my wellness journey

lets be honest, I used to LOVE burning candles. I was that girl that was hitting up store after store to stock up on all my favorite scents. I was seriously obsessed. I not only would have them placed throughout the house, but I loved giving them as gifts. If you did not find a candle in every room, there was definitely a plug-in somewhere. I was all about things smelling good; my laundry, my home, and even I was doused in some high dollar fragrance perfume.

Now lets fast forward to October 2017, when I decided that it was time to take control of my health. For most of my life I was not as concerned with what I was allowing into my body as I should; whether that be toxins or food (insert face palm). It was during this time that I really started to open my eyes to what I was putting in and on my body, and allowing inside the walls of my home. So, I decided to research! and when I say that I started to research, I mean it: I read article after article, study after study, and testimony after testimony about artificial fragrances causing health issues. I even read the startling fact that burning a candle (other than soy or beeswax) for an hour is equivalent to smoking a cigarette. Pretty sure I fell out of my seat when I read that. The word “fragrance” is thrown on basically every label and is just a blanket word for nearly 300+ chemicals. Chemicals that have been banned in other countries, but that we find in our shampoos, lotions, and candles. Here we are, just trying to live our best lives not even realizing that we are poisoning ourselves. No wonder so many of us walk around with headaches, feeling fatigued, having sleep issues, an inability to focus and more. So, I decided to say “no more”. I decided to change my life for a more clean environment with the use of essential oils and I haven’t looked back since.

Essential oils are made from pure plants. They are basically the immune system of the plant and act the same way in our bodies. When you diffuse pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, you aren’t filling the air in your home with artificial fragrance, you are filling it with 100% pure plant matter. But, let’s get one thing straight, not all oils are created equal. I chose Young Living essential oils for several different reasons. One of which is that they own their own farms all over the world. They have a very open door policy in the sense that they let you actually go and visit at anytime to see the whole process. I am actually hoping to visit the lavender fields in Utah this year. Young Living also have a very rigorous testing process and the only company to have the “Seed to Seal” standard, which is so important. Not only does Young Living have the best essential oils on the planet, they also have oil infused products like make up, baby wipes, laundry detergent, personal care products, supplements and so much more. Having all these plant based and natural products in one place makes my shopping experience so much more easy and convenient. I love all things convenient.

I USE OUR OILS FOR SO MANY THINGS, BUT I WANTED TO GIVE YOU MY TOP 10 WAYS I USE ESSENTIAL OILS:

1. SCENTING MY HOME. I love that I can diffuse Stress Away, and it instantly takes me to the beach! With hints of lime and vanilla, it helps me to calm down. (especially after a long day of counseling children)

2. CHEST RUB. I love using Raven essential oil as an all natural chest rub. I simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil with a couple drops of this oil and we are all breathing easy!

3. WATER ENHANCER. Young Living is the only company that has a whole line of essential oils specifically labeled for dietary usage. I love adding a drop of Lemon Vitality to my water or wellness tea. It gives it such a fresh taste and hello detox.

4. MUSCLE RUB. PanAway has hints of Wintergreen and Peppermint which makes it tingly and cooling at the same time. This is my go-to for after long, intense work outs! I love mixing it with coconut oil to make the best muscle rub ever.

5. SLEEP SUPPORT. Sometimes I find it a little hard to wind down in the evenings, but with Lavender by my side, all is right in the world. My room smells like a spa!!

6. TUMMY SUPPORT. You guys don’t get me wrong, I love a good Taco Tuesday, but queso does me wrong sometimes. Insert DiGize. This gem helps with all of the stomach things…I’ll just leave it at that.

7. IMMUNE BOOSTING. So thankful that I cleaned out my medicine cabinet and have a whole squad of wellness enhancers. From colloidal silver, to elderberry, to my Thieves essential oil….so, I am over here staying above the wellness line and staying healthy.

8. BREATH SPRAY. I use to be a major gum chewer until I discovered how to make my very own breath spray with oils. I use 8 drops of Peppermint Vitality mixed with some of the Thieves mouthwash in a spritz bottle and there you have it, no more coffee breath!!

9. ODOR ELIMINATOR. One of the main reasons I had so many scented candles and plug-ins was to keep odors away. Certain foods we cooked seemed to linger, stinky trash…no thanks! Enter Citrus Fresh essential oil also known as ‘odor be gone’. A couple drops of this guy on cotton balls around the house and your home will be smelling so fresh and so clean.

