Tree messages

Here’s Your Sign- in Trees

Trees talk…
or do they?
History is recorded in trees, if you read the signs.

Ever carved your initials (or your undying love for another) in a tree?There are a multitude of variations, depending on the types of trees, the size of trees, and the messages presented in many different types of ‘signs’.
These are called arborglyphs.

Many years ago, I went back-backing in the Rocky Mountains outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. At this high altitude, Aspen trees are everywhere, and so are the messages carved in these specially unique trees with white bark. If only back then, we had such a thing as a ‘pocket’ camera, but alas, I have the memories. Once I started reminiscing about all those ‘signs’ and messages carved in Aspen trees, I wanted to find out more.  Luckily, nowadays– you can find anything on the internet!

There is history in the ‘signs’ of trees. This article; “Reading the Trees” provides information following an archaeological study.  “Nicole Smith, Education and Outreach Project Director for the San Juan Mountain Association, directed the identification and documentation of arborglyphs on a stretch of the Pine Piedra Trail. The 2001-2004 research project, funded by the Colorado State Historical Fund.” 

I ran across these posts in  VERY cool!  For example:

“This is a small cemetery for the Butler family in Morgan County Indiana, north of the town of Paragon.”

I find it very interesting when I consider that signs of the past left in trees could be markers of history.  It kind of makes you wonder how long the ‘sign’ in a tree can last?  Longer than a ghost town like this one:
“Steubenville, Indiana of Randolph County was officially plated on the day before Christmas in 1839. It only had three or four homes even in its heyday.”

So, we know from history that towns may or not live long…
Have you ever wondered how long a tree can live?  (They do represent life, sort of as a parallel to human life.)  Well… the Guiness World Book of Records has METHUSULAH= listed as the world’s largest living tree! (Just more interesting info I found on “”). Would you believe “Earth’s oldest living inhabitant “Methuselah” has reached the age of 4,768 years?”

There are even more stories of tree ‘signs’.  Military veterans have reported messages in trees.
Remember the “YELLOW RIBBON”?  In the United States military, the symbol of the yellow ribbon is used in a popular marching song. The first version copyrighted was the 1917 version by George A. Norton, which he titled ‘Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon” (For Her Lover Who Is Far, Far Away). 
There was a big hit song in the ’70’s- “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando. It was about a man returning home from prison who asked his girl to tie a yellow ribbon if she still wanted him, and when he arrived, a 100 ribbons were tied to the tree.
It caused some controversy because it glorified a criminal- not a soldier.

That’s all beside the point— I want to bring the attention to the TREE.  Why an OAK?  Because among common species, they have the most resiliency and longevity.  You can count on the Oak Tree being there after long, hard years away.  THAT is just another reason why trees are so important.  What they stand for, long lasting love… and so much more.


Posted in FYI

skin care found in the kitchen

There are many ingredients right in your very own kitchen that are useful for skin care. Honey for instance, has many uses, which you can read more about in the post on this site; Honey for natural health help

Cinnamon is another handy ingredient. Cinnamon(If you want to use the essential oil, or get even more ideas of cinnamon use, don’t forget to look for it at Mountain Rose herbs- the link is on the right)

Here is some really helpful information about this spice I found at Live 

Cinnamon–in both grated and essential oil forms–is beneficial to the skin because it brings blood and nutrients to the skin surface while also helping to dry skin. An article at reports that cinnamon can be used to help dry acne and relieve an itchy scalp, but works best when applied in a preparation with an oil or petroleum jelly, which can moderate some of the harsh effects of cinnamon.

Plumps Skin

Cinnamon is a spice that brings blood to the surface of the skin, causing minor swelling and plumping. A preparation of three drops of cinnamon essential oil mixed with a couple tablespoons of petroleum jelly or olive oil can be applied to fine lines to plump out the skin, making the lines less visible. It’s best to avoid the eye area as cinnamon can cause burning if it gets in your eyes. You may carefully apply it to the outside of crow’s feet, away from the eye. This mixture is also helpful in plumping lips and can be used in place of lip gloss.

Scalp Cleanser

Cinnamon can help clean and nourish the scalp by acting as an exfoliant and bringing blood to the scalp, and along with it, oxygen to nourish the hair follicles. Take 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon and mix it with 1 tbsp. of honey and 1/4 cup of warmed olive oil and apply to the scalp, massaging firmly during the application process. Leave on for about 15 minutes and then wash hair with your normal shampoo. You should feel a little tingle as the cinnamon stimulates the scalp.

