Category: Essentially Alicia

An international Christmas story…

LONG CHRISTMAS POST. YOU’LL LOVE IT!! READ ON…. ❤

Last night we had our ESL Christmas party and in my class, Level 4, I decided we would discuss Christmas. Everyone rolled their eyes and said they’d done that too many times. But I told them that as a professional journalist, I was going to interview them and they were going to share with us their favorite Christmas memories. That had NOT been done in the class before! Want to know why I did that? Because *everyone* has a Christmas memory- even if you don’t celebrate it. As the students began to share, we were all very moved and some even became emotional because those memories are powerful and poignant and stand out for the best reason: LOVE. Christmas is about LOVE- the LOVE of God to send His Son, Jesus, “God with Us” and all around the world what everyone remembers about their own experiences is LOVE. I was so beautifully touched that I wanted to share with you a few bits of their stories:

1) Romania: I grew up in a communist country with very little freedom or ability to celebrate Christmas, but even so- the greatest memories are of standing in the food lines for many hours waiting for an orange and a banana. Thousands of people waited for their orange and banana for hours in the cold, but it was such a precious treat! And because I was good at karate and was a big guy, some people would even share their orange or banana with me…. We would traditionally eat fish at Christmas, but it was very hard to come by so one year, when I was 14, I went fishing in the lake. I cut through the ice and fished for hours until I caught 60 pounds of fish! Even though I was very cold and my clothes were frozen, and the fish was very heavy, I was so happy to walk the 8 miles back to my home and give it to my family!

2) Poland: We did not get many gifts for Christmas because we grew up also communist. However, one year my parents spent a great deal of money to buy me a pair of skis. They were the best gift I’d ever received. They were wooden skis and I took them out and skied all over the place! I still have those skis to this day and keep them in my home.

3) Pakistan: Our family couldn’t celebrate Christmas very much because we were often tormented by the country’s dominate religion. Even at the malls we would be mocked and spat on and called terrible names. Many Christians lived near each other for protection. One year, when I was 10 years old, my father had saved up his money and bought me a bike. I was the only kid in the whole area who had one and it was like I had gotten a new car! All the children took turns pushing me and running alongside me and watching me ride and cheering. It was one of the greatest days of my life.

4) Hungary: Our family didn’t decorate for Christmas or do anything very big, but one year my father surprised me by bringing home a huge tree. He had decorated it with real candles and I remember watching in awe as it glowed and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

5) Serbia: We grew up as atheist and did not celebrate Christmas. However, in our small down, the woman who delivered our milk was a Christian. She would roast a pig and invite our family over and she would scatter hay all around her kitchen floor and in it she would hide walnuts and oranges and pieces of candy and we children would pretend to be chickens and we would run all around hunting for the treasures. Then, the woman would sit us down and tell us the story of Jesus and of His birth and His family and why God sent Him to earth. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized those stories were true and that the kind milk woman had planted the seeds of faith in my heart when I was a young child.

6) USA: When I was very little, my mother had just remarried and we were celebrating our first Christmas as a new family. My wish was to have some doll furniture for my little tattered doll that I loved very much. On Christmas day, the gifts that I opened were brand new doll furniture- a dresser with a little mirror, a cradle and a little desk- all handmade by my stepdad. He had worked for so long to craft them for me, his new girl. I am an old woman now and I still have those things to this day.

7) Japan: When I was young, my greatest wish was for a dog because I was an only child and often lonely, but my parents would not allow me to have one. When I was 10, on Christmas day, we traveled to the home of a friend and she brought me into a room filled with puppies and told me I could take one home as my gift. I looked at me parents and they agreed! I named my puppy Jian and he was my friend and companion for 16 years.

8) Alicia: When I was 14, my grandpa, who died earlier this year, wanted to purchase me a special ring for Christmas. I went and picked on out with my mom and waited excitedly for Christmas. On Christmas day, I opened all my gifts and finally they brought out a large box. Inside was a beautiful, emerald green, very long dress coat from London Fog. I knew it was very expensive, and I tried very hard to smile and be thankful, but my heart was broken because I had been looking forward to my new ring from my grandpa. It wasn’t until later when the gifts were done that my grandfather pulled me aside and put his arm around me and asked if I liked my new coat. I said I did- and then he asked: Did you look in the pockets? I ran to my new coat and there in the pocket was a small ring box with the beautiful ring, that I still have to this day 

I’ll Take Your Hand-Me-Downs, but I Won’t Give You Mine

I’m wearing a hand-me-down right now as I’m writing this post. I’m wearing a mustard yellow, knit duster sweater by a friend who said it was “too big for her”. While I wasn’t thrilled with the knowledge that she wanted to upcycle her fat clothes to me, at the same time… it was a super cute, comfortable sweater so whatever. I took it gladly and wear it happily, even though I think it makes me look like a tube of polenta.

