Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who we are - revised

We've had some changes in personnel over the past few months and thought some of you might like to know who is doing what these days.

I've asked "the crew" to write brief bios of themselves...which they did with various degrees of levity and/or seriousness.

Most of you already know Christi. The odds are if you call, she has answered.  If you have a question about an order, she will have answered it.  This picture shows her with her two most used "tools"...the phone and her computer.  In her own words:

"Divine synchronicity is the only way to describe how Christi arrived at Nature’s Gift & on the path to become an aromatherapy practitioner.  An early career in radio beginning at age 16 & a university Communications degree eventually led to her role as Press Secretary/Public Relations for a longtime Member of Congress.  A lost Senate race brought her to a crossroads so she left Tennessee for soul searching at a monastery in New Mexico in 2003, where a visitor gave her sample vials of Frankincense oils from Nature’s Gift--which she was surprised to learn was a business just 5 miles from her home in Nashville.  Two years later she began working as Marge’s assistant, taking a deep interest in aromatherapy & essential oils, & completed education at The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy in 2011.  Christi is passionate about the oils & using them with healing intention.  She enjoys spending time with her two small dogs & two parakeets, classic movies, & historical preservation & research. "

Jim Reding is our sole male employee, and our production supervisor.  He keeps track of what needs restocking,  what needs doing, does a lot of the blending, and, when we are busy, packs orders and processes the mail. There's probably nothing involved in production that Jim can't do.   To the left, Jim and Christi are checking on a blend.  One of the ingredient oils is new, can we use the same proportions, or does it need aromatic adjusting to balance it?
Jim's bio:
"Jim is a son of a kindergarten teacher and a United Methodist minister. United Methodist generally prefer to have a new minister every 3 to 4 years, so he spent much of his childhood and adolescence moving around various parts of Middle Tennessee. Hating the drudgery of working for corporate retail chains, he came to Nature's Gift as a part-time job while he was a student at Watkins Film School in Nashville. He stayed on because he enjoys working for a smaller company that cares more about quality than the bottom line. Jim is newly (and very happily) married to his wife Melissa."
(My private nightmare is that some film company will discover this underemployed director and hire him away from us!)   

Right now Jim supervises one full time and two part time employees.   Ginger is our full time mystery woman. She preferred not to be photographed so we shot what she does, not what she looks like.  Unless we are terribly busy, Ginger has packed your order; she's the one responsible for the attractive wrapping, and the speed and accuracy, as well.  She normally runs the mailing system, and when not packing orders, is probably pouring and labeling essential oils.   Ginger has some unexected assets. She is experienced with Photoshop so has been working on graphics for our "in process" new website. 
 Her bio: A weapon of mass distraction, aspiring novelist and all-around nerd. Ginger has a classical education and is a bibliophile of the highest order. Her sensetive redhead's skin makes her the perfect guinea pig for testing out new products, which she hoards in her bathroom. She has a secret, passionate love affair with bath products. Ginger enjoys running barefoot and the only thing domestic about her is that she lives in a house.
Beverly brings an amazing soothing energy to us She has probably poured your fixed oils, hydrosols and some of your anointing oils.  Her bio:   I was educated and brought up in the south as a part of a family that is as diverse as they are generous and kind. Being a 60s tye-dye flower child, freedom & adventure beckoned me after I completed college, which led me to the world of music and the music business, which is about as unconventional & unstable as anything can be. But working full-time in state government, writing policy & procedures for both mental health & alcohol & drug treatment, kept me as correct and focused as possible. The call of adventure came in my 50s and I headed to South Korea, where a whole new culture awaited me. But nothing has ever taken me far away from art, music, books, cooking and overall wellness, which is what led me to Nature's Gift.
(She doesn't mention that she is a gifted gardener who sometimes shares her bounty, and a talented photographer. I have a folder full of her pictures for a "day in the life of" sort of post on the flow of things here.)  She also, obviously, has very steady hands. I would need a funnel to fill those 4 ounce bottles!)
Michelle is an old friend of Jim's, and of my daughter-in-law. Wonderful references!  Her availability to us is severely limited by preschool children.   When with us, she does whatever needs doing.  Here, she is weighing a jar of her last batch of Shea SoufflĂ©.  Her bio: 

"A thirtysomething, slightly crunchy Mother of two who is rarely with out a book or a kid in tow.  Michelle is a former beer slinger, barista, bookseller, customer service manager, dishwasher and herder of cats. Michelle was a fan of the Happy Baby line before becoming an employee and really enjoys blending the products that she uses on her kids and at home."
This is who we are, right now.  We are truly blessed with the staff who has been drawn to us...the energy in this building is wonderful.   

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Atopic Dermatitis with Dogs?

Yes they have allergies too!...this, from Christi:

Treating atopic dermatitis in dogs can be daunting and there is no 100% cure-all whether one takes the allopathic or holistic route toward healing.  The mild winter has given us a luscious green Spring in the South and with it, increased pollens and allergens. 

My rat terrier-chi mix Lexi is nine years old and although she’s always had to battle allergies, this year has been the worst by far.  Her favorite exercise of rolling in the grass has given her little eczema like patches all over her belly & side.  (It took awhile to figure out what was going on because she had no fleas and her food had not changed.)  The irritation was causing her to scratch and make the lesions worse just as they would start to heal.  It was dry and itchy and red.  There was hair loss in those spots.

I talked to Marge about making a wash for her and she suggested it be as soothing as possible, rather than immediately treating with Lemon Teatree or something to go after the dermatitis.  So, I came up with a wash that worked quite well & can also be used on us “two-leggeds.” (Keeping in mind oils known for their healing and anti-inflammatory skincare benefits for eczema and psoriasis.) 

Here’s what you will need for a 2.5% dilution:

4 oz Organic Liquid Castile Soap
2 drops Organic Hydrolyzed Oats
12 drops Pomegranate CO2 Oil (Note: This is at a 10% dilution.)
2 ML  Seabuckthorn Berry Co2 Oil
½ ML Cade Essential Oil (Note: Steam Distilled)
½ ML Patchouli Sumatran Essential Oil

Blend the oils and the oats first,  then add the soap.  Gently stir it together.  Pour into 4 oz cobalt plastic bottle with a disc lid & gently rock to combine ingredients.  Shake before use. 

The soap was so soothing Lexi let me bathe her for an extended period of time and kissed me afterwards which she never does after a bath.  (She’s not a fan!) She was very happy and did not itch or scratch for the entire night.  Also, it left her coat very silky and soft. The next morning the patches were much less red and irritated and the flaky spots were gone as well.  A week later they are much smoother and more healed than before.  This bath treatment may be used once per week while trying to deal with the irritation.  It has provided her with much relief. 

I am using Lemon Tea Tree Hydrosol & a hydrosol blend of Lavender, Tea Tree, & Helichrysum on her skin, as well.  Bathing should be no more than once per week while trying to clear it up & less when her skin is back to normal.  Hopefully this will help her stop the cycle of itching, scratching, and healing, that has been going on for over a month.  Fingers crossed!

By Christi Pugh
For Nature’s Gift