My mighty cleaners – Ike and Extreme 18X – free bonus goodies (Ike not included)

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2013-06-13 15.22.35Dirty windows + able-bodied, orange hair, freckle face ginger sitting around watching tv = opportunity

2013-06-13 15.14.03We have a VIP arriving at our house this weekend and in anticipation of her visit, I wanted the windows in our family room clean. Ike began the chore but grabbed a can of aerosol window cleaner we received years ago when the room was constructed.

When I checked on Ike’s progress, the overwhelming smell of chemicals had filled the room. One look at the contents in the can, I was shocked to see the ingredients used. The first ingredient on the list 2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether). Also known as 2-BU, this widely-used cleaning solvent causes anemia by damaging red blood cells, creates air pollution that exceeds workplace limits, is linked to impaired fertility and reproductive and developmental toxicity. EPA even considers it a possible human carcinogen. Liquified petroleum gas for window cleaner? Come on! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So I quickly grabbed replaced the can of toxic ingredients with a spray bottle of water mixed with about a half teaspoon of Extreme 18X. This product has replaced at least 80% of my regular cleaning supplies so it just made good, healthy sense.

2013-06-13 15.59.37

Extreme 18X is an ultra-concentrated soap berry liquid detergent and cleaner and now the good folks at NaturOli are giving a FREE BONUS GIFT of a mini or trial size” for every $25 in merchandise ordered!*

We use Extreme 18X and soap nuts interchangeably. I’m also a big fan of their skin care products – toner, skin repair creme, facial creme and the complete daily cleansing kit.

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The mini/trial Sizes are anything but small and NaturOli’s skin & hair care formulas are all FULL 1 to 2-oz sizes – FAR from typical tiny sample packets that are only a mere use or two.

– Values of mini and trial sizes are up to $9.90 each! You might like this gluten-free skin repair creme but take a look around and see what other things look good.

When placing your order, choose one for every $25 in merchandise in your cart. *Limit of six (6) per order. Put the product names (or product numbers) in the “Comments” Box during checkout. Please be specific about which items you desire. They’ll be shipped with your order. It’s that easy!

– No coupon required. Your selections will be on your receipt.

Offer expires Friday, 6-21 at midnight.

Ike and Extreme 18X made a good team. The pictures I took were not filtered in any way, there was no need. My windows are sparkly, streak-free clean and that was done thanks to two things – an awesome son and a petro-chemical free, formaldehyde free product that I absolutely love.

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Taking care of this face – NaturOli

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IMG_0062For Mother’s Day, the Hubs got me a CD about drawing portraits. I’m really a novice and many times I can’t tell if I’ve drawn a nose or a beetle. I have a lot to learn. Don’t believe me? Check out these noses I attempted to draw recently.

Yes, those are all noses.

Yes, those are all noses I’ve drawn. Yep.

Ok, now that you’re done laughing, the one thing that has struck me through the drawing process is the truth found in Scripture that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Lord took great time in carefully crafting each one of our features and parts. Even if I can’t draw them yet, I need to honor my body. The lessons on drawing have made me look at my own face with curiosity and occasional, very occasional appreciation.

Somehow this all coincides with me learning more about the chemicals and ingredients commonly in cosmetics and cleaning solutions. I want to be more intentional about taking care of myself and my guys.

If you wouldn’t put it in your body, why put it on your body is a good adage that I first read in Not Just a Pretty Face. Quite honestly, there’s a ton of crud in our cosmetics and most of us are too trusting of the cosmetics industry. They do not have our best interests in mind.

M-CC-01-01-40-lgIt pays to think a little more about the things that I use on my skin. This is why I’m a big fan of NaturOli’s New Radiance Facial Creme, Restorative Skin Repair Creme and Revitalizing Toner Mist.

Fresh – I’m not a fancy girl but I am a fresh one! 😉 NaturOli’s products are batched in very small number to ensure freshness that sounds good to me. No skin care has an infinite shelf life unless there are a bunch of chemical preservatives.

