Escape the Santa Trap 6 Tips For Paying Down Holiday Debt

santa-trap
It’s January, and all that holiday cheer is catching up with your bank account. Sure you got some amazing deals—25, 50, 75 percent off everything your family ever wanted!—but the magic of Christmas morning is now overshadowed by hefty credit card bills. If only you’d taken a cue from the Grinch and remembered that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. So what now? Where do you go after the wrapping paper and twinkling lights are stored for the season but you’ve got bills you’ll be paying the whole year through? Here are six easy tips you can use for holiday debt recovery, taken from Melaleuca’s Simple Steps to Your Financial Freedom guide.

Add Up Your Debt

You spent too much—you know that—but how much exactly did you spend? It’s important to know exactly how much you owe and to whom before you can make a plan to get out of debt. You’re not going to beat yourself over the head with your bad decisions; you’re just going to take an honest accounting of how much you owe and admit that you need to make getting out of debt a priority.

Stop Spending

All those amazing New Year’s sales? You’re going to skip them, even if they have amazing deals. After all, didn’t everyone just get a boatload of Christmas presents? You’ve fulfilled plenty of your family’s wants, so what you need is to stop spending and halt the upward climb of your credit card balance.

Reduce Expenses

Look at all your incidental expenses, like how often you eat out, go to the movies, and do other fun but not really necessary things. No, you don’t have to live like a hermit and spend the rest of the year bored at home. But what about setting some limits—like only one or two outings a week?

Because it’s winter, you’ll also want to take a look at your heating bill. Keeping warm can be an expensive endeavor, but the simple tips below can help lower your spending without freezing the family.

  • Invest in window and door treatments that cut down on heat loss. A drafty window or door is leaking more than just cold air—it’s leaking money. Caulk, weatherstrips and other insulation will pay off on your heating bill.
  • Did you know that hot water consumes 14 to 25 percent of your heating bill? Lower your bill by making sure you wash your laundry in cold water. All EcoSense® laundry products are designed to be effective in cold water, so you’ll get great results while saving a few bucks.
  • Add an extra blanket and lower the nightly temperature. Turning your thermostat down at night (or when you’re out of the house) can result in significant savings. Many thermostats are now programmable, so you can set it and forget it.
  • Let the sun lend a hand by opening the curtains on south-facing windows. You’ll get some good old-fashioned solar power during the day, and you can close the curtains at night to keep out the chill.

Increase Your Income

This is where a Melaleuca business comes in handy. Building a Melaleuca business doesn’t require that you quit your day job, invest a large sum of money or go further into debt. A Melaleuca business is a simple, easy, low-cost way to add to your monthly income and loosen a tight budget.

The average monthly income for a Director/Director II is $179. To reach Director II, all you need to do is help 10 friends discover Melaleuca. If you’re looking for a little more income, make a goal to reach Director III, which makes an average of $639 a month. To reach Director III you enroll 11 friends and then help one of those friends enroll eight of their friends. That’s a significant income just for telling a few people about quality products that can truly benefit their lives.

For those who are already Director III or above, make a goal to develop at least one Director each month. Use the monthly promotions to maximize your business growth and motivate your team. You can also set a goal to advance your status by a specific date.

Power Roll Your Debt

Traditional wisdom says to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, but power rolling takes a different approach. Instead, you find the smallest debt you have and focus on paying that off first.

Here’s how it works:
power-roll-debt

List debts from largest to smallest
Using the list you made in Step One, put your debts in order from largest to smallest.
Pay off the smallest debt first
Whichever debt on your list is smallest, target that one first. On every other balance, make the minimum payment, but on your smallest debt, devote every spare cent you can find. Conquering that first small debt will give you a quick win and a taste of the freedom that comes when you conquer your debts.
Move to the next debt
With your smallest debt out of the way take the money you were paying on that debt and put it toward the next debt. It could be a credit card or a store loan. With each debt you pay off, the amount you have available to pay toward the next debt will grow larger.

