Posted in Beauty/Health

Envision Your Future (Your Best Life, day 7 and recap)

A few years ago I organized a group of witchy, like-minded women. We post memes and prayer requests and encouragement and meet every few months over coffee or pottery or wine to catch up. Yesterday, my daughter, Shyanne hosted our second annual Vision Board event. Everyone came baring old magazines, scissors, markers, stickers, glue, and ideas for a good life.

This is my favorite event. We fall into the photos of magazines and laugh and yell out, “If you see a picture of _____, tell me!” We create words and promises and our future. We compare them to last year’s boards and talk about what all manifested (almost all of the ideas), and what has changed. How much a life can change in a year’s span.

Living in the present is important and breathing in memories of today will keep us focused and filled with gratitude. The past is bittersweet and the future is unknown and filled with equal parts fate and decision. The vision board is our decision part. It helps clarify where we are and where we want to be. Just like writing things down, the vision board takes ramblings of thought and places them into a road map for the year. And effective way to create one’s best life.

Today, create your own vision board. Or better yet, arrange a group of friends to come over and create as well. Riding lessons optional.

Recap:

  • Guard your mind.
  • Become your own doctor.
  • Adopt a plant based lifestyle.
  • Improve your relationships.
  • Change your perspective.
  • Honor your spirituality.
  • Envision your future.

It may seem like my series on How to Live Your Best Life is a bit extreme. Indeed, not everyone will be willing to follow all of these practices. I, myself, follow these practices and I can tell you that they work. Guarding my mind gives me peace of mind as I am not filling it with fear and negativity. Becoming my own doctor puts power back in my own hands because I know how to make medicine and how to treat many issues. Adopting a plant based diet has given me permission to love every animal I see without guilt, has greatly improved my health, and has eliminated depression. The phone calls I have been making have made me feel closer to those I love and have connected me to people beyond the screen. Changing my words has given me more gratitude for everything I have. Honoring my spirituality has connected me to the unseen world around me. And envisioning my future has secured my path towards an even better existence.

Thanks for following this week and I wish you an amazing 2020.

Posted in Beauty/Health

Plant Based (Your Best Life, day 3)

A fellow blogger and friend of mine used to write about butchering deer on her kitchen table. She was the quintessential farmer’s wife. She wrote often about her life with autoimmune issues. It practically paralyzed her. She was very ill. One day she got upset about something she read and set out to prove that veganism was not healthy, but the more she researched, the more she became intrigued. She went vegan. I would have never expected it! She lost forty pounds and all of her autoimmune and health issues went away. She now writes about healthy living and promotes a plant based diet. She also appreciated that she could look at her animals with a new compassion.

There are thousands of stories like Eileen’s. A plant based diet reverses and heals disease and illness. There are many athletes who prove that a vegan diet builds muscle and improves stamina. When one incorporates a plant based diet in their life, a lot changes. It changes one’s perception about the creatures we share this planet with. That maybe they are not all here for us to kill and consume. And maybe just because that is how it has always been, doesn’t mean it needs to be like that in the future.

Okay, so perhaps you are interested in ditching Diabetes, skin issues, heart problems, anxiety, autoimmune issues, cancer cells, and brain fog, but there are questions!

These are the top five questions I get from folks:

  1. Where do you get your protein? One slice of whole wheat bread contains 5 grams of protein! You will not be lacking in protein. Greens, grains, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and many other foods contain protein.
  2. But aren’t grains bad? Only if you work for a marketing campaign trying to sell you gluten free stuff. It’s incredibly rare for folks to be Celiac. Grains are filled with fiber, protein, and anti-cancer antioxidants. Obviously pastries and Wonder bread aren’t filled with healthy stuff, so stick with whole grains and as unprocessed as you can.
  3. We have incisors, so we were meant to be carnivores, right? If you look at road kill on the side of the road and start salivating or can catch a rabbit and bite into it, sure. But no, our systems resemble herbivores biologically.
  4. But what about all the stuff being shipped in from all over the world? Vegans are very hard on the environment. Is anyone eating truly local? That orange juice and banana weren’t grown in Denver! Our goal as a species is to begin eating closer to home. Not only eating closer to home, but growing our food at our home! It has nothing to do with being vegan.
  5. But how will you get B12? That is only available in animal sources. False! Oh my, there is a lot of misleading information out there. There is B12 in kombucha, nutritional yeast, and traces on garden grown vegetables. And while we are at it, you get plenty of iron from greens and grains.
  6. Oh and a bonus question. But soy is bad for you, right? Organic soy (along with herbs that help balance estrogen, like Black Cohosh) do not disrupt estrogen production, they balance it. Soy is used to help osteoporosis and strengthens bones. GMO, field grown soy is a different thing altogether.

