Wordless Wednesday

688f1d676a722cf5d2189a3d3c249d7f-d3c5q7k   Early Spring Morning by Pajunen



My Herbal School Books


Happy Spring Everyone! The Advanced Herbalism course just started at my school. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take it; because, I have to save money for a car. Maybe, it is just as well. I really want to review all of my herbal apprenticeship studies, because it was a lot of information to take in, and I really want to retain it. I thought I would share a bit of it here with you all, starting with my school books.

I thought this was a great collection of books and diverse as well.

Beginning from left bottom; the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North AmericaThird Edition. By Steven Foster&James A. Duke 

This book is an invaluable guide! This is what we used to find our plant samples in the wild for our materia medica pressings. It includes the common and medical name of each plant, along with pictures, great descriptions, where it is found and uses, that include historical and indigenous practices. This book became my ‘herbalist bible’, helping me find over 100 plants!peppermint

The next book (top left) is Heal Your Body, The Mental Causes For Physical Illness and The Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them, and it’s by Louise Hay 

You may remember I discovered her when I was healing with hay house.  If you’ve never heard about her or her healing crusades in the 70’s, then you really should check her out. This book explains that there are mental causes for each of our physical ailments and includes affirmations for each body part! I used this book to heal my lower back spasms during my course. I will write about that in a different post. I still use this book daily for affirmations that correspond to whatever part of my body is acting up. A must have book for anyone on a healing journey. hay

The book on the top middle is Edible Wild Plants, Eastern/Central North America, by Lee Allen Peterson.

This is another must have guide for herablists and wildcrafters. I am not as familiar with this one; but, it has all the same great info as the Peterson’s guide.ewp2ewp


Top right hand corner is The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism, by David Hoffmann.

This book is awesome! I used it a lot during homework assignments for our materia medica; because it was set up similarly. It describes Actions and Body Systems and the herbs recommended for each. It doesn’t go too in depth with the plants; but it’s a great quick guide, and a must for learning materia medica. herbal handbook

Next book, bottom right, The Herb Book, (The Most Complete Catalog of Herbs Ever Published) by John Lust, with over 275 Line drawings.

This book I have not familiarized myself with much yet either. I used it some toward the end of my course for homework. I guess I was a little intimidated by it and stuck to the other books; but, it looks intense and I will definitely be studying it while I am reviewing everything.the herb bookthe herb book2

Last but definitely not least, Body Into Balance, An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care, by Maria Noel Groves.

This is a great integral component. Holistic Care aims to treat the complete person, physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually, in the management and prevention of disease.  I didn’t start reading it until my course ended; but it ties in all we have learned. It’s divided into three parts, foundations of good health, going deeper and tying it together, and then buying and making herbal remedies. This book is done beautifully and another essential tool for healing.bodybalance3











I hope you have enjoyed viewing these books, I know I have. I will insert links to them through their titles if you are interested in purchasing them. I am going to love reviewing all the magical plants, even though they are all covered with snow presently; soon, they will be emerging and I look forward to more of their stories. 🙂



Being Poor


In a world where we are all fighting to be equal and trying to be heard and validated, it surprises me that there isn’t more emphasis on the socioeconomic crisis. I often imagine how a rich person and a poor person have two completely different life experiences and often never knowing what the other has to offer. It is a very real struggle and painful feeling of segregation, being poor.

Being poor fills you with shame and lack of self worth. Others look down on you, think you are lazy and worthless. You’re angry because no matter how much you try you will never be good enough, or have enough. You will always struggle. That’s just the way it is.

My mama used to say, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

I’ve been poor most of my life. I was eight years old when my parents were divorced. Divorce was shamed back then and I was an outcast because of it; but, even more so because I was poor. Even in church people moved away from us and gave us looks of pity. My mom went from not being allowed to have a job to working three of them to raise us kids. Every now and then she would quit working to get assistance for our dental and medical needs, and then she would go right back to busting her ass. I was so proud of her; but, we suffered without her presence. No matter how hard she worked, we still grew up in a neighborhood of poverty. Standing in lines for large government blocks of cheese and a warm bowl of soup.

My mom insisted on paying for me to got to a catholic junior high school, because the public one was pretty dangerous. There were stories of young girls getting raped, drugs and bad teachers. Unfortunately, little did she know, she couldn’t prevent any of these from my future. Regardless, she scraped up everything she had and there I was in the middle of a rich catholic school with my two pairs of pants, holes in my shoes and too much makeup. I was constantly made fun of and discriminated against. I eventually stopped going. In 8th grade I attended only 20 days of school and made up the rest from home. Thankfully, it was allowed back then. I don’t think the school wanted me there anyway.