If you look closely in the picture at the top of this post, notice the jeans. My friend’s jeans are rolled up and nicely pegged, per the style, while mine are… blousy and pleated looking. Yes, those were hand-me-downs I tried to morph into style. Such is the life of a kid who wears hand-me-downs. Eternally creative.

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I’m not complaining. I’ll take hand-me-downs gladly any time. As a pastor’s kid, we got hand-me-downs by the station wagon-load when I was growing up. It was like Christmas in July to get garbage bags filled with clothing to rummage through. While most of it was grossly outdated and, well, gross, I could sew and adjust, nip and tuck things here and there to at least stay a few years behind the fads, as opposed to whole decades behind- ala those pegged pants.

See this picture of the ginger kid? It’s me at Easter. I was about 13 years old, wearing a pale pink dress. I’ve always avoided pale pink with the knowledge that pale pink blends almost perfectly with my skin tone and makes me look like a dead body, but alas, it was a hand-me-down and I wanted to wear a new dress. It was all I had.

To this day we get hand-me-downs. In fact, we just got a bag of clothes from a friend for Emmeline and it felt just the same for her- like Christmas. She excitedly tore through the bag and held everything up, exclaiming how cute it was, and trying it on. Even Adelaide slipped on a bathing suit over her clothes and wore it proudly around the house for most of the day. It was joyous. See them? Aww. Happy Hand-Me-Down Day!

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And yet, no one will ever know that joy from me. I don’t do hand-me-downs.

It has been my secret shame. I am the perpetual receiver, but it’s the one area in life I refuse to pay it forward. Want to know why?

Because my kids wear their clothing. I mean it- they wear them while living life to the fullest and their clothes, once they outgrow them, reflect a life well lived. How parents preserve their kids’ clothing in a condition good enough to give to another person without shame, I will never know.

Actually, every time I open a bag of fabulous, generous clothing from someone, I marvel at how clean they are. I marvel like you’d marvel at a beautiful piece of artwork, or a feat of engineering. How do they do that?!

Of course, I have managed to salvage a few fancy coats and charming, monogrammed onesies here and there for posterity’s sake, but overall… nope. We Purdys live in our clothes.

See these costumes? Hand-me-downs- we just got them a few days ago from a mother whose kids probably sat in them and… I don’t know, had a tea party? Perfect, like-new condition. And oh boy, are they going to be loved to the death at my house. They will used for fighting epic battles, worn while eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Popsicles and slept in (let’s just be honest), if history is any indicator.

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While I’m not too proud to receive hand-me-downs (I love it, in fact, because it feeds into my love of all things second-hand- recycled, reused and repurposed), I am way too proud to give hand-me-downs to you. You don’t deserve the headache of sorting through them only to find orange stains on the collars or marker colors on the bottoms of the pants– and they are there.

I care about my reputation way too much to let you see that I cannot keep my kids’ clothing in giveaway condition. But- we all have our cross to bear. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your generous, thoughtful hand-me-downs. We love them, and love you even more; aaaaand after we’ve had them for a while, we’ll give them a proper burial…

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Our Handy-Man’s Special: Bathroom Edition

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Talk about perspective…! Our new home, a classic American Foursquare, built in 1927 is one of my greatest blessings- aaaaand projects. It has the most beautiful wood work and old charm, high ceilings and a really classic feel that is homey and yet stylish. But.

I can already tell it’s going to be a long journey to the end, when we’re finally satisfied with the way it looks and feels, but that’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. I want it. I wanted a “handyman’s special” so I could make this house mine. 

So, when we moved in and two months later the bathroom sink started backing up with black water, I had a pretty cheerful outlook, sort of enjoying the idea that we were official home owners, doing home owner-y things. Broken pipe? No problem-o. My husband is a handy man, indeed!

Here’s my favorite (and most daunting part) – the woodwork. 😀

Buuuuut, then it became this awful “if you give a mouse a cookie” scenario that escalated very quickly, and it turned out we had to tear the entire bathroom out to get to that pipe. In the meantime, we bonded as we brushed our teeth over the bathtub and peed into a commode for a bit. The commode was actually a step up because for three days we were sprinting next door to do “the necessary”. I’ll admit that my cheerful outlook turned into a fake, plastic smile of sheer willpower to get through this as quickly as possible.

Here’s the bathroom before- somewhat outdated with the heavy, dark marble floor, a 3-cabinet vanity with outdated tulip light fixtures and it was actually decrepit. Rotted wood under the sink, broken drawers, painted-over rusty bits, cracked trim and the like. Not pretty, but good enough, and, well, free.bathroom before

But we’re blessed. It took about 7 weeks, mostly because we work jobs and have a life and two little kids in the house and could only do so much at a time. We stepped over screws, boards with nails, avoided the sink in the hallway at night, and piles of tile and joint compound And, while I am perfectly capable of attacking anything with a drill, hammer or paint brush, there were things I simply couldn’t do. So, we called in some friends to help with the demo and fixing that old, crusty (literally) pipe and started to rise up from the ashes.

