Friday, October 28, 2011
I can remember as a child reading the cartoon strips and at times I thought, "I don't get it.", though knowing full well there is a bit of wisdom right in front of me. The 'something' that is outside of each of the characters would be obvious once I understood.
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" portrays the struggle between existentialism and religious determinism. The Western fear of Paganism has always reached its height on October 31, originally the closing date on the pre-Christian Celtic calendar and marked be Druid harvest practices. All Saints' Day was introduced by the pope in the 7th century as a way to counter the effects of the pagan festival. Brought to the United States in the 1800's by Irish immigrants, Halloween is mainly regarded as a social gathering, a holiday for children, with little thought to its being connected to the restless afterlife. The Great Pumpkin attempts to find the spiritual in the mundane and to locate the divine in the pagan.
For the Peanuts gang, the world is an inhospitable place. Narrow-minded and gullible, Charlie Brown sees the world as cruel and unforgiving. Day in and day out he falls into the same patterns of behavior resulting in the failure once again. Many of us can relate to Charlie Brown because we often find ourselves going through life making the same mistakes over and over.
Violet's Halloween party with all its temptations of fun and frolic pulls the rest of the gang into the excitement of the now, and Linus is mocked for missing out and choosing to separate himself and wait for the unknown rather than enjoy the obvious. Even Sally loses interest and joins the festivities, portraying the message of how often the chasm of beliefs can put a wedge within a relationship.
Linus seeks religion and philosophy as the key to understanding his universe. Rather than letting Charlie Brown's self-pity in why things are the way they are, Linus believes there must be something beyond the ordinary everyday happenings, a divine purpose. He doesn't give an air of superiority over his peers but his perceptions set him apart from the rest of the gang, similar to the way those of us with strong convictions feel so alone among the majority in our society. Linus clings to his thumb and blanket for security and comfort. The Great Pumpkin is symbolic as the 'sign' that there may be something greater in which to believe even if we must continue to wait. We need to keep firm in whatever foundation of faith we have and to understand that some things in life are just a mystery.
Charles Schulz' writings reflect his own personal search for understanding and meaning. He portrayed very well the message that for those who keep on searching, the world can be an unforgiving and perhaps lonely place. But life is what it is and though an unpredictable blend of tears of joy as well as grief, we mustn't give up on the fascination of this mysterious journey.
If interested in the complete article "The Book of Linus" by Michael Koresky go to:
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Some parents try to encourage the moderation method in how fast the candy gets consumed. Others figure, gorge and get it out of temptations way.
The price to pay for overidulgence may be an upset stomach or a throbbing headache from all the sugar.
Prepare ahead and you'll be ready to deal with it all.
Peppermint is just one of the many types of mint in the Mentha family. It is a perennial herb that if left unchecked, will happily take over your garden through its runner root system. People often have a designated area just for mint or else they may confine it to barrels or tubs under the ground.
Peppermint makes a wonderful, cooling herbal tea for hot summer days, or it can easily be dried and stored for use anytime as a hot beverage. Peppermint has the properties to relax contracted muscles, such as the case with stomach aches.
Besides the herbal leaf peppermint, you can utilitze peppermint's many uses by way of the essential oil. Peppermint essential oil is one of the most powerful essences, incompatible with homeopathy (it will neutralize the potency). Peppermint herbal tea is safe for young children but when it comes to the essential oil (external use only) it is recommended to not be used for children under the age of five as it is just too stong. Some sources say it is alright as a belly massage if diluted in olive oil (1-2 drops per 2 TB olive oil). Check with your physician. For infants, a better choice for belly aches would be chamomile or lavender essential oil (1 drop each or 2 drops total in 2 TB olive oil).
It is said that peppermint is one of the best for headaches and nausea. We tend to shallow breathe when in pain, which results in poorly oxygenated blood. Peppermint helps to breathe deeper. Headaches generally have 3 main pains: the neck and shoulders, the stomach with nausea, and the forehead with sinusitis. Apply a drop of peppermint essential oil or a bit of a massage oil containing peppermint and rub it where it hurts.
With cold season approaching, peppermint is wonderful to open up the airways to make breathing easier. Add a few teabags to a pot of hot water and form a tent over the head with a towel to create a sauna effect. Or add a few drops of essential oil to a simmer pot (if only using peppermint 5 drops may be strong enough) which will help purify an entire room. Ideal for nighttime use while sleeping. A favorite combination is 4 drops lavender essential oil, 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil, and 2 drops peppermint essential oil (the general rule for simmer pots is a total of 10 drops).
