Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spirit Animal(s)

There are a number of different perspectives when it comes to spirit animals (guides, totems, power animals -- whatever you may choose to call them).  Many people that I have met have only one, or at least only one at any given time.   Those who have had more than one spirit animal over time found that, as they grew, their spirit animal changed to accommodate the changes that occurred in their lives.  For many years I was like those who had a single spirit animal.  My spirit animal had made itself known to me before I even began following a pagan path.  It was a part of me -- something that I never really thought twice about -- Wolf was just there to guide me.  

Wolf started off being very archetypal (though I had no clue what that was at the time).  No male/female -- always grey in color.  However, at various times in my life, Wolf has changed.  Instead of being an archetype she is a particular animal.  She is pure white and larger than I would have expected.  The only color on her is her black nose, lips, and black surrounding piercing green eyes.  She appears when I need a "personal" touch -- some one-on-one communication.

But, a few years ago, my relationship with spirit animals shifted.  I no longer only had one.  Over a period of about a year, I was approached by three more.  Suddenly, I had one associated with each of the four directions/elements.  First, a Golden Eagle, next an Otter, and finally a Hare.  While I have not met anyone who has a spirit animal for each direction/element, I have met a few people with more than one spirit animal guiding them at the same time -- but not very many.  Most of the time, when I share this information (which I do less and less) I get a puzzled look.  I know from my contact with others that my relationship with my spirit animals is not "orthodox".  However, it is what has developed over the years and it works for me.  Eventually, I will share more about them -- how I came to know of them and how they have helped or worked with me in the past -- but not just yet.

Do you have one or more spirit animals?  How did you come to be aware of them? 


Monday, October 11, 2010

Resting is good . . .

Too bad I haven't been!  Like many, life has been a whirlwind of activity.  So much so that something had to give and that something was the blog.  It seems that, for me, every year things start spiraling out of control around the same time (mid-August) and then start to slow -- or get manageable -- some time in early to mid-October.  This is a good thing -- well, not the spiraling out of control part, but the settling part.  It is as if there is one final flurry of activity before we settle into the winter time of introspection.

You may have noticed that I am attending a blog party this month.

                            

This is my first so I am curious to see how it goes.  Of course, being the time of year it is, the party theme is Samhain/Halloween.  Personally, I have always loved this time of year, even before it became attached to my spirituality.  At the risk of dating myself, I dressing up and, when I was very young, spending the evening going from house to house in my neighborhood and having a grand ol' time, parents in tow (because the ALWAYS lagged behind!)  When I was older, gaggles of us teenagers would stalk the neighborhood after dark getting the pants scared off of us because once the little ones were in bed, the gloves came of and scaring the snot out of the teenagers was the number one goal!  Well, at least that was the philosophy of the 'cool' houses.

Now Samhain is a more sedate affair.  It is time to prepare for the dark time of the year.  Time to recognize my ancestors, begin to evaluate my path, and formulate my next steps.  Of course, these are things I tend to do throughout the winter months, but Samhain is the jumping off point.  It is the signpost in the road that says it is time to switch gears.  About this time, every year I start to work out what I will focus on for the next year or so and what I must do to prepare myself so that I will be able to meet those goals.

The weather is turning, I am smelling Fall in the air, and I am loving it!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being "myself ". . .

RA gave me some very good advice awhile back . . . just be myself.


Here I was, getting all metaphysical and junk, trying to "read the signs" and figure out my "next step" and she gave me a much needed little tap on the shoulder.  Umm, HELLO!  I mean after all, here I was going on and on about who knows what and what really mattered was that, whatever was approaching (if anything), was doing so because I am who I am . . .


I especially liked the little reminder that frequently, we are not even aware of the help we provide for others . . . just by being ourselves.  I was reminded of this, first by RA and then by a lovely card I got in the mail the other day.  Not too long ago, I met two amazing people who are working hard to do some amazing good in the world.  Just the other day, I found out that their efforts are starting to achieve results.  I was absolutely thrilled to hear of their good fortune because it means that some wonderful things are going to happen for some very deserving people.


Now, recently when I had a big celebration in my life -- one of those where people ask you what they can get you as a gift to mark the occasion.  I am not really very good at answering that unless I absolutely need something and so, at first I was stumped.  There was nothing I needed except the company of the people invited to the celebration.  But, then l I had a moment of enlightenment.  This cause had become very dear to my heart and it was just in the beginning stages.  What better way to celebrate this event in my life than to have those who asked what gift to get me to take that money and donate it to this new organization!?  (Without going into too much detail, there was a strong link between what I was celebrating and what this organizations goal is -- so it made sense!)


I have no idea how much money was in the envelop I gifted to these wonderful people that night.  But, my heart swelled when I saw their faces as I took a moment and thanked all who had contributed to the contents and handed it over to them.  That alone would have been thanks enough as far as I was concerned.  But it was not to end there . . . yesterday I received the most beautiful Thank You card in the mail.  What I saw as a simple gesture -- almost a "logical" solution to a dilemma -- meant the world to them.  Apparently, my decision affected them greatly and they expressed that in their card.


