circles of friendships needing mothers and becoming mothers and grandmothers to the younger women. As a woman, I am in the awkward state of needing a mother and at the same time growing into a mother. In real life and in my spiritual life. When I was sick I called my Mom every single day. I needed her and she answered every single day. In my search for a spiritual mother, a counselor a bit closer to home in my walk with aromatherapy, God, motherhood, and homeschooling I am finding that the women are all still daughters. A few mothers among us, but very few and far between. A mother is someone who has surpassed you in your journey. I have many wise friends, but not many that have homeschooled three kids, or for a longer period of time than myself. I have not found women willing to share themselves with me as no one has the time anymore. I literally just had a woman tell me that she felt a connection to me, we both use the same curriculum, and then a week or so later sent me a message letting me know she had no room in her life for new friends, not even to meet me at the park. I can’t ever imagine being so insecure or afraid that I would forgo a friendship in favor of… whatever it was in favor of. It broke my heart for a day. My husband and kids were extra kind to me because they know the struggle I have had trying to find women who are decent. I realized that this woman was not a “safe” woman and it was my doctor who pointed out that in his professional opinion, based on everything I told him I knew about her, she was in a clique’. This was basic clique’ 101 behavior. Awesome. I finally meet a decent person and it turns out she’s on a bitch squad.

In Florida I had so many “spiritual” mothers, mentors if you will. I had so many that I didn’t realize just how spoiled I was. Fortunately, I have a real Mom who is also my best friend. On the downside, she lives far away. Not many people can handle mentoring someone like me. My mom is good at it. It was easy in Florida. I was a new Mom, I was a new homeschooler. I was a new teacher. Here I am trying to find that mentor who is willing to not be afraid of my crap. “You have experience and wisdom beyond your years, you are personable, easy to talk to, funny, and you are beautiful,” Chuck tells me… “if anyone puts you down consistently, she is insecure and jealous.” Chuck might be reading this… chime in if you are doc; don’t want folks to think I made you up. If I am these things, why are so few women NICE. The funny thing is, I was thinking last night about the time I was taken off the street. I was scared. But it didn’t kill me. Not only that, it made me stronger. It lit the fuse to spark something inside of me. That experience that I survived was torture and I was almost killed, but I survived and it made me a happy, grateful person in search of sobriety and life and joy and giving. But I need fellow women. How am I ever expected to grow and mature and become a leader myself when the women here are 1) too busy to see me, or 2) they are too inexperienced to know what they are talking about… literally, there have been times I just acted confused because I knew what the person was trying to say was total b.s. but I am not about to try to tell a prideful woman she is wrong. So I just act like I am mistaken. Bossy people leave me feeling drained. Like I don’t want to ever try to make friends again. Beautiful people make me want to be beautiful too. I have a friend here that my Husband LOVES. He doesn’t know her well, but he says that when I talk to her or spend time with her I shine. That’s what I’m looking for. Someone who can be consistently in my life and help me shine. And in the mentor-mentee relationship, that person in turn gains wisdom and becomes a spiritual mother and grows into the full potential she was meant to grow into.

I am nowhere near the woman I was created to be. I have potential lurking inside of me. “There are times when massive, world-changing forces of life are born from our personal anguish.” -Lisa Bevere

I think I have had world-changing forces happen, but I don’t know what to do with myself because I am alone. When I lived in Florida I accomplished things. I fed the homeless, I often gave sermons to the youth at the church I worked at and young women would share their hearts with me… like a daughter to a mother, I hugged prostitutes in the Bronx and shared my life with the men and women on skid row. Because I had women building me up, encouraging my heart, being my friend. It was the people encouraging me who made me great. I have tried to do some of those things here, but it fizzled out. Women are strong. What we accomplish can’t be done by men. If it could only one sex would be here. We need women in our lives. We can’t do this without each other. I can’t accomplish much without great women in my life. I have a network of rock stars(this one’s about the ladies only- but Lenny if you were a lady you would totally be included in this!) in Florida, Chicago, Montana and New Jersey, but not enough here in KC.

I have met a lot of women through blogging and it blows me away how many sweet, genuine people are lonely, looking for another. Looking for a mother.