A last, useful tip for peppermint! Rodents and ants detest its smell. Add a few drops of the essential oil to a cotton ball and leave at the the point of suspected entry or site of activity.
This body, air or surface spray has a multitude of uses. Cool off from hot weather, relieve a heat flash or a headache, improve concentration while studying, ease nausea from motion sickness or poor digestion, or just feel energized!
Great to keep handy in a home first aid kit or in the car glove compartment. An herbal oil made by infusing fresh peppermint in olive oil, with the addition of child safe essential oils. Helps to relieve the painful cramping of stomach muscles or the throbbing of a headache.
The holidays and all that goes with it is fast approaching. Eat and be merry! Just be prepared.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Get the cat off the desk!
Easier said than done since my office is part of my living room and doesn't have a door.
Part of me is flattered that they seem to think that the minute someone takes a seat it means lap time for them. Not pictured here but it is a given that there is a dog somewhere under the desk as well.
But they know I'm a soft touch and being more amused than annoyed, won't boot them very far.
The owner and educator of Essential Wholesale and Essential Labs, Kayla Fioravanti, wrote a keeper of a blog post using words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh as advice for business success. Taking a piece here and there from that article I came up with my own little inspirational quip.
A is for Attitude
E is for Education
S is for Social Networking
O is for Organization
P is for Perseverance
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." Dr. Seuss
We know the saying about being the masters of our fate. All we need is to put fear aside and get out of our own way. God gave us the tools we need, we just have to recognize and believe it enough to act on it.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss
Also remember the words of wisdom from this childhood poem:
"There was an old owl who lived in an oak,
The more he saw, the less he spoke,
The less he spoke, the more he heard,
We should all be like that wise old bird"
No matter what our age, we should never stop learning. Not only will you become more knowledgeable in your field, you'll have plenty of sources for pulling up information when needed.
Making mistakes is all part of that education. If we're observant we'll learn from the mistakes of others before we have to pay the price by making those same mistakes ourselves.
"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." Winnie the Pooh
With the internet and social networking sites it is a mistake to assume that just being a part of the world wide web means you will automatically find exposure. It is a rude awakening when you realize how quickly a website or shop becomes buried in cyberspace. An on-line business is ideal for someone who is more of an introvert and prefers to reach people through the written word rather than physically getting out there in person to sell yourself verbally. But if that is your path of choice you have to take advantage of networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and means of advertizing.
"The hardest part is what to leave behind,...It's time to let go!" Winnie the Pooh
Having organizational skills and a daily schedule is paramount to a successful business. This is especially true if you work out of your home. Look closely at your habits and change what is necessary to stay on top of things. A home business can easily become chaotic with constant interruptions, lack of work space and lack of organization with supplies and bookkeeping.
Find a balance between family and business. Carve out a set amount of hours in the day that the message is clear to everyone else that you are "working" and demand respect for your time.
"Don't Go Straight, Go Forward" The Mighty Manatees (an awesome band)
Expect to make mistakes since that is the way to learn and improve in anything.
Give yourself a break when things don't go easily. No one said this road would be an easy one.
Last, surround yourself with positive energy. So what if some people think you a bit odd or crazy for taking on the unknown. My husbands favorite bit of advice for me has always been,
"When in doubt, go for it." We all have the right to seek out a dream. To each his own.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Emily Thacker has a series of awesome, informative books on home remedies utilizing basics such as honey and vinegar. In fact each subject is the title of its own little book. The Honey Book and The Vinegar Book.
The first words in her vinegar book are
"Since the beginning of time mankind has sought the magic elixir which bubbles from the fabled 'Fountain of Youth'. Apple cider vinegar may be as close as we'll ever come to such a remedy. A time honored prescription for whatever ails you and for those who want to retain vitality and good health well into old age."
It is best to use raw vinegar such as Bragg vinegar. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized and 5% acidity. It contains the amazing Mother of Vinegar which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules.
A few words by Emily from her honey book are
"Down through the ages honey has been regarded with awe and wonder. In some Mediterranean communities honey was even used, in place of gold or silver, as money. Honey has not only been considered a sacred food, fit for feeding deities, it has been part of the folk medicine of nearly every culture on the planet."
In Egypt the bee was the hieroglyphic which stood for king. In both pagan and Christian cultures bees were believed to be gifted, sacred creatures. Egypt and Canaan were both referred to as the lands of great abundance, lands which flow with milk and honey. In most cultures honey is even considered the elixir of love, and in Greek culture it was considered the elixir of perpetual youth.So what exactly is the difference between raw honey and the perfectly golden, liquid honey that you see often bottled in a squeezable hive?
