Versatile Blogger Award, 500 Follows, Ode to My Readers

I’ve sat on this award over a week, wondering what more to name about myself that could possibly be of interest to anyone. I accept the  thoughtful nomination from Belsbror. I find there’s a lovely spirit to his writing. As much as I really do appreciate it, I will decline the Liebster from Defusing Chaos, which no one has been able to tell me just what exactly it’s for.  I’d rather be working at content than posting awards I’m not sure I deserve.

versatile-blogger-nominations-1RULES:

1 Add the award logo to your blog.

2 Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.

3 State 7 things about yourself.

4 Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and include a link to their site and tell them that you have nominated them.

My nominees:

18 Years Young

Lady in the House

Darsword

Quill and Curio

Secrets of the Piano Keys

Marisa D. Lyon

That’s a Jenn Story

Nia Simone

A Little Bit of Red

NY Wonder Mom

Kartwheels

The Bohemian Blog

Heaven’s Nation

The Pantry Book

Musings in Montage
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About Me ~

I was a Linguistics major and Classics (Latin & Greek) minor in college.

I have allowed myself no time for a movie these six years as a mother. I haven’t been in a theater in seven years.

I freelance for Home School Enrichment magazine. My next article due out in four months is the series exploring the impact of technology on learning from this blog.  Here‘s an installment.

I wanted to marry a saxist or drummer. I did the latter. And my boy debuted in a Brazilian Samba band of 5th graders when he turned five. Got me a 2-for-1.

I taught piano a number of years. My husband would love me to go back to it, but I don’t want to lose time writing.

I have a of CD of devotional songs I wrote and sing.

I adore CS LEWIS. I said adore, right?
=================

This morning I found 500 followers on my board. I wish words could do justice to the ways you have enriched the journey. All I have is this token of friendship and warm regard for those who have taken the time to look at what I see.

Abbreviated Ode to My Readers

Two voices in the dark,
under the light of their writing

Most Influential Blogger Award: Double Nomination

I appreciate this nomination from the thoughtful writer Belsbror.  It’s one thing to encourage me to shine on.  Another to declare I am of such influence. B, thanks again for all the incredible support. I like the tenor of your writing. Keep up the great work.

Gabriel, I didn’t need double affirmation. I would rather you have chosen someone else. Although with you in my corner, I do feel all the more a legitimate member of the literary blogging community. I invite readers to visit Gabe, see the many things he has to say so well.

most-influential-blogger-1The protocol for this award is as follows:

1. Put the logo in your post.

2. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

3. Answer the questions below.

4. Pass on the award to 11 others.
I’m going to flip the last two.

The passionate bloggers I nominate are:

A. Mittal

Kathi Kralicek

Mikels Skele

Barefoot Barn

Legionwriter

Walter Bright

Ina Vukic

Joan T Warren

Official Rob Hill

Health is from Heaven

http://one7blog.com/
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1. What makes you happiest?

Making music a close second but this season, writing writing writing.

2. Do you love the oceans or mountains more?

Ocean, to take in. Mountains, for their healing energy.

3. What has been a special moment in 2012?

When I lopped off the hair that had gone untended two years and would spook Husband to find me standing there quietly, an eerie simulacrum of Rapunzel in the night.

Suddenly, I could see myself again.

4. What’s your favorite quote?

One of many ~

Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Victor Hugo

5. Do you like yourself?

LOL. Used to, very much. Have sobered up a lot.

6. Do you stay up ’til midnight on New Year’s Eve?

Nope. I like to function on the New Year.

7. Something you wish could be done ASAP.

Healing for the sick and dying.

8. What was your favorite class when still at school?

English

9. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

I play the piano, keyboard, guitar.

10. Anything you wished to have learned earlier?

How not to eat.

11. Do you like to do crafts, drawing or painting?

I enjoyed painting to my great surprise – high school senior elective.

Thanks to my wonderful readers for your time.

The Writing Process II, Part 1: Keep It Real

The Process is as rich as there are writers.

