The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Lavender – An all rounder

I’ve always loved the scent of lavender oil, dabbing it on my wrist or pouring a few drops into my bath water. Surprisingly, I learned the herb has several medicinal properties, including treating a few Chronic Conditions. Please visit Sally’s blog post to learn more!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

medicine womanI doubt that there are many of you reading this post who have not come across Lavender in your lifetime. It is a beautiful plant in the garden and its perfume has been used for centuries as part of many cultures bathing rituals.

Its botanical name is Lavandula Officinalis and you will usually find it called English Lavender or garden Lavender. In fact its name belies the fact that originally it was found in Mediterranean region as well in Africa and some parts of Russia.


The Romans used daily in their bathwater and also as we do today, in small sachets placed between layers of clothing to keep them fresh smelling and to act as a natural deoderant. A few centuries later, as hygiene took a back seat in the Middle Ages, it would be used in oil form to kill bed bugs and lice.

Certainly few warriors went into…

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Penny For Your Thoughts?

Long before I knew what growing up ever meant, I had two maternal aunts who were never far from my side, always ready to show me the way. My mother was one of four sisters, one slightly older followed by two younger half-sisters, several years younger. There was never any deviation between the four girls. They loved and fought with the gusto of any sisters, full blood or not.

Upon my birth, my mother’s little sisters, suddenly aunts of mine were only five and seven years of age. Throughout the years, we more or less grew up together, and I often thought of them as big sisters, more friends than relatives. We had a bond, often whispering to each other our innermost secrets and dreams, or wishes for the future which of course changed as the years went by.

When my little brother was three, he needed open heart surgery, one of the first to be performed at U of M Children’s Hospital I went to stay with my grandparents during this precarious time, including several visits afterward whenever extended follow-up was needed. My aunts made my life magical during a stage in my life that could have easily turned traumatic. They took me under their wings, played with me like a baby doll, and made me feel safe and secure. I remember sharing a room with them, where we slept together in bunks of two while listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks, on their phonograph over and over again. One of my aunts had to climb down the ladder to move the needle over every time the 45 record ended. Up and down, down and up. And, every afternoon, as soon as the two stepped off a giant yellow school bus, another of them would scoop me up before plopping me inside the front of rattan bicycle basket where the three of us rode off into the woods. There, we often sat on the rough of a fallen log where they made up stories while braiding my hair. Sometimes a snack or two was shared while we hunted for woodland treasures, caught frogs or waded in the clear of a bright blue stream among slippery silver minnows. 

The Chipmunks, as seen in the live-action/CGI ...

My aunts, of course, grew older before I did until one day, both of them had boyfriends. By then, I was simply a pest they wanted to swat away. Their sweethearts used to pay me to run across the street where an old neighborhood store sat on the corner. “Buy yourself anything you want,” they said. Suddenly, a shiny silver quarter was stuffed into my pocket, allowing me to purchase handfuls of penny candy. “Take your time.” Far too soon, I was back in front of them carrying a little white paper bag. Bazooka bubbles of gum smiled and popped directly in front of their boyfriend’s faces!

Bins of candy on display at Murphy's Candy and...

When my parents traveled for work, one or the other aunt would often babysit, staying for a weekend or more to wrangle me and my four younger siblings. They attended high school by this time, and I thought they were so cool. One day, I wanted to be just like them! We often shared my mom and dad’s king-sized bed, where I listened to whispered worries in the light of the moon. Treasured secrets never to tell….

Years later, when I married, one aunt was a bridesmaid, while the daughter of the other was my flower girl. Tragedy struck on one of the happiest days of my life. The aunt of my little flower girl had a seizure at the reception and was quickly taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. She adored children, especially babies, and rooted me on during my monthly struggle with infertility. Nearing her end, she said, “Come’on, Kimmy. Hurry up and get pregnant! I want to hear the good news before anyone else. Promise me!!”

My aunt passed away in February of 1986 at the age of 34. Three months later, when my EPT tested positive, I dried my tears, hopped into my coveted canary yellow Chevette and drove to the cemetery. There at her gravesite, I bawled my eyes out while sharing my blessing. Yes, she was the first one to hear.

Penny for your thoughts?

Timeless Bonds

When I was a lass of long blonde braids, I remember being very ill.  Not sick enough to be hospitalized, but hurting enough to have lasting memories linger within the ‘child’ of me.

Bedridden in the dark of a lavender room, I cried out in pain from a double bed shared with little sisters of two. All of my body hurt, including bones and single strands of hair.

