Posted in Herbal Remedies

The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism (my newly released book!)

My first herbal remedy book was released over five years ago when I closed my first apothecary to become a full time farmer (three months later we opened a new apothecary!). Homesteader’s Pharmacy has been my best seller ever since. I am grateful that I have been able to share my knowledge and the many recipes I have developed over the years as a Master Herbalist. I am grateful because I have been able to write and homestead and there are folks out there that support my work by reading my books. Wado, Tapadh leat, Thank you.

The funny thing about being a writer is, one cannot just sit down and write a book. It just comes. As if I am not writing the book at all. My cousin calls it the Writing Witch. Once it hits, the dishes don’t get done, the house goes to the wayside, and the writer is consumed with words, writing as fast as they can before the precious prose vanishes. Well, around here, the dishes weren’t getting done.

My new book has just been released and I am so excited to share it. It follows up Homesteader’s Pharmacy with over fifty new recipes and new ways to create and brew medicines with detailed instructions. This book goes a step further and teaches many things that I have learned from studying with medicine people, and my experiences as a medicine woman.

The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism; Healing with Plant Medicines, Stones, Animal Spirits, and Ceremony draws from my own work. It is important to have a knowledge base of plant medicine. It is essential on a homestead, in my opinion. Most folks also understand, however, that there are many ailments that manifest as physical, but are often emotional, stemmed from trauma, or are purely spiritual in nature. This book covers different ways to blend modalities in order to achieve true healing. I am honored to share it with you now!

To celebrate the release of my new book, my other books have been newly edited and have lower prices. I hope you enjoy my books and thank you for allowing me to teach, write, and follow my calling!

Click HERE to order your copy of my new book today!

You can see all of my books at AuthorKatieSanders.com

Posted in Herbal Remedies

The Innate Healer (and what to do when you cannot help)

I shivered in the cold, forced air of the dim hospital room and pulled my shawl tighter around my shoulders.  I listened to the ominous drone of the heart monitor.  He finally fell asleep.  I watched my child, now a man, lay there in the hospital bed with the flimsy covers upon his slight frame, barely covering his tattooed arms.  His dark hair pressed to the side of his face.  His brow still furrowed from pain.  My baby.  I pulled the covers up around him a bit more and held my breath so not to let the pressing tears release.  Breathe.

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I am considered an expert in my field.  I can tell you about hundreds of local plants, their medicinal properties, growing conditions, contraindications, their uses, how to prepare them, and how to heal nearly every ailment there is.  I am an herbalist, a medicine woman, a plant girl, a lover of nature, a great believer in the original medicine, and a skeptic of modern medicine.  And yet, all the herbal knowledge in the world could not help me as I stood on that cold tile floor.

“Help me, Mom!” he screamed over the phone before I got there.  He went in to the emergency room for a fever and back pain and the hospital gave him a spinal tap.  They missed.  Three times.  Spinal fluid pooled into his lower back and created more pain than my child could handle without madness.  But he was in the hospital now, so it was too late, I could not help.  Except to pull the blankets over his arms to cover the goosebumps.  To kiss his head.

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A few weeks later- last weekend- I stood by the bedside of my grandmother, whose tall, thin frame was dwarfed by the hospital bed and flimsy covers.  The drone of the heart monitor and the bustling of nurses outside the door filled the large, cool space.  My beloved grandma had fallen and just had a partial hip replacement.  Again, I could do nothing but watch her sleep.  My children came.  They gathered in the room and talked wildly, trying to catch up on events since the last time they had seen each other.  My new granddaughter was passed around.  Smiles and laughter filled the space as grandma would slowly open her eyes and look around and grin.  So much life that came from her.

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I am a healer.  We are all healers, especially women.  Any of us would take care of an injured frog, or a stranger, or try to bring life back into someone with warm soup or a hug.  Anxiety fills our chest as we feel the pain of others, see their worries, the punched feeling in the stomach when we know we can do nothing.  That is why so many of us become healers.  We have to do something. 

