We want an ANSWER! WHAT IS DYSHIDROTIC ECZEMA???? What is it and why does it happen?


Awhile ago, I started a Facebook Group.  I wanted to see photos of other people’s hands.  I wanted to see if anyone else’s DE looked like mine.  I needed to see if all DE looked alike.  I’ve been creating, manufacturing and studying theories and remedies ever since my hands were borderline un-useable due to DE.  I’ve tried all sorts of things:

The ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) soak


Light Therapy

African Black Soap


No contact with water


Petroleum Jelly

Non-Petroleum Jelly

Allergy testing – Prick Test

Allergy Testing – Blood Test

Blood test for vitamin deficiency

Blood test to check liver function/levels

Free and Clear Detergents


Essential Oils


….and I could go on and on…


The more I try these seeming solutions, the more I realize that it just doesn’t feel right to believe that I can heal this issue with something topical or internal.  I don’t believe there is a magical potion, lotion, salve or ointment.  I’d like to believe that this can be healed using plant medicine.  I really want to believe that, but tonight, I’m just not feeling it.  Tonight, I’m exploring the thought that this might just be a failing body system– but which one?  A sweat gland? An oil gland? A pore? The dermis itself?  Has DE ever been analyzed under a microscope?  If so, WHERE CAN I FIND THOSE IMAGES? I need medical journals.  I need scientific exploration and studies surrounding DE, but I can’t seem to find them…  Why not?  Has this never been done before? I’m thinking quite deeply tonight… want to come along for that ride? If so, follow me below to further ramblings…


Here’s the “About” section for the Facebook group I created, entitled, “Hands that Suffer:  Dyshidrotic Eczema in Photos


About This Group:

Are those itchy blisters a clogged gland? Is the itch caused by excess oil or sweat building up pressure in the gland– which usually fills until it bursts or is scratched open? Is there a topical cure? Are we allergic to water? Do we all have sweaty palms or an undiscovered medical condition? Do we all have allergies? Do we all have Celiac or some other disease? Is our liver or one of our other major organs unhealthy? Is it something we ate? Is it something we touched? Something we breathed? Something we saw or did back in 1980?

Ideas, thoughts, statements and questions like these are welcome here. No theory is wrong. Share what you think, what your experience is, has been, or continues to be. Help those who also suffer. Learn from them. Sympathize with their pain and discomfort. Let them know, they are not alone.


I wrote this “About description” after a group member shared this statement: A Texas dermatologist had told him that “DE is a sweat gland problem.”

This particular member, Tim, had recently shared images of his hands and palms just COVERED in those dreaded itchy, clear blisters.  They weren’t just under the surface either, they were forming mountains and valleys across his hands:

These images really caught my eye, and made me start to wonder…

Me:  “Tim– Did you recently (before this outbreak) have some serious emotional stress in your life happen— something psychologically traumatic?

This is a theory I believe to be my own truth, and I’m wondering if it applies to others.”

Tim: You know…. I feel like I’m pretty stress free. The only thing I stress is DE. I’ve had it on my foot all year and got to where it was just the norm. I noticed 2 weeks ago it was all gone. The next day it was 20°so I had long johns on and here in Texas it goes from 20 to 60 in a matter of 2 hours. I noticed I felt like I was getting a slight rash on the top of my foot and hands. Well it never stopped growing until this got way out of control.
  I’ve lived the free and clear life ( detergent and soaps wise) haven’t changed my diet and for it to go a year I don’t think that is a factor. Now I do remember the first dermatologist tell me that DE was a sweat glad problem and I have noticed that there may be a small amount of truth to that. I am a plumber in the state of Texas so there is definitely some sweating going on in my life and if I think about it …times i wear gloves ( which is on a need to basis due to DE) I notice some irritation. So I think me wearing the long johns then sweating due to the drastic temp change may have onset this episode. Why it took 2 weeks to outbreak my hands I don’t know. I’ve had this rash the whole time. And now the rash is all the way up to my elbows and knees
Sorry for the rambling. I’m lost in my own thoughts. Which I’m sure most people her do with DE

Me:  “Oh yeah, you’re not alone in the process of sharing your thoughts. I have thought this before, too… about the sweat glands. I thought that the little watery clear blisters almost looked like sweat that was trapped under the first layer of skin– almost as if the sweat gland itself was closed or obstructed. Interesting. The fact that an actual dermatologist told you “it was a sweat gland problem” has certainly peaked my interest.  I have been researching and studying DE ever since I recovered from my own debilitating outbreak. I wrote a blog about it. There, I ask a bunch of questions and entertain the theories of all who comment.  Now that you’ve shared that a dermatologist has mentioned the sweat glands, I’m on it. I’m going to look deeper into this theory.  In your case, the theory that sweat has caused this seems highly likely. Sweaty feet, I get. Sweaty hands… do we all have sweaty palms?  Hmmm… the sebaceous gland in this graphic looks an awful lot like what we see under the surface of the skin, doesn’t it? The little fluid filled circles…

We may be on to something here, folks.

Thanks for sharing about the DERMA and the sweat glands, Tim. This is one of the reasons why I created this page… to share photos and experiences to attempt to find a logical “cure” or cause to DE.

I’m so damned excited to study sweat glands, now… LOL!”

Fairly quickly, another woman replied:

“I do NOT have sweaty palms. They are always dry…too dry. I read that doctors used to think that DE was about sweating …. the name actually means bad sweating…. but they no longer believe this to be true.”

To which I wrote:

Me:  “…and you still have the bubbles/blisters under your skin? No sweat, but still blisters. I’m looking at medical images and am focusing in on the sebaceous gland. I wonder if maybe it is not our sweat glands that are malfunctioning, but perhaps the oil glands?

Call me kooky, but I might be right. It always feels good to think you’ve found a solution, doesn’t it?

I’ll just focus in on this for awhile and see what I find. Why not?

So here we are.  I’m blogging again about DE.  I just felt like writing tonight, as it has been a long time since I have done so. I don’t always write full blogs about my research and theories.  Sometimes they are short theories.  I’ll get to looking at images and reading articles and lose interest, or I’ll convince myself that the theory is mute and will move on, awaiting the next theory. This particular theory, however, just feels like it needs to be “out there” — and so, I shall release it into the interweb.

Here’s my official latest theory:

Are those itchy blisters a clogged gland?  Is the itch caused by excess oil or sweat building up pressure in the gland– which usually fills until it bursts or is scratched open? Can our skin just not hold moisture?  Do some oil glands NOT work at all, while others OVERWORK? Do we all just have malfunctioning glands, here, folks?  Is the epidermis slowly dying?  GAH, what is HAPPENING????

The above words may sound like the ramblings of a crazy woman.  Maybe they are.  Maybe you have felt this way too are laughing and breathing a sigh of relief to see that you’re not alone in your multiple, floating theories.

I still feel, deep down beneath the layers of this blemished skin, that there is no topical cure for this disease.  All across the internet, people rave about the miracle soap or a prescription creme, ointment or pill that has “Completely cured them.” We all want to believe that, now don’t we?  We’d all pay exorbitant amounts of money to just make this beast go away, yet it is still here!  Are we all doing what is in our power to sleigh the beast?  Maybe that’s why I share these thoughts here… because I feel a sense of civic duty to share them.  I want others to be doing what I’m doing.  I want to read thoughts and theories from regular, ordinary people like you and I– People who suffer and have a human heart and aren’t just trying to manipulate others into purchasing a miracle product.  I shout out into this internet web, which connects us all:

We want an ANSWER! WHAT IS DYSHIDROTIC ECZEMA???? What is it and why does it happen?

