Misconceptions of Essential Oils #1-3

It is amazing how many myths and misconceptions there are surrounding essential oils! They just keep going around the interwebs like an old meme. Now, before anyone decides to leave before even finishing reading, please remember I’m not trying to bash essential oils. In essence, I am interested in filtering through the useless, wasteful, and possibly even harmful information to find safe beneficial information – like separating dross from silver – and passing on what I find. If you have something for me to look into, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I find.

stack of books

 

#1 “Therapeutic grade” essential oils are the best of the best

Upon looking into it, “therapeutic grade” appears to just be another marketing buzzword that needs to be tossed onto the rubbish heap of meaningless product labels. There are no unifying standards for essential oils nor is there an independent, non-biased third party with a standardized grading system companies can be held accountable to. Most are self-regulated, some even with specially trademarked terms no other company can use, thus leaving consumers to be tossed about in the cacophonic waves of endless buzzwords in the marketplace. Does this help the consumer? In my opinion, no.

Some would say the lack of such a meddlesome system of governance is good but here are a couple of examples why it is not. Have you ever had to convert between two units of measurement? Before the standardizing of measurements, a foot could be determined by the the length of the current king’s foot or a yard by the tailor’s own arm. If the tailor was small, one could get easily gypped! Or, there is the history of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 to protect consumers from buying contaminated or adulterated goods. So until there is an organized standardizing body to regulate essential oils, one can ignore some of the fancy buzzwords.

http://naha.org/assets/uploads/The_Quality_of_Essential_Oils_Journal.pdf

Encyclopedia – Food and Drug Act of 1906

 

#2 Essential oils are safe to ingest

Inconclusive. When it comes to ingesting essential oils, unless you are receiving personally tailored recommendations from a licensed medical practitioner with extensive training and education certificates from verifiable sources that you have met with, don’t. Many actually advise AGAINST ingesting essential oils, even if the bottle has a GRAS label on it. Essential oils are, after all, highly concentrated chemical compounds and therefore can pack quite a punch. And, though they may not cause harm right away, the damage caused through daily ingestion may not become apparent until some time later.

Rather than me blathering on, here’s a good read by The Hippy Homemaker:  The Case for Ingestion – Is Ingesting Essential Oils Safe

Safety statement –  Alliance of International Aromatherapists – Aromatherapy Safety

Another safety statement – National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

 

#3 Essential oils are most beneficial when applied to the feet

Not true. If I had a nickle for every time I heard this over the years, I could finally buy that Noonday purse I’ve been patiently saving up for! This is one misconception that really needs to be stomped on for good (pun intended). Feet have calloused, thick, and toughened skin. They also are one of the most sweaty places on the human body. The pores are also only exits, not entrances. Slower, if even any, absorption will occur and any benefit will only be coming from the aromatic inhalation via your nose and a relaxing foot rub.

Another good blog resource – http://englisharomatherapist.com/essential-oils-on-your-feet-yes-or-no/

And – http://essentialaromatherapy.org/myth-apply-to-feet/

 

Thanks for sticking around to the end! Still wondering how I’m using the two essential oils I’ve purchased so far? I’m still loving my wool dryer balls with just a drop or two of lavender essential oil!

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Time to Roll Up the Sleeve

Influenza viruses should not be confused with common cold viruses, both of which bring on sneezes, sniffles, running noses, hacking coughs, and a myriad of other irritating symptoms as your body fights back. Neither should influenza be confused with the “clutch a bucket/pray to the porcelain gods for 24 hours” stomach flu. In all actuality, the stomach flu should be properly called gastroenteritis or norovirus. There are no cures but many home remedies or over-the-counter products exist to help ease and/or shorten the discomforts and duration of these illnesses, if only by a tiny fraction. All viruses must run their course and frequent hand-washing and following other useful hygienic protocols help to slow or prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.

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My ouchie!

For influenza, there is a the yearly flu shot. It’s not 100% perfect but it’s better than 0%. So why does my entire household now roll up their sleeves to get their yearly flu vaccine, no matter how difficult it may be to endure a tiny poke? Because we have seen the alternative and it wasn’t fun.

