Humble Pie

Humble pie! These days I eat a lot of this. Let me share with you from topic to topic how I might have once defined myself but now, not so much.

*Witty Conversationalist (or at least able to assemble full and lively sentences)

In my day, I spoke to crowds of several hundred people about cutting edge topics. Now I say things at dinner like, “Could someone cut my meat?” and “Look how I can wiggle my fingers.”

*Crafty

This time of year I usually have a pile of knitting on every seat in the house and a hot glue dispenser at my hip. This December, I am fighting with the cats over who gets to lounge on the clutter free sofas. The cats are as bewildered as me by this knit free world but just as determined as I am to claim the empty real estate.

*Never a Fashion Icon (but at least things matched and I could dress myself).

My standards are at an all time low. Take yesterday for example. Lizzy and baby Grace took me for a walk with my new BFF, a ski pole. I was quite a vision.

Earlier in the day, my valet, Jim, helped me dress as I still can’t do shirts very well by myself. Fortunately, he doesn’t have too much of a wardrobe to keep track of as his twelfth job. I have only one sweater that fits over the cast. It’s a kelly green cardigan with blue polka dots. I wear it 24/7. At the end of this adventure it will either be a beloved object like a blankie or I will burn it. Maybe I will need to hang onto it so baby Gracie recognizes her Grandma.

Of course this signature sweater was part of my assemblage. I have a couple big t-shirts to choose from that fit over the cast. On the top of the laundry pile (Jim’s ninth job) was a yellow pale yellow dingy, much washed, gray t-shirt. This looked spectacular with my pink and raspberry striped pajama bottoms (there for warmth) and olive green skirt. Voila! I was ready for fashion week.

Nota bene- Kelly green and olive don’t look as bad together as you might think but maybe that’s because the pajama bottoms commanded all the attention. My cast also drew the eye. It is now purple- replacing the last one that was a more restrained royal blue.

In any case, maybe it is a good thing to be garish- It certainly makes it less likely someone will add insult injury and hit me with a car because they don’t see me on the side of the road.

All in all, when imagining my fashion choices….Think bag lady. Think Fashion Police. Think “What Was She Thinking when she got dressed.” Very little apparently.

*In the Kitchen

I usually have a lot of items simmering, marinating, stewing and melding this time of year. On the shelves, there are usually a lot of peculiar ingredients for brittles, pane forte. biscotti, rugelash, preserved lemons or homemade vanilla extract- I say ridiculous things like, “Why buy puff pastry when we can make own.” or “Let’s hand grind our own micro-batch of honey mustard.” or “Do you think we can make our own pomegranate molasses?” Yes, usually I am an obnoxious, even smug, participant of our food nation.

This year I cannot open a can. I cannot unscrew a lid. Saran wrap is beyond me as is tearing open a cellophane bag. I cannot use scissors and teeth aren’t as good at opening things as I would have thought.

Thank goodness for wandering staffers who can cut things open for me during their lunch break. At breakfast and dinner, I gratefully eat whatever is put in front of me by Iron Chef James. About a month before my arm break, Iron Chef James said he wanted to increase his repertoire in the kitchen. Santa answered that request early.

*On the Road

My mother never did learn to drive. Wherever we took her we called it, “Driving Miss Betsy.” One memorable night she barked at designated driver, Jim, as we left a restaurant parking lot, “ Get out there and step on it.” This became a sort of sarcastic mantra of car travel for our family.

Twenty years later and chauffeur Jim is no longer “Driving Miss Betsy”. Now it’s “Driving Miss Molly.” Going on an errand is such excitement for Miss Molly that her new mantra is, “Start off slow then taper off.” I also beg for takeout because the round trip from our farm to civilization is so fascinating. Ahhhhhhhh the bright lights of Broadway West Lebanon, NH.

*Cat Whisperer

Now this is an arena where my skills might actually be improving. I have covered my bed in buckwheat pillows so the cats each have a nest for daytime visits. They come and go keeping me apprised of all Green Hope Farm gossip: squirrel census, chipmunk activity, dog misbehavior, who is sashaying around the neighborhood with what fellow cat.

But maybe I am not doing such a fabulous job at this either. I have just noticed that all the pillows are empty today. I think maybe I have become a bit needy, wanting them to help me feel I know the pulse of anything, anything at all even if it is squirrel gossip.