10. PERFUME. I missed not being able to smell like my favorite (at the time) fragrance. Now, I simply customize scents to create my very own scent. I love the earthy, grounding smell of Frankincense mixed with the fresh, floral scent of Lavender, add a splash of pure vanilla extract and mix with witch hazel, and there you have it, your very own safe, delicious smelling perfume.

Making the switch to essential oils and ditching toxins doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. You don’t have to start out with a huge collection and feel like you need to be a brilliant aromatherapist. Just get a couple of the “basic” oils, a diffuser, and you’re set. I am also here to help you along the way, teach you, share with you, and encourage you. If you’re ready to take the leap, just follow these steps:

+ Go to https://yl.pe/bnb8
+ Select “MEMBER”
+ Pick your diffuser
+ Add in anything extra you have your eye on
+ Put in your info and check out!

If you are curious to learn more I am constantly educating others via live Facebook events or in person coffee meet ups. Shoot me a DM on my wellness IG account (@wellnesswithcait) or email me here and we can connect! Cheers to learning + living better!

life changes, but God’s faithfulness does not.

This year has been a year full of change and transitions, none of which are easy.

I turned yet another year older. I started my Masters in Social Work after taking a 9 year break. I took on more responsibility at work, which bumped me up to about 50 hours a week. I moved out of living with my roommate, who I had lived with for 7 years. And I had hit my heaviest weight EVER and decided it was time to tackle weight loss.

I have always heard that the only thing guaranteed in this life is change, and we all know that to be true. But that doesn’t make dealing with unwanted or difficult changes or new seasons of life any less trying. However, instead of surrendering to pouting (which I definitely wanted to do), I decided to intentionally dedicated myself to praying and positive thinking, reminding myself daily that although life changes, God’s faithfulness never does.

I have learned throughout this season that when we dwell on God’s faithfulness and let it nourish our hearts, our faith and trust in Him grows. When we focus on doing good things, our attention and thoughts won’t stay fixated on the changes we don’t like. Instead of allowing our minds to wish things were like they used to be or feeling discouraged or upset over a hard season of life, we can place our trust in Him and live with peace and joy, not stress and distress.

 “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Being delighted in the Lord, which can be hard for me to grasp at times, means that our hearts find peace and fulfillment in Him, REGARDLESS of the season of life we are in or the changes we’re facing.  When we look back to see how God has been faithful and trustworthy in the past, we can better trust He will be faithful in the future.

With each day this year, I continually sought God’s peace and joy to fill my life. I have prayed over and over for new opportunities and for Him to guide me in this season of life. I asked Him to take away the loneliness and purposelessness that I allowed to creep into my life. I desired for Him to fill my life with people and purpose. And to trust in His plans for my future, instead of doubting Him.

This morning I was spending time with the Lord and praising Him for His faithfulness. It was then that I began to see His faithfulness and answered prayers over the past couple months. My friendships were blossoming, and new friends came into my life as well. My church community group continually helped me to feel loved, wanted, supported, included and less alone when I was struggling with feelings of loneliness. New doors opened for me, which not only gave me new purpose, but also new direction and excitement. And I watched God provide and protect me in this season.

God has allowed every season of our life and those seasons may include trials and changes. We can either fight change or we can trust God has a plan and purpose for it.  We can allow our trust in God’s faithfulness to be the foundation for joyful living. We can change the way we think about change.

fall yall

trust Him in the waiting.

God has seriously been checking my heart lately when it comes to dating. I am 32 years old. I have had one serious dating relationship, in which I was engaged to be married. I have not dated in three years. Constantly, I hear the same things. Why aren’t you dating anyone? Maybe you are just too picky. You’ve just got to put yourself out there. Want to go on a blind date, I have some single guy friends?!

While all the voices around me are constantly calling for me to date and “just put myself out there,” there is a much quieter voice that tells me to wait. As I listen to it, it becomes easier to hear it more clearly. It says, “Be still.” God is busy tugging at the door of my heart to focus on Him. I believe that in this season of my life, God is calling me to draw closer to Him and focus on my relationship with Him. One of the many things I love about our God is that He has purposes and plans for our lives.

