My New Brain

I am not alive or dead. My muscles are wood and my skull is cracking. I swear it’s cracking. Someone’s tightening my heart like it’s a screw and I hear the world from underwater. Sound and images blur, broken like my brain.

In truth, I have no idea how I built this blog sleeping once every four days. That’s on a good month. But I’m not writing to detail the insomnia hell that’s been my life these twenty-five years. In fact, I’d rather not get into it so please respect my wish on the comment board. I write to share a breakthrough I’ve experienced because while I have felt completely alien among the people in my life who look so rested and functional, over 60 million people are supposed to suffer insomnia in America alone. If you happen to be among them, yes, I’ve read your posts. I’ve plenty understood. You might find freedom from your living nightmare here. Or maybe you can share this treasure with someone who is suffering.

pregnantearth.com

pregnantearth.com

I heard about Sleep Tracks from a doctor over the summer. Familiar with neurofeedback and the fact that our alpha, beta, theta brain waves are supposed to be running in a certain pattern, I saw the validity of what I was reading and got the tracks right away. Yan, the mastermind behind these audios that reset your waves, offers a selection of tracks to help you find what is suitable for you. There are sounds for those who can’t shut down and for those who can’t stay asleep. Pulses to help you nap while enhancing your night sleep, pulses that ease anxiety. There was some stop-and-go while I experimented but I clocked in more sleep in July than I had the whole year up ’til then. I was off and running, able to attend the homeschool conferences and work on a music project – so productive that I couldn’t blog. After a little over a month, I had trouble sleeping with the tracks; my body was telling me I didn’t need them anymore. It was unreal. I could…just sleep. Life then threw a curveball and I’ve been in the process of disentangling from some unexpected challenges, but the tracks have been helpful again most nights. I can’t tell you the things I have tried and were willing to try over the maddening years. What works wonders for others would only aggravate my pains. But these audios have given me a taste of life beyond mere existence and survival.

If you get the audios, you are privy to an online sleep course with practical, useful guides and information that help you take ownership and regain control of your sleep issues. (I love Yan’s French accent.) If you want to talk to the man, he may take a day or two to get back to you but will provide knowledgeable guidance. As for those of you who’ve never had trouble sleeping, I think you’re weird. I find you very difficult to understand. (Wanna trade bodies for a day? A day in the !@#! life of Holistic Wayfarer. Will give you post ideas.)

Why I Don’t Pray More

I’d have to face the ache of my longings. Go deep into the back room, unearth the box to surrender and and open it to see my heart bleeding. I know in my head my God is more than able to comfort and to provide as He pleases. But I’m like my boy has been – terrified over the sight and taste of his own blood, praying God remove the tooth without pain. Tennyson would rather eat and go about his day pretending he’s fine, that it doesn’t hurt. He is afraid of being afraid.

bereft

rockMIST

i trace the exquisite lines of my grief, run
my fingers over the contours of the rock that is
my gut like the tender potter over his clay
kneading, kneading to soften the lump

and lift my head to find the
world hadn’t ground
to a halt in honor
of my loss.

squeals puncture the playground air
with a drumroll of sneakers that sound carefree but
for the worry of Tag. nothing matters more to the
flustered It than not being It anymore.
the park, a carol of delight
in the moment

it is a holiday.

a daughter is given away,
the sun breaks on the threshold of her hopes,
her horizon wide outside the windows of the church

i walk into an office, took the long way
through hell. after the unsure “i’m sorry”

the girl behind the counter continues on her business.
epiphany: the sky that had fallen on me
had shielded her head. her day intact, she consults
the clock that agrees she ought to pick up her
son from school. she doesn’t see

her beautiful ordinary.

brazen world.

a baby is born in the moment of my
stunned helplessness. such long arms:
the hour holds my emptiness in one hand

the fullness of a mother in the other.

but i bow my head again
my sorrow, a pain that refracts the sun.
why must anyone orbit my heartache?
i free the world to its joys and
mourn with those who mourn.

to every thing there is a season and
a time to every purpose under heaven
my time to weep, someone’s right to laugh.
i loosen the hold on the rock that is
my gut, slippery with tears. my offering
before the opulence of living.

~ for all who have grieved

 

The Power of Unstoppable Love

I’ve condensed the radio interview that featured on This American Life, Love is a Battlefield. What do you make of this woman?

For seven-and-a-half years, Daniel was confined to a crib. He ate in it, stared out the window during the day and slept upright in the space he shared with another boy in the orphanage. He had no idea that across the Atlantic, a woman named Heidi had picked him out of a magazine from an adoptive agency. She would fly to Romania with her husband Rick to take Daniel to his new home in Ohio.