Being poor drove me to steal. Not just for me but for others in my neighborhood. I felt like Robin Hood. I wanted to save everyone. I took in stray kids and cats. A group of us would steal food stamps from mailboxes and buy for everyone. Together we would survive. Living in a poor neighborhood, you fight to live. It is an environment that leaves traumatic scars.

I worked as soon as I could. Usually 2-3 jobs just like my mom. Then in 1987 I got into a severe car accident and lived off the settlement for awhile but still worked. Lots of friends suddenly needed loans. I obliged. Eventually the money was gone and the bills piled up and that was when I found exotic dancing. I remember thinking I was going to get my whole family out of the rut; but, that didn’t happen. I wished I had known better and saved or invested; but, I had no financial direction or education.

I was able to help my mom launch her shop that she continued to have for eight years. I bought myself a nice car and was able to pay bills with ease. It felt so good to be able to provide for myself easily; but, I knew dancing could only last so long and my soul was screaming to get out.

In my early thirties I had my baby daughter and wanted to turn my life around. I went back to school to become a veterinarian technician; but, before I could finish my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Then my life became about taking care of her.

Inevitably she passed. I went to work as a vet tech for a short while; but, then had my nervous breakdown three months later. My doctor strongly suggested I go on disability. I was very sick mentally and physically. I agreed and was grateful for the opportunity to heal while worrying less about how to pay the rent. However, that really wasn’t the case. Disability doesn’t pay the bills. I had to apply for any and every assistance there was. Meanwhile my mental and physical health debilitating. Eventually, I was homeless and at the mercy of others. My pride and self worth gone.

For years now, I’ve worked hard in therapy to heal and be able to function again. These last few years I’ve made great strides with working a temporary job and graduating from the herbal apprenticeship. Now what? I am planning on starting a little Etsy shop with my daughter and thinking about trying the ticket to work program again through Social Security. I have to be careful with my choices to ensure my survival. When I worked the temporary job for peanuts. My health insurance went. I don’t know yet how having a shop online will affect my insurance, my housing, etc., It’s really like being between a rock and a hard place.

I am determined to get off this system; but, struggling with all those feelings of self doubt, like I am not good enough and never going to be able to succeed. The recent loss of my car seems to confirm that I will always be struggling. I can’t afford basic needs. How will I ever be able to start a shop? Or make enough to cover what assistance does now?

It’s a perpetual problem and the battle never seems to end. It gets me terribly depressed at times. I even suspect the government would prefer we all just jump off a bridge to ease the financial crisis. That is when I have to remind myself that I am grateful for the roof over my head. I have faith that my future is bright. The law of attraction says I must set free the doubt. I have to feel worthy of success. I turn to my blog to write and set free the shame I’ve held onto since a child. When people used to look at me disgusted. If they looked at me at all.

Nobody wants to acknowledge the homeless, the mentally ill, the unfortunate. People pay attention only after a poor person out of desperation has committed a crime or attempted suicide, and even then the attention is fleeting and superficial.

If awareness was higher and we all practiced kindness, maybe the struggle would lessen. I wonder if when I was in junior high school, if just one person reached out to me, then maybe my life would have turned out differently. Maybe I would have stayed in school or found some self worth.

For along time I was angry and envious of rich people; but, then realized it only added to the segregation. I don’t know what it’s like for rich people. The few I’ve known don’t have any higher self worth than I do. Their value is usually distorted and lies in ego and how much they own. They are expected to succeed no matter what and it is expected for poor people to fail. The separation just keeps getting bigger.

If rich people showed more compassion and poor people stopped isolating themselves, maybe we could meet in the middle. We need to stop saying we are poor and start believing in our worth. We are rich in ways that have so much to offer. We have to believe and be heard and seen.

Being poor feels like being invisible. I want to change that, not only for myself but for my daughter, my family and for all the people who feel less than.





Rainy Day Healing

rainydayRaindrops on the window

Wild winds blow the tree tops

Candles are lit

Incense perfumes the air

Sitting still, I close my eyes

White light fills me

Third eye goes blind 

Ego distracts

Spirit pulls me back

Be calm

Listen to the silence

The echoes of the wind

speed up with urgency

Tree branches sway to the turbulence

Dancing with the storm.

