Ants and Coconut Oil

No, I’m not here to tell you consuming ants dipped in organic coconut oil will extend your life by 12 years. I am here to tell you the tale of how I discovered ants in my- unsealed but what I thought was a tightly closed- jar of coconut oil.

My youngest, Shawn, and I were cleaning out the pantry after seeing ants marching in a single file line into and out of my pantry. I battle ants every single summer. They vary in size but they always show up. Each year I try to find the least toxic way to discourage the ants from taking over my pantry.

As we pulled every item from the pantry and I sprayed a non-toxic concoction containing peppermint oil (insects supposedly hate peppermint). Remind me to tell you about the time I kept finding peppermint candies in random places around the kitchen because I mentioned the repelling nature of peppermint to insects to the kiddos. Never mind, that’s basically the story.

As I cleaned the higher shelves Shawn discovered something on the lower shelf. The majority of the ants were congregating around the jar of coconut oil. Upon further inspections, I found what must have been hundreds of dead ants inside the jar. At this point I didn’t see any reason to make the ants work harder so I removed the lid and let them have at it.

The ants are the reddish brown color you see.

For about seven days we watched as the ants marched to that jar. They must have told their friends, cousins and coworkers because the number of ants steadily increased. Not all of them made it out of the jar. I wonder if those that left kept their mission in the forefront of their minds while the others were overcome with glutton and decided to stay and engorge themselves with the oil which led to their demise.

Eventually the line of ants grew thinner. The corner of my pantry was less crowded. Finally! Then it ended all together. They must have killed the queen. We had been successful. We were ant free for a few weeks. When they returned, I put a bit of coconut oil on the path they used to get to the pantry. Yes, I tried sealing the hole but they got through. However, they stopped at the toothpick, ate and left. I’m happy to say they moved on. Next summer I will have a jar of non-organic off brand, not extra virgin, inexpensive coconut oil waiting on them.

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What’s up with me?

I’m glad you asked. 

But first, here is a quick recap. I’m the mom of four children that I lovingly refer to as the Fantastik4. Their ages are 17, 15, 11 and 10. I have three boys and the 15 year old is a girl. 

Moving on…

I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to try Whole30. I have wanted to try this for a while but with four kids it’s a little difficult to make a radical eating change, even though it’s temporary, and stick to it if the entire household is not one one accord. I waited until the younger three of the Fantastik4 went to visit their dad for two weeks. I wanted to do this for me, not us and I wanted to be successful. I’m on day 20. 

Because I haven’t done everything 100% according to the plan, I’m extending the time beyond 30 days. Restaurant fries and ketchup became my stumbling block one or maybe two days. I love french fries. That’s my confession. I’ve done well other wise. 

The other thing I’ve been doing is contemplating my next steps towards helping others live a healthier life. One day I met a nutritionist/ personal trainer in the grocery store. She was passing out flyers for a boot camp that was paired with nutrition counseling. As she gave me her sales pitch she said, “The real thing I’m selling is nutrition counseling but people believe working out is the key to weight loss so I’ve put the two together.”

I’m going a step further and saying the key to “whole life wellness” is a combination of many things including healing our bodies with oils, nutrition, drinking clean water, exercise, supplements, as well as the reduction to chemical exposure. 

Every year for the last 10 years or so I’ve eliminated or added things to our lives to improve the short long term quality of life for us. We have a strong history of cancer in my family. In an effort to reduce if not eliminate the chances of developing the horrible disease I knew I needed to make lifestyle changes. I wanted to make them gradually because I didn’t want an uprising in my home. Since I purchase everything we eat and all products we use I have the obligation and duty to make good choices for my family. I’m not 100% where I’d like to be but I’m well on my way. 

This is my invitation to you to join me on a journey to wellness. The portion I’d like to help you with is using essential oils

I became a Young Living Oil (YLO) distributor almost two years ago. I did it for my family as part of our journey to wellness. I also became s a distributor for the 24% discount off of the retail price on the products. I told my cousin about my desire to begin sharing my love for essential oils a few weeks ago and I’m pretty sure I offended her because I usually tell her everything but had not shared this information. I honestly don’t know why it never occurred to me. But I told her then and I’m inviting you now. Let’s walk or jog or interval run together towards a goal of wellness. 

I’m in the process of creating my website for YLO where I will share my personal experience, videos on when and how to use the products as well as highlights of various oils and their benefits. I will also share information about research I’ve found and post suggestion concerning nutrition, exercise, supplements etc. that will make our journey to wellness successful. 

Here is a link if you’re ready to signup with Young Living Oil. 

Click here 

Or email me for questions. I’ll even share my discount with you. 

