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My Medicine Chest

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I’ll be traveling this week. It will be a bittersweet trip as we will be saying good-bye to my grandmother.

But this will be my first autumn in southern Illinois and Missouri in 10 years.

I’m looking forward to visiting some of my favorite trees in their fall costumes. I hope to collect some persimmons and pawpaws. I want to show my boys about sweetgum and hickory. White oaks and red buds. There are many more.

Plants have always seemed to be part of my well-being. In many situations, I have developed relationships with sycamores and poplars.

As of lately, I’ve developed a new relationship with plants. They help me maintain my wellness. I am not well without plants. They are the only medicine I can trust.

This spring I had some terrible unexplained allergic reactions. It turned out my allergy medicines had one of my allergies in it. Somewhere between that realization and this summer, I realized that I don’t need to rely on prescriptions to feel okay. I have the plant knowledge to guide me.

Last night I prepared my medicine chest for the trip ahead. Some herbs will be used in cooking- like rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage. Others can be used to brew calming teas- like rosehips, lemon balm, raspberry leaf, yarrow, licorice, and elderberry. I have my root tea prepared which consists of burdock, dandelion, rhodiola, and eleuthero.

I have herbs prepared into a salve that can be used on dry and cracked skin. I have a plantain liniment that can cleanse and relieve scrapes and cuts on the skin. I have a tincture (or potion as my kids call it…) in which I soaked devils claw and willow bark for pain relief and another with tart cherry and ginger to help reduce inflammation. Finally are the oils, rosemary, tangerine, and bergamot which I dilute with almond oil and use for massage.

My medicine chest

So there it is! I’ve got my medicine chest ready to go- all natural and allergen free. Just what I need to take care of myself on a long trip!

If all goes well, I’ll be able to post more about my experience introducing my boys to my tree friends.


Quiet Moments

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Quiet Moments

Today is a good day for quiet moments

Quiet music,

Patient thoughts,

Simple food.


Today is a good day to reflect.

What is important?

What do I value most?

What nourishes my soul?


Today is a good day to let go

Of clutter,

Of darkness,

Of fear,

Of noise.


Today is a good day to be open.

To possibility,

To love,

To everything that surrounds us,

Even the things we do not know.


Today is the solstice.

It is a good day to carry on




That tomorrow will bring a little more light.

Recovery Leads to Revolution

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Recovery Leads to Revolution

What happens when I take the time to rest, recover, and heal?

It turns out, I get new perspective.

Turns out I get a revolutionary perspective for all the things I do.

Art- As I stepped in to teach an art class for a friend in need, my truest self stepped out into the world. This part of me had been hanging out at the door, looking outside, waiting for a time that it felt safe enough to venture out into the world again. Now in addition to leading the lessons, I create examples of the assignments to share with the students! I look forward to the projects! I WANT to do them, I want to share them, and I want to see how the students develop their own projects as well. I am having fun, with kids. Kids that are not my own. Kids that are loud. But, it is art! And I love it!

Writing-  When I wrote my last blog post at 4am, I was high on residual anesthesia and in a hospital bed. I reread it a few days later  and was surprised to find that it made sense! And even more, to realize that I have a variety of things to say and I have the opportunity to share my words in different ways. Whether I edit someone else’s prose to help them fully convey their thoughts for an amazing opportunity, pursue an opportunity to write a column for the local small-town newspaper, or consider submitting an essay on “Why Quitting my Dream Job was the Best Thing I Ever Did for Myself” to Rebelle Society, I realize that my words can carry weight and that I have plenty to say. I am a writer. And I love it!

Relationships- This has been the big one lately. I have learned to respect myself within my relationships. I don’t feel the need to prove myself or defend myself. It is quite amazing the simple truths that exist when the veil of denial is lifted. But it is not all beautiful and empowering. Some of it is terrifying: like realizing that for the past umpteen years, I have been functioning with a faulty understanding of what intimacy is… After realizing this and sharing it with my therapist, he later replied, “Maybe intimacy doesn’t have to be about not being good enough anymore.” I had no idea what that meant. I bawled and cried on my kitchen floor until it felt like my throat was going to come out of my ears. And that was before I got the tonsillectomy. Now, I figure it means something about my self-worth. It means I have a whole new paradigm yet to understand. It means there is more room for me to love myself.

Self- If my understandings of intimacy and relationships are changing, alongside my perspectives of artistic expression… well, then it all comes together in how I view and share myself. I feel liberated, lighter, and more fluid. I wear what I want. I am confident in my decisions. I know that I don’t need permission to want to do things. I am confident in my requests of others. I know there are possibilities and I know a little more about myself. I know I am highly-sensitive. I know I need plenty of rest and quiet time. I know I can trust my intuition. I know there is nothing wrong with me.

Does it all feel a little strange? Yes!

Am I breaking like 15,000 rules I have created for myself to keep me ‘safe’? Yes!

Do I have any idea what these possibilities will bring? Not at all!

Am I confident that I can move forward? Absolutely!

Recovering a Sense of, well, Recovering

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Recovering a Sense of, well, Recovering

I had done so well with Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” Then real life started to happen. I had grant contracts, I had deadlines, I took on the project of developing and opening the Upstage Gallery in my community. I got busy. I left the book behind. Still conscious, still grateful, as if I had completed it ahead of time.

Well, I should have known better, really. I took the opportunity to step out when the topics were getting really intense. Compassion. Autonomy. Self-Protection. Faith. It was only a matter of time until I returned to the book.

One of the most difficult aspects of being in therapy is that once you think you got it all figured out, a new layer surfaces. Often darker and deeper than the one before. Denial has been weakened, the senses heightened. The deep dark topics demand attention, as they should.

As I deal with the connections of perfectionism, patience, faith, self-love, healing, and sharing myself, I realize there is much more recovery to be done.

Sunrise over the First Lutheran Church of New Rockford

Sunrise over the First Lutheran Church of New Rockford

More steps on the path I was on. This is not the time to stagnate. It’s time to continue on, with my projects and my recovery. Because, after all, doing this will be worth it. I’m sure.