Tell me.  Do you have a long list of failed theories and remedies too? Share them!  Write them!  PUT THEM ON THE INTERNET!  We are all searching, searching, always searching.  We float across the thin red line to cross over to the blue, only to be trapped in the purple.  We moan and cry and hold our hands in agony.

I expect that people with cancer and other, much more serious diseases have felt this way about their own personal prison of pain and failing health.  I certainly am not intentionally downplaying the severity of their sorrows, but as any of you who also have DE know, we are also suffering.  Some of  us want answers and a remedy so bad that we reverting back to creating our own scientific studies.

Tonight, I’ll be combing the internet, as well as our own personal library,  learning about sebaceous glands, ducts, and how they all work. Call me looney, but “This time” it feels like I’m onto something here.  If I’m wrong, then the energy has not been wasted.  There have been so many “this times” in the past, that it could be very simple to just give up and try to live with it.  Tonight, I’m just not feeling that way.  Tomorrow, I may feel hopeless, but tonight, I’m a scientist.





Of Two Worlds: The Empowerment within the Girl with the Plastic Bag

Of Two Worlds: The Empowerment within the Girl with the Plastic Bag

Dandelion Soul Creative

I consider myself to be quite natural. I enjoy walking barefoot upon the earth.  I dig in my garden without gloves.  I don’t wear makeup.  I don’t dye my hair.  I often have un-shaven legs and rarely ‘dress up.’  These things have compiled over the past six years, mostly.  It began with becoming a Mother.  Many mothers know that self care can often take a back seat as we choose to become selfless for our children.  In the center of my journey into motherhood, I began to look deeper into my own human existence.  Children can prompt deep discussions and thoughts like this.  They change you.  They change your body.  They alter your mind.  They make you stronger.  They help you grow.

At first, I was uncomfortable with the transition of becoming, well… counterculture.  Not many women my age (I’m 36) have “let themselves go” quite like I have chosen…

View original post 2,394 more words

Dandelion Soul Creative


Join me over at my new blog!  This blog will contain less *ahem* personal prose and MORE of a positive voice.

A passion for nature and the arts has led me to explore the creative aspects of life that feed my soul and better my health. In a world full of hurdles that challenge a positive focus, I find recluse in photography, gardening, homemade foods and crafts. This blog will share photos and prose surrounding the simple things in life which bring contentment and joy, wellness and support.


I’ll still be spilling my soul here at The Butterchurn from time to time– but as of now, I am focused on this new adventure.


Slow Down your Mind. Be Wild! Put down your “phone”


walking wild tiger

I have gotten so used to solving dilemmas that I have forgotten, at times, how to slow down. One thing that Motherhood has taught me is that it is a necessity for me to spend time alone from time to time. If I don’t take care of myself by being able to do whatever I want uninterrupted for a reasonable amount of time, I start to feel overwhelmed…and at times, a little resentful that I don’t have space when I need it. (I’m working on that)
I have been gifting myself time alone as of late. I NEVER did this for myself before…and I’ll tell you, it almost drove me insane. I find that long, relaxing baths do the trick to slow me down. To make me take care of myself. My body seems at ease in a bath. If I had a stream out in my backyard deep enough to submerge my body in, I’d be out there too.

I choose a different essential oil (therapeutics) each time I bathe. Sometimes I mix scents. The scent, and the knowledge of how each oil is medicinal soothe me. They relax my body. They slow my mind. They have healed my skin tremendously.  I have stopped drinking much alcohol at all. This has helped my skin too. (If you’re wondering why I’m talking so much about the health of my skin, catch up by reading my other blog posts about Dyshidrotic Eczema).

I have been having difficulties with accepting technology lately. I have been feeling like it is becoming an addiction to use a device on a daily basis. I’ll admit that it is mostly my I-Phone which causes this issue. I made a decision to switch from a cell phone with no internet and texting abilities to an I-phone. My husband and I made this leap together. I have had an I-Phone for 6 months. I told myself that I would write an article about the difference in my mind after making the switch. Well, here it is.

The Butterchurn Blog is essentially my journal. I’m allowing you to read my journal, in a sense…because I am typing my direct thoughts here to share with the world. I’m having an online conversation with both you, and myself. I have thought A LOT lately about this online space. Do I really need it? Is it helping anyone? Do I really need to be posting my personal issues onto the internet? The thoughts that came out of my mind as I went through all of the stages of grief over the issues that I have been dealing with over the past year or so… The anger, the pain, the sorrow, the self-loathing, the misery. I’ve written about the depths of my soul here at The Butterchurn. I have been there and back. I was in a very low stage of existence for quite some time. I was healing myself. I did it. I dealt with many of my life’s major issues:

My Father’s Suicide

My Mother’s Abandonment and possible Narcissism (rage issues: emotional abuse)

Those were two big ones that I dealt with during the same time frame. I list them on their own, because I feel they were pretty difficult walls to break through. I am proud of myself for being able to survive the misery they have caused me.

I stopped dying my hair. It is salt and peppered, and crazy cool like the band Salt-N-Peppa. It’s great. I love to see people’s reactions to it. Somehow I find that people see me to be wiser than I am. I have accepted that it makes me look older than I am…but that it is somehow representative of my mind. Sometimes I question it, yes.  Some days I feel old and crone like, yes.  But mostly I embrace it.

Now, be warned…I’m going to say a lot of good things about myself in ‘this here space’ on ye olde’ internet. I want to be very clear that at all times I am constantly checking my own Ego. I was, after all, raised by a Narcissist. (yeah, I brought that back up…still healing, learning and growing…) I do not speak highly of myself here to come from a place of ego…it is more that I am finally coming from a place of self love. Really…think what you will if you think that’s a bad thing. We should all love ourselves. We should all love others. We should not place judgement on others. When we place judgement on others, we should look into ourselves to analyze why what the other person did bothered us…Why did we judge them?


I’ve been doing a lot of self-discovery lately. Lots of psychology going on in my mind. I am feeling my own self worth. I am really getting to know myself, and in doing so, I’m able to be free to be me. Allowing myself to love myself has helped my skin to heal as well.

Anyhow, I’m going to talk about my hair now. My blog. My mind. My thoughts.— MINE!!!!!


So, I’m 34 years old. I have a lot of grey/silver hairs that I let be silver. My hair is representative of my state of mind. My state of mind as of late, has been to be sure to take care of myself and to remember that I’m free to be me. I also see these silver hairs as a trophy of sorts. I have been through some wild life experiences. Some painful ones. My hair has grieved with me. Perhaps that’s the cause. Who knows? Genetics are said to play a part in hair color. Why is it a bad thing for a woman of any age to not dye her hair. I’m not digging this social norm…so yes, my hair is also a statement piece. I refuse to conform to the program. That’s about what it is saying, if it could talk, that is.

bored tiger

I have talked about my hair color for so long to get to this point… “I’m not digging this social norm” could be said about my hair, as well as social media. I have had an Iphone for six months. My phone used to stay in my purse. Most of the time I never heard it ring. People would text me and I wouldn’t see it until hours later. I was untethered. Now, I’m pretty much on a leash. In fact, my I-phone is sitting just to my left, for easy access if needed. I see a problem developing here… How can I be FREE to be ME when I’m tethered to a digital device? This is considered to be a normal thing. This is the social norm I’m talking about. We are tethered to our devices. We use them to take photos, record memories, look at our calendars, listen to music, respond to messages, send messages, research, write, talk to friends, read articles, look at beautiful photos, watch funny videos, make funny videos, record ourselves on video, record our children on video, take photos of our children, take photos of ourselves, take photos of everyone we meet which we have befriended…the “Phone” is not just a phone.  It is a device.  A mini computer.

mr tiger

I mean, I get it. It’s a fun world. It just frightens me a bit, because I’m such a naturalist at times. I prefer to be completely free and untethered and usually outside. I just read a book to our boys entitled “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown.  I have already returned the book to the library, so I can’t quote its message exactly…but I’ll do my best to relay to you what I took away from the story.

