Debra Raybern’s Testimony: “The Widowed Mother”

Enjoy and be encouraged by this success testimony by my dear friend and essential oil/nutrition mentor (and co-author of “Nutrition 101: Choose Life!”) Debra Raybern. I am SO thankful that the Lord connected me to Debra 8 years ago as an answer to prayer. She has impacted my family’s lives in so many ways. I am blessed to be her friend and in her Young Living team. I love her BIG heart to help others, AND I am so thankful that God is using her on a worldwide stage in the world of network marketing to give HIM glory!

It’s official!

Well, it is official. My brother Jonathan resigned his job as a highschool basketball coach to join my sister-in-love, Laura Collins Hopkins (Young Living Platinums), full-time in their Young Living business. Wow…. just wow…. what one drop of oil can do to change your life and the life of others…

I am totally crying right now as this is so bitter-sweet as my brother is such a great man of God and coaching basketball (and teaching high school math) was never just a job to him. He has truly been a mentor to those young men in so many ways. He left a successful career with great pay at a big school in Houston 7 years ago to follow the Lord’s calling to a much smaller school in a small east Texas town to coach basketball and teach math with less pay to mentor young men to greatness… a ministry and calling… and now God has called him to join Laura in ministry to others in their physical, emotional and spiritual health… setting the captives free… together. Wow… I love you both!!! And I am SO excited to see what the Lord has planned for you and for those you minister to… may the love of God and the power of the blood of Jesus flow through you and impact lives around the world for His glory in BIG ways that you could never ask or imagine!!!

And for those of you sharing Young Living essential oils with family members who are VERY skeptical (like my brother was)… never give up… trust the Lord… because someday, they might be VERY oily and healthy and speaking to hundreds and hundreds of people and helping others learn how to use their YLEOs and grow successful Young Living businesses! :)

http://thrivensity.com/2014/02/23/a-heavy-heart/

Hopkins Family Pic

2014 Winter Harvest Update

Young Living’s Winter Harvest Going on Now

As many of you know, last year, I was able to go up to the Young Living Farm and Distillery in northern Idaho to help with Winter Harvest and the harvesting and distillation of Idaho Balsam Fir and Idaho Blue Spruce essential oils. The picture above is one I took while there, and below is a pic of me with several other Young Living distributors last year including Debra Raybern and her daughter Sharon, my parents Max and Karen and also from our group Chip and Carrie Shepard.

This week, my husband, Darren, went up to help with Winter Harvest along with my dad Max Hopkins, my father-in-law Eddy Johnson, and Justin Park, Joanna Stewart and her brother Marty (all from our YL team) to be a part of Young Living’s Seed to Seal process in producing the world’s finest essential oils and see first hand, yet again, the unmatched quality of essential oils and integrity of Young Living. Darren has been working side by side the founder and CEO Gary Young just like I did last year (Gary personally taught him how to drive the front loader in the picture below). What other international company CEO not only gets his hands dirty all the time but does the toughest, hardest jobs in his company and constantly invents and improves on processes himself while he works… and loves it? This is the real deal, folks. The Young Living essential oils not only WORK AMAZINGLY for supporting our abundant health and wellness, the company provides an amazing opportunity to appreciate God’s awesome Creation that HE made for us to enjoy and benefit from… up close and personal. Because of these experiences at the farms, Darren and I have such a deeper appreciation for what God has provided for our health and wellness and enjoyment since the beginning of time… HIS plants… HIS essential oils. Here’s my handsome hubby running a front end loader taking a load of Idaho Balsam Fir trees to the giant chipper to be chipped and then taken to the new distillery at the farm to be distilled, tested and bottled for us… lots of hard work and love being put into every bottle… from Seed to Seal… from Farm to Bottle all in one place and ONLY Young Living does that! And it’s so cool that Darren gets to be a part of making an essential oil that has helped thousands of people around the world in their health!

If I can do it, you can, too!

