How do you choose a favorite out of all the favorites? I mean, there are the oils that help elevate my mood, the oils that I turn to for support throughout the month, the oils that support my skin, my hair, my family. But there’s one oil that can do pretty much all those things, so I’d say it’s my favorite and it’s Frankincense.
I love how scents can totally take you back to a memory. When I first smelled Frankincense, it instantly reminded me of growing up at my church and smelling the incense on the Sundays when they would use the thurible (I just learned that this is the word for the incense burner that’s swung around on the chain) during the processional.
It also reminded me of all the old churches and cathedrals in Europe, where the centuries of burned incense have built up on the walls and pews and floors, connecting each pilgrim and visitor with its history. Every time I smell Frankincense, I remember Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul’s in London, Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Santa Croce in Florence and I’m right back in those places, feeling the immense feelings of humanity and history and faith.
Frankincense can be used to help me feel grounded and peaceful. I use it every morning and I have been trying to say an affirmation as I smell it and apply it. The affirmation changes, as I’m trying to find the right one that fits. Here’s one that I found in the Book of Common Prayer that is meant for Evening Prayer, but works any time of day, really – “Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” I love that visual – that our prayers and intentions are lifted like the smoke rising from the thurible.
Frankincense is also amazing for other reasons. First of all, it is so great for supporting the skin, especially aging and dry skin. It has been used in medication for thousands of years – in fact it was mentioned in the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt. It also supports our body’s natural response to inflammation and is an incredible support to our immune systems. Just google it to find out more than I can say here. It’s amazing.
So, Frankincense supports my skin, my body, and my mind. What’s not to love?
This idea was born for a few reasons. The first one being that I want to get back to that place where I was always creating and always taking the time to sit down and write and always using my time with intention and focus. The second one being that I’m excited to do some more collaborative projects and I love working with Megan (we did a Christmas giveaway a couple years ago). The third reason is that Megan has been talking about her next music video for over a year, and I’m going to use this project to force her to release it.
So, for the month of August, I will be posting a new blog, and Megan will be posting a new vlog, every weekday. We have some fun things planned including our daughters’ birthdays, crafty projects, the moon totally blocking the sun, road trips, and so much more!
I’m excited to get back into the creative groove and start making things again. Aren’t y’all just so excited about this!?! Anyone? Hello….?
Today you’re five. Today is one of those thresholds. You are entering a whole new stage of life. Five is a big year. Five is kindergarten, loose teeth, reading, school buses, bikes with pedals, new friends, long days away from home, writing. Five is big.
Yesterday you were four and you were still a small little child. Today you are five and you look like a whole new girl to me. I have to be honest and say that my heart hurts a little bit when I look at you. You are a well-spoken, creative, brave soul. Not much of that little baby from five years ago remains. Your legs are long and strong. Your fingers are precise and careful. Your eyes are clear and focused. Your voice is loud and determined. You are five.
You are growing up quickly and it makes me miss my baby. But, Alma, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Those baby days are gone, but I’m so happy about five. I’m so excited to see all those things happen this year, but you will always be my baby.
My wishes for you this year:
You make new friends and keep the old
You are the kid in your class who welcomes everyone
You learn to read and enjoy it
You lose teeth with courage
You fall down and you get back up
You keep sitting in my lap and coming to me for comfort
When I planned out what I’d be writing during the month of November, I had a very different post planned for today. Last Friday, I wrote about how my daughters would get to live a huge chunk of their early lives with minority presidents – a black man, and a woman. I was so sure that would be the case. Everyone was, right?
Today, I feel raw. I’ve written a few things on Facebook. I’ve shared a few things on Facebook. I’m working on processing everything. I’m not sure where I’ll go with this blog, but you’re welcome to come with me.
This morning I told my girls, “Mommy and Daddy love you so much. We have some bad news. Hillary didn’t win, and she won’t be president.” I know it was a cop-out. I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words Donald Trump will be our president.
Instead, Alma had to draw the conclusion herself and said, “So Donald Trump is the president. Well, I don’t have to listen to him.”
