What's the big deal about Young Living

Listening When God Calls

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

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

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

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

Marco with family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God reminded me that with Him all things are possible.

So I reminded him about how busy I am.

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

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

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

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

Marco graphic

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

Is God calling you to join him at work here?

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DIY Face Cream with Young Living Essential Oils

DIY Face Cream

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

DIY Face Cream for Young Looking Skin

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

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

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

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

DIY Face Cream for Teens

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

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

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

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

*See Chapter 1 here. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fulfilling Your Purpose

Fulfilling Your Purpose Smockity Frocks

Periodically I call all the children in to sit around the table, and I tell them I have another “sermon” to preach. They have become so accustomed to this that my 16 year old informed me that I produce one of these “sermons” at about the same rate a chicken lays an egg: approximately every 25 hours.

So, today they all filed in and sat down, resigned to listen silently to whatever was weighing on my mind.

And here’s what was on my mind.

Fulfilling Your Purpose

Whenever you do a thing, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this thing I am doing?”

When you sweep the floor, is the purpose to exercise your arms? NO! That might be a nice by-product, but the purpose is to end up with a clean floor. If you finish and don’t have a clean floor, it doesn’t matter how much you have moved your arms, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you go to church, is the purpose to sit by your friends? NO! That is a happy result. The purpose is to WORSHIP GOD. If you leave church and have not worshipped, praised, adored God, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you load the dishwasher, is the purpose to merely empty the sink of dirty dishes? NO! Everyone will be glad the sink is empty, but the purpose is to have clean dishes when the dishwasher cycle is done. If the dishes were loaded in such a way that it was impossible for them to get clean, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you do your math, is the purpose to practice your handwriting? NO! The purpose is to become better at solving numerical problems. If your handwriting improves, but you do not practice solving math problems, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you read the Bible is your purpose to find ammunition to use against your friend who has a habit of cussing? NO! The purpose is to know the will of God FOR YOU. If you close the Bible and do not know God’s will, YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED YOUR PURPOSE.

Examine why you do what you do. Don’t fool yourself into thinking because you did a thing that you have accomplished your purpose.

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Fort Worth Texas Homeschool Convention ~ {GIVEAWAY}

I am super excited that a huge Texas Homeschool Convention is coming my way! Great Homeschool Conventions is coming to the Fort Worth Convention Center March 17-19, 2016!



This event is chock full of amazing speakers, relevant sessions, and a HUGE exhibit hall with over 200 booths with curriculum on hand to touch and feel and flip through.

Some of the sessions available are:

  • Homeschooling 101
  • Special needs homeschooling
  • The how-tos of teaching math,
  • Science,
  • English,
  • Literature,
  • Reading
  • All core subjects are covered
  • Inspirational sessions
  • How to homeschool through hard times
  • Common core awareness
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Classical
  • Hands-on homeschooling

Ann Voskamp Great Homeschool Conventions

The keynote speaker is Ann Voskamp, author of *One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and one of the top 10 most-read Christian blogs on the web today, A Holy Experience. Ann was named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today. She will be speaking on “When There Doesn’t Seem Like Enough of You for the Calling: What do you do when there doesn’t seem to be enough time, enough resources, enough of you to make it all happen for your family like you desperately want? What if there was another way? A broken way—that turns about to be a more-than-enough, abundant way?”.


And here are a few other speakers I’m excited to meet and to hear speak:

Great Homeschool Conventions Speakers


Steve Demme is a former math teacher who has taught at all levels of math in public, private, and Christian schools, Steve is also the author and founder of Math-U-See. He addresses a variety of topics at homeschool conferences to encourage parents in their God-given responsibilities of raising and training their children for His glory.



Heidi St. John is a popular author and conference speaker, Heidi brings a refreshing mix of information and inspiration to listeners on the radio, in person, and through the written word.



Dr. Jay Wile has published 30 articles onNuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution in nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed journals, and has 9 books to his credit, most of which belong to the award-winning “Exploring Creation with” series of junior-high and high-school science courses.



If you can’t make it to the Fort Worth homeschool convention, don’t worry! There are 2 more locations coming up!

I’ll be at the Fort Worth event with my family, and I hope to see you there! Please, let me know if you will be there and we can meet up. I love to connect with my readers!

Now, if you would like to win a family pass to the homeschool convention location of your choice, please comment below and tell me which event you would like the family pass for: Fort Worth, TX, Cincinnati, OH, or Ontario, CA. 

The family pass includes mother, father, children/teens, and grandparents for all three days of the convention. The winner will also receive up to four (4) tickets to each of the special events for that specific convention. Those include:

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe performance by Friends of the Groom. (all locations)
  • The Willis Clan performance (TX and MW)
  • Ann Voskamp keynote (TX and MW)
  • John Stonestreet keynote (CA)
  • Holocaust survivor, Dr. Inge Auerbacher (MW)
  • Thursday Night Out Comedy with Bob Smiley (TX)
  • Thursday Night Out Comedy with Dennis Regan (CA)

Leave your comment below with the location of your choice to win! 

*This sponsored post contains affiliate links. 