All because I was being myself . . .


Sunday, August 8, 2010

FYI

Well, it has been about a year and a half since I bought this computer so it is about time for glitches to start appearing.  (Sometimes I think the manufacturer programs them so that things just start working less efficiently after a year or two.)  So, it is time to get some things sorted out before they begin to multiply so my lovely little laptop will be going in for a bit of tweaking.  I have fixed all that I can on my own but the one thing that is left probably involves messing about with the registry and I just don't go there!

So, this is just a short post to let everyone know that regularly scheduled posts will be suspended for a time -- until I have a healthy laptop again.  Hopefully, it will be a SHORT suspension and I will be back in time for Wednesday/Thursday's post -- but if not, keep checking back . . . I SHALL return . . . mwah ha ha ha!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hmm . . . guess I better pay attention!

I went to a get together on Friday and a new friend of mine -- who happens to be a disabled Veteran -- told me how much he appreciated knowing me and how much he respected me.  He described me as a strong and determined person who inspired him.  I was very humbled by the whole experience . . . and, frankly, a little embarrassed.  Here was a man who had served my country and made significant sacrifices -- someone I respect and honor -- and he was inspired by me!  Honestly, if it had ended there, I may have chalked it up to just one of those things and eventually put the experience to the back of my mind.  I would have been honored, but that is where it would have ended -- mainly because I frequently do not even realize or recognize how/why others see me as an example.  In fact, I said as much to this person that night, stating that 'I was just being me' (which he basically told me was the point!).  But, the incidents that followed the next day have made me realize that I am being called to do something . . . I may not yet know what, exactly, but I am beginning to know where to look.

So, what happened?  The next day, I went to the County Fair and two things happened that strongly affected me.  The first was a Tarot reading.  It was just one of those 'quickies' that you can get at these events -- but the reader was excellent and hit on some very significant realities.   One of the things that she brought up in the reading was that I was an example and and a 'light' to those around me -- someone that provided inspiration that others found strength from.  I was shocked at how similar her language was to the words chosen by my friend the evening before . . . it was as if I was being tapped on the shoulder and being told to pay attention.

Following this reading, we wandered over to the area where a small Pow Wow was taking place.  We were hoping to find a place to sit in the shade where we could watch, listen, and enjoy the singing and dancing.  Unfortunately, there were no seats out of the sun, but immediately upon our arrival, the master of ceremonies (for want of a better term) called all Veterans into the dance area so that they could be honored for their service and sacrifice.  It took quite a lot of coaxing to get any veteran to approach and be honored -- but once one did, several more followed.  As more Veterans entered the circle, the energy being raised by the singers and dancers in honor of these amazing individuals was indescribable.  The pressure in my chest was staggering . . . my eyes were filled with tears I was unable to shed . . . my breath was labored . . . my heart raced . . . and all I could do was stand their and watch this remarkable scene.  Once again, I felt as if the universe was telling me to pay attention!

I may not know exactly how to move forward with this.  I believe that teaching by example and working with Veterans are two important elements to what will develop.  I am confident that, in time, I will be given a solid direction -- one that will nurture others as well as myself . . . one that will prove fulfilling and marvelous!  May I stay open and receptive to the signs and signals that will come my way!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's the Message?

Okay -- so I got back from a trip a little over a week ago and it has taken that long to get back into some kind of routine . . . sometimes I wonder if vacations are really worth it!  This one was a very strange one . . . so many glitches!

One glitch in particular keeps popping into my head -- as if it is significant in some way, I just don't know why.  Let me share . . .

On this trip, we travelled by car spending two days on the road each way.  So, we are on our way home on the first day and as soon as we get onto the highway, it becomes clear that something is up with the winged creatures.  First it was the birds.  It was as if any birds in the area had decided that our care was a kamikaze target!  We had dozens of near misses -- no really -- like SERIOUS near misses.  Finally, one bird committed what I can only assume was suicide by flying right into the right side mirror.  While I don't know for sure that the bird died, it managed to fold back the side mirror with the impact so I doubt very seriously that the poor creature survived.

But, it did not end there.  For the next few hours, we continued to have several near misses by birds.  In addition to the birds, we were bombarded by LOTS of big bugs.  We had more bug guts on the windshield in the first two hours of the drive home than we did the entire trip out.  All the while it was happening, I kept asking "What the heck is up with the birds?!"  "What are they and the bugs trying to tell me?"

I still haven't figured it out . . . anyone out there have any thoughts?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Friendship




Bernard Meltzer

Well, I think I prefer the term 'eccentric' -- but, that is probably just semantics . . . 

I have been very fortunate and have several very close friends in my life.  All of them accept me and embrace the person that I am -- warts and all.  My memories are filled with wonderful experiences and warm feelings.  Nothing can beat a true connection with another person - someone who you can be yourself around without any fear that they will judge or reject you.