The adjustment for everyone was relatively smooth the first six months. Until Daniel’s eighth birthday rolled around. He had never contemplated what a birthday meant and started wrestling with the realization that he had parents who could have chosen not to leave him in an orphanage. Anger overwhelmed him and “he needed to hate someone. Heidi and Rick were the people closest at hand. And so his tantrums became tornadoes of rage. Seven, eight hour marathons where he would throw literally anything he could get his hands on. He put more than a thousand holes in the walls of his room. They had to move everything out of his bedroom except a mattress.

Social workers and specialists left their home bleeding, needing medical attention. But Daniel’s greatest pleasure was in hurting Mom. She shared, “One time he gave me a black eye when I was trying to help him and he smiled like he was so happy.”

And what did you think when you saw your son smiling?

Observe her unemotional response.

I thought he really needs serious help.

Rick had to hire a bodyguard for Heidi and they called the police regularly. Rick could take only so much and threatened to leave. When Heidi was asked point blank if she would’ve sacrificed her marriage, her voice trailed off, “I didn’t want to…”

I was so exasperated. She obviously had been willing.

Then one day when Heidi was preparing Daniel a snack, he grabbed a knife from the counter and held it to her throat.

The interviewer asked, “How do you love somebody who is homicidal?

And I was disarmed: “Well, because he was my son. I mean, you have to love him or else there’s no way out of it. It’s like, if you’re lost, you want to keep moving forward to get to the end place. I don’t think I ever questioned my love.”

She was his mother. As simple and as definitive as that.

What Heidi feared was that Daniel would end up seriously hurting someone else. After consulting a string of psychiatrists, she settled on a highly intensive program related to attachment therapy under the guidance of Dr. Ronald Federici in Virginia. She and Daniel were required to spend eight weeks side by side, literally no farther than three feet apart.

The goal of his plan is to try to recreate the bond that never occurred because I wasn’t with him when he was born. But it’d be very natural for a newborn baby to spend an extensive amount of time just next to the mom.”

Daniel reported: “I didn’t go to school. She stopped her job. When she would go to the bathroom I would be right outside the door. When I went to the bathroom, she’d be right outside. The only time she was not next to me was when I was sleeping. And like literally, that was it.”

Like mothers and their babies, Heidi and her son also had to spend time looking at each other. Daniel was required to look into Heidi’s eyes in every interaction. Every time he resisted, he was subjected to greater gestures of intimacy. They would sit on the couch and she would punish him by hugging him. Initially, Daniel’s behavior deteriorated.

But then he gave in.

He actually came to understand, likely for the first time, that his mother loved him. The transformation came slowly, and when stealing replaced the violence, the therapy changed. Rick and Heidi cradled him 20 minutes like a baby every night. At 13, Daniel was bigger than Mom but complied for the ice cream they spooned into his mouth to keep him still. He started opening up, talked about what it had been like in the orphanage. Slowly helped around the house, made friends.

Then he won the Brickner Award from synagogue, given to the valedictorian of the confirmation class. Though Mom had taken Daniel to synagogue hoping it would help develop morals, he was kicked out many times over the years with the help of the police. The distinction he earned was a miracle. Sharing the troubles of his early life in his acceptance speech, Daniel kept his composure – until the end. He shook:

Before I finish, I’d like to thank two people, my mom and dad. The reason that I’m here today and the kind of person I am today is because of you. Dad, you’re one heck of a guy to put up with a crazy family like this. And you guys are both amazing. I love you very much.”

Heidi said it was “without doubt, the most spectacular moment of her life.”

This moment made for an exultant redemption of an arduous journey. But the closing footnote was what I found most interesting.

Heidi and Rick were able to take a seven-year-old with no direct experience of adult affection, and with a certain amount of pain and suffering, turn him into a loving son. The only problem is that the actual participants in this story see things differently.”

Heidi said she doesn’t feel one can teach love.

Heidi: I don’t think the goal was ever love. The goal was attachment.

She seems utterly practical about the whole thing, even about whether or not her son now loves her.

Heidi: Yeah, I feel loved by Daniel. I don’t think he wants to hurt me. I don’t worry about that at all.

It’s a very unsentimental view of her relationship with her child. But that is probably exactly what had made Heidi so successful. She is an unusually pragmatic person. She’s not a flowering earth mother with a wealth of love to give. She is fundamentally realistic, tough-minded. And these are precisely the characteristics that are needed in this situation. If you’re the kind of person who actually needs love, really needs love, chances are you’re not the kind of person who’s going to have the wherewithal to create it. Creating love is not for the soft and sentimental among us. Love is a tough business.

