Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Personal Commitments

For the next month on Prosperity Project(See sidebar for link) the focus will be on personal commitments.

At first I was considering fitness or skin care, but the more I thought about it, I realized that neither of them fit with the rules. Skin care didn't fit because it would require me to spend money and fitness didn't fit because it would take more then 10 minutes a day to be effective and to be completely honest it wasn't something I really wanted to do.

So I decided on meditation. It is something that I have let slip for a while now, but I really want to get back to. I miss the feeling of peace that resonates afterwards. It is also a great baby step to help with spirituality.

For thirty days (starting yesterday) I will spend 10 minutes meditating everyday.

If you would like to work on keeping a personal commitment to yourself head over to the prosperity project and join in.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Pagan Giveaway

Pagan giveaways are few and far between. That's why when I find one I always share it with you. Even the one's I really want to win!
The giveaway I found today is for a few Greenman items, including a mug, a magnet and a mask from Ramblings of a Newbie Pagan. They really are beautiful. It's always helpful to have reminders of the divine scattered throughout the house. Or you could use them to decorate your alter.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Goodbye Winter

I am surprised to find that I am a bit sorry to see you go. We had so much fun together this year. We made blessed water with beautiful snow you sent us. That snow also brought our family closer together, keeping my children home from school and my husband home from work.
Your cold winds gave me reason to cuddle a little closer to my beloved husband. It knocked out the electricity so that we had to find fun new ways to entertain ourselves.
Most of all I will miss the way you slowed life down for us. Gave us chance to rest and recuperate before we enter the hustle and bustle of the spring and summer again.
Thank you winter. We look forward to welcoming you back next year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Communal Living

There are times when I get disgusted with society. The corrupt government, as well as the wealth and the greed that drives it. Children being raised not to think for themselves, and being taught not to question some of the most important things in life such as religion, and right and wrong.
To often a persons value is determined by either their wealth or their physical attractiveness. Those that are poor or disabled are seen as lazy and a drain on the economy. Society takes and consumes then takes more, giving almost nothing back, because they feel it is there "right". Anyone who thinks outside of the box is labeled a trouble maker.
So what is a person to do? Lately I have been considering communal living as a possible cure for the "human condition".
I would love to live in a mini society where differences of opinion were settled with meetings, not wars; where eating and living sustainably was considered the norm instead of "eccentric." It would be awesome if when my children wore hand-me-downs people realized that they were saving the earths resources, rather than seeing them as poor and therefore less than everyone else.
Communal living or co-housing enables people to be dependent on each other. Everyone does their share of the work and shares in everything else as well. It's a situation that can help people overcome their addiction to money, which I feel is the number one problem in America today. (Number 2 is addiction to power)
So that is my dream. To live out in the woods with like minded people providing for our own needs in as many ways as possible. Sharing everything we have including work and resources. So what's stopping me? My husband.
Now in his defense, he is supportive of me in almost everything from religion to spending twice as much money on organic groceries, but this one thing he just isn't willing to consider. I can't even convince him to visit.
He values his privacy way to much. Just having neighbors is a little to much for him.
He would however, love to own our own organic vegetable and dairy farm. It's not exactly my dream, but it's a lot closer than I am right now. And, after all, marriage is all about compromise. The only issue is that stands in our way is money. eek. There it is again. The driving force that apparently keeps the world turning.
So what do you think? Have you ever considered communal living? Have you ever tried it? Share your thoughts and experiences.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I is for Isis

Although ancient Egyptian culture has never been of any particular interest to me, I have always felt drawn to the Goddess Isis. Perhaps it is because she is such an all-encompassing Goddess. She is the Goddess of medicine, wisdom and magic. While many Gods and Goddesses are aligned with a certain compass direction, Isis is aligned with the center and rules all directions, as well as all elements.

Isis is the only Egyptian Goddess to walk among her people daily, teaching the skills like weaving and baking. Her husband Osiris taught agriculture. Together they had a son named Horus, who became known as the sun God.

