What's the big deal about Young Living


Screenshot 2016-04-18 15.11.54

I see her walking over across her yard, down the little gully, green with clover, through the gate and into the field that leads to our yard. As the dogs and children run to greet her I make a patting motion for her to sit next to me on the big rocking chair on our front porch. She's 84 and still adjusting to living alone. It's been almost a year since he's been gone, but it seems like just yesterday that he was listening to all her thoughts about the life she's lived so far and the living she still has left to do.

The children have told me often recently that she repeats the same stories she has told them before whenever they go over to visit. I tell them to be patient because they are stories she needs to tell.

So we sit, and she tells me again for the 3rd or 4th time how devastated she was when her sister died and how her niece was a paraplegic and how lucky I am to have my children and how she came to own her German Shepherd.

She reveals some new things like how she never expected to spend her entire life childless and how regretful she is about that.

I listen patiently. These are stories she needs to tell.

She is just like the rest of us. She wants to be heard, to be understood, to be valued.

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Emergency Spring Cleaning with Scrubbing Bubbles

*This is a sponsored post. The story is real and all opinions are my own.

When you have 8 children, and they each participate in sports, you know the weekends are going to be super busy, especially during spring when soccer season kicks up.

So, last weekend when a friend asked if she could bring her adult mentally challenged son over on Saturday evening so he could spend some time outdoors enjoying our animals and acres of woods, I said, "Of course!" and made a little mental note that I needed to make sure to check the condition of the guest bathroom between driving everyone to all the games. (And please know I use the term "guest bathroom" loosely here. See above note about having 8 children.)

I had to get children to 3 soccer games in 2 different towns, 1 gymnastics meet in another city, and 1 homeschool conference in ANOTHER city, all on a single Saturday.

On my way out the door, I hollered some instructions for the kids who were still at home and ended with, "...and make sure the bathroom is clean! We're having company later!"

scrubbing bubbles dirty sink

And in between events, I go in the bathroom to look at it and say, "... I thought I said to make sure this bathroom was clean," and everyone says, all innocent like, "We did,"

scrubbing bubbles dirty sink closeup

and I was all, "...uhhhh..."

So, besides confirming that we needed to review the definition of "clean" I knew I needed to give them a step by step lesson and some tools to make cleaning easy.

Scrubbing Bubbles WalMart


Since I had to run by WalMart® anyway to pick up water bottles and snacks, I darted in the cleaning aisle for some Scrubbing Bubbles®. SCORE! The 2 pack was cheaper per ounce than the single!

After one of the games and before another (at this point in the day I really don't know if I'm coming or going) I called all the kids into the bathroom for a quick demo of Mom's Super Fast Cleaning Technique.

Scrubbing Bubbles foam

"Look, kids. Step one: Spray."

The best part of Scrubbing Bubbles® is that the foam expands to get into all those hard to reach areas.

Scrubbing Bubbles wiping

"Step two: Wipe."

(That pic is actually after only one swipe of the paper towel, so they were super impressed.)

Scrubbing Bubbles Clean

After a couple of more passes with the paper towel and showing them how to get in the cracks with a toothpick, we were in business.

Scrubbing Bubbles clean closeup

MUCH BETTER! Thanks, Scrubbing Bubbles®!

Now, I'm ready for company.

And a nap.

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On Doing Hard Things

I have been thinking a lot lately about doing hard things. I even made a little video on it here.

Whatever hard thing you are doing, whether it is a rigorous workout schedule, homeschooling, foster care, caring for aging parents, single parenting, eliminating sugar, or whatever else you can fill in the blank with, you can count on going through periods of discouragement and wanting to quit.

But keep this in mind when you feel that way: Your children are watching you and learning how to react in difficult circumstances. Is it best to give up when things get tough? Is it okay to throw in the towel when it is harder than you expected it to be? Or do you stick with it and get help when needed?

I believe it is powerful for our children to see us struggle with a task, yet keep on going. They need to see us trying hard things and chipping away at them one day at a time, never giving up because it is "too hard."

Show your children what it looks like to use outside resources, seek encouragement, and go to God in prayer when hard things discourage you. And show them what it looks like not to be afraid to do something difficult and see it through.

Be sure to click on my video above to hear more of my thoughts on this.

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Listening When God Calls

The sermon at church last week was about how God is constantly active and at work in our lives. He wants us to join Him in that work, but we must be watching and listening to His call.

The preacher told a story about the day he was making his routine visit to church members who were in the hospital. One visit went abnormally long, so as he made his way to the elevator he was nervous about being late to an upcoming appointment. At the elevator, as he looked again at his watch, he noticed a woman in the waiting area, all alone, sobbing. He thought to himself, "She must be here with someone she loves who is very sick. She has no one to comfort her. If I weren't so late I would stop and minister to her." He got all the way down to the parking area before his conscience wouldn't let him go any further and he went back to her.

I hate to admit that while I was listening to this story I was smugly thinking, "I wouldn't have passed her by."

Don't you hate it when God uses our own pride to teach us lessons?

Marco with family

The very next day, my friend Mandy, who, with her husband, recently adopted a sibling group of three boys, and now wishes very much to adopt a 10 year old boy from an orphanage in the Philippines, wrote about an adoption fundraiser she is asking friends to help with.

She explained that her family was having a shoe drive. She was collecting new and used shoes which will then go to underdeveloped countries to be fixed and sold by individuals to give them an income to provide for them and their families. The organization collecting the shoes pays $0.40 per pound for the shoes, so for every 100 bags of shoes collected, $1000 will be added to the adoption fund.

