Thursday, August 15, 2013

When It Rains, It Pours

This was written 28 December 2000

WHY? We all ask this question a lot. Why, before we can work through one problem, does another (or several others) crop up?

Some say it is the Devil. To be glad that he is ‘after' you. If you were not serving God, Satan would have no need to be after you.

Others say it is God. He is ‘testing' your faith. Doesn't He already know all about your faith?

Some say it is God ‘whipping' you. That you are a dis-obedient child and He is lovingly trying to get you back ‘where you should be'.

Still others say it is just part of the fall from grace.

I am not sure which of these theories is correct, if any of them are. I know I have believed each and every one of them at some point in time.

It is not good to ask ‘Why?' sometimes.

Maybe there is truth in each of these theories.

Maybe one comes into play when the others do not.

I do know God said it would rain on the bad and the good.

Maybe this is one of those questions we are not to know the answer to.


This piece was written 13 January 2001

Why do others question your decisions in your walk with God?

Is it really their business? Do they make themselves feel better by making you feel belittled? Are they trying to get God to see your faults so maybe He will lay off them??

It is so frustrating to pray and seek God's will for a situation and He tells you to do 'A' when your heart is screaming to do 'B'. You know you must submit to His grace, justice and love and obey, but you still have to deal with fear and questions.

You do something, knowing it is what God wants you to do. Knowing He has a greater thing to accomplish and what happens--those He called before you to do this, those He wanted to do it in the first place--try to make you feel like a dog.

Think before you run from God's calling. When you refuse to obey, He has to get someone else to do it in your stead. Your disobedience does affect more than just you. You may protect yourself from some pain, but you may cause pain for others.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This piece was written 16 January 2001

Is blood really thicker than water? We all grow up being told it is. We all want to believe we can count our family in times of trouble, but can we?

We go through rough times and if they are Christians they will say they are praying for us. Most likely they do. Some will pray fervently and not stop until they get that prayer through to the throne room. Others will say a quick, "God help them." if they think about it.

Pretty much like your friends, some are good time buddies and some are there through thick and thin, sick and sin.

Is it that they think your troubles will rub off and they'll have problems also? Do they not want to make a sacrifice of anything? Do they think God is chastising you? Are they surface Christians? Do they think the trial will make you stronger?


Do they know they are God's arms and legs here on earth? Do they know God never wants His children to suffer? Do they know God may be chastising you, but that He answers prayer and this could be the time you hit your knees?

The Bible says that in the end times families will turn on each other... Are we living in the end times???

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Bibles, Books & Denominations

This is something I wrote on 26 February 2001. It was previously published on a no defunct website that paid per view.

We recently met a gentleman that is a wonderful person. At least we thought so. He offered to help us out with transportation problems, taking me places when David was at work and offering to sell us his extra vehicle. We helped him gather wood and offered to help him with any chores around his homestead.

He approached his church to take up a love offering and have a clothing drive for us. We knew nothing of this and of all things did not need any clothes. I have sent a pick up load to the local food bank that gives clothes also and plan on sending more! My husband wondered how to let this church know they were not buying our "membership".

This gentleman then proceeds to let us know that only, or at least mostly, his denomination was going to Heaven. Now, I've heard of this sort of thing before but never encountered it. My personal beliefs are that man and NOT God created the different denominations. Your Godly, Christian character, your heart, your relationship with God will determine your entrance into Heaven.

The next point was that only the 1611 King James Version of the Bible is the real Bible and anyone that has ‘funny' Bibles in there home is asking for demons to come torment, oppress, and possess them. That very Bible says to study to show thyself approved. As KJV was not translated from the original languages but from other ‘versions' and knowing that something is lost in translating from one language to another, what is wrong with studying to show thyself approved?

Next came that only ‘church' is the correct place to worship God and gather with other believers. and that there has to be an ‘altar call' at each and every church service/gathering of believers. We have been fellowshipping with some Plain/Amish Christians. The Bible says not to forsake the gathering together of believers. In the early days of the Church, people met in each other's homes, caves, or wherever they could get together. Witnessing was done out. They went ‘out' to witness to those considered lost. If the altar call is to allow lost souls to pray for salvation, isn't it a moot thing if the gathering is of BELIEVERS?

God did not create the church building or denominations. He created us. He gave us His Son as atonement for our sins. He does not dictate that if you join one church or the other, that is the way to Heaven. He said we have to accept the offering of Jesus. We must confess to Him our sins. We are commanded to share the gospel with all we can.