I have learned that the only thing I can do in cases when no one asks for my help, or I simply cannot help, is to release the outcome.  They might die.  They might not be able to change their life.  They may still have lessons to learn.  They are choosing other options.  They are their own decision makers.  They might be paralyzed.  They might…oh the possibilities of tragedy are endless.  And there we are… trying to save the world.  Sometimes we just cannot help.  Once you can release the outcome, you can then breathe and be there to give love and support or to pull the covers up over chilled arms.  We must release what we cannot control or it will control us.  Give it back to the powers that be.  We can only help ourselves and do what we can for others.

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My husband looked so pale.  A colorless sheen crossed his face as he came out of surgery a few days ago.  (It’s been quite a month, y’all.)  I had released all outcomes.  Whatever happened, happened.  But here he was, smiling dopily from the morphine drip, and a long overdue hernia surgery complete.  At home, I help him in any way I can.  He asks me for help.  I can help him.  I give him my own antibiotics and pain medicines along with his prescribed pain pills.  I make him teas for his digestion and tend to his wounds and bruises.  I am so much better when I feel like I can do something.

Sometimes we can help, sometimes we cannot.  My neighbor called me after badly spraining her ankle yesterday.  I took over some muscle healer and she was at the dog park by the afternoon.

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I feel like it is a very good idea to have some basic knowledge of herbal medicine.  Everyone should know what herbs heal wounds, fight infections, handle pain, and heal.  I currently have two books on this subject on Amazon.  The Herbalist Will See You Now; Your Complete Training Guide to Becoming and Working as an Herbalist and The Homesteader’s Pharmacy; the Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Herbal Pharmacy.

They may just give you one more outlet in which you can help yourself and others.

 

Posted in inspiration

Be Brave Before the People

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There is a reason that it has taken me so long to write this book.

Coqui Ashui,” my friend and Comanche elder would say.  “Be brave before the people.”  To write one’s life story is indeed brave.  To divulge every secret means that relationships may be altered.  Unrepairable.  A good book will leave the reader filled with emotion.  By challenging beliefs and opening up my spirit to the world, I risk leaving myself open to criticism and backlash.

Yet, the resounding voice in my head pushed me forward.  I must write these words.  There are folks out there like me that may find comfort from knowing that there is an entire tribe of us that span the world but we were all taught to be quiet.  Quiet about neglect, about abuse, about abilities and gifts, and enchanted happenings and brilliant triumph and peace.  And we all need the lessons of medicine people from different walks of life.

I originally wrote a book that was a point by point way of embracing the beauty of the world and living to one’s fullest.  However, it came out like a text book.  I wrote my story as if it were a novel.  That way I didn’t have to be afraid.  It came out shallow and devoid of life.  I am nervous, but it is written now.  The whole story.  The whole beautiful, amazing story.  It was healing and inspiring to write.  I loved reliving my lessons with the Native American medicine people, and seeing just how enchanted our life is.  The birds that flock around us and the eagles that circle our house.  The owls.  The people we have met.  The lessons I have learned.  The path to now.  It is all lovely and part of a bigger plan.  I am humbled and honored.

The witches, the wise ones, the medicine people, the psychics, the lovers of the enchanted world, the ones trying to be normal, those that are too sensitive, the beautiful healers and wisdom keepers…they will be not be silent any longer.

Coqui Ashui

May 1st.

Posted in inspiration

The Medicine Woman Memoirs

wild 23“I had the best day today,” I told my husband when he called me on his way home from work yesterday.

“Oh yea, what did you do?”

“I went to see Maryjane’s dance class and then had lunch with our girls.  And I wrote most of the day.”

I am writing my memoir.  I am my own worst critic.  Aren’t you a little young to be writing your memoirs?  What makes you so special that you should write a book about your life?  They might be voices from my past that just keep following me around.

I am writing my memoir.  I realize that most people have not experienced many of the things I have like working and learning from Native American elders and seeing miracles and healings and dozens of eagles circling my house.  Most people don’t look at others and see tumors and broken hearts and see where the break in the bone is.  I am a medical intuitive and am very psychic.

On the other hand, there are a fair amount of people like me that feel alone or do not understand their situations.  There are folks who were not nurtured as children, or who are stuck in abusive relationships, or who are highly sensitive to everything and those that are clairvoyant, and those young people that are desperately trying to be “normal” and society has labeled them mentally ill or ADD.  There are people that need to know they are important and special and need to know how to embrace, understand, and move forward with their great gifts.

