On March 29th, the day our boys turned 7 and 10, we loaded up the biggest Penske truck we could find (for the third time in 3 years) and moved out of state. And on March 31st we signed approximately 6 billion pieces of paper that officially made us homeowners again. I signed my papers from the comfort of our minivan because I picked up some kind of wicked funk on the drive down and spent the night before the closing hugging the hotel toilet. It wasn’t pretty. After nearly 3 months of shopping for a home in another state, signing, scanning, and emailing one billion documents to our lender nearly every day for 45 days, and always waiting for the other shoe to drop….I was finally at the finish line….with my barf bag. It wasn’t how I had imagined it all going down. But, the truth is, I hadn’t really imagined making it past the initial offer on the home. Only 3 years after foreclosure and we were actually buying a house?! It just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. But it did. And, aside from Barf Fest 2017, it all went off without a hitch.

We are officially homeowners again! I feel restored, renewed, and oh so thankful. It was a hard and weird 3 years. You can read the story of our first home here. It’s taken me longer to let my guard down and get excited than I thought it would. I hadn’t realized how many walls I had put up to protect myself from disappointment. Apparently they were big walls because, even when it was obvious this was happening, I just couldn’t really let myself get excited. Staying pragmatic about it all was my main defense.

But when we broke out the power tools that had been gathering dust for the past 3 years, I felt a little more excited. There was no one to tell us we couldn’t paint or remove trim or add landscaping. It was ours. We could make it our own. So the Mister played along and helped me add a few touches I had been squirreling away on my pinterest board. There’s a sneak peak at the end of this post, and if you follow me on instagram then you’ve already seen a lot of what we’ve been doing in the room that will serve as our homeschool/library. But I’ll put together a separate post for that project with all the pictures.

The house we bought is a stone’s throw from our little downtown area which always seems to be bustling with some festival or event. It’s super cute and the boys love our park (seen in the top left and the right picture). The mister commutes to work in Orlando, not too far away to enjoy the fun stuff but just far enough away to get away from the crazy tourist scene. We’re in an area that local Floridians consider “country.” But I’m not sure Georgians who live in the “country” would consider this very rural at all. It is the prettier part of Central Florida though, if you ask me. There are orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime groves everywhere.  And our house is on a canal that opens out into a pretty big lake. We can fish right off of our private dock or take our little boat out into the lake to catch the bigger fish (that’s right, our house came with a boat!! How cool is that?!). We’ve seen alligators, turtles, great blue herons, whistling ducks, bald eagles, and red shouldered hawks right in our back yard. We have more lizards in our yard, of every size and color, than you can imagine. And they scurry everywhere when you walk through the yard. I’m cool with them as long as they gobble up the mosquitoes. The sandhill cranes are everywhere you look and I just love their long skinny legs. Our canal opens into Trout Lake so we are able to drive the boat over and dock at Trout Lake Nature Preserve. Nature study won’t be a problem here, for sure! We can’t eat the fish in our lake or canal (there’s an agricultural run off clean up under way and various ongoing testing to monitor the fish), but we can catch and release all day long. It’s been fun to see the boys so excited about fishing and boating. I started a hashtag to document our adventures at our new home. If you’d like to follow along on Instagram it’s #lifeatthecanalhouse.

This girl hasn’t been in the boat yet because she thinks a life jacket is a baby torture device! I imagine she wouldn’t be too keen on it anyway since it’s loud so we hang back while the boys go out.

She’s had a bit of a hard time adjusting to life after the move. All of our children are great travelers but I think she keeps wondering when we’re going “home.” She’s starting to settle a bit more now but she still has moments that just don’t seem like her sweet self. She can’t understand why her mom is so busy and doesn’t have time for snuggling all the live long day like we did in the apartment. She’s woken up a few nights crying pretty hard. I think she forgets where she is for a minute. And she’s taken to skipping real naps and instead, sleeping where she falls. But, now that we’ve gotten most of the boxes unpacked she’s been able to explore the common areas of the house a little more and she loves her new found freedom. Likes: seashells, seabirds, running down the hall and squealing at her brothers, whatever I’m eating, and our new park downtown. Dislikes: Sand, waves, being hot, and lifejackets. Hmmm….oops. The Georgia girl is not a Florida girl just yet.

