Monday, December 31, 2018

Uncorked


Pop your top, and flip your lid!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

If You're Happy and You Know it

A few months ago, I came across this quote:

Happiness is a great side effect but it makes a lousy goal.
-Mike Rowe 

Followed by a jaunty quip about how it's a good thing to have it, but not to make it your main focus, because you'll fail.

Does it make a lousy goal?  And will you fail, though?  What if it doesn't?  And what if you didn't (respectively)?  I happen to think happiness is a wonderful goal.  To achieve happiness in our lives in spite of our challenges, and the unpleasantness we can all face, to me, is great success.  What better goal is there, then, if not to live a life in happiness inviting others to experience it with you, holding space for their sorrows, and lifting them when they're down?  What better goal than to be of service to one another?  I honestly don't think there is one, but I understand how this notion of happiness as the end goal can seem problematic. 

In every area of life, we run into trouble when we over-complicate things.  

Look at what we do to love!  We over-complicate our relationships to an absurd degree, and then conflate that with love, because we (most of us, I think) haven't figured out that something can be both simple, and awesome at the same time.  No, we must make it a HUGELY deep, and sophisticated concept to the point where it does seem fictional, and legendary, and perpetually out of reach for the masses, because something that feels as good as joy, and love can feel incredibly intimidating if you're not ready to receive it, become it, or pay it forward. 
By perpetuating the myth that happiness is this colossal concept of perfect contentment, we end up pushing it away, and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where it remains comfortably out of grasp.
We've been conditioned to treat happiness like some fleeting, unattainable outcome.  First of all, happiness does not equal a problem-free existence.  Happiness does not mean a life free from sorrows.

Happy literally means: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  

Nowhere in that definition does it say, "All of your problems have magically disappeared!" or, "You must experience happiness 100% of the time, all day long, everyday, for the entire year, and every single year thereafter for the rest of your life in order to qualify as having lived a happy life."  If that's closer to the definition people are using to measure their happiness against, of course we are going to buckle under that pressure, and gloriously fail at reaching the end-goal of happiness.  I've already failed it today, myself, and some of you probably have too!  Do I believe we're not going to live happy lives because of it?  Nope, and it certainly doesn't mean any of us should stop making moves in order to exist in pleasure, contentment, and dare I say it ... actual joy.
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.  
-John Lennon 
xoxo

Friday, December 21, 2018

In the Bleak Midwinter...

Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Merry & Bright




As the year winds down, it seems we are bombarded with pumpkin or peppermint everything, and the hotter the better!  So, for anyone (like me) needing a recipe for something bright, crisp tasting, and a little bit different...



Here's what you need:
(All fruit is frozen) 
  • Bananas 3
  • Cranberries 2 cups
  • Mango Chunks 3 cups
  • Raspberries 2 cups
  • Ginger Root 1" knob, grated
  • Shredded Coconut 1 Tbsp (+ extra for garnish)
  • Full-Fat Organic Canned Coconut Milk 2/3 cups
  • Pure Organic Maple Syrup 1/4 cup
  • Water 1 cup

Here's what you do:
Throw everything in a large blender, and blend the hell out of it.  Pour, sprinkle with a pinch of extra coconut shreds, serve & enjoy!

When using all frozen fruit like I am, you may need to give your blender intermittent rests, and add a little more water.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more water, or use fresh bananas rather than frozen.

This recipe makes about 64 ounces.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

So Long, Farewell ...

If you missed your chance to geek out with Worldbuilders over the last two weeks, you can always support their charitable efforts through the Worldbuilders Market, or support Heifer International directly all year long.  If you like to get a little something in return for your giving, I suggest swinging through Heifer's virtual gift shop where money from sales go straight to the makers (I recommend the Confetti Farm Animal Ornaments because turquoise cows, and hot pink pigs speak to my soul on a truly profound level).

