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

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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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#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.

#UnconditionalLove

We hear the words ‘unconditional love’ and most of us can think of someone we feel that way about, or many people.  It simply means – “love with no limits.”  It is boundless, limitless, and sometimes without rhyme or reason. It just means that we love someone – no matter what. Period. Nothing they could do could make us love them more, or less. This applies to parental love, to God’s love, and hopefully we can all learn to feel this way about every one. Everyone? Yes. What a world it would be, if we all loved each other without conditions.

It is one of the greatest challenges in this life, to learn to love your neighbor as yourself. Generally we have expectations, and check lists, and we call judgments on people as if we have some right of authority over another human being. We may not say it with our mouths,  but our actions say “I will love you if…..” or “I will love you when…”. You don’t have to agree with someone, to love them without conditions. How messed up are WE as human beings, and yet God loves us with an unconditional love. While we are STILL broken and lost and screwed up, He loves us. He doesn’t start loving us AFTER we get our acts together. He loves us way before we even consider getting our act together. Maybe it is His love that is the reason we CAN get it together. Just a thought…

Lavish love on someone today. For no reason. And asking nothing in return. Real love doesn’t need an audience – doesn’t have an agenda –   I Corinthians chapter 13 –  “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not LOVE, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not LOVE, I am nothing…” To love someone you don’t agree with or don’t understand, is definitely a prime example of loving unconditionally. “You do not have to change, for me to love you. You don’t have to be like me, for me to love you. You don’t have to agree with me, for me to love you.” . I never want to tell someone I love them, and end that phrase with the word ‘but’….There is NO ‘but’ in unconditional love.love never fails

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it – Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Next time you get out your check list on another human being, don’t. Love like Jesus. Whatever else needs to happen, is up to Him and out of your hands anyways. He just told us to LOVE. In fact, that was the last commandment He left us. Must have been utmost on His mind. ~

#LoveNeverFails

#ALineHasBeenDrawn

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. There cries the angry mob, calling on Jesus to take a stand against her sin, her shame, and her reproach. And what did He do? THIS is so important that we do NOT miss one small detail of this scenario. He drew a line in the sand, between the woman and her judges. Can you imagine how smug they each felt, as they KNEW the penalty for her sin and they KNEW there was no way out for her; she had no excuse. I can only imagine their hardened faces and hardened hearts. Jesus took His time drawing that line in the sand – maybe He was hoping some of them would get the point before He had to set them straight. Oh. Wait. Set THEM straight? What about the woman caught in sin? After He drew the line, it separated Him and the woman, from everybody else. Two sides. Jesus looked at the crowd and said, “You without sin, cast the first stone.” Oh my. The silence must have been thick enough to cut with a knife, or they were all muttering their little religious spiels under their breath – BUT – One by one they all had to hang their heads and leave, as each one realized the impact of Jesus’ words. Maybe their sins were NOT public knowledge and were hidden from view, but sin is sin. Not ONE of them threw a stone at the woman. After they all were gone, Jesus turned to the woman still face down in the dirt, still in her shame and reproach, and still fearing the worst. He said, “Woman, where are thine accusers?” She answered, “There are none.” Stop right here before we go further. THIS is where we miss something very important. HE HAD STOOD UP FOR HER WHILE SHE WAS STILL YET GUILTY. He had stood on the side of the broken. Jesus answers her and says, “Neither do I condemn thee…”. Wait. What? She was caught in the act, and Jesus does not condone sin of course. He said whatttt? “Neither do I condemn thee…”. Before we finish what He said, you have to understand what happened between those words, and the next five words He said.  He finished by saying, “Go and sin no more.” How could that be possible? How could an adulterous woman lift herself up from the dirt and be on her way, naked and shamed and guilty? What have we missed in this whole scenario? LOVE. For Jesus to tell her He did NOT condemn her was His expression of unconditional love for her in the present condition that she was in. IF He had NOT shown her love, she could NOT have possibly had any reason to go and sin no more! The love He showed her, constrained her to rise and change her ways, change her life.  People will NEVER come to Jesus; much less change their ways, if we do NOT love them. IT IS NEVER OUR JOB TO JUDGE. Jesus proved that in that story, right? He could have kicked her to the curb; after all she was caught in the act of adultery. He could have said – yes, she deserves stoned – kill her. He could have sent her away, groveling in the dirt and banished her from His sight. I mean, after all – He was God in the flesh. He had the power to judge her. So, He did NOT condemn her. What does condemn mean? It means: to pronounce to be guilty. She WAS guilty, correct? He had the power to judge her in her sin, correct? He did not. First He showed her love, and then He said go and sin no more. Without the love, she could never have changed on her own, or wanted to. Next time you go to cast a judgment on someone, because they are ‘caught in the act’ and guilty of something, you need to understand it will NEVER be YOUR call to do that. Ever. What IS your call is to love like Jesus. Real love heals the broken, binds up wounds, looks past the sin and into the heart, and real love looks like Jesus. Love is the only thing that can break the power of sin, the power of delusion, the power of seduction, the power of darkness that keeps people bound. Your judgments will only shine light on your life, not theirs. You start judging someone, and you might as well ask God to tweet about you!

