Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Intelligent Design: Revelations

Intelligent Design:RevelationsIntelligent Design:Revelations by J. M. Erickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if we are not alone in the Universe, but there still exists a Creator? Historically these viewpoints seemed mutually exclusive, but a growing number of people are starting to question this assertion. Intelligent Design: Revelations explores this possibility, including some transplanted humans’ quest for knowledge on Planet X (known as Terra to the occupants) while simultaneously trying to help Earth survive impending catastrophe.

Because I find the subject fascinating, I was actually a little disappointed at the brevity of the novel. I realize it’s a huge topic, but within the confines of the story I thought there was a little more room for exploration. As it stands the novel could have a sequel but it could also stand alone as a novella. Still it raises interesting questions to ponder and I really enjoyed the read.

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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Approaching Educators about Essential Oils

I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about telling David's teachers about our oil use. Part of this stemmed from the fact that when he started Kindergarten and I tried to send a kids vitamin in his lunch I got a call from the nurse admonishing me for sending drugs to school with my child, and informed me that if I wanted to send anything but food I had to send the original bottle and a copy of the prescription from his ped. Seriously. Over a child's multivitamin. You can send packaged products made entirely from chemicals that are a weak substitute for food, in my opinion, but not a multivitamin. But I digress.

So we when started using oils, which I readily admit appear substantially weirder than a multivitamin, and would come in an unfamiliar application such as a small bottle or homemade roller if I decided to attempt to send them to school, I was nervous to bring up the subject. Because we started using them and believing in them a little before an IEP meeting, I brought my bag'o'oils and passed them around during my explanation. While I still haven't sent oils to school, everyone at least smiled and nodded when I explained my reasons for use and why he might smell differently when he walked in. Only one teacher objected to a particular oil smell, so I told them I'd start applying that to his feet instead, and they were happy.

Did they offer to put diffusers in their classroom or ask me to do an in-service teaching on the obvious application of oils in classrooms with other kids?


Did they eagerly ask me how they could buy these magic little bottles for their own personal and so they could testify to all their friends and family?


Did they hail me as the omniscient Oil Goddess and gratefully bow to my superior wisdom and blessing?

In my head.
While they were kinda staring slack-jawed or sniffing a bottle politely while passing it around the circle and giving "knowing" glances.


I really believe that essential oils could greatly benefit classrooms. I think it isn't hard to see how a diffuser in a classroom could really help kids calm down after recess or focus during a test. But I also recognize that there is a lot of red tape when it comes to getting permission to do so. However, those of you who are educating yourself about essential oils are the point of contact, and if you see even a little interest jump on it. Offer to do an informative session for your child's teachers and the principal. Maybe even offer to present to the school board.

Since I know it's hard to even figure out where to begin, and I can always use help with writing prompts or starter paragraphs, I thought I'd offer you a little printable letter explaining oils to your educators. (I used Canva to create the printable, if you are curious about that sort of thing.) For those of you special parents - hey if our kids are special we have to be too, right? - I included a handy special needs version that also allows you to include stuff like other therapies and contact information. Even if you decide to copy the text and modify it, at least you have some language to jog your memory. Hope this helps some of you both gear up your courage to admit you use crazy hippie oils and love them, and maybe even give those of you using oils and selling them to gain a new market. After all, if they help your kid they might help another kid too, and that's really the point, isn't it?

PDF Printable

And for all you grammar nazis out there, yes, I realize I forgot a comma on the first one. I had already printed and my eyes are tired. So just go ahead and write it in, K?

Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions

From Frights to Flaws (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, #1)From Frights to Flaws by Sunayna Prasad
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A good book for older kids and tweens, Alyssa McCarthys Magical Missions: Book 1: From Frights to Flaws, begins the story of Alyssa McCarthy as she discovers what the evil magician who is disrupting her life suddenly really wants from her. She is kidnapped, learns about good and evil magicians, and save her friends from danger.

Although I can see this appealing to kids, as an adult I was pretty underwhelmed by the writing and character development. The reactions of adults to magic and kids’ explanations of magic, particularly, did not seem logical, and the kids characters were somewhat one-dimensional. Some of the plot points seemed pulled straight from Harry Potter, such as an unaware pre-teen living with an overly-strict caregiver who were not her parents, due to their untimely demise. The underlying story conception has a lot of potential, but the actual writing did not quite live up to the expectations. Still, since it seems designed to be a series, perhaps it will improve as the character develops.

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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Are Essential

My apologies for not posting an oily blog yesterday; I was writing a blog post for my adoption agency about my reaction to Robin Williams’ suicide. I had planned to write another back-to-school with crazy hippie oils article today, but I feel compelled to at least address the topic of mental health.

