December 23, 2014

Five Ways to Encourage solitude in an Overstimulating World

Solitude. It's a great word. And after reading some books on stress, progress and over load {because my life called for intervention} I would agree that it's a better state of being one should embrace from time to time. Seeking solitude is something that I now believe one should intentionally practice for health and spiritual sanity's sake. Solitude – a state or situation of being alone. Of course I am not promoting that we live life as a recluse nor am I saying we should seek solitude so that we can avoid all people and all of our life's issues. But rather from a visible need to 'unplug' from the over stimulating world around us, giving us time to stop, to heal and to reflect. Giving us time to listen to our Creator... because life does happen and sometimes we need a reset button.

Five ways I encourage solitude from an overstimulating world...

  • Protect your dinner hour:

Protect & Guard this family time – In Hebrew guard is the word Shamar, which means to guard, to keep watch and ward, to have charge of, to keep and to give heed. Shamar is a great word too. So much so that when you read 'protect your dinner hour' now it sounds much more like an act of knight hood. It is. And it should be. In our home, we all sit down at the table together and there are no cell phones, no texting, and no Ipods. Nothing but wholesome food and family. We may not always have a lot to say, but we are together and we are intentional about it. This is also true when we have guests or go some where else... as a general rule. We have slipped a time or too, but it's not the normal.

  • Walk away from the Phone:

The cell phone. One of the handiest inventions we have and in my opinion it is also one of most intruding inventions there is. Yes - I have one. Yes - I use it. Yes - I even have one of those smartie phones. And Yes – I often feel weird when I don't have it with me. But - I do leave it behind on purpose and there are times when I will completely shut the thing off and walk away. If I miss a call, they can leave a message. Sometimes I do not respond right away to my text messages or return my phone calls in the same day. Not because it's not important or because I am purposely being rude. The reality is this, those right in front of my face, my family - have priority and life happened before the cell phone and it will continue to do so while I am away from it.

  • Take time to Disconnect:

So you may have noticed that my blog posts have slowed down quite considerably, originally this was due to an access limitation and life transitions, but this practice may continue for a season. I have had access to emails and banking via my smartie phone, however I have not had time to post on this one or read other blogs or complete any photo editing online. Nor any other major data or time consuming interest. And while I have been some what disconnected - I have been able to complete two knitted projects, two sewing projects, start an Esty shop and finish three products so far. I was also able to assisted my daughter with her home business ideas, completed two books on my reading list and walked over ten miles in a week. All that to say this... being semi disconnected has increased my productivity and peace.

  • Make time to Reconnect:

Take your family and go camping. Go on a nature walk. Sit on the beach. Take a bike ride. Do something with your family and/or by yourself and allow for connections. My point here is to leave the portable t.v and movie player behind. Bring a couple of instruments or art supplies. Listen to the sounds of Creation and invest in your time with the Almighty and with those you love. Real face to face time.

  • Honor the Shabbat:
Take a day off. Stop. Cease. Rest. Your Creator created the Shabbat for you because He knows what is best for you. So take Him up on it, work six off one... you can read all about in the Scriptures. It begins Friday night at sundown and ends Saturday night at sundown. Find ways to make this time set apart and restful for the entire family, and use this special time to study and read His Word in detail.

For me, solitude is much more than just being alone, it's bringing the world around me to a place of quiet. It's bringing my mind to still moment so I hear His voice and trust in His promises. It's removing distractions and limiting interactions of chaos so that I can soak in the Truth found in the Scriptures.

Simply said it is the application of be still and know. The place where healing begins. 

~ Blessings!

November 21, 2014

Yes Virginia, photosensitivity is r.e.a.l.

Bergamotcitrus bergamia – is an essential oil that I have come to admire and use often. Diffusing and topical applications abound, everything from your standard diffuser or applying it to my skin in the form of a lotion and spraying it on my pillow before I crash for the night. Yes I adore this essential oil and the reason I adore this e.o. is because of the effects that it has on my stress levels and my nervous system. For me - it kicks lavender out the window for relaxation and calming, enabling me to get a good night's sleep or to focus on the moment. Some very important concepts when one is on the healing side of stress overload and fighting for their margin.

So about this lotion application... 

I must mention that this was not the kind of lotion that was full of synthetic chemicals that you can't pronounce, nope... this lotion was the real deal. Where Bergamot is Bergamot and thus bringing all of the benefits... and advisories. Advisories that are real. Advisories that should be heeded. Advisories that one would do well to commit to their memory before this...

