She Speaks Stories (Podcast)

Today’s herStory is going to be a little different than I envisioned this section to look, but I have been so encouraged by these two women and their guests that I really wanted to share them with you!

This week I am sharing one of my favorite podcasts. This podcast is hosted by two beautiful women who love big and serve God. They recently celebrated their 1 year birthday with the podcast. It’s a little funny but not ironic, each week as I prepare to write, words come pouring out of my fingers and mind almost faster than I can type. This week I struggled a little. Which is odd because I have many posts that are half written or even mostly finished… but I just didn’t feel as though any of those were the ones to share this week.

Now as a little backdrop, I actually started writing about this podcast 2 or 3 times but never finished. I would start typing and then think no, this is just me, it’s not the story for the week. Then my mom mentioned well maybe write about Christmas memories or something. But again, nothing was coming to me.

Waking up this morning a little discouraged, I need a blog for the week…Lord! I need the blog topic because today is Wednesday and the day I need to post! While I was still lying in bed praying about the day, I asked the Lord, what should I write? I truly felt like he said finish the blog about the podcast. 

My thoughts were to briefly share with you about one of the hosts, Katie. Now, here is a not ironic part: as I opened my computer, then Facebook to get the link for their Facebook page, I type in She Speaks Stories, and up pops a picture of Katie. Arms wide like she is going in for a big hug. That was the sign for me to feel brave in saying, yup, this is the blog for today. Katie has been a mentor to me for nearly three years and I am so blessed to have met her. I love the very short words written on their FB page today, that described Katie so well:

This is Katie. She is a connector of people. She connects them to each other and to Jesus. She was in her element last night & it was a joy to watch. She adores people but she ADORES Military Wives. 

And, another not so ironic God moment! Earlier this week I listened to one of the podcasts (Episode #23) and felt so heavily that I needed to call my friend Katie and encourage her. I had just texted David though, telling him that I would be home soon and was having a very silly inner struggle… I need to go home but if I go home I can’t call her because… well two little munchkins that make phone calls hard, haha!So, I pull into the neighborhood, drive and park a few streets down and I called Katie. She didn’t answer so I left a short message. She texted me in the morning and told me how she had been encouraged. She was doing two live events this week, which I wasn’t really in the know of since we are no longer in Stafford any more. Come to find out one of the live events she was speaking at was… one for She Speaks Stories! 

I just think God can be so funny! He works around us, and if we are willing we can be part of the threadwork for a bigger picture. We may or may not see the threads that we are, but sometimes we will see the big picture once it has been completed.  

And one more little ironic thing… I opened iTunes to get the link for the podcast directly and as I am scrolling through their titles, was reminded that their first two podcasts (Episode 1 & Episode 2) open with Katie and Susan talking about their Christmas memories (remember the suggestion from my mom about talking about Christmas this week). This week wasn’t my week to share my Christmas stories, but Katie’s and Susan’s. 

Hope you enjoy!! Maybe another week I can share some of the other podcasts I love!

herStory

This week I am starting a new section of the blog, herStory (instead of history, it’s all about her story). What is herStory?

Let me explain,

This year I have really felt God pressing upon my heart how we ALL have a story. (Most more than one story.) Some may call it a testimony, others a struggle, others a treasure. No matter what our story is, it has left us with opportunities of growth. And if we are willing, opportunities to share, so that others may grow, be encouraged, and even learn from our mistakes and stories so that they don’t have to experience what we went through.

In my few short years of being a Marine wife, I have met countless wonderful women and families. Women from all over the United States, even the world. Unique personalities, likes, and dislikes. Something I treasure has been all the unique flavors and recipes I have been able to add into my recipe box.  

As much as I pushed against and hated the idea of moving away from my family and home state of Ohio 

Can I get an, O-H… (only if you are from Ohio or maybe one of our great state rivals, will you know how to answer this!)

God had other plans. 

Not only adding to my recipe box, I have accumulated many lessons of things to do, and of course things NOT to do. Stories of encouragement and growth.  A love story of God bringing together two people from two different continents. A crazy God story of adoption. Stories, where I am actually speechless and think, “wow that is a God story!”

I want to use this space to bring in girlfriends that can share their stories and life experiences

Do you have a story, that as you read this post, you felt that small space in your heart pounding, reminding you of a certain occasion in your life? Please comment and reach out. I’d love to chat with you about those things and allow you to share YOURSTORY. 

My, friend Chrissie is going to share herStory of how and why she started using essential oils. I am SURE you either know someone who uses them, or have heard about them.  Chrissie is one of the ladies that I am so blessed and thankful for the Marine Corps and God bringing us together. Without stealing any of herStory, I’ll let her do the talking!  

