Turn to the Wildflowers to Lessen Your Anxiety


Wildflowers have captured my interest, respect, and awe for sometime.  But after a recent visit to The National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site Alabama this admiration flourished further.


1942 was a time of uncertainty too.  War shortages threatened the norm of living.  George Washington Carver responded by publishing articles and bulletins.  He starts Nature’s Gardens for Victory and Peace with the inspiring poem by Martha Martin called


The Weeds’ Philosophy and Genesis 1:29.   His point was that many wildflowers otherwise known as weeds are good to eat.

According to the Bible, the flowers of the field can also teach us much about our own lives.  For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on resisting anxiety.

So many are ridden with worries of how COVID-19 is going to impact them.  Will they survive it if they get it? Will their loved ones? Will they still have work?  What is going to happen to the economy?  These are valid concerns of which I believe merit processing.  For my own family’s sake,  I was inspired to turn to the wildflowers.

yellowthistle basil pretty1 wisteria2

Reflecting further, I decide to ditch the usual homeschool curriculum in order to design a special field trip for my daughter.  As with most instruction, the teacher learns the most.  In this Flowers of the Field lesson (photographed at the end of this blog) I challenge the learner to use two forms of art, photography and drawing to refine their observations skills.  Both fall short of seeing the real flower.

Technology has so many wonderful opportunities, but with all advancements it has its limits too.  For the largest, it seduces us into trading virtual for the real experience.  But I’m going to focus on some of the more subtle short comings. It keeps us indoors.

On a related note, Richard Hobday included some interesting observations in his blog Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.  Patients who were placed outdoors in the sun fared better.  What he says has been echoed from Dr. Ryan McWhorter at Alabama Functional Medicine who recommends getting outdoors for a least an hour each day.  I  think of how healthcare workers have no exposure to fresh air much less natural sunlight in their hazmat suits, high rise hospitals, and long stressful hours of work.  How much of this contributes to their risk of infection?

Back to the wildflowers. This lesson I wrote for my daughter helps you to experience the real deal and it also gets you outside.   But what I’ve found is that more than school age students have much to gain from it.  Anyone who is struggling with anxiety and concerns about the future will benefit.   So whether you are homeschooling during this time or not, check it out.  Go for a walk, observe, ponder, and most importantly, rest in the LORD Jesus.


Click Flowers of the Field to download a Windows version of this to print and use with permission in any setting by the author, Hope Mucklow.  And click The Weeds’ Philosophy to reflect on the wonderful and wise poem. #Anxiety #CopingwithCOVID-19 #OvercomeGAD





Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Click St. Patrick’s Day 2015 to download a blank copy of the following to color.


You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy celebrating what St. Patrick accomplished.  He wasn’t Irish either.   Find a great role model and inspiration in who St. Patrick was Romano British, not Irish.

He was kidnapped by Irish Pirates from his noble home in Brittan when he was a teenager and forced into Irish slavery.  He didn’t go by the name Patrick until he trained to be a Catholic Bishop many years later in France.  He returned to Ireland to share God’s love and knowledge with the Irish…the people who at one time kidnapped him. He most likely used the clover to explain God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct roles in the same one God.

Have fun, but don’t get caught up in the distortions and myths about four leaf clovers and finding gold at the end of the rainbow.  Gifts from the Giver, The God of whom St. Patrick spoke, often are turned into useless idols and symbols that mislead.  Pray for the Holy Spirit of which St. Patrick taught to discern what is true, noble, right, worthy to believe and to follow.

The Folly of “Don’t Be a Prude”

Recently I was asked what picture comes to mind when I think of patriotism.  The image that came to me was Lady Justice.  We saw a beautiful Greek marble sculpture of her at Jasmine Hill Gardens in Wetumpka, Alabama of which I later regretted not buying since it was sold when we went back.

This prompted me to look up images on the Internet which led to some fascinating learning.  Lady Justice is often accompanied by Prudencia .  Who’s Prudencia?  That’s what I asked.  I was delighted as to what I learned.  But first, allow me to explore why we are so ignorant of Prudencia.  It comes from the word prudence.  A virtue that has been mocked as of recent era.  Think about it.  How often do you hear, “Oh, don’t be a prude!”

