Why I use Young Living Essential Oils...

My friend Stephanie likes to say I sat through my first Young Living essential oils class with my arms folded and a skeptical look on my face. She is not wrong. I'd tried oils before from Whole Foods and had very limited results. The idea of paying more, and "getting roped into" a network marketing "scheme" for something I wasn't sure really worked was not one I was excited about, but I was there to support my friend. 

To skeptically support my friend as it turned out. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I did a lot of reading and chatting with my friend about oils. The more I read about the ethics of the business, their very different (read: not aggressive or money-centric) marketing ideology, and testimony after testimony about how these oils blessed people's lives...I finally decided to take the plunge and get a starter kit for myself. 

Within the very first week my insomnia was gone and the bouts of anxiety I'd been having at work were dramatically diminished.

I began talking to everyone about these oils and how they'd blessed me. But, with one full time job and another part time job already, I had no desire to sell them...yet, people started asking me about them just the same. Eventually, my friend suggested I have a class. I blew her off at least three times. I didn't want to sell to my friends. I didn't want to be one of "those people." Yet, I continued to share my experiences with the oils and even share samples of the oils with friends and family. I couldn't help it!

Since the class, A few people have actually ordered individual oils and kits from me and I've been able to help them figure out this crazy oil thing and get to know them better in the process, which has been great.

(Hi, Mom...and Steph, Rosa, Teri, Amber, and Leann!)

What gives me even more security in sharing these oils and even selling them a little bit is knowing that they really do help people live better, healthier, happier lives and that the company is one that can absolutely be trusted. Unlike several other network marketing companies, Young Living is accredited and highly rated with the Better Business Bureau. I can attest to their superior and generous customer service, as well. Because of this, I have no hesitation in saying...if you've been thinking about oils Young Living is the best choice hands down. 

Whether you get them from me or not. Just get them. They are, quite literally, the best. :) What's more...there are no strings attached. You don't have to meet a monthly order quota. There's no membership or cancellation fees. It's just "if you love the oils and want to keep using them, we'll give you discounts and perks to help you do that. If not, good luck and godspeed!"

Looking back now, I kind of feel silly for hesitating at all. I sat in that class exhausted, anxious, sad, plagued by migraines, and generally feeling defeated and unable to pray. Now, I actually have energy, my anxiety is situational and momentary, I'm sleeping through the night just about every night, I've had maybe 2 migraines (and both were brought on by bad choices on my part the day before), and I can pray again. To say that the price of the starter kit seems small in comparison to all I've gained would be a gross understatement.

If you feel like you just have to suffer through not sleeping, anxiety, headaches, or just generally feeling run-down all the time, I'm here to tell you, YOU DON'T! There is something you can do to take back some control over your health and well-being...and get to living the joyful, abundant lives we were created to live.

I'd love to be a part of that...so, if that all sounds amazing to you, then let me know and we'll get started.


Thoughts on the Response to "Churchless in the Crescent City"

Last week, I published a blog post I'd been writing for a few months. It began, really, as a way for me to think through the thoughts and feelings I'd been having regarding church and relationships and, of course, singleness, because, lets just have this said: when you're single for an extended period of time, pretty much everything is about being single. Relationships, social situations, work, family, church, taking out the trash, financial decisions, grocery shopping, weekend plans, birthdays, holidays, Facebook posts, retirement plans, dieting, your period, movie choices, how to use 2-for-1 coupons...everything. But, that's another post for another day.

After posting "Churchless", I was surprised and overwhelmed by the responses. So many, married and not, young and old, introverts and extroverts shared that they were right there with me, feeling disconnected, alone, adrift...and pretty confused and conflicted about it all. As I read the comments and private messages, a picture formed in my mind of people all walking the same road, together but alone. All they could see was the long, lonely road ahead...not the people traveling it with them. What I got from that mental picture was:

1. We, none of us, are really alone, and
2. Loneliness can be isolating.

That second point might seem redundant and maybe not make a lot of sense upon first reading, but track with me for a minute on this. I think we can agree that loneliness is a relative, subjective thing. What makes one feel lonely and the degree to which one feels it and is impacted by it varies from person to person. To be sure, the way I experience loneliness as a single woman in my early 40s is different from the experience of a teenage boy or a widowed person or a Stay-at-Home mom or a business man who travels frequently. Each person "wears" loneliness differently, but one thing, I think, is certain: our response to loneliness can isolate us, even simultaneously as we make efforts to keep ourselves from being isolated. Whether it is someone who feels sad or angry about their loneliness and becomes hyper-sensitive or another who tries to vomit's a week's worth of internal dialogue on someone who dared to ask "How are you?" or the person who sits in a corner/at home waiting for someone to reach out to them, the result is that their experience or reaction to loneliness only makes it more pronounced.

