Battle germs with essential oils

Supernal Living with Dana Taylor

REVISED: January 2020
Something is definitely in the air, and I’m not talking about L-O-V-E. The coronavirus is front pages news right now. Seems a good time to revisit some commonsense ways a family can protect themselves from viruses circling the globe. The human immune system has a marvelous capacity to attack and overcome viral and bacterial invasions everyday. No need to panic. Just be smart. Use good basic hygiene. Always wash hands after public exposure and wear a face mask if the flu is reported in your area. If someone is ill in your home, keep a bowl of water and bleach standing. Always dip your hands in the solution after being in the sick room. Here are my go-to essential oils. My family has used Young Living Essential Oils since the early 1990’s. There are probably other good brands on the market, but Young Living has served us…

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“Faith is our Survival,” Words from an Iranian Prison

2019 marks the fourth Christmas for Nazanin Radcliffe to languish in an Iranian prison caught in a power struggle between Britain and Iran. This week her husband, Richard, and five-year-old daughter, Gabriella, help vigil outside the British Prime Minister’s residence on Downing Street.

Read the Daily Mail report here.

Nazanin and baby Gabriella were detained at the Tehran International Airport three and a half years ago after a visit with Nazanin’s parents. Though accused of plotting against the Iranian regime, it appears Nazanin is a pawn in a dispute over an old debt from Britain to the Iranian government. Until recently Gabriella lived with her grandparents and visited her mother, when allowed, in prison. Bittersweet moments with Gabriella and occasional long distance phone conversations with Richard have punctuated Nazanin’s months, days, and years of incarceration. Gabriella is now with her father in London. Her mum’s imprisonment will no doubt be a defining theme of her life.

I’ve been praying for Nazanin through the ordeal, hoping for her freedom, and consciously joining others in prayers to mitigate and improve the circumstances of her days. Read and sign the Free Nazanin Ratcliffe Petition at Change.org.

Below is a poem Nazanin transmitted through Richard. “A Yard of Sky” so poignantly expresses her pain and hope for better days. 

You remain in our hearts, Nazanin…..

A Yard of Sky

by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Sometimes days can pass

Without me seeing the sky

Except that small piece with the lonely cloud

Brooding over the prison yard

Our view in this far off place

While elsewhere the trees bloom

And the sun dazzles

And the leaves fall

And the snows come again

In our yard of sky

Days do not differ

They do not pass, but repeat

As a mother alone

These days I am a lonely mother:

I bathed my baby in my tears of goodbye

My arms full of cuddles now ended,

With kisses of hope

For her return

On an adventure to be with her hero

Who she could only imagined for more than half her life

A reality now to mend.

I was left behind

With my repeating

While outside passes by and on

Tears my food, fears filling my mind

Solitude too often my friend, and doubt my relentless foe

What if they never let me go?

Laughter become my past, sorrow only my present

And hope on a horizon hard to see

Yesterday we sat in the yard

We welcomed the newcomers from solitary

And baked scones for breakfast

Which we ate with pistachio peel jam

Willing it to taste sweet

We showed them the yard of winter sun

Wishing it to be warm

I talked of the almond tree

In my grandparents’ village up in the hills.

It survives the wind and cold and storm

Then bears the most beautiful blossoms

And almonds so sweet in May

I talked of the almond tree we have at home

Now far away

I talked of being strong

To myself as well as to those listening

For when the seasons move again.

Freedom needs its faiths

That faith is our survival

Within these walls of recurring days

And absences

Across the swirling storms of Iran

That lonely days of separation will pass,

That the walls will fall

That beyond the pale sun

Injustice will become a shadow

And our trees of solitude will blossom again

In the sky beyond the yard.

One day we will sit on our own balcony

And see the sky open wide

Watching the seals in their sunbathing

A new breakfast of scones and jam

Understanding their sweetness anew

With the happiness in arms so long out stretching

And cuddles no longer missed

Now to fill a new life.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Evin Prison, Winter 2019

 

Santa Goes Hawaiian

Mrs. Claus is so over cold weather ~~~

Twas a chilly night at the North Pole,
Santa snoozed by a fire in a warm, woolen stole.
A bang of the door ruined his sleep.
Mrs. Claus stomped in with soggy, wet feet.

