My Favorite Thing… In My Bathroom

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This is over three years old now, and it’s still my favorite thing.  Now, the lighting is bad in my bathroom, so I didn’t go crazy with taking too many pics.  And to be honest, I’m too tired to clean up the bathroom sink that it is hanging next too, so it’s fine with me that the artificial lighting isn’t great any way.

But do you see this masterpiece?  It was made for me by my adorable husband and precious children, right after we moved into our home.  I didn’t have anything to hang my jewelry on, and I wanted something home made for Mother’s Day.  My husband took the kids out into our yard, and had them each pick a fallen stick off the ground, hammered nails along the length of each… and then set the kids up with paint and let them paint the sticks.

Bless his heart for that, because if you know my husband out of the office, you will know he isn’t the most handy guy with tools.  He is brilliant, smart, generous, kind, and open minded… but he ain’t great with a hammer.  So that makes this all the more precious to me.  Because I can just imagine him now, with a handful of nails, hunched over a stick that probably kept rolling away from him, trying to hit a nail into a narrow twig, not wider then a half inch.  If that isn’t love, I don’t know what love is.

I will never, ever, ever replace this.  It will literally have to compost right on my wall.

The kids were only 4 and 6 when they made this for me and gave it to me for Mother’s Day.  Now 7 and 9, they seem like entirely different creatures from the ones who ran paint along these sticks for me.  The love is the same, but the expression is different.  Now they can write my name, make me a card, buy me a gift.  But back then… before reading and writing and cards and gifts… there were sticks and paint and ribbon.

And I love that more and more each day.

You all can easily make this for yourself, too!  Just two sticks, some nails, wire (that I wrapped around the ends of the two sticks to have one stick hang off the other one) and a ribbon (you could skip the ribbon and just perch the branch right on the wall on two nails) and you have and organic, rustic holder that keeps your necklaces, bracelets, and eyewear off your sink ledge.

I’m just throwing that out there, because with Xmas growing ever near, it makes a great gift.  I should know, I got this one as a gift from the heart and I wouldn’t sell it for the world.  xoxo

Thoughts on Health… why I’d take friendship over medical advice any day!

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I was at the beach with two friends of mine, enjoying the late summer sun and playing in the waves with the kids.  Unfortunately, I was also battling some horrible neck tenderness and muscle pain… I blog about that here.  On this day in particular, the base of my skull hurt so badly I was having trouble just sitting up straight, talking, carrying on a normal conversation.  Certainly wearing my hair back off my face in the sticky salty ocean breeze was unthinkable, the pain was too severe.

My two friends were so amazingly kind and generous… with their empathy and their advice.  It was so nice to be able to talk openly about what this pain might represent for me (what burdens am I holding instead of releasing), and get some wonderful new suggestions for pain relief.  Both friends openly shared what has worked for them in dealing with back and neck issues, both offered insight, and both offered things I had never thought of before… new stretches, massage techniques, and topical rubs that I hadn’t ever used.

All in all, I left the beach that day with hope.

And hope, my friends, is worth more then all the medical opinions in the world.


One of my friends, Joy (whose name is so perfect for her I can’t even tell you!  She is a ray of crystal clear positive light) gave me at least three or four new ideas, not to mention some genuine comfort.  It was very helpful to me.

Then she said something to the effect of, “Oh, I keep forgetting you are a doctor… I don’t mean to give you advice.”  It was so sweet, and yet completely surprised me.  She had just given me such great advice… it was exactly what I needed.  I told her that me being a physician doesn’t mean I know everything about healing, and that I really appreciate the advice.

But that doesn’t totally convey what I meant.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then.

I think that being a physician means that you have studied and know a lot about the anatomy of the body, and the physiology of organ systems.  But just because we might know a lot of facts, I don’t think that makes us anymore knowledgeable about *healing*.  I think physicians are great to go to for more information about what is happening *anatomically* with a symptom.  Physicians do know a lot of highly specialized information, and it absolutely is important.  I think they are an amazing, even life-saving, resource.  I think they can be so amazingly helpful if you want to know what, physically, is going on.

