The essentials I started with and how I use them

For those of you new to the blog, hello! This is a new ‘category’, where I am sharing about our journey with essentials oils, specifically doTERRA. At the time, I chose doTERRA because some friends had used them and were raving about them. It was accessible. Now, just over a year in, I would choose them again in a heartbeat.

Two things I love the most about them is that they are grown and harvested in their indigenous countries. A plant will naturally thrive in the climate, soil, and geographical location it was originally created to flourish in. You can recreate habitats, but the potency and purity just wouldn’t be quite the same. For example, lavender is grown and harvested in France and Bulgaria and Frankinsence from Somalia. doTERRA also works with farmers around the world (in 40 countries!) through the Global Botanical Network and has a philanthropic element called the Healing Hands Foundation. You can read more about both of those here for the ethics side of doTERRA. These things make me a firm supporter!

So, rewind to when I was about to have a baby, and wanted to try some oils. I started with the Family Essentials Kit (an enrollment kit, which pays for your annual membership) which comes with 10 essential oils and blends. I also ordered a diffuser and purchased Clary Calm (great for hormones and cramps after baby!). You save 25% as a member with wholesale vs retail price, and I was pretty certain it wouldn’t be my only purchase!

Here is a list of the oils you get in this kit, and how I have used them in the past year:

*Lavender
– sleepy time rollerball (10ml) for Elizabeth with a couple drops and topped with fractionated coconut oil
– a couple drops in E’s bath
– rollerball for Mamma! (I’d put 5-10 drops in a full 10ml bottle for adults) before bed or when feeling anxious
-diffusing for relaxation
-mixed in with my skincare regime in a rollerball for spot treatment or moisturizing (I like frankincense or tea tree also for skin)

*Lemon
– a drop in my water bottle to aid in digestion and to balance my pH levels (you could also add this to warm water for lemon tea)
-3 drops in my all-purpose spray bottle that has 1 part vinegar and 1 part water
– diffusing for energy or to remove odours after I have burnt something!

*Peppermint
-a couple drops in my homemade toothpaste, along with clove oil (In a small jar, I mix 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part baking soda with about 10 drops of peppermint and clove oil). This toothpaste has TOTALLY whitened my teeth!
-diffusing for alertness
-sore muscles
-headache application (I don’t find it removes tough headaches, but does provide relief)

*On Guard
-drops in to all-purpose cleaner
-I would ingest this when I felt a cold coming on, as it’s an immunity builder
-great for diffusing to get rid of odours as well

*DigestZen
-rollerball application for gassy tummy for E (just 2 drops in a 10ml bottle)
-apply directly or in a rollerball for adults for indigestion (it has fennel in it, which smells like licorice, which I LOVE!)

*Melaleuca
-I have added this to my skincare regime or directly as a spot treatment on zits
-can be used as a cleaner as well
-apply to cuts to help heal

*Oregano
-one drop in cooking is extremely powerful!
-I have a rollerball that I apply to my feet when I feel a cold coming on
-gargle this if I have a sore throat
-this is also cleansing, so can be used in all-purpose cleaners
-I didn’t use this when pregnant, because it is not recommended

*Frankincense
-I have used this in a rollerball or with my skin care regime for moisturizing and to help with my acne scarring
-great for diffusing to encourage relaxation or calm
-this is good for cellular health, so I have often taken one drop on my thumb and held it to the roof of my mouth. The internal benefits of frankinsence and the research done is amazing!

*Deep Blue
-this one I have used on sore muscles, but find I like peppermint or even rosemary more for that. I do know people (athletes) who have found great relief with this, however.

*Breathe
-added to E’s humidifier
-apply to chest when I had a cold

You see, the uses are endless! I received a list of 150 uses for this kit, and it’s mind boggling the ways you can use these oils. Again, if you would like to know more, please email me at lanilupul@gmail.com or contact me through my business website here.

 

 

When little is what you’ve got

Ten years ago I bought a 960sq ft townhouse, built in 1955 as military housing. I was drawn to the large windows and hardwood floor. It was my first home and required a lot of “lipstick” to make it look pretty again. It had the typical 90’s burgundy and forest green paint, complete with wallpaper trim and sponge paint (yes, SPONGE PAINT!). The weekend I moved in I had family and friends help with painting and clean up, and we celebrated with some pizza at the end of it.

 But that place was mine, and I was so proud to own it after years of renting. It was the boom of 2007 and everyone was buying. I had friends buying houses that were larger, but this was what my bank account could afford (barely!). Fast forward to newlywed life, and Troy and I lived for the first four months of our marriage in a 500sq ft upper garage suite while our house was being built. It seemed cramped at the time, but it was the most wonderful gift of simplicity we could’ve asked for as we learned each other as husband and wife.

Now, we have a 2,500sq ft home to love and tend to. It takes more time, more money, and more effort to keep it up than that townhouse ever did. But it’s ours, and we love it for the season that we are here.