This is my favorite Bible story because more than anywhere else in the whole Bible, THIS is where I feel like I can make it. THIS is where I clearly understand the unconditional love of God. THIS is where I find hope for the hopeless. All of us, in our own way have been that woman. We have been left to die on the side of the road, driven out by those who could have saved us but instead cast us into the dirt to die. If I had a choice, I would rather be that woman, than the people on the other side of the line Jesus drew in the sand.  I would rather be standing on the side WITH Jesus, who stood by the broken, the shamed, the reproached – and offered a way to find redemption and restoration and life and hope and purpose. My Jesus loves the brokendraw the line. And last time I checked, we are ALL those!

#WhichSideAreYouStandingOn #StandWhereJesusStands

#BookendsBeginningsAndEndings

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I am pretty sure that at least once in my life I have owned a set of bookends. Bookends by definition are: “A support for the end of a row of books to keep them upright, often one of a pair, and are positioned at the end or on either side of (something).” If the bookends are NOT sturdy, the more books you place between them, they all will eventually all tip over and fall to the floor. (Having a flashback to that actually happening!)

The older I get, and am able to have a bird’s eye view of my many past years of time, I have come to recognize the bookends in my life. Beginnings and endings. They will NEVER look like anyone else’s, and we can NOT compare. They are parts/moments/memories/seasons/people that are mine and mine alone.

~Maybe it is a friend you had as a child, who is still…

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#365ReasonsNOTToGiveUp

I don’t know about you, but when I do something – I generally have to stand back AFTER and ask myself why I did it. It is not a bad idea ever, to examine our motives. We can deceive ourselves. After I hit the word PUBLISH for my first full-length book, I had to ask myself why I did it. It is my sharing of my heart – my real and raw and flawed moments and seasons of many years gone by. I just wrote a book and shared my grief of losing my husband to cancer. I just told you I got mad at God. I just exposed I have been tempted. I let you know I have failed X a million. Why? Because NO matter what circumstances I found myself in, I always chose NOT to give up. And if THAT helps anyone, I would do it again.

I didn’t keep at it because I had all the answers – I STILL don’t. I didn’t see my husband get healed from cancer. I couldn’t keep my house from burning down. What I learned I COULD do, was to keep moving forward. Sometimes that was crawling, or being dragged by a friend….SO why did I write this book? For a book club? To be on a talk show? No. Though that’d be awesome….of course. I wrote it for YOU. And YOU. And You…because we ALL walk this same journey called LIFE. It is filled with the unexpected and detours and pitfalls. We can’t stop that – But we CAN choose to embrace the bad with the good, and find a way for the sorrows and joys to co-exist. My book is about survival, choices, tears, grief, sorrow, failures, mistakes, detours and wrong turns – coupled with stories of friendship, family (lots of personal stories about the people who have made me who I am), love, laughter, giant moths, lost teeth, dandelion seeds, christmas fruit cakes, faith, purpose and above all else – HOPE. I’d love you to purchase it and upload it to your Kindle, and leave me a review so I can know if anyone was helped 🙂 I want you  to be encouraged on a daily basis NOT to give up. For any reason. And to know that there is ALWAYS a day AFTER the worst day of your life.

If you read it, and you are helped, pass it on to someone else…let’s all work together at bringing hope back into a very dark world.~

~Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the .free kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.  httpsCorine-Channell---BOOK-COVER