True Vine Herbs

James 3.

My mouth – the bane of my existence.  Some days I almost wish I was mute.  An interesting thing happened when we didn’t have internet… I had a little more time to read.  Imagine that.  I finally picked up C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, which we’ve owned for YEARS and read it.  Oh my.  It’s pretty amazing reading if you sit down and just read it.  A bit of an overwhelming thought too, knowing you’re tempted.  It’s one thing in theory, it’s another to read the book and think, “Hmmm… Me?”

But I got a very interesting tidbit out of it.

I’ve ALWAYS struggled with controlling my mouth.   The Bible says, James 3:3 “When we put the bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.”

How much more effective could Christians truly be if they could control their tongue?  Both in WHAT they speak, WHEN they speak, HOW they speak, and what they do NOT speak.  Ladies, you know what I mean by that last one.

And if we were to ONLY use our tongues for building rather than tearing down.  That’s one my sweet husband’s new phrases.  I do believe it came from one of Voddie’s lecture and I have to tell you, it smarts a bit to be asked by your husband, “Are you building up or tearing down?”  On the other hand, it is a little nice to have him concerned about my relationship with my daughter.   I can be critical.  Yup, it’s true.  I come by it honestly enough… whether by genetics or environment, I learned criticism and sarcasm QUITE well.  What can I say?  I’m an apt pupil.  That, however, doesn’t excuse an adult from choosing to say the wrong thing…  Be wary of making excuses for your sins.

The little tidbit was essentially – Don’t try to do things in your own power.  Why?  “Ya ain’t got none.”  (I be hometeached.)  I struggled for a long while with losing my temper and yelling, yelling, yelling.  And I said on a board, “I don’t get this.  God has really convicted me THIS IS A SIN.  So why hasn’t He taken it from me as I’ve asked and asked?”  And the response was essentially that if I’m convicted it’s wrong then I need to go on and CHOOSE not to do it.

Ah….  The little lightbulb in my head turned on and I said, “Well, there it is.  I can do all things through Him and I just have to pull up by my bootstraps and just not do it.”

The advice given me WAS NOT WRONG.  I want to be very clear on that one.  But, it WAS doomed to failure.  Because once I believed that I just needed to “just do it” I determined on my strength to complete the mission.  It was doomed.

We are to come to God in ALL things.  He wants prayers of praise and prayers of need and prayers of thanks…..  And we are to come to Him with our needs.  Does that mean He’ll grant those?  No.  Does it mean that He doesn’t expect us to put forth effort?  No.

But, and maybe the rest of you have learned this, it’s a two fold answer.  We are capable of choosing right over wrong through HIS power, not through our own.

In another book Lewis talks about temptations.  Not everyone is tempted the same.  He mentioned that he, himself, was not a gambling man.   For one who does not struggle with controlling her tongue, you may not understand this.  Your answer may well be, “Well, just don’t do it.  Close your lips.”  Let me say, it’s not that easy.  I’m very blessed in that I do not struggle with various issues.  I don’t struggle with stealing.  Lying isn’t much of an issue nor is gambling or alcoholism.  But I struggle very much with a critical spirit.  It has taught me to be humble a bit.  It has taught me to respect those things OTHERS struggle with.  But most importantly, if you walk away with this with one thing it is this:

You will never overcome your temptations on your own power.  You may in fact be able to stop an action, but I believe the temptation will truly remain a temptation without the power of God.  So, yes, it is good to choose good over evil.  But when you do so, do so in prayer.  It is a two fold action, never put faith in you.

And if this fascinates you, I think you’d really enjoy Screwtape Letters.

Going onto other business… I believe the Fed Ex man is NEVER going to deliver my package.  I think he/she is probably a nice enough person who has an addiction to pink yarn and the Magic Loop technique.  I have to say I’m picturing the FedEx person in their vehicle, at this very moment, knitting up a cute little pink cardigan sweater.  It’s now been eight days since it said it shipped.  It left Minnesota last Friday.  I’m trying not to cry.