There are a million reasons why I need to write my memoir.  And I am.  It is flowing out of my fingertips faster than I can write and I am fascinated by what is coming out.  I feel like a bystander transcribing a medicine woman’s journals.  We are going to talk about that?  Oh yea, I remember when that happened.  Oh, those were good times.  Yes, talk about that, that was scary…amazing…beautiful…devastating…real.

I want to blog about planting potatoes and spring crops and spring herbal remedies and changes but I cannot.  I am writing my memoir and it is fascinating and the Universe is quite insistent that it get done.  I cannot wait to share it with you.  Right now I need another cup of coffee and I will begin my new day’s work, writing.

Posted in inspiration

The Witch Myths

501a94c193cd108c975a0b7379e57d3b“What exactly do you mean when you say you are a witch?” my cousin asked honestly.

True, when one thinks of witches they often think of skyclad or ornately draped women, perhaps on acid, chanting at the moon.  Or of satan worshipers killing bats and tagging walls.  Or perhaps the old Disney witch pops into mind.  Is there even such a thing as a witch?  And if you are a witch, does that mean you are Wiccan?  Pull up a chair and a cup of coffee and let’s go back a few years to start this story.

One of my favorite farm memoir authors is Jenna Woginrich.  In her books she speaks of agricultural holidays.  She never said the “W” word because that would bring up images of the above.  In fact, until her last book she never said the “P” word…pagan, another word that brings up images.  I was enthralled with the traditional Celtic calendar.  As a farmer the holidays and festivals made so much sense. Everything centered around the earth’s cycles and community.  It was beautiful.

I was a good Christian girl, now, and looked down on any little witchy girls, ’cause who knows what they are up to.  It wasn’t until I began to see in history how all of the Christian holidays were in fact pagan that I starting delving deeper into history.

I have been a flower child since the start.  Planting dandelion seeds in the neighbor’s grass when I was eight, spending vast amounts of time as a teenager alone in nature.  Becoming an herbalist and spending time walking through woods.  I am in love with the plants, the creatures that share this planet, and the cycles of the earth.  I realize how small we are in the whole scheme of things and that we are intricately connected to all things.

I spent a lot of time mentoring with Native American elders and the American Indian religions are the same as the Celtic.  Earth and nature based.  As I continued to research I found that all over the world the ways of thinking and connecting with Great Spirit was the same until organized religion came about (not just Christianity).

Enter the “W” word.  The word “Witch” means wise woman. Okay, hold onto your coffee cups, we’re about to get real here.  Lighting candles to send prayers to heaven, sending intentions to the Universe in hopes that they come true, all of these things are essentially a part of our genetic heritage and inner knowing.  We do them in church, but they are not religious practices.  We are interconnected with everything in the Universe and we can manifest and imagine whatever we want into being.  We are not hopeless little creatures running around hoping God will save us.  We have been given great power to do good and make changes and be instruments of healing.

So a working witch might help you put together a mantra, a spell, may help you dispel negative energy in your house (like a priest would), may help guide you, may make you some amazing tea that helps with arthritis.  She/he may go out and look at the intensity of the stars and may follow biodynamic farming (by the moon), they may be a vegetarian because they love animals.  None of these things make someone a witch.  And being a witch doesn’t mean that you aren’t Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist.  Being a witch does not mean you are Wiccan. Wicca is an organized religion and not all of us want to jump back into that boat!  Being a witch might just be seeing the Great Spirit in waterfalls and sparrows, in all of creation.  A witch sees through people.  They don’t need to be in organizations that are based on power and fear.

Pagan means “rustic villager”.  It was a moniker given by the warriors that came to convert the villagers.  The spirituality of our indigenous ancestors was not taught.  It was known.  In your spirit, it is still known.  It is the most natural spirituality there is.  It is universal.  A Witch is someone who helps people.  They often have intuitive abilities, they can help heal, they can help guide, they can teach you how to manifest, they see the glory in all of creation, and live their lives by it.  They help create a better planet, a more compassionate community, and they see magic all around them, every day.  That is the world of the Witch.  It’s a beautiful place to be.

That’s what I mean.

