Crysta Goes Visiting by Crysta Coburn

In this column, Crysta Coburn writes about crazywisdom-esque people and happenings around Ann Arbor.

The Energy of Numbers

St. Augustine wrote that “numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.” Numerology is the study of the influence and power of numbers. Everything from our names to our birthdays and addresses has numerological significance. Learning what these numbers mean can offer valuable insight into our life paths and purpose, relationships with our loved ones, and career choices.

“Based on when a person is born, the time they’re born, and the name they have on the birth certificate,” we can learn a lot about ourselves says local numerologist and spiritual healer Gayle Elise Fitzgerald. She has studied numerology for 32 years. Her journey with numbers began when she was 13 and a book at a local store jumped off the shelf at her. (I’ve worked in bookstores. This happens sometimes.) I spoke with Gayle recently about the numerological significance of my own name and date of birth.

I was born on 10/20. Gayle, ever patient and ready to answer any question, explained that numbers are generally reduced down to single digits (10 would reduce to 1, for example, because 1 + 0 = 1), though double digits also have meaning. A number ending in zero is made ten times more impactful than a single digit alone. Think of it as an exclamation point. (Or ten.) A person born on the 23rd of the month has the energy of 2, 3, and 5 (the number it reduces to), while I have a very concentrated 2, being born on the 20th. Gayle noted that so many 0’s is uncommon for one person, and she doesn’t see it often. I guess this makes me a pretty intense person! Right? Sort of.

Says Gayle, “The soul attracts the birthday and the name on the birth certificate.” So instead of our personalities being a result of the day and time we are born, or what names our parents give us, our souls select those birthdays and names to reflect who we are and what we are here to do and learn.

I was born about noon. People born before sunrise, Gayle explains, often retain some characteristics of the previous day. (The new day officially beginning at sunrise, not midnight.) These individuals may have unresolved karmic debt related the previous day’s energy, while people born during daylight hours (like me) have moved further past that. This can add considerable depth to a reading depending on how far from dawn a person was born.

All together, my own reading revealed that I am here to communicate. The main mission and lesson of my life is to bring new, fresh ideas to people and foster communication and feelings of freedom, mostly through writing. Writing popped up again and again in both my name and my birthday readings. Interestingly enough, my father chose my name so that it would flow well in case I wanted to become a famous writer one day. Apparently even as a newborn, I was a good communicator.

From the numbers resulting from my name (a more involved process than birthdate that I am not qualified to get into here), I learned that my life will never be boring (it rarely is), and I will learn much from the people I meet, who will in turn help me on my path. I am also adaptive, resourceful, and charming. (I like to think so.) Gayle also cautioned me that I tend to lean towards perfectionism, and it is perfectly ok to step back and let things go now and again. She has me there. But I don’t feel judged. Talking with Gayle was both affirming and empowering. I really felt like she was there to help me understand, not to confuse or feed me only what I wanted to hear. (Even if what she had to say did make my life sound pretty awesome and exciting.)

Whether or not you believe in karma, you can still receive the benefits of numerology. Gayle helps people with understanding their life’s purpose, relationships, personal power, and more. “Each number represents an energy and has a lesson,” she says. Knowing these numbers “helps us make the most of every moment.” If you ever feel unsure about your place in life, as I think we all do at one point, or are just plain curious, I say give numerology a try. I had a lot of fun, and I feel I learned a lot about myself, where I am, and – hopefully – where I am going.

For more information, visit Gayle is offering a free report for our readers based on birth date: “Three Things You Need to Know About Your Life Purpose for Greater Clarity and Connectedness.” Visit for details. Gayle can be contacted at (734) 327-8423 or

Wild Harvested Healing

What is the largest organ of our human bodies? Our skin. It absorbs more and has less protective barriers than our digestive systems. So why do we pay less attention to what goes on our bodies than what goes in?

This is a question posed by Shannon Amori, the insightful woman behind the ReallyHeal Company, L.L.C., of Ann Arbor, which offers holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, and bodywork therapy. Shannon started her career as a nutritionist, earning a degree in dietetics from Michigan State University. Originally going to M.S.U. to study art, Shannon was later persuaded by her mother to switch to a more practical major. She sees her current pursuit of nutrition, herbalism, and energy work as a bringing together of multiple loves. May we all be so blessed!

Shannon collects many of the herbs and plants for her scrubs, balms, salves, and more at local Ann Arbor parks. Yarrow and bee balm are particularly plentiful in Michigan, and famously soothing chamomile especially grows freely. Shannon is always careful to stay away from roads and other high-traffic areas so as to avoid direct contact with so many pollutants. In her own backyard she has built a raised bed garden to keep her plants away from the fence she shares with her neighbors, who use chemicals on their lawn.