On the dyeing front, thanks to inspiration from Abigail’s smock, I’ve decided to dye the baby’s yarn in lavender, purple, white, and aqua.  I have a new book on natural dyes and can’t wait to get started.  But this first time I’m going to go easy and sans mordants and just use Wilton food dyes.  Yes, I know, I’m a sellout.  You’ll have that once in a great while.

For those of you who are yarn addicts… I’ve found someone who sells undyed yarn, one skein at a time.  $3 shipping.  Aran BFL, superfine merino Cestari, yes, all of it. 🙂  And I’m not telling where quite yet.  She has six skeins of BFL Aran and I want three of them and I’ve promised myself to wait ’til Friday.  So I’ll let YOU know where it’s all at on…. FRIDAY!

I’m dying this weekend!  Hurrah!

Drum roll please!!

I am so very excited and pleased to announce the artist who has
taken over the True Vine formulations.

I was actually able to meet this great mama in REAL life and I can
fully believe she is as committed to natural and herbs as I am.

Natalie has made letting go of the control of True Vine SO easy on me
and I have FULL confidence in her abilities AND her commitment to customer service.

Beyond that,her professionalism speaks in her packaging.  She’s done a beautiful job with her new labels and I am just loving her branding.

Herbal Balm and Amazing Packaging

Herbal Balm and Amazing Packaging

I really think she has what it takes to succeed and more than that, she’s a REAL mom who is committed to mamas and children…. Not just “faking” for a great marketing gimmick.  She’s the real deal and I just can’t say enough how happy I am at how all of this turned out.

The Avocado and Calendula soap?  It’s stocked!


Avocado & Calendula

Avocado & Calendula

And, wow!  Pomegranate soap?

Pomegranate from Earth Muffin

Pomegranate from Earth Muffin


What a great Mama’s Day treat for yourself or someone you love.

I am so grateful to all of my VERY loyal True Vine customers and I can’t tell you what a blessing you all were to me.  Natalie has made parting with the business very lovely and sweet and a true relief rather than a burden. 

So with great joy I am announcing Earth Muffin as my successor!
Blessings and ENJOY!

This week has been a long one…  I feel I need to very much clarify a statement I made.  I said that I have parasites in my life – things that feed off the time, the energy, the creativity that God has given me.  And when I said this I also said that True Vine is one of those parasites.  A sweet friend pointed out to me that her business and customers are a blessing.  I think that she is right and that she must have balance in her life.  My customers are a huge blessing to me.  True Vine is/was a huge blessing to me.  A blessing can become a burden when you allow it to consume more than it needs or more than it should have.

I fully admit I have very little self control. 🙂  I have a hard time keeping myself organized, or moving on to the next thing, like a schedule.  I like to do things to completion.  An example is that if I want to clean my living room – everything must be done.  The cushions get vaccumed under, the books get reorganized, the furniture gets rearranged, we vaccum under all of it.   If I make cookies, I never make the kind you refrigerate!  Because if I stop what I’m doing and move onto something else, I’ve lost interest.   I essentially am an adult with ADHD and I don’t say it lightly.  I know how to arrange my life in such a manner that I can get things accomplished, but I have a tendency to hyperfocus on individual things.

True Vine is my area that I hyperfocus.  Understand that when I am actively creating, packaging, listing, doing photography, et cetera that True Vine takes about 60 hours a week.   Supper time is moved, schedules get off, and my patience can be ‘nil if I’m working on a particularly challenging formulation that I want just right.

There are those who believe that the actual sin is impatience or lack of self control.  That is absolutely true.  But when you know the source of sin, do you continue to do what you’re doing, or do you cut it off.  If your eye causes you to sin are you not better off plucking it out?  I have ran True Vine for about three years now.  I’ve learned SO much.

Those of you who know me well, know I worried about it taking over even at it’s inception.  True Vine comes from the Book of John, Chapter 15.  And it is to remind us that life outside of the True Vine isn’t real.  To have life we must stay plugged into God.  True Vine was named just what it was named because I needed that reminder to stay plugged into God  and the life that He had called me to. Unfortunately I tried for three years to maintain that and failed more often than succeeded.  Ultimately I can see I derived much pleasure from True Vine.  The greatest addiction, of course, was the pats on the back.  I enjoyed creating and being praised for my creations.  Motherhood is not a thankless task.  I am thanked in a multitude of ways each and every day as I watch my children grow.  But it is true that the vast majority of public certainly underappreciate it.  Here, though, this creation, my business did get recognition.  It was a way to show family, friends, aquaintances that I was living, thinking, being…  Very capable of other things – marketing, packaging, formulating, but CHOOSING to be a wife and mother. 