 

 

Posted in Beauty/Health

Farmgirl Fashionista

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In a world of jeans and yoga pants I suppose I stand out a bit.  I think folks are both mesmerized and baffled by my attire.  I was at the library last month and a mom came up to me, big eyes, all excited, and asked, “Is there going to be story time?” Heck if I know.  I looked down at my layered skirts, apron, old fashioned boots, and remembered my Santa hat and realized she thought I was in costume!

Maryjane wears her apron around with me and it is not uncommon for us to be asked if were just in a parade or festival.  Do we bake?  Why on earth would we be parading around as such?  Well, let me explain.  Let’s go through the elements of the Farmgirl attire.

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#1 Long skirt- This is important because I am too tall to find jeans that fit right.  I never stop moving so jeans aren’t exactly comfortable.  A long skirt is comfortable and practical.  Ever since Maryjane was about twelve months old she hides under my skirts.  Her hands wrapped around my leg, she giggles thinking no one can see her, her little feet sticking out.  As she gets taller and older I know this is limited now and I relish feeling her cold hands on my leg, that giggling, her security from the world hidden next to my leg.  It is a very maternal feeling and I know all too well she will grow out of it soon.  (I buy my skirts at the Elizabeth Celtic Festival.  It is a rather simple pattern that uses elastic or string to cinch the waist.)

#2 Slips- In a world of too tight skirts and panty lines, I do still love the look of a beautiful cotton slip.  Mine has a long swath of eyelet around the bottom.  It is feminine and beautiful.  I also wear a full skirt under my regular skirt as well.  Why?  Well, I am cool in the summer with the layers, and warm in the winter with the layers.  It makes my dress swish.  It is lovely and modest and sexy all at the same time.  And at my age, I don’t care what the style is.  I like the old fashioned look.

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#3 Apron- If you do not wear an apron each day how do you find your phone and keys?  Mine would be lost in my purse, possibly forever.  I also can carry a tissue, my to-do list, and a few flowers I harvested.  The original reason for an apron was to cover a woman’s dress, for she probably only had two, one for every day and one for church.  The apron is easier to wash and keeps clothes cleaner, meaning if you haven’t traipsed through mud, you can hang your skirt back up. (Mine were made by an Amish woman and her daughters, a neighbor of a blog reader.  Some of mine I made, or were gifts, or hand me downs, and some really quite old that belonged to Kat’s grandmother.)

#4 Old fashioned boots- Stickers, weeds, rain, snow, cold or hot weather, farming, shoveling, and a cute addition to any farmgirl attire.  (I got mine at Big R.)

We farmgirls have lots to do, from taking care of the homestead, cooking for folks, farming, and for me, being the local folk healer, so wearing beautiful, comfortable clothes is just one perk of being a farmgirl.

Posted in Our Family

Embracing One’s True Gifts (and the bloodline medicine girl)

And in all the world enchantment remains as our true gifts flow through our veins.

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I suppose I really did think that everyone could do what I do.  I assumed that I could also do what others could do.  Surely I could learn to play the guitar well and walk around sounding like Joni Mitchell.  I played the piano for twenty years and cannot remember a single tune.  No Carol King career for me.  I love my art work until I am next to other artists.  Then mine looks a little fifth grade.  I can do a lot of things if I work terribly hard and then I will grow bored of them and wander off, for they are not my true gift.

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Plants are my passion.  I live, breathe, dream, create, and work around plants, specifically in medicine.  I have a green thumb after never giving up and I can grow anything in a pot or in the soil of the prairie.  But my real magic is in making plants into medicine.  This is very humbling, very honoring, and I am a little awestruck at the magic of it all.

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Over the years I have seen people working so hard, trying to learn herbalism, and it doesn’t quite work out, and then they wander off to pursue their true gifts.

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It changes everything when you know that you have a true gift for something.  A responsibility even.  The idea of multiple stores or hiring employees goes out the window if I am the vessel that makes the medicine work.  I would never sell it wholesale.  The importance of working one on one with people is so important to the craft.  I so respect the plants and their medicine, as well as the people and animals I care for.  Out of all the gifts I could have been given, I am deeply honored and slightly insanely passionate about being a plant healer.

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There are lots of gifts flowing through both sides of my family line, the blood line of varying types of healers, and they can all garden like it is second nature.  I am the first plant healer in awhile.