This slogan is popular during times of entertainment and lighthearted desires that are more concerned with an immediate personal high usually at the cost of another’s misfortune of some sort.  This motto takes its victim’s down the slippery slope of poor judgement.  Take a look at the results summarized in this chart that it will ultimately yield.

Prudence Lacks

I created the visual above inspired from a summary Wikipedia’s overview on prudence.  The results are tragic.  So why do so many propagate this saying?  I believe it stems from the power of peer pressure.

When studied prudence and wisdom are synonyms.   They are more or less interchangeable in meaning.  But over time that they’ve been separated.  Otherwise who would listen to “Don’t be wise?”  Doesn’t in mean the same thing as “Don’t be a prude?”

Prudence is known as the auriga virtutum the power behind all of the virtues.  Why wouldn’t we want to be associated with that?  Is evil that popular?  According to the book of Proverbs, it is especially common with the youth otherwise known as pre-teen, teen, and young adult of today’s standards and the wicked.

So if you would take time and consider, what would be better for you, your family, your community,  your country, and ultimately the world?

Prudence With

Honestly assess what power is ultimately needed to pursue such virtue.  Then click on this link to hear a fantastic song by Michael Card that summarizes it well:The Way of Wisdom.

For further reading:




Setting Boundaries: Lessons from Nature

Last Saturday, we drove over to Jasmine Hill Gardens for “Attracting Backyard Wildlife” by Mercedes Bartkovich, Nongame Wildlife Biologist.

Ms. Mercedes led the attendees through constructing wooden bird houses and suet after she delivered a well researched talk.



She shared fantastic information to consider in her talk.  One was the statistic that 2.4 million birds are killed annually by cats.   Her solution?  “If you’re going to have cats outside place feeders up high where cats cannot get on top and near bushes so there is escape and cover nearby.”  Hmm that sounds like establishing more realistic boundaries than the popular advice to keep cats inside.

I love cats.  I grew up with one really special one.  I think the photos



explain why.  She was beautiful, cute, and fun.  Three character traits that can seduce and need to be guarded against.  Because she also was the neighbor hood terror to birds, mice, and chipmunks.

Let me clarify.  She didn’t seduce her prey, but she did seduce us into allowing her to do whatever she wanted which led to a never ending battle with fleas and tape worms.   It was the late 1970’s.  Back then the veterinarian advised she be given to a farm since we just couldn’t keep her inside and he didn’t want to keep injecting her with the poisons to eliminate the unwanted pests.  It was a heart break.  Did we really have to part with our beloved family pet?

Saying goodbye to certain toxic relationships is one of the hottest topic to talk, write, and blog about these days.  Is completely getting rid of certain relationships the answer? My cat brought much pleasure into our lives.  To give her away hurt us almost as much as her fleas and tape worms.  Aren’t many of our personal relationships similar to my family’s with our cat?  Limits, boundaries, and consequences I believe are the answer.  Unfortunately, like many of you, I’ve had to learn the hard way.

Post-modern western culture seduces so easily by beauty and cute. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…”   Proverbs 31:30 warns.  Yet the visual, fast pace, click a button culture continues to be blinded by visual looks.  We’re also humored too much by charm and cute behaviors.

Matthew chapter 7 has become one of my “go to” passages to remind myself of what Jesus admonished.  It’s ironic that the whole point of the teaching is to evaluate other’s behavior in order to be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves , but that the start of the chapter becomes the hallmark passage of tolerance and do not judge.   Indeed one needs to have good boundaries regarding how scriptures are taught as well.   (I recommend Untwisting Scriptures for more on this.)

Back to the dangers of “cute.”  Too many parents, relatives, and friends laugh at children’s attention seeking behaviors when the children really need to be disciplined.  I highly recommend addition reading further below on this topic.

Many in dating relationships wind up in hurtful relationships because good looking dates and funny cute behavior were never limited to start out with.   Sometime it happens in friendship and business.  The point is, we all need to develop good emotional boundaries in order to respect self and others.

Further reading: Surprising reasons why we need to discipline children.