Be well and be whole. 

RSVP aka Let Me Know Either Way

Have you read the news articles about people billing guests who no show? Yes, you read me right. If you said you were going to attend an event then don’t show up you might receive a bill in the mail for your portion. When I first read about this I was slightly appalled but I understand.

A few months ago, while working for a caterer, I was asmugness a weekday wedding. They were expecting 75 guests. Thirty minutes after the start time only 30 people had shown up. They decided not to wait any longer. I looked into the bride’s eyes and could see her disappointment and sadness. But the show or wedding in this case, must go on. The staff watched from the window. It was really heartbreaking. There were so many empty seats during the ceremony. Most of the attendees were in the wedding.

It seems like no big deal in the surface. They still got married. They were served a wonderful plated meal. The DJ was playing great dancing music. It was  memorable evening minus about 45 guests. That was 45 people who said yes to the invitation. That was 45 people who were to receive a slice of cake that costs upwards of $5.00 per slice. That’s 45 people who would have received a party favor. That’s 45 people who would have received the appetizers and plated meal served by the hourly paid staff. That is 45 people who did not update their RSVP the week of the wedding so the couple could update the caterer who would have bought, prepared and transported less foods as well as scheduled less staff.

Recently, my daughter and I planned her first cookie/ ornament exchange. Out of 15 invitations I received two regrets but no RSVPs to me. A few of the girls said they would attend but their parents, their rides, the purchasers of the ornaments or cookie dough ingredients never responded. I cancelled the event. My daughter was extremely disappointed. She said to me, “RSVPing is old school. Nobody does that any more.” Well baby girl if they plan to come to an event at my house then I need to hear from the adult. How do I know how much food to prepare? How do I know how many crafts to purchase? How do I plan for an unspecified number of people?

Why have we become so lackadaisical? In this age of technology it takes less than a couple of minutes to send a text, FB message, tweet, snap chat or old school e-mail to say yes or no. Notice I didn’t say phone call because that really is old school. I understand we are all busy and have things to do that are important and high priority. But so is an RSVP. You don’t need to provide an explanation. But an answer or a status update is requested.

Would I ever send a bill to the inconsiderate no shows? (Yes, I know emergencies occurs.) I’m not sure that I would. Is it petty to charge no shows? I don’t know.

For the people who don’t RSVP and show up anyway, why do you think that’s okay?

Give Thanks

Today I am thankful for you. You survived another day or night. You chose life or life chose you. You opened your home or decided to travel to someone else’s to share this day and moment with someone else. I’m thankful that you are serving those without food to eat. I’m thankful there is food for you to eat. I’m thankful that the struggle hasn’t taken you out. I’m thankful you have overcome the struggle. Im thankful for those who give and for those who receive. I’m thankful for those who are surrounded by love even if that love is eminating from within. I’m thankful that you escaped or have a plan or have a dream to leave. Im thankful that you stayed and everything is working out. I’m thankful for your new relationships as well as your tried and true ones. I’m thankful you found a place to lay your head. I’m thankful for the company you started, the employees you hired and for the economic difference you will make. I’m thankful you accepted the job, quit your job or sent another resume. I’m thankful that you still have a glimmer of hope in the midst of despair. I’m thankful your life is overflowing with favor. I’m thankful for my children, family, friends, coworker’s and you who stopped by to read my blog. My thankfulness extends beyond today. I was thankful for you yesterday and will be thankful for you tomorrow. Virtual hugs, pat on the back or just a warm smile to you.

I Am My Mother’s Child

There is nothing that brings you to the reality of your life like a court ordered social study. If you read March 5, 2014 then you know that the ex husband decided to have me served. Somewhere along the way he decided he wanted 50/50 custody of the kids.

He remarried about three years ago. He moved into her house with her and her two children. No big deal right? Her house is 23 miles away from my house. The same house I intentionally selected because it was less than 7 miles from his door to my door. My goals in selecting a house were a good school district, a sense of community and not far from their dad. I never wanted him to feel like his children were to far away. But then he moved. Our youngest were attending a charter school that was in another city  about five miles from my house. I made the decision to move them to the zoned school in our district. He was not happy about my choice and he said I was moving them further from him so he hired an attorney and I was served.

Back to the social study. After several months of court dates, attorney’s fees and tension between us the judge ordered a social study as requested by the ex.

A social study is conducted by a social worker. They have you fill out pages and pages of documents listing everything that has happened in your life. It’s your autobiography. This document is scrutinized and judged by the social worker. They come to your house and interview everybody who lives there. They walk through your home taking notes on everything from the items on your refrigerator, safety of the neighborhood and overall opinion of your home. The social worker also interviews friend, doctors, teachers and family members.