Another charity worth checking out, if you haven't already, is new kid on the block: BStrong.  Polarizing Real New York Housewife, Bethenny Frankel, has always known how to leverage her exposure, and popularity for maximum benefit, but she really hit her stride when she expanded into disaster relief after watching the chaos that followed Hurricane Maria (2017), and the lackluster response the region received.  Love her, or hater her she is dedicated to getting cash into the hands of people who need it most, and uses her voice to educate donors on how to spot a less than charitable organization, and how some of the ones we've been led to believe are the most reputable only deliver pennies on the dollar to those in need.  I really think this is one to watch.  I personally feel completely comfortable donating money to her disaster relief initiative, with the boots on the ground belonging to volunteers, and the transportation covered by generous vehicle and space donations, I believe any money received is going exactly where it needs to be going.
xoxo

Saturday, December 8, 2018

It's a Wrap! -- Winter Craft Project

I thought with schools about to press pause for winter break, that's a lot of days with a lot of hands with nothing to do until Christmas morning in some households (you can only bake, and decorate so many batches of cookies).  Also, with a lot of families looking for ways to minimize screen time, it can be fun to sit down together, and make some ornaments for your tree, or tabletop decorations.  I first learned about yarn wrapped sheep from The Inadvertent Farmer, during my search for a craft my niece could tackle ... Leave it to little folks to ask, "What else could we make?"

This is my answer to that. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Bookworm's Favorite Holiday Tradition + Gift Guide

Every year around this time, ye olde Jólabókaflóðið (Jolabokaflod: Christmas book flood) posts get passed around social media, telling tales about cold Icelandic nights, and cozy Christmas Eves spent snuggled up with chocolate, and books ... As idyllic a way to spend the holiday as it sounds, I wanted to know more.  Is this really a tradition?  How did it get started?  
A lot of people point to WWII era rationing for the reason Jolabokaflod exists, since there were few restrictions placed on paper, and really, what's a lovelier paper gift to give, or receive than a book?  But I wasn't so sure it was quite as simple, or as new as all that, and while you can certainly read about its rise to current popularity, here, I kept digging.  

Thanks to Alda Sigmundsdóttir, I learned about a little something called kvöldvaka, or evening wakeIn her post she tells us of a rich history in Iceland where people gathered together for work, worship, entertainment, and education through story telling, the sharing of folklore, traditions, and more (I'm particularly enchanted by rökkurstund / twilight hour).  If spending time through the winter months looked anything like this, it's little wonder that a culture based on that would lead the scoreboard of most books per capita until recently being edged out of first place by Britain.

With that in mind, I know there are a lot of Americans who would be delighted to begin their own Jolabokaflod, and kvöldvaka family customs, so I've put together a little list of a few personal friends of mine.  With this gift guide we are supporting up and coming authors, independent artists, and self-publishers who are all just trying to make their dreams come true, which, to me, makes the purchase of these books a lovely gift to both the recipients, and the authors.
(alphabetically by first name).



Allison DeBoer Criswell

This book is quite literally, everything you need to know about college writing, and a crucial tool for any student (or regular folks) out there looking to brush up their skills, especially in academic writing.


Autumn Toennis
Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing (Pre-order)

The above anthology includes work from multifaceted talent, Autumn Toennis, who, as far as her readers are concerned, is quite possibly made of magic.


Gerri Ravyn Stanfield
Revolution of the Spirit: Awaken the Healer: An Invitation to Radical Healing

On the smörgåsbord of the self-help, and healing genre, Holistic Medical Practitioner, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield serves us soul food with this book.


Jen Brady
To Write of Hope (40 page debut collection of poetry + photography)

Path of the Brave (Second poetry + photography collection)

Jen Brady's poetry is also featured on track #4 of Hannah Busse's debut album: Underneath Our Surface.


José Rafael Prieto
Soul (Debut novel)
     Kindle Edition


A true Renaissance man, as a novelist, and poet, José Rafael Prieto, offers a rich, enveloping, and lyrical experience to the reader.