Let us travel back to January of 2015 – big sis awoke me late in the night to inform me me little brother was crying, coughing, and gasping for breath. It had only been a day or two since he’d fallen victim to the yucky sickness all of us were already dealing with in varying stages (runny nose, coughing, aches and pains, etc.). After trying to cuddle and calm him in front of the humidifier and much fretting over by doctor-in-training daddy, I bundled him up in the van, opened the windows a crack, and drove 30 minutes into town to the hospital emergency room. By the time the two of us arrived, I wondered if my mommy instincts were just over-reacting as he was still coughing but there was less gasping and wheezing. Within 5 minutes of sitting in the warm waiting room, the gasping was back in full swing.

Fast forward through… my 8-month pregnant belly trying to snuggle next to my poor sickie on a skinny ER bed as I closely monitored his raspy breathing as he fell asleep after a fever reducer and breathing nebulizer thingamabob… through those moments when I nearly wet my pants when I coughed because I, too, was still sick… The nasal swab tested positive for influenza and due to complications of croup that could not be completely resolved in the emergency room, he was admitted to the inpatient pediatric department of the hospital for a day of more treatments and observation. Thankfully, it was only for a day but it could’ve been worse. Influenza kills.

The next winter, December of 2015, my daughter came down with a little cold as we traveled out to visit extended family for Christmas. Due to being out of network, we put off taking her to a doctor until about Day 5 of her fluctuating fever, aches and pains, and nearly nonexistent appetite. When daddy finally took her to the ER, her blood oxygen levels were borderline hospital admittance and an x-ray revealed pneumonia in her lower lungs. While this was not influenza, it still shows how nasty viruses can be on kids with compromised immune systems. She has asthma. We all get a flu shot to help protect her.

flu-listicle-avoid

Wash your hands. Stay home when you’re sick. Rub essential oils on your feet for all I care. Protect the young. Protect the old. Protect the sick AND healthy. Protect yourself. Please help prevent the spread of influenza by getting a flu shot.

 

 

Bonus reading:

Mayo Clinic

NPR: Flu Myths Busted

Johns Hopkins flu shot rumor

AAFP: Miscarriage risks and the flu shot

 

Full disclosure statement: I received no payment nor compensation in any way for this post by anyone.

 

Science Saturday: What is a Chemical?

Sure, not all of us may use the Pythagorean theorem in our everyday lives after graduation but science is is all around us and improving education and communication between researchers and the rest of us is becoming even more of a necessity. Research done well can create useful advancements and research done poorly (ex. Doctor Wakefield’s now retracted Autism/MMR study) can hinder progress.

“A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth can tie it’s shoes.”         — Unknown

This is where I hope to be of some help with my mad librarian skillz, bridging the gaps between scientists, doctors, and my fellow peeps. So this week, for Science Saturday, lets talk about CHEMICALS.

shocked

Me: Hey, honey. What are chemicals?

Hubby, yawning: Chemicals are the foundation of all life. They are the basis of all things in this universe. Goodnight.

Me: Oh, okay. Google, what are chemicals?

 

Google fetched me about 91,300,000 results in 0.63 seconds…

inigo montoya

The word “chemical” often carries with it an unnecessarily negative connotation. There is a lot of talk these days about chemicals. “Don’t count calories! Count chemicals!” Fear seems to sell and companies are jumping on the shoddy marketing bandwagon to make a tidy profit. A notion that, if a kid can’t pronounce it, it must be avoided? My kid is an advanced reader so she sure can pronounce some humdingers! Or, nature makes better chemicals than a lab… Cyanide, arsenic, belladonna,  poison ivy. Or there’s the “chemical-free” lifestyle. No. Just, please, no.

The Definitions of a Chemical

So let’s start off by answering the question “what is a chemical?” A blogging chemistry teacher considers her current working definition of a chemical to be, “any substance made of atoms, molecules and/or ions which has a fixed composition.” (1) This definition goes down to the teeny tiny, itty bitty, microscopic foundations. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, the planet we live on are all made up of elements found in the periodic table. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur are the six most common elements found in living organisms, like us. (2) Thus, all things with a physical basis are made up of chemicals.