God wants to focus on healing my heart from past hurts BEFORE I date, marry and have kids. He is enlisting me in a season of abandonment from all the distractions and reckless pursuit of His heart for me.

You see, so often, women put their hope in the opposite sex.  We need to get in the habit of checking our hearts. Are we putting our hopes in guys or the idea of dating, marrying or falling in love with a guy?

Personally, I love when God lovingly corrects me. Again and again, when I have gotten ahead of myself and started to fix my eyes on a guy, God corrects me. He lets me know that he wants my focus on Him. No man should come before Him. No man, not even my future husband. He wants my heart, every last part of it.

Wherever you fix your eyes, there your hope will be as well. When I would date a guy, get all those butterfly feelings and watch myself fall in love, what I was really doing was making a guy my hope.

But. No. More.

I believe God is calling us, his daughters, higher. He wants our hearts. He wants us to rest and find our hope in Him.  Friends, stop seeking men! Stop pursuing their hearts! Stop chasing after that guy!  You can rest in the Father’s arms. He has plans and purposes for your lives. He wants to show us them, but we must first learn to rest in Him. To fix our eyes on Him. And to pursue Him with reckless abandonment.

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having faith in Jesus and showing favoritism are not compatible.

Most of us would like to think that the law isn’t black and white, but it is. Rules are rules! And we cannot choose which of the laws to obey and which ones to ignore. If I were to choose to follow the speed limit, but neglect to wear my seatbelt, then I would still be breaking the law. I do not get the luxury of choosing which laws to follow and which to ignore. In the same way, we do not get the luxury of choosing to follow only the parts of the Bible that we are like and the ones that fit into our lifestyles.

My community group has been going the Francis Chan study on James. And I am absolutely LOVING it. I have always enjoyed the book of James and the realness within the chapters. The book of James is a letter from Jesus’ brother to the early church in Jerusalem about the hypocrisy happening among Christians. Sadly, like a lot of us today, the people of the early church struggled with committing EVERY part of their lives to Jesus. Too often, we commit the areas of our lives to the Lord that are going as planned or that we don’t desperately want to remain in control of. The people of the early church welcomed Jesus’ teaching on grace and salvation, but seemed to be ignoring His instructions on how to treat others. Those who were wealthy and had titles were given special treatment, while those who were poor were easily dismissed. However, Jesus warns us against showing partiality and favoritism. James’ instruction is to fully obey the law and says to demonstrate the same level of love and mercy to others that we experience from God.

James 2:8 reminds us to “love our neighbors as yourself”. It did not come naturally to the early church and it doesn’t come naturally to most Christians today. Our natural disposition is selfishness. We often want to impress those we want to be like and brush off those who are different. In our society, people look to what they can get from others. Do they have nice things? Do they dress like they just walked out of a J Crew magazine? Will they get us more likes on social media? Do they take artsy pictures? Do they drive a nice car? Do they have a good, glamorous job?

While it makes sense to treat our bosses as we would want to be treated, what about the guy in the corner asking for help? I have frequently wondered, what does loving ones neighbor get us in return? The answer is simple, a life that better represents Jesus.

Jesus does not call us to follow the commands that are easy or the ones that we like; He calls us to follow them all. Our spiritual lives will progress when we listen to God’s Word and follow it wholeheartedly. Yes, with some, it definitely feels easier to judge rather than show love and mercy. However, God asks us to love them as He loves us. This might be as simple as saying “Good morning” to someone or saying a prayer for them.

To follow Jesus’ example, means looking beyond the prickly, dissimilar, or disagreeable person that we see to find the valuable, lovable person that He sees. Being a Christ follower requires us to make hard choices and we have to decide if the reward is worth the sacrifice. The Message reads, “kind mercy wins over harsh judgement every time”.

 

Things I am LOVING Lately.

I have SERIOUSLY been loving lots of things lately, and so I have decided to share my top 5 with y’all. From food to audiobooks, I am going to share all of the things that have been making my heart happy!

1. Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is a food delivery system that sources only the BEST ingredients. The flavors and all the recipes that I have tried so far have been so delicious, easy, and quick. It is definitely a WIN for those busy peeps out there, like me! I get so excited every week when my Hello Fresh is delivered to my door! I love how the meals are in different bags and how the vegetables are fresh! They have Family Plans, Veggie Plans, and Classic Plans. I am currently doing the Classic Plan; and I love being able to go in each week and pick out the meals that I want for the following week. If you want to give Hello Fresh a try and get $40 off your first order click here . I promise it will not disappoint.