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The sliver lining was, of course, a new bathroom! I was really excited to put it all together because we want to honor the 1927 look and feel of the house, so I kept that in mind as I chose all the new elements. The walls are a somewhat greyish-pinkish, which perfectly fits with the space. Muted, yet pretty. Lowe’s had the most beautiful tile and it was such a great price!! $1.50 per tile. That’s *nothing*. And I learned a new skill- how to tile, mortar and grout a floor!

Honestly, I could sit and watch paint dry and have fun with my husband. (Actually, we did sit for a bit and watch the paint dry…) So, we stayed up many nights until the wee hours of the morning to get this all done as quickly as we were able, but that was okay with me. Doing demo projects with my best friend is one of my love languages….

bathroom floorOh, wait, pause. Did I mention we had to tear into the ceiling in our dining room to address a leak? Good times….when you can look up through the ceiling and hear someone doing their business on the toilet.

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Once you get use to the dust everywhere, and on everything, you start to appreciate the softer, diffused light in the room, which hides wrinkles a bit… #perspective.

I wanted an inset bathroom cabinet, but it didn’t work with the space, so instead, we opted for an antique gilded gold mirror and purchased an old-fashioned looking bathroom cabinet from Houzz.com that fit with the style.

bathroom after4It’s a really small bathroom so I wanted to give it a better sense of openness and stuck with smaller, individual pieces, rather than the heavy, overbearing giant sink and cabinet that was there originally. The original sink was over 4 feet long and was so deep that you could hit your teeth on it when sitting down to use the toilet. I opted for a dresser style from Home Depot that was much thinner and shorter for the space.

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Shower curtain is from Pier 1 and it is fabulous all the way.

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Now that it’s all done, I am completely happy with the whole thing. The process was a little touch-and-go, but it had to be done. And I’m happy to have been able to do this with my best friend. I realize not everyone has the luxury of a guy who can tackle things like this- so I consider myself extra blessed. It really is fun, when all is said and done. And you learn a lot about your relationship, too!

One of the things I love about our house is actually how much work it needs. We bought it for a song, and now we get to work together to develop, nurture and shape it- powered by our own two hands, our aching backs, our blisters, our laughter, our intense personalities and strong opinions and all the blood, sweat and tears a home really deserves. 🙂

Look, the bottom line is, we ALL have seasons where everything is falling apart, literally- but there is joy to be found as you put it all back together. 🙂

 

It was a good death.

My grandfather died a month ago. He was a good man and his death broke my heart. I am the oldest grandchild on my mom’s side of the family so I had the most time with him, and the benefit of his younger years so we were companions, he and I.

 

I think about him a lot. He lived quite a remarkable life and would often tell me what happy memories he had when he looked back. I’m glad for that. I’m glad because it wasn’t actually particularly joyful, in fact, painful- very much so, for him- and yet he remembered the happiness.

I had the very great honor of writing his obituary (which you can read at the bottom of this post) and of speaking at his wake, but I had the even greater honor of being his “Alicia Darling” and his “#1 girl”.

At his wake/funeral, the entire family came together, differences aside to hug, and talk, and hang out. It’s funny how, when you’re apart from cousins for so long, separated by age, and distance, you come together and it feels like family. Oh, and we have differences. Check out the picture below of the Nolan grandchildren. Can you tell who is a model? Who is a Christian? Who is a Navy SEAL? Who is transgender? Who owns a successful business? Who has autism? Who is a cowboy? Who is a singer? Who just graduated college? Who just got out of jail? Who cares?! My grandpa didn’t. He loved us all equally and gave his time, his money, his help to any one of us who needed it. I was filled with joy to see such a wonderful legacy of one of the most significant and influential men of my life.grandpa after party2

My grandpa is the reason I became a journalist. There’s a whole story behind that! He took me to Disney when I was 12 and his wallet fell out on Space Mountain. He took me to Cooperstown because he wanted me to love baseball as much as he did (alas, no). He came to all my school concerts. He paid for my braces. He brought me dolls in their international costumes from every country he ever visited. My grandpa frequently sent me clippings from the newspaper in the mail with articles he thought I’d enjoy. My grandpa taught me to love and understand classical music. He heavily shaped who I am, and when he died, who he was in life became that much more pronounced in me. I’m proud of that.