The book, “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” is about a tiger who gets tired of walking upright and acting proper and being just like everyone else. Mr. Tiger wants to be free. He knows he is different.  He stops play, playing along… He stops wearing his hat “GASP! But we all wear hats!” He doesn’t care for small talk, so he roars instead “HOW RUDE!”, He stops walking on two legs “That’s not the way it’s done!!” He stops wearing CLOTHES! “ AHHHHHH Gross!!!!” and eventually his friends get tired of seeing how wild he is being, because they are embarrassed by him and his actions.  They tell him to go into the woods and act that way if he wants to, but that he shouldn’t do it in the city. They tell him to go away because he makes them uncomfortable.  He makes them question themselves.



Meanwhile Mr. Tiger goes, naked, into The Nature of the Jungle, that is just outside of the city (and society) where he has spent his life. He gets to do whatever he wants there, outside, with the plants and insects and amphibians and reptiles and other creatures who live there. No one is there to watch him or see him, because all of the other mammals are living in buildings in the city. He goes wild. He swims, he plays, he roars, he chases, he leaps, he sings, he plays…


but he eventually gets lonely and bored and starved for interaction with other mammals.


While Mr. Tiger was away, his friends began to miss him. They started feeling bad that Mr. Tiger, now “Tiger” had left because they told him to. They had been thinking a lot about the way Mr. Tiger had acted. Thankfully Tiger came back to the city. He decided to wear the costume they all wanted him to be in so that they would be comfortable with him and accept him. They welcomed him home, a bit free of their guilt over the way they had treated him.


When Tiger looked around, he could see that things had changed since he had been away…animals were walking around on FOUR LEGS! (Yes! That’s the natural way for animals walk!), People were not wearing HATS! (That’s ok! We don’t all have to).

Overtime, the consciousness of the animals grew collectively. They began to accept each other. Tiger eventually became dude-like, and decided to wear comfortable shorts and a floral, fun shirt. He was really loving life.

the dude

I hope that our Human Animal Society can take a clue from Mr. Tiger and his friends. The collective minds of the people of the United States (which is the society that I’m a part of) is indeed growing. Our Nation has voted to accept homosexuality. We, the people have begun to stand up (again) against racists. We are becoming accepting of all colors of skin and all nationalities. We grow and learn together, as a nation.  I can only hope that we may learn to treat each other with more respect to our differences.

Sometimes (Okay…OFTEN) I dream about being like Mr. Tiger. I dream of going into nature, away from others to be free of the expected societal norms. To be different. To be the change. Being free of technology is a part of this change I’m talking about. I don’t know if I want to have an I-phone any longer, sometimes. Then I realize that it is essentially a mini lap top that I’m traveling with. It helps guide me around, it answers my questions…and I interact with my co-workers through it. So…I feel as if I’m trapped to this side of things when it comes to the quest to be free. How can I be free if I have to be tethered to this device. How could I make money, friends and a difference in my society without it? It seems to be an important tool for our generation. Especially for the entrepreneurs out there… the dreamers. I suppose I have had to accept the fact that technological change has benefited me in many ways. Without the I-phone, I would probably not be as successful as I seem to be becoming in my life.

Since I’ve had this device, I’ve become a business woman. I now have a series of jobs. I write articles, conduct interviews and produce photo and video for The 29349 Inman Times Online. I am a freelance photographer for The Spartanburg Herald Journal. I often use my device to help me on the job. It has become my tool.

The problem with owning this device has become the addicting world of Facebook, but I’ll save that topic of conversation for another blog. I have vowed to myself that I am going to write more. I have been writing a lot, actually…but not here. I’ve been putting pen to paper. I can write much faster here, so chances are I’ll be back soon. I’ll be writing, somewhere… either online or in the old fashioned, natural way.

Thanks for being here. Please leave a comment about how this ‘article’ made you feel. What did it make you think about? I’d appreciate your input. I’m going to be writing more articles, because that’s part of what I’m paid to do now. This is good. I believe that writing more will be good for my soul.  Maybe I’ll write more outside…happy tiger


not perfectly fine



A Kind Hello!


I wanted to share a kind hello to all of you who continue to comment on my blog. One of my posts has had a tremendous response, and I’m really encouraged to see that the comments are all positive in nature, and that everyone is joining together to help each other.

I never imagined that my words could create such a helpful approach to healing. It soothes me, somehow, to know that there are others out there who share in my pain, agony and frustration in living with THE BEAST that is Dyshidrotic Eczema. The seldom talked about, disconnection from the world. The plug?

I am unable to use my fingers when a bad flare up occurs from within. This year’s affliction, thankfully, has not been so terrible. I am all gloved up and able to write, and I am hopeful that I’m on the quick track to healing.  Here’s to you, fellow sufferers, fellow commenters of the blog, Dyshidrotic Eczema: A Malady of Concerning Cause and Effect.  You are not alone.

Thanks for following me on my journey. I hope your being here will help you to remember that you are not alone. There is a support system out there. I am happy to see a slow evolution of the online community forming thanks to the internet. The internet, whom I do tend to diss because I’m a technological grouch at times 😉

I’d like for all of you DE sufferers to consider joining us over at the Facebook group, “Dyshidrotic Eczema (The Group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/785288014872228/

I’ve been posting polls over there, mostly in “Yes” or “No” format,  and I would greatly value your support and input in answering some questions from the “Sleuth Scientist” that I’ve dubbed myself over there, in the DE corner of internet land.  I’m working on a new post, slowly, and plan to use the answers in a future blog.  If you join the group, please post to the wall that you’re “Here via The Butterchurn Blog” so that I’ll be able to spot you when you arrive, and give you a virtual hello! 🙂

Thanks for being here in my little blog’s personal spot on the internet. 🙂

Dyshidrotic Eczema: Natural remedies and management for your dishpan hands


I have forgotten what it feels like to have healthy hands like these.

Like most fellow sufferers, I have spent A LOT of money, thought and time searching for that “miracle cure.” A cure that I’m afraid just doesn’t seem to exist. Using conversations, interactions and correspondences with others who have eczema as a reference, it seems that there is no universal cure.  There is no miracle cream… even a prescription one.  I have found topical solutions that help, but they are not a cure.
Having eczema makes you question many, many things. If you’re on a real mission to heal then you have most likely paid much closer attention to what goes into your body and what goes on your body. You probably have quite the collection of health and beauty products. You’ve become an expert in bandaging. You know which lotions make your skin crawl and then explode. You become paranoid about most things that you come into contact with.

“Am I allergic to…. WATER?”  “What’s in this lotion?”  “Are the baby wipes eating my fingers?”

You’ll even look at the public restroom bathroom’s soap dispenser differently…
Maybe it is your dog. Maybe it is dust mites. Maybe you should lay off the chocolate. Maybe you should visit an allergist and get tested. Maybe the dermatologist won’t lump you into the masses of others who suffer the same ailment (Eczema)…but in a different way?
I’m having another outbreak. I have worn cotton gloves all day. Just looking at my fingers makes me somewhat angry…but that emotion, of course, makes them worse. After pouring over a year of thought into the cause of what makes my knuckles, my fingertips get this way, I am convinced that no topical solution (alone) will heal them. No prescription medication will make this condition go away forever. No lotion, soap or mass produced miracle cream, gel, spray or ointment will give me relief, because my hands are so sensitive. There’s something about the chemicals in those “health” and beauty products that makes my fingers puff up like kielbasa sausages in a cast iron skillet. They feel like they’re on fire, too…those fingers. Fingers that ooze out some seemingly endless supply of itchy tonic. Ooozey clear (water??) that weeps from your pores…pores that have busted open to allow the itch to escape.
How can I describe to you what this feels like (unless you are a fellow sufferer, of course)? Let me give you a scenario:

Just as embarrassing as acne to a teenager, you now feel like a Biblical Leper. You’re ashamed to go to the grocery store because you don’t want the cashier to gawk at your hands while you delicately fumble for your debit card in your wallet… hoping that you don’t make a mistake and bump those sausages into the side of your purse—causing excruciating pain. You’re hoping your fingers don’t start bleeding onto the steering wheel on the drive home. You’re hoping you can manage to get the key into the doorknob of your home without dropping it. You’re going slow, because your skin will split open if you use too much force. You sigh once inside, thankful that you can now return to your room to slime your hands up again…if you can get your pants down to use the bathroom first.

