Category Archives: The Bride Chimes In

Weighing life’s scales at almost 49

By The Bride

I’m still not sure what hit me or why it hit at the time it did, but I took to my keyboard to capture the emotions welling within me. Life’s been too busy with school and work and family and all the stuff that makes it full and makes me tired. I haven’t written much in a long time. That’s why this burst was so unexpected. I knew I had to get it down. Here’s what I wrote:

I’m almost 49… just shy by four months…I thought my life would have been different somehow.

Instead of starting a new career, I thought I would be ending a long career.

I thought my family would have been closer–coordinating calendars and marking days when we would all gather, immediate and extended, all together, enjoying babies and elders.

I thought, somehow, that I would be enjoying endless vacations to Mexico and Hawaii with my husband…sometimes with the kids, sometimes without.

I thought somehow that I would be smarter, less like a kid and more like an adult. I thought by now, that I wouldn’t be afraid of the ocean or snowboarding. I thought I would still be enjoying happy hours a couple nights a week, knowing that two glasses of wine–and not four or five–is okay.

I thought at 49 with our three oldest children planning weddings, that we would have the financial security to be able to pay for all three weddings.

I thought, somehow, that life would be easier, like Sunday mornings or walks in the park. I thought at almost 49 that I would be comfortable in the skin that I am in right now. That I wouldn’t care about my breasts, my legs, my butt, my arms.

I thought at almost 49 that I would remember where I left my keys instead of remembering every single line of some random ’80s pop hit. It seems that remembering where I left my keys is a little more important right now.

I thought, somehow, that I would be more interested in today than what may…or may not…come tomorrow. I thought, at almost 49, that I wouldn’t be so selfish. I thought I would be more selfless.

I thought, at almost 49, that the people around me would be less judgemental, less mean with their words and anger. That somehow I’d be able to not care about mean words and those that judge me. It wouldn’t matter, so I thought, at almost 49.

I thought that I wouldn’t be scared, at almost 49, of the future and even of death.

I thought God would be present and that I would be present enough to feel His presence. I thought my spiritual journey would be paved with smooth, shiny concrete that I could walk upon with bare feet. I didn’t think my spiritual journey would be paved with rocks and stones so uneven and bumpy that bare feet would hurt walking across the path.

I thought at almost 49 that hot flashes and mood swings would be something still out there in the future. I didn’t think that at almost 49 the hot flashes and mood swings would be hitting me across the face, spreading throughout my entire body, a constant daily, reminder of the change in my age and walk into middle years.

I didn’t expect at almost 49 that I would be applying anti-wrinkle cream and counting gray hairs on my roots. At almost 49, I thought I would be able to stay up past 9 p.m. I didn’t think I would fall asleep on the couch nearly every night, too tired to make it into bed.

I didn’t think this would be me at almost 49.


But, at almost 49, I didn’t think I would be as strong as I am, most times. I didn’t think I would be as funny as I am, most times. I didn’t think I would be as active as I am, most times. I didn’t think that I would laugh out loud, tears falling down my face, most times.

I didn’t think I would be passionate about continuing my education, pursuing a degree that matters, most times.

I didn’t think at almost 49 that I could respect a person as much as I respect my husband, most times. And, that I would be able to call him my best friend. And laugh with him.

I didn’t think at almost 49 that I would think often about my four kids and how proud I am of each of them. Of their lives, the adults they have turned into, the partners they are bringing into the family. At almost 49, I didn’t think that I would want my children to have better lives and be better people than what I imagined I was when I was their age, and I didn’t think knowing this would make as happy as it does.

Just shy of 49, by four months, I didn’t think my life would look like it does now, but at almost 49 I’m happy, most times. And, I’m content with my looks, my sense of humor, my intelligence, most times.

At almost 49 this is what matters, most times.

Just breathe: first step toward the God of peace

In the late 1990s my so-called perfect life was anything but. Typical of those like me who were relatively affluent, married, career-oriented, I had the accouterments of success. Outside I looked fine, stylish in fact… maybe even adorned. I had a designer purse and a nice car and my husband at the time worked in a successful family business.

