Fri, Nov 26, 2010

Hi Grampa!

Here is the song I wrote for you this morning, using the hymn.¬† I had to take some very slight liberties with the words to make it work, and I added a little refrain of “hallelujah” because I kept wanting to sing that between the verses! ūüôā¬† When Rich is home, we’ll get a better quality of recording done for you, (I’m not good at working that equipment) but I wanted you to be able to hear it.

You should be able to just click “play” at the bottom of this email.¬† If you have any trouble let me know, and we’ll get it to work!

Love you,




  1. 1.
    the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.
    “all great evil is the perversion of a good”

I am a very self-motivated, self-driven person. Some people are. Some need external motivation to move forward, some seem born to push themselves forward whether anyone else notices or not. Some sacrifice easily to achieve a goal, even if it’s uncomfortable or requires great self-sacrifice.

I usually see my Discipline and Drive as a strength. But today, I realized it has also been a weakness.

Discipline and Drive made me a good student, a good musician (once my mom taught me the discipline of practicing, I carried it with me into adulthood), and able to make radical life-changing life-style habits that most people can’t find the energy or will to do.

This also makes me able to neglect my own well-being in the interest of a goal, whether it is being a “good mom,” or, in my darkest days, being “thin enough.”

This drive that allowed me to put in tons of hours rehearsing, practicing, honing skills to be the best I could be, to craft and re-craft music into all hours of the night to make it better, to give up eating the things that “make me happy” ¬†or “are fun,” so I could instead choose eating the things that would make me FEEL GOOD, to exercise when I didn’t want to, to get off multiple medications with lifestyle choices and lots of self-work… this same drive made it easy to deprive myself of food and calories when believing lies¬†convinced me I needed to be thinner. To sacrifice for a goal is a noble thing to my personality. But if the goal is actually a Lie? It’s a perversion.

The more I deprived myself, the less properly my brain functioned, and the less able I became to see the Truth, the more unbalanced my Mind became. (In round two of this battle, the dysfunction of my thyroid greatly intensified the effect, as well).
¬†This Drive that pushes me to do everything I can about anything, loves to check things off a list, loves to fix things, and accomplish things. Make a goal, and achieve. Those are good traits, and the world goes around in part because of people who Do Things, who get Things done. When this becomes Controlling things, or a Misplaced Focus, it’s a perversion. When Things are accomplished at the expense of The Most Important Things, it’s a perversion.
With teenage daughters in the dancing world, I have seen this Discipline and Drive in so many talented and dedicated young girls, and I’ve seen a few apply this Discipline and Drive to go after a Lie; I’ve seen it perverted until it damaged their bodies and their minds. I understand, at least in my own small way, how this happens, and it breaks my heart to see it.¬†Passion perverted. Perspective twisted.
I had a doctor who put me on a path to healing, a Heavenly Father who grew me when I decided to finally SURRENDER to His plan for me, instead of my own, and I eventually applied my Discipline and Drive to learning to steward my health. I have a husband who sometimes helps me see when my Drive becomes Overdrive in any area of my life. (I still have to work to find that line between Busy Enough, and Too Busy sometimes).
Yes my Drive and Discipline has been a weakness and a strength for me. Thankfully, in my weakness HE is strong.

Sometimes I don’t blog…

Sometimes I really miss blogging.

But, sometimes I don’t blog because it takes too long to articulate what’s going on in my head/heart. And surface-blogging gets boring.

Sometimes I don’t blog because I am not fond of sharing ALL of my mess online. (A few lucky people get that pretty view– it’s been a tough couple years in many ways.)

Sometimes I don’t blog because I am old enough to know that sometimes I change my mind. And my feelings.

Sometimes I don’t blog because my kids are older, and their story is no longer just mine to share.

I miss wrangling my thoughts into neat phrases. I miss sharing things that make other people say “thanks for articulating that for me,” or “thanks for reminding me…” not for the thanks, but because I like to help. Words are powerful.

