Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 4)

Traditional Organic Gardening

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Please help me welcome the newest worker in our little greenhouse!  I have been watching with eager anticipation for the day I would see this little fellow.  He is a baby Praying Mantis and he will become one of my best gardening friends. Why, you ask, well let me share.  Praying Mantis’ are the enemy of almost all the little pests that eat your plants.  He will be on patrol to make sure the aphids, white flies, potato beetles and other such insects get settled in his stomach instead of my plants!

By helping nature balance itself, we have no need for chemical insecticides, fertilizers, etc. nor will we ever use them. This little guy is a huge step in the right direction.  Another little friend who showed up this week but was too shy to let me get a portrait of, was a little toad, and I am hoping he has a big family.  He also will be munching away at all the bad guys and I don’t have to do a thing except make sure they are comfy in their new home!

In years  past, we have had an awesome balance within the garden but I wasn’t sure we would have it back with the building construction, soil compaction, etc.  I am over delighted to see the worms in abundance, which is a great help with soil health.  Lady bugs are also a very welcome site to see within your gardens , as are lace wings and many other little insects.

All these little guys make my job easier and our food more healthy.  With true, traditional organic gardening practices, this is the desired population you want to see. It pays to do a little research to help you identify the good guys from the bad ones and then take the actions to encourage them settling into your little paradise.

I titled this little post “Traditional Organic Gardening” for good reason.  So much of our food production in this country has been totally taken  over by corporate agriculture.  Even behind the ‘organic’ labeling of products that show up on the shelves and produce bins of our stores is a pitiful effort to try to make wholesome food.  Garden centers and nurseries are no better.  If you are purchasing your plants for your garden from these venues, you are receiving compromised plants, without a doubt. Big money is behind big business and our food is BIG business. In recent years the big guys on the block have realized the demand for organically produced food and have jumped on the bandwagon and are driving it fast and hard! The results make me very sad.

The solution is easy and hard all at the same time!  Easy in that we just need to shift our thinking and actions to produce our own food and what we are unable to grow for ourselves, purchase from our friends and neighbors who have the same vision and goals but different products.  It’s the ‘traditional’ way of living and it has served mankind for thousands of years! Getting the vision, education, desire are the easy part.  The harder half of this is doing it!  Many of us did not grow up this way, don’t have the space or time for gardening/farming/ranching and yet when we dedicate ourselves to this awesome work, miracles do happen!  It is hard to get a garden site ready, hard to put up fences to keep animals safe and a million other actions that need to take place.  Some are one time efforts, others are on-going but let me just encourage you that all of it is so very worth it!

If you are only in a place to add a few potted herbs to your porch, let me be the one to cheer you on!  If you are a full time rancher, let me sing you praises.  If you are somewhere in the middle, keep on keeping on. It is very hard work to grow food, yet the satisfaction is worth every effort. Preparing and eating these good foods will become your delight as you educate and perfect the art of eating seasonally and learn to appreciate the value of eating locally or regionally.

I hope your gardens are bursting this year. I hope you have many little friends in your gardens to help you in your work.  I hope you have some awesome pantries and tables filled with the work of your hands.  I hope you have a table full of friends and family to share your work with.  Most of all I hope the Creator of all the goodness will bless you and keep you in good health as a result of your efforts!

I do not claim to be an expert by any means but if you have questions or need help, let me know.  I am ready and willing to help others get healthy from their food and herbs.  If you are in need of some healthy, traditionally grown, organic  plants – stop out to our greenhouse, we can get you going!

Bullnose Pepper

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Isn’t this a beautiful pepper?  It is part of the Montecello Gardens of Thomas Jefferson!  Absolutely exquisite and rather rare, one I have not seen before.

Your in luck because we are growing these plants in our sale this year! We can all have ‘presidential’ gardens!  Here is the description provided by the Monticello Garden’s web-site.

