Category Archives: Essential Home

Never Underestimate the Power of Giving Back and Serving Others


February is the month of L-O-V-E!! What better way to show love than to give back and serve others! I am a firm believer in giving back to the community you live in! So many people think you have to have a lot of money to serve others and give back but that is so far from the truth. Giving back can be in the form of gifts of service and gifts of talents! I am blessed to have so many opportunities of service through our church and many of these opportunities allow me to involve my children which I believe is such an important lesson for our young people to learn. It helps them learn compassion and a love for all people in the community and gives them a perspective on life that is far less self-centered.

One of the things I love most about being a part of doTERRA is their heart for service. doTERRA is generous in all the ways they reach out to both the local community and on a more global level. If you want to learn more about doTERRA’s service projects and the ways you can become involved I encourage you to visit the website of their non-profit Healing Hands Foundation,

I especially love hearing stories of the outreach of Wellness Advocates in communities across the country! dōTERRA provided this amazing story about Jennifer Thomas who volunteers her time at a local hospital and hospice center in order to bring comfort and care to the patients in a way that the doctors and nurses don’t always have time to give. As a Physical Therapist who works in the hospital I know first hand how important volunteers are! I love that the volunteers at our hospital take the time to come and offer small comforts such as a magazines/books, a chance to love on one of our volunteer dogs, or even just a sympathetic ear. I know the patients and families appreciate these small gestures and it helps to increase the compassionate care we offer our patients!

What are some ways you have found you can contribute to your community? Leave a comment down below and enjoy the story! Hopefully, you feel as inspired by it as I do!

You can read more about Jennifer’s story here:

Be Kind Have Courage

This isn’t the blog post I had intended for this week but in light of recent events I wanted to share some insights as both a cop’s wife and a cop’s daughter. You see I come from a family of police, military and firemen, it is honestly all I have ever known. I grew up a cop’s kid and vividly remember sitting and watching my dad don his vest, his blues, and his gun belt and badge. He wore his uniform with pride and made all the sacrifices associated with his choice of lifestyle; missed dinners, missed birthdays, and missed holidays. He worked hard to keep drunk drivers off the street and to keep his community and family safe. My grandfather was retired military and my uncle also became a police officer. After my brother graduated high school he joined the Army National Guard and served in both Irag and Afganistan. On the civilian side he spent several years working alongside our dad as a sheriff deputy. With all this family history it wasn’t surprising that the man I fell in love with and married would become a firefighter and paramedic who has since gone on to become a mandated officer and arson investigator. So you see I am surrounded by some amazing men who go out and serve their communities everyday! I also understand that for my loved ones and so many of the police and firefighters it is more than a job it is a calling and one that they believe in and dedicate their lives to. They have an innate desire to protect those around them. This is why they run into danger when everyone else is running away. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time praying for these men, praying they stay safe, praying that they can help those they are called to serve, and praying they come home alive to their family every night.

The morning after the tragedy in Dallas I was especially aware of my husband putting on the uniform, making sure he had his vest and donning his gun belt and badge. I won’t lie that morning I was afraid more so than I have ever been for my husband to walk out the door and begin his day. I sat at the kitchen table in the quiet of the early morning before the kids were awake and I prayed and I cried. I mourned for the lives lost and the shattered heart broken families. I prayed for my husband, my father, and my uncle and all our friends and police and firefighter brethren working extra hard that morning. I sat wondering how to explain such tragedy to my children. How do I explain why people act violently out of a place of hatred, ignorance, and an overwhelming sense of fear? Then I opened up my morning devotional and the words that day were strong and clear it boiled down to the two most important things we have been instructed to do in this world, “Love God, Love People.” So simple but so difficult to do in today’s world. Difficult but not impossible!

As a mother it is my responsibility to help the next generation to better than mine. I feel compelled to teach my children a lot of things but the two things that stand out as being the most important are that they need to Love God and Love People wholly and unconditionally. The second is in order to do this they will need to Be Kind and Have Courage. You see kindness and love leave no room for hate or fear. It allows you to see yourself and others as valuable human beings whose life deserves to be respected and cherished. However to do this in today’s world requires a lot of courage. Courage to hold to your faith when facing adversity, courage to love others who you don’t agree with, to be willing to hear their story and respect their rights, courage to understand that it is ok to be different and even respectively disagree with someone and know that you can still love them, and most importantly courage to stand for your own set of values and morals and not allow others to take them from you.  I also want to teach my children to look for the good. That even in the face of tragedy and evil God always reminds us that there is goodness in the world. You see this in the people who step up to help even though they don’t have to; those who rush in to save a stranger’s life, those who are there to pick up the pieces and help repair and rebuild, those who stand united together reaching across differences to make this world a little better place.

