Saturday, July 10, 2010

mullein oil

We are blessed to have a vast amount of edible and medicinal herbs that grow all around us. On a recent walk up the steep mountain behind our house, Blair came across several mullein plants, just about to flower. So, after this recon mission, he took the boys back up to collect the flowers, and some leaves as well.

Mullein flowers are best made into an oil, which can then knock an ear infection into next week. The oil, when heated and even mixed with a little garlic oil will reduce inflammation, stop pain and kill bacterial infections. My children have never actually had an ear infection. Which seems crazy, I know. And I also know that I'm totally jinxing myself by saying that. But I won't be caught this winter with sick kids and ear infections just to say, "Oh no! I wish I had harvested all those sweet beautiful mullein flowers and made that perfect oil!" Not me. Not this year. We're on it.

Step one: hike.

This is the gorgeous view from the top, with the farm fields visible in the bottom right.

Step two: locate flowering mullein plants.

Step three: harvest the flowers.

Step four: allow all the excess moisture to evaporate. (Sorry, no photo for this step.)

Step five: pour in jar and cover with organic olive oil.

Set to soak.

This is two weeks later.

Plenty to use, share with friends, and perhaps even sell.
Be well!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

thirty times around the sun

Today is my birthday. Thirty years, and I feel every single day of it. :) The past ten years have been so jam packed with so many huge life events, that I honestly sometimes feel older than I am. So today, I stop and soak in the feeling of 30 years of life. To be content with simply having survived this far, and to strive to enjoy the days a little more as well.

The first decade of my life was all anyone could hope for. I was loved, cared for, had great friends, played kick ball in the cul-de-sac, climbed trees, rode my bike everywhere, etc... I have nothing but fond memories.

I spent the second decade of my life feeling out of place and wishing that I were in my third. And I spent most of my third decade in a complete whirlwind of major events that should actually be spread out among one's lifetime. I feel like I never really got my footing. Every time I would settle in to some kind of routine, the rug would be pulled out from under me and I'd be scrambling again. Scrambling for peace. Scrambling for wisdom. Scrambling for contentment. Scrambling for quiet. I have known times of intense grief and disappointment so acute that I would feel it physically. I have also known times of inexplicable joy, deep and abiding. And as crazy at it sounds, those moments of joy and gifts of peace have often come in on the tail of the pain- like a healing balm for my suffering and my broken soul. God has consistently met me in those moments, lifting me from my painful reality and giving me a taste- a small taste of the eternal.

And in between those dark days, I've had moments like the birth of each of my children. Each time I have felt the rush of new life- the miracle of birth, I am infused with purpose. I receive the gift from God and resolve to be mama to this new precious being. This third decade has made many things of me...daughter who grieves deeply, sister who moves away, wife who said "til death do us part"... I feel mostly a mama.

Even as blessed a mama as me can get lost in the mundane. I lose sight of the eternal, and often find myself immobilized. Always running, but not moving an inch. Always talking, but not saying anything. Always drinking, but never quenched. And God has always sent me a friend (or several)who at different times pull me out of the quicksand. So I can shake out of my funk. Where my efforts can become productive and my perspective rises and deepens. And my feet settle in....rooted and grounded in love.

And so, here I stand...knowing that there is a purpose to each day I have lived, and purpose still for each day ahead, be it one or thousands more. A hope and a future. Who could ask for more?