So is True Vine a blessing?  Absolutely.  But, it was also a source for me to choose a wrong way.  For me, I had a hard time balancing it.  The hours spent creating were minimal.  All told, if I mixed up a batch of soap… Even one layered, swirled, and as complicated as I could make it…. You are talking no more than two hours all told.  But, the cutting, the packaging, the printing of labels, listing, photographing, advertising to sell that soap added up to another 2-3 hours.  And this was true with every item.  The amount of time to make any package was generally multiplied by 2 or 3 by the time it was sold.  My herbs do not take nearly so much time, but the competition in Bath & Body is very steep and to market a product, it must be packaged just so. 

And so we came to a very difficult, but relieving decision, to sell True Vine’s formulations to another natural bath and body maker.  I’ll be making that announcement in the coming weeks when she is ready for it. 

We retain the name and the herbal part of True Vine.  But ALL of the bath and body formulations are hers and she will continue to make our products under her name so that our customers can continue with the items they need.  I feel sadness and relief and joy all at the same time.  It’s a little frightening to let go of something that took up so much time, but at the same time it is very freeing for me.

Chamomile & Oats ~ Debuting @ Creatively Serene today!

Chamomile & Oats ~ Debuting @ Creatively Serene today!

But I’m finally done formulating my baby wash!

And Andrea (WANTED Web Design) made me a lovely label for it!



My new etsy…  Lentil soup blends, seasonal garden offerings like heirloom seeds, granola cereals and more…

I’ve been making soap for a good while, but this is our first batch from our own goats!  Made from calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, goatmilk, and more!  No synthetic fragrance oils, just lavender essential oil….

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

Today only – ends at 6PM.

We’ll see who is paying attention! 🙂

20% off for anyone who follows the blog.  Just enter code BLOG in the checkout.   This is good ONLY at my Hyena Cart.

We’ve stocked with Lavender Therapy soap made with goatmilk from Cinderella.  And re-stocked the Avocado and Calendula.  The healing balm is there along with Drench Lotion Bars for incredibly dry, chapped skin.

And, for goodness sakes, DON’T forget the lip balms!


Calendula Soap

Calendula Soap

Wow, what’s going on?  36 hits before 6:30 this morning?  You all must be dreadfully bored!  Well, it’s Friday for me.  (For ya’all too I suppose.)  I need the day to prep for a sweet and peaceful weekend of staying home and ENJOYING each other with no where to go!   May you all have a very blessed weekend with those you love and those that love you.


This is a reprint from my old blog and was almost exactly one year ago. 

Date: March 2, 2007

Our little business has really begun to take off.  We have shipped out approximately sixty orders since the last week of January.  That is impressive to us… It pretty much tops the amount of things we shipping in 2007, not counting wholesale orders.

This was a bit of a shock to me.

Also, we had the flu two weeks ago.  It is not a generic “we” that people use when talking about themselves.  It was a collective we.  I had the flu.  Ana had the flu.  Timothy and Christian had the flu.  Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Abigail had the flu.  And it was not pleasant.  I’m pretty certain the last time a bug knocked me down like that was 1999.  Only one child threw up and I consider that a rejoiceable success.

And I’m thrilled to report we were able to completely treat all symptoms with herbs.  No Robitussen, no achy, so you can sleep medicine!   We didn’t need Tylenol to combat the fevers.  It was a major success in our home and I’m very grateful we had everything on hand.  Except lemons and fresh ginger and that was quickly remedied by a very good and doting Daddy. 

Which brings me to the title of this entry.

I Can Do All Things.