And as does happen when a good man dies, the people he left behind are grieving and finding a way to move ahead with his absence, knowing that we’ll see him again on the other side, when our own times come. Praise God.grandpa funeral4Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

All that being said- watching your family members grieve is a really difficult, stressful, bonding process. It’s one thing to work through your own sadness, but to see pain in the eyes of your parents, and your siblings, to watch them burst into tears randomly as the thought of grandpa flickers across their minds – it’s brutal all around.

Homer was a huge support. I mean- over.the.top. He shone like the glittering, radiating rockstar he is. My Grammy wanted to commemorate the entire event and Homer dutifully took pictures, stepping in front of grieving relatives, with tears streaming down his own face, capturing the most painful and poignant moments a family can share. He held me as I wept on my bed the day my grandpa died. He listened to my stories. He snapped the picture below so I could have a “4 generations” picture with my Grammy even though we’d all been crying 2 minutes beforehand.

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Homer made a very difficult experience bearable- but not just for me, for my whole family. Many of them had never met him because we’ve been living in Utah for so long. He came in an won hearts left and right with his tact, grace, strength, humor, kindness, friendship and the natural way he puts people at ease with his outgoing charm. I needed him, and I didn’t have to say that even one time. He knew, and he was there.

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In the end, my grandfather died as he’d wished- at a ripe, old age, at the end of a life filled with rich experiences, surrounded by his wife and children who were holding him, singing, praying and loving on him.

Death comes to us all, but not all of us truly live. ~Me

His was a life well lived, and it was a good death.

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What a difference 10 years makes…for better, or for worse

The picture on the left was taken on Feb. 13, 2008 – the day Homer and I met.

After meeting online (ChristianMingle.com, for those who want to know…), and chatting on the phone/IM for a few weeks, we decided to meet up in person to make sure our profile pictures were accurate. haha 🙂

Well, they so were. Homer was every bit as gorgeous as I’d hoped- tall, confident, handsome, and really fun. So, we snapped a picture at the place where we met up- the EcoTarium in Worcester, Mass., in front of their giant grizzly bear.

Well, on Feb. 17, 2018, we took the kids ice skating and snapped another photo, at almost 10 years to the day of that fateful trip to meet each other to see what if…

Wow. We have been through a lot, the wringer, actually- but together, always together. There were times when I wanted to leave, and times when he wanted to. But we didn’t. We toughed it out. We cried, screamed, prayed, threw things, despaired, triumphed, grew, changed, forgave, comforted and refused to sleep in different beds, even on our darkest and most painful nights.

What a difference 10 years ago makes! The people on the left thought they were two, strong people. The two people on the right have learned they are stronger together. Every day together is a gift. Treasure it.

Dear “Special Needs” mom, you got it all wrong

Dear Special Needs Mom at the Grocery store, yesterday… Yes, you, the one I just called a “special needs mom”, even though it is clearly your child who has the special needs. I saw you.

You probably walked away from our millisecond encounter cursing people like me, the ones who stare at you. People like me who look really, superior and super judgmental at the way you’re managing your special needs child in a public place. People like me who you worry might possibly call Child Protective Services because you’re being really rough in “that moment” – when our lives collide across a bin of $1 Scooby Snacks. People like me who you can just feel looking disapprovingly at the tone you’re using, the death grip you have on your child’s coat, the way you yanked him roughly to make your point. Yes, people like me, at the store.

I saw you. I saw that look of defiance in your eye. The gritty determination of a mom who has already had enough of her “special needs child” by 9am and still has errands to run. I saw you dare me to to say ONE. THING. about what you were doing. You were fully prepared to say something mean if I dared open my mouth, I’m sure. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time you’ve had to brace yourself for the ignorance of the general public. You probably left the house with some phrases ready-to-go for idiots like me who stare. I know, because it’s what we do.

Yes, WE.

Although from the look in your eye, in the brief second in time our eyes met, I’m pretty certain you mistook the look on my face for judgment, disapproval and disgust, but nothing could have been further from the truth. You see, today was your day to wrestle at the store with a special needs teenager who is having a meltdown, but tomorrow it will probably be me.

I’m sorry I was staring, truly, because I know how it feels. I just couldn’t look away as my mind flooded with an understanding of what it’s like to say ONE stinking THING to your special needs child and have them react immediately by smashing/throwing/hitting/breaking something, screaming mean things and forcing you to manage the scene on the fly, at the store, with everyone staring and looking super judge-y, and superior, peeking into a moment of time they couldn’t possible fathom unless they’d been there. Like I have been.

Yes, I, too, the well dressed, very put together, full face of makeup and freshly done hair woman staring at you have an alter ego who is greasy-haired, pale, has a worn looking face, wears sweats 90% of the time and grabs her kids by the coat and yanks them while growling mean things under her breath, trying to SHUT. IT. DOWN at the store. You happened to see me in my Sunday clothes, the one day of the week I bother to put any effort into my appearance, but my real me, is you, gorgeous.