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In every culture there was a medicine person.  Many households knew minor remedies but there was one person who knew the plants and their medicines intimately, who could handle the bigger issues.  Not everyone could do it.  The odds of having it in one’s bloodline and as their gift was really quite rare.  Just as all gifts are.

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Shyanne Mae has really grown up since this blog first started.  She has become an amazing young woman.  She read my entire text book, did all of the assignments, passed the test, made an effective medicine for her father, and learned to work the shop in twenty-four hours.  She said she had an epiphany.  She was in love with the plants too.  Granted she grew up with this lifestyle, but it doesn’t mean she would fall into the enchantment of its gifts and lessons.  You can imagine my excitement that my daughter is working with me side by side to develop medicines for our community and beyond.

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So, I may not ever become a Rockette, or a folk musician, or even a proper artist, but I am embracing my gift and all the emotions that go with it, and am so happy to share the gift with my child.

What is your true gift?

Posted in Herbal Remedies

The Light Workers

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Perhaps you have never heard of an HSP.  You may know them as other descriptions such as too sensitive,  anxious, depressed, only has a few friends, doesn’t like school, often sensitive to overhead lighting, loud noise, overstimulation, too many people, often the brunt of bullying, cry baby.  Teenaged HSP’s get diagnosed as bi-polar (particularly females), ADD, ADHD, depressed, or anxious.  Big Pharma makes a fair amount of money “fixing” these beautiful people to make them “normal”.  But all they do is shut off their innate abilities.

I held in my hands a women’s magazine and read the small captioned news bit.  HSP, or Highly Sensitive Person, is a person more in tune with their natural surroundings.  Often sensitive to artificial lighting, loud noise, crowds, overstimulation, and….  I think my mouth must have dropped open.  Never in my life had I read such a perfect description of myself.  I was always told I was “too sensitive”.  An HSP certainly sounded nicer.  I have talked with more plants, trees, and animals in my life than people.

Now, here is the thing about HSP’s, they are also often times very intuitive, clairvoyant, whatever your comfort word for it is.  Some can see spirits, some are our medical intuitives, some are the foreseers, and always, always empaths.  The reason we are so dang sensitive is because we literally feel everything that we see or read about.  I cannot read novels of violence or suspense, I will feel the violence.  Same with movies.  Sadness in other people made ten times more amplified.  News…forget about it.  HSP’s must never read the news.  Happiness is felt more intensely as well.

HSP’s are what many call “old souls”.  Many of us remember past lives even.  Many are wise before they ought to be and just seem….odd.  HSP’s are not considered autistic but may border the autism frequencies, highly intelligent, intuitive, aware of everything.  Our healers.  Our lightworkers.  With an intense desire to become a hermit!  But we cannot hide out.  There is much work to do.

As a child I don’t know if I ever met another HSP but as an adult, as the phrase became more known, I have met more.  My mentor, old roommate, Hopi friend is an HSP.  We talk about it quite a lot.  He is a hospice chaplain and brilliant at his work.  He told me once that there are not very many of us and I, at the time, believed him.  Until I opened my shop.  My shop is a magnet for HSP’s.  Parents bringing in “anxious” young people, young adults coming in on their own that have been classified as one thing or another who just need to know that their abilities and gifts are important and are not a malady, older adults that never could put their finger on it.  Our healers.  Our light workers.

Elbert county is an interesting place.  Part rancher, part cowboy, part home on the range, with an inordinate number of energy healers, artists, right brained society and young people, many more than I ever would have guessed, who are intuitive.  My work morphs from simply making plant medicines to teaching these young people how to filter, how to work with their empathy, their “knowing”, their light.  That they are indeed normal.

If you know or meet someone like this, smile at them.  Know that they are the healers of tomorrow, and that there is an entire society of too sensitive folk out there about to make the world a much better place.

Posted in Herbal Remedies

Creating a Medicine Bag

There are different types of medicine bags and all are wise to create.

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The one I am going to describe to you today is a protection of sorts.  It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or Buddhist, I think we all understand that there is a lot out there that we do not fully grasp.  We are a small part of the whole.  Regardless of the believer’s perceived notions on heaven and hell, there is no doubt that there are spirits, some good, some evil, entities of destruction and angels of good.  We can help in the protection of our own being.  You might see some people have a Native medicine bag attached to their belt or used as a purse but those are for show.  A real medicine bag must be hidden.  Worn under the clothes or kept very close in a purse or the like, a medicine bag is a protection device.

