Saturday, September 12, 2015

Who Am I? Why Am I Here? Why Are YOU Here?


YAY!  HELLO!  This is me! 

"Who's dat?"  you say.

"Me dat."  I say.  (from my fave movie everrrrrr "50 Frist Dates).

I figure the best way to get to know me is to fill out one of those question things that used to circulate on facebook about four years ago.

Apologies in advance :)  I'm going to be FULL OUT HONEST.
  1. What was your favorite food when you were a child?   McDonalds (bad, bad me)
  2. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?  "November Blue" by The Avett Brothers
  3. What is one of your favorite quotes?  "Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself"
  4. What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?  Reading, coloring, sleeping, Netflix, eating
  5. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?  Watching kid tv, while playing cars or Barbies.
  6. What is your favorite form of exercise?  Power walking!  It legit works. (Thank's Miss Lake!)
  7. What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? I love nights, my birthday week and the fall.
  8. What’s your least favorite mode of transportation?  OH (expletive) any kind of bus. OMG busses.  Now I need sanitizer just thinking about them.
  9. What is your favorite body part?  Is this periscope???  FEET.  HA!  I love MY feet because I have tattoos all over them.  I DO NOT like other peoples feet.
  10. What sound do you love?  Hands down- rain and thunder.
  11. If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?  A team party for every single person on my YL team; it'd be fancy "because we never go out of style." ;)
  12. If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?  HAWAII -the sunset over Molokini  (is that possible though?)
  13. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?   Ohhhh tricky, tricky... hmmm.  If I chose 21, I wouldn't have my kids, but 21 was so freaking fun.  So I'm kind of forced to pick 30, because then I'll have all my children... but that means I'll also have a lot of health problems.  Okay, that question was too confusing.
  14. If you knew the world was ending in 2016, what would you do differently? Hire a nanny  to sit with the kids on an airplane, and travel, travel, travel..  Once we got off the airplane, said nanny could do whatever she wanted.  Really, I just need someone ON the plane with them.   Get my drift?
  15. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?  Gosh... does this mean I can like pick up the phone and call the mentor at all times?  If so, Taylor Swift.  That girl is BIZ SAAVY AND SLAYS.  #30yearoldSWIFTIE
  16. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?   Princess Kate giving birth.  HAHA (for real though)
  17. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?  Violin
  18. If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?  Something Lemon Dropper related
  19. If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?  Swim way into the ocean and dive down as far as I could go.
  20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?  OMG.  I'm a name freak.  Okay.... I always picture myself being introduced... like "Here's Ashley McKenney" (Blah).  How about........ "Now introducing Augusta Pearl McKenney!" 
  21. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?  I have to name a few people... sorry.  1. George Bush  2. JFK  3. The Magnificent 7 (Atlanta gymnasts '96), 4. Taylor Swift (Had to- sorry) 
  22. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?  Buy a frickin house.
  23. If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavor, what would it be?  A Vampire, DUH.  #BellaSwan
  24. If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?  "Why do kids die?"
  25. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?  Deb Morgan- from Dexter
  26. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?  Megan Trainor (All About that Bass), Sarah J Parker, basically anyone with a dominant nose.
  27. What do you want to be when you grow up?  shoot.  I think I am grown up right?  Good thing I'm doing what I'm doing! (HOLLA #LEMONDROPPERS!)
  28. When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?  SLEEP, or youtube.
  29. What would you name the autobiography of your life?  Hot Mess
  30. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?  Talking Bird- Death Cab For Cutie, Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane- The Avett Brothers, Recovering the Satellites- Counting Crows, Scar Tissue- RHCP,  All Too Well- Taylor Swift, Same Girl- Jack Johnson, Get Up- Barcelona
  31. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?  OHHHHH yes.  Have you heard the story about how Nicole (my enroller) and I hated each other?  It's a goodie :)  And a total God thing, that we're on this oily adventure together.
  32. What was one of the best parties you’ve ever been to?  My wedding.
  33. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?  Unbroken
  34. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?  I'm in the middle of it, right now.  (health issues)
  35. What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?  Going to YL convention, leaving my kids, my comfort zone, my doctors, and just letting it all GO for a few days.
  36. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?  back talked my mama
  37. When was the last time you had an amazing meal?  The other night my dad made meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  It was raining, and the hot food was PERFECT.
  38. What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?  Tangible gift: my engagement ring that Ryan designed and spent every last penny on.  He saved for years to buy it.  Non-tangible:  My kids.
  39. What do you miss most about being a kid?  ohhhhhh the innocence.  And EASE!  OMG.  My kids just lay there and do NOTHING. 
  40. What is your first memory of being really excited?  Getting my little orphan Annie costume for my 5th birthday... complete with the red curly wig.
  41. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?  Boom- I got this!-  TEEN BEAT with about 300 posters of Taylor Hanson.
  42. When was the last time you were nervous?  two seconds ago.  I have anxiety.
  43. What is something you learned in the last week?  I CANNOT ever live in a house with carpet again.  I hate carpet.
  44. What story does your family always tell about you?  My dad: "Remember when Ashley was being a brat and came out to the shed with her hands on her hips?  She didn't believe that I was setting mice traps.  And then a mouse ran over her bare foot and she didn't ever go back to the shed?  And begged for rabies shots for months?"
  45. At what age did you become an adult?  When I had Maeve, and realized it wasn't about me at ALL anymore.
  46. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.  "Then memories are films about ghosts." (thank you Adam Duritz :)
  47. Where’s Waldo?  On Henry's book shelf
  48. The best part of waking up is?  Checking my downline! HAHA!
  49. How now brown cow?  No habla espanol?
  50. Whasssssuuuupppppp?  My hair

