Hands On

There’s something to be said for a man who can actually do stuff. (Yes, I understand women can also do things and take care of themselves, as I most definitely can, but that’s not the point here.) The point is men have changed. How many of you have a man in your life who can actually do practical, useful things? Fix things, make things, use his hands for more than scrolling through his phone? I live in a small town in the south, so I feel like it’s more common here in a farming community than it is in the larger town I grew up in. But even here, it’s becoming less and less common. Like everything else, men are evolving with the times and technology. I get that. But it makes me even prouder of the man I call mine and the little man we are raising that seems to be following in his footsteps.

I sat for about two hours today watching my husband and his friend work in their shop. It constantly amazes me to see the things these two dudes can do. I give them hell on a daily basis, but I swear between the two of them, they’re unstoppable. Today they were working on trucks for a truck pull this weekend. One was attaching a custom made bumper, which he made from scratch I might add, to his truck. The other was working on various projects on his truck, while occasionally stopping to help his friend. These two never slow down. They are constantly thinking of something else to do to whatever project they’re working on and then figuring out how to make it happen. They drive their wives crazy on a regular basis with truck talk, late hours in the shop, and mysterious charges to their credit card, but it’s hard to hate it. We also never have to call a repairman or take our vehicles to the shop. After close to eighteen years, I’m spoiled to it. I can do a lot of things myself, but how awesome is it that I don’t have to every single time?

As I sat there watching my 5-year-old work diligently to split a wood block while the big boys worked on their trucks, I couldn’t help but be relieved that he seems to have the inclination to do things with his hands. Yes, more times than not that means destroying something, but still… at least he tries. He came home yesterday hot, tired, covered in grease and dirt, and happy as a clam, much like his daddy. Hopefully he will always know the satisfaction of being able to do things with his hands.

Go team!

I honestly think my favorite part of this whole oily journey is sharing and then watching those people share the love. I love building a team and encouraging them to do the same. I love helping them achieve goals. Of all the things Young Living has done for me, I think my team is my favorite. This company encourages you to build strong bonds and share everything you know. Not competing. Not hiding your secrets. Everyone benefits from team success. I never thought that would appeal to me. People skills are not really high in my list of qualities and I work fairly well as a team of one. I went from thinking of network marketing as the devil to be avoided, to realizing it’s about teamwork and helping other people succeed. And it turns out I really like that. Who knew.

Why “Essential” Oils?

These days everyone has seen or heard of essential oils. They are sold all over the place in a wide range of prices. But what are they and what is the price difference all about??

Essential oils are the lifeblood of the plants (trees, shrubs, seeds, etc.) from which they are extracted. They are essential to the growth and survival of the plant itself. For centuries man has taken the leaves and blooms of a plant, dried them, and used them in poultices and teas to help ease conditions and support a healthy body. Essential oils serve the same purpose, except they can be from 100 to 10,000 times more concentrated. This isn’t a new concept either. You can find references to oils in ancient Egypt, Greece, Italy and all through the bible.

So what’s the difference in different companies and prices? Oils have to be “harvested” from the plants in order to be usable by us in those convenient little bottles. There are fast ways and right ways. Correct ways take more time. They take years of experience and research to know the best way to harvest the oil and the peak time for harvesting to get the grade of oil required. It takes a great deal of time and effort to produce pure, therapeutic grade oils. It can’t be mass produced to lower the price of the harvest either, if done correctly. You can use two or three drops in place of sometimes 10 drops of a generic oil. And they are not therapeutic themselves, which means even if the oil can support your body, it isn’t strong enough to do that. That makes up a great deal of the price difference. In addition, essential oils are not regulated by the FDA. Meaning, if the bottle has at least 10% oil, it can be labeled 100%. Organic, natural, all those things are advertising and not backed up by anything in most companies. Companies can make their supply go a lot farther and make more profit overall by “extending” their oils, but that is not helping their customers.

So what does all this mean? I can’t speak for those other companies, but I can speak for Young Living. When you purchase a bottle of Young Living oil you can be confident that the bottle is 100% oil. It was grown on a farm that is the natural, perfect environment for it to thrive. That farm follows strict protocol put in place by Young Living. The oil itself is tested in a lab to guarantee the quality meets Young Living standards. Young Living also employs third parties to test their oils periodically to insure their quality. This is called the Seed to Seal process and is copyrighted by Young Living. They are the only ones doing it. Although essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, Young Living has put their own rules and standards in place to assure you that you are getting what you pay for.