Nine years ago this month, I came to a point in my life when I was fed up with barely getting by living paycheck to paycheck, over $45,000 in credit card debt and often having to pay for groceries with credit cards (some of you know my hairbrush story).

I told the Lord how I felt and had reassurance from Him that it was just a season and that with a giving, thankful and obedient heart, He was going to deliver us out of debt and bring us abundance in a big way to be able to bless others financially. I didn’t know what that would look like or when it would happen, but I knew it would.

It was 1.5 years later that the Lord brought Young Living into our lives. We initially thought it was just an answer to our prayers for abundant health, but it was SO much more! 7 years ago, I would have never imagined that God would use the same company that made our beloved essential oils that He used to bring us abundant physical health to also bring us financial freedom.

And here we are now as Young Living Diamonds who are debt free with Darren retired early and working our Young Living business/ministry full-time while homeschooling our children together and walking in WELLNESS with a passionate PURPOSE to help others find physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health and experiencing ABUNDANCE to be a blessing to others.

This is part of our story… I am simply a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother who has a passion to help others and won’t stop sharing my Young Living essential oils… no matter what tries to stand in my way… and if I can do it, you can, too!!!

And with God… well, ALL things are POSSIBLE!!! (Matthew 19:26)

Blessings, Sera Johnson – Young Living Diamond

“Sera, how do you do it?”

People often ask me how I do what I do… being a wife, raising and homeschooling four children, driving them to activities, church, educating on Young Living essential oils, being a Young Living leader, training leaders, writing newsletters and posts, answering emails and phone calls, traveling for work, traveling for fun, keeping house and finances, cooking, writing a curriculum, did I say homeschooling already?… well, first of all, I have an awesome hubby who has done an amazing job supporting me and now helps me with most of those things since joining me full-time at home, but even before July 10, 2013 when he “retired”, things got done… not all at once… and not all in MY timing… but the most important stuff got done. How? Well, that’s a great question.

Most of the time I didn’t know how as I just kept doing what I had to do while keeping my head above water. So my answer has always been and always will be “by the grace of God!”

I haven’t always had a clean and organized house, and we haven’t always stayed on track with our homeschooling schedule (have we ever?), and some appointments were made late, and some things lower on the priority list just became undone until later (sometimes much later). And there have been times when I haven’t been the very best with answering emails and returning phone calls in a timely manner (though I do try pretty hard with those). So it might look like I have it ALL together, but the truth is I have to rely on the Lord… a LOT!!!

My Father God is who I have to run to constantly and lean on when I get a bit stressed out or when my schedule seems to be unraveling. I find solace in His words that He will never leave nor forsake me… especially when I feel like I am all alone in my efforts (Deuteronomy 31:8)… and that I can cast all my cares on Him for He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I know that He has equipped me with the tools and gifts to carry out the calling He has placed on my life as a wife, mother, minister, educator, business owner, leader, servant, encourager… so I know that I need to dig deep and find those hidden tools He has placed inside of me to get the job done… such as being able to prioritize, make time with Him first and then my family and then my ministry/business. And when I don’t feel like I can find those tools and I feel weak, I remind myself that in my weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).

A VERY important thing that gets me through is being in His presence. And how do I get into His presence? Through worship (Psalm 100)! I LOVE to worship and get lost in His presence! This is my BIGGEST re-charger, especially when I am constantly giving myself to others. I worship and I run to His Word. And then when I put Him first, everything else starts to fall into place (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4, Proverbs 3:5-6).

Also, I have to give myself grace and permission not to be perfect. Because if I were perfect, then I wouldn’t need the Lord. And I TOTALLY need Him!

