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You’ll Miss a Lot Viewing the World Through a Straw

January 21, 2019

Greetings, Friends:
We apologize for being out of touch for more than a year. This letter will explain why and offer a (perhaps) cautionary tale and useful advice. During that time we have learned a lot… about herbs, health and life. We have arrived at several interesting (we think) insights. We will be sharing some of these with you here and in the future. We hope you find at least one of them useful.

When we first married, 14 years ago, Deb had some scary and very worrying neurological symptoms. Several doctors and specialists did many tests and ultimately pronounced that her problem could be any of several dread conditions, but they had no specific diagnosis. Eventually, it was determined that she had been infected with several tick-born rickettsia that were slowly, increasingly affecting her health.

About two years ago, Deb’s Mom was finally diagnosed with 4th stage breast cancer. We say ‘finally’ because she had been having various seemingly unrelated but serious symptoms. One of which was skin lesions or sores. She was given a salve to ‘treat’ them. Another symptom was rapidly deteriorating sight in one eye. The ‘cure’ was a new vision prescription. By the time it was ready it was no longer effective. ‘Finally’, a third medical professional took the larger view and figured out that the eyesight problem was caused by a tumor growing under her eye socket distorting and mis-aligning the eyeball, which was actually a manifestation of breast cancer, which also caused the skin lesions. The first doctors were looking at Mom through the straw of their narrow-focused perspective and specialty. They did not consider looking at her issues with a broader, more holistic view.

Six months later, Deb fell and broke her foot while visiting and caring for Mom up north. Her break was treated more or less appropriately, but a painful fascia tear over her shinbone was missed initially – we assume because it was not a ‘bone problem’ which that orthopedic doctor could/did not recognize (or did not mention) through the straw of his specialty focus on the broken bone.

In her last days, Mom fell out of her bed at the care facility. Immediately, she complained of her arm hurting. Nothing was done except to give her analgesic medications. They did not catch the broken arm until she had suffered a while. With what straw were they looking at Mom – if any?

This past September, Harry thoroughly forgot his childhood flying lessons as he slipped from our porch roof and crushed his L1 vertebra. Thankfully, the hospital staff began looking at him with a broad-field view to ascertain what damage had occurred during the uncontrolled landing. However, again this orthopedic doctor (who thankfully did NOT recommend risky surgery) switched to his specialist’s straw and never really satisfactorily explained why all Harry’s pain was not at the break but elsewhere. Harry’s physical therapist concentrated on restoring muscle strength and mobility, but the pain did not abate. Recently, a young EMT friend suggested that Harry’s pain might likely be from the many tendons and sinews that were likely traumatized upon impact. No one else mentioned this possibility.

One big lesson learned from all these dealings with the American medical establishment is this: a proper medical approach (and with other non-medical endeavors and life in general, too, we would suggest) is to begin with as broad a ‘view’ as possible before narrowing in on specifics. To summarize the analogy: start with the panoramic survey, then bring in the binoculars or magnifying glass and finally employ the microscopes if needed. Do not start with viewing the world through a straw and zoom in… there is so much you will miss.

The other major lesson and point of this letter is to mention that much of the actual ‘care’ and ‘healing’ involved in all the above was through the use of our flower essences, tinctures, infusions, poultices and salves we have collected and made.

Deb helped her Mom through the emotional aspects of her disease with our flower essences and some of her other issues with our tinctures, etc . Deb has been treating, with the help of another herbalist, her own Lyme and other tick-borne diseases with herbs. We believe Deb’s foot and Harry’s back healed more quickly than ‘normal’ (according to the doctors) with our administration of the proper herbs. Recently, a consultation with two other herbalists confirmed our correct treatment of Harry’s back and suggested (again in agreement with our own assessment and approach at this stage of recovery) a slight adjustment to our treatment which quickly addressed his lingering pain and debility. Also, Harry’s injury took us out of our usual Qi Gong sessions. Since he has been able to move more easily and go through some simple Qi Gong routines, his pain has abated and mobility improved even more.

To take this philosophy out into the wider world: We believe there is much healing available in that wider world. Wisdom flows through the interactions at the most macro and micro of scales: the interplay of the heavens and heavenly bodies; the turning of the seasons; how our neighbor plants and animals adjust and adapt to this flow; how one organism benefits or affects another.

Much benefit can come to those who participate in this cosmic and earthly pageant. Scientific studies have shown that participating in the grand design by merely walking in the woods, through a meadow or along a beach can improve one’s physical and mental health. And, of course, we definitely believe there is also much healing in individual plants and working with your internal energy (Qi – pronounced “chi”). (More on both later.)

