Stepping Into Change

When I became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago, it was with the understanding that I would re-enter the working world once our youngest was settled into kindergarten. Four months into his kindergarten career, the little freckle faced, curly haired cutey is settled in. He has adjusted to the fact that he must do real work every school day & is well on his way to convincing the girls around him to finish tasks he feels are unnecessary: namely coloring & glueing.

Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I was a working mom. Actually, I began my career & became a mommy just ten days later. It’s what I refer to as a fake it till ya make it phase of life. {added to that: building a house & grad school, aka, formula for a breakdown}. Fast forward 7 years & I’ve tip-toed back into bits & pieces of my previous career. Instead of catching up on the latest gossip & news with the GMA crew, I’m up before the sun to squeeze in a workout & getting everyone ready between sips of coffee to head out to help instruct & guide the future leaders of America. Stepping into a surprisingly quick change has been nice. It’s added some new challenges to our lives, but has also added tiny bits of confidence that I lost several years ago.

So, as herb school closes & my business takes shape, it will be formed around weeks spent in the classroom, evenings of family time & consultations & weekends spent at festivals & craft shows. Do what you love, love what you do. Find peace with broken pieces of your past, pick them up, dust them off, learn to love them again & enjoy stepping onto blended paths of a happy mix of old & new.


Happy new {work} week,


Monday Morning Recap {Bell Buckle Craft Fair}

Do you ever have moments in life when you sit back & know without the shadow of a doubt that you are on your path? Moments when all of the chips fall together & the years of hard work, uncertainty, learning & jumping in with both feet to a field that isn’t very popular are just right? I’m still riding a craft fair high this morning. As an herbalist, I never really know how my products are going to be viewed or received by people who wander into the booth. The tiny little apothecary bottles are filled with pieces of my heart. Much like sending your children off to school for the first time, putting out herbal products for public viewing & scrutiny is a big deal! Our little booth received so much love & encouragement this weekend from so many of you. Whether you texted or called, came in person to give hugs & ohh & ahh over the sights & smells, if you were a complete stranger who chatted & asked questions, or an online acquaintance who liked pictures & sent virtual love, I can’t thank you enough! Our time in Bell Buckle was wonderful & encouraging. It was a huge learning experience & full of laughter, fun & at times even delirium. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Tracey & I are excited for things to come. Our next big show will be December 1st at the Shabby Lane Shops Holiday Splendor Trunk Show at Murfreesboro’s Lane Agri-Park Community Center. For the next two Thursdays you can find us set up at the Farmers Market @ Beans Creek Winery in Manchester & Nov 3 I’ll be at Manchester’s Holiday Market @ the Ada Wright building (aka, the barn @ the boys’ ball field).

Until then it’s the mommy, wife & herbalist’s life… Not to shabby if you ask me. Enjoy a few snap shots from my phone. Real pics of the prep & weekend will come as soon as I sit down at the laptop.








Happy Monday sweet friends,

Combining Conventional + Holistic Medicine

Last Saturday I sat outside all day in cold, damp conditions & since then, I’ve been paying a hefty price for doing so. After throwing every conceivable herbal treatment at my system & neither seeing, nor feeling steady or consistent improvement, I knew it was time for allopathic assistance on Tuesday morning. A quick visit to the walk-in clinic revealed that I didn’t have strep & I was given a snot shot & prescription for a z-pack. My pride as an herbalist took a dent; it’s never easy for me to give in to conventional medicine, but obviously there are times that it is called for. This flu-type illness was certainly a case where combining traditional & modern day medicine was necessary.

How I use holistic medicine to assist in my recovery:

The symptoms: cold core & extremities, sore throat, white, coated tongue, dry mouth, ear ache, body aches & pains, excessive mucus production, very low energy, pale coloring, loss of voice, deep, hacking & productive cough, glassy eyes, healthy appetite, overly sensitive to stimulants such as coffee, caffeine or sugar, cravings for salt, excessive, cyclic thoughts.

What these symptoms tell me to look for in an herbal protocol: warming, fire building herbs, soothing & astringent herbs for the mucus membrane & lymphatic system, a mineral heavy, earthy diet, lots of water & rest. As a very fiery person, this flu had drained my fire & I was exhibiting very watery (mucus production + glassy eyes) & airy (cyclical thought patterns + being stuck in my own head) elements. By bringing in warming, bitter & salty herbs & foods, It will build back my internal fire & add earth to my current water/air constitution.

Herbs & foods I incorporated:
Elder & Sumac syrup: a traditional native remedy for cold & flu, this syrup is diaphoretic (sweat inducing), supportive for building the immune system, soothing to the mucus membrane, & helps bring down a fever (cooling). While I didn’t need the cooling aspect, it was very helpful in all the other areas. 1 TSP every hour & a half

Ginger & Echinacea tea: this warming, soothing, lymph combo is a favorite of mine. The most important thing to remember with echinacea (purple cone flower to you gardeners) is that in order for it to work in your system, it MUST be used early & heavily to act as an antibiotic. I didn’t have any tincture ready, so a tea of the stem & leaves had to do. A strong decoction taken every hour would have been best, but I didn’t have the energy. This is when tinctures are so handy to have around! {slaps hand for being ill prepared.}

Goldenseal tincture: The big guns came out to work, but I think I waited too long to incorporate this bitter, antibiotic medicine. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon, after my husband’s suggestion thar I even thought to use goldenseal. It’s strong drying properties make it an obvious choice. It’s extremely bitter (digestive aid & liver support) taste make it rather unpleasant to get down.

Goldenrod bath: I was soooo achey that the pressure of the bed sheet & down comforter hurt. A good bath is always soothing to my body & soul. The added benefit of sweating out toxins & having my friend goldenrod to ease the body aches were great perks.

