Jamaican/Rastafari word for VITAL, ORGANIC, NATURAL, WHOLESOME… real roots

Attitude of Gratitude

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Dr. Gladys

Life Lesson 5,975,253: Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Today was remarkable! It all started out in a usual rush for a jam packed many hour long day in the life of Janessa. Woke up at 6 so I could go to a cleaning job before class, then attend the most amazing lecture given by the mother of all mothers Dr. Gladys McGarey, then go to a babysitting job until who knows when. As I was making coffee something went “wrong” and I saw myself going into the negative spiraling pattern of oh no I’m tired, it’s gonna be a long day, and all that can go wrong will go wrong! Right then is when I stopped and asked my angels, guides, ascended masters, archangels, and beings of white light to help me find gratitude today. The very next moment I was thinking “I’m so thankful for this coffee, my house, health, love of all those who got my back, etc” from there it spread to my drive, to my jobs, class, and most of all the lecture. Dr. Gladys shared soooooo much amazingly astonishing stories and wisdom all of which were rooted in love, life, and gratitude. Dr. Gladys is my new hero she is a 93 yr old magical soul who has been changing medicine worldwide for 67 years. She is still board certified and practicing Holistic and Integrated Medicine among her many other innumerable accomplishments! My world is forever changed and I am forever grateful!


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Homeschooling a preschooler

A 20-something Jamaican mom now living in Atlanta, U.S decides to withdraw her child from school and educate him at home.

Ital Mama asked her why, she responds:

“I had [my son] in preschool but I felt that most of what he was learning he got from me. I figured ‘he’s going [to preschool] just to be babysat, I might as well do all I can do at home.’ So this year I withdrew him.

At schools they limit kids with [the] curriculum and I would like my five year old to absorb as much as possible from early.”

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Sweet scrub for baby’s bath (and yours too)

Here’s a quick and easy way to sweeten baby’s bath water. I put a few rose petals and some dried sage in a washcloth. Secure them inside with an elastic band and then into the tub it goes while the water runs. Goodness will seep out of the herb and plants like tea and then I use it to gently scrub his skin.

Will work great as an exfoliator for you too. Try it in the shower.


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But the pain is very different from an injury or something. It’s a productive pain. You understand why it’s there, and it disappears instantly after the baby is born. I actually think ‘labour’ is a very apt name for it – it’s really hard work. But that is what the pain feels like – it feels like your body is working really hard.

As a complete aside, I have in recent years taken up martial arts. Every so often I have to do a belt grading, which involves several hours of hard physical endurance. When it gets tough, I remind myself that it’s a heck of a lot easier than giving birth (with or without pain relief). If I can manage 25 hours of labour, I can manage a piddly three hour belt grading. That thought has got me through a lot!

– Liz at Human Nature commenting on a blog post

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Know what your child is doing online

I wrote this article for NMT but it has useful information to all parents who have children with access to smartphones. Because the technology is constantly evolving studies and regulations have not yet caught up with the myriad of things your teen can do online. All locations and establishments mentioned are in Johannesburg/South Africa. 

Modern parents need tech savvy

ZaKiya McKenzie

There are many social and educational advantages to giving your child a smartphone, but parents should be aware of the potentially negative implications involved in providing unrestricted access to the internet.

While personal gadget technology is constantly changing, the application of safety measures to protect young people from cyber-abuse and risky online behaviour has not yet caught up.

Teenagers have easy access to adult material through their smart phones and are sometimes themselves the producers of such material.

Even if you only allow your child one hour of cell phone usage per day, he or she can simultaneously watch videos and visit websites, participate in private chats with applications such as BBM and Whatsapp, and make updates for public consumption on networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

According to a 2012 study done among 4346 pupils from schools across Gauteng by the Bureau of Market Research at UNISA, cell phones with SMS and social media applications offer access to the main platform for cyber bullying.

Some 37% of teenagers said they were victims of online abuse and the researchers found that online bullying could cause physical illness and suicidal tendencies in the young victims.

In line with these findings, Dr Catherine Angus, clinical psychologist at NHC Health Centre in Northcliff, warns parents that cyber bullying can lead to your child becoming withdrawn, unhappy and isolated.

“The solution rests in making sure the lines of communication between you and your child always remain open,” she said, “so that is comfortable in reporting the matter should they or someone else become a victim of online abuse.”

Parents should encourage their children to discuss whats happening in their lives. Teenagers will sometimes participate in inappropriate dealings just to be a part of the in crowd and so adults should monitor what they are doing online.

The fact that they can get online wont change but parents should limit their childs use of a smartphone. Limiting is also good because it forces people to interact with each other face to face.
“Maybe parents should even be entitled to checking their childs phone at random times to see what they are up to,” Angus challenged.


Beauty-Full Belly-Full

Beach Belly with mala beads by Story & Myth.

Beach Belly with mala beads by Story & Myth. Photo by Sabriya Simon

Beauty-full, Bounty-full Belly-full…

My favourite part about being pregnant was probably watching my belly grow and getting all the “special treatment”.