Be Patient

This is the hard part. Although you didn’t accumulate all that debt overnight, the sad reality is it’s a lot easier to charge a credit card than to pay it off. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see amazing results in one or two months (or even six, depending on the size of your debt). Think like the tortoise and keep slowly moving forward—you’ll eventually win the race!

Parents: Creating a Legacy of Healthy Habits

healthy-eating-for-kids
Parents have many important responsibilities when it comes to their kids, not the least of which is striving for their good health and nutrition. But this responsibility is so much more than just putting food on the table and knowing when to take kids to a doctor.

Parents need to not only feed their children, but teach them to eat right. Parents need to not only encourage their kids to be active, they need to show them. No form of teaching between a parent and child is more powerful than example.

To put it simply, the healthy habits of a parent will lay a foundation for healthy habits in their kids. But the contrary is also true—your children will pick up on and follow your less-than-healthy habits and choices.

Parents need to teach their children healthy habits in two main areas: diet and activity level.

Raising a kid to eat healthy

This is always a tough one—after all, kids are notoriously picky eaters and family life can be very busy. But don’t let that stop you from helping them develop healthy eating habits. Persistence will pay off, and kids’ tastes and eating habits do evolve as they mature.

Most kids in the U.S. don’t even come close to eating the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—and they eat more than the recommended maximum level of sodium. In fact, their diets are often loaded with empty calories from sugars and fats.

For children between the ages of 12 and 18, nearly 40% of their daily calories come from fat and sugar, especially from soda and fruit drinks, desserts, pizza, and high-fat whole milk. This affects their health in the short term, but can also set them up for a lifetime of poor eating habits and health complications.

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Where to start with nutrition

Parents following a few simple principles can make a world of difference for their children’s future eating habits. The following are great tips for both parents and kids.

• Eat more fruits and vegetables—half of each meal according to the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines
• Replace refined grains with whole grains—at least half of your daily grain intake
• Dairy is important for you, but opt for lower-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
• Eat leaner proteins, and don’t forget beans, nuts, and seeds
• Portion sizes—don’t eat more than you need
• Limit desserts and treats
• Involve kids in the kitchen—they’ll learn healthy habits as they help
• Increase fiber intake—up to 30 grams daily
• Supplement daily to fill the gaps—focus on vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s like those you’ll fine in Koala Pals™ Shakeables™, Vitality omega-3s, and the Vitality Pack® powered by Oligo®

Getting the family more active

According to LetsMove.gov, kids age 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day with entertainment media and electronics! At the same time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that “children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.” Which do you think kids make a higher priority?

The Centers for Disease Control states that regular activity for kids “improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem,” and may improve kids’ academic performance.

Research has shown that kids develop attitudes and behaviors about physical activity based on their home and family. So make exercise a family affair! An active parent is more likely to have active children. The fact is, getting active doesn’t have to feel like exercise at all. And don’t forget, calories burned during “play” are just the same as calories burned during “exercise.”

Where to start with exercise

School PE, organized sports, and dance groups are great exercise—but usually not enough. There are hundreds of great ways for kids—and parents—to get active. Let your children see you make exercise a priority by seeing you work out on a regular basis. Consistency is important—find ways to be active for 45–60 minutes every day. The following ideas can help you get started:

• Play basketball, soccer, tennis, or other sports together
• Go on a bike ride
• Walk or ride your bike instead of driving somewhere
• Go roller skating
• Do garden and yard work
• Walk the dog
• Turn on some music and dance
• Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators
• Limit time spent on TV, computers, and gaming
• Go on a hike
• Go on a family walk before or after a meal
• Wash the car
• Go swimming
• Throw a Frisbee®
• Find activities that fit your family’s unique personality

Helping Christmas Mean a Little Bit More

de-jager-family
For the de Jager family, the most important present this Christmas won’t come brightly wrapped with ribbons or bows. There’ll be plenty of those, but the gift that matters the most will be spending Christmas together. For the first time since moving from South Africa to the United States, Cornelius de Jager will have the holiday off.

“We are extremely grateful to have Christmas together as a family,” says Cornelius. “I work in agriculture, and my job doesn’t have benefits. In the past, I’ve always had to work on Christmas because we needed the income.”