It is not that hard. Just plan ahead. You will feel so good eating all those beautiful plant foods and you will not be hungry. There has never been an easier time to be vegan. So, today, pick up a vegan cookbook or look at some Instagram pages for inspiration. Health and compassion are a big part of living your best life.

Posted in Beauty/Health

7 Days, 7 Ways to Your Best Life (Intro)

Be the Change You Want to See in the World.

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I have nothing to sell you. (Heck, I don’t even use ads on my blog.) I write to inspire. I write to help others who are even quasi interested in how we live, to use it to make their life better. In the next 7 days, I will cover 7 things that are guaranteed to add up exponentially to change your life for the better. To change it radically in some ways. To change how you live here on this earth. How you get the most from it and how it can change your family’s life and all those you encounter. How to get the most from life while contributing the most back. There are new skills and new ways of thinking to consider and old habits and society’s status quo to crush. There are dreams to follow and a really, really great life to live.

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And I guarantee that if you follow my seven ideas to their end, you will reverse your chronic health problems and be the healthiest and most vibrant you have ever been. You will help the environment and your own way of life, making the earth a better place. You will have more compassion and better relationships. You will ditch anxiety and depression and feel peace. Because every little change adds up. Every time we better ourselves, the better we make life for those around us and for future generations. It’s a big deal. You ready? I will see you in the morning.

Posted in Animals/Chickens

Cuddlewell Mission

One day when we were quite a young couple, snuggling and giggling, I said to my husband, “You cuddle well!” He said, “That will be our last name!” And so it was. Mama and Daddy Cuddlewell.

Our children were told that their actual, secret last name was Cuddlewell, as we would snuggle them. Andy, Shyanne, and Emily Cuddlewell. Even today, that is our name.

Our animals carried the same family name, Ichabod Cuddlewell, Clara Cuddlewell, and so on. I recently told my granddaughter about her secret last name too. She laughed and wondered if I was serious. Maryjane and Ayla Cuddlewell. And so it goes on. Our secret family name. We cuddle well.

Many years ago, when were trying to come up with a name for our own land, should we ever get it, Doug nonchalantly said, “Cuddlewell Mission, of course.”

In our hearts, everywhere we have lived has been Cuddlewell Mission. We tend to rescue the animals that need us. The cross-eyed cat with the spinal injury, who lived and played and cuddled for thirteen years, Clara. The retired racing hound, Bumble Bear. The tiny, Siamese kitten that we are still bringing back to health, Taos Mouse. The blind chicken, Heihei. This is a sanctuary. We have always had a sanctuary.

We got off track, somewhere along the way, with books and studies and farmer friends. We went from friends aren’t food, to maybe we were wrong and that is how it is supposed to be, then to regret and heartfelt wisdom. Just because it is how has always been, doesn’t mean that it is how it should be moving forward. We also used to keep slaves, beat our children, and ate cockroaches. We humans can move forward and do things better when we see the error of our ways! We can create a new normal. A new this-is-how-it-should-be. We would never allow an assembly line of shelter dogs, swinging from one leg, having their neck sliced, then being cut open before they were dead, cut up and packaged and put in the store….what are we thinking? Cows and pigs and even chickens are sentient beings. Look into the eyes of any creature and see the life there.

I’m not here to convince you one way or another, I just wanted to tell you about Cuddlewell Mission and how we have arrived here. With land and places for animals. A sanctuary for people and animals. A safe place to commune with nature and not fear for one’s life, and if you are human, maybe have a cup of tea. Yes, this is a mission. We are home.

Posted in Animals/Chickens, Field Trips

Field Trip to an Animal Sanctuary (and saving chicks)

We loaded up the cat kennel in the Fiat (our urban farm vehicle) and headed hours north.  Through our old county, our old town, past our old farmhouse, and down the Kiowa-Bennett road.  The prairie is breathtaking even in winter.  Golden strands peek through layers of snow as the sun glistens across the vast expanse of country.  The western sky a watery blue stretching far and wide.  Singing to country music on the radio and a good feeling in our hearts, we drove towards Danzig’s Roost, a rooster and animal Sanctuary in Bennett, Colorado.