And we were miserable.

My misery manifest itself in anxiety. Panic attacks. Fear. Times when my body rebelled against me. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and prescribed medication. But it was also the first time I began to pay attention to the little things that can make life better. Like air.


Breathe in, breathe out. It was good advice then and it remains a go-to-medication now long after I have stopped taking drugs and stopped self-medicating with alcohol.

I realized a long time ago how important deep breathing is for physical and mental health. My journey towards a more healthy well-being started with the introduction of deep breathing. I’d simply start each morning by taking ten long, deep breaths in, followed by a long, slow exhale out. I developed a routine that I continue to this day.

As the stresses in my life increased it became important to introduce other methods that would help alleviate stress. Meditation started to become a leading player in my life. The creation of a space in my home that existed and was free of television and other electronic devices was significant. The space with a comfortable chair and a warm blanket, and included lavender scented candles created an environment that allowed me the ability to live in it for as long as I could spare in any given day. Sometimes that was only five minutes, but it was enough time in that day.

Meditation consisted of me closing myself in that warm, safe environment. With closed eyes, I would begin my deep-breathing and would usually think of one word that was significant to me in that moment. I repeated that word (often times it was the word “peace”) as a way of clearing the space in my brain so that I could focus solely on meditating. This extended the deep-breathing to help relieve my anxiety symptoms.

My deep-breathing techniques have recently been enhanced by my introduction of yoga. I try to practice yoga three times a week for about an hour. Yoga has allowed me to strengthen my body, while also strengthening my mind. Yoga incorporates my deep-breathing and meditation. It has brought these two calming techniques together and taught me how to stay in the moment. It has become a mainstay in my life.

Yoga’s benefits for the mind and body are important for keeping me in control and ensuring that anxiety and stress stay away.

Within these practices of breath, meditation and yoga I have found a greater sense of purpose in prayer. In these times with God I find the root of my anxiety, which grew from the absence of God in my life during those so-called “successful” years. That generalized anxiety was more specific than I ever thought.

First I learned to calm my breath, which helped me calm my mind, which empowered me to calm my body, which infused my soul with the sense of calm that flowed me wholly like a gentle river back into relationship with the God of my youth.

I still struggle with anxiety from time to time. It’s still woven in my DNA and my brain and my biology. I know that’s a part of it. But I also know like all things, there are other parts as well. I don’t worry about a “cure.” Instead I use the anxiety for what it was designed to be, a reminder to stay close to the God who created me.

Whenever I start to lose my way, I can find it again… with that first, long, deep, wonderfully cleansing breath.

Let kindness be the antidote for the hate of 9/11

“On this day that is remembered for hate, let kindness be its antidote”

September 11, 2001 is a date that most of us will never forget. Even if you didn’t experience the devastating loss of a loved one in the destruction of the Twin Towers of NYC, the crash of United Flight 93, or the explosion at the Pentagon we all experienced a loss. Our lives stopped in a way that hasn’t happened collectively in decades.

For me, I had just dropped my then 3-year-old off at preschool. The first plane had hit one of the towers in NYC, as I dropped her to the classroom her teacher mentioned something (a plane, helicopter) had hit the Pentagon. It stopped me in my tracks, and I remember thinking “What is going on? Is this war on American soil?”

I rushed home that day and turned on the television, glued to it for the entire day. It was all I could think about. I thought of the families of the loved ones lost. I thought of the responders who risked their lives to try and save others. To this day I stop what I’m doing on September 11th and try to remember those lost and to think about how life has changed for us since that day.

I want our children to remember this day and never forget what happened, all four of them (aged 28 to 16). What can we do to make sure they will always remember? Some are too young to remember it. As parents it will be up to us to make sure that they know about the events of this date. I’m sure, in time, our history books will reflect it as well.