Thanks to Melaleuca, the de Jagers not only have more time together as a family, they also have financial peace of mind during the joyful, but often expensive, holiday season. “We used to have to start three or four months ahead of time to save up for Christmas gifts, but this year we don’t have to worry about it,” Cornelius says. “Some of my cousins and friends are also building Melaleuca businesses. So it’s not only our family that’s going to have a blessed Christmas; it’s other families too.”

Helping people is one of the key reasons the de Jagers enrolled with Melaleuca. When Wanda and Cornelius first heard about Melaleuca, they were concerned it sounded too good to be true. “We didn’t want to make money by hurting other people,” Cornelius says. “I was impressed that a 28-year-old company was debt-free. And the products sounded good, but I didn’t understand the Compensation Plan.”

Their enroller invited them to a Leadership Celebration dinner to meet some of the business builders in their area and learn more about how Melaleuca worked. That was a turning point for the de Jagers, not because they heard tales of big paychecks or easy incomes, but because they saw other people just like them—teachers, farmers, moms and dads—sharing the success stories of others. They heard how Melaleuca helped people get out of debt, find increased wellness, and spend more time with their families. After seeing Melaleuca’s Mission Statement in action, the de Jagers went home and began building a business.

“I’ve really fallen in love with this company because of how it allows me to help others,” Cornelius says. “Most people think ‘helping others’ means giving them money or writing out a check and that’s the only way you can do it. But with Melaleuca we help people not by giving them money but by showing them how to make a living. Then, they go out and help someone else, and so on and so on. I love it.”

The de Jagers see building a Melaleuca business not just as an opportunity, but also a responsibility. “We’re Christians, and Proverbs 3:27 says if it’s in your power to do something good for others you do it,” Cornelius says. “I take this business seriously and do it correctly because I don’t want to deny people this blessing. I have an obligation to help people, to teach them about Melaleuca. It’s a blessed thing—it truly is a blessed thing.”

The Work of Angels

work-of-angelsThere’s something about the holidays that puts people in a charitable mood. After all, it is the gift-giving season. From food drives, to soup kitchens, to bell-ringing Salvation Army Santas, there are countless opportunities to lend a helping hand to those in need. However, acts of sacrifice and kindness don’t have to be relegated to one month out of the year, nor should they be. The following story is about how one Marketing Executive turned a desire to bless her own family into an ongoing mission to enhance hundreds of lives in her community.

There are more than 4,500 children in the San Diego County foster care system, at least 1,000 of whom are 2 years old or younger. Because there are so few available foster families, these children often end up in overcrowded homes and bounce from family to family. In fact, the average foster baby will live in three to four different locations in his first year of foster care.

A child in such a transient state has a higher risk of developing Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) a serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. RAD can lead to violent behavior in later life, and statistics show that 80 percent of the United States prison population has spent time in foster care.

Studies show that RAD is life-long but preventable. Healthy growth depends on a child’s interaction with a mother figure. Cooing, eye contact, loving touch, consistent feeding and dependable soothing are all vital to early brain development. If a baby has one consistent, nurturing caregiver during her first 36 months of life, she will learn to trust others, express empathy and form healthy bonds and relationships as an adult.

Helping Change Lives

Stacy Fiske knew little about the foster care crisis when she first heard about Angels Foster Family Network in early 2009. She was just looking for a way to expand her family.

“My daughter, Dyllan, was 18 months old at the time,” Stacy recalls. “I was also single, and if that was to be the case for the rest of my life, I didn’t want Dyllan to be an only child.”

While considering her options, Stacy talked to a friend who had adopted a boy. She was surprised to learn that her friend had originally fostered the baby boy through Angels.

“So I attended an orientation to meet the Angels founder, Cathy Richman,” Stacy says. “I went because I wanted to grow my family. After an hour, I was bawling.”

In that life-changing meeting with Cathy, Stacy’s eyes were opened to the harsh realities of traditional foster care. More importantly, however, she learned what made Angels so different.