*Grandmotherishness

Thank goodness for baby Grace. She doesn’t care that I can’t pick her or anything else up. She likes our games with her favorite caterpillar toy as much as I do. She is not bored that I know nothing about anything. Funny noises and the same three songs seem to be sufficient to qualify as good conversation. She likes when my clothes clash or my hair looks like dreads. She is not expecting homemade designer crafts or snacks for the holidays; she has her mom’s round the clock milk bar and that’s enough.

Yep, Grace is the grace of this time for me. The whipped cream on my humble pie.

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Diorama Destiny

Even obscure dreams have something to offer. Dreams that on first recall I can’t make much sense of often eventually give a nudge onward in one direction or another or some glimmer of encouragement or insight.

Yet it is hard not to be particularly grateful for big dreams that scream, “Listen close- this is SIGNIFICANT!”

In one of these PAY ATTENTION dreams many years ago, I dreamed I was in a room with this compact little diorama about the size of a dollhouse.

Okay, so most people might yawn when faced with a diorama, but I have always loved tiny things- dollhouses and the miniature Mexican pottery displays that contain whole little worlds. This diorama was like that, so in the dream I went right over to look at it more closely, and I saw that the title of the diorama was, “Molly’s Life.”

Half the charm of a miniature world is moving the pieces around so that is what I tried to do, but all the pieces were very, very hot. I realized I couldn’t move anything in the diorama.

As I stood back from the diorama, I saw that a figure was holding up the diorama, and I recognized the figure was God. I don’t know how I knew this exactly, but I just did- just like we recognize places in dreams even when they don’t look the same or we just know things in dreams that during daily life might feel hard to believe. In that now, I knew it was God and I felt so very glad that God was holding up the diorama of my life. Then God turned and winked at me, and my gladness changed to bliss.

That dream stuck with me. I wrote it down. I read it again and again. But it is probably all the things that have happened to me since that have made the dream even more precious to me.

Just like everyone else, many things have happened in my life that felt unexpected and completely out of my control. When things have veered from my idea of a good plan, I have often tried to solve and resolve things only to finally surrender to what is. Eventually I had to acknowledge that what happened was the plan for me whether my personality liked it or not.

The dream and these experiences of learning to surrender have encouraged me to pay more attention to my inner guidance about what I can do in a situation and what is not my business but God’s business. Fifteen years since this dream occurred and I am a little quicker to recognize furniture in the diorama that I can’t move before I waste years burning my fingers trying to move immovable objects.

Sometimes it is very painful not to be able to reset the stage and move that furniture. At times like this, the dream consoles me on several levels. Yes, I can’t move the pieces around as I wish, but God not only knows the best arrangement of the pieces but also has a sense of humor. There was something of, “This is a big funny game we are in together and I will see you through.” in the wink. Remembering the wink helps when the game lands me on “Go to Jail” not “Park Place”.

The dream invites me to play the game with my sense of humor too. In between my two weird arm breaks, I managed to fit in other fun stuff like getting disinherited and losing my share in the Adirondack camp we loved so much, but gosh no one could take my sense of humor from me.

I still get to choose my attitude in response to events.

Right now, as I look at the royal blue cast on my arm, covering hardware, stitches and a wilderness of mending bones. I slot my present circumstance under the header of “Things in the Diorama I could not change.”

When I tripped in the woods with Lizzy and Grace at my side, I broke this second arm in a very similar way as the other arm break four years ago. The surgeon who used an electric drill on my bones and everyone involved are quick to tell me it is no ordinary mess just a matching mess.

“Oops I did it again. “

According to Lizzy, I said this even before my arm hit the ground, and I must say the whole thing had a feeling of inevitability once it began. I am only grateful that I didn’t know this matching arm break was diorama destiny before it happened- that the four years in between breaks I wasn’t consciously waiting for this second fall-

It was bad enough to sit in the woods waiting to go to the hospital and flashing back on the parade of surgery, recuperation and rehab that had suddenly gone from being in my rear view mirror to the entire landscape ahead of me.

As I held my smashed arm, waiting for the ride that would begin this Groundhog Day, I tried to just have faith. My diorama and everyone else’s are held up by God. There is some complicated divine pattern at work for all our lives, and sometimes this pattern is a pretty difficult pill to swallow, but the plan is a good one and all of us are held up with infinite love and tenderness by loving hands.

Which means that for now and maybe for always, my job (besides taking tons of Flower Essences and asking for help and taking direction from those who are trying to help me mend and being as cheerful and as thankful as I can be to dear Jim and all loving family and friends and not taking myself too seriously) is to just trust or as they say, “Let go and let God.

