LEARNING

Learning At The Potter's Wheel is a collection of articles on home, family, marriage, parenting, natural medicine and herbs. . . along with a few other items of interest. Have fun sorting through my junk drawer of assorted thoughts and ramblings.

AT THE POTTER'S WHEEL

The Potter has persisted in giving me treasures I don't always understand or appreciate. Patiently, He is teaching me to trust that all I really need to know is that I am in HIS hands. . .

Birthday Week 2007

The picture is of me many, many, many years ago.

This week is my birthday. I remember thinking that the best way to approach life was to figure out the rules and follow them. I tried that for a long, long time.

Ironically, I always wanted to be loved for who I was, unconditionally, but I approached God as though this life were some sort of legalistic negotiation. Somehow I figured if I lived reasonably well (exceptionally well if you gauged it by some people) life would not be allowed to throw me any curveballs I couldn’t handle.

I even approached my relationships this way.
I would meticulously meet every standard that anyone would expect.
When the other party would become exasperated with me, I could point at my spotless record and become indignant. Hadn’t I done what was asked? Hadn’t I done what was expected? Required? I didn’t deserve to be treated this way!

Have you seen the flaw in the little girl’s reasoning?

It’s taken me a lifetime to see it. When I finally figured it out, that little purse and matching socks & gloves were long gone.

God didn’t just want my compliance. He wanted me to yield to Him with a full heart. He didn’t want me to constantly be flinching as I served Him fearfully. God, and anyone else who is loved, wants to know that His lover delights in the loving – not that she is running down a checklist of requirements.

Of course, knowing this didn’t make everything automatically right. I did what I had always done and looked within myself to try and generate the right attitude. If He said, “Fear not,” then surely I’m capable of not being afraid. Right?

Wrong!
He was asking me to give Him something I didn’t have. I didn’t possess the fearless abandon He demanded. I didn’t know how to run after Him. He went places I didn’t know how to follow. Then, He wasn’t pleased when I faltered in my uncertainty. I tried. I pasted on a smile and worked SO HARD to be what He wanted. He knew my heart and was patient, but I could tell I was overlooking something . . . . something that was basic. I just couldn’t figure it out.

Then, it occurred to me. Every time God asks us to give/do something, He seems to make it so big that we can’t find the resources within ourselves. He gives us things to do that are larger than ourselves so that we learn to look to Him for the need. It is in Him that we find the supply we need to do the thing that pleases Him most. Who else could teach us about how to love freely and with abandon than the One who set the world in motion and then went about the business of reconciling us back to Himself?

The little girl in the photo has something that would remind her later of this lesson. You see, every Sunday they would pass the collection plate around the little Bible class. Her daddy wanted her to learn about giving, but she didn’t have any money of her own.

Do you think that toddler became frustrated and fretful over how she could accomplish the task of giving when she had nothing to give? No. Not one single moment did she concern herself with such a thing!

She just reached into her little purse each Sunday and gave the dime her daddy had put there. She knew he would. He always did. He supplied what she needed to give what he required.

That’s my greatest birthday gift.

At every cliff-hanging moment in my life when I KNEW it was too much, too big, more than I could ever . . .

If I remembered,
I knew I could stop and look to my Father.
He always placed within my hand and my heart the things I needed to be able to offer what was required. All it took was the time to trust that He is all He said He would be . . . and more.

It’s been a breathtaking journey. He has been more patient with me than I have been with myself. He has endured much for my sake. There are not words to express what I feel, but He sees my heart now. He knows He is my delight; He is my supply.

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But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth me,
that I am the LORD
which exercise lovingkindness, judgment,
and righteousness, in the earth:
for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:24

But my God shall supply all your need
according to his riches
in glory
by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

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HYDRANGEA ROOT


ALSO KNOWN AS:
Hydrangea arborescens

Hydrangeaceae

Wild Hydrangea

Seven Barks

PARTS USED
Rhizomes, roots

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Calcium, iron, kaempferol, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, quercetin, rutin, saponin, selenium, zinc.

The root also contains resins, gum, sugar, starch, other elements, and Hydrangin.

PROPERTIES & USES
The bark of Hydrangea arborescens is rough and multi-layered. This is where the name ‘Seven Barks’ comes from as each layer has a different color, giving it the appearance of another bark.

The rhizome is the horizontal stem of the plant found underground, from which roots and shoots grow. The roots are of variable length and thickness, having numerous arms, reaching a diameter of more than half an inch. They have a sweetish taste. The root should be cut or chopped when fresh, as that’s when they are tender with high water content. When dry, these roots are tough and difficult to cut.

Hydrangea Root stimulates the kidneys and acts as a diuretic. It is an aggressive stimulant of bowel movements, more powerful than laxatives, classifying it as a cathartic. While Hydrangea Root has these cleansing abilities, it is also known as a tonic which means it strengthens and revitalizes. These combined qualities make this herb good for bladder infection, kidney disease, obesity, and prostate disorders.

A decoction is said to have be an effective treatment for calculous diseases. Calculous deposits are a hardened material, usually mineral salts that form in an organ or duct of the body. As these gravelly deposits are removed the pain associated with them goes away. Combined with gravel root, this herb is good for kidney stones.

The fluid extract is used for alkaline urine, discharge related to inflammation, and mucous irritations of the bladder in aged persons. Concentrated syrup with sugar or honey, or a simple decoction of the root, may also be used.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
The leaves of this plant should NOT be consumed. They contain cyanide and can be toxic. As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.' This means caution should be exercised when considering whether or not to utilize roots from an ornamental plant. Also, be sure that you have used the particular variety that is Hydrangea arborescens.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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HORSETAIL

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Equisetum arvense

Scouring-rush

Shavegrass

Bottlebrush

PARTS USED
Stems

PHYTOCHEMICALS
& NUTRIENTS

Alkaloids (nicotine, palustrine & palustrinine) Beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, calcium, campesterol, equisetonin, ferulic acid, flavonoids, gallic acid, iron, isoquercitrin, isoquercitroside, kaempferol, luteolin, magnesium, manganese, naringenin, p-coumaric acid, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, tannic acid, vanillic acid, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, zinc

ABOUT THIS PLANT
Horsetail is not popular among lawn enthusiasts because of its persistent nature. Also called Bottlebrush for its appearance, this herb is difficult to exterminate once established. In my opinion, this trait shows the hand of a wise Creator Who has kindly made sure that the most beneficial plants and herbs will be available in the most difficult of circumstances.

