Category Archives: Mission Statement

Finally – VA recognizes tapping as an effective treatment for PTSD

You cannot imagine my excitement when I found the link to this article in my inbox today. A reason to celebrate indeed! If you read through to the end of this blog post, you’ll understand why.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/veterans-administration-approves-eft-emotional-freedom_us_597fc82ee4b0cb4fc1c73be2?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

I became a certified EFT practitioner because it helped me reclaim my Joy de Vivre in spite of a debilitating, chronic condition. And the most wonderful gift it gave me was my husband’s life and a happier marriage than I once thought possible.

The garden he created from a rocky, naked weed patch.

I haven’t written before about what it was like watching the creative, driven man I knew become nearly catatonic after the events of 9/11.

Suddenly, my once-active, funny husband was disappearing into an unknown world. I had no idea what was happening to him. All I could do was watch him disintegrate into a man I no longer knew how to relate to.

One morning, not long after that fateful day on the 11th of September, he sat in his bathrobe unresponsive. I knew something had to be done. I was still working full-time then.

I tried calling him as soon as I arrived at my desk. When he wouldn’t pick up the phone sitting right next to him I reached out to his best friends. They took him to the Portland VA Medical Center. A day spent in the ER resulted in a PTSD diagnosis.

At that time, we followed the traditional therapy plan of drugs and classes the VA prescribed. It helped, but only minimally. A few years later, his out of control symptoms dominated our lives once again.

This time, he was on hyper-vigilant guard duty 24/7. Rapid speech, constant pacing the floor, not eating, not sleeping and drinking nearly from the time he awoke is what our daily life had devolved into. He was unable to track in normal conversation. He was so volatile that living with him had become a frightening nightmare.

Later, he told me that he had been fighting the six voices constantly shouting instructions to him, the worst of them telling him to just give in and kill them all. None of his friends or family knew what he was going through or how to help.

I now realize what an amazing soldier he is to have been able to fight those voices as successfully as he did. He defended his loved ones against himself. I honor him for that. Otherwise, our story could have had a very different headline. Thanks to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique aka tapping) that didn’t happen.

I had already found tapping the year before through Nick and Jessica Ortner’s annual World Tapping Summit. But he thought banging on your face was stupid and refused to try. He banished all mention of it from our conversations. Then he finally hit bottom. He’s a soldier. Soldier’s don’t show weakness or ask for help.

One evening in a rare moment of quiet, I said, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to get through this on your own.” Amazed, I watched the balloon of his soldier on attitude deflate in an instant. He finally surrendered.

The next day we reached out to Marilyn McWilliams. She had been part of the Veteran’s Stress Project and selflessly donated her skills as an EFT Coach to help veterans in crisis. All she asked is that they pay it forward.

At his third appointment, he enthusiastically exclaimed, “I can’t wait to get triggered!” Why? Because he knew he had an effective tool that would reduce the adrenaline/cortisol rush his body was so addicted to and find peace. And he did!

Mike received an honorary service medal in a ceremony hosted by Chinook Winds in Lincoln City.

For a brief time, Marilyn volunteered with us to serve on a VA committee where veterans gave their input on how the VA could help fellow veterans. We were there to demonstrate how EFT had helped him. Today, I have my husband back. Just like my condition, the PTSD is not gone. But its effects have been greatly reduced. The more he taps, the better he feels.

 

If you or someone you know could also use this good news, please share the link in your social media outlets. Please contact me for more information on how tapping can help you or your loved one, too. Follow this link to the EFT Practitioner profile. Due to my health condition, I only work part-time.

http://www.eftuniverse.com/certified-eft-practitioners/search-results/?dir=1&keywords=Glenda%20Rueger%20Payne

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Turning Sixty – a great time in life to start again!

 

This is me taken the summer before my health crashed forcing me to medically retire. I feel like this today!

 

Have you ever had one of those moments when you suddenly realize your life is completely different from what it was a few short years ago because you are completely different? If you haven’t, would you like to know how you can?