I now see that in my earliest years of writing I was mixing and matching, trying on words for size, putting out what I thought sounded good. Of course sounds are what give birth to words, and it is the thrilling privilege of writers to show communication is not only functional but beautiful. But now I am ruthless with Self: tightening, trimming, questioning, challenging, making her say more with less. I still experiment, and sound out my work for the music of language. But I no longer sacrifice style for truth.

In her prolific journaling and letter-writing to those back home a hundred years ago, Irish missionary to India Amy Carmichael asked herself: “Is this true?” Twenty years after I glossed over these three words in her biography they have resurfaced these past few months. In the writing, I ask myself if it’s true. My purpose in the process isn’t to incite a response or rouse an audience. If a word doesn’t quite sit well with me, is not true to myself, I rework it until it imparts intention. I wasn’t looking to be funny or hyperbolic in the posts that earned laughs. They told what I simply felt or saw. I am not out to impress as I am to express. And in the expressing, I am also not the girl emptying angry questions out of an abraded heart anymore. Not because my life is perfect. But because, as many will disagree, if I write primarily for the therapy that it wonderfully can be, it will feel like emotional emesis and not true art. I don’t want to take up your time with personal rehab.

There are sites devoted to the loving memory of a dear one or blogs defined by a persisting pain. Writing is healing, which is in part why I have journaled so extensively over the years. With loving hopes for the people behind such blog, I have connected with them. I didn’t write bereft to broadcast one of the most impossible sorrows I have known. I in fact did not want to be explicit. The journaling already had helped me process the grief. But as I freed the poem to the life it took on, it rehearsed how the world had looked at the time from inside my pain. I had to keep it real. As for creative writing or fiction, I asked myself through every line in Rain Story, “Is this what I see in my head with my spirit?” And so I realize it’s a finer line between journalism and creative writing than appears. I feel very much like a journalist reporting live from what’s inside.

The nascent writer churned out her share of cryptic poetry. Now, I wouldn’t waste anyone’s time purposely being unclear when you’ve come to see what I have to say. I employ metaphors for the 1000 words they save me with their pictures. I’m no longer the high schooler with words welling over in the dark. The journey may start out as an exploration. But at some point before I share it with another sojourner I’ve figured out where North is and have walked the line – without needless acrobatics.

Star Wars Campside

After I’d resigned to returning from the mountains with no poem in hand, this emerged over evening dishes. Originally Ode to the Adventurers, it was my contribution to the digital post-camp chorus of What a blast! It was wonderfuls from the families. In the spirit of roughing it, I’ve resisted the temptation to refine it more than I did.

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The dirtiest – and so happiest,
Mom discovered – our boy’s ever been

Wading by the lakeside, painting by lantern:
blue nails and purple rocks

Star Wars duel amid dirt kicked up by kids
undying like their dreams, finger-laced
head bands knit by friendship
A boy’s first campfire:
“Mom, can we stay here ten nights?”

Faces glazed with sleep and S’mores
Night’s smoke murmur of
moms and dads glad in company
California fire circle a shadow of fellowship
in an immortal place

Inside their tents, little ones burrow into fresh
memories of blowing bubbles under star sky,
and the smell of charcoal

We came home
baptized with dirt and love, to
the burden and relief of laundry;
small irredeemable socks, a far cry from white
the most purpose-driven shower of my life
(Notice Mom’s preoccupation with dirt?)

We breathed Earth, Sky, Water
Enchanted Trail indeed.

P1040662a

My Holistic Table

koreansoupWe interrupt this program to bring you Food News
with the Holistic Chef.

Rather than wait until the end of the year, let me go ahead and introduce the blog that was my first love.

Was.

This blog – where I write you from – has stolen my heart and I have largely you to blame. I’m convinced I have the most loyal, gracious readers. The affection I have received has deepened my attachment to this blog, and consequently slowed me down on the site I have dreamed the last several years. Few friends and bloggers have known of My Holistic Table. But I talked the perfectionist out of herself. Why not share it with readers now? The Table is a specialty food site for all, parents especially. Not because it recommends a certain diet but for the broad principles that apply to human beings. Not everyone cooks, but y’all eat. Be sure to open the pages How to Eat and The Wonder Years. If you know anyone else who has three meals a day, kindly pass it on. I’m sad to be unable to post as often as I’d like if I wish to stay on the Journey.