Horsetail can be found in woods, fields, meadows and swamps, and moist soils alongside streams, rivers, and lakes, and in disturbed areas; also on dry and barren sites such as roadsides, borrow pits, and railway embankments. This herb thrives in any soil but prefers damp, sandy, partially shaded areas.

Shavegrass (another name for Horsetail) reproduces by means of its extensive root system. Even short segments of the rhizome will sprout. A rhizome is the creeping horizontal stem of the plant that lies just beneath the soil surface. The top of the rhizome sends up leaves; the bottom of the rhizome sends down roots. In spring, buds develop at the nodes of the rhizomes.

This plant also reproduces by spores which are released from the stems and dispersed by wind or water. The spores are thin-walled, short-lived, and quickly germinate under moist conditions.

Another way that Horsetail assures itself room to grow is by its high levels of alkaloids which discourage other plant growth. Bottlebrush is sensitive to drought conditions, not doing as well with less water. However even fire will only kill the top of the plant, leaving the rhizomes to reestablish themselves, usually free of the competition of other plant life destroyed by the flames.

PROPERTIES & USES

Internally:
Horsetail is considered beneficial for kidney and gallbladder disorders, acting as a diuretic. This action helps to increase the production and elimination of urine, encouraging stones to flush from the system. As a vulnerary, it can be used to dissolve and discharge urinary and biliary stones.

A nutritive, Horsetail contains rich stores of nutrients which help build body tissues. These are delivered in a natural balance which aids calcium absorption and helps the body retain this nutrient. As a result of this, Horsetail is often used in herbal calcium combinations. These traits enable this herb to promote healthy skin and strengthen bone, hair, nails, and teeth. Horsetail is a beneficial in the treatment of broken bones and connective tissues.

Silicon, contained in Horsetail, is an essential element in the manufacture of collagen. This gives elasticity and suppleness to the skin and contributes flexibility and strength to bones, hair and nails. Horsetail is called an internal cosmetic.

Horsetail is useful in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The combination of nutrient combined with its diuretic properties help Horsetail to enrich the blood while strengthening the heart.

This herb strengthens the lungs. Bronchitis is said to be improved with its use.

Other conditions helped by using Shavegrass internally:

  • Expels parasites and kills their eggs
  • Reported to help dissolve tumors
  • Reduces muscle cramps and spasms
  • Useful for the treatment of gout
  • Useful in the treatment of and prostate disorders
  • Lessens inflammation
  • Good for eye, ear, nose, throat and glandular disorders.
  • Useful for the treatment of arthritis
  • Supports healthy bones and is useful in the treatment of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets

Externally:
The silica in Horsetail is especially good for split ends in hair and strengthening fingernails. The tannins in Horsetail contribute to its astringent properties which tighten or contracting tissues, drying fluid secretions. The lithotriptic properties in this herb promote wound healing or normalization of damaged tissue, making it a valuable addition to poultices used to depress bleeding and accelerate healing of burns and wounds.

Adding a spoon of sugar while making a decoction of Horsetail pulls more of the silicon from the plant matter into the formula.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
Alkaloids in Horsetail mean it is not for long-term use. Enzymes in the plant can destroy vitamin B1 stores with extended internal use. Do not use Great Horsetail (E.telmateia) or Marsh Horsetail (E. palustre), which have much higher alkaloid content.

If the natural herb is used for a prolonged period, supplemental vitamin B1 (thiamine) should be taken.

Do not use if pregnant or nursing.

Be sure to drink plenty of water when taking horsetail internally to avoid the possiblity of kidney irritation.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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I could NEVER do THAT!

“You know that stuff you gave us? It stunk up our refrigerator!”

This is how one of my friends tells me that the tincture I gave her didn't help her kids. I gave it to her with instructions for dosage and storage. It took three days to formulate. She forgot to take it out of the car where it sat in the heat. Then she forgot to administer it regularly. So, no, it didn't work.

Her kids are perpetually sick. They have a steady diet of processed foods, ‘enriched’ dairy products, canned foods, pesticide laden fruits & veggies, unfiltered water, sodas, lunch meat, etc. My friend knows that all of the prescriptions that the doctors offer her only mask the symptoms and that the antibiotics are becoming less and less effective over the years as her little ones get sicker and sicker. . .

She knows that the endless ear infections, bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma are taking a toll on their overall health and development . . .

She knows that the time and money lost running back and forth to the doctor, the hospital, purchasing gas, arranging babysitters, are exhausting to her and robbing her of precious resources . . .

But when she asks me how my kids stay healthy, how I keep them from suffering, and I offer her a book or a blend of herbs or ANY alternative to what she is doing, she tells me that it’s too hard. It’s too expensive. It takes too much time.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

She does everything a good mother should. At the first sign of respiratory distress, she administers the right therapies and drugs and then transfers to the emergency room. She visits the pediatrician at the first sign of sickness. She tries to avoid prescriptions when she can . . .

She knows that her kids are suffering. She asks me what to do, but she doesn’t want to hear my answer to her questions. Even as the answer comes from my mouth, before I’ve finished the sentence, she begins to tell me why that would never work, why that tea or treatment or whatever just couldn’t possibly help her in her circumstances.

Meanwhile, her babies are frail and sick and getting sicker. They are starving for nutrients in a house full of food. Their air passageways fight for oxygen while mucus and inflamed tissues make it difficult. They try to be well behaved while they just don’t feel well. They struggle to thrive in the environment their mother says is the only option because she just can’t get past the idea that by taking responsibility for what is, she could make a new reality for them.

So, nothing is solved. It can be frustrating to see others suffer.

Why do I tell you this?

Because I know that everyone has someone like this among their friends or acquaintances. This is the person that always wants to know what you’ve been learning about Natural Health. This is also the person that will alternately tell you something won’t work or make a joke at your expense. These people are so caught up in not being held responsible for the things that affect their health that they reject what helps they could use. They ask questions and get angry with at the answers -- especially those that suggest trying a small change.

