11.13.2014

stress & sickness


One of the crucial changes we made after Elijah hit two months old (I perhaps should have started sooner) is that I take off with my girl(s) one night each week. From baby bedtime (approx 7pm) until my bedtime (at my discretion),

My mum-in-law recently share the following with me:

A friend of mine just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection--the relationship between stress & disease.  The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.  At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently & provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality  "girlfriend time " helps us to create more seratonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression & creates a general feeling of well being.  Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our souls with our sisters, & evidently that is very good for our health.  He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

One Tuesday a month, 7-9PM, this happens at the 400. Having been twice, I can vouch that it's worth a try. Tricky to describe, this isn't a TED talk nor a tea party nor a sob session. But time & space is being made where we can form new friendships with glad & sincere hearts. Any & all women are welcome. #shamelessplug

11.05.2014

eat. sleep. read.



Brushing up on my children's lit exposure, & bracing myself in case our boys have no love for The Secret Garden, Heidi or Just So Stories, our library reservation list is lengthening with the waning sunlit hours. Similarities among our most beloved titles tend toward:
  • detailed descriptions of nature
  • plot based on ocean voyage
  • crime suspense
  • intelligent, articulate animal characters
  • vivid dialogue with eye dialect & songs/poems/correspondence
  • ending where orphan is lovingly adopted
  • maps printed on endsheets
  • illustrations sketched at sub-chapter pauses or in margins
This week includes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (audiobook), Urso Brunov, The Horse & His Boy, Calvin & Hobbs.

9.08.2014

Rookie Book Learning

Lately I keep reading about children and young people born in hard times or hard places: third world countries or the inner city in a time of war. And the more I read these people's life stories, the more appalled I am with myself: the ease & comfort with which I choose to live and allow my children to grow accustomed to living. My conscience smitten, it's making me want new patterns, new habits of working hard, delaying gratification in small ways. Facing childhood fears sooner rather than later: fear of the water, fear of dogs, fear of riding bikes downhill on forest paths. It's a joy to see them have the self-control when things get scary to still trust and obey, to sleep when it's dark, to eat at the table when mama calls, to be thankful for the abundance of food, to complain less, to stop compulsive snacking...

August came to an abrupt halt, the parents who send their kids to school were asking questions that made me panic! When the gentlest friend I know wrote to me from the far reaches of the PNW, I could (at last) sit & write out what Clinch Academy has meant so far to the 4 & 3 year olds we keep to ourselves. We're on our own, but with a few structures in place each morning. 

I've been listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast, so we're at the library a lot. Various book lists exist, I'm blazing through Five In A Row (borrowed) as the boys' appetite for stories is so crazy & varied. E listens to audio books at quiet time in my room while O still takes a proper afternoon nap. We're on week 4 of an app called New City Catechism, which is exactly 52 Q&A so one per week for a year. It's a great (free) resource to connect our Fam devotions with Songs for Saplings style teaching about God, way less intimidating than the full Heidelberg & Os paced. I snagged a copy of Ordinary Parent's Guide & am borrowing some Bob books to review phonics & really teach E to read this year. He's gotten used to physical work/challenge (2-3 mile hikes or bike rides, in humid conditions or learning to swim, etc) & is ready for mental work as the weather gets rainy & cool. We also have a pocket sized New England Primer for practicing phonics sounds in the car. (I learned to read using Sing Spell Read and Write, but that curriculum is so expensive that I'm just singing everything I remember from it.) It's 10-15 min at a time, 3x a week at least, very repetitive but he really wants to read so I'm trying to keep up my end of the deal.

We're also working on the Kodaly Music foundations, with Curwin Hand signs & rhythm sticks (this pin board is my brain these days.) I want our boys to embrace their God-given voice as their first instrument, with technique & strong music theory foundations. If they move on to piano or violin, that's wonderful... But very few people discipline their voice as a tool of powerful personal praise. It's an insecurity among many many men that need not sow seeds in their sons.


We're just barely hitting our rhythm these days, & def do lessons in between walks to the dog park. But another great resource I snagged is Cleaning House for two reasons: homeschooling means the house can get crazy & the boys need a work ethic that extends beyond academics. In terms of prepping for the potential bickering of being together all.the.time, I also am starting The Peacemaker after my sis-in-law said their team is going through it as adults & with their kids before heading to India this winter.

Is this helpful? I'm not systems-based by a long shot, & am trying not to spend needless $$ or scatter myself in too many directions or drive Nic crazy. I would love to keep up this way, & I love the forethought that writing allows. This stream of consciousness may continue.

7.08.2014

Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Redemption Hill Music has released its third EP, Poor Wayfaring StrangerRecorded, produced, & mixed by Stephen Wozny, with album artwork by artist Duncan Robertsonavailable for purchase & download at Bandcamp Lyrical rewrite & vocals on title track by yours truly. Enjoy!