Please, do not join the ranks of this man and loose sheep. My husband will not set foot in this particular church because of its views. My oldest daughter feels the same. My children had grown to love this gentleman and have now been hurt by him.

©Mary Ellen Harvley 2001
May not be copied or reproduced, in any way without prior permission from author.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Make an Herbal WHAT?!?

Ever get to researching on using an herbal remedy and everything you can find assumes you already know what a decoction is versus a tea?

Well, I am going to help clear that up, at least some of it. Here is a list of common ways to use herbs and how to make and use them.

Understand that different methods bring out different constituents of the plants. Do your research and know what you want to draw out of the plant. mineral salts? bitters? vitamins? volatiles?

I hope its helpful to you.

  1. Cold Compress--Make an infusion or decoction (see below) let it cool off completely. Soak a cloth, preferably 100% cotton such as muslin in it. Wring it out and apply to the affected area. When the cloth becomes warm from absorbing body heat, remove and replace with another.
  2. Cold Extract--In an enameled pot (make sure the enamel is intact) or glass container place 1-2 ounces of herb to each pint of water. Let this stand for 12 hours, strain and the drink is ready. Follow directions for taking an infusion (below).
  3. Decoction--This method extracts mainly the mineral salts and bitters. Again, use a non metal pot (glass or enamel) The general rule for measurements is half an ounce of plant parts per cup of water. If using green (fresh) plant parts place in cold water, bring to boil, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 3 minutes. Hard plant parts should boil about 10 minutes and steep 5-10 minutes. Strain before drinking. 
  4. Essence-Research and locate a reputable supplier of food grade essential oils. Dissolve an ounce of food grade essential oil in a pint (2 cups) of 50%/100 proof alcohol. (Personally I use cheap vodka).
  5. Fomentation--Make an infusion or decoction by the above directions. Soak a cotton cloth in the hot liquid, wring out the excess and apply to the affected area. Fomentations are used similar to a poultice but are less active in effect.
  6. Infusion--This is a beverage made in a way that the herbs are not exposed to heat at length. This minimizes the loss of volatile oils. Usual amounts are ½-1 ounce of herb to a pint of water. Place the herbs in a glass jar, boil water in a non-metal container and pour about a pint of boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let steep 10 minutes. Tighten the lid and place in refrigerator. For drinking, strain just before. Sometimes you can add a touch of natural sweetener (not processed sugar). Generally, an infusion should be taken lukewarm to cool, the exceptions would be when trying to induce a sweat, or break up a cold or congestion-in those instances take it hot. 
  7. Juice--Chop fresh plant parts (the parts that have the constituents you need) and press to squeeze the juice out. Add a small amount of water and press again. You can purchase presses to do this with or use a juicer-I do not recommend using any electric or battery operated equipment as they heat as they are being used. The heat will cause the constituents you are trying to get-to be ruined. This is the method to use to extract the water-souble vitamins, minerals, etc. from the plant. Juice only what you are going to drink immediately. The vitamin quality declines rapidly and fermentation can set in.
  8. Poultice--Bruise or crush the plant parts to mush and heat. If using dried herbs or fresh that need it, add a hot, moist binder to help hold the poultice in place such as flour, corn meal, etc. Apply directly to the skin except in the case of using irritants such as mustard or cayenne. In those instances, keep a hot, moist cotton cloth between the skin and the poultice. You can apply the poultice to piece of cotton cloth, lay it on affected area and wrap it. Keep it hot and moist by placing a cotton cloth that has been dipped in hot water and wrung out over it.
  9. Ointment--There are different ways to make an ointment. In years past it was recommended to add some form of benzoin as a preservative, but due to sensitization issues, that can be short lived or permanent, it is no longer recommended. 
        1. Determine the herb or mixture to be used. Mix it, in powdered form, one part herb(s) to one part lard, bear fat, coconut oil, etc. (some use petroleum jelly but as it is a by product of the crude oil industry, I personally do not recommend its use)
        2. Determine the herb or mixture to be used. Boil these in pure clean water until the compounds needed have been released into the water. Strain. Add the water to olive oil, coconut oil, or another oil of your preference. Simmer gently until all water is evaporated. Add beeswax until the consistency is as you wish. 
  10. Powder--Obtain the dried herb(s) you need and use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder (not used for coffee and cleaned well between uses) to grind the dried herbs into a powder. The powder can be encapsulated in veggie caps, sprinkled on food or stirred into a beverage. 
  11. Syrup--Again there is more than one way to make this:
        1. Make a syrup of raw sugar and water (light, medium or heavy as needed). The water for the syrup should be a tea, infusion or decoction of the herb(s).
        2. Obtain organic, local honey, pure organic syrup, agave, etc and boil the herb(s) in that. Strain.
  12. Tincture--Obtain 50% grain alcohol which is 100 proof (moonshine can be bought in most states at the local liquor store but Vodka will do. I do not use Everclear as it is 190 proof so must be diluted). Place herb(s) in a glass jar (preferably brown). Lightly pack a quart jar with the herbs. Cover with alcohol. The majority of tinctures will need to be placed in a dark place for 14 days, a very, very few will need to be placed in a warm place or sunny window. Shake twice a day. At the end of 14 days, strain. Tinctures will keep for a long time, if  properly capped.
This is a basic description of some of the ways to use herbs. I hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to leave comments and please do share this posting.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Catnip--Not Just For Cats!