#Boundaries #Healing #Relationships #Disciplinechildren













The Danger of “Cute” and “Beautiful”

I had been reading and writing to no avail for 4+ hours.  It was time to walk away,  get my daughter off her electronics, and get some fresh air outside with the dogs.  I didn’t get far when I noticed cedar Waxwing II Dead Cedar Waxwing I

Wow, it’s a gorgeous bird I knew nothing about.  After I respectfully buried it, I came inside and consulted my bird book to no easy match.  I then turned to a Face Book Group called Birding Alabama. In minutes the members of the group informed me that it was a Cedar Waxwing.  Not only that,  but one woman surmised that it died from eating from a Nandina Berry Bush otherwise known as Sacred Bamboo.  I immediately thought of a bush in my back yard.  I took this picture and asked if this was it.Nandina Berry Bush

Low and behold it is.  It took some time for me to realize along with more comments from the group  like this article from Audubon Society that if I care about these birds I need to get rid of these gorgeous berries and lovely little bush.  But they are so beautiful!

According to this article, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and most states classify Nandina domestica as a noxious, non-native, invasive weed from China and Japan. It has naturalized and invaded our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, city parks, and other habitats throughout the U.S. …In addition to bird deaths in Georgia, bird deaths have been reported in Houston and other parts of the country. Hydrogen cyanide is a painful and unnecessary way for birds to die. Nandina is also toxic to dogs, cats, and many other animals.”

“Non-native”  hmmm that’s an inflammatory adjective.  It is this term I know turn my writing.

As a former public school science teacher I’ve taken myself on numerous professional development opportunities as well as my classes on field trips to remove some of these non-native plants.  But the key to fully understanding which plants need to be removed are several other key adjectives included in the description of this Heavenly Bamboo.  “Noxious and invasive” are key descriptors.

“Noxious” in human relation terms is lack of respect for that which was there to begin with. “Invasive” means that it is “I”, “me”, “my kind”, “my way or the highway.”  This is so important in both the natural world and human.  Why? Well, first of all the truly native plants in each part of the world aren’t sufficient to feed us.  Yup, most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat everyday didn’t originate in the country you live in.  They came from another part of the world.  For example, consider this figure from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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In other words, non-natives and immigration are necessary for the survival of people.  The issue is what other characteristics describe these non-natives?  Are they respectful?  Do they politely integrate and get along?  Or are they there to rape, pillage, kill, and conquer? Do not judge on outward appearance of “cute” or “pretty.”  One must consider all of its characteristic properties.

Two points.  First, consider for nature and for self.  Not all non-native plants, animals, and insects are problematic for the natural environment they have come to.  There may be enough “checks and balances” or “predator/prey” for a healthy balance for the original community.  But is all that was naturally present good and worthy to keep?

This is one of the most confusing parts of the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible.  Why did God command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites, yet allowed the king and the people of Nineveh live in the book of Jonah?

Full Text (in English) of the Book of Jonah

Could it be that some are so vile, noxious, and invasive that they need to be denied, uprooted, and sent away?  Do they need to stay among themselves?

We truly miss out though if we close the doors to other cultures.  What are they getting better than we?  What resources, supplies, and knowledge do they have that might be shared without hurting any?  So it goes back to concept of balance which requires discernment and maturity.  Of which I wrote of in Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo.

balance 1balance 2

In closing,  let us strive to grow in wisdom and maturity.   Let us be accountable.  Appropriate checks and balances are needed for all. May we study and learn diligently, otherwise “non-native,” a completely neutral descriptive adjective is not understood and  not handled properly.  It needs more description.  Is it respectful? Beneficial to the common or just one or two greedy individuals?

by Hope Mucklow




Bad Attitudes and Beliefs: Lessons from Small Foot

My daughter and I came across Small Foot at Red Box last year.  We rented it, fell in love with it, and purchased a copy to add to our home library.  I’m thrilled to see places like Lakemont Park show it this past summer and most recently Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay, Florida. Why?

Small foot

This story,  masterfully written by Mark Mason Robledo, provides fodder for so many issues that are impacting our society today.  Those topics include social media, news, leadership, friendship, and family with the overriding theme that bad attitudes and beliefs prevent us from growing, getting along, and finding satisfaction in our innate calling.

First, we meet a group of Yeti friends.  Some who are questioning their personal worth and others who are questioning what they have been taught to believe.

