Monday, October 17, 2016

Ups and Downs of This Year's Herbal Conference

I was excited about this year's herbal conference, I was unable to attend last year and really missed that boost of herbal mojo.  And this year did not disappoint.  It was such a beautiful weekend up in the mountains, the speakers were engaging.  I learned a little about herbs, and a little about myself.  I came away with that boost I had been missing and I can't wait for next year.

Let me start with the down, for me anyway.  The very first session of the entire conference started out with us yelling out our names, OK so that let me know what kind of a session this was going to be.  And the last 30 minutes or so was "SMALL GROUP INTERACTION".  Yes those dreaded words, break up into groups of three and.....  I  hate hearing that, "break up into small groups".  And we each took turns, in our groups of three, talking about ourselves (yes there was a specific topic) to two strangers.  That isn't really my thing.  So I spoke for a minute, volunteered to go first to get it over with.  And yeah, no I didn't take up all my "allotted time", and no I had nothing else to say.  I know many people find it easy to share their souls to strangers, more so than to friends.  I am not one of those people, for me it is harder with strangers.  That feeling of judgment maybe, I don't know.  Luckily for me that was the ONLY session of the conference that had any "group activity".

I did bring my knitting along, and that provided a couple of benefits this time around.  The one benefit, that I recognize and why I bring it, is that I have something to do, so I don't feel like I am just sitting there staring.  I have something to do, to take my mind off of things.  Also this time I had a couple of people come up to talk to me about knitting, an easy topic for me to talk about and connect with people.

A real positive for me this year, happened during lunch on Saturday.  There were a few food trucks at the conference and a few picnic tables, lots of space to spread out on the grass if you want and have lunch and just relax and process or socialize if you like.  In years past I generally get my lunch and then go spread out on the grass somewhere, knit, eat and relax.  This year I decided I was going to sit with a few other women if there was space at a table, and there was.  I think that space was waiting just for me.  So I went up and asked if the spot was free, introduced myself and sat there.  The other women were so nice, we chatted about the conference, about our lives, where we were from etc.  Just general chit chat.  It was nice, it was out of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed it.  I need to do more of this. ....Maybe next year.  One year I hope to fully embrace the social experience of the conference, and not just the information side, baby steps.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Suicide Prevention-Out of the Darkness

Many of you know that my family and I participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's "Out of the Darkness" walk, in Asheville NC this past Sunday. It was such a moving and emotional experience, I shed more than a few tears.  There were so many people there, far too many.  People who had lost friends, relatives, parents, children or were struggling themselves.  Here is a picture of my family before we headed up the mountain for the walk.  I just love my family and am so glad they decided to share this day with me, they were there to give me hugs and offer support.

I gathered photos for the memory wall at the event.  And it always hits me hard when I think about all that I have missed out on not having a father during my parenting years, and all that my boys have missed out on, not having a grandfather. So many missed memories, so many missed connections, and just a life that my boys will never know.  
He was an awesome grandfather.  Unfortunately my oldest doesn't remember him at all, and I was pregnant with my youngest when we lost my father to suicide.  So much missed.

For those of you that don't know our story, I lost my father to suicide on Halloween, 1996.  So it will be 20 years ago this coming Halloween, October 31, 1996.  We were living in Germany at the time and we were handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  My older brother was the one to call and tell me the news.  Not a memory I like to think about.  

As we approach Halloween, I think of him often, more often than usual.  And I think about all we can do to prevent suicide.  So as you look at my photos let me give you some facts to think about.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  The annual suicide rate per 100,000 individuals is 12.93.  The North Carolina rate is 13.04, we rank above the national average with Burke County falling in at 16.99, ranking us 13th out of all 100 counties in North Carolina.  It is the second leading cause of death for 15-34 year olds and the third leading cause of death for 10-14 year olds.  These are OUR CHILDREN!  This is preventable.  

We need trained nurses in the schools, we need teachers, parents and peers trained in signs of suicidal thoughts, and what to do if someone is thinking/talking about suicide or struggling with depression.  This is a HUGE deal folks.  You can learn more about what you can do here at the AFSP site.  

Also read about your state statistics here at the AFSP statistics page.  And ask questions when talking to your candidates for city and county commissioner.  Find out what they plan to do to reduce suicide in your county, let them know that this is a priority and you are watching/listening to what they have to say and will vote accordingly.  This is a national epidemic that is swept under the rug, ignored, shamed.  Mental health is important to us all, living in a healthy society benefits everyone.  


Sunday, October 9, 2016


My husband is so wonderful.  And really this is a first.  I think I have mentioned before that he is not a great gift giver.  Well actually that isn't true, he is successful at picking out gifts for one person, his friend Ken. And he and Ken are really only friends because years ago, Ken's wife, Lori and I met through a homeschooling group.  We have been friends for probably around 15 years or so, during that time Jackson and Ken have become friends.  I think he picks out such great gifts for Ken because they do have a lot in common.  Things he would enjoy getting as gifts, he knows, Ken will enjoy as well.  But for anyone else, he is not a good gift giver.