Philip Kramer
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California: Section Hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Donomore Pass 

Adventure and travel photographer, Philip Kramer, stumbled into writing quite by accident, but judging by his debut publication wherein he shares his wealth of knowledge on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, in a laid back, friendly, yet experienced manner, he's definitely hit his stride!  You can read more of my hype, here.


Trish Nichol
The Mechanics of Dreaming 
     Cover art by: Autumn Toennis

In her own words, "I am a rambler, a roamer, an anywhere I lay my head is homer."  Daydreamer extraordinaire, Trish Nichol, has compiled her debut collection of poetry to whet the imagination of her readers, while she works out the details of what is practical and absurd.  

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wondrous Wrath

Glittering sunlight
illuminating
Crone Beira's deluge


Friday, November 30, 2018

Timberland Regional Library: The Plot Thickens ...

Last month, I composed, delivered, and posted here, a letter regarding something called The Capital Facilities Proposal that recommended the closure, and / or consolidation of 1/3 of the libraries across 5 counties in Southwestern Washington to each member of the Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees in a hasty attempt to persuade the board to table the matter until further research, and discussion could be had in order to develop a better plan for all of the communities involved.  Turns out, I wasn't the only one ... Not even close.  In the face of an ever changing schedule, and new sessions frantically added, inboxes were flooded with outcry, board and city council meetings alike were reduced to standing room only as community members showed up to support their local libraries, and plead with board members, and city leaders to allow these crucial gathering places, and services to remain open, and operational in their static locations. 

One thing that sent folks scrambling to make sure their voices were heard was the surprise addition of the October 10, 2018 board meeting, which left people unsure if the end of the month meeting would even take place, or if something severe would be decided at this new date that would make efforts to organize, and appear at the October 24th meeting pointless.  

With that said, there are a few things to clear up before we move on to le scandale ... oh yes, my friends, it turns out libraries can have seedy underbellies!  With many of us on a mad dash to assemble our thoughts, and respect the notion of brevity, a few things were lost in translation as made clear by the use of one of my first lines in the recording of the October 10th meeting.  I believe its use was meant to put people at ease over the redistribution of funds, and to assure the listening audience that this was not, in fact, a case of the Haves versus the Have Nots.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Perfect Ten!


Kicking off Giving Tuesday is Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders 2-week Winter charity event!  This year being the tenth anniversary of his philanthropic brainchild, we're going to see some big announcements, format changes, and wonderfully geek-themed goodies. 

Previously, the charity spanned an entire month, and was almost always extended a little bit at the end for last minute donors, but this year the six week merrymaking is being packed into just 14 days (Nov 27 - Dec 11) of money raising mayhem.

So what are we raising money for, anyway?  First of all, not all charities are created equal, and Charity Navigator is a great tool to figure out if what you're supporting is on the up & up.  If you can't find your charity there, look for the organization's personal website (it should have one), where if it's reputable, a disclosure for how much of the money raised goes where, should be displayed, and always remember big charities = big overhead, so very little of the money actually gets into the hands of the people who need it most.  With that said, all of the charities supported through Worldbuilders' fundraising efforts have at least a 3 star rating through Charity Navigator, and are forthright, and transparent about how they operate.  As always, this winter's collection of coin will be going to Heifer International, whose goal is ending hunger and poverty, globally.  What sets Heifer apart from other organizations is that it doesn't just do a food drop, or throw money at a problem, real solutions are sought and implemented in a way that not only eradicates the immediate problem, but has a real and lasting impact on entire communities through the allocation of resources, education, and infrastructure development.  You can read more about their mission here

In ten years Rothfuss has been able to rile his supporters into donating over 8 million dollars, and changing countless lives because of it.  So, if you'd like to join in, and make this the most mind-bending record breaking year to date you can go here, and donate immediately, and follow the accounts below to stay up to date on all of the coming pandemonium:

Pat's Twitch Channel
(you can find his Twitch Schedule at the bottom of this page)

 Also, if you're a little strapped for cash this year, but you still want to be involved, please do not underestimate the power of your voice.  Spread the word, share what you know, and educate others on the work that is being done.  You will end up creating a ripple effect all your own, and change lives forever.   
xoxo

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Aftermath

If you're not doing this with your Thanksgiving leftovers, you're quite frankly living a life half lived!  Put down the mustard, and lettuce.

