Sunday, September 30, 2007

6 Free Dr. Mom Otoscope Give Away from P&M Dermasalve Compounders

Here is a terrific contest for Mom's who are interested in caring for the basic medical needs of their children but you will have to hurry - the contest ends in just a couple of days!

Compounders of P&M Dermasalve are giving away 6 Free Dr.Mom Otoscopes . Click HERE for details.

I have had my own otoscope for about 15 years now and it has been a wonderful tool! In case you are wondering what one is...or why you would need one...take a moment to read this:
What is an OTOSCOPE?drmomotoscope.jpg

An Otoscope is a medical device which allows parents to look inside the ear canal, though, it’s mostly your pediatrician that provides you that costly service. But, after you’ve read our short series: “Use Your Otoscope”, you’ll see just how easy it is for you to do too.

Your basic otoscope consist of a handle, head, electric light source, magnifying lens, plastic ear speculums. Some models have an extra feature: “Pneumatic Pump”. This allows you to check for motility. It works like this. When you squeeze the bulb, it throws a puff of air into the examiners ear, this checks on the motility of his tympanic membrane. In subsequent posts, we’ll talk about when you “should” and “should not” attempt to move the tympanic membrane.

While lots of pediatricians have the “Wall-mounted” otoscope model, parents will welcome the portable model. It’s very practical for Dad and Mom. Those are powered by battery. Some are even rechargeable.

You can learn more about using an otoscope at the above sites. Let me know if one of you are a winner!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are you enduring a trial right now? Take heart....

Well, Elisabeth Elliot does it again....she is truly speaking to my heart these days!
Author: Elisabeth Elliot Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: Philippians 4:12 2 Corinthians 4:15
Lord, Please Remove the Dilemma

Because my husband Lars is a Norwegian who would happily eat fish three times a day if I'd give it to him (I seldom do), I often have fishheads and fishbones to discard. I don't like the noise the disposal makes if I put them in there, so I fire them out the window onto the grass. A prompt and thorough garbage service is provided free of charge by the seven resident crows who materialize out of nowhere (nine minutes is the maximum time it has taken them to detect my offerings). Recently I watched one of them attempt to stuff all the pieces into his beak before his buddies had arrived. He carefully picked up everything except one long backbone. Here was a dilemma. How was he to grab the backbone without dropping the beakful he already had? Solemnly he surveyed the scene, stepped slowly around the bone and cogitated. So everything is done by instinct, is it? I don't believe it. He was reasoning. He made a decision. He dropped the smaller pieces, grasped the bone right in the middle and raised it. Too unwieldy. More cogitation. Then, delicately, he lifted one end of the backbone, bent it around with his claw and picked up the other end. Now, holding both ends in his beak he succeeded somehow (I couldn't for the life of me see exactly how) in gathering all but a few small bits and flew off, triumphant, to relish his find in solitude.

Is there anyone reading this who is not faced with a perplexity of some sort? Some of you face serious dilemmas. We want to pray, "Lord, please remove the dilemma." Usually the answer is "No, not right away." We must face it, pray over it, think about it, wait on the Lord, make a choice. Sometimes it is an excruciating choice.

St. Augustine said, "The very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties." There are times when the entire arrangement of our existence is disrupted and we long then for just one ordinary day--seeing our ordinary life as greatly desirable, even wonderful, in the light of the terrible disruption that has taken place. Difficulty opens our eyes to pleasures we had taken for granted.

I recall one of the times my second husband Add was released from the hospital when he had cancer. I did not suppose he was cured, but just having him at home once more was all I asked for that day. I set the table in the dining room with candlelight as I always did for dinner. I had fixed his favorite meal--steak, baked potato, salad, my homebaked apple pie. As he bowed his head to give thanks in the usual way, I had a sudden urge to do something very unusual--to drop to the floor and clutch his hands and sing "Let us break bread together on our knees." I didn't do it. Things proceeded in the ordinary way, but there was a new radiance about them simply because we had been deprived for a while, and knew we would soon be deprived again, probably permanently.

