Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A wish...

I can not help but be reminded at this time of year of those who are alone. While so many of us are happy and celebrating the season with family and friends there are those who are silent and alone in their solitude.

This Holiday season it is my wish that I be given the opportunity to reach out to one who is lonely.  I have been in this room before and know that it is not the place that one usually wants to reside in.  Yet there is something that keeps many from reaching out to any to end this fate.

Opportunities are with us daily.  Too often we chose to not take notice to them and shrug them off.  It is my wish that my eyes be open, that my heart be tender, and that my courage be strong. 

Even those who appear to be strong are sometimes weak. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Celtic Tree Lore - The Elder Tree

ovember 25th through December 23 marks the Celtic tree month of Elder, making it the 13th tree of the year. The word Elder is derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word “aeld” which means fire. If one removes the pith (soft center) from an Elder branch a tube is formed. These tubes were once used as pipes for blowing up fires. Bellows were also made from Elder for the same use.

The Elder is kin to the Honeysuckle. This association can be seen in the Elder’s method of growth. At the base of a sapling, stems appear each growing upright. After they have grow to some length due to weight probably they bend over creating a curve on top of which a new bud appears. From this bud a new stem grows upright and the process continues. The stems can reach a size of two feet in diameter, which indicates several years of growth yet this size is not often found.

The bark of the Elder is rough, somewhat corky to the touch and light brown to grey in color. The branches however are smoother and its twigs are a bright green color. The wood of the Elder is hard and heavy. It is white in color and has a fine close grain. It is easily cut and polishes well. Some of the uses for Elder wood are small toys, fishing rods, and a variety of musical instruments.

The leaves of the Elder consist of five leaflets attached to a central stalk. Once the leaves have formed its’ flower buds begin to grow and usually it is in full bloom by June. The flowers consist of five white petals. In between each petal there are five yellow stamens.

Elder trees can commonly be found growing in old country gardens and often times cemeteries. This is because it was thought that wherever an Elder tree grew was considered a sacred space protected by the Elder Mother. Because of this the Elder tree has often been associated with death. In older times the dead was often laid out on Elder branches as well as crosses used as grave markers were made of Elder wood. It is believed if a cross made of Elder wood sprouts , it is a clear sign that the departed person whom it represents is happy and has been welcomed into Elysium, the blessed realm of the dead.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Healing Power Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness… once again the truth posts bring us to this topic. Yet this week it is forgiving someone other than ourselves.

Truth #4:  Something You Need to Forgive Someone For

I have had many things occur throughout my life, both young and old where forgiveness was necessary in order to move on with myself in a healthy manner. I like to think that I am able to deal with such issues a bit better than in previous times yet I am always wary to say anything like that as it is somewhat like praying for patience.

Yet in my life an event occurred that taught me a great deal of the need for forgiveness and the true gift that it can give to one if they chose to act upon it. Growing up in an alcoholic/abusive family was by far not the most fun I have ever had. Sometimes I think my saving grace was the fact that my father did not like me. In fact he made a point of telling me just that whenever he did speak to me which was seldom. Because of this I managed to escape much of the behavior that my older sister and brother had to endure. Unfortunately I did not escape it entirely.

When my mother finally got the courage to leave him, I thought that it was finally over and we could commence to have a “normal” life. Yet never say never as I learned later on in my life. It was several years later, when I was thirty years old that I would be faced with decisions I thought I would never have to make. My father was ill, or so I was told by my aunts and uncles and he needed to be taken to the VA hospital. I am really not sure why yet it fell upon me to do this task.

I will be honest and say that it was something that I did not want to do. If I never set eyes on this man again it would not bother me. He had taken so much from me as a child. Not only did he take my ideal of a father figure, he also took my family life away. I struggled with the wonderment as to why he disliked me so and why he said the awful things he said to me. I struggled with the abuse he brought to my mother and older brother and sister and later myself. I did not wish to have to “be nice” to him.