As for more tips on how I do what I do, well, we have been making sure to set aside family time with nothing else on the schedule but us as a family. That is such a HUGE re-charger to keep on keeping on, especially when school and work get so busy and seem to start taking over. Connecting with my FIRST ministry as a wife and mother and having just plain old fun all together really helps give me/us a boost whether on a family vacation or even if just with a family movie night or game night. And Darren and I like to plan at least once a week date nights (doesn’t ALWAYS happen each week but we try to at least get out of the house together to run an errand without the kiddos) to keep our relationship fresh and grounded (which actually helps our children feel grounded and secure). And I do set a bit of time aside for me… even if it is me going grocery shopping BY MYSELF (which is one of my favorite parts of my week)… or getting my hair done once every 4-6 weeks… or watching some of my favorite cooking shows by myself after everyone has gone to bed.

So if you ever ask me, “Sera, how do you do it?” I will still answer, “only by the grace of God!” as I probably will feel like there are things still to be done and won’t always feel as put together as I look, and I will DEFINITELY be relying on my Father God, His grace which is sufficient for me and His strength when I feel weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). But give me a second, and I will share some of these great tips and reminders from the Word of God… or feel free to just come back and re-read this post. :)

Love, hugs, and prayers that you will run to your Father God when you feel like you just can’t do it. :) – Sera

About Us…

Lots of new people have been visiting our Website, so in case you haven’t seen our “About” page, here’s a bit about us…

It is our mission to help families take control of their health through God’s plants for food and for health and live abundant, healthy lives for the glory of God while leaving a legacy of wellness, purpose and abundance for generations. With each day, we are faced with choices that affect every area of our lives including our health. And as Deuteronomy 30:19 says, we are choosing “healthy” life each day so that we and our children may live.

In 2005, the Lord led my husband Darren and I and our four children on an amazing journey toward abundant health as we completely changed to eating life-giving food and then in 2006, to using Young Living essential oils for our wellness. Since 2007, I have been actively educating others on natural health and wellness and Young Living essential oils and have traveled across the U.S. speaking at health fairs, conventions and churches.

In 2008, I co-authored and designed two-time award winning nutrition and anatomy curriculum Nutrition 101: Choose Life! which has helped thousands of families across America and in other countries understand all the “why’s” of eating God’s life-giving food.

Darren and I are so thankful to the Lord for giving us the desire to help others take control of their health and discover what the Lord has given us through HIS creation for our health and wellness. We pray that you reach out and receive the fullness of God’s blessings for your abundant health and wellness in Jesus’ name and choose healthy life every day! – Sera Johnson, co-founder of Choosing Healthy Life, Inc., co-author of Nutrition 101: Choose Life! and Young Living Essential Oils Crown Diamond Independent Distributor  

“There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise,” Proverbs 21:20

Young Living Convention 2013 Here We Come!

I am SUPER excited about Young Living’s 2013 International Grand Convention next week! Darren and I will be there along with well over 100 of our Young Living group!

RIBBONS

If you are attending or if you know someone in our YL group who is attending, PLEASE wear a purple ribbon on your shirt or tied on your lanyard/name badge at convention. I will have extra ribbons at convention for those who forgot to bring one. If you bring your own, it can be just a simple purple ribbon that is visible in plain site OR it can be as fancy as you would like. I just want to be able to easily recognize you… especially those whom I have not yet met in person.

GROUP PICTURES – At the Farm on Saturday at 2:00pm

We’d love to get group pictures at the Young Living Farm on Saturday. So if you will be at the farm, our group will be taking pictures Saturday near the bridge that goes over the paddle boat pond at 2:00pm. From the main visitor center building, go across the bridge over the pond and you will see us gathering for a picture with the mountains and the visitor center behind us… like you see in this picture taken last year.

2012 YLC - group pic

RECOGNITION

So many in our group will be recognized for their outstanding achievement including my parents, Max and Karen Hopkins who achieved the rank of Diamond earlier this year. Plus, Darren and I and also my brother Jonathan Hopkins and sister-in-law Laura Hopkins will be recognized for Platinum. There will be several new Golds in our group as well as a LOT of new Silvers! So if you are attending, make sure to cheer extra loud as they are recognized on stage. :)

WHAT TO WEAR

During Convention for the general sessions and break-out sessions, you will see people wearing all sorts of things from jeans and t-shirts to business casual and business dressy. So you can wear what best suits you. It might be a bit chilly in the convention center, so a light sweater or jacket can help. We will do LOTS of walking, so you will see people wearing tennis shoes with their slacks or skirts.

