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Why I Started AO Botanicals, LLC.

Last Christmas, I created DIY gifts for family and friends. Before I got to work, I took a poll (yes, I went ahead and asked- no surprises here); asking family and friends what they might prefer in a gift. I got my answers and quickly got to work. I used YouTube, Pintrest, and searched blog posts for inspiration. Boy, was I inspired, then overwhelmed, and finally stressed out- great, right!? I took a deep breath, consulted Father God, and got some clarity. That's when it all started, I decided the best thing to do was to stick to the basics; the products I found most interesting and honestly, easy and inexpensive to make.

First, I made up a business name, so I could label my products, just in case they were a hit (que A&O Botanicals- named after the first initials of my two daughters, who I'll call A and O. Second, I got right to work on the bath salts, using doTerra lavender essential oil and oh, man, I got excited (they smelled so so good). Next, I started making lip balms and linen sprays too (gaining momentum here, folks). Then, I wrapped them up, labeled them, and prayed over my gifts to my friends and family. Finally, I presented my DIY gifts for family and friends. I thought, "Let's see what happens, God is in it, so at least I can bring joy to family and friends this Christmas...I could even try to bring joy to my own broken heart.

You see, this was our first Christmas without our son, Angel. He died suddenly that January. They say it was SIDS; he was only 6 months old. His death changed my life, my heart, and my perspective absolutely. My heart still breaks for him. I miss him more than anyone could know. Unfortunately, there are many mothers out there who know and understand my pain- they have to live with it daily, just like I have to. But God is good all the time...and all the time, God is good.

Back to the bath salts, lip balms, and linen sprays- they were well received! Yeah! My mother-in-law said, “Gervaise, these products are wonderful! You could start a business. Seriously, Mija, these products are great!” So, that got me thinking, “Would I and could I handle a small home-based business and would it please the Lord and my family?” “Is it Your will, Lord, and would I be able to honor my roles as wife and mother, along with my prospective role as entrepreneur?”

I prayed to the Lord about it for a few weeks and finally, He led me to the Scriptures: Proverbs 31- the ever elusive and perfect Proverbs 31 woman. Huh, why? In verse 13 of Proverbs 31, it says, “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” “Ah,” I said, “I can work willingly with my hands." I can please God and my household and bless friends and family with natural, mostly organic homemade health and beauty products.

I spoke to my husband about my ideas and we prayed about it. A few days later, my husband, Mike, was completely on board...That was definitely the Lord, heh, because usually I'm such a dreamer. But Mike said it was a great idea. I became confident that starting this business would be pleasing unto the Lord and unto others. And wouldn’t you know, 10 months later, it is pleasing; to myself, my family, my customers, and I’d like to believe, my Jesus.

You see, I have struggled with the burden of people-pleasing. It's a real burden, people. The Lord is teaching me, the importance of simply pleasing Him. Jesus has been stirring in my heart, to seek Him, to seek and know His Father's heart, and to bathe in His delight. The seething pain and heartbreak I felt about my son, was finding new direction and was being lifted unto the Lord in hope. I had new hope with this new business; new hope in this new identity-entrepreneur' it made my husband and daughter happier-to see me so happy. It has inspired more positive thoughts, more motivation, and more energy to pursue passions He has placed inside my own heart. A few scriptures come to mind:

"...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as

children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and

righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."

Ephesians 5:8-10

"Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing

to Him." 2 Corinthians 5:9

The Lord desires for all of us to seek Him; to know Him, and to please Him. I started AO Botanicals, LLC., because it gives me a new purpose in life, I believe I’m honoring God’s will and it’s pleasing unto Him.

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