So the fact that I loved this gift AND it was for no special occasion AND it comes at the perfect time for me, as I know today will be a hard, emotional day, all of those things make this extra special-tastic.

I have been drooling over this cookware set at The Kitchen Connection in Morganton for a few months now.  I showed them to Jackson and picked out the one I would like to own first to "try them out".  They are beautiful and heavy and....expensive, so I asked Jackson to remember this for Christmas for me.  Well they were on sale yesterday, and he bought me one, and he didn't put it away for Christmas, he gave it to me!!  I just love this man.  I don't think he even thinks that today will be a hard day for me.  But this is special, and sweet, and I love it!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Out of the Darkness Walk

Tomorrow is the BIG day, the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk in Asheville.  Yesterday my youngest son, Phillip, decided he wanted to join us and walk as a family. I am just so happy about this, it will be an amazing day.  He also created our team tee shirt logo, and we worked last night getting those together.  We do want to look like a team.  For each of us our colors are different.  My color is gold, I lost a parent.  But for Jackson and the boys, their color is purple, loss of a friend or relative.  So we decided to go with a grey tee shirt for the walk.  My dad was a fisherman and his buoy colors were white and blue, so that is what he decided to use as part of the logo.  My family is just so thoughtful.

It will be an amazing, thought provoking, memory making, tearful day for me.  It will be 20 years this Halloween that I lost my dad to suicide.  Time does not "heal all wounds".  If you would like to donate here is the link for that, all donations are SO appreciated! :

Friday, October 7, 2016

Listen to Your Heart

I decided to share my oracle card with you this morning, it was such a powerful card for me right at this particular moment that I thought maybe some of you could use the inspiration and guidance as well.  The oracle card says "Listen to Your Heart".  Which speaks to following our instincts, our heart, our gut.  I think as a child I was taught to not follow my heart, but to listen to the adults in my life and follow what they had to say.  I was not taught that I am the best judge of what is right for me, and that my heart and gut, my instincts, should be listened to.  So this is a great card to remind me to follow our hearts, to be still and listen.

For the last week I have been feeling a shift happening.  A shift in my heart and in my head, a different way of thinking about my place in the world.  Just a really big shift, but really didn't know what it was, where it would take me, what change would be on the horizon.  This morning, that shift just clicked into place.  I have been resting with things, just letting things settle out and waiting for the important things to float to the top. Over the past week, my journaling has reflected that feeling, just trying to rest in it, trying to wait for this shift, not become irritated or frustrated, but sit silently and wait. I journaled this morning that it was like a whirlwind in my brain and in my heart, all of these wonderful ideas, and inspiration just swirling around in there. And then. this morning, it was like everything settled and two main thoughts were left, like clouds sitting in the midst. I just knew things were going to be different from here on out.  So this oracle card is important for me and is really guiding me this weekend.  I hope you all can gain some guidance from this card as well, as you go through your weekend....Listen to Your Heart!

Above is the tea that is in my tea cup this morning.  A Raspberry Hibiscus Tea, from "The Spice and Tea Exchange".  Love it, great fall color and delicious flavor. The mug is actually my son Phillip's mug that he bought at the Common Grounds Country Fair in Maine two years ago.  He loves this mug. This morning I used it as I think the colors are so fall-like.

This is the back of the oracle card, just as beautiful on the back.  It comes from the "Trust Your Vibes" oracle card deck and I think they are all beautiful cards.  

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles, and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?” ~ Lao-tzu

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Winners and Losers

Why is our society so obsessed with winners and losers.  There has to be a winner and a loser (or losers).  I saw it again this morning after the vice presidential debate.  All this talk about who won and who lost, and then the sound bites and short clips featuring the "best zingers".  What is this really all about, a circus side show, or some high school debate club.

For me there is no winner or loser, that is for us to decide come November.  It is about hearing the answers to, hopefully, well thought out questions that are aimed at important issues we see in today's world.  This isn't a high school debate club where you are scored, graded and immediately given a trophy. This is so much more than that.  And seriously, if this were a high school debate team, they would know the rules of the game.  There wouldn't be all this talking over each other and interrupting.  I am starting to think calling these shows, debates, is a sorry use of the word.  Maybe there needs to be a different name attached, and let's just forget about declaring an immediate winner or loser and get back to the issues at hand.  Instead of showing clips of zingers or mishaps how about showing real answers to tough questions.  Instead of thinking the American public is too ignorant to pick a winner for themselves, how about helping educate about the topics and challenges.

I myself will pick my OWN winner when I vote.  And not just presidential, but more importantly local and state offices.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Who to Spend Time With

Posting this here on my blog so I can ALWAYS find it.  Sometime I need this reminder!