09 September 2017

a few random thoughts...

Hello again, my dears.

This is not the post I'd originally planned to share today (actually, two days ago), but I wanted to be here.  So here I am.  

I've misplaced the cable that connects my camera to my computer and cannot download my pictures.  My camera is loaded with photos of art I've made, scenes from my last trip to the mountains and many other things that have caught my eye lately.

Yesterday, I headed to the farmers market and stocked up on fruits and veggies.  I probably over stocked really, but I just get so excited around all that good healthy real food.  Afterwards, I loaded up the crock pot with pinto beans, experimented with a peach cobbler and made this chicken.  The chicken was delicious and I've already taken another package of chicken out of the freezer to make more.  

The pintos are for chili I'm planning to make on Monday when it's cold and rainy (Irma effect).  Today is football (Go HEELS!), knitting (Scoreboard 2.0) and roasting tomatoes, some to freeze and some for the chili.  And some time in the next few days, I'll be putting up applesauce and cooking green beans or maybe freezing some of them.

I've walked this morning, cleaned up the patio (we had new fencing put up last week and everything had to be moved around) and a few other piddly things.  I'm getting a new dining table this weekend so I have to take everything out of my dining area until the table is in place.  Then I can maybe move some things around it.  It is a big old farmhouse table (like the Walton's had) from our mountain house.  I've wanted that table since the first time I saw it.  I'm so excited to have it be mine!

I'm going to sign off now.  Football has started and I need to get busy with the rest of my day.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  And I hope you will take a minute, where ever you are, to say a prayer (to whomever you pray to) for the safety of everyone on this planet we call Earth.  So many things are happening everywhere - fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, monsoons, etc. - too much tension for our souls to have to bear well.  Personally, I pray for peace in our hearts, minds and souls for every being on this earth.  

Thanks for stopping by, 

love & blessings

~*~

04 September 2017

Lessons Learned (long)



These past 11 months have been a mixture of the usual and the unusual.  I fell into the well again.  This time I fell in earlier than usual and stayed there longer.  No matter what I have done, I have not been able to break this pattern.
Just after the first of the year, I was offered an opportunity to move.  The new option was a much smaller community that I was already familiar with and knew several people that lived there.  The house would be about the same but different layouts and the bonus of a garage.  At first, I was shocked and couldn’t even contemplate moving again.  It would mean having to pack up everything I own (and I own a LOT) and selling my place. 
 
I guess I didn’t really give it much attention.  I was so deep in the well that barely any light reached in and I couldn’t rouse myself for heavy thoughts.  In the middle of February, I received a phone call saying they needed a decision.  Uh…WHAT!?!? 

Yeah… So, I made a pro/con list.  I wrote down everything I could think of big or small.  There were a lot of pros on the list, many more than the cons.  However, one item on the cons had a much heavier weight to it and so needed to be counted as more than one item.  I reviewed the list, slept on it, reviewed it again and tried to contact my “best friend” to get some additional insight.  I could never get in touch with her.

Two days after the ‘we need a decision now but no pressure’ call, I received another call saying now we REALLY need a decision.  So…I dived in and said yes.
I called my realtor, went under contract on my house within 10 days and packed up.  On May 14th, I moved into my new place. 

Within 20 days, I was ready to move again.  There are a lot of reasons why, and I’ll get into that another time.  But let’s just say that con that had so much weight?  It was much, MUCH heavier than I’d given credit to. 

We will call this, lesson one.

I’ve been making the best of things here.  I’m walking again as I feel safe in the community and know that if I have a fainting/falling issue, someone would be there to help fairly quickly.  I’m very much enjoying the trees and having a small wooded bit behind my home.  And I love having a garage.  I store my excess there instead of having tubs stacked hither and yon in my house proper.  I was also able to set up the guest room as my studio and have it actually useable.
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For the past couple of years, my family have been trying to sell our home in the Southern Appalachians.  My grandparents bought it 30+ years ago and I have so many wonderful memories of holidays and vacations spent there.  I’ve always loved the house and the location and even offered to buy it from them many years ago, but I couldn’t afford their asking price. 

Now, it is being sold.  It is under contract and should have closed in early August.  That was pushed back a week and then another week.  Now we are waiting to hear when the closing will be.  And honestly, some are wondering if it will even close.

To take advantage of my last chance of spending time there, I took myself off at the end of July for a short visit.  I had such a marvelous time, I extended my stay by a few days and would have stayed longer but I hadn’t taken enough of my prescription medicines with me.

I felt such peace whilst there.