My only wish is that all of these wonderful people in my life were located in places that would allow us to, once again, meet face-to-face.  I miss the late night talks over wine and nibbles or coffee shop chats in the middle of the week just to catch up.  As much as we all keep in touch with each other, sharing our lives via email and the occasional phone conversation -- it is not quite the same as touching base throughout the week.

Fortunately, I have the joy that can be found by participating in the blogging community.  Still, I long to find a person or two in my new location that will enjoy my unconventional views and interests -- however cracked they may be -- and discuss them over a cup of java or a glass of merlot.  I miss the physical dimension of my relationships -- being able to touch or hug a good friend when they (or I) need it . . . 

So, I will keep the door open and be patient!  Meanwhile, I will continue to nurture all my relationships -- those friends who no longer live nearby as well as those I have never met face-to-face.  Thank you all for all the wonderful experiences you have given me.  Blessings to you all!



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gardening


“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity

― Lindley Karstens





This is really what gardening is about for me.  I think it is why I never wear gloves when working in the garden.  Some of you may be gasping in shock -- after all, digging around in the dirt can play havoc with ones hands, not to mention ones manicure (and, yes, I do get my nails done).  It is true that, after playing out in the garden, I frequently spend the evening dousing my hands with lotion -- but . . . It. Is. Worth. It!

I love the feel of the soil in my hands, the vibrations of life that I feel as I lovingly inspect the plants as they grow and begin to provide the desired produce.  The fleeting moment of dismay when I realize that a destructive little critter has invaded followed by the knowledge that this is part of the process -- the cycle of life, if you will.  Especially when it comes to many caterpillars --  they can decimate a plant, but ultimately they become such beautiful creatures . . . 

Sometimes I think my goal, when puttering around in the garden is to become as dirty as possible -- and boy do I succeed!  But it isn't the kind of dirty that makes you want to run to the bathroom and take a shower.  Instead, it brings about a feeling of connection, calm, and satisfaction.  Okay -- maybe that makes me a bit eccentric . . . or maybe that just makes me a witch!




Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stayin' Alive!

Howard Thurman

When I read this statement, I was brought up short.  Not because I don't do things that make me "come alive" -- I do.  In fact, I do these types of things quite often.  But, the reason I was taken aback a bit was because I also do things that -- well -- just don't!  In fact, sometimes I do things that feel like they are sucking the life out of me.  I imagine that many of us do -- frankly, it is likely that we all HAVE to do some things that do not nurture us.  I, personally, can't think if a single person that I know now or have ever known who are able to completely remove all draining influences.  

The key is to counter those things that drain with things that energize.  Again -- I am not always successful in maintaining this balancing act.  Now is a good example.  My recently revisited project is one of those life suckers.  Anxiety levels are high.  Frustration abounds.  Scheduled daily tasks are . . . challenging.  Despite all this, I continue to plug away -- to attempt to make continued progress, however slow.  So, I must ask the question . . . 

At what point does the draining activity become something that must be let go?  At what point do the difficulties and issues brought about by this project warrant setting it aside for good?  Many times in this process I have wondered if all of the obstacles I have encountered in finishing these revisions are a sign that I am not meant to finish.  This is usually followed by the knowledge that, frequently our most satisfying accomplishments are achieved by overcoming adversity.

I wonder which this will be -- something that was not meant to be or something that I look back on and smile because I was the little engine that could and kept on chugging no matter how steep the hill/mountain got!

How do you decide when it is time to move on?  How many life suckers have you managed to complete or get rid of in some other way?  What are some of the energizing things you do to balance your life?



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Expectations

Sometimes I do things just because I am expected to, even if it isn't the best thing to do in the long run. Do I alway realize it?  No.  When/If I do realize it, do a always change my actions?  Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also "No" -- but, I do try to make adjustments as much as possible.

Sometimes, it just makes life easier if I give others what they want or expect -- for me, that is, not necessarily others.  I struggle with anxiety issues (have for years) and sometimes I find that what is best for my stress levels is not exactly the best way forward for others.  I recently realized (with the help of a good friend) that I was allowing others to require documentation from me that they did not have any legal right to ask for.  I was buying into the popular belief that 1) I was required to have such documentation and 2) that they had the right to ask for proof of that documentation.  By carrying around such information and making it available, I was supporting the position that it was required.  But, more importantly, I was making it difficult for the next person that happened along.

By providing the documentation when it was requested, I was making my life easier.  I was able to avoid any kind of confrontation and did not have to deal with the stress and anxiety that such exchanges can produce in me.  But, what about the next person who comes along and then has to deal with the expectation that my compliance helped to strengthen?  By making my life easier, I was actually making the lives of others more difficult.  In this particular situation, I am happy to say that I have changed my actions.  I hope that I am able to do that more frequently than not.