But they come back again and again.

Just know that it doesn’t happen only to you.

Your knowledge is a treasure. There will always be those who want the benefits without the responsibility of knowing how to manage the wealth.

For me, I offer the information freely when asked, hoping that some of it will sink in and MAYBE get used. I am sad for those who refuse to be helped, but I can’t join them in their downward journey. I just keep tossing lifelines and pointing the way.

Maybe one or two will join us.

I know of One with another more important message that isn’t always well received. I see in His example a compassion that compelled Him to offer His remedy even though He knew few would receive it. It helps me to know He understands:

“For this people's heart is waxed gross,
and their ears are dull of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest at any time they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
and should understand with their heart,
and should be converted,
and I should heal them.”
Matthew 13:15
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The Great Hoodie War

Well, it’s that time of year. Fall is waning and winter is on its way. Occasionally, even where we live, it can get cold. Here, it is a penetrating cold because of the high humidity. I didn’t appreciate the difference that humidity makes in the cold until I visited Montana during the winter. The moisture in the southeast seems to help the cold to penetrate to the bone.

One of those cold days hit last week. It wasn’t too bad, but the wind was up. Duke and the boys went outside to play. It wasn’t long until I heard protests. Shortly afterwards, Duke arrived and announced that the littlest one wouldn’t keep the hood on his jacket over his head. I handed off one of the knitted hats and things were fine . . . until I glanced outside.

There stood Z-man with his hoodie, hat down and a knitted cap shoved over his head, one ear covered, the other ear folded and uncovered. His entire neck was exposed to the wind.

I dashed outside to adjust his knitted hat and pull the hoodie up over his head. Arms went upward and blocked my efforts accompanied by a resounding, “NO!”

“See? I TOLD you he won’t wear it,” Duke tried not to sound too smug.

“Just a minute,” I said as I returned to the house. I grabbed a scarf and returned to the battlefield. “Here,” I told Z-man, “If you won’t wear the hood up, you’ll wear this to keep your neck warm.” The first effort was quickly undone by the little guy.

This is what you call one of those line-in-the-sand moments. I studied the scene. Duke was there, congratulating himself that he wasn’t the only one having difficulties with this. Z-man was there, lip jutted out and defiant. B was watching from the sidelines, glad he decided to wear his hat.

In a swift movement, I grabbed Z-man and wrapped and tied the scarf like I was in a rodeo competition, daring him to remove it. I left the scene with the sound of protests alerting the neighbors to Z-man’s plight and Duke’s voice trying to calm things.

I returned to the house and waited.

Nature would need a few moments to take its course.

In about five minutes, Duke returned with the scarf in his hand.

“You took it off of him?” I asked, trying to sound surprised.

“Yeah,” Duke replied. “He decided to wear his hoodie like the big boys.”

“Oh,” I responded nonchalantly, “That’s nice.”

When Duke returned to the yard, I smiled.

The Great Hoodie War concluded without firing a shot.

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Thanksgiving 2007 -- Reflections

“I’m not having anything at my house this year,” Aunt E. sounded tired. “It’s just too much work. Your uncle and I are going out and relaxing this year.”

She was right. Every year, the crowd descended with a parade of casseroles and deserts made from mixes and filled Aunt E’s house. Even though she was told she didn’t have to cook anything, we all knew she would make her famous fruit salad and two or three turkeys (one baked, one fried, etc.). The week before, she would exhaust herself trying to catch up on the dusting, cleaning, and small home repairs that just weren’t a priority for two elderly people during the year. She slept very little, if at all, the two days prior to the event – between the cooking and her daughters coming in to decorate. All of this so that in a matter of hours, the house could look worse than when she began and she could begin the process of setting things back to rights, again.

For us, it meant that the mad morning rush of Thanksgiving would not be:

Usually, I would stay up the night before trying to get everything in place while the children were asleep. It’s just easier that way. Early Thanksgiving Day, the little ones would jump excitedly from their beds and proceed to inquire in 30 minute intervals if we were ready to leave yet. I would field their questions while putting the finishing touches on whatever dishes we would be taking to Aunt E’s house, encouraging the boys to go play (please!). Their excitement would be contagious and lead to my husband offering to help repeatedly. So, it would look something like this: Me checking the oven to see if stuff cooking in there was ready. Boys: “When are we leaving?” Me: “In a couple of hours. Go play in your room and put your shoes back on.” Me: stirring the pot on the stove to see if it’s cool enough to put into a travel container. Hubby: “Is there anything you need me to do? I brought in both coolers in case you needed one. Where do you want me to put the bag of ice? Should I go ahead and start packing the car?” Me (trying to decide which question to answer first): “No. I promise to ask if I need anything if you’ll just stay within ear shot and relax for now. I don’t need the coolers. Just put them down. Leave the ice outside for now. No, I’m not ready to pack the car.” Quickly, I grab a potholder and remove the dish from the oven, resetting the beeping timer. Meanwhile, the tea kettle begins to whistle. I remove it and remind myself to smile.

While I love and adore Aunt E., I wasn’t going to miss the chaos or the long drive. I knew what she was talking about. Thankfully, all of our extended family had other plans. With a very limited budget, we would be enjoying a simple, quiet time alone at home. This meant I was off the hook for organizing and cleaning for company also. I sighed happily.

Counting my pennies Wednesday, I decided that I might just have enough to afford a small bird for our family. When my husband got home from work, I went off to the health food store. I knew they had some frozen free-range, organic turkeys. Because we would be using the leftovers, I calculated the extra expense would be well worth it to avoid the hormones and chemicals in the farm-raised birds.

What I DIDN’T count on was the fact that there would be only two birds left. Even though I got the smaller one, it was still 23 pounds. Whew! That was an armload! I shook my head thinking of all the ways turkey leftovers can be prepared. I grabbed a couple of extra sweet potatoes, some raisins and some fresh cranberries and headed to the checkout.