This past summer we took a vacation with our youngest to Washington D.C and New York City. We made it a point to take her to the memorials for 9/11 in both places. Both memorials are beautiful in architectural design and concept, yet so different in the ways that visitors engaged with these memorials.

In New York I was disappointed and sad to see the general happiness on people’s faces as they took photos and hung out. I saw people sitting on the memorial, their butts covering names of victims that were lost. Selfies, too many to count, taken with wide smiles as if about to embark on a ride at Disneyland, were the most common expression of remembrance. It wasn’t quiet, nor respectful. People were chatting, running, laughing as if they were frolicking in a park. A $25 dollar admission price to get into the museum was the final straw. We left, sad, trying to express to our daughter what people were feeling on September 11th where the Twin Towers once stood.


The Pentagon memorial in Washington D.C was the polar opposite of the Twin Towers memorial. Silent visitors strolled quietly among the trees and flowers. Many sat on benches just to be present and to remember the lives lost in that space. Nobody sat on the many simple sculptured wings with the names of the victims.


So how do we keep a spirit of tribute and remembrance alive? How do we pass it to our children?

Today to counteract the extreme hatred that was expressed to us on that day of terror, we should all remember those who died suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically by showing kindness towards others.
Let go of the hatred we have for each other. Throw out the petty jealousy, feelings of want and NEED, stress and worry. Because it just doesn’t matter. Try to think of that World Trade Center employee who rushed off to work, late, after fighting with his/her spouse over who left the dirty dishes in the sink. Think about how that loved one feels knowing that this is the last memory they have of their loved one.
Today the Twin Towers have been replaced by a single impressive building of resilience. Yet the so-called War on Terror continues, 13 years later in Syria and Iraq where American bombs drop on people and lives are brutally lost every day. The hate of 9/11 — what we did before and what we’ve done since a vital part of the story as well — continues unabated, which is all the more reason to pass the message of 9/11 on today in the most effective and simplest ways.
In memory of those lost please show love, respect, kindness towards one another.

Super-Size Me shows diminished health of ‘American’ Food culture

In today’s world of everything must be bigger to be better, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to make a point of consuming ONLY McDonald’s food for 30 days, in his now famous documentary project Super Size Me. The results confirmed that if you consume a diet of three square meals of high animal fat protein, sodium explosive french fries and super-sized, sugar-filled sodas you are going to gain weight and put your body at risk for a myriad of potentially deadly diseases. Are any of us surprised by this?

First, let’s discuss weight gain. Morgan’s weight gain was fast and significant. After visiting three different doctors and a nutrition expert we know that Morgan was at a healthy weight (185.5) for his height. He sported a healthy BMI rate, too. However, five days into his project and a second weigh-in visit we started to see the significant changes (8 pounds in five days!). His nutritionist determined that his daily calorie intake jumped to 2,000 calories per day. The fast and significant weight gain should have been predictable when the rules of his project determine three meals per day, consuming only what is on the McDonald’s menu AND those meals must be super-sized if the clerk suggests it.

Still, even the nutritionist is surprised by just how much he gained. How many times have any of us visited any fast food establishments where we are up-sold on our “regular” meals (though regular in the fast food industry is typically giant sized anyways)? At the end of Morgan’s project, at final weigh-in we see that he has jumped to a final weight of 210 pounds. A total weight gain of 24.5 pounds!

I don’t dispute the argument that fast food is unhealthy, however, I believe that you can find some healthier choices on a fast-food restaurant menu. According to Fitness Magazine if you must visit McDonald’s instead of super-sizing your order, get a Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and low-fat balsamic vinaigrette plus a Fruit n’ Yogurt Parfait. This choice will set you back only 375 calories with 9.5 grams of fat (4g saturated).

Second, we are informed that obesity increases your risk for cardiovascular diseases (and myriad other potentially fatal diseases). Super-Size Me states that obesity is the second cause of deaths in America, second only to smoking. The cardiovascular disease risk rises when your LDL cholesterol levels lower, which is typical of someone who is obese. This alone increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes.