Okay so that should give you a good picture of who I am, who I'm not, etc.  Now let's talk about why I'm here.  (this is lengthy- get a cup of coffee or something)

Seven years ago  I had miss Maeve McKenney.  I also had a nervous breakdown.  A real one.  Not like a joking kind, like, "OMG I'm going to lose my mind!"  I ended up actually losing my mind and  had to go to a clinic in Ann Arbor.  It consisted of SO much therapy, and I was part of several trial/testing groups.  I missed the majority of Maeve's first year.  Around nine months post partum, I started to find my footing.  I was on the correct dosages of medications and had the support and tools to handle a panic attack or anxiety.  Previous to therapy and drugs, I coped with my anxiety by lying on the floor.  No really- I would lay on the floor, Maeve crying hysterically in the room over, me paralyzed by anxiety.  If I was lucky I'd have my cell phone near and I'd call Ryan, my dad, or mom.  They'd come pick Maeve up.  If I was having an attack and didn't have a cell near, I'd have to let it pass before I could get to a phone.  Usually by that time, Maeve had cried herself to sleep.  It was a living nightmare.   

Part of my recovery from anxiety and depression was blogging.  In early 2008 I started a blog about our family.  And all things good and HOLY, it was a life saver.  A few other things to know about me:  I love writing. I love sharing.  I love connecting with people.  So, blogging was right up my alley.   I met hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of mothers, and have made life long friendships with other moms who are walking the same anxiety/depression path.

The anxiety and depression became 100000x better after I had Henry.  And by then I felt pretty confident as a mom.  My blog took a turn;  instead of journaling about baby milestones, and cute little stories about first foods and such, I started telling stories.  TRUE stories.  And I gained quite a big audience (at one point in there :).  I became SO openly, brutally honest with EVERYONE.  I told stories that were so, SO much TMI.  But I ended up making more connections; something I've learned along the way?  EVERYONE has battles.  You know that book, "Everybody Poops?"  It's like that.  So my advice?  BE REAL.  WE ALL put our pants on one leg at a time ;)  And we all poop.  If you don't poop, go see a doctor.

After Henry was born, the housing market took a dump.  Like CRASH, BOOM, SPLAT.  We went underwater on our home.  Ryan had a bachelors degree and was working on a second bachelors, while working at our family's business.  I took up photography because we had two kids (and the baby in my belly) to feed.  And we needed extra money like there was no tomorrow.  I had a few photog mentors up in Jackson who showed me how to use an SLR manually, and after a year of practicing and charging like, 20 bucks for a disc of pictures, I felt confident enough to open a real business.  "Ashley Rita Photography."
I won an "I Heart Faces" award for this one! :D