Another science student blogger (with several posts on this topic you should go read instead of me) has this simple infographic to explain further what IS and what ISN’T a chemical (3):

Chemicals-and-Not-e1299467972461

Mmmm! Cupcakes are a delightful mixture of sugar, baking soda, and other chemicals and chemical reactions. Such a treat can create happiness, which is not a chemical although chemical reactions in the body contribute to the creation of those feelings in us as we savor the cupcake. Our body needs chemicals and we get those from the food that we consume, all of which are made up of chemicals.

Alas, how I wish hoping and dreaming of a clean house were enough but, again, thoughts are not chemicals and therefore do not work well on killing norovirus (a very unpleasant stomach virus easily passed around that doesn’t care what you think about it). So yes, I want and need my cleaning supplies to contain chemicals and so should you.

Even essential oils are made up of complex mixtures of chemical compounds. Here’s a graphic made by one of my favorite chemistry communicators, Compound Interest, on the compounds that contribute to the aroma of one of my favorite scents (4):

The-Chemistry-of-Lavender-How-it-Repels-Moths-768x543

Safety and Toxicity of Chemicals

Next, let’s address the safety and toxicity of chemicals because if all things are made of chemicals and compounds then how can we tell what is safe and what could be harmful? It all comes down to amounts. Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor back in the 1500’s, is oft quoted when it comes to this issue:

“All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.”  — Parecelcus

At just the right amount or if used incorrectly, anything can be toxic. Or, even on the opposite side of the spectrum, too little may not even have any effects (good or bad). LD50 (lethal dose) is one method of measurement that can be used to determine the toxicity of a substance, or, the amount needed to kill half of the test population. The higher the toxicity, the lower the LD50 will be (i.e. it takes a smaller dose to cause harm or even death). (5) The measurement is often given in milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Even everyday substances humans consume could be harmful or even deadly in just the right amount, as presented here (6):

Lethal-Doses-Chemicals-724x1024.png

How does this apply to us consumers in our everyday dealings? Many methods of measurements like the LD50 and other research factors are used in determining the safety and efficacy in a variety of items such as medications, makeup, cleaning solutions, and food and drink. Safety and toxicity is quite complex, really. The advent of phone apps monitoring chemicals in products could be more of a hindrance as they feed into the unwarranted fears over chemicals. These apps are widely available on smartphones (except mine because it’s a dumbphone) and designed to be used by consumers to scan barcodes on household items ranging from makeup and shampoo to canned foods and produce and assigned scores.

While yes, it is important to take into account what we use and consume, sometimes one has to leave a good portion of it up to experts in the fields of science. The presence of a chemical compound does not equal hazardous. Remember, the dose makes the poison. Choose facts over fear.

Summary or TL;DR version:

Chemicals make up the substances we use in everyday life, including our own bodies. The dose of a chemical makes all the difference between whether it is harmful or safe.

Class dismissed. Go enjoy the weather.

(For those not in Iowa, it’s a rainy Saturday.)

 

Works cited and highly suggested reading materials for bonus points:

(1) https://chronicleflask.com/2016/10/27/what-is-a-chemical/

(2) http://www.eoht.info/page/CHNOPS

(3)http://icanhasscience.com/chemistry/what-is-and-what-isnt-a-chemical/

http://icanhasscience.com/chemistry/myths-hyperboles-and-buzzwords-about-chemicals/

(4) http://www.compoundchem.com/2017/07/10/lavender/

(5) Assessing Toxic Risk: Student Edition, Chapter One: The Dose Makes the Poison   http://ei.cornell.edu/teacher/pdf/ATR/ATR_Chapter1_X.pdf

(6) http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/07/27/lethaldoses/

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/everywhere.html

Yet another DIY Dry Laundry Detergent the internet doesn’t really need but so what?!

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DIY dry laundry detergent:

  • 1 bar Fels Naptha, grated
  • 1 & 1/2 cups borax (I accidentally measured in 2 cups, oops!)
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 3/8 cup baking soda
  • 20 drops essential oil 

Mix all ingredients in an air tight container (pictured is 7 c. capacity Ziploc) and store up out of reach of children. Stir before each use and add between 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup per load, depending on the dirtiness of laundry.

