I am not much of a rules girl. For all the fact that I grew up in a family with so many iron clad rules that members of the clan saw it as a call to arms if someone suggested using a different brand of mayonnaise than Hellman’s, well the graft didn’t take very well.

And when I threw off the family rules in a smooth twenty five forty fifty year ongoing process of soul searching, tears, journal writing, manure shoveling, and messy choices, I did my best to throw off the idea of rules in any form as well. I am not talking “its okay to steal a car because I want to” sort of break out from rules. I am just saying that my only way forward to escape the tyranny of my family’s rules was to learn to trust my own heart over their rules and this led to trusting my heart over other people’s rules as well.

Once you conquer the big enchilada of throwing off tribal rules, it’s downhill from there and a natural progression to trust your own heart’s voice over the voice of anyone else.

And one more caveat before today’s growl about one rule in particular. It’s not that I don’t learn from other people’s ideas, because I do or that I don’t like groups, because that’s not true either. It’s just that I prefer groups brought together by love or curiosity. I just am not crazy about groups brought together by rules, such as ideological groups that want to impose their rules on everyone in the group and everyone else besides.

This reluctance to be a rules girl with family rules or any other set of rules set me up well for my life and work with Flower Essences because as far as I am concerned FLOWER ESSENCES ARE NOT ABOUT RULES!

Hence begins today’s growl.

On Monday, I got an email from a lovely woman who is teaching a series of classes about Flower Essences to a gathering of healers in Georgia. Those gathered wondered why some companies had iron clad rules about how many Flower Essences to work with at a time and she wondered what I thought about this. She also wondered if the fact that Green Hope Farm literature said the more Flower Essences the merrier while other literature from other lines said just three or just seven reflected a difference in strength.

When Janice’s email arrived, I was in a bit of an ornery mood due to all my technology learning lessons so when I answered her I wasn’t perhaps as politic as I sometimes am. The bottom line, and this is what I told her, is that this “too much” rule is my biggest bone to pick with information presented about Flower Essences by other people.

THIS KIND OF RULE, make that ANY KIND OF RULE, about how to work with Flower Essences is UNNECESSARY and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE!

If we were talking about dosages of weapons grade plutonium or even a chemical remedy like aspirin, rules would be vital. But FLOWER ESSENCES ARE NOT CHEMICAL! FLOWER ESSENCES ARE INFORMATION!

In truth, I simply do not understand why people continue to SCARE people about Flower Essences with this illusionary idea about “too much.”

Yes, I am a broken record about this, but it bears saying again and again. Flower Essences are vibrational information. They are something your electrical system reads then decides for itself whether to use the pertinent guidance. Any change made after working with Flower Essences is a change your electrical system initiates. Flower Essences do nothing. They can only offer your electrical system possible solutions to it’s difficulties.

They are not chemicals imposed upon your body chemistry like all the Febreeze being sprayed around America. They are information offered to your electrical system in a completely “take it or leave it manner.” Your electrical system decides what to do with the information of Flower Essences. Yes, your wise, life affirming, health seeking, electrical system makes its OWN decisions about what to do with the data of Flower Essences.

The same could not be said of a close encounter with Febreeze.

Okay, so I am also having a moment of growling about Febreeze too, but isn’t anyone else worried that if the EPA says that 80-90% of human cancer is caused by exposure to toxins in our environment, then maybe it’s not such a hot idea to spray so many toxic chemicals about the house?

This makes the fear mongering about a product made from a member of the mint family, vinegar, water and the electrical pattern of a Flower and one that doesn’t have to be ingested to share its helpful information all the more bizarre.

Here is my email to the lovely woman in Georgia,

“This is how I have come to explain WHY I DISAGREE with the old guard; All day long we are exposed to good, bad, and indifferent electrical information in people, places, things, nature.

For example, as we pass people on the street we get exposed to a lot of the information of their electrical system and often we read all this data even as we just walk by them. This is because we are always on a search for good data for our electrical system to learn from. WHY? Because our electrical system is wired to seek upgrades, improvements, and better health. Our electrical systems want to read and learn from everything we are exposed to.

