Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our DoTerra Essential Oils Story

I've been talking a lot on Facebook lately about essential oils and how they've helped our family.  Let me just begin by saying, I really can't believe I'm actually writing about this because I never would've dreamed we'd be on this journey.  Not too long ago, I saw a facebook friend posting almost the exact same she had bought a kit and how much it was helping her family.  I thought.."Oils?  How in the world can an oil help us?" Needless to say, I was skeptical.

Our story:
Our family has a variety of health issues.  I was just telling a friend the other day how we get the strangest, random illnesses and typically they won't just affect one family member.  We've had years of ear infections which led to multiple surgeries for the kids, allergies that have led to skin reactions (eczema, bad bug bite reactions, weird rashes), stomach viruses and even most recently all three kids have had a round of Fifths disease--yeah, I had never heard of that either. All of these issues have led to thousands of dollars in doctor/hospital/pharmacy bills.  So let's just say I was more than willing to find some alternative treatment.

I had heard about essential oils from a friend in town, but I wanted to check it out further.  So I contacted my go-to friend when it comes to health and wellness.  She has given me countless amounts of tips and advice from money saving to eating organic.  I knew she would also tell me straight...was this oil thing legit?  Come to find out, she had the same questions not long before I did and had been trying the oils herself.  She gave me a testimony about her experience that convinced me.  Not only that, but she and another friend put together some samples for me to try.  After trying them out on my kids and myself...I was in.

I want to be sure you know that this is not a miracle cure.  It's an all natural support to help your body fight a variety of issues.  Here is a great blog post that tells another family's story and some good essential oils info.

You're convinced now, right?! : )  Several friends and family have asked me...ok, how do I get some of this stuff?!  There are a couple of ways you can buy the oils.

How to buy:
Each oil has a retail and wholesale price.  DoTerra has a membership program (similar to buying a Sam's/Costco membership) and it costs $35.  The membership allows you buy any oil or product at the wholesale price. Another benefit to becoming a member is that you can be a part of my team, which gives you access to private facebook support groups where you can ask questions and get feedback from experienced oil users. There are also enrollment kits.  For my family, this made sense to me.  Some of the oils I was interested in for joint pain (Frankincense and Deep Blue) were two of the most expensive oils.  I could get an enrollment kit that included those two oils as well as 9 more for a discounted price.  Also, when you get an enrollment kit the membership fee is waived, so you'll be able to buy oils for the next year at the wholesale price.  This month (today is the last day!) there is also a special deal.  If you become a member and buy 100 points ("pv"=point value; point values are almost equal to the dollar amount) worth of product you get 50 free points worth of products next month.  That's about the equivalent to $50 in free stuff.  With the kit I bought, I paid $150 for 11 oils, but got a $35 enrollment fee waived and $50 in free stuff...that's $85 right there that I automatically got back.  The last option is to just buy what you want at retail price.  Click here for the link to the different enrollment kits.

My family is probably like many of yours....we don't have an extra $150 just laying around.  This is an investment in our health.  Just to put it into perspective, last week I had to take my daughter for an ENT check up.  It was an automatic $45 for the copay.  We had to pay for gas for a 45 minute one way drive.  She had an ear infection and had to have medicine, which cost money.  I didn't even know she had an ear infection, but if I had I could've tried oils to help support her body to fight it.  If I can prevent one doctor visit, my oil kit is paid for.  Just a thought....that blew my mind!

Here are some oil combinations that you might use for various health issues you/your child might have:
eczema: I put melaleuca and lavender directly on my patches.  You could also add Frankincense. For small children you'll want to dilute the oils with fractionated coconut oil.  You can buy it from DoTerra or from Amazon.  I bought a big bottle for only about $9 on Amazon.
allergies: for me and my kiddos, I have a mix of peppermint, lavender, and lemon in a small bottle that has a roller on top.  All I need is one drop (yes, just one drop because it's very concentrated!) of each oil in that bottle and fill the rest with the coconut oil.  I roll it on the kids' feet at night (the feet have the largest pores on the body) and put some socks on them.  I use a stronger version on my own feet and have noticed that it has helped me with being able to breathe better at night. I no longer have to use nose spray (yay!)
bug bites/sores/rashes/diaper rash: lavender is great for this!  Dilute it for kids, but I put it directly on mine.

These are just a few examples.  With my Family Physician's kit, I can treat 30+ ailments.  There's also an oil in there that is 90% effective against the flu.  This is great for us because my youngest son is allergic to eggs, which means he can't have the flu vaccine.  This may also mean that our family doesn't need the flu vaccine!  The possibilities are amazing!