Harriet said, “I have an idea. We can make a trap. Donald Trump is a bully.” The Trump Trap has been a big theme in our house for almost a year. Alma has come up with many plans about how to deal with the Trump Situation. None of her plans included the White House.
When Bush won his first term, it was my first time voting for the president. My friend and I wandered around campus in a daze. We didn’t know what to do, but we figured the best idea would be to move to Italy and do yoga on a rooftop. Since that wasn’t possible, we just walked.
Last night I just listened to Hamilton and wanted to quote it all on Facebook.
“Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you…”
“To the Union, to the revolution, to the hope that you provide!…”
“I remember that night I just might regret that night for the rest of my days…”
“History has its eyes on you…”
“The world turned upside down…”
“What comes next, you’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own, awesome, wow. Do you have a clue what happens now? Oceans rise. Empires fall. It’s much harder when it’s all your call…”
“I’ll make the world safe and sound for you. We’ll bleed and fight for you. We’ll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you. And you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday. Yeah, you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday…”
“‘Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ we fought for these ideals; we should settle for less…”
“There are moments that the words don’t reach, there is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can, and try to push away the unimaginable. The moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down…”
“I hear wailing in the streets…”
“I stop wasting time on tears, I live another fifty years, it’s not enough… and when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?”
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
I mean, we have to move on, right? We have to take this horrible moment and find the good in it, right?
We have to organize and fight and stand up and teach our children that our country matters. That the racists and misogynists don’t speak for us. That we are better. That our story is worthy of being told.
I am a woman and I just voted. I voted for a woman to become the President of the United States. One hundred years ago, that would have been laughable. Not only would a woman never be on a ballot, but women couldn’t even cast ballots. There is something so important about all this. It is imperative that we look at this and acknowledge the enormity of the situation.
I’ve always known the history of Oswald West and women’s suffrage in Oregon. I’ve always known that he was able to grant the vote to women during his term as governor. I’ve always known about Abigail Scott Duniway, and known that she was a suffragette. But I haven’t always known the full story of women’s suffrage in Oregon, and I wonder how much you, my curious reader, know. I did some research and I want to share it with you.
When Oregon’s constitution was written in 1857, it included this statement, “every white, male citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one and upwards, who shall have resided in the State during the six months immediately preceding such election…. shall be entitled to vote at all elections authorized by law.” One man, David Logan, moved to omit the word ‘male’ before ‘citizen,’ but his request wasn’t even discussed. When the 14th and 15th amendments were passed in the federal constitution, the Oregon constitution was amended to include all males as electors, but not women.
Women still didn’t count, despite efforts by equal suffrage supporters to claim voting rights for women, along with the newly emancipated black men.
In 1872, four Oregonian women took a stand and went to the polls to vote. They gave their votes to the judge, who put them under the ballot box – not in it. Their votes weren’t counted, but their act of voting was an important one, nonetheless.
The next year, 1873, Abigail Scott Duniway , one of those four brave women, founded the Oregon State Equalization Society, and my great-grandfather, Oswald West was born.
Abigail Scott Duniway wrote and published a newspaper, New Northwest, which was a widely circulated pro-suffrage publication. She also led the way for suffrage supporters in Oregon and followed the “still hunt” strategy for gaining support for suffrage. Instead of throwing parades and huge protests, Duniway and her supporters tried to influence the men in power in a more personal, quiet way. They would write letters, hand out pamphlets, and wait until the end of the campaign to make public displays for their cause.
As the family story goes, ten years later, in 1883, young Oswald West was able to hear Abigail Scott Duniway speak on women’s suffrage near his home in Salem. He remembered her looking right at him and asking, “Don’t you feel like your mother is as good, if not better, than the ordinary saloon bums in Salem?” Os, being a staunch prohibitionist from an early age, whole-heartedly answered that – yes, he did feel that way. From that moment on, his political opinions were ignited and he worked to help women win the battle for the vote.
Oregon has the distinction of having put this matter to the voters more than any other state. Oregon male voters voted on suffrage in 1884, 1900, 1908, 1910, and finally passed the amendment on November 5th, 1912 with 52% of the votes – 67,625 votes in favor, and 57,104 votes against.
