Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Power of "Thank You"

About a month ago I became a little out of balance, which resulted in some negativity. Usually when I fall into an occasional rut of negativity, I don't really notice how negative I am. I usually try to stay conscious of my self and what my thoughts are. I've never wanted to be one of those people who are unaware of their unawareness. (Give that one some thought).

Recently I've come back to using the power of "thank you" to turn my negativity back around. Instead of being frustrated with my children for not doing what I ask, I've been intently watching for opportunities to thank them when they do something right. It feels so much better than yelling and being unhappy with motherhood.

I have found that thanking adult friends and family members also has the same effect. People love feeling appreciated. When they feel appreciated, they want to continue doing things that make them feel good.

Sometimes a simple, "thank you" is all that is needed. Other times I find it more impactful to fortify the words with something more heartfelt, like, "Thank you so much for taking the trash out! It's one of my least favorite things to do, so when you do it for me, I really feel loved." I like to look my children in the eyes and fortify it even further with a hug. (This combines "words of affirmation" with "physical touch" - see my post about love languages).

If there is something that bothers you about someone, resist the urge to talk about them to others that share your annoyance, or anyone else for that matter. Instead, see if you can inspire a change in a subtle way by using thanking techniques. Afterall, if you really do love someone, wouldn't it make sense to protect their reputation by helping them to improve?

And lastly, always be the type of person worthy of being thanked. Give others a reason to thank you! Be considerate. Be courteous. In an everyday setting, see a need and fill it. In a group setting, if you see that a dirty plate needs to be removed from the living room after a party - put it in the sink. If you see that a mother has her hands full with her children - offer to hold the baby while she tends to the other children's immediate needs.

I know that in my life, by taking the time to give thanks and praise those around me as well as being willing to offer a helping hand, my positive energy increases and I feel happier inside. And in my experience, the happier I feel inside, the more happiness I attract to me. Like attracts like, so choose to attract happiness and beauty in your life today, starting with gratitude and graciousness!

In the spirit of gratitude, it only makes sense to let my readers know how thankful I am for you! Sure, writing is theraputic for me, so without readers I would still receive some benefit. However, receiving comments, and hearing that I have something to offer someone else is what really makes it worthwhile to me!


My Naturopathic Medicine Cabinet

I'm a big believer in natural health. I love being able to keep my family healthy and treat illness using gentle, natural, methods. I myself haven't used antibiotics for over 14 years. Antibiotics kill the bad and good bacteria, weakening the immune system. Antibiotics do have their place and I am grateful we have access to them when needed.

I also give birth to my children at home using hypnosis (it really works!). Of course I'm always accompanied by a skilled midwife & naturopathic doctor. Dr. Brenda Grogan, ND, of The Healthy Way is wonderful. Over the years she has taught me a lot about healing naturally. She's a wonderful educator and loves sharing her knowledge. (If you have a health question, you can ask her via her website under "Ask Dr. Brenda").

This is what I always keep in my Naturopathic medicine cabinet:

(DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and offer this information only as an example of what I have found to be useful, natural methods of healing. Please seek advice from a qualified health practitioner if you are experiencing any health issues).

  • Immunity of Thieves Oil (Purchase Here)
    A highly anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal blend of essential oils. As a preventative measure, I apply it full strength or diluted to the bottoms of the feet as a bedtime ritual. At the first sign of illness, I increase application to 3x daily and rub it (diluted) on the chest and back. This usually stops an illness in its tracks especially if I catch it early. (We also use this daily to brush our teeth!)

  • Tea Tree Oil (Purchase Here)
    An antiseptic and anti-fungal. At the first sign of illness (2-3 times daily), I rub full-strength tea tree oil down the spine, behind the ears and on the bottoms of feet. It has always either prevented the illness from progressing or shortened the life of the illness. While the Immunity of Thieves oil is my first choice, I'll sometime alternate between the two. Tea Tree on the body, Immunity on the feet, and visa versa.

  • Lavender Oil (Purchase Here)
    An antiseptic. This oil is great for burns and cuts. I burned my finger badly on some hot glue during a craft project I was working on for the Southern Idaho Living Magazine. I immediately rubbed lavender oil on the burn. The pain went away within seconds, and the next day you couldn't tell when the burn had been. I also use it to relieve braxton-hicks contractions during pregnancy, and tension headaches. Besides, it smells sooo good!

  • Colloidal Silver
    Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic. I have found it completely successful at healing ear and eye infections. When sprayed or dripped into the nostrils, it has healed sore throats and sinus infections.

  • Echinacea/Goldenseal (I like Nature's Way brand)
    Also a natural antibiotic. I use this at the first sign of illness along with the tea tree oil. It takes longer that conventional antibiotics, but is much more gentle on the system.