Where to go to buy:
Click here to go to the link to my page.  Here are some instructions on what to do next:
When you go to this link, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you see "quick links" and under that you'll see "sign up/join" and click on that. On "step 1" you'll highlight the "join as a new wellness advocate" just gives you the most benefits. On the next page you just fill out the info (my name/number will be at the top on step 2). I think the rest should be self-explanatory but if you do have any questions, don't hesitate!

If you have any trouble, please contact me and I can get the answer for you!

Thanks for taking the time to read through this!  I would not be so convinced to share about these oils if I had not tried them for myself and seen the positive results.  I've also heard testimony after testimony of how the lives of others have changed for the better--less doctor visits and prescription drugs--after using essential oils.  Let me know how I can help you and pray for you and your family!

God bless~

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kindle book deals!!

Today I've been running across so many good Kindle book deals, I thought I'd just round them up in a blog post! : )

"Mad About Us: Moving from Anger to Intimacy with Your Spouse" by Gary J. Oliver

*There are lots of freebies on the Bethany House book special page!  I've mentioned several of these before, but in case you missed them, it would be great to check this page out.*

99 cents~
*Angie Smith's Bible study, Chasing God, is at a great price right now!
*A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island and Stars in the Night by Cara Putman
*Masquerade by Nancy Moser
*All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt
*Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio by Lisa Harris
*Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas by Janice Hanna
*Love Comes Calling Unrivaled, and She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
*The Believer by Ann Gabhart
*The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
*For Keeps by Chautona Havig
*The Enclave by Karen Hancock
*That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
*Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell
*Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman
*Tender Grace by Jackina Stark

Some of my favorite authors have some limited time deals right now!
*The Captive Maiden and The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson....both great books!
*Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander (love her and her books!) of her other books is a freebie right now!
*Love in Disguise and Trouble in Store by Carol Cox
*Searching for Eternity and Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser
*Simple Faith by Anna Schmidt
*The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
*A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes
*A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin
*A Life of Obedience by Andrew Murray

**Also, just a reminder...I will be giving away a free copy of Kelly Minter's book, Wherever the River Runs!  I'll be drawing a name on Saturday, so stop by and comment on this post!  Thanks!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!! Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter **winner announced**

**The giveaway winner is....Michelle Repolles!**

About the book:
In Wherever the River Runs, Kelly Minter invites us on a journey down a river teeming with piranhas and caimans, as well as machete-wielding mothers, heroic jungle pastors, faith-filled children, and miracles too seldom experienced in our part of the world. Kelly's honest and engaging narrative pulls back the curtain on one of the most captivating places on earth as well as on parts of the gospel we may be able to recite but have never fully believed.

On this beautiful adventure through the jungles of Brazil and the tangles of the soul, Kelly rediscovers Jesus among a forgotten people living well beyond the corners of her previously defined faith--a people who draw her back to their country, their pain, and their hope in Him, again and again.

"Kelly Minter writes the way a portrait artist paints." -- Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries

"The best thing I can say about Wherever the River Runs is that I closed the last page, bowed my head, and said, 'God, send me too.' Thank you, Kelly, for your courage, leadership, and faithfulness." -- Jen Hatmaker (speaker, blogger, and author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess)

My thoughts...
To be honest, when I saw the opportunity to read this book I hesitated.  I often think I'm fueled by getting lost in a piece of fiction...nonfiction doesn't always let me escape like I sometimes feel I "need" to do.  I'm so glad that God kept nudging me to request being a part of reading this and telling all of you about it.

Watching the book trailer just brought to life the places and people I just read about in Kelly Minter's book, "Wherever the River Runs: how a forgotten people renewed my hope in the gospel." I had heard of Kelly Minter and some of her Bible studies, but I had no knowledge of her mission trips to Brazil, traveling along the Amazon River.  In a very personal and honest way, Minter tells of the struggles and joys of how God took her out of her comfort zone and led her to a people living a world away.  God used these yearly trips to change her, challenge her, and through her openness she gave me a challenge. My heart and mind were awakened to God's calling on all our lives: to live out the Gospel wherever He has planted us.

Yes, I know this calling.  In fact, years ago I lived overseas as a missionary.  I loved my time there and was able to see and experience a lot of the things that Kelly has, just in a different setting.  But it's been almost 11 years since I've been back in America, and during the time I've been home it's been so easy to get complacent and wrapped up in my daily life, going through routines and staying cozy in my little home.  This book was very timely for me personally as I was challenged with stepping out of my comfort zone and into the lives of those who are desperate for the love of Jesus.

