Tents and Vapor Rub

My mom made the best indoor tents! Sometimes we’d get to play in a tent in the kitchen – under the table. Now and again, Mom would create one in the living room using the couch. She even helped and encouraged us to make tents in our bedroom! We spent countless hours in ‘tents’ growing up, camping outdoors in the summer and imagining it, indoors, the rest of the year. Such wonderful memories!tents

I must confess that there was, once, a near disaster when my big sister and I tried to make the lighting more “campfire-like” in our bedroom, next to our tent, by laying a pajama shirt across the top of a lamp. It was a pink Strawberry Shortcake PJ, if I remember correctly….that started on fire after resting on the hot light bulb for a while. Opps! Small lesson there…

While tents were a thing we all loved (and fires too – just campfires, not house fires!), there was one kind of tent that did NOT signal ‘fun’. It was the tent Mom made when one of us was sick! If we saw a sheet draped over the bedposts and backs of chairs pushed up against the mattress, we knew… THAT tent meant a bit of isolation, a bit of extra loving care, and an appointment with the vaporizer. Vicks Vapor Rub was also applied to the chest to ease breathing and relieving coughing, water consumption was encouraged, and story time lengthened. It was our path back to good health.

As a momma of 5 kids, I’m pleased to report that we’ve been quite healthy (since removing the toxic mold from our home three years ago… another interesting story!) but last winter when my six-year-old-sweetie began coughing and coughing and coughing, and coughing and coughing, I grabbed for the Vicks Vapor Rub. When I turned it around to check for an expiration date and found, instead, an ingredient list that included petrolatum and turpentine*, I decided to check into making my own.

Today I am posting a homemade vapor rub recipe that I found (and adjusted, as usual!) at www.mommypotamus.com . I made it up a few months ago to be prepared for the cold and flu season and just recently had the opportunity to use it on a few coughers in our home.

Homemade Vapor Rub

4t (18g) beeswax

2T (1oz) cocoa butter

Melt in a double boiler. Turn off and add:


8T (4oz) coconut oil, softened

60 drops essential oil

20 eucalyptus, 10 rosemary, 10 lavender, 10 tea tree, 10 lemon

Mix well. Pour into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Makes about ¾ cup. Good for up to 1 year! (Don’t forget to put the expiration date on the jar.)


 I’d encourage you to check out the above website. It’s wonderful! You’ll find different E.O. combinations that you can use when making up your own vapor rub and you’ll also find a recipe for the little ones (under 2 years old).

P.S. Here is a primary reason why I choose to make my own “just about anything” if I can… I know EXACTLY what’s in it! Take Vicks Vapor Rub, for example. It contains *turpentine. What do we know about that? Turpentine is primarily used for thinning oil-based paints, for producing varnishes and furniture wax, and as a raw material for the chemical industry. Its vapor can irritate the skin and eyes, damage the lungs and respiratory system, as well as the central nervous system when inhaled. It is combustible and poses a fire hazard. It can cause skin irritation, is poisonous when swallowed (fatal to children in amounts as small as 3 teaspoons) and can also cause spasms of the airways. It is particularly bad for people with asthma and whooping cough.  Now, what is vapor rub to be used for? Colds and coughs! And it is to be rubbed on the body. So that you can inhale and feel better? Ummmm… I think I’ll make my own.


Gimme a Break!

How’s the week going? Are you in need of a break? Doesn’t chocolate sound really good? Yummmm. Tap your toes and hum this old commercial with me…

Gimme a break,
Gimme a break, kit kat
Break me off a piece o’ that
Kit Kat bar

A chocolatey snack is a tempting way to give yourself a break. Since I can’t reach through the screen and hand you a Kit Kat, I’m going to offer you an ounce of sweet Truth instead. When I’ve had it and I just want to curl up on the couch with a big ole’ bag of chocolate-anything, I try instead to take a deep breath and speak Truth to myself. I try to have the mind of Christ. To think what He would say to me.