If you are interested in learning more about the mother-daughter relationship in the spiritual realm I suggest the Nurture by L. Bevere. It’s been a very long time since I read it, but it was so powerful that to this day I still respect the bond between friends and women as a sacred gift.

I am looking all the time. I hope soon to finally be the friend and find the friend my heart is desperately craving. With no strings attached (no clique’s) and no jealousy. Friends should want friends to shine. If I need another to dim so that I can be bright, shame on me. And vice versa. I am no longer dimming my light. I’ve been through too much to get it and I’m not going to let it be snuffed out by another. Find your light source and shine fellow travelers!

Have a really good week friends!

Happy Love Day!

Pretty big fan of Valentine’s Day here. As a kid I loved the parties at school. This was before the days of mandatory Valentines. Which I happen to be super fond of since my boy has special needs. He is in a remedial class with kids younger (and sometimes meaner) than him. It was nice to see him receive a pile of Valentines from his classmates yesterday.

As a young woman my Dad gave me my Valentines. Usually candy, but sometimes flowers, especially when I had a rough year. Me and my Dad both love candy.

Then I met Husband and he took over the role of Valentine. He would hunt down those amazing chocolates from the places that made wedding cakes. They had crazy, unusual flavors. I cut them in quarters before eating them so they would last. Once he wrote me a little poem when I was pregnant on V-Day.

Then he sorta’ stopped and that’s when I became the one who celebrated for the both of us. My crafty plans and ideas sometimes needed the enlistment of friends. Like if I had to build a tent. I spent a small fortune on making every detail perfect. But then I became tired. We didn’t know it yet, but I was sick. And so neither of us really did anything again. Until this year…

Last year being what I call our “10-year itch” we almost went our separate ways. Well, he was content to keep going. I was ready to walk out the door. In fact, I actually made the decision to move out and we told the kids and watching their horrific response was what kept me home. Although, I couldn’t stay in the house with Husband. I needed time to heal from old scars and fresh wounds. So we bought a camper, with a kitchen and a bathroom and enough room to house all of my books. It also had a nifty little bunk bed that folded out above my bed so that my boys could take turns sleeping in the camper with me. I designated cabinet space for their personal things and tried to keep it fun. Like we were camping together over the summer in our big back yard Before signing the papers to purchase the camper I told my Husband that this may not work. I still may have to move. Was he sure he wanted to sign a lease for this thing? My extremely frugal husband said the one thing I’ll never forget. “If it gives me one more day with you, I’m buying it.” 

Today he is taking me on a Kansas City Mob History Tour and then we are having dinner at Cascone’s. It’s a restaurant notorious for former mob activity and is said to still be under the ownership of a man in the Mob. It is perfect. I LOVE the Mafia. I have always had an insatiable thirst for knowledge about the Mafia/Mob. I probably know more about these men than some of their own wives do! I’ve read the biographies, autobiographies, watched the documentaries and researched all-things mafia online. I mentioned once that I wanted to learn more about Kansas City’s Mob history by taking one of the many tours available. He remembered. And booked us for a tour and reserved us a table for dinner- I didn’t mention visiting Cascone’s. He came up with that one all on his own.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what saved us and got us to this place, from the place we were. To say God is just too vague. But yeah, God.

“There is no greater joy than to lay down one’s life for another.” If I treat Husband as if his needs is more important than my own and if he treats me as though my needs and feelings are more important than his, we are “laying down our lives for one another.” When we decided to work on our marriage instead of move forward in a formal separation, it was an effort on both of our parts to take everything we learned from Christ and apply it to ourselves. We joined our hearts together in complete honesty trusting that the other person would be “safe.” When one of us falls down, so to speak, the other one is there for support and to encourage and forgive in love, instead of blame or scold, or worse, scorekeeping. Becoming this way has made us honest. And honesty is something we were struggling to maintain before the separation. Because everything we did made each other angry. So we laid it all down. Stopped blaming each other, and looked at how we could love the other best. I care for him as though he were a limb. Spiritually, he is more than a limb. He is half of me. That’s the marriage I wanted and now it’s what we have.

I am not sure what the future holds for us. Hopefully we will remain married until we die. But people change and I can’t claim to know that what works now will work in 5 years. I hope so. Because love (and essential oils) have been really good for my kids, my health and my joy. I hope the same for you these days friends.