Gary Young founded Young Living 25 years ago. He did intensive research and studies abroad to learn the perfect process for producing therapeutic grade essential oils. At the time people called him crazy. Now millions of people worldwide use Young Living products. What started off as an essential oils company has grown into lotions, shampoos, supplements, makeup, health drinks and the list goes on. People are literally replacing everything in their home with these all natural products to get rid of harmful chemicals.

I firmly believe Young Living is the best company out there. This company cares about people. It wants you to thrive and be the best you. And if you’re not happy or satisfied, they will work with you to make sure you end up happy and satisfied. Yes, the price is often eye-opening. But it is so worth it.

Oils of Our Lives

I’m at a weird point. I’m doing something I really enjoy. Weird. Taking a hobby I’ve had for years and sharing it with a lot of people. Also weird. More people than I ever expected in a few short weeks. I find myself randomly recommending oils in conversation. Which is not me. Then there’s the whole “selling” thing. That is also not me. It’s like I’m a different person. I find myself struggling to balance my desire to share with my need to give people space and not pressure them in any way. Because even when they’re interested in what you have to say, there’s this suspicion that you’re going to trap them into something or force them to sell oils against their will. Or that’s how it feels from my end. I was wary too, so I get that. And let’s be real, you can wrap it up in whatever package you want to, but at the end of the day I do want you to use Young Living and it does benefit me. But whether you know it now or not, it benefits you, too.

The thing is I genuinely like helping people find a solution through oils. And they have other things, people. It’s more than oil. I love knowing that it’s the beginning of something that’s not only good for them, it’s fun. And I love the thought of sharing and talking about oils for enough of a living that I can get more serious with my cattle business. Cows require time and effort and I have neither after working full time.

I also know that there is no trap. I like to think that people know me well enough to know I wouldn’t get talked into anything I hadn’t researched and asked a ton of questions about. And as usual, I had lots of questions. I probably went through everything on the website looking for the catch. I never found it. All I found was a really cool concept that had spread worldwide. And I am confident in the knowledge that if I wake up tomorrow and think, “What was I thinking?”, I can make one phone call to an impartial person and I’ll be done. All the rebates and discounts are not coersion. They are only meant to get oils to more people. Really. And the membership that turns so many people off? Do you have a Sam’s Club membership? Do you pay a set amount each year and get the discount as a result? Do they use the word “membership”? Yeah, that’s my point.

Yes, at the end of the day it is a business for me. It’s a stupid, ridiculous dream, but I’m taking the chance anyway. Because I need a change and inspiration. But if I didn’t like it and believe it could help people, I wouldn’t be doing it. Period.

So the weird place is how do I balance that? I’m having a blast blogging and sharing my experiences with essential oils. That’s a fact. Had I known it would make me happy, I would have started this years ago. But at the end of the day, I do have a goal. I want to work less in an office and more on things I enjoy. I want other people to have that opportunity if they want it. It doesn’t appeal to everyone. I didn’t think it would appeal to me. And I despise being pressured or coerced, so I’m not going to do that for any amount of money. Well, maybe a million per head. That would be hard to turn down. But when you realize you enjoy something and could possibly get financial freedom, you take the chance. And even though I know the business part freaks people out, I do want people to know it’s out there and it’s a lot of fun.

So that’s where I am. I love it. I love sharing it. I hope you love it, too, and let me show you how to get awesome oils at a discounted price. But if you don’t want to, I’m good with that. You can order one at a time or none at all. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok. Please do not let the “sales” and “membership” keep you from trying something new if you want to. Be brave. Have a little faith in me. But most of all, take a tip from me and be true to you. That’s all I’m trying to do.

A Better Me (and You)

The past few weeks have been so much fun for me.  I set a goal to be a better me and to make better decisions for my family.  And I decided I wanted to share what I was learning, so I started a Facebook page (facebook.com/katiesoilyjourney) and a blog.  Feel free to look me up – I love sharing.

I’ve used essential oils for several years.  As a skeptical person, I continually look for stories of success and research oils for myself.  I don’t blindly believe things, but I will take your suggestions and try it for myself.  Oils were a road to stress relief for me and mine.  My main goal was a calmer home life.  When my mother-in-law began using Young Living this year, I was reintroduced to them through her.  I knew of the company and I guess most people do.  I even had a few bottles I used from time to time.  I also knew I was buying less expensive oils that were already helping me.  But me being me, I started reading about the company.  About how they grow, harvest and develop new blends.  About their mission to get essential oils into every house.  I read stories on Pinterest and on the internet as a whole.  My mother-in-law and I went to a meeting with about 50 super happy people who were using and selling it.   Happy people make me suspicious, so that was kind of a turnoff for me at the time.  Which is pretty funny now.