Eczema Treatment

Some people have found relief from patches of eczema by combining 1 tsp. of honey mixed with 1 tsp. of cinnamon and applying a thin layer of the paste on affected areas. Do not use this preparation on children or on patches of eczema on the face. Try a small test area and wash off immediately if the skin becomes too irritated. You should see results within a week, according to an article on Earth .

Acne Treatment

Cinnamon can help rid your face or back of acne by both drying out the skin and, again, bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface. Mix 3 tbsp. of honey with 1 tbsp. of cinnamon and apply the paste to pimples and leave on overnight. Or apply a thin layer to the face as a mask and leave on for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Cinnamon masks can irritate the skin, so they should not be applied more than once a week.

Oh, and of course don’t forget the added bonus of how it helps the kids!  Some in the sand box helps keep the bugs and ants away! sandbox


I recently made a specialty homemade soap with cinnamon and oatmeal. Tune in for future post…

Useful Hedge Apples

Another gift of nature. Someone told me a few years ago, that if you put hedge apples in the corners of your house, they will keep away spiders. So, I tried it, and for the last couple years, it has worked. This year, I hit a jackpot of HUGE hedge apples!

Just a few made such a big pile.

“Folklore provides numerous claims that hedgeapples are repellent to insects and spiders. The fruit of the osage orange has been placed in households for ages. The Hedgeapple’s average lifespan in an air-condition environment is 2-3 months. Although some can develop spots at an early stage, Hedgeapples should only be discarded once most of the green has disappeared.” Hedge Apple resource.

These are those “brainy looking” things that can occasionally be found in the woods in the midwest. Deer love them. (I’m not sure what else eats them.)  I have heard people comment that they smell, but what I’ve noticed is a mild sweet scent. I don’t find it unpleasant. That must be a preference thing. Also, they are sticky and will turn brown and shrivel in a few months.

Such an easy, free, natural remedy. If you put some around the house, place a napkin or rag under it, or it can stain as it turns brown.  For tips on doing things yourself, using natural ingredients, or advise on just about anything frugal, check out

homemade prickly pear fruit margarita

If you live in the Southwest, or have the opportunity to visit, get out and about this time of year (late September, early October) when the Prickly Pear cactus fruit are ripe.  I had the pleasure of being in Albuquerque recently and found these in the foothills at the base of the Sandia Mountains.

This is what the prickly pear cactus plant with ripe fruit looks like in the wild

It is VERY IMPORTANT to use gloves when picking, the fruit has tiny, hairlike needles that can hardly be seen, but they sure are felt! These require tweezers and magnifiers to remove from the skin.  Look for the darkest of the fruit, a deep purple for ripeness.  We took them home and, still using gloves, peeled them.

cut out the core end

carefully remove the skin, it feels rough, sort of like peeling an avacado

REMEMBER – USE GLOVES!!! The fruit should be soft, so don’t squeeze too hard in order not to lose juice while cutting out the hard, core end.




While peeling, hold the fruit gently, removing the skin using your personal technique for peeling apples or similar.

Next, slice the fruit or you can quarter it, depending on the size. There are seeds inside that should be removed because they are hard, and have a tendency to stick in teeth. (They are edible, no real taste and not easy to chew).  Try different methods of seed removal that work best for you. We ended up using a pickle spear/fork.

The seeds are the granules you can make out that have a clear texture

Now the fun begins! Take about a cup of the fruit pulp (we used about 6 large fruit), put it in the blender and add 10 ounces of margarita mix (or your own margarita recipe).  This will taste wonderful with or without alcohol!!

Delicious, healthy AND gorgeous

The taste is mild, not sweet. Sort of hard to describe. The texture is similar to mango fruit.  I plan to look into what all vitamins are in these, but it is my understanding that the Native Americans could go for days eating these and nothing else. We put our extra fruit in the freezer and when we thaw it out and try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

November 10, 2012. Defrosted the prickly pear fruit and made another batch of margaritas. It separates sort of like tomatoes when frozen. The pulp lost it’s taste because the juice separated, and was somewhat watered down. Still, the margaritas were tasty! And the color was even deeper.

Frugally Sustainable- get info about anything DIY

“Perpetual Pessimists Need Not Apply”

This ad appeared in a newspaper employment classifieds. It is a perfect reminder of how easy it is to see what’s wrong with anything, anywhere we look. These times are difficult.  The economy is making us face a need to be self-sufficient.  Employers face these same challenges and can easily become discouraged when seeking employees who are willing to meet the goals of the business, only to spend time and energy filtering through the ‘perpetual pessimists’ who expect something for nothing. That’s my perception of what this ad means.  What, exactly, does pessismist mean? According to Merriam/Webster:

1: an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome

2: the doctrine that reality is essentially evil b : the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life
pes·si·mist noun
It is an implied topic throughout the Bible also.