Before I do, let me make some disclaimers. There is no one, silver bullet cure for depression or any other mental health issue. There is not a magic oil that would have prevented Robin Williams from hanging himself. I wish there was. But health issues are complicated, they have many triggers, and are best responded to by a multifaceted approach. Depression has mental, physical, spiritual and emotional causes and consequences, and should be respected when treated. It is not something that you can will your way out of or blow off as just being sad. It is also not something that you can just pop a pill for and be cured. In fact, there is not really a cure outside of an act of God, only treatment. And the treatment is lifelong.

Now that you know I’m a good social worker and not trying to sell you snake oil treatments, on to the, uh, not snake oil.

Essential oils have long been used in aromatherapy applications as mood enhancers. Most people have smell preferences that make them happy, strawberries is a popular one. I noticed when my son broke his arm last year that one of the doctor offices pumped in orange scent, in fact. And, there have been some studies using DoTerra oils in hospital settings (see video) to reduce stress for hospital employees. But are scents just a temporary upper or do they actually have medical benefits to treat conditions like depression? I’ll admit I was somewhat skeptical; I thought well maybe a counselor could diffuse a scent during a session, but it probably wasn’t going to take the place of Xanax. 

This may be true. But it is also true that if oils have physical therapeutic applications they should also be able to address mental therapeutic applications, right? It turns out they do, and in some cases work better than pharmaceuticals.

At this point I will refer you to the disclaimer above. Oils are not a silver bullet but can be used as a part of a multifaceted treatment approach that may include diet, exercise, counseling, and pharmaceuticals or hospitalization when necessary. Everyone take a deep breath - those of you who think oils fix everything and those of you who think oils fix nothing. Moderation is key here, people.

While too complex a topic to go into in a single blog post, I wanted to highlight a few studies. By the way, Aromatic Science and PubMed are great places to search for studies on oils for those of you who like to respond to everything, “But - SCIENCE!” This topic of depression on Aromatic Science has some great oil suggestions and study references in the footnotes. Some more studies below:

Ok there are probably more, but I wanted to share some DT specific resources with you as well. One of the reasons I went look at EOs was to help with my son’s anxiety. I realize it has an underlying cause, but sometimes you have to treat the symptom to get to the root, even if you do so only by process of elimination. Below are a couple of resources, including the mood matrix using DT oils. I’d also encourage you to follow my Pinterest board on essential oils, as I regularly pin oil “recipes” that pertain to moods. As with everything, please understand that I’m not a doctor, and I’m just trying to keep my family health as naturally as possible, just like you. And please don’t get your panties in a wad over names of blends; Liquid Xanax is just what some person came up with to describe how the combination of Balance and Serenity worked for them. 



Also, if you or someone you know struggles with depression or suicidal thoughts, please get help. As I said in my adoption agency blog, if there is anything we should take away from the tragedy of Robin Williams’ suicide, it is that despite what he believed, there are people who cared deeply for him, his loss was felt deeply, and he was worth saving. So are you. 

You are just as important as Robin Williams. 

You are worth saving. 

You are important. 

You are essential. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK(8255) |

Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you need immediate counsel or referrals to local resources. 1-800-273-8255

Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to School with Essential Oils

My son goes back to school tomorrow. I know, it's super early, but our school district has had a hard time transitioning to a 9 month school year from a year-round school year, so they end up with a modified 9 month whereby they start early, end late, and have a lot of holidays in between. For a special needs kid it's a lot of transition, a lot of distraction, and a lot of opportunity for meltdowns. For me, before I started using oils I knew they were supposed to be calming, just by smelling them. This is so useful for kids for whom school is more challenging, but it can be hard to get it past school administration. (FYI there is a blog series on the DoTerra blog from last year about incorporating oils into your classroom if you are a teacher - link through the pic below.) So far my son's teachers tolerate me putting them on him before school, but haven't really taken me up on offers to send oils with him to school. This doesn't surprise me, given that I can't send a vitamin in his lunch box without a prescription from his ped (yes really - I got a talking to from the school nurse about this.) If you are a teacher reading this, please feel free to comment with suggestions on ways to get oils in the classroom without pissing off the administration.
doTERRA Living Magazine Fall Issue

Since I really appreciate hearing other people's oil routines and how it helps their families, I thought why not, I'll share my oil routine with my kids. I encourage people to try a few things and see what works best for your kids - our routine is ever evolving as I figure out new and different oil combos.