Paul said he had been "very thoroughly initiated into the human lot with all its ups and downs" (Philippians 4:12, NEB). He was hard-pressed, bewildered, persecuted, and struck down. God in His mercy did not choose to remove the dilemmas with which he was faced (some of His greatest mercies are His refusals), but chose instead to make Himself known to Paul because of them, in ways which would strengthen his faith and make him a strengthener and an instrument of peace to the rest of us. Hard-pressed he was, but not hemmed in--God promises that none of us will ever be tempted beyond our power to endure. Bewildered he was, but never at wit's end--God promises wisdom to those who ask for it. Persecuted, but never left to "stand it alone"--God promises His unfailing presence, all the days of our lives. Struck down, Paul was not left to die, though some of his rescues were ignominious in the extreme--the great apostle, let down over a wall in a basket, and on occasion making it to land on a chunk of flotsam! Hardly the means he would have envisioned God's using to fulfill His promises. But on second thought, why not? The absurdity of it all does us good. Life is absurd--on the surface of things--but every bit of it is planned, as Paul goes on to say:

"It is for your sake that all things are ordered, so that, as the abounding grace of God is shared by more and more, the greater may be the chorus of thanksgiving that ascends to the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:15, NEB). Maybe Paul's testimony, which has cheered countless millions, will cheer somebody who still faces a dilemma he has begged the Lord to remove. All of Paul's were solved, but not all of them in Paul's way or Paul's time, Selah.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A word about trials....

I felt this devotion from Elisabeth Elliot spoke eloquently about see them as a wooing from God amazing! (emphasis mine :) )
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Love Has A Price Tag
Scripture: Acts 27:26

Nevertheless We Must Run Aground

Have you ever put heart and soul into something, prayed over it, worked at it with a good heart because you believed it to be what God wanted, and finally seen it "run aground"?

The story of Paul's voyage as a prisoner across the Adriatic Sea tells how an angel stood beside him and told him not to be afraid (in spite of winds of hurricane force), for God would spare his life and the lives of all with him on board ship. Paul cheered his guards and fellow passengers with that word, but added, "Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island" (Acts 27:26, NIV).

It would seem that the God who promises to spare all hands might have "done the job right," saved the ship as well, and spared them the ignominy of having to make it to land on the flotsam and jetsam that was left. The fact is He did not, nor does He always spare us.

Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.

"Running aground," then, is not the end of the world. But it helps to make the world a bit less appealing. It may even be God's answer to "Lead us not into temptation"--the temptation complacently to settle for visible things.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gathering Jewelweed! (Impatiens Capensis)

I wanted to share with you some pictures of my family gathering Jewelweed. We have been doing this for several years. My youngest doodle is known, in the world of poison ivy, as an easy mark. I think poison ivy somehow seeks him out and else can a child get poison ivy in the middle of winter when he is bundled from head to toe with only his eyes showing?.....TWICE!!

When I found that Jewelweed was God's antidote for poison ivy, I began my search and was happy to find it growing along the creek at the base of our mountain. I'll share a little about gathering it, try to help you recognize it (now is the time to get it!) and then in my next post teach you what to do with it.

Here is a patch of Jewelweed...tn_100_4590.JPG

There are weeds and vines coming up through it but the orange flowers and rounded leaves are what we are looking for.


Here Elijah is holding some branches. Oh...the surgical gloves...well guess what often grows with Jewelweed....yup.....poison ivy. Jewelweed is difficult to gather wearing heavy work gloves so we all wear surgical gloves. You will often find little vines wrapped around the stems and you need to remove those before using. It is easiest to remove them as you pick because Jewelweed wilts quickly. It is much easier to remove the vines wearing surgical gloves than work gloves....heavy, thick gloves are just too cumbersome. Make sure that all that you are gathering is Jewelweed or your end result could be disastrous! Another benefit of the surgical gloves... if we happen to get into poison ivy, we just peel the gloves off and throw them away. Works wonderfully!