The degree of difficulty in reversing the "loneliness effect" increases because, often, the lonely person is unaware of how detrimental their behavior is.

So, I say again, loneliness (no matter the cause) can be isolating.

I also say again, we, none of us, is really, truly alone.

Admittedly, that is of little comfort when your house is empty or the calls and invites and interaction on social media or in the work place is almost non-existent, but, it is nonetheless true.

So, what I've taken away from this whole experience by way of application is this: Go with the go-ers and keep reaching out.

I think if any of us really look at the people around us, there will be at least one that makes an effort, that always responds positively to opportunities to meet or chat or visit. Even if they aren't your age, even if they aren't able to be as connected as you want or need to be, invest in them anyway.

You never know what could grow and blossom if but for a little watering.

If you weren't already in the habit of reaching out to others before, or if you (like me) reach out and reach out and the response seems lukewarm at best...keep at it for the same reason I gave above. It will be hard and frustrating and sometimes hurtful, but the adage about having to kiss a few frogs first applies to friendships, too. (wink)

In my previous post, I mentioned that I'd reached out to several women in my small groups and none of them resulted in a bestie. While I still don't have that, the reaching out led to a friendship that is in the process of potentially blossoming. She is younger than me, but married with kids and at the time I first extended friendship to her, she was very much needing a friend. We enjoy the time we are able to visit in person and are both invested in keeping up with each other as much as our busy lives will allow. If I hadn't reached out to her, the friendship wouldn't have happened. While we aren't BFFs, and while having a social circle of people like me (of both sexes) is my ideal, I'm grateful for a human person who wants to spend time with me on purpose.

Finally, to round things out, I have a story about a person who actually reached out to me. Like my friend above, this person wasn't my age (though I was the younger this time) and our lives were very different, but we did have a few things in common like Jesus and our sarcastic sense of humor. Again, we aren't "attached at the hip" or anything, but she is consistent and thoughtful and honest, and for a while there recently, felt like my only friend in the world.

I'm grateful for both of these ladies, even more so now, and have determined within myself to water these friendships more instead of wishing I could find friends more like myself.

To bring it all back around now...I think, perhaps, this revelation prompted by the responses I got to my last post, might combine to be the "equation change" I said I was praying for, allowing me to venture back into church again. Maybe. Hopefully. Because, now I know that though the ages and marital statuses and dress sizes don't reflect it, there are a lot more people there like me than I originally thought.

In closing, I'd just like to add a big "THANK YOU" to everyone who read the post (almost 300 of you) and especially to those who took the time to encourage me or share their experiences. It meant so much. I think I teared up as I read each one. Please know that I am praying for "us" to find meaningful relationships and that we will find the courage to "go with the go-ers" and keep reaching out and extending friendship to others.


Churchless in the Crescent City

I haven't been to church in over a year.

That is really difficult to type. If someone had told me a year or two ago that there would come a time where not being in church regularly would be "normal" for me, I would have given them a "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" look and probably a "Psh! Have you met me?!?!" as I walked away laughing and shaking my head at all the nonsense.

Yet, here I am, 12+ months of virtually no church. I've visited a few places in that time, but there've been too few Sunday's that actually included church to really count them. Prior to that, I had lapsed into this sort of twice-a-month routine of church going, plus small group. I was always very active in my small group no matter what. Prior to that, maybe as much as 5 years ago, I was an "every time the door was open" church-goer. I was involved in many outreaches and ministries and showed up to participate in or serve at church-wide events. I even lugged my small nieces and nephews along with me, navigating car seats and diaper bags and toddlers on hips like a seasoned single mom. I greeted. I handled the calendars and communications for my small groups. I served in the nursery. I sang with the worship team. I had "my seat" and sat there Sunday after Sunday without fail.