And be grateful I don’t have a third arm.

second fiddle to grunk

there is never a dull moment for ghf staff and family, and last week i threw all of them a curveball when in my wonderful klutziness i tripped on a rock up in the woods and broke my right arm.

now i have a matched set of broken arms~ the left broken in a wheelbarrow mishap five years ago and now an equal enthralling accident involving perfectly good shoes for woods walking and a rather unassuming rock-

since surgery on wednesday, i am now held together with wires and a cast and looking ahead to at least six weeks of being out of the loop as literally things like dressing myself are now two people activities with me standing there like a tree while jim tries to find something that will fit over my cast

yes, i will bow out for a little while at least from most activities and stay in bed where presumably i can’t trip on anything else- just me and my quarts of pink flower essence water and all four cats who think this is one big slumberparty= which really it is

now before i go back to bed, i just wanted you to know that the lovely staff will now go from at least having me around to ask questions to me away from all the action-and i am really proud of them already for rising to the occasion and i know you will be too

and also, i want to take this five minute interlude in which jim is willing to supervise me at a computer to say that i think it really unfair even tragic that i don’t even get to be the most important broken arm in the family as all talk is focused on grunk who apparently broke his arm while actually doing something dangerous and now the broken arm actually threatens the patriots playoff chances- whereas my broken arm doesn’t threaten anything as ben was already in charge of the turkey for thanksgiving

i feel sorry for grunk but also wonder why he needed to suck up all the sympathy vote from me- from my bed upstairs i think i am overhearing some heartfelt conversation about the children’s dear sweet mother laid low by a broken arm and then no, its really all about grunk

as i return upstairs to bed, all i can do is thank god the cats don’t care about the nfl and they still think i have the most important broken arm in their lives.

Old Blush China Rose

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This ancient grandmother of all Roses has been calling nonstop, asking me to bring her to your attention as a deeply supportive Flower Essence friend for this tumultuous time.

Please avail yourself of this Flower Essence! It wants to support you to feel safe, strong and able to go on. It offers a profound vibration of encouragement much as a beloved grandmother would- and in fact, this Rose IS the grandmother of almost every Rose you know.

Why is Old Blush China Rose the grandmother of most modern Roses?

In the wild, Roses freely cross pollinate to create new Roses. In the 1700’s, cross pollinating Roses to create new Roses became a focus of gardeners as well. Old Blush China Rose was a key player in all intentional breeding because she is what is known as a repeat bloomer.

Discovered by western horticulturists in China in the early 1700’s, Old Blush was the first Rose imported to the west that had this quality of repeat blooming. Until the discovery of Old Blush, all Roses in cultivation in the west would bloom only for a few short weeks in early summer, and that was the end of their flowering for the year. But Old Blush China Rose bloomed almost nonstop from early summer to late fall. In my greenhouse today, my pot of Old Blush China Rose is blooming away and no doubt those outside in southern gardens are also going strong. Old Blush asked me to pluck this blossom from the greenhouse and photograph it for you. Dark skies, snow flurries, a chilly greenhouse and this Rose goes on blooming.

An extended bloom time or repeat bloom time was an extremely exciting genetic trait to folks like Linnaeus who received a cutting of this rose in 1752. Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, began the process of organizing latin names for all creation, but even as a child, he had a special love for Flowers. He found them very calming when he was upset, and his parents knew to give him Flowers when they wanted to comfort him. How lovely that a friend who had traveled to China as the ship physician brought Linnaeus back this slip of calming, centering, strengthening Old Blush China Rose.

Once this reblooming strength of Old Blush China Rose was understood by Rose breeders, Old Blush became one of the parent Roses used in almost all new Rose creations. From its children were created more crosses, most all of them attempts to keep Old Blush’s trait of repeat blossoming. In this way Old Blush became the mother, grandmother, great grandmother etc of all modern hybrids.

Why Old Blush China Rose right now?

This is certainly something I have been asking Old Blush- She has literally JUMPED OFF the shelves to call out to me in the last few days, and I felt that there was more I could understand about this Rose to explain why she is so determined to get out there to you right now.

In my effort to learn more, I read a series of essays in which famous gardeners of the modern era write about their favorite Rose. A number of them write with great affection about Old Blush China Rose, and several pick Old Blush as their favorite. There are plenty of repeat blooming Roses now so that doesn’t explain why people who have spent a lifetime working with Roses would choose it as their favorite. It really must be something to do with the essential wisdom and power of this incomparable Rose.