Be careful when gathering....this wonderful herb is an annual. Gather it all and that will be the last of your patch. Be a good steward of God's gift and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of Jewelweed :) When we are working a patch we never take more than 1/3 of what is there. Also be careful not to "pull" to gather...cutting is better. The roots are shallow and it is very easy to accidentally pull up the entire plant! Also not a good thing! You want it to continue to grow and flourish so that it will serve your needs for years to come!


Here is a close-up of the flower ....notice the red spots down the throat of the flower. You want to be sure to get the top 15 inches or so. Gather stems, leaves and flowers but only 1/3 of what you find!

The leaves are oval and toothed as you can see. The upper ones are alternate and the lowers ones opposite. Jewelweed gets its name because water beads up on the leaves after a rain and catches the sparkles as if bedecked with jewels!

Jewelweed grows in wet and shady areas...along creek banks, ponds and low places in the shade. I often see it along the roads in ditches - don't gather from the roadside - too many toxins from the exhaust of automobiles make this area undesirable for a healthy, safe and effective product.

Check back soon for ways to use this marvelous gift from God!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We have been having an awful drought here in TN. Have I mentioned that before? We have lived here since Janurary 1999 and have never experienced anything like this summer. I am thankful that we had drip irrigation in our garden or we wouldn't have produced a thing. I don't think we have had rain on our farm for more than 4 or 5 days altogether.

Our farm runs down to a small mountain ridge and then part way up the mountain. There is a year round creek that runs at the base of the mountain. It is a good deep creek - fun to play in during the summer...Elijah had asked to wear his bathing suit for this purpose....but it was a bit too cool. I have seen this creek overflow many times and flood our lower field. The boys and I headed down there last week to gather Jewelweed. Did you know that Jewelweed is God's provision for is an antidote for poison ivy. For years I have made a tincture to treat poison ivy externally. Last year I began making a salve. This year I plan on making lots more salve and some soap to treat that awful rash. I'll write more about Jewelweed later.....

Imagine my surprise when we got to the creek....


This is where we normally access the creek/mountain. I couldn't believe my eyes.....DRY!!! This creek has never run dry before! As you can see Elijah is wearing his muck boots in expectation of wading in the creek. We all wore surgical gloves....this will be explained in the post on Jewelweed...coming soon!

The day before this picture was taken, we actually had our first really good day of rain. You know, that all day steady down pour....I was so shocked that, although we saw some puddles, the creek was dry as far as we could walk or see.tn_100_4591.JPG

Looks like a lovely country lane doesn't it? This looks down the length of our property at the base of the mountain....I am standing in the middle of the "creek"!


And this is the view in the other direction. Elijah had lots of fun turning over rocks and looking for critters. The puddles that we found were filled with life, fish, crawdaddys, frogs and salamanders...and one other unusual creature....


Our faithful guard dog, Faith, follows us everywhere. She found great relief in the few puddles that we found. She would wallow while we worked. When we began to walk on, looking for the next patch of Jewelweed, then she would run ahead of us looking for the next puddle.


Normally the depth of this creek is way up beyond where the green begins to grow. Jewelweed grows in shady and moist conditions....needless to say that the patches were quite small this year. The tributaries to this creek, that also cross our property, were also dry. We were able to walk through some of them. Quite interesting...I was so glad that we had extra trash bags....we all gathered trash as we made our way down the creeks.

The almanac is predicting a very cold winter this year. It has cooled down considerably, and quite early. Our windows are open (despite my allergies....which are much worse this year!) and the nights are chilly. This could explain why our horses were developing their winter coats during a heat wave when the days were 105! God's provision for them as He knows what they need.

I am hoping wondering if we will get some of the precipitation that we missed this summer during the winter months. I wouldn't mind a good deep snow....or two :)

Stay tuned....more on Jewelweed soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Creepy Crawlies in the Garden!