Expectations can be difficult to ignore -- even if they are not the right thing to do!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Giveaway and An Elusive Ritual

First, I want to call everyone's attention to Mother Moon's First Year of Blogging Anniversary!  She is celebrating with a great giveaway (actually THREE).  Check out her giveaway post for the details (or click on the button to the left).  While you are there, be sure to check out her blog - she has a wonderful knack for writing about just the thing you need to hear (or maybe that is just me -- but check it out and see).

The other thing that I wanted to share is another segment in my "Not Paganism 101" series.  For those who are just joining me, this series is an attempt at identifying a 'next step' option in Pagan practice.  It shares some of the ways that I manage to incorporate my spirituality into my daily practice.  It tries to go beyond the elementary information provided in most books on the various Pagan paths that are out there.  While my experiences may not be the right next step for you, hopefully they will provide a seed that you can take and transplant into your own lives and allow to grow in a way that nurtures your spiritual path.

Okay -- enough of the disclaimer . . . on to the sharing!

This weekend a friend of mine had a birthday and, to celebrate, invited a few people over for the evening.  It was a very small gathering and, though all of us were friends of the Birthday Girl, many of us had never met each other.  Despite this, we all got along wonderfully and had some very interesting and 'deep' discussions.  On top of that, the party took place in a lovely canopied area which was open to the outside.  At one point, the skies opened and we had a wonderful summer rainstorm complete with thunder and lightening.  For me, this entire evening was what I will call an Elusive Ritual.  

Why and Elusive Ritual?  Because there is no one thing that happened that most people would identify as ritualistic.  If you were to speak to anyone that was in attendance that evening, I feel confident that NONE of them would describe the evening as ritualistic in any way -- and most would not even describe it as a spiritual experience.  But to me, the entire evening from start to finish was a spiritual, and even ritualistic, experience.  All of us were there to celebrate the life of a particular individual; all of us were forming connections and really 'being' with each other; despite many of us being complete or mostly strangers, no one left without giving every other person a heartfelt hug (not the 'lean toward each other but touch as little as possible' hug); we spoke of things like religion, charity, and loves; we teased each other; we laughed; we ate; we truly experienced each other with open hearts and non-judgmental hearts.  How is that not a spiritual experience??  The inclusion on the rain, lightening, and thunder did nothing to dampen our spirits -- in fact, we all reveled in the experience -- even when some of us got a little wet.

One thing that I just remembered seems significant, though I am not sure of its meaning yet . . . the party was out in the middle of no where with little nearby for at least a mile.  Despite that, we found a young kitten on the property.  When I say young, I am talking about 7-8 weeks.  She had a great set of lungs on her.  Maybe she was escaping the coyotes, maybe she was just wandering -- regardless, she was rescued and will likely find a wonderful home.

So, for me, that party was a spiritual experience.  Even without drawing a circle, I was in a sacred space.  Even without a formal structure, we celebrated and acknowledged our connections.  For me, this was an example of how ritual can be present in my life even when no one around me is actually aware of it.  Have you ever experienced an Elusive Ritual?  I would love to hear about your mundane sacred experience . . .


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'Tuning In'


Sobeit over at In the Mists of Avalon uploaded a post titled Metaphor as Life where she states: As living human beings, we all have the ability to tune in to our inner guidance system and gain perspective in our present circumstances.  She then provides a list of questions we can all use to help us 'tune in' that, based on her post, look like they may originate from The Celtic Spirit by Caitlin Matthews.  So, I thought I would give it a go here . . . especially since I have begun working on my revisions (again) and am finding it very challenging.

First question: How do I describe myself in my present circumstances? What do I feel like? (For example, 'powerless, like a car with a dead battery'; unheard, like someone singing in a hail storm'; 'over-burdened, like a head of state.')  
Impotent!  As I return to this project, I find that I am running into the same difficulties.  I am, once again staring at a blinking curser . . . I see a blank space waiting to be filled.

Next question:  How would I describe my normal sense of spiritual connection? (For example, 'like receiving Morse code in a foreign language'; 'nurturing and strong, like bathing in a hot pool')
Normally, my spiritual connection feels very solid and steady -- like a large, boulder deeply imbedded in the earth.  Usually, it is a very stabilizing and grounding thing in my life.

Third question:  What is the nature of help that my spiritual allies can bring to me now? What do I need? (For example, 'space and time'; 'a beautiful and deserted beach in the sun')
Inspiration; a return of my ability to translate my thoughts and understanding into the written word; help in fulfilling the academic requirements before me.  Images that come to mind are the Hierophant and a lit lightbulb.

Final question:  How do I envisage my return to a place of clear understanding? (Draw upon the images and metaphors that you graphically describe in your earlier responses. Meditate upon the help you need right now. Let your own metaphors give you guidance and support.)
Well now, THAT would be the problem!  I have tried many techniques and none have worked.  Yet, I still keep plugging away . . .  Anyone have any thoughts?