In conclusion, we suggest you approach your life – and every aspect of your health in a broad-spectrum, holistic, panoramic way. When problems occur, don’t treat the symptoms; correct the root cause. Set aside the straws. Take off the blinders. Go outside. (Yes, we know it’s cold in January, still there is much beauty and healing out there!)

And, with Deb’s compassion, care and increasing knowledge and honed skills, it is possible we may be able to help a little with some things that may ail you. If you think we may be of assistance, please contact us .

Peace and health,

Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

New Year Wishes for 2017 and Beyond

December 31, 2016

May you walk immersed in fields of wildflowers; barefoot in teeming creeks; awed along ridge-tops with endless horizons.  May you climb welcoming trees and savor ripe fruit from their branches.

May you feel the fair breeze caress your skin, hear its voice and understand its language.

May you revel in rich damp soil and smell the ‘green’ of fresh snap peas and the ‘red’ of perfect tomatoes in the garden.

May you laugh often and deeply hand in hand with those you love as you explore Nature together.

Love and starlight to you ~ now and always,
Deb and Harry
Your Grandparents of the ForestDeb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

Shared Meals from the Garden ~

July 26, 2016

Contributed by Deb

garden bountyOur garden was completely full last week and now, we have some vacant rows.  We’ve dug all the potatoes and garlic and the first planting of beans are finishing up, the second planting of beans are ready to begin harvesting ~ and now, it’s time to plant more for fall.  We can almost do a complete meal from the garden when we use squash, the first of the tomatoes, dill, cilantro, beets, cabbage, lettuce and tiny baby carrots. We also have some ‘alien-looking’ kolrabi that is about the right size to harvest.

Cabbage, Zucchini, Sungold cherry tomatoes, yellow 'wax' beans and coriander (Cilantro seed)

Cabbage, Zucchini, Sungold cherry tomatoes, yellow ‘wax’ beans and coriander (Cilantro seed)

Harry and I, of course, eat nearly every meal together.  Harvesting from the garden, cooking together and then eating meals together is one of our favorite things in the whole world. Everything tastes better and is fresher, of course, but the added touch of love and care that is shared gives extra nutrition for body and soul.  I often forget that the extra love and prayers that I can add to my cooking will be felt by those eating the meal!

We both had a tradition from our childhoods.  Sundays were special.  My grandparents came for dinner and would bring food from their garden or the farm roadside markets in my home state of Ohio. Mom would always have fresh pies in the summer – blueberry, strawberry, cherry, peach – even grape! (Yes, she peeled and pitted each grape!).  Harry always ate Sunday lunch and/or supper at one or the other of his grandparents homes.  Vegetables often came from the gardens, either fresh or frozen, and the meat was often raised and butchered by a relative.  His maternal Grandma often made a lemon meringue pie for his Dad.

Our children are scattered to the winds, but these traditions are still practiced by others:  one of our neighbor’s house is filled every Sunday afternoon with offspring and grandchildren.

Such simple things ~ and yet they can make a positive impact on us that lasts a lifetime.Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

Local Treasures

May 10, 2016

Contributed by HarryHarry closeup glasses

Over Mother’s Day, we took a trip to Ohio to celebrate the family matriarch’s 90th birthday!

Two of the small towns we visited displayed perfect examples of being able to find ‘Nature’ just about anywhere you choose to seek it.

P1100581P1100654Chagrin Falls, Ohio has the picturesque Chagrin River (what else?) flowing through the center of town. What fish, reptiles (we saw a black water snake sunning on a rock in the middle of the river), amphibians, mollusks and birds (there were Canada geese strolling in the shallows between the two falls) would one find on close exploration?P1100601

Chagrin Falls also provides a beautiful park area next to the river and downtown with formal plantings, grassy lawns and shade trees. What other birds and insects and other creatures would provide study there?

 

Burton, Ohio has a central ‘square’ (a rectangle actually) with trees, lawn and other plantings. Many of the residences have lovely front yard gardens.

Not far from downtown Burton is a wetland area with trails. What plants and creatures make their home, permanently or transiently, there for someone to study with children or grandchildren?P1100645P1100674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also near Burton is Punderson State Park offering a 150 acre lake and about 10 miles of trails open year-round. There’s a lot to explore there, too.

Surrounding both towns were miles of forest and farmland that were experiencing spring growth. Just from the road we could see skunk cabbage, mayapple and flowering trees and many other plants that would need closer inspection to identify. (Of course, always ask permission before exploring a neighbor’s or stranger’s property.)

Near our previous home there were the Haw River, Jordan Lake, Eno River State Park, Umstead State Park and much more.

And, of course, we now live near the Blue Ridge Parkway with trails to explore at many of the overlooks, the New River, The Watauga River, Grandfather Mountain State Park, Linville Falls,  Elk Knob State Park, our own back yard and so much more.

What Nature can you discover near your home?Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.