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Adrienne and Mr. Edward Reeves, Chapter One ~ Moving Day

“I’ll be waiting in the car, Mom. Are you almost ready?” Adrienne called anxiously, carrying her backpack to the van loaded with boxes waiting in the driveway. Today was the day she had been waiting for. She was beyond thrilled to finally be moving from the small house in a crowded neighborhood in the country club community where her father worked to a two-story house, her dream house, in the sprawling countryside. There were acres and acres of woods to explore out behind the house and rolling pastures in the front, divided by a half-mile long driveway leading to the house from Rainy Rd, a little country lane twelve miles from town.

The best part of the property they had purchased, in Adrienne’s opinion, was the neighbors. Her parents had been told by the realtor that the neighbors were an elderly couple in their 80’s who had wanted children very much but had never been able to have any. Instead they poured their time and love into their animals. There were 75 or so Spanish cashmere goats, 9 donkeys, 4 cows, and 5 dogs. The house Adrienne’s family had purchased was set on 2 acres in the center of the family farm that Mr. Edward Reeves’ grandparents and parents had farmed before him. Mr. Reeves’ spinster sister had built the house and moved in to spend her final days surrounded by family. Since she had died and none of the younger extended family members were interested in the house it went up for sale in order to pay some debts the family had accumulated. As fate would have it, it was just the type of house Adrienne Hodges’ family had always wanted.

Adrienne could hardly contain her excitement on moving day, but not for the reason her brother and sister thought. They were excited to set up their new rooms. She was excited to meet the neighbors. Or more specifically, the neighbor’s animals.

Her parents had always called her “The Animal Whisperer” because she seemed to have a way with animals. She was the one who brought them the tiny iridescent creature in the palm of her hand that she had found when she was only 7 years old under the hummingbird feeder hanging on their back porch at the “in town house”. Everyone had crowded around her to get their first ever look at a hummingbird up close. Her mother had said quietly, “It’s dying. It must have been too weak to drink from the feeder and it fell to the ground.” But Adrienne had insisted on giving it a little sugar water to see if she could nurse it back to health.



She let her little sister, Megan, hold the fragile, feathered treasure while she mixed up a tablespoon of water and a little sugar in a saucer. Then she gently held the saucer to the bird’s beak, and, to everyone’s delight, it stuck out its slender, needle-like tongue and began to drink. Cheers went up all around, and as the little thing drank, it seemed to come to life, fluttering its greenish blue wings and looking around with its beady, black eyes.



Adrienne took the bird and the saucer out to the back porch where she had found them, and as if the bird knew instinctively that she was giving it permission to continue on its journey, it took one last drink, cocked its shining eye toward her, as if to say “Good bye, Soul Friend, and thank you for the sustenance,” it flew away, like a miniature jet. Adrienne was all at once ecstatic and disappointed. She had wished the bird would live, but she had secretly hoped that she would be able to talk her mother into keeping it, maybe in a little box in her room, like she had done with the baby mice she had found, the orphaned week old kittens, and the stray cat from the parking lot of Big Lots. Her mother could never resist her pleadings to nurture the animals she found, and Adrienne always seemed to have a way of bringing them back to health.

And now it appeared to Adrienne that she would be living right next door to a couple who had her same passion for animals. In fact, she would come to know much later, she would be living right in the midst of them, intermingled in their lives, weaving herself in and out of their days, sometimes frequently, sometimes less so, but always welcomed, like sunbeams that filter in through the kitchen window.

When her family pulled into the driveway of their new home, Adrienne could see that Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were out in the pasture feeding the donkeys.

“Look! There they are! The couple you were telling us about! Can I go over there and meet them? Maybe they will let me pet their donkeys!” Adrienne nearly jumped out of the van before it came to a stop in front of the house.

“Be careful. Don’t get in the way, and use your good manners!” her mother called after her. “I hope she won’t bother them. I don’t know whether they are accustomed to dealing with high spirited little girls like her,” Carla Hodges said to her husband. “She’ll be fine, Hon. She’s just excited, that’s all,” he assured her.

Adrienne ran headlong into the pasture, her long brown braids bouncing on her back as she ran, only slowing down briefly to climb over the barbed wire fence.

Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were surprised to see a little girl running toward them, and they stopped the green four wheel farm cart they used to putter around their many acres.

“Hi, I’m Adrienne Hodges. I’m your new neighbor. I’m 10 years old,” she said breathlessly when she got to them. “My family is moving in over there today.” She pointed to the house across the pasture, and her parents waved.

“Well, hello, Adrienne. I am Patricia Reeves and this is my husband, Ed. The realtor told us a nice family would be moving in soon. We’re glad you are here.”

“Can I pet your donkeys?” asked Adrienne shyly as one approached her and stuck his broad velvety nose out toward her hand.

“Of course! This is Pietro. He and Bruno are the friendliest.”

Adrienne scratched Pietro behind the ears and said matter of factly, without the slightest hint of boastfulness, as only a child could, “Animals love me.”

“I can see that,” said Edward Reeves, his faded blue eyes twinkling. “Pietro is a very good judge of character. He is telling me you are a good friend.”

*See Chapter 2 here. 

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