So, what does this all tell me about my present circumstances?  Hmmm . . .  maybe some meditation on the subject is in order . . . 

What do you do when you get writer's block -- specifically "academic" writer's block.  I seem to be able to write, in general . . . except when it comes to my dissertation!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Check this out!

Recently, I learned of a wonderful new organization called Paws and Stripes.  It is dedicated to pairing Rescue Dogs and returning Veterans with various disabilities and impairments that are a result of their service to the United States.  It then provides for the training of both the four- and two-legged members of that pair until they become a strong Service Dog/Companion Partnership.  Regardless of your position on the military activities of this country, these men and women deserve an opportunity to re-enter society.  As the website says; "Paws and Stripes strives to bring peace and normalcy to the lives of our nation's heroes and see that homeless dogs not only find a loving home, but a new purpose in life."

Not only does this organization provide loving and dedicated animals with a great home and an amazing job, it also helps some very deserving men and women to heal, gain strength, and regain confidence and independence.  Yes, the earth is crying out but so are many men and women who have experienced trauma and tragedy in the service of the United States.  As a witch, I honestly believe that it is not just my responsibility to care for Mother Earth, but to also care for everything on Her.  Paws and Stripes addresses two very important issues (canine overpopulation and disabled Veterans) and provides a wonderful solution to these difficult problems.

This may be a shameless plug, but who cares!  Take a look at this great organization.  If you have a Disabled Veteran in your family, or if you know of someone who does, PLEASE tell them about Paws and Stripes.  It may be the best thing that you ever do for them and will be a wonderful way of thanking them for everything that they have sacrificed for their country and its citizens.  The cause is awesome and the trainers they are using are fabulous!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Living in the NOW

I was reading Art from My Heart the other day . . .

(brief pause for a shameless plug -- go check out Marie's creations!  She has a knack for embodying the spiritual in her pieces and makes beautiful custom pieces upon request)

and saw this quote:

"May today there be peace within you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."


Apparently a friend of hers sent it to her with the instructions to pass it on.  Regardless of its ultimate origins, these words express a state of being that is both healthy and empowering.  Some of my best times in life have been when I have truly managed to live those words -- and some of my worst have been when I have completely forgotten to live in the moment, at peace, and 'in love'.  

I find it helps if I take a little time each day to appreciate  . . . anything . . . everything . . . at least one thing.  Most often I do this while walking the dog.  Usually this works best for me because there is always something that I see that triggers my appreciation.  It seems that these particular thoughts of appreciation and contentment are sparked in me through movement rather than stillness.  Meditation in my life is a very different thing.  Sitting quietly, in silence -- just being and breathing -- is more about grounding and overcoming the stresses of the day.  But it is when walking the dog or digging in the garden that I am able to embrace where and who I am and be joyful.

What do you do to live these very important words?  Do you realize it in stillness?  In those brief moments between wakefulness and sleep?  Pounding the living daylights out of a body bag?  Running a marathon?  We are all such diverse creatures -- what moments work for you?



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Which is the greater offense?

Well, blogger being down last week (yes, I was one of the lucky few who was affected) apparently threw off my schedule!  I could have sworn that I posted mid-week, but when I sat down to prepare my weekend post, I discovered that I have not posted since Monday -- oops!  Interestingly enough, this discovery is relevant to my intended topic for today (gotta luv the whole serendipity thing!).


Recently, due to unexpected circumstance, I had to neglect my blogosphere "responsibilities".  I put the word responsibilities in quotes because, I vacillate back and forth between feeling an obligation to post with some regularity and feeling that blogging needs to be a relaxing outlet form me (at least at this stage).  I must admit that, the longer I did not post, the more my feelings leaned toward the 'failing to fulfill an obligation' side of things.  Interestingly, discovering that I had 'missed' my mid-week post this week didn't really bother me.  Maybe it has something to do with intent -- when I was 'gone' for a month, I made conscious decisions not to post because I was either sick or playing catch up; this week I didn't choose not to post, it just didn't happen!  Yeah, even analyzing the different reactions in myself, it doesn't exactly make complete sense -- but then brainstorming on the fly doesn't alway make sense at first.  So, I will let that percolate for a bit and see what brews . . .


As I frantically attempted to catch up with all of the blogs that I was following, it became clear that I was not alone.  For various reasons, a number of bloggers had not posted to their blogs -- some were ill, some had experienced life situations that required their focused attention, and some had just needed some solitude.  Regardless of the reason, as I read those "touch base" posts, I realized that, for many, a failure to post was not the initial concern.  Sure, apologies were made and explanations given.  But, as I read the blogs of those who had not posted as much as they would have liked, their concern tended to be centered on their inability to keep up with reading and/or commenting on the blogs that they regularly followed.  


