Natural Living

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I came across this photo that I took when Joshie was just a couple of months old. He’ll be ten months old in a couple of weeks and I don’t have to bore you with my where-does-the-time-go cliches, I’m sure.

The truth is he got really sick at six weeks old and that was one of the most intense Mama times I’ve ever had. So fraught was I that in seeing Stewart hold him out in the warm sunshine, I sobbed from the kitchen window. The sound of a newborn with a rattling chest cough was the sound of heartbreak to me.

Everyone else got sick too – everyone, that is, except me. I was sure with the tingling in the back of my throat that I was next. When Joshie went down I was certain the 2-5 hours of sleep I was getting would do me in. The hours of prayer as I walked with him in the Moby through the night were the only thing that subdued that certainty and that Mama fear.

Five times a babe had entered my arms after being grown in my body and still I needed prayer. Five times I have birthed at home, surrounded by love, delivered only by the Lord’s grace and mercy. And still… and still I wrestle with unbelief in the midst of a chest cough.

Those nights when it was me and Joshie pacing the floor of the kitchen, hearing Ruthie cough from her crib, seeing Stewart stumble out to comfort the four I was not holding; those were nights that helped me see my unbelief for what it was. What it is. The Lord could have taken Joshie with that chest cough and would have still been the same Holy, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Sovereign Lord I worship today, with Joshie still alive and still in my arms.

Please give us what we need, Lord, is now on repeat. For if there is one thing I’ve learned through my conversion, eleven years of marriage, five babes, and five years as a homesteader, it is this: I am no expert on what I truly need.

But He is.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

And in knowing that I don’t know what I need, and seeing Him supply it over and over and over again – despite my unbelief – I see why the next verse is “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”



Garlic-Honey Tea

This is the tea I make for the family when throats are sore and coughs are deep. It is actually strangely delicious, despite its inauspicious ingredients.


  • 4-6 cloves garlic, depending on your taste preference
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 4 teaspoons honey


Peel garlic cloves and add them to a quart jar. Pour the boiling water over the garlic, cover the jar, and allow to steep for ten minutes.

Strain tea from garlic and pour into four cups. Add one teaspoon of honey per cup, more if desired. Stir and sip slowly.


I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but like a squirrel I feel like I should be stocking up on the essentials. I make bulk purchases of grains, beans, and coconut oil. I buy more toilet paper than I normally would and garner funnier looks than usual from the lady behind the cash register. (I wonder what her face would look like if I told her about our “composting” toilet).

And I generally replenish our usual stash of herbal and natural remedies.

I’m really excited to be growing more of our herbal medicines. Truth be told, some of these medicinal herbs were the easiest things to grow in this harsh climate and many of them are perennials, which is always exciting to me.

Along with our homegrown oregano, mullein, and a few others I’ve been meaning to tell you about, I like to keep some immune-boosting stuff on hand. I am definitely more interested in staying healthy and keeping the immune system strong with real food, plants, and good quality supplements than heading to the doctor with sick little ones. Then again, isn’t everybody?

With all of the hype at this time of year surrounding whatever current epidemic is going around the globe, I’m happy to find a common sense approach to generally aiding your immune system against all types of illness in this article. It reiterates some things we’ve done off and on for years that I may have gotten slack on, and is a helpful reminder to me to keep things on hand.

With that in mind, here is our latest stash of immune-boosting foods, herbs, and supplements:


Herbs & Plants

  1. Lemon
  2. Lavender
  3. Tea Tree
  4. Clove (I was happy to find it 20% off this month!)
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Rosemary
  7. Eucalyptus

(Boy howdy, am I ever not interested in joining in on the big essential oils debate. I’ve used several brands, including both of the big MLM brands, and liked some and not others. We use Mountain Rose Herbs oils most frequently, mostly because I trust and respect their company, their products, and their overall mission to bring all forms of herbal medicine to folks.)


We generally like to put more emphasis on foods and plants, but we also like to be realistic about times when our diet isn’t ideal. So, this is our general list.

Did we miss something? What do you eat/make/take to keep your immune systems up?