What a title right? This entire fall seems clouded in overall darkness. I started my back to school time with more difficulties than in any year previous. Difficulty after difficulty seems to be coming my way with my job. Mostly, I just cry a lot. But I also know The Lord is always doing something through the circumstances. I truly believe there is a purpose in my discontent, and that within a few years I will see this time through the lens of understanding. Praise the Lord for that!
But there is darkness beyond just my back to school time. There seems to be extreme darkness all over the world. Christians are being violently persecuted the world over. Darkness has consumed people with such hate. It's hard to understand where God is in the face of such tragedy. And of course that's just one facet of darkness consuming the people of the world. Extreme disease is ravaging the world over. It approaches even my own backyard at this point. Growing up, it always seemed like world tragedies were these obscure things 'happening over there'. Now, we can see how small the world really is as there aren't many world tragedies that aren't creeping here to our well insulated United States. The Lord has always seemed to have a hedge of protection around our country. That's clearly not the case anymore. It's interesting to think about. The world continues to 'progress' itself farther and farther from The Lord. And as we 'progress' it gets more dangerous just to be alive it feels. There aren't much obvious reasons to correlate the two. It's just the Lord is very clear that when we quit seeking His face, he will remove his hand, his grace. And when he removes his hand dangers will follow. Anyway, I don't know the answers being stirred by His Spirit. I just know His Spirit is stirring circumstances and hearts. Now is the time to seek His face until He comes- I think it's closer than we think. It's easy to push that off as crazy talk, but the Bible is very clear that many of us will be caught off guard when Christ returns. If you haven't done so, choose today who you will serve. The time really is now.
And yet the Lord continues to be gracious, ever so gracious in our lives. He showers us with grace upon grace and gift upon gift. If you aren't a Christian, I beg you to seek Him. Not because of the usual salvation reasons, just because there is such beauty in viewing the world through His Lens. I think so many things would pass my vision unappreciated were in not for the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to His Hand. Little things that make me stop and praise Him- for example- did you know that this year I apparently got my first angry parent email of my career. I have been blessed to have decent relationships with all my parents over the years, but apparently this year, I had a parent upset with me based off an email I sent to my current class parents group. This parent replied to ALL with a pretty scathing email. I think at least 75% of my parents brought this email up in my parent conferences. And yet God in His GRACE caused that email to somehow never make it to my inbox. It's not in my deleted mail, it's not in my junk mail. He literally blocked an email that probably would have emotionally wrecked me. The Lord watches out for His Children, yall. How could you ever want to live without His Protection? He blesses me beyond measure- beyond what I could ever fully understand.
And He continues to bless my life via oils. I currently use Fertility Awareness to monitor my body. Yes it's old school, but I have had really bad side effects with other plans, which is not worth it. The amazing thing about that method is that you become so in tune with your own hormones and body. I have been able to understand that I only get one type of headache- hormonal headaches- through this method. I learned that I ovulate really late- which means I'm low on progesterone- because of this method. I also learned that this could be due to use of Prozac based pills. How invaluable is this information?! I started monitoring this back in March/April, and I am so pleased by what I understand about myself now. Since then, the Lord has led me to Young Living oils, which he has used to support my emotional system while I weaned off anxiety medication (praise the Lord, I am 100% weaned off now!). He led me to Ashley of www.anointedliving.net who shared with me the importance of magnesium, which has helped curb insomnia, hormonal issues, and headaches. And I have started using endoflex and progesterone plus, both of which are by Young Living. I have made it through a cycle without any hormonal headaches for the first time probably ever. (Headaches have been a part of my often life for as long as I can remember...). And I just noticed in my charting this month that my progesterone appears to be at normal levels for the first time since I started charting! How glorious is The Lord who heals! This is such a gracious relief, not just because my daily/monthly life is less of an emotional roller coaster, but also because I have less fears about the future and trying to have children. He is so gracious! And y'all, I know there are thousands of oil companies in the world, but this is why I think Young Living is the best- because the plethora of effective products they have just is unable to be compared. The average oil company may have 1 oil that affects hormones. Young Living has blend after blend after supplement after supplement. It is the oil company of oil companies to me. I took a long road finding them, but I am so thankful the Lord led me to just the right spot. He is the Gentle Shepherd who leads me to the right waters. There is nothing like the personal love I know The Lord has for me. The way He seeks me out to bless me and take care of me and show me that He is the God who sees me! Oh that you would look up and see Him too.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise the Lord who commands His angels to protect us, surround us and hedge us in. Praise the Lord who longs to give good gifts to His children. I'm so glad Christ came to me. I'd love to talk to you about oils for sure. But I'd really love to talk to you about the Lord. I'm feeling particularly blessed by Him tonight :)
Blessings upon you!
