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I think I just Feng Shui’d my living room!

Is that even a word – Shui’d?  I have no idea.  I don’t know much about Feng Shui either, except that it has to do with energy and flow.  I don’t know the rules of it but I spent the last several hours upending my living room-turned-workshop: taking stuff out that didn’t belong there, tossing unnecessary items (yay me!), rearranging my workspace and reorganizing my essential oils, herbal remedy ingredients, containers, candles, incense, lamps, table, diffuser, mailing packaging and supplies, you name it.  Okay so my hallway is a little off for a moment, but the energy in my living room is GREAT!  It feels like there is a flow to my space now, so maybe there is something to this Feng Shui after all.  Why not?

My day started off not so great, not feeling well.  Once my sinus headache cleared, I decided to tackle my work space to make it more me-friendly.  It’s amazing how much your ‘space’ can affect your outlook and how you feel – sometimes we just have to step back and take care of ourselves.  THEN we can help others so much more effectively!

I also made a nourishing homemade soup, not exactly like Grandma’s chicken soup recipe, but I did start with a great turkey bone broth I made and froze not long ago.  Chicken broth (or turkey) is so good for you, and really does help when you’re down with a cold or the flu.  Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, immune boosting action.  Add in fresh veggies and herbs like carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, squash, thyme, greens, potatoes (whatever combo you like), and you’re packing some serious nutrition to restore you.  A little meditation, some herbal tea with ginger honey, and I’ll settle down tonight so much better than I began this morning.  I begin and end my days with prayers of thanks and gratitude.  Some days I feel it more than others.  Whether I “feng shui’d” anything today or not, I’m feeling extra thankful, and truly blessed.  Peace out.

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How did Grandma get so smart?

I find it interesting, how so many things in seem to come around full circle.  Do any of you have grandmas or maybe great-grandmas who always seemed to know a few home remedies to treat a variety of ailments?  My own grandmother didn’t have a huge store of herbal knowledge, but something she always had me drink when I had an upset stomach was ginger ale.  She’d give me a few saltines to nibble on too.  For many years, I associated ginger ale and saltine crackers with being sick, so I never had it at any other time.  Even through all the years growing up and well into adulthood, when ‘modern medicine’ was the way to go (throw out Grandma’s wisdom, in other words), I still turned to ginger ale and saltine crackers when I was sick, especially if I was nauseous.

Out with the old, in with the new.  Out with grandma’s remedies, in with pills and antibiotics.  I never knew WHY she gave me ginger ale, only that she did and it often helped.  Well, now that we’ve got resistant super bugs from antibiotic resistant bacteria – thanks to overuse – a multitude of side effects from drugs and drug interactions, we’re taking another look at grandma and her home remedies.  Turns out grandma was pretty darn smart.  Scientists are learning more and more about the wonderful healing properties of plants.  For example, ginger is a wonderful her to use to quell motion sickness, most any type of nausea, aid digestion, pretty much help your gut.  Fresh ginger wasn’t readily available when I was a kid, but ginger ale was in every grocery store. So it seems our society is coming back around to re-examining the wisdom of grandma’s home remedies, passed down through the generations.

That’s just one simple example.  Did you have a smart grandma too?  What kinds of home remedies did she use?  Do you use any of them now?  I still drink ginger ale, and gave it to my kids when they were sick.  My husband has been sick this past week and guess what I picked up at the store on my way home from work?  You guessed it – ginger ale.

Luckily, I’ve got access to fresh ginger and have been learning new ways to use it medicinally.  Here’s a super easy recipe for infusing ginger into honey.  It works great and tastes great in herbal tea (any tea actually).

GINGER INFUSED HONEY

Just take a hunk of fresh ginger (it should be firm and smooth), peel it, then either grate or dice finely, or process in a food processor with a teaspoon or so of water.  Put that into a small saucepan, and just barely cover with raw, organic honey.  Heat on low for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ginger is soft and the honey has a pungent ginger-ness to it.  You can either strain the mixture through a metal sieve to remove the ginger (by the way you then eat the little bits of ginger for a zingy treat), or you can put it all together in a clean screw top jar and pop into the fridge.  It’ll last for quite a long time, certainly enough to get you through cold and flu season.  Add a spoonful to your tea, by itself, however you normally use honey at your house.  It’s very soothing on an irritated throat.  It’s also good to have when you’re healthy!  Think of it as a good boost for your system, like a vitamin.  Lots of nutrients in ginger, so use it in your cooking, your drinks, in all kinds of ways.  You can even add some to brandy.