 

Sometimes the carefully protected public get glimpses inside factory farms.  What we consider family, humane, free range, and all the other marketing words that help sell meat is all a façade of chicken houses crammed with suffering birds and sometimes people are able to get a peek at those and the whole operation is exposed.  The huge chick rescue in northern Colorado this month made the news and raised thousands for resourceful sanctuaries.  But then so often apathy returns and people continue their habits.  Sad that animals are suffering, but unwilling to omit them from their plate.

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We were on our way to take home some of those rescued birds.  Chickens are snuggly, sweet, and have all different personalities.  One of the chicks we brought home is tiny, fluffy, and sings day and night like she is singing her songs of thanks to the heavens.  She doesn’t like to be put down.  As it happens, we went to get between four and six birds and ended up with seven, soft, white babies.  They are in the guest room.  They have every disease you can think of from parasites, E coli, to upper respiratory infections.  That is what is in meat.  I am treating them with my herbs.  So far they are thriving.  These lucky few were saved and will live their life here on Pumpkin Hollow Farm dust bathing, getting treats, and sitting in the sun or on our laps.

We are only allowed poultry in Pueblo but one day we will have land where we can take in more animals, save more lives, do what we can.  But every life counts.

Jewel Straightedge runs the sanctuary that we picked the chicks up from.  She has, what looks to be, hundreds of roosters that she has rescued.  Two calves with big, heartbreaking eyes are from the dairy down the road.  The little girl fights to live.  Darling sheep and goats and geese that clearly know the friend that rescued them all add to the raucous singing of the farm.  Turkeys strut about.  The wind picks up and turns cold and we hasten our tour.

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Jewel and her team rescued over six hundred chicks from the thousands and thousands that were being inhumanely killed and dying without food and water.  With the swift turn in weather, we help her chase hundreds of chicks trying to get them back into their warm enclosure.  It is every bit as hilarious as it sounds.  We are happy as we head back towards home.

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(Note: the chickens we rescued ended up dying anyway because they are meat chickens. We still had a bit to learn about that breed! This experience reinforced in us the desire to buy from friends who have small farms or raise our own.)

Posted in inspiration

How to Accept the Challenge of Living Fully and Embrace Destiny

ninjaThe biggest challenge is living life in the fullest right now.  To be neither in the past nor the future.  To face fears as one experiences them.  To constantly reassess one’s temperaments and ideals, perceptions and reactions to become a better, kinder, more graceful person who lives with great compassion.  To find what destiny was designed for us and follow the cues of passion and interest to find where we make the very most difference in the world.

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Writing a memoir was a profound experience for me because I was able to start at the beginning of this life journey and walk through it.  I saw myself at three years old, at eleven years old, I watched as I experienced bliss, intense sadness, confusion, joy, and I nodded at each character that has helped mold me in my life, from my mother to my mentors.  I was able to see, understand, forgive, embrace, appreciate, and release.  I highly recommend that you purchase a journal and begin telling your tale.  Everyone has a message and a life of lessons to share.

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When one finds themselves fretting about the future or reliving a memory in the past, try to pull yourself to this moment.  I believe the reason I love great food, cooking, and the mysteries of wine is because it makes me grounded.  It forces me to use my human senses.  Otherwise I am always flitting about spiritually or stuck in my head.  Balance is needed.  Try to close your eyes and smell, hear, touch, breathe, taste.  Hear the birds.  See the colors of nature out the window.  Feel the breeze on your skin.  Taste the tannins in a cup of tea.  Feel the air fill your lungs.  Put your hands together in front of your heart and feel gratitude.  This acts as a reset and brings you back to now.

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In my book, The Making of a Medicine Woman; the Memoirs of Bird Woman, that is soon to be released, I experience facing fears.  You will always have to face your fears.  They will keep coming until you do.  My fear has always been of ghosts and bad spirits.  Nightmares from when I was very young and stories that haunted me (I should not have watched “The Exorcist”) through adulthood kept me from doing the work that I do.  I lived in haunted house after haunted house and had experience after experience until finally I turned around and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore.

What are you afraid of?

On my birthday I posted some crazy what-if’s.  What if I stopped writing out a to-do list, what anything get done?  My fear of not being productive enough prompts me to write elaborate lists.  I stopped writing them for a week.  And sure enough, not a dang thing got done!  So the lists are back, just smaller.

I wondered if I stopped worrying about money if it would come easier.  Our income didn’t increase but once I stepped back and stopped worrying, I realized we make enough.