4.29.2014

Mayday Handmade Fair

This Saturday's Mayday Handmade Fair is open to the public and free to all! Doors open at noon sharp. Feel free to RSVP or share via FB. In honor of Mother’s Day, 10% of vendor proceeds will benefit the East End Pregnancy Test + Help Center. Read here about my own reasons for supporting the center with proceeds from Limb & Leaf!
I'll have fresh batches of Zzzzzzz Cream, Breathe Balm, Healing Salve & gift certificates for upcoming HerbShop events, among other thoughtful gift items! Other vendors plan to offer:

  • paintings, prints & home decor
  • toys, greeting cards & garlands
  • handknits & printed apparel
  • herbal body care & loose teas
  • jewelry (both local & fair trade from overseas)

4.09.2014

DIY Herb Love & Lore


Three more spaces available this Saturday for HerbShop. We'll be making first-aid remedies, drinking probiotic tea & identifying wild, healing herbs of spring! Sign up via the Square marketplace.
Hope to see you there!



4.08.2014

Happy 3

photos taken at Belle Isle Skills Course

In motion all day, we celebrate your three sweet years with us! Anything but subtle, fiercely loyal, we love to see you're "ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly & didn't give a fig for anyone who wasn't." What a gracious brother you are turning out to be.

3.28.2014

April HerbShop: Skincare & Seasonal Relief

Zzzzzzz Cream
Skincare & Seasonal Relief

Learn & practice hands-on methods for making herb infused oils & medicinal tinctures to help protect against & recover from common skin ailments & allergic reactions. Starting with an overview of herb properties, we will examine different extraction methods while learning when they can be best applied. The remainder of the class will be devoted to preparing an herb & essential oil first-aid antibiotic salve, a bentonite clay body powder & ending with a Q&A session and talking the pros & cons of ordering herbs in bulk. Our structure is a lab rather than lecture, so please come ready to work with your hands & revolutionize your medicine cabinet while having lots of fun! 

All materials will be provided. Each student will walk away with a travel size healing salve, recipe cards to jog the memory at home, book lists & online resources... It's taken me 4 yrs to learn where to find the best ingredients at affordable prices & what works for sensitive, damaged, acne-prone or newborn skin. I'm just sharing the love!

Date/Time: April 12, 2014 / 2-4pm
Location: 23223 (my house)
Cost: $35 (includes all materials) 
Sign up via the Square marketplace 
Hope to see you there!
xoxo 
Megs

2.18.2014

March HerbShop: Skincare & Seasonal Relief



LIMB AND LEAF HERBSHOP
Skincare & Seasonal Relief

Learn & practice hands-on methods for making herb infused oils, salves and poultices. Starting with an overview of herb properties, we will examine different extraction methods while learning when they can be best applied. The remainder of the class will be devoted to preparing an herbal first-aid & antibiotic salve, ending with a Q&A session and talking the pros & cons of ordering herbs in bulk. Our structure is a lab rather than lecture, so please come ready to work with your hands & revolutionize your skin-care practices while having a lot of fun! All materials will be provided. Each student will leave with a travel size sample of healing salve, recipe cards to jog the memory at home, my book lists & online resources... It's taken me 4 yrs to learn where to find the best ingredients at affordable prices & what works for sensitive, damaged, acne-prone or newborn skin. I'm just sharing the love!

Date/Time: 2-4pm, March 22, 2014
Location: RVA's Northside, 23222
Cost: $35 (includes all materials)
Register on Square Market

1.10.2014

Frankie


Today I would like to tell you about my Nana. She passed away Wednesday, around five in the morning, peacefully sleeping at home, cared for by her children. Her grandchildren visited throughout December, knowing it was her last lap with lung cancer. She was my inheritance. Our beloved matriarch, a well-read & well-traveled woman, a loyal wife & longtime widow of her best friend, a nurturing mother to the very end, dignified, full of faith, the devoted friend I wish to be. My face & temperament is more like hers than I realized until looking in the mirror this morning. She let me have her cocktail dresses when I was still young enough and small enough to wear them out. She gave me a gift to congratulate me on becoming a woman the first time I got my period. She always let us into her world and always knew when to give us space. She treated my mom as a friend rather than an in-law, & I cherish their remarkably open & unpretentious way with one another.

Nana loved to sing & dance, took us to the Nutcracker Ballet every Christmas, invited us to her beach week each year & let us join her adventure across Ireland to celebrate retirement at 70. (I was 16, & felt like she was giving me the world.) I hope to convey the depth of her kindness & inclusive love to our boys as their memories of her are sure to fade. Frankie was like no other. I'm thankful she's at peace now. And I'm so glad to share her memory with all of you.
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