Each Angels Family:

• Fosters only one child (or sibling group) at a time, ensuring individual attention to each child
• Has at least one stay-at-home parent for babies younger than 18 months
• Commits to caring for a child until the court determines permanent placement (reunification or adoption)
• Undergoes specialized training and extensive screening

“At the time, Angels was still very much in start-up mode,” Stacy says. “They were placing only 40–50 children a year—barely scratching the surface.

“In an instant, my motive changed from fostering a child to getting involved and helping the program grow. I thought, ‘If I could take one child into my family that would be great. But if I could help as many babies as possible—maybe hundreds of them—find loving, compassionate, caring parents who would hopefully want to adopt, that would be amazing.’”

Stacy told Cathy that she wanted to use her marketing background to help Angels expand. Within a week, she began a six-year term on the Angels board of directors. She served as chairman of the board from 2012 to spring 2013 and continues to work diligently to further the Angels mission.

Families who consider fostering a child have to do it for the right reason, namely the wellbeing of the child, Stacy says. One thing that impresses Stacy about the families she works with at Angels is their complete selflessness.

fiske-family

Stacy Fiske, pictured here with her husband, Ricardo, and their newborn son, Collin, has spent almost five years volunteering with Angels to ensure every foster child feels as safe and nurtured as her own children do.

“The decision to be an Angels foster parent requires a lot of soul searching,” Stacy says. “It’s overwhelming because while adoption is a possibility, so is reunification.

“So these parents have to be willing to love a child unconditionally, knowing it’s highly likely that they won’t be with the child forever. That’s probably the hardest thing for these parents to go through, but they’re willing to do it because the outcome is a happy, healthy child.”

Visions Aligned

Over the past five years, Stacy has not only volunteered with Angels, she’s also built a successful Melaleuca business. What’s remarkable, she says, is that the missions and visions of both organizations are essentially the same.

“Melaleuca and Angels both focus on giving back to the community,” Stacy says. “Melaleuca’s mission is enhancing lives; Angels is all about enhancing the lives of babies. Melaleuca is The Wellness Company; Angels focuses on babies’ mental and emotional wellness.”

Stacy is thankful that her Melaleuca business gives her the time freedom to work with Angels. “I used to work a full-time job,” Stacy says, “and that made it difficult to get to Angels board meetings.

“But in July 2010, I was able to quit my job and focus on my Melaleuca business. Since then, I’ve prioritized and scheduled Melaleuca and Angels around each other. I don’t know any other business that could give me the time flexibility that Melaleuca does.”

Since enrolling with Melaleuca in August 2008, Stacy has earned $727,607. She believes that her work with Angels and the health of her Melaleuca business go hand in hand.

“I truly believe in giving to those God calls on us to help,” Stacy says. “I also believe that if you’re willing to share, it will come back to you tenfold. I’m willing to share what Melaleuca has blessed me with, and I think that’s one of the reasons my business has been successful.”

One thing Angels has done for Stacy—who’s now remarried—is help her appreciate how fortunate she was as a child and how fortunate her own children are. But the real reward for her service is seeing firsthand the love shared between babies and their foster parents.

“Every year we throw a party where I get to see babies’ smiling faces in a loving family environment,” Stacy says. “I see the foster parents, and they are in love with their happy little kids. It’s magic.

“I will always donate my time and money to Angels for the rest of my life, and I will always share the Angels story.”


Since its inception, the Angels Foster Family Network in San Diego has been replicated with sister agencies in Oklahoma City and Santa Barbara, Calif. Visit Angelsfoster.org to learn how you can make a contribution to one of these nonprofit charitable organizations.

Chemical Warfare: How Chlorine Bleach turns Your Home Into A Danger Zone

chlorine-danger
chemical-warfare
You clean your home to make it a safer, more enjoyable place to be. But what if the very products you use to clean your home are actually making it more dangerous and more uncomfortable for your family? For decades, customers have mistakenly equated chlorine bleach with words like “clean” and “safe”. But the reality is frighteningly far from it. That bottle of chlorine bleach in your laundry room, those cleaning products that proudly tout “with chlorine bleach” on their labels—they contain something far more sinister than a simple germ killer.