This above description is not one that I have imagined. Simple things are a struggle. You are forced to slow down and be delicate…mindful…patient.


In this image you can see where the top layer of my skin has flaked off. There is a pocket where the itchy oozy blister once was. That’s how deep they can get… and this is a minor incident.


The most massive liquid filled blister I have ever had. It took weeks for it to heal.


The ooze. The wound. The pain.


Ooze that keeps on comin’


If you scratch, it will erupt.


The liquid filled blisters, just below the surface of the skin. The first stage.


All of the fingertips on my right hand are currently affected.


No matter how much you want to, it is NEVER a good idea to scratch OR to PICK off the flakes of skin. Use nail clippers to trim back any loose, dried skin flakes instead of pulling and picking them off.


Here’s what is left of my pinky fingernail. Sad little guy…


As a non-sufferer, you might look at my hands at times and think, “Woah girl. Get yourself some lotion, ASAP!” I probably would if I were you. I might also think (if I were you) “Ewwwww. What is wrong with her fingers? I think she must not be taking very good care of herself.”
Better yet, if you saw my fingers today or most recently, you’d probably think that I never washed my hands or that I was just out digging in some dirt because they are scabbed up in the colors of the Earth. My medicine gets under my fingernails and is always turns a pleasant shade of brown once dried.
It seems, through my reading and interactions, that other sufferers seem to have it all figured out for themselves. The most common solution, they write, is either a gluten free or dairy free diet. Celiac Disease keeps popping up as an answer too.  I tried the dairy free diet myself after being told by my allergist that I’m allergic to cow’s milk. Heck, I even stayed away from ALL of the foods that came back positive as an allergen. It did not work. Was it a placebo affect? How do I know?
As I was showering tonight, it dawned on me how much having eczema, specifically Dyshidrotic Eczema has changed me. I kind of giggled at the thought that eczema has made me a “dirty hippie.” That thought, of course, arose from my fears of judgement from others. People probably do see me that way. I don’t conform well. I don’t use shampoo. I don’t dye my hair.  It is grey.  I am 33 years old.  Sadly that’s enough to put an American woman like me out on the far reaching branches of what is socially acceptable.
Then I realized that most of the things I do that could generalize me as a “hippie” began because of the eczema! I don’t use shampoo because I became paranoid about the chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce that were in MOST commercially produced bottles of hair cleanser. I use “all natural” toothpaste and deodorant.  I learned about medicinal herbs.  I began making my own bread and eating more whole foods.  My consciousness shifted.
The first in my collection of dermatologists confirmed that I tested positive for an allergy to Quaternium-10 and Caine (Betaine) which are found in many shampoos, soaps and lotions. I remember, when I was first aware of these allergies, standing in the grocery store reading the ingredients of shampoo after shampoo… they ALL had these chemicals as an ingredient. What was I to do? Well… you can see what happened.  I went “pooless.”  I now do not use shampoo at all.  I use water.  (Apparently there is a “No poo” movement going on:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_poo)
All of this thinking led me to feel the need to write to YOU, my fellow sufferer. What have you found works in your life to manage your eczema? What daily habits and methods have you adapted because of it? I’d like to share a few of mine with you. I truly do hope that they will also help you.  Please comment with your successes and failures.  My hope here is that we can help each other!

So… here are a few things that I do to manage “The Beast”:


“Showers HURT!!!”


Alas, the dreaded shower!!!!  SCARY WATER!!!!! What to do, what to do??? Well… I was recently asked this question by a writer in the UK who interviewed me about my eczema. After sharing my story with her, she asked “How do you manage a shower when your hands are in the middle of an outbreak?” My answer was: ” First, I limit the number of showers I take!” Do you really need to bathe every day? Maybe you do. Maybe you’re an artist covered in paint (oh…the thought of paint on my fingers makes me squirm!). Maybe you work a job that causes you to sweat profusely. Maybe you are constantly in the public eye, working a job that requires you to be presentable at all times…In my case, I’m a stay at home Mom with dishpan hands. I do not shower every day. I’m a pretty natural person (Earth Mama) so this does not really bother me. Our boys don’t seem to mind either.
When I DO shower (lol!) I have a few methods to my madness. If I am in the middle of one of my cotton gloved routines (Wearing gloves inside and outside to keep medicine/moisture on my fingers and potential nasties out of my open wounds), I will wear my gloves in the shower. It works out pretty well, because I’m in there washing off the gloves from the day’s journey first (of course) and because it allows me to pretend that the gloves are a second skin of sorts… a protective layer. Wearing the gloves in the shower allows me to imagine that my hands are flawless and that I don’t need to worry about how the water will feel when it hits my wounded skin.
Another method I have found works well for me, when I do not wear my gloves in the shower, is to put on my coconut oil gloves. Before the shower, I drench…I mean DRENCH my hands in coconut oil. This wondrous creation (I. LOVE. COCONUT OIL!) acts as a sort of water repellant… allowing the water that my hands come into contact with to bead up and roll off. Many of you who are fellow sufferers will understand why water on your wounds can be so scary. First of all, it can actually HURT. Then, there is the crappy after affect that can happen if you don’t immediately moisturize after you get out of the shower: AKA- Your skin instantly dries out as the water evaporates.
I have also found that taking a comb with a pointy end into the shower helps to scrape my scalp and move my hair around, when my fingers can’t do it.  (Note:  my no poo hair loves the coconut oil, and so far we have no problems with our shower drains or plumbing because of it)

plantain-herb-narrowleaf plaintaincombo

Oh sweet, sweet plantain.  A few months back I took a class on tinctures, salves and herbs. It was through this class that I discovered the wonders of a plant that is probably growing in your back yard RIGHT NOW! And they call it a weed!
Here’s an article I recently came across about Plantain:
“Because it draws toxins from the body with its astringent nature, plantain may be crushed (or chewed) and placed as a poultice directly over the site of bee stings, bug bites, acne, slivers, glass splinters, or rashes. Bandage the area and allow the plantain to work its magic for 4-12 hours. Plantain may also be used to create a balm for emergency kits, or an infusion used as a skin or general wash.” The coconut oil I now use is an infusion of plantain and coconut oil.  It is green 🙂
I have used Plantain several ways, and the best way that I have found to utilize it to help heal my eczema is most definitely a SPIT POULTICE. To make the poultice, first I find a young, tender leaf (the older leaves are fibrous, fuzzy and harder to chew). I then wash the leaf and chop it up finely with my teeth like a rabbit. I do not swish it all around my mouth, but instead keep it just behind my front teeth. Then, when I feel like I have enough chewed to cover the area I plan to apply it to, I spit it directly onto the wound.
Because I do not have the luxury of sitting (covered in my own spit) in a chair like a Plantain Princess while it works its plant magic… I have adapted to several ways of covering the poultice to allow it to heal. My favorite way is to use MORE PLANTAIN to wrap my fingers (which is where my eczema exists). I spit my poultice and then take the other half of the leaf that I didn’t chew and wrap it around the poultice and my finger. Then, I pull a Plantain seed head up by the stalk and wrap it around the leaf and my finger, tying it within itself at the end.


