Join me here – hashtagsoflife

I decided to start using my blog here – hashtagsoflife. I will be posting my blogs about Young Living Essential Oils and my oily journey, right here. 🙂 I hope you will join me on this journey. 

Three years ago I was approached by a friend who was beginning her journey in learning and applying the oils in her life. She would encourage me I should jump on board, would send me samples and answer each and every random question I had thru those 3 years. Sometimes it takes some of us a little longer to catch the vision. Or it just isn’t time yet. I finally came to the conclusion that if oils were the choice of the Kings to bring to Jesus, then it seems a win-win for me – a WISE choice. 🙂

You HAVE heard of the Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. What did they bring? I can’t hear you. Say it a little louder. OILS. This realization hit me when I first discovered the essential oils. I was like, wait a minute. Oils are NOT a new fad thing or a culture shift. They have been around since ancient days.

So the Wise Men were Kings. I don’t know if I ever really thought much about that. I would see the pictures of them coming by camel, with crowns on their heads. I would sing “We Three Kings”. But somehow, I missed the concept of who they actually were and the choice of their gifts.  They.Brought.Oils.

This is where I started to get excited and wondered WHY OILS? Why not kingdoms and thrones and cars and gift cards. Okay, so there wasn’t all of that stuff then. 🙂 They brought oils because – THAT was the most precious and valuable and expensive thing they could offer. (Wow. Just wow.) Yes, along with the two oils they also brought gold. Each was costly and also symbolic. Frankincense is a healing oil. It is even called the KING of oils. It is sweet smelling; symbolic of pure worship.  Myrrh was the next oil – it was used in embalming the dead; a holy anointing oil. Together the two oils came – worship and suffering. Most of our own personal experiences in life come wrapped in these two experiences – sweet and bitter; joy and suffering.joy image

If the Wise Men knew that oils were the perfect choice of gifts for the new baby Jesus, then they were on to something WE in the 21st century need to stand up and take notice of. We NEED pure oils in our lives. It will minister to our bodies AND to our souls.

#GoodEnoughForTheWiseMenThenGoodEnoughForMe #FrankincenseIsOnMyFriendList

#ALineHasBeenDrawn

hashtagsoflife

So. We all know the story of when the woman caught in adultery (yes, key word is CAUGHT, hence the expression ‘caught in the act’), was dragged to the streets by the people who were sure Jesus would agree she should be stoned to death for her sin. I mean, after all there was NO doubt – she was ‘caught in the act’. (How would you like to have been her; caught in ANY secret act you would NOT want exposed to the world.)  I am guessing if she was caught in adultery, she was naked. Let’s just say it like it was. The people dragged her through the streets like their prize they had won – look at us! Look what we found! Jesus, You can’t deny her wickedness. So, there lies the adulterous woman face down in the dirt, in her sin, in her shame, in her reproach…

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#WhyWeShouldAllBeFeedingTheHungry

It literally haunts me at night, to think of anyone sleeping out in the street, cold, lonely, and hungry. It has bothered me since I was a child. I really don’t know why – I don’t remember any situation that connected me to that world. I have come to believe I feel this way because I am supposed to. It is my heavenly nudge to keep me speaking up about those who are as forgotten as they feel.

Were you ever really hungry? Think about it. Did you ever miss a meal? Too late for supper and it was gone? (that actually happened to me before.) I remember being first of all shocked that ALL the food was gone that I had prepared – haha – and then slightly annoyed, but I shook my head, laughed, and made a sandwich. Oh THIS does NOT happen out in the streets. If you are hungry, you will probably stay hungry. Period. And at this time of year when food seems at its height of abundance and at its peak of mouthwatering delight, there are people who will NOT have a Christmas dinner. Or dinner the day before Christmas, or dinner the day after Christmas.

Why should we feed the hungry? Well, if you believe in Jesus He told us to. He also said if we really wanted to know Him, we would find Him as we feed the hungry. If we offer a cup of cold water (or hot coffee) in HIS name, it is just as if you did it for HIM. It clearly matters SO much to Him, that we do this. We tend to think He would rather us be all religious and do something that seems …well, MORE important, or something that others need to see us do. No. Just no. We have it all backwards.