Why this is important – FDA has no authority to require recalls of harmful cosmetics. Furthermore, manufacturers are not required to report cosmetics-related injuries to the agency. FDA relies on companies to report injuries voluntarily (FDA 2005).

Good night, face!

Good night, face!

NaturOli’s skin care line is corn-free, soy-free and gluten- free. Many people have corn allergies and there is growing concern about GMOs (genetically modified). Un- fortunately corn is a common byproduct in skin care because it is cheap.  Corn clogs pores and can irritate skin beyond belief. If you are interested in natural skin care, stay away from corn by-products.

Did you know? Federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance (Houlihan 2008). Fragrance may include any of 3,163 different chemicals (IFRA 2010), none of which are required to be listed on labels. Fragrance tests reveal an average of 14 hidden compounds per formulation, including potential hormone disruptors and diethyl phthalate, a compound linked to sperm damage (EWG & CSC, 2010).

Olive oil – NaturOli uses only the best ingredients including olive oil – found in ALL of their products. It is the basis for the entire skin care line and olive oil’s benefits far outweigh that of corn. As the mama of three olive shoots, I’m very fond of all things OLIVE!

In addition to olive oil, there are avocado and sesame seed oils, horsetail extract and Vitamin E which contain powerful antioxidants that protect, moisturize, restore and regenerate skin. Then there’s shea butter which is rich in vitamins and minerals, gives tone and suppleness while promoting skin renewal.

A little goes a long way – NaturOli’s cremes and skin care do not contain fillers nor are they watered down. Just a couple of pumps of the cremes are plenty for my face and neck.

Senior pic from high school! Gotta keep looking fresh!

Senior pic from high school! Gotta keep looking fresh!

Smells goodThe Revitalizing Toner Mist has lovely notes of Japanese green tea extract, mandarin orange oil and the essential oils of lavender and chamomile.

I like the light fragrance of sage, marigold, tea tree oil and rose hips found in the Restorative Skin Repair Creme. New Radiance Face Creme feels indulgent with the evening primrose oil, rosemary extract and the hyaluronic acid, a potent natural ultra-moisturizing agent, the skin’s natural hydrator. There’s even a purse size mister if you want a little spritz of freshness, you know just in case someone wants to draw your portrait!

There is a trial size of the Restorative Skin Repair Creme, click here.

Save 17% on the entire skin care collection here.

If I am to believe that I am God’s masterpiece, I need to pay attention and take care. So do you!

“Thank you, Cindy”

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I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I began my career as a stay-at-home mom when my youngest olive shoot was 18 months old. I had experienced a spiritual conversion to Christianity in December 1997 and instantly felt the Lord beckon me to be more present with my husband and family.

What I didn’t know is that just before leaving the corporate world, apparently I had made a profound impact on a person’s life. Honestly I only have a vague recollection of the small effort I exerted. A competent professional was deserving of the referral I offered. For me it was no big deal, a no-brainer. But for Charlotte, it was life-changing. Don’t we all want to positively influence others and make a difference?

Today, I’m privileged to have Charlotte as a guest blogger. I’m sharing her words with you today to encourage YOU.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Now, here’s Charlotte…

In 1997, Cindy recommended me to one of her corporate clients. Fifteen years later, I am still providing consulting services for that company. My sincere thanks to Cindy for the referral and for her confidence in me and my business. I met with her a few weeks ago to celebrate the 15 years and to give her a special gift. As I reflected on the great gift she gave me in 1997, I thought of these “Three R’s”:

Receive – Through Cindy’s generosity, I was given an opportunity to receive. It was clear that I could never repay her for what she did for me. Yet I could pray for her, for peace and prosperity in her life. In addition to the gift of the referral, it is a gift to be able to receive without any strings attached.

Remember – I am intentional about remembering those who have blessed my life and my business. Cindy’s name remains on that list. Though I could never repay Cindy for her generosity, I do take time to remember her and to express my appreciation. This year when we met, I gave her a gift of art and it was a total surprise. We shared updates with each other and through our laughter and tears, we remembered, reflected, and relaxed.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

Repeat – Another way to express my appreciation for the referral from Cindy is to make sure I support others by making referrals, connecting people, and cheering them on as they pursue their dreams. Each time I do so at the company I mentioned, Cindy’s one act of generosity in 1997 continues to be shared with others.