Through fitful sleep, unseen fingers changed damp cloths from warm to cool above my brow. Soft kisses fluttered against burning cheeks. Fresh cotton sheets fluffed like clouds before falling across pale bare legs while a portable fan suddenly swung back and forth to whisper relief.

Upon awakening, noises were heard from the floor below.  Pots and pans banged against a porcelain double sink.  Shrill cries of an infant drifted upward together with my mother’s soothing voice.  I remember wanting her to be with me.  In my youth I didn’t realize that she was and forever would be.

It had been my mother’s hands who changed the cloth atop my forehead….her loving arms who cooled my frame with fresh cotton fabric and the strings of her heart that plugged the old fan into the wall, bringing much needed rest to my blazing body.

How strong the bond between mother and child.  It knows no bounds and has no limits.

Not even time…



Baseball Season

*Yes, this has been posted before during the month of April.  But, it’s why I’m here in the first place.  The reason I began writing long ago.  Please take a second glance to think of little ones who need a chance.  Thank you.

Baseball Season!  The time of year when Little League games will soon begin!  I remember my husband buckling seatbelts around waists of toothless grins before closing the door to our minivan.  It was “Sign-Up Day,” at our county Athletic Association.

I’d like to say that playing sports isn’t any different for children living with Chronic Conditions.  Turns out, anything is possible with a positive attitude, determination, planning and a few adjustments.

In a small building on the busiest street in town, folding tables were set in a room of peeling paint.  At first glance, it looked as though a country wedding was about to begin.  Instead, there was a cardboard box of printed paper surrounded by an unspoken order.  Tiny boxes needed be checked under fluorescent lights of bright white.  Names and addresses and ages too, were to be added in lines of blue.

Days later, an official looking letter arrived.  Like the first day of school, it listed an assigned teacher (coach) together with a classroom (team).  My boys delighted in this.  Especially the name of their teams!  Raptors, Thunder, or Boys of Wonder?   It didn’t matter.  A Home Run had already been hit within their imaginations….

That first season started only weeks after my oldest was diagnosed with diabetes.  Mothers and others covered their mouths, back then.  They whispered behind my back, “Was it possible to play with his condition,” someone asked?  Yes, my son could play baseball!   I would figure out a way.  He was no different from any other little boy…..Besides, he was good with the ball and a quick runner.  He could steal bases faster than any other six-year-old on his team.   His coaches nicknamed him, “Jet.”   Once he started running, he didn’t stop.  This was two years before, Forrest Gump!

I’m not going to lie.  It wasn’t always easy.  Adrenalin made my boy’s blood sugar drop like the pitcher’s ball at home plate.   Oftentimes, I’d dash to the dug-out to prick his finger, checking a single drop of blood to see if his number was “low.”  If so, he’d drink a can of juice or eat some food brought from home.  Sometimes both.  Then off he’d go, out into the field of green to play and run and have some fun.  Or, maybe not.

My youngest son who lived with asthma, had obstacles too playing sports.  Exercise was a huge asthma trigger for him.  He used a preventive inhaler before each game.  Even at a young age, he was still a big ‘little’ guy who slammed the ball far over the fence.  After running around all three bases, he often had to sit out for an inning or more.  Holding his chest, he’d gasp for breath.  Deeply, he’d inhale white powdered medicine from his rescue inhaler.  So difficult for him to wait on the bench while his friends giggled in the dugout while tossing the ball.  Harder still not to breathe….

God taught me many lessons during the years my kids played baseball.  After all, I lived at the ball park from the first game in spring until the last one of summer.  In turn, both of my children learned important lessons too.  Living with Chronic Conditions didn’t stop them from being like any of the other kids on the team.  They simply had to do things a little differently.  Somehow, they found a way.

If your child lives with a chronic condition, do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.  Encourage them to try.  Ask for help, pray to God and wish upon a star.  If you believe in their dreams, they will too.


Jayson Gosselin–Age 6 First Year of Little League

Jay Justin Baseball1



Justin-Age 7, First Year                               Jayson-Age 9

Jay Justin Baseball2 Jay Justin Baseball3


Jay Justin Baseball4  Jayson–Age 16, Freshman High School











Unexpected Easter Gifts

Shopping after church this morning, I observed a young child whose head was bare of hair except for strands of dark blonde, here and there.  Wispy, some long while others short.  New growth spouted at her scalp, fuzzy in texture and darker in color.  Her eyes were bright emerald-green, reminding me of St. Patrick’s Day.   Beneath the ‘sparkle’ of her eyes were shadows of gray, lying in pockets like puffy clouds that hinted of rain.