Maybe it was the Christian influence in me that gave me a feeling of being obligated to tend to him I am not sure. But the fact is that I eventually did take him to the hospital. It was a humbling experience that first time I saw him again. He was definitely sick and I could not help but feel sorry for him and also ashamed at myself that I had been so selfish with myself.

Over the next few years we would take him to his doctor appointments and such. I even allowed my children to meet him as I did not want to be the reason they never knew their grandfather. Fortunately this did not happen too often as I am not sure if I could have taken it on a regular basis. I remember my older sister and myself going to visit him one day. He was sick and it was a matter of time when he would finally pass. We asked him to consider coming closer to where his family was so that his last days would be with family. He refused. I remember before I left I confronted him in regards to earlier times and much of what had occurred. He sat there speechless. Yet when I left I remember feeling at peace.

That night I awoke from a dream. In it I could hear my father calling my name. He kept asking me to help him. Yet I could not see him. It was dark and foggy and regardless how hard I looked I could see nothing. When I woke, I remember looking at the clock. It was 12:43 AM. The next morning I received a call that my father had passed the night before. It was not until some time later that I learned that his time of death was 12:43 AM.

I was the only one in the family that cleared their conscious with my father. I was the only one who “forgave” him. It was more the starting process of forgiveness, yet in doing so it released a huge burden from me. My brother and sister did not forgive him before his death. I have seen the implications of this over the years and it has only strengthened my beliefs for the need of forgiveness.

Yes, I still get upset with others for things they do or don’t do. I still do not always release my anger and/or resentment immediately. Yet I have learned that inevitably it is something that will need to be done. Forgiveness is never simple yet it is always necessary to move on. Forgiving my father was not an easy task and there were many at the time who did not understand my actions. Yet at the time it was what was right for me and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. It is a burden I no longer carry.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thought To Ponder - Give Thanks

Thanksgiving day comes,
by statue once a year;
to the honest man it somes as frequently as
the heart of gratitude will allow
Edward Sanford Martin

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wanderlust Wednesday - The Joy of Little People (especially grandchildren)

I know I have carried on and on about my grandchildren several times yet I am sorry to say that I do not forsee a time when I will ever tire of doing so.  So I give fair warning to any who have heard enough to stop reading now.

Being the week of Thanksgiving, of course the three f's will run freely.  If you do not know what the three f's are; they are  Food, Fun, and Family.  This year I am graced with my table being full of my children and grandchildren, save my middle son and his fiance who decided to spend their Thanksgiving in the South of Spain.  Can't say I blame them, I would have to think about it abit if that option were open to me also.

Seeing that the kids will be here, that means grandchildren also.  So of course I am happy as can be.  I have taught my grand daughter the love of letter writing and we converse back and forth during the times we are apart.  She has already sent me the grocery list of items that I need to be sure and have on hand as she is going to be my little helper.  She is in full charge of the pumpkin pie, which will also double as her mommy's birthday cake.  Yes, her birthday occasionally falls on Thanksgiving; how fun is that.

Her brothers will also be along for the ride.  I am counting on Vincent to keep her oldest brother busy with a new toy he just had to get for them.  Lets just say it has four wheels and is alot of fun.  Her little brother is crawling like a bug so I am sure we will be chasing him to and fro yet how much fun is that. 

My oldest son and his family will also join us.  He has been out this week deer hunting and has promised to bring me some fresh meat as he put it; as he got a buck yesterday. Although Brandi already has two sons, they are in hopes that they can add to their family soon.  Because of issues, this will have to be done with fertilization.  Yet they are planning on starting the process after the first of the year.

Vincents daughter and husband will also join us.  They are expecting their own little one next summer.  A possibility of twins is highly likely and we can not wait for verification as to whether or not we will be blessed in this way.  I guess I should say, Vincent and I can't wait as the thought of two little ones I think scares them to death.  It will be nice to have a baby (especially a grand child) near to us again.

