July 9, 2014

America, Saving Private Ryan, and Thoughts

I love America. I've always loved America. I always will love America. There is something about America that makes me feel like I need to be a better person. I'm not talking about pop-culture-entitlement-miley-cyrus-twerking America. I'm talking about the REAL America. The America that believes in principles like honor and integrity, service and duty, courage and sacrifice.

America has a deep place in my heart. When I think of America, I feel like joining Patrick Henry in exclaiming, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Ahh... America, one of my greatest loves.

One pivotal moment in my life came from, in fact, a movie. I don't remember when I first saw it, but at some point in my teenage years I watched "Saving Private Ryan." I remember hearing that it was the most realistic movie ever made (or at least the beach landing scene was), so I was intrigued. There were a couple of sequences and scenes that had a profound impact for me.

I don't think anyone who has seen the movie can forget the beach landing sequence at the beginning of the movie. It was just... sad. Some men walking around with limbs blown off. Other men with their guts hanging out, screaming for their mothers. Men being shot. Men being blown up. Men fighting for their lives. I have deep, somber feelings just thinking about it.

Side note: I remember watching it with someone who was laughing during parts of the beach landing scene -- particularly when a bullet is deflected off a man's helmet, he takes his helmet off in shock, then he's shot in the head. How incredibly disrespectful and pathetic. Sometimes, movies are made to accurately tell the story (even if Hollywood still adds a little "Hollywood" to it). Laughing in movies like "Saving Private Ryan" or "Black Hawk Down" or "Lone Survivor" when men are being killed and maimed is completely disrespectful to the men who actually lived it (and to their families and widows). Have a little respect.

Later in the movie, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks' character) is talking to a couple members of his squad. He tells them that, back home, he is a high school teacher. He also tells them of his hope to return home to his wife.

I remember watching this scene for the first time and thinking about his wife and all of the other wives and mothers of men who would not return home. How were their lives affected? What were their feelings when their home was approached by a pair of servicemen? What was it like to pull down the blue star flag to replace it with a gold star flag?

This impacted me because it made it real. WWII veterans were no longer old patriotic guys with hats who served in a war a long time ago. They were men who left their homes to serve their country. They were husbands, brothers, sons, uncles. They were schoolteachers and office workers and car mechanics. They weren't superheroes, and yet, they were. They were Americans and they were, in fact, the Greatest Generation.

After watching "Saving Private Ryan," I kept having the similar thoughts over and over again:

"If they went through all of that and they were just normal people serving their country, then I have to do SOMETHING."

"I can't let them go through that without doing something to honor them."

"Their lives cannot be lost in vain."

For me, I simply could not ignore what they had done and go on living my life as an American who has done nothing to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. So "Saving Private Ryan" had a great impact on my life and my decision to enlist in the military. I could go into details about all of the reasons I decided to enlist, but I'll save that for another post, another time.

God bless America!

July 4, 2014

Germany - Part 1

Phil, Emerson and I were blessed to be able to go to Germany for a month from May 19th to June 18th. There has been something about Heavenly Father's timing that has really been impacting my life lately. It's been one of those times of clarity when the Lord is showing me the how many of the random puzzle pieces of my seemingly chaotic, non-purposeful life, start to fit together and make some sense. In turn giving me greater perspective, meaning and purpose.

I lived in Germany off and on for an accumulation of nearly 5 years after I graduated high school. I loved my time there, I loved the culture, the language, the FOOD.. ohhh the food, and chocolate, the history, the beauty, but most of all the people I had built friendships with. When I left to come home I had left a piece of my heart there. I had never really had the chance to say goodbye to many of the people whom I had known, many of whom were like mother, father, brother and sister roles to me while I was there. It was always in my desire to return and to show whomever I would marry my beloved country of Germany and treasured city of Frankfurt am Main.

When I married Phil and had Emerson so quickly after we got married I never thought I'd be able to take him to visit for a very long time. I had never thought it plausible with us both in school and with a blossoming family. Yet, four months ago we met a family, a beautiful family, the McLeans, from Alabama who are ALL about dreams. Little did I know that meeting them would in turn make one of my dreams come true and set our life on a course that has the potential to change many, many things for us and our future.

Monique McLean is the founder of the Lemon Dropper Young Living membership team. She came to Utah with her family and other Lemon Droppers in March to visit and teach a few classes on essential oils and meet up with current Lemon Droppers in the area. Phil's dad had met her at the corporate offices one day and after work came over to visit Emerson. During his visit he told Phil about this team that was really 'doing things right' for their members and helping equip people with a knowledge of and love for Young Living essential oils.