Here's what you need:
Sourdough bread
Turkey
Cream cheese
Cranberry sauce (1 Tbsp per sandwich)
Salt
Pepper

Here's what you do:
Coat each slice of bread on one side with a thin layer of cream cheese (not only is it delicious, but it keeps your bread from getting soggy).  Spread 1 Tbsp of cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese on one piece of bread, and layer your turkey pieces on top of that.  Top with a dusting of salt & pepper, and finish it off with the other slice of bread.  Cut into your desired shape, and serve.  
Bon appétit!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Virgin Glögg

Here's what you need:
4 Cups water
6 Cardamom pods
6 Whole cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
1" Knob fresh ginger (grated)

4 Cups POM juice
3-4 Tbsp pure organic maple syrup
1 Star anise
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Allspice

1/4 Cup almonds (blanched)
1/4 Cup walnuts
1/2 Cup raisins or craisins
1 Orange (sliced)

Here's what you do:
Day One-
Boil water, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and cloves for 15 minutes.  Store it in a glass container in the refrigerator overnight.

Day Two-
Combine decoction with fruit juice, star anise, nutmeg, and allspice, and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, and add your chosen sweetener if desired.  Pour liquid through a strainer into a new container (large glass measuring cups are handy for this!) in order to clear out any large spice debris, and that's it!  Serve warm with any combination of the following: cinnamon sticks, chopped nuts, raisins, and orange pieces.


This beverage is basically just a warm punch, but I love to have it around during the cold winter months because, well, it's delicious, free of weird additives, and a good option for anyone needing to avoid refined white sugar.  It's also nice to have something festive to offer pregnant, sober, or underage guests so no one is left out of any Yuletide merrymaking.

Cheers!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's a Wrap!



I'll be rolling out a new DIY project this December for anyone looking for something to do with youngsters over winter break, or hoping to make a dent in their leftover yarn stash!

Here's what you'll need:
Card stock, or snack / cereal boxes
Clothespins 
Craft paint & brushes
Glue-stick, and tacky glue (or Aleene's Stop Fraying)
Scissors
Yarn
*Optional*
Bamboo skewers
Blunt yarn needle
Knitting needles 3.25mm (US: 3, UK: 10)
Confetti, sequins, beads, faux gems, ghungroo bells

Don't let the stampede pass you by!

Friday, November 16, 2018

It's Not Trolling When it's True

There's an adage that goes something like:

The fastest way to make money as a writer is to write, and sell books to other people about how to become a writer.

The same, I think, goes for a lot of other fields as well, particularly in the area of coaching ... Or coaching coaches, that is.  And so we see, as we certainly have in recent years, an uptick in self-proclaimed experts (whether they actually are, or not) guiding people who seek change in their lives, and financial circumstances through becoming, themselves, skilled (or skilled-looking) enough in their chosen enterprises to lead others.  What can become disconcerting in this sort of food-chain of "experts" engaging in a hefty amount of fake-it-'til-you-make-it hustling is how adept they become at marketing themselves (if they haven't devoured each other first), and their goods or services when one, the other, and sometimes all of the above are undeserving of such successful campaigns.  I am mostly bothered by the amount of flowery, and sometimes pseudo-spiritual language being learned, and applied in the creatrix-entrepreneur niche that is masking abusive, and manipulative people, and behavior. 

Through the year, I've written a little bit about being cautious of modern-day snake oil salesmen, and shared a few of my own experiences with people who were a little too eager to lead others, and were in a position to dupe followers, and toy with their emotional well-being, and even reviewed a program that I had bought into, and participated in where certain folks were mistreated, and "safe spaces" were a hotbed of hostility.  The most common thread between them all was the disturbing knack of shrugging off feedback as trolling. 