In Love,

Jackie

 

Oily Words

2014-11-07 19.11.42I began studying the craft of Aromatherapy when was suffering through several emotional and physical ailments last year. A friend of mine, who happened to be trained in a medical field, introduced them to me. Her previous work skills (she is currently a stay at home mom, but stays up to date on her medical certification) gave credibility. Which was important to my husband, and to me. She used the oils herself and wondered if I had ever thought about using them for my insomnia and emotional distress. I had just found out about my bladder cancer and had no idea what it all meant. I didn’t want to invest right away. Pure essential oils, grown, distilled and sold all from the same source are expensive. If they are not expensive, they are not superior oils.

After pouring over the website and decided to become a wholesale member I let my dear friend know I wanted to get oily. (Just an expression… essential oils are not actually oils at all) I became a fellow oily friend through her website so that she would get any benefits from my new membership. Shortly after, she met up with me, gave me a mini desk reference book and answered all my questions. Then she told me about her binder. Being a binder girl myself, I loved it and became excited to start my own binder. This amazing woman continued to learn and grow in her knowledge and had a giant binder full of studies and information.

What would go into my binder? As I began to use the oils and experiment with what works personally, I realized I was going to need to know a lot more than the average person. I think I found my calling. (I have several callings!) So I enrolled in a school that offered elective classes which could teach me about aromatherapy. Then I found a school on the NAHA website and decided to enroll there once I had taken all the aromatherapy classes in regular school. As for my binder, it is pretty much full of information I get when I order oils, every newsletter ever sent to me from YL, and brochures touting the benefits of oils. I keep specific information and my essential oil fact files digitally on my zip disc.

I know a lot of women who sell essential oils. And I believe that a LOT of knowledge can be found in the miles of books written about essential oils. I have purchased an entire bookshelf’s worth of these books. I have reference books, non-fiction books on how to treat specific ailments with oils, essential oil recipe books and even books on how to sell oils. But none of these books taught me what I would need to know in order to become an aromatherapist. Afer months and months and close to a grand in books, this knowledge didn’t hold a candle to what my teachers taught in class. So I did some detective work, putting my Google MD to good use, and found that in order to really learn the information that is needed to pass an ARC exam (exam taken to become a registered aromatherapist) is not something the salesperson can buy. Yes, there are textbooks available, but without school, the benefits are not worth the $100 it costs for the book. So like I wrote once before, I am going to publish a book, making this knowledge something a business person can use when selling essential oils. It will not be a textbook or a difficult read.

Essential oil multi-marketing sales are not like purses, vacuums, or books. I was a book fair host for Usborne Books and Barefoot Books and while I loved working in the libraries I realized I am not cut out to be a salesperson. When I became a member of Young Living, it opened my eyes to the large host of companies asking women who know very little about botany(taxonomy/Latin), chemistry or physiology, to immediately begin selling oils. Another reason I highly recommend Young Living… the people I know who sell their oils didn’t begin making bank for about 6 months to a year because it took that long to learn enough to safely sell the oils. When I was working hard to cleanse and replenish my body’s mineral and vitamin reserves, I spent about $500 per month with Young Living. If opening mouth in shock, you can rest assured that I saved money. I did my research before investing so heavily. We took all the money spent on doctors and biopsies and put it towards oils and supplements made with oils and plants. It paid off. We spent less and I felt better with less symptoms. Waking, vomiting and bleeding (I have no uterus anymore so I should have no bleeding anywhere, ever) was my morning routine. If those things happen now, it is rare and the only change I made in my life was forgoing the doctors and medicine and opting for holistic healers and herbs and oils. True story.

These days I still stand by Young Living, but if I have a friend who is coming onto the oil scene, I like to encourage her knew adventure and buy from her. The thing is, I’m not going to drop $500 a month on products that are from an unknown source. As a worker in the oil business, know where your product comes from. What country? When was it harvested this year because that changes the olfactory (smell) response. Where was it taken after it was harvested? What was the method of extraction? Lavender oil that has been steam distilled is safe to use if I am heading outside. If the lavender was cold-pressed I will be burned when I head into the sun. Not just photo-sensitivity, but photo-toxicity. This is all information I keep in my fact files. I do this for school, but also when I have clients, or if I ever choose to sell the oils, I’ll have an answer to these questions. I learn so much from making my oil files that I would dare say doing that alone would provide a better education than reading most of the books published today.

