Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What a beautiful ride

I once told Adam that 2009 was the hardest year I'd ever experienced. My stepmom's diagnosis of cancer, Adam getting laid off multiple times, and my worst CF exacerbation to date were just a few of the things that made it such a difficult time. But it was also the year that I got to experience the miracle of being pregnant and bringing my little angel into this world. Even with all the hard things we endured, we had so much to be thankful for.  

I dare say that this year has rivaled 2009 as far as loss and heartache. My grandpa and two uncles passed away, as well as a few good friends of mine - many of whom were far too young. But I can't deny the fact that 2011 has also been one of the happiest and most blessed years I've known.  

Life certainly is unpredictable, but isn't that what makes it so much fun?  

The struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has it's own way of taking it's sweet time
No, life ain't always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride
 ~ Gary Allan
Life Ain't Always Beautiful

Man, it's been a beautiful ride!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Moganko for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness

One of the perks of having CF has been getting to know some truly amazing people who never would have been a part of my life if it weren't for our shared challenges. One of those people is my friend, Josh Mogren.

Josh is kind and funny with such an ENORMOUS heart, it's a little ridiculous! Josh also has cystic fibrosis, and he has made it his personal mission to help others (specifically children) within the CF community.
"I'm a lifelong Muppet Fan and my sister and I loved watching the Muppets while we did our daily CF treatments. I wanted to figure out a way to combine my personal experience with that same humor that made me smile as a child while teaching CF families and the general population about Cystic Fibrosis. I wanted to create something parents could share with their children that shows them how to deal with their daily healthcare routine for this serious disease with love, honesty and humor. I wanted something light-hearted that adults with cystic fibrosis could share with their friends and family, explaining a little bit about what they go through every day."   ~ Josh Mogren
And so... Moganko the puppet was born. Together, he and Josh have created several fun, upbeat, and educational videos like this one:

Recently, Josh and Moganko launched their biggest project so far:

The Moganko for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Project!  

Josh's goal is to get Moganko to meet the Muppets and be featured in a public service announcement about CF. This is huge, friends, but it won't work without your help. So, here's what you can do:
Now, here's where I take just a moment to get serious. This has been an especially hard year for the CF community. Far too many lives have been lost to this disease! Sadly, off the top of my head, I can think of four individuals who have passed away just in recent weeks. Because of continued medical advances and the dedicated work of doctors and scientists, the outlook for someone with CF continues to get better. There are some amazing things in the works, including a very promising breakthrough drug that is currently awaiting FDA approval. Even still, the median age of survival for someone with CF is only mid-30's, and there are those who will not even live to see that many years.

I'm taking the liberty of speaking for the CF community as a whole when I say that we are positive, we are happy, we are strong, we are persevering, and we are living our lives with joy and hope... but we can't win this fight alone. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Call me optimistic, call me crazy (trust me, you wouldn't be the first) but I THINK THIS WILL WORK, and I really want it to! Why? Because I love my friend and want him to succeed, because I've seen the good he does and I want him to keep sharing it with others, because this will raise some major awareness about CF (and awareness is key to finding a cure for this disease), because CF has taken the lives of too many children, spouses, friends, siblings, etc... and I'll be honest, I want this to work because I'm a little selfish. I want to live to see my daughter get married and have babies of her own someday. I have a lot of living left to do and about a million more memories to make.

Helping is easy and will only take a few clicks. Again, you can help by:
So what do you say, can we count you in?

Click here to visit:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

To you and yours

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." ~ Agnes M. Pharo
May this season end the present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright new year. Light and love from the Livingstons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't even get me started on "Grandma got run over by a reindeer"

Jingle Bells

"The horse was lean and lank. Misfortune seemed his lot. We got into a drifted bank and then we got upsot."

Growing up, I always thought they just changed it from "upset" to "upsot" so that it would rhyme. But now that I'm a little older I know that... well, truth be told, I have no idea what "upsot" means.