As you stomped away, head held high, defiant, protective, staring straight head, unblinking, still gripping the coat of a special needs teenager who was dragging his feet, clutching his Scooby Snacks and ranting about the change in his routine, I wish you could have known that the look in my eye wasn’t judgment. Really. It was shock. Mine was the look of someone who rarely, if ever, sees her own kind and is frozen in a moment of sheer awe that there are really more of us out there. We aren’t just an urban mom legend. I wanted to ask you: Did you get into the car and cry? That’s what I do.

It’s not every day that I see a “special needs mom” outside of her natural habitat. Probably because I am too busy managing my own chaos to do more than run in and out of places and get home before the drama ensues. The days when I could take leisurely stroll through any store are all but a memory, as you know, but yes, you are a special needs mom. You have a child who, for whatever his reasons may be, has special needs.

But did you know this? You have special needs too (although I highly doubt that you allow yourself to acknowledge them even for a moment). I know that you spend your days trying to find ways to avert a meltdown before it happens, finding a plethora of distractions and re-directions, utilizing endless negotiation techniques, choosing your battles, standing your ground, protecting your other children and keeping as much “normal” as possible in the house.

I won’t even mention the kind of fears and worries that occupy your mind – will he ever find friends who truly love him? Will he ever find love? Is he going to kill himself or harm someone else when his emotions overwhelm him and I’m not there to talk him down? How do I make him understand that everyone is a bully and that, yes, the joke is always on him, because he doesn’t get it. Will my other kids grow up to be emotionally healthy, normal people after growing up seeing this constant madness? Am I the one who did this? Will I have to do this for the rest of my life? Am I making it worse? I could go on, but you already know what occupies the mind of a special needs mom, as I do.

I knew you thought I was disapproving of the way you jerked your son angrily by his coat while hissing at him that you WOULD. NOT. put up with his tantrums, which, as you and I both know seem to come out in their full glory in public places. I could see it in your eyes and when you marched away, I felt terribly. I’ve been you. I AM you. It just so happens that today was  not my day to be you. Although I had no doubt in my mind that my turn was coming.

Is anyone taking care of YOUR special needs? That’s what I thought as I wandered down the aisle, lost in my thoughts. I know how often I feel alone in all of this, so I know you have those moments too. We should get coffee. Your greasy hair and pale face and sweatpants and the look of utter determination on your face hit so close to home that I could only stare, like one of those idiots we hate. Those “normal” people who make us dread going to the store because they call the cops when our kids decide to writhe around on the floor of Home Depot and scream like a swarm of bees is attacking. Those people who couldn’t handle one hour in our shoes, and yet blame US for having kids who just don’t get it, may never get it and need us to FORCE them to ACT like they get it, at the very least, and COMPLY, PLEASE, while everyone is staring. Don’t lump me in with them.

I hope someone is taking care of your special needs as you care for your son’s. I hope that this experience, raising a child with special needs, makes you stronger, braver and wiser person, more understanding person – as it has me.

So, dear, special needs mom at the grocery store, please accept my apology for the look on my face. It’s not often that I feel like there’s someone out there who really gets what it feel like to parent a special needs teenager and it was like a shock to my system, knocking me into dumbfounded speechlessness. I turned the corner and there you were, wrestling a teenage boy who was bigger than you, managing his drama and still getting the shopping done.

I wasn’t judging you. I think we could be friends.

Wellness for Real: What’s the Deal With Essential Oils?

So. You’re interested in essential oils? You’ve heard all the wonderful things they can do for your health. Maybe you’ve even experienced them for yourself from samples and classes. You’ve been looking into natural solutions to care for yourself and address the health needs of your family. Great. We have too, and do so more and more. That’s really the first step- willingness to break away out of a mindset that medicine is your only option, and open yourself to new (actually old) ideas.

SHOP for doTERRA essential oils here.

Aaaaand then you’re innocently browsing through the catalog or a friend’s website and suddenly your natural healthcare exploration comes to an abrupt end, like you just threw up a little in your mouth because you saw the prices. What the ever-living heck? These essential oils are so expensive I could never afford to even think about living a more healthy, natural life! WHERE ARE MY PILLS?!

Recent studies have shown that this mindset is also why people eat more box macaroni and cheese than they do salad, vegetables and fruit. (Note: recent studies have not shown this)

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Redirect: I was at the store with my 5 year old the other day and she saw a shelf of tiny bottles and cried out “Look, Mom! dōTERRA essential oils!” I graciously corrected her statement so she understood that they were, in fact, NOT dōTERRA. She said, “But it says ‘essential oils’, that’s what we use!” So, I took a bottle off the shelf and said, “See here, how it says, ‘not for internal use’? If you can’t drink or eat them, that means these oils are not really safe. dōTERRA’s are.”

Are you an essential oil skeptic? Read this first!

