Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


All contents Property and Copyright(c) of Liz Fulcher/The Fragrant Muse.
All rights reserved.
Please don't use my written word, photography or art without my permission.
Thank you.


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish for 2010?

Today Jamie Ridler asks "What Do You Wish for 2010?

I am a relentless, dyed-in-the-wool goalsetter, dreamer and wishcaster from waaaay back. I can still remember the day in 1973 at the age of 15 when I pulled out my journal and began my first tally of "things I want".  When I sat back and looked at my list, I felt a shift deep inside.  I had never actually put my desires in writing.  To see them there in black and white was an experience so powerful and compelling that I've been addicted ever since.    And I'm here to tell you that putting your desires in writing works to manifest them.  Wasn't that the basis for the brouhaha of The Secret a few years ago?

Energy is continuous and flows wherever you have your attention.   What you focus on does, indeed, expand.  Every thought or belief has an impact in your life.

So what do I wish for 2010?
  I wish to bloom as a woman, an artist, an entrepreneur,
a teacher, and a healer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aromatic SoulCollage® Cards Animoto

Don't forget to turn on the music before you watch!
  I had so much fun creating this and can't wait to add more cards to the project.

Go to SoulCollage.com for more information on this powerful art form.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sassy Spirit

Picnik.com is just too much fun. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Animoto Fairy Garden

Magnificent Debra at Sojourner did a post today with a small video on it that she created at animoto.com.  I was so tickled with her work that I just had to try it out for myself.  I made a video of my fairy garden.  I must admit that I am completely and utterly pleased with myself.  Don't forget to turn up the volume so you can hear the music!

Whose Tail?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: Winter Wishes

This week, Jamie Ridler asks:

What is your winter wish?

In the past few years I've come to dislike winter - the dark, the cold, the extra clothing.  Today's question is a good opportunity for me to look at winter in a more positive, gentle and loving perspective:

Exercise daily to combat the winter blues (SAD).
Create an online essential oil shop and aromatic education site.
Inner peace for my son.
Safe travels to Sarasota for my aromatherapy classes.

Joyful days with my family.
Diffusing spruce, cinnamon, clove and orange mmmmm...

Financial stability in our home.
White Candles.
Lots of winter sunshine.
A quiet New Year's Eve and making goals for the new year.

Dropping one day from my massage schedule to fill oil orders.
Cozy evenings in my home.
Ice skating.
Make a snowman with The Bean

Decorating the Christmas tree with my family.
Warm Uggs
Heated mulled wine.
Quiet evenings cuddling with my precious husband.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Step Do I Wish to Take?

I love Wishcasting Wednesdays.

What began as a blog filler has evolved into an important weekly exercise in my personal growth.  Thank you Jamie Ridler. 

Today Jamie pushes her birdies out of the nest with the  juicy query,
"What step do you wish to take?

step?  What step?! 

Geez Jamie, by asking us what
step we wish to take is tantamount to asking what ACTION we want to take!  GULP.

Okay.  Here goes. 

The next step I wish to take is to
create an online shopping cart for Liz's Garden Aromatherapy.

This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is a huge deal to me.   Twelve years ago I created a line of essential oils simply as a service to my students so they would have access to good quality essential oils.  I never had any intention to sell them in mass quantities and certainly never online.  God forbid I should actually become prosperous from something I love so much!.

I called the product line Liz's Garden and my husband runs the business, selling to a couple of local shops and the school where I teach aromatherapy.   It is a very modest cottage business, but seems to be growing in spite of any advertising on our part.   For the past few years, my students,  massage clients and other folks frequently ask why we don't sell our products online. 

And the truth is there's been resistance (read: fear) on my part.  My inner perfectionist wants everything to be perfect before I could possible consider something like selling online.  Also, I've been unclear about where to sell my products,..Website? Etsy? Big Cartel? Blog? Ebay?  I have had concerns that it will be too time consuming to properly set up and maintain and maybe I'll be overwhelmed with the technical side of things or it won't be professional and polished enough or that I might not be able to keep up with the demand or I just won't have enough time with my busy massage practice.  Bla Bla Bla.  Excuses are like...well, you get the picture.

Now, as anyone who reads my regular Wishcasting Wednesday knows, I have been blathering on for weeks about wanting to cut down my massage schedule to pursue other avenues of income, and what better avenue then creating a vehicle for selling my oils online.  The time has come to face this blessed bounty that keeps knocking at my door.

So Jamie, and all my fabulous Wishcasting companions, the next step I wish to take, yes really wish to take (not just feel I should take) is to create a shopping page on my website, Liz's Garden Aromatherapy. 

Thank you Jamie for pressing me to take this next step in my journey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Six Word Saturday ~ 11.21.09

A houseful of kids and dogs!