Readers meet my “photosensitivity sunburn”- please note that this photo is a little over a week old, as it took me a few days to figure out just what exactly I had done to warrant this burn and then another couple days to think hey, maybe I should share this learning experience.

This Bergamont essential oil that I relish so much, comes with strict warnings for avoiding sunlight for at least two hours, some sources would even recommend much longer... either way it slipped my mind. You see - it was a beautiful fall day... it was suppose to be up in the high sixties and I was eager to go out and play in it. So just before I ran out the door, I threw on some lotion and went about my business. 

And a couple hours of being outside in the general sunshine led to this.

Yes, Virginia. Photosensitivity is real.

The first evening I definitely noticed a sunburn, but I could not figure out why it was concentrated in the crease area of my neck and across... and as it progressed on blisters formed in the front of my neck, over the throat area. 

Over the course of days I ruled out food issues, soap laundering concerns and other contact dermatitis problems. Mulling over each step leading up to that first 'burn' day and then it hit me... I had just applied my lotion and went out side in a hurry, fast enough to not have rubbed in the lotion on that area of my neck. I saw it clearly in my mind as I remember that days actions. 

Yep. This was a sunburn - made worse by my Bergamot lotion. Photosensitivity...

Photosensitivity/phototoxicity/photoirritation/photosensitizing  – is the term or terms used when certain essential oils used on the skin can cause it to become more sensitive to the UV rays of sunlight, thus resulting in sun burn or damage. The main essential oil group are those of the citrus orientation... however I would encourage you can head on over to Heritage's newsletter for a very detailed sharing on the subject.

My beloved Bergamot essential oil is known for it's use as a CNS depressant and emotional balancing properties. It also has indications for cold sores, insomnia and colic... it's anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and viral. And still number one in my life right now!

~ Blessings!

Recommend Reading & Resources: 

October 23, 2014

The Phone that Rings at Six a.m:

Your away. Not here. On a mission to serve... and I wish I was with you. Standing there beside you seeing what you see, feeling what you feel... listening to the breezes that blow in from the sea. Filling my mind with thoughts of His Word and placing my feet - where those whom have followed Him before me - have stood... a lot goes through your mind after a phone call at six in the morning.

My beloved husband, over the last fourteen years I have told you that I would follow you anywhere. For the last seven years, I have added amendments to that statement... usually related to large bugs, serious predators, snakes and really wild weather patterns. But hearing your voice on the other end of the line, has reminded my heart of why I shared that desire with you years ago... simply put: your there. I am here. And there is a whole lot of space between us... yet we are totally woven around this 'reason' as to why you are where you are and why I am where I am.

It's bigger than you and I. Often way beyond our understanding and organization, because nothing about these last two months have been logical in the eyes of the world. Yet we are both filled with Shalom and an expectant joy to season to come.

So here I am. Pondering the time I have before me. The time when I can see your blue eyes again, hear your voice and be filled with that 'covering' feeling that only you, my husband can bring. Here I am. Waiting for the phone that rings at six a.m.

'Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons
 of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.' 
~ Isaiah 61:5 ~

~ Blessings!

*Thank you Abba, for the home you have given us during this season, the warmth of the furnace at night, the love of community. For our food, friends and fellowship... for the new and the do over's you give us in our lives. For being there. Seeing. Holding. Loving. ~ Thank you, Yeshua!

August 10, 2014

Working on Wellness & Bergamont Linen Spray

Did you know that stress causes over half of every ten doctor visits? Did you know that stress can negatively effect nutrient absorption? Even if you are eating a whole foods, nutrient dense diet... too much stress will hinder our bodies ability to process much needed nutrients.

Did you know that stress can also shut down your immune system... all of this occurs with just the simple - first stage of stress levels, as in a normal reaction like the fight or flight response. But by stage three of "prolonged stress" we have physical manifestations within our bodies - such as headaches, exhaustion, skin problems, irritability and other health concerns. In short if the stress lasts for long enough it will cripple you and your health. And it's serious!

Readers, this is where I was and it's no joke. Honestly, I am still on the healing end of two years of intense stress, but I am healing and I give all the Glory to God! You see, after some in depth and sound education, and lots of prayer... ruling out other possibilities as I was trying to figure out what was my issue - I was given confirmation that it was stress over load. It was not so much that my life needed radical changes, but more of a combination in how I processed the stress and then taking extra measures to simplify my life that fosters that processing.

Enter the Bergamont Linen Spray ~

Bergamont ~ Citrus Bergamia ~ of the botanical family rutaceae, commonly used for agitation, emotional and mental stress, infection, PMS, has a sedative effect and it contains antiviral compounds as well.