Gray skies embrace me with neutrality.  All that was is set free.  All that will be,

is  here and now.  Open my arms to receive the love.  Closing my eyes again

my third eye beams indigo, letting ego go…

Deeply rooted with the trees, I learn their dance.  Cleansed by the rains and wind.

I allow the healing in….


A Model’s Nightmare


I met him while I was working at the Mall. He approached me and gave me his business card. He said he worked with a company in New York called Portfolio. He thought I had real potential and wanted to work with me. I was 18 years old and very naive. I had graduated Modeling school and was working a few jobs. I thought this was my big break.

The first step he instructed was to create a portfolio and when it was finished, he would send me out to agencies. We spent the next year or so doing photo shoots, building my portfolio, and building trust and friendship, so I thought. Eventually, he convinced me that I needed lingerie pictures in my collection. I had to show that I was versatile. I was uncomfortable and unsure. He bought me alcohol to ease my worry.

He increasingly became controlling. There was a woman and her husband that I used to hang out with and drink beers. He lectured me about hanging out with successful people and he didn’t want me to see this woman anymore. He even had someone call me that claimed to be the actress Mia Sara, to lecture me as well. He said he knew Justine Batemen too and was going to have her call me; but she never did. When I went to hang out with this woman again, she was gone. Her apartment was empty. I didn’t know what happened. Could he have made her go away?

He also started to become very mean. When I suffered from a miscarriage, he forced me to do a photo shoot the very next day in the middle of Boston. I was emotional and bleeding and he didn’t care. He explained I had to learn how to work despite the circumstances. During photo shoots, he made me work for hours on end, without breaks. We would go away for weekends for location shoots. He never made inappropriate advances; but, there was something very wrong, and even my naive self knew it.

I finally asked when was my portfolio ever going to be finished, trying to call his bluff. He soon presented me with a contract to move to Japan and work for a year. I was afraid. My mind and nerves were frazzled by this point. My rebellious nature was fed up and I felt I had to try and back away from him. Something wasn’t right.

I brought my portfolio to a local modeling agency, that was run by two women. They sat me down and gently questioned the lingerie picture. They explained that I didn’t need this in my portfolio. I unleashed and in tears, I told them the whole story about the man I had been working with. They took it upon themselves to investigate. A few days later, they called me into the office and said that he was not who he claimed to be and didn’t work for Portfolio like his card stated. Then they nervously went on, and said he was wanted for child pornography, rape and possibly murder!

For the next three days, he parked outside of my apartment. I was terrified. I thought to myself. I got out just in time. What would have happened if I had gone to Japan, surely never to be seen again. Then he disappeared. I never heard from him again. I never knew what happened, Was he prosecuted? Was it true?

About five years ago a picture of me that he took surfaced on the internet. It wasn’t an inappropriate picture but just the thought of him made my heart race with anxiety.  The picture was listed under a different company and I couldn’t find more than his name for the pic credit anywhere. I was concerned that he was back in business and could be dangerous; but, I din’t know what to do. I just buried it too afraid to revisit.

Last week his name came up again when the family of Carrie Moss contacted me to ask about him. Carrie dated my brother in the eighties. In 1989 she went missing and her remains were found in 1991. Unfortunately, due to decomposition the case was never solved, and her family is still trying to piece it together in hopes of some peace. It’s a very sad story.  My sister had mentioned to them, this photographer I worked with and now they wanted to know more.

Shaken, first,  I googled him. Much to my surprise he became quite successful. I found a video from nine years ago, with NBC interviewing him about his art. Just seeing him made me nauseous. I wondered, did he turn his life around? I thought, he finally got what he wanted, success. Then I found his obituary from 2014. Only 55 years old and died suddenly. A part of me was instantly relieved. I felt safe. A little more research and I found a collection of pics of him and various celebrities. Justine Batemen was one of them. It wasn’t a pic of them together, just her. Did he really know her? Where was the info on the crimes he was accused of? Was he innocent? Did he buy his innocence? An array of mixed emotions washed over me.

I broke down and cried and cried, releasing years of fear, pain, betrayal and anger. I was a young woman who was made to feel that all I had to offer was sexual images. I was betrayed by a person who I thought was my friend. I was in shock and terror for so long. I hashed it out in therapy and then wrote Carrie’s family back. Realistically, he is a logical suspect. I still don’t know what to think about it all. My therapist assures me that it’s not the narrative of the story that offers closure; but instead it is the young 18-19yr old inside of me that needs to be heard.