Morgan’s initial visit to the doctor discusses his family history, which includes heart disease. Guilty by association, this puts Morgan at a higher risk for heart disease. Advice from his doctor at the start of the project seems to state the obvious: his cholesterol levels will increase and he will gain weight. Nearly at the end of his journey, on day 21, Morgan documents how he wakes up to difficulty breathing and he feels like he is having heart palpitations. A follow up visit to his doctor at this time informs him that he’s probably starting to damage his liver.

The doctor’s advice? Stop the project.

Finally, Morgan describes the mood swings that he encounters while consuming this diet. Five days into his project and he discusses the depression that he is feeling throughout the day, only seeming to disappear after consuming the loaded Big Mac, along with his super-sized french fries and super-large nothing but sugar soda. The happiness that he seems to be feeling as he is consuming the meal, quickly disappears after his last bite. So begins the cycle of happy highs and lonely lows.

Being a recovering fast-food addict I can remember those feelings. What is it about some of these fast-food establishments that make us want to eat, eat and eat MORE of their food, even when we know we’ve had enough? I used to refer to this as the Taco Bell syndrome. I can remember days when I would go through the Taco Bell drive-thru and have a difficult time picking just one thing off of the menu. On those days I would often times drive off with not ONE of their crunchy ground beef tacos but THREE and then adding a calorie-filled nachos supreme for good measure. Why? I was certain this would be the last time that I ate a fast food meal, so I justified to myself. I wonder if what Morgan and I were experiencing back then was food addictive behavior.

We are starting to read about how certain foods affect the brain, causing you to want them more and more, like a drug addict wants/needs his/her drug. According to Authority Nutrition, “Food addiction is a very serious problem and one of the main reasons some people just can’t control themselves around certain foods, no matter how hard they try.”

I agree with Morgan that America is obese and that it has reached epidemic proportions. Our children are some of the most obese in the world. And, we live in a fast nation. Everything that we do seems to run on the speed of light, so we tend to want our nutrition –or lack thereof — delivered in this manner too. As American adults we have the personal responsibility to decide what we are going to eat throughout the day. If we decide to frequent a fast food restaurant our responsibility to the health of our bodies shouldn’t remain outside the doors of the restaurant, it should come inside with us and help us to ensure that the choices we make our healthy, in spite of where we eat.

Alcohol out, veggies in: My transformation continues

Ever since I have started school I feel as if my whole life has been transformed. At least the seeds of transformation have been planted. The plants are just starting to sprout. I have been on a quest for a healthier lifestyle, which incorporates physical as well as nutritional health.

Sobriety was definitely the first step. It’s hard to believe my one-year anniversary is fast approaching. But this set the stage for all that came next. Now with school I feel as if my feet are firmly planted, and I’m on the right track in this goal of whole health.

To this end, I tracked my food intake for the past two days. The internet has given us so many tools at our disposal to assist in this process. Two of those tools I used to complete this project include, the food journal that I chose to complete this project (and will continue to use to assist me with my goals of eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods and exercising for good health). I also used to see where I stack up related to the national guidelines of calorie intake for my age and sex.

According to the average calorie intake for a 47-year-old woman is 1,800 calories. However, this daily calorie suggestion does not count physical activity. Since I lead an active lifestyle my calorie intake increases. According to my age, sex and the fact that I exercise, moderately at least 5 days a week, my calorie intake can be increased to 2,000 calories each day. My daily calorie intake should include the following five food groups:

  • fruit (at least 1 ½ cups each day)
  • vegetables (at least 2 ½ cups each day)
  • grains (no more than 1 cup each day), protein foods (no more than 6 ounces)
  • dairy (3 cups per day).

After analyzing my diet for the past two days I feel that overall my diet is pretty healthy. I notice that there is always room for improvement. One area that I am going to concentrate on improving for overall better health is to increase my vegetable intake. One of my goals with this is to incorporate more raw vegetables into my diet.