So although we will have a full house this year, and there will be ample little ones running and crawling around, next year could prove to be even more abundant.  There is a joy that grandchildren bring that I know any of you out there who have experienced it, know what I speak of.

I always wanted to have 12 children when I got married.  Everyone laughed at me and thought me silly. In fact I think my first husband feared I may just try and attempt this feat as it was he who went in and got snipped after the birth of my daughter.   Vincent and I have talked about the fact that it was probably best that we did not get together earlier or that could have very well have happened to us;  being the good Catholic boy he is and I being the wonderful fertile goddess I am... ( my doctor used to call me the fertility goddess). 

I have always loved a big family and even more so with lots of little ones running everywhere.  I was blessed with three children of my own and I consider Vince's daughter the same.  Each one of them have their spouses and/or fiances so that is four more.  So I figure in all I have 8 children.  It's not 12 but it is a good start and the grandchildren are coming along nicely.

Some day I expect I will sit around while everyone else tends to me but for now I am the momma and I like it.  I hope this week as each of you gather with your friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving that you likewise have your share of the 3 Fs.  And if you are blessed to have little ones around take a moment to stop and watch... They grow so fast and before you know it they are gone.  The laughter and smiles of a child can do wonders.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparing To Be Thankful

This week the holiday season officially begins. Many are preparing to go and visit friends and/or family and share with them Thanksgiving dinner. Turkeys will be bought and roasted, fried, and/or BBQ (although a BBQ turkey, just doesn't sound right). A variety of side dishes from candied yams to oyster dressing will be prepared and many of us will sit down to fill ourselves with all the yummy flavors of the season.

Eating is definitely one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving; that and the ritual of preparing the feast.  I have opted for an organic bird this year.  Trying to accommodate every one's taste buds can be a bit of a challenge yet I think I have it handled.   An array of dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, green bean casserole, corn on the cob, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, and of course the deserts will all be present. 

Then there is the Macy’s parade Thanksgiving morning which for many (especially us older ones) is somewhat of a tradition. Of course it is not quite what it used to be. I remember vividly watching all morning long Thanksgiving day. Eagerly waiting for each huge balloon to come by. The last time I watched there were not nearly as many balloons and most of the time was spent with whoever hosted the televised event. Maybe I am just becoming a crabby old person but it just did not seem as good as in younger years. :-)

Football is also a big thing on Thanksgiving day although for us here in Oklahoma it will occur a few days later. A couple years back Bedlam (Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University) agreed to play their game the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is really great as it is a big game anyway and to place it during this time just makes it that more special. With each of my children representing one corner of the great football triangle (OU, OSU, and UT) it lends itself for some great times. Football also gives the men a good excuse to nod off to sleep after eating to their hearts content. Blaming it on the turkey of course, yet I heard the other day that there is little if any truth to this claim.

So what are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are there any traditions that you share on a yearly basis? Whatever they may be here is wishing you and yours a wonderful blessed time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Celtic Tree Calendar - The Reed Moon

October 28 thru November 23rd -   The Reed Moon was called Negetal by the Celts and is sometimes referred to as the Elm Moon by today more modern pagans. Reed is often used to make wind insturments.  It is thought that their haunting sounds can be heard when a soul is being summoned to the Underworld. During the Reed moon is an excellent time to do forms of divination and scrying as well as any magic related to spirit guides, energy work, meditation, celebration of those who have passed before and also honoring the cylce of life and rebirth.

I hope you had the opportunity to go out last night and enjoy the Moon in all her glory.  She was as beautiful as ever here.  The warm evening lent itself to a beautiful time to sit outdoors under her glow and enjoy oneself.  I sat my latest set of runes under her light for the night to charge them with her energy. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Early Morning Surprises - None Better

Every morning like clockwork, Winston comes and wakes me for our early morning jaunt around the back yard.  He is a morning person/dog like myself so I do not mind it too much.  It is unseasonably warm here for this time of year.  Although it was cloudy and a good south breeze blew the grey clouds northward, the temperture was only a mere 67.  I have to say it was rather enjoyable.