Increasing my photography prices helped (a ton) but photography is an EXPENSIVE business.  Lenses ( HOLY HEART ATTACK),  nice computers, websites, website designers, props- it adds up fast.  I think we definitely ended up making a profit from photography- though I think the majority of our money went straight back into the photo biz.  Pretty soon we were so behind on everything, there was no choice but to just up and leave.
  It was heartbreaking to drive away in a moving truck; leaving behind everything we had built (literally- Ryan had built this house), our friends, family, the familiarity of Jackson County.  My parents loaned us money to drive a Uhaul to Florida.  At 8 months pregnant with Stella June, I drove a broken down mini van packed with kids, dogs and anything else we could fit.  Ryan drove ahead in a Uhaul, with our furniture.  By the grace of GOD- seriously- we made it alive to Florida.  The plan once we got to Florida was for me to do the photography thing (because there are so many rich people in FL! lol) and Ryan would be working an accounting job.

We did this for three years.  In those three years I THINK I booked maybe 12 photography jobs?  Basically I was nobody down here and breaking into an artsy town like St. Augustine as a photographer is not gonna happen.

We found ourselves pregnant AGAIN (and yes we know how it happened).  This time though it was bad.  Not just "we can't pay the bills" but "we need help" bad. 

I cried the entire way to the WIC office.  I cried filling out the forms.  I cried as they pricked each of our fingers to check our iron levels.  I cried getting the stack of food checks.  I cried cashing said food checks in.  I cried looking at our government milk, and cheese.   How had we failed SO badly?  How had this gone SO wrong?

After Rosie was born, our money situation was umm... nothing.  No wait- it was a loan/borrowing situation.  We borrowed as much as we could just to sustain our family.  We ate eggs, pb&j's and pasta for dinner EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT.  Ryan and I would go to bed feeling like failures; knowing we couldn't give our kids the best of anything. 

In May of 2013, I got a call from Nicole Barczak.  I remember the call like it was yesterday.  I had to step out in the back yard to get service (and get away from screaming kids).  I remember Ryan saying "Hurry up!" as he was grabbing the kids up, to put them in the car.  I gave him the one minute look and stepped outside.

Nicole was straight up honest.  "Ashley, there's this thing happening- have you ever used essential oils?  Because there's this team that Lindsey is making right now, and it's crazy.  Like, she's making a thousand bucks a month.  It's INSANE." 

I told her I hate selling, hate parties (Tupperware, Avon, etc- ICK).  But I WAS interested in the oils themselves- because I had four kids who didn't sleep.  And there were sleep promoting oils in this kit.   Which pretty much meant I needed this kit full of sleeping magic.  I choked when she told me the cost- $150.00.  That was easily two weeks of groceries.  I told her there was no way possible.  Like no way.  COULD not do it.  She told me more about this thing called "Lemon droppers"- not like the drugs (wolf of wallstreet anyone?) , lemons but like the fruit. (hahaha I SO remember you saying that Nicole!)  Obviously it sounded awesome- Hey I would take ANY extra money.  But the 150 thing was the deal breaker.  It just was NOT possible.

We hung up;  I told her I'd keep in touch and if I hit the lottery I'd buy a kit.  But something was chewing at me.  She had planted a seed in my brain.  And it was growing like a weed.  I couldn't stop thinking about an extra 25 bucks a month.  "What if I could do this?  What if I could make an extra 25, 50 or OMG- 100 bucks a month?????" 

I wish I could show you a recording of me broaching the subject with my accountant husband.  My sweet husband who counts, and budgets down to the last penny.... "Hey, um I want these oils... they're $150.00."


He said no.  Duh.

I kept the thought of being an oily mama in the back of my mind, but also respected our situation.  $150.00 is an investment.  We didn't have "fun" money.  Everything had to be practical.  And the kit wasn't practical- in Ryan's mind.

In MY mind, I couldn't get rid of the idea that I NEEDED these oils.  WE needed these oils.  I can't even describe the calling; (more like shouting- "GET THOSE OILS") that was happening in my head, but two things were sure: 1- it was the Lord's voice.  2- it was never going to go away haha!

SO.  I broached the subject a week or so later (I can't remember the exact time frames).  We had an emergency credit card.  ONE emergency credit card- with like a 500.00 limit.  I asked if I could touch it.  Because the oils were obviously an emergency.