One measure that I have taken to help foster emotional wellness was to create a linen spray for my pillows. Yes, I diffuse too, but I love the little extra touch of spraying my pillows and sheets each night as I prepare for my nights rest...

{Image Removed for Compliance Reasons}

The Recipe:

1/4 c distilled water
1/4 c vodka
6 to 8 drops of pure, essential bergamont oil

Combine in a glass a spray bottle, label and shake well before each use. I make it in smaller batches because I like to have opportunities to create a new batch a little sooner and express some creativity.

Bergamont blends well with Lemon, and Ylang Ylang. You could also use Lavender, but not this momma... Lavender stimulates and energizes me. Which is not what I am looking for just before heading to bed.

Remember that one of the keys to combating stress is being consistent in your approaches, and that healing takes time. This is something I must remind my self often.

"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret - it only causes harm"
~ Psalm 37:8 ~

~ Blessings!

August 7, 2014

{Family Herbalist} what is it really?

The end is in sight - as I finish up my last unit and prepare for my final exam. I am so excited and now that I have made it here I am really looking forward to taking the next step... Master Herbalist! It will be a little bit yet before I can upgrade, so until then I will continue to use my holistic learning here at home and make wise use of my time...

But the question I have been hearing is:

So I will do my best to answer the question for your inquisitive minds.

A Family Herbalist is trained in approaching various needs within the family, holistically. Covering areas such as nutrition, herbalism, essential oils and supplementation. It also involves knowing what is within your scope of knowledge and what is not... in other words when to contact outside help.

"As Family Herbalists, we are now in a situation where we can responsibly care for most of our family's daily needs. Studies tell us this will eliminate nearly 80% of standard visits to the doctor or hospital." - Jessie Hawkins, Botanical Medicine in the Home, page 227

My personal education covered over 100 herbs, 28 essential oils and roughly 360 hours of study through Vintage Remedies. Whom I chose for three important reasons - the first being that it is a Christian based learning. Second - was because I wanted a class that would be based on scientific studies and evidence and not folklore and mysticism. Finally - the cost and the author of the text - the class is comparable and Jessie Hawkins (and her staff) are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

I hope that helped give an idea of what a Family Herbalist is, I directly linked to the course description of the exact class I have taken above and I would encourage you all to check them out.

Just recently I was able to listen to a webinar on Ebola from them as well!

~ Blessings!

Notice: this post doesn't contain affiliate links, however I am an approved affiliate with Vintage Remedies and you are welcome to visit them via my link in the side bar if you so choose. You can read about their affiliate program here.

July 23, 2014

Random Reflections at Forty One / or what I want to be when I grow up!

Sitting on my bed, in my comfy clothes... the lap top open, screen ready. Here I am thinking or more accurately drifting over the day's events. The weeks events. This past years events... and I am left sober and joyful.  

Praise be to God!

Today I awoke, over tired from two late nights of working on my class paper, to a cool bedroom and the loud hum of the fan in the window. And the smell of coffee awaiting me... it's 7 am, I skipped my 6:30 alarm... I need to make breakfast for my family. Eggs and Sprouted Toast.

A perfect morning.

But you don't know what a day will bring. Or a year. Or a life time.

Today I heard about another soul denouncing their Savior... and it never gets any easier to hear. Today my daughter and her friend had a serious conversation with a hardened atheist, and my friend's air siren app for Israel went off more times than my heart could bear without tears.

This past week my dishwasher motor went out and it created a very large stink in the house. I think I used it once in the last month... I can wash dishes faster than it can. My niece was released from the hospital after a serious injury to the head and I watched the storms roll in over the high school track while I walked and talked with Yah.

This year I lost my great uncle Charlie - he lived a long wonderful life. My aunt was hit by a car, had both legs/ankles broken, but she is home and doing well. We took a family vacation to Family Week, ordered chickens and built a new coop. My brother was married and I turn forty one on Friday.

Yes, He has shown Himself faithful in all things, even when we are not...

I can't believe I am forty one! I don't feel forty one... I feel like I am just starting to get a grip on the real of life. Like it's just now making sense. I gaze over my life and I am so thankful that He didn't leave me there... that He didn't leave me broken and without hope. He gave me an identity, a purpose and a reason to get up every day. He took me... in my broken and lost place and put me on solid ground. And it's not just something I believe for my emotional and mental well being. He changed me and every thing about me... and I am so grateful. I know it has nothing to do with me and who I am... but that it has everything to do with Him and who He is.