From an isle away, I stopped my cart, not able to look away from this innocent one.  She dangled bony legs in a basket pushed by her loving mother who was obviously celebrating a day alone and away with her daughter.  In their basket, a dress of white ruffles with a yellow satin sash.  Smiling, the little girl lifted thin arms, hugging her mommy around the neck.  Bending down to plant loving kisses I noticed a tear or two fall from the mother’s face of blush pink.  Quickly, she wiped them away with the palm of her hand.

I was in the store shopping for two of my grand-daughters, both of whom are healthy.  I suspected the little one being pushed in the cart was not.  Around the corner was a rack of fancy hats.  All child-sized, some with colored rainbow ribbons falling in back, others with big bows to the side and more with flowers painted in colors of pastels.

At that moment I accidentally pushed my cart into the mother and child’s silver of the same.  The little girl desperately wanted to wear a hat for Easter Sunday, and her mother so wanted to purchase one for her.  Yet they were all too big on her tiny head of no hair.  “Can I ask your opinion,” the mother nearly whispered to me?  “Why sure,” I replied, with a smile to my face.  “Delighted to help.  Let’s see what we can find!”

At first it seemed a fruitless task.  The sweet child’s head seemed to be swallowed in every brim.  At that moment the little girl noticed what was in my cart.  Easter presents for my grand-daughters.  Big baby dolls with hats on their heads!  Beautiful hats with ribbons and lace and yes, flowers to their sides bursting in beautiful blooms!

With an “Ah-Ha” moment I asked the mother to wait right there.  Quickly, I went to the isle where baby dolls sat on shelves.  Choosing another with a beautiful hat atop its head, I ran towards the front of the store.  The hat was white with a pink satin sash around the middle of the wide brim.  To the side was pinned an enormous flower of pink with variegated petals dipped in lime and peach.  I quickly paid for my purchases before returning to the row where my new ‘friends’ could be found.  There I handed the mother a separate bag.  “Please accept this Easter gift on one condition.”  She blushed, not knowing what to say while peeking inside.  “I’d like to see how lovely your precious daughter looks in her new hat before I leave the store.”

With that the mother’s eyes welled with tears again while placing the new baby doll in her daughter’s arms.  The hat from the doll’s head was lifted atop her child’s own, where it fit perfectly.  Together, we wheeled their cart to a shiny mirror in order for the little one to see her new ‘hat’s self’ for the very first time.

Clutching the baby doll in arms of two, a forlorn little girl suddenly smiled with glee. Gently, she fingered flower petals as if seeing them for the very first time in the whole of her life.  “Oh, Mommy, it’s so pretty!  This new hat makes me look and feel like a princess!”

One week from today, I shall think of my new ‘friends’ on Easter Sunday, together with each and every year afterward.

Lessons Learned…..


Living In The Moment

Contemplating my day. How will it go, what will he say? I’ve pulled off surprises in the past. Yet, this one I fear will be too short. It will not last. Stopping to sip a cup of of coffee near the airport lobby, twinkling lights of a runway welcome me. “Take pleasure in the moment, ” they seem to say.

A quick trip is planned to Arizona. Visiting my father. Two, younger sisters will be joining me in Phoenix. We ‘re stepping stones. 1-2-3. with about five years between the each of us. Renting a car, we plan to relax in a hotel while spending a few days of quality ‘sister’ time.

My father was told that he needed to be home this afternoon to “sign for a special delivery.” Indeed, when the three of us drive up Dad’s dusty circle drive, past the prickly cactus, mongrel dogs and the open starry skies, hopefully he’ll think we are a “special delivery!” I can’t wait to see the moon of his face, hear him struggle for words and string my arms around his neck.

My father had a slight accident last month, only a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was silly, he thought. Stooping low to climb into the crackled leather of the driver’s seat of his car, he missed. Bam! Ouch! Hitting the greying hair of his head on the edge of his cream-colored car, he nearly knocked himself out!

“No big deal,” he thought. Until he started driving. Dizziness., blurry vision and a headache began. Suddenly. Somehow, Dad made it to the first ER where tests determined a slight concussion. “A concussion??? I’ve never had one in my life,” Dad exclaimed!! “Are you kidding me????”

No driving for my father. Lots of rest. Trouble is, he’s had additional symptoms ever since. Some slight and subtle. Others not so much. Yesterday, he was back in ER with Vertigo.

His doctor does not think there is a connection between Dad’s concussion and other symptoms. As a writer who has done a lot of medical research in the past, I know just enough to be dangerous. I have my suspicions together with tremendous hope that I am wrong.