Essential Oils

My son was 4 months old, my daughter was in the midst of the “terrible twos” and my husband was deploying to the Middle East for 4 months. It was not a good time for me. Did I mention I lived in Guam? I was literally halfway around the world from all my friends and family, learning how to be a mom to two kids and dealing with Postpartum Depression for the first time. My sweet son, who I love dearly, was also not the easiest baby. The child DID NOT SLEEP. To say I was desperate for any kind of help I could find would be an understatement. 

I’d been watching a friend of mine on Facebook share her journey into the world of Essential Oils for some time, but like most of us, I assumed it was just some new fad that people were jumping on in an attempt to make money from home. I would read her posts and move on, thinking it wasn’t for me. But during that time of desperation 3 years ago, something inside me told me to take a closer look. I think God was trying to show me a way to get help when I felt like I had nowhere else to turn. 

I got in touch with my friend and after a few conversations about oils, decided to jump in head first. Now, let me tell you, I am not a person to spend $150 lightly. I tend to spend months agonizing over spending that kind of money on something, especially something that I know so little about. But again, DESPERATE. So I signed up for the “business” in order to get the wholesale prices and anxiously awaited my starter kit.

When it arrived, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I pulled out the pretty diffuser and all the colorful oil bottles and started my never-ending research. (I say “never-ending” because I am still researching essential oils and their uses to this day. There are SO many ways to use them… I’m pretty sure I’ll still be learning new uses 20 years from now.) My first goals were to improve my son’s sleep and to help ease my postpartum depression. It took a few weeks of trying various combinations of oils before I found what helped my son sleep. And it didn’t make him magically sleep through the night, but it did give him longer stretches of sleep, which gave me longer stretches of peace. If you’re a new mama and you’re struggling with sleepless nights, you will be sold on these oils when they make that sweet baby actually shut their eyes! I also quickly found a combination that helped with my PPD. I firmly believe God brought these two solutions to me so quickly so that I would continue to pursue this oily lifestyle. I was so impressed with how they worked that I decided to try to apply them to every aspect of my life.

Fast forward to present day and my family has gone chemical-free on almost everything. And most of that is thanks to my lovely oils. I use oils or oil products for cleaning, medicinal needs, scrapes and cuts, laundry, cooking, immune system support, to shorten illnesses, mental health help, skincare, toothpaste, soaps, bug spray, sunscreen, diaper rash cream, etc. The list goes on and on! I used them during my third pregnancy, both while pregnant and during labor, and it made ALL the difference. I’ve even given them to my mom to help with her osteoarthritis and neuropathy. And I feel safe using them on my family because they’re straight from nature with no added synthetic chemicals or toxins. Young Living Essential Oils go above and beyond to make sure you are getting PURE essential oils. That stuff you see at Walmart or Target for $8 a bottle is full of synthetic chemicals and can actually do more harm than good in some instances. I don’t work for or sell Young Living so I have nothing to gain financially by telling you this. I’m just passionate about sharing the knowledge and making sure people use the oils safely so they don’t get a bad reputation. 

Did you know the use of essential oils dates back to biblical times? They’re God’s original medicine. The Bible contains over 200 references to oils. We all know how the wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. Another example is Ecclesiastes 9:8: “Let thy garments always be white, and let thy head lack no ointment.” The anointing of Jesus can be found in John 12:3. If you’re interested in other biblical references to oils, the book Essential Oils Pocket Guide lists several pages of them. I also recommend the book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern if you’re going to start using oils on your children. There are different recommendations on how you use oils for children versus adults, because their bodies aren’t fully developed yet and will process the oils differently.

If you’re considering jumping into the oily world, I recommend some prayer and research before you get started. If God has put in on your heart to look into this, it could be an answered prayer for a need in your family. Using essential oils has changed my life. My husband jokes that I’m always saying, “I have an oil for that!” And my kids now ask for oils when sick or hurt, before asking for any medicine. They’ve seen the healing power first hand. I even got my husband on board when he had a cracked rib and couldn’t find a way to ease the pain. “I’ve got an oil for that!”, I told him. And it worked. 

Be patient. Do research. Remember that all of our bodies are different so we all require different oils and oil combinations for different things. Be willing to try multiple oils before you find what works for you. Because once you find the right one, you’ll be so happy to heal yourself and your family with God’s medicine. 

Finally Taking That Leap of Faith

With stacks and stacks of boxes. Then shelf after shelf lined with items that need to find a home (or should I say… need for my husband and I to find a home for them). With painting walls, refurbishing items from my old house, picking out curtain rods, picking out curtains, hanging those new curtains, hanging family pictures, creating new crafts to hang on my walls… All on my mind to do like a checklist that seems it will NEVER end. I continue to put this off, saying I’ll start this summer, I’ll start after we move, I’ll start Sept 1, okay I’ll REALLY start Oct 1. I want to be fully prepared, I want to have a good chunk ready before I start.