THEREFORE on any given day, we read a lot of electrical information. In fact, this is the primary way we learn. The Angels often remind me that 75 % of what happens in any situation is an exchange of vibrational data done silently. For example, a spiritual teacher with a great vibration can read the phone book to an audience and the audience can learn a lot. Whereas a spiritual teacher with a low vibration could read the wisdom of the ages and not as much would get accomplished as with the telephone book exchange.

Flower Essences are excellent, high vibration spiritual teachers! When we choose to work with Flower Essences we are self selecting GOOD electrical data. We are setting ourselves up to read good and possibly extremely helpful information for our health and spiritual wellbeing.

I have NEVER had an Angel say that a lot of good electrical information is TOO MUCH. I also have never experienced that in myself or with someone using a lot of Flower Essences. NEVER!

If we were unable to process tons of electrical data each day of all kinds we would have to live in isolation from community. We actually would not be able to be in a body!

I have never understood people creating fear in others about working with many Flower Essences and all their good data at once. Frankly, I think the times call for it and our electrical systems are up to it.

And as far as whether other companies Flower Essences are “stronger.” I am sure people can answer that question for themselves! Our bodies know what we hanker to tune into and learn from! I need make no comment here for the truth of this to be self evident. I trust each person working with Essences to KNOW the answer to this for themselves!

The whole discussion is a RED HERRING that I simply do not understand people sticking with!

Sorry to be so heated but you can well imagine how often I have to work to dismantle this idea in the world!”

Thus did I answer this email. Thus do I tilt at the windmill of this rule in the world.

The Pleasures of an Upgrade

The brain trust met. This would be calm eyed Ben, calm eyed Jim, and wild eyed me. We summed up our technology problems succinctly. After we upgraded one computer in our network to the latest Mac OS X version 10.4.8, none of the other computers could communicate across the network. The disconnects left us losing our minds and our files. Due consideration was given to your input which could best be described as a greek chorus chanting in unison, “You need to upgrade all the computers”. It was not too late to listen to the greek chorus. I still had my hair. A few brain cells remained alive and swirling in my cranium.

The IMacs that looked so snazzy five, six, and seven years ago are off line and will soon be on their way to the local computer recycle center where a lone man roams in a behemoth warehouse full of abandoned machines. Our new babies sit in a row, silent and pristine. They are the height of technology fashion. Their screens are the size of my childhood television. And they actually talk to each other.

Not that I would know, because one of my consuming side projects right now is taking all the documents I saved on these various obsolete machines and translating them to a format that can be opened on one of the new machines.

Yes, yes after so many crashes over the year we back up daily, weekly, monthly, sometimes it seems even hourly. We back up all the pertinent files like our mailing list, but stuff like the emails I save, well I though putting them in a file on my desktop was enough. It was not.

Now I need to take all those records from each of these old computers and take each record through a seven step process to upgrade each to a “word document” The file I am working on right now is one of four enormous files on one of the three dinosaur machines. This file alone has 900 email records in it. That’s 6300 clicks with my mouse to save what’s in this file. I haven’t done a head count on the other files, but I am thinking this is going to take awhile. The lone man at the recycle facility may have to wait a little bit longer before he gets our machines.

On the bright side, as the files go by I have to laugh at the funny stuff in these emails. I will see a sentence as I click like ” I will never scrub her toilet again” from one of you working with “All Ego Contracts Null and Void.” When I see one that says, “What was I thinking when I decided to make cupcakes for a living?”, I pause in my clicking and reread the email to recall the whole cupcake debacle that one of you beloveds shared with me. This rereading is why I saved these emails in the first place, though I didn’t expect to be perusing them now because of technology issues. They were supposed to be something I chortled over years from now while writing my twelve volume autobiography.

But life has its own plan and right now this late night mouse clicking is proving to have its benefits. I get to remember so many things I have learned about Essences from you and from asking the Angels for you, I get to remember so many problems figured out in lots of back and forth emails. And I get to remember how many things were funnier once they were shared with one of you! Thank you!