So, what happened? 


A lot of things.

1. My church changed. From the time I joined until now, it has probably tripled in size. We went from one small building where everyone knew each other, to a 1000 seat auditorium where you could go weeks without seeing someone simply because they sat on the opposite side of the room. The growth also had an impact on and caused leadership to rethink how they did small groups (which were no longer working). Over time, the connectedness and sense of family I had turned into a group of people I sat in a building with once a week and maybe "saw" on Facebook now and again.

2. I got older. I had always been on the older end of the single spectrum, but over time, I became a veritable anomaly. In fact, there was really only one other lady close to my age who was also still single. My previously single friends married and moved on to motherhood and babies. I was thrilled for them, but their friendship needs and limited time led to me being phased out of their lives. Their friends were now the mothers of the kids their kids liked to play with or that also home schooled or who had kids at the same school.

3. Life happened. Despite the whole "lone ranger single" thing, I did have some remaining friendships with people who were married. Some of them had been friends from the beginning of my time at the church. I had roots with them. They knew my stuff. I knew theirs. We'd been in the trenches together...and done a fair amount of laughing, too. But, over time, my people all went away. Some changed churches, others moved away for work or family reasons and I was left having to start over again...in a large church...full of younger, married people, most of which had grown up with or were related to one another. It was fun. :/

4. I failed to make new friends. As I mentioned earlier, I was always active in my small groups. I always made efforts to get to know all of the ladies in the group and had at least one or two one-on-ones with each of them. I don't know why...maybe I talked too much, maybe I talked too little, maybe I had B.O. that day, or maybe I didn't fit into their existing friendship circle...but almost none of them resulted in any sort of mutual friendship. If we saw each other again, it was because I extended an invitation. If we communicated in any way, I was the initiator. For the better part of 5 years, I extended friendship and, for the most part, was kept in the acquaintance zone. Finally, I gave up on Operation: Find New People.

5. My feelings won the day. After 5 years of loss and change and pretty intense loneliness, I just couldn't do it anymore. I felt like I didn't fit anywhere. I expected to feel that way everywhere else, but not at church. It got to the point that I'd dread going to church, knowing I'd walk in, sit through service and leave alone, and then choke back tears on the way home. I didn't really think anyone was shunning me on purpose (though I confess, I did sometimes wonder if I was "one of THOSE people" that makes people run away from them for one reason or another) but it was hard not to take it personally. I tried to make friends, to be a friend, to pray for and follow-up with people; I tried to serve more; I tried to strike up convos before or after church. Yet, still, unless I reached out to someone, I had virtually no contact with anyone. And, so, the better part of the last year of my regular church attendance was filled with many absences and pleading with the Lord to show me my place at this church or lead me to a place where I did fit in. Finally, during worship one Sunday in April of last year, I felt the Lord release me to visit other churches. Not to run away...that was not my heart at all...just to step out and see what might be. I broke down. I sobbed quietly in my seat all through service. Alone. I left wiping tears. No one stopped me. Then, I emailed the leadership to let them know what was going on.

I'd like to end this by saying that upon stepping out and seeing how the Lord would lead, I found a great place and made new friends and am growing in the Lord with them. But, that is not the case. Shortly after stepping out and visiting, I had a house fire and my life was turned upside down for 6 months. I did continue to visit a few places, and go back to "my church" from time to time...but still just don't feel like I fit anywhere, in fact, all I've really seen is a big underscore beneath the reasons why I don't fit anywhere. I'm too old. I'm too fat. I'm too single. I'm too "whatever that thing is that kept me from making friends before."

Now, I can hear you fussing me in your head "that's not what church is about." You're not completely wrong. I know this. I know the primary purpose of church is to be taught and encouraged and to humble ourselves in worship with other believers. But, we are also called to gather together and to fellowship and to edify each other with songs, hymns and spiritual songs, to bear one another's burdens, to serve one another, to rejoice when others rejoice and grieve with them when they grieve. I.E. we are called to have meaningful, godly friendships. And, I would also say...if you can't even manage to pee alone, then you don't know what it is like to be alone in everything...and, thanks to Facebook, watch all these people you know and care about doing life together, without you.