Only by embracing her thoughts and feelings will I be able to put this behind me. I am hoping the more I write about it and share, the healing will happen, and this model’s nightmare will be put to rest.



In a Slump


I’ve been in a slump. Weeks of utter exhaustion, mild depression and a complete lack of motivation. The first week, I chalked it up to still recovering from my surgery and allowed myself the rest. Though that Friday I managed to gather my strength and go out with some friends from school to see another classmate sing. It was a lovely, normal evening out and I am so glad I did it; but, the anxiety and socializing was draining. I was down a few days from that alone.

The next week, my daughter was depressed after a break up. We both spent a lot of time playing video games and being in bed until the end of the week. Realizing the unhealthy, depressive, codependent vibe we were creating, I vowed next week would have to be different. Sunday we drove to my niece’s to celebrate her birthday and spent the evening. It was a lovely time but Monday was right back to the shit.

My daughter and I got into an argument, probably needing space and independence from each other. We are so close that when we argue it is painful. That night I discovered my breast was disfigured from the surgery. The large indentation starting at my scar and going down the bottom of my breast was not any better and now there were two more lines across. I cried myself to sleep.

Tuesday morning, I had an appointment with the garage to inspect the car I am borrowing from a family member. I woke up to a group message regarding an upcoming brunch meeting with old friends. A change of plans. Could we meet near the hospital because my girlfriends mom was in the hospital. I was concerned for my friend and her mother whom I am close with too. I inquired to learn that it is Leukemia and she doesn’t have long. I offered anything I could do to please let me know, and I got ready for my appointment in tears. My appointment didn’t go that well either, I need all four brakes and rotors replaced and a side view mirror to even get a rejection sticker. Then I will have to identify the light stuck on to get inspected. Depleted. I cried on my exes shoulder whom I met because he is local to the garage. I have been completely independent from his help for a long time; but, I needed help. I asked if he could fix my brakes. Presumably, a “friends with benefits” comment surfaced in our conversation. I questioned silently, is that where we left it? I came home to a message from my daughter’s father asking if she was okay. Apparently, she had called him the evening before upset. I replied yes, just growing pains. He responded and then sent a dick pic. One with contraptions on it. I told him he was a perv, and he apologized and said it wasn’t meant for me. Between that and the comment from my ex, I now was depressed  AND angry with men.

I still had my breast to deal with, so I called the doctor and they made an appointment for me. Then my girlfriend with the sick mom called and asked me to call her as soon as I can. I was scared. I didn’t know if I had it in me to be as good of a friend as I tried to portray. I knew her situation would be triggering for me, and I feared breaking down. I poured a glass of wine and called. She wanted me to find someone who could perform a spiritual blessing at her service. I agreed. Then I poured another wine and called it a day.

Sunday, I gathered my strength again and drove to Burlington Mass to meet my girlfriends and her sick mom in the hospital. It tugged my heartstrings to see her sick. I am so glad and proud that I could be there to see her and be there for my friend. I have really grown! I came home and collapsed.

This week, I feel much of the same. Exhaustion, depression, repeat. My appointment with the doctor didn’t make me feel any better. She explained that she had to go into the capsule area to get the calcification out and it could have caused a reaction with the implant, now I have to see a plastic surgeon. Then another blow comes my way. The family of Carrie Moss contacts me to ask if I could tell them about a photographer I worked with. Carrie Moss is a girl that dated my brother in the 80s. In 1989, she went missing and later her bones were found but the mystery never solved and they are still trying to piece it together. The photographer came into question because my sister recently mentioned him to the family. This guy was wanted for child pornography, rape and possible murder, so he was a logical suspect. Shaken by just his name, I researched him only to find he finally became successful and then passed away in 2014. I hadn’t even heard his name in years, and here I was looking at his face and trying to process multiple emotions at once. He is something I will have to write a separate post on. I cried and cried. Here I was sitting with traumas from almost thirty years ago. It’s strange when the past catches up with you. It slaps you in the face and then curls up on your lap waiting for your attention. I will be working on that little gift today in therapy.

It’s really all I can do to just keep going sometimes. The last few weeks, it seems I’m up and then I’m knocked back down again. I am hoping with Spring coming the hints of hope will break this dark and gloomy slump cycle. It has been weeks now, and even though I am functioning, I feel heavy and depressed. I am overwhelmed with the sensation of my inner child just wanting to curl up and cry. I don’t want to be brave today. I don’t want to look into the darkness. I am afraid. I am tired. I just want to color, and play and be innocent.