JAMES 3:16 TEV  Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil.  When we look around, where is there NOT jealousy and selfishness? That is what the pessimist tunes into. The trick is to turn it around: “Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

That’s why it is important to make an extra effort to seek the good. Dont’ give up.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
-Leo Tolstoy

I would never dream of going to a potential employer, filling out an application, making an interview appointment, arriving at the appointment (already put forth effort), only to loudly speak through my attitude in some way that I’m thinking “they won’t hire me, anyway” or that I’m too good for the job, or that I’m worth more than they offer. If that’s what I’m thinking, it will show in my demeanor.

Perpetual Pessimism is a state of mind, but it represents self destruction. I interpret this photo representing the act of chopping away at our own foundation.

You can choose to be a pessimist or just refuse to be negative.  That’s what  the quote in this blog title by George Bernard Shaw means to me. For inspiration and advice so that the difficult times we face don’t become overwhelming, I recommend Gretchen Rubin’s book “Happiness Project” and you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.  Also, author Larry Winget (he calls himself the “Pitbull of Personal Development”).  You can find these and many, many good books at BetterWorldBooks. Look for encouragement, and you can find it!!

freezer tomatoes

The height of the garden season is coming to an end. So, what can you do with those last tomatoes? Even through the summer drought, it seemed that tomatoes came on in bulk, so I got sauce canned, salsa made and plenty to go in salads. I found out about freezing them years ago, so each year, I put some away in the freezer.  This is SO EASY Here’s how:

1. Select tomatoes without many blemishes, and cut out the core.  DO NOT PEEL

2. Just put in a freezer zip lock bag, place in freezer and WahLah!!

When you are ready to serve, after they thaw partially, the peel comes right off. They are soft just like canned, but fresh and ready to add to chili, pasta, stew, whatever your taste desires.    SO EASY!!!

poison ivy natural remedy tips

Did you know that all you need is”Jewel Weed” which grows right next to the poison ivy.  Pick off a leaf and rub the sap onto the area that touched the poison ivy. You can apply it later, also when the welts appear.I found fantastic information from frugally sustainable about the many ways to treat poison ivy.  As easy and simple as Apple Cider Vinegar, a banana peel or a blended up raw potato applied as a poultice.  There is a post by Andrea on Frugally Sustainable that gives many ideas to try. Such as: Drying paste. In the palm of your hand, make a paste with a tablespoon of bentonite clay, essential oils(10 drops total of either lavender, tea tree, chamomile, or geranium), and just enough water to moisten into a paste. Apply to rash and allow to dry before rinsing off. Use as often as needed. Also: Herbal compress. Make a strong tea using either burdock root, plantain, comfrey, or jewelweed — or any combination of these herbs. Apply to the skin by soaking a clean cloth in the tea and then placing the cloth on the affected areas. Let it dry and re-apply as often as needed. It should relieve the itching immediately.  Witch hazel: Spraying the affected area with witch hazel will help to ease the itch and dry the blisters.

If you want to have on hand herbs like these, or any fresh, organic herbs or teas, you will be sure and find them at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Get a good picture of what poison ivy looks like, so you can easily identify it, if you come across it.

Get out there and enjoy the outdoors!!! Don’t let a little plant ruin it.





Surprisingly easy homemade Shea Moisterizer

So, I surprised myself when I discovered how fast and easy it was to make my own shea butter moisterizer.  I love the natural ingredients products that are available out there from spas, but since I can’t afford them, I decided to save money.  Getting started was even easier than making the cream. First, I ordered the ‘unrefined Shea Butter’ and ‘almond oil’ from Mountain Rose Herbs.   They have fantastic quality and selection of just about any organic herb, butter, oil, anything that nature provides, with reasonable prices and quick shipping.  I chose Almond Oil because even though I have normal skin, my forehead tends to get oily, and Almond oil absorbs real well. I even got the recipe from them.  Shea is the ‘butter’ from the nuts of “Karite” tree, ground by hand as the livllihood for women in Africa. It has fantastic, nourishing qualities, as well as edible! I have to mention that, because my daughter, the esthetician jokes in a serious manner, that if you won’t put it in your mouth, why would you put it on your skin? You can find out tons of information on Shea, natural ingredients, and many, many health tips at: Care2 Make a Difference.

Next, Measure out: 2 ounces of unrefined Shea Butter and 3/4 ounce of oil.  I put them in a pyrex measuring cup in a hot water bath to melt. (This took like 2 minutes).  Then add a capsule of vitamin E, 4 to 5 drops of essential oil of your choice and whip it until it starts to set.