I got my starter kit a month or so ago and started experimenting.  The scientist in me loves to test things. I compared the YL oils to the ones I had already.  I can honestly say they are more intense than my less expensive oils.  I can use less drops and I trust that what I am getting is 100% oil that has been tested in a lab to verify that.  And YL hires third-parties to audit their products also, which I love.  Their farms, methods, and quality control is impressive.   I’ve since learned that there is no regulation of essential oils in regards to what is considered “100%” and “pure.”  As long as approximately 10% is oil, it can be advertised as 100% on the label.  But when you use YL, you know it has been tested and verified.  And YL is the only company that owns all of their own farms, which specialize in whatever will grow the best in that particular environment.  Their farmers have strict regulations from the company and their products are checked to insure they follow them.  And they don’t just sell oils, they sell all kinds of things: cleaners, shampoos, makeup, and the list goes on.  You should really check out their website.  Overall, it’s impressive and I feel comfortable using them on my family and sharing that with others.

And my husband is a very willing participant.  I’ve mixed things for sore muscles and joints, calming oils, and bug spray.  He uses them all.  I made my son a booboo roller and a calming roller and he likes to use those himself (he is four).  It’s funny how easily they accepted it all.  Easier than I did, I’m sure.

I never, and I mean NEVER, planned to try the business side.  I despise selling anything.  And I hate salesmen.   Three weeks ago that wasn’t even on my radar.  Then my buddy mentioned looking into it and we jumped in together.  I have loved every minute.  Because I’m not selling, I’m sharing.  Young Living sells things, not me.  And I love reading and sharing what I find.  I love answering questions. It’s one of the reasons I like my actual daily job.  I know most people don’t get a kick out of researching and experimenting,  but I do.  And I feel happy and productive for the first time in a very long time.  So I hope that I can keep on posting and sharing my journey and other people can benefit from it.  It’s going to be a lot of fun along the way.  You should really come with me!!

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The Struggle

Anybody care to guess how many times I’ve heard a reference to the parable of the prodigal son in the last month?   I don’t know either,  but suffice it to say it’s a large number.   God is persistent like that.

I grew up in church.  I think a lot of people in the South do.  Twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday night.  I went to a large church with a great youth program, so we also had lots of things to do on the weekends, too. It was a sheltered place.  Not a perfect place – temptation is everywhere.  But I got the time and influences that built the me you see today.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it settled my soul on a Rock that can never be swayed.

When you are a good girl and in church on the regular,  going to college is eye-opening.  You are in charge of you for the first time in your life and you get to decide what you want to do.  Sleeping late on Sunday was a lot more important than going to church.  And college friends do different things for fun than church friends.   I’m not going to lie,  it was a blast.  It is still is a blast to get together with our college friends.  That time bonds you to people.  You make friends for life.  Family.  And I’ve continued that way on this journey for many years.  Easily passing through with no concerns about my soul.  After all, I knew where I stood with God, regardless of where I spent my Sundays.  And then we had Tuck.

Seeing yourself as an adult is never clearer than when you have this little person around that can’t do anything on his own.  I know I have that Rock and never doubt it.  I know that in the worst of times along the way, scripture or hymns would come to mind.  I would automatically find myself praying.  That doesn’t go away just because you wander.  It is literally ingrained in my soul.

Now I don’t consider myself on par with the prodigal son.  But I do believe God has been making a point in my life.  “I see you.  I still love you.  Shouldn’t Tuck have that?  It’s such an easy thing to come back.”  And for once in my life, I’m taking a suggestion from someone and doing it.  Normally if you tell me something you think I should do or, God forbid, try to guilt me into it, I can guarantee it will never happen.  That’s just me.  I decide for me.  Not you.  But it’s been such a soft whisper.  Just a reminder.  Nothing pushy.  And He is right.  Tuck deserves the chance to have the solid foundation my parents gave me.  Because I’m here to tell you, trials will come and they are many.   And in those times if I hadn’t had my Rock, I’m not sure how I would have survived.

Like the prodigal son, I have talked to my Father and asked him to help me.  And it has been better the last few weeks.  Just knowing that I have made a good decision for my family eases my soul.  I struggle.  Man, do I struggle.  If you know me, you know that.  But it’s ok.  I just have to do my best.  That foundation can’t be taken from me.  Not by you or even me.  And there’s a lot of comfort in that.

No clue why I had to share this today, but make no mistake, I had to.  I hope it speaks to someone out there.   The struggle is real.  But you don’t have to do it alone.