Below is a post I recently shared with my fellow Energy Psychology (see disclaimer at the end of this post) students about how my life has changed in the three years since I’ve been studying and using these techniques in my own life. At times, my physical hurdles and resultant depression seemed insurmountable. I struggled many times with hopelessness.

Yesterday, the difference in my life pre and post tapping (one of the best-known energy medicine techniques) crystallized in one giant aha moment. I felt such awe I had to share my thoughts with my classmates, which I’m reposting here. I also refer in my post to the study work I’m doing with Dr. Joe Dispenza. One of his books is called, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I highly recommend it if you are serious about living a happier, more vibrant life no matter your circumstance. I’ve copied my FB post to my classmates here:

I was just writing in my journal and had such aha’s as a direct result of last weekend (a one-day workshop in Seattle, WA with Dr. Dawson Church, director of EFT Universe and author of The Genie in Your Genes, and Dr. Joe Dispenza) that I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

I will attempt to be brief but there is so much. I already posted about the frustrating experience trying to pump my own gas (Oregonians don’t have to pump their own) on our way home after the workshop. What amazed me was that because my vibration had been so high, I instantly felt the cortisol rush through my body as my frustration and near panic (gas tank was on empty and the pump said my debit card was invalid). Never have I felt it that distinctly before. Boy, did I tap that down fast!

It took me two full days of total bed rest to recover from the weekend. Actually, that is a huge improvement. With my mitochondrial condition, a few years ago it would have taken at least three or four days to recover from being that far below my fatigue threshold. Even though it was very high energy, it was still above my energy expenditure threshold for any one or two consecutive days.

But today is a whole new day! The productiveness was astounding and more akin to what I was able to accomplish in a normal day ten years ago! I was alert and energetic from the moment I got out of bed until we ended the live call earlier this evening.

You have no idea how miraculous that is to someone who arrived at her first class for EFT Level I and II certification in a wheelchair. I haven’t used my scooter since I left that class in 2015.

Just a month ago, concentration and sustained energy long enough to sit at the computer for more than a few hours at a time happened only three days a week, if that. It took me one to two years longer than most to complete my certification studies as a result.

I’ve been improving very slowly, but steadily, these last two years or so. However, the recent sessions I’ve had with fellow EPC students combined with last weekend’s workshop has changed everything.

I marvel at the dramatic changes I’ve made as I sit in the dusky, evening light-filled living room with gentle music playing, candles burning on the sills of rain-spotted windows, a glass of water with crystal infusions in it vs. a glass of wine, and feeling totally joy-filled as I write these words to you. What a beautiful day!

 

I may be sixty, but I feel I’m just getting started. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. As more and more people unleash their true potential by clearing away limiting beliefs, we can create a world where happiness, harmony, and cooperation become the order of the day, regardless of our circumstances. Contact me so we can explore how this can work for you, too.

You can also follow this link to the latest research: http://tappingqanda.com/2017/04/pod-266-latest-scientific-research-eft-w-dr-peta-stapleton/

Here is Dr. Dispenza’s information: https://kripalu.org/presenters-programs/presenters/joe-dispenza

Follow this link to learn more about Dr. Dawson Church and EFT Universe: http://www.eftuniverse.com/certification/dawson-church-phd

 

You can find me on my practitioner page by following this link: http://www.eftuniverse.com/practitioners/glenda-rueger-payne

Intermediate-1

Please note: I am not a licensed clinical therapist or psychologist. These techniques are not meant to replace your current medical team. They are simply a great, self-help complement. In Oregon, I can’t use the word psychology or healing in my business name or description of my work. Energy Psychology is the name given to a set of energy techniques that offer clients amazing results in becoming the best version of themselves possible.

 

A new vision for healthcare. An Impossible Dream?

I recently filled out a Medicare survey. I found it impossible to convey all I needed to say by completing the form. Hence, I included this letter in the return envelope. Will it do any good? I doubt it. Still, I have a voice and if I can inspire others with similar thoughts, then maybe we can become a combined voice for change.

