Salutations, Sassy Cats!

Here it is, the first week of the new year and it’s always filled with such high emotions that we end up feeling exhausted after a few months of holiday hype. There’s this anticipation that builds up for us due to the reflections of yesteryear or the unnecessary expectations and scenarios that we keep replaying in our minds. We’re either bouncing off of the walls displaying huge smiles upon our faces as memories of cheer pop up from our childhood or we’re doing the opposite of that — you know, the dreaded woe of what’s to come when we are in the same room with extended family or when the bank account dwindles. You can see it in the community as you walk through the stores…jovial glow with zestful energy or depressed drag of the feet and emotionless. We’ve all been there and trust me, however it is that you feel during the chaotic holiday bustle, it’s normal and it’s acceptable. ANYTHING can trigger us into a diabolical frenzy or meltdown!

I too, have witnessed and owned each of these reactions. When I am IN them, I try not to judge myself and when I am around others who are IN them, I don’t judge. Why? I’ll tell you. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that we’ve gone to ‘the Superstore’ for decorations and gifts or that we actually made some of those decorations and presents with our hands. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that we bought that prepackaged food dish or that we spent hours creating a masterpiece from scratch. Sometimes money is flowing and we can indulge a tad more or we are on a tight budget, our cupboards bare and on the brink of bankruptcy. Listen people, your not alone. Your presence IS a present, to all who love you and value your existence, regardless of where your mind frame is in the moment. It’s okay. None of this makes you a horrible mom, dad, consumer, role model, friend, citizen, in-law or quality human being. Everything in moderation. Admit when you’ve misinterpreted something, when you are stressed out or feeling ‘off’ and then FORGIVE…Your Self and those who have most likely hurt you without intention of doing so. Breathe. Do it again and then let that breath out slowly while you say to yourself, “I am here. I am a gift.” There is beauty in the way that we nurture others and scientific proof of the validity that using positive language (affirmations or mantras) to soothe, can truly change your mind & body physically = creating a healing affect or dis-ease. Read more here.

I created Breathe in the Good Mantras to do just that, create beauty on the inside of our bodies first, before we tackle any of the chaotic turmoil or messes in our environments. When you are feeling overwhelmed, whatever the reason may be, I want you to have a mantra or affirmation to remind you of the goodness that you are blessed with. Envision these mantras as soft velvet blankets that wrap you up in comfort or imagine them as ninja warriors you can call upon to give you strength when you need them. Some of these will resonate with you and be the salve of what is ailing you while others may not. I assure you, at some point you will find yourself reflecting and you’ll remember that one mantra that you may have dismissed at another time. I hope these mantras will do that for you. Remember to ‘breathe in the good’ of not only who you are but also of the goodness and beauty that surrounds you. Go easy on yourself. Don’t judge. Be kind. Only be patient, love and honor yourself while also doing so for those souls that are either lovin’ or hatin’ life right now. We’re all human. We all have good days and not so great days. Sometimes we’ve got it together and other times we feel like we’re losing our sh*t. Don’t judge. Breathe in the Good, even if it means that you’re doing it for someone else when they can’t do it for themselves at the moment. We’re all doing the best that we can, when we can.

To receive weekly mantras and affirmations to keep you focused on the beauty when your surrounded by chaos, sign up here.

Breathe it in,
~ Dawn Renée

Welcome to my lair!

Sassafras albidumWelcome to my lair, the living space that expands past the four walls that my family resides within! This is Sassafras Elements. It is where I marry the chaos of life with the beauty that sashays within the simplistic nuances of our days. The Sassafras tree epitomizes the qualities of how I want to be remembered and yearn to be of service to the world. My aspiration for this site is to provide sustenance for the senses and a haven for the heart. We are the roots that create a solid foundation for the future. When we allow ourselves to enjoy the fruits of our labor, the contentment that we receive becomes a cyclical natural rhythm of nourishment that exudes from us like pollen blowing into the wind. This byproduct of intentional living creates the fresh flowing oxygen that allows us to breathe with ease. Paying attention to the gorgeous colors of life and the essence of generating joy is contagious. My hope is that Sassafras will be the door that you look forward to opening, lingering within the spaces and finding comfort in the elements. Let’s dwell here together!

Into the Darkness

In the month of October and the first week of November, there are a few holidays that we celebrate which tend to delve into ‘the darkness’ of the human and spiritual world. For some of us, there is an inviting opportunity to explore the realm of the unknown and for others, there is a cold chill of fear that runs up our spines screaming at us to avoid or deny it.