Monday, October 13, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
"The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."
~ Exodus 15:2
I read this verse about a week ago during my quiet time. I have always read through the Bible during my quiet times, and about the time I headed back to school I also landed myself once again in Exodus. And because The Lord is sovereign over even my 'reading through the Bible', I could not have found a more ummm 'appropriate' time to land with the Israelites in the desert.
This school year is kicking my tail. Maybe it was the fact that I spent the first 7 school days in the only room in the building with no AC, where it actually felt like the desert. Actually, though, it's all these little things seem to have collided in my classroom to make something of a perfect storm. Isn't it weird how rarely it's something majorly catastrophic, but more the daily little annoyances that add up and ultimately break us down?
Needless to say, I'm honestly broken. Everyday as I read about the Israelites struggles through the wilderness, I truly empathize and get it. This verse above really convicted me when I read it. It doesn't matter how many little annoyances stack up- even if they stack as high as the Red Sea. I have a song to sing. I've been redeemed, and I need to sing so!
Of course, knowing I need to and actually choosing to do it in the moment are totally different things. Right now, I'm not. What I'm really doing is crying and trusting that the Lord will draw near the broken hearted.
And of course He does. He gives me just enough strength to keep going. Even if it is truly just one day at a time. My goals this year look a lot different this year. (and let's be honest, thus far, I am failing miserably with my goals...)
1. Use a heck of a lot of JOY oil. Heavens to Betsy- if this oil did not exist, I might lose my ever loving mind. I am diffusing it all day every day. I have a much easier time letting the frustrating moments roll off my back if I use it a lot. What I need to do is train myself to stop when I am overwhelmed.... run straight to my Joy bottle... huff and apply... Reallllyyyy need to get better about that.
2. Use a lot of Release oil on the tense spots. It amazes me how you can just feel tension in your body. My lower back and shoulders are in knots by 3:00. Release truly lives up to its name- the tension leaves me and I can feel it. It's pretty amazing honestly because you can feel the difference so quickly. I will never stop ceasing to be amazed by oils- thankful for them so much!
3. Never miss a quiet time. Yes, I wake up at 4:30 each morning. Some mornings I don't get my makeup on. All mornings I eat breakfast on my way out the door. But oh how beautiful are my minutes with The Lord in the still and the quiet. He nourishes my soul in ways I can't explain. I feel like I'm on survival mode- but survival mode isn't possible without Him! I'm so thankful He is personal! That early alarm clock is worth soo soo much more than an extra 30 minutes of sleep!
4. I really, really, really need to get back on the 1000 gifts train. I do add gifts each morning during my quiet time. But I need to do more- I need to collect the gifts throughout my day. Sigh. Someone hold me accountable and text me during the day to ask what I'm thankful for!
5. Let it go! Let it go! While I've gotten really good at letting my tears go and fall at will, I really need to let go of what I thought this year would look like and accept the reality. Somewhere in all this, my reality is a gift. Probably because I have prayed for The Lord to give me a gentle and quiet spirit of peace. Which of course, only comes through trial. Where your patience is tested. So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that The Lord has answered my prayers :) (It's amazing to me that I still pray God create virtues in me- even though I know that process is PainFul!)