Both my sons are home, my grandson is visiting and my eldest boy brought his chihuahua who constantly humps my pug.     It's a circus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Embrace?

Photo courtesy of webg33k

I wish to embrace Effortlessness in creating the life I desire.

ef·fort·less:  adj.   Calling for, requiring, or showing little or no effort.  Freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort.

Jamie Ridler Studios

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflections on Physical Pain

I always tell my clients that physical pain is important feedback from the body and if you don't listen, it will only get louder.   I recently experienced this firsthand.

Let me say at the outset that I consider myself very lucky.  I put a lot of demands on my dear body and she rarely complains.  

However,  two weeks ago I woke up Monday morning with a small sharp pain under my right scapula.  I figured I'd slept in a weird position and proceeded to ignore it, assuming the discomfort would disappear as I moved through my day.  It didn't.  It grew sharper and took on a burning sensation.  I stretched my back muscles a little and took some Advil.  

Did I ask my husband (an excellent massage therapist) to work on my back?  Nope.
Did I call any one of the dozen other MTs that I know?  Nope.
Did I use my Theracane or lay down on a tennis ball the way I advise my clients to do? Nope.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn (with a generous dose of pride thrown in).

By Wednesday (2 days later), I felt like I had a hot poker boring into my back.  The dreaded "referred pain"
began, moving down my right arm in a dull toothache-like sensation settling in my triceps and my forearm.  Turning my head to the right became excruciating.  I couldn't even hug my husband without shooting pain. 

I was experiencing a trigger point, something I see everyday in my massage practice.  This particular fiend was (and still is) located in my Serratus Posterior Superior muscle which lies deep in the upper back. 
Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of muscle.  The spots are painful on compression (yeowwww!) and palpation can produce referred pain.  Oh yeah, trigger points suck. 

Below is a diagram that clearly illustrates my areas of discomfort.  The X is the trigger point and the red dots are the referred pain zones.  I couldn't have drawn a more exact representation of my experience.

The good news is, today I'm feeling better!   After a week of ignoring my pain, I took action and now wonder why I waited so long.  It is SO important to listen to the body's messages which often begin in a whisper and end up in a very loud holler if ignored.

Yes, today I feel not only less pain, but more energy and a more positive outlook.  I am in the mood to write and work in my art journal.  It's the first day in two weeks that I feel motivated to blog, run errands and straighten up the house. 

For the past week, this has been my consistent, proactive approach:

1) I've had my husband work the soft tissue around my scapula and perform trigger point therapy on the most tender areas.

2) I've been using my Theracane everyday.

3) I've seen my friend Greg the Chiropractor twice.
4) I've been using an essential oil blend of Birch, Black Pepper, Marjoram and Cinnamon on my back. 
5) I've made it a point to get extra sleep and stop for quiet time during the day so I don't overextend my muscles.
6) I've been drinking more water to keep my soft tissue hydrated.

7) I've been using a heating pad.

Upon reflection, I can now see how this unfamiliar experience of pain dominating my body also influenced my personality:
~ I began to binge on refined carbs - perhaps for the increased seratonin?  Of course this only served to make me sleepy and bloated.
~ I avoided the computer.
~ I became irritable with noise like talkative clients, loud music or tv commercials.
~ My patience was short (just ask my poor husband).
~ I had trouble concentrating.
~ I dreaded going to bed (unusual for me...I love my bed)  because I knew the pain would be worse when I was still and that finding a comfortable position would be a challenge.
~ I avoided friends who called and didn't feel at all like socializing.

If f you know someone who suffers from chronic pain, please be aware that it is exhausting.  Gently encourage them to listen to the pain, honor its message and become proactive in their own healing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Six Word Saturday ~ 11.14.09

Everyone loves to play in leaves!

Can you express your life in six words?  Go to Show My Face.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

Anne Marie Bennett, 53, is a freelance writer, SoulCollage® facilitator and for the past year, my friend.   

In December of 2001 Anne Marie's life was interrupted by the unexpected and terrifying diagnosis of breast cancer which  transformed into  the gift of an empowering spiritual journey.  Anne Marie shares her inspiring experience in her new book Bright Side of the Road - A Spiritual Journey Through Breast Cancer.

I feel privileged to be on Anne Marie's blog book tour.   I read Bright Side in one sitting finding her story both compelling and uplifting.  This isn't so much a book about cancer as an intimate journal of one's women's discovery of her own power plus a practical resource for caregivers.    Whether your life has been touched by cancer or not, you will be inspired by Anne Marie's story.   

I had so many questions for Anne Marie after reading her book, but limited them to the five below:
1) Liz:  I adore the cover of your book. What can you tell us about the artwork and meaning behind the images?