Then we are transported to the world of humans and meet another pair of friends. Percy and Brenda.  Percy feels so desperate in his attempts to make an impact through social media that he stoops to creating a sensational lie.  Ironically, he learns that yeti’s do exist.  In the process, Percy undergoes personal transformation from a fame seeking individual to a martyr to protect others.

Returning to the Yeti’s we encounter two fathers.  One, the leader,  the Stonekeeper,  who perpetuates cultural lies and the other who is a humble production of these lies.  The Stonekeeper does not maliciously enforce the wrong belief about the truth.  He believes it is the only way to protect his people. This revelation persuades Migo to join along in the propaganda.  But it doesn’t stop the Stonekeeper’s precious daughter, Meechee.  She is resolved to discover the truth and feels betrayed by Migo who chooses to align with her father’s deceitful leadership.

How often do leaders take advantage of  false beliefs to secure and maintain order?  I propose that is one reason why religion has such a bad reputation.  It it suppose to be the portal of truth when instead it often is the means to instill fear and maintain social order.   Do we also fall into this trap like Migo as parents, teachers, and friends?

Humans spook easily.  Our fears lead to many misconceptions.  One is  that we need to be in control of everything especially our children.   Isn’t that what Biblical passages like  I Timothy 3:4-5 are all about?  But a closer look at what Jesus taught might mean something entirely different.

First in John 8:32 Jesus affirms that knowing the truth brings about freedom not control.  Meechee’s drive for the truth is good.  But sometimes the truth hurts.  It can cut deeply.  In a culture that is committed to avoid pain and to amuse itself this creates quite a challenge.

The Stonekeeper persuaded Migo by revealing a horrendous reality in history.  The humans violently attacked the yetis years ago.  Reality is humans have been known to  mistreat, abuse, and kill others from different human groups all throughout various points of history.  Sometimes they behave in ignorance and lack of understanding of one another.  At other times they do it to defend themselves.  And unfortunately, there are a few who did it for selfish gain, power, and/or pleasure.  These are serious offenses that produces traumatic responses.

Dealing with trauma is not easy or pleasant.  It is wrought with agony, bed drenching tears, and grief.  Emotional experiences that no one wants to go through.  The longest book in the Bible, Job, illustrates this.  At first, Job’s friends served him well, but their capacity (seven days which greatly surpasses most) to sit quietly and mourn with their friend expired.  They broke out into reasoning and questioning as to who was to blame for such suffering for the next 35 chapters.  Blame is nothing new it started in the beginning.

In Genesis 3: 12-13 Adam blamed Eve who then blamed the serpent for their rebellion.  It’s continued throughout history.  Instead of confessing that we would rather be gods of our own lives, we constantly push the blame on others whether it be the opposite sex, parents, teachers, or leaders.  We complain and test God, “If only…then I will…” even though He already created perfection in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve are the perfect literary symbols or representatives of all humankind.  Yet we keep blaming them instead of accepting our own responsibility represented by them.

This is why John the Baptist preached to repent and Jesus reinforced it.  Doctor’s cannot prescribe the right treatment until the right diagnosis is made.  The same is true for our spiritual and emotional condition.  The problem is no one wants to accept responsibility.  Entitlement thinking blinds, hinders, and masks. It prevents from making any necessary changes.   It feeds a false sense of “deserve” based on pity or victim mentality.  Think about it.  If we’re all victims of Adam and Eve’s poor choice then the faulty thinking is justified.

So back to Small Foot and the lessons we can learn.  Did the humans apologize for what their ancestors did to the Yeti and commit that they would not let it happen again?  How did the Yeti come to forgive them for treating them this way? How did they find the strength and motivation to forgive?   More importantly will we evaluate our own family and political history?  How does Small Foot encourage you to do so?

This is what I love about a good story.  They trigger thought to inspire reflection, learning, and change for the better.  Enjoy the hilarious humor of Small Foot and take time to think and discuss its deeper matters.  Let’s not embrace any more intentional lies to deceitfully lead and guide others.  Let’s face the truth through love which forgives as it seeks justice and reparations.

by Hope Mucklow, author of Rojo The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo


International Red Panda Day 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019 is the 10th International Red Panda Day coordinated by the Red Panda Network.