This is Charlotte!

This is Charlotte!

Thank you, Cindy. You have made a big difference in my life, my family, and my business. May God continue to bless you and your family today and always.

With a grateful heart,
Charlotte

Whether you are a professional career person, a retiree, a college student or a stay at home mom with a side business selling soap nuts and stuff (um, that would be me!), employ the three “R’s” more often. Your efforts, however seemingly insignificant they may seem at the time, can bless others in ways you never imagined. Expressing gratitude can help move someone from the miry pit to a place of hope. Charlotte did that for me and I guess I did the same for her. Blessings replete with potential and healing await, truly!

What “R” are you going to do today?

Charlotte Purvis is a communication coach and highly rated professional speaker. Since 1985, she has partnered with individuals and organizations seeking to take their communication skills, customer service, and presentation styles to the next level. She’s also a lovely and generous person I call friend. To contact Charlotte, here’s a link  and her email  charlotte@purviscommunications.com. 

Five Minute Friday – Opportunity

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My handsome Scrabble buddy

My handsome Scrabble buddy

My children are older and the opportunity to enjoy them for long stretches of time is shrinking. I’d love to say that when we are together, it’s always joy and laughter but that would be a lie. Sometimes we fuss and squander the time we have.

But not yesterday. I went out for coffee with my ministry-minded OS Aaron. Armed with a travel Scrabble board, we entered into a spirited game of words. Two pretty girls were nearby and while I had a good advantage over my opponent, I also eavesdropped on a nearby conversation. Upon learning that these girls loved Jesus, I leaned over to them and I guess you could say I seized the opportunity.

Obviously there was not a lot of opportunity in this sampling of letters!

Obviously there was not a lot of opportunity in this sampling of letters, however, I stayed the course and managed to land a victory!

“Um, excuse me, girls but I was just wondering if either one of you would be interested in marrying my son? I noticed that you love Jesus and so does he. What do you think?”

Sometimes you have to take advantage of the moments God gives you. Big deal, it didn’t work out, you can’t fault a mom for trying. Aaron left the coffee shop single and soundly defeated by his mom. Was it worth it? Heck yes!

"My mom took advantage of every opportunity to make this a very memorable game of Scrabble!"

“My mom took advantage of every opportunity to make this a very memorable game of Scrabble!”

Carpe diem.

What’s 5 minute Friday? It’s where a beautiful crowd spends five minutes all writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. It’s like free writing therapy for the tongue-tied, tired, or blocked blogger. Learn more here!

Excited to be doing FMFs again!

Excited to be doing FMFs again!

Five wonderful adventures with Flat Stanleyette

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Yesterday my niece got my returned package with Flat Stanleyette. I know this because I had the pleasure of talking to my niece for nearly an hour about it! In this crazy, mixed up world we live in, it does an aunt good to know her niece was happy at school all day long.

I promised A. I would share more about our paper friend’s adventures. It was an honor to host both of the Flat Stanley’s we’ve had recently. We did our best to show them some southern hospitality.

Here are a few other things Flat Stanleyette experienced.

"I'm a Flat Stanley fan!"

“I’m a Flat Stanley fan!”

1. Flat Stanleyette went with me to the Raleigh/Durham INTERNATIONAL airport!  We picked up Aaron who is a college student at Moody Bible Institute. Christmas music filled the air even though it was a few days before Thanksgiving. A spirit of cheer and excitement was everywhere as many people waited to greet their loved ones. As I was waiting, I noticed a group of musicians playing Caribbean music by the luggage carousel. That’s when Flat Stanleyette and I looked at each other. Her big blue eyes met mine and I knew I had to do it. I approached the lead musician and asked, “Would you mind taking a picture with Flat Stanleyette?” Without a hint of embarrassment, he heartily agreed! He told me his daughter had also had a FS and she went around with him! How cool is that!