Deck The Halls

I still don't know if it's "troll" or "toll" the ancient yuletide carol.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

He sees me when I'm sleeping? Creepy.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Let's face it, there are so many things wrong this song (like, who wants a bunch of guys in leotards jumping around the dinner table while they're trying to eat... which has always been the image that pops into my head when I hear "lords a-leaping") but one of the strangest things about it in my opinion is all the birds.

Wouldn't that just be the WORST CHRISTMAS EVER? By the time day four rolls around you know they're thinking, "Enough with the damn birds! Can we just get to the gold rings, already?"

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"They'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago."

Ghost stories? Um... wrong holiday, dude.

Do You Hear What I Hear

"Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, Do you know what I know? In your palace wall mighty king, do you know what I know? A child, a child shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold."

The kid is naked and freezing. Should we take him a blanket? Nope. Maybe a space heater or something? Nah. What about some silver and gold? Yeah, that's just what he needs... some BLING!

Baby, It's Cold Outside

"The neighbors might think"
               "Baby, it's bad out there"
"Say, what's in this drink"
              "No cabs to be had out there"
"I wish I knew how"
              "Your eyes are like starlight now"
"To break this spell"
              "I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell"
"I ought to say no, no, no, sir"
              "Mind if I move a little closer"
"At least I'm gonna say that I tried"
              "What's the sense in hurting my pride"
"I really can't stay"
               "Baby don't hold out"
"Aah, but it's cold outside"

This whole thing seems a little sketchy to me. Put your hat back on and go home, lady. It's not that cold.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love, yourself

Last week I found a box of fruit snacks hidden in the back of a cupboard in the employee kitchen at my work. On them was this note:

Sometimes I'm blown away by my own thoughtfulness. I mean, how did I know that one day I'd be rummaging through the kitchen looking for something sweet and fruit snacks would be just what I needed? It's little things like this that let me know how much I truly care about myself.

You know, come to think of it, I just don't know what I'd do without myself; I can't imagine my life without me in it.

Though I might be a little freaked out if I start receiving messages from Future Jenny. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bucket of fun

... and giggles, and germs, and copious amounts of snot. Oooh, the snot! Earlier today she coughed in my mouth. IN MY MOUTH!

Ahh, the joys of parenthood.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Essential Oils for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis

Disclaimer: This is not professional medical advice. I am not a doctor. I use DoTerra products but am in no way being sponsored by their company. I am simply sharing this information for anyone who may be interested in learning more about essential oils or who may be considering adding essential oils to their treatment regimen. Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health.
(A Few) Oils and Their Uses

Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus radiata
Because of the many influential compounds found in eucalyptus, it is a key ingredient in cough and throat medicines and chest ointments. Herbal practitioners have also noted its insect repellent properties, as well as its effectiveness in dealing with fevers and respiratory conditions. Eucalyptus is used widely both for its calming and clearing properties as well as to ease breathing. For aromatic or topical use.

Frankincense Essential Oil
Boswellia frereana
Perhaps the most precious of the ancient oils, frankincense is highly sought after by modern consumers for its many uses including relaxation, immune support, and mood enhancement. Records dating back to 1500 B.C. document the use of frankincense oil, by physicians and priests alike, for the treatment of disease and illness. For aromatic, topical or dietary use.

Geranium Essential Oil
Pelargonium graveolens
Geranium has incredible benefits for soothing skin and is a common ingredient in many skin care products. It increases blood flow, detoxifies, regenerates tissues and nerves, and may balance the sebum - which is the fatty secretion in the sebaceous glands. Also useful for joint support and tempering minor aches and pains. For aromatic or topical use.

Melaleuca Essential Oil
Melaleuca alternifolia
Recognized by its more common name "tea tree oil", melaleuca has been revered for its cleansing and regenerative properties, especially for the skin. Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic. Melaleuca is active against Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. Composed of more than ninety different compounds, melaleuca has limitless therapeutic applications. For aromatic, internal or topical use.