Papa Cardinal

As we sat in the kitchen one recent evening, one of the kids read aloud an end page commentary she had found in a weekly news magazine. It was one woman’s tale about getting a gun and learning to shoot it so she could blow to kingdom come a cardinal bird that was relentlessly tapping on her windows. Her victory was the bird’s death.

All of us were both horrified for the bird and sorry for this woman.

Families have unique vocabularies referencing shared events. My grandmother always referred to something that was not worth wasting time on as “bad crab meat.” She coined the phrase when her mother said that watching bad television was like eating bad crab meat . From there, the whole family took up Grandma’s phrase as a shorthand way to sum up something not worth doing. Nicknames are part of family vocabularies too. My sister and I used to call my father “Banana Slippers” referencing an April Fool’s Day moment when we put peeled bananas in his slippers. When he stepped into the slippers on that fateful morning, he went, well, bananas. Another banana nickname helped a friend when she couldn’t figure out how to resolve a fight with her sister. Since she and her sister had called each other “Banana Face” as kids, she decided to send her sister a card saying “I Love you Banana Face.” With that card, the fight was behind them.

So why were we appalled by the woman who shot the cardinal bird and then saw it as an act of self empowerment and glory? Nicknames, unique slang, and shared symbols are blessings born when people live, work, or play together. Additionally, the smallest things can be experienced as blessings when we open to see the world around us as significant not accidental. Specifically, for all of us at Green Hope Farm, cardinal birds have been a major symbol referencing the loving presence of God in our lives.

Jim’s dad died unexpectedly in a car accident right after we moved to Green Hope Farm. He had helped us to build our house and yet, no sooner had we moved in, than he was gone. In the months after his death, we noticed a cardinal bird almost every day sitting in the oak tree we had planted in Jim’s dad’s honor. It felt like the cardinal bird had come to remind us that Mel was still with us. Later we came to feel the cardinal bird was also reminding us that God was there with us as well.

In the wild summer of 1993, the summer when the gardens were open, we had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of visitors instead of the three or four we expected. I had my own encounter with a window tapping cardinal bird that made the summer possible for me.

There were four of us humans maintaining the gardens, giving garden tours, answering questions about our process of gardening with the Angels and Elementals and running the shop of garden Flowers, vegetables, and Flower Essences. We were overwhelmed with things to do and started to squabble about who was to do what. One day we realized we had to surrender our individual agendas in order to handle the unexpected flow of people. One wonderful thing we decided to do was to begin each day with a group silent meditation. This is something we have continued to this day, as from the first meditation, we found it an incredible tool to help us let go and let God.

The other thing that happened was that a cardinal bird began to tap on my bedroom window at five each morning. Despite being someone who usually likes to sleep a bit later, I found myself wide awake at five. Not only that, I found myself bursting with the desire to go down to the first of many computers to type a message as best I could from the spiritual beings working with us and the God within me.

This happened every day. The cardinal bird would come at five. I would leap from my bed and go type for a couple of hours. Then I would share whatever I had written with anyone who wanted to read it. We put the guidance out in the shop for visitors to read and we all soaked in the humorous, practical, and profound support of these messages. With the cardinal bird arriving at five each morning as regular as clockwork, all of us began to write down questions to ask the next day. This guidance combined with the meditation carried us through the great adventure of 1993 and on into the future of Green Hope Farm.

After the summer season, the cardinal bird stopped tapping, but I remained focused on getting guidance for our rapidly expanding enterprise. It wasn’t always at five in the morning that I received help, but no matter how things changed, I always associated the cardinal bird as the beginning, a divine call to listen, to receive, and to know that God was with us.

For all of us in the family and in the office, cardinal birds have become a wonderful symbol for the truths that God loves us, God is supporting us, God is nudging us this way or that, or simply the truth God is. We mention to each other whenever a cardinal bird is at the feeder or whenever we encounter one in the woods or on our journey out into the world. Various animals and birds have encouraged each of us in various ways to keep on keeping on, because at the bottom, all of us have come to think there are no ordinary moments, no insignificant encounters and in this big fantastic experience of life, everything is a kiss from the divine.