To represent love, God, humanity – we need to feed the hungry. We need to care for the widow and the orphan. We need to shield the bullied. We need to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We need to take care of our Veterans of War. We need to be HUMAN. And  it starts with, feeding the hungry.

That is all I want to say. I could go on, sure. I’m a woman – of course I could go on. BUT please – just hear this simple plea – there is still a good solid week till Christmas. Go find someone who is  hungry and feed them. And then, stop a moment and feel the warm smile from heaven – if you want to be great, you must serve.

Please and thank you. And “God bless us, everyone.”hunger

#BeYourOwnHero ~ When the cry of Rape is Silenced.

Having read about all the women coming forward about the certain famous man who they say molested them or raped them years ago, I am disturbed by the way these women are treated. THIS is why women do NOT come forward to begin with – they are always treated like it is their own fault.  Any women or girl who ever hears the words “Don’t tell anyone” , has sadly found it is almost far worse TO speak up than to have actually followed those instructions. When you tell, you become like Dorothy when she pulled back the curtain and the Wizard of OZ was exposed as just a little man. Someone who is raped becomes a black spot on someone’s nice clean white page, and  it is easier to hope that spot just goes away then to actually acknowledge HOW the spot got there to begin with. This is a long blog – it is an actual published short story. I hope it helps someone to know they are NOT alone.

 Abuse is the most neglected and uncomfortable topic there is. If someone has been abused and it is finally coming out into the open, the chances are really high it has been happening for a long time. It was NOT banished at first sight. You need to know that at the very FIRST sign of abuse, it is very likely more will follow – TELL SOMEONE IF IT HAPPENS ONE TIME! The word “abuse” by definition (dictionary.com) is: “maltreatment: the physical, psychological, or sexual maltreatment of a person…mistreatment, cruelty, violence, ill-treatment, exploitation, neglect, abuse one’s authority, corrupt, improper use to unfairly gain benefit.”

 The ones who have suffered at the hands of an abuser keep silent for many reasons. Most of the reasons are the same in any abuse story – you think the abuse will stop. You think somehow it is your fault. You fear judgment and shame. You don’t have anyone you trust enough to even tell. Maybe you even tell and are called a liar. You think you deserve it. These are ALL legitimate REAL reasons people have for staying in abusive situations, and worse than any of those is if they fear for their own life or the life of someone else that they love!

Why do people feel shamed? Forgotten. Lost. Hopeless. Maybe even suicidal. Because they don’t feel free to tell the truth! Because they fear judgment! You are not going to tell someone your deepest, darkest ugly secret if you think they will reject you. You are not going to tell your family. Or your relatives. Or your church. Or a boss. Or anybody that you are pretty sure will cast you aside. Whether intentionally or not, you can be made to feel that it is NOT okay to tell the truth. Strangely, you can be the victim but be made to feel like the abuse done TO you was somehow YOUR fault.

 So you carry your secret. And no one knows. But the secret will eat you alive from the inside out. It never goes away. Ever. This then carries into every crook and cranny of your life, and into the small things that you never share.  We teach by example that the truth is too painful, and too much to bear. It may not be intentional, and certainly not done out of malice or cruel intent. It is just learned behavior, all born from abuse. And on and on it goes from generation to generation. BUT somewhere down through the ages there WILL arise heroes to rescue those locked away in their own private dark dungeons, and to protect generations to come. (The hero in this story is NOT the fire-breathing dragon!)

For our brave Dragon Slayer, the abuse started early in their life – and their long unanswered question from way back then till now, has been – WHY didn’t they tell? Why did they carry that secret so long? Why did they allow that dragon to keep standing there, mocking them? First of all, it was clear to them that no one really wanted to know the whole story, nor waited around to get details and truth. No one EVER wanted to hear all of it. It was not referred to, talked about, or fixed – and then as time went on it was decided that it was the fault of a child. Keep it a secret and maybe it will go away. It is easier to just pretend the secret wasn’t there, or that it was somehow the fault of the carrier of the secret; the secret of sexual abuse.