For the first time ever Phil was impressed and knew that this team really dispelled a lot of the bad approaches that a lot of Network-marketing companies and distributors do, and do horribly, and reeeally turn people off to network marketing. Though, there was just something about the Lemon Droppers that really appealed to Phil and he came to me with huge enthusiasm and said, "you HAVE to do this," literally as he was writing an email to Monique from my computer on my behalf. I exclaimed, "but you hate network marketing Phil, we both do!" He retorted, "No, THESE people are doing it right! Let's DO this!" For the first time ever I was the one talking Phil out of joining a network marketing group... a company that his own father has worked for, for over 5 years. It was all very strange to me, but the more I learned the more I really desired to be a part of it.

We decided that we would jump ALL IN, take the summer off of school and start our journey with Young Living and create Drop Talk as a platform to be able to talk about our experiences with the oils and share some of the insights we've learned from Phil's dad about the science, testing and distillation of oils, particularly Frankincense, because he literally is one of the world's experts with Frankincense oil. I'd been using the oils for over a year but never thought I'd actively share them with anyone other than family. It just wasn't my thing. I have a higher tendency to be an introvert, aside from really desiring to make friends and serve others, at times the artist in me would rather keep what I love to myself, go to school, do what I do and just paint and do projects here and there... yes, very selfish thinking, I know.

So two weeks after we as a couple decided to jump in, Monique posted that she was looking for anyone who had any connections to Germany or the United Kingdom. Oh, well, funny enough, I most certainly do. So I messaged her at the off chance that she would even consider anything I had to offer and her only response was, "Oh wow. Ok. We need to chat ASAP! Maybe tomorrow. I have some free time. Got a plan for that. Ummmm. This could be Huge!" So immediately my hopeful heart gets beating and my mind start imagining the biggest thing I could intake at the time. Germany... what if she means to send us to Germany?

Over the course of the next few weeks Monique and I were in touch and talking about expanding the Lemon Dropper approach over to Europe and helping those already there to gain some momentum. Europe has very few members despite Young Living having a farm in France and head quarters in England. Essential oils particularly from YL have incredible potential for expansion there as the oil lifestyle and natural remedies are already something the Europeans are living and doing. Homeopathic treatment is the norm and the stigma about them is almost non existent there. Because of Young Living's seed to seal quality control it's very easy for many to see the value in using YL oils versus store bought oils that are available there. There's a huge difference in perfume grade oils that are used for soaps and pleasant aroma, versus medical-grade theraputic quality oils that are even safe for ingestion. (But that's a whole lot of story for another day.)

Anyway, plans started expanding and the more we spoke on the phone or through message, the more likely it looked like she was serious about taking us with her and her family to the UK and Germany. She set up a Facebook group for me and another Lemon Dropper from Alabama (who originally planned to go with us) to help with the planning for the European tour. While we all contributed to the planning, because I wasn't very busy due to being such a newbie and they both were busy with other obligations, travel and accommodating their teams. Over April and the beginning of May I got hit with a lot of questions and "secretarial" type work. I decided to just take the reigns since I was the only one who'd actually been to Germany for an extended amount of time and start scheduling meeting times and places for classes, basically trying to earn my stripes for this great possibility of going there.

The contract for our apartment was ending and the need to finalize our plans of where we were going to live and if we were actually going to go to Europe were approaching. Everything was mostly solidified but we still had not finalized tickets and dates for departure to and from. Because of their hectic schedule it was tricky getting a hold of Monique to get some logistics worked out and Phil and I were getting nervous because we did not have a place to move to at the time, assuming we were flying to Europe, we planned that we would put our stuff in storage until we got back and figure out residence at that point. Meanwhile Phil's parents were looking to move and had in their mind that we could move into their old home if they were able to find something.

Emerson and I had applied for new passports, as well as the other Lemon Dropper and her son who were going to join us. As time drew closer for the date we had talked about leaving Emerson and I had received our passports and she and her son still had not. Turns out that apparently the passport offices had not turned in her application, or it got lost or something, and their passes would not get there in enough time for them to be able to go. She was sad but also relieved because the timing of it would have not been right for her.

By the skin of our teeth everything for our tickets were finalized the week we began moving out from our apartment. Phil's parents had found a home and in turn we no longer had to search for apartments to move into upon our return. We really were going to get on a plane as a family and fly to Germany with many adventures awaiting us...

 ...to be continued...

July 2, 2014

How I lost the Baby Weight Questions Answered

I got a bunch of questions from my last post so I decided to just do a video to answer more on HOW I used Young Living Essential Oils and other products to lose the baby weight and get down to less than I was in high school. I'm still blown away at how effective they were for me!

If you have any more questions let me know at droptalkers@gmail.com