Before I lose potentially new readers because some might think I’m on the bashing side of essential oils, I have just shared with you the DIY laundry detergent recipe I just mixed up yesterday in which I added a few drops of essential oil to. See? I’m not all poo poo on them! I’m just in the more cautious camp. I’m on a fence post, surveying the shore, and dabbling a toe in the water.

I’ve made my own laundry detergent off and on over the past few years. Don’t fall for the “chemical free” cleaning lifestyle “perks” though. It is absolutely impossible to lead a chemical free life. Seriously. A post on “What are chemicals?” is in the works so I’ll leave it at that for now.

I make my own detergent because of the cost efficiency perks. And I just ditched the dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Sure, I can’t resist the sirens of a good sale on my favorite scent of Tide every once in a while but I’m still working through the same boxes of borax and washing soda I bought five some odd years ago! (Note#1: store them in air tight containers, NOT in their cardboard boxes, once opened. Lesson learned. Note #2: don’t use a cheap food processor to pulverize bricks of washing soda…)

Grating a bar of soap by hand sure gives your arm a work out! And there’s the excitement of trial and error as you decide what works best in your washer. I noticed with liquid batches of homemade detergent, it lost cleaning potency as it aged so I tried reducing the giant recipe. It’s a fine DIY project for those interested in saving a few bucks.

This week, I went with a new dry detergent mix from One Good Thing By Jillee. Her trial size version looked like a good fit with what I already had on hand. I always skim the comments section of recipes and, after seeing a few suggestions about using more bars of soap, I halved the cleaning chemicals except the bar of soap. I also skipped the oxygen bleach and fabric softener crystals because I had none. It’s been working well so far as I’ve had 4 loads come out fresh and clean; no powdery residue and no worries of it losing it’s potency while in dry form.

The fun part is I sprinkled in the essential oils at the end to make it smell nice just like store-bought detergent. I chose a blend called Purify from Rocky Mountain Oils as it was available on Amazon and I have Prime so free-two day shipping for the win! It has a lovely lemony fresh scent with it’s aromatic mixture of lemongrass, tea tree, rosemary, lavender, myrtle, and citronella (btw, no affiliate links or perks here, just telling you what I used.) The kids did think their sheets smelled a little funny last night with the new scent when daddy put them to bed but they still slept well. I have a bottle of lavender on it’s way to try out, too, but that is all I’m allowed for the next few months as these things are not cheap to get on a med student family dime. It takes a lot of plants to make just one 15 mL bottle.

By the by, I put the recipe at the top of the post because one of my pet peeves is having to scroll through the, though interesting, yackity yack and slow loading pictures on days when I just need quick reference to a recipe. You’re welcome! Maybe the trend will catch on with more bloggers…

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If you have a favorite DIY detergent mix you use, drop it in the comments so we can compare. Maybe I’ll try it out when this batch runs out.

The science of essential oils from your average mom

love science

First off, what makes my blog posts about essential oils different from others? Probably not much. What are my credentials? Also not much. I am a mom. I am a library clerk. I do not hold any science degrees from any university. I like looking at the butt of science when it walks by. I am a perpetual student of MOOCS and am married to an MD/PhD student studying genetics and psychiatry. I have no affiliations with any essential oil distribution companies. I have many “oily” friends as well as friends in the fields of science. I am fascinated in the improving of communications between scientists, doctors, and the average layperson like myself. I do roll my eyes/facepalm/headdesk but will do my best to keep it to myself because such public displays of vitriol or insults of persons only do more harm and widen the gap.

So, with basic introductions out of the way, the first discussion topic is:

SandalwoodEssOil

What is an essential oil?  

I would love to find some plant biologists or chemists to answer this but you’re stuck with just little ol’ me. Simply googling this question brought up many hits. I am not one to choose the first link provided nor go with just one source and neither should you. And remember, I’m trying my best to avoid information coming from possibly biased sources (i.e. no  DoTerra, Young Living, Rocky Mountain, etc. affiliations). Of course, as humans, we all have inevitable biases we must deal with. Google also doesn’t always help as, over time, it’s algorithms will pay attention to your search parameters and tailor to you. What I get vs what you get will vary. Hubby calls it google-fu.