Trolling, by definition, is targeted, and oftentimes continued or persistent online harassment, sometimes including, but not limited to, highly personal attacks, typically centered on falsehoods, and designed to incite a negative reaction.  In extreme cases stalking, doxxing, and even SWATting can be involved.

Critique ≠ Trolling

Moreover, it's definitely not trolling when it's true, which all critiques, and reviews need to be, otherwise, we're dealing with a problem much larger than I'm qualified to unpack here on a blog.  I will say, however, it is my strongly held opinion that anyone willing to lie in a review deserves to run into their fair share of shills, and hucksters along the way, but I digress.

Part of my formal education included the process of articulating (on paper, and vocally) honest, impartial, well-informed, and constructive criticism.  The ability to effectively analyze a person's work without needlessly assailing them or what they've produced was considered paramount to the creative process.  Another integral part was cultivating the competence, and confidence to stand there, and not only take it, but be able to thoughtfully rebut the claims made against you, your motivation, or your creation, and enter into further discussion.  This practice left me with the skills required to defend my work from the ground up, and right back down again when necessary, and not make any excuses for it, or for another person's displeasure with it.  There was no fingers-in-ears-foot-stomping option available.   Now, when I see anyone resorting to that kind of behavior regarding their work or products, and reducing critique to trolling, I find it very telling.

A company needs to be able to do more than label its reviewers "trolls," and  trot out seemingly impressive sales figures, and apparent popularity to prove that a product or service is legitimately worthwhile.  Sexy ledgers may be enchanting to some, but we only have to look at the ShamWow, or the enduring novelty of Chia Pets, or really any fad at any point in time that has hit cult-like status and managed to turn a profit, to know that not all that glitters is ... well, anything worth spending money on.  Consumers also can not always trust the financial aspect as a good indicator for good business practices, or mistake it for a good person at the helm.  There will always be subpar products that sell well, and people with questionable motives, and methods who profit from them.

A lot of bad people make good money.

With a season of gift giving nearly upon us, and the time many of us roll out our New Year's resolutions just around the corner from that, there will be a lot of money spent on coaching services, retreats, organizational aids and tools, and any number of self-help accoutrements, and all any of us can do is heed the call, "buyer beware" and always be willing to do the necessary research to protect ourselves from literal, and energetic thieves.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Home Sweet Home

https://www.stormypeterson.com/
I've found some fresh digs for some old favorites, with a lot of room for some new releases.  You're invited to hop on over here:
and join the mailing list to stay up-to-date with all store related news, and get 10% off your first purchase!
xoxo

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Gifts


“I had seen birth and death,

 But had thought they were different.” 

-T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Beware the Things that go Bump in the Night

"Lock all your doors ... And turn out the lights,
Or ghosts and goblins will spook you with fright!

Jump in bed and pull the covers up tight,
Close your eyes until the morning is light."
-Anonymous

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Six Word Story: 18



Like a force of nature: Unstoppable.


-Stormy Peterson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Open Letter to the Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees:

Dear Members of the Board,

I am writing on behalf, and in support of the communities that have recently fallen under threat of closure of their public libraries.  The Capital Facilities Proposal has come to the attention of current, and former residents alike, and I’d like to have a moment of your time to lay out some shared concerns that, I believe, the proposal does not address in an adequate fashion.

Primarily, I am deeply disturbed by the recommendation that public libraries in small, isolated, and economically depressed communities be shuttered in order to allocate funds toward expansion programs for facilities located near, and around our State’s Capital; an area with the population to support innovative fundraising techniques.  Thanks to the data provided in the proposal, we can see that Thurston County produces 55% of Timberland Regional Library’s revenue, but receives 41% of the budget, and while this may seem like a sad state of affairs for the library facilities in Thurston County, isn’t that kind of the point of belonging to a region(?) -- meaning that the libraries are stronger together than they would be apart.  Making money where you can in order to benefit the whole should be a point of pride for the well-funded facilities knowing that with their help they are doing an important part of ensuring equal footing for all community members within the region, but especially for vulnerable youth, and the impact it has on their education.  It at least used to be, when urban libraries were subsidized by the money generated rurally by the tax on timber sales, or have we forgotten that so soon?  As a society, we’ve come to a point where we’re beginning to view all of our supposed disparities through the lens of unfair hand-outs, instead of what they really are, which is a hand up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Change is in the Air

 

Autumn ... the year's last, loveliest smile.