I was inspired while watching the video by raw food experts Chef Matt Amsden and Nutritionalist David Wolfe. Increased energy, better skin health (inside and outside) … why would I not want to try this?

I am also going to work on decreasing my caffeine consumption (and my hubby can tell you all the reason why I wouldn’t want to try this…). I drink way too much coffee. I am really bad at sneaking an iced coffee that I frequently purchase at Starbucks or Dutch Bros. I have not been able to let go of my iced non-fat, sugar-free vanilla lattes despite knowing the fake sugar that lurks inside these drinks.

The point is I can still improve to get to my greater goal of whole, real foods (mostly vegetables), 100% organic and natural. I’ll get there.

Test Kitchen: Combine scents for your own scent

I had my own test kitchen experiment this week and it was right up my alley. I set out to make my own scent. Hey, if J-Lo and Diddy can do it, why can’t I? Creating my own personal blend a perfect way to use some of the skills I’m learning in my studies. I think this is what I love best about going back to school at this point in my life: I am doing practical, applied experiments that I use in my everyday life.

I decided to create my personal blend by ensuring that I had a top, middle and base note in my fragrance. I chose my four essential oils based on the oils fragrance that I liked best. This was a unique way for me to create my blend. Typically, I have chosen my projects and experiments based on the oil’s therapeutic action. I tended to lean more towards choosing essential oils solely based on how they made me feel. If I was feeling stressed, then a calming Lavender Lavandula augustifolia bath was in order. A few drops of a wonderful citrus oil does wonders in providing a fresh scent to laundry.

This is what I came up with as my final blend:

  • Top note – Bergamot Citrus aurantium var bergamia 60 drops
  • Middle note – Geranium Pelargonium graveolens 15 drops
  • Middle note – Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile 10 drops
  • Base note – Sandalwood Santalum album 10 drops

When I first started my blend I started out with 30 drops of Bergamot as the top note of my fragrance, and five drops of both Geranium and Roman Chamomile as the middle notes. At this time, I blended all of these and smelled them together. I liked this and thought that these three blended well together. I then added base note Sandalwood of just five drops. I really liked the way this smelled.

I probably should have stopped at that.

But, hey, it’s a test kitchen right? Gotta play with it. Who would’ve thought I’d nail it right out of the gate? All four of the oils blended really well together. The citrus aroma was definitely the dominant odor, but the Geranium and Chamomile offered a very nice floral/spicy undertone. The Sandalwood seemed subtle enough at this point of the mixing process.

As I said I probably should have stopped here, but I decided to utilize the blending instructions I recently learned. I added more, did more fussing with it and well…

I feel that my final blend lost the citrus aroma that I enjoyed at the beginning. It was too sweet. And, as I write this pondering what might have gone wrong in the blend. I will make some new adjustments. I would adjust the Geranium to ten drops and the Sandalwood to five drops.

In the end, I will use this blend but probably not as a perfume. I envision using this in the bath and definitely as a cleaning product. I also might try using it in my laundry. I won’t waste it that I know for sure (I live with my husband after all).

But my scent? I was closer the first time and will soon double back and try some new ideas. Like my husband’s quest for the perfect dough, I guess I’m still after my perfect scent.

Morning Revive Formula: soak in when needed

You know those 5-Hr Energy commercials that prey on our reality that we all crave a bit more energy (well, except the Husband, maybe… I don’t think he needs another gear)? Well, I’m a sucker for those. That “two o’clock feeling” gets me every time.

So yes, I hit the coffee pot again after lunch. And we often take the afternoon away from our various work to go for a run, hike or bike ride, all of which really helps to invigorate me. Nevertheless I was thrilled in my recent studies to find a recipe of essential oils that can give me the burst of energy I need in a natural way.

On a recent groggy day, as my second cup of afternoon coffee wore off, I had a strong desire to nap and nothing more. I decided to take a break and take a shower. Grabbing a wet washcloth, I added the following essential oils to the washcloth:

  • Rosemary Rosemarinus officinalis 15 drops
  • Lime Citrus aurantifolia 10 drops
  • Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara 4 drops
  • Peppermint Mentha piperita 2 drops

Rosemary’s therapeutic actions assist emotionally for a “lack of concentration, exhaustion, and mental and/or physical fatigue.”

