Integration

Sunday, September 23, 2018
marie laveau's * new orleans

A few weeks ago, my nurse practitioner had just delivered the news that my HIDA scan results showed a fully functioning gallbladder. I've recently been having some gastric distress so we were attempting to rule out the most likely culprit based on my particular demographic.

But then, something seemingly out of place...

"And, remember, your blood work is great. Your liver enzymes are exactly what they should be."

Have you ever watched an animal sense the possibility of danger? They interrupt their task at hand and get perfectly still. You see their ears move as they tune into a frequency we are not privy to as human beings. Suddenly, a decision is made and either they bolt for safer ground or go back to whatever it is they were doing.

And this is what happened to me in that moment. I stilled. My ears moved. I caught the frequency.

"But, they did see something on your liver."

Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. I beg you. Don't say it.

"It's called a hemangioma..."

In a split second, my brain boots up a medical terminology class from about two decades ago.
Oma...mass, tumor.
I feel cold rush over my body and I know I need safer ground.

"...which is a benign..."

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

"...mass or possibly even a tangle of blood vessels you were born with. We were not looking for this based on your symptoms and most hemangiomas are discovered that way. We will just need to keep an eye on your blood work and repeat the scan in a few months to check for any changes, if there are none, you were probably just born with it. If there are, you'll need to see a specialist to determine what to do next."

I am not saying this for dramatic flair...but it was another pivotal moment in my life. The fragmented parts of who I have always been integrated in those proceeding moments. I felt myself settle deeper into this body. I vowed to inhabit it more mindfully than I have in the past. I will most likely always be half-love & light and half-burn it all down...a true Gemini Rising/Sagittarius Sun. What I have been guilty of in the past is judging whatever half I didn't happen to identify with at the moment. If I was rooted in love & light, I was frustrated by my quick temper, my judgments, my sharp tongue. I would wonder why I couldn't be as calm or enlightened as I wished to be. It often felt fraudulent. And, if I was tuned into the Kali Ma energy, I would call myself a fool for believing in the ultimate goodness of humanity. I was disconnected, angry, afraid. Life often felt unsafe with a daughter who didn't get to grow up and a niece who is sick. Seeing suffering in children only compounds the pain and anxiety of living in a world mirroring the myth of the burning phoenix.

Depending on where my head is, my life has either been beautiful with intense lessons that have grown me spiritually, or my life has been beautiful but incredibly painful more times than is my fair share and I want answers about why that is exactly and some wrongs to be righted immediately. Said in my best, "I'd like to speak to your manager!" voice.

As we head into Libra season, which is all about balance, and 11:11 is once again asking for my attention, it seems like this was all fated to happen right now. It is up to me to be the change I want to see in my world. So that is what I am doing. Recently, I have purged old belongings, old thought patterns, and old belief systems that felt like dead weight. I have replaced them with new habits that encourage growth. I have been studying my genealogy in an effort to understand what my cells remember that my brain can't recall. My maternal great-grandmother lost two children as infants/toddlers and later died of liver cancer. So, I am thinking of this hemangioma as possible ancestral trauma that needs to be healed. I am processing what I've learned about my father's heritage and the revelation that on the Hamilton Co Tn 1860 census, three generations of women who birthed the babies who led to me, were all listed as 'mulatto' in their shared household. They were native american and most likely melungeon (Goins surname). I am reviewing my childhood and thinking of how at home I felt in the woods spending summer days exploring the land. How water was so cold right out of the spring and blackberries were sweetest growing wild. Just like me. I am thinking of Katy Owl, my 7x-great-grandmother, born on the Cherokee reservation and wondering who she was. I am thinking of how organized religion has never appealed to me, except in extremely short spans of time, but I have seen magic with my own eyes in the cycles of the seasons and life. I am thinking about this herbal healing path I have been walking for several years and now that I have a good smattering of knowledge about nutrition, herbs, essential oils, etc., I should narrow my focus and really dig into my purpose here...

So, for me, these next few months I will keep my ear to the ground and watch for signs from the mystical.

