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


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




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


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


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


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

Jake book now on Amazon!


Look what finally arrived in the mail!  It’s been a loooong road writing, illustrating, and publishing my first children’s book.  Proofing the book and finally getting it listed on Amazon. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and feel like I have a grasp of the enormous effort that goes into each book I’ve ever read.  Especially all of our favorite children’s books I’ve read to my sweet little ones over the years.

Reading this book feels so right.  Jake is a tribute to my kids, my love for them, my hopes and dreams for their future, my love of our family, our pets, my finding my own path, my evolution as an artist… it just feels like every aspect of my life rolled into one colorful little book.

As I flip through the pages, I think about why I wrote this book.  And it all boils down to this… I wanted a book that will illustrate for my kids, and for kids everywhere, how to invite happiness right into their lives.  Not by demanding external parameters to change.  Not by hoping to be happy “one day” and putting it off into a future that never comes.  Not by needing to make drastic life changes or be something other then the person you are.  Just by staying right where you stand, and inviting joy in.

This little pig lives in a cage, and felt very very bored.  By the end of the book, not only does he decided to return to his cage, but he invites every single thing he loved about journey outside of his cage to just come on in, and meet him right where he is.  He didn’t need to know how to change things, didn’t need to figure it all out before he could become happy, didn’t need to change a single thing about his life except his own perspective.  By becoming present, aware, and focusing on all the things he loves, he invites the world to flow to him.  He doesn’t need to manage circumstances or conditions.  Everything he could ever want can flow to him right where he stands.  Or sits.  Or “mweets” or whatever you call that adorable noise that guinea pigs make.

I’d like to share Jake with you first, dear readers.  My Amazon page is a work in progress (right now the hardcover book is listed, pictures are being uploaded, and soon to follow will be the paperback version…) but I don’t need to wait until the *all* the conditions of my book listings are perfect before I let the positive energy of my book flow… I can share my joy over this book exactly where it is in it’s journey.  Right where I stand.   Yes, I know that Amazon listed MD as a second author 🙂  so it looks like Laura Koniver *and* MD are co-authors, instead of Laura Koniver, MD.  But that’s the whole point.  Should I put off my joy over this book until the Amazon page is absolute perfection?  No!  Because it might never be perfect.  But I’m happy about it RIGHT NOW.  Thrilled!  And I want to give some copies away right now!  Not when the listing is perfect.

I’d love to send one reader a hard cover copy and one reader a paperback copy.  I’d love the two winners to leave a book review on Amazon after they’ve read the book!

To enter the give-a-way, just leave a comment below any time now through Sept 16th, and if you would be so kind as to help me spread the word about my book, I’d be honored.  I’ll draw a two random winners and announce them next Friday, Sept 17th.   xoxo

Natural Body Products and Tea… with a Give-a-way!


I first met Connie through a local natural mothers group here in Charleston.  I tried her tea and I have not stopped drinking it since… years later, I can say without a doubt her teas are my favorite… ever!  And the more I’ve gotten to know Connie, the more I love her…  teas or not.  She is just, absolutely an honest, true, dear soul, and I really respect everything she does.  She homeschools two of her precious children (and one on the way!  Congrats Connie!) and fills her days with creating equisite teas, delectable salt scrubs and moisturizers, doedarants, bath products, healing salves… and loving up her sweet family.

If you met Connie right now, I can garantee you would love her too.   There is just something about her, and her passion for what she beleives in, that makes you feel good.

Sipping her tea is *almost* as good as getting to spend time with her, because they make you feel good too.  Her products are completely natural and pure, with no additives, colors, artifical scents… nothing but high quality ingredients that nurture your soul.  Because her products are so organic and natural and healthy, I thought she’d be a perfect person to write a guest blog… so I asked her, and she graciously agreed.