Enough of that! Back to “living in the moment.” I’ll soon be laughing with my sisters. Stopping for a bottle of red wine to share within the desert suite of our hotel. Staring at sand of beige with a pool of blue through the clear of our 2nd floor window.
Together, we’ll whisper jokes under fluffy covers while giggling until our bellies ache. Times 3!

Before that, we’ll surprise our father with an anticipated “special delivery.” He’ll be shocked with glee covering an enormous grin of wide! Happy and smiling. Crinkles with wrinkles surrounding watered blue eyes.

Dogs of two will jump and bark nearly knocking us down. Tall, Sahuaro cactus will greet us in the foreground while we relish in our father’s bliss.

Yes, all four of us , family together again will take pleasure in the moment.”>2015/01/img_1118.jpg</a

Don’t Be SAD

Moods.  Often changing depending on seasons.  Sunlight.  Darkness.  Morning.  Evening.  I’ve noticed this lately.  Intuition signals sweat to form tiny beads on the back of my neck.  Little hairs begin to prickle.  I see changes in actions while hearing words with tones sounding different than only a few months before……

Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It’s real.  A Chronic Condition that affects more people than I ever imagined.  It’s a true form of depression many haven’t heard of or even know exist.  Once simply called the Winter Blues, it’s probably been around since the beginning of time.  Like a broken arm, migraines or the flu.

Approximately fifty years ago, a proper diagnosis was made and a name given to a form of depression that seemed to be triggered by specific seasons of the year.  More woman are affected than men who live in states or countries that have less light.  Yes, people feel blue, but it is more than that.  They are truly SAD.

Most who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder notice a curtain closing upon their mood during the darkening days of fall, not lifting until the lighter days of spring.   Still others notice changes in their mood during the fresh scent of spring, lasting through the end of summer’s sun.

SAD is real and it does exist!  If you don’t suffer from it, I guarantee that someone you greet on the street, bump in shop, or pass at work probably does.  They may be good at hiding it, or worse yet, do not even realize they are living with it.  How SAD is that???

Please support me today by being a good friend tomorrow.  Hold a hand and spread my words to help others understand that Seasonal Effective Disorder is a true condition that can be treated.  There is no shame in being depressed.  Education is the key.  Talk about it.

Only a physician can properly diagnose someone with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If you or someone you know is feeling depressed over a period of time without feeling better, seek treatment.

Some Symptoms of Winter SAD



*Feeling tired or having low energy

*Hypersensitivity to rejection

*Problems getting along with others



*Increased appetite/Craving carbohydrates or foods high in fat or sugar

*Wanting or needing excess sleep

*Decreased sex drive

*Weight gain

*Increased alcohol consumption

*Difficulty in concentration


Spring and Summer SAD



*Weight Loss



  • Talk therapy
  • Light therapy
  • Proper Diet
  • Exercise
  • Medication
  • A Combination of the Above

Thanksgiving Memories

Edited From 11/25/13

Wising All My Readers a Very Blessed Thanksgiving Day.

This Thanksgiving morn kindles fond memories of my Aunt Barb.  She was the eldest of my father’s seven siblings, always a special one to me on this day.  My aunt made Thanksgiving look and feel like a Hallmark commercial or a “pop-up” cut-out card to be treasured in a box under the ruffle of my bed.  If she were alive today, she would long be in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, cozy and warm within the confines of her Bay City, bungalow.  Like a snow-globe found in a department store, a child’s hold could shake it to see her smiling there while stuffing turkeys, preparing pies, or filling crystal candy dishes for her nieces and nephew’s with colored, M&M’s.

My aunt Barb took it upon herself to create an extended tradition for my enormous family, one that I have never forgotten.  Generous in spirit, humble and kind, she was a special person through and through.  Blessed to have escaped a rare gene that ravaged the lives of three of her younger sisters, she made silent promises to God, I believe, in going above and beyond in ways others could not.

My aunt’s house was not a large home, two bedrooms and a bath.  Her galley kitchen was small with black and white linoleum covering the floor.  I remember the stairway going to the basement was directly in the back, with a windowed door in between.  On Thanksgiving, it was forever left open.  Once you passed through, magic began to happen. I can still hear the clicking sounds of my patent leather Mary Jane shoes as I raced my cousins down the stairway to the heart and home of Thanksgiving.

The basement was divided into two large rooms.  It wasn’t finished in a fancy custom design like basements are today.  No, simple cement block walls greeted me, painted in bright and cheery pastel colors.  I remember being in awe of an extra kitchen at the bottom of the basement stairway, making me believe my aunt was rich!  Looking back, it was nothing more than a row of necessities to make life easier on Thanksgiving Day.  An old farm sink in shiny white, a gold oven with a big round clock on top and a white refrigerator that made buzzing sounds.  Still, extra turkeys browned and baked within the oven’s warmth, jiggly salads of jello chilled in the refrigerator’s coolness, while dishes were endlessly washed within the basin of the sink.