My main goal whenever we move is to organize the area we’ll use for school first. I feel very uprooted and disorganized when our school supplies are scattered everywhere. If the school area gets addressed first then I can get the boys going on a project and get a few things done in other areas of the home while they’re occupied. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from the last three years and two other cross-state moves it’s that we don’t wait to start school….ever. Because goodness, life happens. So we do a little school all the time. And during big life events we do what the wise Julie Bogart calls “backend planning” where we count everything as school, but only AFTER it’s done.

And, wouldn’t you know it, only 3 weeks after moving in we had a sprinkler pipe crack and we will be repairing that today. Good thing I already have the school books on the shelves and the play-doh and art supplies are easily accessible to keep little hands and minds busy while we work. Although, I don’t think they care much for anything in the schoolroom when there’s a fresh pile of dirt to make sand (dirt?) castles out of. Thank goodness this isn’t a broken pipe in Georgia clay. That hole would’ve taken a lot longer and resulted in a few bent shovels. Yay for sandy Florida soil!

I have a million and one projects I want to finish but I’ve had to reign in my slowly growing enthusiasm for the sake of my wallet, the other less romantic household chores that need tending to, and to get in some quality snuggles with my girl. In three weeks we’ve (playing it fast and loose with the term “we” since the mister is the only one of us who knows what ALL of those marks are on the tape measure) built a faux fireplace, primed, painted, and sealed our Ikea Expedit shelves, DIY’d a couple of chalkboards, shiplapped a faux chimney, sanded and primed a dining room table and chairs, and repaired (TBD) a sprinkler pipe, put together a couch and love seat, and unpacked one gazillion boxes. That’s a lot of homeowner-ing for three short weeks.

I’ll try to get a post together with some before and after shots of the front room that we’re calling the library. It’s not “technically” finished. We’re not on speaking terms with our miter saw and crown molding right now. And the fireplace still needs decorative trim work on the front doors and another coat of paint and polycrylic. The decor isn’t in it’s final resting place, nor is some of it even staying in that room. But it looks great so far so I’ll share where we’re at with it soon.

I’ve scheduled our summer intensive for homeschool to begin on May 1st. Fingers crossed I make that deadline because we’re all antsy to jump back into it. I’ll try to get a post up with our schedule and book picks soon. I’ve added a library page to the blog so you can easily find amazon links to the books we’re using in homeschool, what I’m reading for my own mother culture, and what we’ve read in the past. I’m still working out the kinks so if a grown up book shows up in the homeschool section, forgive me.

Thanks for popping in. It’s good to be back!

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My One Little Word for 2015 was grace. Boy, I had no idea how much of it I would need. I had wanted to be the one projecting grace. But God had a much more humbling plan for me. Mr. Thistle’s job that moved us to Nashville came to an abrupt end, we moved back to Georgia in the middle of an ice storm, the mister’s new job required quite a lot of travel (we’d spent the last 10 years mostly never apart so this was a bit of a shock to our system), we found out I was pregnant 3 months later because #wivesoftravelingmisters, and I became pretty ill due to a number of pregnancy complications. I spent most of 2015 housebound and alone. I could barely muster up the energy to brush my teeth let alone socialize over coffee with friends or make playdates for the boys. I spent 2015 just trying to keep my head above water.

One little word

Grace.

Didn’t give much, needed a whole lot, found it in the most unlikely places (usually from a very compassionate 6 and 9 year old who made me one proud mama all year).

I didn’t even try to pick a word when 2016 rolled around. I surely have a lot of words to describe it now that I’m at the end of it: 

Hard. Exhausting. Refining. Revealing.

Based on my Instagram feed I’d say a lot of people are ready to be done with 2016. It was a tough year. There were a lot of moments that left me disenchanted with humanity. It seemed as if world events just kept coming at us, punching us in the gut, kicking us when we were down.