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My first teacher, a wise shaman, taught me to fill mine with something from every element and helper.  I used rocks, and feathers, and totems, and herbs, and boy was it heavy!  One could simply use sage, cedar, sweet grass, tobacco, rocks or totems of meaning, feathers, medals, or holy soil.  Listen to yourself find the perfect combination.  One doesn’t divulge what is in their own personal medicine bag.  Having a shaman smudge it makes it stronger and secure. (If you don’t know one, do it yourself with cedar and sage.)

For those that are healers, intuitives, and empaths, these are imperative as good work is often trifled with from the dark side, but even those that do not find themselves in these descriptions can benefit from extra protection from the negative forces of this world.  Be safe out there and do good works!

Posted in Herbal Remedies, Our Family

The Life of a Healer- Part 1 (oddities and healings)

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I remember that little girl rather clearly though it was many a year ago.  Her name was Wildflower and I can see her now with her wispy brown hair and big blue eyes planting dandelion seeds in a circular pattern in the neighbor’s yard in hopes of creating bountiful yellow meadows on that city block.  Even then, at six years old, Wildflower understood the importance of dandelions and was ever baffled at those who attempted their demise.

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She was a bit of an odd child, I recall.  She spent most of her time playing alone.  She kept only a few close friends.  Her friends were the trees and the animals.  She had a special bond with animals, an empathy that confused those near, and a deep compassion for all living creatures.

As the child started to grow she spent most of her time at the park reading, or writing poetry.  She would feed the ducks and they would lie along the edges of her blanket by the lake, under the large summer trees.  She would feed squirrels by hand and chatter with them as they would her.  Again, only keeping a few close friends, she spent most of her time alone among animals and nature.

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When she was quite small her parents were Atheist and so Wildflower would test God.  “God, if you are real, help me with my homework!”  Every time she did her English work she would ask to find a word in the dictionary that was required and would turn to the page and point to it with her eyes closed.  Every time she found the word she was looking for.  This surprised and delighted the young child and long talks ensued with the Great Spirit.  Her parents became Catholic and so did she and Wildflower fell in love with all the prayers and quiet treasures of silent reverie.  She wished to become a nun and spend her entire life writing and reading and praying and helping animals and people.

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When Wildflower was nine years old she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Such an odd thing for a child to experience and for five years weekly visits to doctors, too much aspirin, and very painful times commenced.  The doctors simply could not help.  At fourteen years old it was time to be confirmed in the Catholic Church and a retreat was taking place at the amazing Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado.  This is a place with awe inspiring views and a sense of true peace and miracles.  The fountain where Mother Cabrini struck a rock to bring water forth is still there and those searching, praying, or praising go to this miraculous place.  Including, at the time, a bunch of rough and tumble teenagers with little respect and a strong sense of rebellion.  Wildflower remembered the teenagers as they gathered in a room in the old house where a small, Hispanic woman with a quiet presence stood.  The children made jokes, made light of the heavy air.  The woman called the first child up and made the sign of the cross on their forehead with holy water.  The youth leaders were behind the young man as he stiffened and fell straight to the ground, being guided by their knowing hands.  There he lay paralyzed as she prayed over him.  The teenagers sat speechless.  When it was Wildflower’s turn she walked up, nervous about what would happen, and she too fell straight back and lay on the patterned rug staring at the ceiling paralyzed.  The mysterious woman leaned over her and said that Wildflower would begin speaking in tongues and that her arthritis would leave her body.  Wildflower was carried to a couch where the words of a higher power began to flow out of her mysteriously and without aid and through her fingertips a rush of power flew, all the pain that she could handle was rushing through her fingers and out of her body.  She was shaking and being comforted by youth leaders and in that moment was healed.

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This would be the first of four miraculous healings that would occur to the young healer long before she knew her calling.  She knew the plants and herbs and animals and the Great Spirit but did not yet know the herbs’ practical uses as she was still in a place where no one knew that plants could speak or heal.  So, even though she tended wild flowers, she knew not that she would work with them in the future.  Because after a few years she became lost….