Cypress Essential Oil
Cupressus sempervirens
Distilled from the twigs and foliage of the cypress tree, cypress essential oil is popularly used to ease breathing as well as a throat gargle. It can be used to ease tight or tense muscles, promote sleep, bring stress levels down, calm anger, improve circulation and ease bronchitis symptoms. For aromatic or topical use.

Peppermint Essential Oil
Mentha piperita
One of the oldest and most highly regarded herb oils for soothing digestion. It may also improve gastric motility and digestive efficiency, and has positive effects on the liver and respiratory systems. When inhaled, it can improve the senses of taste and smell; improve concentration and mental accuracy; directly affect the brain's satiety center, helping you feel more satisfied after a meal. For aromatic, topical or dietary use.

Oregano Essential Oil
Origanum vulgare
Used as a cleansing agent as well as for digestive and respiratory support. High in antioxidant activity, oregano contains phenolic acids and flavonoids. Oregano oil has proven itself as an outstanding antioxidant that provides powerful help in fighting the effects of free radicals. For aromatic, topical, or dietary use (be sure to dilute when using topically).

Breathe Oil Blend
A proprietary blend including laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and ravensara cleanses and soothes the airways, and can easily be applied topically to the chest, back, or bottom of feet. Its pleasant aroma is calming to the senses and perfect for night time diffusion allowing for restful sleep. For aromatic or topical use.

OnGuard Oil Blend
A unique, proprietary blend formulated to support healthy immune function. Studies have demonstrated citrus oils to produce some of the most prevailing benefits for eliminating unwanted bacteria, viruses and molds. Wild orange essential oil, combined with clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary offer a fragrant, natural and effective alternative to synthetic options for immune support. It is also safe to use on counter tops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to purify the atmosphere by diffusing. On Guard is superb for eliminating and controlling pathogens due to the potency of its constituents. For aromatic, topical, or dietary use.


Suggested Protocol for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis

Rub 3 drops each of Frankincense, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Melaleuca along with 10 drops of coconut or olive oil (as a carrier oil to make the blend go farther) on chest, throat and back. If possible, do so in the morning after showering and again at night before going to bed. After a week substitute this blend with Breathe Oil Blend for three days, then return to the blend mentioned above. These massages should act as an expectorant and help prevent airway infections.

Rub 2-4 drops each of OnGuard Oil Blend and Peppermint on the feet every morning.

Rub 2-3 drops of Breathe Oil Blend on the feet at night and cover with socks.

Diffuse10 drops each of Eucalyptus and Melaleuca nightly (throughout the entire night if possible).

Randomly diffuse Geranium or Breathe Oil Blend into the air.

For immediate relief, deeply inhale Breathe Oil Blend or a Eucalyptus and Melaleuca oil blend (about 5 or 6 drops each) by making a steam tent, adding drops to a bath, or in a shower with the drain plugged.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .

Personally, I don't follow the above protocol exactly. Because I was going through the oils quickly and because I felt like it wasn't necessary to do all that when I'm feeling well, I cut back on a few things. I regularly put a couple drops of oil on my chest and feet, and I often add some to my bathwater, but I only do the major back and chest massages when I'm not feeling well (chest tightness, shortness of breath, or increased cough).

I bought a diffuser that I absolutely love and the water reservoir is large enough that it will diffuse from the time I go to bed to the time I wake up. I run the diffuser in my bedroom each night, usually with the Breathe blend or a combination of two other oils, such as Melaleuca with Eucalyptus, Geranium with Cypress, Peppermint with Melaleuca, etc. 

Another thing I like to do (which isn't mentioned above) is take Oregano as a temporary dietary supplement when I get sick. The bottle suggests drinking one drop in 4oz of water or juice, but the oil is so strong that it burned my mouth too badly. I now take 4-5 drops in gelatin capsules about four times a day as soon as I start feeling a cold coming on, and I continue doing so until all cold symptoms have subsided. I've had two colds in the past four months (one of which was pretty nasty) and I was able to get over both of them before they made me sick enough to require a hospital admission - a huge accomplishment considering the run of bad health I've had this year.