As for me, I like to dress up, so I usually either go business casual or more likely business dress with a dress or skirt… and some added bling… but that’s just me. :) And I will usually wear comfy shoes (flip flops or tennis shoes) when walking to the convention center and then put on my “cute” shoes once in the general sessions room… but again, that’s just me. :)

For Farm Day, BE COMFORTABLE! It will be HOT, and you will do a lot of walking around. Capri pants or shorts or whatever you feel most comfy in will work. Most people will be in t-shirts and shorts or capris. Bring a hat and your natural sunscreen if necessary.

If you are a Silver or above and are attending the Leader Awards Gala Wednesday night, it is a black tie event, and you will see everything from Sunday dress clothes to formal gowns.

If you are attending the optional D. Gary Young Foundation fundraising event, it is formal/dressy/cocktail dress… not sure if it is officially “black tie” but I assume so. And because it is a roaring 20’s Great Gatsby-style casino night (non-gaming fun for raising money for the foundation), some people will be dressing up 20’s style. For more information, go to http://www.dgaryyoungfoundation.org. Darren and I are dressing up 20’s style for that event! It will be lots of fun!

WHAT TO BRING

When you register, you will receive some sort of carrying bag, notebook, pen and other items. So you won’t have to bring a notebook. But here are some things to make sure to bring along with you…

  • Comfy shoes
  • Light sweater or jacket
  • Camera
  • Light snacks and bottled water for during the sessions – concession stands are pricey and might not have your desired healthy snacks available.
  • Money for food – there should be some healthy vendors there for lunch to choose from or you may visit one of the many nearby restaurants. Salt Lake City has a LOT of healthy choices! And at the YL Expo there at the convention center, they will have a NingXia Red bar set-up so that you may purchase NingXia Red shots and even NingXia Red slushies! (my favorite!)
  • Cash for food and specialty items at the YL Farm – They will have lunch vendors and snack vendors there (dinner is provided), so bring CASH! Yes, they have an ATM at the farm, but last year, it ran out of cash pretty quick.
  • Extra empty suitcase – You will probably go home with a LOT more than you came with, so unless you are shipping everything back home, bring an extra bag!
    • NEW PRODUCTS – Young Living will be announcing NEW products that convention attendees will be able to purchase AT Convention.
    • ANY YL PRODUCTS – PLUS, at the Young Living Expo, there are sampling booths and also ordering kiosks and a live ordering/Will Call area so that you may purchase product and pick it up. They will also offer free shipping with a minimum order of some sort if you would like to order from the entire catalog.
    • YL Swag – ONLY at Convention will you be able to purchase all sorts of Young Living t-shirts, hats, key chains, bags, etc.
    • Young Living tools – Life Science Publishing and Sound Concepts will also have stores set up so you may purchase any of their books, brochures and sharing tools. They usually have a BOGO offer OR free shipping.
    • YL Farm Specialty Items – There will be a LOT of specialty items to purchase at the YL Farm store! And PLEASE NOTE that they might not accept credit or debit cards in the YL Farm store! So bring cash. PLUS, note that they will have some of our YL essential oils in the farm store. These products will NOT count for your PV! So I usually just purchase items that Young Living does not sell online.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Lots of PHENOMENAL education and information and lots of FUN!!!

To see the YL Convention agenda, click here. And to see a list of break-out session speakers and topics, click on this link YL IGC 2013 Line-up page #1 and this link YL IGC 2013 Line-up page #2.

