Limbic System FAQ

Q: I’ve heard a lot that the limbic system only responds to scent, but I’ve never been able to verify that. Can you explain?


The limbic system is the permanent address of all the feels.

It has a scrapbook of positive and negative memories (the hippocampus) that is guarded by an alarm system (the amygdala).

The scrapbook stores memories based on a common feeling rather than a common thought. So, all the happy memories are in one section, then all the afraid memories are in this other section, etc., and so on. Those emotions are cross-referenced with other things too, such as the literal physical feeling associated with it, and the area of the body where those negative feelings typically reside (grief/lungs, anxiousness/stomach, etc).

(This is why AFT works and you can pull up a seemingly unrelated memory that IS actually related because of how your brain filed the information.)

Now, the alarm system is connected to certain areas of the scrapbook; particularly negative, stressful, and traumatic events. It’s our body’s way of alerting us that something is wrong, that we’ve been here before and it ended badly.

It’s also important to realize that some people’s alarm systems are more sensitive than others. Those with trauma or brain imbalances tend to have a hair-trigger alarm system so that their amygdala is in constant fight or flight, scanning for danger. These people may seem to always be in the feels. The thinking/logical sections of the brain are overridden by the more urgent feelings.

Also, yes, input from any of the senses can set OFF your alarm system. Someone gets too close, something is too loud, something is too smelly, you taste something that triggers a negative association, you see something frightening or traumatic… any sense can trigger the alarm system.

But, only one can switch it off.

Only the olfactory system can connect with the feeling brain (which is being triggered) before it connects with the thinking brain. When I’m triggered, I feel first and think later. For people with a history of trauma, thinking may come MUCH later or not at all. If I’m in deep fight/flight/freeze, there is little that can snap me out of it. This reality has never been more apparent than with my sweet son, who will go to the mat over things that trigger him. I’m not talking about regular stresses and disappointments you can talk yourself down from. I’m talking about a traumatized reaction to an innocuous event. It’s as if there isn’t a choice, because there is no logical thought going into the reaction.

When traumatic stress is truly triggered, it is life or death, you are doing whatever you can to survive. Your brain is telling you to fight or leave and you find yourself acting before you even realize what is happening. That alarm is sounding and turning it off is a challenge. Of course there are ways of retraining the brain and many different psychological approaches. Logic can rule once the incident is over, but the fact remains there will be more triggers. There will be more incidents. There will be more hair-trigger reactions.

Unless, there was a way to halt the process and retrain the brain that lasted.

The most effective, most permanent “off-switch” for that triggered alarm are therapeutic essential oils. The tiny molecules bypass the blood brain barrier and go into the cells. The constituents work like a symphony in the body. The ligands attach to receptor sites that match the same frequency and the cell door opens for business. The molecules do their jobs in the cell, assisting with deleting and restoring correct Information, bringing the body, mind, and spirit in balance.

The best example of this I’ve seen is Trauma Life. Within minutes it halts the fight/flight for our son. Consistent use has meant his past doesn’t dictate his future. He is tasting freedom from the bondage he once was in. He can hear the gentle whisper of truth over the terrible lies.

Driving on the Struggle Bus

Riding the Struggle Bus today because mama tried to do work uninterrupted for 5 minutes.

Y’all, there is panic that sets in when this child’s brain tells him he is in danger. The body keeps score of trauma. I’ll preach it forever. Panic gets shut down immediately by implementing the right tools.

1) Calm voice. Always. Even when I’m frustrated. Yelling engages the amygdala even more and creates an escalated panic that is much harder to calm.

2) Short phrases. Clear directions. Few words.

3) Oils. Always. Trauma Life halts the fight/flight/freeze. JuvaFlex and Release usher the anger out of the body. (For both of us.)

4) Grace. Unending. When I see his behavior for what it is – fear – I know that Jesus gives me the power to speak life and truth. Just as the Holy Spirit does for me in my moments of panic, so can I show grace and compassion to my child. What seems like a personal assault gets put in its right perspective. And I get the chance to be Jesus with skin on day after day, moment after moment.

When Lavender Doesn’t Cut It…

Trauma sneaks up on you. If you’ve been through a traumatic incident you instinctively know this.

One minute you’re minding your own business.

The next minute you’re in full fight/flight/freeze.

Whether you’re actually IN danger or only perceiving it doesn’t matter to your amygdala. The guard is up, the battle stance is ready.

The other day my son and I had multiple rough battles in a 12 hour time span. These skirmishes ebb and flow (I should probably start tracking it because I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the moon or growth spurts or food or Tuesdays… I don’t know.).

Throughout this day I was longing for bedtime. Because it meant I could stop fighting, even if just for a moment.

Since it was no ordinary day I knew our ordinary diffuser blend would never cut it if I wanted to enjoy any rest.

I needed sleep so I pulled out the emotional big guns, filled his diffuser, and prayed.

Why these?

Lavender – calming and relaxing oil. Old faithful. It also created a strong foundation for the other intense smells that I paired with it.

Roman Chamomile – superb oil for total chill, especially for kids. Harder to source and has been out of stock in Young Living for a while. But, I’m super grateful to have snagged this bottle (and another) free with my orders last month.

German Chamomile – excellent oil for releasing negative emotions, rage, and anger. Yes, please!

Blue Tansy – releases anger and calms chaotic situations. Calms feelings of overwhelm, loss of self-control, and self-destruction. Check!

I kid you not. This child slept all night long without a peep. That, my friends, is a rarity on par with a pink unicorn. (Kids on the spectrum are notoriously poor sleepers. He’s way improved since we started oils, but no peeps all night is unusual.)