-William Cullen Bryant
(Indian Summer)
I doubt I will ever cease to be amazed this time of year as the best of Summer collides with the beauty of Fall.  All of the flowers are flourishing while the neighborhood foliage begins to put on its most glorious show pausing only for the bold, red punctuation marks dotting the casual holly tree who's been waiting all season to stop onlookers mid-sentence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Currant Affair

Summer is more than simply winding down in my neck of the woods.  In the span of a week I've gone from nauseating heat + socked-in smoke filled Puget Sound from the BC fires to bundling up in my amazing technicolor dream-sweatsuit.  And that can only mean one thing: Baking season has arrived!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Dikya D.I.Y.


I've loved the sea, and nearly everything in it, my entire life, but there are a few tentacle-having friends that hold a special place in my heart; one being the Jellyfish.  Apparently, if Jellyfish show up in your life they are there to teach avoidance of danger, mistakes, and pain ... Possibly by stinging the hell out of you until you finally get it?

So, around eight years ago after seeing something in the background of a photograph of a woman's studio space I decided I needed to create a bloom of jellyfish for my nephew's sea-themed bedroom.  Years passed, and after seeing several people's creations (especially Sayuri Sasaki Hemann) but few attempts at any DIY tutorials, I'm coming at you with my straightforward method for low-cost, high-impact fiber art jellyfish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Happy Blogiversary!



I started this project (ten[!] years ago) when I needed something nice ... Something that felt good to visit ... A chill little place in the corner of the internet where strangers weren't fighting each other, a place to come to breathe, and restore.  That's what it's been for me and I hope that's what it's been for you as well. 
xoxo 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rosewater D.I.Y.

FTC Affiliate Disclosure
So, I've already shared with you my Rosy Cheeks Toner recipe, but I kind of glossed over the steps to make your own rosewater at home.  Allow me to break down my process:
In this batch: Leaping Salmon & Pink Peace
First things first, I use the simmering technique, because it's faster, easier, and requires fewer supplies and less set-up time.  Also, because I use up my rosewater so quickly, I'm not worried about extending the shelf life the way the distillation method can.  For more information on the distillation process, check out Sheerin's video for Eve's Cafe, here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Burn, Baby Burn

Twin flames definitely exist. So do liars, and manipulators who shape situations to appear to be random, or fated-to-happen because of some cosmic guiding force. Being re-located for work, and running into a long lost lover, or childhood sweetheart is a lot different, to me at least, than stalking social media, and learning a person's patterns in order to place yourself on their path to have a seemingly uncalculated meet-cute, just to say "Look, proof! Twin flames! I knew it all along!" 

Don't do that.  It's creepy.

On top of that there's the crowd who over-exaggerate their love-lives to make it all sound so much more fantastical, and exciting than it really is in order to feed a severe hunger for attention, adoration, and admiration from their peers. So it's little wonder that it's a bit of a minefield out there. And it's also why I'm not quick to believe every gum smacking girl who, like, totally has a tubular twin flame, and somejunk.

Not every love is going to be a "twin flame" type of love, and nothing's wrong with that. All this fad-language has taught me is that it's got everyone all hyped up over something many may never even experience in this life (and feeling bad about themselves and their situation if they don't). Right now it's twin flames, and before that everyone was on a wild goose chase for a soul mate. I can't wait for the next New Age "thought leader" to coin a term for the thing that will be even GREATER than twin flames, so everyone can ditch this ideology, and flock to the new shiny word, and then start feeling bad about themselves and circumstances because they don't have a "Dinglehopper Dick" yet, or whatever it'll be called. I mean, it's starting to look like a page out of the Star-belly Sneetches' Playbook at this point with people frantically searching for one thing, while getting bored, and cashing in something perfectly good in the meantime. When did just falling / being in, and experiencing plain old love become not good enough?  When did love become so ordinary we decided we needed to create a new term?  