He said no again :) - this went on for several days, and finally I just straight up said, "Listen- I want to TRY this business.  I just want to try.  Let me TRY.  I PROMISE I can pay back the credit card in a month, with income from Young Living."

And then we made one of the best decisions we'd ever made:  We charged the starter kit.

I was flipping out when the kit came; and immediately tested the oils out on everyone and everything.  Fell in love even MORE, as the oils were aligning things in our household that had forever been out of place.

The kids caught on quickly too:  The first night we had them, Maeve and Henry stuck their feet up in the air and asked for "night time" oil.  I snapped a pic- out of adorableness- and posted it on facebook.

I can't recall the exact caption- but it said something like, "oiling the kids up for bed, because we all need some GOOD rest around here."

And then.... BOOM.

It exploded.  I exploded- this business exploded. 

And suddenly I had sold 3 kits. 

Guess what 3 kits equals?  $150.00

You have no idea how proud I was to hand that check over to Ryan.  I had fulfilled my promise, and we had our oils.

But then a strange thing happened (in actuality not strange, because this is how our company works... but still- I was blown away) , one of the girls I signed up, started signing people up.  And my organization of 3 people grew to 14.  And the next month it doubled, and so on, etc.

My third month in the business I made a REAL check.  Like INCOME.  Meaning, I covered my $100.00 oil order that's required in order to get paid by YL, and had hundreds left over. 

That check was $758 (and some cents)- but felt like a million.  BECAUSE for the first time, in years- we could take a little breath.  We used that check on groceries, and do you know how glorious it felt to not have a "grocery bill" for the month??! 

This is how glorious it felt:  My mind started racing and thoughts piled up, and I ran through scenarios, like "Young Living.  This could be my job.  This could be MY contribution to our family.  I can pay for groceries.  I can pay for piano lessons.  I can pay for new shoes for my kids." -and the list went on, and on.

From that month (July) on, I worked like there was no tomorrow.  I hustled like a BOSS- not even going to lie!  I knew what I wanted, and I was climbing, gripping on anything and everything to get me there.

In September of 2013 I hit a rank called "silver."  This is the first "BIG" rank in Young Living.  And my check jumped well over the thousand dollar line and..... I think I peed my pants.  HAHA!  Because, really, how do you make a  thousand bucks just for loving oils and talking about them??   It seemed way too good to be true.

The months went on, the numbers continued to climb, and Ryan and I sat back and gawked, wide eyed, and grinning at what was happening.  We were growing a business. 
For me, the I way I look at everything in this biz, I treated silver as a quick stop on this journey.  Meaning; I loved being at silver, but it wasn't enough.  There was more:  GOLD.  And I wanted THAT.

The hustle continued and by the time Christmas rolled around, I was looking all golden and stuff ;) 

I hit gold a little after Christmas.  And my first gold check was unreal.  UNREAL.  Every check I had received from YL was life changing; but this was the first check that allowed us to DREAM BIG.

Platinum rank was next, and by this time, I was making three times the amount Ryan was making working at a full time 8-5 accounting job in Daytona (and he has a masters...) 

We made a crazy/huge/exciting/scary decision- Ryan resigned from his job.  Never- NEVER in a million years.... I mean, I still can't believe he doesn't go to a job... That THIS is OUR job.

I hit Diamond (the 3rd highest rank in the company) in March, 2015.  I cried.  Because HOW. HOW?

5 months later, I'm sitting pretty at Diamond and reaping what I've sowed.  Thankfully, I sowed well ;) 

Now this next part?  It's going to sound like an infomercial.  And I hate that.  But I don't know how else to phrase it.  Just bear with me.

We are financially free.  WE ARE FINANCIALLY FREE.  We stay home FULL time with our kids.  We travel.  Our kids are at a private, Christian school- which was absolutely unthinkable two years ago.  We have no debt.  We are buying a house.  We are FREE.  We are living abundantly.  We're living a dream. 

Now, before you think I'm a money hungry, essential oil whacko- hear me out:  First and foremost, the Lord- He is the center of our business.  Before I began this journey, He was working this plan out for me... I just didn't know it yet ;)   Secondly, money means nothing if I don't have my health, my kids, or Ryan.  Thirdly, this is our BUSINESS.  This is how we are surviving- THRIVING- living.  Therefore, we're treating it like a business.  