Dear Sir/Madam,
I don’t know who to address this letter to. I need to give more information on my relationship with doctors than can be found by filling in some boxes on a survey form.

My current doctor is the best AMA trained doctor I’ve ever worked with. However, spending 10 minutes in a follow-up appointment leaves no time for true connection or to address the emotional concerns every patient has, especially those with chronic conditions.

I have a rare medical condition for which there is currently no treatment (meaning there is not an expensive pill with ridiculous side effects causing more harm than the purpose for which they are prescribed – Seriously, do you listen to the subtext of side effects in every drug ad?) yet discovered that will improve my condition. The best therapies for cases like mine are alternative treatments, which you currently don’t pay for or only pay under such restrictions that their effectiveness is undermined.

I can no longer see my favorite doctor who stood by my side through five grueling long years of suffering before any AMA trained doctor ever took my symptoms seriously enough to search for an accurate diagnosis. That doctor was a naturopath who went way beyond the call of duty to make sure I was taken care of. Medicare does not cover NDs. A costly mistake for all in my opinion.

So far, Medicare does not give alternative practitioners the same benefits afforded to AMA trained doctors. Based upon my experience, when traditional doctors can’t find a proper diagnosis, they blame the patient. How does that decrease stress, which is top of the list of killers in America today? Aren’t the patients the real reason they are being doctors in the first place? Hmm, maybe not for all, but it sure is for my ND.

I had one doctor tell me the only reason I was passing out with activity was that I needed a breast reduction. She said if I just “pushed through” I’d be fine. It’s hard to “push through” when you’re curled up on the floor unable to breathe and fighting blackout. Another one blamed my childhood trauma and prescribed Ativan.

While I concur that childhood trauma played a factor, they offered no help other than “head meds.” The correct diagnosis was a rare form of a rare disease having to do with faulty mitochondria causing muscle weakness, shortness of breath and collapse with activity.

Five years is a long time to wait for support from the medical community when your life has fallen apart. I wanted/needed help. A forced medical retirement at the age of 54 because I could no longer work was devastating. My current neurologist finally found the diagnosis, for which I am grateful. But he is not interested in me as a person. He doesn’t have time to be.

I want to go back to my ND who opened her office to treat me on her days off, who took the time to reach out to other doctors across the country. She referred me to OHSU where I eventually was taken seriously enough to get an accurate diagnosis. She was there for me every step of the way until Medicare kicked in forcing me to stop seeing her.

Not only was I scoffed at and invalidated by traditional doctors when I tried to explain the severity of my symptoms, I was treated as a lazy person who just wanted to mooch off of the system. Eventually, I sought out, found and trained in one of the best stress-reducing, emotionally supportive, simple to use techniques I’ve found called EFT. http://www.eftuniverse.com/

I’ve heard stories like mine from countless others who suffered for years before finally getting the help they needed. I was scooter dependent before EFT. Now, I only need to use my cane when I’ve walked too much and am in danger of leg collapse. Do alternative therapies work? YES! Should they replace traditional approaches? NO! Should they be included as part of a comprehensive care plan? Absofreakinlutely!

I would appreciate the American medical system returning to a more balanced approach to healthcare. Insurance companies have inserted themselves between the patient/doctor relationship so it seems it is up to you to decide to support complementary alternative medicine equally.

I hold a vision that the doctors of the future will be able to do more than prescribing drugs with horrific side effects as the only treatment option. The best model I see now for an integrative healthcare system is Kaiser Permanente and some of the cancer treatment centers. I hope one day Medicare will follow that lead if Medicare still exists at all in the future.

The switch to supporting these kinds of treatments has to come from you, the insurance companies who pay for treatments. Disabled people like me can’t afford them on their own, and I am living proof that they work. So is my husband who nearly died from military-related PTSD for which drugs and traditional therapy did not help.