So now that I am forty one, and enjoying the place where I am in life... I think I know what I want to be when I grow up, or at the very least I know clearly what I would like to do with the rest of my days... should I be given them. *Not in order of importance.

  • Photograph chickens - I really enjoy doing this... in fact just this morning I sat for an hour in the chicken pen and I think I took about fifty shots. Seriously thinking of becoming a professional chicken photographer.
  • Live Off Grid - um. Yes. This might actually out rank chicken photography and I might add that I would love to give it a whirl in a Yurt. 
  • Finish my Master Herbalist schooling, start creating and selling my products and help my husband focus on his dream of becoming a naturopathic doctor.
  • Grow food and sell it at Farmer's Markets... create a raw milk share and help others receive whole food.
  • Make all my clothes, by sewing and knitting... okay the vast majority of them anyway.
  • See my children get married to GOD fearing spouses and for them to raise a generation who is willing to stand in the gates for YHVH.
  • Finish my tattoo removal... it looks like I need one more treatment, and loose about forty pounds.
  • Learn to play my guitar, so that Amazing Grace sounds like Amazing Grace and memorize more Scripture... in Hebrew.
  • Go to Israel... at least once... set my foot in the Vineyards... to walk where those of the Bible walked.

Yes, I think that just about covers it. At least from this moment, on this day...

May Abba grant me days and may my hands be open and ready to receive whatever He brings my way. May I hear Him always, walking humbly and in love. May I be quick to seek forgiveness when I fall and to trust in Yeshua and all that He has done.

~ Shalom & Blessings!

July 5, 2014

{Family Herbalist } a quick update - thru unit twenty one

Two months down, yikes! Time flies. Herbal Classifications and Materia Medica were my primary focus over these last two months, covering over a hundred herbs with their composition, description, plant action, uses or indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions and dosages... oh and method of administration. Thankfully I do not have to have them all completely memorized, just yet.

One of the things that I learned through these chapters, was the importance of knowing the herbs by their botanical name. A variety of herbs have multiple common names, but when it comes to herbal remedies it is extremely important to use the botanical name... this helps to insure the correct plant for the concern, and limits confusion. Confusion can lead to wrong dosage, and quite possibly personal harm.

The unit projects included multiple case studies with informal diagnose and treatment protocols, in depth body system studies, and two page papers of an herb of choice. I also made flash cards to help keep my herbs and their botanical names fresh in my mind, however my husband receives (too) much joy in helping me with this part... as he is often sneaking up on me with a surprise herb question.

Here's a few examples:

  • Calendula - Calendula officinalis 
  • Butcher's Broom - Rusci aculeati 
  • Birch - Betula pendula
  • Dill Seed - Anethum graveolens
  • Dong Quai ("tang kwai") - Angelica sinensis
  • Licorice Root - Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Senna Leaf - Cassia angustifolia 

Now to me, some of them make complete sense and others... not so much. But I am finding that I just knew I had my daughter learn some sort of Latin for a reason... it was so I could borrow all her lessons to learn how to speak botanical-neese.

Truly... I am loving it!

As I run, I will leave you {for now} with an up close photo of an Iris that bloomed in my daughters garden this Spring, it was so beautiful, and the fragrance was similar to banana coconut cream pie... well that is what it reminded me of anyway. It was given to her my our next door neighbor, and this was her first bloom from it.

And a plug in for the Grow Your Own Food Summit, I am so looking forward to this online summit because I love growing my own food. I am certain there will be plenty of meat to chew on through the week and there maybe be some bones to spit out as well. But I know I could {should} learn more about raising good, real food right here in urbanville, so I will glean what I need and leave what don't. Also did I mention it's free?

"For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;"  ~ Hebrews 6:7
  So tell me what is your favorite 'food' to grow?

 ~ Blessings!

Article Share: Cultivating a Biblical Vision for Agriculture by Noah Sanders
Book Recommendation: Born Again Dirt by Noah Sanders

*Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Family Herbalist by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested.

May 12, 2014

Farewell Charlie:

I can see the summer we made maple syrup, I was so excited because we were allowed to stay up all night and "help" him stir that huge pot. I can still bring to mind the way my clothes smelled after riding on the horses back, gathering those buckets of soon to be maple syrup by the gallons full and I can still remember the rhythm in my bones, those strong harmonious steps that giant horse took.

I still feel the vibration of the Clydesdale's running down the pasture hill to meet the hay wagon in the early morning mist. I can just about taste the homemade bread and gooey peanut butter that often became an afternoon snack and my toes can almost feel the temperature of that small creek that ran along side the old farm house... and those pears... how they would drip sweet juice all over my face.