Oh, here I am when the to-do list overwhelms, the eve of my historic first camping getaway (auuugh)! Why I would abdicate the delicious comfort of my mattress for the intrusion of noise and light upon a canvas cot almost baffles me. Except I go for my guys. Hubby gets to hug his trees again and Son will make new memories with homeschool friends. Am hoping Word Inspiration from the Rustic will redeem the roughing it. Can I at least get a poem out of this? I have to pull the kale and gorgeous garnet beets with their tops from the oven into the dehydrator for their service to us this weekend.

P1040534

myholistictable.wordpress.com

My happy best,
Diana

Rain Story

bluesky02

Lovelorn Lake
under Mountain Sky
   supplicating rain

A thousand kisses
she receives, the
   condensation of grace

Echoes of moonlight
tendril out
   the laps of lake

While the hopeful earth
athirst lies ravished
   'til she revives.

Earnest drops pearl
upon the bosom
   of Mother Lake

That swells, and vanish
in their rising, her
   surrender back to

Father Sky.

First Aid from my Apothecary: Bugs, Bumps, Cuts, Poison, Sun

This post will make more sense if you’ve read the introduction.

Two days ago, my husband said, “I gashed my leg. I need your apocalyptic stuff.” Holistic Husband had trouble with apothecary. Here we go, in alphabetical order of Uh-Ohs:

Bites and Stings
R
epellent
The majority of popular brands contains deet, highly toxic especially for kids. I took forever deciding on a natural alternative because contrary to popular perception, essential oils are not categorically beneficial. Too much of it, along with the added fragrance so common in products claiming to be “healthy,” can disrupt children’s endocrine and reproductive systems. Essential oils are strong and I am also sensitive to them. So after looking for something that wasn’t overpowering but effective, I settled on this spray by Quantum. You have to repeat application.

P1040431Echinacea and Goldenseal – Tennyson got a squirt three times a day the first two days of bite inflammation to boost immune response. Topically, the herbs help draw toxins out.  After mUch experimentation the last few years, the most natural and soothing external treatment I came up with was a few drops of these herbs followed by a thick baking soda paste on the itch. The cooling paste has helped my son fall back asleep when he’d wake up itchy. I add just a drop or two of water for a moldable paste and don’t mind the dried crumbs on floor, carpet, or bedding, as the soda is a natural cleaner and of course vacuumable. The alkaline soda neutralizes the acid of the bug poison. Goldenseal is a very strong cooling herb so you can use the Echinacea alone, especially in the winter. Gaia is the best company I know for Echinacea – knows it like the back of its hand and fastidiously harnesses quality herbs.  The bottles for kids are alcohol-free.  Some health food stores carry this brand.  You can go to the Gaia site but online resellers like this one often sells for less.

Homeopathics
Once I saw how lumpy and red the bites had grown, I started Tennyson on Ledum Palustre in liquid form sublingually. The rich blood vessels under the tongue absorb the drops efficiently. Ledum accelerates healing from bites. It is what I would use if he were bitten by a child or an animal. I would add Hypericum Perforatum for nerve endings, where there is risk of Tetanus. After the first day, I found Urtica Urens to be more effective for the itch at hand. This remedy facilitates healing of hives, itch from poison, and burns. Tennyson took Urtica under the tongue about five times a day, down to two times the third day.  We have Apis Mel on hand for bee and wasp stings. Last summer, Daddy and Son were needled by a wasp – Daddy in several places, Son a hairsbreadth from the eyeball. It happened an hour from home and I happened to have Apis in the car. I KnOW!  Don’t ASK!  Homeopathics are available from holistic practitioners, from online and at health food markets. The lower potencies treat acute conditions. You can’t overdose on most of them and there are no side effects with the right remedies. But you use homeopathics only as long as the symptoms call for them. It’s best to consult a homeopathic doctor who can target the remedy to take by mouth but after reading up on them, you can keep some on standby for acute conditions. Homeopathics work on animals just as they do on people.