Anne Marie:  The art on the cover is by Melissa Harris and believe me, I had a hard time choosing which one of her beautiful pieces to use!  I ultimately chose this one because it shows a woman on a journey, but she has stopped for a moment and is celebrating. She is lifting her arms in gratitude.  She is enjoying the moment.  The Butterfly is an animal totem for me, representing my third chakra power center.

2) Liz:  If you were to ask your healed cancer "Who are you? and the cancer were to respond with "I am one who..." what would it say?

Anne Marie:  I kind of look at it as in the past tense. That the cancer was in my body and now it is completely gone. It is a past relationship, definitely!  But it would say:
I am the one who interrupted your life.   I am the one who took away some things you didn't want to let go of: your hair, your libido, your sense of normalcy.  But I am also the one who gave you more than I took away.  I gave you time off from your job.  I gave you time to reprioritize your life. I gave you time to remember who you really are and what is really important to you. Yes, I gave you many days in bed when you were weak and feeling ill.  But ultimately, I gave you the gift of closeness to Spirit, and a renewed relationship with yourself.

3) Liz:  How did your husband cope and support you?
(the image below is Anne Marie's SoulCollage card for her husband Jeff).

Anne Marie:The first thing my husband Jeff said when I told him I had cancer was "We'll get through this together." And that is the stance he maintained throughout my surgeries and treatments. Also, he didn't flinch about anything. He took time off from work to be with me in the hospital, he made me lunch and dinner when I couldn't get out of bed.  He held me close and let me cry. That was the biggest thing for me.  When I apologized once, at the beginning, for crying so much, he said, "Who else's shoulder are you going to cry on?"  And he maintained a sense of humor throughout.  Also, he paid close attention to my doctors at the beginning and keyed in on every positive thing they said.  In short, he kept me focused on the bright side, in many ways, and mostly just by being there for me.

4) Liz:  I know that you receive regular therapeutic massage.  Do you have any advice for massage therapists working with a cancer patient or cancer survivors?

Anne Marie:  My massage therapist, Lucy, was just wonderful with me!  She listened to me, first of all. She asked what I needed, and often.  When I was recovering from my surgeries and couldn't lie on my stomach, she gladly gave me double time on my back.  The advice I would give is to ask what your clients need.  Anything at all that confuses you, just ask.  That healing touch was such a powerful part of my journey. I feel so grateful to her for her gentle curiosity about what I was going through, and about her willingness to do whatever I needed for my own safetly and comfort.

5) Liz:  If you were to have this experience over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

Anne Marie:  This is an interesting question, Liz!  At first I didn't want to answer it because I don't like to consider, of course, that I might actually have to go through this again.  But it's a question worth looking at.  If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I'd do differently is take a few months longer before going back to work. I was lucky enough at that time that I didn't have to work, and I think I went back sooner than I needed to.  Oh, and one more thing. Now that I have SoulCollage in my life, I would use that practice towards healing by making cards about my cancer, and by doing daily readings with my deck.  I didn't discover SoulCollage until 3 years after my treatments, but the cards I made then about the cancer really made a difference in my ultimate healing.


To  learn more about Anne Marie Bennett's book and work as a SoulCollage Facilitator go to:



Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Dare?

I just love Wednesdays.  Even when I don't feel inspired to write, Jamie Ridler and her Wishcasting prompts can get my brain and fingers moving like nothing else.   Today Jamie plays a little little truth or dare with us.  Or shall I say truth and dare!

What Do You Wish to Dare?
I wish to dare to move beyond my current comfort zone
(which seems to shrink a little each year).

What would moving out my comfort zone look like?  It would look like this:

  • Making some time everyday to exercise my body, especially when I "just don't feel like it"
  • Making some time everyday for art, especially when it feels frivolous in the face of   "real work to be done"
  • Making some time everday for quiet meditation and reflection, especially when I'd rather hide my feelings by dinking on the computer
  • Reducing the volume of weekly massages and trusting that the Universe will provide
  • Renewing my passport with the intention of travel to France to experience the distillation of Lavender oil
  • Begin to plan that trip to France!
  • Begin the outline of my should-have-been-written-already book!

      Thursday, November 5, 2009

      How to Bring a Hallozebra to Life

      Bringing a Hallozebra to life is not easy.
        It takes patience and humor.

      First you have to catch it, then you have to avoid its escape.
        They're very quick.

      You contain it by placing it on a high surface so it can't run off.

      It will wiggle, squirm and lower it's head but you musn't give up.

      It helps if you can make it laugh

      and let it admire its own reflection

      Hang in there and you will be rewarded.
      Viola!  A Hallozebra is born!

      Now that you have a Hallozebra, how do you feed it?
      First you take it out on a dark moonlit night...
      (Dressing like the world's oldest high school grad is optional)

       You keep your eyes open for specialized Hallozebra feeders
      who wait behind closed doors with special food.
      They lure them in with unique outdoor features called "porch lights"

      Sometimes the Hallozebra feeders are too lazy busy to come out
      so they leave their food on the front door for self-feeding. 
      Our Hallozebra was polite and took only one.  

