The Favor

For the next few weeks, the gentleman came each weekend after church for a few hours study.  Occasionally there were some texts or a rare phone call with questions so I knew he was studying on his own and not just counting on me.  I was encouraged that he was diligently seeking truth on his own time.  Once in awhile during our study time, he would get off track with a little chit chat but I would gently steer him back to the subject at hand. Elijah was always close by.  I also let my other sons know what was happening. I did tell one of my daughters that there was a gentleman interested in me but not to worry, it wasn’t going to go anywhere and I explained why.

I set aside Sabbath afternoons for study but other than that our lives went on as usual and the weeks passed.

Then one afternoon, the gentleman asked me for a favor.  He had heard me talking to one of my daughters about how many organic foods Costco carried.  He had never been there.  He asked if it would be permissible for me to take him there and allow him to see the place and pick up a few things.

I wasn’t sure what to say. I did not want to encourage anything personal but I also wanted to help him.  I ran it by my son Jeremy and he asked me if I would do this favor for Russel, or Scott, or Jeff – other male friends. Of course I would have!  Therefore, Jeremy felt like I should do the same for this friend.

We picked a day. I let him know that Jeremy would be aware of when I left, where I went and when I got home. To me, it would be a straight shot there and then turn around and head home…I wanted that made very clear. He understood and agreed.  When we got in his Jeep, he asked to pray for our safety before we left – which he did.  Did you know you can learn a lot about someone by listening to them pray?

Costco is about an hour way.  For the first time, he shared a bit about his life on the way there. It was probably the first conversation we had that did not revolve completely around the Word. I discovered that he had a wonderful sense of humor. I found myself laughing quite a bit.

We got to Costco – and toured the store picking up the things he needed along the way. At one point, he had me laughing and asked me..”what am I going to do with you?” That struck me as a very odd question.

And then he answered his own question….and totally blew me away….


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The Gentleman’s Plan

As I sat quietly, this gentleman began to unfold a plan for “our” lives. It was very obvious that he had put a great deal of thought and prayer into this plan. He was very humble in his attitude and expectations. He spoke for 20 or 30 minutes…and it was a lovely plan….a fairy tale plan…but not the plan for me.

My mind kept going to several differences in our lives that were insurmountable to me. I prayed as I listened. I needed Abba to give me the words to say to let this gentleman down lightly and to firmly establish that this was not possible.

When he was finished, I took a deep breath and began. “You’re a very nice man, but I have no feelings for you. There are also several areas of incompatibility that I know would prevent us from ever developing those feelings or a relationship”. I shared four specific areas. Of those, the most important issue I saw was a theological difference. I was on the blunt side…I did not want to give this nice southern gentleman any false hope.

The gentleman was quiet for a moment. Then he asked me a question. “Would you be willing to show me, using the Scriptures, where you think I am in error?”

I agreed to do this as long as he understood that we would not be pursuing anything personal.  He agreed that we would only be studying the word together in this particular area.

We decided to meet at my farm after church the next weekend so I didn’t have to cart all of my study books to another location.  I also knew my son would be here for propriety’s sake.

The gentleman showed up the next weekend and we began. I had done my homework and began to go through the scriptures with him. We spent about 3 hours together and I think he was surprised at some of what I shared. He asked well thought out questions…I could sense that he was a man searching for the truth.

At the close of the afternoon, he asked if we could continue another time and I agreed. He seemed a little down when he left…sometimes that happens when we think we have the truth and are confronted with the reality of the Scriptures.  I know…it happened to me 6 years ago.

He left with his usual “Thank you ma’am”….

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A Rabbit Trail to Moonshine!

Just a quick break from my story to share with you the new soap in my life! I live in the heart of Appalachia where moonshine thrives. I had a request from Sugarlands, a local moonshine distillery in Gatlinburg, to carry my soaps. I was happy to oblige!

When they placed their second order, I had a surprise for them..

Lemon Shine!

Lemon Shine!

Yes!  I made soap with Sugarlands Lemonade moonshine! This soap is not available in my store though…it is only available at Sugarlands in Gatlinburg…so, if you are visiting the area stop in and pick up a bar. Don’t forget to visit their tasting bar….and be sure and tell them I sent you!

Of course there are many other varieties of soap available on my website! You will find mints, citruses, soaps for health, soaps for the foodie in you along with country scents and shampoo bars! If you are in the area, you can always visit the farm to see and sniff 🙂

I’ll be developing a moonshine soap of my own this summer…any suggestions?

Soon you’ll find out what the southern gentleman did next…

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The Declaration

The southern gentleman returned at the appointed time with his herbs and all of the necessary components for making tinctures and capsules. We discussed each herb in depth and how to use the end products he was creating. He made notes as I taught. I supervised  as he worked with every herb he had purchased. I thought he seemed very comfortable with the process. When all was done and the mess cleared away, the gentleman packed up all we had created. Then it happened….

The gentleman began to act very nervous. Which in turn made me a bit nervous. He finally said, “O.K., I’m just going to bite the bullet and ask….”