But for a while, I haven’t had the energy for more words than it took to teach my 4 kids, keep them through the daily household paces, play parent-therapist, lead my doTERRA team, teach piano students, and be personal secretary to 5 other people.

My mom and husband may find it hard to believe, but perhaps there really is a limit to the amount of words I use in one day?


“Some Kind” of Wonderful

Two-and-a-half months home. Two-and-a-half months of laughter, cuddles, silent treatments, frustration, tears, and more cuddles. When someone asks, “how is it going?” I really struggle to come up with a response. Because it’s not something I can answer in one word, or even one sentence. The usual answers: “good” or “it’s going!” don’t cover it. “Good” implies life is all back to normal. And the other, well unless you have adopted “it’s going” doesnt’ mean¬†anything to you.

There is a LOT of good. Like, I-can’t-believe-how-good. But even the good is draining. Connection takes work. Older kids adjusting well takes work. (Heck, us adjusting takes work too!) Younger behaviors (even good ones) in an older body are work. But to say that seems to negate the good that is.

That song “Some Kind of Wonderful” was humming through my head suddenly this afternoon. There is a lot of wonderful in my life. Some kinds of wonderful are pure joy, other kinds are heart-achy and overwhelming. But still¬†wonderful.¬†

My heart is full. There is a “completeness” that is so very satisfying. There are moments when I just want to escape for respite, and moments I want to sit and bask in forever.

Christmas will be¬†wonderful.¬†There will probably be an undercurrent of comparison and stress that Little Man won’t even know he is facing. ¬†There will be excitement and laughter and love, too. And afterward, some of us will probably want to nap for a week! And if you’ve been wondering how things are going, the answer is “some kind of wonderful.” Either the good kind, or the hard kind, depending on the day. ūüôā

photo (9)


Deodorant– SUCCESS!!

Finally posting this here, because people ask me for my deodorant recipe ALL. THE. TIME. JENNIE-MAE. (Inside joke. Go see ¬†the play The Diviners if you ever get a chance!!) ūüôā


I started with a recipe from another¬†blog. But come summer, it was too runny. (Picture liquid deodorant flinging all around the bathroom when your husband tries to take off the cap). Sooooo…. I had to tweak it for the hot weather.

Here is my tweak:

1/4 cup aluminum free baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot starch (corn starch would also work)

3 tbs ish coconut oil

2 tbs cocoa butter

1-2 tbs beeswax

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice (I often do 5-6 drops of sandalwood with 3 -4 drops of melaleuca, or sub lemon for the sandalwood)

Meld the coconut oil and cocoa butter and beeswax in a stainless steel pot, then add to dry ingredients. Mix with a pastry cutter, or food processor etc. Add essential oils at the end, and then pour/scoop the soft mixture into empty deodorant containers. Voila!

Takes only a handful of minutes, and THIS STUFF WORKS! My husband used to have to put store-bought deodorant on twice a day (with a sit-down job). I kid you not, I had to sniff his armpit to believe when he told me once a day with this stuff worked! LOL We will NOT be going back to store-bought deodorant! Avoid the chemicals (esp toxic aluminum) and try something that really works!

*This made two sticks of deodorant. Sometimes I double it to make a bigger batch.


Lotion Bars– my new fav!!

Tried a new lotion this week. After a couple batches struggling to stay blended (can borax get old?) I decided it was time to finally try a lotion bar, since I’d been wanting to try one for ages.

lotion bars

I started with this recipe that a friend sent me, but I decided to tweak it because #1 the blogger mentioned the bar being too hard for a lot of people’s preference, and #2 I really wanted to include some shea butter. (I once had a shea body butter stick that I LOVED).