The boys and I were picking the last of our red tomatoes the other day. The nights are so cool that I don't think there will be many turning red now. When we were picking, we found several tomato hornworms.


Notice that it look slike it was rolled in white rice....this hornworm has been parasitized!! This is a good thing! It really grossed me out concerned me many years ago when I first saw this. A friend, who is an entomologist, explained to me that parasitic wasps (good things to have) had laid their eggs on this hornworm. Their larvae feed on the hornworm so the hornworm dies and your population of parasitic wasps increase each year.


You can see that some of the egg cases are empty. Also a good thing. tn_100_4605.JPG

So, if you find this in your tomato patch, know that you are blessed and leave it alone. Next year you will have more beneficial insects to help you battle the bad bugs in your garden!

NOTE: All photographs were taken by Elijah, my budding 9 year old photographer!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A devotion.....

This devotion by Elisabeth Elliot has touched me deeply for the last few weeks...I thought I would share it with you....
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:4-9

Content to be Weak

What weakness are you feeling today? The inability to manage circumstances that cry out to be changed? Helplessness in the face of another's deep need, or of evil you have to watch perpetrated on others you love? A sense of inadequacy for some task laid upon you? Physical weakness or pain? The need for power to forgive an injury or keep silence about unjust accusations against you?

Christ has been there before you. Every form of human limitation He knew, and out of that utter poverty we have been made strong. Yet, again and again, in the life of each disciple, comes the experience of weakness in order that we may live His life for others.

"We who share His weakness shall by the power of God live with Him in your service" (2 Cor 13:4 NEB).

This sharing of His weakness is one aspect of the death of the cross, one of the conditions of our discipleship, and hence cause for joy rather than bitterness. For we walk the road, not alone, but with Christ, "well content to be weak at any time if only you are strong" (2 Cor 13:9 NEB). The mystery is constantly being worked out--strength out of weakness, life out of death.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Please pray for Annie....

Many of you read Carla Lynne's blog.  Her daughter Anne Elizabeth is very ill with a very high fever.

You can read the whole story here.  Please petition Father on their behalf.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This reader gets it!

I received this comment not too long ago. I wanted to bring this to your attention in case you missed it. So many of you write lamenting the fact that you have no land. I try to respond and encourage you to do what you can where you are...grow a pot of lettuce on the balcony of your apartment, put a tomato plant in your back yard, etc. Let me share with you what Robin is doing...
I have enjoyed reading your stories. They have been encouraging. About a year ago we decided that this was not the way God intended for us to live, so we thought moving was what we should do first. We looked and looked. Our place right now consists of a small house and two and a half acres. We never could find something we thought was the place God wanted us to be, see our home is paid for. I feel like the Lord is telling me this is home for now and this is where he wants us to be for now. So--we have built barns and own nubian goats for all of our dairy needs, chickens for meat and eggs, rabbits and two turkeys(and all have produced us with offsprings). We raised fruit and vegetables from our garden, even though we are having the worst drought I can remember. But all of this has been done through God. I have learned so much but I know I have a long ways to go. This drought even though it has been hard, I believe it was a learning experience. I feel like God has told me if you can't make it on two and a half acres, how can you make it on more. So, I am looking to God and working as hard as I can. I am so proud of all we have accomplished and I know that it was God who showed us the way. See all I have learned I learned from stories like yours and God telling me this is what I should do. So don't stop writing. Keep it up. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!

I have no doubt that Robin and her family will see their acreage grow for she is following biblical principles.

Matthew 25:20-23 (New King James Version)

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

So again I encourage you to "bloom where you are planted!". Whether you have a large balcony, a small yard or an acre or faithful with a good steward....and gain the experience that will benefit you when God sees fit to bless you with more land.

Robin and her family will be much more likely to succeed on larger acreage because they are stewarding what they have...gaining knowledge and experience. It was hard for my family to come from the city where our growing experience included grass and the occasional tomato plant. We had a long and steep learning curve....we are still learning. Each year we experience more and learn more and hope to become better stewards. Start where you are...follow Robin's example!