 

March is Tea Tree Month

Melaleuca Image by Linda Pom from Pixabay

At least it is in my shop – 25% of all products with Tea Tree essential oil in it. That includes hand sanitizer, raw honey facial cleanser, green cleaning products, linen spray, and more!

Tea tree oil is a powerhouse when it comes to clean. Tea tree (aka Melaleuca, native to Australia) is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, so it hits all of the major categories of “bad bugs” you want to get rid of. It’s great at helping to prevent and clear up acne and that’s one of the reasons I include it in my raw honey facial cleanser.

Some other treatments that tea tree oil is used for: treating dandruff, lice, athlete’s foot, cuts, and insect bites. One caution: Tea tree oil should NEVER be ingested, as it’s toxic to the body if taken internally. Also remember, like all essential oils it should be diluted with a carrier oil before using it topically. Topically, tea tree oil is GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and most people tolerate it quite well. However, use common sense. If it causes irritation or discomfort after using it, stop using it.

If you’d like to read more about Melaleuca Alternifolia, here are a few places to get you started.
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tea/treeoil.htm
https://www.poison.org/articles/2010-dec/tea-tree-oil
https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-tea-tree-oil/art-20364246

Do you know your Rose?

It’s February and in honor of Valentine’s day, ROSES are featured this month. All across the country florists and retailers are gearing up to sell, prep and deliver a LOT of roses on February 14th. Over 224 million roses, over 2 billion dollars in revenue. Wow!

But have roses, and rose products, always been so popular? Looking back in history, apparently the answer is a resounding YES. According to fossil evidence, the existence of the rose goes back around 35 million years, originating in the northern hemisphere. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered the rose to be divine, and red roses were the favorite flower of the goddess of love, Venus/Aphrodite. As far back as 810 BC the province of Faristan (in Persia) had to give the head of state 30,000 bottles of rose water. Rose petals have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs, and Cleopatra used rose petals lavishly in her living quarters and during public appearances, reportedly so that she would be remembered as the goddess who smelled like roses.

Here are a few fun facts and legends about the rose and its use and impact throughout history.

  • An old Roman custom of hanging a rose over the dinner table is to indicate that what is spoken there stays there, hence “a rose will keep your secrets.” The originating myth is that Cupid bribed the God of Silence with the gift of a rose to keep him from revealing the amorous habits of Cupid’s mother, Venus.
  • Roses are edible and a great source of vitamin C.
  • In 1986 the rose became the floral emblem of the United States, and it’s also the official state flower in 4 states: Georgia, Iowa, New York, and North Dakota.
  • Hildesheim, Germany is home to a large rose bush that has been growing on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim for over 1,000 years. It is the oldest known living rose bush.
  • Traditional symbols of roses are also influenced by color:
    • Red: Love
    • Pink: Admiration, grace
    • Yellow: Joyful, cheerful
    • White: Pure, innocent
    • Orange: Energetic, fascination
    • Peach: Modesty
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, roses are the oldest species of plant to be grown as decoration.

There’s so much more, I’ve only scratched the surface! I’ve always loved roses, and learning some of its history, meaning, and uses just makes them that much more interesting. I hope I’ve piqued your interest, too!

New Year, New You

I thought I’d try out a new look with a new theme – and boy am I surprised! Apparently WordPress retired the template I was using so there’s no going back. LOL You know what? That’s okay. It’ll all work out.

The OTHER new thing I’m excited to tell you about are my monthly features. Beginning in February, I’ll be focusing on one essential oil each month, taking you beyond the surface into a plunge of the oil’s history, medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary uses. I’ll hunt up some fun facts and offer a deep discount on my handmade products featuring that essential oil.

In honor of Valentine’s day February’s featured essential oil is ROSE. Check back to find out all about it!

If you’d like to learn more about a specific oil, just let me know!

One Day at a Time, a Step at a Time

Since my mom passed away five months ago, my life has gone through tremendous upheaval, hurts and grief, tears, starts and stops, and also some healing.  Losing my second parent was somehow more difficult, I think because it represented a loss of not only a parent but so much more: My sources of wisdom and comfort, consternation (hey they weren’t perfect), laughter, a generation of knowledge and shared memories, family stories, the loss of the “daughter” role, recipes, loved voices, parental hugs, and so on. Up until then, I was still someone’s “child” regardless of my age.  I enjoyed hearing my mom introduce me as her daughter.  I had a special role in my mom’s eyes.  I didn’t want to take on the role as the matriarch, I wanted my mom to stay in that role.  I am sure my feelings are not unique, that many daughters have felt this way.