Do I think that these oils are a miracle cure? Not at all. But, have I felt better since I started using them (in addition to all my regular treatments)? Without a doubt!

There is so much more I could share here but since this post is already extremely long, I'm going to stop now. If this proves to be something that people have interest in, I may post about other oils and their uses in the future. Thanks for reading!  


Related articles:

(Using DoTerra oils for Cystic Fibrosis)

(Studying the effects of essential oils on methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)

(Same protocol listed above, with some additional information and suggestions)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Currently loving

1. Christmas Music

Adam has never been a fan of Christmas music and every time I randomly belt out "PINE COOOONES AND HOLLLLLY BERRIES!" he rolls his eyes so hard that I can practically hear them hitting the back of his skull. But I just can't get enough of the stuff this year! I love to crank it up while I'm driving, cooking dinner, doing the dishes, etc. I've been listening to this mix over at and a couple different holiday stations on Pandora.

2. Essential Oils

I started using DoTerra essential oils earlier this year (along with the rest of the world, apparently... I swear, at least twice a week I get an invitation to some kind of party involving DoTerra). There is a protocol specifically for cystic fibrosis that I started following about three months ago (though I've made a few changes as I've discovered which oils I like best and which ones I feel work for me). November marked my fourth hospital-free month... the longest stretch of health I've had in a year! During those four months I was able to conquer two pretty nasty colds that I'm certain would have landed me in the hospital earlier this year. I honestly feel that the essential oils are at least partially to credit for that.

(I'm working on a full post about the oils I've been using and the benefits they have, so keep an eye out for that if it's something that interests you. Oh, and if anyone from my clinic happens to be reading this, don't worry, I promise not to nebulize peppermint oil!)

3. Hobble Creek Candles

Every year I have the opportunity to purchase Hobble Creek Candles at an incredibly discounted price through my work. They are hands down the best candles I've ever bought! Among my favorite scents are Jack Frost, Home for the Holidays, Citrus Pine and Cranberry Wood Spice. I've constantly had one on the burner since the day I brought them home. They make my home smell so Christmasy, and I love it!

4. Old Friends

In the past few weeks I've been able to chat and reconnect with a couple old friends, and it's been great! There aren't many people in my life with whom I've formed such a strong connection that regardless how much time passes between our visits, when we finally do see each other again it's as if we were never apart. I'm so happy to have a couple of those people back in my life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Let it snow!

Winter is in full swing here, and today was such a gorgeous day that we spent most of the late morning and early afternoon playing outside.

This is the only picture of Dixie I was able to get that wasn't just a blur of fur because she was running around the yard so stinkin' fast. She absolutely loves the snow! Little Nora? Not so much.


My favorite part was the way the snow was so light and fluffy that you could still see individually formed snowflakes. Well, either that or the way that Shylee kept whitewashing herself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hi, my name is Jenny and I talk with my coworkers about inappropriate things

On the way to my employee Christmas party tonight:

Me, looking at my watch:  We're early. The drive didn't take as long as I expected.

Adam:  Well, we still have to find the dance hall.

Me:  I can just text Sandy (my boss) and ask her where it is if we have a hard time finding it.

Adam:  Oh. It's right there. Yeah.... we're definitely going to be early if we go in right now.

Me:  We could always sneak off for a little while, you know, maybe go have a quickie on a back road to pass some time.

Adam:  I don't think I know this town well enough to find a vacant back road.

Me:  Hmm... maybe I can text Sandy real quick and ask if she knows where one is.

Adam, seeing me glance at my phone:  You're not really texting her, are you?!?

Me:  No, I'm not texting her. But I'm totally telling her about this conversation when we go inside.