A Visit to Young Living Academy


A Visit to Young Living Academy

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Young Living Farm in Chongon, Ecuador where we grow several plants used in our essential oils – Ylang Ylang, Ecualyptus Blue, Dorado Azul, Oregano, and more. It was amazing to see the Seed to Seal process in action once again. This is the fourth Young Living Farm I have personally visited. However, what struck me more on this trip was a visit to the Young Living Academy.

Young Living Academy was started because D. Gary Young saw the poor conditions of the local neighborhood school. He purchased land close to that small school without bathrooms and built a new school that now has 290 students, expanding to 350 next year.

Young Living Academy

The Young Living Academy has been expanded to include a preschool and a high school for the children of Chongon, Ecuador. Students cultivate their own organic garden that contributes to their healthy, organic lunches; participate in soccer, baseball, volleyball, dance, music, chess, and drama clubs; and participate in student council.  

Only 25% of high school seniors graduate from public school in Chongon – but not at the Young Living Academy (100% of enrolled seniors will graduate)! It was incredible to see. The new high school is is pictured above. The lives of underprivileged children in the Chongon neighborhood are being changed – FOREVER.

Just over a year ago our family took sponsorship of a child who attends school at the Young Living Academy – Benjamin. I chose him because he was the same age as my youngest (five). Well, we had the chance to meet him and it was powerful and emotional and something I will never forget.

Us with Benjamin

He was in shock over the American football, school supplies, toys, and humongous backpack we brought him – he hugged my husband for nearly 1 minute and would not let go! I was taking video of it all – my husband did a great job trying to communicate with him even with the language barrier.

Another Young Living member brought along some tattoos and all the kids were waiting for them, so I joined in the assembly line and helped place tattoos on those little ones. They were thrilled.

Putting on Tattoos

This was a highlight for me – pure joy to do something so simple but meant the world to these kids.

They treated us to a music program, food, games, and tours – something they had been looking forward to for a year.

I can say for me, it is a critical part of who I am to be part of something that gives back to the community. For the last 20 years and counting, Young Living has a vision to improve our global community and philanthropic work has always been close to the hearts of founders D. Gary and Mary Young. I am the one blessed to be part of an organization helping with improving the health and wellness of families but also making a difference worldwide in much bigger ways.

My heart was so full – blessing these children, seeing their smiles and joy was priceless. So when you purchase oils and become a member with Young Living, please know you are part of a huge family giving back to make the world a better place.

Here is a video about one child that has been impacted by the Young Living Academy.

“Salomón Francisco Olivarque is among the many young people who attend Young Living’s education program in Chongón, Ecuador. In comparison to his previous school, which Salomón says did not provide meaningful educational experiences, Young Living Academy has become like a second home to the 14-year-old boy. In this video, see how the efforts of the Young Living Foundation and generous sponsors change the lives of children in this underserved area.”

Watch the Video Here

To learn more about becoming a member of Young Living, click here. For more information on the D. Gary Young Foundation, click here.

6 Ways to Nurture a Grateful Heart


6 Ways to Nurture a Grateful Heart

We all want to help our children grow to have grateful hearts, but I admit – it can be incredibly hard in our society. We have to try harder to block the excess and the “entitlement” attitude and allow tenderness and mercy to seep in. The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World by Amy McCready has been very helpful in opening my eyes and helping me find ways to parent more effectively in this area. 

As I journey through this “second” season of parenting again with a five year old, I am reminded of the little things I can do each day to help be intentional in teaching gratefulness.

Set the Right Example

I was convicted of this and have been more intentional in my speech. We want our children to say “please” and “thank you”, so shouldn’t we model that? How many parents do you see saying “thank you” to there two or three year old children? It is through example that kids learn best, and teaching gratitude is no different than anything else in that respect. Children do learn what they live.

Teach by Showing Them How to Be of Service to Others

Even something simple, such as holding a door for an elderly person, is a small way we can show them how others appreciate us and our actions. It is also a way to put a smile and a lift into a stranger’s day, which always creates a good feeling within the person who is doing the kind act as well. You would be surprised how many times a simple gesture like this can occur in your normal day-to-day activities, in places like grocery stores, school, or shopping trips.

Make a List

This is on my list to begin during our dinner time, creating a simple list of what each person is thankful for. During this Thanksgiving season you could even make this Thanksgiving Tree decoration to help visualoze all the things your family is thankful for.

Teach Gratitude While Going Without Things

What can your family go with out? Whether it is intentional or not, like losing power for a day, you can take opportunities to bring in some reality to how life is for those who are not as blessed as we are.

Show Them How to Be Thankful for the Little Things in Life

We can easily forget how the simple things really are things to be thankful for. Having food to eat all the time, friends to play with, and having plenty of toys and school supplies are items to truly appreciate. Kids have no concept, especially if having these things are normal and they have never been without.

Teach Them to See the Good in Someone They Don’t Like

This is one I need to be reminded of often – so when you are having to go through it yourself, it provides the perfect opportunity to share that with your child. Being an adult is hard – but being a kid these days can be just as difficult as we learn to respect others and respond to others in kindness. This is hard when they’ve been mistreated, I totally know that. We have had the opportunity to talk about situations that have happened and share how we can respond better and with God’s love rather than how our spirit wants to respond.

It is all about developing character. If we want our kids to grow up having grateful hearts, it all starts with us and how we portray that in our homes.