The tee pee that was built by the clay hole, near the top of the pasture. Those corn husk forts and tree laden hide a ways... just past the stream. The sink pit, that place where we were not aloud to play. I can still see vividly in my heart the day we thought it would fun to chase the cows, like real cowboys.

And he left the bull out...

on purpose.

Because we had been told already... and... we didn't chase cows much after that.

So much  of my "me" is made from those childhood days spent there on that farm. And even though I can barely hear him call me "trookie" I can still see him standing there... tall and confident.

Living his simple life...

He was just over 80, a farmer, a draft horse lover, a man whom I have only heard raise his voice once in my entire life, and that was the day my cousin thought the quickest way to the hay loft would be up the bale elevator...

Just a few summers ago he was roofing houses right along side twenty year old men.

This simple man, my great uncle Charlie, who never seemed to have too say much... but when he spoke, you stopped and listened.

He's gone. Went to his rest this past Sunday, and my heart is grieved. For so many more reasons than the obvious... you see, now a days, there are not many men around like him. He was up before the rooster and usually the last one in the house at night, and I never ever heard him complain. He worked, he farmed, and he made it look like it was the best thing a man could be doing all day.

You see my children don't have those types of memories alive in their souls... and that too grieves me.

Farewell dear Charlie... you will be greatly remembered, and if the good Lord above sees fit to guide me back home... and by His hand my grandchildren will have those memories.

A time for every purpose under heaven... Ecclesiastes 3

April 29, 2014

{Family Herbalist} condensed update thru unit fourteen

Yes it has been a while since I have shared an update on my learning journey with Vintage Remedies, presently I am entering unit fifteen... so I figured I better update now instead of waiting for another three months when I am elbow deep in Materia Medica. :)

Below are the unit titles and a few bullet points from each section, this is for highlighting purposes only and by no means covers the amount of subject matter within each unit.

Unit 9 & 10: Modern Childhood Epidemics & Pharmacognosy and Herbal Medicine
  • 1 in 3 American children will have run into one of these modern childhood epidemics, ADHD, Autism, Allergies, and Asthma. Recommended Reading - Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Kenneth Bock M.D.
  • "Pharmacognosy is defined as the formal name for the study of the medicinal properties in herbs" (pg 111 - Understanding Holistic Health 2E - Jessie Hawkins) 
  • Many things effect our bodies ability to absorb herbal remedies, things such as the hydrochloric acid levels in our stomach, whether our bowels have moved or not, the strength of our gut flora and the type of diet we eat and when we have eaten. This is just the tip of the holistic ice berg when learning to use herbal remedies...
Unit 11 & 12: Body Systems & Herbal Home Use
  • Simply put - we live and die on a cellular level. This is something that is extremely important to understand when looking and studying each body system and its proper function.
  • ENS - the enteric nervous system - this blew me away "Half of the body's nerve cells are in the gut... and every class of neurotransmitter that can be found in the brain can also be found in the ENS in equal proportions." (pg 73 - Understanding Holistic Health 2E - Jessie Hawkins)
  • The Family Herbalist - in a unique position in serving the family, understanding the scope of our knowledge and ability, using diagnostic skills and working with healthcare providers.
 Unit 13 & 14: Herbal Preparations part 1 & Childhood Illnesses
  • One key understanding I took away from the herbal preparation unit was that the use of herbal medicine has many avenues in which to use botanicals. And sometimes the method in which we use our remedy has a great deal to do with availability and health concern.
  • When covering the Childhood Illness unit, realizing that prevention is just as important as treatment, but sometimes common childhood illnesses are just that... common and there really is not a prevention... such as bumps and scrapes. 
  • Below: a photo of my herbal syrup project for one of my units...

 Rosehip Syrup: made March of 2014
  • 75 grams of dried, organic, rosehip's from a reliable source
  • 2 cups of distilled water
  • 1/2 cup honey

Bring the rosehip's and water to a boil in a non reactive pan, for thirty minutes, making a decoction. Strain and add the herbal liquid (mine equaled to 1/3 cup) to the 1/2 cup honey and return to simmer for ten minutes. Allow to cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator. We used ours on pancakes and it was absolutely wonderful!

Check out Jessie's Elderberry Syrup

So I think that covers the units that I have completed so far, and please remember I am just sharing tiny pieces of the meat I have learned, and I know my posts do not do this program justice. Also I was asked why I chose Vintage Remedies over another education provider.. and honestly the deciding factor outside of cost/content, was that they are Christian based. This is very important to me and my family and we have not regretted our decision.