A freshly wrapped Plantain middle finger. The pinky finger has just finished its treatment. Plantain poultice is still sticking to it.


The plantain poultice and wrap after it was removed from my finger.


Note:  the end of the second video is a bit awry because while I was filming, a woman fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a telephone pole on our road.  She came out of it okay.  I was mid-sentence when the wreck happened, so the last sentence of this video should say “Leave it on for about four hours.” 🙂

Plantain is edible. You can put it into salads and make a tea out of the steeped leaves– and more. Don’t fear it!
After about four hours, when you remove the poultice and any bandaging you have created, you will find that the Plantain has turned your red lesions BROWN. This is good news. It is not pretty, of course. It will look as if you have been digging in the Earth. The Plantain, if you have put it onto your fingertips, will most likely have gotten under your fingernails too. So what, really? Do you want to heal? Then live on with dirty looking fingers!
I have found that the brown color that the Plantain turns your eczema patch is proof of healing. Congratulations! You now have SCABS! When the brown scabs fall off (lovely) you will see an improvement in the condition of the skin below. No more ooze. Still some redness and inflammation…but MUCH better! Try it. Seriously. It is much cheaper than a prescription medication, that’s for sure! ; In fact, Nature has gifted it to you for FREE!  There are a few different varieties of Plantain out there. I use Narrowleaf Plantain, because it is growing in our yard.


Being in Nature always helps me to focus and SLOW DOWN!


I am convinced (at this time) that the particular cause of my eczema is not a food or an allergen… it is anxiety. Stress. Low self confidence. Since the ends of my fingertips make typing uncomfortable, I often write my thoughts down in a journal. It is random notes, ideas, thoughts, things I want to remember, things I want to think more about…write about. It is chaos and disarray. I often pick it up and flip through to the nearest empty white page. It is a fine example of what I feel represents my mind at times.
I am very confident in what I have spent much time and thought thinking about when it comes to my specific case of Dyshidrotic Eczema. You see… there is no one cure. I am sorry to have to believe that, but I think it is the truth. The “Cure” is different for everyone, because we all have separate minds. What causes your mind chaos? Are you regularly stressed out?
I want to share with you my thoughts about myself and my particular case of DE. I would be delusional to think that these thoughts would resonate with every one of you. I will confidently say that in my case, the CAUSE of DE on my fingers and fingertips is most certainly a physical response to mental distress. Specifically one of anxiety and lack of confidence.

I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother. I recently read a book entitled, “You’re not Crazy, It’s your Mother.” This book describes my past.  Shortly, this book and my discovery of Narcissistic Personality Disorder helped to change my life. I’ve been on a winding path of self-discovery.
I have learned that it is very common for daughters of narcissistic Mothers to have Narcissistic tendencies. Imposed and programmed into them by their Mothers. This explains so much about me. I am working each day to make sure that the last statement no longer applies.  This discovery, among many other life altering events has caused my anxiety and stress levels to skyrocket.  I am working each day to shed off a new layer…and that is what I see when my fingers start to peel… I’m shedding off an old layer and I will grow stronger. My skin will heal. This will not last forever.


Note the “Skin” effect.

“Take Care of Yourself.
Heal Yourself.
Set your self F R E E”

“Treat your body and your mind as one.”
“You have to heal your MIND to heal your BODY”

The above quotes are notes to self from my notebook of chaos. I have recently realized that I have to be sure to take care of my body while working so hard to take care of my mind. I can’t take care of JUST my mind. If I do that, my body suffers.


A view from our garden.

EAT (and grow!) WHOLE FOODS
The food you put into your body is so, SO important. What is your diet like? Do you cook at home? Do you eat out all the time? Are you a processed foods junkie? Surely you have noticed how people are “waking up” to discover all of the toxic crap that is placed into the commercially produced, machine spat food that we have the fantastic luxury of easy access to? I think there’s something to that. So, my family and I have adopted a “whole foods” system of eating.  Whole foods=real foods. Foods that have minimal ingredients are best, of course. Foods that come from our garden, where we know that no GMO’s or pesticides have been sprayed, are our favorites. Foods that do not come processed in boxes or plastic are important for your body. Nature’s gift. Feed yourself wisely.


Berkey Water Filters RULE!

This is a message that my body sent me. I received the message after I put it together that I had made a routine out of drinking everything in our house EXCEPT for water. I was regularly waking up, drinking coffee all morning. Beer in the Afternoon. Wine at night. Not much water mixed in there unless I had regimented myself a bit too much stimulant. Great. Thank goodness I caught that one. How could I miss it, though? Isn’t that the question I should be asking myself? I should have been treating my body better.

Then I realized that I should have been treating MYSELF better. I have been holding on to way too much. I’ve been focusing on the bad instead of the good… holding myself down with pessimism and negativity.


Thanks, Buddha. You are wise!

You’re why you’re suffering.  — A song I really connected with.  (This is a great live band, too!)

I was causing my own personal Hell by allowing my focus to shift into the deep, dark hollows of that depressive state of mind. I have to refocus. I have to be strong. I cannot be afraid. I must give myself confidence. I must let my past worries go, and not dwell on them.

I must not scratch when my pores fill with itching fluid. I must watch the fluid rise, but never burst it. I must not scratch the itch. I must not wring my hands in misery. I must be strong. I must take care of myself.  I must value my own self worth.

Don’t get too angry at your hands.  Try, instead, to send them love and healing.  In my own experience it has helped me to imagine that the ooze pouring out of my hands is the negativity itself escaping my body.  I then imagine that the flaking layers of my skin is actually a shedding process.  I am shedding my old, downtrodden self.  My skin is getting uglier only to become more beautiful– I’m like an ugly duckling 🙂

Find your own inner peace and try your best to focus on something more positive than what you’re going through, fellow sufferers.  I know ALL too well how hard it is to stay upbeat and positive when everyday life has become a struggle for you.  Your hands are what connect you to the world in many ways.  Through touch we connect with others.  It is certainly depressing to feel as if your body has taken that away from you.  Peace and an upbeat perspective have certainly helped me to overcome those feelings of sorrow and disappointment. Find what works best for you, dear sufferer, to relieve those negative emotions, thoughts and feelings.  Your mind plays an important role in your health.  Fellow sufferers, Take care of yourself. Heal yourself. Love yourself. Set your Self free.


Healing hands with love & light

Love. Grow. Heal.

Holistic approach mind body and soul

Connect them!

I would be remiss not to mention the EXTREME love and support that my soul mate and husband has provided to me during my multiple outbreaks (and psychological traumas).  When my hands were at their worst, he did the dishes, cooked our meals, fed and clothed our children, did the laundry, did the vacuuming and STILL managed to maintain our garden and farm.  I am so thankful that I was playing pool that night at the bar 😉  You are a magical soul, my love.

I would also like to thank my friends over at The Doomstead Diner forum for their caring support and plethora of resources during my time of self discovery and healing.  One day, I hope, there will be a chance for us to transition our online community into a thriving, real life community.

For more links, articles and resources about natural remedies to everyday ailments, natural living and more, please visit the non-profit organization that I fully support and contribute to:  The SUN Project:  Sustaining Universal Needs.  Furthermore, if you like what you’re reading here at The Butterchurn and want to show your support, a donation to The SUN would be greatly recognized and appreciated.  (We are a newly birthed non profit, so hang in there as we continue to develop our website)

“Like” us, Love us:  https://www.facebook.com/SustainingUniversalNeeds

A True Journey of Self Healing and Dyshidrotic Eczema: Honest Answers.