But that was outside our home. Inside our 4 walls there were a lot of moments that could’ve made my heart burst had they been any fuller. I am constantly amazed at how kind and compassionate the boys are. They really had to prop their mama up last year and adjust to life with a brand new baby sister this year. They had to do a lot of growing up in the last two years and I’m so proud of them for handling it so well. The world might’ve been crumbling around us but dang if my core family wasn’t steady and strong!

I’m starting to gush and get off topic here though.

The point is 2015 and 2016 brought a lot more than I expected. I had no idea how God would use my one little word – grace. And, to be honest, 2017’s word wasn’t even on my radar. So much has happened in the last two years, so much revealed, so much that caught me off guard spiritually, physically, relationally, that I’ve been in a bit of a stupor.

But the other night, lying in bed, it hit me. Loud and clear.

Be.

There are so many things I want to be. A peaceful mom, a less nagging wife, a better friend, a better Christian, more organized, a “real” artist, more patient.

And I always feel like I hold a yard stick up to those things and say, “nope, not quite there” and then I get discouraged and let myself think that, because I fall a little short (or a lot), I’m none of those at all. Just an imposter who wants to be those things but really isn’t.

Too often I lament to Mr. Thistle that I want to be this or be that but there’s never enough time/money/resources and I camp out in the land of “if only” and get a bad case of “the grass is always greener.”

Before I was a mom I liked to immerse myself in things. If I was going to do something it was all or nothing. The reality is, as a mom of 3, that mentality leaves a lot of goals falling in the “nothing” column. I can’t always give something my full attention. In fact, I rarely have time to indulge in full-attention activities. I might have to scratch out a doodle while the baby sleeps in my arms. Or listen to a podcast while navigating the wilds of Atlanta traffic on the way to hockey practice. I might have to settle for one chapter of a book at a time rather than devouring it in one or two readings. If I wait until I have long, uninterrupted stretches of time to focus on the things I want to do I’ll never do them.

So this year I’m throwing out my yard stick and I’m just going to try to Be. Even if it doesn’t live up to my standard. I’m going to start being who God says I am and measure it by His standard. Are my intentions pure? Is it beneficial for my family? Good for personal/spiritual growth? Is it fulfilling a call? And, I’m going to roll over my word that carried me through 2015-2016 and give myself the grace to just Be.

one little word
Be creative.

Be patient.

Be organized.

Be obedient.

Be gentler.

Be disciplined.

Be better.

Be brave.

Be bold.

And when I fall short, because I will, I’ll Be ready to rely on the Lord’s strength, rather than my own to get me back on track.

The one thing I’ll never be? Perfect.

So I’m to let go of striving for perfection before I can claim to Be something and I’m just going to try to be who God already says I am.

This year I’m telling myself to stop talking about being something and just Be it already.

You wanna be a blogger? Then be a blogger! Who cares if you only blog once a quarter?! Still a blogger.

You wanna be organized? Be organized! Who cares if your desk is a mess right now? Get up and do the next thing to move closer to the goal.

Yes, I’m 33 and I still don’t have a great system for dealing with laundry. But this year I’m claiming that I’ll be better.

The good news is that most of the things I want to Be are a matter of perspective and attitude. And those are things that I don’t need resources or time or money to achieve. My word for 2015-2016 actually props up my word for 2017. There’s grace given while I work on who I want to be.

Thank goodness.

Here’s to 2017 being better than 2016.

 

 

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planning a relaxed homeschool year

Official plan: SURVIVE.

We’re entering our 5th year of homeschooling this year. That’s crazy to think about on so many levels. I never dreamed we would be a homeschooling family. But here we are 5 years in, loving it, and still going strong. When planning for the new school year rolls around I usually get excited. Excited for fresh starts, new school supplies, and a beautiful, blank planner.

This year is a little different.

This year we have a baby on board.

Who never sleeps. Ever.

Mama is majorly sleep deprived.