“The sweet bell pepper was grown as early as 1681 by enslaved Africans in Panama, who pickled the “Green Indian-Bell-Pepper.” It was introduced to North America most likely from the West Indies by the early 1700s. McMahon included “Bell” peppers in The American Gardener’s Calendar 1806, and Jefferson recorded Bull Nose in his 1812 garden calendar. Jefferson’s Bull Nose likely resembled the heavily lobed pepper we know today.”

As always, our plants were started right here in our greenhouse in Sidney, Nebraska.  Grown for their distinct and awesome wholesomeness just for our friends and neighbors.

Come on by and grab you some of these little pepper beauties and see what other rare and hardy plants we are growing for you.

We are the big blue greenhouse at the Sleep For Less Motel in Sidney, Nebraska.  We sit at the Junction of Highways 385 and 30.  Our official address is 954 East Elm Street.  We will be open from 7:30 until dark, each day except Saturday (we have to rest too) until sold out.

Hope to see you soon!

Collective Farm Woman Melon

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Have you been looking for a hardy, short season melon that has exquisite flavor?  Guess what, we have these melon plants for you, ready for your gardens!

A Favorite of Seed Savers Exchange, this melon originates in the Ukraine and is an 80-85 day melon. The skins start out green but ripen to a lovely gold color which helps identify it’s readiness for your table.  The white flesh is both crunchy and sweet and the fragrance is delightful.

We started these seeds over a month ago and have some mature, beautiful plants ready for planting. You wont’ find this melon in any grocery store and the seeds are all sold out from Seed Savers.

We delight to bring you this very rare and beautiful melon plant and are quite sure you will enjoy the melons that should be ready for eating by late July or maybe earlier?!

We’re Growing For You

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So much is happening here at Amazing Grace Wellness Connections.  I thought it may be time to try to catch everyone up.  Can I share a bit of our work with you?

This time of year is all about gardening for us, and hopefully you too!  We want to be well and full of health and know how much growing our own food and medicine plays into that picture.  As many of you know, we have been so blessed with a new, larger greenhouse and this year we are offering some of our good starters to you, for your garden.  Plants are ready to go home any time and are already moving out at a rapid pace.  I would dearly love to see you have some of this goodness in your gardens!

We are growing totally organic, from seeds to soil,  every step, completely here on site. We don’t order our plants from out of state and hope they send us something that will grow here and still has a hint of health to it. Our plants never travel anywhere, grow in natural lighting in an un-heated greenhouse within organic, wholesome soil and fertilizer. This means they are HARDY for us right here in Nebraska.  Our plants are all open pollinated/heirlooms so you are more then able to save your own seed for next year (or we’ll be happy to take care of that step for you, if you’d rather). No GMO’s or hybridized plants at all!

We are filled to the brim, and then some with veggies and culinary as well as medicinal herbs.  There are a few plants that don’t want to be confined to those classifications, but we still love them too.

We also have some awesome, handmade, cedar birdhouses to add to your gardens (because we all know how beneficial those little birds are to help us control the insects that would otherwise destroy our plants.  These houses weather beautifully outdoors but lend themselves to your youngsters involvement with a custom paint job as well.

There is a very limited supply of our organically produced honey available on the counter, at the office. Don’t even get me started about how crazy in love we are with our bees!  I would love to share a conversation with you about how we tend to our little friends, so if your interested,  just give me a shout.

Not wanting this to become to long, let me just share a few other items with you.  I will be putting up some specifics about the wonderful food plants we are selling, right on this blog over the coming days.  Keep watch to learn about some of the very rare and special plants available to you.  There is a tab at the top of the site for “Plant Profiles” where you can find general planting information and usage facts for the herbs, both culinary and medicinal.  We will be adding more and more information to that page just as soon as we can catch up with the physical work of growing the plants.  In the mean time, we have “cheat” sheets hanging in the greenhouse for you.  When you come out to shop, bring your phone and click a picture of any or all of them that hold an interest to you!

We  are open from 7:30-7:30 Sunday through Friday, taking Saturday off to rest.

We are located in Sidney, Nebraska at the junction of Highways 385 and 30, northwest corner, at the Sleep For Less Motel — just look for the big blue greenhouse! You can phone us at 308-254-4009 if you need more information.