“That’s it,” she said. “I’m sick of this cold place,
the ice, wind, and snow always stinging my face.
What’s worse, I get chased by a big polar bear,
and Santa, I think that you don’t even care!”

It’s my great pleasure to announce the publication of ALOHA SANTA. Two years ago I wrote the verse to perform in my Sweet Adeline chorus Christmas show. My singing sisters encouraged me to turn the fanciful rhyme of Santa and Mrs. Claus moving Hawaii into a children’s book. Illustrator Jaana Baker brings the story to life with her clever and charming pictures.

ALOHA SANTA is now available in paperback at Amazon. Delight the youngsters in your life with this bright, fun holiday tale. Makes a delightful gift.

                    

20% of all royalties from November 25 thru December 25 will be donated to the Na Leo Lani Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.

 

Order at Amazon today!  ALOHA SANTA

Magical Maui Weekend

by Dana Taylor

Magical Maui beckoned last weekend with an invitation to visit a new AirBnB cottage set up by a friend (Christine) of a friend (Patti). Before dawn on Saturday morning Patti and I took the 40 minute jet ride from Honolulu to Maui, rented a car, and set off for adventure.
 We began the day at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm where we toured their garden, filled with unique tropical plants and flowers. With lookouts over the valleys and across the ocean, it is truly an enchanting experience. I sat on a bench and meditated while mild breezes ruffled my clothes.
On the recommendation from the friendly gals in the gift shop, we enjoyed a quality sandwich at Grandma’s Cafe for lunch.  Afterwards we visited the Maui Winery and purchased a bottle of their unique pineapple wine.

Kula Cottontail Cottage

It was only a few minutes from there to the main event– Kula Cottontail Cottage. The cottage is tucked into the hills on property owned by Christine and Sam Heidema, who live in another house on the grounds. This energetic young couple have turned a tired rental property into a cozy cottage on their small upcountry natural fiber farm. With a career in constructural engineering, Sam designed and remodeled the cottage with comfort and practicality in mind. Christine’s creative artistry added the touches of welcoming charm. A living room, a bedroom with a comfy kingsize bed, one bath, washer and dryer, make a it an affordable two-person getaway.

Christine Heidema

                          
While the view between the trees from the porch across the sea is lovely, it’s the unique critters in the backyard that provide the “wow” moment. Christine creates natural yarn from the animals on her property. Pictured here are her two pregnant alpacas, Faith and Hope. Their serene gazes are food for the soul. Each spring the animals are shorn. Christine uses age old techniques to wash, comb,  and spin yarn from their fleece. She also keeps an assortment of angora rabbits and laboriously combs and spins together strands of their fur into skeins of yarn. Each Saturday she sells her yarns at the local Farmer’s Market. Most weekends her stock is gone by the end of the morning.
The elegant outdoor seating area provides a fireplace to warm the surprisingly chilly Maui nights. Faith and Hope are just on the other side of the fence, providing a storybook ambiance. As the sun set, Patti and I sipped our pineapple wine (delicious) at the outdoor table, surrounded by alpacas, bunnies, and the occasional free roaming chicken.
After a good meal at the Kula Bistro, we slept under comforters to ward off cold night air. After living in the perpetual summer of Honolulu, cool air was a real treat. The next morning I roused before Patti and performed my daily yoga and meditations as the sun rose and the neighboring roosters provided a crowing symphony to greet the day. After a simple breakfast and a short visit with Christine and Sam, we packed up our belongings and bid the Cottontail Cottage goodbye to continue our adventure.
Cottontail Cottage is the perfect jumping off spot to visit the majestic Haleakala, the East Maui Volcano. Designated as a National Park, the dormant volcano rises 28,000 feet from the sea floor, making it the third highest mountain on the planet. The drive is a twisty, well paved road, up, up, up through amazing changing habitats. Areas of brush, eucalyptus, and pines ultimately give way to a moonscape of reddish lava boulders. Clouds dance across ridges and peaks. Artists strive to capture all the hues of earthen tones created by Mother Nature. Endangered and unique birds live in various areas. We spotted a few with great enthusiasm.
Volcano gazing can really build an appetite, so we wove down the mountain and cruised over to the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria for an elegant lunch. Tourists enjoyed their waterpark pools while the ocean rippled close by. The well appointed grounds display a dolphin fountain and a collection of world famous pudgy statues crafted by Fernando Botero. We finished out the afternoon in high style before we caught a plane home.
Would I recommend a stay at Kula Cottontail Cottage? Absolutely. Experience magical Maui away from the usual tourist meccas. You will love meeting Faith and Hope.