11:11

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

...it's baaaaack.

A couple of years ago, when I was working with a young man who has autism, 11:11 showed up and literally stalked me so much that I researched what it meant. I saw it entirely too often for it to be random. Gathered research has led me to believe that it is a message from the Universe/Spirit Guides letting you know that you are on the right path and manifestation is supercharged so be aware of your thoughts and be open to finding your life's purpose. Once I decided to go back into healthcare and (hopefully) pursue a nursing degree, 11:11 faded away. But, in the past two weeks it has come back with a vengeance and brought back reinforcements. I can hardly look at a clock without seeing it or 1:11, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55. Over the past week, $11.11 has been my total twice.

I am trying to be aware of anything that could be a guidepost during this time. I have been thinking of going into psychiatric nursing (with a holistic slant, obvsly) for a little while. But, the past couple of weeks, research about the use of psychedelics in treating PTSD, end of life anxiety for hospice patients, severe anxiety & depression, addiction recovery, even for quitting smoking, keeps just dropping into my lap...from several totally unconnected sources. So, I am just exploring if this is something I am supposed to be pursuing.

What a wild Universe we live in. It's all energy, baby.

Rosita the Survivor

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kindred insisted we rescue this rosebush from the Clearance section of the garden center at Wal-mart. It was in bad shape when we brought it home, but things got worse when beetles ate almost every single leaf on it and the 'Full Sun' it says it needs vs the 'Scorching Hot Full Sun' of my backyard almost cooked it. As a last ditch effort to save it, I moved it to right outside my spare room window where I can see it from my desk. A few days ago, I was surprised and elated to discover three blooms on it! I hope she survives the winter and comes back to us next Spring!

Mr. Breeze

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wishing a happy birthday to my dad, Billy. I never knew how much we had in common until the past couple of years. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to find out.



These Two

Friday, September 14, 2018

...have my heart. I am grateful for this body that carried them safely to me. I am one lucky mama.

Spunk

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

...you've got lots of it, kiddo.

Almost Famous

Friday, September 07, 2018

Thrift store shopping with Kindred means you may wind up looking like Penny Lane or another 70s icon. And, that is okay with me, but this one was a little much. However, a couple days later I thought about how it would look great with a unicorn mask at a Halloween party...so maybe we should go see if it's still there. Haha!

***Kindred now accepting a limited number of clients for personal styling***

Girls Day Out

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

We have been having some fun doing a little fall wardrobe shopping. I'm buying all the typical bohemian-Stevie Nick's witchy-hippie mama type tops & dresses I can pair with leggings and boots. Kindred is buying Halloween royal dresses with no intention of wearing them for Halloween. She's just wearing them when she wants. And, that's just fine with me! I love this time in our lives!

Cat Elvis

Monday, September 03, 2018

"Well since meow baby left me, I've found a new place to dwell...
it's down at the end of Lonely St at the Heartbreak Hotel." 

Masticating Juicers

Saturday, September 01, 2018

...are where it's at, people.

I am getting the driest pulp, increased juice yield, and clean-up is a breeze compared to my old centrifugal models! For my green juice: I do 1-2 cucumbers, several celery stalks, a big broccoli stem, 1 inch of ginger, kale, and a pear. I add in beetroot juice and aloe vera juice that I have already. Is it super tasty? No. But, is it alkalizing and good for my body? Yes. For Kindred's daily juice, I start with a glass half-filled with prune juice because poopin' is always an issue for her. Then, I juice half a carrot, an apple, and a pear. Hers is quite tasty!!

Epizootie

Friday, August 31, 2018

She has caught her daddy's cold, unfortunately. But, this picture cracks me up because she 100% gets this toilet-paper-up-the-nose situation from me. Is it disgusting? Yes. Will I still do it next time I have a cold? Also, yes.