International Red Panda Day


This particular model is growing up.  Based on her current age and needs I will be hosting our local annual event in Central Alabama at the  Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts located at The Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery, Alabama.  The table of education and art will be in the Children’s Museum located inside MMFA from 1:30-3:30 PM.

The Park


“No, it’s not Labrador Day.  You’re not endangered.  Red pandas are.  And they are the original panda!”

Come on over to learn more, to draw red pandas, and make red panda masks.  There’s no entry or participation fee.  If you can’t attend, click here to download a fantastic activity guide filled with fun facts and learning. RPN IRPD2019 Activity Booklet

Hope Mucklow is the author of  “Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo.”

Red Panda Wisdom from a Cub called “Rojo”

#theOriginalPanda #IRPD2019

Understanding Complex Stories

Who doesn’t love a good story?  The best offer more than just entertainment.  They serve as conduits for life lessons, morals, healing, and a greater understanding of what it means to be human.  But many miss these opportunities because they get lost in the complexity of the form in which it is told.  Ballet is one of them.

Appreciation often comes with teaching and exposure.  Sometimes it takes hundreds of hours. This has been the case for me.  I had been taught that dance was dirty and unworthy.  Little did I understand until my daughter started to take ballet classes at The Alabama Dance Theater otherwise known as ADT.  I wrote  about  our experiences with their ballet productions of  Dracula and Beauty and the Beast in early blogs.  Today I am focused on the ballet La Bayadere.

ADT’s Summer Intensive finale will include some scenes from LaBayadere at their performance of Stars on the Riverfront in Montgomery, Alabama early next week.

Stars RR photo

My daughter was selected to participate in this shortened version of La Bayadare in a supportive role.  So she has been coming back from rehearsals with bits and pieces of her understanding of the story line.  I’m so grateful as without the time to research this ballet,  I would most likely misunderstand the story and opportunities to talk with my daughter regarding valuable lessons from the story.

First, let’s revisit how personal experience affects one’s understanding.  I wrote about this in another blog How the context of TV affects children’s understanding.  TV, Movies, and books as well as personal experiences are the very context in which many interpret new learning.  This is definitely what my daughter did with La Bayadare, which means “Temple dancer.”

She had first learned about temple dancers through The missionary, Amy Carmichael.  Amy spent much of her work rescuing children who’s poor desperate parents sold them to the Temple to live and work.  My daughter loves to dance, but not as a child slave in a Temple in India.  For my dancer this story surmounts incredible sympathy for the young girls that she learned about trapped in this lifestyle.  It also awakens her awareness that not all religions bow down to the same deity, much less the one that she chooses to.  She does not want to bow down to other gods and I applaud her for this.

What I had to point out to her is that participating in this ballet does not mean that ADT or any of the dancers are promoting the culture and religion featured in this ballet.  What they are doing is offering exposure to it.  And they are also delving into the depths of ballet history as this particular one connects the time periods of the the Classical and Romantic Eras of ballet.

In addition, Sara Sanford and the staff at ADT are bringing to Montgomery this history with local choreography and dancers in addition guest faculty: Shawn Black, Jonathan Chapman, Meghan Chapman, and Wendy White Sasser.

So go back and rightclick on  the colored words pertaining to La Bayadere to learn more about this particular story and then come on out with a lawn chair or blanket to the Montgomery, Alabama River front on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 7:30 PM or Monday, July 29, 2019 to enjoy the show.  It’s free and the gates open at 6:00 pm.  Vendors will be on site selling refreshments.

by Hope Mucklow  #MontgomeryAlabama #ADT #Ballet #LaBayadere

Hope Mucklow, Author, Song Writer, Teacher, Tutor, & Coach


Old verses New, Silver or Gold

*Green links are designed by the author for you to see original sources or learn more.  Unfortunately some companies have attacked my page and have put links to their advertisements in blue.  Do not give them any business.  They are stealing advertising from my writing.  I do NOT endorse any of them.  I have intentionally changed words and misspelled others in order to eliminate their access.

I heard growing up at Brownies, Girl Scouts, and my mom (who wasn’t involved in scouting), “Make new friends and keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

The best answer I could find to give proper credit to this poetic phrase is Sue Lynch wrote it and its the first line of longer more beautiful poem that is posted as a Scout Song.