As I sit here typing, the sun has been up for an hour and a half (oh for early spring mornings!), and my mind is alert. Counting the minutes to when my baby wakes and our day starts. Most mornings I am up by 6:30, but this past week I have been waking and wanting to be up earlier. Like 6am! 3-4 times a week I try to get in a workout and time with the Lord (shower time is sporadic!)  before Elizabeth wakes up between 7:15-7:30. These moments of time on my own are fewer than pre-motherhood, but I feel like in the years previous, God has been teaching me how to make space for Him in the time I have. Make Him a priority first thing in the morning. For me, that began mostly when I lived in England and has continued to this day. I crave Him, more and more not out of tradition or act, but out of wanting to know the One who made and saved me and is renewing me day by day.

So for right now, I am working with space I have been given, and letting (TRYING!) God make it beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

Last night I went to bed bemoaning to Troy about how I need more creative time. Of all the things I want to do and just don’t have time for as a full-time mom.  And I am challenged this morning, in the moments I have with my Father before the day begins, to work with what I have. To make space to meet with Him, to work with intention at what I have been given, and see what God does with it. Rather than compare to the creative square footage of someone else, I am convicted of giving God the landscape I have and do my best to make space for Him to lead, love and move in it.

If you have little time for anything else right now, make what space you have to meet with the Lord, and see how HE will make it beautiful. In its time. Pressure off. Stop comparing (preaching to the choir here!). Swing open the door and let God decorate the proverbial house you’ve been given, no matter how big or small it is.

Own it, sister, to own it.

Circa 2007 – me and my “new” kitchen!

My big sister: Mommy & Me photo session

Love. My sister, Rhonalyn, loves loves her family. When we were little, we used to race off the school bus to see who could get to the house the fastest to hold our new baby brother (I was 6 and she was 9 when he was born). We’d say, “I get to hold him first!” She always won. 😉

She is the kind of sister who worries about you when you’re away. Brings a gift for you when she sees you. Is extremely compassionate and very hard working. She has two teenage step-sons who were at school when we did this shoot, but they are like her own. And we love that they are a part of our family now too! But these girls. Lily and Ellie. They light up my sister’s world. These are a few photos we snapped when Elizabeth and I recently visited!

You hear my sister often before you see her. Her laugh precedes her.

She is the motorbike sister, I am the moped.

She is the spice, I am the sugar.

She says hot, I’d say cold. We couldn’t be more different, yet we love each other to bits, and are thrilled to be new mammas at the same time!

Sister, I love you. I know these aren’t the kind of photos you frame. They are the kind you keep tucked away in a book. And 20 years from now, when these girls are grown up and off to university or wherever… these are the kinds of photos you will look back on and think, “Those were our days that no one else saw. Just us. They were often hard. Joyful. Frustrating and noisy. Full of kisses and dirty diapers and talking to Jesus. But those days were worth it. Oh so worth it.”

Here’s to motherhood and the gifts from heaven our littles ones are xo

And then there’s real life… 😉

Go on and flourish

So much can affect our hearts without us realizing it…

For me, it was like a pit in my stomach. I knew it was there, yet I kept going back to it. I needed to see, as though making myself feel horrible was justified. I’d see someone else’s way of doing things, and immediately feel like my way was wrong. Like I was somehow less than because they seemed to have it together. “Seemed”.

As a new mom, this feeling really sprang to “life”. I wanted to follow other new moms and watch them mother. “Be inspired”. Well, no, that wasn’t the case. Because as I watched, I felt that yucky comparison bug creep up and begin to itch.

For example. A wonderful lady I followed on IG and had heard speak at a conference was finally pregnant after 10 years of trying and waiting. Amazing! As she shared online about having a journal for her soon-to-be-born son, that she would give him when he was 18, I immediately felt like I should be doing the same, when I wasn’t. What kind of mother AM I?!! I immediately felt like my mothering was less than, rather than celebrating a great idea and that another boy in this world will have a mom who adores him. Rather than being inspired and taking a great idea, I felt like I was doing it all wrong.

You see. Sometimes I look at social media for inspiration. When in actual fact, then, I was looking to it to somehow confirm what I felt. And the issue would just keep growing until I addressed it. I’ve had to stop following people. I’ve had to sit myself down for time-outs and really ask myself why I felt so threatened by someone else’s success. I’ve had to take complete breaks from social media altogether.

Bearing my sin and soul here… I wanted to be the best. At everything. Good grief, what pressure!!! You know that saying, that comparison is the thief of joy? So true. And rather than celebrating your success – as a mother, as an entrepreneur, as a wife, or as anything – I felt like it somehow took away from my own success and progress.

How wrong I was.

Maybe you need to hear what I needed to hear… Stop waiting for someone else’s permission to flourish. And start dealing with what limits you.  Comparison. Fear. Doubt. Perfectionism. Whatever it is. It’s time we start stepping out, celebrating other’s success, and cheering each other on! And letting yourself grow strong. Because I do believe that God loves to shine His strength through us.