Although the wind blew somewhat, Sweetie and Sunny were more than ready to come out of their sleeping quarters which is a nice big garage/barn. Usually on windy days they prefer to stay inside.  I wandered the yard with Winston and my kitties enjoying the last bit of warm weather we are to have.  (They say it gets bitter cold on Wednesday). 

I was walking near my elm where I cleared out an area and over the last couple years have been working on a wooded fairy garden.  I could not believe my eyes when I spoted an iris attempting to bloom.  She stood tall and her bud was beginning to open up.  I could not believe that she was standing so tall as we have already had several days with below freezing tempertures and she sits facing the north.  Yet there she was in all her beauty.  I can only think that the little ones have been tending her.  I will bring her in today in hopes that she will continue to open herself for me inside.

As I returned to the house to pour my first cup of coffee, I spied a package that had been sitting on my table for some time now.  Back some time I agreed to participate in a mask swap that was being organized by faerwillow over at serindiptiy.  I thought many times: what am I thinking as although I love crafts a mask was something I had never attempted to do.  Yet it sounded fun and so I agreed.

I guess there were many others that felt like me because in the end only three of us had signed on to swap.  Yet in a way this made it all that more special. 

A circle of three, we gathered, and exchanged.
handmade masks to honor the frost queen  and the full November moon

Colors of silver and white

with hints of blue

tender twine with bells held each surprise in place

Handmade tags with sweet words were written
Attention given to the words placed carefully to wish the recipient a blessed birthday
And a gentle piece of drift wood with the simple word
Reminding us all that in doing so we are half way there.

A wonderful thank you to Faerwillow for her kindness and wonderful ways.  And also to Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations who added to the uniqueness of the swap. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cup of Tea Swap - Hurry sign up ends November 23

Browsing through posts this morning, I came across a wonderful idea.  Sara over at Seaside Diaries of a Kimberline is organizing a Tea Swap.  Anyone who may be interested just need sign up and on each will be paired with a partner to swap a sample of their favorite teas along with some tea oriented knick knack.  I found this so funny as earlier I had gathered a few tea items as an idea for a giveaway, I just never got around to putting it all together.  Let me say that swaps are tremendous fun, as I truly love surprises.  Head on over to Sara's place and check it out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Forgiving Oneself - Truth #3

Forgiveness is not something that always comes easily. Depending on the act that was committed or the words that may have been said, forgiveness can take days, months, even years in some circumstances. Webster’s defines forgiveness as the act of ceasing to feel resentment against. Simple enough one would think, yet what if that resentment one may feel is against themselves. Often times we hold ourselves more accountable then we may others and therefore the act of forgiving ourselves can be an even harder chore to tackle.

This week’s “Truth” is :
 #3 – Something you need to forgive yourself for.

I will say that in earlier times in my life I was one who would take the blame for almost everything; something that I am not too proud to admit now. Yet as time has progressed and I have evolved or at least attempted to evolve, I have tried to not be so hard on myself. This simple act has helped me tremendously in growing as a human. Many years back not long after my divorce (1997) I read a book that would change my life forever: The Portable Coach by Thomas Leonard. I will be honest and say that I do not remember everything about the book yet 2 points stick out clearly still in my mind. One was the act of becoming incredibly selfish and the other was to tolerate nothing.

I was the kind of person at this time and before that both of these traits were far from anywhere in my life, yet the mere fact that I found it so difficult to do either meant that if I could do either even slightly it would make a world of difference for me. Thus, my transformation began. Yet what does this have to do with needing to forgive myself for anything you may ask. Nothing really except for the effect that it had on me in the manner of taking the blame for way more than I needed to which in turn helped me to start building myself up as a stronger and more balanced woman.