There is nothing worse than to trust someone who betrays that trust sexually. It destroys you as a person and it changes who you will become. In order to ever find your way back to some place of innocence (before it was stolen), you must see the sexual abuse as the powerful dragon that it is – that has breathed its fire down on you for so long – and you must slaughter it.

A fire-breathing dragon could come in any shape or form or vibe. They could show up just once, or they could take up residency. They are after what they want, and how they get it is irrelevant to them. BUT if someone IS coming at you more than once, they are going to most likely be smoother. It is kind of the terrorist mentality of laying in wait for the right time for the attack, no matter how long it takes. The dragon will always start out by being nice. Of course – you catch flies with honey. Or candy. Or a few bucks. Or new toys. Or sadly, just that little bit of attention every human craves. Who would think a hug is any more than just a hug? It so should NOT be any more than what it is. Dragons generally don’t walk in the room and announce their presence. Oh eventually they will show off their firepower, but first they want you to trust them.

Let me start by saying that no one should be allowed to touch you inappropriately and unnecessarily, and certainly NOT without your consent. (Private parts of our bodies are to be just that – private!) And if IT happens, you need to tell – the very FIRST time. There is no hoping it was a figment of your imagination, a bad dream, or a fluke event – if it happened once, once is TOO much. TELL SOMEONE. The problem in this taboo subject is, mostly this happens to children who simply do not know how to even tell someone, or how to protect themselves, or how to help themselves. You have to wonder why the abused /molested/ raped don’t tell on their abuser/ molester/rapist. Fleeting moments of the years before the abuse actually starts, can go often goes unnoticed and with no warning of there being impending doom.   It is someone stronger than you taking what they want, when they want it, and then not paying any attention to you until they wanted more. 

First of all you need to understand that dragons may not stand there in front of you looking all mean and nasty. They have a good handle on holding in their bad breath, till needed. They may be smiling and appear happy, and the victim may confuse the dragon’s sexual desire towards them, as approval of them.

If you have been abused, or molested, or raped, you remember the places it happened. It is like if you were bullied at school, the mere sight of any schoolyard will bring you into distress. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not just for battle weary soldiers – it happens to anyone who has faced an enemy of any size or caliber. Whether bullying, war, or sexual abuse – you can be triggered right back to that moment by a familiar setting. THE kicker is that somehow it can all get twisted to where you think it is YOUR fault! You have to excuse yourself for having been naïve, or for being afraid for your life, or covering for someone else, or for simply being a child who didn’t understand what was going on! Maybe you were just too young to have a clue of what is right, and what is oh so wrong! But if you never talk about it and you never expose it, it gets buried deeper and deeper into the threads of who you are. This need NOT be so. There IS hope, and it comes from breaking the silence. Fire-breathing dragons need banished from our kingdoms!

 Many more than you realize, are carriers of dark secrets. They are convinced if they scream, no one will hear them anyways. We all want to look like all is well, and sadly think that is the way to survive and the peacekeeping thing to do. Maybe we think the ugly truth would rock too many boats and destroy that picture-perfect-front. Somewhere there has to be a hero to come in and save the day, and more times than not it will have to be the actual one who needs saving!

Picture what you think it would look like for a knight in shining armor to come in on a white horse to save you. Would he make a lot of noise, pushing all enemies out of his way? Charging in to save the day, wielding his sword in defiance? IF we would break the silence the dragon wants to keep us in, yes – we could be our own knights in shining armor! At the end of the day, who wants to save you more than YOU?  If someone is abusing you now, or has abused you years ago   – it is time to SCREAM BLOODY MURDER. Go tell someone!