Wikipedia was the eighth down in the results for the basic question of “what are essential oils?” During my college days, professors often would say “don’t use Wikipedia in your research papers!!!!!” Even Wikipedia says it needs more citations to reliable sources on the essential oils entry but it’s a decent jumping off point:

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oilsethereal oilsaetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.[1] The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.[2] 

Direct link to source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_oil

Hydrophobic means it is  repelled by or will not mix with water. As for volatile, it easily evaporates. Meaning yes, your bottle of essential oil will not last forever. I know this because I had a small sample vial and it evaporated before I could use it all. I can still smell a residual but of essence but there is no oil in the vial.

In essence (haha), essential oils are the odoriferous liquid essence of a plant. That answers that question from a biological standpoint.

Are essential oils really the life blood of plants and what role do essential oils play in plant biology?

This is shared mostly by bloggers, distributors, and the companies who market essential oils. I’m looking for a more scientific source to answer this question as it sounds somewhat implausible. (Spoiler alert: it is implausible.)

One website in my search was Essential Oils University, put together by Dr. Robert Pappas, who holds a PhD in chemistry and teaches at Indiana University. (Acceptable credentials, in my opinion.)

…essential oils do not have the same function in the plant that blood does in the human body. Our blood primarily performs the function of circulation and transport of oxygen and nutrients to the all the cells and organs of the body. Essential oils do not play this role in the plant.

The truth is that essential oils are an end product of the plants metabolism and emitted by the plant not circulating within the plant like blood in the body (see magnified picture of oil glands on Roman chamomile leaf). Think about what some of the end products are from human metabolism and, if you want a more accurate analogy, well you get the idea. I realize it wouldn’t be as marketable to use a tag line like “the excrement of the plant” but that would be more accurate than the “life’s blood.”

So… essential oils, thus named because they are the volatile essence of a plant… could be compared to excrement? I can see how that wouldn’t market well! I can see how complicated the physiology of plants can be but to say essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant would be incorrect.

Essential oils in plants can serve diverse functions, depending on the plant – aromatic attractors or repelants, injurious excretions (sap), or simply byproducts of waste. (http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/botany/essoils.htm) From Britannica Encyclopedia’s entry:

The function of the essential oil in a plant is not well understood. Odours of flowers probably aid in natural selection by acting as attractants for certain insects. Leaf oils, wood oils, and root oils may serve to protect against plant parasites or depredations by animals. Oleoresinous exudations that appear when the trunk of a tree is injured prevent loss of sap and act as a protective seal against parasites and disease organisms. Few essential oils are involved in plant metabolism, and some investigators maintain that many of these materials are simply waste products of plant biosynthesis.

Source link: https://www.britannica.com/topic/essential-oil

In conclusion (or my TL;DR)

Essential oils are aromatic oily essences from plants. Their physiological purpose to the plant in which they come from may be to attract, repel, or repair, or simply be the byproducts of plant waste.

Stay tuned as I continue my search to learn more about the science behind essential oils. Feel free to leave me a comment!

puss

 

Pulling out the broom

Hey! It’s sure been a while. I’ve been more of a writer on facebook where I garner a few likes and occasional comments as well as an actual journal full of sheets of paper nobody will probably ever read but I’m getting an itching to come back here and clean off the cobwebs just in time for the month of Halloween!

 (Photo from Iowa MSTP twitter account)

I have a few shirts (thanks to the U of Iowa MSTP program) that say I ❤ Science. You see, I’ve always been fascinated with the study of science (biology, chemistry, etc.). I was once even a Biology major in college for a few semesters until I switched over to English. My snag? My reason for changing majors? I’m a slow absorber when it comes to science and math. I enjoy scientific subjects but I’m a slow learner. and I couldn’t keep up with the fast current. I’ve been taking a few MOOCS (I’ve talked about these massive open online courses before, haven’t I?) over the years and most happen to be science courses. The nice thing about some of the MOOCS these days is they are archived so that I may come and go at my own snail pace. Have a few days where I’d rather sit on the couch during afternoon nap rather than paint a porch or clean a potty? I watch science lecture videos. For fun.