It was a mental peace, an emotional peace, and a spiritual peace.  Surprisingly, it was also a physical peace.  I had no breathing issues (this is a new thing I’m dealing with), I hardly had to blow my nose the whole time (at home it is many, many times a day – TMI!).  The most important change I noticed was a bit of lessening of the constant pressure/pain in my head.  I’ve had such never-ending pain with these headaches for so long, even the slightest lowering of pain is noticeable and wonderful.

It was simply – my place.

For many years I’ve avoided going up there unless someone else was with me.  The reason why is too long to explain here, but I wasn’t comfortable being there alone. 

Until now.

I should have gone many times.  I’ve had years that I could have spent any amount of time up there I wanted.  Lots of wasted years.
When I returned home, I realized that was where I needed to be.  I NEED to be in the mountains. 

We will call this, lesson two.
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A week after I returned from the mountains, I received a text from my “best friend”.  Yes, the same person I wasn’t able to get in touch with months ago when I needed her.  Her text was basically saying how much she missed me, thought about me all the time, wanted to talk to me all the time and how I’m so important to her life and always will be.

After a flurry of texts between us where we “caught up”, I got a call and we started talking about the eclipse.  She was telling me how, many months ago, she’d reserved a hotel room someplace in Georgia that was in the path of totality.  She talked about how it was such a big event and she wanted her two youngest to experience the whole thing and was taking them out of school to take them to view it.  I wondered out loud if our mountain house area was in the path and she looked it up and said it was.  We quickly made plans to head to the mountains (she could save those hotel fees) and have our own little viewing party.

Long story short? 

The mountain house town was in the 99% and another town 20 miles away was in the 100% so she took her kids and paid an exorbitant amount of money for a hotel room for the night before the eclipse and left me at the house alone – with no car.

Side note: she did say I should come with them, but I couldn’t as I had someone coming the afternoon of the eclipse to pick up a piece of furniture to bring back to my house.

Late Monday afternoon, I get a text saying traffic is stopped on the highway and the hotel had a no show and was going to let them stay there that night and they would be back the next morning.

Now we are at two nights alone with no car.

Tuesday morning, a text comes in saying they are on their way.  Two hours later they show up (it was a 20-minute drive) and the youngest is not feeling well.  After about two hours of doing nothing but fidgeting she says she thinks it’s time to go home.  We were supposed to go on Wednesday, although I was possibly going to stay since my mum might have to come up for the closing at the end of the week. 

I told her I was not ready to leave but if she felt she had to go, then she should.  She spent the next three or so hours packing up, asking me every 10 minutes if I’d heard from my mum (so I’d know if I would have a ride home) and talking about cleaning.

When she first asked I explained that it would be late in the day when I heard from my mum.  I told her this repeatedly.  I also asked that she run me to the grocers before they left so I could have plenty of water (the tap water was very metallic tasting).  Eventually she was done, and just left for her 6 ½ hour drive (what should only take 3) with a sick child who very easily gets car sick. 

And no, I didn’t get that ride to the store.

I received a text that they’d made it home about 4 hours later.  (She said she’d put the wrong route in her GPS hence her thinking it would take 6+ hours.)  Oh, and she wanted to know if I’d heard from my mum cause she’d come back and get me if she needed to.  Right.

Night three, alone – no car.

She texted the next day to ask if my mum was coming up.  I replied that everything was fine.  I’ve had one other text that I’ve not replied to and haven’t heard another peep from her.

If I’d had a pad of paper with me, I’d have written her quite a scathing letter.
Instead, I reflected on our friendship of 13 years and I realized something.  She is a user.  She is a person who takes what they want from people and gives back only enough to have the person willing to let her take from them again.  The times I really needed her, she was never there.  When this first occurred early in our friendship, I (and she encouragingly) attributed her behavior to the influence of a third party.

Now I know that was never true.  It has always been her way.

Over the past few years, I had told myself many times I was done with her friendship. 

Now things are crystal clear.  I am D O N E. 

We will call this, lesson three.

And what a lesson it was.
------
August and I have not been friends for many, many, many moons.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever liked the month of August.  It has always been too hot for this cold weather loving heart.  It signaled the start back to school, which was never my favorite place to be.  And then there was the name that my father gave it when I was young and lived summers with him – Austerity August.  Yes, he named the months that he said we couldn’t spend money for things. (Stingy September, etc.)   Well, except for his rounds of golf.  His many, many rounds of golf. 