We all get overwhelmed at times. And then frustrated at our own responses to the stressors of life. Here are some words of Truth for you, words of Jesus Christ.

*“IT’S ALL RIGHT TO BE HUMAN…Share a secret smile with Me, knowing that I understand. Rejoice in My Love for you, which has no limits or conditions. Whisper My Name in loving contentment, assured that I will never leave you or forsake you. Intersperse these peaceful interludes abundantly throughout your day. This practice will enable you to attain a quiet and gentle spirit, which is pleasing to Me.

As you live in close contact with Me, the Light of My Presence filters through you to bless others. Your weakness and woundedness are the opening through which the Light of the knowledge of My Glory shines forth. My strength and power show themselves most effective in your weakness.”*

Ingredients for a “piece o’ that”: acceptance of imperfection in yourself, joy that comes from knowing Truth, an honest relationship with your Heavenly Father, confidence in the character of God, a willingness to be used by Him.

Gimme a break! It’s all right to be human! Remember, He understands. And He loves you. Without limit!


*Quote taken from the January 23 entry in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” devotional


Joe, you’ve gotta go!

Joe, you have GOT to go!

As much as I love you, I’m not sure the hold you have on my life is all that healthy.

I’m sorry… it’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, wait. That’s not totally true. It IS you. But it’s me too…joe

There are plenty of others out there that adore you, Joe… so don’t despair. Please.

I didn’t say that I don’t love you. I do! I LOVE you!!

But you’re just so controlling. I always give in to you.

Ohhhh, why does it have to be so hard????

Coffee. A hot cup of joe. I admit it. I love it!!! I enjoy pouring some in my mug every morning. First thing. And topping it off after its cold, and just half drunk, two hours later. And reheating what’s left to add to my mug after lunch. And maybe, just maybe, brewing a small pot again in the late afternoon. What??? Am I alone in this?

I’ve cycled through this love/hate relationship before. I love coffee; I hate what it does to me, how it becomes something I ‘crave’ so quickly, how the warm cup in my hand or merely the scent of it brewing relaxes my mind. Ugh! And here I am again, going through the process one. more. time. I’m telling you, I AM going to quit drinking coffee every day.(At least for a little while…again.)

Kicking the coffee habit is NOT an easy thing to do. Several times I’ve given up my coffee; I have. But – I always come back to Joe.

To be honest, it’s not so much that I don’t want to drink coffee ever. If I could just drink a cup (a single cup) once in a while, I’d be content. But…

After being delivered from the bondage of coffee consumption, at some point I drink just one small, incredibly delicious, perfectly sweetened mug…and before long, I’m right back to that same spot again. Where I need it! If I could just refrain from putting grounds in the basket of my own little coffee maker! (I think that could be rephrased to read “if I could just practice a little self-control’?) Apparently I’m addicted.

BUT, since this is National Hot Tea Month, (tea month – not coffee…move over Joe!), I thought that rather than go cold-turkey on the coffee I’d try tea replacement therapy. Why tea? Because it’s been called the “key to good health, happiness, and wisdom” in the East for thousands of years! Sounds like a great substitute, wouldn’t you say?coffee

Recently tea has been catching the attention of researchers in the West. And, according to American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, LD, “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,”! Really???

I’m not so sure about that! I mean, I’ve heard some great things about tea, too, but NOdownside’? To any ‘tea’? Have you ever looked at all the choices of tea in the grocery isle? And have you ever looked for information on this topic? From Doctor Oz to WebMD, there are hundreds of articles, books even, explaining the hows and whys of drinking tea during this National Hot Tea Month.