Bumps, Bruises and Trauma
Arnica Montana – Our dear loyal friend. It speeds healing and has come through even in the most traumatic of falls. Awesome for kids and athletes or those who work out – and of course the clumsy like Yours Truly. Arnica facilitates recovery from surgery and the remedy, along with Aconite which treats shock, are excellent in cases involving hard impact, like auto accidents.

Traumeel Ointment – I should’ve started out with straight Arnica ointment or cream but I was introduced to this combination preparation of homeopathics as a new mom and it is so dang effective I turned a blind eye to the inactive ingredients. At least the ingredients are pronounceable. I justify the breaking of my own law by our holistic doctor’s sentiments: hey, we don’t rub this on everyday. It was indispensable when my son started crawling and walking, greeting hard places head-on. My mother banged her forehead on a sharp protrusion so hard she actually expected to feel a hole. She was amazed at how well she healed from Traumeel. You can get it from most pharmacies and online stores. Traumeel contains Arnica, which you don’t apply on open wounds.

Dehydration
Summer has hit us, no holds barred. The air conditioning graciously lowered the oven heat in the car to 97 degrees this week. Obviously we need to drink more, days like these. Taking pink Himalayan salt in food and capsule at our doctor’s word has revived my husband from the weakness and the headache he gets from sweating out minerals. I pour the salt into an empty gelatin capsule that he washes down with water so he doesn’t have to taste it. When I can manage the extra step, I roast the salt on low at 175 degrees for about 15 minutes in the oven and cool before encapsulating. Macrobiotics practice recommends cooking salt 10 minutes for digestibility. I started giving my son a small capsule of Celtic sea salt, which I also do a bit extra of in the oppressive heat. A sudden very painful tightness on the sole of my foot just below the toes went away tonight after 3/4 capsule of lightly roasted sea salt. I remembered my holistic doctor saying seven years ago that the occasional pain was probably mineral deficiency. In this heat, she was right. A little bit of seaweed (presoaked 20 minutes) or kelp cooked into grains or broth will cool and help remineralize the overheated body. Sea salt supplementation and a banana for the potassium punch are very helpful for long flights, as flying is dehydrating. Natural health care professionals might carry sea salt tablets. Quality salt is not white, the color you get after nutritive minerals have been refined. Celtic grey is among the finest salts.

Detoxification
Bentonite Clay – The medicinal use of clay goes back milennia. Sodium bentonite you usually mix with water and ingest as a laxative aid.  A natural antibacterial, calcium bentonite absorbs toxins when applied externally. I could’ve made a wet pack for my son’s bites a few days ago. To suck out the wasp poison that made Peter’s head throb last year, we left some shampoo that contained bentonite on the sting site on top of his head.  Hubby was awed at how well it eased the pain. Five to ten minutes of a dollop of bentonite on a zit two, three times a day will dry it up. A bentonite or rhassoul clay face mask of just a few minutes leaves my skin clearer, whiter, and softer.

Food Poisoning
Peter got very sick from a group barbeque last year. The aurora threatened a crippling migraine and he expected to call in sick the next day. I gave him about half a tablespoon of brown rice vinegar in a cup of water and, to his disbelief, his head and stomach soon felt better. The vinegar turned him around and by the time he got the second dose some hours later, he felt fine. Paul Pitchford’s deep and wide explanations of the medicinal properties of food in Healing with Whole Foods details the use of quality vinegar in the case of food poisoning. He explains that (white) distilled vinegar is not a food (though a great cleaner), and leaches minerals. After comparing pasteurization temperatures, I chose Spectrum Brown Rice Vinegar as the most nutritional ferment. I also have activated charcoal capsules in my pantry. Homeopathic Arsenicum Alb hastens healing from food poisoning.