Coming Clean: The Deception of Chlorine Bleach

toxic-wasteThe killer in your cupboard.
Did you know that chlorine was one of the first ingredients used to create chemical weapons in World War I? During the Second Battle of Ypres, on April 22, 1915, the Germans released chlorine gas on their enemies—marking the first full-scale deployment of deadly chemical weapons in WWI.1 The lethal chemical is still used in warfare today, with insurgents of the Iraq war making bombs out of giant tanks of chlorine.2

Unfortunately, this lethal gas can also be created by accident when you unwittingly mix chlorine-based cleaning products with other common cleaning agents. And it isn’t always mixing two cleaners, together, sometimes it’s simply residue from a past cleaner that reacts with the chlorine-based product. In 2011, 152 workers were hospitalized due to exposure from chlorine gas after someone poured chlorine bleach into a container previously used with another cleaning solution.3


The dangers of chlorine bleach don’t stop there.
child-hazardThis chemical is caustic and deadly even before it is mixed with other products. Of all injuries to young children cause by cleaning products, exposure to chlorine bleach is the most common. The most common types of injury from chlorine bleach are poisoning (68%), chemical burns (15.9%) and skin/eye irritation (10.4%).4 According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, chlorine bleach is responsible for more than 38,000 reported poisonings per year.5 As many people die from chlorine bleach poisoning as from rattlesnake and spider bites combined.6

Recent medical studies have also revealed another disturbing trend. Chlorine bleach specifically aggravates the membranes in the lower respiratory system, causing shortness of breath and wheezing.

Studies show that a person with asthma who cleans in their home with chlorine bleach once a day will have a 5% increase in asthma attacks in a year. A person who cleans in their home with chlorine bleach twice a day more than quadruples this figure—they’ll experience 28% more asthma attacks.

So the next time you decide to clean with chlorine bleach, it might be good to add a ventilator in addition to the goggles rubber gloves and protective clothing most chlorine-based products recommend you use.

The cleaner that doesn’t actually clean.
If the dangers of chlorine bleach weren’t discouraging enough, here’s another sad truth many consumers don’t realize—chlorine bleach is not a cleaner.

It doesn’t get rid of grime, dirt or stains. What it can do is make color invisible to the naked eye, making us think it’s getting rid of stains.

Chlorine bleach is a highly reactive substance. It changes everything it comes into contact with, destroying it on a molecular level.

We see colors based on light absorption and reflection. When we see a red apple, it’s because the red color wavelength is reflected to us. When chlorine bleach comes into contact with stains, it destroys the molecules’ ability to reflect light. Chlorine bleach doesn’t get rid of dirt—it only turns it white. We may not be able to see the dirt and grime, but the truth is, the stain is still there.

To get your home truly clean you don’t need chlorine bleach. You need products that can safely remove hard water deposits, grime, and other stains and buildup. That’s something chlorine bleach just can’t do, and is just one of the many reasons why all Melaleuca EcoSense® products are chlorine bleach-free.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/second-battle-of-ypres-begins
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/22/world/middleeast/22iraq.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6028a3.htm?s_cid=mm6028a3_w
  4. Household Cleaning Product-Related Injuries,Pediatrics, September 2010
  5. 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of PoisonControl Centers
  6. As reported to Poison Control Centers over the last 10 years

Welcome to The Melaleuca Family

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As I travel across North America, I can’t help noticing the diversity of the thousands upon thousands of customers and Marketing Executives that Melaleuca has attracted. Everywhere I go, I meet customers from all backgrounds, ethnicities, countries, cultures and religions. As unique and individual as we all are—as different as we are—there are two things we each share: We’re all passionate about wellness, and we all care about enhancing lives. Those two characteristics are the reason we’ve come together to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves: a community we call the “Melaleuca family.”

WHOEVER YOU ARE AND WHATEVER YOUR BACKGROUND, it’s wonderful to have you here as part of this great big Melaleuca family. If you’ve been to some of our events, to Convention, LEAD 2013 or local Leadership Celebration, you probably already know that I’m not exaggerating; it feels very much like a family reunion. There’s a special atmosphere that you find when you bring together a group of people who are so intensely focused on helping other enhance their lives.