Do you have any idea how many thoughts the human brain can process in a nano-second? A hundred things flashed through my brain.  What was he going to ask me? Now I really was nervous!

Then this southern gentleman gently asked, “Would you do me the honor of spending some time with me to see if you might be interested in establishing a relationship together?”

I was speechless.  I had no interest in this at all. In fact, I saw several areas that I considered insurmountable because of our differences.  I was just about to open my mouth and show this gentleman the door when I clearly heard the Holy Spirit speak….

“Shut Up and Listen”…..

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The Class & The Consultation

The next few weeks were very busy…my son was getting married to a wonderful girl that we had known and loved for many years. Shortly after the wedding, I was scheduled to teach a class on Herbal Medicine. A day or two before the class, the gentleman called to reserve a place. He asked a few questions, chatted for a bit and said good-bye. I had to wonder what I could teach him that he already didn’t know with his amount of training.

The gentleman arrived early and reminded me that he had requested some help with a particular health issue on his first visit to the farm. Ever had that sinking feeling when you know you have forgotten to do something for someone? I felt terrible…I had completely forgotten.  I immediately made myself a note to do that and apologized for my forgetfulness.

He mentioned that he had tried to call a couple of times but didn’t get an answer. Probably so…we were in the middle of wedding frenzy and I never check my “call list”. I figure if it is important you will call back or leave a message.

The class was fun and busy with great students and lots of questions….but not too many from the gentleman.  He left shortly after the class was over.

The next day I got busy doing some research and spent several hours going through books and making notes.  It was a health issue I had not dealt with before.  I love those!  It expands my knowledge base and gives me a reason to pour through my books…something that is too easy to neglect in a busy life.

I put my all of my notes on several large index cards. I knew that I would be seeing him at a bible study the next week and thought I could pass them along at that time, which is exactly what happened. The gentleman called the next day asking for some help understanding my notes.  He also had some questions.  Again, he asked to visit the farm to go over those things.

I said yes and we made an appointment.  I went through all of my notes, explained my scribbles (anyone else have terrible handwriting?), made suggestions and spent about 3 or 4 hours sharing my research and thoughts. I suggested he order some herbs to tincture and to put into capsules and he agreed. He asked thought provoking questions, paid close attention, chit chatted a wee bit and seemed to understand everything the books suggested.  At the end, he slipped some money onto the table. I handed it back.  He explained that I had just spent three hours teaching him besides the time researching this issue. He also explained that my time had value and he would not take advantage of me nor would he feel free to return for help if  he needed it. He threatened to have a “prayer meeting” if I would not accept compensation for my time.

He then said his good-byes with a “Thank you ma’am”. A phrase common in this older southern gentleman’s speech.

A few days later there was another call, asking if once the herbs arrived, I might help him work up the tinctures so he would get the experience and know that things were done right. I suggested that he had learned that skill in class but he felt like if I helped him one time he would be much more confident in doing this in the future.

Hhmmm….I think it was at this point I began to be just a wee bit suspicious that this gentleman might be interested in more than herbs….

At the next meeting I discovered that my suspicions were very well founded…

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The Visit

The phone call came a few days later with a request to visit the farm the next weekend after church. I hedged a little…after all…this was a stranger. I could see he wasn’t going to be put off for long. He was very polite but also firm about visiting the farm. I finally agreed, but I told Elijah not to leave my side during this visit. Turns out Elijah already knew this gentleman…he had worked on his property that summer for several weeks. Interesting….

The gentleman arrived and re-introduced himself. He asked a lot of questions about the farm, about herbs and about herbal medicine. He told us a little about himself…he was a retired Optometrist, had gone back to school to get his degree as a Naturopathic Doctor, and was a certified Master Herbalist (hhmmmm….so why does he want to ask me questions about herbs?). He then went back to school again and became a Licensed Massage Therapist and had built a business serving the cabins in and around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. He retired again from that after 10 years. Busy man that doesn’t really know how to retire were my thoughts.

After our conversation, we took a walk outside with Elijah to look at some herbs growing wild.  The gentleman seemed to feel that he needed to learn more about the practical aspects of using herbs as opposed to “book” learning”. Another son showed up for a visit and had the opportunity to meet him too.

Then the gentleman asked if he could pray with us before he left. After praying for us, he said good bye.

And I thought that was the end of the story….

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Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time (isn’t that how all fairy tales start?), a long, long time ago (last summer), I was asked to speak at a local conference on self sufficiency in hard times.  I gave presentations on water bath canning, pressure canning and “dry canning” also known as vacuum sealing. Once those were out of the way, I gave another presentation on herbal medicine. I explained why I thought it was so important to have this knowledge, did a wee bit of teaching and offered a class sign up. I was part of the speaker’s panel at the end for questions.  There are always many of those.

It was a long day.

After the program, when I was packing up all of my demonstration gear, many people came to speak to me, ask me to help them with this or that and to ask about my classes.  There was a gentleman hanging in the background as this was going on…not unusual when I speak.  There are often many people waiting in line to ask me questions. This gentleman waited until everyone else was gone to approach me.