Infection
Along with my beloved Goldenseal, I use colloidal silver. Silver was the natural mainstream antibiotic before the synthetic came to market in the late 30s. It treats a gamut of issues and can be ingested or applied. I find integrity and effectiveness in the brand Paul Pitchford considers the best. Here is the site. It’s been the only product to help my son’s occasional eye irritation. I lay Tennyson down for a drop or two and have him roll his eye around. Traditional Chinese Medicine says eye issues trace back to the liver. But it certainly helps to relieve the symptom. We’ve never had Pink Eye but I bet silver would be wonderful for it. I love how it’s safe for kids. The atomizer nozzle in the picture above makes it user-friendly for nostrils and throat.

Painful Cuts and Injuries Open to Infection
Goldenseal – This herb is a phenomenon. I keep some of the powder that comes in the plastic you see above also in a 1 oz. jar for ease of use. My midwife gave us some to apply on Tennyson’s umbilical stump when he was born which helped heal it quickly. Goldenseal has served us beautifully when we’ve had deep or open cuts and punctures that invite infection and can’t take ointment. When Tennyson cut his finger the other day, I scooped out just a little of the powder into a bowl and added about two drops of water to form a wet paste.  When I packed it on the site and covered it with a band-aid, I could see the relief on his face. “Aahh… feels mUch better, Mom.” And he wrapped my legs in a grateful hug. Heads-up: Goldenseal stains.

Calendula gel – I sent my boy to bed with just a little over his cut without a band-aid that first night to let it breathe. Mine is pure Calendula with no other ingredients.

Calendula ointment – The thicker version is more effective for dry skin, when sunburned or in cold weather, as the gel goes on clean and will feel like it evaporated.

Poison Ivy or Oak
Homeopathic Rhus Tox!

Sun
Okay, so I know readers on the fence who stuck it out this far will move on at this point, never to return. Conventional sunscreen has been proved carcinogenic for all the crazy, unpronounceable ingredients. Ironic indeed. The latest research has reneged on its old pontification that Sun is evil.  We need about half an hour a day over at least 20% of our body to produce the Vitamin D hormone that only she supplies. Purists forgo sunscreen altogether and keep covered with clothing and hat, but such a measure is often not very feasible in California. After years of searching, I’ve settled on Thinksport, available in most stores. We like the coconut scent and the way it absorbs as much as its effectiveness.

I feel so bad: Our last beach trip a distant year-old memory, I realized too late today that my son needed to have worn the sunscreen before he did the sand. My tired, sluggish brain saw that application and reapplication were difficult, and he came home pink in some spots. I was so disappointed with myself. Calendula oil soothed and relieved the slight itch on the sensitive areas. My boy will stay another day or so on the homeopathic Urtica Urens that hastens recovery from sunburn. Cantharis would work well, too. Aloe gel also cools and heals sunburn. Aloe plant is wonderful but the gel’s easier to apply on large areas. The little man will be doing about 3,000 I.U.s of vitamin A in gel cap the next couple of days, so good for skin. The vitamin also promotes health of mucous membranes and the upper respiratory. If the pink patches really bother him, I would apply a towel wet with comfrey root tea several times a day. Comfrey works wonders for skin – even bone – injuries. Dehydration often attends sunburn.

*Summer 2014 update: Nutribiotic Skin Ointment with 2% grapefruit seed extract is amazing for sunburn. I recently got it to keep on standby for skin irritations and injuries. A mix of echinacea, goldenseal, calendula extracts with Vitamin C and E. I like the honey that nourishes skin and acts as an antibiotic.

SmartMedI have found this reference useful for the spectrum of concerns that arise in child rearing. The book applies to adults, too. It’s written by a team of professionals that mixes conventional (Px) and natural approaches in treating anything from allergies, burns, colic, eczema, fainting, Lyme disease, with first aid instructions for emergencies like choking. Recommendations on drugs, homeopathics, herbs, acupressure, nutritional supplements, and tips on prevention form a comprehensive plan of action for each concern. You see the range of options available to you.

I’ve summed up years’ worth of research for you. It would redeem my labor of love to learn if you found the information useful, insane, or apocalyptic. In any case, I hope it interests you enough to dig further.

Healing wishes from my apothecary,

HW