Find Kula Cottontail Cottage listed as “Upcountry Alpaca and Rabbit Working Fiber Farm” on Airbnb

For more information contact Christine Heidema at KulaCottontailCottage@gmail.com

Here are two videos of took of the interior and exterior of the property.

Bright blessings,
Dana Taylor
 

The Mystical Mind of Amy Harmon

by Dana Taylor

Bestselling author, Amy Harmon, has turned into one of my favorite wordsmiths. I discovered her when her time-travel tale to 1921 Ireland, What the Wind Knows, was offered as an Amazon first read. Harmon focused on a historical era I knew little about. She wove real-life political figures of the day with fanciful time travel elements of a young woman caught between two decades.

I decided to go back to the beginning of her books to explore the world of Amy Harmon. Her earliest works follow “write-what-you-know” sage advice. Amy Harmon is a “girl from Utah” and her first heroines are girls from Utah. The stories fall into the romance genre, but even her earliest stories show signs of greater writing skill and imagination than most genre writers. Amy expresses love, loss, angst, and hope in broad verbal brush strokes.

Mystical elements appear in many of her works. Her 2012 book, Slow Dance in Purgatory, is a high school romance, but the hero is a ghost…well, sort of. With The Law of Moses in 2014, Harmon’s books leap a level in mysticism and maturity. Moses is a troubled teen who sees dead people. They torture him with messages which he translates into haunting paintings. The love story with small town girl, Georgia, is intense and takes many turns before they find their happy ending. Moses must master his mediumship capabilities and use them wisely. Dealing with grief is a strong under current of the book.

Harmon followed the story lines of several other small town characters in more books, Making Faces, A Different Kind of Blue, Running Barefoot, to name a few. Then she switched gears into a full fantasy shape-shifter adventure with The Bird and the Sword two book series. Heroine Lark, is a forbidden Gifted one dwelling in a mythical kingdom. She can call things into being, but is forced into silence. Mental telepathy comes into play when the hero (who happens to be a handsome king) hears her thoughts. He uses her Gift to save the kingdom from terrible predators as their love story grows. Harmon spreads her writing wings in a fairy tale setting worthy of any Disney movie.

She returned to historical fiction in one of her most popular books, Sand and Ash, listed as a “religious romance.”  Set in Italy during World War II, the story revolves around a Jewish woman hiding from the Gestapo with the aid of her childhood friend, now a Catholic priest. Personally, I’ve been-there-done-that with World War II stories. Leon Uris (Exodus) and Herman Wouk (Winds of War, War and Remembrance) and a slew of vintage films back in the day set the era indelibly in my mind. I have yet to read this one. Still, I’m sure it’s another great Harmon yarn.

This week I finished her latest tale, The First Girl Child. Somewhere along the line, Harmon developed a fascination with Norse mythology. From her fertile imagination, Harmon conjures a society of Viking clans and the priests who understand the power of Runes. Mysticism abounds as Harmon expands the romantic formula of boy-meets-girl into a rich tapestry of court intrigue, prophetic priests, a false princess, and a reluctant hero of superhuman strength.