I must admit that I was daunted by the number of posts that I had not been able to read.  Apparently, Google Reader stops counting at 1000 unread posts and for days all I saw was 1000+ for DAYS!  On top of that, I have different accounts and pretty much all of them had 1000+ unread posts.  I admit, I skimmed more posts than I would have liked.  But, I really wanted to support my fellow bloggers by reading what they had taken the time to write and put out there for others to ponder.  That felt like a very important thing to do.


So, what is more important to you: keeping a regular posting schedule or staying on top of reading the blogs that you follow -- and why?



Monday, June 7, 2010

Support, Energy, Prayers, etc. . . .

Well, I’m ready!

This is a big week!  I begin working on a project that is very important for a number of reasons and has run into obstacle after obstacle for the past three (YIKES!) years!  I have put myself in a financial position that will allow me to treat this project as if it is a full time job.  Of course, finances will be very tight, but ultimately I believe it will be worth it.  I have produced a work schedule and have either weekly or bimonthly goals, depending on the aspect of the project being focused on, and plan on working for forty hours each week on it.  As each goal is reached, that week ‘s (or two) of work will be submitted for review.  Ultimately, the whole thing should be finished and ready to go sometime in October.  Actually, the whole thing will be sent in for review by the end of September, but it will take time for it to be reviewed – and then there might be final revisions needed. 

With all of these preparations, you would think that I have this thing all figured out . . . but here is the thing . . . while I have managed to eliminate many of the things that have interfered with my ability to work on and complete this project, there is one thing that I have not been able to remove.  What could that be, you ask?  Frankly, it is the demands of family.  In the past, I have tried very hard to make sure that the needs of family are met while putting boundaries in place.  Things like saying, “Ok, I can help you do ________ until noon, and then I need to work on my revisions.”  This has proven to be ineffective because that deadline is not respected and I have been a wimp and not enforced it. 

So, here is where I need the help.  Anything that anyone out there can do to help me to be firm in my resolve to work on this project for forty hours a week and not allow family demands to step all over my goal would be greatly appreciated.  I find it difficult to set these kinds of boundaries (which is funny, because I am quite good at it in other situations!).  It is my hope that my family will respect my need to complete this project – but I also need to be prepared if they do not.  The fact is, this is pretty much the last chance I will be given to finish this – if I don’t manage to stick to this last schedule – well, you get the idea.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers over the next few months and I will most likely keep you posted (after all, how can I not blog about this if that is my main focus!).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Just Gotta Laugh . . .

Today was one of those days that we all have . . . anything that could go wrong did go wrong.  People were stomping all over my last nerve pretty much all day.  I managed to get very little of what I had planned done (though I did manage to get some things done -- just not what I had planned).  Everything took about 3 times longer than anticipated.  I admit, I found myself getting more and more frustrated as the day went on -- even my normal coping techniques failed me.  Then, as was inevitable, the incident that was the final straw happened.  But, instead of exploding, all I could do was LAUGH!

As I look back on the day, I realize that each annoying event was really quite minor but for some reason today they had a much greater impact than it would have normally.  It makes me wonder what was going on astrologically because I was obviously completely out of whack.  It was not until the absurdity of the day hit me that I started to loosen up.  Hey, we all have them . . . and we have a choice . . . are we going to blow a gasket or do we (eventually) manage to shrug it off and say "You Just Gotta Laugh!"?

Here is hoping that everyone manages to laugh more times than not!


An 'Aha' Moment!

MeetUsAtTheWater
Recently, I wandered over to Divining Women and read a post that gave me some idea of why I have been feeling so on edge lately.  I was wondering why such minor things were causing such internal violent reactions.  So violent that they were seeping out and affecting my reactions to everyday life challenges.  Thank you Not Hannah!  I was beginning to think that I was going insane!

Finally, I made the connection!  I was reacting to all of the horror, rage, and frustration that has become heightened as the oil continues to GUSH into the Gulf.  That, combined with the distress, fear, and deaths of all of those beloved creatures, has been gnawing away at me -- getting worse and worse each day.  I find I have no patience; I am angry; I am snappy and irritable.  

I knew all about the oil spill, of course, but have diligently avoided all of the imagery that is out there.  Hearing about it is bad enough.  If 9/11 taught me anything it was that seeing horrible images over and over again plays havoc with my psyche -- so, whenever possible I refrain from viewing such horrible sights.  I remember the images from the Exxon Valdez incident all those years ago -- I don't need to see beautiful creatures in such distress again -- it was horrible enough the first time and in the years since I have actually gotten more sensitive to these kinds of things, not less.  Just hearing about what is happening tears at my emotions -- I would  become hysterical if I actually saw what was happening!  The few images I have seen were horrific and are seared into my brain as it is.  

I commend all of you who can and do view those horrible sights over and over again.  I just can't do it without risking severe, debilitating depression.  I will be meeting at the water on the New Moon and helping our Mother to heal from this horrible, toxic event.  


Sunday, May 30, 2010

I love my garden . . .