Heal Yesterday, Live Today.

A blinking cursor begs for me to tell my story. A story of strength. A story of endurance. A story of hands wounded, split apart, torn and bleeding. Our hands interact with the world around us. They touch, caress and hold. They protect us. They interact on behalf of our thoughts, pecking words onto a screen of light.
A number of times, in the comment section of a past blog, Dyshidrotic Eczema: A Malady of Concerning Cause and Effect , I have promised to speak more on the matter. I was waiting for some sort of great unveiling to emerge as I continuously used myself as a test subject for the ailment that continues to re-emerge. To itch with the force of fire. To bleed. To ooze. For a while, I was positive that an allergy to cow’s milk was the cause of one of the most trialing experiences of my adult life. Now, I think I’ve got it figured out again, for myself at least. There is no cure for this ailment I have deemed “The beast.” A beast indeed. I am going to write the truth. I am not going to sugar coat my thoughts. I am going to tell you, straight up, what I have discovered to be the direct cause of DE: A physical sign of mental distress. Not a very encouraging diagnosis, is it? You’ve begged your doctors for an answer. Unless you’ve been to a psychiatrist, I fear the answer will never be found with traditional, prescription writing medicine. The medicine of the mind is what you need, dear friend. If you’re like me, your support system may be lacking due to confusion and misunderstanding. A lack of sympathy, of empathy may exude from those around you. Staring glances that can’t make eye contact may follow you out in public. Hold tight, dear friend… I may not know you, but I am with you. I am no doctor. I am no psychiatrist. But I have been and still am a fellow sufferer. I’ve used myself as a sort of “test subject”…working to find a natural cure. To dismiss modern medicine and get down to the nitty, gritty root system of the beast. I wish to uproot it for both myself and for you. So let’s get to it.
Have you recently had a life changing event? I have. Several…within the past year. I have been on the fast track to self-discovery. Our youngest son, Harper Tribann will turn one this month. Within the first year of his life, I had an outbreak of Dyshidrotic Eczema so bad that it was physically painful for me hold him. My fingers broke open and bled while I changed his diaper. Shortly thereafter, we explored and then discovered truth together that my husband, Aaron, has Aspergers. A few months later, my Mother essentially disowned me and told me that the Daddy I’d known my whole life was not my actual Father. Oh, and let’s not forget that the house that Aaron and I had bought together, our one and only house, was also burned to the ground in an accidental fire caused (but denied by), by our last set of renters.
Stress? You’d better believe it. Need I explain the intense stress of each situation above? More like EXTREME STRESS. Test the strength of your mind sort of stress. Which brings about my next thought: Mental Weakness. The boundaries of the mind I once knew have shifted since I exited what my husband deems, The Matrix. BREAKING AN ADDICTION to The world of technology that we live in is NO JOKE. We dropped out. We respectfully declined to play, play along. We dumped the internet off of our cell phones, moved in with a family member, shut down my successful photography business and entered into what my friend Carr!e calls “early retirement.” Jumping between the ships of what everyone else is doing (following the program) and what should be done is hard to do. A few friends of ours recently asked advice on how to do what we’re doing. How do you make the break, with children in tow? How do you stop working your life away for another’s profit? How do you become untethered to your mobile device? How do you detach yourself, your actual self, from your avatar? How do you leave Facebook, when communication has shifted from actual interaction, from good ole’ face to face conversation? How do you allow yourself to feel lonely as you shift away from constant instant gratification through likes, shares and comments. You are not your avatar. Separate the two and be free.
The cure? The answer? How do I heal these grotesque monster gloves for the public eye? Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of your hands and start there. You are suffering. It is evident. Surely those who are gawking at and questioning the state of your hands can show you a bit of empathy and compassion, right? WRONG. Most of them, I fear—actually lack the ability. We are becoming a world consumed with and addicted to the internet. We are weakening our link to food, to nature. We are dangerously materialistic. We are forgetting that we still poop and pee just like the bears in the woods. We are becoming de-humanized…and I am SCARED to be a part of what I see. My family and I are taking a step backward toward progress.

My dear friend Carr!e is also brutally honest. I love that about her. She recently told me that I’m crotchety when it comes to technology. She knows me well. I do not have a cell phone that is internet capable. I have a dumb phone. Part of the marketing name behind “Smart Phone”, I’m sure. Not good for business…oh yeah, what business? 😉

Fellow sufferers, my advice to you is to be strong. Do you have unresolved issues about your childhood as an adult? Did the feces hit the swamp buggy boat’s fan? Are you tethered to your smart phone? Do you ignore or dismiss your children because you’re on a social media site or answering an email? Are you addicted to your phone and the internet? Are you truly living? Do you sometimes feel like a robot? Are you happy? Are you keeping yourself from being happy? These are all questions I have asked myself, step by step, during the healing process of both my hands AND my mind.
I have also begun, at age 33, my spiritual journey. A much needed path, full of light. I’m studying books about herbal remedy and medicine. I’m learning how to go back, way back…deep into the compressed soil of our past. To a time where we weren’t prescribed powerful, sometimes mind bending medication to deal with the world around us…

Create and use a Plantain Poultice. This is the best natural remedy I have found (using myself as a test subject) for Dyshidrotic Eczema. It presented itself to me almost instantly once I began to study plant medicine.

1. Pull one leaf out of the plant, pulling from the base of the plant (so that you’ve pulled the entire leaf all the way to the root).
2. Rinse the leaf.
3. Chew it like Bugs Bunny eats a carrot, keeping in your mouth (not swallowing) to make a spit poultice.
4. Once you’ve chewed the end of the plantain “carrot”, spit it onto the area that is itching or causing you the most pain…or have your lover do it 😉
5. Yes, it will burn. It is okay. You’ve dealt with much worse pain during this journey, right? Sit still with the poultice on your wound and imagine that the pain, the sting that you’re feeling is due to the fact that the plant is pulling the poison (the cause of the beast) out of your skin. It is ejecting the problem. It is cleansing you, healing you. Let it sit until the burn has stopped or the spit has dried.
6. Your hands/fingers will appear to have been dipped in the dirt. They should now appear to be brown instead of red. This, I believe, is because the plantain has helped your skin to enter the fast track of healing. For instance: You know how a scratch on your leg or arm is all red and swollen before it scabs up and turns brown? Plantain, (I maintain this theory), is a sort of step-skipper when it comes to waiting for the scab.
7. Don’t scratch the itch. Don’t. Mind over matter, my friend. Do you want to heal or not?
8. Let the scab fall off on its own. Do not pick it off, even though it looks like you have dirt on your hands. Do you want people to think you’ve been gardening or that you have a contagious disease? Why do you care what they think when it comes to healing yourself? (These are not prodding attacks at “you”, reader. These are all questions that I ask myself when I think about itching or picking. Create your own, or use mine. Itch and scratch and walk away from the path to healing. Mind over matter. Strength.
Banana peels are great for the morning guilty itch. I don’t know about you, but the morning is prime time for any problem areas that I have on my hands to itch. Both of our sons love to eat bananas for breakfast. One morning I took the inside of one of their banana peels to itch the end of my thumb (we all disappoint ourselves at times, don’t we?) The banana peel also turned my thumb a dirty, earthy brown color…like I had been digging in the Earth. It is as if something was telling me to get back outside and get my hands dirty, huh? Many hugs and smiles to a few recent friends of mine who put the idea into my head 😉
Stretch. We should all do this more often. Stretching without the fear of how silly we look (another problem I’ve been freeing myself of recently, I fear…) is essential. Work it OUT! Get that stress out? Feel like you can’t roll your neck around in one direction anymore because it is all tight and uncomfortable? Keep rolling it! Work it out! Trust yourself to heal yourself.
Be in the now.
Let go.
Find time for yourself.
Heal yourself.