Okay, that covers the things you may want to know but. . . why. . . ?

Well, simple put, we have a vision to help as many people gain health and wellbeing as possible!  We have a very dear place in our hearts for our local community! Put those two things together and this is a logical step in the right direction.

There is lots of great plans to follow this; workshops and clinics on topics such as “Kitchen Medicine” where you can join us to learn how those aromatic beauties that transform our meals can also transform our health, during illness/disease as well as preventatively. Other subjects will be announced later but keep watch for details here. An “Herb Walk and Talk” will be coming to you in June, where we will tour the grounds here and look over both the garden plants and natives in order to learn more about what and how to grow in our area.  So many plans, it can make you dizzy. We are hoping to share our harvest with the elderly and shut-ins of the community, lend a hand to your garden work with whatever knowledge we may be able to share and watch our neighborhood glow with health!

Please share us with all you know, it makes all the hard work so much more worth it, if we can meet any needs you have, please be sure to let us know.  Take a little time to look over the site, there is lots of help for you.  By signing up for our e-mail updates, you will receive a copy of my essay on Herbal Infused Honey, with that information and a visit to our greenhouse, you will be well on your way to taking some positive action for yours and your families health.  Thank you so much for supporting our work and our vision!  It’s neighbors like you all that make this an awesome community to live in!!

Herbs for the 2017 Season

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It’s been a long wait, thank you for your patience!  What follows is the tentative list of herb plants which will be available to purchase here for the very first time ever!

If you don’t see something here you’ve been wishing for, please contact us as chances are pretty good that we can add it to the list.  PLEASE NOTE: this list is only for the herbs we will be offering, veggie and other plant lists are still to follow.  We will keep you updated as to when plants will be ready for purchase but we are shooting for the beginning to middle of May.

Astragalus

Basil, Genovese

Basil, Mrs. Burns Lemon

Borage

Calendula

Catnip

Cayenne

Chamomile, German (and possibly Roman)

Chevil

Cilantro

Dill

Elecampane

Fennel, Sweet

Feverfew

Holy Basil

Horehound

Hyssop

Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate

Lavender, Munstead

Lemon Balm

Lemon Bergamot

Lemon Grass

Lovage

Love in The Mist

Marshmallow

Motherwort

Nasturtium

Plantain, Greater

Oregano, Greek

Parsley, Italian

Rosemary

Sage, Garden

Savory, Summer

Thyme, English

Valerian

Viola

Wood Betony

Yarrow, White

In the days to come, there will be a new page added to the web-site which will provide plant profiles for each of these plants.  It will provide vital information on how to grow these herbs as well as usage for each one.  Keep watching!

A Kind & Gentle Way To Health

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The world can be a very harsh place and more times then not excludes true health as a consequence.  Today, we are going to start a long discussion on how to be healthy, as a whole person, using a more kind and gentle lifestyle.  As an Herbalist, I will of course, include herbs as God intended them for our help.  This discussion is going to dive even deeper then that level and will be offered in small pieces that we can all easily digest.  I hope you will be blessed as you join me, so let’s get started!

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” 

Prov. 17:22

What are the issues in our lives that cause us to suffer with less then the best for health?  Let me qualify, not just health of the physical body but also the emotional, mental, spiritual and social.  It is very hard, if not impossible, to separate out one of these components of our lives from all the others.  For our purposes, it is not even necessary to know which area of our whole self is suffering because it is not possible to separate them, in all truthfulness.  Our focus is going to be on the ‘why’ of our less then perfect overall health.  So, what are we talking about? In a word – Stress!

There is a vast amount of stressors that we are dealing with, many of them will be directly addressed.  For some people marking them off, one by one is a direct way to address the issue.  For others, they simple want to change directions and dump the whole load.  Either way, we are going to begin to resolve this giant monster, here, today – together.

The Danish people, often thought of as one of the happiest nations, have a word used to describe what we are after.  The word is ‘hygge’ pronounced ‘hooga’.  It represents the idea of coziness, joy and wellbeing.  The folks of this culture take an active role to ‘hygge’ their way through the long, bleak winter months of dark, cold and snow. Nurturing themselves with an environment of joy, relationships of meaning and health that is glowing.  I cannot presume to think they are the only group of people after this level of living because if nothing else I am!  I know that almost every person I share this with gets a twinkle in their eye and expresses their desire to have such a life.

For our purposes, the long bleak months of our cold winters can take on the picture of an entire life lived loaded down with stress and less then optimal living.  We are in deep need of dumping the extra baggage that holds us under the water and prevents us from taking those deep, cleansing breaths, both literally with clean, oxygen loaded air and spiritually by embracing the work the Holy Spirit is endeavoring to do in us.

Can we just start right here?  Let’s take in some healthy air!  Too many times we feel ‘stuck’ without any visible plan to go forward with, but we don’t have to, it’s called ‘baby-steps’.  I am going to ask you to commit to making your air healthier.  I won’t leave you wondering, keep reading and we’ll take some steps together. It does little good, though still some, if we breath deeply the less then great air that often surrounds us.  We can improve the air we are blessed with in many ways.

First off, may I suggest you add some plants to your own private world?  They don’t have to be any specific type because every green plant is producing oxygen!  They all benefit us on this level, but why stop there?  I surround my world, both inside and out with beautiful and fragrant herbs.  They provide me a sense of well-being because I know they will serve me should I need their helping medicine or foods for my table.  In my home, during the winter, I make a special point to add some aromatic herbs just for the pleasure of rubbing them through my hands and breathing deeply.  Trimming them to add to bath water, adding them to my teas and recipes, or infusing into the air for fragrance and function as our indoor air becomes dry and boring.  I have a dear friend who has found the joy of succulents and she is filling her home with the most beautiful arrangements you have ever seen!  Some plants do aid in removing bad air from our homes, beyond their gift of fresh oxygen.  Spider plants, Aloe, Peace Lily, Ivy and many others have been found to absorb chemicals commonly found in our homes.

No matter where you live, you have room for plants.  From college dorms, campers or high-rise apartments, there is always room for a pot or two to become your own healthy friends.  I live in a tiny little house but it is stuffed with my plants.  Turmeric and Ginger pots crowd the windows of my laundry room (it has the best lighting). My prized Mango tree sits in my kitchen window.  Low lighting plants fill my living room. Geraniums fill my office and bedroom during the winter and make us smile on the porch in the summer.  My Rosemary plants have become so large that it takes a team of mules to get them re-located, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thinking outside of the box is a game I love to play when it comes to indoor plants. I am privileged with large windows in my tiny little space so instead of nick-nacks, I have plants!!

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So, you get the idea – add plants and become your own oxygen producing factory! In addition to giving you better air, you can get lost in the soul satisfying work of tending and caring for these little beauties, which is another health benefit to having them.  Remember the verse quoted above?  A merry heart is very healing/healthy and is exactly what our goal is.  Too many times, we get caught up in the ‘work‘ of being a healthy person.  May I suggest that we start changing our focus to a life lived in joy?  Tend to others, embrace the acts of kindness that are extended to you, look to your Father for the peace that He offers and don’t forget – breath deeply!

Breathing deeply, with proper posture, fresh air and good technique can do amazing things for you.  Stretch your body as tall as you can, pull your shoulders back and let your head relax as you look up to the stars (hopefully).  Breathing in through your nose helps because the little hairs that live in there were meant to ‘catch’ lots of bad stuff.  It also helps to breath in through the nose during cold weather because, believe it or not, the cold air is brought up to body temperature before it hits your trachea.  So, in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Hold your breath to the count of 3-5 with each breath in.  If you do this in sets of 5-10 about 3-5 times a day, I am going to bet your going to feel the difference almost immediately.

Here’s a little bonus for you, take some fresh Rosemary and rub it roughly in your hands (if you don’t own such a lovely plant then a trip to your nearest garden center/greenhouse is in order!).  Now, take your deep breaths with your hands cupped to your face, taking in the aromatic fragrance of the Rosemary.  Rosemary is known to enhance oxygen levels in the head and brain which we can all use, right?

I will leave you with this little homework assignment.  I’ll be back for more great ways to hygge our way back to true health.  We’ll talk a little more about stress, where it comes from, what it does to us and how to get rid of it.  For now, may you be blessed with some true, deep, life- giving air as well as they joy and health from adding some oxygen makers to your little world.

The Dainty Daisy

daisy_close_upHave you ever wondered at all the beauty of the simple daisy?  Our Creator has laced this little lovely with so much grace.  I have found, in my time as a gardener, that there is so much more then what lays upon the surface of creation.

Before I share the gems I have un-earthed, let me share a bit of my life in the garden.  You see, I have always thought of myself as an organized, efficient person.  My life has been one of “you have to get this done”, with very little room for much else.  Let me tell you right now how inefficient this attitude is for the garden.

I’ve had an ‘organized’ lay out of food, herbs, flowers, orchards style of, everyone in their place, gardens for years – and for years I have struggled!  I have herbs that double over from culinary to medicine to just plain ole yummy tea.  I have ‘herbs’ that are more beautiful then the most prized flowers.  I have herbs that refuse to accept my most logical home in the garden.  Instead, they run out to the rocky soil of the pathway to the chicken co-op where I will have to step on or over them multiple times a day.  They do this, it seems, as if to laugh at me and my ‘management’ style of gardening. We cannot take the time here to discuss the ‘food’ gardens and the cross over they play out with medicine or how they feed so many more then just the humans here. Then there are those ‘flowers’ which most of us think of as nothing more then beauty but really, they grace my life with untold benefits!  This is the place that the simple, graceful daisy fills.

Daisy, Bellis perennis to be exact.  Childhood memories are filled with sunny afternoons spent playing with the daisies, making doll dresses from them, daisy chains for our heads.  Playing out the age old saying of “he loves me, he loves me not” while removing one petal at a time and watching them fall to the ground with grace and dignity.  All the while, dreaming of the young man of our imaginations that may soon come into our lives to fulfill the ‘he loves me’ hope.

There is a Christian legend that says as Mary, the mother of our Lord, was escaping Egypt with the young child, everywhere a tear from her eyes landing on the ground, a daisy was sure to appear.

While many of us in the United States have been quietly overlooking the lovely little Daisy, Europe has for ages seen beyond the little flower in the cottage garden to the potential of real medicine it holds.  Best used as a tea, but also tincture of the blossom and leaves, it serves both young and old.

It’s very name means ‘everlasting beauty’ and the beauty it holds, it is happy to share.  Loaded with nutrition, it boasts a hefty profile of essential vitamins and minerals, the highest of these are Vit. K, Calcium, Carotene and Chlorophyll.  These nutrients are complimented with many others and serve to stimulate metabolism.  Being anti-inflammatory, expectorant and having a slight laxative and blood cleansing effect, it becomes potent but gentle at clearing all sorts of problems and diseases.  From eczema and psoriasis (which are almost always from congestive issues) to herpes and neurodermatitis. Having been used on young children as a pain reliever against growing pains it follows to a great ally for young women dealing with painful menstruation.  Into childbearing where it serves as a wonderful, safe herb for  post-delivery care to tighten the conjunctive tissue after birth, returning a woman’s body to the form and tightness of pre-pregnancy with gentle nourishment.  It can, of course serve the same function in us elder folks as we need the toning and nourishing benefits to our aging bodies.

While most think in terms of tea or perhaps tinctures (which I personally prefer to save for acute issues), daisy is a wonderful compliment to our tables at meal time.  They are beautiful additions to our salads and pestos and are very graceful to hug up to the other ingredients of our soups and stews.  I have included it in an infused oil which I use to coat my skin after my baths, especially in the drying days of winter.

So, here we are, at the end of our story and I leave you with some ideas of how life is changing me.

I am going to stop thinking in terms of ‘sections’ in my gardening efforts.  I am going to allow my ‘flowers’ to flow into my ‘herbs’ to flow into my ‘food’ to flow into the wild places of my life as well as the organized, neat rows of my best efforts.  I am going to embrace all the beauty that grows at my feet and count my blessings that so many lovely plants have been given for my healing (both of mind and body).  I will continue to grow, expand and enjoy to the fullest these wonders and stop attempting to place nice, neat little labels on everyone.  I hope you can join me in this great adventure!

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With the hanging of our grandson’s birdhouse, we declare our greenhouse officially complete and ready for growing!  Many tiny details still getting marked off each day and joy over flows with each line drawn through the long list.  Besides some painting, weatherproofing and raised bed construction, we’re ready for winter.

The two main beds are being developed a little at a time, each day seeds are being sown for our winter harvest.  The stones are laid for pathways to prevent the growing ground from being packed down (Which means no further digging or tilling on our end, yea!) Raised beds will be built over the winter to be placed at waist height for further growing of more shallow rooted plants and then there is still space above for growing or trellising of some of our favorite melons and such.

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We are seeing some volunteer tomato and bean plants popping through the earth along with our seeds sown on purpose – you just can’t stop God’s abundance when fully embraced!

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We currently have sown garlic, onions, kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots mixed salad greens and wheat grass for the chickens and ducks.  Of course, the first plants to be gently placed into the soil were a few of our favorite kitchen herbs that waited patiently all summer in clay pots for their new home.  I never thought I’d see my lavender blooming in November but what a sight for sore eyes!

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Many days of delight await us as we spend them tending the good earth we’ve been given and many a good meal is going to be shared from the harvest we receive.  Stop in and spend a few minutes with us in this little piece of heaven and let us know of any folks that may enjoy some of the good food growing here, we can’t wait to share.

Thank you again for all the prayers, support and help that enabled us to get here today.  You all will be in our prayers of thanksgiving everyday!

Greenhouse Update

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It has been one blurry, fast-paced summer and I promised to keep everyone updated on the greenhouse project.  We are almost totally framed out!!  The cement work is totally finished and the polycarbonate panels are being shipped, hopefully as I type.  When they arrive we hope to be finished framing.  We still have a wee bit on the roof and then the vents and doors to frame, the skin will go on and the solar openers attached and we will be ready to roll!

Our goal is Sept. 1 because I do grow year-round inside and need the fall months to get my winter produce fully mature before the very short days of January and February.  I am so excited I can hardly wait!  Fresh produce is so wonderful to have, right outside our front door.  This house will be double the space of our last one and we plan to use all the height of the new one to add more growing space too.  A small outdoor addition is placed on the south side of the building where we will grow grapes along it’s fence and use a small bed next to the building to trellis up veggies that will also help shade the inside during the high heat months of summer.  Oh, the plans we have!!

So, speaking of plans – as some of you have probable figured out, this is way more space then we need for the two of us to have fresh food.  We are hoping to share the extras with the elderly and shut-in community we live amongst.  It is so very important for all of us to eat fresh produce daily but for some of our neighbors, a trip to the store is out of the question because of physical or budget restrictions. While we are compiling a list of folks that may benefit from our work here, we need your help finding others.  If you know of someone who would enjoy some fresh food, please contact us so we don’t overlook anyone.

Some of you may not realize that we operate a small inn here on our property. In our efforts to come away from the commercial style of living and in our hopes of blessing our guests with wholesome food during their stay, we will also use some of our homegrown produce for our signature “Breakfast in a Basket” option.  For an additional price, our guests can have a totally homemade and almost totally homegrown breakfast delivered to their door in the morning.  Our melons and strawberries have graced many a basket in the past but with the additional growing space we will be able to branch out to greater offerings.  You can see more about our little inn at:  www.sleepforlessmotel.com

So there you have it, our August update. Lord willing, September will find me on my hands and knees planting seeds of joy in my new dirt pile!  Thank you all for your various helps as we work toward the completion of this rather large project.  First to my Father in heaven who continually stretches us and grows us as His own lovely little plants.  Next to my ever sweet husband whose hands are full of splinters but heart is full of love for his crazy wife and her ideas.  Also, special thanks to my earthly dad, Alvin who at the age of almost 80, traveled here to help us (and may I say, ran circles around us for 4 days), my mom, Carroll,  who cooked and cleaned and kept everyone encouraged and full of ice water as we worked in our high 90 days of July.  Our son, Steven who labored beside his dad and grandpa for days giving us the strength of his age when we were lacking, and to his wife Kat who graciously shared him with us.  His awesome friend Chris, who pitched in without even knowing us and left his ladder for us to use in the completion.  And our always faithful friend,  Chad,  who was willing to drive out here and give his help with such enthusiasm.  This crew worked without one grumble and I think we were all amazed at how smooth the work went.  There are others who have held us up in prayer, provided resources and stopped by to offer a word of encouragement.  There are some who helped without even knowing it.  I speak of the great donation of lumber that came from the scrap pile of the new Marriott motel that is being built on the horizon of our landscape.  The owner, I am told, lives in Saudi Arabia, and I am sure we will never meet.  The lumber we drug home from their site provided over half of all the lumber in this project and there are scraps which will make elevated strawberry and wheatgrass beds too!

Stay tuned for further updates as we move toward completion.  Stop by if your in the neighborhood.  Most of all, please pray for us, we have overcome great  obstacles that I won’t give the enemy power by detailing.  We seek to glorify our Father in this work and it will be ongoing.  Please help us to find those folks who need the nourishment from our work here as that is the greatest help we need at this point.  And last of all, plant some seeds!

Allopathic Herbalism?

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Allopathic Herbalist, what in the world is that? Recently I wrote a blog post for another web-site; www.christianherbal.org  explaining what a Clinical Herbalist is and how we work with clients. This caused me to consider the need for a further explanation. The word “clinical” has a way of throwing people off course.

Before we discuss, in greater detail, what a Clinical Herbalist is, let’s look at what I mean by an Allopathic Herbalist. I hope you will endure the length of this article as the best comes at the end!

The term allopathic is often used to describe the Western Medicine mode of healthcare, sadly a large amount of  herbalism has become very similar. The American medical system is the most descriptive picture I can provide for you. This mode of healthcare, while having its importance, is inept to provide true, deep healing. In all reality, it provides sick-care, not healthcare. If you partake in this model of medicine, you will be provided approximately 15 minutes for your appointment, to include any study time your practitioner spends with your health record. Diagnostic testing has advanced to a high degree and offers us many benefits, unfortunately many doctors rely completely on these tests, having either forgotten, or more likely, never been taught the art of studying their patients by observation and conversation. In addition, if you utilize multiple practitioners, they may contradict or overlook each other which can lead to grave results in your health. A vast amount of your M.D.’s current treatment protocols are provided by the pharmaceutical rep. that regularly visits the office with literature and samples of the latest drugs on the market. Which brings us to treatments.

Treatment options within the allopathic medical system almost always include pharmaceuticals. When people don’t feel well, they have a strong desire to feel better, quick! Your physician knows this and usually has the ‘pill to fit the bill’. The problem is, that is often where it stops, no other considerations and no other plan for complete wellness, just feel better right now.

While it may seem as though I am overly critical of this mode of medicine, let me offer a balance. Your doctor may see as many as 30 or more patients a day, make hospital rounds and be on call for after hour emergencies, they live a dizzy, fast paced life. They have spent a lot of time and money on their education and need to make their careers successful. Many, many of them have a servant’s heart but are trapped in a system that will never allow them to live this desire out. Nurses fall into this same exact situation and these people work tirelessly to help folks. It’s the system that is broken and I want to make it clear that I am not singling out the individuals within the system.

So, this is a quick peek into the window of allopathic medicine. Now, take this picture and lay it over the term “Allopathic Herbalist” and you will have an almost perfect picture of what I wish to describe for you. An herbalist working within this framework is going to leave you wanting. They offer lots of ‘bandage medicine’ that differs only in the medicine of choice from the allopathic medical world.

Have you ever felt sick and ran to the health food store for ‘something to help you feel better’? There you encounter isles marked “immune” or “allergies” and see all the bottles of goodness without one idea which one to choose? Then, from heaven, it seems, a helpful employee tells you, if you have a cold try ABC, it always works. The only problem is; do you really have a cold or is it something that only looks like a cold? If it truly is a cold, why did you catch it, and do you really want the cough to stop, what is your underlying picture that may or may not cause that remedy to be right for you? A hundred other questions should be answered before you grab your wonder bottle from the shelf.

This little example is what I mean by the difference between an Allopathic Herbalist and a Clinical Herbalist. With an allopathic picture, you just want to feel better and you don’t really care about anything else. Many a helpful and often knowledgeable herbalist, in their quest to help, is willing to offer you the quick one/two in an effort to help you feel better. In some cases, this is all that is needed and will work beautifully for the here and now, but won’t do a thing to help you build true wellness.

By contrast, a Clinical Herbalist will separate from this mode, almost entirely. They do care, very deeply that you are sick but their knowledge leads them to know that the sickness has come about due to layers of issues that must be addressed. So while they may offer you some immediate help to feel better, their real concern is why you are sick and they will address that for lasting results. They will make you feel like you are writing a book when you provide the intake paperwork they need to properly access your situation. They will take that valuable information and spend hours on end, if necessary, studying it and diving deep into the issues they see within those pages. After this, many more hours will be spent with you, talking, observing, talking, observing. While any diagnostic test information you have will be very helpful, this will be far from the core of information your Clinical Herbalist will be using. Their goal is to teach you the truths you need to know to build your health and create total wellness. It is a long, detailed process but it is lasting and deep in its results. Clinical Herbalism, in my mind, is akin to the Slow Food movement. We need to slow down, think deeply, act rightly and carefully, to build nurturing and health into our lives by this process.IMG_2279

As you could guess, a Clinical Herbalist works mostly with chronic illness/injury profiles. They are more than able and willing to help you with acute and accident situations but a standing relationship is beneficial, even for the more immediate needs.

A Clinical Herbalist has been trained to look at all the fine details of you! In addition, they know all the fine details of the plant medicine they work with. Within allopathic medicine we see pharmaceuticals that are sometimes created from plants but usually amount to other substances. Within the allopathic mode of herbalism, we often see the isolated constituents, the active ingredient, taken from the whole plant, in an effort to make the remedy more effective. The problem with this is that the Creator who made these plants, created them whole and complete and when single components are taken alone, they often are no longer effective. One example of this is Hawthorn, an excellent cardiovascular tonic. German researchers thought that the active benefit from this berry came from the flavonoids, especially the one known as vitexin-O-rhamnoside, so they isolated that from the rest of the plant hoping to increase its effectiveness but instead found it to be non-effective altogether. In addition, they fed the berries to animals, minus this specific flavonoid, it was equally ineffective. Only when used as a whole food/berry does the benefit get seen. To take this example a bit further, some folks could benefit from using Hawthorn berries, others might need the leaves, others still may need an entirely different plant or a combination of plants. In some cases, a syrup would be best but in others a tincture is the right fit, for others still, a tea blended with other herbs might be what is needed or perhaps another herb altogether. These are the details you are paying your Clinical Herbalist to know. Only when all the details are combined can you truly experience herbalism as God created it.

In closing, the picture of the cactus is a visual example for me, of Allopathic Herbalism.  While it looks beautiful, organized and purposeful, it is nearly impossible to get to the meat of it, or center where real healing takes place.  I would share, if you fall and scrap up your knees, then by all means, grab the Calendula salve. Learn all you can about how to care for yourself using herbs and safely put into practice what you learn, but source your information carefully, and don’t fall into the quick, easy trap of following an Allopathic Herbalism model. If, however, your needs are complicated and serious, or you find you desire a deeper level of wellness then you currently have, find a good Clinical Herbalist and work with them to create the health you deserve. Take your time and allow them to do the same, your quality of life will vastly improve and that is our Father’s desire, see 3 John 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

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