6. Take time to recharge. I used to be married to my job. But I know wearing me out doesn't do anyone any good. This year I'm dedicating myself to not staying late. (yes, there are days it's unavoidable... but by and large.... I choose life!) And the truth is my mission is to love God, love Jimmy, love Jude, love my class- in that order. A life with skewed priorities is going to fail eventually.
7. Enjoy shared reading! I don't love every part of my day. But I love shared reading with big books with this class! I sort of wish it was at the end of the day so I could look forward to it. But- regardless, it is the best part of my day! Viva la shared reading!
What are your tips for walking through the desert? I need them!
Saturday, August 30, 2014
picture links to Voices of the Martyrs
I have been a part of Young Living since May, and have been sharing it since June. I mentioned a few posts back about using my Young Living money- since it's technically lagniappe- to give back. Then I looked at my budget, and realized maybe it's not all lagniappe. Maybe it's the Lord being gracious to provide extra when my mortgage went up my a lot this year... and I am still paying off stupid medical bills from before I discovered oils... But I'm still giving some.
Someone was asking me about this recently in reference to tithing and such. I guess I didn't make that clear before. I already tithe $270 a month to church as well as $38 a month to Compassion International. That's $318 a month that I had already established to give which is about exactly 10% of my earnings. When I said I was going to use Young Living to give back, I don't mean that it's my tithe. My tithe is already accounted for. This is extra (lagniappe). This is me just enjoying being able to give back to The Lord who is truly the one behind growing anything that is happening with Young Living. And this is more 'fun' than my tithes because I get to pick a different charity each month depending on what is on my heart that month.
The checks come about a month after I've earned them. Meaning I've received a check for earnings in June and now in July. In June I used the whole $50 check to donate money to Catholic Charities of Dallas specifically the unaccompanied minors fund. Those kiddos were on my heart then, and I got to do something about it! This month what has been on my heart is Christian persecution within Islamic borders. I hate what I am seeing. I pray for God's mighty intervention and mercy on their behalf. In America, we just forget how lucky we are that we can worship however we want. This is NOT the case for many countries.
I have long been a subscriber to the monthly publication of Voices of the Martyrs. This particular organization goes behind enemy lines bringing needs, aid, Bibles, food, legal help, you name it to Christians who are currently imprisoned or in hiding for their faith. I've read their publications for years, but just have never had the extra money to really get involved. Thanks to Young Living, I can. I was actually able to specifically donate money to help suffering Christians within Muslim counties through their donation page. This is a huge blessing! Of course we have all been praying. But it's hard to know what else to do beyond that. Young Living (and those of you who have joined my team) are helping me give back to them. Again, it was $50 donated this month. (My check was actually bigger, but some of it goes to the extras like Higley references which I buy for people who sign up under me, etc.) Regardless, the Lord is able to use that to help those in need. And that's amazing! Young Living was a life change for me, I get to help people who sign up change their life too, and then donate money to further that life change. The Lord is good!
For those of you interested, I would love to mentor you on your own journey. There is opportunity to bless your family and then turn around and bless others. Soli deo gloria!
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, August 24, 2014
There are, of course. so many pockets of community in every life that are wonderful. I'm thankful for the community of colleagues I work with at Savannah. Just like my community group, it's a place where I belong, where I share what I'm doing as a teacher, and I learn from and am held accountable by other teachers. This is my second year on this campus, and starting this year I can see how much I've learned from others, from my mistakes, and just the good that is my place there.
And I have the community of my friends and family. The people who know me closely. The ones I don't have to explain who I am or what I am because they already know. This past weekend I met with my former team members/friends for our monthly-ish Chick Fil A play date at 7:30am Saturday. It's such a sweet time of coffee and conversation while the kids play.