On November 30th, 1912, when Oswald West was Oregon’s governor, he asked Abigail Scott Duniway to write and sign the Women’s Suffrage Proclamation. (photo of this can be see here) She drafted the proclamation and Os West, along with Ben W. Olcott, as Secretary of State, signed it.
This is a history I’ve always known. I have always been proud of this family history. I’ve always been proud to carry on the legacy of the great men who were there when Abigail Scott Duniway made her lifelong dream a reality. I’m so proud of this history that I gave my daughters middle names that honor and remember West and Olcott for the foresight and respect they showed to Oregon’s women.
Today, we get to cast a ballot that Abigail Scott Duniway, along with Os West and Ben Olcott, would be so incredibly happy to know exists. We get to vote for a woman to hold the highest office in our nation. Not only that, but we get to vote for a woman who deserves that office more than anyone before her.
One hundred and four year ago, tomorrow, Oregon’s men decided that women were worthy of the incredible right to vote. Next Tuesday, we all get to decide who will be our next president and it very well could be a woman.
It was a fight to achieve equal suffrage. It has been a fight to give women the rights that men have taken for granted for centuries. It has been a fight to get women in any office. It has been a fight to get Hillary to November (a long, hard fight that just proves her strength and resilience). It will be a fight to get her elected. When she’s elected the fight won’t stop. It is clear that we still live in a nation wrapped up in sexism. Hillary has crashed through the glass ceiling, but there are still shards of sexism laying everywhere.
As a child, I remember looking at the poster of all our presidents that was in my first grade classroom. It didn’t even occur to me that it was strange that all the presidents were white men. It was just the reality that I knew. I so much love that that isn’t the reality that my daughters were born into. They were both born while we’ve had a black president, and, hopefully, the next one will be a woman. The world is changing.
Also, I came across this lovely coincidence: There was a suffragette who was very active during the 1912 campaign who was named Harriet, but called Hattie, just like my Harriet. She was a brave African American woman “in a state that had codified black exclusion laws in its constitution. Redmond’s work for voting rights helped lay the groundwork for the Black Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.” I can’t think of a better woman with whom Harriet should share a name. Read more about Harriet Redmond here.
Oh yay! It’s November! It’s time that I get to post my gratitudes every day!
Gratitude is a big part of my life. I did 365 Days of Gratitude in 2014 and I was interviewed about it by the lovely Hannah. Every November, I take the time to photograph and post one thing for which I’m grateful. I’m pretty sure this is my fourth year practicing gratitude in the month of November.
I know that it’s important to me to begin to slow down at this time of year. September and October are both busy, hectic, loud months with school starting, routines being developed, Halloween excitement, all that. In November, we begin to pause, we begin to quiet down. We get ready for Advent and the meditation and introspection that comes with that season of preparation. It gets darker and darker as the days get shorter and shorter. Nature starts to shut down and pack up for the winter. November is just a natural time to turn inside and give thanks for those things that surround us.
So, please join me in giving thanks for the month of November. There are so many hashtags on Instagram that point to gratitude, but the ones I use the most are #30daysofgratitude to be part of the larger community of gratitude, but I also like to do my own #30daysofgratitudeATT (for And Then They…) so I can keep track of my, and my friends’ posts more easily. So, if you post some gratitude posts this month (there are no rules saying you have to do it every single day), please add those hashtags so we can all follow along with each others’ months of gratitude. I’m carolynfwilliams on Instagram if you want to follow along.
This was our 5th Annual Playgroup Pumpkin Patch trip!
Oh my, how we’ve grown!
This year we were back at Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm, but it didn’t feel the same. For one thing, they more than doubled their prices, so we ended up not doing the hayride at all. We were lucky with a warm, non-rainy day. It was also Henry’s birthday, so we all dressed up and had cupcakes. It was fun, despite the fact that we didn’t get to do the hayride.
I have already gone on and on about how much I love these people. Let me just say that I’m so incredibly happy to have them as my tribe and how happy I am to have my girls grow up with these fantastic kids.