I have read devotion after devotion since this March that prompts my heart and spirit to say what is stopping you from just going for it?! Can you ever be fully prepared? Can you really, without any doubts, move forward in every endeavor that we take a step towards?

Today, for instance I’ll share the two books I read and what stood out to me so much that I decided why wait any longer? Why not go for this today!

In, Journey of A Military Wife,Directed, Journey 2, Waypoint 14 Brenda Pace writes (page 104),

“We take one step, then another, but there is no guarantee things will work out for good. Each step is a step of faith. We rarely complete major transitions with one giant step.”

In, Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee write (page 46-47),

“So what kinds of fears are we likely to encounter as we step into new levels of impact? The fears you face may not be as literally life-and-death as the ones confronted by Esther or Lottie Moon. You probably will not have to confront a crocodile in defense of a loved one. But you will almost certainly come face-to-face with one or more of these common fears:

Fear of failure (insufficiency, humiliation)
Fear of man (social rejection)
Fear of loss (losing money, relationships, opportunity, prestige)
Fear of making a mistake (embarrassment)
Fear of the spotlight (being seen, imperfection)”

Fears can take multitude of shapes and forms. But they all emerge from the same source, they aren’t from God. The enemy comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). One way the enemy will do that is by crippling us with fear. But we know that fear is not from the Lord. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV)

With all that in mind, here I go, hope you join me in this new journey!

Why write…?

Hi there!

So, I’d like to introduce myself.  (When writing this, I discovered where my daughter learned and now uses ALL the time the word “so…” before every sentence). 

Checking out *one* of our new beaches!

Now actually back to introducing myself! My name is Rachel and I am married to David. We have been married 6 years and had our first date 10 years ago in May! Not that we have dated for 10 years, but that is a whole different story. We have two children Anna (2.5) and Paul (1 year old as I am posting this). We also have a 4-legged child.. otherwise known as a dog, who I have technically lived with longer than my husband! 

I love arts ‘N crafts, reading, taking pictures and just about anything where I can let my creativity flow. I love Jesus and making Him known. 

So, (there I go again… I think I need to work on the ‘so’ thing). Let me start over.

What am I doing here … what am I doing!? Why, oh why with two littles and a recent move across the country, would I want to start a blog?  I will start off by saying I am doing this for an audience of one. Who is that one? God. 

I am excited and hopeful that I can bring you encouragement, laughter, resources, helpful tools… ect, ect.  But I do not want to get caught up in numbers of views, likes or shares. I am writing and sharing this to be obedient to what I feel is that small voice on the inside, telling me to move forward with this!

I began to hear God whisper things of blogs and blogging… but didn’t fully “get it” until it smacked me right in the face while reading a devotion book accompanied by a video*. The author said …

“What has God asked you to do… how has he called you to act…” (she then began to list things that God may have called different people to do…) 

wait for it… 

“HAS GOD ASKED YOU TO WRITE THAT BLOG SO YOU CAN INFLUENCE YOUR SPHERE OF INFLUENCE?”

That was the moment my heart felt as though it were on fire! (Different from heart burn!) Instead, it’s the fire that comes when God is really wanting me to take notice and understand quietly, but loudly, all at the same time that He is speaking directly to me.

It has been a challenging process trying to make, plan and prepare this blog for its debut (wanting to have everything perfect and planned out, which, don’t get me wrong, is a good thing). However, it eventually turned into procrastination and then into sin… a sin of omission … a sin of NOT doing something I truly sensed and felt God calling me to do. I needed to put my pedal to the metal and START working. 

Side note here: My first AHA moment was March 13th and my final little kick in the pants was May 8th, while listening to a sermon at church that I finally realized that my planning had turned into a sin of not moving forward. There were definitely some moments during those 2 months where I knew this was something I needed to start… for instance: 

  1. Trying to rationalize myself out of it.
  2. Trying to make all the dots connect first.
  3. An identity trap of performance (what can I do / offer), comparison trap (how will I compare to other), insecurity trap (who would want to read something I wrote, what do I even have to offer) … this list could definitely be longer but I will not bore you with my own insecurities). 

Trying to rationalize myself out of it. Trying to make all the dots connect first. An identity trap of performance (what can I do / offer), comparison trap (how will I compare to other), insecurity trap (who would want to read something I wrote, what do I even have to offer) … this list could definitely be longer but I will not bore you with my own insecurities). 

The long chain of events that brought me to this point is much longer than I want to write about for this “short intro blog”. (I started with ‘so’ again, but deleted it for your sake this time

My hope is that I can offer encouragement, joy, laughter, maybe a piece of mommy advice here and there, and some real-life moments of honesty and openness. Who knows where this will lead…But I’m excited to start this journey and I hope you will join me.

*Shirer, Priscilla. The Armor of God.LifeWay Press, 2015.