Lime is a “refreshing all-over body splash.”

Neroli is “a wonderful antidepressant essential oil, renowned for its uplifting aroma, which counteracts an absence of cheerfulness or diminishing functioning activity.”

Finally, Peppermint is very intriguing because it is known as an adaptogenic oil. It can sedate or stimulate depending on what is needed, a pleasant addition to the Morning Revive blend.

As I breathed deeply into the washcloth the scents overcame me. I decided to place the washcloth over my entire nose and do some deep breathing exercises so that the scents became slightly overpowering to me. I took five deep breaths and then released entirely out of my lungs. At the conclusion there was a noticeable difference in my mood. I instantly felt uplifted and awake. My energy level did seem to be elevated in such a simple, natural aromatic fashion.

I am excited to know that I have an alternative to a sluggish mood. I am glad that in lieu of coffee that just a few essential oils blended together on a washcloth can provide the energy revival that is required to get me through the afternoon.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you like it!

Essential experiments with essential oils

It’s been clearly stated here I’m not much for the kitchen. But I’m increasingly finding my own experiments that add beauty and peace to our lives, much like my husband’s artistic efforts. But my experiments now revolve around essential oils.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. I have only begun to scratch the surface of their use. The knowledge that I am gaining on a daily basis through my studies has given me the confidence to experiment in so many different ways in my home.

2014-02-15 14.15.16

Essential oils can be used to enhance baked dishes in the kitchen. For example, I recently substituted vanilla with the essential oil of Geranium in a batch of sugar cookies.

Geranium Sugar Cookies 2

The Geranium left a subtle, floral note to the taste of these light sugar cookies. My husband was very enthusiastic, saying they had a surprisingly elegant flavor. But one of my daughters pretty much ridiculed me. It seems there was no in between, but the oil created a new twist that leaves plenty of room for experimentation.

I have been using essential oils quite extensively in my bath products. For example, for the past six months I have been making my own bath salts and body scrubs. The essential oils of Lavender, Roman Chamomile and, on occasion,  Sandalwood have all been useful in my bath products. The scent allows me to escape into a world of relaxation. It calms the mind and reduces stressful thoughts.

Essential oils are not limited to the kitchen and bathroom in my home. I have started to use essential oils when washing clothes. I place a few drops of Lavender or Sweet Orange oil in the washing machine with my soap. It releases a very subtle scent to my freshly cleaned clothes. I also drop a few drops of Pine oil on a cotton ball and add this to my vacuum filter. The very woodsy pine scent floats throughout the room on cleaning day. Pine is fitting in our home, since we live in a mountain cabin at 2,500 feet elevation.

Not every experiment works. But in each my confidence grows. So, I continue to experiment. Lately I’ve been doing more with essential oil combinations. I am learning how to batch certain oils that complement one another (for example Lavender and Chamomile both have very calming properties).

It’s easy to see why they are called “essential.” I find myself relying on them more often than ever. Some just to add aromatic beauty, some to add new tastes, but more often than not, to add properties of health that essential oils contribute.

Proof God’s a woman: Emmenagogue herbs

Emmenagogue is one of those big words I’m learning in my holistic medicine courses that I can’t pronounce and struggle to understand. But what I did learn about this word is its proof God really is a woman.

Emmenagogue herbs are specific herbs for a women’s reproductive system. It’s amazing, when you think about it: plants grown from dirt — the same stuff God used to create us according to Genesis lore — with the specific purpose of helping ladies fulfill the mandate to “go forth and multiply.” But God in her caring empathy also cooked up some plant life to deal with the discomfort of menstruation and the hot flashes of menopause as well. Seriously, no man — not even God — would think of how necessary relief is in times like these. That’s what my husband would call hoof-to-head focus. God’s a hoof-to-head kind of gal, I’m learning.