The basement’s tile floor beneath our shoes was shiny and bright.  There was a corner where all of us kids took turns bending down to see our faces in it.  Windows were all around the bottom of the cement wall, allowing fall sunlight to peer in.  Our cousins smashed pink noses flat against the glass of dust to see us from the outside.  In return, we teased them from the inside.  They were missing all the FUN!  The smells of pumpkin pie, the games we played and oh, the mischief in the basement there!

In the next room was a table the length I’d never seen before.  Actually it was a combination of several little tables, all pushed together so one and all could sit together.  Anticipation seemed to last f.o.r.e.v.e.r!  Finally, my mother, together with all of my aunts took turns bringing in plate after plate of delicious food that smelled so-good! Carefully, they sat each colored platter and bowl on top of colored cloths while lifting lids up above, allowing sizzling steam to escape.  I marveled at the twirling smoke, watching it swirl to the very tip of the ceiling.  Soon my father said the Thanksgiving Day prayer, giving thanks for our many blessings.  Always, he added a special tribute to Aunt Barb who brought our great big family together, making us all one for the special day.

After bellies were full, women pitched in to help clean-up, children scattered outside to play make-believe, while men trudged upstairs to the living room to watch afternoon sports on a colored television.  Babies cried, mother’s bounced them on their knees, and daddies passed them back and forth.  Toddlers teetered, older cousin’s sneaked M&M’s from crystal bowls, little boys played cowboys, and I dreamed imaginary tales while talking with my cousin in the “woods” beside my aunt’s shingled house.  There wasn’t any woods, really.  An extra lot with a few trees, but to me it was Sherwood’s Forest….

When I picture my Aunt Barb today, I see her like she always was.  A beautiful face with skin the color of perfect porcelain.  With eyes as bright as the ocean blue, they truly were the “windows to her soul.”  She had a tremendous love for family together with an amazing zest for life.  She did almost anything she ever wanted.  My aunt traveled the world while helping others.  She laughed every day, smiled while twinkling her eyes and danced in life.   I remember as a little girl, she used to tell me I was her special gift because we shared the same birthday.  Truth be told, she was my special gift.

Year after year, my Aunt Barb brought our overflowing family together on Thanksgiving Day.  I’ve cherished those memories ever since.  I will forevermore.


English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

My Mother’s Yellow Roses

*Please bear with me during the next couple of days as I dedicate a few older posts to the memory of my mother.  She passed away four years ago on November 20, 2010. Originally posted 11/8/2013

There they were.  Three yellow roses blooming high atop the bush of frosted leaves.  The morning sunlight had just come over the horizon to frame its own picture of them before I grabbed my camera phone to do the same.

They are “My Mother’s Yellow Roses,” of course.  All her life, the yellow rose was her favorite flower.  Five years ago when I moved into this house I planted the yellow rose-bush as a way to keep her close to me.  We lived far from each other, able to visit only once or twice a year.  Yet, whenever I sat on my patio, her spirit seemed to surround me. The scent of the yellow roses, their edges dipped in painted pink, brought us together.

My glance at the lemon colored rose petals always remind me of my mother.  Particularly this morning.  Perhaps it is the contrast of the glistening, white frost blanketing the hill in the background.  How it sparkles in the sun like fairy dust, covering the grasses and all of the blades of green around it.  The flowers I so prized in rainbow colors decorating my patio have withered.  They hang, crumpled over rainbow pots.  Their lives have ended for the year, a sign of cooling weather.  Changing seasons are upon us with winter coming soon.

My mother is on my mind this month.  She passed away three years ago in November of 2010.  I was packing to board a flight to see her in Arizona.   Packing  three years ago on this very day.  It was not her time yet, but I knew….she  would be lost to me, soon.  She lived with several chronic conditions.  The worst of which was, COPD.  Eventually, it led to lung cancer, choking the life from her.

The yellow roses I planted to keep me close to my mother are hanging on as if to send me a message this morning.  In spite of the frost that snuffed the life from the flowers around them, they are still here to say, “Hello.”  They have not withered or left their source of life.  They send me love from my mother above, and me right back to her.  I predict they may prevail for a few days more, or even longer.  Like life in general, no one but God knows for sure.  Until that day comes, I glance out the window at every opportunity to see my mother’s yellow roses.  There, I  whisper a silent message full of love to her above.

“I miss you, Mom.”

My Mother's Yellow Roses Growing Amongst The Frost Surrounding Them