Monday, February 3, 2014

Neem Cream (for eczema)

We call this Neem Cream because it has neem oil in it. It's really more of a butter than a cream, but it gets melty when applied to the skin.

Eczema can be caused by environmental irritations or food allergies, so applying any kind of cream won't prevent more eczema patches from popping up. But essential oils can bring down inflammation and moisturizing is super important to keep it from getting worse.

Our son has nummular eczema (pink, dry patches), so we need something to moisturize and heal his skin regularly. Neem Cream has been a tremendous help! We apply it morning and night. It takes the inflammation down and prevents itching.

I used a couple different recipes to form this one. If you've never made your own skin creams, let me tell you -- it is so easy. And so worth it to know I am not putting any toxic or cancer-causing chemicals in my kid.

I use, trust, and highly recommend Young Living Essential Oils in this recipe. Since there are no regulations on the essential oil industry, oil companies can label their bottles "100% pure" while having added synthetic chemicals in them, and most do. In fact, they can have as little as three percent of the actual oil in them! Not only is this dishonest; it could actually make whatever you're treating worse.

So, especially when treating something like sensitive skin and eczema, I want to know our oils won't have chemicals in them that would make the eczema worse! Young Living is the only company out there that owns their own farms and distilleries. They control the whole process from seed to seal, and actually test each batch of oil to make sure it is 100% pure, therapeutic-grade oil. You can even visit their farms to see how they do it!

Lavender essential oil cleanses and soothes skin irritations, and frankincense essential oil is known to support skin health. For carriers I use castor oil and sweet almond oil, as well shea butter and cocoa butter which are extremely moisturizing. I also use neem oil, because of its ability to reduce inflammation, soothe, and heal the skin.

I tried some of this on my legs the other day and WOW smoothness! The skin just sucks this stuff up. So moisturizing and no greasy residue. If your children suffer from eczema and you'd prefer not to further irritate their little bodies, try whipping up some Neem Cream.

10 g neem oil
40 g shea butter
30 g cocoa butter
20 g castor oil
10 g sweet almond oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil

Measure out all ingredients (except essential oils). I use a kitchen scale for this.

Heat slowly in a double-boiler over medium heat until completely liquid.

Stir well and place in the freezer for five minutes. Beat with a whisk, adding in essential oils. Scrape down the bowl if needed, place in the freezer for five minutes, and beat again. Repeat this process one more time or until the oils appear opaque and creamy. Spoon mixture into a glass jar with a lid.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hoof Balm (Hand Cream)

Shane (whom I affectionately call "Moose") has very dry, rough hands. And feet. And knees. He's been using this HOOF BALM I made for him, and I can't believe how soft his hands are after using it!

All of the oils used here are very moisturizing, and there are no added synthetic chemicals. Lavender essential oil is really good for healing the skin, and for relaxation. Moose puts this on before bed and sleeps like a baby!

1/3 c sweet almond oil
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp grated beeswax
30 drops lavender essential oil

Heat almond, coconut, and olive oils in a double boiler over medium heat for about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in beeswax until completely melted. Refrigerate five minutes to begin cooling; stir and scrape down the bowl. (Refrigerate five more minutes if necessary.) Stir in essential oils. Pour cream into glass container to cool completely. Store at room temp. Use more/less beeswax for thicker/thinner consistency. A little goes a long way! Makes about 3/4 cup.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Three Ways to Defeat Self-Pity in the Pit of Humility

As previously stated, in the lowness of being humbled, my greatest enemy becomes Self-pity.

During the humbling, it SEEMS like the enemy is the pain or whatever is humbling me. But the real enemy is Self-pity which makes me too emotionally weak to handle the physical humility of pain.

So far there are three ways I know of to counterattack Self-Pity.

The first one is drugs. Whether synthetic like prescription anti-depressants or herbal like oils and foods, drugs are a common and popular remedy for Self-Pity.

It's a fallen world and wait till you are brought low; you will see your need for outside help.

Another one is thanking God. There is always something for which to thank Him. If it is true that he gives us grace upon grace, there is some gift, even in the pit. We must become seekers of these gifts so we can be thankful. In the midst of pain, I need to fix my mind on things above that I actually HAVE so that I am not consumed by what I don't have. Specific gifts, like a pillow. Or God's presence. Consciously naming these gifts keeps my mind swimming in what I DO have, thereby keeping me in a state of thankfulness.

You just cannot be thankful and self-pitiful at the same time.

The third counterattack on Self-Pity is company. Not in a "misery loves company" kind of way, where you sit with a friend and complain and wallow and be negative together. I'm talking about people entering into the pit of humility with you in one way or another. Hugs are the fastest way to do this, but sometimes with pain, physical touch can make it worse or more nauseating. One time a friend just held my hand. Another friend just sat in the room with me.

Now being an introvert, I have never craved hugs or company. In fact, I considered those things kind of shallow and unnecessary. I am prone to think, "Leave me alone so I can get through this and get back to you as my strong self again." But God does not leave me unchanged in this pit... Looking back, those times when friends have seen me in pain and just lingered there with me, those were simple yet life-changing moments. They were some of the best (worst) times I have had in the pit. Their encouraging words were heard at the most crucial time, when I was the most vulnerable.

You see, that is just what Love does. He comes down. Right into the muck.

Last month I had some lengthy times in the pain pit, and Shane asked me what I needed most. To my own astonishment, I said, "I just want people to hug me! Just BE with me. But for crying out loud don't just LEAVE me here like this!" (Then I thought, what is happening to me?! And this blog post was born...)

Being humbled, that's what's happening to me. Low to the earth. Humus. Human. I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I need hugs. When someone hugs me, I physically receive love. In that moment, the hugger is physically with me in the low, humilifying pit.

Here is the thing about having company in the pit. Self-pity thrives on aloneness. It tries to get you to say, "No one understands." But in the moment of being hugged, or visited, you are no longer alone in your experience. Someone has chosen to enter that darkness and they have understood -- to an extent -- for a moment. You may feel sorry for yourself, but when a person willingly enters that pit to be with you, you can no longer say, "Poor me. No one understands me."

You can only say, "I am loved, even in this pit."