Love, real love, is absolutely radical.

With nearly every single love-experience being labeled "twin flame" it makes me doubt just how many people have ever actually experienced love at all. To me, it's not something that has to be dressed up, upgraded, or made to look any better than it already is. Love is perfection as is (that's not to say perfect love = perfect relationship), and anything less is infatuation, or lust. Not that I think the twin flame journey is just a dressed up version of love, it's that I think a lot of girls who talk about it describe it that way, as if it's actual love, but it's a little more like love holding a Balenciaga bag.

It's not that I don't believe. I do. I also believe in love at first sight, and all the other ooey-gooey good stuff. I just think I need taller boots sometimes to wade through all of the manure, especially within the self-help community, and soul vibe-y online magazines.  I also don't fully understand why anyone would want to pretend or convince themselves that they're having a Twin Flame experience anyway?  If you have one, or you've read enough about it you know it's a lot of hard work, a lot of forced introspection, and oftentimes (especially if you're fighting the growth) a lot of frustration.  Maybe people cling to the hope that the label offers in order to explain their own hardships, pain, or confusion that are sometimes present in adult relationships.  Perhaps it hurts less, or is somehow comforting to believe the dysfunction is connected to a higher purpose, or greater plan.  All I have to say to that is: Love doesn't hurt.  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Blame it on the Boogie

Windows down, sound up
Morning commute block party
Dancing back to life

Monday, July 16, 2018

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

What is it that keeps you from moving forward, moving out, moving on, or moving up?  What is stopping you from moving into the person you're meant to be?  Moving to another country?  Moving away from toxic employment?  Moving toward your dreams?  Moving in synchronicity with the beating of your heart?  Move-ing (full stop)?

I suppose, for most of us it must come down to one of two reasons.
1. Fear
2. Physical impairment
(and possibly some mixture of the two).
As human beings go, I know we're pretty talented at cooking up any number of obstacles to any number of advancements we want, or need to make.  Once we strip away all of the stories we tell ourselves about what stands in our way, however, I think we really are only left with the two above choices.  And once that has been revealed we are exponentially closer to doing something about it ... I think this is when that whole, "...grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," thing comes into play.

For me, personally, it's never been a matter of courage.  I don't like change simply because I don't like to be inconvenienced, but it's never been rooted in the nastiest of all four-letter-words:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Here and Now

This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.

Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the Earth and sky,
The Beloved has bowed there

Our beloved has bowed there
knowing
You were coming.

-Hafiz

Saturday, July 7, 2018

That's High Priestess, To You

Ten years ago I became an ordained minister ... I think I had grand plans of becoming a Reiki Master or something, but in my state in order to legally put your hands on people in a business setting you have to either be licensed in the field of medicine, massage therapy, cosmetology (aesthetician / esthetician, etc.), or a member of the clergy.  Looking at that list, I think the obvious choice presented itself quite clearly.

A few minutes later, I became High Priestess Stormy of the Holy-Rolling Order of the Whore of Babylon (as I'm sure some would see it).

I never did end up getting my Reiki black belt, or whatever it is you do get upon ascension through all of the levels of training, but I am available for marryin' & buryin' (and I'll give you a great rate if they're both on the same day!) just don't call me for your vow renewal.  If you didn't mean it the first time, don't waste my time on a dog and pony show.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Turn the Beet Around!

After compiling last year's list of the 15 Seeds to Order and Sow Now, I've narrowed down, and decided on the varieties I'll be planting in my beds this year for a fall-winter harvest. 