What do you think of Heidi’s missionary zeal, her unflinching devotion to her son even against the threat to her life? And the closing commentary? A lot of women – a lot of people – would’ve wrung their hands and most understandably taken it personally to have a knife put to their throat in this context. I was fascinated by the thought that anyone more emotionally needy than Heidi would not have been able to pull off the change of heart in her son. Parents who are abusive are in fact often acting out the disappointment of not receiving the love they demand from their child. You also wonder how much grief biological parents would take from their kid. But Heidi’s parenting reveals that to her, Daniel was her blood. Any thoughts on this woman’s bottomless reserve of patience and determination?

Greatness, Finale: The Triumph of Forgiveness

Like a diamond, the attribute of greatness has so many faces its definition remains elusive. Thus far I have traced greatness along the lines of tenacity. I could go on to look at heroes who cope with severe disabilities or who have scaled Everest and run ultras that are four times the distance of a marathon. But I bring this series home with what I consider the most herculean of feats, to reach into the depths of one’s spirit in the costly act of forgiveness.

When someone injures us; mind, body, or spirit, it incites demand for justice. Parent, friend, or stranger has inflicted pain and must requite the wrong with contrition, if not suffering. The question that remains is what happens to the debt that goes unremitted. Someone must pay that debt and where the perpetrator has no plans to, the victim always absorbs the cost in one of two ways: with anger or with grace that clears the debt from the offender’s account. The acrimony that weighs on the unforgiving heart becomes an emotional cancer that often manifests itself physically. The liver literally stores the poison of grief and resentment. Understandably, freeing others of their debt depollutes our spirit and body. But life isn’t a treatise. You can understand the harm nursing grievance means to your emotional and physical well-being but if you’ve been abused, abandoned, attacked, or lost a loved one to a senseless transgression, you’re going to want blood.

Why is forgiveness so hard? To pay evil with grace is hardly possible. I wish it were as doable, as conquerable, as daily hours of exercise. Indignation is the compelling logic of right and wrong, and speaks to our sense of entitlement. The anger also answers the feeling of helplessness with the delusion of strength.

Corrie Ten Boon with her sister and father endured unspeakable atrocities in a concentration camp for having hid Jews in occupied Holland. Corrie, the only one in her family to survive, went on to preach God’s forgiveness all over the world. Here is a part of her story:

“And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones..the huge room with its harsh overhead lights…the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand.

‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there. But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’ And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

Since the end of the war I’d had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

I can just hear the cynicism about convicts alleging conversion. That is besides the point at the moment: it is excruciatingly difficult even for Christians. We assent to, oh embrace, the God who sacrificed the Innocent to acquit a guilty race. Jesus made amends through payment of punishment. Atonement. He took every stain of my being and the worst I will ever think or do, and removed them from me as far as East is from West in an act entirely unjust to God Himself. In this post, I offer a glimpse of a long, dark season in which I was incapacitated. I will appreciate your reading The Question of Human Suffering before you debate God with me, and do it under that post while not expecting me to solve age-old mysteries. I share how it was Relentless Goodness that stripped me of all proud claims. But the insistence on self returns. It is the beauty of undeserved kindness, not the threat of retribution, that lifts us onto the higher ground of humility and compassion. Deep in conversation with the theologian Ravi Zacharias on a train, a woman asked him what Christianity offers that other faiths don’t. “Forgiveness,” he answered, meeting contemplation.

Full, deep forgiveness is an achievement of consummate greatness, a triumph worthier than Olympic gold because we are not actualizing or fulfilling the self but denying it. The human heart is the bloodiest, fiercest of battlegrounds; the place of pardon where we most profoundly attain the nobility of our humanity. For, I would add, it images divine glory. To answer insensitivity, violence, or hate with love calls for a power greater than our flesh can marshal.

There are a lot of bloggers writing their pain away. Every one of us has had someone to forgive. There are many bitter Christians, and on my worst days you can easily count me among them. But the Cross offers the why and the how we can move toward grace, makes the transformation possible. For a widened perspective of how people try to heal from unjust wounds, I would like to hear especially from those who do not share my worldview. Where do you get the power to release him, her who did that to you? Do you feel you can even try? Under the smile are you heavy with dirt spit by tires that went screeching into the sunset? Or have you gotten up, refused to call yourself roadkill? Is coping enough for you? Are you walking, or running? Laden with burdens buried in pockets or are you free of them? If so, how?

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

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