He introduced himself, told me he had a hundred questions but knew that this was not the time or place.  He expressed that it had been a long day and he knew that I was tired.  He asked permission to call me about herbs or to visit my farm.

Now…this is not unusual….many people want to call me and I probably handed out 200 business cards that day.  It is not unusual for people to request to visit my farm.  In fact, one year after speaking at a state fair, someone followed me home to the farm…that was a little scary!  But, they have since become wonderful friends.

I didn’t think too much about this gentleman’s request…like I said it wasn’t unusual…

But what happened next certainly was….

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The Amazing THM!

Have you heard of THM?  It stands for Trim Healthy Mama. It is the most amazing lifestyle change ever!

This book has changed my life!

It isn’t a diet book..rather it is more of an encouragement to eat healthily and deliciously while loosing weight.  I mean having the weight literally falling off your body!

As y’all know, I’ve been seriously working on loosing weight for almost a year now. One of my daughters introduced me to Trim Healthy Mama last summer.  I read through the book – a daunting task! – and with her help began to utiltze this new style of eating.

I have always done well on low carb, high protein diets.  But, I missed bread, fruit and an occasional sweet treat.  On THM, I get my favorite fruits, delicious bread and plenty of sweet treats if I want them. Although I have found I have little craving for sweets anymore.

I have dropped 30 lbs since the end of August without feeling deprived of anything! One of my sons has dropped an amazing amount of weight by following this diet loosely.

This is a HUGE book.  The first half goes through the most popular fad diets and explains how those diets actually affect the health of your body…it is a real education.  Then it explains the THM plan. The back of the book is filled with recipes.  Do I like them all? No, but I like most of what I’ve tried so far.

Once you “get the basics” of THM, you can then apply the principles to your own recipes, make some modifications and still be eating those traditional recipes you love.

There is a Facebook page here.  I encourage you to scroll through and have a gander at some of the before and after pictures.  I think that is what sold me.  It wasn’t just 20 somethings who were loosing weight, it was middle aged women, grandmas, men, teenagers.  And the differences were amazing!

You can learn a lot just from the FB page.  There are documents you can download and read. Many people start just by using FB because the book is a bit pricey. However, I think the book is worth every penny!  I like having all the recipes at my fingertips.

There is a Kindle version if you prefer your books that way. Here it is:

You may know the authors of the book. Have you ever read the magazine Above Rubies published by Nancy Campbell?  Serene and Pearl are her daughters!

There are many how-to-videos and massive amounts of recipes offered on different websites along with the FB page.  There is one young lady who specializes in creating ice cream recipes for the THM plan and other desserts!

The best part of Trim Healthy Mama is the health benefit. Many people are utilizing this lifestyle not because they want to loose weight, but because they want to heal health issues.  Diabetes, fibromyalgia, auto-immune issues, eczema…there are many testimonies from people about how these issues resolved themselves by following this common sense, biblically based way of eating.

I am over half way to my goal, lost weight through Thanksgiving week (and yes I cooked most of the food, served it and had leftovers in the frig all week) and I know I’ll make my year end goal because this is so easy.  I’m pulling “too big for me now” clothes from my closet every week and sending them off to a thrift store. My knees don’t hurt as much, I’m sleeping better and I have tons of energy.  All of the comments and encouragement from friends and family haven’t hurt either!

Wanting to get healthy? Wanting to loose weight? Treat yourself to this book, join the FB page and begin this exciting journey now!


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Snow, Tea, Tinctures and Reputations!

We have had snow three times this month so far. I’ve lived here for 15 years and have never seen snow in November like this. I can’t imagine what February is going to be like. I am considering buying a snow shovel.


Snow! Again…

So while the snow came down I indulged in one of my favorite new passions… Oolong tea with a pinch of lavender buds…and a touch of Stevia.  Heavenly!

Lavender Oolong Tea

Lavender Oolong Tea

I love the glass teapot that one of my kids gave me years ago…it allows me to enjoy the beauty of the tea too. This tea pot came with a box of “flowering” teas”.  If you have never enjoyed one..I highly recommend them. They make a lovely gift and both your taste buds and your eyes will experience delight as you watch your tea “bloom”!

You can see a bowl of Mullein root in the background…waiting to be worked up. Speaking of that..I spent this snowy day taking that big box of herbs and making tinctures.


I have never made most of these before. I was inspired by a course I just finished taking on using herbs in emergency situations.


This leaves me feeling a little better equipped to take care of my family in a wider variety of situations.

I took those Mullein roots and got this far….


Notice anything missing?  VODKA!  Ack…I ran out of vodka….AGAIN!  Yes…I went through the entire case making those tinctures.  You know what this means…another trip to the liquor store….4 cases in less than a month! My reputation will be shot!  The man’s eyes got big last time…I can’t imagine what he will think this time. Can’t you just hear the gossip?

Owner to customer:  “There is this lady who comes in here EVERY week and buys a case…yes! a case!…of vodka.  She says she is making medicine.  I’ve never heard it called that before!”

Oh well…I will do what must be done and I leave my reputation in my Father’s capable hands!

Have a wonderful weekend dear friends…


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