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

“Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees… their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” Ezekiel 47:12

“The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2

“So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.” Mark 6:12-13

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

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

Homemade YLEO Suppository Tutorial

Suppositories are a great way to get Young Living Essential Oils (YLEOs) quickly into the body. There are many reasons to use YLEO suppositories – to support a healthy colon, stomach discomfort, the inability to keep anything down orally, to support healthy lungs, etc.

Several people have asked me how to make homemade YLEO suppositories. So instead of always trying to explain verbally, I thought I would finally take pics and make a tutorial to make it easier to understand. So here is how I make YLEO suppositories (note that there may be easier ways to do this, but this is how I learned from Debra Raybern, author of the book Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Children, who told me over the phone and then I just recreated what she told me the best I could)…

  • 1 Tbs. organic coconut oil
  • 4 drops of desired essential oil (more or less drops as needed according to age, and/or according to the spiciness of the essential oil… refer to Gentle Babies or the Essential Oils Desk Reference or Essential Oils Pocket Reference)
  • Glass or ceramic mug
  • Small sauce pan filled halfway with water
  • Toothpick (not pictured)
  • Aluminum foil
  • #2 pencil… it doesn’t have to be a Lightning McQueen pencil… hehe :)
  • Butter knife

Homemade EO Suppositories

Put the coconut oil in the mug, place the mug in a small saucepan filled halfway with water and gently heat the coconut oil just until melted while careful not to get it too hot.

Melting Coconut Oil

Once melted, add desired drops of Young Living Essential Oils and stir with a toothpick. Again, for how many drops to use, please refer to the above mentioned YLEO reference guides or start with a few drops and increase as needed.

Add YLEOs

Fold the aluminum foil up and around the pencil making a mold in the shape of the pencil.

Fold foil around pencil

Fold foil around pencil - 1

Fold one end up and over so the oil doesn’t spill out.

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Grab the mold and carefully pull out the pencil leaving the mold in the shape of the pencil.

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To easily fill the mold, I prop the mold up on the pencil at the end and lean the foil back against the YLEO bottle and tablespoon.

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Carefully pour the coconut oil/YLEO mixture into the mold.

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Place the mold in the freezer until the oil mixture hardens which will only take about 5 minutes. I propped it up against frozen fruit bags and tilted it up a bit at the open end so it didn’t spill out.

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Once hardened, see how I can hold it in the middle while it keeps it shape?

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Upon looking down inside, you will probably see how some of the oil mixture seeps up from the mold.

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This will make it have a thin “flag” at the top.

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Use the butter knife to cut away the extra oil mixture and put it back in the mug to use for another mold later.

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Cut the long round solid oil mixture into short suppository pieces. Usually, you want to make them no longer than the length of the receiver’s pinky finger from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle. This will keep it at a safe and appropriate length.

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Notice how they will be a little flat on one side. Just round any edges with your finger to make it easy to insert.

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Store the remaining YLEO suppositories in the freezer for future use.

Homemade YLEO Suppositories

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!!!

Why Young Living?

Young Living just released some amazing documents. One is a 15 page FAQ document that is PHENOMENAL! If anyone ever wondered “Why Young Living?”, this document covers it all and more! It contains the Young Living history and Gary Young’s story among lots of other AMAZING facts… like we now have farms on FIVE continents with a total of NINE herb farms and custom-built distillation facilities… Utah, Idaho (2), France, Ecuador, Oman, Peru, Taiwan and Israel.

Click on Young Living FAQ’s to read it and even download it.

Also, Young Living just released their financial report… which they do NOT have to do, since they are a privately held company. Most privately held companies would never release financial reports. But again, Young Living is being transparent to prove that they are VERY financially stable and set up to be around a VERY long time! And they are also dispelling a LOT of horrible rumors and lies that have been perpetuated by a specific “other” essential oil company and its distributors.

Click on Young Living Financial Letter to read the details.

I LOVE my Young Living essential oils! I LOVE their Seed to Seal process that ensures their quality, and even more I LOVE that I can go and be a part of their Seed to Seal process and see it with my own two eyes so that I can ensure that they do what they say they do!

Darren and I helping distill Ruta at YL Ecuador Farm

Darren and I helping to distill Ruta at the YL Ecuador Farm and Distillery in November 2012.

I LOVE that Young Living can PROVE that they are the World Leader in Essential Oils®!

YL Testing and Culturing Samples

Young Living scientist testing and culturing samples in the Young Living Lab in Mona, Utah.

Why Young Living? Because they go above and beyond in every step of the way to give us the world’s best, most potent and effective essential oils! Read for yourself.

And better yet, go SEE for yourself! :)

Young Living Lavender Farm Mona Utah

Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, Utah (they grow and distill other essential oils there, too).

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!