I love my garden . . . I love my garden . . . I do, I do!  But, this time of year is the REALLY hard work -- and it is kickin' my . . . well you get the idea.  Still it is nice to be able to see progress.  Just a bit more weeding and clearing out and it will be time for planting.  We do a combination of plants and seed.

Here are some updated photos . . . 


This bed will be filled with culinary, medicinal, and aromatic herbs and plants.  Dividing it into four sections will help with the care and harvesting.  On top of that, each section is in one of the four directions.  What I find interesting is that it was not designed with that in mind -- I only just realized it when I uploaded the picture!


This area is dedicated to food -- with the exception of the salvia already there.  We hope that the wall will give some shelter from the beating sun of New Mexico.  Last year we tried sun screens over the plants -- it kept them from burning but the vegetables were nothing to write home about.  Gardening is all about experimentation -- we'll see how well this works.




Its the 'puppy pad'  the only grassy bit on the property.  We originally put in a small patch for the dogs.  It was such a success, we decided to enlarge it this year.  The sod struggled all last year and didn't revive this year.  We are going to try grass for one more year -- if it doesn't take, it will be time to attempt another kind of ground cover that is resistant to being walked, run, and rolled on.



This is our raised bed(s)  The larger one is dedicated to food (and some herbs that were left over from our first growing season in the house).  The smaller one was added last year and is specifically for herbs.  Still in the cleanings stages here with the north side of the larger bed still needing to be taken care of and the small bed still covered for the winter.  Thank the gods and goddesses for a three day weekend!  Hopefully all will be prepped and planted by Tuesday!

Despite the fact that we are still developing large elements of the garden and it takes a lot of heavy work, I really do love my garden.  It is wonderful to get my hands dirty (I rarely wear gloves so that I can feel the soil in my fingers).  It is always a calming experience to work with the plants and an exhilarating moment when I notice something new.  Last year we planted some berry bushes.  Only one bush actually survived and this year there are tiny little berries starting to appear -- amazing!







Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forever Thankful . . .

As I may have mentioned, this time of year is all about getting the garden underway for the current growing season.  Fortunately for us, the growing season around here begins rather late -- we can easily have a frost as late as mid-late April.  So, usually the plan is to get all the garden prep done by the end of April so that all those lovely seedlings can be put in the ground.  But, this year has gotten away from me -- a situation that has been compounded by the planned projects for this year.

The standard landscaping in our area is the throw tons of sharp rock on the ground and scatter a few trees, grasses, and the occasional hearty bush around -- crowding the base of all these poor struggling plants with the heat retaining stone.  With the exception of a raised bed, initial landscaping of our back yard was just this kind of sterile landscaping -- more like zeroscaping, though it is represented as xeriscaping.  Okay, so in a very old school kind of way, it is xeriscaping, but contrary to the belief of many, xeriscaping can actually result in a lush, green landscape -- it does not have to be a rock garden.

So, for the past few years, we have been slowly converting our back yard into a more interesting, pleasant environment.  This year involved digging out A LOT of the rock so that the areas could be converted into something more lush.  I began quite awhile ago, and picked it up in ernest about 10 days ago.  But, working on my own and being very restricted in my activities, I was making very little headway.  Kind of like the tortoise -- slow and steady, but it was taking forever!  Until yesterday.

Just over a year ago, I had the good fortune to meet two amazing individuals.  I am sure this will not be the last time I speak of them, because they have become significant fixtures in my life.  Without them, I would still be heading out every morning to battle the rock -- digging, hauling, and gaining an ever increasing dislike for the pointy rocks/gravel that makes up so much of the landscaping.  But no!  Now the gravel digging for the year is complete and we are ready to loosen the sterile soil, enhance it with compost and mulch, and begin the fun part of gardening -- designing the new beds and putting in the new greenery.







Here is what things look like at the moment -- so that you can share the gradual development of this space along with me . . . It will be a joy to see how things gradually become full of life and lovely little creatures begin to make their homes in the newly provided environment.  Maybe I can even catch some of them on film!




Not even 1/4 of this was completed until yesterday when my lovely friends graciously spent the afternoon helping me to finish tackling this task.  Blessings to you both!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm Ba-ack (Finally!)

First, the mea culpa . . . Sorry for such a long delay.  Thanks to those of you who checked in periodically -- although I didn't realize it until much later -- I hope my silence I didn't cause too much concern.  It seemed like I was sick forever (when in actuality, it was only about four weeks) and then I was frantically trying to take care of daily responsibilities AND play catch up -- NOT fun!  But, to make a long story short, I am pretty much up to date and ready to get back into a blogging routine.

