Sowing Seeds Botanicals

If you have ever met my mother, you know that she is one of the most driven, passionate, and creative people on the planet.  She has combined these traits with her love of natural beauty and a desire to help families fundraise with her latest brainchild: Sowing Seeds Botanicals!

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I am the lucky guinea pig for many of these great items and I have to say, I love everything I’ve tried.  If you have been searching for a homemade, natural alternative for any of your home, beauty, or hygiene needs, look no further! Scents are customizable, as are certain ingredients.  Each item is made to order to guarantee freshness.  Here’s some of my favorites:

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LUSCIOUS LIP BALM- I’m currently working on a tube of Cotton Candy, but she just made a fresh batch of Chocolate and it smells like you could eat it!  Very smooth, melts right on to your lips.  Yum!

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BODY BUTTER CUBE- So luxurious.  These are the perfect size to fit in your hand. Could be used as a massage bar, too 😉

DEODORANT- as green as can be, and full of things that heal and support your skins natural functions- they don’t clog them up! No parabens, triclosan, aluminum, propylene glycol, or any other gross thing thats probably in your normal tube of deo.  Give it a shot!

100_100_csupload_54991778FELTED SOAP- I personally think these are amazing.  No mess, gently exfoliating, and they smell delicious.  A great conversation starter, too- that is, if you have conversations in the bathroom. Okay, so it’s a great gift!

100_74_csupload_54991450SUGAR SCRUB- I am an exfoliaholic.  I love to exfoliate.  I have naturally dry skin that gets flaky in the winter, and this sugar scrub is packed full of natural scrubby bits and decadent moisturizing oils that will leave skin soft and smooth.

The best part of the vision for Sowing Seeds Botanicals is the desire to give back.  My parents’ passion is adoption, and if you are looking to adopt or know someone who is, SSB would love to help you fundraise and make it happen!  Use the email form on the site to contact Kelly and get started 🙂

Book Review: “Half the Sky”

PrintA few weeks ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the 2013 Justice Conference, held in Philadelphia, PA.  I’ve been wanting to attend this event for several years, and was incredibly grateful for the scholarship that helped me get there.  The Lord knew it was what I needed at that time- an awakening, and an inspiration.

Having attended a Christian university filled with young, enthusiastic activists and having worked in the social justice/nonprofit field for some time now, I can see in retrospect a numbness that crept into my heart and stole my fire- one that couldn’t link statistics to individuals, one that had heard all of the horror stories, one that silently acknowledged that there would always be problems, and there was only so much we could do.  It was a numbness that was comfortable knowing the “sound bite” of an issue, feeling informed by a radio broadcast, but not knowing the depths of an issue or the nuances of what it would take to properly address them.  The Justice Conference, however, rekindled the call in my heart to the work of justice and the desire I once had to be informed and to be a voice for those who may not have a voice- and to speak well on their behalf, in a way that would truly benefit them, not just inject western culture into their lives in a way that would be harmful.

One of the many speakers to grace the stage was the captivating Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner and wife of NY Times’ Nick Kristof.  As with each speaker, she spoke of a specific injustice taking place in the world today- her speech was focused on injustices towards women, as she chronicles in her and her husband’s recent book, Half the Sky. As she eloquently engaged the audience in her stories of horror and hope from around the world, I knew that my next step would be to read her book- so I did!

The journey that reading Half the Sky has taken me on in the past week has been one that I will never forget- I don’t think I will ever look at the world the same way.  To think about the 100 million women who are missing from today’s population because of forced/coerced abortion, infanticide, genocide, spousal abuse, malnutrition based on gender preference, and honor killings breaks my heart.  Stories of young girls being tricked into sex slavery and trafficked far away from their home haunt me each time I see a small child. To read the studies that detail the power that putting funding into girl’s education in Asia could have, or even the difference that something as menial as iodizing salt could make, is infuriating and confusing.  To read about the millions women who are sentenced to be ostracized as pariahs because of fistulas that form during unattended births makes me almost as sad as thinking of the one woman- every MINUTE- that dies in childbirth, almost always from an entirely preventable, common complication.  The young girls forced into genital mutilation.  The women who must ask their alcoholic husbands for permission to leave their homes. There is so much more- and so much work to be done.

I really appreciated the honesty that the book brings to the table, especially in chronicling US foreign aid.  While certain efforts are celebrated, others are questioned, all when appropriate.  Stories of aid efforts failed are told alongside of brilliant plans to support cultures, giving the reader a deeper, more holistic understanding of the issue of injustice towards women. The most effective part, however, is that WuDunn and Kristof tell real stories of real women in the book- stories that you will remember and that will come alongside you in your journey to understand this issue.