When I got home, Mr. Turkey was thawed quickly in a galvanized tub of water while I started grating sweet potatoes for sweet potato pone. After the boys were in bed, I baked the sweet potato pone and prepared the turkey. He would bake during the night. Thursday morning, I cooked breakfast and sent the boys off to entertain themselves. They were more relaxed since we didn’t have any plans. I put the finishing touches on the meal and had enough free time to roll out the dough for an apple pie with one of the children.

My oldest dropped in and we had a truly relaxing time.

Then the phone rang.

Extended family had finished all of their more important visits and dining out. In waves, they began arriving. I hadn’t lifted a finger to do any ‘company is coming’ cleaning. The bookshelves were as they were. The office desk looked like, well, an office desk. There wasn’t any special centerpiece or tablecloth or freshly scrubbed floor. It was just US.

Of course the children all thought that the spare bedroom that doubles as a storage area was a GREAT place to play. The baby needed a bath in the tub with the broken faucet. This meant that my mom had to use the master bathroom, off of the master bedroom, which could only politely be called a disaster. At least by this time, I wasn’t too chagrinned as there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I just decided to enjoy myself and my family.

My nephew, J., made my day when he looked at the chalkboard in the kitchen. “Aunt D.,” he queried, “Do you have any leftovers?” “Sure, Baby, what do you want?” “Ya, got any stuffed eggs left?” I smiled and went to the refrigerator. I removed all but the ones I promised to send to work the next day with my husband. While I was at it, I pulled out the sweet potato pone. Coffee and leftovers mingled with sweet fellowship and conversation.

It was one of the most wonderful, unplanned Thanksgivings we’ve had.

I reflected on how it wasn’t really so important whether or not I was able to have all of the right ingredients in the right amounts with the right d├ęcor. Rather, it mattered that we had each other and – even though we claim that we’d rather do something else, be somewhere else – loved ones always seem to get together. Even the ones that couldn’t be here were remembered. We held them in our hearts.

I smiled to think how the really important things are the memories we share and not whether or not we remembered to wipe our feet or use the nice dishes.

Whenever I had anything and saw a fellow-being suffering, I was more anxious to
relieve him than to benefit myself. And this is one of the true secrets of my being a poor man to the present day. But it is my way. And while it has often left me with an empty purse, yet it has never left my heart empty of consolations which money couldn't buy; the consolation of having sometimes fed the hungry and covered the naked.
~~ David Crockett: His Life and Adventures,
by John .S. C. Abbott

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But Martha was cumbered about much serving,

and came to him, and said,

Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?

bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her,
Martha, Martha,
thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful:
and Mary hath chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:40-42

Then Peter said,
Silver and gold have I none;
but such as I have give I thee:

Acts 3:6

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Thanksgiving 2007

Here, the leaves are ablaze with color.


Last week, it finally got cold enough to build a fire in the fireplace. This week, temperatures are mild again.

Tomorrow, we will have a roasted turkey and some simple trimmings.

We’ll be home. Just us. Together.

No mad rush. No endless parade of casseroles.

Just us, a few special treats and family.

For me, it’s the way I really ENJOY holidays.

I get to focus on the meaning of our time together.

It allows me to think about the truly important things . . .

Instead of whether or not I’ll hurt someone’s feelings by bringing the wrong dish . . .

Or wondering if I’ll get it all packed into the car or on the table on time . . .

We will sing some hymns of Thanksgiving.

We will remember those who have and are purchasing our freedom with their lives.

We will remember those who survived that first winter with prayer and hope and GRATITUDE for the opportunity – the freedom – to serve HIM.

He truly is worthy, you know.

It’s easy to get sidetracked with the world’s perception of Him.

We recently viewed a promotional DVD of a ministry that detailed several miraculous events. With each testimony, they mentioned God, but were careful to insert the name of their ministry and how THEY were an avenue of blessing.

It made me sad and angry. I was sad to think of the hurting searching masses who will be deceived, because they will grasp at anything that sounds good. I was angry to see Him portrayed as nothing more than a way to get what we want (as long as you support the right religion).

He is God.

He is a Person.

He has freely given us good things . . .

Because He LOVES,

Because He chooses to,

Because He is good,

And He is God!

He is worthy of our praise.

He is deserving of our gratitude.

For the invisible things of him from
the creation of the world are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made,
even his eternal power and Godhead;
so that they are without excuse:
Because that,
when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful;
but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools,

Romans 1:20-22

I’m thankful for the needs – and so much more – He has supplied.

I’m thankful for the way He patiently teaches me.

I’m thankful that He loves me beyond my ability to comprehend.

I’m thankful for the blessings of home, family, friends and so much more.

I’m thankful for hope:

Hope that isn’t marred by circumstances,

Hope that remains certain in the uncertainties,

Hope that is bigger than my failings,

Hope that is dependant upon His virtue, not mine.

I’m thankful that He has changed me, and He continues to do so.

I used to think He was transforming me into someone I wasn’t,

But now, I don’t know, I think He may be putting into place that which He had in mind from the beginning.

And I’m amazed, astounded really, to see the stuff of my life that His touch makes new.

How could I not be grateful?

And he that sat upon the throne said,
Behold, I make all things new.
And he said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Revelation 21:5

The heavens declare his righteousness,
and all the people see his glory.

Psalm 97:6

If you’re away from home and feeling adrift.
Look up. Look at the sky.
Listen to the heavens.
They have a message for you.

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HENNA


ALSO KNOWN AS:
Lawsonia inermis

Henne, Al-Khanna,

Al-henna
, Jamaica
Mignonette
Mehndi, Mendee

Egyptian Privet, Smooth Lawsonia

PARTS USED
Flowers, powdered leaves, fruit

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
A brown substance in Henna has a resinoid fracture. This chemical property (which characterize tannins) is where the name hannotannic acid is derived. The red-orange dye molecule, lawsone, bonds with proteins, helping it stain skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool.

PROPERTIES & USES
Powdered Henna leaves have been in use from the ancient times in Eastern countries.

The dye molecule, lawsone, is found primarily in the leaves, and is in the highest levels in the petioles (or the stalk) of the leaf. As a dye for the skin or nails the powder may be mixed with catechu or lucerne, made into a paste with hot water, and spread on the part to be dyed, being allowed to remain for one night.

