Monday, August 31, 2009

3rd Annual Soap For Hope

It's that time of year again! September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. September was also the beginning of our own son's cancer journey, diagnosed 5 years ago today.

We are excited to offer Caramel Taffy Apple soap again this year. In the past we have supported Cure Search, The University of Michigan Pediatric Cancer Clinic(Child Life), and this year we will purchase gas cards for those families who have to make numerous expensive trips for their child's chemotherapy. Please take a look at the statistics below.

Thank you!

Childhood Cancer Facts

  • Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • One in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.
  • Each year in the U.S. over 12,600 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Although the 5 year survival rate is steadily increasing, one quarter of children diagnosed with cancer will die 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
  • Cancer remains the number one disease killer of America's children - more than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Asthma and AIDS combined.
  • 80% of children have metastatic disease at time of diagnosis as compared to only 20% of adults.
  • There are currently more than 270,000 childhood cancer survivors in the U.S.
  • Late effects of childhood cancer treatment are common in survivors, and approximately one-third are moderate to severe.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shine A Light

Shine A Light, sponsored by NBC, and American Express is offering a grant and marketing support to inspiring small businesses. My mother wrote a very nice story about me and NaKee' Natural. Please take a peek, and please endorse. We need at least 50 endorsements to move to the next round of judging. I am hearing from those who want to support us are finding it a tricky process. For some reason, the sight is not showing itself to be user-friendly when people try to endorse a story.

If you would like to support and endorse our story, but don't want to mess with it, just email me your name,address, and email address and I will do it for you.

Here is our story:

"My daughter is my hero. Her business, NaKee' Natural, was born out of her quest for a more natural lifestyle; her interest in aromatherapy and herbs; and her desire to be able to contribute to her family's income while going through a very difficult time. Her oldest son had been diagnosed with childhood leukemia, and was facing a very long journey of chemotherapy treatment. She made a decision three years ago to turn her hobby into a business so she could supplement the family income and still take care of her ill son and her two younger boys in the process. Candance has worked extremely hard at creating her brand. She has created this entity herself and does everything by hand, including packaging and labeling. When I go with her to different shows to help her, I see the interest in people’s eyes and hear how excited they are about her products. I am so proud of her for persevering through the difficult times. She has been able to put much more attention into the business since her son has gone into remission. I am very excited about the future of NaKee’ Natural, even in these hard times with the economy and the unknown. She is a very dedicated woman who has enjoyed interacting with her customers not only on a professional level, but on a personal level as well, gaining many new friends in the process. She also helps others with her ‘Soap For Hope’ charity program. She has raised money for CureSearch(childhood cancer research), The University of Michigan pediatric cancer clinic, and is now purchasing gas and grocery cards for families in the throes of cancer treatment. NaKee’ Natural has great potential, and this grant is just what it needs to help it flourish. Thank you for your consideration."

Thank you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Happiness of Pursuit

The pleasure of getting what you want is often fleeting.

I read an excerpt from the book of Ecclesiastes the other day. I was so intrigued, I decided to find my Bible, dust it off and read the whole book(of Ecclesiastes, that is). I remember certain verses from this book as a kid, and the ever popular Chapter 3 'A Time For Everything'. But even more than that, I found that the author of this book was one depressed individual. He had everything anyone could ever want in that time: silver and gold, treasures, singers, concubines, herds and flocks, and great possessions. Yet, he could not find meaning or joy in what he had. He even tried to pursue works by building gardens, houses and parks, and found that it was all pointless. He then tried learning, hard work, and even wine, but he could not shake the feeling that his life had no more worth or meaning than that of an animal. Everything was meaningless to him. I kept reading the word 'meaningless' over and over throughout this book, while thinking to myself, 'Suck it up, Buttercup, geez!'. I think I may have found the oldest report of a mid-life crisis here.

He also talked about the great wisdom he had, and as I thought about this, I decided he was quite full of himself as well because if he had been wise, he would have understood that happiness is not an end result. You can't find happiness by being successful or getting what you want. You can, however, find success in happiness, by Enjoying The Journey.

We are all born with a typical level of happiness. Those who see the cup as half-full are optimists, and those who see the cup as half-empty are pessimists. This is referred to as someone's affective style according to Jonathan Haidt, which reflects one's everyday balance of approach and withdrawal. Optimists experience more positive emotions, and pessimists have more fear, anxiety, and are prone to becoming depressed. It is interesting to observe this in people. There are those who go through difficult and even tragic situations with grace and a certain level of acceptance; and then there are those who crumble under the slightest of circumstances.