I learned that specific herbs may assist a women for various problems related to the reproductive system. They can assist in stimulating or increasing menstruation flow. But other herbs can prepare a women for childbirth. Still others can assist to heal the body following childbirth.

When a women is pregnant it’s a good time for her to take stock of her lifestyle, and ensure that she is making the best health decisions for her and the growing fetus inside. Many herbs will provide you with the extra vitamin and nutrients that are required for a healthy pregnancy (for example Dandelion and Wild Strawberry will provide a pregnant woman with the daily requirements of iron and folic acid).  In that respect, it is important that she always checks with her healthcare provider if herbs will be used at anytime during pregnancy.

One other note: Just as there are many helpful herbs during a pregnancy there are also herbs that are contraindicated for pregnancy. Herbs like basil, licorice and yarrow should be avoided through breast-feeding.

Do your own personalized research on herbs. I’m learning it’s a good thing to consult a qualified herbalist, be it wanting to avoid a pregnancy, help start one, maintain a healthy one, or just better care for those female-related issues that we all deal with throughout our lifetime. The Big Woman Upstairs, it seems, has us all in mind, after all.

Holy Basil — ‘the immaculate one’ — added to garden plan

The hubby and I continue to plant our garden, making modifications from the original plan. I knew I may be up against stiff opposition when I suggested to him that we plant a different type of basil from the traditional Italian sweet basil that he adores.

He looked at me, dirt-stained hands hanging from his sides, with a stare that reminds me of his days terrorizing opponents on the wrestling mat.

So I gingerly started listing the reasons why I wanted to make this change.

“It’s called Holy, like the Holy Spirit?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, sensing an opening. Afterall, he’s the cook and the one with his hands dirty. I’m the brains of the operation — or at least that’s what he tells me. I was messing with about 100 years of tradition on this and I knew it.

“Well, I’ve already planted the other basil, but we can add it,” he said at last, picking up his rake to return to his work.

“Great,” I said. Baby steps.

I am intrigued by this herb and how it is used after reading its history. Holy Basil is said to have spiritual qualities as well as medicinal ones. It’s considered to be the most sacred plant in the Hindu religion, and as a result it is often found growing in courtyards and near temples. It is said to protect those that grow it from misfortune and to sanctify and guide them to heaven. Holy Basil is therefore appropriately called “The Incomparable One.”

Research indicates that Holy Basil offers medicinal qualities, though a lack of scientific evidence confirms these benefits. Holy Basil is considered antiemetic, anticancer, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, sedative, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic and antiulcer, according to

Holy Basil is also said to contain powerful antioxidants. Preliminary clinical studies suggests that Holy Basil may have a positive impact on ulcers and blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes. It is also being studied for its positive effect on anxiety/stress and for its prevention of cavities. We don’t have many cavities, but as we’ve written before, we both have our share of anxiety.

Holy Basil can be grown quite easily in either pots or in the ground. It prefers warm soil in direct sunlight. Because it requires full sun it has a tendency to dry out in the hotter summer months, so ensure your plant gets plenty of water during these times. Holy Basil will develop flowers as it grows, however, it is noted that if you allow your plant to flower, it will not affect the potency of the herb.

A tea is the most practical way to use Holy Basil. Cover two teaspoons of fresh leaves with 8 oz of boiling water. Cover and steep for five minutes prior to straining out the leaves and drinking.

My husband will be far more likely to toss into his cooking than make a tea. I’ll try that one.

My interest peaked by the different flavor it may bring to my family’s Italian dishes. (hmmn… I hear the hubby mumble at this idea… which translates into, “I have my doubts.”) Research indicates that Holy Basil has a more peppery taste than our well known Sweet Basil. Finally, since I am always interested in herbs that have a potential to assist in reducing anxiety I will try this to see if it helps in that regard. The spiritual history around Holy Basil also has me interested in growing it on my property. Who doesn’t want to keep misfortune away from their doorstep?