I hear the song in my head as I mother my pre-teen daughter through the social ills of this stage of life just like other songs came to me when she was younger.

Motivational Children’s Songs

Music soothes and poetry has a wonderful way to concisely convey something that we need to hear.   Marketng experts call these sound bites.  Jay Wolf,  Pastor at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama is known by his congregation for “Jay-isms,” short pithy statements that discourage bad attitudes and stimulate positive God honoring thinking instead.

Popular Culture in 2019 has become very polarized from opposing political spectrum’s.  The neck breaking pace of society, bombarding messages of discard and consume, and then emotional trauma that prevents humans from maturing into adulthood has created a culture of “un-friending” people rather than seeing their value and maintaining the relationship.   This is nothing new in the big picture of the past.

The apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 2:14-26 that followers of Christ should be seeking mature living of value and warned that many make  poor choices instead.   This passage speaks spot on to the whole point of my take on the first verse of this poem. But, I want to extend our thinking beyond friendships with these lines.

Marketing geniuses love to bully you with technology, the latest fashion, etc…  in with the new out with the old.  And the first to do it wins and he/she who is last is deserving to be mocked.  But let’s think for a minute, while some advances in technology are great and worth keeping many have been steeping stones that quickly fade away and then others have been returned to.  How about the whole vinyl movement?  Who would have ever thought the old way of serving as a DJ would re-emerge?

Not all practices of old that resurface are good though.  I’ve enjoyed learning about essential oils and frequently use to stay well, but they were not the answer to restore my hearing in my left ear three weeks ago.  The essential oil books were just hocus pocus in this situation.  I needed help from Dr. Griffith and his assistant, Heather,  from http://www.theentcenter.com/ to dig out wax that just flat out obstructed my ear’s ability to function properly.

It took me many years to trust a medical professional again.  I had experienced a disrespectful job departure from the profession, lost good income and therefore insuranc, and found incompetent care in the Affordable Act  that I was forced into in South Florida.  But it wasn’t just this, when I worked in the medical community in the Northeast,  I saw from the inside how flawed it can be.  I witnessed how human or full of ignorance, arrogance, politically motivated, religiously biased and greedy it’s leaders can sometimes behave. So, in my pain and immaturity, the temptation to throw it out presented for me.  But my essential oils don’t work for everything and I can’t give myself a full physical exam much less accurate diagnosis.  So, I had to step out, seek help, and trust again.

What I’m after is, any experience, belief, and training can fall from gold to silver or even lesser status, but it still holds purpose.  It’s like my first coaching job.  I thought equally about a great coach I had and one not so encouraging.  The first I choose to emulate. The other I kept as a warning to me not to show favoritism to the more talented swimmers and to take time to care for the not so fast.   Building personal discipline, character, and collaboration had to be more important than winning.

Finally, let’s consider the Apostle Paul’s writing seriously.  What kind of friend are you?  What kind of experiences are you extending to others?  Are you humble enough to see that perhaps you have hurt others too?  Or that you might have more learning and maturing to do?  Let’s invest in life long learning that exceeds the intellect by including emotional and spiritual growth.  Be open to the loving observations of others (not those out to belittle you).  The book of Proverbs quotes in several places that the wise heed correcting but fools spurn it.   And for those who have contributed to not so shining and valuable metal experiences give them healthy boundaries, prayer, and time.  Perhaps the blacksmith is still working on them too.

Then in conclusion the 4th and 5th paragraphs of this poem may hold true:

Silver is precious, Gold is too. I am precious, and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you and together we will see it through.

#Healing #Maturing #Traumarecovery





Why I Use Essential Oils

Health fads come and go.  But the use of essential oils is one I’ve been buying into for over 2 years and will continue on.  First, allow me to shed some extensive light on my background as to why I believe what I do now.  But if you don’t have time and you are only interested in the essential oil part scroll through to the second half of this blog.

I grew up in a home where Dad brought in a very reliable and steady income as a pharmacist who worked for a big American Pharmaceutical Company.  I remember at 4 years of age helping him tape bubble gum to antibiotic samples that he dropped of in pediatricians offices.  I advanced into answering the phone and taking messages for him as that was the means to contact him in the days before cell phones.  I loved to play in his office and flip through his medical books.