I contend that if we focused more on paying for alternative therapies equally alongside conventional ones, your coverage costs would decrease immensely. But I doubt it will happen in my lifetime because corporations can’t make money on a prescription for meditation.

It seems to me we’ve lost the basic rule of medicine, which is to do no harm. Profit rules everything these days. But I wasn’t born to be fodder for the greedy. I am a human being made of spirit and emotions as well as a physical body. My health is dramatically impacted by my relationship with all aspects of myself.

A truly good doctor needs to be able to address the whole me and offer practical help – not just scribble a drug name on a prescription pad and send me out the door. The current healthcare system seems more interested in keeping us sick and dependent upon prescription medication than to offer anything of long-lasting value to a thriving lifestyle. That is a crime in my opinion.

I’m not saying all prescription drugs are bad. I’m saying we need to include alternative options equally to really offer quality care. Vision with me for a moment: I walk into my doctor’s office for my scheduled appointment. It is not just my doctor’s office, but a complementary alternative medical complex housing everything I need for optimal body/mind/spirit health in one location.

While I wait, there are soothing nature scenes with relaxing, ad-free musical scores to soothe my nerves and relax my body. I would be able to see my stress coach, my massage therapist, my ND/MD all in one place and all covered under the same healthcare insurance. Classes for yoga, Tai Chi, nutrition and other health-supportive activities would also be available on-site.

I would leave my doctor’s office feeling invigorated and plugged back into the natural vitality of life instead of feeling more confused and depressed than I was when I arrived. Before my diagnosis, leaving confused and angry was the usual result of a doctor’s visit. I prefer a healthcare system which helps me to thrive in spite of my diagnosis! If this letter serves to be a voice for change, then that’s a good thing.

For more information on complementary alternative medicine, please follow this link: https://nccih.nih.gov/

Winter Tears

dscn2098_22As the newly arrived snow begins to blanket the Holly tree outside my window, I find myself reflecting. Recent events have brought me face to face with the ugliest part of my Shadow Self; the part of me that behaves just like the worst of my mom’s behaviors. That’s a hard one to own.

The worst of my mom was a mean-hearted, snippy bitch who seemed to undermine my sisters and me to our friends at the most embarrassing moments. I exhibit the snippy bitch part anytime I feel too overwhelmed, frustrated and not in control.

Those within close proximity better duck or be caught in the blast of Queen Snippy Bitch at her finest. Hello Mom in me. It’s time to dance the healing dance of self-love, appreciation and above all, forgiveness.

This morning, I also recognized a core pattern of near paranoia that those I loved were sabotaging me behind my back. In my world, the emotions we live in, whether recognized or not, are like radio signals vibrating at a certain rate. The signal we output can only receive input from like vibrational signals. Put out fear, get fear back.

As I followed the pattern energetically like a timeline back through my life, I found incidences where, indeed, someone I had considered a trusted friend was spreading vicious rumors behind my back. I had completely forgotten about that incident!

Worse, though, is fearing that behavior is happening when it really isn’t. Seeing life through the filter of those I love as my saboteurs is a very unpleasant place to be. I don’t like it.

So here I sit staring at this rather melodramatic me in the mirror of my mind. Now that I see it for what it is, I forgive and let go. I forgive Mom. I forgive my seventh-grade friend and the more recent ones. Most of all, I forgive myself, especially for fearing the pattern where it didn’t exist. I forgive Queen Snippy Bitch, too. She can be very intense, but she’s never boring!

Feeling all of these long-hidden emotions is hard work. And there are tears as my heart breaks open in awareness of loved ones I’ve hurt in my misguided delusions.

I realized today that there are three kinds of tears; sad ones, joyous ones, and the ones that are born from the very depths of our wounded souls. They are the cleansing ones. Like the falling snow covering my neighbor’s roof, they leave a pure, white, stillness behind. I feel an open-hearted, compassionate, softness toward me I’ve never felt before.
It’s like being emptied and then refilled with something new and delicious. I like it.

Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas

I recently attended a Winter Solstice gathering that included both Pagan and Christian participants. I felt inspired to write this blog post from the ceremony we celebrated together at that event.

In the old religion of per-Christian times, the people were dependent upon Nature for their survival. Thus, cultivating and maintaining a positive and very intimate relationship with the earth and Her changing seasons was their primary focus. The Solstices and the Equinoxes were honored with ritual followed by celebration and feasting as Christians do with church services and scrumptious dinners after.

The Winter Solstice marks the time when the sun is reborn as the days begin to grow longer. Both Yuletide and Christian celebrations have similar intent, which is to honor the birth of Light – one tradition welcomes the return, rebirth, of the Solar Sun and the other welcomes the birth of the Light on earth in Jesus as the Christ – son of God. Sun/Son.

The Old Ones would burn candles in every window of the house beginning on Solstice Eve to welcome the first rays of the returning Sun at Dawn. Villagers would gather in the town center by the Yule Fire. Fire is very much a symbol of new life and light for the coming growing seasons, as well as purification of what no longer serves. I know of those who bake a birthday cake for Jesus, complete with candles, which they blow out in honor of His birth.

In Europe, many Christians still honor the old ways of honoring the changing seasons. The church I attended in Salt Lake City incorporated the same ceremony of release and sow into their annual New Year’s Eve celebration that we shared together at the gathering. Through the dark season, we turn our attention to the garden of our lives and reflect over the past year.

The Winter is the dark time when it is appropriate to rest more and prepare the soil of yourself with prayerful intent for what you want to harvest in your life. Embrace the darkness within so you can transmute it with Light. But to get to the Light, we must endure the long dark night. Just as we pull the weeds in our garden, we must pull the weeds in our own souls. What habits or situations no longer serve our highest good? It’s a good time to release these with prayer and ceremony and cultivate what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

I was raised as a Christian. Yet, like the blood of my ancestors flowing through my veins, I have had a particularly strong affinity with Nature. I have, indeed, felt guidance and support in the whispers in the wind. My life feels more balanced and complete when I mark the changing seasons with celebration and feast.

Consider the book of Job 12:7-10:

“7” But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky and they will tell you

“8” or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.

“9” Which of these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?

“10” In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

When I think of the Nativity Scene, I mark that even the animals came to the manger to bow down and worship the Christ child. So for me, it is not a question of worshiping Nature instead of Christ, but of worshiping the Divine embodied in Christ alongside Nature.

Since the bible acknowledges that even the animals came to witness the birth and we have many examples, such as the quote mentioned above and the example of God speaking to Moses through the burning bush, of the Holy speaking through nature. For me, it implies that Nature has an ability to recognize and worship the Holy. Therefore, Nature is sentient enough to be conscious and to worship. I do not choose one way of worship over another. As my European ancestors have done, I simply incorporate them together.

Winter Solstice is a time to let go of what no longer serves and a time to plant seeds of new growth and opportunity in the New Year. And of course, be it Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, I rejoice in gratitude for the return of light in our outer world as the solar sun returns and the birth of Christ, Son of God, whose life and Light awaken our hearts.

The Age of Aquarious is Alive and Well. . .

age of aquarius 1A throwback to the sixties title – I know! But I have to tell you something amazing I discovered in my personal healing work over this past week. You may have noticed my last blog post was a bit darker than usual. Since that post, I have been participating in Dawson Church’s Peak Performance Course. Dawson Church, PhD is a mover and shaker in the field of Epigenetic Medicine. His book, “The Genie in Your Genes” is full of ground breaking research in how our core beliefs and changes in our environment can actually turn our genes on and off. It’s way too much information to dispel in this short blog post, but check out this link if you’re intrigued:

http://smile.amazon.com/The-Genie-Your-Genes-Epigenetic/dp/1604150114/ref=smi_www_rcolv2_go_smi?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

So what’s this got to do with The Age of Aquarius? Well, I learned in my personal healing studies years ago that our core beliefs actually determine how we view the world and how we allow ourselves to show up in it; and they color how we show up in our relationships as well. I’ve used the photography analogy before, but it’s the best model for my point. In photography, using certain filters dramatically changes how you see what you see through the viewfinder.

