"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why I became a Doterra member

As most of you know I have become interested obsessed with Doterra Essential Oils.  I was blessed to be introduced to them after struggling with strep via 2 rounds of failed antibiotics and an ER visit.  I recently posted this to facebook in reflection of Doterra-

#1000gifts Gifts 1716-1721 My goal for tomorrow is to get back to my thankful journal (bc I finally found it at the bottom of the abyss that is my school bag) but I just have to say that as I sit down to read my Bible this morning I am overwhelmed with gratitude regarding oils. I love how they work- yes- but more than anything I have seen them strengthen ties of community. I love being able to share oils with people- and I really love how it's helped me keep up connections with people that I miss seeing everyday. My biggest struggle this year has been my loss of community with changing schools. I loved my coworkers so much (note- this has nothing to do with coworkers at my new school. They are great. Just a different kind of great) Discovering oils has helped restore some sense of community, and that is such a gracious gift. (that and my redemption group at church which I am loving...) I love being able to talk to people about them- I think it's so fascinating. And it's cool to me that God has brought another passion into my life. And how he's using that passion to restore community which I was really missing and had prayed for by name up to all this. So I guess all that to say, God is so good and He uses the most interesting of circumstances for our good. And to think this all started with 3 rounds of failed antibiotics, 2 rounds of strep and an ER visit! He truly uses all things for our good.

 Doterra has been a blessing in so many ways.  I have loved getting to share samples and answer questions.  I love hearing about how much just the little samples help you!  It has quickly become a huge passion for me, and I am beyond thankful for that.

When I realized how these oils worked so well- and without negative effects- I was pretty much all in.  I signed up to buy the physician kit right away.  That kit includes lavender, lemon, peppermint, melaleuca, oregano, on guard, deep blue, digestzen, breathe, and frankincense!  All of those oils I use ALL THE TIME.  I didn't realize that when you buy the physician kit you are eligible to also sign up as an IPC without the $35 dollar fee.  At the time, I kind of agreed to it because why not.  Now I realize I am SO THANKFUL I did that because that has saved me so.much.money.

For example, I have since shared frankincense with loads of people.  Retail value of frankincense is $93.  IPC cost is $69!!!!  That oil alone I save $24 each time.  Or Deep Blue which is incredible for pain and costs $43 without the ipc savings.  With ipc savings it is $30- that's $13 saved.  Just to buy those two oils together retail value would basically be the same at 1 physician kit.  But with the physician kit you get both + so many other oils you can use daily + you can get the ipc savings for free!  Which if you are anything like me, it WILL save you money.  

Other benefits to the ipc savings include:
* if you set up LRP orders (which is just an order you set up before hand to go through between the 1-15 of the month) you will get points from each of the oils you buy which can be saved up to buy FREE oils.  Again, with savings!
* if you place an LRP that is over 125 points, you will get the free oil of the month.  This month I got lime for free!

I don't know how I would ever calculate how much the wholesale ipc membership has saved me money between the free products and points and savings off retail I have gotten.  There are no hidden strings.  You don't have to order anything every month to take advantage of wholesale.  You literally just have to sign up.  And with a physician kit- which includes so many oils I've shared or people have asked about- you pretty much get all this for free.

I didn't set out to get so involved with oils, I just ended up having my life changed and you can't NOT talk about something so exciting.  Signing up has saved me tons and was the best decision I have made for my health and wellness in a long time!

If you are interested email me at rinehartash@gmail.com or go to

www.mydoterra.com/ashleydoner

ipc732129

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Doterra

My little hyperactive bundle of energy!

If you pay attention to me on facebook, you know I have recently become obsessed with essential oils.  ((If you are my poor fiance, you know I basically no longer have any other conversation topics ;) except maybe El Bachelor Juan Pablo...  ))  Anyway, I was blessed this year with beginning a homeopathic journey which has been beyond miraculous.

I started the new year with 2 huge bouts with strep, one of which caused an extreme reaction which led to dehydration and an ER visit for fluids.  But God in his grace brought my former high school Sunday School teacher (and incidentally someone who has had a profound spiritual influence on my life for years) alongside me and introduced me to oils. There is so much that this moment did for me besides oils though.  It reminded me of the blessing of growing up truly in a church family- where you know everyone, and are really almost family for life.  Because of that, I actually am changing churches in order to give Jude that type of lifelong Church family.  But I digress.