~ Blessings!

*Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Family Herbalist by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested.

March 20, 2014

Rustic Irish American Soda Bread

So - this has taken me forever to share.

It's been one of those things that I have been wanting to post for sometime, but have never remembered to take the photo's for... until now. It's our version of Irish American Soda Bread and I call it rustic, because... well, that is usually how most of my baking is done.

It drives my daughter crazy that I rarely follow every step in a recipe and that I will often swap out ingredients for whatever I have on hand that is semi similar. It's how I roll ~ hope you like it!

"The American idea of Irish soda bread looks like a giant golden brown scone studded with raisins and caraway seeds. It's richer, sweeter, and more cake like than authentic Irish soda bread, which we are assured never made the acquaintance of a raisin or a caraway seed either." ~ Joy of Cooking, pg 772

The Recipe: adapted from The Joy of Cooking's Irish American Soda Bread recipe, pg772
  • 1 2/3 cup of freshly ground whole wheat flour
  • 2 T sucanat
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t real salt
  • 2 t caraway seeds
  • 1 large, organic egg
  • 2/3 cup of raw milk kefir
  • 4 T of melted butter

Throw all the ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well. Of course you need to preheat your oven to 350 and oil your pan. For this recipe I use a small round stone ware pan. Place the mixture in a semi round shape in the center of the pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool out of pan completely. Serve with butter or home made cranberry sauce.

And I never add raisins to my soda bread, but I do add the caraway seeds. It comes out kinda scone-ish and crumbly... but ever so tasty. Personally I think this bread makes a wonderful addition to afternoon tea or along side a cool glass of raw milk.

~ Blessings!

February 22, 2014

Infusions :: a winters past time.

This time of year, winter that is, is when I like to access and work on my pantry. This includes everything from eating to the last package in the freezer, to assessing the food storage and home apothecary. Making garden plans, family plans and bulk herb & essential oil preparations...

Like these herb infused oils for the upcoming salve making season.

Making the Herb Infused Oils:
  • This method {pictured above} was done by simply packing my mason jar semi tightly with the herbs... in this case one jar was calendula and two jars were plantain. I prefer using dried herbs as I seem to have trouble with my oil becoming rancid when my herbs are not completely dry.
  • Then I cover my herbs with high a quality olive oil, cover with a lid, label with name and date and sit them in the window sill. This works the best for me during sunny, warm fall days...
  • Shake the jars every day, and monitor for concerns... like slime. Do this for about six to eight weeks. 
  • After the infusion time has taken place, strain the herbs from your oil and place the oil in a clean mason jar, again be sure to label with name and date. Trust me... always label and date.
  • Store in semi cool dark place until ready for use... I prefer to turn around my oils quickly with salves and things because I don't want to waste my efforts on rancidity. 

Other Infused Methods:
  • You could also infuse your oils in a crock pot, on the stove or in the oven. I have done the crock pot method and liked it, but I have not tried the other methods... either way, find a method that works for you and enjoy it.

Now that the snow drifts are piled higher, and the winds are blowing cold... I really enjoy creating with my herbal oils... it's like opening a jar of Yah's promise of the harvest.

"While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."
~ Genesis 8:22 ~

~ Blessings!

Definitions to Know: Carrier Oil ~ refers to an oil or wax that an essential oil is mixed with. The carrier oil 'delivers' the essential oil and offers dilution so the effects of the essential oil can be spread over a larger area when applied.

February 9, 2014

Intro to Rigid Heddle Weaving

Three weeks ago we entered into a wonderful learning adventure, one that could prove useful as a home industry idea, a hobby or even a ministry. It's Rigid Heddle Weaving! My daughter has had a past interest in weaving, and even has built her own rough loom to weave on, so when this opportunity arose... Abba provided and we jumped.

The first four hours of our class were spent learning the different types of looms, the parts of the loom, what the warp and weft threads were and the importance of having fibers that worked together. Our project was predetermined for us, as was our base - the warp - fiber.

We were going to make hand woven scarves. :)

Seriously, my head hurt, but it was a wonderful learning experience and I am still trying to keep the terminology straight in my head. Below is a photo I took of the heddle, showing the teeth, or slots, the dents. And the number of dents per inch determines the feel of the cloth... fine or bulky.

We both worked on a Cricket, which was a great little loom for beginners and it offers some great diversity for it's size...