      The handler had to try a few to make sure they were okay.

      This is what Hallozebra food looks like.

      We set our Hallowzebra free after it's feeding frenzy.  
      Goodbye Hallozebra!

      I wonder what exciting Hallocreatures
      we will bring to life next year??

      Wednesday, November 4, 2009

      I'm a Guest Blogger Today!

      How thrilling to be asked to be a guest blogger and what an honor to have another blogger trust you with their space!  I am very excited to have my words appear today on the blog of Just Jules.

      This is Jules.  Isn't she pretty?  She's nice too.

      In honor of my first guest appearance, I am sharing a timely and important post called Essential Information which will give loads of information on using essential oils to defend yourself from the nasty colds, flus and general crud that seems so abundant these days.

        So hurry on over to Jule's place and prepare your aromatic defenses...before the swines get you!

      Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Experience?

      Over at Jamie Ridler Studios, Jamie asks us...

      What Do You Wish to Experience?

      I could write a list as long as my arm of all the wonderful things I wish to experience.  However, today I have the feeling that I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere.  Today I feel I'm running out of time.   Today I feel old and that the best years are behind me.
      Just for today, I wish to experience the knowledge that
      there is a divine order to my life and that
      The Universe is perfect and on time.

      Thursday, October 29, 2009

      What I Learned at a Recent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Seminar

      Yesterday I attended a really excellent seminar in Harrisburg called "Effective Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" which was given by Cross Country Education.

      Here are some things I learned:

      1.  Bodyworkers need to address the entire median pathway when treating CTS, not just the arm and wrist.  This means specific neck and shoulder work.

      2. Besides repetitive movements, some of the contributing factors to carpal tunnel syndrome are:   poor posture, vitamin B6 deficiency, pregancy (edema), the use of vibrational tools, long periods of time in cold environments, soft tissue dysfunction,  misdiagnosis and lack of information about the condition

      2. Most doctors, upon giving a diagnosis of CTS, immediately want to do surgery.

      3. Surgery should be a last resort for CST.

      4. If you do put a rubber band around your fingers then open and close your hand for 20 seconds, a couple of times a day, you'll increase hand strength.

      5. Dry skin brushing is a good way to warm the tissue before working on the fascia.  It feels like heaven.

      6.  The instructor was Gary Adkins from Michigan.  He has about 20 years of bodywork experience and knew the material inside and out.  He kept the class engage with humor, superb preparation and lots of hand-on practice.

       7.  You can do some interesting neck work using a towel.

      8.  If you run around the room taking pictures of people on the massage table, you never know when someone will pick up your camera and take
      your picture.

        8.  It was fun being the student for a change.

      Tuesday, October 27, 2009

      The Therapy of Throwing Stones

      My husband and I have always felt that regular contact with our natural environment is essential to emotional health, and as our boys were growing up we made a concerted effort to take them camping in our tipi and exposing them to the outside world.   Now we are doing the same with our grandson, the Bean. 

      Because the Bean lives in a city, he doesn't receive the powerful effect of nature on a regular basis, so whenever he stays with us - about two weekends each month - we make at least one play date with Mother Nature.

      In his important book The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv explains the crucial role nature plays in the lives of children.    He says:  The outdoors is as essential to a child's health and well being as good nutrition and plenty of sleep.   Every parent has likely noticed the powerful effect of nature on children: an anxious child will relax and forget her worries as she rolls in the grass; sibling arguments -- fought so bitterly in the car -- quickly dissipate on a windy beach; and the darkest mood of a teenager can be washed away by a plunge in the lake.

      This is true for adults as well which was affirmed recently when we introduced the Bean to the Susquehanna River which runs alongside our town.

       For the Bean, throwing rocks is as natural as breathing.  It must be a boy thing.
      What do you think was the first thing he did at the river?


      At first he was tentative.
        Throwing rocks at home usually results in being told to stop.

      Then he got more confident

      and thought it was hilarious when his stones hit the water

      There was no stopping him after that.
      He started tossing bigger stones

      and watched with fascination at the concentric rings that formed

      He began to use his whole body when throwing
      and soon discovered he could make the stones go farther


      I couldn't let him have all the fun, so I had to try

       Then my husband and I began a game.
      One of us would throw a stone and the other would photograph it
      the minute it hit the water.  It wasn't so easy.

      In this picture I threw a hunk of wood.

      Not bad.
      Now here's my photographic attempt of my husband's rock throwing.

      I wanted to throw the Bean in,  but hubby said no.

      Being in nature is good for the soul,
      but throwing stones in nature is even better.