As we walked around her vibrant, verdant yard, Shannon pointed out plants that I had seen my entire life and taken for granted as just part of the Michigan backdrop. Dandelions, the bane of many gardeners, is a natural antibacterial and can be rubbed onto cuts and scrapes to help them heal. A cloth soaked in bee balm tea can be used as a compress and antiseptic. Bruised plantain leaves are perfect for relieving the pain of bee stings and irritation of mosquito bites. Fresh clover treats boils. Suddenly, I was seeing a place as simple as a neighborhood backyard in a whole new light. It was a pharmacy!

When I asked how she got started blending her own salves and balms, Shannon immediately answered, “I like to be independent in everything.” She smiled as she shared memories of her Polish grandmother who baked everything herself from scratch. Before coming to America, her grandmother and grandfather lived for two years in the woods of Russia after escaping the Nazis in Poland. “That must have been pretty wild,” she laughs. The little community they built there was entirely self-sufficient. How exciting! I thought.

We can be equally take-charge with our health in the modern day. Something simple like Shannon’s Calendula Salve is perfect for inflammation, for example, an all too common ailment nowadays. Calendula has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, and  this salve melts instantly at the touch of a finger, making it easy to rub onto sore neck muscles, but has yet to make a mess in my bag. It’s also great for ragged cuticles and hang nails. I truly felt like the skin repaired itself overnight. The Natural Lip Balm contains “a hint of organic berries,” tempering the strong peppermint scent and tingle, and also comes in a little tin that can easily be tossed in a purse, bag, and taken on a plane since it is solid, not liquid. (This is a big plus for me. I travel a lot!) Ladies, if you are looking for a lotion to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, try the organic Vanilla Frosting intense moisture cream. It will soothe your skin, decrease inflammation, and make you feel silky smooth.

As of last fall, Shannon has quit her “day job” and gone solo, a step that holds many more timid souls back. She isn’t worried. “Once you do what you want to do, it keeps coming.”

Shannon Amori owns Dandelion Botanics & ReallyHeal Company, L.L.C. For more information, visit;; or Shannon can be contacted at (248) 808-1201 or

Turning Something Old into Something New

“Sewing is my thing,” proclaims Candice Kush, smiling brightly. It shows! Candice displays and sells her marvelous handmade, upcycled creations through her Etsy shop, Textile Stockpile, giving her both a creative outlet (“I ran out of people to give stuff to!” she laughs) and a way to work while staying home with her young daughter.

Candice grew up in Chelsea, then attended Eastern Michigan University, graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She started to get a teaching certificate, but abandoned it after one semester when she realized that teaching was not for her. At first, Candice tried drawing and painting, as she had been taught in school, but nothing seemed to work out. “I bought the expensive Prisma markers,” she says, “thinking that would help, and no.” After trying to paint a picture for her friends’ wedding that just wasn’t coming together, Candice scrapped it, re-did it in fabric, and “that was the vision.”

She has been sewing since she was a little girl. Her mother did clothing alterations out of the home for extra income, and when Candice turned 21, her mother bought her her first sewing machine. She has made quilts, tote bags, purses, pencil cases, little carry-alls, and Halloween costumes. (Last year her daughter was a ladybug.)

What started Candice on creating upcycled bags was an old T-shirt of her mother’s that she didn’t want to part with, but also couldn’t wear. Turning beloved articles of clothing, like T-shirts or a favorite pair of jeans, into quilts or pillows has been a trick circulating among crafters for years. As Candice points out, “it’s a great way to hang onto things [we] don’t need.”

Candice has taken this one step further with her Etsy shop. “At least two shirts are re-purposed for each bag. They are all unique and made with my own two hands.” Her favorite places to find great graphic T’s for her bags are the Salvation Army on State Street in Ann Arbor (one of my personal favorite thrift stops, as well) and Value World on Maple Road near Plum Market. She used shirts with breast pockets that were found on clearance at Target to make two super cute fabric pencil cases. Pockets can be difficult to make from scratch, so using the pre-pockets from the shirts not only added extra storage, but a more polished and complete look. There is also a fantastic side-bag that she made from a pair of corduroy pants.

Why T-shirts? “They’re cheaper than fabric,” Candice explains, and she can make the bags without measuring. When she does use zippers, such as with the pencil cases, she sews them on by hand because she finds it easier than trying to coax it through her sewing machine.

Candice’s husband is an artist, too, but works outside the home to support their growing family. Candice knows that when their second baby comes along, she won’t have as much time to work on her craft, so she is trying to get as much done as she can now. I, for one, am cheering her on!

Visit Candice’s Etsy shop, Textile Stockpile, at She can be contacted at

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Posted on August 28, 2014 and filed under Columns, Crysta Goes Visiting, Local.