I don't keep a permanent alter up in my home because I have no space, but occasionally when I want to feel more connected to my higher power I will erect an alter on top of my dresser. When honoring Isis, my alter is set up with a vase of lillys, a painting of an eagle, a stuffed lion and a few small quartz crystals. I also leave offerings of bread and wine. Isis is also represented by the woman's body, so I have been looking for some artwork of the female form to add to my alter.

Blessed Be
For more I posts visit ABC Wednesday

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Week on the Converted Kitchen

For those of you interested in the real food movement here are the links to my posts from last week on the converted kitchen.

Sourdough Inspiration Giveaways
My First Attempt at Real Cooking (this one is funny)
Breakfast of Champions...or Maybe Not
Awesome Bubbleage

Happy Reading

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Discussing Ferility Based Religion Without the S Word

At some point when discussing fertility based religion with children the topic of fertility is bound to come up. (Possibly around Beltane or the very near spring equinox.)

Now me, being the strong and independent woman I like to think I am, hate to ask my husband permission for anything (thanks for being so understanding sweety). But in all fairness he did play a part in bringing them into the world, even if I did all the work. And he's a pretty cool guy so it's not so bad. So before you discuss anything with your children I suggest you find out how your partner in crime (aka spouse, significant other or baby daddy) feels about the subject.

We decided that we would discuss everything we could with the children without using the S word. He was okay with talking about the birth process though. It's about time those kids realized what I went through for them.

I started out by telling them how the God and Goddess created life. We discussed the different type of life on the planet, plants, animals, people and how we were all children of the Goddess and as such everything that is alive is our brothers and sisters and should be treated with respect and love.

I emphasized the God and Goddess rather than just the Goddess, because in every form of life it takes both to create life, even if it both male and female aspects in the same plant or animal.

Then I told the children that the ability to create life was the greatest power that we have been given. We discussed how great power comes with great responsibility (thanks Spiderman!).

We discussed that people and animals and plants all had there own unique ways of creating life, and then we quickly discussed the birth process before any questions of S-E-X could come up. It went smoothly without to many questions.

We finished up by planting seeds. I told the children that while we didn't create this life (it's parent plants did) we can help it grow and become strong and beautiful by taking care of it.

It was a farely painless introduction to the birds and the bees talk that will inevitably come up later.

I do feel like it is important to discuss these things with your children before they hear it from school, or some other source that may not mesh with your beliefs, so this is how I handled it.

How did you or will you handle it?

Blessed Be

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

H is for Homemade

My new real food blog, The Converted Kitchen is now up and running so this will be my last post dealing with real food on this blog. Please head over there and follow me if you are interested in the real food life style or would just like to watch how I do learning to cook from scratch.

This week I started with my first homemade sourdough thanks to some help with Kitchen Stewardship.

We purchased some organic whole wheat flour from from my local whole food country market. It was quite expensive ($7 for lbs), but luckily I found I cheaper one at my health food store for next time. The health food store's flour is also freshly milled and kept refrigerated until it is purchased.

I already had two Ball Mason jar's that I used for collecting water samples at work last summer. I love Ball mason jars, because they have the rings around them so you can use them with the ring and leave out the lid for fermenting and then just insert the rest of the lid for storage.

I filled one of the jars with tap water and let it sit overnight because I have city water so I needed to let the chlorine evaporate.

The next morning I added a half a cup of water and a half a cup of flour, stirred and covered it with a coffee filter and ring. It was so easy. Then I put it in the oven with the light turned on. I just hope I remember to take it out every time before I cook anything!

That night I took it out and emptied the icky dark water off the top and fed it. Well actually the kids did. I love to get the kids involved in preparing healthy food. It makes them more excited about eating it.

I continued feeding a few more times and was so existed when I started seeing bubbles. Yes, I know, bubbles are not to be that existing when you are an adult, but I just could not hold the pride in. I was practically giddy!