Yesterday afternoon I realized how thankful I was for a new community God graciously brought into my life- Young Living. I realize that mlm companies can be weird for a lot of people. And I totally would agree BUT those various levels in that mlm system are my mentors, new friends, and community. Beginning a health journey like essential oils is so much more than just buying some oils and using them. To do it well, knowledgeably, and consistently, requires community. You could try to just buy it and get started. But I think you'd miss out on so much. I am so blessed by my access to the Sp.Oil.Ed living community, and the Essentially Speaking community, and the Anointed Living community. All of these ladies are my various upline levels. (And all of them live here in my neighborhood which is a bonus!) And while there are these public forums, by my joining their communities, I received invites into private forums where we can share with each other our successes, ask each other questions, and just generally support each other. Community- it's really the only way to do life. And when you are doing something as important as taking charge of your health, community is a must. I am so thankful for my EO community- and all the communities in my life.
**If you would like to be invited to join the Essentially Speaking and Anointed Living communities, email me at email@example.com. Sharing with you my oily journey and guiding you is a wonderful privilege and one I am happy to share with all these ladies.
yl distributor/enroller/sponsor 1831568
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Anxiety- the more I talk openly about it, the more I realize there are a lot of us that suffer from it! Here's my story:
I've always been given to being highly emotional, highly prone to overthinking, and obsessed with perfection. So the groundwork was laid early on in my life for anxiety. In 2006 I started dating my ex husband. In 2008 we got married. In 2009 I had Jude. In 2010 I got divorced. In 2012 I started having panic attacks and began taking xanax daily morning and evening. About 6 months later, I switched it to lexapro in the morning and xanax at night to sleep. In December of 2012, I tried to wean off it, but then started having panic attacks again. Back on it I went. I never have been able to not need it.
In 2014, I was introduced to doTerra which I used to help my body heal from strep. I then started using lavender oil to help me sleep at night. And I haven't taken a xanax since January! I was still taking Lexapro daily though. And anxiety was still a huge struggle.
In May of 2014, I decided to try Young Living because I had started researching oil companies. And the more I researched the more I grew interested in what Young Living was doing, how they ran their company, how they used their seed to seal process, etc. In the Young Living premium kit, you get 11 oils which includes 4 blends that are specifically for emotions! You also get frankincense and lavender which help so much with emotions as well! When I started using Young Living I had just started cutting down my lexapro dosage. I was taking 20mg in Jan. By May, I was taking 10 mg. By June I was taking 5 mg. And by the end of July I was at 2.5mg. This is where I am now. I fully expect to be off all medication by December!
Here's my daily protocol **
- Roll Valor on my chest over my heart, the back of my neck, the back of my shoulders, and my carotid artery. Pray about being strong and courageous for the Lord is with me.
- Roll on Joy behind my ears and the base of my neck by my brainstem. Pray about how the Joy of the Lord is my strength
- Roll Release over my liver and ponder Isaiah 61 and how the Lord came to release prisoners and proclaim freedom
- 2 drops of frankincense in a spoonful of honey
- 1/2 tsp of Natural Calm magnesium supplement along with a daily multivitamin, omega, and herb/enzyme pill
- round 2 of my multivitamin, omega, and herb/enzyme supplements
- reapply Valor and Joy in the same places
- reapply Valor and Joy if needed
- At bedtime, I use a roller with Peace and Calming, lavender, cedarwood, and vetiver to sleep. I put in on the back of my neck, my temples, my wrists, on my stomach, and on my big toes.
- diffuse ylang ylang and lavender
The two months I have been following this protocol have made the most headway with my anxiety since I started this journey. The Lord is good and He has surely blessed my life with these oils. I don't want to give all the credit to oils though because at the same time I found Young Living, I also had finished an intense group at church called Redemption in which I really struggled through how anxiety was both caused by and exacerbated by my pride and idolatry. The Lord certainly used that process to help me face some of the sin in my life that affected my anxiety. However, as I finished Redemption, He was faithful to continue the healing process in my life by bringing along these Young Living oils which have definitely worked to carry His Word to completion.