She also is very generously giving away a gift basket containing an assortment of body products and teas… to one very lucky soul.  She is willing to ship it, so anyone can enter!  To enter, just leave a comment at the end of this post.  I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

Without further ado, here is my sweet friend, Connie:

“Lost River Naturals… it took me quite a while to try and come and come up with a name to suit my business.  I wanted one that was earthy and peaceful and more importantly, a name that meant something to me personally.

As a child, my family and I would visit my dad’s hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and while we were there our most favorite place to go was a chilly cave and rock shop called Lost River Caverns in Hellertown, a neighboring little city.  It was a magical place to me because I have always been drawn to stones and crystals and this place had the wonderment of those earthly things I’ve long admired (although I think these creations were divinely inspired).

This particular place also had some underground caverns that we would tour with amazement and across the street from the caverns was a charming bridge and a beautiful little stream that my sisters and I would wade through while my mom and dad would take family pictures.  My memories from this mystical, magical place are some of the fondest of my childhood, so I decided to give my budding business a name that really had special meaning to me.

Upon starting a family and wanting only the purest, most natural and organic everyday products to use on my children and on myself and husband, I became very frustrated at all the “natural” options out there on the market. As I uncovered the fact that most of these products were neither natural or fully organic and many contained dangerous additives and chemicals, I decided that I was going to try my best to make some of them myself!

I began with a simple sugar scrub recipe that served as a daily cleanser for myself and husband in the shower, while the kids thoroughly enjoyed the lovely sweet scent and foaming action in the bath tub.

My next project was something to cool fevers and bump and bruises, so I began sewing flaxseed pillows and smaller “boo boo” pillows for the children.  These are so versatile because you may store them in the freezer for inflammation as well as heat them up for a muscle soothing moist heat.  I’ll have you know that we use both of my early creations daily in our house and can’t imagine going without either one!  My sugar scrubs also quickly became my most popular, best selling items.

Now with these two items developed and sought after by friends and family, I began getting requests for other daily body care products like an alternative to fluoride toothpaste and a natural deodorant that really works. Well I then began researching and trying different combinations and before I knew it, I had a list of available products that was beginning to overwhelm our tiny house!

Not only did I have body scrubs, bath salts & teas, herbal salves, lip balms, clay treatments, perfume oils and more, I also developed an extensive line of herbal teas from pregnancy teas to men’s tonics, and spicy chai concoctions!

It’s been about four years since I first got the idea to experiment with herbs and such, and now I cannot imagine my life without the daily rush to get orders completed and in the mail, and the excitement of developing new products when the mood strikes!

Although I am not a formally trained herbalist, I feel that I have a real intuition for creating effective herbal combinations in my teas and when I begin a new body care recipe, it’s rare that I have to return to the drawing board!  The products seem to turn out just right the first try although I frequently tweak this or that to make a more perfect offering.

I love the fact that my kids are getting involved with the process too.  They often flock to me when I begin taking jars of herbs from the shelves to mix a tea and my 6 year old daughter even created a tea all on her own which became my best selling blend this Summer!  She named it too ~ “Mystical Garden Tea”, a fine name for a delicious beverage!

It’s almost Fall, so I am gearing up for a rush on my Elderberry Syrup for colds and flu; I can’t seem to make batches of this delectable remedy fast enough.  I also have some new products and surprises in the works.  There is never a dull moment here as I am constantly working on filling an order or running the house and caring for my kids.  Since I homeschool 2 of my children, and have one on the way, it’s not always easy to find a balance.  But my passions in life, my family and my business, keep me fulfilled, happy and hungry to learn more to nurture both.”

I am highlighting a different business every month, ones whom I totally support and recommend because I believe so much in the products and services they offer.  I have a great line up for this fall and winter, so be sure to stay tuned!

To keep up with Connie’s new products and sales, join her facebook fan page.

Check out her shop, Lost River Naturals… it is chock full of stuff not even mentioned in this blog post!

To enter this give-a-way, for Connie’s awesome gift basket, leave a comment below! Check back on Friday to see who the winner is!  Good luck, these will be some of the finest products you ever try!  xoxo