Aaron meets Guinea pig girl Wilma and Flat Stanleyette for the very first time. No words.

Aaron meets Guinea pig girl Wilma and Flat Stanleyette for the very first time. No words.

"Um, um, um, we thought Aunt Cindy was getting facial moles removed! YIKES!"

“Um, um, um, we thought Aunt Cindy was getting facial moles removed! YIKES!”

2. On another note, FS showed great bravery by accompanying me to the plastic surgeon’s office. I decided to get FOUR facial moles removed. There are three words to describe the event

1. ewww

2. ouch

3. scary

Flat Stanleyette and Guinea pig girl Cora kept me company and tried to distract me but it really didn’t work. I will spare you details but we all decided it was something we’d rather not do again.  Glad they’re off my face but not the most fun thing we’ve ever done. Understatement.

Look at this beautiful couple on their wedding day! Flat Stanleyette thought you two were sooooooo in <3!

Look at this beautiful couple on their wedding day! Flat Stanleyette thought you two were sooooooo in <3!

3. Uncle Mark and Grandpa Hugh piled Flat Stanleyette into the car and they drove to a wedding in the mountains. Hopefully she kept the two guys under control and they weren’t too crazy! The bride and groom were happy to get a picture of FS!

4. I also took Flat Stanleyette and bestie Erma to my weekly Bible Study. We are studying the book of Psalms in the Bible and FS even had her own seat. She told me afterward that she learned a lot and thought the ladies were all super duper nice and interesting. Flat Stanleyette has noticed how many people smile every time they see her. I noticed the same thing.

A few of the ladies in my Bible Study! They welcomed Flat Stanleyette with open arms and hearts! Such a pretty bunch of women!

A few of the ladies in my Bible Study! They welcomed Flat Stanleyette and Erma with open arms and hearts! Such a pretty bunch of women!

FS at the Farmers' Market. Maybe this is where she lost a few of her fingers. Oops!

FS at the Farmers’ Market. Maybe this is where she lost a few of her fingers. Oops!

5. Another highlight of her time with us was going to the Raleigh Farmers’ Market. Aunt Cindy knows about a special place at the farmers’ market where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables for less money. We bought potatoes, persimmons, sweet potatoes and other lovely, healthy foods. Aaron went with us and he’s always a bunch of fun! When they got home, Ike and FS noticed that I put the potatoes in the dishwasher. It was everyone’s first time to see potatoes cleaned that way! Not sure we’ll do it again but YOLO, right?

"Ok, so are we really going to put the potatoes in the dishwasher?" Ike and Flat Stanleyette wonder why.

“Ok, so are we really going to put the potatoes in the dishwasher?” Ike and Flat Stanleyette wonder why.

Being an aunt is a blessed thing.

Adventures with Flat Stanleyette, part two

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"I've never dehydrated anything before! This should be interesting!"

“I’ve never dehydrated anything before! This should be interesting!” Flat Stanleyette pictured with dehydrated cauliflower and an undehydrated butternut squash. Huh…

I certainly hope (and pray) that my niece, A., had a good day at school on Friday. Friday would have been a very important day to have a regular, wonderful time as an elementary school student.

These are soap nuts and this is the way Aunt Cindy and her family wash their clothes!

These are soap nuts and this is the way Aunt Cindy and her family wash their clothes!

My niece’s Flat Stanleyette hopefully arrived at school along with a box of surprises. Yesterday would have been a fitting day for happiness to fill a classroom…

Here are a few of the highlights –

1. Flat Stanleyette learned about soap nuts sold by Olive Shoot Institute. This is our family’s small business. This is the way we do laundry! At first FS thought we were crazy even though she appreciated the fact that soap nuts are 100% biodegradable, organic and natural. To think that there are trees in India that produce a berry which clean clothes blew her paper mind. However, when she noticed that our clothes smelled fresh and clean, our towels were fluffy and fresh, she became a true believer. Upon her insistence, I gave her some soap nuts to bring back home.