So, recently, I’ve become interested in essential oils yet again. I’d enjoy talking about them with others but I suspect, due to my slightly skeptical nature and differing of opinions/facts, few wish to engage with me. Everyone likes to stick to their own social groups. It’s a safe environment when you stick together with your own people. Spots should stick with spots; stripes with stripes. Venturing outside of those might cause some discomfort so why dare? What if I have spots AND stripes? Where do I fit in? Where can I go?

My relationship with essential oils, hmmm. If it were a facebook relationship status, it would be “it’s complicated”. I do see some benefits. I really do. But I also see a lot of incorrect or inconclusive information. So if I can’t seem to engage a discussion with an oiler, I suppose I shall write to the expansive void that is the internet. With my high interests in science, I can share some of what I’ve come across. Everyone and anyone seems to blog about them so why can’t I? My SEO is terrible but stay tuned, cobwebs and the occasional wander that happened along. Pretty please? 

[Figure out how to insert cool gifs like on facebook and insert some cool gif]

In which family home evening involves ice cream

GOSPEL PRINCIPLES: KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY HOLY

Ask who likes ketchup, pickles, olives, etc. Cater this to your family’s taste. Ask for a volunteer, someone who said yes to all those things, and give them a Sundae glass with ice cream in it. Uncover the non-sundae toppings. Ask them what they would like on it. Question them by picking out a topping they’ve already said they like e.g : “Would you like ketchup on that? I know you like it!” They will reply something like “not on ice-cream”. Clarify by saying “Oh, so it’s good but not on a Sundae?” They should then confirm this. Do this with the other toppings reaffirming that they are good but not on a Sundae. Thank them for participating and say that although there are many things that might be good for us to do they aren’t appropriate on Sunday, the Sabbath. Turn the toppings around and discuss each word strip – why it is not a good Sabbath day activity. (http://www.cranialhiccups.com/2008/08/keeping-the-sabbath-day-holy-fhe.html)

SCRIPTURES:

D&C 59:9-13 – Why has Heavenly Father asked us to keep the Sabbath day holy?

Mosiah 13:16 – Talk about why it is important to keep the Sabbath day holy. What blessings do we receive when we do?

QUOTES:

Ezra Taft Benson: “The purpose of the Sabbath is for spiritual uplift, for a renewal of our covenants, for worship, for rest, for prayer. It is for the purpose of feeding the spirit, that we may keep ourselves unspotted from the world by obeying God’s command” (“Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy,” Ensign, May 1971, 6). Keeping the Sabbath day holy expresses our love for the Lord and shows our gratitude for His goodness. When we follow this commandment, we receive great blessings from Him.”

Gordon B. Hinckley: “If you have any doubt about the wisdom, the divinity of observing the Sabbath Day … stay home and gather your family about you, teach them the gospel, enjoy yourselves together on the Sabbath Day, come to your meetings, participate. You will know that the principle of the Sabbath is a true principle which brings with it great blessings.”

Spencer W. Kimball – “The Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house or puttering around in the garden, but is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song. The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which he is expected.” Spencer W Kimball, “The Sabbath—A Delight,” Ensign, Jan 1978, 1–5.

When we are faced with the decision to engage in an activity that may or may not be appropriate for the Sabbath, we might ask ourselves three questions:

1. Is it doing good?

2. Is it spiritually uplifting?

3. Would Jesus do it?

LIST SOME SUNDAY APPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES WE CAN DO:

Go to church, talk with family (we call the grandparents every Sunday evening), read a book (esp. the scriptures), take a family walk, play a family game.

LIST SOME BLESSING WE RECEIVE WHEN WE KEEP THE SABBATH DAY HOLY

Keeping Sunday Special

The ice cream scoops are things we thought up as a family and the ketchup, mustard, etc. on the sides are good things just not on Sundays like going to work and shopping.