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I wondered what it would be like to shave my head.  It felt like a beautifully symbolic new beginning.  A spiritual oath.  A bit of freedom (from tangles, hair products, and dye).  But what if people thought I had cancer?  (White girls with shaved heads are unfortunately assumed to be ill if they have very short hair, it turns out…)  Well, sure enough, lots of messages came pouring in and strangers walked up to me and asked if I were ill.  I dealt with the fear straight on with a smile.  And I LOVE my hair.  I don’t look in the mirror much now.  It certainly is freeing.

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Challenge yourself!  That is another way to live fully.  What do you want to do with your life?  How can you become a better person?  How can you live more compassionately?  How can you spread your light to the world?

Maybe open doors for people.  Give some leeway on the highway.  Give hugs, compliments, forgiveness, and small gifts.  Give of yourself.  Laugh.  Notice.  Be here.  Follow your desires.

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If you are not happy, figure out why.  It’s time to live your destiny and your birthright of joy.  Joy follows when you are following your highest self and living for now.

 

Posted in inspiration

What If? (a birthday pondering)

DSC_6435My birthday is Saturday.  The years fly by in the breeze faster than I can blink but I am grateful for each and every year that I get to celebrate being on this beautiful earth.

New Year’s makes me ponder how I can do things better and makes me set lofty financial and personal goals.  Autumn makes me rethink what I need and what I don’t need.  It is a cleansing of sorts.  My birthday makes me think of ways that I can live.  How can I take in each day more deeply?  How I can be more present and more compassionate and more alive?  It makes me think…what if?

What if I stopped making a to-do list?  Would anything actually get done?  Instead of cramming sixty-two things into one day, what if each thing was done as I thought of them.

What if I stopped counting every penny?  Would money begin to flow in after I loosened my grip on worry?

What if I stopped circling back every time I began to move forward in my work?  Can I let go?

What if I got a Buddhist hair cut?  Would people think I was sick?  Or ugly?  What if it didn’t matter?  What if I released my appearance and symbolically started anew on my journey?  How fun would that be to not do my hair.  Or to not have a headache every night from hair ties?

Why is cutting my hair or releasing worry or moving forward or not having a to-do list so monumental?

What if I took more time to do yoga and to sit in coffee shops writing or got a bicycle and rode around town?  What if I spent more time in the garden or with my children or reading?  What if I had tea time every day at 4?  What if I cut my hair?

Maybe this is the year of boldness.

Of courage.  Of peace.

of living.

Posted in inspiration

Finding Your Passion and Current Purpose-part 1

20180128_141816-EFFECTSHave you ever wondered what is next?  Where your path is leading?  What you will become next?  Some people work a career their entire life and then retire.  Some raise children and become entrepreneurs, like myself.  I have reinvented what I do so many times because I have so many interests but they all really dance around each other.  They are all interconnected.

I breathe in the cool morning air as the sunrise reaches rose pink across the winter sky and crows hover about.

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I lead an enchanted life of miraculous happenings, unusual animal and bird sightings, healings, and things happen to us that just do not make sense in the cookie cutter mind of our world.  This thrills me.  But there must be a reason why I see these things.  Experience these things.

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I have an influential voice.  That comes with responsibility to make sure that I am speaking and teaching what is compassionate and what is beautiful and what is real.  Before bed I ask my ancestors and friends to help me see answers to what is next.  The pictures in my dreams are always of me leading a group.  Or of me being a type of Martha Stewart with a compassionate twist.  I love creating; whether it be gardens or art or words or great food or inspiration or encouragement or a new life.

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The Universe has seemingly freed up some time for me.  I have time to do something.  I teach herbalism courses and shaman courses and I write and help with the shop and answer the apothecary phone and help people.  I’ll be on a radio show next week talking about my herbalism and plants in homesteading and promoting my book, Homesteader Pharmacy (click to see on Amazon).

There is more though.  I am on the cusp of something.  I am not just an herbalist.  Our goal is to pay off debt this year.  I want to work towards getting a farm and animal sanctuary in the future, but in the here and now….ideas swirl overhead like dust devils but don’t quite land.

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I fill my time just fine and come summer I will be really busy with gardens and wildcrafting and markets but there is just something below the surface that ties in everything that I do.  Something to give me purpose.  I have been working on a book for the past year.  I put it aside in order to write a novel.  I wrote said novel but I can’t say I am a great fiction writer.  I am a non-fiction writer.  This book keeps bobbing to the surface.  It just needs some dedication.  Writing a few hours a day has to make the to-do list.

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I know I am more than just an herbalist.  It used to consume twenty-four hours a day for me but my daughter has taken on most of the work.  Finding my other passions and moments of inspiration are what I need to ponder.  Something to tie them all together…

Now, where are you on your journey?