Here are the things I have used oils for:
* strep- quit taking my antibiotics after 4 days once I landed in the hospital.  I should have gotten strep back, but I used oils to fight it and keep it off.  This was done with oregano, melaleuca, and on guard mainly, along with lemon, lavender and frankincense.
* croup- I have fought Jude's colds twice now which 90% of the time would turn into a bad case of croup.  Using oils, he has a slight cough for 2-3 days max and a runny nose for 5 days max.  I have done this with breathe, frankincense, and peppermint along with the bacteria fighting oils I used for strep.
* huge scratch- I fell on a door stop during a yoga headstand which left a gigantic scrape/bruise.  I applied 3 rounds of frankincense over 36 hours.  The scratch was completely GONE.  As in not even visible.  Nor was the bruise.
* anxiety- I have thrown around some blends: lavender, citrus bliss... but for me the best one is Whisper.  I think this is because I have extreme physical anxiety via a racing heartbeat and chest tightening which is very much affected with vetiver and ylang ylang which are both in that blend.  Regardless it completely removes my chest tightening feelings within 2 minutes of use.  I haven't completely stopped using anxiety meds though...
* insomnia- I have used xanax and or ambien for this and have not slept well for years.  I started used lavender at night and have had 2 full months of perfect sleep.  I wake up feeling rested and have NO problem falling asleep.  It works far better than any of those meds ever did.
* allergies- I have extremely horrible allergic reactions to cats.  When these hit, I will take allegra which will alleviate some symptoms but not fully all of them.  Last time this happened though, I came home drank a small glass with 2 drops lavender, 2 drops lemon, and 2 drops peppermint and ALL my symptoms were gone in 20 minutes.  And did not return.
* hyperactivity- Jude has extreme hyperactivity.  Time will tell if this is actually ADHD, but he is definitely hyper.  It would take him at least an hour of loud talking to himself and jumping around his bed at night to finally fall asleep.  Accompanied with me fussing at him, etc.  Now, I apply what's known as the peaceful child blend.  He calms down in 5-10 min.  Most of the time he falls straight to sleep.  Last night, he laid in bed silently and contemplated God's love!  It is absolutely miraculous.

I am sure there are more things I've used the oils for.  They have completely changed my life in ways I never thought possible.  I am beyond grateful for them.  It seems too good to be true, and I was definitely skeptical.  I don't know how they work, but they do.  I have had several people as of late ask me about them/where to buy them/etc.  As far as I know you have to buy them through someone.  You are welcome to buy them through my page if you ever want to/need to although I really don't try to sell them.  It's just a page I got because I signed up for wholesale pricing.  Having access to wholesale pricing was free when I bought the whole physician oil kit- so not only did I get the kit cheaper, I also got access to all future oils cheaper.  Perfect deal.  However, you can also pay $35 I think up front to get that deal.  It's worth it though, because once you see one oil work amazingly, you will start using the oils more and more... and more.  So there you have it- if you want to buy the oils but don't want to sign up for wholesale you can use my site if you need to here:

http://www.mydoterra.com/ashleydoner/

If you would rather do what I did which is sign up for wholesale, I can get that info for you.  These are just the ways it's proved beyond useful for me in 2 1/2 months!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013- year of freedom



2013 ended with a bang for me.  Jimmy and I took a little getaway trip to Corpus Christi.  We walked the Texas prairies, coastal beaches, and got engaged!  I don't think it could have ended better.  Minus the fact I have had strep since Sunday and today is the first day I feel alive.  Overall, it ended well.

As this morning was the first I could form functional thoughts, I was pondering where I was a year ago.  Last year, I chose to focus on "flying free" for 2013.  Last year, I was having a hard time opening myself up to Jimmy.  I was holding so much back.  Last year at this time, I was battling monstrous panic attacks, extreme anxiety.  I started counseling right after the first of the year in hopes that I could be free of the fear that crippled me for so long.

God provided.  I haven't had panic attacks since January of last year.  I went to counseling through the spring and was able to lay to rest so many hurts I had held close for years.  I learned how to set boundaries for myself.  I learned how to use self care effectively, but not selfishly.  I learned how to open up.  I learned how to articulate the things I worried about before they ate me alive.  In a lot of ways, there is great freedom from anxiety.  That being said, I am not free from the need of medication.  Sometimes thats 'a hard pill to swallow' because that isn't what I want.  But at the same time, it certainly keeps me humble, and it certainly keeps me at the feet of God.  I can never wander too far from knowing how desperately I need him.  Although, it's a difficult reality, there is some blessing in those thorns.