FACEBOOK UPDATES

I will be doing LIVE updates to our Choosing Healthy Life Facebook page. Make sure to “Like” our page and feel free to post your pics and positive comments from YL Convention there! :)

We hope to see you there!!!

NEW Webinar Posted! 2013 YL Winter Harvest Recap!

2013 Winter Harvest at the Young Living Highland Flats Farm in Idaho 

Wow! What an amazing experience working for a week at a logging camp in northern Idaho in the MIDDLE of winter! It was a lot of hard work, but SO worth getting hands-on experience in the Young Living Seed to Seal process at their Highland Flats Farm. Make sure to add Winter Harvest to your bucket list. You might even want to come next year with me, too!

2012 Young Living Convention Farm Day Group Pic

The 2012 Young Living Convention was AMAZING!!! I was SO excited to see so many of my YL Family and meet several with whom I had only talked on the phone or emailed or Facebook messaged. Below is a picture of many of my YL Family during Farm Day at the Young Living Farm and Distillery in Mona, Utah. Mark your calendars to attend next year, June 18-22, 2013! We’d love to see you there!!!

2012 YL Convention Tips

I am SO excited about Young Living’s International Grand Convention next week as this will be my 5th YL Convention and my 3rd one to go out to the YL Mona, Utah Farm. And I am thrilled to be going with my family again this year, as they have never been to the YL Mona Farm.

NOTE that the buses are leaving in the morning instead of around noon! It is surely an entire day at the Farm and not just afternoon and evening like we had previously been told. And, yes, there will be TONS of things to do at the farm…. see below.

Here are some highlights from the Convention Information and Tip details below….

  • What to bring
  • What to wear
  • What’s at the Product Expo
  • What’s at the Farm
  • and more!

LET’S CONNECT!!!

I would love to be able to connect with each of you at the Opening Convention Reception on Tuesday evening. This is a casual come and go event in the lobby
at the Salt Palace that starts at 7:00pm. There will probably be at least light hors d’oeuvres and some NingXia Red. One year, the hors d’oeuvres were a lot more than light, but to be safe, I would still eat at least a light dinner before the Welcome Reception.

Darren and I and our children will be there looking for our YL group to say hello and chat. So come find us!

CONVENTION TIPS

1. Lines, Lines, and more Lines!!! Bring comfortable shoes! (and maybe some Ortho Ease or Deep Relief, too!) – While you might have some super cute shoes to wear with your outfit, make sure to bring in your bag a pair of tennis shoes or other comfortable footwear to change in to. The Salt Palace is a LARGE place, and with the main seating room, the YL product Expo, Life Science Publishing and Sound Concept book stores, Break-out session rooms, etc. all spread out, you WILL be doing a LOT of walking! AND you will be standing in line EVERYWHERE! From waiting for the doors to open, to waiting to eat lunch, to standing in line to go to the bathroom, you WILL be on your feet a lot! So be prepared!

2. Cold or Hot or Just Right Main Room? The temperature of the main room has varied a bit in past years. I would bring a suit jacket or a light sweater just in case it is a bit chilly.

3. Bring a bottle of water and snacks to the General Sessions – While the Convention Center DOES have snack and beverage kiosks, these can be pricey! And to avoid having to leave a session and miss some important information, packing your own snacks will be a great help.

4. What to wear during sessions, evening events, farm day? This is the most often asked question. At Convention, you will see everything from T-shirts and jeans to suits and dresses. So what’s the official word?

General Session days: Business Casual – I usually wear pant suit outfits, slacks and a nice blouse or even a dress with a shrug or jacket.

Farm day: Casual – It will be HOT during the day! It is a dry heat, so those of you (like me) that live in a humid climate may not think it too bad, but you still have to make sure to keep hydrated and try to keep cool because the heat can get to you before you know it. I will be wearing comfortable, light clothing such as capri pants and a light colored shirt and comfortable walking shoes. Other things to consider bringing: Sunglasses, a hat, a bottle of water.

