Essential Oil Basics Course

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I’m excited to share with you our online Essential Oil Basics Course!

You could be one of the first to give it a try! Click HERE to see the outline of the course content. You can go through the course at your own pace!

Each class within the course is brief, so don’t worry about it taking you too long!

The password to login is “livingessentials”.

I’m so excited for you to jump in and learn more with us!

Love, Jenifer

Minimalist Easter

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Let me start by saying I am soooooo not a minimalist. I want to be. Like REALLY want to be. I feel like I am drowning in clutter daily. I want everything to have a home. I want to have no piles. But I’m not there yet. I’m not even close.

If minimalism were a road trip, I’m not even in the car, much less  with my seatbelt on. Nope. I’m still looking for my keys.

Now that we have THAT cleared up.

I’ve decided that minimalism is a journey. I’m enjoying the scenic route right now. I am trying to tackle small areas without giving away all my worldly possessions to the local donation center.

For the time being, I’ve decided to take a closer look at why and how we do things. I’ve really been looking at our clothing lately. This is probably the part of my life that is CLOSEST to minimal. Seriously. Clothes are just not my thing. I could wear the same thing everyday and never care. Give me a good pair of blue jeans, a black shirt and my Chucks and I am good.

Next topic on my mind has been Easter baskets.

Yep, deep, huh?

I loved waking up Easter Sunday morning to my basket of goodies. Mostly candy, maybe a few treats. I love candy and chocolate more than I could ever express. Chocolate especially is my love language.  We, of course, celebrated the resurrection of our Savior, got a beautiful new dress always handmade by my mom and went to church.

Easter baskets were just a fun celebration of spring at our house. Not the reason we celebrated….it wasn’t about the bunny…feel like we needed a disclaimer there.

So I asked my Facebook friends about their thoughts on a minimal Easter basket. Some answered not-s0-minimally. 😉 Some had some great ideas. Many bought things for baskets that they were already going to be buying anyway. Makes sense.

This year, I’m looking for fun treats that are consumable, maybe a few things that are activity related…something for them to DO…we don’t want to go overboard and treat Easter like a MAJOR gift giving holiday. We have six children still at home…baskets can get PRICEY. For real.

We also don’t want to load them up on junky sweets. I’ve read way too much to want to continue taking my kids down the path of unhealthy eating patterns. I struggle enough trying to break my own chains from the sweet monster. I don’t want them to have to do the same.

Below are a few things I’m looking at, as well as some suggestions from friends. I’d love to know any great ideas you have too!

  • For the last several years, we put out our baskets on Friday night and wake up to find them on Saturday morning. This is HUGE y’all. I mean HUGE. This was possibly one of the best parenting moments Bryan and I have ever had. HA! We get to wake up on Saturday, look through our baskets, eat chocolate for breakfast (kidding! Well, maybe!) and have a fun time checking out our goodies. Sunday morning we wake up ready to worship our risen Savior!
  • We always reuse the same baskets. Looks like lots of my friends do too. We kind of have a shabby assortment of them right now. This may be our last year to use them and they will all just go away. One less thing to store. A terra cotta pot might be nice, you think? Fairly inexpensive and we can reuse it!
  • What about grass? For years we have used the colorful plastic shredded grass. But it really just gets in the way. Who needs it? I say leave it out, no one really cares about the grass.
  • Lots of friends mentioned that consumables like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, crayons and even their favorite snack items were always popular basket stuffers.
  • A new toothbrush and toothpaste would be a great addition that another friend mentioned! Especially to combat any sweet treats!
  • Water bottles are a great reusable option too. We opt for stainless steel so we can use our essential oils with them but glass is a great option too!
  • Looks like lots of people help their kiddos get ready for spring and summer buy including swimsuits, goggles, flip flops, etc. That would make this momma-of-many go BROKE…but a great idea!

 

MORE IDEAS…..

Check out these seed bombs! Perfect for your baskets! You could even divide this set up among multiple kiddos!

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I am in love with these hair ties!!! So cute! Every girl needs these! Check out more like these at Sweet Emmeline Ltd. on Etsy.

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I love this Fairy Ribbon Wand from Modern TOT Shoppe. They have the most lovely Waldorf inspired play things. My little girls would love these!

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What about these vintage yarn hair ties? I was just thinking about these the other day! They were the bomb! I know two little girls at my house who might be needing these!! Mom do you remember these?!?!?!?

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TruJoy has a line of organic sweet treats! Pricey but much better for you! If you are only going with a few candy items, then spending more is not an issue.

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I’m loving these organic jelly beans from Surf Sweet! Maybe the kids will share!

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Check out these candies from Unreal…..looks like they are even available at Target! I’m going to look for them the next time I go! No GMOs and even Fair Trade!!!

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I’ll come back and add more things as I do more research! Share your ideas too and I’ll include them!

Love, Jenifer

Drowning…..

Am I the only one who feels like I am drowning in “stuff”?

I can remember years ago, Bryan and I shared a tiny apartment. I seriously could clean the entire apartment, top to bottom, in just a few hours. Everything had a home. There was nothing crammed or piled anywhere. Seriously?  We had a home without “piles”!

But now all of our stuff keeps us from enjoying what we do have and what is most important to us….our family.

I see other families plan fun days on Saturday and all I can think about it more time at home to clean, wash dishes, do laundry, “catch up”.

 

I don’t want to live a life like this. I want to sit down and play a board game with my kids.

I want to hop in the car and head to the park when the mood strikes us.

I want to invite friends over for lunch on a whim.

 

So I’ve begun to ask myself questions.