In 2013, I made thankfulness a habit.  It was so hard and still is.  Yet, I recognize in the moments that I need to find things to be thankful for.  The good moments never fail to wash over me- this sea of peace and beauty.  The difficult moments- though they are hard and I struggle- I am fully conscious of my need to be thankful and I force the thanks out.  That's such a thought process change for me.  A sign of being free from the circumstances and free to look up.

This last part of the year I've found myself in a new job, learning so much new new new new.  There are certainly growing pains, but those are good.  Overall, I feel so blessed to be where I am.  I love being able to teach such kind, engaged kids.  I cannot stop thanking God for my 22 kids!

I ended the year deeply involved in the relationships in my little family to be.  As I learned to open up, Jimmy and I built deeper foundations.  He is the very definition of shepherd leader, and I am continually amazed by his goodness.  Words do not express the way I learn from his example.  Or the way he helps me breathe and let go.  I just feel like I'm ending 2013 with so many things having gently blown away like dandelions in the wind.  I don't know when I let them go, but I did, and I think it is largely due in part to Jimmy's steadiness day in and day out.

And of course Jude- the light of my life.  He remains hilarious and joyous and affectionate.  He calls me to account with his tears.  He makes me laugh when I'm upset.  He will always be the 'praised' one for me.  He has been my sole source of joy for so many years, and I am thankful for him beyond words.  God knew how much I would need that.  He has been the light leading me forward and helping me get up day after day.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving week in pictures:

 Jude and I had some pictures taken for our Christmas cards.  I gave up on having Jimmy take them for me in a cute local.  It has been the rainiest fall here on the weekends.


 We had two Thanksgivings.  On Thanksgiving Day, Jude and I went with Jimmy to his great aunts house.  His grandparents always come up to Ft. Worth for the holidays, so it was nice to get to see them.  This was the first time they had met Jude :)


 We also did a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (Saturday) with my family.  My {pregnant} sister was very adamant that she needed specific sides and dishes my mom has always made this holiday.  We all worked together to comply.  It was kind of fun though because my sister and I planned a lot of it, and my mom worked with us.  I don't think all 3 of us have ever done Thanksgiving together, so it was fun to think about.  You know those moments where you are like- oh I'm an adult- it was like that.  

Jimmy was actually in charge of the turkey though.  My neighbor recently gave me his old grill which is half propane/ half charcoal smoker.  Jimmy really wanted to try smoking the turkey, and I was more than willing to allow him that priviledge.  He did an amazing job- even waking up at 4:30 to start smoking it.  It had an amazing mequite smoked flavor.  Heavens to Betsy...  And now Jimmy is going to be taking up a smoking habit.  And I am all 'ohmygoshbrisket!!!!'


 In true Rinehart fashion, we ended the day by playing a game of 5 Crowns and Catch Phrase.  Jude hadn't napped all day.  We looked over from our games and saw that he had fallen asleep in the middle of Spiderman.  Such a sweet kid.  He never once complained or cried.


He ended up just taking the perfect cat nap- short enough to allow him to go to sleep easily tonight, and long enough to allow him to regain some energy.  We spent the evening celebrating my dad's birthday and just enjoying our time together.  It was perfect :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Spiritual Discipline of Thanks

If you know me well enough to be my facebook friend, you know this about me: I count my blessings every day.  They are numbered and listed in my status update every morning.  This has earned me a reputation as having a thankful heart.  But that's only partly true.

In June of 2012, I read 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Next to the Bible, I would say that book has done more to change my life than any other.  It felt like she wrote that straight to my heart.  She talks about her struggle to understand God's grace and how He really is good.  She talks about her struggles with fear and anxiety, to the point of involving cutting and panic attacks and medicine.  My heart rejoiced as I read her struggles because I realized I wasn't the only one.  

At the time I read this book, I had had a daily intake of xanax for about 6 months.  In January of 2012, all the pressure and fear that came out of my marriage and divorce and carrying the entire world collided into days of sheer panic and sleeplessness.  I knew exactly how she felt because I was in the midst of that storm myself.  And so, I took every word she said to heart.  I drank in the ways counting gifts changed her life and prayed fervently that it would do the same to mine.  I don't even think I had finished reading the book before I bought a notebook and began to write gifts as I saw them.

1.  My toddler singing chips and salsa songs at breakfast
2.  Surprise opportunity to go to Toddler Art at the DMA
3.  A child's thank you
4.  Jude asking a baby if he was ok.
5.  Covered porches

           
These pictures are of us at toddler art.