If it has a grainy texture when it cools, NO WORRIES, just re-heat it and whip it again. I have been using it on my legs after shaving, and I gotta say that it does wonders!!!  Mountain Rose Herbs also has several types of containers that you could put this in to impress and share with your friends as gifts. Give this a try!!!

I have been using this during the extended heat wave, temperatures over 100 and have NOT gotten sunburnt!!!  It’s true!!!  get information on anything homemade, money saving tips, just about anything you can imagine!



Tip for Recovering Addicts- Emotional Health

Does life ever get you down? Yeah, it can, plus trying to stay in recovery is hard enough. So, what do you do to get ‘over the humps’?

Pay attention to the areas where balanced strength are important:

1. Physical Health           2. Emotional Health                 3. Relationships     4. Job Satisfaction        5. Help Your Community

In this post, we will provide suggestions for emotional health. Your spiritual strength leads the way whenever you feel weak in some area of life. Pray, knowing that God is ALWAYS there for you.

Identify what- exactly- you are feeling. Ask yourself questions to help you figure out the truth of your emotions.  Honestly consider if your perceptions are accurate.  For example, if you are struggling within any of your relationships, do you really understand the other person, or are you assuming you know?  Are you trying to please him/her and your efforts are unnoticed?  Our emotional well-being relies heavily on our interactions and true communications with others.  If you are feeling self pity, shame, guilt, or apathetic, dig deep within and figure out the real source, then honestly consider what would help to remedy that?

If you are reading this because you feel overwhelmed with life in general, please contact someone who can help; professional services are available.

Find this at Better World Books

If you have doubts about your ability to STAY in recovery, reach out to someone in your support circle.  You will have doubts, moments of weakness, but there is always help.  Face your doubt head-on. What is the worst case scenario? Can you live with it?  YES! Sometimes the worst case scenario is that we might have to bite off some humble pie. That is actually, healthy, believe it or not, so that we don’t get too cocky.  A daily inspirational or motivation book might be helpful.  You can find countless helpful books for very reasonable prices with free shipping at Better World Books.

Or maybe you think you should care more about something that you do, acknowledge what it is, how important it is and if it’s important to someone that is important to you, ‘act as if’ you care.  Remember that from treatment? Acting as if you are the good person you used to be before you changed with addiction is the best way to re connect with that person. It won’t hurt to listen, ask questions and give some of your time and attention to someone else. Remember, somebody did that for you!

This blog can’t even begin to address all problems we face, only YOU can.  If you are reading this because you are so overwhelmed that in spite of everything you know, you still want to use, call your sponsor, another person in recovery, or a hotline. But don’t wait!

Tip for Recovering Addicts- Help Your Community

Do you want your life to be better? Then focus on what you can
do to make life better for others. This post is for motivating social responsibility.

In your recovery journey, have you experienced that sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself? Wonderful, that means you are moving forward in the right direction. Being a part of your community is more than being with your family, it extends way beyond your front porch. But that is a starting point, because, really, what IS your community?

Yes, it’s family, which extends to other family and their involvement. For example, your children’s school has activities you can be part of, their friend’s have parents you can get to know, their teachers and coaches. Do you know your neighbors?       PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.       This means everyone you have regular contact with, co-workers, anyone you do business with, people who live in your neighborhood, and of course, family.

Speaking of family, there might be some family members that are struggling in life, maybe even with addiction of their own. How can you help? (I have to point out here as a reminder, that you can’t save them, but you are called upon to help).

By becoming a responsible member of your community, you can find so many ways to give of your talents, time and friendship. People everywhere are struggling with something, and unfortunately, resort to using in order to cope. I have heard so many testimonials from clients who have had loved ones die from overdose and that is so heartbreaking!  You never know, your experience can reach someone before it’s too late.

None of us want our children to end up addicts. There should be contacts, networks, links from your own support circle that can point you in areas where help is needed. Here are just a very few starters:
MAMA- Mothers Against Meth Assoc.               or          These are organizations to help empower parents so that their children do not end up on drugs or dead.  They welcome testimonies from recovering addicts and support. Here’s an idea (even if you don’t live in Oregon, I bet there is something similar in your city.)

Your local church will have many activities/missions/outreach projects that you could become involved with, also. Pray for those in their addiction, their families and the organizations who exist to help others in need. When you begin to help others, it is amazing how your own
problems seem to shrink.

None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help the one in front of us. Even if it is just giving a smile, a word of encouragement, or a helping hand.

Do you want your life to be better? Then focus on what you can
do to make life better for others.