“Let the baby- mother have the seat!” “Aright baby-mother go ahead of me in line.”

I was quite active during my pregnancy. I practised Ashtanga Yoga 3 times a week up to 7 1/2 months and was still working on events up to eight months. So my hips opened up nicely and I had to adopt a quick preggo-waddle.

Pum’kin belly

During the latter part of my third trimester I developed PUPPs so my stretch marks took on a new design  around my poked out navel (it looked like my navel was ablaze). I accepted this as my badge of motherhood and embraced it, after all I am known as NataBlaze in my close group of friends.

Watching my belly grow I thought how can I make memories and keepsakes of this Bounty-full Belly-full I was blessed with?  I decide on a few things and shared with my husband and my sister-circle.

Here are my Top  Five Favourite things to do to Beautify the Beauty-filled Belly.

1. Do a Belly photo shoot.

You can do this with your partner, your sister circle or even by yourself. Lots of people do pics of their bellies evolving through each trimester by taking the pics in the same outfit, so you can see the growth. I opted to do mine by the sea with my husband and I now have some wonderful memories thanks to my sister-friend & documenter Sabriya.

2. Document your Pregnancy & Birth

I used to look at pictures of my pregnant mother and wonder about what they were going through when they had me; a lot of us probably wonder. So I shared this thought with my husband and we decided we wanted to document the pregnancy  so that our child would have his story captured, as much as possible. In sharing with Sabriya our wish to have photos done we also asked if she would be present at the home birth. We have photos and video of before the baby, during delivery and after.

Once you document your pregnancy you can choose from the many on-line methods to share with friends and family, like Facebook or even setting up a private website. This is something you will have to share with you baby as he/she grows up in the digital age.

3. Belly Cast

You can have your belly til the end of time by making a bellycast!

We did this as a sister circle and it was pretty easy and quick too. On my son’s first birthday we plan to paint it as an activity on that day. If your dollars are super strong you can also get your cast personalized and done into a belly bowl by bronzing it. Apparently the sound is different based on the size you cast it at.

Bellycast done by my sister circle.

Belly cast done at 33 weeks by my sister circle. Photo by Sabriya Simon


4. Paint your belly

This is also a fun activity and can be done for a photo shoot or even at a baby shower. You can also do a Henna design for your belly in the third trimester. It is believed that the images used on the belly protect mama and baby during delivery.

5. Belly beads

Before I got pregnant I wanted to get my waist beads done to honour my sacred womb and temple. However Life happened and I ended up getting the beads during my pregnancy. Many women across many cultures wear waist beads  as protection/ healing, as a rite of passage or even for seduction. In choosing colours & stones for your beads go for ones that honour the goddess within and the life you are carrying. You can choose birth stones for you, your partner and your baby. You can also choose stones that are good for fertility and will provide good energy during delivery.

And for some Brawta (Little extra)

6. Belly-Rub-a-dub

You can use shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil/olive oil infused with your favourite baby safe essential oil and rub your belly.I rubbed my belly daily with shea butter(that is full of vitamin E and good for elasticity of skin)  mixed with some essential oils like lavender & patchouli. So not only will you smell good but you will feel good and relaxed and so will baby inside(you might even feel a kick of joy!). If you get tired of rubbing get your partner to slather on the belly goodness all over your belly in soft circular strokes. This will probably lead to some more loving strokes or as we call it in Jamaica belly-rub-a-dub…

No matter what you choose to do for your beauty-full belly just ensure that you are giving it lots of love, because your baby will pick up on your energy. So sun your belly, water your belly, talk to the life in your belly.

Just do what feels good and enjoy the belly-full.

Love& Light


Doula Diaries: My First Birth Experience

Holistic midwifery is something I love ever since I met one of my best friend at St Andrew High School- Kingston, Jamaica in 1999 and got to know her family. Her mother is a well renowned midwife who delivered many babies, my baby and now has started a Natural Birth trend in Jamaica amongst naturalist young women.

The first birth I ever went to was with her in Brooklyn, NY about 5 yrs ago. In fact she’s been at every birth I’ve attended 🙂 At this first one she asked me if I wanted to come along and be her “doula”. You know I’m taking on this new experience right?!

The Rastafarian family who welcomed us into their apartment already had children and so the patient Mama was (surprisingly to me) relaxed waiting for her new baby. As the doula, I made sure Mama had something to drink when she needed, I gave her support when she wanted to hold on, sway or moan through a contraction. I also remember massaging her lower back and my most vivid memory of that birth is sitting in the kitchen reading with the younger children while their sibling was being birthed in a room close by. The event was surrounded by love. When the door opened and they saw their little brother it all left an imprint on my life forever too.

Even though I did not see when the baby emerged I recognized a birth for the intimate experience it was and how it could be as pleasant as possible to the expanding family. A doula is there to make sure all the comforts are there. I’m ready to take on this task.