I am so very grateful that for whatever reasons I was able to experience the tapping of the cardinal bird as a gift not something that had to be stopped. So much of what has happened here is because of that cardinal bird. Those encounters with that cardinal bird make me pay attention to most everything more carefully because the gifts that arrive in our lives aren’t always wrapped with ribbons and bows. Sometimes they come tapping on our windows all dressed in red.


Papa cardinal at the feeder yesterday. Mama cardinal, also beloved, in a nearby shrub.

There and Back Again


Sometimes I wish our return packages could gather us around a blazing campfire and tell us the tale of where they have been. I bet there would be some great tales told. This package for example. It left the farm July 18th, 2006 for Athens and arrived back at the farm a few days ago. This means it has been AWOL for nearly seven months. Seven months!

So here it sits, torn, shredded, examined, decorated, stained, stamped, knotted, rewrapped and crushed. I only hope it had some fun on its journey there and back again. I like knowing hoping fantasizing this package saw the Parthenon and caught a glimpse of the wine dark sea of Homer.

It’s snowing here today. It’s snowing really hard. We have a foot of fresh snow already with a couple more feet expected before dawn tomorrow. It’s beautiful and I will enjoy this day, but truth be told, I am ready for spring. I sit looking out at the snow covered gardens taking a mind journey towards the next few months when this garden world will come to life again and all the green glories of spring will surround us. It’s a lovely mind journey for this snowy day.

As is my wildly optimistic mind journey about this package. The poor thing probably never saw anything of the world but the inside of planes, trains, and the untidy package rooms of a series of national and international post offices. Sometimes mind journeys are like that, the reality is not as good as the mind journey. So I promise that before this poor battered box and its contents wend their way to various recycle bins here, I will show this package a beautiful view of this snow storm. It is the least this package deserves after such a noble and prolonged effort to get to those Greek cats who wanted some Flower Essences.

And not to leave you in suspense. This was one of three different packages for the same order that we sent to these Greek cats by different methods and yes, eventually these cats got their Flower Essences.

As far as this tired box of lovelies goes, I can only hope that sometime in the last seven months, the Elementals holding the vibration of these bottles intact and the Angels watching over these bottles en route made an executive decision that the Essences were never going to get to their intended destination and that it would be the right thing to do to share the vibrations of these Essences with someone or some animal that had a close encounter with the package.

That is a much more likely mind journey than the one about the package sipping ouzo on the steps of the Acropolis. And like my mind journeys about spring, it one that makes me smile. Can’t you just picture it? Somewhere out there is a greek postal official that had a close encounter with these Flower Essences. As he wrapped up the crushed package for the last time to return to us, he couldn’t help wondering why he was in such a good mood. But we know why. Yup, we know why.

New Fantasies for this Millennium

I used to fantasize about Fabio. This was when I was young and green in judgment. This was when Fabio was young too. It was before his ” I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” years. And that would have been a good thing because the Fabio of my former fantasies needed butter, and lots of it. In my fantasies I would picture him glowing, even steaming, in the hot sun. A strong wind would blow through his golden locks and his muscles would ripple beneath some skimpy outfit as…. he turned my compost heap.

Yes, with Fabio it was all about the compost heap. It’s long been one of those jobs that the men in my life never have time to do. It’s also one of those jobs where I am irritatingly aware that I am not as strong as a man, much as I have tried to forget this for five decades. What can I say? I desired a hunk that hankered for pitchfork activities, one I could boss around without any guilt, “See that twelve foot pile of half rotted plant material over here Fabio? Move it over to there. Thanks.” I could leave him to it and in my fantasy, I would return and he would have done all the work with a smile on his face. His hair would still look good, his muscles and clothing only more ripped than before, and of course, he would want only bread and butter or “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter” in payment.