While I was proud of her for speaking her truth and for understanding how important a role essential oils play in our health and for being excited to think oils were that readily accessible, her enthusiasm mixed with a lack of knowledge reminded me why so many people think:

1) essential oils don’t work;

2) they are dangerous; 3

) you can only use them for smell therapy;

4) if they’re not $5 they’re too expensive.

Take the plunge! SHOP for doTERRA essential oils here.

I get “dōTERRA’s essential oils are too expensive” shade thrown at me a lot. But that’s okay! It’s a misconception, but that’s part of what I do: educate and dispel myths and manage the wellness of my family, in a single bound.

Let’s talk MONEY….

The cheap ones: SOURCING is a big part of what makes essential oils pricey. The essential oils you’ll find at stores are not “sourced” – The term “sourced” means ‘boots on the ground’- as in, the company you’re buying from has a first-person, physical presence at the locations where plants are grown, harvested and produced into oils. VERY few companies do this. Most (yes, even the expensive ones) use a “broker” or buy from farms they don’t own. A broker is a third party dealer who gets oil ingredients and plants from… um, someplace…. and sells them to stores and website companies to be resold in their packaging. Can you trace the life history of the plants that made your essential oil? I can.

amazonThis lack of information, and poor quality masked as ‘pure’ is a BIG part of why people have skin reactions, or vomit or have other real and awful problems from using essential oils. THIS is why you can’t take them internally (and their bottles WILL tell you that, they have to by law so read them). At best, you’ll see minimal benefits, if any. WHAT IS IN THEM?! If you’re buying at the store or from a website and the bottle is marketed as “Affordable” or implies that they are lower in cost than other brands, RUN. AWAY. Essential oils that are pure and safe won’t be cheap because they are sourced first-hand and real people around the world have to get paid for their hard work. So, what are your “affordable” “essential oils” providing you? Only God knows, and He is NOT happy.

The pricey ones: If you are using a “boots on the ground” company for oils, like dōTERRA, who sources around the world from farms they personally oversee in order to keep plants where they grow best- their indigenous environment, the next layer of expense comes into play: QUALITY and PURITY. dōTERRA has a chemical profile on EVERY bottle of oil they sell. Using a batch and lot number, you can trace the life of your tiny, brown bottle and read its chemical profile. That is IMPORTANT.

dōTERRA takes purity e.x.t.r.e.m.e.l.y. seriously, serious like a funeral. NO ONE is laughing or even smirking about side effects at dōTERRA. A lot of steps go into making dōTERRA’s essential oils and because they are so committed to purity, their oils are potent and strong, highly effective, but safe, even when taking internally, WHEN used properly.

Does it REALLY matter which brand of essential oils you use? YES. Read THIS.

When people tell me essential oils aren’t safe to take internally, that tells me they have not done their research because doTERRA’s ARE, friends. They stand behind that 100%. dōTERRA’s oils are “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” – This is NOT an FDA designation because the FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils. Did you know that, as the law is currently written, you can fill a bottle with 5% brokered ‘pure’ essential oil and fill the rest with…. (let’s get creative here…dog saliva and the tears of a heartbroken skunk) and it can be called “Pure”? That’s because “pure” isn’t a regulated term.amazon5

Hence the reason why dōTERRA created the “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” standard (read more here, it’s crazy mind blowing.)

doTERRA’s essential oils range in price, from $10 to about $130. Yes, $130 is a lot, but is it worth more than your health? In case you were wondering, pretty much all of dōTERRA’s oils cost between $10-$60, actually.

In the day-to-day, you’re going to use things like Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, Wild Orange, Digestive Blend (dōTERRA Digest Zen), Oregano and Protective Blend (dōTERRA On Guard)- generally. Maybe a few others. You can buy a whole Family Essentials kit of 10 commonly used oils for $150. (see more here) For those interested in natural wellness $150 is an investment and a small one at that when you understand what you’re getting in return for that investment. By the way, it’s $150 for 10 drops 85 drops of the world’s most powerful essential oils (!!) including an *expensive* one- Frankincense. It’s a STEAL, actually. Plus beadlets…. mmmm.

An even better deal is dōTERRA’s Home Essentials kit which has the same 10 bottles of oil in larger 15 mL bottles (250 drops per bottle!!) and a FREE diffuser. Even with daily use, that’s 8-9 months of use, per bottle. You literally cannot beat that investment in your health!

Money isn’t EVERYTHING… is it?

If hoarding money is your priority, then we really have no argument. We’re simply not of the same tribe. No hard feelings. Bygones.