I leave you with this, until my book is written and published, here is a little gem… learn how chemistry affects blending. Look at the GC/MS (Gas Chromotograph/ Mass Spectrometer) reports and read about the chemical families that make up the oils you are recommending, sharing and trying to sell. Make a fact-file, or an information sheet for every oil you plan on selling or using. Okay, back to the GC/MS report. You can get this from the company which has made you an independent consultant. If they don’t provide this for you or the consumer, they either 1) don’t check their product and therefore don’t know the quality of the oils. Or, 2) they’re hiding something. Don’t work for a company that does not have these reports. Any trained, registered aromatherpist will agree with me. It’s pretty much like a chemical ingredient list and it’s important to learn how to read them. If you become familiar with the top 10 essential oil chemical families and their properties, you’ll have the confidence and the knowledge to actually be able to answer questions about the product your selling. It does take time and effort, believe me I know it does, but we’re not selling handbags here. We’re trying to pass along volatile plant extracts which are used to make medication. This is where medicine originated. The history of medicine (which is also the history of essential oils) is really cool, but that story is for another post.

So please, go forth, hone your craft, whether it be an essential oil enthusiast, a salesperson working for an essential oil company, a student working to become a practitioner of aromatherapy, or the much respected and sought after Certified/Registered Aromatherapist. Because I would love to have several vendors to purchase from and people I trust to keep current on products. If you sell oils, private message me as I would love to get to know you! And when all is said and done I’m hoping that when the writing process is all done, my book will have space on your shelf!

Curriculum All Day

A peek behind the curriculum curtain…

Master Plan Book

My main planner… the most used book in my daily book bag. It not only has room for lessons, but meal plans, book list, monthly budget planning and field trip and activity planning. It’s a homeschool planner, but it’s also a life-planner… The Well Planned Day by Home Educating Family Publishing. Each year I choose between my said planner and another one I really like called The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell. Both have everything I need and more, including articles, homeschool teaching and planning tips. My current planner, The Well Planned Day is dated and The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is not dated. So dependending on whether or not we homeschool year-round. Hey, when you get bit by the cancer bug, or interstitial cystitis (it’s a real word, promise), homeschooling takes a backseat for a few weeks while mom feels like garbage… hence, homeschool through summer, but take a few weeks off during the official school year.

All filled in...

The planners hold the bare bones schedule. They are basically where all the Instructor’s Guides meet in one place. We use and love Sonlight with supplements for Math and Language Arts/Reading so I have a great big schedule in the Sonlight guide and several small schedules from other programs. When the days get too busy, I feel sick, or problems or blessings arise that encourage us to finish school a little quicker than planned, I don’t read through my Sonlight guide, and the other little guides, not to mention all the notes that go along with them. Rather I peek in my master planner, which basically holds the name of the book name and page numbers.

Sonlight’s grid-style planner, with pages of laid out lesson plans and extra activities for each week directly behind it are the easiest system I have used so far. We are literature based-learning homeschoolers and I have found SL to be the richest reading based curriculum I have used. And the math programs are the most complete I have found in any company, as they use Mathtacular along with Teaching Textbooks and Create-a-Calender with 1st grade Horizons. I set up the massive binder pretty much the way it’s recommended… History, which includes Bible, read-alouds, poetry, geography, and music. Then I have Sonlight Science behind that which is set up the same way… a grid style plan for each week followed by notes and expanded lesson plans in the pages to follow. Then we have Sonlight Laguage Arts and Readers, with the activity sheets and copywork lessons.

