Wait… What? You Can Eat Flowers?
My first introduction to the world of useful plants was my Uncle Milton, a life-long hunter, camper, and survivalist.
Uncle Milt took me outside on one of his visits when I was 8 or 9 years old. We sat on the hillside where I was making daisy chains for a crown and he taught me how to make whistles with blades of grass sandwiched between my thumbs, and how to suck the nectar from red clover blossoms.
When I was 14, my sister came home from cosmetology school with 6 or 7 recipes for skin-care products you could make from common kitchen ingredients.
Cucumber Face Mask… Almond Scrub… Vinegar Skin Toner…
I was enchanted!
A Match Made in the Kitchen
I immediately turned my mother’s kitchen into a lab and made every recipe. That was not enough, however, so I went on the hunt for all the recipes I could find. I scoured health food stores, herb shops, and bookstores for any recipe I could find.
I quickly snatched up the only copy of “A Woman’s Book of Natural Beauty” by Anita Guyton at our local bookstore.
This book was amazing! It was not only chock-full of recipes for all sorts of cosmetics, it also had a list of ingredients and their cosmetic properties.
With my parents help and support I began collecting other books–mostly herbals–books filled with not only herb identification, but also tons of wisdom on how to use them.
Plays in the Dirt… Calls It Gardening
I made every cosmetic I could find the ingredients for. Everything else I had to learn to grow myself.
Sooo… I became a gardener. At least I think I did.
I grew mint, calendulas, lemon balm, chives, thyme, lavender, parsley… and roses.
Oh the roses! Heirloom roses that would perfume an entire room with one bloom!
They were heavenly… but unfortunately not suited to our soil, so they didn’t last long. I soon gained a new-found respect for professional gardeners and grew both herb and vegetable gardens wherever we lived. I eventually spent a year in college studying landscape architecture.
Rub It All Over
My mother soon brought me an old book on soapmaking she had kept over the years.
It contained instructions on making homemade soap from wood ashes and animal fat. It was awesome!
I started experimenting with soap-making and got quite good at it. I didn’t make mine out of wood ashes, though (but I could if I had to). I made mine out of lard and lye. Sometimes it would turn out fantastic, and sometimes not, but I was in love with soapmaking.
As soon as I learned I could make it entirely out of plant oils, I abandoned the lard. I loved animals too much.
“Is That an Herb or a Weed?” “What’s the difference?”
I started packaging soap, lip balm and salves and selling them to family and friends. The first store I sold my products to was a small local boutique bookstore nestled under a large tree near a bend in the road.
It was a quaint little shop with a full wall of windows and the charm of a beekeeper’s cottage. The owner’s home that sat behind it was an ecclectic mix of add-ons to the old settler’s log cabin that had been standing there for more than 100 years.
I fell in love with their home… the terra cotta tile floors, breakfast nook surrounded by windows that over looked the garden, and the enormous wooden farmhouse table in her studio.
One day the owner, a woman named Louise, asked me if I would help her recover the overgrown herb garden she had inherited with the property. I was flattered and delighted to help.
We spent the next few Saturdays weeding, identifying the plants, and sharing tea and sandwiches in her kitchen.
The Cost of a So-Called Cure
One day over cocoa, Louise announced that she had cured herself of cervical cancer by changing her diet.
I was wide-eyed with shock. I had been raised with the general idea that cancer was incurable.
Louise explained that the doctor’s only options for her was a $45k partial hysterectomy, followed by a $45k full hysterectomy if the cancer came back. He admitted in the end, that if the cancer continued to come back after that, there was nothing they could really do. She told me she kept her $90k and started looking for other answers.
She eventually found a dietary program that was primarily a plant-based diet that utilized the Oriental principles of Yin/Yang and the energy of food. She was so afraid of the cancer, she adhered to it strictly for two years without breaking even for one piece of candy.
Two years later she was cancer free.
Unplanned and Unexpected
Louise confided that the reversal of cancer was the least of the miracles that happened. She reported other results like losing all her excess weight without exercise, no body odor or bad breath, insane mental clarity, sound restful sleep, and tons of energy.
What was the most miraculous, she shared, were the extra-sensory abilities. She had started seeing people. (Call them ghosts, entities, whatever you choose.) She could see them plain as day but others couldn’t. She said she was aware of who they were in relation to the people they hung around, and what message they were trying to send.
This freaked people out.
It freaked Louise out. She eventually broke her strict diet in an attempt to insulate her from this new phenomenon.
“No one told me I would have those kinds of experiences. I just wasn’t prepared for that,” she said.
You Mean That Stuff Is True?
This was an enormous awakening for me. I had thought all the information I read about the medicinal properties of food and herbs in my studies were just folk tales… myths.
I was incredulous to realize that so-called “incurable” diseases were in fact curable. That nutrition could have a profound effect on the mind and its abilities, and that just by eating right I could not only normalize my weight naturally, but also eliminate so many of the commonplace issues we take for granted… like bad breath and body odor.
I couldn’t understand how the medical profession didn’t know this… why everyone didn’t know this. All I could think about was the amount of suffering that could be alleviated with this knowledge.
Louise spent the next several days and weeks teaching me about the methods she had used. I taught her how to make soap.