And Mr. Thistle travels more now than he ever has for work. So, I’ve been nervous about how to get it all done. I haven’t even had much time to plan. We start next week and I’m just now getting some of my plans on paper (in pencil of course, because let’s be real, you know a lot of it is going to get erased). Normally, I would’ve spent weeks on planning, poring over catalogs and blogs and instagram and had our entire year mapped out and ready to go by now. But, even if I’d had the time to sit down and plan out an entire year of curriculum like I used to do, it’s not likely that the baby will be on board with all of it and it would end up a jumbled mess as I tried to shuffle things around on the calendar.

Nope. That would just make me even more anxious.

So, this year, I’m going full-homeschooler. I’m finally embracing (through much encouragement from my husband and my Instagram gal pals) the wonderfully flexible nature of homeschool. I’ve dipped my toe in the unschooling waters, flirted with Charlotte Mason ideals, and experimented with life schooling over the years. But this year? This year I’m diving right in with the “the baby is the lesson” camp. I mean, I’m a fan of all of those philosophies and methods so why haven’t I fully embraced them before now? I blame my k-12 public school experience for my tendency to try to recreate “school at home” a lot of times. That, and the fact that I don’t have a lot of real life homeschool support outside of our core family to reassure me that baking counts as school. There’s nothing wrong with the “school at home” method, it’s just that it’s not conducive to our lifestyle or the kids’ learning styles. The boys learn so well through hands-on, play-based, experiential learning. And we really love the philosophies of John Holt, Ken Robinson, Charlotte Mason and others who encourage child-led learning and a rich diet of good literature and living books.

So, we’re doing it. This year I’m going to try to let go and take a more relaxed approach (BAHAHAHA. Says the woman whose never relaxed a day in her life. I’m pretty much Monica Gellar.) I’ve talked to the boys in depth over the summer to find out where their interests lie. I’ve experimented with a few things to really draw out their passions (i.e. an online animation course for kids that I plan to write a review about soon). And I’ve tapped into our home library for unit studies to fit those passions and fill in any gaps.

So, this year will look very different from the other years. It’ll be a full but much more relaxed approach (she says confidently). It will take a lot of mindfulness on my part to trust the method and not freak out that I haven’t “controlled” every detail of our school days in my trusty planner. It’s not haphazard though. Let me be clear about that. We value a full education. But my mindset of what constitutes learning and how I schedule it is changing. What counts as school has evolved in our home since I first signed on for this homeschool gig. Every year I get a little better at not caring what everybody thinks. I get a little better at honing in on what is good and right for our family. And I think this year I’m finally ready to just be comfortable with it. Or I’m being forced by a cute little baby to get comfortable with it. Either way, I’m finding that this homeschool business teaches me a lot about myself and my parenting and what God wants to do in my heart and our home. What a wonderful opportunity a baby is providing for growth in each of us! (Remind me of that when I have glue in my hair, spit up on my shirt, the baby is screaming, it’s 4 p.m. and I haven’t planned anything for dinner, missed lunch, and all we’ve accomplished is a pseudo art lesson wherein I tell the boys to “just go draw something for heaven’s sake and quit being bored!”) 

So, here’s what we’ll be focusing on:

  • Government – I’m not wasting such a high profile election year. There’s some really good material to work with and the boys have strong opinions so we’re going with it.
  • Bible
  • Math
  • Writing
  • Nature Study (including our Wild Explorers Club assignments)
  • Field Trips (after hockey season ends in February)
  • Cooking (one day per week)
  • Character (often combined with Bible)
  • Anatomy (2016)
  • Oceans (2017)
  • Early American History
  • ALL things art (illustration, animation, Bob Ross)
  • Mastering poker (yes, poker)
  • Reading, reading, and more reading

Now, that might look like a lot, and it is for some. But, a lot of it won’t even use a curriculum and will overlap with other studies. For instance, both boys want to dive deeper into a bodies unit study so we’ll hit the bodies exhibit in Atlanta. Field trip, check. Anatomy lesson, check. Our character study guide uses picture books so it’s super easy to implement and will often overlap with our bible lessons. Our only official curricula are writing and math for Owen and reading and math for Oliver. And truthfully, Oliver is halfway through his reading curriculum already and I don’t anticipate it lasting us through the end of the school year since he decided to surprise us all and start reading ALL THE THINGS over the summer. Side note: he read most of the words out of the third grade “word of the day” jar  the other day much to our amazement. Why? Because his dad told him if he tried he could have 3 oreo cookies. So he tried and he KILLED IT! The kid who just last year in kindergarten, when asked what sound the letter G made, responded with “bleesh.” Help me, Rhonda.