In my brief time hunting down facts I found that there IS a difference between tea types – green, black, oolong & white teas are different than herbal teas. And  brewed teas are better for you than bottled. The less processed the tea leaves the more nutrition they contain. And, depending on which tea you drink, it may help with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, encourage weight loss, lower cholesterol, or bring about mental alertness. Apparently, health benefits abound! But, how long should I steep the tea to get the most benefit? Can I drink too many cups in a day? Is organic tea that much healthier than non-organic? Should I sweeten it with maple syrup, cane sugar, or honey? And how much sweetener can I add?!?

Looks like I’ve still got a bit of reading ahead of me (and maybe you do too), but I think I’ll give coffee’s little cousin a chance to win my heart this month. Goodbye, Joe. At least for now.

A Time for Change

Is there one thing in your life that you would change in an instant, if only you could? If it were possible with the wink of an eye or the tap of a wand, would you alter something about yourself or your situation in life?

Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China, had two great sorrows while growing up. One was that her hair was as black as night, not beautifully blonde like her friends. The other is that she stopped growing at a young age and remained four feet ten inches tall for life. But when God called her to be a missionary in Shanghai and she looked around at the people to whom He had called her, she said “every single one of them had black hair. And every single one of them had stopped growing when I did. And I said, ‘Lord God, You know what You’re doing!”

“Perspective makes all the difference in the world,” says Elisabeth Elliot. “Every creature of God is given something that could be perspectivecalled an inconvenience, I suppose, depending on one’s perspective. The elephant and the mouse might complain about his size, the turtle about his shell, the bird about the weight of his wings. But elephants are not called upon to run behind wainscots, mice will not be found “pacing along as though they have an appointment at the end of the world,” turtles have no need to fly nor birds to creep. The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations.”

As you begin this January, focus on the special gifts that you have been given. (Ask a trusted friend or family member if you need help on this.) Your unique abilities also give you limitations, you know. You cannot be all or have all! Even if Hollywood would tell you otherwise. So rather than look at the “inconvenience” or “limitations” of your life, let your eyes focus on what you have been blessed with.

Looking back, it is sometimes easier to say, as Gladys did, “Lord God, You DID know what You’re doing after all”. But sometimes we don’t get to see the “why” behind things until we reach eternity.

The challenge for this year is to say, looking forward, “Lord God, I am trusting that You DO know what you are doing.” And then to go forth with a change in your perspective and in your heart.

HOW you see… what your eyes focus on… your point of view… your outlook… your perception is what you can change.

Seriously consider it… because the right point of view is critical for victory in life. It’s time for a change.

Visit Someone

Looking for something meaningful to do with your kids before school starts up again? How about visiting a nursing home or rest home in the area? There are lots of people living in our towns that are seldom seen…because they are in residential care.  And sadly, out of sight often means out of mind. But the elderly that live in these local homes would love to have friendly faces stop in. You can simply hold a hand, ask some questions, or leave a card that shows you care. Just spread good cheer!

If this is something you haven’t done before, it may be a bit uncomfortable at first. I think it helps to consider what those you’re visiting may be thinking. Are they lonely? Are they depressed? Are they just praying for someone to talk with? Even if their body is bent and their mind is fading, they are of immense value… because they are a person made in the image of God.

Here’s a poem written from the perspective of an elderly lady in a nursing home.


Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see nurses, what do you see?

Are you thinking when you are looking at me –

A crabbit old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice – “I do wish you’d try”.

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,

And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who, unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse, you are not looking at ME.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

As I use at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,

Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;

A bride soon at twenty – my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;

At twenty-five now I have young of my own,

Who need me to build a secure, happy home;

A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last;

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone.

But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.

At fifty once more babies play round my knee,

Again we know children, my loved one and me,

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel –

Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,

There is now a stone where I once had a heart;

But inside this old carcass a young girl still swells,

And now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few – gone too fast,

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,

Not a crabbit old woman, look closer – see ME!

 When you go visiting this week, think about the dark days that they are now enduring. Spend a few moments of your time spreading some light, some hope, some cheer. They’re worth our time!

“Inside this old carcass, a young girl still swells… look closer – see ME!”