  • Liquid Chlorophyll (I like mine with mint)
    When taken (2 Tbsp.) twice daily, I have found chlorophyll to be an effective deodorizer. Whan I take it on a regular basis, I find that I don't need to use underarm deodorant - and no more matches in the bathroom! :)

  • St. John's Wort (I like liquid/tincture form)
    This has been an absolute LIFESAVER for me after having my children. I experience terrible postpartum depression and this is like putting on rose colored glasses! We buy this in bulk! It is wonderful during times of stress and also relieves symtoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

  • Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower
    This is another good one for stress and anxiety. I keep it in my purse or diaper bag - just in case. Works very fast.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Bragg's brand)
    This stuff is good for everything - seriously. I'll have to write an entirely separate post on the benefits of apple cider vinegar. In short, it's great for arthritis, yeast, fungus, bronchitis, skin conditions, body odor, and much more. It is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic. I take 2 tablespoons of ACV in warm water with a tablespoon of honey and sip twice daily.

  • Epsom Salts (Available at your local drug store)
    Soaking in epsom salt draws inflammation and infection from the body. It's great for aches, pains and sore muscles. When my children are sick, they enjoy soaking in a warm tub of epsom salts. They always seem to feel much better afterwards.

  • Lobelia Tincture (I like Dr. Christopher's Brand)
    Lobelia is a bronchial dilator, expectorant and emetic. You can use it to expel thick mucous from the bronchial tubes and lungs. I recently had a bout with bronchitis. My lungs were tight and I couldn't clear them. About an hour after taking 10 drops of lobelia tincture in water, my lungs had loosened greatly and I was able to clear things out.
What do you keep in your naturopathic medicine chest?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Using Safe, Natural Bath & Body Products

Some of you my be aware that I formulate and make my own natural bath & body/skincare products and have asked how this came to be.

It all started when I was pregnant with my third baby. I was concerned about the ingredients in the baby shampoo and baby lotion I was using on my two other young children. This concern led me to investigate online. (It's a little-known fact that one of my nicknames is "Sherlock Jen". I can find info on just about anything within minutes online.)

I was simply appalled by what I learned about the ingredients in the products I was using on my children! This information came from many sources, however, the best source of information was found at SkinDeep - a cosmetic safety database. They provide safety ratings for over 42,000 products that we use on our bodies. They rate products on a hazard scale from 0 to 10, 10 being of the highest toxicity level. Imagine my surprise to find that my baby lotion was rated an 8. EIGHT! On my BABY!! The baby shampoo was not much better, at a 5.

I admit it. I'm a purist and an idealist. I want the products I use to be completely natural, non-toxic, and free of chemicals. COMPLETELY. I want the products I use to rate ZERO on the hazard scale. And honestly, that's really hard to find. And when you find it, it comes with some controversy. ("How could a product rated zero be controversial?" you ask? More about the controversy later.) So here I was, about to give birth to this completely pure, natural, untouched, perfect little baby and I didn't want to slather him in chemicals that would affect his health down the road. I had to do something. And that's what led me to start making my own bath and body products.

After a 13-month period of extensive research online, I feel like I have received a college education in cosmetic chemistry. It's quite exhilarating to me, and the more I learn...the more I want to learn. There have been MANY evenings of study that have continued into the wee hours of the morning. (I LOVE this stuff!) After all I have learned about the negative effects of many ingredients found in products we apply to our skin everyday - I want to share what I have learned with everyone I know!

Several months ago I decided I wanted to make my safe, natural products available to those who have the same concerns I have. I've created some lotions and sugar scrubs that are so delicious to my skin, and I know they are filled with healthy, nutritious ingredients which feed and soothe my skin. (Family and friends have admitted they don't want to use anything else on their skin after using mine! Yay!)

I had all this excitement built up and it escalated when I was offered an opportunity to expose a large group of people to some samples an an opportunity to purchase! This was it! My chance to go for it! I already had some incredible formulas, and being a graphic artist, I had already designed my look. I just needed to order my packaging and my labels, and then get "cooking". But the excitement faded when I realized I finally had to face the issue of choosing a preservative. (Insert pouty face here) :)

Back to the controversy I mentioned earlier: The controversy that comes with a lotion rated a zero on the hazard scale is because it probably doesn't contain a broad-spectrum preservative. Products containing water need a preservative to keep them from becoming infested with harmful bacteria. The lotions I make for my family are made without preservatives because they are used before they have a chance to go bad. In an ideal world, everyone would make and use their own lotions, doing away with the need for preservatives. Unfortunately most people either aren't interested in making their own, or just don't have the time.

So the research continues...this time it is concentrated on preservatives. If I can't create safe products with the inclusion of a preservative, then I'll continue to make them without preservatives for the use of my own family. I do believe there is a solution, and I intend to find it!

Check back soon for all my findings!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reader Question: Where are you?

I just get started enjoying your blog and now you've disappeared from the blog-o-sphere! Where are you?? Stamptastic
My deepest apologies for not posting this update sooner! My sweet little computer went in to see the doctor and ended up needing some major surgery. She was in the hospital for two weeks. Just as she was being released, we took off on a much needed family vacation. Now that we're back in the swing of things, and Talullah has a clean bill of health, I need a couple of days to load her back up with all the software she needs to feel like herself again.

Please stay tuned! I'll be posting a couple of fun craft projects soon!

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