Hey Robin.....I am SO proud of you! May God bless and multiply your efforts abundantly!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Venom of the Blister Beetle....

*WARNING* Those with queasy stomachs should skip this post and forget you ever came by today!!

I had never heard of a blister beetle....never! But I learned about them from a most unusual physician. I hadn't seen my Dr. for over a year. He always comments on that...evidently at my age most women are in frequently. But....I had this place on one of my cheeks. It was dry and flaky, the skin would flake off, look normal for a week or so and then flake up again. Suspicious! I figured, having passed the age of 50 and after living in Florida for 15 years, I might be dealing with a skin cancer. So...I made an appointment.

I really like my Dr. He is a Christian, and he is friendly, humble, kind, gentle...and doesn't treat me like my IQ is smaller than my shoe size (and I have really little feet!). He will actually converse with you in fact he will come up and start the conversation!

He took a quick look and was skin cancer on my cheek and another spot in one of my eyebrows. But, he also noticed some spots on my hands. He treated all of these places, except one, with liquid nitrogen. He explained it to me this way...... the liquid nitrogen causes a local area of "frostbite." Healthy skin can recover from frostbite but damaged skin (cancerous skin) can not. It dies.

However, there was a spot on my left index finger that he felt was too deep to be treated with liquid nitrogen. This was a small growth that I had been treating herbally for years. I could make it go away but it eventually always came back. My Dr. felt like it would require several painful deep treatments that would leave scarring. But...he smiled...."I have an alternative treatment..." and he said this with a twinkle in his eyes!

Now, I have to explain that my Dr. is open to herbs and does not object to patients using them as long as you understand that just because they are plants it doesn't mean that they are "safe" and that you can "use as much as you want because they can't hurt you". This is more than most people know. One of the greatest misconceptions I see in teaching others about herbs is that you "don't have to be careful because they are just plants". Herbs are powerful, potent and potentially dangerous if you misuse them.

This was the first time he mentioned "alternative treatment" to me...usually it is the other way around. "So...." I asked so naively, "what is the alternative treatment?" And he answered, "the venom of the blister beetle." He explained that this venom, taken internally, was deadly but that it was safe to apply very small amounts. This venom he orders from another isn't available here. One very small drop on the growth will cause a blister to form which will expand and hopefully sever the roots of the growth between the epidermis and the dermis. This will then heal without leaving a scar. He also said...ahem....that it was painless.

So, of course I said, "Venom?? Are you out of your mind?" "Go for it!". He applied a drop so tiny I could barely see it. He then applied some glue on my finger and wrapped it with moleskin. Evidently it works better if no air can get to the area. He was was absolutely painless. FOR ABOUT 4 HOURS!!! He neglected to tell me how it would feel when this ENORMOUS blister began to form under this growth!!!! And it remained very painful for three days. Well, actually it only hurt if you touched it or used your finger at all. If I sat perfectly still and didn't move it felt fine. Need I remind you that I am a Mom to active boys, live on a farm, cook all the time and am in the middle of canning season????

But, I must admit it worked very well. Three days later the bandage came off and the core of this growth just pulled off with the bandage. I packed the gaping hole wound with my healing salve and in a very short time it was completely healed over. He checked this two weeks later and was amazed at how quickly it healed. I casually mentioned that I used my own comfrey based salve. I don't think he was impressed...he is a triple anti-biotic man all the way! However, when he ran his finger over the area he still felt a small little lump....and felt we should use the liquid nitrogen just in case. I will tell you that liquid nitrogen on new, tender, pink skin is quite a different feeling than on the normal, work-hardened skin found on my hands. Ouch! came to mind....frequently!

My boys helped me with the canning this last weekend....tomatoes and peppers just won't wait for wounds to heal. And I am grateful for a Dr. who is open to trying new and different things....even if it makes me a bit wary.