A couple of months ago, I decided to spend some vacation time on me, to concentrate on ways of healing.  I asked for one day/week off from work, on Wednesdays, for that purpose.  I had been having difficulty getting through a full work week without breaking down into tears or from becoming overwhelmed.  I thought if I could break up my work week and spend Wednesdays taking care of me, then maybe that would help me to heal while helping me to re-engage at work.  I was lucky that my supervisor was very supportive of my efforts.

I spent the “me” times in a variety of ways that I thought would help.  I spent a good deal of time in prayer, I rebooted my meditation practice, got a massage, a pedicure, started yoga, read a lot of books, soaked in a hot bath with essential oils, and things like that.  I also got a few sessions of Reiki and Quantum healing, which I found to be very therapeutic.  I began to start feeling some better, and longer stretches went between the tears.

One day at a time, one step at a time, I’m once again laughing and smiling, feeling love, and feeling enthusiasm for helping others.  I’ve got my first essential oil workshop scheduled and I’m looking forward to trying new endeavors.  I feel again the light of love shining within me, ready to share with others.  I felt guilty for awhile for neglecting my business, my website, my day job, and such, until I realized I needed that time to grieve and to begin to heal.  I could face it head on or not, the choice was mine.  It’s my turn to be the matriarch, to learn more, to grow my own light so that I can share it with others, to prepare my own daughters for their turn, whenever that time may come.  I still have sad moments and unexpected tears, but I also have warm memories of happy times, and smiles when I think of my mom and my dad.  They are well loved, whole again and happy in spirit, and I take comfort in the knowledge that one day I will again see them, and embrace them.

An Orphan at 52

I didn’t expect to feel this way, but I do.  I lost my father to cancer almost 3 years ago, and I lost my mother to sepsis almost 3 months ago.  That wasn’t supposed to happen to either one of them, but it did.  After my father passed away, I was heartbroken and grief stricken.  Two days before his funeral my mother went into the hospital for hip replacement surgery, the beginning of a different kind of nightmare. Five months and  two more surgeries later, and after an allergic reaction to antibiotics almost killed her, she was able to go home.  After she was feeling better, I had her to talk to nearly every day.  She helped me through my grief over my father.  Now she’s gone too.  She developed sepsis two days after her last surgery February 27th, to remove the spacer in her hip.  She went into septic shock and passed away within a few hours.  It was so fast, so unexpected.

Intellectually, we expect our parents to pass away before we do. But as I now know, the experience is far different than the theoretical knowledge.  I still have family that I love and care for, and love me in return, but each of those relationships is different than the ones I had with my parents.  My dad was my first hero and male role model.  My mom was the strongest woman I knew.  Like any child, I had my ups and downs with them, growing pains, etc., but I never doubted their love for me, and they never doubted mine for them.

I find myself feeling somewhat lost, weirdly enough.  Why?  I’ve been an adult for decades now and raised a family of my own.  So what’s this feeling all about?  Do others feel this way?  NOW who do I call for cooking tips and recipes?  Who do I talk to about fishing, religion and politics?  I just had a birthday, the day before Mother’s day this year.  No matter how old, my mom faithfully called me early morning of my birthday to sing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to me. Not this year.  I know that the pain will ease with time.  I am blessed to have many good memories to look back on with love and fondness.  It wasn’t all peaches and cream by any stretch of the imagination. But that doesn’t seem important any more.

It’s a little frightening to become the matriarch of the family.  I don’t feel like I’m quite up to filling those shoes yet.  But I suppose that I’ll get there.  I have my faith, the rest of my family, and friends.  But I now realize the type of relationship we have with our own parents is a unique one, whether it was good, bad or indifferent.  I’m not somebody’s “baby” or “little girl” anymore. I realize that I still treated my parents differently than any other person in my life.  I still looked up to them.  Age was irrelevant.

Even in the midst of my grief, I am blessed.  I had a good relationship with mom and dad.  Sometimes roles reversed and I was the caretaker, but they were still my parents.  They were – are – will always be – special to me.  And I love them.  As my mom used to tell me “I love you Tammy, with all of my heart, always and forever.”  Me too, mom.  Me too.

Dedicated to my mom and dad, now in Heaven.

MomDad1964

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