But, I don’t think physicians necessarily know more than anyone else about *healing*.  In fact, sometimes their *interpretation* of healing is not particularly helpful.  The minute they start trying to interject opinions, educated as they may be, it is not a fact *for you*.  The only thing that is a fact for you is what you vibrate for yourself.  So if a physician tells you a statistic or an outcome… it isn’t fact.

This is a pet peeve of mine, because I feel that physicians crush hope every day… well intentioned as they may be… when they give out survival percentages, or possible outcomes, or an antibiotic prescription, without talking about the emotional aspect of healing.  I blog a little more about this here.

The other friend, that was there that day, is Aleka.  I’ve already introduced her on my blog, when she wrote two amazing guest blog posts here and here.  Since that time, she has started up her own blog, and I highly recommend taking a look at it.  It is chock full of food for thought, and I learn something with every single blog post she releases.

We were talking about what is *fact*.  How what is true for one person is not necessarily true for another.  We were talking about how we can share our deepest truth, our soul advice, with others, while not mixing in our own errant truths.  She said something that I will always carry with me… she said she asks herself, before advising clients, “Is what I am going to share helpful?”  In other words, it might be *true*, but is it helpful?  Will it be helpful in healing?  I told you she was a genius!

I love this advice.  Especially for physicians.  Because damn, I can tell you we are stuffed to the brim all through medical school and residency with facts, figure, statistics, possible treatment plans, possible medications, surgeries, other physician referrals, etc… But… is it helpful?  Is it helpful to tell a patient a survival rate?  Is it even *true* for them?  Even if only 1 person in 100 statistically survives a dis-ease… is it helpful to say there is only a 1% survival rate?  For the 99 people who pass away from this dis-ease, was it helpful to them to say that there was a 99% chance that they’d die?  No.

For the one person who survived the disease, was it helpful to tell them that 99 other people would have died in their shoes?  No.  Because for that one person, there was a 100% survival rate.  They 100% survived.

But will they ever be able to believe that?  Believe it in their heart and soul?  Or will some small part of them always think that they might not be in that 1% survival bracket.  Won’t some part of them always be expecting the dis-ease to return, to kill them?  So was it true that they were one of the 99 people who were predicted to die?  No.  Did it support their health or healing at all to know that?  NO.

When it comes to actual health and healing, we are all in this together.  Even the physicians.  Even the specialists.  Even the surgeons.  We are all in this figuring out what each organ system represents, why some cells and systems evolve dis-ease, and how we can encourage health instead.  I’m in it with you all too.  Because we can advise each other all we want, but at the end of the day, we each attract our own health.  I feel that I have an intuitive understanding of disease… but that doesn’t instantly take away my severe neck pain, does it?  No.  I still have the same obstacles of life and the same energy fields to cleans and release as we all do.

So, knowing I was going to wake up in pain and head out the door that day… would I rather go to the beach and commune with friends, or going to a physician’s office for an X Ray and a prescription?  I’d choose the beach any day of the week, and I’m so glad I did.  Friendship, over medical advice… yep, that feels right to me.  Thank you so much to my very sweet and very inspiring friends!  xoxoxo

PS — I finally figured out that there is one way I can wear my hair off my face and not get an instant tension headache.  I’m telling you this because maybe it will help someone else who has the same problem I do.  Can’t wear a bun, can’t wear a pony tail, can’t wear barrettes, can’t wear a headband… what can I do?  A braid.  If I make one big french braid going down the back of my head, it holds all my hair off my face… but doesn’t pull at all, because the band that secures it is way at the very bottom of my hair, not anywhere near my scalp.
Why did that take me so many decades to figure out?!?!?