One part in the book that particularly spoke to me was after Kelly and her friend, April, returned to the states after an Amazon trip and encountered those in need in their own neighborhood.  My heart perked up when I read this....because if I'm honest, deep down I have felt the very same way.
"When it came to being a friend to the poor in my community, I was afraid of the same thing April was.  I was happy to minister overseas because there's this measure of novelty while you're there and a safe distance when you're gone.  But befriending the sick, suffering, and spiritually needy in my daily environment is neither novel nor safe.  It's just hard.  Essentially, I wanted to help people but only if I didn't have to get all tangled up in ongoing relationship.  I didn't want people close to home needing me, calling me.  And it wasn't just what I was afraid to do; it was what I was afraid to give up.  It can be painful relinquishing a few precious comforts while making time to serve." (pg 98)

"Wherever the River Runs" is a phenomenal account of a time in Minter's life that has impacted me and I'm sure will impact you.  So...I'm giving away one free copy!!  Leave a comment on this blog post or on the link I'll leave on facebook if you have a hard time commenting on here (several people have mentioned that they have a hard time commenting when they use their cell phones).  I'll choose a winner next Saturday, August 2nd. 

If you'd like to know more about Kelly Minter, please go check out her website:

Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to reading your comments!  God bless!!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reviewer's Bookshelf: A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

Book Summary (from Goodreads): After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancee, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes--by hook or by crook--she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home . . . until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.

Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

My Thoughts...
My first impression of this novel was the cover.  The expression on the face of the heroine was mischief and beauty, and I was excited to see how her character was going to develop.  I love a saucy female in a book and my expectations were high for Agatha.  The title of the book was also very catchy to me, because I love a good verbal spar between a heroine and hero.  A Match of Wits met several of my expectations.  

Agatha is very stubborn (at times it's a little annoying as she goes into obviously very dangerous situations without even thinking of the risks) and isn't afraid of telling Zayne what she thinks about things.  In fact, when she thinks she knows what is best for Zayne, she won't hesitate to tell him and even try to manipulate him a little to get what she wants.  She also has an uncanny ability to get herself into scrapes.  While that usually would drive me crazy, I actually liked the way the author wrote some of these situations, because the outcome often turned out well despite how bad the initial incident was.  
The pace of the novel went from kind of slow at the beginning and slowly built momentum until the end.  I especially liked the portion of the book that took place in New York.  It seemed to be a good place for both of the characters to develop and for the action to step up a notch.  There were several action-packed moments, especially since Agatha is not afraid to put herself in harm's way.  I liked the side stories of those who were helping to protect Agatha.  There was a little bit of mystery surrounding them, so that made their story even more appealing.

Zayne could be characterized in many ways as your typical male hero.  He's got some adventure and the desire to love within, but his heart has been hardened by rejection and a physical injury.  When we meet him he's got a hard exterior, and even though Agatha does nothing right in regards to helping him, she still manages to soften his heart and help him in ways that even she didn't expect.

There are a few aspects of this novel, however, that didn't meet my expectations.  The beginning of the novel, while it did help lead in to the second setting in the book, felt out of place.  The book didn't seem to really get started until the characters arrived in New York.  I also had high expectations for the amount of witty banter that would be in the book.  There were definitely some moments where I smiled and appreciated how Zayne and Agatha related to one another, but I didn't feel the high spark level.  I definitely expected more sass and fun from Agatha.  

I did not realize that A Match of Wits had characters that had been written about in previous novels, but I was able to enjoy the book as a stand alone.  However, if you want more background you may want to read some of Jen Turano's previous novels.

I would give this novel...

**** (4 stars)
The book was an overall good story, with a clean romantic aspect, some good action packed moments, and great supporting characters.  
Happy reading!

**I received a free copy of this novel from Bethany House publishers to give an unbiased review**

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reviewer's bookshelf: The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall


Book Summary (from Goodreads): After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.

My thoughts...
When I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Dawn Crandall's book, knowing that this was her debut novel, I was curious about how it would measure up to other favorite books/authors of mine.  I can say, without hesitation, that The Hesitant Heiress had every element that makes a story great!  First, let's begin with our heroine.  Amaryllis Brigham has the rare ability to play the piano by ear.  She wants to use her talent to help others to study music, but it seems that there is always someone who is trying to undermine her hopes and dreams.  Amaryllis is a character you want to root for, but there's an element of sadness around her as she struggles with her mother's death, a feeling of abandonment, and a man that she believes is responsible for ruining her education and reputation.  Amaryllis also struggles with fear, and her fight to try and conquer those fears.  All of these traits and more make Amaryllis a character that most of us can relate to.  Her battle within continues as she is in the presence of Nathan Everstone.  There were times when I just wanted her to give up and give in to her feelings of affection, but if that had happened there wouldn't be the excellent tension that was created.  In the end, I thought the author did a great job at developing Amaryllis' character and resolving different aspects of the plot in a page turning manner ; ). 