I don't blame my church for growing and changing. It isn't their fault that growth didn't include an abundance of singles closer to my age...or a husband. My pastors preached the word faithfully. The worship songs were well chosen and soul-stirring. The ministries were set up to serve the vast majority of people in an intentional and thoughtful way.

I don't blame the people I tried to befriend for having other friends. They are good people and I don't expect to be everyone's cup of tea. Though, I would expect to be someone's, if I'm honest.

All that to say, when I started visiting other churches, I didn't go in with a bitter heart or trying to find "better" people or "better ministries". I just wanted to not feel like that one puzzle piece you just can't find a place for anymore.

I stepped out hopeful. I wanted to believe that the demographics would be more in my favor elsewhere. They weren't. In fact, the average age in most of the churches I visited was younger than "my church"...and they were less culturally diverse. I also found that the sermons were crafted appropriately to speak to the demographic, i.e. people who were 15-20 years younger than me and, for the most part new believers or just returning to the church. The worship, also, was a bit more seeker-sensitive than I was used to. I didn't hear much about Jesus or anything that reminded me of the debt that was paid for me. I saw no reverence or joy on the faces. No hands raised. No tears being wiped away...including my own. It was just very sad to me.

My visiting wasn't all bad. I did find one place that was full of kind, joyful people with a heart to serve and were pretty culturally diverse, but again, the demographic and content was me 15-20 years ago, not me today.


I don't like where I am. I miss "church" desperately. I know I'm being disobedient by not going. But, going just to go when really I am just afraid of being alone and miserable in a crowd of 800 people again keeps me hitting that snooze button every Sunday.

I don't want to stay "here" but I don't know what to do...and I don't feel like I have many options.

Until something in that equation changes, I guess I'll continue to be home on Sunday mornings.

For my part, I am praying for an equation change.


**Weird Milestone Alert**

Yesterday marked 100 days of "homelessness" for me.

For those of you who don't know, I'm not homeless in a "living under a bridge" kind of way, but still homeless in a very real sense. 100 days ago, there was a fire in the place I'd called "home" for nearly 5 years and I've been displaced ever since. 

A few BEFORE photos:

I'd just finished about a year of painting and redecorating before the fire...getting the place exactly how I wanted it.


Yeah, so...

I lived in a hotel for the first two months, which was equal parts weird and difficult with a smattering of awesome, like someone making your bed every day. #winning. 

This month, I've been in a corporate apartment, which is mostly a downgrade from where I was with three exception: a King Size bed, a soaker tub, and a washer/dryer just for me.

On the surface, one might be tempted to think this whole thing has been like an extended, paid vacation.

It hasn't.

There have been many blessings in the midst of this, of course, and things I've enjoyed, but, it's also altered the way I do life (at least for the time being) and had some unexpected side-effects that have been kind of difficult. So, to commemorate this not-so-auspicious occasion and have a little something to look back on later and feel thankful for "all the way the Lord has led me"...I give you a few fun facts about being homeless, kinda.

1. You eat a lot more pasta, probably more than is reasonable. When your life is in a tizzy, but you still want to be “responsible” and cook instead of doing drive-thru every night, there's not much easier than boiling water and waiting 10 minutes for dinner to be ready. Plus, it's super cheap. So, my homeless go-to dinner was buttered noodles or Kraft Mac & Cheese. Is the "homeless 15" a thing? If not, it is now. Officially.

2. It takes you three times longer to do pretty much everything. Because you're basically living out of a suitcase, in unfamiliar surroundings, and all of your routines are just a jumble of you trying to put pieces of your old routine together into a new routine. But, you have to think before you reach for/do anything...every time. Where is my purse today? Where are my clean underwear? Do I put sunscreen on before or after moisturizer? (As you're putting on lipstick) Did I brush my teeth? (Gathers items needed for a task and begins only to remember one crucial item is in another room) Dangit! Why am I such an idiot these days?

3. You forget, misplace, drop, fall behind in, and generally mess things up...a lot...consequently, feeling like an idiot and a mess most of the time.

4. You're also often late for things, even though you'd normally be 15 minutes early.

5. You're tired more often. Problems sleeping out, uncomfortable beds, foreign noises and upstairs neighbors who are either sleep walkers or have very tiny bladders all conspire against your sleep. If you manage to make it through your homelessness without hallucinating or having a total nervous breakdown from sleep deprivation, consider yourself very fortunate...and totally primed to have a newborn or a puppy in your new home, once you find one.

