My grandpa once told me “Krissy, find something that you are good at, and that you love to do, and do it better than anyone else.” Those are pretty solid words of wisdom if you ask me. I may not be doing what I do better than anyone else, but I am doing something I love and something I’m good at.
My grandpa also told me to “Be a sponge.” His thoughts were that you should never stop wanting to learn new things, read about new things and experience adventures, and, that you should never stop trying new things. He believed that if you absorbed all the wonderful things the world had to offer, you could squeeze that out onto others in an effort to make the world a better place and to bless others.
I have spent the last few decades ‘being a sponge’. The only problem is that I think I absorbed a little too much negativity. I think I absorbed a little too much approval addiction. I also absorbed how others thought I should act or behave based on their standards and judgments and silliness; things like what is and isn’t acceptable, sane, normal, correct, incorrect, expected, and so on. I allowed others to put me into a box that wasn’t built for me, but for them. And, if “nobody puts Baby in a corner”, then nobody puts Kristine in a box. Period. It’s my own fault for letting people stick me in boxes. But a couple weeks ago I decided that I’d had enough. No.More.Boxes. Well, no more boxes unless they contained cookies, bacon, or essential oils.
What I did on Summer Vacation
This summer sort of felt like it did back when I was a junior, returning to high school for my senior year. Like I was on the precipice of something big, something exciting, and something new. It was as if my whole life was ahead of me and it was exciting and sort of scary all at the same time. Several events and conversations and much online reading led to this growing period, and although very painful at times, I’m entirely grateful for it.
I almost quit blogging this summer. As in, I contemplated and pondered never writing another post. I’m actually still considering it if I were being honest. So many people are currently trashing bloggers for trying to earn a living by doing sponsored posts, or having affiliate relationships, or joining network marketing companies, or partnering with brands in order to bring in some money not only to offset the costs of running the blog, but heaven forbid, to actually try to pay a bill or two. I know, how crazy is that?! You want to pay bills, get a 9-5 job they tell us; but most bloggers HAVE 9-5 jobs. The amount of harsh criticism for how one blogger decides to go about earning a living was not only saddening me, but it was causing me distress. I would read through comment after comment on blog posts and Facebook posts of people saying how they followed a blog for years and they left or unliked or unsubscribed from their blog/newsletter because:
- They had too many ads on their blog
- They started “pushing ‘those essential oils’ and were only doing it for the money”
- They had too many affiliate links in their posts
- They had too many sponsored posts
- They had too many ads on their sidebars for various brands
- They had too many posts with off brands that don’t fit the blog (okay, this one I can understand to an extent)
- They had too many posts with brands that did fit the blog’s overall niche
- They had too many affiliate links on their FB page
- They tried to sell too many eBook s
- They used an ingredient I don’t agree with. It’s not real food so they’re a fraud and an idiot
- Too many parts of their blog became monetized when I used to get the cow AND the milk for free
- Insert whichever monetization form bugs you the most, because I saw people complaining about it, over and over and over again
- They got involved with one of those ‘MLM schemes’ (Really people? Network marketing isn’t an illegal pyramid scheme, but that’s another post for another day)
Time and time again those comments were typed with a good dose of keyboard courage while wearing their Captain Criticism Cape and their Sunglasses of Black and White (no rose colored glasses of grace, understanding or MYOB here) and not one single non- hypocritical opinion as to why it’s acceptable to have a 9-5 job and do that ‘for the money’, and why it’s okay to shop at Target when Target is just ‘in it for the money’, and why it’s okay to sell Pampered Chef, or Avon, or 31 Gifts, or Premier Jewelry, or Arbonne, and maybe even Melaleuca, all in an attempt to just earn a living, but you try to monetize your blog in a way that fits with your mission, way of life, personal preferences, schedule, budget, goals, income needs, blog costs, likes, dislikes and your readers preferences and you get skewered!
Don’t we have enough critics in the world? Can’t we be more encouraging of bloggers who just can’t do it anymore because they can’t afford it, but who care about their readers so much and they care about the God-given mission in their hearts so they do what they can to find ways to make it pay? Nah, why would we do that? Let’s be Captain Criticism instead. After all, it’s the age of the Internet and that’s what people do. We tear down and judge and blame and trash and skewer and name call and whatever else, all because it doesn’t seem right to us? Ah, that’s a great excuse/reason. Let’s keep on keepin’ on with that, shall we?