Then came the part where God was calling me to join Him in His work. She said,

"Here is the challenge... I need 10 people to commit to getting 100 bags each. Each bag is to contain 25 pairs. So far, I have three sweet friends committed with me and would love to have five more friends say yes to this challenge."

I tried really hard to ignore this plea. I scrolled right past it in my Facebook feed and tried to push it out of my mind.

But it kept popping up again time after time when my friends liked or commented on it.

That's when I started arguing with myself about it.

"1oo bags of shoes? Each bag is to contain 25 pairs??? WHO can collect that many shoes? That is impossible."

God reminded me that with Him all things are possible.

So I reminded him about how busy I am.

"I barely keep up with the responsibilities I have with my own family! How can I take on additional responsibilities?? I'm already overwhelmed with the work load I have!"

And then I remembered the story of the lady sobbing by the elevator. 

I knew right then that God was calling me to join Him at work in my life and in the lives of my friends.

I told Mandy that I would commit to gathering 100 bags of shoes for her fundraiser. 100 BAGS! The thought of it overwhelmed me, but I know I am not doing this thing on my own. Mandy and her husband are not doing this on their own. We are joining God at work.

Marco graphic

I have so far collected 6 bags of shoes. ONLY 94 TO GO! Can you help? Would your church like to participate? What about your Scout troop or school?  (If you want to donate directly go here.)

Is God calling you to join him at work here?

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DIY Face Cream with Young Living Essential Oils

DIY Face Cream

My skin is in love this DIY face cream I made using just a few ingredients. I only use Young Living essential oils in this because they guarantee their oils to be 100% pure (no additives), and they are never farmed or distilled using harmful chemicals, so I know what will be absorbed into my skin will be healthy and pure.

DIY Face Cream for Young Looking Skin

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 10 drops Castor Oil
  • 3 capsules Vitamin E
  • 10 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Tea Tree Oil
  1. Put all ingredients in pan.
  2. Slowly, on low heat, melt the coconut oil.
  3. Stir until blended.
  4. Pour into glass container with lid. Place in fridge until solid.

Each of the ingredients in my DIY face cream have been shown to be useful in maintaining healthy, youthful skin. At age 49, I am particularly interested in the youthful part!

After using this cream, my skin has an oilier feel than it did when I used the expensive drug store cream, but it absorbs within 15 minutes or so, and my skin feels and looks great! I get tons of compliments on how I look younger than 49!

I made a similar DIY face cream for my teens that they keep on their bathroom counters and use daily. I use the same recipe as above, but I add 10 drops of Young Living Purification oil.

DIY Face Cream for Teens

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 10 drops Castor Oil
  • 3 capsules Vitamin E
  • 10 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Tea Tree Oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Purification

If you would like to learn more about the only essential oils we use (and we use them EVERY day), be sure to see how I got started with Young Living essential oils.

If you are ready to jump into essential oils with a company that has been in the essential oil business for 20+ years, the only company that farms, distills, and packages their own oils on their own farms, sign up here.

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Adrienne and Mr. Edward Reeves, Chapter 2 – Feeding Time

*See Chapter 1 here. 

She couldn’t remember when it happened, but Adrienne began appearing every day after school to help Mr. and Mrs. Reeves feed their animals. They had never asked her to, and she never thought to ask if they needed her help or if they minded the intrusion, but after making a regular habit of it, it was assumed by all that this is the way things would be. Although they had asked her more than once to call them Ed and Patricia, she had refused, knowing her strictly old-fashioned parents wouldn’t approve of so informal a title.

It became part of the Reeves’ routine to measure out the feed and wait for Adrienne to give it to each set of animals in their turn. As she finished in each feeding pen, she would hop on the back of the four wheel farm cart and Mr. Reeves would take off with Mrs. Reeves by her side to the next pen. And every day, just as the sun would be setting in the west, that old green four wheeler would bring Adrienne up the drive to her own little house in the middle of what Mr. Reeves told her was once “Comanche Territory”.

Stories of what had taken place on the very land they were riding over in the cart became part of their daily tradition.

“Did you know my grandmother was raised right here on this property?” Mr. Reeves asked Adrienne one day after riding a while in the comfortable silence they had become accustomed to.

“No,” she said, leaning forward, excited to hear another story.

“When she was fifteen years old, she had a suitor that her daddy didn’t like. She was forbidden to see him, and because of that she was heartbroken. But one day, while she was at the well drawing water, her suitor rode up on his mule and asked what she thought about running away with him to get married. I guess she thought it was a pretty good idea because when her mother went looking for her after she didn’t come back to the house, she found the bucket sitting right by the well where my grandmother had left it.”

“Did they get married that day?” Adrienne asked.

“They sure did, and on the way to find the Justice of the Peace, the story goes, they were chased by Comanche Indians. They ran their mule all the way into town and the Indians finally gave up the chase and turned back. That’s why that place over there is called Comanche Peak, because it was a known place for the Indians of that day to hunt.”

“You mean real Indians used to live here?” Adrienne whispered, incredulously.

“Yes, right over there on the peak.” Mr. Reeves’ eyes were fairly dancing as he watched Adrienne take it all in with rapt imagination. It had been years since he felt the thrill of those old stories that he had heard retold so many times as a boy himself. Adrienne smiled and their eyes met. All at once 10 year old Adrienne Hodges and 83 year old Mr. Edward Reeves both seemed to sense at the exact same time that this would be the beginning of a strange and wonderful friendship.

Old and wrinkled paired with fresh and new. Weary with young. Calloused with tender. 

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