The document… Geez… The document. It took me several days to fill out the document. For me, it was the equivalent of standing naked in front of strangers who had magnifying glasses and were intent on viewing every flaw. It was hard. As I said it was an autobiography of my life. The questions were invasive and at times difficult for me to answer. You see, I am like many of you, I have tucked the disappointments and heartaches of my childhood away in a place that I don’t like to visit. But here in this document I was asked about things I don’t like to discuss with close friends let alone a stranger.  But I answered honestly.

After a few weeks I received the results of the social study. This was the document she would present to the judge. The judge would use this document to assist with his final ruling. As I read her report I cried. I cried because here was a stranger summarizing my life in a 15-20 page document.

My life  started out as a potentially tragic story. I was born the youngest of three. My mother was about 21 when I was born and had birthed a total of three children in less than four years. She was the true definition of a single mom. My father was around but he wasn’t present. My mother worked very hard to provide for us but she wasn’t home with us. I was molested as a child. I started drinking as a teenager and drugs, although I did not partake, were readily available.

I continued to cry as I read the document. My ex husband’s life looks wonderful on paper. He grew up in a two parent household. He has one brother and they had a dog. His mom stayed home for the most part and his father was an engineer. He was raised in a Christian home. He and his new wife both had stellar up bringing. They are the ideal American family when you read about them. As I continued to read and cry, I was sure I had lost. How and why would anybody in their right mind select me over them? As I reached the last couple of pages I realized I had been holding my breathe. There were about ten numbered items. These were the things the judge wanted to know. This was her final assessment. This would affect the decision of the court

Why is this article titled as it is? Because after reading her summary of my life I went back and rewrote my life story. I needed to add in the side notes and I needed to understand my life from the view point of a young twenty something raising three kids on her own. I needed perspective. I needed to understand that the social worker’s summary was not the final say on my life. Through tears and fears I read my life story to three friends of mine. I felt the need to say the words out loud. In front of people who love me. We are often judged by our past. We judge others based upon their past. But I realized that I’m more than my childhood. Like my mother, I am an overcomer. Our stories don’t read the same but the common thread is do the best you can and overcome obstacles.

The social worker’s assessment was in my favor. My children are still with me the majority of the time and I changed their schools. I don’t hold a grudge with the ex.

Write your own story. Statistics and opinions do not have the final say. Write your own story and release  hope. I rewrote mine and am confidant when I say I’m an overcomer and my mother’s child.

I’m Better Than That

This is Random Chic.

She may not have been born by the river but she’s cried a river of tears. 

She didn’t create laughter but she loves it like its her own. 

She did not give birth to love but she unconditionally loves the four she gave birth to.

She is who she is today but not who she was yesterday. 

(It’s not G like most of my postings. There is one word)

I hope you enjoy.

Happy Anniversary to Me

It has been a long time since I’ve written anything. The weeds had taken over my site and caution or wisdom or fear has taken over my creativity. But I’m back.

I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been gone. Some things I’ll talk about in the weeks to come.

There are certain events that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I remember the birth of each of my children. I remember my three graduations. I completed my masters degree in August. I remember making the drill team in high school and crossing over in my sorority. I remember my wedding day and looking into the eyes of my friends and family as I walked down the stairs. But today I celebrate the day my divorce was finalized.

It wasn’t actually on this day, it was March 18, 2010.

After two years of going to court, arguing at home (we lived in the same house during those two years) and trying to keep it together for the kids, my life changed for what I consider the best half decade of my life.

Happy fifth anniversary to me.

A life time of things can happen in five years. It wasn’t easy. I cried a lot in the beginning. Divorce is like a death. It was the death of dream, a hope, a promise and so many other things. I mourned my past, my current and my future. It was life altering to say the least.

My days and nights are completely different than they were before the divorce. My prayer was to make it through the day with out a major or even minor argument. I lived in self-doubt and solitude. Nobody knew the depth of my sorrows. I hid it quite well. I’m sure my eyes told the story and the smile that never found its way to my lips spoke loud and clear.

But today, I’m celebrating. I’m not having anything formal or doing anything special but in my heart I’m celebrating. I’m celebrating the new me. I didn’t get plastic surgery or buy the Jaguar I’ve always wanted but I have more peace than I’ve ever had. When I say ever, I mean ever. I work for a great company. I have wonderful supportive family and friends and the loves of my life are healthy, growing and thriving. What else is there? 

I wake up in the morning expecting to have a great day and go to bed thankful. 

Happy anniversary to me!