I made her a big ole' batch of chicken soup with fresh veggies to cure what ails her. I leave the leg bones in as it slow cooks to get the gut-healing benefits of the bone broth. This recipe, though loaded with herbs, is not overwhelming in taste which doesn't matter anyway when you have a cold because you can't taste much. The important thing is how good it is for you. πŸ’ͺ


Bedhead

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

She has always had the wildest bedhead of any person I've ever met.
I love that about her.

Weezin The Juice

Monday, August 27, 2018

Today is the first day back on 'The Hill' for our local college students. Kindred and I celebrated by changing out of pajamas into equally comfy clothes and riding over to Smoothie King for our usual vegan Pineapple Spinach. Then, we came home and haven't accomplished much else. The slacker life is good to us.

Saturday Sleepover

Sunday, August 26, 2018





Now that they aren't together every day, having sleepovers is THE BEST. They play and talk and snuggle at bedtime and I feel like the luckiest mama/aunt in the world. We did water balloons, playground, Smoothie King, unicorn pool, and a bedtime movie. We almost have our summer bucket list checked off, too!

Witches Midwives & Nurses

Friday, August 24, 2018
"When faced with the misery of the poor, the Church turned to the dogma that experience in this world is fleeting and unimportant. But, there was a double standard at work, for the Church was not against medical care for the upper class. Kings and nobles had their court physicians who were men, sometimes even priests. The real issue was control: male upper-class healing under the auspices of the Church was acceptable, female healing as part of a peasant subculture was not."
The fact that this is still relevant today, centuries after the witch hunts, is reason enough that we should all be feminists. Let the poor suffer and condemn anyone who tries to help or heal them, while the rich enjoy the luxury of decent health care.

What a sick society we still live in.

Witches Midwives & Nurses is a history of women healers. It highlights how women used to the be primary healers as herbalists & midwives before patriarchy ostracized them from practice. I mean, and not only ostracized them...literally executed most of them. It is a short read and was born out of the 1970s feminists who realized how women were being abused by the current medical system. How many of us, present day, have been dismissed or talked to condescendingly by a male doctor? I know I'm raising my hand. This little pamphlet turned booklet was born out of that frustration. I think if you have ever uttered the words "I don't need feminism because I know I'm not oppressed." this is a book you should certainly read. I've been fascinated by the history of women healers since I started working at the health store years ago. I'm glad to have read this one.

SNAFU

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Last August, exactly a year ago today as a matter of fact, I wrote a post about how I had been suffering from an inner ear infection that had really just taken me down in the previous few weeks. My symptoms had been some dizziness that lasted for weeks, some intense headaches, and a very specific anxiety that I was terminally ill and would not be here to raise Kindred. Horrible, right? Like, I said...it was a very specific thought process and even though I would interrupt the thoughts with "This is anxiety, this is not real." it was legitimately terrifying. I could be folding laundry and suddenly "Tell Bergen how this is her favorite shirt so that he knows because you won't be here." or "Remind him how important this magnesium bath you're running is, because you won't be here, and she's gonna stay constipated." We all know how millions of thoughts pop in our heads all day long and these just came out of nowhere. It wore me down mentally before the headaches sidelined me physically. Once I was actually at my nurse pracitioner's office, we realized that the headache meant a fever was going up. And as that happened, the anxiety grew worse. My left ear had less fluid than my right, so my NP thought perhaps fluid was trapped inside and had gotten a bacterial infection. Plus, I had had a summer cold a few weeks before the dizziness started. After a course of antibiotics, antihistamine tablets and spray, everything returned to normal and I was fascinated by how an infection in my inner ear could trigger such anxious though patterns.

Fast forward to right now. Exact same process. Late June summer cold, August anxious thoughts, slight fullness in my ear, headaches, and fever. Only, during this time around...I'm having some kind of gut issue too. It would appear that my gallbladder is having some trouble. I don't have any stones visible by ultrasound, but one could be in a duct. I'm treating the ear infection first this week, and will eat a very bland diet and taking a stonebreaker supplement until either that solves the gastric distress or further testing is warranted.