He said this venom is very expensive.....wonder if there is money to be raised on the farm by breeding blister beetles ;)

Friday, September 7, 2007


Overwhelmed....I have been utterly overwhelmed! I promise that I had no intention of taking a month off of blogging but look what happened. Looking back, I realize that I should have just taken a hiatus as many of my fellow bloggers have done....then I wouldn't have felt guilty each day for abandoning you guys :) So, I apologize to those of you who have faithfully been checking my site and, in the future, I promise that I will not just disappear but will make every effort to take an official break after notifying ya'll. I want to thank the many readers who have contacted me by email or by phone to make sure I was okay. I am truly humbled and grateful. Some of you know the personal trial I am enduring and were concerned for me. This meant more to me than I have appears that this valley is a little longer and a little deeper than I realized. This last month has been very difficult for the boys and I but God is faithful to encourage us when we need it most. Thank you especially to Julie (who is ALWAYS there for me), J.A., D.M., C.L., B.W., C.F., C.S. and her Dad, the best hugger in the know who you are :). I am truly blessed with friends and prayer warriors. I am trying to take steps to relieve some of the pressure but this is difficult at best and impossible at times.

Our weather this year has been so strange. The last two weeks of August our temperatures were over 100 almost everyday. I have lived here for 8 years and don't recall ever having this kind of heat. It is too hot to be outside for anything except the pool....even at daybreak the temperatures were well over 80! The really weird thing is that our horses' winter coats are coming in - in fact are almost completely in. I can't understand why they would be getting a thick, dark coat in the middle of a heat wave but God knows what they need and we need to be aware and learn from what is happening in His creation. Perhaps we will be having an early winter.

Our area, like many others, has been experiencing a terrible drought. Our farm pond is down considerably.


The cows have been grazing in an area that used to be underwater. In the above picture, you can see the lush, darker green area at one end of the pond. This has always been underwater. This drought has also affected gardening. Even though we have drip irrigation in our garden, the heat has been hard on the plants....well.... the weeds have thrived but the good stuff is suffering!

I have been busy canning tomatoes .


I will spend Saturday doing this again. I usually make my own ketchup, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce each year. It takes 45 lbs. of tomatoes to make 5 to 6 quarts of sauce. I do not understand why the stores can sell it so cheaply - they must put lots of fillers in these products. After I get whole tomatoes canned, I will begin on the spaghetti sauce. I use a lot of whole tomatoes during the winter in soups, stews and sauces. I use my own spaghetti sauce for homemade pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, stuffed shells and other things. These are quick and easy meals for me...sort of my own fast food :)

I have also been busy canning "wing sauce".


I have my own recipe for a hot sauce made with a particular pepper that we grow. Last year I planted an entire 33 foot bed with this pepper. The seeds had been purchased through a catalog. 110 plants! many of you may remember, they all turned out to be pimento peppers!!!! We love pimentos...they are wonderful in the pimento cheese that I make. But.....who needs 110 of them?!

This year I saved the seed myself from some of the hot peppers that I had in my freezer and planted another 110 plants....SUCCESS!!! A good reminder that it is always better to save your own seed if you can :) I think that next year I might have to plant 2 beds. The stores don't carry this pepper so if I don't grow it we can't have it. This is true of so many varieties of lettuce, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers.....well.....just about anything. God blessed us with so much variety in taste, texture, color and appearance...and we settle for what the "food giants" deem to dole out to us. Let me encourage you not to settle. Order some seed catalogs that carry heirloom seeds and add some variety to your life!

Well, on to a busy day.... boys to home-school, errands in town, tomatoes and peppers to pick and then jewelweed gathering. I will be making a soap and salve with this wonderful herb that treats poison ivy. I made the salve last year on a small scale for the first time and was pleased with the results. I sold it locally with wonderful testimonies coming back so am ready to unleash it on the world....this means you :)

May God bless your day!

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