Now for our hero.  I'm a big fan of the mysterious, brooding type.  They're just more interesting and exciting to me.  Nathan Everstone has a little bit of that mysterious side and that drew me in.  I liked the fact that he didn't fawn over Amaryllis...he wooed her.  If a hero is too sappy or just too perfect, the author has lost me.  I didn't get lost with this hero : ).

Crandall did a great job with the pacing of the novel as well as the tension.  I loved the ending because it was fast paced and I was truly surprised by it.  The Hesitant Heiress had all the elements of a good (clean) historical romance.  I would definitely recommend it!

*I was given an advanced copy of this novel by the publisher to give an unbiased review.*

Stay tuned...The Hesitant Heiress will have it's Amazon (and other book sites) debut on August 1st. Dawn Crandall 
On August 14th I will be featuring Dawn in an interview!  Come by an check it out!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

GIVEAWAY!! Ragamuffin: Based on the Life of Rich Mullins (dvd) *winner announced!*


**And the winner is: Stacey Zink!!  Congrats, Stacey, and I hope you enjoy your dvd!!  Stay tuned...I will soon be having a giveaway for Kelly Minter's newest book!**
About the Film:

RAGAMUFFIN is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita, Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity.

About Rich Mullins:
Singer and songwriter Richard Wayne “Rich” Mullins was best known for his worship song “Awesome God” which has been embraced as modern classics by many Christians. His music has been covered by many artists, including Caedmon’s Call, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, John Tesh, and Hillsong United. Mullins’ musical career formally began with Zion Ministries in the late 1970s, where he wrote music and performed with a band called Zion.  Mullins first solo hit, “Awesome God,” appeared on his third album and brought his music to a wider audience. Rich Mullins was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) on April 29, 2014.

•Film Testimonials:

“Rich was a gifted songwriter with an amazing heart for people. This film reminded me that what really made Rich special was how undistracted he was with the things of this world. His was a heart yearning for God.” Michael W. Smith Singer, Songwriter

“This film captures the life of one of the most important people in the history of modern evangelicalism, a ragamuffin that our children and our grandchildren need to know about.” Shane Claiborne Author, Activist

*My thoughts:
I was immediately drawn to the opportunity to review this movie, not only because I enjoy Christian films, but for many years now I've been impacted by the music of Rich Mullins. I was first introduced to his album, Songs, when I was in college on a summer long mission trip, and I spent countless hours in worship and Bible study with this music in the background. It impacted me then, and continues to do so now.

This movie realistically portrays Mullins' struggles with his father, faith, and alcohol. I appreciated that the film didn't gloss over these struggles, but showed the ugly side of how they influenced his life. At times the movie was heartwrenching as Rich was rejected and alone, but also as he inflicted pain on those he loved. The thread that ran through all of this heartbreak, however, was the love of Christ and the power that He has over our lives. I was moved to watch how God continually wooed Mullins back to Himself, opening his eyes to who He is. It encouraged me in my own walk with Christ.

As I mentioned, this movie does show the struggle Mullins had with alcohol, so you see beer and alcohol being consumed and displayed, as well as drunkenness. There are also some uses of the profanities h--- and d--- in the movie, which may limit the viewing audience to more mature viewers as opposed to children. I felt both of these aspects of the story, again, helped it show authenticity and wasn't overly done.

There are some Christian films in which the acting is not up to par. Sometimes it just comes across too forced or a little cheesy. This movie was not one of them. I honestly felt like I was looking at real life taking place. The movie had a relaxed feel, but the acting was well done. The lead actor even sang all the songs in the movie.

Whether you are a Rich Mullins fan or not, this is movie anyone can enjoy, and would be an especially good tool to present the Gospel and Christian faith. In light of that...I am giving away a free copy of Ragamuffin!! Please leave a comment on this post, or if you have trouble commenting here, you can post on the facebook link, telling us what your favorite Rich Mullins song is. If you've never heard of Rich Mullins, then any comment will do ;-). I'll draw a winner next Monday, July 14th, a week from today.

If you don't happen to win the drawing, but would love to have a copy for you or someone in your life that needs to hear the truth of Jesus, stop by this site,, to pick one up!

More info...
•Church Screening Tour:
Thanks to a nationwide church-screening tour from January through May 2014, RAGAMUFFIN traveled to 200 screens where it was seen by over 25,000 people at churches, college campuses and even jails.

Release Date: 7/8/14

Run-Time: 137 minutes

Writer/ Director: David Schultz
Dove Seal: Faith-Based with Caution
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Distributor: Capitol Christian Distribution
Learn more and engage:
**Soundtrack also available July 22nd featuring Jars Of Clay, Derek Webb, Sidewalk Prophets, Audrey Assad, Leigh Nash and more! Plus 2 NEW, original, never-before heard songs from Rich Mullins recorded in the early 70’s!**

And last, but not least, I must close with a song....

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”