Raw honey has not been heated excessively through pasteurization. The only way to get that perfectly clear look of most commercial honeys is to heat it and then filter it excessively.The problem with heat is that many nutrients are very sensitive to it and die. You may get strange looks when you tell people your raw honey is 'alive', but you're absolutely correct to a certain extent.It's the beneficial enzymes found in raw honey that make it so digestible to humans. Raw honey is filtered, but very minimally and in a manor not to destroy the health promoting enzymes and other nutrients.
If you are interested in more honey facts there is a great biography on honey called "Robbing The Bees" by Holley Bishop. A book that reads like a novel, it is a good education to understand the little honeybee.
Vanishing of the Bees is a facebook page focused on spreading awareness about the plight of the honeybee. The DVD Vanishing of the Bees by Ellen Page is a documentary that follows the plight of the honeybee in the struggle for survival. We are told the bees are sending us a message, but are we listening?
The time-honored recipe for dealing with arthritis, insomnia and a troubled stomach is 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, mixed into a glass of water and taken morning and evening.The key to good health is not to wait till there is a breakdown within your system to start paying attention. If such a simple little concoction can do such wonders it is certainly worth looking into what the old-timers and folklore have to say.
Check out these sites for ways to utilize the wonders of honey and vinegar for your skin and hair care needs!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
It is said that Columbus Day is the traditional time to plant garlic in order to harvest your crop next summer. If you grow garlic, most likely you save the best bulbs for fall planting. If you need to purchase bulbs, don't just buy garlic from the supermarket. Growers may have sprayed their crop to prevent sprouting, therefore there is the chance your cloves won't grow. Order high quality bulbs from a reputable source or from your local farm supply store.
Separate the garlic bulbs into its individual cloves. A typical bulb has from 7 - 10 cloves and each clove will develop into a new bulb. There is a saying that garlic seems to come up wherever it is dropped. Perhaps somewhat true, but garlic likes to be about 3-4 inches under well-drained, rich soil, and spaced 6 inches apart with root end down. Cover them with a good topping of about 6 inches mulch. A precaution against fungal diseases would be to first soak the bulbs before planting in a jar of water containing one heaping tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting.
You'll see shoots growing through the mulch but not to worry about being stunted with the cold weather. This is normal and come spring they'll start growing again. Don't pull back the mulch in the spring. It helps conserve moisture and suppresses weeds. Garlic doesn't compete very well with weeds.
During the month of June you'll notice the flowering heads begin to form. These are called scapes. For larger garlic heads, snip off these tops. Should you not get around to it, you just may have smaller garlic bulbs. To leave them on saps energy from the forming underground bulbs. Here is post with ideas of how to use these nutritious scapes in your cooking.
By late July when you notice the green part of the garlic has died back about 2/3 of the way, carefully dig out the bulbs. Use what is called a potato fork to carefully loosen the soil near the bulbs. If you do this job on a day after a soaking rain, you'll find the soil loose enough the bulbs may pull out very easily and you may not need a fork. Shake off the dirt and lay in an airy place out of the sun to dry. Store in a dry area with good circulation. Don't put in a closed container or in the refrigerator or they will mold.
Tried and true remedies with garlic
According to Dian Dincin Buchman in "Herbal Medicine", if garlic wasn't so cheap we would treasure it as if it were gold. While garlic has only 1 percent of the impact of penicillin, it is more effective with gram negative bacteria than is penicillin. It sweeps through the body in a cleansing fashion without destroying the body's good intestinal flora.
Garlic is safe for children and nursing mothers (unless mom is on a garlic and onion free diet to reduce colic). A great way to get your child to benefit from garlic if he or she refuses to eat it is through an oil to apply topically. Steep three minced cloves in four ounces of olive oil 8 - 12 hours. Rub the oil onto the soles of your child's feet before bedtime and cover with socks. Garlic's healing antiviral properties will be absorbed through the skin and circulate throughout the bloodstream. Keep the bottled oil in the refrigerator. Good for about one year.
The legendary Vinegar of the Four Thieves, possibly discovered during the bubonic plague of the middle ages, is made utilizing an herbal vinegar with the addition of garlic. This antibacterial vinegar makes an excellent wash for disinfecting surface areas. Diluted, this vinegar may be used in a bath or to wipe down the body. Internally, it can be used as a preventive during flu season. The dose is a teaspoon in water, no more than three times in an hour.