 

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Uh oh.

Get ready for a whole lot of disclaimers before I tell you Why I’m not using oils from “The Big Two” essential oil companies.

Why I'm not using oils from "The Big Two" essential oil companies

1. This isn’t the time to defend your oil.

It’s not that I don’t value discussion and debate. But the internet is already very cluttered with this type of blog post that usually ends with a boat load of comments that inevitably become more confusing for the reader and don’t further the discussion past “but it’s a pure oil” or “my oil is purer than yours” and it just gets nasty. So, please save your arguments for why you believe your oil is better for another post. If you want to discuss it further I would love to via email. But I feel like this post is better served without that rhetoric.

Yeesh. I’m only one paragraph in and it already sounds so aggressive, doesn’t it?! That’s the thing about this oil debate. It gets super personal. It IS super personal. And people are passionate about their beloved brand. But let’s agree to keep an open mind for a few thousand words, ok? Just a few thousand.

2. I’m a fan of multi-level marketing

I’m not against multi-level marketing (MLM) at all. It has been my experience that the MLM companies I’ve bought from over the years have provided me with products that have performed as promised. I have Tupperware in my cabinet and Mary Kay in my cosmetics bag. I’m in no way against MLM. And I’m not against representing “The Big Two.” I have very dear friends who are reps for both sides and we are able to discuss how wonderful oils are, share recipes, and swap stories without issue.

3. Research is my favorite past time. I’m a total research junkie.

I’m no slouch in the research department and I’m not new to the essential oils scene either. I’m not writing this post after trying them out for a week or reading something Sally Sue said on instagram that one time about how great they are. I’ve delayed writing this post for a long time specifically because I wanted to make sure I had done my research before joining the conversation. I geek out on evidence-based research and studies in medical journals. I’ll try to keep it light for those of you who are bored to death with that sort of information (ahem, those of you who have actual lives) but I feel a responsibility to bring a bit more “science” into it past what a corporation’s website tells us or what we heard at a company’s expo or conference or webinar. So, feel free to follow the links at the end if you’d like to read some studies from a few medical journals. I think they’re fascinating. I’ve been quietly conducting my own (albeit informal) research and talking with “The Big Two” directly to draw my conclusions.

4. No, I can’t tell you which companies I spoke with.

While I feel like I now have definitive answers to my questions from big name companies in this game, I cannot post my email correspondence with them for you to read on this blog. There are copyright and defamation issues that might arise if I did. That muddies the waters for the reader a bit because you have to draw your own conclusions about who said what and to what degree. But, in a sense, I think it also speaks volumes about the level of transparency of these companies and the degree to which they are willing to further the conversation.

4. I don’t think my oils are better than yours.

In no way do I claim that “The Big Two” are not providing good oils. I am of the camp that believes any kale is better than no kale at all. While I recognize the importance of organic, therapeutic grade, sustainably grown, etc., let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water when choosing which oil is healthier for us. This post is meant to further the discussion on transparency not debate who is more “pure.” More on that in a bit.

5. I’m not a doctor. Duh.

Material on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice in any way. The inclusion of any link does not imply my endorsement of the linked site or its affiliates, or any information, content, products, services, advertising or other materials presented on or through such web sites. I am not responsible for the availability, accuracy, or any information, content, products or services accessible from such sites.  DO NOT DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE.

Oof. That was a bit cumbersome to get through I’m sure. Let’s dive in.

Where I stand…..