Flat Stanleyette noticed that sometimes Ike would like to eat a dorito.

Flat Stanleyette noticed that sometimes Ike would like to eat a dorito.

2. We kept her busy dehydrating and learning about preparing healthy food. She helped slice the fruit and vegetables, place it on our Excalibur dehydrator trays and spritz some lemon juice on things to keep it from turning gross colors. She helped make vegetable powders with our Vita-Mix and imagined all the ways they could be put into soups, etc.

3. Sometimes FS looked surprised when we told her we eat persimmons, kale, spinach and banana chips. We don’t always eat organic stuff or healthy things but we wanted her to try new things and expand her palate. When Flat Stanleyette returned home, she brought dehydrated banana chips, persimmons and apple slices. She was super excited to share them with the kids. Hope you guys liked them!

4. Our paper friend joined me in learning how to make fabric bowls. “Wow, this takes a lot of skill and patience!” she declared one afternoon. FS went to bed very tired that night with a slight headache.

A collage of fun!

A collage of fun!

5. It was her first time at a high school men’s basketball game and as expected, FS drew a lot of attention. Thankfully, her new best friend Erma helped her deal with all the looks and stares. Erma is a Guinea pig girl doll and proud of it! They both agreed everybody was probably jealous of their beauty. It was a fast-paced game and she is now the biggest fan of #21 whom she began calling “Lebron” even though he is an orange hair, freckle face teenager. The coach really wanted to get a picture with FS following their big win.

Flat Stanleyette and Erma became fast friends and cheered on the team!

Flat Stanleyette and Erma became fast friends and cheered on the team!

Fun with Flat Stanleyette

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"Hi, I'm Flat Stanleyette and I'm here for a good time!"

“Hi, I’m Flat Stanleyette and I’m here for a good time!”

For the second time this year, our family has hosted a Flat Stanley. I think the first Flat Stanley told the second one that our house was THE vacation destination. I can imagine more interesting places than our house but we swung wide the door of hospitality! Have you ever sent or received a Flat Stanley? I’ve never felt so much pressure to please a paper doll in my life!

My niece, A. sent me her adorably colored Flat Stanleyette. This FS is a super fancy girl with earrings, freckles, polished finger nails and some very interesting eye brows! Suddenly I was scrambling around making sure our life looked happy and interesting. FS had just missed participating in a craft fair and that was probably for the best. They are absolutely exhausting!

Taking a moment to pause, Flat Stanleyette enjoys being around this strapping young Soldier!

Taking a moment to pause, Flat Stanleyette enjoys being around this strapping young Soldier!

Thankfully she arrived on a weekend when my Soldier was in town. As soon as I tore open the envelope and saw her inside, I took her out to play basketball with the orange hair, freckle face OS and Nate.  FS admired Nate’s big muscles and Ike’s serious basketball skills. Based on all of their faces, I think they had fun together!

Even though you can't tell by her facial expression, Flat Stanleyette sat patiently at church and seemed interested in learning about God's Word.

Even though you can’t tell by her facial expression, Flat Stanleyette sat patiently at church and seemed interested in learning about God’s Word.

That evening, we took Ike out to the Melting Pot to celebrate his 16th birthday. Of course, we piled our new guest with us to the restaurant. She was polite and ate very little which was a good thing because the Melting Pot is $$$.

"You preached an excellent sermon!" "I know. Thanks for visiting." "You're welcome."

“You preached an excellent sermon!” “I know. Thanks for visiting.” “You’re welcome.”

FS went to church with us the following day. Pastor Rob wasn’t sure what to do when she insisted and I mean insisted on taking a picture with him. Sometimes it feels weird going to church if you haven’t been there for a while, I remember that feeling but we all made her feel welcome and at ease. She sat patiently next to me and looked on as I read the Bible. It was a new experience for FS and I think she got a lot out of it.

There was more fun and I can’t wait to share!

Flat Stanleyette and Erma became fast friends and BFFs!

Flat Stanleyette and Erma became fast friends and BFFs!