2 quarts apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. lavender
2 tbsp. rosemary
2 tbsp. sage
2 tbsp. wormwood
2 tbsp. rue
2 tbsp. mint
2 tbsp. garlic buds
Combine the dried herbs (except the garlic) and steep in the vinegar in the sun for two weeks. Strain into a bottle and add several cloves of garlic. Cap with a lid and steep for several days and strain. Add 4 oz. of vegetable glycerine for preservation.
Another old recipe is the following herbal honey syrup:
Knock it Out Cold Remedy
1 eight oz. jar honey
1 inch piece of ginger, bruised
1 lemon, chopped including skin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cloves garlic, sliced
Remove 2 - 3 tbsp honey to make room in the jar and add the rest of the ingredients.
Steep for six to eight weeks.
At the first sign of a cold, take 2 tsp in a cup of hot water.
Drink three times a day. Not for children under one year of age.
Store in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator.
A cough syrup utilizing garlic or onions:
Take 3 - 4 garlic cloves, remove skin and slice them into a cup with a lid. Add enough honey to cover, put the lid on the container, and let it stand for a few hours. Give a spoonful of the finished syrup to coat the throat and help ease a cough. Being a high sugar content don't give too often. Don't give to children under one year of age. Store in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator.
At the first feeling of an earache, try this homemade remedy
Pick the yellow flowers of the mullein roadside weed and add them to a small bottle or jar. Cover with olive oil and steep in a warm place or the sun for two weeks, strain and add fresh flowers for another few weeks. Strain into a glass dropper type bottle (you won't be using this oil that frequently so use a 1 or 2 oz. size bottle). Add a few garlic cloves and store in the refrigerator. I just leave the garlic in the oil. Be sure to refrigerate to avoid botulism. Discard after one year. When needed warm up the oil by putting the bottle in a pan of warm water. Drop 1 - 2 drops in the ear and stopper the ear with a little cotton. Place nothing in the ear canal if your child has ear tubes or has any type of ear drainage. An alternative would be to add a few drops to a cotton piece and then stopper the ear. If you don't have access to the mullein herb, an oil with just the garlic is great as well.
Garlic has been long used for corns and warts:
At night crush a garlic clove and press against the corn or wart and hold in place with tape. Repeat nightly.
Last, we all are told to eat plenty of garlic for our hearts. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and are known to fight poor circulation. The sulfur compounds keep the platelets from clumping together and making the blood sticky. Cook with plenty of both garlic and onions instead of salt to help fight high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. If you are taking blood-thinning medication such as warfarin, check with your doctor before using the garlic clove a day method.
Here is a post with more ideas for using garlic for healing as well as three nourishing soup recipes.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Awareness is the key to seeing through all that and discovering the meaning of contentment. When it comes to our health we have to realize that it is up to us as individuals to maintain or regain optimal health, inside and out. There is no magic product to transform us into the airbrushed beauties we see on television.
We have to trust our instincts in the choices we make. Building a sense of mind, body, and spiritual awareness will bring out that inner beauty we were all blessed with from birth. Beauty shouldn't be trying to create an image or cover up supposed flaws not in line with the current trend.
The formula for beautiful skin in all stages of life is basically common sense.
1. Eat a healthy diet
Everything we put into our mouths becomes a matter of chemistry in what our systems do with it. Give our bodies what it needs and it'll run like a fine tuned engine. Feed it inferior fuel and it'll eventually get bogged down with sludge just like our car engines. Eat whole foods as nature intended, that our bodies' will recognize, not processed imitations with a pretty picture. Supplements are good but don't think a handful of capsules will offer the same benefits or replace the whole food itself.
2. Be smart with sun exposure
Skin is very forgiving while we are young, but over time we pay the price when those dreaded age spots, freckles and wrinkles start popping up, or the fear of skin cancer becomes a reality when that suspicious spot doesn't go away.
The warmth of the sun is wonderful, we just have to be smart about it. If you know you're going to be out between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. be prepared with a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen. Sun protective clothing to cover up is always an option as well. Getting enough vitamin D is important and what better way than naturally from the sun. SAD, seasonal affective disorder, is not just "in your head". We need outside time and fresh air to feel our best. Remember as kids you could always tell who the country kids were because they had the "kiss of sunshine" on their cheeks.