2. Spring Essential Oil Combo

While Fall is my favorite season, the Spring essential oil combos have been some off my FAVORITE. I love the flowers that come along with Spring, the smells, and the decorations. Speaking of smells, since I have ditched candles and plug-ins I now use my diffuser and oils to create amazing Spring scents. So, now not only does my house smell like Spring, I can rest knowing that anyone who comes into my house is breathing in safe oils made with 100% pure plants. You want to make sure that you are using pure, quality, 100% Grade A essential oils. I only use Young Living because they have Seed to Seal promise and their oils are better than organic. If you haven’t taken the plunge and hopped into oils, April is the perfect month because this is the month to start spring cleaning your immune system. I would LOVE to hold your hand through the entire process, so click here to get started today. Anyway…two of my favorite current blends that I would love for you to try: “Fruit Loops” = 3 drops Purification, 3 Drops of Stress Away. And “Rain Shower” = 4 Drops of Lemon EO, 3 Drops Vetiver EO.

3. Succulents

I absolutely LOVE succulents. My obsession starts last year and has not diminished in the slightest. My collection has grown tremendously, minus the couple times I somehow killed some of them. I have had to learn about how to care for them. One thing I have learned over the past year is to make sure that the succulents get A LOT of sun. They will triple in size within a few months, the more they are exposed to the sun. I also mix 3 drops of Thieves essential oil and 3 drops of Peppermint essential oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle to help keep them healthy.

4. Community Group

I don’t know about you, but I need a community. I need time each week to where I can congregate with other followers of life and talk about life, struggles, and just be real. I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with my Community Group each Thursday. We fellowship, share, pray, and it is just so good for my soul.  I attend a Community Group through my church and it has been a wonderful addition to my life! “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). We were not made to go through life alone. I encourage EVERYONE to get connected through their church, whether in a Bible Study or a Life Group/Community Group. Honestly, being able to have some friends who have become family mixed with a whole lot of Jesus means I am set!

5. Self-Development via Audiobooks

I have recently started focusing on self-development and have loved getting into Podcasts/Audibles. I am currently listening to an audiobook called ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ by Rachel Hollis. The book centers around the idea that you need to stop believing the lies about who you are, so that you can become who you were meant to be. Since I have a super busy schedule, I don’t always have much time to sit down and read, but being able to listen to this book via ‘audible’ has been a part of  my morning routine. Rachel Hollis is vulnerable, shows some tough love, is absolutely hilarious, and is completely honest. This book has made me feel like I can conquer the world. I seriously recommend it!

 

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!! XOXO

when approval addiction is a real life problem

Growing up, I was not the most popular girl in kindergarten. I did get married in the sandbox to my crush though- that was a high point. Anyway, we can blame it on the fact that I was an extreme introvert…or I can be honest and say that it was most likely because I had no idea how to be a friend. I say that because when it came to friendship, I cared more about pleasing others and making sure that ‘everyone’ liked me than being myself and learning to be real with people.

I am about to share a story with you that I know with lead to either pure judgement or you will want to call me up and invite me over to your house. It could honestly go either way. Throughout elementary school I was able to live next door to one of my best friends. It was pretty awesome! We literally spent every day together- either at her house, my house, or the small treehouse in between. I loved hanging out at her house, mainly because it meant getting away from my twin brothers. And on almost ever occasion, when we hung out at her house…I cleaned her room. Weird, I know! But that’s how I showed people that I cared- I did things for them, such as cleaning their rooms! I would organize her room, fold her laundry, make her bed. I was desperately wanting friendship and to please others that I literally would clean their rooms for them. I did the same thing for my sister. I think I more so did it for my sister  because I was afraid she would beat me up if I didn’t, but either way…I did it. Being liked by people meant so much to me that I would literally do things for them just to make sure that they would like me without caring at all about my own feelings. (pathetic, I know).

I mastered the art of people pleasing. In High School I diagnosed myself with “approval addiction”. Of course, I didn’t share this diagnosis with anyone, but it was very apparent that I cared WAY. TOO. MUCH. about what others thought of me. After years of thinking this was what it looked like to be a good friend- it molded me into someone who cared more about being liked than being real and honest about my feelings. I had literally become a human doormat. Not all people pleasers are doormats, but I sure was one.