Since 1890 Henna has been widely used in Europe for tinting the hair. This is usually done in the form of a shampoo. Many shades can be mixed by using the leaves of other plants, such as indigo or cassia. There are no such plants as black henna or neutral henna. Companies which make such claims use these other leaves or chemicals to achieve the variations. A product marketed as black or neutral Henna may contain unlisted dyes and chemicals. Henna’s natural coloration, when used for dyeing the hair and the nails, is a reddish-yellow color.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
If you aren’t certain whether you will like the result, take the time to test Henna in an inconspicuous place before treating a large area.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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GREEN TEA

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Camellia sinensis


PARTS USED
Leaves

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Amino acids, apigenin, astragalin, benzaldehyde, beta-carotene, beta-ionone, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, caffeine, calcium, carvacrol, catechins, chlorogenic acid, cinnamic acid, cryptoxanthin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, eugenol, farnesol, gallic acid, geraniol, hyperoside, indole, iron, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, lutein, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, myrcene, myricetin, myristic acid, naringenin, phosphorus, polyphenols, procyanidins, potassium, quercetin, quercitrin, rutin, salicylic acid, tannic acid, thymol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and C, vitexin, zeaxanthin, zinc.

PROPERTIES & USES

Green Tea acts as an antioxidant and helps to protect against cancer by helping prevent damage by free radicals. However to be sure and get Green Tea's antioxidant benefits, it should be drank without milk as the milk may bind with the beneficial compounds, making them unavailable to the body.

The antioxidants in Green Tea are likely the reason it has proved helpful in supporting the delay of the onset of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and the prevention of enlarged prostate. Green Tea has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. An anticoagulant, this herb reduces the clotting tendency of the blood.

Green Tea supports oral health by fighting tooth decay, which would also help protect the heart from disease. Additionally, it stimulates the immune system.

The antioxidant properties and immune support make Green Tea helpful for asthma.

Green tea helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels which may explain why studies show promise as a weight loss aid.

A small amount of caffeine is found in Green Tea which likely assists in its ability to combat mental fatigue.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
Persons with anxiety disorder or irregular heartbeat should limit their intake to no more than 2 cups daily. Green Tea should not be used in large quantities by pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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GOTU KOLA

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Centella asiatica

PARTS USED
Nuts, roots, seeds

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Beta Carotene, beta-sitosterol, calcium, campesterol, camphor, iron, kaempferol, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, saponin, selenium, stigmasterol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, zinc

PROPERTIES & USES
Gotu Kola is called the memory herb. It’s actions help support cardiovascular function. In this way it assists in the oxygenation of the blood and circulation of oxygen to the brain. This property is likely the reason Gotu Kola supports increased learning when taken regularly and makes it helpful in the prevention and treatment of senility.

Other properties that aid Gotu Kola in promoting memory include its ability to help decrease fatigue and correct sleep disorders. It may be due to the correction of resting patterns or the increase of oxygenated blood circulating through the brain, persons utilizing Gotu Kola have experienced improvement of symptoms related to depression.

The hypothalamus is located in the brain and directly affects hormonal balance. With improved circulation to the brain and related systems, it is not surprising that Gotu Kola is reported to stimulate the central nervous system, increase sex drive, balance hormones, help relieve menopausal symptoms, and correct poor appetite.

Another action of this herb is that it helps eliminate excess fluids and shrink tissues. These actions combine to help alleviate kidney stones and improve connective tissue disorders (i.e. arthritis).

The diuretic properties combined with cardiovascular support make Gotu Kola helpful in the treatment of wound healing, varicose veins and liver support. Gotu Kola is reported to strengthen the heart.

Gotu Kola may neutralize blood acids and lower body temperature.

With Cayenne and Ginseng, Gotu Kola can be utilized as part of a pick-me-up and memory combination.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
May cause dermatitis if applied topically.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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GINSENG

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng)
P. ginseng (Chinese or Korean ginseng)

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) belongs to a different botanical family than American and Korean Ginseng. Its properties, however, are similar.

PARTS USED
root

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Beta-sitosterol, Calcium, campesterols, caryophyllene, cinamic acid, choline, escin (P. quinquefolius), ferulic acid, fiber, folate, fumaric acid, ginsenosides, iron, kaempferol, magnesium, manganese, oleanolic acid, panaxic acid, panaxin, phosphorus, potassium, saponin, silicon, stigmasterol, vanillic acid, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and C, zinc

PROPERTIES & USES
Ginseng works primarily to strengthen the adrenal glands, benefiting the pituitary. This property helps enhance immune function, making it a non-toxic preventative as it strengthens body's defense mechanism.

This herb helps to normalize both blood pressure and blood sugar levels, making it useful for diabetes and circulatory problems. This helps correct reduced energy levels.

Ginseng is used by athletes for overall body strengthening. Its properties enhance both mental and physical health by building resistance to all kinds of stress.

Because of its impact on adrenals and the blood, Ginseng helps to strengthen reproductive glands. In both men and women, this herb helps balance hormones. In men, it has been known to help alleviate and prevent impotency. It can help correct infertility problems in both sexes related to hormonal issues. In a laboratory study, Ginseng is reported to have enhanced breast cancer cell suppression in combination with standard treatment.

As a treatment for bronchitis, Ginseng helps promote lung function. It can also be used as an appetite stimulant.

With its ability to balance and support the body’s systems while assisting the removal of toxins, Ginseng has been used to ease withdrawal from cocaine, to protect against the effects of radiation exposure, and may help improve drug or alcohol-induced liver dysfunction in older adults.

Ginseng used in combination with Gota Kola and Cayenne is considered a pick-me-up.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
People with hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, heart disorders, asthma, or insomnia should consult a physician before use and check for interactions with prescription medications. Ginseng is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Trusting Through the Tears

War, violence, sickness, pain, death

Some will sit at a table of plenty and be glad they've escaped difficulties another year,
while tragedy will be the reality for others.

We tell people that they should be grateful.
We heap guilt on them when they struggle with fear and doubt,
admonishing them that they shouldn’t feel that way . . .