Make a lot of noise! Silence gives the dragon power to grow – like blowing up a balloon. Your silence inflates it to grow to unspeakable heights. Ok so what if the person you tell doesn’t believe you. Tell someone else. Keep going – keep talking – keep screaming, until someone hears you! Our Dragon Slayer grew up thinking these subjects were not discussable, that no one wanted to know truth, that no one really cared anyways, and that truth destroys. Sadly when they finally tried to tell, they were made to believe it was their fault, so to this day they still hide things. It is a hidden fear that if someone knows the truth and that literally can mean ANY truth, they will be rejected or judged. Gee, wonder where that thought process came from. All secrets do is to breed more secrets! Truth is meant to set you free, not make you a meal for a dragon. Because they never understood that concept, they would still leaf through a sort of soul-scrapbook, long after the actual abuse was over! The scrapbook was inside of them – it was all the shame, the fears, the unanswered questions, the insecurities, the confusion, the unfulfilled longings of heart and body, the cry for real love, the rejection, the degrading of self worth, and the never ending self loathing. Battle wounds. Scars. Burn marks from the fire. It still was ruining their life from the inside out!

 The ugly dragon of sexual abuse rules and governs one’s opinion of their own self. It destroys relationships. It spits its poisonous venom all over things you hold dear. It huffs and puffs – until one day there comes that moment – maybe it is brief BUT it is long enough for you to lift up your head that hangs down, look the dragon square in the eye – and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. It is when the victim inside of you, long beaten down, stands up on the inside. You know, the moment you acknowledge it and face it, it begins to immediately start to lose its power over you. The guilt and the shame was NEVER yours to carry but the more you carried around and kept the abuse a secret, it was like it fueled the fire in the dragon. It inflated his ego. There finally comes that day when you are just DONE. Maybe you have tried for years to just get a frail whisper up from your soul. Maybe you tried to scream and nothing came out. There may be no rhyme or reason why all of a sudden a rush of reckless COURAGE comes reeling out of your broken soul, and you take that first step to coming back to life.

Dragons want you to believe you are less, that you are weak, that you don’t have a voice, that you don’t deserve pure love, that you are the wad of gum on the bottom of a shoe. Dragons are bullies.  It may take years but there WILL come a day when the voice of that  one who was abused WILL scream! Finally! NO MORE! They will finally have the strength and the courage to stand up for themselves.

The first step to becoming a dragon slayer is to admit there WAS a dragon! Stop trying to hide it. This just feeds it and makes it stronger, and then it will NEVER go away. You need to literally say things like this out loud: Yes I was molested! Yes I was bullied! Yes I was abused! Yes I was raped! Yes I wanted to kill myself!   Yes. Yes. Yes. This should immediately light a fire in your heart to begin to stand your ground. Hold your head up, even just a little and scream out: IT WASN’T MY FAULT!

Stand up for yourself! Someone abused you? How was that ever your fault? Someone bullied you? How was that ever your fault? Someone raped you? How was that ever your fault? Someone molested you? How was that ever your fault? Time to take back your life. Even if it is in bits and pieces and shattered, it’s YOUR LIFE! Take a deep breath and reclaim what is rightfully yours.

If you don’t feel like you have any other person in the world that cares, then YOU care! YOU be your own hero! You can SO do this! I am telling you, you CAN! Be your own fan club! Be your own cheerleader! NO DRAGON DESERVES TO HAVE THAT KIND OF POWER OVER YOU! Doesn’t it make you mad to think of someone overpowering you? Aren’t you tired of carrying the secret? Aren’t you tired of being made to feel you could have/should have done something? Aren’t you tired of that abuse being what defined WHO you have become?

 So, repeat after me: NO MORE. I am brave. I am beautiful. I am not living in EXILE anymore. I have no shame. I am throwing off my tattered, dirty clothes and putting on some royal robes. Oh yah, and maybe a tiara. Then I shall fearlessly go stand out on my balcony! I am a dungeon dweller NO MORE! OFF WITH YOUR HEAD DRAGON! You shall rule me no more. I fear you no more. I don’t give you any more of my time, my heart, my self-esteem, and my memories. I banish you to outer darkness! No more dragons hiding in the corners of MY Kingdom!

You slay the dragon first by acknowledging it is there hidden in the shadows. Then you scream at it. It is actually more scared of you than you realize because YOU hold all the keys to its existence. If you cease to let it have power over you, it dies. Plain and simple. If you pull out your sword of self-worth and you approach it, it will quiver in fear. The dragon is now exposed for the evil that is! Darkness cannot survive in the presence of light! Light banishes it. There is a reason why abuse is shrouded in secrets and lies. Once it is exposed, it can be done away with! No.More.Secrets.