At this point I am feeding it a couple of tablespoons a day. Part of me just wants to jump right in a start baking bread, but all of the advice says to give it time to mature before making anything that needs to rise, so instead I will make something simple first. Maybe pancakes. I am not sure yet, but what ever it is, I will eat it proudly knowing that I am taking a step towards becoming more self sufficient and improving the health of my family.

I am writing this post as part of ABC Wednesday.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tuesday Trivia - My Valentine

I have decided to participate in Tuesday Trivia on I Refuse to Recede. I hope to make this a regular thing, perhaps alternating between this blog and my other blog, The Converted Kitchen, which I will officially be opening on Wednesday. Today's Trivia will be about St. Valentine who shares a name with my newest pet.
You have already been introduced to the newest member of our family. He was one of my 14 Valentines Day gifts. I had considered naming him after pagan God, or a mythical figure like I had done with my other Cocktails. They were named Arther and Gwen, and those names fit them perfect.

Arther was a very proud bird, only allowing the most dominant member of the family that was present to handle him. Gwen was a bit shy, but beautiful and I think she might have been having a love affair with my husband's left ear.

Like I said, I wanted to give our newest bird a name along the same lines, but I felt to guilty getting all of these gifts, while my children, who had been begging for their own pet for so long, were getting nothing. So I decided to make our bird a family pet, and to make it official I let the children pick his name.

Because the most exciting thing happening in their lives at the time was their school Valentine's Day parties, they chose to name him Valentine, and the name seems to fit him well. He loves to cuddle and gives kisses and sing us his love songs.

So today's trivia is about St. Valentine. I wanted to learn about how the holiday started and who St. Valentine actually was. The answer was more interesting than I expected, in the fact that nobody actually knows, yet we still celebrate the holiday every year.

I learned that the Catholic Feast of St. Valentine is celebrated on February 14th. So that gives us some basis for a Holiday, but who is this Saint. We know of one Catholic Saints was buried at Via Flaminia on February 14th, but absolutely nothing else is known about him or what he has to do with romance. Even the Catholics don't know that. It is not even known whether the holiday celebrates just one Saint, or many with the same name.

The tradition of Valentines Day being associated with romance began in the middle ages. In my opinion, I think this might have been when those who snuck off to celebrate the Beltane rituals later in the year began choosing and courting their partners, but that is just my opinion.

It is funny that their is so much mystery behind a holiday that is so commonly celebrated without question. Interesting, don't you think?

Blessed Be

Baby Step Get Back to the 366 Days at My Own Pace

I have realized that trying to make the books schedule meld with my own was to forced. There are some days when I feel like a subject needs just a tad more contemplation time before moving on. Other days that are supposed to be ritual days, I just don't feel as magical as I usually do (like when the kids spend the morning throwing up all over the house). Doing spells requires a lot of mental preparation for me, so learning what spell I am going to do right before I do it just doesn't work for me.

This doesn't mean that I am going to give up on the book as a whole. I plan to work through each and everyone of the pages, just at my own pace. I may take a full week to contemplate one days work, or more. I may be able to complete it in a day. I also intend to continue to use the book for reference as I have been doing.

Blessed Be

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Interesting Questions

I found these questions on a post at Divining Women and I thought it would be fun to answer them. I didn't realize how long it would take to get through them, but oh well now that they are done I might as well share them.

Do you have a magical name?
I do have one. I've never shared it with anyone. Not because it is secret or anything, but no one ever asked. The name is Juniper.

Does it have a special meaning?
It is from the nick name my mother gave me as a little girl. She used to call me Juniper Lee long before the cartoon ever came out.

How did you find Wicca/Paganism?
I started looking into Wicca as a teenager, but I was quickly scared off by the "witch wars" and terms like "fluffy bunny". After my children were born I wanted them to realize that there was more than one path to the divine so I started studying other religions. I found that there was a bit of truth somewhere in each religion and a whole lot of man-made rules added in to most. Wicca, Druidism, and Buddhism seem to have the most truth to me.