Anywho, my real loathing of August began in 1983 when my grandmommy died quite suddenly.  Since 1983, August has taken many souls from my life.  All of my grandparents died in August (all within the same five-day span over 20+ years), my beloved beastie – Dylan (my black lab), a man I met only once but he touched my soul so deeply I felt I’d known him for centuries – Papa Edgard, and several friends of my family.  Then, of course, there are things the likes of Katrina and Harvey, which deeply affect this tender-hearted empathic medium.  So many souls passing so quickly…  So much devastation and the grief singing through the air.

Every year, I begin in June or July to worry as to what August will bring.  This year, when I arrived at the mountain house at the end of July, I felt compelled to try a new tactic. 

I made friends with August.  I did this publicly (on Instagram) and therefor set my intention not just within myself, but sent it wide to the universe so it couldn’t be missed. I set up a little altar to welcome August and Lughnasadh on the first.  Every day, I consciously focused on August being a good month.  I did things that would make it a good month: sketching, reading, painting, witching, creating, walking, eclipse watching, etc.

Now, I’m happy to say, August and I have made friends.  We’re not besties, yet.  But we can enjoy each other without anxiety and with appreciation for what we have to offer.

That makes lesson four and brings us to the end of this series of lessons.
(I’m planning to try that consciously focused method whenever the well starts to deepen and hopefully it will help me stay out of it.)
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I’ve been a very neglectful blogger, even in visiting.  I’ve started making the rounds again and trying to see what everyone is up to.  I truly miss it when I’m not here visiting with you lovely souls.  I think I stopped writing because I felt I never had anything to say.  My life for several years now has been quite boring, filled with the ravages of chronic pain/health issues and little else.

Well, I’ve been doing a lot more, and I have lots to share.  My life seems to be filling itself up and I am quite happy.  I hope to continue to fill it even more and keep having things to share here.

Thanks for visiting (and sticking with me),

love & blessings

~*~

15 November 2016

Giveaway winner...

Hi there!  I'm super late with this, but better late than never right?


Congratulations to Stacy-Magic Love Crow!  She's the winner of my Halloween giveaway.   Email me your address and I'll get your prize out to you this week.

I really enjoyed the Halloween memories you all shared.  Thanks for participating!

I'll be back here in a day or two.

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings
~*~

31 October 2016

Samhain blessings...





 







  

 Hello!  Happy Halloween and many Samhain blessings to you all!  I hope this finds you enjoying the spirit of the day and having a bit of fun too.  

I spent a good portion of yesterday getting ready for today.  I took a quick drive to the farmers market for a variety of things, including cut flowers and a carving pumpkin.  Then I spent the rest of the day setting my dining table and sideboard area for Halloween and The Ancestor Offerings.  I made some banana bread using one of my grandmothers recipes and made a few plates with some of their favorite food for offerings to the Ancestors.  One of my Grandmothers used to keep Zero candy bars in the freezer so when I saw a Zero bar in line at the grocers I just new I had to get it for her.  I haven't seen these in ages!  Some of the offerings include, pimento cheese sandwich (a favorite of my Great-Grandmother Ida), pasta with homemade sauce (for my Granddaddy, Lester, whose knickname in college was Spig, because he ate so much spaghetti having never seen it until he moved to NC), pepsi (my other granddaddy, George, retired from Pepsi Bottling Co. after a lengthy term of employment), and iced sweet tea (because everyone drank it).   

I cleaned up my year-round ancestor altar on Saturday and spent this morning making up fresh bouquets for them and one for Maman Brigitte's altar.  I used elements of the flowers I picked up yesterday and a few things from my own little garden.  

I'm feeling very right today, I don't even know the correct word.  I just feel as if I'm doing the things I should be and that everything is good.  I pulled out one of my journals last night to find that I hadn't read tarot for myself since last Samhain.  I read over the year reading I did and boy, was it spot on.  I'll do another for myself for the coming year, tonight.  (As I've been typing, the word I had been looking for came to me - balanced.)

I've walked the line between the worlds my entire life.  For the most part I've kept it to myself, and/or hidden what I am and the gifts the Ancestors have given me.  Recently, I've realized that this is the time to step up fully into those gifts and use them.  What is the saying, use it or lose it?  Well, I lost this gift several years ago and it was the most miserable year I've ever spent.  Not like anything bad happened, I just didn't feel like myself.  I didn't feel...whole.  But this autumn, things are feeling balanced.  Like I'm no longer trying to keep from tripping off the rope into one world or the other.  So, I'm going to use it, as much and as often as I can.