Instead of weeping with the grieving,
comforting the hurting and binding the wounds,
we send the grieved off to weep in hiding,
the hurting to their silent suffering
and the wounded to bleed untended.

In our silly attempt to insulate ourselves from tragedy, we tell ourselves that we aren’t like them. That they must have fallen out of favor somehow and lost God’s blessing. That Providence is visiting justice on them.

We don’t stop to think that God has provided us with an opportunity to minister to another person.

We don’t consider the possibility that we will one day need someone to minister to us.

We see them there and nod politely and cross over to the other side, moving quickly away.

The truth is that we don’t really trust God’s heart towards us.
We know our own flaws and are sure that we've somehow overcharged our account,
that God's Justice could not allow US redemption.
Could He?

If we get too near the suffering or hurting people,
God might notice us and decide to bring our account due.

This Thanksgiving, one of the many things I’m thankful for is that God has never been limited by my misconceptions of Him.

There’ve been seasons when I thought I was alone.

There was one year that we thought a child might die.

There was that one year when I got a charity box
and another year when we fed the homeless.

There have been years of plenty and years of lack.

But I’ve never gone through a year that He wasn’t there, loving me.

When I sobbed in the darkness and accused Him of abandoning me.
He stayed.
When I accused Him of being cruel.
His love persisted.
When I doubted His motives and accused Him of not caring about me personally.
He was not easily offended.

He knew when I couldn’t hold myself together.
He knew what I needed and when I needed it.
When I tearfully reproached Him for denying me what I THOUGHT was necessary.
He firmly pried my fingers from my treasures.
Waited for me to calm down
and placed within my hands something so much MORE.

Sometimes, I am tempted to go back to my old dreams.
Some of His gifts don’t feel like gifts.
Occasionally, His gifts are painful.

But I’ve walked this road long enough to know
that He isn’t astounded or taken aback by my pain.
He doesn’t run away and hide when I despair.
He is there, holding me, waiting for me to calm down
so that He can offer His remedy, His comfort; His plan.

It’s easier when I focus on Him instead of the pain.
When I focus on the pain, it seems overwhelming, insurmountable.
When I look at Him, I see His scars – the ones made for me.
I know He understands the pain. He knows the hurt.

He has a remedy.
I can trust Him.

I found this audio clip of a boy named Logan today. You'll understand why I put it here when you listen.

"Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years."

Thank you, Jesus!

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I cried unto the LORD with my voice;
with my voice unto the LORD
did I make my supplication.

I poured out my complaint before him;
I shewed before him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
then thou knewest my path.

In the way wherein I walked
have they privily laid a snare for me.
I looked on my right hand, and beheld,
but there was no man that would know me:
refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

I cried unto thee, O LORD:
I said, Thou art my refuge
and my portion
in the land of the living.

Attend unto my cry;
for I am brought very low:
deliver me from my persecutors;
for they are stronger than I.

Bring my soul out of prison,
that I may praise thy name:
the righteous shall compass me about;
for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 142
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Mama's Rx

“Oooooh,” I heard a painful moan come from the bed as I returned from the bathroom. I turned on the light to see my beloved Duke, ready to enjoy a RARE day off from work. “I think I’m sick,” he said. THESE are four words I didn’t think he knew existed. However, with the passing of years, we are both learning new words. *eye roll*

“What hurts? Do you have a fever? Are you congested? Any chills? Cramps?” I petted him as I interrogated my victim patient. ;-) I tucked him into bed and noted that it was after 4:30 a.m. ‘He MUST be sick,’ I thought, ‘He NEVER sleeps this late.’

I walked through the dark house and went to my office. Pulling out a notepad, I wrote down his symptoms. Then I opened my file of herbs and did a search. I paused at each herb looking for key words to match Duke’s complaints. As I found ones that matched, I glanced over the cautions and properties, eliminating those that weren’t appropriate. I compiled a list of 4 or 5 herbs that I thought would work nicely.

Next, I went to the cupboard and pulled as many of those that I had. Then I added one or two things for flavor. Since it was morning, I added a nice bag of strong black tea as well as some apple spiced tea for flavor. All of this I placed into my tea pot. Then I filled my stainless steel kettle on to boil.

When the kettle began to whistle, I removed it from the stove and poured the hot water over the herbs in the waiting tea pot, replacing the lid. I allowed the tea to steep for about 10 minutes. I poured Duke a cup, sweetened it with honey (even though he says I only need to dip my finger in it J) and sent him on his way.

Throughout the day, all of us drank from the pot freely, giving everyone a fighting chance against Duke’s symptoms. I sometimes add a little organic apple cider vinegar or fresh crushed garlic to someone’s cup. The vinegar helps the body absorb the benefits of the herbs. Garlic is a good all-around natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral (see the article on garlic on this site).

This isn’t a cure-all, but it does help my family. I thought I’d share it with you. Eventually, I hope to have about 50 articles on various herbs on this site. If desired, this page could be searched for symptoms. Compile your own list of helpful herbs and eliminate the ones that aren’t appropriate, paying close attention to cautions.

“But, I don’t have a recipe!” I can just hear the objections. I’ll tell you a funny story. A friend of mine was after me for my recipe for a tonic. I hesitated answering her because I honestly could not recall exactly what I had tossed into the stuff. (My remedies depend on what I have in my cupboard at the time. I may measure spoonfuls, but I don’t use exacting standards.) As I sat there trying to recall WHAT I used, knowing that I’d not likely recall the ratios, she let me off the hook. “You just grab whatever and toss, don’t you?” Relieved, I smiled and said, “Yes!” We laughed together as I realized that I was doing what people who use herbs have always done. It’s a mothering and caretaking and prayerful thing that utilizes wisdom that is part intellect and part instinct.

Start with something simple. Look for a symptom you’d like to improve or remedy. Use three or four herbs, make a nice pot of tea and enjoy!

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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A Wife With GREEN HAIR?!

My kind, loving husband watched me quietly as I settled into the living room chair. I had a warm towel wrapped around my head and another across my shoulders. This was the first time he had seen me with the green cow slobber known as Beautiful Hair on my head.