So my tweak is:

1 oz beeswax (in pieces so it melts faster

1+ oz coconut oil (I think it was like 1.2, I was not super picky as I weighed the ingredients)

1 oz shea butter

I melted this in a stainless steel pot and and once it was melted, I removed it from the burner and added:

5 drops of lavender essential oil

2 drops of frankincense essential oil

a drizzle of vitamin E oil (again, sorry… but I wasn’t picky)

I poured it into my metal mini-muffin tin, and when they were cooled/hard the popped right out! But even better, is how WELL THEY WORK!! My new little Haitian son has really struggled with dry skin adjusting to our harsh winter climate. I was having to put lotion on him twice a day to prevent dry skin from appearing everywhere. This lotion bar worked so well, that after applying it one evening, his skin was STILL soft and moisturized from the night before! My 9 yr old daughter has been having trouble with very dry skin on her hands as well, and this lotion once again worked amazingly well. Once a day was all she needed. Now I am also trying it on my face. (I need a heavier moisturizer in the winter) I am loving the results. Not greasy, but moisture barrier that keeps my skin from drying out during the day.

If you try to make it, let me know what you think!

*This little batch made 6 1/2 tiny bars in my mini-muffin tin. I worked small as it was a new experiment. I”ll double it next time!




Coming back to life after a long winter… slowly. Feel a little bruised in the soul after the last several months.

007 My mind is having a hard time believing winter is over.

026 Shifting my eyes UP, for some perspective.

027 The kids leap headlong into the new season.

002¬†I think I need to follow them ūüôā



Here’s to brighter, longer days, warmth, and the long exhale, getting winter out of our lungs.




Weekend Retreat- Belfast, ME

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the pictures tell the story of our little weekend retreat… the sunsets, and moonrises, the early morning coffee walks as the tide went out, the quiet adventuring with my kids who are getting so grown up, and yet loved a chance to be away with “just us” just as much as we did. Blessed. Recharged.

cottages low tidesisters low tide sunset over rockland breakwater sunset boat on the breakwater sailboat rich skip rocks rich rock in air rich in belfast rich at sunrise phoebe phoebe skips rocks morning mist rising morning chatty crew morning breakfast crew moonrise mom looks on molly finds shells molly batik Levi breakwater Levi breakwater lighthouse levi and dad skipping rocks girls jumbo chess girls explore sea creatures fluffy sky distance rich sunrise


A More Natural Medicine Cabinet (AMNMC)- high blood pressure

My story of dealing with high blood pressure has many twists and turns. It started out as “gestational hypertension” during my second pregnancy, that didn’t go away after the baby was born. The side effects of the medications for treating high blood pressure are not fun. Many people end up on other medications just to treat the side effects or an original medication! I didn’t want to stay on that track.

So I tried a variety of things, including different diets and exercise, and finally eliminating certain foods from my diet that my body personally cannot handle (like gluten and corn). I have blogged more about this part of the story here. I was off medication for nearly 4 years, when my blood pressure began creeping up a bit again. (My weight had also crept up, which could be the issue. Did you know a difference of 5 pounds can measurably impact your blood pressure?!

bp alernativesThankfully, I have a wonderful doctor who is not opposed to using meds if absolutely necessary but is first likely to offer something like hawthorne berry to treat your blood pressure. This, in addition to his suggestion that I up my magnesium and potassium supplement, was enough, and at my physical this summer, my blood pressure was a beautiful 119/78. For a gal , not on meds, who has experienced regular readings of 160/125 in years past, this was an amazing thing!

It is most important to uncover the route cause of the blood pressure increase, and treat the root. So I continue to exercise, and reduce my grains/carbs/sugar in an effort to get the weight-creep off of my middle! ūüôā

Did you know that sugar raises your blood pressure?! And healthy fat does not!

NOTE: This is not my usual magnesium/potassium. I usually order them through Purecaps via my doctor’s office. They are very pure/allergen free.

Please do not mess with your blood pressure. I did this experiment at the advice and under the care of my doctor. Take this information and discuss it with them before discontinuing any medications.

This is part of a series on taking steps to A More Natural Medicine Cabinet, in which I am chronically our journey for friends and also for my kids as a reference.  See the entire list of posts here!