However, if your family is your priority, let’s talk. You want to do better by your family. You understand how pure and powerful essential oils can make a significant and lasting difference in your family’s health. You know dōTERRA is the world’s purest and safest for your whole family. So, what’s the hangup about investing in that? Do you believe in it or not?

common-mistakesHere’s my observation: Very few people in the richest country in the world have “NO money”. Some have very little, but almost no one has NONE. Ever seen a panhandler smoking a cigarette or sitting next to a pet? The bottom line is this: We all put our money toward what we feel is important. We’ll figure it out.

If your family’s health is a top priority, you’ll figure it out. So you fill the gas tank only halfway every other time. So you don’t treat yourself to coffee or dollar menu as much. So you cut back, trim some fat, have a garage sale or get onto eBay and sell stuff or reorganize your finances a bit. It IS possible to afford dōTERRA’s essential oils and to start a life-long wellness journey if that’s important to you.

No, you don’t have to buy a huge kit. One bottle of dōTERRA’s Lemon or Wild Orange is only $10 (wholesale), and you can those every day in MANY ways, so they’re worth the investment right from the get-go. Start with one bottle at a time if you have to. Everyone starts somewhere and at least you’re on the right track with your family’s health.

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The Bottom Line

“Expensive” is a relative term. It’s also a flexible one. It’s also a workable one. If you want to start using dōTERRA’s oils TODAY, you can totally do that, if you want to. There are options to get them into your home. Essential oils are life-changing, but whether that is life-changing for the better or the worse is up to you.

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dōTERRA’s essential oils are highly versatile and have a WIDE range of uses to address your health needs, meaning that, for the money, they provide a tremendous and lasting value.

It pains me to see people struggling with their health, or wishing they could do better, only because they think dōTERRA is too far out of reach. Better health, stronger body, deep, internal wellness starting at the cellular level IS within reach- you just have to take the first step and REACH for it!

Think about it. Pray about it. Do something about it.

PLEASE tell me if I can be of help to you. See below for ways to reach me! 🙂

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If you’re interested in learning more about dōTERRA essential oils, living a wellness lifestyle or how to get started with oils in your home, I’d love to connect with you!

Reach out to me and let’s talk!

CONNECT WITH ME:

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When Making Your Kids’ Lunch Changes the World

August 27, 2015 — If your house is anything like ours, school mornings are somewhat chaotic. This morning’s weeping and gnashing of teeth was over school lunches. We can’t afford to buy school lunch right now, so we pack lunches (remember the good old days when people preferred homemade things??), which is much less exciting, apparently.

As our son stomped around in anger because “we never have any good food” my husband suggested scraping three dollars out of our spare change jar to let him buy lunch, but it turned out that we didn’t have enough, so I got up to find him something to eat for lunch (yes, he’s 15 and could, presumably make his own lunch, but it wasn’t in the cards today, I could already tell). You know how those days go.

As I scrambled around to scrape together something for lunch that wouldn’t end up being thrown away, our son threw some shade at me about how he hates peanut butter and jelly (which is all I could manage, as we need to shop, but haven’t gotten paid yet- you know how that goes), and that he fully intended to throw it away at school.

We went back and forth about the value of food and its cost, priorities and perspective, an appreciation for what we have even when it’s as humble as a PB&J and how not everyone can pay for school lunches and how that is OKAY. Of course, when I say “back and forth”, it was mostly me doing the talking as our son remained (mostly) silent and staring in a way that reminded me of the way people’s eyes would glaze over when looking at those magic pictures from the 1990’s that made images appear and float in front of your eyes.

After he left for school, I sat down to do my devotions and was reading in John 6, about the little boy with the five loaves and two fish. You know the story- Jesus had been teaching and everyone had come from far and wide, and apparently no one had thought to bring any food into the desert.

When Jesus suggested buying them food, Philip points out that they don’t have enough money to buy food for everyone (we didn’t even have $3, so I felt his pain), but they did have “five loaves of barely and two fish”, offered by a boy in the crowd.

Suddenly it struck me — someone had made that lunch for him, most likely the boy’s mother. My mind wandered as I thought about what that mother may have gone thought that morning as the boy headed out to see Jesus. Did he argue with her about how he hates fish? About how he’s sick of eating barley bread all the time? I wondered if he had complained that her fish always tasted funny and how all his friends were stopping at the vendors to pick up something better. I wondered if he told her he’d throw it away once he was away from her.

I thought- maybe after he’d left, holding his five loaves and two fish away from his body as though it were covered in spiders, if she’d sat down like I had and beat herself up for not being a better mother and for forgetting to pick up his favorite lunch foods. Maybe she’d sent him out of the house with resignation, imagining how he’d toss the food that the rest of the family would gladly have eaten without complaint and what a waste it would be. Maybe she’d just been glad he was gone for a few hours. (You know how that goes).