I love oils. But I’m not brand loyal. And especially not to “The Big Two” as we shall refer to them from here on out. I have a couple of companies that I love but it’s taken me years of research to finally lock down a few favorites.

Here’s the thing that I think is the most important point in this whole post to remember and I will hang all my arguments from it:

Essential oils are a drug and should be treated with the same respect and care as other pharmaceuticals. 

I think the common misconception is that if it is easy to acquire then it must be safe. I think this same mistake is made with caffeine, herbs, even vitamins. Vitamins are over-the-counter and good for you, right? Perhaps. But used inappropriately they can cause or contribute to a host of other issues. You can literally overdose on Vitamin D. You probably won’t. But you could. And if you did you might experience a whole slew of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and even kidney failure in severe cases. Of course, we’re used to seeing warnings like this for things like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But because things like vitamins and herbal supplements aren’t regulated by a governing body we are expected to do our own leg work and educate ourselves in the proper doses and usage for our particular needs. The same goes for essential oils, hydrosols, herbs, and other alternative therapies. Just because they’re plant-derived or a company trademarks theirs as the only “truly pure” oil on the market doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t still be treated with respect and care. Because they can have a profound impact on our bodies. There are plenty of pure, plant-derived substances that can kill us if not used properly. The “pure” argument alone was not enough for me to commit to one of “The Big Two.”

Problem #1

I needed more than a “purity” claim to commit. There’s a lot of information floating around out there and often I have not found it to be backed up with science in conversation. While I admit that this might be kind of awkward for regular conversation and maybe even a buzzkill, it would still be nice to see it happening more online.  I wholeheartedly believe in the efficacy of essential oils and have found the science I was looking for to back it up but it wasn’t through a MLM consultant and instead on my own time through certified aromatherapists and people outside of the MLM world. That’s not to say that there aren’t consultants out there who know their stuff. I’m sure most do. My point is that, for me, it’s a slippery slope primarily because we are dealing with a drug. On the one hand, I think it is great that anyone can sign up as a consultant and sell these oils. Because, without that I might not have been exposed to them. On the other hand, when we’re dealing with people’s health I think it could be dangerous to have someone “sell” them to their neighbor down the street without really looking past the research from the company they’re making money FOR. There are a lot of factors to consider when recommending an oil to someone (i.e. age, medical conditions, drug interactions, etc.). It’s not like selling a tupperware container or some eyeliner to your friend.

“The Big Two” both sell blended oil products that are very popular among moms with kids because of their anti-germ and anti-congestion properties. But some of the very popular blends often contain eucalyptus or rosemary oil, both of which contain the chemical compound 1,8-cineole which has been shown to slow respiration in some children. The argument I’ve heard over and over again is that “I’ve been using it with my kids for years and never had a problem” or “The research says that reactions only occurred in studies where an excessive dose was given.”  When there are oils that provide the same anti-germ and anti-congestion properties that do not contain 1,8-cineole, why risk it?

Can you see how confusing it all becomes? There is a lot of responsibility on the consumer as well as the consultant to try to provide unbiased, research-based evidence when possible. How does the consumer know that the consultant is properly educated? I love hearing other people’s recipes and experiences with the product. But I want to know WHY it worked for them. Not just that it did. When the consultant points to claims from the company they work for without third-party results to back it up how can the consumer be sure they have the best information?

Ahhh. Therein lies the rub.

Problem #2

So, after many years of reading and researching I decided to cut out the middle man and go straight to the source. A month ago I contacted “The Big Two” and asked my most pressing question first by phone and then by email (as directed by the phone representatives who had no idea what GC/MS testing was….one representative said she wasn’t sure what I meant by “third party testing”):

“Do you provide third party lab results and MSDS sheets to consumers?”

Since both companies make a point to promote their extensive testing on their website I thought this would be an easy request. I mean, what’s the point of conducting extensive testing on your product if no one ever sees the results? How does that benefit the consumer?