I actually very clearly remember this day.  Jude and I had the best time together at that toddler art class. It was probably one of the first truly happy days I had had in a long time.  Over the last 18 months, I have continued to count my gifts.  Sometimes diligently, sometimes the list has fallen to the wayside.  Although whether or not I wrote them down, I noticed a direct shift in my thinking once I started that list.  Little things I wouldn't have noticed before began to take on significance.  I remember driving back from my sisters and noticing the way sunlight reflected in rainbows off of the speed limit sign and being joyful.  How many gifts and opportunities for thankfulness had I missed in my previous 28 years by not opening my eyes?

Fast forward to now and I'm still counting.  As of this moment, my last gift was #1339- Rising before the sun in my dark, quiet house to read my Bible.  Earlier this school year (August probably) I started posting the new bits of the list each day on facebook.  I have had numerous people tell me that it encourages them to read all that I am thankful for.  I'm thankful for that :)  I hope that it helps other people see the little things they have to be thankful for on a daily basis.  I hope that it reminds them that God is good and His grace is everywhere.

But I will tell you what that list does not mean.  It does not mean I am wonderously happy all the time.  I am not constantly skipping and singing through life.  Compared to 18 months ago- I am enormously more joyful, definitely.  It has changed my attitude in every way possible.  I see God in more and I stop to pray more.  It gets easier and easier every day to find the good.  When I first started this, it was hard.  I remember sitting in my classroom last year literally straining to find something I could be thankful for. I would eventually find something, but it wasn't easy.

I've since learned it isn't supposed to be.  Giving thanks has a reputation for being this magical Christian attitude that just bubbles forth because Christ is in you.  I think that perspective might be a lie.  Giving thanks is a discipline.  Like any exercise regiment, it is extremely difficult at first.  Giving thanks is much like training to run a marathon (not that I have ever done that).  You can only find a few things to be thankful for at first.  Or you are too easily distracted to remember to give thanks.  Some days you want to be anything but thankful.  But you choose to count gifts anyway.  Some days you heart is not really in it.  But you choose to count gifts and pray He change your heart.  

He does.  There has been a huge, huge attitude shift in me since I started counting gifts.  I notice how much more I smile.  I notice how evenly keeled I stay compared to before.  I notice how hurtful things don't control my mind anymore.  I truly do have more joy than I had before.  It's not perfect.  There are lots of days when I am still straining to count the gifts.  But it's nowhere near the strain of first beginning to count.

So to encourage you, it is possible to have a thankful heart.  It is possible to see God's grace in all things and give thanks in all circumstances.  But to do that is a spiritual discipline.  It doesn't come easy.  It requires you pressing through the tough days with thanks when you really want to complain.  It requires you letting go of the things that aren't what you wanted and thanking God because you know He's at work in this somehow.  

I pray that all people may continue to count their gifts far past Thanksgiving.  Not only does it change your life, it's really commanded in scripture.  The high road is never the easy road.  But I promise it is so worth it.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

On My Heart


Motherhood has been on my heart a lot here lately.  I think it's because of this {extremely} convicting study I've been doing on 1 Peter via this book.  I'm not even sure why of all things it has convicted me in this area as motherhood is not the point of the book.  I think mainly it's just how I can come home from work exhausted- and that looks anything but gentle sometimes.

In my diligence to be a Light on my campus as well as the best teacher I can be to my students, I sometimes feel like I'm burning my candle at both ends.  I can end up forgetting to keep the most important things the most important.  More than anything else, that smile is my mission.  How often do I really train him and teach him who Christ is?  Sure he sees my example- he knows I go into my office and read my Bible.  But do I really teach Jude who Christ is, sadly not often.


I desperately want to change this.  I want to be the kind of mom who raises godly men (and maybe women someday).  Last week, my pastor talked about the judgement of the saints- when Christians will have to answer for how we used the talents and gifts He's given us for His kingdom.  I do think I faithfully use those things in my workplace, but I am sadly lacking in my home.  As a Christian mother, I think my main calling is raising godly children.  My home is supposed to be a place where the Holy Spirit dwells in everything.  During the summer, it is so much easier for me to sing hymns and read the Bible with Jude.  During the school year, those things are the first to fall to wayside.

What should a Christian working mother's home look like?

This is the question I'm asking myself currently.  I won't even begin to act like I have an idea.  I am praying that God grow me into that place and show me what it should look like.