This is first of at least seven harvests of catnip that will be coming in from behind my boyfriend's Mom's chicken house. Isn't it beautiful?

Catnip is also known as catmint, catnep, catrup, catswort, & field balm. In my experience, there may be ten more things it is called by different people in different areas of the world.

When my oldest child (born in 1986) was a couple weeks old, Mama took me to meet an older lady, really, I think Mama was going to buy a roll (not a bolt) of cloth from her son. At any rate this lady was looking at Virgillia and said, "That youngin's a gonna have the colic. You got some catnip? Can tell by looking in her eyes."

I did not have any catnip growing so she had her great grand daughter go get me some, a lot. It was a paper grocery sack plum full! She told me, 'Now that ain't a gonna be enough, but it'll get you started on saving your sanity. Make a gallon at the time and I reckon that you'll a be going through a that every day. It'll be starting in about two weeks."

Well, she was right. Colic set in. I made catnip tea by the gallon every day for the baby and another half gallon for my nerves! The doctor gave me Mylicon drops for her, the older nurse winked and said, "Don't stop making that tea." 

It helped. It kept me calm. It calmed her for varying time periods. Someone at church recommended onion tea when the catnip ran out and I couldn't find anymore. It helped too.

Years later another friend, Hilda, told me to give my son, Franklin some catnip. He was five weeks old and had not broken out in that baby acne yet. She said the catnip would break him out, (all my others had had it at 4 weeks) and that if they did not get it by six weeks, they would die-so the old women said. Well, i did not give him any, he never broke out in baby acne and he died just a few minutes shy of being 80 days old. (I don't believe that is why. He was sent here for a mission and he did accomplish that. That's another story for another post.)

Back to catnip, it is currently included in many commercials teas that are sold for "calming" or "sleeping".  It can bought in bulk from many sources. As anyone that has ever planted just a sprig or two will know, it is very prolific and virile!

It has a mild minty flavor. It does drive some cats crazy. Others will just look at it, sniff and walk off.

Scientific Name-Nepeta cataria

The medicinal part is the herb.

Through the centuries it has been used for many reasons. New research suggests it is useful for other things also.

Some of the uses through the ages:

  1. Anodyne-soothes or relieves pain
  2. Antispasmodic-relieves or checks spasms or cramps
  3. Aromatic-agreeable odor and stimulating qualities
  4. Carmanitive-expels gas from the intestine
  5. Diaphoretic-promotes perspiration
  6. Anti-diarrheal
  7. To help Chronic Bronchitis   
  8. Planting around the garden to repel aphids and squash bugs.
New Discoveries:

  1. Attractant-irididial has been shown to attract lacewings which eat aphids and mites.
  2. Nepetalactone when extracted from catnip is said to be as good as DEET as a mosquito, roach & termite repellent.
Anytime you give an herbal tea as medicine, do not add sweetener of any kind. In the case of catnip, it is sweet on its own. If you have a patient that flat refuses to take it without sweetener, use a small amount of local, organic, un-processed honey that the the bees have not had access to GMO plants. Do not boil catnip. Bring water to a boil. Cool slightly-about 3 minutes. Pour over catnip in a non-metal & non-plastic container. Let steep.

Catnip tea can be given for upset stomach, colic, spasms, flatulency and excess acid in the stomach. 

Catnip can be taken as a tea, tincture, in capsules, juiced, as a poultice or smoked.

Please refer to my page on how to prepare herbs for use.