Those of us who did not win the 'cortical lottery' as Jonathan Haidt puts it in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis , do have hope though. Haidt says meditating, doing cognitive therapy, and even taking Prozac can help. If I had written this, I would have added regular and consistent aerobic exercise to this list. He does have a list HERE of things one can do to become happier if you would like to check it out.

My drug of choice is running. And I may have even practiced 'cognitive therapy' without realizing what I was doing. Even though I haven't completely labeled myself as an optimist or a pessimist, I do believe I was born with a certain amount of resilience and a survival instinct somehow, so maybe I do indeed lean more toward optimism.

I understand depression is a very real thing. I have seen it in close family members and friends. But some people get so self-absorbed and develop such a 'victim mentality' that they feel everything is being done 'to' them. They feel as if they have no control over what happens to them or how they feel.

I have felt this at times through my son's illness, and also at particular times when there have been people in my life who were unsupportive, and basically mean. I felt a certain justification in my 'how dare you' mentality, but also knew that I would not grow emotionally or spiritually holding on to that thinking. I knew I was better than that.

A friend turned me on to a song called, 'Sounds Like Life To Me'. It is worth listening to...several times. There are those times when people go through very difficult times such as family illness/death...and I am not talking about these major life tragedies. I am talking about the things we get our panties in a bunch over that are just normal, everyday happenings. You know, the things that really stink, and put us in a bad mood and cause us to develop a poor attitude. We all deal with these things every single day. It's called 'life'. We do indeed have a choice with how we respond to these events though.

The king of Jerusalem in Ecclesiastes failed to 'stop and smell the roses'. He was so caught up in trying to find meaning and what would ultimately make him happy, that he lost sight of the fact that it is in the journey that brings about euphoria and joy, not the accomplishment in and of itself. He must have just fallen apart when things didn't go his way. There is a two-fold lesson here: Enjoy the journey, and suck it up, buttercup. Sounds like life to me.

Enjoying The Journey and Sucking it up when need be,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Were You Born to Run?

From another blog, I came across this fantastic-sounding book today, and thought I would share! It is called Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. I am so excited to read it. I am in the midst of training for a half marathon in September, and my husband is training for a full marathon in October, so this sounds like a great book to read right now to stay motivated.

It is interesting that I was just thinking about this topic the other day. I was wondering if we, as humans, are really 'built' to run the miles we do when we are training for long distances like this. Maybe I was just thinking about the long run I had ahead of me on Sunday, and the longer ones ahead until the half marathon, and looking for an excuse not to do it. Truth be told, I can't 'not do it'. There are too many benefits for me to quit. I have thought about quitting many times. It is definitely a commitment...a lifestyle takes time, motivation, and dedication. But the proof is in the rewards that are physical, mental, emotional, as well as spiritual if one chooses. Some are forever telling me I am crazy and asking me why I do it.

Why not? It costs very little money all in all to strap on a pair of shoes and party with the pavement. So, if you are looking for some motivation to run, this may be the book for you. From what I have read in the reviews, it gives a whole different perspective to running.

I am excited to learn the contrasts between modern endurance runners, who experience on average a running injury every year, and the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. These indigenous people are known for their ability to run long distances--they run much more than us, at 50 to 200 miles at a time AND rarely experience any running injuries. It is not unusual for them to run into old age, even into their nineties.

If you are interested, let's read it together! Let me know if you are planning to read this book, and we can discuss it in a later post.

Enjoying The Journey,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Become A Fan!

Happy Summer!

Yes, it is still summer...I just won't give it up until I have to! With only a few days here in Michigan all summer of scorching hot days, it has been nearly perfect.

I have been getting ready for the holidays. I have a few more batches to make, and I will be done with all of the Christmas and Holiday soaps. They smell so yummy!

I have created a fan page on Facebook. I have been posting pictures, articles, sales and information. Please come join! I will be doing most of my correspondence through facebook. It is an easy way to get information out to those who want it. I will still come here occasionally to blog, but most of the information will be on the Facebook Fan Page for now. You can post comments, questions, and even start discussions.

Become a fan and I will give you free shipping on your next order until the end of August, 2009. In the customer comment box at checkout, please put the code: FAN there and you will get the free shipping. Any size order! You must type FAN there, or I will not know to give you free shipping for your order.

Enjoying The Season,