And that leads me to why YOU'RE here.

There is an insane amount of potential in this business.  I am living proof. 

I'm also an advocate for ANYTHING that's not big pharma.  Why am I so passionate about that, you ask? 

I have a 10 cm size benign tumor on my liver.  MOST LIKELY caused by popping a LOT of Tylenol and motrin over the years.  I'm currently going through a liver transplant program at the Mayo clinic.  And every time I'm caught in a waiting room, my mind wanders; and I start to think about how I can make a difference.  How can I help others who are suffering with medical issues? 

The oils.  The oils that came from the ground; they are completely natural, and ready to provide a load of cellular health to your body.

You're here because you either A.) want to see what these oils are all about  B.) want to have financial success  C.)  BOTH


Let me tell you this straight up- friend to friend.  You can win at this.  You CAN.  And you WILL.  But you have to TRY.

You also have to WORK.  It doesn't come free.  It doesn't come easily.  But it comes.  Trust me, it comes.

As your enroller (if you choose to join my team;) )  I want you to think RIGHT NOW about starting this journey with the END in mind.

Right now- think about where and what you want to do with this.  Do you want Royal Crown Diamond?  Do you want to pay off your credit cards?   Buy a car in cash (yeah we did that).... Vacation?  Spend your time at HOME with your family?  Live financially free?  Do you want to make your house hold healthier?  Cleaner?  Do you want to learn about how to escape the big pharma trap?  Do you want the skills to STAY healthy?  Do you want a change?  Do you NEED a change? 

Because you can do that.  You can do ALL of that with THIS business, and I want to help you do it.

I know where you're sitting.  I've been there.  You're looking up at this huge mountain that seems absolutely impossible to climb.  You're also thinking, "Okay, yeah cool- it worked for you, but there's no way I'll be able to succeed with this."  That's your self doubt.  And your self doubt needs to take a back seat. 

Because you absolutely can do this.  And WILL do this, if you want it badly enough.

Keeping with the theme of being 110% honest- this is work.  This is a job.  It requires time, and a LOT of learning.  It requires investment (although I can't think of another business where the financial investment is SO small, and the business profit is SO huge)....  It requires you to get up, and HUSTLE.  You have to be willing to stretch your mind; embracing new, scary things.  Jumping into the unknown; but having the faith you're going to make it safely to your destination. 

The last thing I want to talk about is why Young Living oils are different from any other MLM company- why I chose YL, and why I want every friend and family member of mine to be part of this. 

Young Living has been around for over 20 years- compare this to a flash in the pan MLM company like Jamberry's.  Jamberry nails are fun.  But do you NEED them?  Do you HAVE to have them to function?  Are their roots planted so deeply, that you can trust your investment in them?  My personal opinion is no. 

 THIS business, will be your forever business.  We're going to take a hypothetical "Sally" who bought the kit of oils.  She gets her kit in the mail, plays around with the diffuser, smells all the oils, reads the info, etc.  A few days later Sally ate a bad burrito.  Sally read somewhere that peppermint on your feet, down your spine and directly on your belly helps promote a healthy tum tum.  So she does it.  And it works.  And then Sally thinks to herself, "Woah.  Okay... I guess I'm using peppermint for my stomach vs. something over the counter."  And BOOM.  You have a LIFETIME customer.  Because Sally will ALWAYS order that peppermint oil (and probably a hundred others lol :)  Do y'all understand that difference?  Sally doesn't NEED Jamberry nails to get out of bed in the morning; therefore, an order into Jamberry might be once in a blue moon.  But an oil order is going to be constant- as often as one would buy a bottle of Tylenol, or ice packs for sore backs, or hand sanitizer for germs.  Basically, once your client get's hooked on an oil, they will need it FOREVER.  (example) Because if dragon time helps with your PMS, why would you ever want to be without it?  This is a self sustaining business.

Don't mistake that for not having to work.  You have to build- block by block, member by member, but once you have your foundation, you have a foundation that will be there forever. 

Make a change; don't let your dreams be dreams.  Hop over the fence, get on the hustle, and change.  CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE.

Please message me on facebook; let's talk.  Let's connect and get a game plan going.  Because your dreams are worth it.  YOU are worth this opportunity. 


instagram:  @ashleymckenney