When people think of Halloween and their experiences as a child, the images of scary witches, pumpkins, ghastly ghosts, and sweet candy are conjured up in their minds with both fright & delight! Our imaginations reach an all-time peak to CREATE…doing so with costume and stories, which can be simple or elaborate.

Historically and traditionally, these holidays have continued to be celebrated by religions and families through the ages with varying degrees of embellishment to each one as to what is truth or myth. What lies behind, presently and before us is an honoring of our ancestors.

Here are a few links to sites, videos, and individuals of whom I feel captures what resonates with me as endearing, enlightening, entertaining and informative: ENJOY!
Appalachian Ink
What is a Folk Healer?
Pixie Lighthorse – Welcoming the Night

Love, handwritten.

NUDGE: When was the last time that you actually sent someone a handwritten card or letter? I was thinking about my grandparents and realized that even though their eyesight is failing, their heart is still beating with a pulse yearning for words & love. My aunt can read my letter to them. I am planning on writing them tomorrow to remind them of how much they mean to me and recall memories of laughter together…is there someone that YOU can send a handwritten letter or memento of love to? I’m sure there is!

Fall sweep any time

orangeMost of us have all heard of Spring cleaning and feel that urge to renew our surroundings with freshness, whites and brights to welcome us into the outdoors with a sense of urgency to greet the sun after the dark winter days of confinement within our abodes. For me, I also do a Fall sweep of the house when the brisk cool breezes blow through the windows, giving me a spark of energy to exude within the home to prepare me for those months ahead when our family will be cooped up together so that it becomes a haven for the senses, as well as for our hibernating bodies! I like to keep as many chemicals as possible outside of our nest and one of those ways is to make my own cleaning concoctions. Truth is, we don’t have the money to pull out our cruddy carpet and replace them with gorgeous reclaimed wood yet or have the funds to turn our home into Greenville by using solar energy so I do what I can to keep us feeling healthy, our dwelling fresh, our budget low and our environment clean!

There are a lot of D.I.Y. sites out there and recipes to copy so go explore ~ I’m posting some of my own favorites here.

::Disclaimer:: I use these in my home every day and experiment with measurements, essential oils, etc. Obviously, even though these are natural recipes, we are individuals with varying tolerances to scents, ingredients and the like so if you feel like something is too strong or an adverse reaction occurs, change it up or stop using it. Also, I am not liable for any damages that may happen — common sense, test first on an inconspicuous area, as with any store bought product that you would buy with chemicals!

Air Freshener

  • Spray bottle with misting function
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol, vodka or gin (yes, you read that correctly!)
  • Essential oils: I like lavender, lemon, cloves, eucalyptus, orange, rose & jasmine

Fill the spray bottle 3 parts water & 1 part alcohol, plus approximately 10-20 drops of essential oil. Shake it up! Spray and enjoy the scents of your choosing. My kids have had their friends tell them, “Your house always smells good!” Whether that means ‘clean’ (eucalyptus, lemon) or warm (cloves, orange) or ‘pretty’ (lavender, jasmine) it puts a smile on everyone’s hearts. During the Fall/Winter months, I also spray the kids’ rooms with lavender & eucalyptus to help ease them into Slumberville!

All Purpose Counter Cleanser Spray

  • Spray bottle with various spraying functions
  • Water
  • White vinegar (approx. 1 cup)
  • Castile liquid soap (Dr. Bronner’s)
  • Grapefruit seed extract (optional)
  • Essential oils: I like tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, orange

Some essential oils, like tea-tree or eucalyptus, have anti-microbial properties, which means they help inhibit the growth of disease causing microorganisms.

I don’t have measurements on these because honestly, it depends on the size of spray bottle that I’m using plus I think that some germs are actually okay. They keep our body in tip top shape to do what they’re supposed to do, function properly at protecting us instead of bored and complacent!

The usual 3:1 ratio of water & vinegar plus about 10-20 drops of whichever oils you prefer, about 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract and 1 TBS. of castile liquid soap. I’m basing these approx. measurements on a 16 oz. or more spray bottle.

I absolutely ADORE these and proud to use them because I’m not only saving money but they make my home smell fresh. I mist them in the air when the room feels stagnant or stale, I spray them on the counters, on door handles, light switches and when I just want something pretty to inhale that isn’t going to make me feel scared to BREATHE IN!