If you read one book this year, make it this one.  Just as racial injustice didn’t see any measurable improvement until the public banded together and put pressure on governments and cultural norms, so will be the fight against gender injustice.  This fight will not be won by  quoting soundbites, but by understanding the issues on an intimate level and being able to articulate the problems and possible solutions in the most informed way possible.  Don’t settle for knowing the surface of the horror that millions of women around the world face.  Know their names, let them make a difference in your heart, and join the fight.

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There is also a “Half the Sky” documentary series available on PBS and Netflix.  I haven’t seen it yet but I am thinking about holding a screening- let me know if you would be interested!

The World’s Worst Cold Season

Hi, friends!

It goes without saying how sad I am that I literally haven’t posted a blog in over a month. This blog is therapeutic for me- a way to process what I am learning, share what I am passionate about and, yes, release a bit of frustration sometimes. Well, that frustration has certainly come to a head in the past weeks because it seems that myself and everyone I know is sick! Seeing this, I thought I would share some steps you can take to prevent and combat the common cold when it has you down and out.

About three weeks ago, I came down with the worst cold I have ever had- I was like a walking Nyquil commercial. I had a sore throat, itchy eyes, terrible sinus congestion, couldn’t sleep as a result, it was just awful. Never had I come down with such a stereotypically miserable cold. It just so happened that I was co-Music Director for that weekend’s Chrysalis Retreat, and the one thing I was dreading was beginning to happen- losing my voice. Well, I made it through- and here are some of the tricks I used to keep my voice and my sanity during those stuffy days:

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Medicinal Teas. My two go-tos were both from Traditional Medicinals: Gypsy’s Cold Care and Throat Coat. Spoiler alert- they both taste kind of awful, but they are both very effective. Gypsy’s lessens general cold symptoms as well as cutting down on the duration of the cold, while Throat Coat is particularly useful if you are prone to laryngitis whenever you get sick, like me. There are mixed views on using Throat Coat when you are sick- especially if your throat issues are sinus related, it can sometimes make you produce more mucus in an attempt to lubricate the throat. Bottom line- use your best judgement. Don’t use it for the first time before a big performance unless you know how your body will react.

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Honey. So much of it. Raw and local is best. Over the course of the Chrysalis weekend, I downed close to a two pound bottle of raw honey (a lot of this in attempts to cover the taste of the Throat Coat tea!). Honey is an antiseptic and a lubricant, which helps both coat and heal your throat.

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Neti pot or other sinus rinse. Yes, this is uncomfortable at first, but you are not only removing excess mucus, but neutralizing PH and flushing out any germs and allergens in your nasal passages. I was doing this upwards of 4x a day when my cold was at its worst.

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BLOW your NOSE. I can’t emphasize this enough! Keep tissues with you all the time- Target sells really cute little ’tissue wallets’ that I should by stock in. The more you can get that stuff out, the better off you are going to feel. Sniffing and swallowing (gross, I know) is only going to keep you sick. It can even give you an upset stomach. Just don’t let it happen.

-Sleep sitting up. Not completely, but prop two or three pillows under your head to keep post-nasal drip at bay. It sicks but you will probably end up sleeping better than you would have originally.

-Check out your environment. We recently discovered a lovely mold infestation in our closet- no wonder we are staying sick forever! Make sure that you don’t have a culprit hiding somewhere…

-Healing baths. This can help any type of sickness- taking a hot bath is like having a self-induced fever- your body temperature rises and your body’s immune responses are heightened, which helps fight off germs. Adding helpful herbs like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary can aid in clearing congestion. If you don’t have a bath tub, put some essential oils in the corner of your shower and inhale in the steam!

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-Steam inhalations– these are my favorite! Boil a pot of water, pour it into a bowl and add some essential oils (eucalyptus is the most effective). Form a tent over your head with a towel and inhale! Have tissues ready because this can work very quickly! I like to do this after I do a sinus rinse- it leaves me clear and feeling good.

-Supplements. Vitamin C is a given, but Vitamin D is also proven to help ward off sickness! Echinacea is an easy-to-find herb that is a powerhouse for strengthening the immune system. It is often paired with Goldenseal. Green tea and other antioxidant-rich supplements will help, too!

-Eat foods that will help your body heal. Focus on getting a plant-based, whole foods diet especially when you are sick. Get away from the processed foods! Dairy especially is a big hindrance to healing and makes you produce more mucus. Red meats take more energy for your body to digest, which pulls energy away from the healing process. Juices are great when you are sick, because they are chock full of nutrients but easy to digest- letting your body focus all of it’s energy on healing! Garlic and Onions are two foods that are especially good for mucus cleansing. Ideally- a whole foods vegan diet. I know it’s hard, but do your best!

-Get your rest. If you are run down, so is your immune response. Get enough sleep and take care of your body, it will take care of you!

Wishing you a health and energy this cold season,

Karli