August is on track to become my least favorite month. Hopefully, I'm back to normal soon. Our good health really is so precious and we are never more mindful of that than when the check engine light of our body starts flashing, no? Take good care, friends.

American Jennie

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

She was the American mother of Winston Churchill and I must admit that her life was far juicier than I ever imagined it would be. She had many lovers (est. 200!) while married to three men, two of whom were twenty years her junior. She was known for her remarkable beauty, vitality, and sexual magnetism. One of her lovers was the Prince of Wales, who became King and was her close friend until his death. I also learned that  in England during the Edwardian era, a common cure for a toothache was cocaine. So, that was interesting. Jennie lived outside her means her entire adult life. There was constant money woes but no one would have guessed it because it never slowed her down. There were still couture dresses, travel, and luxuries of manor life. The amount of money she could blow, back when things cost so little, is quite surprising.

The book lost me several times when it would go into detail on who quick mentions were. It made it hard to keep everyone straight. I just zone out and it doesn't matter a chapter later. I find the Edwardian/Victorian era fascinating, so I enjoyed this book. It was nice getting to know Jennie.

Katy Owl

Sunday, August 12, 2018

This photo was taken at least five years ago, at a PowWow in a nearby county. I had ridden along with Ash who was there on a photo gig. I remember sitting on some bleachers when the drumming started and I suddenly felt like I was having like a panic attack. I got tunnel-vision, my heart was pounding inside my chest, and I literally had to get up and walk off to regain my composure. It felt very spiritual and ancestral. Like, the cell-memory of my ancestors sprang to life inside my body. It definitely left me a little shaken up.

Fast-forward to back in mid-June, Kaypacha mentioned that we should take the time to get in touch with our ancestors and that is exactly what has happened in the past few weeks. It all started when an old customer/friend from Natural Health showed up at the Nutrition Center. He's a gentle soul and crazier than a bedbug and I love him. The first time I met him, he walked in and said, "Holy cheekbones, Mama, you got some Indian blood in you!" He looks like a full-blooded Native American but with stunning blue eyes. We've had some real good talks over the years. We talk ancestral ways, spirit guides, and weird history. I told him I knew that my mother's mother's heritage was allegedly Cherokee. According to my grandma, her grandmother was a full-blooded Native American...half Cherokee & half Shawnee, possibly. But, during our recent talk, I shared with him a discovery that some of my father's mother's people are the Melungeons of eastern Tennessee/Western NC. They were the Goins family, one of a handful of surnames recognized to be among the Melungeons. Members of my extended family still reside in eastern Tennessee. After talking with CD, I went home inspired to do a little more digging and I hit the jackpot. Thank goodness for distant relatives, much smarter than I, who did all the heavy lifting in the genealogy department. Past the Melungeon link, I found out that my 7th great grandmother (father's mother side) was Katy/Charity Tsi na qui Owl. Her father was John Tsi na qui Chin nin quih Owl, who took on the surname Senelle. They were both born on the Cherokee reservation. What a revelation!! The Owl clan of the Cherokees were the feather keepers. And, I am forever finding and keeping feathers. Bergen threw away a bag of my feathers when we moved last and I contemplated a divorce. A few years ago, I was adopted by the red-tailed hawk and it never fails to guide my path. On a particular worrisome trip to see my dad, who was in bad health, I counted 5 on the two hour drive. It was insane.

I'm interested to know my mother's mother's side now too. I wonder what clan they were from. As a child, I stayed browned by the sun and this coarse mess of curls has always made me curious about the people they come from. I spent my childhood running wild through the woods and it always felt like home. My dad's side of the family would frequently vacation in Cherokee, NC and the Smokies. We had no idea it was the land of our ancestors. I wonder what Katy Owl thinks of her 7th great-granddaughter. As someone who has vocally protested the government's horrific treatment of indigenous people and brown-skinned immigrants, I hope she's proud.

Mama + Kicky

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Can we please not talk about the horror of all those split ends!?! I am in desperate need of a trim but I am loving that I finally have some length again so I keep putting it off! Please ignore the hot-mess on my head and just focus on the cutie pie next to me...yes, that's much better. Moving on!!