I busied myself reading a book as he continued to watch me. Bits of green slime peeked out from under the towel. He must have contemplated my hair length as he formulated his question. “Um, can I ask you a question?” he ventured.

“Yes?” I looked up from my book. He hesitated a moment and then asked, “Are you COLORING your hair?” It occurred to me that my man of few words really DID like my hair. I imagined the picture I had presented him. Before I could answer, the thought of it all sent me into gales of laughter while my disconcerted husband waited to find out whether or not he was going to be married to a woman with very long, green hair.

Finally, I caught my breath. “No!” I gasped. “This is just a hair treatment. I’m not coloring my hair!” I continued to chuckle as he replied, “Well, I just wanted to be SURE!”

If you’re interested in trying Beautiful Hair Treatment, it can be found at www.bulkherbstore.com. I find that it helps repair damaged hair, strengthen and encourage growth, remove any buildup from the hair and scalp without damaging or drying. It’s a bit of a process, but I find that with proper care, I only need to treat every 2 to 3 months or so. This means that a pound of this stuff lasts me a while! Bulk Herb Store has GREAT customer service and shipping. It’s always a treat to open a package from them because the scent is fresh and wonderful. They get a big thumbs-up from this satisfied customer.
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GINGER ROOT

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Zingiber Officinale

PARTS USED
Rhizomes, roots

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Alpha-pinene, Amino acids, beta-carotene, beta-ionine, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, camphor, capsaicin, calcium, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, citral, curcumin, essential fatty acids, farnesol, ferulic acid, geraniol, gingerols, iron, lecithin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium,1,8-cineole, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 & C, zinc, zingerone

PROPERTIES & USES
Ginger Root is considered an anti-inflammatory, soothing and reducing the response of inflamed tissue. This makes Ginger Root a good choice in the treatment of arthritis.

This herb is a strong antioxidant (fighting free radicals), effective antimicrobial, and an anti-viral agent. Antimicrobial properties help the body destroy or resist pathogenic (bad bugs) microorganisms. Pathogenic microorganisms include bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Ginger Root is helpful for promoting the healing of sores and wounds, helping prevent infection.

A hepatic, Ginger Root protects the liver. Additionally, this herb protects the stomach and is useful in the treatment of bowel disorders, cleansing the colon. It’s cleansing properties extend to the kidneys, helping remove excess toxins from the body.

Because it is helpful in the treatment of indigestion, motion sickness, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting, Ginger Root has been a treatment for both morning sickness in pregnancy and patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Ginger Root can be helpful in the treatment of circulatory problems because it stimulates the circulatory system. This property, combined with its ability to reduce spasms and cramps make it helpful in the treatment of suppressed menstruation and menstrual cramps.

In a tub of tepid (not hot) water, 3 to 4 tablespoons of Ginger Root help promote perspiration, relieve congestion, ease fevers and relieve tired, achy muscles.

Headaches, hot flashes and fever are often helped by Ginger Root. As an addition to cough syrups, Ginger Root can help both the cough and relieve congestion in sinus cavities, especially when combined with cayenne.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
Can cause stomach distress if taken in large quantities
Not recommended for people who take anticoagulants or have gallstones.
Not recommended for extended use during pregnancy.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Veterans Day -- Second Try

Duke nixed my first try at a Veterans Day post.

I was going to tell you about the feelings a veteran and his family have on this day.

I was going to tell you what happened when a young kid went to seek adventure and found out that he wasn’t a comic book hero and that those who might have been often didn’t survive.

I was going to tell you about coping with emotions, returning home when so many others didn’t.

Duke & others at Sheppard AFB after completing training

I was going to tell you about the protestors that

greeted returning military personnel in the
airports, bus terminals and train stations.

I was going to tell you how he was treated after his discharge by potential employers.

Phu Cat Air Base

I was going to try and describe the indescribable. I thought I’d done a pretty lousy job.

But I must not have been too far off.

It was just a little too true to share.

It was just a little too raw, still.

So, for those who didn’t make it back, I grieve for time too short.

For those who returned, I’m so glad you made it! I’m so grateful that you went.

I haven’t forgotten.

I remember.

Thank you veterans!
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FRANKINCENSE

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Olibanum

Boswellia Thurifera

PARTS USED
The gum resin
Sold as resin, powder or essential oil

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Resins 65 per cent, volatile oil 6 per cent, water-soluble gum 20 per cent, bassorin 6 to 8 per cent, plant residue 2 to 4 per cent; the resins are composed of boswellic acid and alibanoresin

PROPERTIES & USES
A small shrub tree, Frankincense has a leafy presentation with white or pale pink blossoms.

Frankincense is a member of the Burseraceae, or incense tree, family and native to the Middle East, the Red Sea, China, Iran, Lebanon and Oman. This shrub can be found growing wild in the Northeastern part of Africa. Europe and India are primary locations for distillation of Frankincense.

To harvest the resin, the bark of the shrub is gashed and peeled. A milky white juice becomes a solidified sap when it hits the air. This gummed resin turns amber to burnt orange in color. By steam distillation, the resin becomes a clear pale yellow or yellow green oil.

The aroma is a spicy sweet and woody scent with a citrus tone. Because some extraction processes use a chemical solvent rather than alcohol, Frankincense used for steam inhalation or aromatherapy should be used only if steam distilled or alcohol extracted. Frankincense is used in perfumes, giving a long lasting scent.

Frankincense is a stimulant, but seldom used internally. Historic uses have been recorded for tumors, ulcers, vomiting, dysentery and fevers.

When steamed, inhalation of the vapors are reported to aid bronchitis, colds, nervous tension, respiratory conditions and laryngitis.

Topically, Frankincense has been utilized as a dressing for wounds (i.e. plasters and poultices). As anointing oil, Frankincense is known for restoring, regenerating, and rejuvenating the skin. As a balancing agent, it helps alleviate oily skin, helps smooth wrinkles and lines, and soothes raw chapped skin. Frankincense promotes the healing of blemishes, inflammations, sores, scars, skin ulcers and wounds. In China it is used in the treatment of leprosy.