 Our instructor also taught us how to warp out a project using a warping board, and because I am so very new at this, um... no thank you. But it was interesting... and I am sure like all new things, once you get use to it, it would not seem like such a challenge.

According to our instructor the opportunities are almost endless in weaving and the warping board is a great tool...

So here is a shot of my daughters scarf at the beginning... she has a nice balanced weave here, which basically means that her weft and warp threads are equally visible.

She is using a Noro fiber here, and the colors are amazing!

So the final project results for both of us:

Daughters after being fulled, which is the technical term for what I knew as felting. 

Mine before fulling...

"You shall make a screen for the door of the Tabernacle, woven of blue, and purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, made by a weaver." ~ Exodus 26:36

 I don't know if it's something I will continue doing, however I absolutely love the way the scarves turned out, so unique and different. Both of them were woven from one hundred percent wool fibers and both have been a welcomed joy in this recent snap of extreme cold weather.

~ Blessings!

Linked Up With: The Barn Hop
Raising Homemakers

January 29, 2014

Creating a Pregnancy Tea: a unit six project

A simple, effective, multi purpose tea for pregnancy. Easily made with just a few ingredients and little time, unless you grow your own herbs, then you have to add in the growing, harvesting, and drying time... but hey that doesn't happen all at once. So I say go for it!

Milk Thistle Seed: liver support, detoxifier, morning sickness and promotes increased milk supply.

Home Grown Chamomile: anti-inflammatory, liver and kidney detoxifier, effective against gram negative bacteria, can be contraindicated for those with allergies to the ragweed family.

Red Raspberry Leaf: oxytocic, high in vitamin A, D, B complex, E and C. Menstrual health and uterine muscle support. Diuretic.

There seems to be some question on wild Raspberry verses cultivated Raspberry leaf, however it also seems that many can use either with no harmful effects, the concern is increased chances of miscarriages... so I have read -  personally I would choose the wild leaf, just to play it safe.

"Caution: There have been some claims that R. idaeus is questionable and that it may lead to miscarriages. However, most people use it with no problem, but if there is a history of repeated miscarriages, then there could possibly be a reaction." ~ The Ministry of Midwifery, a manual, page 64 - Pattie A. Barnes, C.P.M.

To make your tea: for this project, I used volume verses weight, which is technically a no no, but I did not have a weight scale at the time. All three of these herbs are mild and rather safe, so I felt comfortable in doing so.

  • Milk Thistle Seed: crush or grind two tablespoons seed in your mortar and pestle. 
  • Chamomile: measure out two tablespoons of flower heads and semi break up.
  • Raspberry Leaf: add two tablespoons leaf to the above mixture and blend well.

Store in air tight container and use as needed, note the expiration date and ingredients on the jar label along with tea making instructions. Again the above measurements were used for completing my unit project, and if I were to be using this tea formally or gifting it, I would remake the tea by weight.

To Use: I use this tea, even though I am not pregnant, often. It's just so good for you. I simply fill up my tea ball and add it to my cup of hot water and let it steep for about five to seven minutes. Enjoy over a couple of good blogs...

~ Blessings

Linked Up With: The Backyard Farming Connection
* Wednesday Link Party @ Walking Redeemed
* Raising Homemakers

 *Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Family Herbalist by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested.

January 17, 2014

Her new Blessing

Every Shabbat (Sunset Friday to Sunset Saturday) we enter into His rest and lay 'ourselves' down before His feet, this time with our Creator is very special to our family and I am sure it has it's different reasons of 'specialty' for each member around our table. But for what ever personal reason we have for the blessedness we see in Sabbath, I know is this, that no matter what is happening within our homes, on the front lines of outside work for our husbands, or the struggles our children face all through out the growing stages of their lives... He is good and faithful to those who love Him.

Recently we began a new blessing over our daughter, one that signified a change in status, a change in person, a change in direction and a change for growth. In the past we have blessed her with a portion of Matthew 5, for which was fitting and needed. But we have entered a new season and time and I am confident that "He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him... until that day." 

Her Blessing: taken from Deuteronomy 28 & Joshua 1:9

“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.“The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 

Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. 

You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.  And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Our children face so many challenges today, everything from the normal struggles mature believers have {daily} to seeing the 'church' assimilate into the nations around us. On multiple levels. They see our world waging war against the authority of the Scriptures and they see 'strong' Christians fall. They see claimed 'born again believers' conforming to the cultural standards of modesty, relationships, and the worship of 'god'.

They are human. The same as you and I. They need our help. Our help to make a stand.