David takes a drop of Frank under his tongue every day. Frankincense was one of the main reasons I started using oils, and it remains at superhero status for everyone who knows oils. Frank basically tells cells to work the way they are supposed to, and it's one of the substances to break the blood/brain barrier. (Also, totally unrelated, well sort of related, check out this study on frankincense and myrrh and their effects on cancer that I found while researching today!) It's also one of those sleeper type oils, we tried it for a while and it was only when I forgot to reorder it before it ran out that we saw how truly necessary it was for David. It really helps "keep the lights" on, so to speak. He has fewer meltdowns, his cognition functions better, and seems to be able to follow direction better. I administer that so he doesn't accidentally give himself too much - a single drop under the tongue is plenty. In case you are wondering, I put it under the tongue because the skin is very thin and gets into his bloodstream quickly, and gets to his brain quickly. (In case you were wondering, I don't consider this internal, just topically in his mouth.) It's worth noting, some of David's problems are sensory, and for all its benefits, Frank just tastes terrible. But David keeps doing it, partly because it's routine and he likes that, but partly because it makes him feel better. If a sensory kid will deal with a foul taste in his mouth you know it has to be giving him some help.

I use a couple other oils before school, and I let him put them on himself. I love that he can do this himself, and he does too. He craves routine and this helps him take control of his own routine and health. He has an order he likes, and he never forgets to do it.  The first, and his favorite, is Balance. Balance is a great blend, and a good one to try if you want to try Frank but don't want to pay for a whole bottle at first. It also helps that it has a green label, and green is his favorite color. We use Balance for anxiety control predominantly, as well as for attention control. Another good one for that is the InTune blend, which was created specifically for the ADD/ADHD focus issues. I've found that for those with diagnosed ADD/ADHD this blend is great, they think it smells awesome. I think it smells like death, but I've never had ADD/ADHD. And yes, I do think your body knows what it needs and is attracted to that. For David they seem to be somewhat interchangeable, and he prefers the Balance. I tend to think his focus/attention issues are more of a symptom than the underlying problem, so it doesn't work as well for him as the Balance does, which helps relieve the anxiety that causes the attention issues. So we tend to do Balance on one foot and a Peaceful Child blend on the other. I made the Peaceful Child blend from a recipe I found, but the story of Peaceful Child is fascinating and you can buy the blend from the woman who created it it too.

On all the kids recently I've started using LLP. I am not sure if there are seasonal allergies or what, but they really seem to help the kids not sniff and cough. I just made my own roller ball with 15 drops each of lemon, lavender and peppermint, topped it off with fractionated coconut oil, and give them each one swipe down the back of the neck as they are heading out the door. If we are having a rough morning they get a swipe of the Peaceful Child blend down their spines too.

At night all the kids get a drop of Serenity on their big toe, and David gets a drop of Vetiver on his other big toe. It usually knocks them right out and we all know sleep is critical for healthy cognitive function.


Another really useful oil during school is On Guard. Why? Because school covers flu season, and your kid invariably gets sick. Rather than doing flu shots, we use On Guard and last year my kids missed way fewer days of school than the prior year. I also recently found a recipe on Pinterest for a blend that is supposed to help kids while they are doing their homework, so I'll let you know if that works or not. I think it involves Rosemary, which I've read improves memory. See - always evolving.

Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review: Pazuzu Unbound

Pazuzu UnboundPazuzu Unbound by Saurav Dutt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Supernatural horror pervades the story of the demon lord Pazazu, who has recently awakened from centuries long slumber and is building his army once again to spell humanity’s doom. Several seemingly unrelated people meet up unbeknownst in a hotel horror that they may not be able to escape.

Pazazu Unbound is intense and has a lot of graphic imagery, so if you have a weak stomach it may not be for you. If you are a fan of Evil Dead style horror though, this is right up your alley. The characters are well developed and the supernatural aspects are very descriptive. The one thing I would have liked to see more of is back story on the actual demon and why he was unleashed now, and why he was bound in the first place. While I assume most people know that any slumbering demon will wake up hungry and bent on world domination, it’s nice to have a back story on this particular demon and maybe some vague notion of how to defeat him, even if it is next to impossible. Still a very quick read that may not be the best book to read right before bed...

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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Hubris Falls

Hubris FallsHubris Falls by Matthew S. Hiley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One last huzzah after cramming four years of college into five, Brian Hamilton and his friends ride off together on a rafting trip in an effort to thwart the real world for just a little while longer. The story evolves with a few flashbacks, a lot of stoner humor and man-child antics, but goes from darkly comedic to darkly life-altering just as fast as the rapids.

In general I have really enjoyed all the Matthew Hiley books I have read, and while this was no different it was a bit of a departure from his other books. Still a lot of drugs and swears, but definitely more thoughtful, attacking issues head on instead of through satire. While I don’t know Hiley’s history, this story seemed more introspective, more personal. It is a well-crafted story that has long term implications for the reader, and forces you to confront issues that you might not have been expecting to deal with on a post-college river trip. If you enjoy challenging yourself this is not only a fast read but a thinker.

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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.