Then, I remembered Jesus. He’d taken those five loaves and two fish and had performed one of His greatest miracles ever recorded – feeding well over 5,000 people (the Bible only counts the men) with that humble, packed lunch that some mother, somewhere in time, had made that morning. Who knows what she went through, but if she were anything like me, she may have had a morning that made her think: Why do I bother to do this at all? Will it ever get any easier?

And yet, because of the faithfulness and, yes, even the “routine” of one mother, who had made a thousand thankless lunches before that and a thousand thankless lunches after that day and may have had a thousand other arguments with her son about how it’s never good enough- she got up and did it anyway. Why?

Did she know Jesus would perform one of His greatest miracles with her humble, packed lunch? No. In fact, it’s highly probably she never had any clue what the Lord had done with her thankless lunch, made on a morning when she felt especially frustrated with it all. She did it because that’s what loving mothers do – they keep moving ahead because they love, because they see things their kids do not, because they’re willing to invest in their children, even when it’s not gratefully accepted at the moment.

However that investment pays off someday isn’t the concern right now. We do what we know to be the right thing, our very best, in spite of the struggle, the monotony of the routine, in spite of how others around us accept the best we have to offer- we’ve given it to God, and who knows- maybe that one, frustrating morning where we did the same thing we do every day will become one of the greatest events ever recorded in history- because we got up and faced another day thinking all we were going to do was pack our kids a lunch.

Stay Blessed!

#LiveWellness

~Alicia

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Tone for the Day

July 21, 2015 — My favorite part of every day? Waking up early before the noise begins, when everything is quiet and still, for prayer, devotions, coffee, discussion and reflection with my best friend. Sets a great tone for the day, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

How do you like to start your day?

Physically, if I had to pinpoint one, specific, daily regimen that we use for ourselves on our journey to maintain the wellness of our bodies, it would have to be Lemon essential oil. Each morning, we like to start the day by drinking about 500 mL (roughly 8 oz.) of water, right off the bat, with 3 drops of Lemon in it.

Lemon is great for digestion and helps awaken the body, not to mention the proven health benefits of Lemon over all for the immune system. Lemon is a powerful cleansing agent that purifies the air, disinfects surfaces, and can be used as a non-toxic cleaner throughout the home.

When added to water, Lemon provides a refreshing and healthy boost throughout the day and due to its high limonene content, Lemon is a powerful antioxidant that can help ward off free radicals. Taken internally, Lemon provides cleansing and digestive benefits, can soothe a sore throats, and supports healthy respiratory function.

Of course, it’s not safe to take Lemon essential oil internally unless you’re using the highest grade oil available, which is certified pure and rated as theraputic grade. Only one essential oil company in the world produces oils that are safe for internal use. Want to know more? CONTACT ME for information on how you can get the world’s highest grade Lemon essential oil into your hands.

Do your body well!

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If you want to book a class to learn more about the essential oils I use, CONTACT ME and we’ll set something up, even if we’re long distance. There are lots of perks and rewards available to all my class hosts, like free oils- just for hosting! It’s the perfect way to try the exact same essential oils we use in our home so you can see for yourself how amazing they are in just about every facet of life.

Remember, you can do it!

 

Live Wellness2

Put on a Happy Face!

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July 20, 2015 — It’s grey and rainy here in Utah, and I couldn’t be happier- especially after weeks upon weeks of 100+ degree weather. It’s the little things with me.

If you’re not feeling completely like yourself today, make a conscious choice to find joy in something, even if it’s something that seems small or insignificant at the time. It’s good for your mental, emotional and physical well being.

“Put on a happy face!” Yes, sometimes you have to paint on your happy face- and that’s okay! Life moves along like the weather- there are sunny days, and rainy days, cloudy days, windy days, days when things are too hot or too cold- that’s life!

Do yourself a favor today and find a happy place, even if it’s only for a moment. Take a moment, find some solitude, and just breathe.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” ~”The Help”

You know I’m a big believer in and user of essential oils, right? Well, after much research, I’ve found the best oils in the world to use for myself and my family and today, if you need a little something to get you over the hump, ASK ME about which essential oils we use on the grey, rainy days (Hint: Wild Orange is one!) and about a special little pick-me-up called “Joyful Blend”, sometimes referred to as the Biblical “oil of gladness.”

Essential oils are effective and yes, they can even help elevate your mood on those days when everything seems gray.

Isaiah 61:3 “…to preserve those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified…“

Subscribe to EssentiallyAlicia.com so you never miss an update. 🙂

instagram  Hey!! Follow me on Instagram using the hashtag: #LiveWELLness  and my handle @WheezyPurdy for more. 🙂

facebookWant to be friends? Yippie! You can find me on Facebook too!

 

If you want to book a class to learn more about the essential oils I use, CONTACT ME and we’ll set something up, even if we’re long distance- and I have lots of perks and rewards available to all my class hosts, like free oils- just for hosting!

Remember, you can do it!

 

Live Wellness2