Speak For Yourself
I began searching immediately for a way to educate myself in nutrition and herbal medicine. I found several schools, but they all included astrology and other spiritual classes I wasn’t interested in. I wanted a school that taught me what to take, what chemicals were contained in it, and what they did to the body–a simple straightforward approach backed by science.
I searched for six years while working on a business management career.
At the age of 24, I walked into a health food store in Omaha, Nebraska. At a display of books written by Dr. John R. Christopher, where I was flipping through his book “Regenerative Diet”, a woman came up behind me and asked me who Dr. Christopher was. Before I could think about it, I blurted out, “He’s God’s gift to Herbal Medicine.”
I don’t know how those words came out of me, but as soon as I said it, I felt it was true. I remember thinking “Where did THAT come from?” I had never read any of his works. I looked again at the book in my hands and then at the clerk. “I’ll take this one!”
A Sorcerer’s Apprentice
While reading Dr. Christopher’s book, I had many “Aha” moments. My passion for herbs and nutrition was rekindled and I enrolled in his School of Natural Healing, eventually being invited to go work for the school. Within three years, I graduated with my certificate as a Master Herbalist.
Upon graduation, I began consulting with clients and educating them in natural forms of healing.
I worked with friends and family and saw miraculous results. I even helped use my knowledge to improve the health of the horses and other animals on our farm, and enjoyed several long-distance horse treks where I was able to use my skills to help both the individuals and the horses under extreme physical conditions.
From working full-time as a live-in consultant for a man with Parkinson’s Disease to helping a friend through a juice fast while he waited for colon cancer surgery, it was a wonderful growing time for me.
Detoured and Derailed
I eventually got married and had a daughter.
The marriage was difficult from the start, and I left two years later. I struggled to get by financially. I had been a stay-at-home mom for two years and breaking back into hotel management after that was almost impossible. I finally realized after a year of trying to find gainful employment, that I was going to have to go back to school.
I enrolled in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s Hospitality Administration program to get my bachelor’s degree. Over the course of the next ten years, I struggled to stay afloat financially, attend college, raise my daughter, and keep my ex-husband from harassing and abusing us.
My ex-husband drug me through court for nine years, destroying us both emotionally and financially. My parents sold our farm to pay for my divorce, but even that wasn’t enough.
The abuse was never-ending. What he did to us would fill volumes and almost took both our lives. My daughter and I both ended up suicidal.
It’s difficult for a creative visionary to be stifled and suppressed. I had so many ideas for the creation of a wellness center with overnight accommodations, education, therapies, a shop, gardens… my heart wanted to help change the world by immersing people in a hands-on experience they could take home with them.
With all my attention being clawed at, I never seemed able to make any plans work. Everything failed. I felt so inadequate… so worthless. I was Jaylyn Enemy #1, and my ex-husband was vying for Enemy #2 with all his might.
My self-esteem gone, my direction gone, my joy gone… I didn’t know where to go, what to do. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I had become something I didn’t recognize or even like, just to survive. I was angry, bitter, hateful and self protective… like a badger cornered and threatened for too long.
All I had known for so many years was how to survive. I didn’t know how to succeed anymore.
Rising From The Ashes
The end only came when my ex-husband was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident.
I didn’t fully realize until his passing, that I would have never been truly at peace without it. My daughter, my freedom, my peace… my life, had all been handed back to me in an instant, and I had no idea what to do with it.
How do you go from the consciousness level of war, protection and survival to thriving, giving, and loving? How do you recover after being robbed of fifteen years of your life?
I was fortunate to have found my husband Daniel during this time. He was there during the worst of it. He refused to give up on me even when I was so mentally tortured I ended up sitting in a tree. If he hadn’t been there during the last six years I might not be here today.
He loves me and he supports me, and that’s what matters most. He gave me a second chance.
I Searched… and I Searched… and I Searched Some More
The last eighteen years has pushed me to search. I craved information and solutions for anything that would ease the suffering… anything that would help my daughter and I at least have a bearable life.
I searched for answers to my emotional pain through religion, spirituality, psychic connection, psychology, divination, history, philosophy, energy work…
I searched for answers to my financial problems through budgeting, investing, real estate, business, work…
I searched for answers to the ever-growing health problems and obesity I was experiencing through what I knew of nutrition and herbal medicine…
Just one thing kept me from achieving all that I desired.
I was just too stressed and tired–too battered and abused–to think about trying to improve things. It was all I could do just to stay alive until the end of every day.
As I write this, it has now been just over three years since I was given back my freedom.
I won’t say I’m “fixed.” I won’t say I’m “healed,” either.
What I am, is better.
I am better than I was.
I am happier than I was.
I’m wiser than I was.
I am on my way to becoming healthier than I was. It has been a long journey.
Now it’s time to clean house and start over.
That’s something I do every single day. I start over. I clean house–inside and out.
You’ll find quite a variety of information shared here on this site.
Not only am I going to share with you everything I’ve learned about health, nutrition, and bodywork, but you’ll also find some wisdom about loving yourself, taking care of you, your mind, your body, your relationships, your career, your money, and your home–about loving and taking care of your life.
And you’ll get to watch me do it, too.