I’ve chosen to use and recommend Young Living Essential Oils. I have had amazing results and want to share that with every single person I can. Embrace it. I believe in these oils so much that I want to do what I can to share them with other people and maybe even earn enough to pay for my oils and to pay some bills. I mean, how DARE I try to pay my bills by building my own business. How dare I pursue entrepreneurship? How dare I work hard, support the economy, aim to bless people AND earn some money? Who do I think I am?
This post is me being transparent, open and raw. Like really raw. I don’t share this side of me often, but I’ve reached my boiling point. This is how I feel. I’m angry, hurt, ticked-off, pissed, tired of the bickering, ready to throw in the towel, convinced the world is full of douchecopters and that no one has anything nice or supportive to say to anyone any more. So, forgive me for getting beyond REAL with you guys. What I share here doesn’t apply to many, but it applies to enough people that I felt I wasn’t being true to myself if I didn’t explain WHY I do what I do and why I’m making the choices I’m making. My calling isn’t your calling. But that doesn’t mean you have to get hateful about my calling. I realize this post may alienate some, offend others and cause people to leave, but those that truly matter will stick around. Regardless of who stays or leaves, I have to get this off my chest.
I’m beyond tired of all the essential oil bashing and the arguments over differing methods of usage. Interesting how we can basically tell our readers that most doctors are clueless when it comes to nutrition and Real Food and GMOs, and only use a doctor in an emergency because they’re useless when it comes to functional medicine. And we laugh at the FDA and warn people they no longer are a citizen watch dog section of the government and not to worry about what they say or think, because they can’t be trusted. Then YL essential oils come into play and suddenly we have to have a ‘certificate’ to be able to tell people how to use them (which technically falls under diagnosing, treating and curing, which only doctors are allowed to do), OR go to a doctor to have them recommend usage and now all of the sudden it matters that oils aren’t regulated by the FDA. Um, oils aren’t pharmaceuticals, so of course they won’t be regulated. Neither are supplements. Should we get into a war over those, too? Or, do I have to be a Master Herbalist in order to recommend a supplement that worked for me? So which is it? Does it matter what the FDA says or what they regulate or doesn’t it?
I’m truly fortunate that within my Young Living team, I’m surrounded with NTPs, Holistic Practitioners, Doctors of Naturopathy, and CNHPs. These are people who not only use the oils in their personal lives but in their practices as well. These are people that believe in more than one way to safely use Young Living essential oils. And guess what. It’s okay if you don’t agree with them, either. We can still coexist peacefully and learn from one another. Let’s focus on the common ground.
One of the things I love about blogging, besides the cooking and developing recipes, is the amount of learning and research that goes into it. I get to be a ‘sponge’. Much time is spent reading pubmed.gov, other blog posts, articles from today’s health, organic, anti-GMO and homeopathic thought leaders, books, studies, and watching documentaries. I spend a lot of time educating myself so that I can make informed decisions and also so that I can turn around and share what I’ve learned with you. I don’t research and write to tell you what to think or how to think. I’m not asking you to think like me, just to think. My goal is to empower and inspire. My goal isn’t to fill your bucket, but to fan a flame.
Do I expect everyone to agree with me on everything I share? Nope. In fact, much of what I learn is tempered with how I’ve applied it to our lives, our budget, our way of life, our wellness goals, health issues and our personal preferences. Is it crazy to think that what is good for me will be 100% good for you? Yes! Is it unrealistic and unfair to think that what works for you should automatically work for me, and therefore you can no longer follow my blog because I don’t conform to your box? Um, yeah. Not only is that unrealistic, unfair and pretty crappy, think of how much you’ll be missing out on by avoiding people with differing opinions and ways of doing things that are vastly unique from your own. Whatever happened to “I believe I can learn something from everyone”?
If all Your Friends were Jumping Off a Bridge
About 5 months ago I noticed that a LOT of fellow bloggers were jumping on the essential oils bandwagon. Part of me was in a panic because I’d been hemming and hawing over which oil company I wanted to join and which oils I wanted to use and then I knew that once I’d decided that I would need to write posts as I learned about the oils, etc., etc. The other part of me was like “ERMEGERSH!!! Another blogger has been sucked into the essential oils vortex?!” Serenity now!
The rate at which blogs on my Facebook Newsfeed were putting out posts on oils and how to use them and the top uses for them seemed to increase daily to the point where I felt like that was all I saw. In reality it wasn’t all I saw, but it felt like it.
This summer I’ve learned the difference between reality and perception. I realize that perception is reality. But if you change your reality does your perception change, or just how you view your reality, versus how you perceive your reality? Anyway, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and look into why so many people were getting on the essential oils band wagon and was I just annoyed that I hadn’t, or was I annoyed because I was just being a Judgey McJudgeypants, and people weren’t fitting into the boxes I’d made for them?