We are enjoying our time together since Nova started school. Of course, we miss having her here, but we figure it's a long-shot to convince her to drop out of Kindergarten and come hang with us again, so we have accepted that she is just out there doing her own thing now.

In the past couple of weeks, we've done the mallrat scene, mid-afternoon milkshakes, clothes shopping, road trips to Grandma's & picking up Nova from school, and so much more. I am really looking forward to enjoying this last year with Kindred before she starts school. On a recent trip to the library I picked up so many books that I now look at the stack and wonder when this magical elusive 'alone time' will manifest so that I can actually read them? I am entirely too ambitious in my 'To Read' selections. Oh, but a special library mention goes to 'Super Happy Magic Forest'...Kindred LOVES it. And, I enjoy reading it to her...it's pretty funny.

I'm working on creating a daytime 'schedule' and some goals for this next year. But, I think we all know how much I succeed at rigid demands on my time, so we shall see how this goes.. I just want to look back and know that we had a special time together because once school starts for her and I try for nursing school, it's going to be crazy for a few years.

Okay, fine...I'll call the salon and get my haircut today. You're bossy...but, I like you, ya crazy diamond.

If I Were Rich...

Friday, August 10, 2018

...one of the things I would do is travel the classic car show circuit for at least a year or two. Every time they come to town, I am all 'Look at that one!' and 'Oh, man...look at THAT one!' If you are local, they always congregate in the hotel parking lot at the University Plaza. It's like a free car show with the occasional burnout. Folks line their chairs up alongside the road in front of the hotel.

I love classic cars and especially love talking to people who are just hanging out, having a good time, reminiscing about days gone by. My dad has a very impressive list of cars he used to own which includes, among many others, a '70 Nova, '67 Impala, '69 Mach 1 Mustang, '74 Torino, and a '57 Chevy Bel Aire. I have baby pics of me on the hood of the Chevy. It was black with flames painted on it.

I really was one cool baby...

Summer Bucket List #26 Family Kickball!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today, we had a front come through that brought rain and much cooler temps so we took advantage and played a little family kickball at Grandma's house!

First of all...nobody ever knew which way to run. It was hilarious. The girls would run from home to 2nd or from 1st to 3rd. One time, Kicky just picked up third base and tossed it away. It was fifteen minutes of mayhem and giggles. Nobody got tagged out. Everybody won.

Best of all...Naiya and Ash got to play with us!





We didn't want to overtire Naiya so we kept it short and sweet. But, it was so fun!! Viva la summer evenings!!

Summer Bucket List #4 The Drive-In

Saturday, July 28, 2018

I love the Drive-In during summertime...
We saw Hotel Transylvania 3 and I give it 3/3 Blah-Blah-BlahsπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
If you haven't seen it, you don't get it...but, if you have then I'm pretty clever, no?

The girls are now referring to love as 'Zing' and it's adorable!
"Did you Zing with Daddy? 
Did my mama Zing with Nick? 
If we Zing with a boy, do we have to get married to him?"

I'm so thankful we were able to make these memories even though we are always missing Naiya and Ash...

SOKY Fair

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Southern Kentucky Fair was exactly the cosmopolitan event you are probably thinking it must be. I  personally enjoyed playing a fun little game called 'Carny or Local?'. I AM KIDDING. Mostly.

Kindred and Nova had the most fun marking #20 off their summer bucket list. One thing that was revealed to me, while we were there, is that Kindred has no fear. None. She wanted to ride every ride that the big kids were on. She is still mad about not getting to ride the ferris wheel. Next year, we have plans to take the girls to Disney World and I will feel more comfortable with her riding bigger rides than I did yesterday. Call me crazy, but I just don't have enough faith in the safety standards of the traveling carnival industry.