It is with such nostalgia that I remember those childish fantasies of the last millennium. In 2007 my fantasy man is named Ned.

Ned has no life. He waits by his phone night and day, happy, even impatient, to receive my calls. He is ever ready to drop everything to take care of my needs. In fact, he is so ready, he has nothing else to do but wait for me to have a need. And I deliver. I have questions. I have snafus. I have crises. I have glitches and Ned doesn’t think any of them are too idiotic for his tender mercies.

You see, Ned is my fantasy IT man. He is my own fantasy computer demi-god. His lack of muscle tone rocks my socks. I need a man that doesn’t mind spending nineteen hours a day in a desk chair unravelling our latest technology screw ups. His fashion statement of a pocket protector tucked into the pocket of a strangely shiny olive shirt tucked into polyester flood pants would charm me. Bring on a wardrobe ready for “What Not To Wear”, because I need a man without a social life. I need a man that camps out right here 24/7 to service my technology needs. I need a Ned.

What would Ned have done this week? Well, to begin with he would have sent me out to the kitchen to have Fabio fix me a nice slice of bread and “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter” when we discovered that the research list had been deleted from the computers and that the backup of this twenty page list was two months out of date. The brief version of this boringly familiar tale is that the different versions of Microsoft word were not communicating well across our network and the research list fell victim to their communication disorder. The uncensored version of this tale involves, well, I will spare you the details.

My fantasy Ned would have known it was software upgrade time before this fracas. Ned would also have known better than to waste a whole lot of time trying to load the new UPS software upgrade, an upgrade that UPS finally called us to tell us to delete from our systems. This would be because Ned would also be psychic as well as brilliant with computers. Ned would have known when the UPS upgrade arrived that it was crap. Ned also would be the one to come in early each morning and get the computers communicating smoothly. Ned would let me sleep in while he massaged them into good behavior. I would no longer need to waste precious time wondering how computers that are not being used all night can be so messed up each dawn, needing so much TLC to cooperate for another day. Their cat fights would be Ned’s domain. I could stay in my warm bed past six without a care in the world.

Ned would also leave me free to begin to repair my strained relationship with the men in my life. Ben is fully employed now. He teaches. He coaches basketball. He is a dorm parent for fifty five teenage boys. He has a places to go and people to see. In conclusion, he has a life. I know his heart must sink when he hears from his mother. I would hate to get these calls from me too. Some of my messages are worse than gum surgery without anesthesia. One day last week I ran into him in town and told him to go home and delete his answering machine messages without listening to any of them. Sadly, he had already listened to the day’s eight message docudrama. I try to call less frequently. I really do. I spend hours trying to troubleshoot on my own. I also try to call when the technology is flowing so there is an occasional chirpy cheerful message, but these moments are few.

In fact, it is almost an out of body experience when all five six seven eight computers are working. And how did this happen, us having EIGHT computers? This technology that was supposed to simplify my life is my new full time job and I already have a two three full time jobs. Way back in the Fabio fantasy years, I thought I was going to be able to buy computer or two and then use them ’til death did us part. Instead, my guy at the computer store refers to two thirds of our machines, all of which are less than five years old, as dinosaurs as in, “This is not worth repairing, it’s a dinosaur.” And then there are the software upgrades. If I had as many upgrades as my computers get, people would think Jim had a trophy wife.

Ah, this brings us to Jim. Sadly, I do not greet him at the door at the end of his workday wrapped in saran wrap like the happy homemaker. Sadly, the arctic temperatures and the fact that he has twelve year old William in tow are not really the reasons for this restraint. The main reason is that most days I am too busy organizing my litany of technology horror stories to assemble a saran wrap outfit. Let’s face it. Every technology horror story needs an audience and he is it.

Is it any wonder that he is suddenly lingering longer and longer at curriculum assessment meetings?

So Fabio, it was nice while it lasted. Those were good fantasies, those ones down at the compost heap, but it’s over. Ned is the man. And where o where art thou Ned? I need you, yesterday. Bring the upgrades. I will bring the butter.