I've also been *painfully, painfully* aware of how quick these seasons fade.  Jude's interests are becoming more and more 'big boy ish' every day.  Less and less toddlerish.  He's already 4 years old, and I cry inside every night I realize there are so many moments I just can't get back.  Right now, he's still very attached to 'momma'.  But time is running out on me.  The time of nurturing and teaching him is now.  His brain is active and aware and able to make connections.  He respects me and believes me.  If I don't teach him truth now, I'm going to lose the opportunity to ever teach him.  It's sobering and scary, and honestly breaks my heart.  I miss my little baby.


And so this Christmas, we are starting some new traditions, particularly with Advent.  I want Emmanuel, God with us to be part of our daily conversation.  I don't know how you convey the intimacy of the incarnation to a 4 year old, but I want to try.  I want to light the advent wreath every night.  We are going to read devotionals after dinner.  I want to prepare my heart to receive Him, but I also want to teach Jude how to receive Him.  The significance of this holiday is so easily lost amidst the hustle and bustle of black Friday deals and lists, lists, and more lists.  Yet none of those matter in the midst of eternity.  This holiday is about focusing on things unseen that one day, when you least expect it- in a way you never would have expected, the unseen becomes God with us.  What we hoped for becomes tangible.  The deepest longings of our heart are filled in Him.

Motherhood.  The greatest calling.  Even in the incarnation, you have the greatest calling of raising Christ Himself.  And it all centers on having palms open, receiving whatever gifts He bestows on you with thankfulness and humility.  But also dedication and endurance.  A willingness to follow His lead when it seems dangerous (being attacked by Herod) or doesn't make any sense (Joseph marrying a girl who appears tainted).

Oh how I pray that Jude will understand the significance of this season....


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pushing back the hindrances


Lately.  Lately I am realizing that this year has a calling much higher than I originally anticipated.  I'm seeing that God had far bigger purposes for my life right now.  Actually, I thought I was going to take the year off from learning any spiritual lessons.  Ha.  Haha.  God is far too faithful to let me just maintain my status quo.  I should have known that.

It's amazing to me how God works.  I've had a very 'flavorful' life in regards to lessons learned.  You would think I would have seen a lot, learned a lot, and be shocked by little.  Nope- not true at all.  I'm continually surprised and stunned by the new heights He calls me too.  I can't believe how 'unstretched' I currently am for this new place.  I guess more than surprising, though, is how humbling it is.

I thought I knew so much, had so much figured out.  Truth is, I have so much to learn, so much to understand.  So much pride has been uncovered.  And with that comes a multitude of other things.  I didn't realize this closet existed.  It was too far back in the recesses of my soul I guess.  God's cleaning it out.  It's messy.

But it's beautiful.  I know He is able to do immeasurably more in me than I expect.  (Eph 3:20)  I know that He's faithful to complete the work He started in me.  (Phil 1:6)  He's doing a lot of work in me.  It hurts.  I'm feeling emotions I really haven't felt- probably in 15 years.  {and of course this emotion would have been clouded by teenage absurdity back then- so in many ways this emotion is straight up new to me}  I haven't the slightest idea how God is going to use this in me personally, other than making me more like Christ.  Really, though, being Christlike is all I want.

I do have hope, though, that my current suffering will have eternal good for the world around me.  I see how I am being separated out.  I see the contrast it creates around me.  I see the incompatibility of myself with the world.  While that is really hard, and not something I've experienced, I believe with all my heart that it is a divinely ordained purpose.  I have hope and groan in anticipation of the day the ground is done shaking and new levels of glory are revealed.  I am praying for that.  I hope you pray for it too as you read this.

But more than anything, I am praying I run in a way that is worthy.  It is so scary to attempt to run a race that everyone is watching, and watching to see how you run and whether or not you will fall.  Of course, the reality is that I will fall.  Plenty of times.  As evidenced by my prideful sins, I have a long way to go to be really Christlike.  I am so thankful for His grace which covers each of those mistakes.

As I set new paces in the various areas of my life, I pray I may "forget what is behind (especially how I've failed or am hurt) and strain on toward what is ahead (being more like Christ- showing who He is), I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 3:13-14.  I feel like I'm daily beating myself into submission with the Word.  It's just not easy.  But praise Jesus that "my light and momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory for me".  Here's to looking heavenward- pushing back all the things that want to cloud my vision from seeing His face- and being the Light in a very dark world.