Because its properties appear to be astringent as well as soothing, Frankincense has been utilized as a uterine tonic to ease for heavy periods. The oil has been used for massage following childbirth.

Frankincense is often a principal ingredient in the incense and pastilles. A pastille is a glycol-gelatin base with added herbs and/or other ingredients added. Basically it is a pill shaped lump of compressed herbs. As the base melts from gentle warming, the ingredients are delivered slowly. This process is used for pastilles which are taken orally (like a lozenge) and for those which are burned for their vapors.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
None known.

“And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests:
and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof,
and of the oil thereof,
with all the frankincense thereof;
and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar,
to be an offering made by fire,
of a sweet savour unto the LORD:”

Leviticus 2:2

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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The Epidemic of IFTY

In an effort to maintain appearances, our family has occasionally suffered from a good case of, “I’m fine; Thank you.” At first it looks like a good condition to have. You no longer complain about little things. You appear to be even-tempered and unwilling to burden others with your maladies, physical or otherwise. But it is an insidious disease. By the time you realize you’ve had it, it has often robbed you of great chunks of time. This is time that you could have spent enjoying life.

For my youngest, IFTY (I’m fine; Thank you) presents itself as he takes on greater tasks than his ability. (see ‘A SpecPOOPular Day’) For my seven year old, IFTY appears as he imagines he already knows what you are going to say and misses what you actually said (Duke has a touch of that on occasion :-)). In Duke, the presentation of IFTY is in the form of some physical injury that he imagined would be too much trouble to take care of at the moment. Later, we end up applying poultices, lancing, drawing out infections, or applying salve. Once, we ended up at the emergency room because he thought that the best way to deal with pain was to ‘work through it.’

However, the worst cases of IFTY I’ve ever seen are most often found in MOMS. That’s right, if you are a Mom, you likely know what it is to suffer from a good case of IFTY. In fact, we aren’t even smart enough to have it affect us only in the ways I’ve already mentioned. We take it on in the areas of our emotions when dealing with genuine hurts. By the time we can no longer contain ourselves, we are ready to blame everyone else around us for our life-choking case of IFTY. In an effort to excuse our sickness, we then dump our poisons onto our loved ones.

I have an acquaintance who was suffering from a good case of IFTY. In her proper Southern way, she expected that those closest to her should somehow KNOW if she needed something. Unfortunately for her, she married an educator instead of a mind reader. One Sunday as she struggled to re-dress an active toddler and herd the other children out to the car, her case of IFTY grew into an eruption.

Every Sunday, her devoted husband would sit quietly in the car, reading the newspaper while he waited for the rest of the family to show up. On this fateful day, my friend finally ‘lost it’ and stormed out of the house. She marched to the car, children in various stages of dress following her and her own appearance somewhat skewed. With fire in her eyes she looked at her husband and said through clenched teeth, “WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” He calmly continued to read his paper and said, “Well, Honey, if WE have a problem, why are YOU the only one upset?”

I’ve never had the courage to ask her the rest of her story, but she says that something clicked in her that day. She realized that if she wanted help, she had to first admit that there was a need and ASK FOR HELP. Amazingly, brilliantly, simple. Not easy for everyone to do.

This stuff can lurk, hidden away for years under layers of IFTY. We sometimes want things to be right so badly that it’s just easier to pretend that they ARE. But if we never admit the malady, how can we receive treatment? It could take years, but eventually, all IFTY sufferers will experience an eruption. Unfortunately, some of us will only settle for a release of the built up tension – a lancing – and still not seek healing.

I thought I had gotten better at this stuff, but guess what? This week has shown me that I am susceptible to various forms of IFTY. Being inoculated from one form doesn’t make you immune to another. You really have to guard against this stuff.

Someone I admire greatly commissioned me to write about a time in my life that I had survived and, from all appearances, managed to come through nicely. However, my assignment was to write about the dark days when I wasn’t so sure how things would turn out. In the process, I re-experienced some of those same emotions. I realized that I had developed a slight case of IFTY over the whole thing. It took me a day or so to regain my footing.

Like Natural Medicine, getting rid of IFTY can require some steps. Here are mine:

Step 1: Identify the hurt. Stop saying, “I’m fine.” If you aren’t fine, admit it.

Step 2: Go to the PHYSICIAN. I didn’t say to burden your neighbor, your close friend, your sister, your mother, or even try to get your husband to listen to you. I said, GO TO THE PHYSICIAN. Why would you expect anyone else to do what only He can do?

Step 3: TELL HIM YOUR SYMPTOMS. This is important enough to repeat: TELL HIM YOUR SYMPTOMS. Don’t sit there and pray a pretty greeting card prayer with all of the proper forms and rituals of men. I wonder if He doesn’t get tired of those. Be honest enough to admit the feelings that He already knows you have. Tell Him your hurts. Trust Him with your heart.

Step 4: Ask Him for HIS remedy. You wouldn’t tell your surgeon HOW to do surgery. Why do we think we are wise enough to direct the Almighty in finding a remedy? Expecting a loved one to do what only God can do will also set you up for disappointment and frustration, not healing. Be willing to submit to HIS remedy in HIS own way.

Step 5: Follow the instructions. If He puts mud in your eye and tells you to wash it out in a muddy stream, who are you to argue? If He tells you to wait, why wouldn’t you? If He says to tell your husband (who may or may not understand), it’s worth the risk.

Here’s the catch: Once you’ve gone to the Physician, you don’t get to determine the if, when, or how of what He does. You only control your willingness to yield to His methods. He may require some outlandish things from you. He once told a man to sell everything he had (Matthew 19:20-22; Mark 10:20-22; Luke 18:21-23). He may tell you to go or stay or wait or who knows what else. He isn’t answerable to men. He is God.

“Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” Isaiah 29:16

How sad that we often rob ourselves of the remedy by saying, “I’m fine; Thank you.” How much better we would all be if we were willing to tell Him, “I’m not doing well today. It hurts. Please, make things as YOU will. I NEED You!” Really, He is the only One who can make it all better.

V^V^V=||=||=||=V^V^V=||=||=||=V^V^V=||=||=||=V^V^V

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls”

Matthew 11:28, 29.

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