You might modestly think that you’re just like everyone else, but you’re not. Melaleuca customers are not your average customers. Unlike many consumers today, you’re aware of how household products can affect your health and wellness. You recognize higher quality and you understand why it’s important for your family. You see Melaleuca products as part of a better, healthier lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones.

Of course, lots of people know they should be living healthier, using better products, losing weight, getting fit and feeling better about themselves. On the outside, it seems like everyone shares our values. The difference is that you’re actually choosing to do something about it; you’re on the forefront of a growing movement toward better vitality in the world. You’re living those values instead of just thinking about them, talking about them or feeling guilty about them. And when you align your life with the values that matter to you, you’re a happier, more satisfied person.

Like you, Melaleuca is not typical or average. We’re constantly on the lookout for ways we can give you the tools to enhance your life. Our products aren’t designed solely to boost profit margins; the products you buy from Melaleuca.com are designed to give you real value–to help you lose weight, save money, improve your nutrition, strengthen you body, keep your home clean, and do it all more effectively than you could with grocery store brands.

shopping-melaleucaA Preferred Customer membership also entitles you to discounts through hundreds of online retailers, on Melaleuca Home Security, on insurance and on a half-dozen other services.

But there’s something else that sets Melaleuca apart. When you shop at Melaleuca, a percentage of your purchase is paid as a commission to seven other families. For most of them, that commission is just a simple way to add a few dollars to their family finances each month. For others, it represents a significant source of income that makes a tremendous difference for them.

Perhaps you’ve wondered where your money goes when you shop with Melaleuca. If you’ve been reading Leadership in Action magazine for long, you’ve probably read more than a few stories about Marketing Executives who used that income to make a tremendous difference for their families. Here are just a couple of examples:

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Director IV Ruth Koepsell of Wisconsin enrolled with Melaleuca for safer-for-your-home EcoSense® cleaners. But she quickly learned there’s more to Melaleuca than cleaners. She fell in love with products from all across the spectrum of Melaleuca’s product line.

For years, Ruth had contributed to her family’s income by teaching piano lessons for as many as 25 students. But when the recession hit, many of her students saw lessons as an extra expense they could live without. So Ruth decided, instead, to share Melaleuca with a few family members and friends. Her first Melaleuca check was for $44, but it soon became a few hundred dollars a month.

“I can’t tell you what a wonderful blessing Melaleuca has been,” she says. “Whether it’s the products giving our family better health or that check that just always seems to be the right amount to get use through the month, Melaleuca has made a huge difference for our family.”

When her check provided their family with a little wiggle room, Ruth began putting more money toward paying off their mortgage. And at Convention this last year, Ruth was one of 31 Melaleuca customers and Marketing Executives who celebrated being completely out of debt by burning their mortgage papers on stage in front of thousands of people.

stacy-&-gary
Executive Director III Stacy Bodnar of Alberta also paid off her home with her Melaleuca income. But that wasn’t all that income helped her to do. Just 18 months after Stacy enrolled with Melaleuca in 1994, her son Kyle was diagnosed with severe autism. Stacy was told Kyle would probably never learn to speak or have a normal life.

Looking for alternatives to help her son, Stacy tracked down an intensive intervention program that showed promise–but it would cost $70,000 a year. Fortunately, Stacy had a steady stream of income from Melaleuca.

“Sometimes people ask me which Melaleuca products have helped with Kyle’s autism,” Stacy says. “While the safer products are good for any home, the real difference has come from the income I’ve generated thorugh my Melaleuca business. We couldn’t have tried all of these therapies and treatments if it weren’t for the income and flexibility that we’ve enjoyed because of my Melaleuca business.”

Kyle’s now grown up. He’s speaking, reading and writing, and this year, he started attending university. He’s doing things his doctors never believed he could.

You might think shopping at Melaleuca is no big deal. After all, it probably felt like a no-brainer for you to purchase better, healthier, safer products and to have your purchases benefit someone you know. But what you do when you shop at Melaleuca can change lives in more ways than you might think. In fact, it’s changing lives all over North America. Now is the time to join the movement. Whose life could you change with Melaleuca?