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I like to use Sonlight’s reading schedule for Kindergarten through third grade. Sometimes I will use the scheduled copywork that fits nicely with the reading. I don’t particularly like their activity sheets (which sometimes use the copywork as a base for the activity.) It seems a little disconnected. While I do see the overall value of using it year after year, my boys just can’t remember grammar concepts when taught this way. I also don’t use the “word list” lessons since we are still doing phonics using Explode the Code. I use each ETC lesson’s word list like a spelling list and create extra activities using these words. Some of the words make into our dictionary- a homemade notebook with 2 pages for each letter. Vocabulary words from Sonlight history and science go into the dictionary as well. The rest of the notebook is used for copywork. It’s completely written for and by my son. Again, 2 pages per letter for vocab and some spelling; the rest of the book is for any copywork assigned. It is essential to our education goals that my boys read and write every single day. If creative writing is not assigned, then we use copywork. Where does the copywork come from? Well, sometimes Sonlight Language Arts and memory verses are enough. Other times we use my supplementary Language Arts… First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind and Winning With Writing. I have use FLL since my oldest was in first grade. It is an extremely gentle, yet effective method for learning language arts. We use Mc Ruffy Modern Handwriting, only when he needs extra practice with a letter. The handwriting workbook has copywork built into it so this is my go-to book when we need to car-school. Because Mom (me) is a writer I like to make writing fun for the boys. I found that working backwards in the writing process is how I write best, so I allow them to do the same… free-writing, then creating a draft or outlining, corrections, then final draft. The daily writing, when it’s not copywork, but is creative writing, is the most fun part of our curriculum. Probably because I designed it myself. I’ve been working on it for almost 7 years and have pulled what I like best from writing curriculum written by my favorite teachers. Toot, toot.

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We use Horizons Math, but will be switching to Teaching Textbooks and MathTacular in 3rd grade. It’s what I began using with my oldest and works well since I love math, but am not a very good math teacher. We take math seriously in our home. It is very important that my kids grow to have strong math skills. Just as important as reading. I think math makes the difference between a mediocre education and a solid one… Math is just as important as reading and writing, although some programs don’t seem to agree and their curriculum reflects it… Math is just as important as reading and writing folks.

Finally, the little Well Planned Day boxes can’t hold all of our plans. The Sonlight boxes are great, but I need a notebook that I can take a look at, keep on my clipboard or kitchen counter, and be able to pull our activities, verses, copywork, page numbers, enrichment, review, and reminders. That’s where the spiral notebooks come in handy. And since spiral notebooks tend to be really cheap in quality, I go to Target and buy yoobi brand. They are excellent, big and sturdy.

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So, that’s what we do right now and it works well. Lesson planning, including writing it all down in the yoobi notebook takes about an hour a week. It’s all recorded, planned and set to go for any official who dares to peek at my program! Organization and planning is the most important job as a teacher. As a homeschool mom it’s attention and guidance as well as teaching. When I lived in Gainesville Florida I became friendly with the leader of our hs group. Shortly before we moved she lost one of her children and it seemed to bring us closer as I was able to relate to some of the struggles her son went through. Later as I was reading Mary Pride’s great big book of homeschooling I noticed that she wrote a chapter in the book! I was more than impressed with the humbleness with which this woman carried herself. One of the many pearls of wisdom this woman passed down to me was that I needed to become organized and remain organized. If I find my homeschool and household disorganized I should take a week off and ORGANIZE. It was one of the best pieces if advice I learned from her. That’s why I began my post about curriculum and ended it also, with panning.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about our homeschool books and guides. I sure did have fun choosing them! I love to read posts about what others do for their homeschool so please link me to your blog if you too have shared what you do with your budding future presidents.

Thanks friends. Have a wonderful afternoon.

Aromatherapy 101, 102, and 103!

A natural health magazine I read religiously published an article having to do with eo’s. The writer was not a trained holistic health professional, let alone an aromatherapist. Which is normally fine, if sharing a personal testimony or excitement over the discovery of these amazing little bottles of gold. But this person was giving advice in this article that was potentially harmful should someone with no knowledge about them follow his written words of garbage. One of the very first lessons I learned in school was to create a complete full-fledged fact file on every. Single. Oil I planned on recommending or using with a friend, family member, or patient. It was through making the 123 fact files that I learned the most about safety and what these oils are capable of doing in the body. Making these files are the most important tool in a professional aromatherpist’s toolkit. It is thanks to the wonderful training and mentorship I received and continue to receive that I realized there is a real need for affordable Aromatherapy 101 information distribution. So I am making this the topic for my first book. Yup, this post is my official announcement of a book I am writing for budding aromatherapists. If you sell, recommend or promote oils you have an enormous responsibility to know these oils inside and out. Medications have been created from the plants these oils are made from and only a medical doctor can write a prescription for them. Anyone with a hundred bucks can begin selling essential oils. So it is imperative that the training is there, the mentorship from your “upline” (if working through a pyramid/independent consultant type business) is solid, or the school you are attending is approved by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, or NAHA. Passing the ARC exam is the highest level of certification required in the U.S. currently. I would expect that anything I read recommending eo’s professionally or in a nation-wide magazine be written by someone who has completed at least some certification. As for myself I am a Level 1 Certified Aromatherapist, working my way through the 200 hours needed to gain my Level 2 Certification. I hold a Student of Aromatherapy Membership with the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. I am a wholesale member of Young Living Essential oils, who plant, harvest, distill and package their own plant essences. They are not a pyramid selling company with an “upline.” It is a company that does offer opportunities to hold classes and promote memberships, but I have not chosen that route personally. I am not a salesperson, but a writer. And an aromatherapist. Maybe one day I will teach classes and sell memberships, but my mentors in Young Living are amazing at it and I don’t think I could hold a candle… so for now, I am writing about it!