Our core beliefs are the filters on the lens of our mind.  Change the filter and everything you experience changes, too. Uncovering, shifting and healing core beliefs is actually one of the most thrilling experiences in life for me. What I discovered in the early nineties is that when I changed a core belief from, “no I can’t!” to, “yes I can!” my whole countenance changed. I brightened up, spoke up more and was more willing to express myself in the world with greater confidence than prior to uncovering the negative belief and shifting it to the positive one.

That said,  it seemed that every time I started to reach any goals that would widen my sphere of influence in the world, I found a way to shut it down. I’d get sick, my “energy disease” as I call it, would rear its ugly head. I’d have to cancel one of my Reiki or Shamanic healing groups and ended up locked away in my room under the covers. I was “too tired” to be creative and write my book or start a new course or class focused on assisting others with their emotional healing journeys.

Keep reading. You’ll get the sixties connection in a bit. Through this work in Dawson Church’s Peak Performance course, I uncovered a most debilitating core belief. It was, “if I show up 100% in the world using my gifts and talents, me and the people I love will die!” Wow – how’s that for a, “sock it to me” core belief. It says, “showing up in the world is far too dangerous so don’t even try.” Pretty much a no-win for someone like me who feels driven to be a force for positive change in the world.

Now we get to it – why the sixties references? During my session with Dawson, I realized that a deep-seated core belief was born the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As I grew up, I watched every hero I had come to believe in who was striving to promote radical, positive change was subsequently killed. Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and John Lennon were all my personal heroes.  From watching these heroes that I so loved die, I had formed the belief that showing up in the world with radically different ideas and ways of expressing yourself is not safe. My subconscious mind decided that it’s far better to just get sick, instead. Of course, it follows that I developed a debilitating degenerative muscle disease to keep me and my loved ones safe. WHAT! No, thank you: I don’t want that one anymore! I worked with Dawson using EFT (emotional freedom technique) otherwise known as tapping. (link for more information on Tapping provided below)

This technique helped me uncover and release that debilitating core belief. At the end of our session, I couldn’t even make that statement anymore without laughing! Fears and tears just melted away. Only time will tell what will come of it, but here I am posting a blog about what many consider to be a radical new form of medicine, one that could absolutely shake up our current medical paradigm. I highly recommend checking out the works of Dawson, Joe Dispenza (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSdbrqdgKUE) and other leaders in this exciting new field.

I am already noticing that I feel much more positive, hopeful and energetic than I have for a very long time. So pardon me for shaking the dust off of my old, Age of Aquarius LPs, my bell bottoms and fringed vests. It’s the first time since those days of my youth that my outlook on life is not overshadowed by a dark cloud of doom – the idea that being a spokesperson for positive change will kill me. NOT! Yet, even in the worst case scenarios they may have killed the men, but they never killed the ideas they birthed into the world. Positive change happened anyway!

The sun is out and the Age of Aquarius is alive and well for me!

Peace!

age of aquarius  2

Follow this link for more information on tapping: http://www.eftuniverse.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11472&utm_source=newsletter_479&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=peak-insights-what-if-you-could-not-fail 

Note: I used a belief management system I was introduced to in the early nineties to change, “No I can’t!” to “Yes, I can!” here’s a link to more information on this program: http://avatarepc.com/html/Pillar2-Belief-Eng.pdf

Sunrise – Summer into Autumn

Ok, so I couldn’t figure out how to get the pictures to do what I wanted. So here’s part two of the summer into autumn pictorial. Enjoy!

 

          

         

The comfort of three sisters, a garden and kitties

I grew up in a small town in the middle of the Kansas plains. When there was a death in the family it seemed the whole town brought casseroles and flowers. And after the service, the house was filled wall to wall with people sharing tears and laughter as  the memory-filled talk flowed late into the evening. It seemed to be that way for days before we were left alone to feel a loss so big it echoed off the walls.