Over the years there have been things that I have chosen to do which after the fact I have rethought and wondered if they were the best choice for me. Yet one thing I learned some time ago was not to over second guess my decisions. They are decisions that have been made and the ability to go back and possibly change the outcome that came from them at the time they were made is in most cases close to impossible. Yes one can see the possible result of such decisions and in turn start at that time to go in a different direction yet the damage is usually already started and if a detour is needed it usually takes some time to get back on a clear and clean path.

Although there was an event in my life about 7 years ago that I have had a difficult time letting go and not blaming myself for in some way. I will start out this story by saying that this is extremely personal and on normal circumstances I usually do not openly share such things in such a open venue. Yet when I started this truth venture I promised myself that I would write whatever I felt led to write about. I have always had a strong belief that sometimes our experiences in life (good and bad) are meant to be shared so that others can glean from them what they may need. I know I have been given much comfort in the honesty of others. In saying that... Here is my story.

Without making this into what could easily become a novel size story I am going to condense some of the pre story. I have a feeling that with the fact that there are to be 30 truths that some of it will get filled in as the weeks pass by and other questions are answered.

In the fall of 2003 I was blessed with the news that I was with child. I will say that the fact that I was just about to turn 42 had me quite on edge when I realized that I would soon be raising a small child and that when that child turned 18 I would be the ripe old age of 60. What scared me even more was the fact that I was single and the father was not exactly in a place where he was eager to share my excitement. When I verified that indeed I was to have a baby, I kept the news to myself for the first few weeks.

Almost immediately I was joyful at the knowledge even though I was terrified at the same time. I had always enjoyed my time during pregnancy with my other three children and although I did not know what in the world I was going to do, I could not help but feel giddy and almost young again. Because of my age I went to a doctor soon after I knew for sure as I knew that my age could have some effect on everything. I really did not worry about it too much as I was never one to have any problems in any of my other pregnancies.

After I had taken care of the medical side of things, I prepared myself to tell my family the news. I knew that telling others would be difficult as here I was single and much older. All sorts of things raced through my head as to what they would think of me and how they would view me from that time forward. Yet the ones who worried me the most were my children. Telling them I knew would be the most difficult task of all. One by one I told those close to me; my mother, my sister, my boss and friends at work and yes my children.

I remember my oldest son being somewhat excited and even protective of me in regards to the baby’s father and his responsibility in the whole ordeal. Their acceptance of the event helped me tremendously and the more open I was with the pregnancy the better I felt. I was even to the point that I was glowing or so I liked to think I was. All those feelings from pregnancy that you get, the cravings, the feeling down deep in your tummy, they were all there and I could not help but be excited. I had had an initial ultrasound and all was ok. They were treating the pregnancy somewhat as a high risk due to my age and another ultrasound was scheduled after the first of the year.

I remember when I went in for it; I was so excited because there was the chance that we would know the sex of the child at that time. I had already accepted that it was a boy because I had been calling him Jonah for some time. When I went to the hospital the young tech greeted me and was so nice. The ultra sound started out just fine yet as it continued I could tell that something was not right. I kept asking questions yet he would tell me that he was not able to answer them and that I would need to talk directly to my doctor. Upon leaving the appointment a sinking feeling was beginning to develop in me. I could sense that something was not right. My doctor called me shortly after and asked if I could come into the office to discuss the findings.

When I arrived his gentleness said it all. He continued to tell me in his grandfather manner that the baby was no longer alive. He could not give me a definite reason as to what had happened or why yet that I had the choice to come in the following Monday and have it removed or allow it to pass naturally. I was in shock. I had just accepted the fact that I was a 42 year old single pregnant woman. I had shouted it to the world. I could not wait for the chance to be a mother again and somehow possibly redeem myself for any of the mistakes I had made the first time round. I had begun to finally feel good. And almost instantly it was over. He also told me at this time that the child was a boy, just like I had thought.