I read some headline recently that stated religion can not save. That is true. Religion can not. Religion is a set of customs and rules that mean nothing except to create a false sense of security or to create a method of ruling over people.

That can never save anyone.

Our children need real. They need to know there are only two kingdoms to serve... and if you are not actively serving one, then by default we are serving the other.

So what does this have to do with raising daughters and blessing our children?

Our children need the Word of God spoken into their life, they need to hear blessings and not curses. There is enough curses being spoken into their minds, hearts and emotions in a single trip to the store.

When I read this portion of Scripture, I am given hope... a hope in why we do what we do, why we believe in whom we believe and why these blessings belong to us as redeemed children of God.

And frankly that is something our children are lacking in this generation.

The promise of Hope.

~ Blessings

January 14, 2014

{Family Herbalist} update thru unit four

Okay - first I will just say, I am loving this course! There is so much to learn and honestly almost as much to unlearn. Right now I am on unit five and I have not been faithful to share one every unit because frankly, I do not have the time to commit to it right now. I am attempting to participate in a fitness challenge, transform my kitchen and finish my Torah class. My online time is extremely limited, and when I am on I am trying to re-vamp my blog content. {again}

Readers, this is what I have... a brief {I say again... brief} post share of units two thru four:

Unit Two: macronutrients

Artichokes are Awesome!

Unit Two Project: the four day menu

Day 1:
  • Berry Smoothie with Oatmeal Muffins - Breakfast
  • Hemp Hummus with Red Palm Oil & Flat Bread - Lunch
  • Chicken Barley Chili - Dinner
  • Carrots & Dip - Snack
Day 2
  • Eggs and Hashbrowns - Breakfast
  • Apples, Peanut Butter Yogurt and Prunes - Lunch
  • Vegan Asian Wraps - Dinner
  • Broccoli and Dip - Snack
Day 3
  • Almond Butter & Honey on Buckwheat Pancakes - Breakfast
  • Cauliflower Cheese Sticks with Pesto - Lunch
  • Greek Salad with Feta and Bread Sticks - Dinner
  • Chia Superfood Pudding with Hemp - Snack
Day 4
  • Mango Smoothie and Oatmeal with Flax - Breakfast
  • Kale Chips and Veggie Juice - Lunch
  • Black Bean Taco's with Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato - Dinner
  • Banana Walnut Bread with Quinoa Flour - Snack

Unit Three: micronutrients {previous post}

So I completed the unit three project, and then we went out and purchased a juicer after watching the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Um yeah. I nearly killed myself... okay not really. But let me tell you that three days of juice fasting was rough for me, I had stomach cramps and pain worse than when I delivered my ten pound son. {No Joke!}

My system was entirely cleared out by the morning of day two and the rest of the day was spent in agony. Will I do it again? YES! In fact we have been juicing ever since through out the week and after the initial hump, I love it... I hope to gear up for some juice feasting in the near future, but right now it's about a couple of times a week.

I did it! A great tasting sourdough. Thank you Jessie!

And Unit Four: bread {previous post}

I have been playing with my home grown sourdough for weeks, cleaning out all my yeast recipes and attempting to replace them with sour dough options only. I will do this. LORD help me do this. Most of my views, as shared in the above post link have not changed, however I have re-read the Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread and one of the things that finally made sense was the gluten concerns.

No we are not going completely gluten free, because medically we do not have this need, but we are seriously looking at our grain intake and making some possible changes, of which sourdough is a huge part of. Like I said before there is so much to learn about bread and the role it played throughout history.

Well that covers my quick update and now I am signing off, I have a fitness challenge to partake of.

~ Blessings!

*Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Family Herbalist by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested. ~ Blessings!

January 1, 2014

Word for 2014: steadfast

My word for twenty fourteen took me all of ten seconds to choose but that is because for the past twenty four hours a theme has been present in my life... to remain steadfast in the LORD!

resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

Abba has been showing me the importance of remaining steadfast, to rest solely in Him. For everything. You see things are changing all around us and our help will only be from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not the state. Not the religious leaders of our time. But solely in the Holy One of Israel.

This year's Psalm: is #121, this is our first year to choose a family Psalm, and it was given to my husband yesterday morning... a morning when we needed a strong reminder to remain steadfast. 

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; 
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.  
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.  

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

This evening, around the dinner table, my husband then suggested that we begin memorizing this passage from Scripture tonight. To be diligent in grafting the Word into our hearts and minds. A perfect companion to steadfast I think.

Do you have a family Psalm, verse or word for this year?  I would love to hear about it.

~ Blessings!