And, how did he wake up?

Like an angel.

I couldn’t believe it!

Praise the Lord!

You’d better believe I put that same blend in his diffuser last night! Hallelujah for sleep!

Put Anger To Bed Diffuser Blend

6 Lavender

5 German Chamomile

4 Roman Chamomile

3 Blue Tansy

We have his epic diffuser that runs for 10 hours, (which is why the large number of drops).

This diffuser is my FAVE and is the one that now comes in the Premium Starter Kit. If you’re not yet getting your essential oils from Young Living, then we should chat, friend.

I wouldn’t trust any other company with my family.

The Difference A Year Makes

Reblog from 2015, when my son turned one.

I lied to the cashier at Publix. I didn’t mean to, necessarily, but it just kinda…happened.

She mentioned how cute our little boy was and asked his age. “It is actually his birthday,” I smiled, “He is 1 today!”

“Aww,” she said kindly, “you must remember June 5 of last year like it was yesterday.”

“Yes,” I said, before even thinking. It was one of those wait-that-wasn’t-true moments, but I also did not feel the need to go back and explain the truth.

See, the truth is that, no, I don’t specifically remember June 5 of last year. I honestly have no idea what I was doing that day. But, I wasn’t giving birth, that’s for sure.

It was one of those moments that stops me on my tracks. I am reminded that, as much as he is my son, Sammy is not only mine. He is a shared gift – with physical features not my own, but mannerisms that are mine completely. It is the mystery of nature and nurture that binds all of his parents together. We share this child. He is a part of all of us.

And, though, I don’t recall exactly what I was doing on June 5 of last year, I can say with certainty that every June 5 from now on will be full of celebration for the wonderful gift of Sammy’s life and his first parents that gave it to him.

One Little Yes

Last Thursday I had the honor of sharing our family’s story with a group of volunteers and supporters celebrating the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Christian Care Center. This is a transcript (minus the blubbering and boo-hoos) of what I shared. The CCC is truly an amazing place where God is at work – our church feels so honored to get a front-row-seat to see God’s miraculous hand!

I am grateful to get to share with you about my son, Samuel Kenden. Last year, God brought him into our family through adoption. The Christian Care Center staff, especially the Pregnancy & Family Care Center, was instrumental in the process.

The details of that process and of his first family really belong to Samuel – for him to learn about and know as he grows up – but the big story, the awe-inspiring way mountains were moved… that is God’s. And that is what I want to tell you about today. I pray you are encouraged by it.

This time last year, I had no idea how God would radically move to bring Samuel into our family. Actually, I had no idea there was going to be a Samuel; we didn’t know his mother was pregnant, we hadn’t contacted any agency about adoption, we were just living life.

See, for two years my husband Ethan and I were trying to grow our family, hoping to become pregnant ourselves. And, even for many years before that, long before I was married, I had a strong desire to be a mama. I always thought that would mean I’d get married and get pregnant and have a baby (you know, the typical way) – but God was working in my heart to do something bigger, something more extraordinary, something only God could do.

As I prayed through our “trying”, I began to recognize it for what it was – our effort, our plan, our baby. Well, how many of you know that when you let God truly get a hold of your heart, you suddenly become painfully aware of your sin and selfishness? That’s what happened to me. God stopped me and all my trying on its tracks and told me clearly to wait. Psalm 27:13-14 – I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

So, I waited. Okay, Lord, what am I waiting for? BE STRONG. Well, how long will I be…? TAKE HEART, WAIT FOR THE LORD. REMAIN CONFIDENT. YOU WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD.

As time passed, my heart became attuned to what God was doing. I was contacted by a friend who knew we were praying about adoption and who told me there may be an opportunity through a client at the Pregnancy and Family Care Center. “Baby’s not born yet, so just think and pray.”

So, Ethan and I talked – “Awwww… wouldn’t that be great? God calls believers to care for the orphan and we could live that out – wouldn’t it be so neat to be a part of that one day… down the road?”


“Baby’s here!” Crickets. Silence. “Like, HERE, here? Like, we don’t even get 9 days, let alone 9 months to process this potential change kind of HERE?”

“Do you want to meet the parents and the baby RIGHT NOW? No pressure for anyone, just a little visit?” Ethan and I looked at each other, and we said yes. And that one little yes was all it took. We just said “YES. Yes God, we will go meet them and leave the rest up to You.”

And, boy, did God move! Between our first little “yes” and the finalization of Samuel Kenden’s adoption – a day we call Forever Moore Day – there were a lot of little details to attend to. But, God’s hand was so evident in the midst of each step. Over and over, we stood in awe as the details came together and God wove Samuel’s story with our story in a way that only He could do.

From the time Samuel’s birth parents consented to the adoption in August, to the day Samuel officially became a Moore in December, it was just a hair over 4 months. That just doesn’t happen – caseworkers, attorneys, adoption specialists, even the judge – all commented on how quickly things had moved and how unusual that was. I loved being able to tell people, “That’s because God did it. Don’t you see? He has been working all along!”

The same God that knit Samuel together in his mother’s womb, knit him into my heart forever. The same God that formed the mountains and the seas moved what seemed like immovable obstacles, to glorify Himself and bring Samuel Kenden into our family forever. It still amazes me. Sometimes I look at this child, my son, and am just dumbfounded and humbled that God would choose me to be his mama. I pray I would be faithful to that call.

Our family is indebted, not only to our great God, but also to those He chose to use at the Christian Care Center and Pregnancy and Family Care Center. Samuel’s is a life that was saved because of their tireless commitment to the most vulnerable and their tangible love for the broken. I am forever grateful.