How long have you been practicing?
I have only been practising in a group for 3 months. I have been studying on my own for years.

Solitary or group practitioner?
Mostly Solitary but I try to make it to a meet-up group for full moons and sabots.

What is your path?
I think that I am forging my own path, using the advice of many others who came before me. Perhaps at some point I will find a set path that fits me perfect. As long as we get to the ultimate destination, I don't think it matters how we get there.

Are you out of the broom closet?
There are a few people that I don't discuss it with, like my grandmother, but for the most part it's not a secret.

Who are your patron Gods and Goddesses?
I don't have any yet, but I do connect better to the Goddess in her Maiden and Crone form more than I do in her mother form. I have always found that strange because being a mother is such a huge part of my life.

Which Gods/Goddess' do you worship?
I have worshiped quite a few in my time.

Do you fear dark aspects of the Gods/Goddess, or rather, respect them?

Now I respect them, but for the longest time I feared them.

Do you worship the Christian God?
Not in the Christian sense, but since I believe that we ultimately all worship the same Divine Higher Power then I suppose I do.

Do you ever worship animals?
I have worshiped the divine energy that flows through them but never the animal itself.

Or plants?
same as last answer

Do you regularly commune with nature?
I do the best I can while living in a place that doesn't have much nature in it. I am always looking for better ways to connect.

Ever walked barefoot in the woods?
Not in the woods, but I have in plenty of other outdoor places.

Taken a camping trip just to talk to nature?
I've never had to before living here, because everywhere else I lived was right in the middle of nature. I should probably do that.

This is only a few of the questions. Check out Divining Women for the rest of the questions. I will try to get to answering more at another time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Working on Blog # 2

I've started working on a second blog that will focus exclusively on my real food journey. I realize that reading a blog about paganism may conflict with some peoples religious views, and I don't want to exclude any readers that may benefit from my experience with real food just for that reason. I also realize that many pagans don't have any interest in real food so they may become bored with this blog if I continue to go off topic to often. For those of you who are interested in both, I will post links here to each post on the new blog so that you don't have to worry about subscribing to both blogs unless you want to. I will continue to post on this blog about everything related to my spiritual journey.

My new blog will be a diary of my experience as I attempt convert myself and my family over to a nourishing real food diet.

A few topics you can expect to hear about are:

  • My food related baby steps and updates on their progress
  • My participation in Monday Mission at Kitchen Stewardship
  • Recipes I try and how they turn out - My goal is to try at least one new recipe a week.
  • Research that I do about Real Food Related Topics - I find that a lot of the information I read is a bit biased so I would like to look into it from a more scientific point of view.
  • Information on the political aspects of real food - This will include both facts and opinions so I will be careful to make sure it is clear which is which.
I am sure that these are not the only topics that will come up. I am taking this conversion to real food slow so that I don't overwhelm myself or my family. This blog is as much for me as it is for you.

The goal is to have it up and running by Tuesday of next week. I'll let you know as soon as it is ready. I hope that you all enjoy it.

Blessed Be

Friday, March 5, 2010

Baby Step # 1 No More Soy

What: Eliminate Soy from our diet

Who: Myself and my children. I will also try to include my husband but he is an adult so he will make his own choices. I do most of the cooking so I will have control of at least one meal he eats a day.

Why :
Soy Depresses the thyroid and can cause thyroid disease. Thyroid disorders run in my family especially in the women. My mother had two miscarriages in her mid twenties that the doctors attributed to her thyroid. If you are trying to loose weight you should also note that a depressed thyroid will seriously slow down your metabolism. Not good for weight loss or energy. Just one glass of soy milk a day can cause your metabolism to slow down.

Soy is higher in Phytoestrogens than just about any other food source. Phytoestrogen is plant based estrogen. Now I'm sure a few people have heard studies that say that this is good for you, but these studies are funded by the soy industry. Independent studies show that high estrogen levels lead to many types of cancers including breast cancer.