CONCLUSION: When we keep the Sabbath day holy, we can be blessed with physical and emotional rest and feel re-energized to take on the weekday duties as well as  fill and care for our own spiritual wells. I love Sundays because I spend the best time with my family!

We finished off the lesson with real ice cream sundaes topped with fresh strawberries, hot fudge, and sprinkles!

(Personal Progress Faith Value #3)

In which I muse upon the Individual Worth #4 value at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night

D&C:119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

Here is a list of my hopes and dreams for my future* home, family, and education and some important things I would like to accomplish as well as a plan for some of them:

* My hope is that my home is and will be a place of safe and peaceful refuge for my family amidst the stormy seas of life. As a friend once wrote something about the kitchen table to being a gathering place to plan revolutions around and whatnot, (I have got to find that, or ask her where she wrote it) that’s kind of what I want my kitchen table to be a place to gather around – mealtime, homework, artsy-fartsy crafts, science experiments, talk, talk, and talk some more. I’d better get some padding for the chairs then if that’s what I want.

* My hope is that my children will realize their full potential and never feel discouraged by challenges. I will keep my mouth shut about how much I dislike math so that my children perhaps may do better at it than I did.

* My hope is to finish my college degree someday and even use it. The plan is to have Genius hubby finish his schooling first as well as all three children in school as well before I can return.

* My dream is to be a published author of a book or two worthy of others reading. Just keep writing. Even if it’s crap, it’s a good workout.

In which I speak of bravery

be you bravelyA college professor once told me public speaking was not my forte and I took it to heart, attempting to avoid speaking in public whenever I can.  Funny enough then that, upon Jamie asking if anyone would be willing to share a brave story at the last MOPS of the year, a talent-sharing meeting, I decide to respond to her facebook message. With writing being one of my talents, I thought perhaps I could compose a little something and read it but by the end of the long and nap-less day, I hadn’t written anything and I was exhausted. I resigned myself to giving up and crawled to bed. Only then did the thoughts and feelings suddenly clash together and flood my head to the point I could not sleep.

In the dark, with a snoozing baby in his bassinet next to me, I pulled out my tablet to write them down:

My story of bravery began months ago, at the beginning of the new MOPS year when I almost didn’t return to MOPS. I felt as though I didn’t belong; too different from other moms. I’m nerdy, shy, and socially awkward, just to name a few things. I let the adversary in and tell me all about my self-worth, listening to that negative voice inside my head all the way up until the day before MOPS was to begin again. But even introverts crave some social interaction and I realized if I didn’t return, I had nothing to replace the empty space MOPS had fulfilled in past years.

monet s postmodernWhat would be the fun in things if we were all so alike? Our different personalities, quirks, and talents make up who we are and, like a painting, our different colors blend and bloom about upon a canvas together to make a beautiful scene. Who wants a canvas of contemporary postmodern art, with just one color slathered on it? (Maybe the Metropolitan Art museum for half a million but that is not the point.)

And so I decided, shoving out the negativity of Satan and replacing it with a trust in the Lord, to come. I felt accepted and loved more than I had ever fully realized. I started the year trembling and afraid, with emotional wounds I feared might never heal, and ended soaring high on the wings of being bravely me.

Sitting down in my seat after speaking to the large group of ladies, I could sense I could not have completely done such a feat all on my own. The words that came to me, both written late at night and what I spoke, were inspired by the help of a more divine power than just little ol’ quiet me.

The Worth of Souls and Apples

The third value experience for Individual Worth was an effort to increase an awareness of the worth of others. D&C 18:10 reads: Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

For two weeks, I worked on being more aware of praising my children and acknowledging their accomplishments; whether it was simple things like saying my daughter was looking extra beautiful that day, how well she was reading, or thank you to Bubs for making Stormaggedon smile.

I chose this value experience to complete as it happened to correlate with the apple experiment and was a good opportunity to teach my children about the importance of what we say and building up the confidence of others. When we spent time during breakfast sharing nice things about each other after talking to the apples, I noticed our day went smoother and there was even more of a spring to our step.

As for building up/tearing down the confidence of apples? Apparently, apples don’t like “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam” or  Carly Rae Jepsons “I really really like you” sung to them…

apple experiment