Now, I am not saying this so that you feel sorry for me or so you ask me to come over (secretly hoping that I clean your entire house). I am sharing this because I think that too often we strive for the attention and approval of others that we lose ourselves. We feel that the real us is not enough or won’t be liked- so we change. We adapt. We become human chameleons.

One day I realized I had had enough. I was exhausted and lonely. I didn’t have any real, deep friendships. I had a lot of platonic friendships- which were okay, but I wanted those real, messy friendships. But in order to get that- something needed to change. The truth is, I had stopped being direct and sharing my honest emotions with people because I was afraid of hurting their feelings. I took everything so freakin personal- and most of the time, if not all the time, I had assumed things completely wrong. And I was assuming that I knew the motives of people and what they thought about me. Assuming is never truly a good thing. Anyway, all of those things left me feeling alone and tired.

I was standing in my own way of having the friendships that I truly craved.

So I took to praying about it DAILY. And two years later, I have some of the most REAL, MESSY, VULNERABLE, HONEST friendships! And I love them. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. They aren’t always easy, but they are real.

Here is what I had to learn: its okay if someone doesn’t like me. This is definitely a hard lesson for anyone who struggles with approval addiction. And I was NO different. It scared me to the core at first to realize this- it felt unnatural.

Why couldn’t everyone like me?

I’m pretty likable, right?

But as much has it was a hard concept for me to grasp,  it was a much needed lesson and one that would ultimately change the way I viewed friendships and the way I was intentional in my friendships.

I had to learn to say ‘no’ to people…and not feel guilty about it. Saying ‘no’ felt like I could hurt someone’s feelings- so I was always that ‘yes’ girl. I also had to learn limits and boundaries, for myself and for my friendships. (that took a while, but I am getting a hold of it). And I had to learn to be more direct and honest with those God brought into my life, even if they didn’t necessarily like what I was saying or understand my feelings on the matter. I spent way too many years dancing around subjects for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or being misunderstood. But over the past couple years I have learned that being more direct and honest with my emotions is one of the most liberating things.

I had lost myself in approval addiction for so many years (about 30ish years if I am being honest)! But learning to be real, vulnerable, and direct about things was seriously life changing. If you look at all like how I use to look: easily irritated, working way too hard, going too fast and shouldering all the weight without stopping to ask for help. I encourage you to take time for yourself, to be more direct and be truthful about how you feel in your friendships, and to say no to things that you can’t do. Don’t be that ‘yes’ girl.

embrace your season.

Sometimes life has a mind of its own. I am loving and learning how to embrace it!

I had a plan for my life- and as many of you can probably guess, it did not turn out like I had planned. I mean lets be honest, do any of our lives truly turn out like WE planned? My guess is no. Over the years I have learned the importance of being able to embrace that life doesn’t always go as planned. And I like the unplanned seasons (well, least I am learning to). But I do love seeing how God uses those unplanned seasons.

When I was a senior in college, I had plans for what my future would look like! I planned to get married by the age of 23 and finish my Masters by 24. And everything was going PERFECTLY as planned, until it wasn’t. My fiance and I called off the wedding and I withdrew from my classes after the first semester of graduate school. It has been about 9 years since my timeline took a hit. However, as I sit here starting my orientation for my Masters in Social Work, I feel so grateful for the journey God took me on to get where I am. It was definitely a rocky, off-road type of journey, but I am thankful for it and all the lessons that I was able to learn along the way.

Seasons of life are inevitable. They will come and go, some lasting longer than others; some wanted and some unwanted; some exciting and some terrifying. But I encourage you to live in each season and to allow yourself to learn ALL that God has for you in those seasons. Regardless of what lies before us, how we choose to look at and think about those seasons will determine whether or not we walk through them with peace, hope and joy, or with heartache, anxiety and fear.

When we intentionally choose to believe that God’s seasons for us are good, we can step into it with courage, bravery, a positive attitude and an unsinkable faith. Letting go of our own timelines and expectations frees up our hearts to embrace what God has for us.

I’ve learned that I find more peace when I let go of the clutter and focus on the joy of being a faithful steward of the season God has brought me into.

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