It’s funny, until you’re in a situation it is so easy to guess at how you would respond, or what you think an appropriate corse of action would be. I mean after all, “If that were ME” we say, or “I would never”, or “What are they thinking? I’d NEVER do that”. But then you find yourself IN that situation and you find that you’re not so different. And maybe you weren’t looking at their situation with a dose of grace and perspective, but instead you looked at it while sipping on a big ol’ glass of Judgmental Juice. When are we going to realize that not everyone is the same and maybe we should celebrate the unique approaches that others take, and that no one asked us our opinion? Just because we have a keyboard and we can talk doesn’t mean we need to use our fingers or our mouths to give our opinion or tell people what they should do, or, how they should do it. Especially if it is cruel and critical, and particularly if you haven’t earned the right to speak into that person’s life.
Workin’ 9 to 5
I suffered a debilitating back injury about 11+ years ago. I’ve had good years and bad years. Currently, I’m in a stretch of some really tough years. Although I’ve strengthened my core, back, legs and abdomen enough so that I’m not bedridden, I am presently unable to work outside the home at your everyday, run-of-the-mill 9 to 5 job. I’m unable to sit at a desk without taking a ridiculous amount of breaks. I’m unable to stand for more than 30 minutes in one place without needing medication to start moving again, and I can’t twist, bend, stretch, lift, carry, climb, squat, stack, stand, sit, run, walk or hold anything for more than a few minutes, without needing to be medicated so that I can make it home to bed. Some days I’m amazed I can even spend time in the kitchen!
Five years ago The Stud Muffin and I both lost our day jobs within a week of one another. Thanks to implementing some of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and Total Money Make Over steps, we were able to live off a 75% cut in pay for about 3 years before things got SUPER scary. A paper route wasn’t an option, Target, WalMart, grocery stores, offices, retail, etc. No one wanted us. We were overqualified. Our resumes were laughed at because no one believed we’d be willing to “dumb down” to the level of jobs for which we were applying. We were willing to do any job (that we could physically handle) but no one wanted us. Gotta love it when a disabled Air Force Veteran can’t even find work. I guess we know where our priorities are in the USA. But I digress.
We both went back to school to make ourselves more marketable. That brought in work, but the pay was so low it all but cost us to work; between paying for gas for longer commutes, new wardrobes, lunches, and parking fees. To say that we were severely under-employed would be an understatement. For the first time in 5 years The Stud Muffin is now gainfully employed but it’s contract work. There is no guarantee he’ll have work from month to month. We often find out at the last minute, one way or the other. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of faith to make ends meet.
We’re still playing catch up from the previous five years and it’s frustrating. Even though my faith and trust is in God, it’s still been a LONG five years. I know we aren’t the only people going through this nor are we the only ones who have been through this. I’ve learned many valuable things over the past 5 years that I wouldn’t trade for anything, compassion and empathy being two main things. That being said, I’m ready to be on the other side of this. Very ready.
The only way for us to get back to a place where we aren’t always treading water is if I have an income, too. But apparently many people who read blogs and even many fellow bloggers feel that how I’ve chosen to do that isn’t “right”. I’m greedy, unqualified, I’ve been ‘drinking the kool-aid’, I’m an idiot, I just get my information from other idiot blogger’s, I don’t really research anything, I’m a part of a scam or scheme and I just want to screw people over, and last but not least I’m ‘just in it for the money’.
To the bloggers and the readers/people who say those things I have one word for you. Just one.
At some point I’ll be sharing with you everything I’ve learned about the Network Marketing business model over the years. Until then, please don’t simply just spit old rhetoric out of your mouth because I have found that people who have an ax to grind with MLMs, or Network Marketing don’t really know a thing about it. People who think they’re ALL scams or schemes are ridiculously lacking in knowledge and awareness. They are woefully uneducated to the ins and outs of a legitimate MLM or Network Marketing or Direct Sales business model.
Yes, there are lousy MLM companies out there, but typically the free market will spit them out within 5-7 years. The FTC, BBB and the Direct Sales Association keep a close eye on MLM companies. Don’t forget, there are also bad Non-MLM companies out there, yet people work for them all the time and no one judges them. But tell people you do network marketing or direct sales and all of the sudden people grab their children and shield their wives and run for shelter. It drives me crazy.
Did you know that every time you buy from someone in direct sales you’re helping about seven other families? When you buy from a big box store, the CEO and shareholders are profiting. Yes, it helps them provide jobs, but the worker bees aren’t profiting. In fact most of them can’t even make ends meet. Please, tell me I’m greedy or trying to scam people or that I’m only in it for the money because I’ve chosen to take advantage of an amazing business model that allows thousands of stay at home mom’s to add to their household income AND help people. Truly, sincerely help people.