6. You really, really miss that old mattress you wanted to replace right before it was carted off to storage with 98% of your other worldly possessions. 

7. You really, really miss your vanity/morning getting ready routine.

8. Moving your few remaining possessions around from place to place is not fun and you often contemplate tossing most of it out just to avoid having to pack and haul it all again.

9. You realize you don't need as much stuff as you thought you did...except when it comes to makeup and skincare, then you always need more.

10. You learn that you are far more adaptable than you realized.

11. You come to believe completely and passionately, that Insurance Companies are, in fact, the Devil, and Insurance Adjusters probably have to sell their souls just like Keanu Reeves in that lawyer movie with Al Pacino. (#slightexaggerationforeffect)

12. For so many reasons, you find that everything cost more.

13. You frequently calculate the replacement cost of all of the things that couldn’t be stored or salvaged.

14. You wish your job required a uniform because then people wouldn’t bat an eye at you wearing the same outfit over and over and over again. #has5outfitsrightnow

15. If you’re from the New Orleans area, you feel that same sense of unease and loss and (#pressesbackofhandtoforeheadandtiltsheadback) “whatever will become of me?!?!” that you had in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. 

16. You sigh a lot more.

17. You have your first-ever panic attack. It isn’t fun.

18. You learn that you could REALLY get used to having maid service.

19. You may or may not become addicted to Trolli Eggs. 

20. You take up making videos on YouTube. For real! #science!

21. No matter how much you try to get a routine going and be normal, you just never, ever feel settled. 

22. You pretty much always wind up crying at some point when talking to pushy vendors or insurance company reps.

23. You realize that having a dishwasher is a necessity, not a preference. 

24. You realize that most people will forget you're homeless or think you're having some sort of fun extended vacation...and find that that's kind of a bummer.

25. You realize you can still be hospitable and serve others, no matter what your “home” is/looks like.

26. You become a bit more thankful for the little things...when you're not being a whiney hiney, of course. 

27. Some of the things that were big issues in your life prior to your homelessness, suddenly aren’t. 

28. Pedicures just never happen.

29. You think about eating clean or starting to exercise again, but those thoughts quickly get pushed aside by weightier concerns like "where am I going to live?" and "how do I get the insurance company to stop stressing me out?" and "Why does the person who lives upstairs have to walk around so much...at 3am?!?!"

30. You’re even more thankful for your faith, without which, you’d certainly have become the hottest of hot messes throughout this whole ordeal.

Life, as I knew it, is weirder and harder and I don't know when it will settle down again, but, I do know this:

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10


Hey y'all! As some of you know, I've recently started vlogging (video blogging)...in yoga pants. I'm also learning a bit more about how to edit videos and put them together in a way that is a bit more interesting. So, that's been fun. In this vlog, I talk about how my YouTube habit has resulted in a bit of a shopping habit and share the totally impulsive and unnecessary purchases I made during a recent trip to Target.

Admit it, we've all be there, right?

I also channel Minnie Pearl, play a bit of air guitar and sing my own personal cover of Corey Hart's "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night"...because I'm impressionable and old and stuff.

I hope you enjoy it...and that you'll consider liking, commenting, and subscribing to my channel.


Yesterday, I posted my first vlog, listing a few of the hits and misses from my day. While I could do those types of things every day (I have a tiny critic living inside of me), I know no one else wants to hear what I think is wrong with everything all the time. SO, here are five things I was thankful for yesterday. The only thing I do better than mentally review/critique everything is be sappy...but I tried to keep that to a minimum, too. #yourewelcome


"I'm a vlogger. I vlog."

I recently discovered YouTube vloggers. For those of you who don't know what that is, its people who blog in words on video instead of typing out words. I've sort of collected a group of vloggers, primarily from the UK, into this little place in my heart. They're so fun and vibrant and living these amazing lives...taking me along for the ride. Anyway, I know I don't have nearly as much exciting stuff to offer the world as these other guys, but...I'm dipping my toe into the ocean of vlogging.

"Eees for fun."

If you don't have romantic feelings for make-up brushes, you may not want to watch.