The time came for me to choose a major in college.  To Dad it was obvious: pharmacy.   But there were deep insecurities in my learning at this time.  I had performed poorly three times on the SAT’s,  struggled in high school chemistry, and never advanced to Calculus.  This was just the kind of student they administrators planned to weed out in freshman Biology, Chemistry, sophomore Organic Chemistry, and Physics at WVU.  Thankfully, I did land that small cello scholarship.  Mr. Skidmore, my cello professor, made my private lessons therapy and the means to survive the college madness of survival of the fittest.   But, one needs to make a living and the art world can be a scary one for someone who grew up with Dad bringing in a steady income.

So, I made a compromise.  Science teachers seemed to usually be in demand.  I really preferred my first job, teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA, to standing on my feet counting pills and charging people a lot of money.  I negotiated with my that I could change my major to Secondary Education with certifications in Biology and General Science and if I earned good grades I could still do what he did, work in the pharmaceutical industry.

I upheld my end of the commitment.  I graduated Cum Laude.  It would have been Magna, but I hadn’t overcome my insecurities as a student until I completed on of my educational classes the second semester of my sophomore year.   But I also liked my student teaching experience and sought work in public education first.

The high school I graduated from had a half day-long-term-substitute teaching position opened when I completed my undergraduate studies and secured my provisional state teacher’s certificate.  They also needed both a head and assistant Varsity Boys and Girls Swim Team coach.

During the interview I think they were more interested in my possible ability to coach than teach.  Their team had fallen into undisciplined shambles and needed help right away.  I certainly didn’t think I was that individual.  But I did agree provided they sent me for coaching training.  Off I went to Philadelphia for a weekend to earn 50 units level 2- HS from The American Swimming Coaches Association.

I managed to apply this training and discipline at practice to earn the respect of the parents, competing teams, and took the Girl’s Team to win the District division.  I was well positioned for the next full-time permanent teaching position in the school district.  However, a conversation was reported against me that had political ramification against me.

A student who wasn’t in any of my classes or on my swim team approached me in my off teaching hours while I worked in the library.  She asked, “Ms. Mucklow, I heard you’re a Christian.  Is that true?”  I replied, “Yes.”  She proceeded, “Then how can you be a science teacher?  You believe in evolution don’t you?”  I replied, “Evolution is a theory just like Creationism is.  There’s data to support both theories.”  Excitedly she said, “Really?  Where can I learn the data that supports Creation?  I want to write a report for English class.”  I offered her some of my books by Dr. Duane Gish, PhD and asked that she return them when she was done.  A reading teacher over heard the conversation and reported it to my science chair person.  I was reprimanded even though I sited all the statistics that I ran in “Evolution and Ecology” my junior year at WVU that should how major species adaptations that could lead to a jump in species turned out to be  99.999% fatal.

So, the district did offer me a full time teaching position the next year, but cut that 9th grade science position back to half-day.  This was going to be tricky.  In 1990 the Pennsylvania’s process for achieving a professional teaching certificate required that one teaches 4/6 years consecutively in the same district.  Hmm do the math.  I already lost one year with only half day credit.  Meanwhile, I took it in hopes that a full-time position would open soon.  A position did open up and it did before Christmas.  Funny, during the interview, that conversation I had with the student was brought up.  I didn’t get the job and I knew why.

A few months later, a health care recruiter called my dad to see if he wanted to change companies.  He replied, “No, but you might be interested in talking to my daughter.”  Susan Green from Health Care Recruiters in Pittsburgh help me to land my first job as a pharmaceutical representative for an American company.

I really didn’t care for the job and missed teaching for the first three years.  However, it paid really well and had enough training of interest to keep me.  I performed well, won some awards, and earned a promotion to move to the big cities of the NE to figure out a new sales job for the company to consider.   I did well again, and earned a promotion to become a medial liaison for new drug development.  But this new product I was assigned to was having safety issues, so the company cut our positions back so that I had to cover 1/4 of the United States.