I could have chosen to sell pots and pans or airtight containers, but those items don’t change people’s lives. They don’t move people towards better health and wellness. They don’t empower people to educate themselves on how to achieve better health and wellness. They are great companies with really good products, but my higher purpose is to help people–to empower and inspire people. I’m in the business of changing people’s lives. Whether I’m the catalyst or the sole reason, it’s my calling. You don’t have to like it or agree with it or understand it, but don’t hate me or judge me or tell me I’m only in it for the money. Because if that’s the case, please; do your 9-5 job for free. Or, if you stay at home, ask your spouse to start working for free. I mean, if I can’t earn a living, you shouldn’t be able to either. And then, take it up with God since He put those desires in my heart and HE gifted me with this purpose.
Of all the Things I Never Thought I’d Say
I honestly can’t believe I even had to type the words “If you can’t keep yourself from thinking I’ve joined Young Living for no other reason than ‘for the money’ or ‘to scam people’, then you work for free, too”. I mean I’ve been working on this post for weeks and I keep getting stuck right at that sentence. I’m dumbfounded. Gobsmacked. Astonished. I’m in a state of disbelief. I’ve spent almost two years pumping out recipes and posts for free. And I did it happily! I’ve made about $5-20 a month from Amazon ads, and that doesn’t even cover my hosting fees. It doesn’t cover internet, electricity, the food I have to buy to create the recipes, the food I have to buy to make sure the first and second times I made the dish weren’t just a fluke, the camera, lenses, props, kitchen equipment, and my time, the new keyboard I had to buy every 4-6 months because I’d wear the letters off 12-18 keys from typing so much. Not even close.
I spend close to $1200 a month on food (when I’m posting 3 times a week or more) to develop recipes and there are only two of us living here. TWELVE HUNDRED dollars. I want to share the amazing testimonies I have from using Young Living Essential Oils and you want to suddenly stop following me, or unlike my FB page, or send me nasty emails telling me what a fraud I am, or you want to tell other blogger’s who aren’t doing oils that they are awesome because they’re not using or “selling” oils? (Runs screaming from the room!)
I can’t pay my bills on people’s opinions of how I choose to try to earn a living. If how I desire to achieve my higher calling bothers you that much, then quietly leave. I’d rather God help me clean out the cobwebs so that something better can be built, than be subjected to any more hate, hypocrisy, criticism and judgment from negative Nancy’s and other haters.
The way I see it there are two ways to fix this. The first is: how about you put your money where your mouth is and donate $1200 a month to me JUST so I can buy food to create the recipes that you love, that I share for free? That I work hard on. That I spend days photographing for just the right shot. Then, let’s say you pay me $500 per recipe post because that’s my going rate for a chef-inspired, original recipe that has been tested and tastes fantastic. That’s just to develop the recipe, take 5 photos and write the post. That’s not including the food or other blogging costs. Then, how about you help me with me $125 a month water bill from all the dishes I wash as I’m developing these recipes and doing photo shoots… No? Too much? I’m sorry. I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want to shell out that much for something I’ve been enjoying for free. It’s probably why I don’t begrudge people for whichever way they choose to try and better their lives, the lives of others and pay their bills. I mean unless it involves being an ax-murderer. I can’t get on board with that at all.
The second way is to back off and cut your favorite bloggers some slack when they try to find ways to make some money so they can keep doing what they love. So they share a few too many Amazon links, or put adds in the middle of their posts, or have a side bar that looks like an ad company vomited all over it, or they sell or recommend oils or supplements, or coconut oil or pastured beef, or kitchen products. Are we SO uptight and put upon that we can’t handle scrolling past things that bother us? It’s like the world collectively needs an enema.
If you want to sell make up, or jewelry, or partner up with the world’s greatest Coconut Oil Company, or you want to have a sponsored giveaway every month, or work a normal 9-5 job, I say go for it. Do what you love and what will bless you and other people. And please sincerely attempt to be supportive of others trying to do the same.
Because you see, I’m not going to stop doing what blesses other people. I’m standing up for my passion to help others. Just because you may not want to be blessed or helped doesn’t mean other people haven’t been praying for help and blessings to find them.
A special Thank-You to those readers and followers who stick with me no matter what. Who take what information I share that they find useful and scroll past what doesn’t interest them. Through it all, they are supportive loyal, and they challenge me to continue being the best me that I can be.
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