I'd planned to do a giveaway at the beginning of the month so I could send out some Halloween goodies, but time and other things conspired against me and it didn't happen.  However, there is no rule that says Halloween can't be enjoyed throughout the year!  So, I'm having a little giveaway today.  I have some Halloween items to send to someone out there in bloglandia.  Included will be what you see in the picture above as well as a few other little things (like maybe some candy!).  I'm also offering the winner a tarot reading.  You can ask a question or just see what the cards and spirit have to tell you if you'd like.

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment telling me your most favorite Halloween memory* and I'll enter your name into the mix.  I'll put everyone's name in the witches hat and draw one out (old school style!) on Saturday, Nov. 5th.  Entries will be cut off at 11:59pm Friday (Nov. 4th).  

*To be sure I don't add someone who doesn't want to be added please be sure to start your comment with "My most favorite Halloween memory is".  For an extra entry, you can mention this giveaway on your blog.  Nothing big, just a line or two will do.  Leave me a separate comment that you did so, please, and I'll enter your name a second time.  

Well, I just realized what time it is and I must run!  I still have treat bags to fill and lunch to eat and a pumpkin to carve!!

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings
~*~



 

29 October 2016

a little art...





Three posts in three days?!?  Amazing, huh? :-)

As promised, here are a few pictures of pages I made for my Red Thread book.  None of the pages I've made are completely done (I don't think).  Some are still blank pages, with backgrounds started.  Some, like these, have elements added to them.  

The top picture has an old library card sleeve holding the item in the second picture.  It is a TAP image that I got while on the retreat that I put on a Dylusions spray inked index card.  

The map is a cutout from a giant old map of the US that I have had since I was a kid.  I decided to mark my driving route from the first trip using red thread.  The old tag at the top is also inked with Dylusions and with stamped letters.  I really like the You Are Found tag because I feel like I found an important part of myself when I made that first trip.

The last picture is another TAP image, one that we all received at the first retreat.  I had brought with me a worn and stained cloth that belonged to one of my grandmothers (not sure which).  I cut out a piece from a corner large enough for the image and then hand stitched a hem on the two sides I'd cut.  (Something I'd never done before.)  The washi tape at the bottom of the page is from a package I received a couple years ago from the wonderful Nina Bagley (our instructor at this retreat).  

I have several other pages that are mostly done, but these are the ones I thought I'd show you today.  I haven't started working on the covers yet.  I have some ideas there, but am not entirely certain.  

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little "art show."  Any projects you have been working on?

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings
~*~
  

28 October 2016

about that story...

When Magaly put out her invitation for this years Witches in Fiction posts I was intrigued.  I'd read previous years entries and enjoyed them but hadn't felt I was up to the challenge.  This year, I decided to give it a go.  I really loved the theme and felt drawn to participate.

I started thinking about it prior to my trip to Maryland and decided I would make a mixed media piece to share. I put it out of my mind during my trip and when I returned home, I dived in.  I started with a blank canvas (always intimidating) and began adding layers of paint and paper.  I spent my first day back working on this piece.  When I stopped for the day, I wasn't really happy with where it was heading, so decided to let it sit overnight and come back to it with fresh eyes the next morning.  

I worked at it for two and a half days before I accepted that things just weren't coming together.  Well, you know what that means.  Panic!

Yes, I started freaking out and almost backed out.  But...I kept thinking about all the times I've ever committed to something and then backed out at the last minute and I just couldn't do it.

Now we are up to Thursday evening (the day before it is due) and I got nothing.

I spent several hours working on my written submission.  I started letting the words come out (and not trying to make them fit, which is where I run into trouble).  After a while, I felt like I had something I could work with.  I went back over it, tweaking this and that.  Changing a few words and looking for things that would make it seem more cohesive (I think that is the word).  When I finally stopped, I was not happy.  I just didn't think it had the elements it needed.  But...I was exhausted and it was due in just a few hours.  

So I scheduled the time for it to publish, then went to bed.  I was kind of proud of myself for sticking to my commitment, but still worried that it wouldn't "measure up".  (Why do we do that to ourselves?)  

When I woke the next morning, I checked to make sure it had posted (and it hadn't, of course).  I hit the publish button and sent it out into the wide world of the internets.  After that the day was busy and I didn't back to my computer for a while. 

Saturday morning I was going through my blog feed to catch up on the blogs I'd missed while away for over a week.  I landed on Joanna Devoe's Weekly Witch Review and while clicking through her links received such a shock.  She had included my Witches in Fiction post as a link.  She said such wonderful things, I was so amazed.