So as my loved ones get up tomorrow and put their uniforms on I will pray for their safety but I won’t allow fear to take hold. I will have faith and I will have courage that the Lord ultimately has this under control and all he is asking us to do is to Be Kind, Have Courage and show the world what it is to Love God, and Love all his People!

My house is home to a newly potty trained 3 year old boy! (those of you with boys you know what is coming next!) This means that my bathrooms can quickly transform into a smelly messy potty training disaster zone! Keeping it even slightly clean is no small feat it takes fortitude my friends and lots of prayers for grace! I have actually seen my 3 year old sit on the potty and promptly miss it all together instead a yellow stream was seen arching all the way to the opposite wall! This is where my essential oil based cleaners have not only saved my bathroom from complete toddler annihilation but have also redeemed my own sanity!

From the cleansing spray to a drop of essential oils on the toilet paper roll or the toilet water basin to keep the bathroom clean and smelling pleasant. To the unbelievable power of lemon essential oil to remove the urine smell from clothes and towels. My weapons of choice are powerful and effective and the only I hope I have in surviving this phase of toddler life!

I gladly share some of my favorite all natural bathroom cleaning recipes that are not only safe for your family but oh so effective regardless of what state your home is in, toddler or otherwise.


Toilet Cleanser

½ cup of Baking Soda

¼ cup of White vinegar

5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil

5 drops of Melaleuca Essential Oil

  • Mix the Baking Soda and White Vinegar together in a bowl (remember you elementary chemistry class and be prepared for some fizzing) once the Baking Soda is dissolved stir in your essential oils.
  • Add Mixture to the toilet bowl basin and wait 15-20 minutes and then lightly scrub with a brush and flush.
  • For added freshness add a couple drops of Lemon Essential Oil to the clean water reservoir after you have finished with the cleaning.

toilet cleanser

If you would like to get your hands on some more of my favorite cleaning recipes and hacks you can sign up here for my newsletter and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Naturally Clean: Recipes For Your Home

Essential Mom: A Summertime Slow Down

As school comes to a close I look forward to a slower pace for the next 3 months! Honestly I don’t know who looks forward to summer more my kids or myself! While I know for many summer is a whirlwind of activity from various camps, activities and vacations, my family takes a different approach. After 9 months of school and after-school activities we look forward to the long lazy days of summer. This is my family’s time to rejuvenate and reconnect.

Long days are spent without alarm clocks or timetables. Instead we sleep in and stay up late star gazing or catching lightening bugs. Mornings and evenings are spent with casual trips to the pool or fountain, playing in the backyard or sitting under a shady tree reading a book. During the hottest part of the day I encourage indoor games, pillow and sheet forts, or a fun movie and picnic on the floor. My oldest has a few pen pals this summer (a sneaky way to work on reading and writing) and looks forward to receiving real letters in the mail! While my kids do have small chores and responsibilities they are quickly done and out of the way. One of our favorite and most rewarding activities is tending our small garden. We look forward to having garden fresh veggies all summer long and into fall! I love the unstructured sense of freedom we all have!

Garden 2016

It was on one of our recent camping trips that I fully realized the importance for true unstructured down time. One of the things I realized on our last camping trip is my kids don’t need nearly as much stuff and structure as we think they do. They had a handful of books, a couple of buckets, shovels, a bean bag toss and ring toss game and guess what they had fun!! They never complained they were bored they explored the outdoors finding wonder in plants, wild life, playing in the sand, and collecting rocks and shells. Modern culture has created this sense of constantly needing to be “busy”. We feel like we have to fill every minute of every day with activity for us and for our kids or we will fall behind some artificial standard of life society has set for us. I know this because I have been guilty of it myself. I know that some things can’t be avoided, people have to go to jobs and we all have family and social obligations. I also believe it is important for our children to pursue their interests and talents whether it’s art, sports, dance or music. However, all this activity has to be countered with times to be still to allow our bodies and our minds to rest. This rest is what allows creativity to come to the surface especially for our children. I have learned some very important lessons about myself and my family by giving us unstructured free time. I love seeing my kids be creative and imaginative. I love being able to just be in each other’s presence it allows us to appreciate each other more and everyone benefits from the physical and mental reset. I find it allows us to cope and handle the stresses life brings in a more positive way.

Vogel 2016

I would encourage everyone to do their own family experiment with some unstructured free time and see the positive benefits it brings to your family. It might feel awkward at first and it might even be met with resistance but I challenge you to take a little time each week to unplug from screens and open up the calendar to just spend time together and see the difference it makes in time!