Harmon’s superhuman strength is her ability to plumb the human range of emotions. She wrestles with issues of integrity, loyalty, betrayal, devotion, and love, all wrapped in adventure and drama. Looking for a good book? Try one from Amy Harmon.

Bright Blessings,

Dana Taylor

Conversations from the Afterlife

Book Review by Dana Taylor

Father Nathan Castle, O.P., has unusual dreams. Over the course of the past twenty years, he’s often dreamed of a stranger’s violent, sudden death. Does he awaken in a cold sweat, fear clawing at his throat? By all indications, the answer is no. Father Nathan sits up and captures the dream on a notepad before its memory fades. He knows another Night Visitor has come a-calling.

Father Nathan Castle

Nathan Castle became a Dominican priest in 1979.  He earned his doctoral degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and has spent almost thirty years in campus ministries at both Stanford and Arizona State universities.

He is also a very gifted spirit communicator and has a special ministry to souls who have gotten “stuck” in their afterlife journey.

In AFTERLIFE INTERRUPTED: HELPING STUCK SOULS CROSS OVER, Father Nathan shares thirteen stories from his notes and memories of the over 250 souls who have reached out to him. Over the years, he has developed a routine. He receives a Night Visitor’s dream and later meets with a prayer partner to contact the Visitor and engage in a conversation. Beginning with a prayer of protection from an array of saints, Father Nathan invites the Night Visitor to enter his mind and use his body to communicate about the situation. While the words “channel” and “medium” are mostly avoided in the text due to the occultish baggage associated with them, those are precisely the right words for what transpires. Father Nathan, or his prayer partner, often Laura Dunham, channels the spirit to get to the heart of the matter.  They initiate a counseling session for the dead.

AFTERLIFE INTERRUPTED is not your usual celebrity medium tell-all tale. Father Nathan doesn’t have his own reality show or fill Las Vegas lounges with curiosity seekers hoping to get a message from their departed Aunt Fanny. Instead, we hear a man of with deep and life-long Catholic Christian faith giving us a glimpse of his multidimensional world. Souls are brought to Father Nathan by their celestial guides when they are ready to move from a “stuck” place, to a higher level in the Afterlife.

Each chapter begins with the dream, a sudden unexpected death. A teenager drives his car off a bridge, drowning himself and three friends; a girl sneaks to the beach on the fateful day of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami; a young mother and her friend perish in a plane crash; a freak explosion maims and kills a young husband. And so the stories go. All of these people reject afterlife guides who come to escort them to the other side at the moment of death. They become stuck in a great Nowhere. Sometimes they are trapped in a recurring loop of the event.

By the time they enter Father Nathan’s dreams, they are ready to move on, but do not know how. Often the hindrance is lingering anger or guilt over their manner of death. Father Nathan or the prayer partner offers the Visitor another point of view. They facilitate release from negative emotions that snare souls in the Nowhere. From there, they ask a guide to come for them and take them to the Afterlife. The guide is often a friend or relative, but not necessarily. The most intriguing guide mentioned was President Dwight Eisenhower who showed up for a young man named after him.

This book gives tantalizing glimpses of a whole Afterlife society. After writing up the chosen stories, Father Nathan revisits each participant to get their permission to publish their stories. Therein lies the most fascinating sections of the book. Laura Dunham will ask, “How is your life going? What have you been doing since we last spoke?” Everyone is living and growing in their new realms.

I highly recommend purchasing the Audible version to actually hear Father Nathan, Laura Denham, and the other prayer partners performing the narration. What you will find is an insightful, authentic presentation of a multidimensional world. Humans live in this physical world and they continue living in a non-physical world. Communication between the dimensions is getting increasingly common.

What makes this book rise above the other mediumship books is the man himself, Father Nathan Castle. His foundation of faith and a life devoted to ministry is inspiring and encouraging in this chaotic world. Thank you, Father Nathan for sharing your gift with us.

Visit Father Nathan’s website: Nathan Castle.com

Bright Blessings,

Dana Taylor

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