My brother in law just succumbed to a long and brave fight with lung cancer. He was so fortunate to be able to spend his last days at Hopewell House where care of the dying is their business. They do it beautifully – with tenderness, respect and nurturing in the midst of their professionalism. And in this place, the moments were shared with those he loved most while he was still able to share them. Space was made in the bus-i-ness of life to honor the sacredness of dying.

Doing sacred work like that cannot be easy, but the peace and comfort the Hopewell House staff brings to the dying and their loved ones must be their reward. They make dying a sacred, holy and beautiful experience and we are so very grateful. It is just too difficult to go through something like that without support. Their knowledge about the dying process and ways to grieve bring comfort beyond words.

This is Day Two. My eldest sister and I are taking turns making sure his widow, our middle sister, is not alone. It is my eldest sister’s turn today. So here I sit in the garden with my kitties. The shock has lessened. Life is less surreal. I am more rested. But I am hollow. I am not ready to actively participate in life today. I don’t want to read email, pay bills, worry about food or do anything but just be with the raw, tender place in my heart.

I cannot claim to understand the mysteries of death like Kubler-Ross and others who have dedicated their lives to teaching us how to embrace this sacred mystery. All I can say is that it is a moment of holiness beyond anything I can easily describe. And I am sad for our current culture that finds it so fearful and difficult to face head on. And I am grateful there is Hopewell House. And I am grateful I have my sisters, my garden and my kitties.

Three sisters. One whose husband died. When the transition process began, she asked that rather than coming to be with them in Hopewell House, that we hold prayer vigil instead. She asked that we hold the space for him to be at peace. We lit a fire in my garden firepit, called upon Divinity and the Angels, burned sacred incense and herbs, sent Reiki and visualized his room filled with Peace and Love.  I felt the very moment when his spirit passed. For whatever reason, I saw bagpipers lined up in a row and heard their mournful song call him home. I knew he left peacefully.

An hour later – 1:01 am to be precise, we and our husbands were on our way to say goodbye. The Hopewell House chaplain and staff poured all of his gathered relatives a glass of sparkling cider – inlcuding a glass for Chuck. We toasted him with our favorite memories and things we loved about him, clinked our glasses, including his, then followed his freshly washed and laid out body out to the transport vehicle. We had plenty of time for a tearful, respectful, sacred farewell.

I drove my sister to her home and the two beautiful ragdoll cats she hadn’t seen in a week. We had a small bite and at 6:30 am finally found our way to the numbness of sleep.  Today she will be cleaning her house with the assistance of our eldest sister and tending to the service arrangements. Her grief work involves activity. My grief work involves finding solace in my garden in the company of my kitties. I observe and marvel at the way life continues to move around me in spite of my numbness to it.

I miss that unlike my small town roots, my garden is currently not full of friends who would share a grieving moment with me. Time for that later. Still I am so very grateful to have shared one of life’s most intimate and sacred moments with my sisters. Pandora brought this song to my attention a few months ago. I dedicate it to my dear sisters and I. I’ve included the first verse, but I encourage you to check out the link I’ve included below, or find it on youtube for a great listen.

there’s a light in the kitchen, there’s a glass on the stand
three women round a table and they’re holding hands
they’re caretaking the birthing, bringing food when they can
they’re easin’ the leavin’ and they’re holding hands

That’s for my sisters and me and Chuck’s memory. . .

Follow this link for the lyrics and download options:
 http://www.cduniverse.com/carrie-newcomer-three-women-lyrics-1653952.htm

Summer Garden Chicken Dinner

Who Hoo! I finally created a recipe that I could easily share full of fresh garden goodness, with a lovely splash of white wine for a braised Rosemary and Chicken dinner that made my tongue do back flips! I love cooking, especially when 90% of the meal comes straight out of the backyard! I have been told I should write a cook book, but I am a “throw-it-all-together” kind of cook so I’ve never figured out how to pass on my ideas in a duplicatable way.