The rest of my advice to you is written above, in bold. Each holds its own explanation within your own life. Search for the meaning of each. Act upon the truths that you find. Communicate your feelings with those you love. Grow. Strengthen. Heal.

Nesting in to the now



Lately I feel as if I’ve been surrounded by some etheral force.  It is a state of being, pushing me along with the gentle force of a late Winter wind.  It seems as if all of the things I need, all of the people I meet, were put into place for me to find and interact with.  To answer all of my life’s questions.  To present options.  To offer paths.

If you are a follower of my husband’s blog over at Epiphany Now, you may have already read about some of the synchronistic events that continue to occur in our lives. Powerful connections with people,  with our community, have been blasting into our lives with great speed and unbelievable circumstances.  It is as if some greater force can see something that we can’t see…perhaps what lies ahead in our path.  As I continue to live the most that I can in the NOW, I continue to learn and grow more about myself and those I love.  I continue to find ways to educate our son to take time to slow down and listen.  I continue to explain to him why the answer is no, and why we have to do things like be quiet in a restaurant or at the library.  He’s learning social skills through our trips out into the world together.  He’s watching me meet new people and connect with them on different levels– almost daily.

We’re approaching warp speed with our society, it seems.  The need to build community is POWERFUL for me right now. 

I carry a little leather bound Indiana Jones notebook around with me in my purse.  When I meet new people, I ask them to list their contact information in my book.  Then I stand with them and and take notes about the things we are talking about.  I’ve met many interesting people on our journey.  Each person I meet seems to answer a question or problem that I’ve been struggling with.  Sometimes that struggle is internal.  Other times it is a struggle that I share with my husband.

The past few months have been a bit unsettling for my lover and I.  We have two sons:  a three year old and a nine month old.  We’re struggling with where to bulid our nest.  Do we stay here, in my hometown?  Do we move on to a town and an area that we both love?  Do we move for Aaron’s job?  Where do we want to settle down?  This has been an ongoing discussion between us.  Over and over we think we’ve decided on the answer only to return to it and ask it again.  It has been a complicated process.  One that we’re not through quite yet, for sure.


I take our boys to story time at the library on a regular basis these days.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I have learned a lot about my self and my role as a Mother during these visits.  The above image is the cover of a new book that we picked up at our local branch. (Branch— nest— hee hee).  My husband has been focused lately on two things:  Robins and Bamboo.  So, when I saw the cover of this book I went for it without a second thought.  The book tells the story of a family of robins who build a nest, raise a baby bird, watch their baby grow and stay with it until it finds a mate.

From Amazon.com:

In her picture book debut, artist Jorey Hurley opens our eyes to the wonders of the natural world and tells a universal story of family.

From birth, to first flight, to new friend, the first year of a bird’s life is full of activity and wonder. Artist Jorey Hurley pairs vivid, crisp artwork with simple, minimal text—often just one word per spread—to create a breathtaking, peaceful chronicle of nature and life’s milestones.


As I read more about the books description online, I ran across this note from the author:  “AMERICAN ROBIN One of the most common birds here in the Presidio is the American Robin. I decided to make them the main bird in Nest because they live all across North America, often in suburban or fairly built-up areas. Also their behavior is appealing to a human perspective (some birds are really not nice once you get into the details), so robins are perfect to share with young children.”

This led me to the desire to learn more about Robins.  My Mother taught me to be an avid birdwatcher as a child.  I knew all about birds and how they can sometimes be “not so no nice.”  For instance, when a cowbird would land on our bird feeder– or a blue jay– we were instructed to bang on the window pane until they flew away.  Both Blue Jay and Cowbirds are “Not so nice”.  Cowbirds are a parasite brood.  “Cowbirds don’t build their own nests. Instead, they generally remove an egg from another species’ nest, replace it with one of their own, and then rely on the surrogate parent to incubate the egg and rear the nestling.”-http://www.sialis.org/cowbirds.htm

“Furthermore, some female cowbirds destroy a nest and steal the host’s eggs BEFORE laying their cowbird eggs, thereby forcing the host to build a new nest.” –www.hiltonpond.org

Blue Jay have been known to partake in nest wrangling and destruction, and are just as upsetting.   Blue Jay may raid other birds’ nests, stealing eggs, chicks, and nests.

The Robin is different.  It is a family bird.  Robins usually reject the eggs of a cowbird if found in their nest. The Robin is a  very common bird:  “According to some sources, the American Robin ranks behind only the Red-winged Blackbird (and just ahead of the introduced European Starling) as the most abundant, extant land bird in North America”

“The adult male and female both are active in protecting and feeding the fledged chicks until they learn to forage on their own. The adult Robin gives alarm calls and dive-bombs predators, including domestic cats, dogs and humans that come near the young birds.” –www.wikipedia.org

Isn’t it great that I have a husband who is connected to the Robins? 😉

It seems to me that we are entering into a new stage as a family.  A stage that is teaching us how to grow together, love together and be in the present.  Now if we could only figure out where to build our nest…

My husband and I are quite roustabout by nature.  He is much more than I.  However, when your nickname is “Gypsy Mama”, it doesn’t take too much explaining to understand why we connect as soulmates 😉

I met a few people today that I entered into my notebook.  Perhaps soon I’ll be able to share the story of our meeting.  (For now, I have to get back to Mamba duty– the boys just woke from their dual nap). I feel that these meetings, these encounters, should be documented. They are so beautiful and synchronistic.  I feel as if we were meant to meet.  I feel as if my life– which is surrounded by the wants and needs of my family– is becoming a much clearer path to walk along.


~New to Two~ Be here Now~ Transitioning from being a Mother of One to a Mother of Two.


ImageSlow down.

These words have helped me, more than any other two words combined in recent months.  A simple phrase, containing just the advice I needed.  I have went through an amplified, quickened and necessary life change over the past year.  I have become a Mother to two.

I’ve been attending story time throughout our community for the past month.  I’ve been using it for many things.  I’ve used it as a teaching tool for myself and for my sons.  Ayden Zen, my oldest son, benefits the most through our story time interactions at the Library.  We’ve attended  different branches in our area. Each branch is filled with different parent types.  Different psychologies, different results of different parenting methods.  I have seen children who have been given little to no authority.  I have seen Mothers who have let go of their seemingly feral brethren…sitting in a blank stare, correcting their child simple “No’s” and “Don’t do that’s” without an explanation as to why the answer is so.  I’ve seen Mothers completely absorbed in their own children, too busy for Mommy politic’in.  I’ve seen Mothers desperate for a friend…desperate to find someone to help them along their journey into Motherhood.

This morning I took Ayden Zen and little Harper Tribann to our closest local library branch.  When we arrived, I stood outside the Library door and began to teach Ayden the rules of the library.  The three rules that we must remember when we are in the library.

  1. We must keep our voices low, because people often come to the library to learn.
  2. There is absolutely NO RUNNING in the library.  Running is loud and dangerous indoors.
  3. We have to ask our feet to be slow.  No stomping allowed!  Stomping is loud!  The library is quiet.

We walked directly into the Children’s section.  I held Ayden’s hand until we made it behind the book barrier that served as the children’s section wall.  He was given the option to go to listen to the stories and songs at story time, or to have time learning on the library computer.  He chose the computer.  Once his computer time had ended, we went to the playtime period that takes place after every story time.

Three Mothers were attending this morning’s story time.  Each Mother had two children.  One Mother had two boys. One Mother had two girls.  The third Mother had a boy and a girl.  I felt my heart unleash something within.  I felt a tug and immediate pull to talk to these women about their experience in attempting to be present for two children at all times.  To be TRULY present for BOTH children.  How hard is that?  VERY! 