So if you see a woman with tangled brown hair pulled back in a french braid and with two gorgeous kids, stop and say hi to me 🙂  I’d love to have a chat.  xoxo

What I Have In Common With A Cockatiel (hint… we both have a favorite girl, and she turns 9 today!)

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See this guy?  He is our Cockatiel, Cupcake. We love him so much.  And he loves us too… but Clara in particular.

One thing I love most about cockatiels, is that they bond for life.  Just one life partner that they stay with through thick and thin.

If the bond is broken, their heart breaks too.

Cupcake has bonded for life with my Clara.  She is the only one in the world for him… he is utterly and completely in love with her.

I can understand why.  Clara is the most magical human being I have ever met.  In my eyes, she is the definition of spirit and soul.  I see her and I see her soul, they are always hand in hand and visible.  To look at her *is* to see her soul.  Always.

She is raw and precious and gentle and passionate and careful and hilarious and giving and tender.  And, today, she turns 9.

These pictures were taken from breakfast last week… she put her bird out with a little bit of millet spray on the breakfast table next to her.  That’s exactly the kind of thoughtful thing she is always doing for the pets and people that she cares about.

I love these pictures because I think my daughter looks like an angel… can you see her glowing in the light, edges blurred… no discrete line where her body stops and the light begins?

This is how I see her every time I lay eyes on her.  Soul shining.

And from behind this camera, I am looking at Cupcake and thinking what a lucky bird he is… to be bonded for life to my Clara.

She is the most trustworthy gentle care giver, I have no doubt that she will take care of Cupcake and tend to his every need for his entire life, start to end.

(Once, when she was only 5 years old, she held her favorite guinea pig while he died… for well over an hour, she just held him to her chest, gently but firmly, loving him even though he was leaving and tears were rolling down her face.

Holding him and telling him it was okay, to relax and let go.  I tell you, I’ve never seen such quiet beauty, grace, and strength in my life as I saw my little 5 year old girl give that day.)

Cupcake is one lucky boy indeed!

And that’s what I have in common with Cupcake too… because I know that I’ve bonded for life with my daughter.  And I am super grateful for it.

She will always be my baby girl, even though she has just turned 9 in the blink of an eye.  I am bonded to you for life, Clara.  I feel that I exist to be your Mommy.

Happy Birthday, my love.  Now let’s go do whatever you like today!  So far, the plan is hiking around a southern plantation (Magnolia Plantation, for those of you who live here) and lots of fresh air.   A magical September 24th to you all!  xoxo

Music and Our Souls

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I was having a great conversation with my children over the weekend, and I had a wonderful thought.  Okay, it might be a bit of a stretch, but I love the feeling I get when I think about it.  And usually, if it makes me feel good, I can trust it.

So, I think there may be some truth to this idea.

 

 

We were talking about how amazing and wonderful music is.  And how much it lifts us throughout our day… singing a song while we wash our hands, humming a tune while we take a walk around the block, listening to our favorite CD’s to break up a long drive.

It’s such a miracle to me, that someone was able to capture music and put it on a CD, for us to replay.  I don’t have the foggiest idea how this happens.  How something as expansive and vibrational as music can be imprinted on a tangible object like a CD.  To me, music is energy… a vibrational wave in the air that we interpret through our eardrums.  Sound waves fill our universe, weaving their way through the atmosphere and into our minds, where the energy soothes us, revives us, lifts us, or calms us.  How can this be captured on a flat surface?  How can this be imprinted, in all it’s complexity, on a tangible object that I can toss into my CD player?

I know there is an answer, a science behind it, but that’s not where the magic lays for me.

The magic is in this analogy:  I had a sudden inspiration that our souls are like music, and our bodies are the CD.  Our souls are these expansive, never ending, limitless, unfathomable, amazing energy forms that we can’t see, filling the air and our earth and the heavens.  Our souls are pure music, and have the ability to uplift our bodies, creating life out of a tangible solid object.