About three years ago, my health required switching to a gluten-free, dairy free diet. I am so glad I love cooking as it made the transition so much easier. Now, I don’t even miss the things I used to eat. I do eat some hard cheese now, but I am sticking with the gluten-free. This chicken dinner will fit into almost any allergy diet and is yummy enough for everyone to enjoy.

It is a lovely gourmet treat full of fresh garlic scapes and rosemary from the garden. It’s so simple, it’s really easy to share. I started with a lovely Rosemary infused olive oil in which to saute half a diced white onion and a few freshly snipped garlic heads, aka scapes. I only recently learned that the snipped-off-before-it-blooms part of the garlic head is called a scape, and that it is just as edible as the harvested garlic clove. For more information, here’s a lovely website to peruse and the source of the photo at right: http://chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=95067.0 I used about 8 scapes for this recipe.

They are good roasted, but for this meal I finely diced them along with the onion and sweated them in the rosemary-infused olive oil for about five minutes. It is pretty simple to make your own oil infusions – it  just requires filling a clean jar with fresh rosemary, pouring a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil over it, cover and let it work in the dark for about six weeks. Strain the oil and voila, you have yummy goodness!

However, if you you want a bit more instant access, I recommend using Olive Grand Brand infused oils. They have lots of wonderful gourmet oils and spices. Their website is full of great options! http://olivegrand.com/cmspage.php?page_id=4

Once the onions were translucent and the scapes very fragrant, I added the chicken quarters to brown on both sides. I then reduced the heat and poured a lovely Estate White from Pyrenees Vineyards http://pyreneesvineyard.com/ over the chicken (probably about a cup). I added a few sprigs of freshly-picked rosemary and allowed the chicken to braise until done – 35 to 40 minutes.

The chicken was so tender it fell off of the bone and the white wine reduced into the most delicious sauce – I’m telling you I had no choice but to spoon the leftovers into my mouth directly from the skillet. No wasting a single drop!

I served up the delectable cuisine with fresh garden greens, carrots, cucumbers and snap peas topped with a delicious white-wine vinaigrette recipe from Giada’s website: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/arugula-endive-salad-with-white-wine-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html, poured a glass of the wine to enjoy with the meal and fell into dinner heaven.

If you give this a try, I hope you enjoy the dining experience as much as I did -even better when enjoyed in your lovely garden! Are you hungry yet?

The case of the disappearing Garden Mint tea

I was so excited to share with you one of my favorite Summer Garden treats – my mint blend sun tea. I spent the entire day getting it ready so I could enjoy a tall iced glass in our shady conversation corner. A great place to be during the hot afternoons.

I usually harvest the herbs early in the am while they are still wet from the morning dew. I use a combination of lemon balm, peppermint, orange mint, spearmint, pineapple sage and a bit of lemon verbena. Very refreshing! The lemon balm provides lots of vitamin C and a mood boost to boot!

To get maximum color and flavor, I de-stem and chop up all of the herb leaves.

I always give them a good wash, but just to be sure any added protein from a hidden garden bug dies quickly and gets sterilized, (I’d much rather ingest protein on my organic plants than cancer causing chemicals to kill the bugs – hmm poison or protein – no brainer!!) I pour boiling water to cover the herbs. I fill the rest of the container with filtered water and set it in the sun to soak up all those warm rays!

Alas, by the end of the day my mental and physical fatigue sets in from my constant struggle with metabolic myopathy and I made a devastating mistake! I decided to strain the tea and pour it into a smaller container to fit more easily into our over full refrigerator. I set the strainer in the sink, upended the fresh-brewed herb tea and watched it disappear down the drain!

Oh crap! Next time, I’ll remember to put a bowl under the strainer to save my hard-earned summer treat.

Here’s wishing you many summer moments with your favorite refresher and the hope that the only disappearing act is does is down your own summer-parched throat!

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