Travel was fun, but scary, and hard on me.  I gained weight, had no time to exercise, and started having asthma attacks in the hotel rooms late at night.  I just wasn’t suited for this in my late 20’s.  I wanted to get married and had no time to meet anyone.  I did well again, was compensated handsomely, but I was discontent.  A former colleague jumped ship to work for another company.  She gave me a call.  Would I go back into sales?  For a healthier lifestyle, yes!  So much to my former companies begging me to stay, I left.

Initially, I had a great time with this International Company.  They had establish products that were market leaders, well published studies to back their claims, and lots of money to do business with.  The later part was necessary because the only way we could convince HCPs to talk to us is if we brought lunch or took them out to dinner.    None of us liked it, but it’s what we had to do in order to complete our work.

What I valued most is the privilege to sit in to listen to the morning rounds, noontime conferences, journal clubs, and Medical Grand Rounds.  Gee, I was getting paid to listen to this while those medical students were paying exorbitant tuition fees to do so!  I valued this so much that a few professors of medicine took notice and encouraged me to go to medical school.  I seriously evaluated this, but realized that it was a bad business decision.  Why would I go into that kind of debt when I already was making almost as much money as some of them?  Plus, deep down I knew I didn’t have the health to work the hours that they did.

I was the company poster child.  I took most of the medications I sold.  So, I added personal testimony to the company lines cheerfully.   And they knew it because they were the doctors who diagnosed me, wrote the prescriptions, and saw my improvement.  But a few haunting questions would come up.  What about the long run? Will tachyphalaxis (the body adjust to the drug and no longer work) occur?  What about long-term side effects?  I got what I deserved.  Of course I assured them with the company line that all was well, but now as a middle aged woman, I suffer these long-term effects.

I bruise so easily.  My skin is so thin.  This is one of the long-term side effects of intranasal and inhaled corticosteriods.  I’m also resistant to almost every antibiotic on the pharmacy shelf.  I’ve gone under the knife (surgery) two times.  I wound up applying for and being approved for disability retirement the first round due to my chronic sinusitis condition.

But one of the realities I didn’t consider was that I would not be able to afford to pay my 40% responsibility towards health insurance offered to me through my former employer with my disability income.  Therefore, I gave up the insurance.  I tried the Affordable Health Care Act, but was so infuriated at how expensive and incompetent the care was.  Then I found out about Christian Health Share programs.  This solution was helpful, but puts the emphasis on me to get well.

My mother, sister, and other home school moms were starting to use essential oils.  I was highly skeptical.  I tried a sample here and there, but found no adequate relief.  Then at a conference, I was in so much discomfort I sought out the Young Living booth.

Cocco was offering a make and take bottle.  I shared with her my discomfort, needs, and interests.  She then suggested I try a mix she made on the spot for me.  I immediately went the the rest room to apply.  I was shocked at how quickly I felt relief.  I ran back to the booth and signed up to become a member.

However, my credit card company stopped the transaction for fear that my card had been stolen.  So I had to wait to go home and try again.

I had been going through a lot.  I was in the middle of my third separation from my then husband and father of my daughter.  I had an unpleasant departure from my 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry and teaching career.  I gave way to fear and ordered the basic starter kit instead that retails for only $45 instead of the Premium Starter kit illustrated here for $165 that includes a diffuser.  Do the math for yourself to see the value is much more than double.

Oh how silly I was.  I wound up paying the price for the Premium Starter kit two weeks later.  But, I’m glad I did.  Because I realized that Young Living really offers an amazing introductory kit.

It’s been almost two years since I’ve started using their essential oils.  I’m not thrilled with network marketing.  It’s not where I want to spend my time.  I’d rather write more blogs, publish another illustrated book like

Red Panda Wisdom from a Cub called “Rojo”

read a book, teach piano, violin, cello or tutor. But, I will account that two years later, I have sustain the best health I have had in over 20 years without any of those maintenance prescription drugs.  I also believe that facing all of my loss, heartache, and pain head on with a desire to work through it in order to grow and become stronger has contributed greatly as well.  These in addition to adequate rest, exercise, and healthy eating combined have enabled me to live a pretty healthy lifestyle considering my underlying diseases.  This is why I write this blog, to encourage you too.

If you’re ready to give essential oils a try, click here to become a member yourself.


If you need more encouragement on facing the demons of your past and present scroll through my blogs.

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