Our cells, our organs, even our minds cease to function unless the energy of our living soul is imprinted on the body.  Somehow, the vastness and limitlessness of our soul is imprinted into our body, our cells… breathing life into our very form.

How does this happen?

How can the soul be captured, maintained, living, functioning within our physical bodies?

It is unbelievably amazing to me.

 

 

 

 

And when we die, I like to think it is just like the playing of a CD… the music is released, filling the air with our energy, our soul.  If my body is imprinted with my soul, at the moment of my death the music plays, the fullness of my soul’s song can be released… music fills the air and expands to fill the limitless space.  My soul lifts off my physical form, filling the air and releasing me back to the fullness of myself in vibrational form.

How are our souls imprinted on our bodies?

What makes them stay there?

What makes them release?

What does the music of my soul sound like?

What music will I hear as I return completely to my pure positive energy form?

I don’t know.  I spend my days pausing, “being”, taking a moment to listen to my heartsong.  And to witness my children’s heartsong.

In the moments of being… I can sometimes here my soul’s song.

 

 

 

That’s when I need to paint, or write a poem, or even blog.  Those moments remind me that what I really am, more then being Laura-in-a-body, is music in physical form.  A CD, I guess… that’s what we are.  Waiting for our souls to sing again.  I imagine the death-release to be quite magical, really.  And that’s an analogy I like.

xoxo, Laura

Thoughts on Health… Our Lower Extremity joints: Hip, Knee and Ankle

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Feelings are much like waves.

We can’t stop them from coming,

but we can choose which ones to surf.

–  Martensson

Basically, I like to think of lower extremity pain and joint issues as standing on a surf board.  You can’t move very far in any direction, you are limited by this surf board you are standing on.  You aren’t walking, you are just standing your ground.  Yet your life is moving forward, ever forward, on a big huge wave of energy.  You don’t need to be mobile to realize that you are still gaining momentum and moving forward in life.  Sometimes, lower extremity dis-ease comes along and forces us to just stand and find balance on our surfboards, while we allow the wave to carry us through.  Here is how it works:

The lower leg represents our ability to move forward in life.

This is pretty obvious, as walking and running and jumping and strolling are all ways that we physically move our bodies forward.  The lower extremity joints, specifically the hips, knees, and ankles, are the way we do this.  The ease with which these joints work reflect the ease with which we move through our life.

On a very basic level, you can see this in action.  Children who are fresh, full of energy, full of joy, often spontaneously jump, twirl and dance through their day.  Many many days I spend in awe of my kids, as they joyfully skip while I am pushing my butt along, tired and forcing myself to complete a chore.  Pushing the grocery cart, I just want to be done.  I am doing it functionally.  My feet are lifting and moving forward a step and I am going through the motions, step by step, on a functional level.

My kids, unaware that this task is supposed to be boring, are in the moment.  Jumping up and down and spinning around when they see something they’d like to add to the cart… racing each other down the aisle, an aisle that we don’t even need to go down, just laughing out loud and playing together.  As I hustle them down the isles that we need to go and then through the check out lane, their gate is totally different then mine.

So how we move literally propels us forward.  Watching folks walk can gain you much insight into what moves them.  If you see a mother walking towards her toddler, arms wide open and joy shining in her eyes as she coos to her little one, you can see that her joints are effortlessly propelling her towards her love.  When you see older people, walking hand in hand, slowly shuffling along, you can see two souls united together, enjoying their day, in no hurry for it to end and in unison.  I find this type of movement the most enchanting to watch.

I am not at all against the natural aging of our joints.  I think it is beautiful and reflective of a fulfilled life.  As the joints are used, over the course of a lifetime, they move more slowly, often take longer to warm up, and enjoy a rest in between uses.  This is a natural and beautiful reflection of the rhythm of life.