In one essay, a gardener who chose Old Blush as his favorite tells the reader how throughout his life he has found this Rose in the most unlikely, inhospitable places, flourishing without good soil or water or any attention. He has found it in abandoned gardens, by the foundations of long gone houses, at dusty neglected highway intersections and in old graveyards. In each place, Old Blush was throwing off sprays of Flowers, unperturbed by the challenges it faced.

Reading this description was a lightbulb moment for me. I first met Old Blush in an ancient garden in Bermuda and later got myself a bush to grow in the gardens in the summer and keep in the greenhouse in the dead of winter. I know her as a friend that blossoms like the energizer bunny and that gives us an Essence that makes me feel more sturdy. But in this man’s description, I discovered another layer of her strength. Old Blush is a survivor. She goes way back, yet she continues on as fresh as the day she was created. She wants to help us not only endure but flourish as she does. She wants to show us we can do this even in extremely trying circumstances. Hers is not an offering of good intentions alone but a real grounded wisdom of survival with gusto and delight.

Flower Essences for Sandy

As our hearts go out to our many Green Hope Farm friends affected by Sandy, we wish we could get a box of Essences to each of you.

Even Green Hope Farm, so far from the center of the Sandy, has had spotty phone service and internet since the storm so I don’t have any confidence that those closer to the coast can read this right now, but if you can, please know we are thinking of you.

This morning we tried to think of the most helpful Flower Essences for those of you affected by Sandy.

First we have a special Emergency Care mix we created when Hurricane Katrina occurred. We were lucky enough to have a triage center in Selma, Alabama that distributed this mix. This mix was then ready for the people in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, and then it went off to many folks a year ago when Hurricane Irene came through.

Ironically, one of the people who saw to the distribution of at least a thousand bottles of this Flower Essence mix in Japan is right in the thick of things near the lower Hudson River in New Jersey- We are thinking of you Tomoyo and hoping you still have some of the Emergency Care for Japan to use and share!

So today as we consider what Flower Essences we wish all the people and animals affected by Sandy had in their hands, I think first of this Special Emergency Care mix which we still have available. Emergency Care or Animal Emergency Care are also wonderful so if you have either of those on hand, use them. The Special mix is not that different in its purposes. All three mixes offer a lot of support to overwrought electrical systems.

Our Anxiety combination mix would certainly be another top choice for animals and people. This event is simply too much to process and Anxiety helps free us from this task and ease our burdens in so many ways.

Grief & Loss is another combination mix I would include as a top choice. This tender mix comforts and consoles even amidst the big griefs of losing beloved places, the homes and neighborhoods of our lives.

Ireland is a watery place and Irish Essences have been calling to people this week in a big way. There is something very steadying about these Irish Flower Essences, ancient and also holding a confident long view, one forged from navigating beyond many, many previous watery events.

Omey Island would be my first choice from the Irish collection. This one is all about helping us when our life circumstances are constrained by forces beyond our control. Omey Island is a tidal island cut off from the mainland four hours in every twelve. This is a small tidbit of how Omey describes herself at the beginning of the Irish Collection section of the website.

“I AM all about edges. People at the edge of their lives, pushed there by circumstances, will find me a help in letting go of control or the illusion of control and going instead inwards to a different experience of their lives. By edges I mean places where the business of life has been stripped back and fallen away due to losses, changes in circumstances, illness, places where much that has seemed essential is gone and the person feels raw and vulnerable with both less of a feeling of worldly protection or buffering but also less worldly burdens. I help people to realize less is more. I help them in this pared down place on the edge to feel closer to their eternal self, more whole even though circumstances of their worldly life might suggest they are broken, empty, less than.”

Golden Armor also feels essential. This one helps animals and people feel cocooned from swirling events. It literally buffers out dissonance but also helps us keep our electrical field strong. It has anti viral and anti bacterial Essences in it that are important for those of you dealing with toxic flood waters as well as those run down by the emotional exhaustion of the situation. I can’t speak too highly of this one.

We have seen a lot of Sanctuary flow out the door here since its creation this summer. It is a great mix for helping us feel safe and secure even when all the externals have changed or we have gone through a traumatic experience that leaves us raw and vulnerable.

Special Emergency Care, Anxiety, Grief & Loss, Omey Island, Golden Armor and Sanctuary. This group of Flower Essences serves on so many levels. I am grateful to have them ready right now for people and animals.

I could go with more suggestions and of course we are happy to talk on the phone or on email with you to help you chose Essences dovetailed to your specific situation- but this group feels helpful for the immediate aftermath. Later Recovery mix and Phoenix Rising will have their role to play and many others, but this is a group that addresses the immediate circumstance and offers a lot of support.

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!