Today I put it together that the severe eczema outbreak that I described in a blog of my past, Dyshidrotic Eczema:  A Concerning Malady of Cause and Effect, happened as I began the process of trying to figure out just that.  How could I be as present for my second soon as I was for my first son…all while my first son still expects my full presence?  Deep stuff. 

The answer to that, I have found out so far as a new Mother who was raised without a strong female role model?  You have to teach them to LEARN to love each other and to share their Mother.  Difficult to teach a 9 month old beautiful boy without words.  And there you have it.  Baby steps.  There’s a regular term for the stroll/run/sprint down the path I’m taking into Motherhood.  I also have to make sure that I keep my feet on the ground.  That I take quiet, intentional steps.  That I NOT RUN into this process.  That I let it happen.  That I be in the moment.  That I slow down.
That I continue to strive to live in the present moment, always. For my boys, for myself, for life.


Be here now.


Homemade bread and a dying infrastructure


The more aware I become of our food system and how preservatively poisonous it is, the more I desire to cook at home where I can control the ingredients. Bread was chosen among the first of the foods I learned to produce homemade.  When I began making bread, I chose a recipe for a homemade bread that consisted of four simple ingredients: Water. Flour. Salt. Yeast.  You’d think that mixing together four ingredients into a bowl would provide the same results, consistently.  Nope.  I had the worst luck. I’d mixed those ingredients into a bowl over and over and OVER again.  I’d followed the recipe to the mark.  Many times.

After awhile, I went rogue. I tried kneading the dough against a “no-knead” recipe.  I tried different oven temperatures.  I tried different amounts of cooking time.  I tried different depths and shapes of scoring.  I mixed flours.  I changed flours. I added more yeast.  On and on it went, a slew of rock hard, gooey centered, bland tasting, fall apart failures.  Every now and then, I’d get a decent loaf…but I wouldn’t know what I’d done differently to achieve it.  The process became a science experiment.  WHY was I failing?  How could I cuss up such a simple recipe? 

About four months ago, my husband researched water purification systems for our home.  Up until that point, we’d used PUR and BRITA brand filters on our kitchen faucet.  He wanted to make sure that we were getting the most for our money.  A final decision was made that we should invest in a Berkey water filter system. 

Water was not something I had considered as an inconsistent ingredient to my basic recipe. Each and every time I would make bread I’d pour water directly from our kitchen sink faucet.  The recipe called for tepid to warm water, so I’d adapted to turning on the hot water knob until the water was at the desired temperature. 

I guess that was a bad choice considering that I now live in a house that is connected to city water.  Through one of many conversations with my husband, I learned that the water systems that are set in place for most cities are OLD.  The water itself, as you should know, is treated with… well…

I heard a story once about a guy who used to work at a water treatment plant.  He told a troublesome tale about how he’d just “spray whatever seemed enough” of the “treatment chemicals” into the water that was being distributed to all of the residents of the city he worked for.

Nice.  Regardless of the fact that I can’t cite that source, that’s quite the slap in a trusting American’s face, now isn’t it?  It sure straightened my eye sight a bit.

As I was pondering over how to write this blog and tell this story, I began thinking about my history of bread making.  When we owned a house in Rock Hill, SC, we had a well.  I loved that we were not connected to city water because I knew that Fluoride, among other “just enough” treatment chemicals couldn’t “get us.”  The bread that I made in Rock Hill was more or less consistent, so long as I stuck to the recipe and didn’t mix in too much whole wheat flour, etc.

As I look back, I kick myself for not putting it together that the water itself could have been the culprit when it came to my inability to produce a successful loaf of bread.  Thankfully, I finally came to my senses.  During the in between, however, I was working well to convince myself that operator error must have been the cause… and I took that anger and frustration with myself out on a many innocent failed loaves of wasted time and energy= death by chicken.

Earlier this week, I was mixing together the four ingredients my bread recipe called for. (yields two loaves)

  1. 3 cups of tepid water
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt (we use sea salt)
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons of quick rise bread machine yeast
  4. 6 1/2 cups of flour

To make room for the mixing bowl, I had to move the gallon sized glass jug of filtered, husband provided, Berkey water from my less than desirable kitchen counter work space.  As I sat the mixing bowl down, something fired inside my brain that caused my simple mind to connect that, umm…maybe I should use THAT water in my recipe?

Needless to say, I baked two perfect, beautiful loaves of bread that day.  They were both eaten in about two days.  Could I succeed again, or was this just a fluke?  A few days later, I had produced two more loaves of beautiful, edible bread. 

I am pretty convinced that the city tap water was causing inconsistent results when it came to my bread making.  Yeast, after all, is alive.  It is frightening to believe that the very water provided to us in a system that we’ve been raised to trust could KILL my bread!  But how can I question this belief after seeing the proof “pan out” in my oven?  The variables (ingredients) in my experiment were consistent– or so I thought.  Who knows what dose of what chemical (or worse) I’d been mixing into my dough?  No wonder I was beginning to feel a bit insane.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

All of those times I’d repeated the steps.

All of those ingredients I’d measured delicately.

All my efforts wasted because of the inconsistent variable in my experiment:  CITY WATER.  A variable that I had the audacity to believe was CONTROLLED.




If you want to try this recipe yourself, just mix together all of the four ingredients(using filtered water, of course) in a large mixing bowl.  Stir them together until the flour has been absorbed into the mixture.  Cover the bowl and leave it somewhere it won’t be disturbed too much overnight.  In the morning, mix all of the dough into a ball in your bowl.  Grease two bread pans (coconut oil is THE BEST) and separate the large dough ball into two parts.  Turn each of your two smaller bread balls into each other (like you’re folding socks together), put ’em in the pan and bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
If you’re into it, I’d be happy to spend some time writing a more detailed instruction to this recipe (with photos of preparation in between) so that you can try your hand at homemade bread of your own.  My focus of this blog, of course, was to imbed into you, oh wise baker, that filtered water WILL create better bread.  Always.

Also, if you’re wondering, we chose to purchase the “Big Berkey” with fluoride filters and have been very happy with that choice.

This amazing system reduces bacteria, viruses, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and trihalomethanes to purification standards and lasts thousands of gallons. – See more at: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkey-water-filters/big-berkey.html#sthash.oYr2Lqju.dpuf


As a side note, I want to make sure that I mention that I had the worst outbreak from eczema  that I have ever had in my life after moving to a house that was hooked up to city water.  Heavy metals (Copper, Zinc, mercury, lead, Arsenic, Cadmium) are commonly found in decaying water line infrastructures.  Nickel is listed among the suspected causes of my particular form of eczema:  Dyshidrotic Eczema.  Suspicious.  I’m obviously still on the hunt for some answers to this ailment.  The cause may be different for each person, but I still don’t know exactly WHY I was a victim.  I feel as if that question of “WHY” should have an answer by now.  The medical community has not done enough research on this matter, I fear.   As I continue my search for an answer, I’ll occasionally share my thoughts on the matter in this blog through posts and comments.

Exposure to some metals, such as mercury and lead, may also cause development of autoimmunity, in which a person’s immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases of the kidneys, circulatory system, and nervous system.–http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education/quality-water-heavymeatal.htm

Nickel toxicity, specifically, was evaluated by researcheres at Michigan State University who found it presented a multi-tiered toxic attack. First, nickel causes essential metal imbalances. It severely disrupts enzyme action and regulation. Finally, it causes and contributes to a high amount of oxidative stress.–http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/metal-toxicity-health-dangers-nickel/

The primary source of nickel in drinking-water is leaching from metals in contact with drinking-water, such as pipes and fittings. However, nickel may also be present in some groundwaters as a consequence of dissolution from nickel ore-bearing rock