3. Don't Smoke
Smoking damages collagen and elastin which are the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. By narrowing the tiny blood vessels in the outer layers of skin, there is a decrease of blood flow. A decrease in blood flow results in the skin being starved for oxygen and important nutrients. Those tiny little wrinkles around the mouth are often created by the facial expressions done while taking that drag on the cigarette.
4. Manage Stress
People often say they smoke because they have bad nerves and a cigarette calms them down. Or they say their cigarettes are very consoling, almost like a best friend. As true as that may be, try to find another friend who won't stab you in the back later in life. Our culture certainly doesn't encourage the benefits of doing nothing. Even when we are doing nothing that usually also involves some form of entertainment such as web surfing, video games or mindless TV. Doing nothing should mean emptying our minds of chattering clutter for a period of time every day. In doing that, our entire systems will relax and rest. Only when we rest does our body focus on repair. Practice meditation, try yoga, take a bath, take a casual walk without the headphones. A body in a continuous fight or flight mode is asking for a physical breakdown of some sort.
We all know the expression, "Use it or lose it". That goes not only for our outward physique but also our internal organs. Get things moving and you'll be amazed how your overall health improves as everything works together. Good circulation means a continuous supply of fresh oxygenated blood all throughout the body, including the brain which helps with those memory skills. Too often people hurt so they move less. Moving less weakens and stiffens those muscles putting them at risk for atrophy. Remember, your lungs and heart are also muscles. The less you do the weaker they'll get as well, and the cycle continues as fatigue deters your ambition and facilitates feelings of depression.
6. Drink enough water
Here are some fun facts about the human body:
According to Dr. Jeffrey Utz, Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University, different people have different percentages of their bodies made up of water. Babies have the most, being born at about 78%. By one year of age, that amount drops to about 65%. In adult men, about 60% of their bodies are water. However, fat tissue does not have as much water as lean tissue. In adult women, fat makes up more of the body than men, so they have about 55% of their bodies made of water. Fat men also have less water (as a percentage) than thin men.
While drinking water is often the best way to replace lost fluids, other liquids including milk, tea, soup, fruit juice and sports drinks also are effective. One caution: beverages with caffeine or alcohol can increase fluid output, making it more difficult to stay adequately hydrated.
It is usually advised to drink 8 glasses of water a day, though it all depends on our activity level and what types of foods we eat. If we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables we'll get much of those needed fluids in comparison to eating primarily processed or prepackaged foods.
7. Proper rest
We all know the price we'll pay when we don't get enough sleep. Our bodies do their healing and repair of tissues while at rest. We can't fit more hours in our day, and depending on what stage in life you're at with child rearing and career, the opportunity for an 8 hour night's sleep may be few and far between. But at least you can hope for an uninterrupted sleep rather than tossing and turning with your thoughts still churning. Try the lifestyle changes listed above before reaching for pharmaceutical sleep-aids.
Balance is the key, and everything in moderation. There are always going to be occasions when we have to keep going and feel like the energizer bunny. But even the strongest battery will burn out without a recharge.
Our skin is the largest organ of elimination in our bodies. A beautiful, blemish free complexion and youthful appearance is the result of good balance and proper energy flow.
Meadow Muffin Gardens all began with the desire to find such a balance. Turning to the wisdom of people who have "been there and done that", my inspiration comes from the experience and writings of past generations.
"Wholesome and practical is the best way to describe our line of body care.
Guided by wisdom and knowledge passed down from generations of women our products consist of ingredients provided by our natural world. Information and recipes often tucked away in quaint old books resurface to remind us that 'simple is best'."
Monday, October 3, 2011
The jist of the conversation was in how to deal with stress. Interesting how some people can let things sail right over them, and others have to do the count to 10 trick before daring to even speak.
We all know Murphy's Law:
"Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way."
Sounds like a very negative way to view life but we have to admit things usually don't go easy, at least not the first time around. Two steps forward, one step back. Maybe it is like that to force us to develop a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine and usually once a crisis is past it does become a great story.
Amazing how just about every culture has a version of the Serenity Prayer:
I suppose part of the difference between book learning intelligence and wisdom is that wisdom can only be gained by experience and observation.
Learning what is worth a raise in blood pressure and when to just let things alone is definitely a life lesson in maturity and wisdom.
Go with the flow, or you'll stub your toe. This guy must have "been there, done that" to have come up with such a statement.
There are times when we should plant our feet firmly and hold our ground and there are times when we should just let it go or end up with literal or emotional bruising from stumbling around.
So I am going to remember this guy's words of wisdom and add it to the important message behind this scribble: