Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Event I look Forward to Twice A Year

This is an event I look forward to. Many times my family and friends gather in my home and watch this broadcast on TV and discuss it.
I like to take notes and write my feelings as I listen, so I can review it later.
A friend of mine, Beverly Vick gave me a "Conference Journal" that I like to bring out for this occasion. General Conference is held twice a year for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As the years have passed, this journal has become a history of my feelings and highlights from this special event.
The highlight of this event for me is when the prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints speaks. There is always a feeling of love and encouragement with his words.
Hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other spiritual music is always a treat and inspiration too.
If you have ever wondered what the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or "Mormons" believe, why not listen in on what their leaders teacher. This is a time when a modern prophet speaks regarding our day, just like Noah and other prophets spoke to their people in their day.
It's open to everyone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Treasured Memories Preserved Through Easter Decorations

As I handle the old Easter basket from my childhood, I remember my mother thoughtfully giving me the basket and explaining that I should keep it and use it as a sewing basket. She thought it would be a perfect little sewing basket and that I was old enough to have a basket with a purpose. I agreed, even though I wondered if my childhood was coming to an end soon and I would be a grown up.
These decorations are souvenirs, a type of journal entry, a preserver of memories. They keep family memories alive.

The ceramic rabbit that opens up, contains memories of a day I spent with my mother at a garage sale down the street from her last earthy home, on Ash St. in Brownsville Oregon.

It was love at first sight
when I first saw the white rabbit. I didn't buy it, even though I wanted to. It seemed like it was frivolous to buy "another" Easter decoration. We left the garage sale and later my mother returned and bought the rabbit for me and surprised me with it.
The little basket with silk flowers I made for my mother one Easter and placed satin stuffed Easter eggs that I crossed stitched Easter scenes on. She treasured it and brought it out every Easter following.
While my mother and I were in Utah visiting my sister Sarah, and attending a women conference at B.Y.U. we stopped by Thanksgiving Point and bought gifts, including Easter egg lights which we couldn't resist. We both had a soft spot for holiday decorations.
I fondly remember the blue basket as a gift from my sister Emma.
The old window changes seasons, from Christmas to Easter, it holds a memory of driving around Brownsville the night before the city clean-up day where I picked up a dozen or so discarded windows with my friend Teresa. It was before her stroke.

I hope my children have memories of Easter.
Do they remember when I hid their Easter baskets and wrote instructions for a complex treasure hunt that they had to go on before they could find their baskets? Coloring hard boiled eggs with the vinegar solution and dropping the color tablets in each cup takes me back through each of my children, Abe, Joseph, Tamara, Stephen and Johnny. Julie, my step-daughter and I colored eggs too. Coloring eggs goes way back to my own childhood with my older brother Dane and younger siblings Emma, Micah and Sarah. Now my grandchildren are coloring eggs, last year Ruby colored eggs at my house, sitting on her mother Rachel's lap.
One of my oldest Easter memories is with my Grandma Dee. I was coloring eggs at her house in California. I wanted to make a special egg for my dad so I wrote his name on an egg with a wax crayon. I placed it in a cup of dye and when it was done I proudly showed it to my grandmother. She burst out laughing. I asked why she was laughing. She assured me it was cute and I shouldn't change it. I still didn't know what she was talking about. She pointed to the name on the egg, "DUG" and said, that is not how you spell your father's name, it's Doug. I suddenly felt embarrassed and didn't think the egg was special any more, but my grandma insisted I give it to my dad.
Keeping memories alive is part of traditions and celebrations. Take time to keep your memories alive, memories are one of the treasures of life.

This home video shows my oldest Easter basket and walks through precious memories of my mother and loved ones.

Easter reflections wouldn't be complete without mentioning my black duck. In elementary school I got a stuffed toy black duck for Easter. At first I wondered why the duck wasn't white because all the ducks we fed at the park were white, and I hadn't seen a black one before, but soon the little black duck became my favorite toy. I loved it until it's neck flopped over and it's furry body was clumpy. When I was a teenager, I said good-bye to my little duck, but I still miss him.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Real Value In Gold Panning

Johnny, my youngest son, (a student at Oregon State University) eager to try out his new gold pans,invited me to go gold panning with him today. Excited about gold panning since I was a young child when I experienced my first and only gold panning at Knot's Berry farm in California, I answered, "Yes!". I remembered the thrill of finding the gold flakes in the metal pan at Knot's Berry farm. Even as a child I suspected the gold flakes were planted there for everyone to find, and wondered if they were real. Real gold or not, I love the memory of finding it and the time I spent with my family that day at the amusement park! I leaned towards the gold being real and for many years kept the glass vile with the tiny gold flakes at the bottom.
Johnny and I were out the door, walking to the Callapooia River across the street from our house in 5 minutes. Buck, the river loving dog, lead the way.
First Johnny filled a strainer with rocks and sand, which eliminated the bigger rocks, leaving the little stuff for us to take to rinse in the river with the gold pans. After a few pan fulls of gravel and sand, we learned how to reduce the gravel down to the fine black sand that sparkled in the sunshine. We didn't see any gold flakes today, but look forward to giving it another couple of hundred tries.
Life is full of gold panning experiences, some producing gold and some the experience and lessons learned. I would say that today was a golden experience, the real treasure; the time spent with my son.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Comfrey "Queen of the Herbs"

Here's the comfrey I grew and dried for use in tea and poultices.

Comfrey is another example of an herb that my mother introducted to me when I was still living at home under her care. She used to buy it in a box at the health food store in California in the 1960's, it was "Comfrey Mint Tea" which is a delicious blend. I make that blend also with the mint that grows so abundantly in my yard here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I've done a lot of research throughout my life on herbs for personal and family health. One of the best descriptions of comfrey is the "Queen Herb". Some herbalists claim that if they had to choose only one herb, they would choose comfrey because of it's many uses.

I use comfrey sparingly, only a few days at time because of the warnings which can be read at the end of this entry. It is helping me heal from the upper respitory illness I have right now, along with horehound tea, lemon and honey and vegetable broth that I made a huge pot of. I'm also using Yin Quao Jie Wan and Monolaurin.

Herbs are wonderful, however I never substitute home remedies for going to the doctor or hospital when the need arises. I feel modern medicine and all the miraculous knowledge associated with it, is a blessing; it has saved my life and health as well as family members.

Here's a sample of a little online research:

Comfrey (Symphytum officianale) has been used since ancient times as an herbal remedy. The name "comfrey" comes from the Latin words "con firma." In ancient Greek and Roman medicine, comfrey was also known as "knit bone" for its ability to speed healing of broken bones. The roots were soaked in wine or boiled in water, and a compress of the resulting comfrey tea or the boiled roots themselves were applied to the wound.

Comfrey leaf has a long history of use to promote the healing of bones and wounds, as well as internal use to treat a wide variety of ailments. It was also used to treat various ailments such as ulcers, dysentery, diarrhea, indigestion, gum diseases, sore throats, tuberculosis and other lung diseases, whooping cough, cancer, and arthritis. Comfrey leaves are rich in allantoin, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, trace minerals, calcium, and vitamins A, B-12 and C.

Dioscorides recorded how it was used in treating the armies of Alexander the Great, and Pliny the Elder also makes mention of its great many uses. Its use in Chinese traditional medicine spans over 2000 years.

One of the country names for comfrey was ‘knitbone’, a reminder of its traditional use in healing bone fractures. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of bone ailments.

The allantoin contained in the plant is thought to help replace and thus repair cells in the body through its profliferant properties. Comfrey was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating "many female disorders".

If you choose to take comfrey tea, it is strongly recommend that you do so under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or physician.

Used externally, comfrey appears to be relatively safe. An external salve or ointment of comfrey may be used to speed healing of broken bones, cuts, wounds and sprains. Never apply comfrey to broken skin. Apply it instead to the skin around the affected area.

An FDA report also implicates comfrey in the death of two people in the United States. (This report was made many years ago, and I'm not sure over what period of time). These people took excessive amounts of comfrey, but the FDA thought it prudent to issue a warning against consuming comfrey tea until more data demonstrated its safety.

Much of the research demonstrates conflicting results, but until the final word is in, it may be best to exercise caution and use comfrey only as an external treatment.

Comfrey is the organic fruit grower's secret crop booster. You can use it to make a nutrient rich liquid fertilizer, feed, mulch or you can make a good potting-on compost. Whenever you want a readily available fertilizer for flowers fruit and seeds then give comfrey a try.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss Books, What are Your Memories?

How many of you have memories of the books written by Dr. Seuss?
While watching the Martha Stewart Show today honoring the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss, childhood memories started flooding back. At an early age I was hospitalized because of tonsillitis and had my tonsils removed. I was probably about 7 years old. My family gave me a gift while I was in the hospital, "Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss. I read the book over and over, pretty much memorizing it, and brought it home with me from the hospital, treasuring it as a souvenir. I hadn't thought of that precious gift for decades and was thankful for the memory sparked by the celebration of Dr. Seuss' 108 birthday today.

I can hear my own late mother's voice, her English accent that everyone loved, reading to my brother Dane and I as children.

Reading books to my younger siblings, Emma, Micah and Sarah when I was a pre-teen and teenager are some of my favorites memories. My brothers Guy and Clay were also younger than me, but when I visited them, we mostly played at the beach in Manhattan Beach California.

Then memories of the many sweet hours of reading Dr. Seuss books and hundreds of other books to my five children, Abraham, Joseph, Tamara, Stephen and Joseph percolated up for me to enjoy.

Now I have the joy of reading to my grandchildren! Ruby loves me to read to her, I get to go to her house and read and sometimes she comes to my house. Ruby can memorize parts of her books, even though she isn't even two years old yet.
A few months ago I got to read to Anaza while I shared her bedroom during my visit to Hawaii. We would lay on the blow-up bed and read together until she got sleepy and fell asleep, then I would pick her up and put her in her little bed. Rayco likes to read about trains, I always think of him whenever I see or hear a train. He also likes airplanes and liked to show me his airplane collection that his Uncle Dane gave him.
My other grandchildren, Rio and Hayden come to my house, but we mostly play outside with the chickens and do farm chores, which are fun when they help. Hayden told me about his teacher reading his class a book about Lewis and Clark and how the dog Seaman also talked and had thoughts in this book. I shared what I was learning from the Lewis and Clark book I am reading right now that was a gift from Abe.
My oldest grandchild, Randal is in college, he's probably a better reader than I.

Dr. Seuss, never had children of his own, but entertained millions of children by his witty humor and creative characters that live on in our hearts.