Oh thou brave dragon slayer, if this is YOU– whether you are 17 or 29 or 52, this is YOUR moment to shine! This is your moment to take back what was stolen from you! This is your moment to end the torment! This is your moment to be the king or queen of your own kingdom! Many of us are dragon slayers, and there are MANY more waiting in the wings to get their swords polished! For the sake of yourself AND generations to come, there are kingdoms to save, dragons to be banished, lives to be reclaimed, and futures to be lived in peace.

Remember ~ You are your own hero, and at the end of the day, no one wants to save YOU more than YOU!

 

Im not afraidIf you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.

 

#KeepYourEyesOffTheClock

This has been on my heart, because I have several friends who have lost their husband ~or boyfriend ~or a child in the past few years, and even just this past year. Well meaning people who have NO idea what this feels like, will always remind us to ‘move on’. Duh! Of course, we get up every day of every year with that sword drawn. And it IS offered to us timein the spirit of love, because they just want the old US back. What they don’t understand is that we are forever changed. Period. There is a huge chunk of who we were, that is now gone. And for those around us, it terrifies them. They just want us to be happy, to be whole, to be who they remember us to be.

Okay, if you are on the side of loss, please remember there is NO timetable on grief, and a very real likelihood that you will never stop missing them. (nor do we want to.) What we can do, is re-invent ourselves. The part of you that loved them and built a life around them, is now safely stored in your heart. Go to ‘visit’, cry and scream or whatever you need to do, then shut the door and go LIVE in their honor. Go back again whenever you need to, but just for a visit. No, It will never end ~ it is a journey for the rest of your days on planet earth. BUT Oh how blessed you are to have had so great a love, that there is such a void left without them. No shame in that, no shame at all. Hold your head high and keep your eyes off the clock. Love is NOT a matter of TIME. It is a matter of the heart.

And for those of you who love us, and wish we would be whatever it is we USED to be, don’t remind us that we are NOT. We know this. We know we are widows. We know we are childless. We know we are barren. There are no words you can say that will change this fact, so just walk beside us. Grow with us from this new plot of soil in which we are planted. BE that ‘dirt friend’. The one who can handle our messes and our dirty ugly sobs and unplanned meltdowns ~ and another holiday season without someone at our table. Just please DON’T tell us to just ‘get over it’ – don’t tell us ‘time’s up’. Love is NOT a matter of TIME. It is a matter of the heart.

‪#‎DedicatedToMyGrievingFriends‬

#OperationStarfish

As I consider the holiday season at hand and all the homeless  people I would like to take a Christmas tree, a bag of food, and a new sleeping bag to, I feel the weight of this thought process… Seriously THIS keeps me up at night – sure I can make a difference for one; I get that. But I want to help them all, and can’t.

What I CAN do (beyond the few that I can go help…) is to use my WORDS. I totally believe if every person reaches out to one other person, we could make a HUGE dent and THIS holiday season could be EPIC out in the streets!!! WHY NOT?

So, here is a list of possible ideas for those of you (like me) who don’t have a lot to work with this holiday season –  *Fill up a bag with personal items for a man or woman ~ easy. Dollar store. Soap. Toothbrush/toothbrush. Socks. Hairbrush. Bandaids. Candy. Paper. Pen. (yes Dollar Stores have just about every item anyone would like to have in a bag….be creative and fun too. Spend a mere 10.00 or more if you can. Don’t let an ‘amount’ be a reason NOT to. ) *Do you bake at the holidays? Bake an extra plate of cookies for someone; an extra pie; an extra few containers of food. *Depending on where you live, depends on IF you see homeless people – Baltimore, Atlanta, New York City, LA are all big cities where there are for sure LOTS of homeless people that are hungry and cold, and you straight up go right into the streets! In smaller towns there are soup kitchens, missions where you could donate some bags of food they could cook with – or homemade treats to distribute. *If in doubt, fill a bag with socks, neck scarfs, mittens…(again, at the Dollar Store). *Buy some hot cups of coffee or hot chocolate, and a box of donuts. *Make a pot of chili and take some bowls – serve out of your car.  *Get your church involved with you – (power of multiplication!) – youth group – your kids – your local stores – take advantage of the fact that we as humans ARE basically NICE. Sometimes we don’t do something, only because we don’t know WHAT to do. *Don’t forget those in need who are NOT homeless and just need a helping hand. Take a name off an angel tree. *If you LOVE to sing/ perform – well, here’s your sign! Go sing to people who will be your BEST and most appreciative audience. *Go Christmas caroling. (free.) – and X a million other ideas you probably will think of yourself.