For those who are Silver and above and are going to the Leader Dessert Reception on Thursday evening: FORMAL – You will see people there wearing everything from sequined gowns to Sunday dress clothes.

For those attending the D Gary Young Foundation dinner on Friday night: BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL – You will probably see everything from pants and dress suits to Sunday dress at this event.

5. Notepads, laptops, iPads, cameras? You do not need to bring a notepad and pen with you as Young Living will provide these at Registration along with some sort of handy bag to carry them around along with whatever you might buy at the bookstores and Expo. Many people bring their laptops and iPads to take notes on and that is fine, too. BRING YOUR CAMERA!!! There will be SO many great photo ops during Convention…. and I want my pic taken with you, too! :)

*NOTE: Audio and Video recording is NOT ALLOWED at Convention!!!! This is also mentioned in the Young Living Policies and Pr

ocedures. Just take good notes and then share what you have learned with others when you get back.

6. Silver and above Recognition – For those of you being recognized as new Silvers or above, you should have received an email from Young Living about that. From what I understand, new Silvers will be recognized on stage on Wednesday morning during the General Session. You should be getting the info as to what time to head backstage when you check-in at Registration. I believe that new Golds will be recognized Thursday morning.

7. Registration – If you are a Silver or above, there are separate lines for you at Registration AND there are usually separate ordering stations in the Product Expo as well.

8. What’s at the Product Expo?

– Nearly ALL of Young Living’s products that you can touch, see and even taste!

– Be the first to try out the BRAND new products that will be unveiled at Convention

– There is usually taste testing of upcoming products that are still in development

– Ordering Kiosks – you can purchase the new products and any other YL products and pick them up there or have them shipped

– NingXia Red bar!!! – Purchase shots of NingXia Red – plain or with added oils, their AMAZING NingXia Red slushies, YL t-shirts, hats, keychains, etc.

– New Product demonstrations

– Fun contests and giveaways and raffles!

9. What will we be doing at the Farm? There are SO many things to do at the farm! Besides being able to walk through the never-ending fields of purple lavender near ready to be harvested (and many other herbs and plants blooming and growing), there is a visitor’s center with a “Walk Through Essential Oils HIstory” tour, distillery tours, farm tours, greenhouses, a mini-zoo, hayrides, man-powered rides for the kiddos, paddle boats, face painting, an old West town and possible western show, tents set-up with oil demonstrations and talks from the farm managers, gift shop (NOTE: don’t buy oils in the gift shop as they do NOT carry any PV with them…. buy the other things that are NOT sold on YL’s Website… there are LOTS of neat things to buy! There is also a cafe with YL approved food and yummy desserts, NingXia Red slushies, Lavender Lemonade and more!

And then there will be a big dinner (usually a YL approved BBQ dinner),entertainment and from what I have heard, there might even be a fireworks show at the end!

10. Life Science Publishing and Sound Concepts Bookstores – Don’t forget to visit these stores at the Convention Center. You will get to browse all sorts of sharing tools, books on using the YL essential oils and more! They usually have specials and free shipping specials as well.

11. Bring an extra suitcase or carry-on! With all th

e new products, the books and materials, etc. that you can get, you might find your airplane bag over its weight limit! I usually bring a near empty rolling carry on bag with me and then fill it with some of my clothes and books and materials and put the other YL products that I can’t carry on with me in my checked baggage. This tip has been a life saver for me in the past! :)

12. Be ready to share your excitement from Convention when you get back! One of the most exciting things about going to the YL Convention is all the knowledge and the excitement about Young Living you will be brining home with you! Make sure to plan Post-Convention Wrap-up Meetings with your downline when you get home. Your excitement will rub off on them for sure! Did you know that the people who go to Convention have an explosion in growth in the Young Living group afterward? It’s the excitement and fiery passion for helping others that is conveyed and is CONTAGIOUS!
Are you excited? We are!!!!

I hope to see and connect with you at Convention!!!!

Blessings,
Sera Johnson