In the beginning, there is so much joy in life, so many new things to discover, that it is literally hard to contain an exploring child.  Their natural effervescence pulls them, pushes them, bubbles through their legs constantly.  As we age, our joints move less fluidly across each other… the two articular surfaces begin to erode or build adhesions and over all glide less smoothly.  This makes us wise, when we are elderly, to slow down a bit, take it more slowly, and pause in-between our movements.  This echoes what our heartsong sings, as we long to slow down, savor each passing day, soaking in the sunset and the scene… sitting down more frequently and appreciating what we have… less likely to skip through it or jump past our days, more likely to soak in and absorb the day, more thoughtful, more reflective, less eager for the moving through and more eager for the pause and appreciate.

So the natural design of joints echoes the natural rhythm of our lives.  I have no need or desire to be young forever.  What I have a desire to do, is to enjoy each day.  I enjoyed my twirling swirling days of endless energy as a child, but even more, I’m enjoying my mid-life in-between… my ability to rise to the occasion, run and jump and dance with my kids, yet pause and soak it all in and take a rest now and again as well.  And when the day comes when my knees and my hips ask me to walk half the speed I do now… I will reach for my husbands hand and perhaps enjoy those strolls most of all.

If your joints are diseased, though, causing you to slow down (or even stop) out of proportion to the natural aging process… it might be helpful to reflect on what has been happening in your life the months or years just prior to the onset of the disease or injury.

Was there a major life change coming up?  Were you transitioning into a new phase?  Were you watching a child grow up, or feeling conflicted with a new phase of life?  Were you dreading a new beginning, saying goodbye, moving on.  Were you watching you parents age, or change, or divorce… were you transitioning to a new job, or just about to?

Was there something coming up on the horizon… something you were aware of, or perhaps something you might not have been aware of at the time, but in retrospect you can see?

Was there anything you were rushing through? Were you working too hard?  Running too fast through life?  Missing out on your children’s childhood?  On your own life?

If your joints are asking you to slow down, or even forcing you to slow down, ask yourself if there is a reason.   A possibility that slowing down is exactly what you need right now.

Could it be a blessing in disguise?

I believe it is not only possible, but it is actually probable that our cells, our entire bodies, know what we need better then we do.

If your body is forcing you to slow down or stop… look around and find out why.  What future are you moving too fast towards… what present time are you moving too quickly through… and thank your joints for the message.  And allow this slowing down to be exactly what is needed.

Once the message has been received and acknowledged, true healing can begin.  You choose this by your attitude.  Choose which wave you want to surf, and allow the current wave of your life be the movement that carries you forward, while you give your joints a rest.  Stand still on your surf board, find your own balance, feeling no need to walk forward, your only job is to find balance right here.

Sometimes, your joints will freeze up and force you to stay in this moment of time.  Ride *this* particular wave.  So take the message, stop walking forward, stop before you walk right off the front tip of your surf board.  No more walking.  Life itself will move you forward.

Stand in your balance, and enjoy the wave.   xoxo

PS — I have several dozen *slightly* misprinted copies of my book to give-a-way for free in my Etsy shop!
I sent in a nice clean and edited manuscript, along with hand painted illustrations for my book… but when the company assembled the final version, they accidentally edited in some minor misspellings and typos. Much to my frustration, I’ve recently received the first set of books and discovered the errors. Man!

But, my loss is your gain! I’d like to offer these books for free to anyone who doesn’t mind having a slightly misprinted *first edition* book 🙂

The final version is being corrected and this pushes back it’s availability at Amazon and B&N.com for another month or two… in the meantime, please enjoy these free versions with my apologies for the delay in availability of the *real* book.

The errors are minor (two misspellings on the dedication page and a missing coma!) so they in no way take away from the message or impact of the book. Please enjoy these free books with my apologies for the delay.

And who knows, maybe these *special edition* first print books will be rare and valuable one day. At least that’s what I’m telling myself, to allay my frustration 😉

Family hiking trip

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My daughter immediately rolled down the windows and soaked in the cool air, the first second we entered the mountains.