One company still has not responded beyond an automated “we received your message” email. And the other initially responded with another chorus of “we partner with expert growers and chemists and use the highest quality oils” that I’ve already heard played out in every comment, forum, and MLM blog. The company went on to say that they do not provide third party lab results for their oils because of the “proprietary nature” of the product. I can see how a blend or a value-added product like toothpaste or lotion could be proprietary. But I cannot understand what could be so proprietary about a single oil like, for example, peppermint oil. Shouldn’t it just contain one ingredient….peppermint oil? If it contained anything else wouldn’t that no longer make it a “pure” oil as they claim? What could be in the oil that made it so unique to their company that they couldn’t share it with the consumers who so enthusiastically promote their product, for fear that a rival company might try to duplicate it?

I suspected I already knew some possible answers to this. Let’s keep using single ingredient peppermint oil as our example. Either the oil contains something else besides peppermint oil and, as such, should be considered an “adulterated oil” or a “blend” of some sort. Or, the oil was derived from a country that might not be so great for marketing (i.e. China). Or, the oil isn’t as potent as consumers believe it to be.

You see, I already knew that the gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer tests that “The Big Two” conduct in-house and through their chosen third party labs would reveal a lot. That’s why I initially asked to have access to them. GC/MS testing is an “additive-revealing” technique. In simpler terms, the GC portion provides a fingerprint of sorts for the oil being tested and the MS portion can show potency and possible adulterants. If a company touts itself as “the purest” wouldn’t it make sense to prove it? Why hide the results of that purity from consumers?

I emailed again and asked for clarification on the proprietary issue. And I was told again that the results were not made available because the tests revealed proprietary information that might be used by other companies to duplicate products.  And, that the Safety Data Sheets I also asked for were only made available to healthcare facilities and required a long list of documents that must be presented first, including a business license.

Heh? Come again? A business license?!

Meanwhile, there are other essential oil companies who will provide batch specific GC/MS third party lab results upon request and even one that I’ve found where you can view the actual GC/MS test for your oil online by simply entering the unique batch number found on the bottom of your bottle.

That might not matter to many people. But it speaks volumes to me. With that knowledge I can then make an informed decision about the purity and the efficacy of the oils I’m purchasing. I might have to take the results to my own lab to have them deciphered or I might have to brush up on some science. But, by making that information available to me they have given me more power over choosing the best product for me and my family than “The Big Two” are willing to do. And, unlike “The Big Two”, making those lab results available shows me they have nothing to hide.

Withholding GC/MC test results is a deal breaker for me. Until “The Big Two” can provide that kind of information and transparency, none of their claims of purity made through their website or their promotional materials or their consultants/brand reps makes a hill of beans to me. It can be the purest oil in the world but I need to see the proof.

My hope is that this post won’t be alienating or offensive to anyone who loves and believes in their oil. What I’d like to see is a discussion happening that encourages those big companies to release that information and become a little more transparent. They’ve helped spur on a movement that is empowering people to take their health into their own hands and they’ve made oils a little more “mainstream” which I think is great. They’ve encouraged this amazing community of essential oil advocates that I love being a part of. But I’d love to see them offer an outstanding level of transparency alongside the encouraging community and pretty packaging. And I’d love to see more discussion surrounding essential oil toxicity and safe use of essential oils.

And because I know some of you probably read through this whole thing waiting on me to recommend a company, let me address that:

I won’t recommend any companies in this post because I don’t want to look like I’m promoting one over the other. I do not work for an essential oil company or sell them. If you’d like to find out who I like feel free to poke around on instagram and maybe we’ll bump into each other and discuss. 😉

Links for further research

Composition and potential anticancer activities of essential oils obtained from myrrh and frankincense

Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View

How to Choose High Quality Essential Oils

Physician Data Query cancer information summary for health professionals (comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the use of aromatherapy and essential oils in the treatment of people with cancer).    **Lots of links to further research and studies in this one**

University of Maryland Medical Center (aromatherapy)

Essential Oils Never to Buy

Children and Essential Oils

Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt sees rise in children ingesting essential oils

Essential Oils: Poisonous when Misused

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