Chai tea + brandy: hello, my little friend! This oh-so-warming & soothing, not to mention delicious combo is a new favorite. When you get cold & sick call me. I’ll make us both some.

Water, water, and more water: support the lymph, flush toxins from the liver, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Chamomile: another digestive bitter & building herb to use as a tonic while healing. It’s all about comfort & support.

Rest: this is where I always mess things up. One day, maybe, history will quit repeating itself. When I get an inkling of energy, I feel like I have to check off the impossibly long lists my over-thoughtful mind has created immediately! {face plant} Things like cleaning bathrooms, cooking big dinners, doing all of the laundry & cleaning out my studio are examples of what no to do. Sigh. My downfall & more than likely the reason I’m still in bed an entire week later.

Whole foods: bone broth soups, root veggies, nutritive, healing, traditional soups & warm teas – I can’t get enough!

Probiotics & yogurt: dear antibiotics, you have wreaked havoc on my digestion. I don’t appreciate it in any way. After such violent medicines kill off any healthy bacteria along with the invaders that made me so ill, it’s so very, very important to add a good probiotic & plain yogurt cultures to help build back a healthy gut.

That’s about it from the sick bed. It’s nap time again. Do you combine healing methods? Anything you’d add to my protocol?

Happy napping,

InstaFriday {Antiquing Adventures Edition}

Friday mornings after my coffee date with the girls, I take $20 & see just how far I can get it to stretch in the thrift & antique shops that are scattered around our little town. I love looking for Pyrex, blue Ball jars, crates & vintage materials to upcycle for work projects. Some days those are easier to find than others, but regardless of the purchases I make, the adventures in antiquing are never ending. Interesting shops, owners & items bring about interesting stories, bargaining skills are always tweaked & reading people & guessing stories behind objects is always a great form of entertainment. Here are a few snapshots from today.

An insanely cool Jack Daniels photobooth.


Lots of great Pyrex pieces. I scored a great pie plate in coral for $8.


This fabulous Singer sewing machine in a shop whose prices were astronomical.


Tons of cast iron from the past few decades.


A “field phone” in mint condition. I was intrigued.


What I ended up emptying my (quite shallow) pocket over: pyrex & a Coke crate. Both of which will be utilized in my kitchen & market booth. Total spent: $28.


Are you a fan of vintage / thrifting / antiquing? What are your favorite finds?

Have a wonderful weekend & may the prices be on your side.

Three Things Thursday

1. Football is on television, I’m snuggled under a quilt & the smell of fall is almost in the air. That combination makes me absolutely giddy.

2. After school activities have started, which makes me a professional chauffeur. Two children, 3 sports, 5 days a week. This makes me really want to lobby for cloning. Agreed parents?

3. Due to Thing #2, there isn’t enough time in the week for me to have a booth at our amazing winery’s farmers market any more. {Insert pitiful face here.} However, I still have great crafty & herbal concoctions available & am happy to get them to those in need or want. Next week I’ve got a hot date with my Etsy page and the listing process.

What kind of schedule changes are happening in your house this fall?

Are you looking forward to football & hockey season? We’re big Vols, Titans & Preds fans here!

Happy days to you,

Herbal Practice Update

Three years of studying herbs & natural medicine is quickly coming to an end & before the calendar turns to a new year, I’ll be granted the title of Herbal Practitioner. It’s both exciting and intimidating at the same time. Learning is a comfortable place for me, a student I’ll always be, but it’s time to don my professional hat & step into the world.

Services I offer at A Handmade Heart:

Herbal Consultations
An hour long, one on one session to help with every day concerns: individualized diet, exercise, stress management, & herbal protocols to make your life easier & to help you find inner balance & work towards homeostasis. Food truly is medicine. As a Southern Folk Herbalist, my protocols combine dietary & traditional formulas best suited for your optimum health. Session price: $45

Energy Work
The Japanese practice of Reiki originated in martial arts & post World War II, it traveled across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, then mainland America & throughout the South. Energy work is a time of relaxation & bringing awareness to one’s body through very gentle touch over major organs & lymphatic passages. A one hour session includes a relaxing foot soak, cup of herbal tea, & quiet time on the table. A gentle, but powerful practice, body / energy work is the newest addition to my practice. Session price: $30.

Natural Medicine & Herbal Seminars
Sharing knowledge and carrying on the tradition of our elders is something I am truly passionate about. Half and one day seminars on different forms of Southern Folk Medicine & Western Herbal Practices are also offered at A Handmade Heart. Wild crafting herbs from the local fields & woods, planting your own herb garden, herb walks, setting up an herbal first aid kit, herbs for children, women & throughout the aging years, herbs for the immune system and more will be offered beginning January 2013.

My goals as an herbalist are simple: to pass on the traditions that have so richly formed our history & to help clients work towards their healthiest self. Please feel free to contact me for more information and to schedule a session.

Love & light,

Looking Forward

2011 has been a year of lessons for me. Lessons that were hard to hear, see, feel, and smile through. Lessons that have made each step of the journey seem as though I was travelling uphill, in the snow, with no shoes… In the trenches living that leaves one knowing only one thing: tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it. (Thank you Anne of Green Gables). My goal in life it to live each day so that I can say I squeezed every drop of life out of it. By choosing to do so, I’m looking forward to what is to come, appreciating the path that has led me there, and fully living in the now. Here, you’ll find silly moments of living in the present, adventures in life with my husband and children, practicing what I teach & preach using herbs as a large part of our daily life, training plans and races, the ups and downs of owning my own handmade business, pictures of the beauty the surrounds me & clips of randomness that keeps life interesting. Welcome to Going Herbal!