I decided to call him the following week with my decision and go home and process all that had occurred. He informed me that there was a possibility that I could pass the child before I saw him again and continued to tell me what to do if this happened. He wanted me to keep any remains that may pass and bring them to him first thing Monday morning so that he could examine them and be sure that the process had occurred as it should. He told me simply to place the remains in a zip lock bag and keep them in the refrigerator until I could bring them in.

I went home in shock and upon reaching home simply sat on my couch speechless. Much like he anticipated the process did start that weekend and I delivered Jonah. Nothing was harder for me than to take the tiny body and place it into the bag as he described and sit it in my refrigerator; spending all weekend knowing that he was there

For weeks after this I kept thinking what it was I may have done that made me lose Jonah. Was it that glass of wine I had before I knew I was pregnant? Was it the medicine I took? Was I on my feet too much? What could I have done that would have harmed him. I guess I thought I was super woman and that this pregnancy would be much like the other three I had over 18 years ago? It took years before I could not blame myself for Jonah’s passing or even really talk about it. I still wonder if there was anything I could have done that may have enabled the whole situation to come out differently. Yet over time I have learned that all things happen with some purpose and although I may not exactly know what that purpose may be I have to hold firm to that belief.

Have I forgiven myself? There are times when I can answer yes and then there are times and the tears well up inside me and I miss him so. He would be 6 years old today… He would be in first grade and of course be a wonderful child. As much as I can I have tried to forgive myself for this and hold on to the short time I did share with him and the sweet presence I feel from time to time knowing he’s always close by.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Thought To Ponder - Living Out Your Dreams

Alas for those who never sing,
but die with all their music still inside them.
-Oliver Wendall Holmes-

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WanderLust Wednesday - An Introduction

It seems as of late I have had (or found) little time to do some of the things that I dearly love. I am really not sure as to why this may be. I have even wondered if it is something to be concerned with at all. None the less, this last week has seemed a bit scattered to me.

Yes, my birthday falls this week and I wonder if the fact that I am turning 49 and beginning my 50th year of life has something to do with it. I have never been one to really worry much about age. I have never felt the numbers that represent my age has anything to do with the way that I feel, therefore I never really thought much about the fact that they were increasing. I do not see myself as one who struggled with turning 20, 30, or even 40. I do however remember thinking I would never reach the age of 13. Why for some reason I thought that this age would catapult me into adolescence or something… Ah the strange thinking’s of a child.

I remember the summer before I turned 13. My parents were gone on vacation and me and my siblings were staying with friends. I of course was the youngest and therefore barred from all “fun” activities that the older kids were doing. My highlight each day was when they would all leave and I would sneak the Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album into the bedroom and play the record and unzip the jeans on the front cover to reveal the underwear beneath… I thought it was so cool and so mischievous… Goodness how far I have come... I mean I still like to unzip the cover of that album. Guess some things just never change.

Anyhow what does that have to do with doing the little things I really love? I don’t really know except that when I started to think about this coming year of my life I could not help but want to make it memorable. Not that I am excited about turning 50 years old. I mean I guess I could be like Sally O’Malley and say that at least I can still stretch, and kick and stretch….. And yes I still can put my feet behind my head… a feat I have always been quite proud of. It has been passed down to my daughter and to her daughter; Quite the family tradition. Yet there are other things that I would like to expound on also.

Thus I have decided that for the next year I am going to devote my Wednesday posts to reflection on the past 50 years as well as the next 50 to come. There has been so much change and transformation that has taken place over the years. Likewise there are so many aspirations and desires that I still hold inside of myself and the reminder of them could not hurt. Who knows in some cases it may actually get me off my butt to do some of them.

You may then ask why I chose the name Wednesday's Wanderlust.  Well I have always loved the word wanderlust.  It's meaning is "a strong longing for or impulse towards wandering".  I have always been one who has been prone to wander in any area of life, whether it be realistically or figuratively.  Thus I felt it fit nicely as wandering is somewhat the approach  I have always taken.  Wander til you find what it is you are looking for and sometimes wander a bit more.... Exploration is the key to discovery isn't it.