The Lord is gracious. He didn't set us here in this fallen world to stumble around aimlessly and always hurting. He provided a creation that is equipped to heal us. He spoke all these plants into life and filled their essential oils with the power to help us because He is Love. I pray you would step out in faith and allow God to show himself mighty in your life as He has mine. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to buy the premium kit that contains these oils I mentioned so you can start your own journey to joy, I would love to sponsor you and guide you. Teaching others is one of my greatest joys! Simply go to www.youngliving.com/signupwww.youngliving.com/signup and use the enroller/sponsor #1831568 May the Lord bless you and Keep you and Make His face to shine upon you as He is doing in my life!
** I am not a doctor and I cannot advise you in any way to make decisions for your health. I have done all my weaning of medication under a doctor's supervision. I am simply sharing my story and how The Lord has worked in my life through this process.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Imogen (Idgie) my cute cruiser :)
The last few months my blog has taken you through my journey as I have tested and wrestled with Essential Oil companies. Seeing that Young Living had great oils and a great 20 year long reputation was easy. What I had to leave behind was not so easy.
I was starting to make headway in the doTerra world in some ways. I had 9 people on my team. I was so excited to coach them and help them find wellness. I was watching my goals be reached each month. I averaged $1000 sold for 3 months straight. It was exciting!
If I switched over to YL I'd have to leave all of that behind. I wrestled with that so, so much. And y'all can I just say I love how gentle The Lord is as he leads us! I read bits from a devotional called "Streams in the Desert" through this period (and now as well) that just spoke to me. Here are some things the Lord said as I wrestled:
"Abraham did not know where he was going- it simply was enough for him to know he went with God... You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect."~ The Lord was showing me that no, this essential oil journey didn't make sense. And corporate American would think I was crazy to walk away from any amount of success. Rest, rest in the fact that you are going with God, Ashley
"In times of uncertainty, WAIT. If you have any doubt, WAIT. If you sense any retraint in your spirit, do not go against it- WAIT."~ I knew I needed to hold off on pursuing either. Looking back, I could have did this better. The last person that signed up under me with doTerra, I honestly have quite a bit of guilt over because I feel I wasn't honoring the Lord and waiting. And in retrospect, I wish I could have introduced her to Young Living because that product would have been perfect for her. Thankfully, the Lord is so patient with me. I am still wrestling with this though.
Psalm 37:5- Commit your way to the Lord; trust him and He will do this.~ I realized I had way too much grip on this. I wasn't letting go, wasn't trusting, wasn't following. My mom really convicted me when she said I sounded like I was idolizing my loyalty to a person, and not to the Lord.
It was such a time of wrestling in my soul. I just wasn't where the Lord wanted me to be. At the time, I didn't even fully understand why or even where in some ways He wanted me to be. I just knew He was calling me to leave one path behind. I had to trust that this would turn out to be the right decision! This verse has come to mean a lot this month, but it really applies to how I took God at his word.
Test me in this says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. ~ Malachi 3:10
Wow did the Lord do this! Sometime after I announced my switching of sides, I happened to end up with someone signing up under me with Young Living. I didn't even really think that much about it because I was also getting married, and just enjoying 'waiting on the Lord'.
What I have realized is this- with doTerra I had to spend $100 a month to earn anything at all. I got $20 per person who signed up. With 9 people, I made $180. There were some other sales commissions in there, which ended up getting to somewhere around $400 total. I really wasn't leaving that much behind to be honest.
And then the floodgates opened- with Young Living I get $50 per sign up- and for sign up bonuses I only need to spend $50 a month. It is SO much easier to have my oils pay for themselves with Young Living! I have had 4 people sign up with Young Living and that is $200**- which is more than I made off 9 sign ups with doTerra. Which is crazy! Test and see that the Lord is good! He is so trustworthy!!!! His plan is so much better for me! Not only are these oils amazing- but He provides more through them than I had any idea possible! I get to these paragraphs of my blog posts and I run out of words. There just aren't enough ways to praise The Lord for being faithful, for being sovereign, and all knowing, and wise, and trustworthy, and good, and loving. He cares so much for me! So so much- and the way He takes care of me, I don't know, I wish all of you could experience Him. The way His arms enfold me in these moments of reflecting on his goodness!!! I mean, I literally feel Him.