Praying for Your Children’s Love of God


Praying for Your Children's Love of God

As a parent who has journeyed through the stages of parenting full circle, this is by far one area that I have not been diligent enough in – praying for my children to LOVE GOD.

As I learn to train myself in new habits, I certainly want to pass along how you can impact your children in the most powerful way.

Often times we feel that we have all the power or control in how our children turn out. I have learned the exact opposite. Our energy is better spent praying and releasing control to Jesus rather than getting uptight and overworked on managing behavior and freaking out.

Do not get me wrong – it is our job to train our children – however I have found in my years of parenting, both as a married couple and as a single parent, I have not been as diligent in my handing over my children to God and His control as I could have been.

It is clear when you read the verses in the Bible about raising children that not only are we to pray for our children and pray for their love of God, but we are to also set a good example to our children. We want them to see what a Godly life is like, why it is good, and how to accomplish living such a life.

The example that Jesus Christ gave us is clear.

Jesus lived a life without sin, and was punished for our sins, so that we might live. What better example is that about how we should strive to live and be for our own children?

When Christ was dying on the cross, He prayed for the people. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is an example of how God would like us to pray for our own children. We can be in prayer that not only that our children grow to love God and appreciate His gift to us, but that they be forgiven for what they do not know. In addition, while we cannot be perfect like Jesus, we can strive to be like Jesus – living without sin as an example to our children.

When we falter, and we will, we can point out to our children that we are not perfect like Jesus was, but that we strive to be like Him. Jesus was love personified. He was full of love, slow to anger, compassionate, and gracious. This is what we, as parents, should strive to be like. I need constant forgiveness for my temper and lack of empathy with my children. I have received grace and one of the biggest life lessons my children can see is me asking them for forgiveness when I have sinned and become angry.

Love is easy when it comes to our children, but slow to anger is not as easy. But, that is how Jesus behaved and how we must strive to be, while praying that our children love God with all their might.

The thing is, if we set this example for our children there is no doubt that they will grow in love for Christ because they will see His true nature within your behavior and your actions. Your children are watching. When we can live out completely what we believe it is more impactful than any lecture, discussion, or consequence.

Celebrate Your Child’s Uniqueness


Celebrate Your Child's Uniqueness

Just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easy-going.

As a loving and nurturing parent, it’s your job to encourage your children to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities. During my seasons of raising biological children, a step-son, and now an adopted son, I have experienced how I need to help encourage each child to be their own self, instead of me directing how they should be.

I love these ideas for helping to keep me focused on creating individuals rather than molding them all to be like how I would see them.

Allow Individuality 

Allow your child to express themselves through their interests. They may find a creative outlet in theatre, dancing, or art, or they may be exceptionally talented in the sciences. Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy. Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being “like everyone else.”

Power of the Positive 

Teach your child to make positive choices, and praise them for good deeds, behaviors, and positive traits they possess. Be specific when identifying these things, rather than just general statements. Encourage them to become actively involved in their community, and introduce them to activities that promote a sense of cooperation and accomplishment.

Firm and Fair

Be firm yet fair when handing down discipline for misdeeds or misbehavior, and make certain the rules and consequences for breaking the rules are clearly defined. Show a cooperative, loving, and united front with your spouse when it comes to discipline.


Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

Mistakes Happen

And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same. Show your child how to make positive choices with the choices you make, and that nobody is perfect and you too make mistakes. Show your child that mistakes can be a great learning experience, and that they should not be ashamed or embarrassed about making them.

Birthday Party Etiquette Tips


Birthday Party Etiquette Tips

Kids’ birthday parties are lots of fun, but planning them can be somewhat stressful. There are decorations and favors to buy, refreshments to choose, and games to plan. For the guests, there are arrangements to make and gifts to buy.

Also, there are lots of etiquette issues to consider on both sides. Here are some birthday party etiquette tips to help you get through it all.

When Your Child is the Host

  • If you can invite some, but not all, of the children in your child’s class at school, mail the invitations or deliver them to their homes if possible. Doing so will save hurt feelings. If that is not possible, have your child give them to friends as discretely as possible, and tell your child to try to avoid talking with friends about the party at school.
  • Be as specific as possible on the invitations. If you want the parents to drop the child off, put the child’s name on the invitation. If a parent or sibling is welcome to come as well, add the words “and parent” or “and guest.”
  • If guests do not RSVP, feel free to call and ask politely if they are coming. It is their responsibility to let you know, but some people just don’t. Calling to find out one way or the other will make planning much easier.
  • Talk to your child before the party about their responsibilities as the host. Reinforce good manners and encourage your child to make sure that all of the guests are having a good time. If your child forgets to thank guests for their gifts, a gentle reminder should suffice.
  • Have extra food and favors on hand. An unexpected parent or sibling may show up, even if you were extremely clear about who was invited on the invitations. The best thing you can do is be prepared for this.
  • When the party is over, have your child write thank you notes. If your child is too young to write, he/she can help you by telling you which guest brought which gift or signing the cards. The idea is to show that it’s the right thing to do, even if your child is not capable of doing it all on his/her own yet.

When Your Child Is a Guest

  • Read the party invitation carefully to see whether the parents should stay or the child should be dropped off and whether the child is invited to bring a guest. If it is unclear, don’t be afraid to call the parents and ask.
  • Get your child to the party on time. If you’re dropping your child off, be back to pick them up on time too.
  • Refresh your child’s memory on the subject of good manners. Even the best mannered child in the world has a lapse every now and then. It doesn’t hurt to remind your child of the finer points.

There you go! Here’s to a great party season!