See the spot where Kat is standing at the top of the slide? It was approx five feet from there, on the steps, where I realized that I was still just as terrified of heights as I used to be. My heart was pounding, I had a death grip on Kindred's arm and I told the young gentlemen assisting people at the top that I was basically of no use to anyone at the moment because I had THE FEAR. He kindly laid out our sacks and helped Kindred onto hers, while I maintained the death grip, and then assisted me onto mine. We both went airborne on the way down and it probably took me ten minutes to stop shaking. I also woke up at 2:30am this morning and relived the entire scene along with 50 worst case scenarios that could have happened at the top, including but not limited to: earthquakes, homicidal carnival workers, faulty hydraulics, and aneurysms. It's a fun place to be, inside my brain.


I am so glad the girls had a good time. My favorite thing is to really be aware of how amazing and exciting experiences like this are for the girls. It makes me feel like a kid again too. The only thing that was missing was having Naiya and Ash there. Hopefully next year, it will be Disney and all three girls! What a dream come true that would be!!

Pink Cupcakes

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Brooklyn turned 14 years old yesterday. 

I am feeling more melancholy than I have in years passed. 

I can't even find the words to convey how I feel, which is not really normal for me. I have much to be grateful for, yes...much to be happy about, and I am...but, also much to be angry over...much to be brokenhearted over and those feelings seem like they are finally demanding their seat at the table. I can fully relate to Scarlett O'Hara's "I'll think about that tomorrow..." mentality because it is how I've lived most of my life. I focus on the crisis at hand, and there is somehow always a crisis at hand...then, I make a plan to find a way through it...afterward, I shove residual feelings about it down or only let it out in microbursts. I was determined to avoid the depression that consumed my mother, so I became quite proficient at pretending things were just fine. People could walk into my house, smell smoke or see embers flying, and I'd be setting the table like nothing was wrong. It is how my marriage imploded a few years ago. I was tired of running around putting out the thousand tiny fires in my life, so I decided to just step back and finally let it burn. 

Well, this has taken an unexpected dark turn...here, have some pink cupcakes.



This year, Kindred knows that Brooklyn is her big sister and that she was my baby who died.
She knows there are some things in her room that I bought for Brooklyn a long time ago but they belong to her now.

Beyond that, we haven't explored the Great Mysteries of What Maybe Happens After That because what I think is probably what most folks would be shocked to hear come out of a 4 year old in southern Kentucky. So, we'll just keep that one tabled for now. 


These three little psychic anchors...keeping my feet on the ground. I love them so damn much.

Summer Bucket List #28 Mary Jane's

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mary Jane's Chocolate was a huge hit with Kindred. MJ is a locally owned/operated candyshop that uses 100% sustainably grown cocoa beans. The shop is located downtown and the cases are antique fixtures from a barber shop, which I loved! They are just gorgeous!! My favorite piece was the Mint Julep chocolate because you could actually taste the fresh mint. It was like a bourbon ball, but with mint julep inside instead. Kindred had a solid chocolate kitty cat on a stick and a chocolate covered Oreo.

She didn't come down for a solid hour...look at her pupils.


Mary Jane's is definitely a place to sneak away to for a nice little treat. I'm glad the girls put it on their bucket list!

Summer Bucket List #25 Mural Pic

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
photo by Ash @earthipsy on IG

Naiya got to check something off our lil' cousin summer bucket list!!! This makes me ridiculously happy. After we left Vandy, we drove over to the Gulch for a healthy smoothie and an instagrammable mural shot. Naiya knocked it out of the park, of course, posing in front of an adoring crowd who literally cheered for her...


She generously allowed me to pose alongside her even though I am forever dressed to match the municipal parking garages and she looks like a summer day spent boating on the lake followed by a parade and fireworks.


Look at those eyes...and that smile!! Naiya, you have been braver in the past 7 months than I have in my entire life. I love you so much, shug.

Chemo Day

Tuesday, July 17, 2018










Ash said she has wanted to document what a chemo day for Naiya is like, but she always has her hands full. So, I tried to snap a quick pic or short video of the different procedures Naiya undergoes. This is what life is like for them right now. They are both so incredibly brave...