So praise to The One who knows what I need. Praise to The One who is true to his word. Praise to The One who is Alive and Proves himself daily. Praise to the One whose 1000+year old promises I can claim as my own and watch him work! Praise to my Provider!
** Because of His goodness, a large portion of Young Living earnings are being tithed out. You can read about my latest tithing to Catholic Charities of Dallas unaccompanied minors on my blog :) This is another way I'm testing to see what The Lord will do- but that is another blog entirely :)
If you are already using Young Living, I hope you know being on Essential Rewards and buying 50pv a month can be paid for by itself by simply sharing Young Living with 1 person each month. How awesome is that- I love free oils! Plus you earn minimum $5 a month on future oils! Young Living is a great, great company to be a part of!
Email me about any questions @ email@example.com
Sunday, July 27, 2014
I once blogged about giving of the fat of our lives and how that might have looked for me a couple years ago. My 2012 theme was contentment seeking to reject more wordly things so I could give more. Many clergy have sought this life through monasteries and such for years, so this is hardly profound. But it's hard- In some ways, I have rejected some of these things, but other things seem to constantly fill their place. I daily fight the urge to serve 2 masters.
I've justified that different ways. For a long time I justified it because I was so busy being Christ's hands and feet to so many needy children at my previous school. And looking back- as hard as that was and as much as I poured into loving them- I don't think I was completely wrong in that. But I've since moved schools, so the emotional and physical sacrifice is different.
I also justified that because I was a single mom with a pretty dead beat ex husband. Doing it all on my own was really hard in every way, including financially. I worked really hard to give back the ways that I did, and I do think that the Lord understood. But that excuse is also now null and void because the Lord has provided Jude and I an amazing husband/father figure who provides help for us in so many ways.
Currently, I do tithe to my church most of my 10% that I make. The rest of that 10% I put towards sponsoring a child through Compassion International. I do think that's an awesome thing to do. I'd like to think that's enough. And then I read books like Radical or Kisses for Katie, and I wonder if it really is. Is minimum really good enough? I mean Christ wandered homeless basically to share truth with the world. Paul was in chains most of his ministry it seemed like. Am I really being a good steward? I just don't really know. I know I've struggled with budgeting- but I don't need *more* money. I need to use what I have better. And I do want to do more. I want to break the chains that tie me to materialism. I don't want to need what this world offers.
Recently, the Lord has provided this little side job of sharing oils. Now, lets not pretend that I make much more than some spending cash on it, because I don't. But I make something- it's nice to have. It's also not a need. So I am committing this extra cash to The Lord. For now, it's not so hard to give this little bits to him. Maybe one day it will get harder. But honestly, the Lord created this whole knowledge, opportunity, everything, so it's honestly His business. Not mine at all. (this is always the case...) So anyway, I just want to say publicly so that I can be held accountable- Money I make off of Young Living oils will be given to a specific cause each month. I'm going to share the cause each month hoping that I can keep myself on top of it. And who knows- it could be fun to share what The Lord does with this!
So for this month I gave my $50 to Catholic Charities of Dallas to help with the unaccompanied minors entering our state. If you aren't aware of the increasingly insane numbers of Latin American children coming across our borders with no families, you need to be. It's incredibly sad to think about the amount of tragedy these children have experience and continue to experience. I am hopeful to find more hands on ways to help these children. Really, I'd just like to find a way to give them my extra bedroom! But for now, I will be satisfied with donating. (and if you know of a way I can help out more please let me know!)
I am so thankful The Lord provided oils for my healing and pray He can use this small sum to heal others!
If you would like more info about Young Living Essential Oils, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on facebook at Ashley Sitton to be invited to an online class myself and a friend are doing on July 31st.
Young Living enroller and sponsor #1831568