Yes you will feel overwhelmed to see SO many needy people. YES you will feel like WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YES you will realize you can’t save the world.starfish story  We just need to do our small part.

So, this holiday season of 2014 – reach out to one person in need; one ‘starfish’ on the great shoreline of life. I think I shall christen this ~ OPERATION STARFISH. 🙂

#IChooseJoy

It always starts with a choice. Choices begins when your mom says to you (at an age when you’re  beginning to understand such questions)  – “It’s up to you. If you behave  yourself, we can go in the store. If not, we can just go home.” ( I am sure I said that to my kids upon occasion…) Do you want your blankie? Do you want more juice? How about when you finally got to pick out your own clothes – or voice what kind what kind of sandwich you wanted for lunch – or say if you wanted a kitty or a puppy. There is one choice X a million in those formative years.

Then the choices graduated to BIGGER issues. Ah, the teen year choices  – SO many it makes a teen’s head spin, which IS why we need to walk them through this time with some grace and mercy – it is like the whole world has appeared on their doorstep demanding – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? There is one choice X a million in those years

Fast forward past childhood and teenage years, into adult hood and all the moments and seasons and circumstances that hurl at you without warning and unexpected – CHOICES come with every food group, every bill, every child, every vacation, every belief you follow, every single item placed within your home, and on and on. There is one choice X a million in those years.

So you find yourself on the OTHER side of critical life changing choices. Maybe you now only answer to your self. Maybe on the other side of marriage, is now widowhood. Maybe now on the other side of parenthood, is now an empty nest. Maybe on the other side of happiness, is…..wait. Other side? There is another side to happiness? Yes. Happiness comes from the outside of your life – things that make you happy ~ they can be big or small ~ such as a vacation on a cruise ship can make you happy just as well as a bowl of pine  cones or a favorite coffee creamer. The other side of happiness is NOT based on things, and is not contingent on tangible things or even your feelings.

The other side of happiness is JOY. And it IS a choice. Hit song – “Happy” ~~~WHY is this SO popular?  BECAUSE WE ALL JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY.  The irony of this is – I can have a big house and find no satisfaction. I can have a ton of friends, and still feel alone. I can have all the ‘toys’, power, fame, bank accounts, and prime vacation spots and STILL be depressed. Happiness is fleeting. That is why you see people who you think SHOULD be happy, and they are not. The definition of HAPPY is:  pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness,  enjoyment, satisfaction. See the word JOY? It IS part of being happy; truly happy. Joy itself means: delight, gladness, triumph, ecstasy, exuberance, euphoria, bliss, rejoicing. The two go together. But ONE is a choice. So, choose JOY. Embrace life….NOT only allowing things to determine your level of delight…joy is an INSIDE thing. It is that peace in the storm thing…it is what holds you together when by all means you should be falling apart. It is MORE than a feel-good fleeting moment that ends when that Pumpkin Latte is gone.

Do I always feel happy? Nope. But in its absence, I can still have joy. I can still have an inner glow in my soul that assures me All Is Well. JOY is a matter of the heart. It is NOT determined by outside forces and if you protect it, it can NOT be stolen by outside forces. After the house is gone, the car is gone, the mate is gone, the family is gone and even the family pet is gone – we can STILL rejoice. joy imageThis is my ONE choice  in these years – after all is said, and done, and gone, I still choose JOY.