The Herb Book by John Lust

Please click here to read Medical Disclaimer for this blog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bathroom Organizing Tip

As many ladies do, I had makeup and hair ties in a drawer in the bathroom, extras in a makeup bag and my hair barrettes, combs, etc. in baskets on the container. This was NOT conducive to even knowing what all I had much less getting ready in a reasonable time. 

Now, "reasonable time" is different for everybody. It was taking me about thirty minutes to get my face painted and hair done. 

I was tired of knowing I had a certain item but not being able to find it. That is such a waste of money & my nerves. 

One day while cleaning out the closet in the bedroom, I saw the smaller container you see on the top left above. It had been on my desk with pens, pencils, paperclips and such but I did not need it there any longer and sat it on the shelf in the closet. 

So into the bathroom it went and I put my hair combs, barrettes, and such in it. Then I hung these hooks and d-clips up and put different sizes of hair ties on each d-clip, then hung each clip on a hook.

As you see, I have also hung my mirror there now. 

Back to the little plastic drawers. On the left, top to bottom here is a list of what I have in each drawer:

  • Saline packets for my Neil Med SinuRinse
  • Bow barrettes for the grands when they come over
  • Small barrettes, smaller container with tiny, clear plastic bands, bobby pins
  • Barrettes-large
  • Spring clip Barrettes
  • Hair Combs
On the right you will find these items:

  • Lip gloss, lipstick, lip liners
  • Foundation, Face powder, face lotion
  • Blushes, all brushes in plastic holders
  • Eye Shadows
  • Eye Lash curler, mascara, eye liners, eye cream
  • Miscellaneous items
This has made getting ready in the mornings a bit faster, much less frustrating, and even packing for a trip is easier and faster. 

Not shown is on the other side of the sink, in the same place is a flat basket (from the Dollar Tree) with my brushes and combs. 

My hair spray, spray hair oil, and anti-breakage spray is sitting in front of the drawers. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

First Bible Verse I Memorized

Psa 19:14 KJV - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable] in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Now, for the entire Psalm:

[[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
[There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether.
More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.
Who can understand [his] errors? cleanse thou me from secret [faults].
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Beautiful, as is the entire Bible. I was young, grade school, about 3rd or 4th grade. We went to the Methodist church where the preacher had two pastorates so every other Sunday we had "preaching" before Sunday school. My Sunday School teacher was Mrs. For-tes-que (really, I have no idea if that is spelled correctly or not, I have slept an awful lot since then--- but that is how it was pronounced.) and she taught my VBS class and my MYF group. He husband owned the only jewelry store in town of course it was a small town-Chocowinity, N.C. .

Believe me, you do NOT know the definition of "small town" until you have been there.

Many years later, when my first husband and I went through a very troubling spot in the road of life, that as always involved dealing with people-other humans that can not quote you correctly, listen well enough to hear what you (or anyone) actually says or see and act with compassion and common sense. He was having to fight hard the feelings of anger and acting upon that anger in inappropriate ways, feelings bordering on hatred and violence.

I really and truly never, at that time, felt of those basic and very normal emotions. One day he asked me why, why did I not want to physically hurt these people for what they had done?

I had no answer. David felt God had given me some gift that had not been bestowed upon him--not in a jealous way-just said as a matter of fact.

As the next several days went about their business, I thought about David's question of, "Why?" It was a good question. No matter the battle of the moment, I knew the end goal of the war at hand, kept my eye on that and fought each little battle with that in the forefront of my mind. Was it that I was just too busy to slow down and let those human emotions wash through me? If so, when it was all over would it all come crashing down on my shoulders/heart at once? If so, was it not better to have battled small, daily battles with these emotions as David was doing?

I began asking God why was He letting me stay so calm through it all. Was He just setting me up for a bigger, much worse war to come crashing down on top of me like a skyscraper in an earthquake?

The first verse that came to me was, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it". Proverbs 22:6.

This was NOT the answer.

In the still of the night, long after all the babies were asleep, I heard, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." It all came back when I heard it the second time. The room in the church. My little friend getting his ear ripped open that night after MYF meeting, as we played outside and he ran too close a rolled out window. I could not however, remember what the "address" of the verse was. Didn't matter. This was the answer. 

This wonderful verse had been planted in my heart as a child. I had no way to not return to it. I did not even remember the verse until months after it sprouted and flowered. 

But in those little hearts you have been entrusted with, the tools they will need in the future. Just like you fill their heads with knowledge they will need, fill their hearts too. . .