Why would anyone need to learn about essential oils? Isn’t using them teaching me enough? Maybe about the smells and effects we can see, but not about the effects of the oils being absorbed into the bloodstream when applied or via the lungs when inhaled directly or through a diffused room. We have diffusers in every room, portable ones for traveling and back-up’s I haven’t even opened yet. I awake to the oils aromatically, use them throughout the day in my beauty and cleaning products, and end my evening with capsules of oils. I’m a believer. The effectiveness of these forms of treatment has been proved empirically over thousands of years, but in recent decades controlled experiments have demonstrated how much and how quickly essential oils work. Traditionally, the internal use of eo’s began in France by medical doctors who are also aromatherapists. It is only in countries where the two fields are not taught together that internal consumption is not recommended. Therapists in France have a thorough knowledge of how the body works physiologically and the pharmacology aspects of the eo’s themselves. Now, I can’t see myself ever becoming a doctor. And I love living in the U.S. and plan to stay here. So… if I were to ever suggest the internal use of eo’s, without the years of training followed by our “French counterparts,” I would risk serious harm to someone. And it’s illegal. The International Federation of Aromatherapists specifically requires it’s members to use the oils externally. Having expressed that, I bought the oils with one particular plant essence in mind. And my plan was to capsule it up and take it every day to counteract the free radicals and sick cells in my bladder. It’s not illegal to share what I do, as long as I share that I am doing something that is not recommended here. But it’s working. Wink.

A friend of mine recently became a consultant for a company that sells essential oils, among other things. She shared that becoming a certified aromatherapist was simply not something she had the time or desire to do on top of being a mom, a business woman and a homeschooler. And it sparked a desire inside of me to share some of the most basic, shoot-from-the-hip, aromatherapy intel that I couldn’t get from any of the companies selling it, but only from school. I love to write; I love to share what I learned (because as any homeschooler will tell you, repeating what we just read/heard is the best way to learn something ourselves). Those who can’t “do,” teach. Well, I can’t sell oils, but I use them daily, often hourly, and I would love to teach some of the incredible skills I have learned through writing. My first book… I’ll keep you all updated and hope to get feedback from you guys as I share pieces here and there!

Wildfire Naturalist Community and E-Club

Homeschooler, Naturalist, Trained Wildlife Mentor, Mixed-Media Artist and Crafter

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Jack Leann's Blog

Keeping Journals

For the love of Art Journals, Nature Journals, Bible Journals and Notebook Journals

truth in sequence

Culmination of a well lived life.

Something to hold onto...

The Cancer Journals of Ben, Hunter and Jacob's Mom.

Homeschooling Now

Encouragement for the next generation of homeschoolers.

Grady P Brown - Author

Superheroes - Autism - Fantasy - Science Fiction

Boys' Life magazine

Play challenging online games, laugh at funny jokes, build amazing projects and find lots of fun at the online home of Boys\' Life, the official youth magazine for the Boy Scouts of America.

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

CONFESSIONS OF A READAHOLIC

Don't waste your time. Let me read it first.

The Screenplay of Life Chronicles

A Journey into the Story of Life

Publishing Insights

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose / The more things change, the more they stay the same

bluchickenninja

graphic designer // bibliophile // geek

Faith and Love Makes a Family

our memory making journal

A Homeschool Mom

Inspiration For Learning and Life.