I have heard of those mothers.  I think I once thought I was that mother.  I’m no longer under such delusions, lol.  I will freely admit that my younger children watched more television in the last three weeks than most likely the rest of their short lives combined.  I only wish I was kidding.  We did accomplish homeschooling… some.  I did keep up with the business though it meant long hours and little sleep and I wonder if that is why I was sick three full days whereas the children bounced back in under two?

And I discovered something about myself.  I *can* do almost anything…. I just can’t do them all at once.

I can be quite a decent wife.  I can be a sweet and rather discerning mama.  I can be a rather dutiful homeschooler.  I can run a moderately successful home business.  I can sew, and cook, and make everything from scratch.  I can work with a designer on new labels, talk with a printer about the new labels, plan my new wholesale accounts, plan our test prep., teach one small child her letters, teach another to read, another to count, another her body parts, another pre-algebra, and another multiplication.  I can wake up at 5AM with dh and I can stay up working on work ’til 1 AM. 


You can’t do it indefinitely and you can’t do it without a cost.  And you can’t do it all at once… or at least not longterm.

I was the “can do” mama.  For many, many years, I had a can-do philosophy.  If I heard of it, I was convinced I could do it.  I wanted to learn to sew.  And I did.  I wanted to grind my flour, make my bread, and spend hours upon hours in meal prep.  I wanted to run my own business, homeschool my children, use cloth diapers, and do everything I read about in Mother Earth News, all the while being a successful soccer mom, and coaching softball.

I’m exhausted.

And I quit.

LOL, I have come to accept that there are things for this family that are a priority.  And, now we are expecting our eighth child in twelve years.  I have one sixth grader, one third grader, one K/1, one preschooler, one 3 year old, a toddler, and I am oh so very pregnant.  It is time to delegate.

I have been reading how to make yogurt in my oven.  Today I quit.  I am buying a yogurt maker!  Don’t comment on how easy it is, I don’t care.  This is my line.  I can’t plan properly so that my oven is free.  I can’t keep up with our yogurt consumption.  I am buying a yogurt maker. 

My daughter is going to learn to make the bread.
My son is going to learn to grind all the flour.
My dh bought me huge tea jars so that I don’t have to pre-mix my pregnancy and childrens’ teas every morning.
I hired someone to turn my prefolds into prefitteds.
I am switching to all natural covers for the babies.  And I am NOT (absolutely refusing) to potty train Abigail before the baby comes in May.  (I can’t decide if that’s smart or stubborn.)
Someone else is making the wool covers. 
Someone else is designing the website and the labels.
We are having a printer print the labels.
I cut out all the soaps I don’t enjoy making.
I am simplifying.

Can I do it all?  Perhaps.

And finally, the admission.

I can do many things well.  But I can’t do it all well.  And that is a fact.  And a useful fact.  It is time I admit my limitations. 

In life,  we must all prioritize.  Where did True Vine Soap originally start anyway?  The goal was to give the business a name that would remind me to stay where I needed to be.  To keep me mindful of my priorities.  I am extremely grateful that I gave it such a name, and truly believe it to be God inspired.  Thanks to that, I think I am getting back to the right track.  We are so easily misled on rabbit trails. 


Everything Else

Lord keep me mindful that I cannot do all things.  You have given me twenty four hours each day of which I am to be a good steward.  I pray that I would be mindful to take good care of those things which You have given me.  Keep me mindful Lord, keep me mindful.

I finally had time to relist Solace again on Etsy.  It’s an Arnica balm, but this one is tweaked a bit.  I don’t add other items, like cayenne pepper, because I like to use Arnica for bruising for little ones.  Cayenne can be a skin irritant, so great for sore muscles, but not so hot on delicate little folk skin!  The Arnica isn’t infused with heat, but instead this is Arnica with months and months of time…. Quality takes patience.  Enjoy!

Solace Arnica Balm

Solace Arnica Balm

True Vine's Etsy

True Vine's Etsy

Well, Mark’s handy dandy new seedling shelving with lights must just be the ticket to seedlings.  We planted these Saturday morning.  On Sunday he bought the shelves at an auction and rigged up the lights.   By Tuesday mid morning, this is what we had!

Itsy Bitsy Seedlings

Itsy Bitsy Seedlings

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