Soy is high in Phytates. The best way I have heard Phytates explained is that they are anti-nutrients that prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients that it needs. They are present in all grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. In most cases you can neutralize them by fermenting or soaking, but in the case of soy the phytates are so high that it is virtually impossible.

Soy contains a large amount of trypsin inhibitors. Your body needs trypsin to properly digest food. Without it you can experience stomach problems such as cramps and diarrhea. Inmates in America are fed a mostly soy diet and this has lead to a very high number of inmates developing irritable bowl syndrome.

Another thing to note is that the American Heart Association has never recognized the FDA's claim that soy can reduce your chance of heart disease stating that the research was flawed. The FDA is now re-evaluating that claim.

Reading Food Labels and finding substitutes for anything that has soy in any form in the ingredients.

I will let you know in a week how this baby step is working out.

Blessed Be

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Magic and Science

“Any technology beyond our own would seem like magic to us.” - Arthur C. Clark

I believe many things that we call technology can actually be considered magic. I think that to most people the only difference is whether or not we understand it, but in my opinion understanding how something works does not make it any less magical.

Imagine yourself living in medieval times. You walk into your castle and in front of the entire court flip a device attached to the wall causing the entire room to fill with light. Imagine the reaction you would get. Fear, amazement, shock. You would be labeled a witch or a sorcerer for doing something that today is considered normal routine.

Consider all the medications that we use today that are derived from the herbs once used by Shamens. The ability for a person to fly was once laughed at the way magic is laughed at today, until the two brothers came along and showed us that it was possible.

Think of all of the technology that is being discovered now, like harnessing the energy of the sun. We find new ways to use the resources given to us by the divine every day.

We try to guess at what the future will look like in books and movies, but in my opinion the answer is simple. Just look at what we consider magic today. I see "scientist discovering" that rose quarts is related to love, the same way that they discovered that certain foods are aphrodisiacs. I think that they will learn how to contact the spirit world just like they learned how to use a telephone to have a conversation with someone across the country.

What do you think? Do you think that magic and science are related?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I found Green house giveaway to share with you.

There was a time when I would spend hours a day entering blog giveaways gathering up tons of prizes that collected dust in my closet. Since then I have scaled back to only entering a few giveaways a month on blogs that I read regularly, and prizes that I could really use.

I have found a few so far to share with you, and I wish you all luck. Today the giveaway is found is at a great blog called I Refuse to Recede. What better way to fight the recession than by saving money growing your own vegetables and herbs. Even better save your seeds from your freshly grown veggies so that next years are completely free! ( I know this is illegal for some seeds,but I don't recommend using them anyway because they are genetically modified. Yuck)

To help you reach this goal enter to win this greenhouse. It is perfect for me because as I have told you in the past I have no outdoor space for gardening. However I do have a nice flat overhang right outside of my kitchen window that gets great sunlight. This would be perfect!

I hope you enter, and don't forget, if you win send me some fresh veggies!

Blessed Be.

G is for Ginger

I have been wanting to learn more about herbology in magical and healing practice for some time now. I can't afford to take classes at the local metaphysical shop, so until I can I am doing a little bit of research on my own. I found that ginger is a very powerful healing tool in both medicine and magic. That is why I chose ginger as my ABC post today.

Ginger is one of the many plants that can be used for magic, medical or cooking purposes.

First healing. Here is a homemade elixir you can take at the first sign of a cold Remember I am not a doctor so be sure you speak to your own doctor before making this or any other remedy you find online.

1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup scalded whole milk
1 tbsp honey

Combine ingredients and drink hot.

You can also add a little ginger to your tea to help with stomach aches or use it to flavor other homemade remedies.

Ginger is used often used in healing spells. Some traditions associate it with the moon and others associate it with Mars. Here is a recipe for a healing sachet. This sachet works particularly well with healing pain after surgery.