I want to take a brief moment to share something that many of us can do to help with the horrible situation in the Gulf.  I just found out that some of our local businesses are collecting human and animal hair to be sent to the Gulf so that it can be used to soak up the oil.  Apparently, hair has been used effectively in the past to clean up oil spills and some eco-conscious businesses are making it easy for us to gather this easily acquired item and get it to where it can really do some good.  Check out Matter of Trust for more information on how collecting all that hair that your dog or cat is spreading around your carpet and furniture can be used to combat the oil gushing into the ecosystem.  If you are not aware of any businesses collecting in your area, you can sign up on the website and they can provide a location for you to send your clippings.  They are also looking for donations of nylons -- and they don't have to be pristine -- they stuff the nylons with the hair and create a hair boom to gather the oil.  Even better . . . do you know a local groomer?  Get them involved!

Now, on the list of things to share is the results of the wonderful contest that I won.  Mrs. B had a contest for a $50 gift certificate from Moonstone Jewelry and I WON!  I even managed to crawl out of my sick bed to post about it -- that was when I was stubbornly trying to stay on top of things despite my body's rebellion.  When I finally got around to taking advantage of my prize, there was also a sale taking place so I actually splurged and got two rings (I couldn't decide between the two so it's a good thing there was a sale).  The first was the Howling Wolf Ring (of course -- big surprise there).  But, the second ring that I was very drawn to was the Tree of Life Ring.  Not only was it unusual with the cut outs that reminded me of an infinity sign, but the subtle and beautiful figure integrated into the design spoke to me.  Once I ordered, I was quickly contacted by Moonstone Jewelry thanking me for the order and just days later, I had a package in the mail.  Not only are the products from this company amazing, but so is the service.  If you are looking for some jewelry, I highly recommend checking out this website.

Well, there is so much left to share, but I am going to pace myself.  Besides, I may be ready to start writing again, but I am WAY behind in reading all those blogs that have been posted over the past couple of months.  Actually, my Unread Blogs count just says 1000+ -- so not good, the count is so high that even the computer has stopped counting!  So, I am going to work on getting that under control and I am sure, in addition to ideas I already have, I will be inspired by the wonderful thoughts of others.  I may be a bit slow on the uptake of some of your ideas -- but i want to give them their due, so bear with me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Murphy's Law!

LOL!  Wouldn't you know!  For the past few days I have been sick as a dawg - which explains my missed post on Wednesday (and possibly tomorrow) - and I pop online for the first time in days to find that I WON!!!!!  I get to pick a wonderful piece of jewelry from Moonstone Jewelry!


Okay, enough excitement for one day (really folks . . . sick as a dawg)!  I will return once I can sit up for more than five minutes at a time without getting dizzy!  I hope everyone out there in blogland is doing well and I promise to catch up with my blog reading and posting as soon as possible.


(I would send kisses, but you don't want this nasty little bug!)



Monday, March 29, 2010

Just a little late . . .

Whew!  What a week!  I feel like I have been running in circles!  The week has only just begun and I am already beat!


First, so many of you have commented on my blog background that I must give credit where credit is due.  (Actually, I already do, but you may not be scrolling down far enough to see it.)  The blog background is actually called Blood Red Moon and was created by Olehan.  She has tons of great templates that you can use -- check her out and enjoy!


This weekend the portable green house went up and seeds were started.  So far this year, we have built a cold frame and collected materials to build a potting/garden work table.  We got our grubby little hands on some Mountain Mahogany seedings which have been strategically planted to provide more privacy once they grow.  On top of that, there are now some Golden Currant bushes on the south wall and I am hoping to use any fruit that is produced this year to make preserves.  Maybe combine it with some blueberries or blackberries, depending on how the plants do -- last year none of the berry bushes did well, but hopefully that will change this year. 


The other big garden project for this growing season is to expand the beds under the trees.  This is actually a pretty big job because the landscape put in when the house was built was pretty much rock and gravel with a few plants.  We are slowly changing that but this is year three and we will probably be digging out gravel for another 3-4 years as the garden develops.  Slowly, the sterile surroundings are being transformed into a living ecosystem . . . one that will provide our household with a wonderful bounty provided by the land.


At the moment, it is too early to be planting -- we can get a late frost well into April here -- but, the green thumb is beginning to twitch and preparations are beginning!  As things start to take shape, I will post pictures!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jewelry!

As I have indicated in previous posts, I am very into jewelry.  So, when Mrs. B posted about her latest giveaway, I was of course intrigued.  So, of I went to the featured site (Moonstone Jewelry), click, click, clicking away to see what was on offer.  You see, this particular giveaway is not a particular item, but is the item of your choice ($50 or less) or a $50 'coupon' toward the purchase of a more expensive item of your choice.  (Moonwolf is licking her chops with delight!)

Now, being the silver jewelry whore admirer that I am, I went straight to that category and had a rummage.  I really liked several of the items on offer, especially a couple of the Tree of Life rings.

    

I can't really decide which one I like best.  Fortunately, I was spared the need to choose because I also saw a Wolf Ring!
 
Now, what could be better than that?  Well, I will tell you!  What about a HOWLING WOLF ring????  Yep, imagine my joy when I saw this little lovely . . .



So, have a little wander over to Mrs. B's and check out the giveaway!  Even better, enter it yourself!