 

  • Why do we need 30 t-shirts when in theory, we can only wear one a day?
  • Why do we need an excessive amount of towels, when each person really only needs one?
  • Why do we hang onto things that don’t bring us joy?
  • Why do I have ALL of these kitchen gadgets that I might use once every few months when a simple kitchen knife will most likely suffice?
  • Why do we have closets full of clothes, yet wear the same favorite pieces over and over?
  • Why do my kids have toys coming out of their ears, drag it ALL out, make a huge mess but really only PLAY with a few select things?
  • Who else could benefit and be blessed by our excess?

 

I am on a  journey to find these answers.

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I’ve been reading. I’ve been watching documentaries and videos. I have been looking at everything in our house with a critical eye. Nothing is safe.

I’ve made small changes over the last few years but not nearly enough changes. I have cut down our wardrobes to a more manageable number of items.

I’ve bought less.

But I’m ready to get serious.

I am ready to give everything a home. If it doesn’t have a home, it is obviously not that important to me and needs to go.

Now, I need to get busy. I wish I had a couple of days with everyone out of our house but me except we all know that is the stuff of cleaning fairy tales. Now I need to figure out how to carve out a little bit of time each day to make some progress.

When you see me, ask me how it’s going. I need some accountability. I think Bryan might be afraid….his book collection is sacred to him. I’m determined to affect change in every area I can and to see where that might lead him. Who knows? Maybe he will become a minimalist!

Are you dreaming of a life on minimalism too?


 

WHERE I STARTED…….

Nourishing Minimalism (here are some great RESOURCES from her too)

This documentary on Minimalism is a must see! CLICK HERE! Available on Netflix.

I started my very own Pinterest board on Minimalism..full of resources I want to read and look into. CLICK HERE to check it out!

Becoming Minimalist website

Marie Kondo’s  book…CLICK HERE!

Happy 4th Heart Day Neely Jane!

 

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Never have I cried out this verse more than this day four years ago. Neely’s open heart surgery day. I didn’t know WHAT to pray. All I knew was that I needed God to hold my tiny baby’s heart in His hands and protect her. I knew that if He took her from us on that day, that He was still God. That He loved me AND her more than I could ever imagine.

But that day healing was in His plan. Healing here on earth. Thanks be to God for His protection over her life. I know you might catch a glimpse, but you have no idea the BLESSING that she is to our family. She is amazing. She was the answer to my prayers. She led us to MinLan and MinLan led us to John Preston.

Today we celebrate Neely’s Happy Heart Day! And what an AMAZING day it is!!! Her doctors, nurses and the whole UAB and Children’s team was amazing. I’ll never forget the prayers and love from our many friends in those days. And just look at her now! The sky is the limit thanks to that beautiful beating HEART!!! ❤️❤️❤️

So many of you didn’t know us then….you are new friends! Catch up on this part of our journey at the link below:

https://jeniferparris.com/2015/11/03/remembering-neelys-heart-surgery/

Remembering….

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Last night I was cleaning out the text messages in my phone. Amazing how many I have kept over the years that have little significance. Then I found these. I sent them to several of my best friends. They were my voice at an important time in my life.

A time when I didn’t have a moment or the strength to pick up the phone. But I needed those closest to me to pray.

This was June 5, 2012…the morning after Neely’s birth.

Hey friends! Just wanted to update you after talking to Dr. Sabens.

Last night when we got to see Neely, I immediately noticed that her sweet little eyes were different, her little tongue was jutting out constantly. I sent Bryan back to the nursery to take a picture of her palm but he couldn’t get a flat one. Scrunchy baby. 🙂

We had a discussion last night about her having Down Syndrome and felt like that was most likely the case. Not sure if I have ever told all of you that I have always felt that a down syndrome baby would be part of our family.

We have looked online at a website called Reese’s Rainbow. These are babies/children with DS. The cost is so expensive to adopt and I have been praying that God would make a way for our DS baby in spite of the cost. Looks like he has.

She is having a heart issue.(Transposition) [Later diagnosed as AV canal defect] I will send info soon. They are airlifting her to Children’s. The helicopter is almost here. Love You All!

 

Below is a text from September 24, 2012…just weeks before Neely’s open heart surgery.

Good morning friends! Can I ask you to pray for me? I feel like I can’t breath and the panic is starting to come. Each time I look at my beautiful little girl my mind begins to race. 

I can’t decipher which thoughts are of the Lord and which are of Satan.  

Many (ok, MOST) of my thoughts are bordering on the absurd but they are there none the less.

What if something goes wrong?

What if God just gave us Neely for a season to further prepare Bryan’s heart for adopting a child with Down syndrome?

What if we were never meant to keep her?

I know from my study years ago in Esther that the answer to my “what ifs” is GOD. He is still God no matter my circumstance.  Just need some strength to be reminded.

We are good here and don’t need anything. Would just covet your prayers.

I Love You All,
Jenifer

I can still remember being this momma on these days. Just reading them brings tears to my eyes. God has brought us so far. He has stood by us every step of the way.

Our days look different now. They are harder in different ways. And God is still right there beside us. Some days I have to remind myself. Ok, most days. I have to remind myself that God has not forgotten me. That He is walking this journey with me.

I’m thankful to have these messages above. To be able to go back and see God working in our lives…giving us Neely, preparing Bryan’s heart for adoption…sending us MinLan and then John Preston. God has a plan for our lives. Only He knows the future.

All I’m called to do is to wake each day and step out on faith. Just to take the next step. He’s clearing the path before me. In this season, I believe He is making my world smaller. And it feels good. And it feels right. God is still God despite my circumstances. I don’t need to ask “what if”. I need to rest in Him. The one who formed me and loves me more than anyone on this earth ever could. He loved me enough at my worst to still send His Son to die for me. Amazing love…how can it be….

Love, Jenifer