2 parts cinnamon
2 parts sandalwood
1 part rose petals
1 part cayenne
1 part ginger
1 part rue

Mix the herbs together and then tie into a blue or purple cloth. Anoint the sachet with Eucalyptus oil and wear it on your person or keep it under your pillow while you are resting during your recovery.

Ginger is also an ingredient in Wassail. It is a traditional pagan spiced ale made at Yule to invoke the energy of the sun and good health.

2 pints brown ale
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
3 ounces sugar (I use unrefined whole organic sugar)
3-4 apples
1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Place peeled and cored apples into a glass baking dish with sugar and 4 tbsp of brown ale and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until the apples are tender. Peel the bright yellow outer layer of the lemon rind. In a large pot combine the remaining ingredients including the lemon rind, but do not add the apples and the juices yet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10-15 min. Then add apples and their juices and serve warm.

For More G Posts visit ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baby Steps

My mother is full of advice in the form of cliches. Kill two birds with one stone. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And one of her favorites is Baby Steps. Anytime you want to make a change in your life you need to take baby steps.

Cliche as they may be they do have value to them. So I think it is time for me to take my mothers advice. There are so many changes that I want to make but don't know how to start, so I will do as my mother suggests and take baby steps.

And yes I do realize that I am setting a goal to set goals, but hey, I got to start somewhere right.

Here are the areas that I want to change:

Eat Healthier - By healthier I mean more natural. My goal isn't weight loss at this point, just to develop a healthier relationship with food for both myself and my family. We do make an effort right now, here and there, but we have made no real lasting change. We tend to just grab a healthier option whenever it is convenient.

Earth Friendly - reducing my global footprint



I am not sure if this will become a regular weekly post or if I will wright as it occurs to me. I don't want to get overwhelmed by taking to many baby steps at one time. My nutrition baby steps will probably take place on Friday so that I can take part in Food Renegades Fight Back Friday.

So stay tuned all of your support is welcomed.

I am also considering creating a Baby steps McLinky so that everyone can share the changes they are making in there lives as well. Let me know if there is any interest.


Blessed Be

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh Monday How I Do Loath Thee...

I drug myself out of bed at 5:30 this morning to hold back my daughters hair as she puked all over the floor about 3 feet from the toilet. It just wouldn't be a true Monday if she had made that extra 3 feet. It took 3 freshly washed towel to clean up.(hint:you should avoid washing all your towels at once just so you have some dirty ones for times like this).

Once that was taken care of I still had two healthy (or so I thought) children to get ready for school. So feeling extra gross I wake the other children up and lay out their clothes. Make breakfast, and then go wake them up again. This time dragging them out of bed. After breakfast and clothes comes the argument about brushing teeth and why they can't use bubblegum flavored toothpaste. I have, on past mornings explained to them about artificial sweeteners, but because it is Monday the answer is "because I said so" which leads to lots of foot stomping that I am sure the downstairs neighbor did not appreciate.

Out the door to the bus stop and then I get to sit, but not for long. After all DD just threw up her breakfast so of course she is hungry again. It is times like this that I am tempted to use sweetened boxed cereals, but no. My little one is sick and needs all the help her immune system can get. So I pull out a jar of left over chicken bone broth and start heating it, all with the little one watching me silently.

Once the broth is fully heated and in front of her I am told that her tummy doesn't hurt anymore and she wants oatmeal. Debating whether I should deal with an argument with a 5 year old or just make the oats I decide to just give her some quick (unsoaked because I had no time to prepare) oats. Sometimes you just have to choose your battles.

So now you think I get to sit down again. No. The phone rings DS is in the nurses office because he got sick in the boys bathroom at school. So DD finishes her breakfast and I get her in the car. We almost make it all the way to school before she throws up oatmeal all over the back seat. (good bye new car smell)

Run in the school. Pick up son, get home. Wash off daughter. Sit down leaving car a mess for now. My husband can deal with that. And if he even thinks about complaining...well he will regret it.