I can't believe I haven't posted in a few months again. This year has been an intense year with major life changes for my kids (plus the loss of my mom), and every time I have wanted to write and share, I feel blank. We have had huge losses and huge changes as a family - just like a lot of folks - and a lot of that hit my own system pretty hard. While I was already having stress issues, losing my mom toppled me right over, causing me to start experiencing intense health issues.
So, we as a family did some deep thinking and reflection and decided I need to make some major life changes to allow myself the time to focus and care for the needs of myself, my own health, and, the needs of my kids. Well, more like my family stepped in and said I needed to stop before all of the stress took me out, so I listened.
It is hard to step down, step back, do less, and change our entire schedule and daily life to accommodate the impacts of change, and, to find some kind of balance that allows me to release that stress. I'm so grateful we are so close to our teens, and that they felt comfortable reaching out and asking for what they need, to ask for more time and support from me, and, to support me in my own needs as they saw the impact stress and anxiety was having on my health and wellness.
With that, I have stepped down or am stepping down from everything. This is something I have thought long and hard on with the full support of my family. I think this fall is the perfect time. I will be turning 55, my youngest will be turning 18, my oldest will be starting some amazing life changes that needs my support and time. I feel like the slowing down of fall into winter is a good time to wind down, take some down time, and focus on what is important.
I have resigned as the Chair of the American Herbalists Guild. I have given my 90-day notice and will be stepping down from Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders as well. I am closing my herbal practice work. I will still volunteer with HWB as the lead donation distribution person for the US network, as I have the entire lower level of my home dedicated to HWB donations and packing/shipping boxes out to free clinics. But, that will not be 40-50-60 hours per week, it will be a few Mondays per month for boxing/shipping, and 2 other days per month for inventory management, cleaning, prepping, organizing the donations that go out throughout the US. So, instead of every waking moment being this work, and 40-60 hours per WEEK being this work, it will be more like 30-40 hours per MONTH of this volunteer work.
As I am working on transitioning out of the roles and reducing my stress and working on improving my own health by stepping back and focusing on wellness, I am feeling a call back to my art - photography, writing, and painting/visual art - and know I will be taking more time for those creative outlets that help me feel who I am and calm my restless and anxious spirit. Having more time for my art, design, writing, photography, permaculture gardens, handwork, kitchen, and home, is just what I need. It is funny, because I was so busy managing and organizing herbalism, that I haven't had any time in over a year (or more?) to actually make herbal support from my own gardens and use the herbs I work so hard to grow (other than simple tea). I want to have time again to make things and ferment and tincture things and cook with things and share what we do.
I have already started supporting G on a new business endeavor that we are working on together to get him started in one of his areas of interest. And, I have started supporting A in some of the life changes that we are focused on over the next few years. Having more time with my kids in these key years as they enter adulthood and find their own paths is SO IMPORTANT. There is nothing I would rather do.
So, I will be here, hopefully more, but it will be different as I make major life changes and transition to a new stage of my life. As I try to look at my stress-related health issues, and return to the calm equilibrium I had for so many years before taking on too much. I look forward to sharing more about life, home, gardens, art, handwork, design, words, and things that make me feel healthy and strong and happy.
Looking forward to the fall.
I am so happy to be presenting at the Botanica 2022 conference, on behalf of Herbalists Without Borders, on Using Tools for PTSD When Working in Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid.
As an herbalist and an aromatherapist, I find that our industries often cleave them into two opposing forces, divided, when in fact I think they should be united. I believe in sustainable aromatherapy, and I believe in sustainable herbalism. I think both modalities compliment each other and provide us with specific properties, effects, and tools to support those we serve.
I am so happy to be speaking at this conference, with so many wonderful scientists and clinical aromatherapists, to talk about using these amazing plants as tools when working with trauma. To find out more or to register for the conference, visit:
Stop by the Herbalists Without Borders virtual booth and say hi if you attend!
It is seed season. Back in 2018 I started the first US Seed Grant by gathering donated seeds from companies and sharing them out to HWB gardens around the US. Early on, all seeds were from seed companies, and they included fruit, veggies, culinary herbs, flowers, and of course some medicinal herbs. Food justice is health justice, so growing fresh food is so important and food seeds are as important as medicinal seeds - but to be honest, since most seed companies do not specialize in medicinal seeds, we didn't have enough medicinal herb seeds. We really needed more. So, I started buying medicinal seeds for my own garden (not that I need an excuse to buy more herb seeds, ahem), and then saving them to continue growing out to get more and more seeds to share. I grow herbs for free clinics, but I also grow a lot of plants that I also grow out just for seeds now. Over the past year or two there have been other HWB members and herb schools that are also now saving and sharing seeds back so we have more medicinals to share out as well. So, this year, I am so happy to be bagging up hundreds of packets of medicinal seeds from Lunar Hollow to donate to the HWB Seed Grant Program. It is very satisfying to bag up so many seeds for seed sharing.
Even after bagging up over 400 packets of seeds (yes, four hundred! woot), I still have more bulk seed left to grow out this year in the garden, and, to include in seedling sales for others this spring as well.
I have many new herb varieties I have purchased this year to grow out and hope to share seeds from those in the future. I will be growing new herbs such as Balkan Mountain Tea, Greenthread, Huacatay, Kkaennip, Labrador Bog Tea, New Jersey Tea, Green Pepper Basil, Perilla, Pushkarmool, Safflower, Hoary Skullcap, a few new types of Tulsi, Yauhtli, Hairy Wood Mint, and more. So excited to be starting seeds in my seed trays, and planning and plotting the gardens for summer. It is the perfect time to sort through all of the successes of last summer and bag seeds to share. I hope to share more about growing medicinals this summer, as well as tips for seed starting and propagating woody cuttings. Seed starting season always comes just as winter feels like it has been here forever, and I need growth and light to grow.
What are you growing this year you have never grown before?
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.