The tides are turning in my heart. You know how I know?

…Because now as I watch young moms at the same stage as me, my heart is now rejoicing. Yay YOU! 

…Because I have exercised since January, sticking to my goal for the first time EVER, after seeing a great mom-preneur do it. I thought, Well, if she can exercise with all her to-do’s then so can I! And I now have muscles in places I never have. One year after having a baby!

…Because instead of feeling like someone else’s success impedes on my own, my heart is starting to shift to celebrate theirs.

…Because my husband and I laugh more, at ourselves, and each other, even in a season of unknown.

My heart is starting to see that I can be who God wants ME to be, and that if you are doing well, that in no way means that I am not!! Oh comparison thief, be gone! Only the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction and healing can do this.

If social media feels yucky for you. Take a break. If mine doesn’t inspire or challenge you, then please, stop following, and take a break! But if you feel like you can celebrate alongside me with my successes and vulnerabilities, then I welcome you here for the journey.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts, ABOVE ALL ELSE. Our hearts are the soil of our life. Make sure it’s fertilized well so the good seeds can grow.

And go on and be free to flourish. For His glory.

xo

The most important reason we need rest

 

Busyness. It can be worn like a badge, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve readily and proudly admitted when my answer to “how have you been?” is “Busy!” It makes us feel productive. Like we are worthily accomplishing something.

Rest is not easily accomplished as a mother, so I am learning. 24/7 you are now caring for the needs of a little one(s), your hubby, and your home. Plus likely balancing volunteering, work, family and friendships. Rest is utterly important, at every stage of life, and I don’t think it’s impossible, or God wouldn’t urge us to do it. We just have to be creative. For me, right now, rest looks like my morning coffee with some time in the Word before Elizabeth wakes up (that length changes daily!). It looks like trying a new recipe and experimenting with food. It looks like reading something other than non-fiction – currently, the story of the little Swiss girl, Heidi, lent to me by a friend.

My husband, Troy, knows this about me – that I have an extremely hard time resting after Elizabeth goes down for bed until clutter is put away, and the kitchen is clean. I rest better without clutter and mess. So the word “rest” has been on my mind as I mull over what God wants me to focus on in this season.

Did you know the word “rest” occurs 308 times (ESV) in the Bible? For a frame of reference, “love” occurs 551 times. So clearly, rest is important. But as I looked up this word, rest, it seemed that sometimes it takes work to rest. Doesn’t that sound funny? But if you think about all the work you put into planning a holiday, it does take effort!

Hebrew 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

Other places where ‘rest’ is mentioned are when Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Or in Exodus 33:14 where God says, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” This is clearly a gift from His presence.

Psalm 16:8-9 also says, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure (ESV).” Some versions say “shall rest in hope”. What is King David saying? Because he has set the Lord before him, he is able to find rest and dwell securely in knowing His Lord has things in hand.

What do I learn from looking up the word rest? Two things:

1) Rest is both a place of peace (noun) where we find relaxation and strength, but it is also a verb, where we intentionally choose to refrain from our own way, trust, and find confident hope in the Lord.

2) Rest comes directly from His presence, from putting the Lord before us, and it keeps us from living a disobedient (unbelieving) life.

So while rest sounds like a passive word, it is actually a very intentional word that we are to seek.

As a new mom, and someone who is learning to be a homemaker all in the same breath, the idea of rest can seem like something far off – like 18 years from now. But God urges us to find rest in Him, and this will keep His presence in our lives and keep us from walking in unbelief in our hearts. Whether this is while you cook with a toddler at your ankles (amen, I have tried to find rest in this new season in this very act!), or while finding a few moments in the bathroom before your little one finds you (amen and amen).

I know there are areas the Lord has wanted to heal me of unbelief, where I don’t fully trust Him, even after all of these years. And that can only be done by coming to Him with my labor, ceasing to do it on my own, and abiding confidently in Him.

As an exercise, I took these verses and paraphrased them into my own words. Perhaps this will help you grasp what is being said…

Psalm 16:8-9 – I continuously run to Him, in my mind and in my heart. I feel His presence throughout my day, and I know He is the one that will keep me anchored. So I can live joyfully and at peace in my whole being; even physically I feel a peace as I choose to confidently abide in Who He is and what He’s done.

Hebrews 4:9-11 – There is still a way of finding total rest when you walk with God, because when you are in relationship with Him, there is a new peace that comes because you cease from doing things your own way, on your own strength. God is our leader, our Father, and even He rested after creating all of this! But it takes intention. You must work hard at resting in Him, in what He has already accomplished, and find confidence in that. This will protect you from falling into deep unbelief.

Matthew 11:28 – Come spend time in my presence, and my presence will calm and quiet your heart, and give you the strength you need.

Why is rest so important? It keeps us in His presence. And that keeps us from unbelief in our hearts, keeps us resting securely in Him.

I can’t think of any more important reason than to find ways to abide and run to Him!