Have you ever had one of those surreal moments that just takes your breath and stops time?  I swear, this was one of those moments for me.  I kept looking at it and then clicking the link thinking there was some sort of a mistake.  But...well...  

I have to thank you, my readers and visitors here, for all the encouraging and thoughtful comments that I received on that post.  I tried to reply to everyone and hope I didn't miss anyone.  But if I did, please accept my gratitude.  I can't tell you how all those comments lifted my heart.

It's kind of funny actually.  I don't believe in coincidence.  One of the things that I indulge in when I go on these trips, is a wonderful massage by the owner of the facility.  As we are finishing up each of these sessions, she always says, "you should write."  I always reply that I'm just not good at that.

See the thing is, I love to tell stories.  I have spent my life creating stories in my head.  I used to write them down, but a few times friends (or school bullies) found them and made fun of my writing and ideas, and I stopped.  I still create them, I just don't record them anywhere, except for a few that just demanded being recorded.  

So when I saw the reaction to the story I made up for Witches in Fiction.  I was really overwhelmed.  And really happy.  And really encouraged to maybe, start writing all those stories in my head down somewhere.  And that feeling, is all because of YOU!  So, thank you, again for giving me hope.

Okay, I'm feeling like this is scattered and really too long, so I'm going to wrap it up. I have some ideas for upcoming blog posts, so hopefully, I'll be here more often.  

Has anything amazing happened to you lately?  Something that just makes you feel really good?  I'd love to hear about it.

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings
~*~

27 October 2016

retreat...


An invisible Red Thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
~ Chinese Proverb
 

 





 





 These are just some of the photos I took on while I was at the Red Thread Retreat earlier this month.  I had the most marvelous time.  I think it might have even been better than the first time I went.  

The drive is a bit difficult for me, 6 1/2 hours sitting in a car, being very focused on what I'm doing and what everyone around me is doing.  This is very difficult with a severe headache the entire time.  It is even more difficult when my squirrel brain is added to the equation.  If I could stop to take a photo every time I saw something I wanted to capture, it would take WEEKS!!  :-)

Anywho, the food was fabulous (as usual).  The weather couldn't have been more perfect and I was able to spend lots of time visiting with the trees.  That little fox photo was from pretty far away, as I was headed toward the field he was crossing for a walk.  I forgot to take my walking shoes and marching through the woods in flip-flops is really not a good idea.  So, I settled for walking around the edges of the field and woods.  I startled a foursome of does and wasn't able to get a photo of them.  But it was so nice to just watch them.  (The next day I walked past my bedroom window and saw two just a few feet from the house nipping at the grass.)

Normally, at these retreats, I come away energized, but while there quite frustrated because I'm not happy with what I create.  The first year, I made a couple of small things that I liked.  The second time I went, I came back with a few found poems I'd created and one piece of art I really loved.  This year, I had a breakthrough.

I listened to our instructor, the amazingly talented and wonderfully sweet Nina Bagley, talk about how she creates.  I watched the demonstrations and I worked.  I'd had a hard time deciding what my theme was going to be when I was ordering my supplies, but on the drive up, I realized I wanted my book to be my Red Thread book.  I wanted to document my activities at these retreats.  

I picked up lots of good tips from my friend and tablemate.  My particular favorite was how she will lay down elements that she is trying to decide on and photograph them with her phone so she can get a different perspective.  I've been doing that a lot.

I also learned how to think outside of the box when creating pages for my book. I found elements to add and worked on backgrounds.  On our last night, we all sat together and shared one page of our book and talked about what our best take-away from the retreat was.  I had a bit of a problem with this.  Not my usual problem, in that I didn't like what I'd made so didn't know what to show.  No, my problem was that I LOVED everything I'd made.  I had no idea how to choose which page to share.  When it was my turn, my friend/tablemate, announced my dilemma and asked if I could share more than one thing. :-)

I was very sad to leave the next day and I lingered as long as I could.  I was, however, very excited to get home and unpack.**  More importantly, I was excited to have spent time with a group of beautiful (inside and out), intelligent, caring, supportive, creative women.  I always come home from these retreats rejuvenated and feeling a lot better about myself.  I laughed, a lot.  I smiled, a lot.  I talked, a lot.  I was HAPPY, A LOT!!  :-)


If you ever have a chance to attend one of these retreats I highly recommend it.

I promise to show some of the pages I created in another post.

I hope you've all had a good month.  I can't believe how quickly October has flown by.  I'm very sad to see it go.

**When I arrived home I remembered that I'd signed up for Witches in Fiction and so started to work on a mixed media piece for that.  I'll have a post about that next time.

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings
~*~