My son loved the solitude of the woods, and was a master at following the markers and trail blazing the way.

I promised I’d share some pictures from our recent family trip up to the NC mountains.  We had one of our best trips ever.  Something about the cool fresh air was so delightful, it was actually hard to come home.  And that is one of the first times I’ve every really felt that way, because I am naturally a homebody, and usually there is nowhere I’d rather be then in my own house.  I just love being home.  It is my nest.

This trip, though… this trip was so special.  It was cold enough to wear pants and long sleeves and even a light jacket… beautiful enough to spend hours hiking the surrounding mountains… and fun enough to want to stay much longer then the long weekend we had.

My daughter carried the map, estimating our progress on the trail and making sure we turned the right way!


Miles, taking a moment to look out over Hampton Lake.


Neat sights along the trail to the top… bark, moss, and even a fur-filled scat!  We are thinking it might be bear scat… it was huge!  This last picture is of us at the very top of rock mountain, over 4,600 ft. in the sky!


My parents are so much fun to hang around… we played games and watched movies and hiked for hours and went to lots of different restaurants.  Lots.

Thank you so much to Grammy and Grampy for meeting us and spending the weekend with us.  We appreciate every minute of it and can’t wait to see you again… wish it was sooner!  xoxo

My Favorite Thing… In My Daughter’s Room

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My daughter is going to be turning 9 in two weeks… 9!  Almost to the double digits, but luckily I get one more year before I have to face that.

What she wants most this year is to re-do her bedroom…  making it earthy and organic and painting the walls light brown, putting up a huge mural of a tree on one wall and a big fluffy bean bag chair in the corner.

So, in preparation for her new room, I’m painting it this week.  She picked the color… it’s Interactive Cream from Sherwin Williams, low-VOC paint.

I was pushing all her furniture to the center of the room, clearing off the walls to get them ready for painting, and of course I found all kinds of cute things — stuffed animals fallen under the bed, markers under the desk, dust bunnies, etc… but the best thing in the entire room was this:

I have taken to leaving the kids little notes in their dresser drawers… not as often as I want to, but I’d say I tuck some little message or surprise in there for them every few months.  Usually a handwritten note from me with a piece of candy or something.

I love seeing all the little doodles they leave all over the house (I talk about that here and here) so I’ve been having fun with giving them my own version.  I love knowing it’s in their drawer, waiting for them to reach in for their PJ’s and knowing that they’ll find it.

This note was like several others… me saying I love you… I never know what becomes of the notes I leave, I guess they get absorbed into the house somehow… but this note was in a pile of stuff on Clara’s table.  She wrote me back, and didn’t show me or tell me about it.

My heart still hasn’t recovered.  I just love so many things about it… her handwriting… that she wrote “to” instead of “too”… that she wrote it twice, once and then tracing over it again… that she wrote some hieroglyphics at the end… that is so Clara.

But mostly what I love, is that she didn’t feel the need to show it to me.  She just wrote it, and allowed it to be.  It was the truth… it didn’t need any feedback.  She just loves me and she trust that I know it.  And I do, Baby Clara, I do.  You live in a world full of love and you show it every single day.  And it is fact for you.  In your very modest, very tender, very real and very honest world, you do things and release them to the universe and never ask for anything in return.  The doing of it is it’s own reward for you.

You are a beautiful, shining example for me to witness.  I love you to pieces. So my favorite thing in this room?  It’s this note, but it’s really what it symbolizes.  Trusting in the unseen.  She loves me.  I love her.  Our souls connect.  It just is.  It always will be.  The showing of it and re-affirming of it is nice, but it’s superfluous.  Just writing it, without showing it off, is enough.  Just thinking it, makes it real.  Just feeling it.

Those words, tucked into the corner of her room, sitting there for weeks without me knowing… well, I’ve known any way.  And I feel the same, my love.  xoxo