Arugula
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Kale
Leeks
Spinach
Swiss Chard

The key is getting your seeds in the ground a full 2 months before the first frost hits in your region, so right now in the PNW is the perfect time to start turning your soil, clearing spent plants you won't be using for seed saving, and adding any composted material to your garden!
xoxo

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Real + Fake

"Let me tell you about an incredible marketing opportunity to sell cool products, make fast cash, and alienate all of your friends from high school." 

First of all, the whole MLM (multi-level marketing) or "network marketing" (as they prefer to be called) scheme has lost its flavor with me, and gone the way of all of the other in-home-party businesses.  I find them both sketchy, and completely antiquated.  The fact that it can now be done from behind the comfort of a computer screen doesn't make it any more modern, or palatable to me.  I don't care if it's pants that stretch fourteen sizes, or housewares, or essential oils, skincare, make-up, candles, smokeless candles, just the wax formerly used in candles now warmed in a little light-up dish ... If I have to join a "team" to do it?  Thanks, but no.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fresh Start: Be Your Own Guru!

  Part Four:

Meet your body exactly where it is right now.
If you can't pencil yourself into your own life, then where can you?

I think one of the most difficult parts of the healing journey, but arguably the most important is the willingness, and the necessity of meeting your body exactly where it is right now, and not allowing yourself to be long-term discouraged by its current limitations, but also recognizing the need to not push your body to do what it simply can not in the moment (which is the surest path to burn-out).  Often times when people are ill or overwhelmed, you'll hear the advice "slow down" thrown around with abandon, but what many well-intentioned, able bodied, or physically well people who impart this wisdom forget or simply don't understand is what an utter hellscape the notion of "slowing down" seems like.

There are few things that sound more nightmare-ish than that to someone who's ever been bed ridden, or housebound for any length of time due to insufficient health, and just now feel like they're coming back to life out of some pseudo-zombie-state.  "You can't be serious!  IF I MOVED ANY MORE SLOWLY, I'D BE GOING BACKWARDS!!!" is how I think a lot of people feel when confronted with that particular piece of advice, and I also think it throws a little undue mental anguish into the mix on top of already being unwell, which I believe makes it easier to slip into depression, feel frustratingly discouraged, deflated, and adds to the difficulty of getting oneself on a path toward total wellness.  Which, if you've ever experienced anything that had you laid up, a mystery illness you've had to unravel, or simply had shoddy healthcare that kept you in a holding pattern of sorts, you know full well how tremendously terrible a set-back like that can feel, and the toll it can take on an already delicate physical state.  Naturally, when working on clawing your way out of the grips of a health scare or crisis, we can expect a certain amount of the doldrums to hit us from time to time, but keeping yourself from spiraling into severe depression can feel like an exhausting full-time job sometimes, and it's incredibly easy for something so small, and spoken in complete innocence to disrupt the delicate balance we've been able to miraculously achieve.

It's for these reasons that I prefer to approach my wellness by respecting my body, and its wisdom by bringing it a question instead of a direct order, and why when your feet hit the ground each morning (or not, depending on your situation), I think you should ask yourself "What am I going to do today?" and let your response back to yourself be, "I'm going to meet my body exactly where it is, right now," and whatever, and wherever that place happens to be, I hope you will remember to bring the gift of kindness for yourself.



Monday, June 4, 2018

#GeeksDoingGood

It's back!  The Worldbuilders Market has kicked off its week-long Summer fundraising event with all proceeds from sales going toward humanitarian efforts around the world through programs like First Book, Mercy Corps, and Heifer International (read more here).  This year, instead of hosting the fundraiser through Indiegogo, Worldbuilders has brought Geeks Doing Good to its own website, and created a convenient shopping page stocked full of goodeis, and pre-orders for fresh gear you can't find anywhere else.  So, if you want some new swag, why not help people in dire circumstances while you get it?

Last year's event raked in $239,872 USD in just seven days with regular people giving what they could to make someone else's life a little bit better.  It's not exactly a bad way to celebrate Pat Rothfuss' birthday if you ask me.

 xoxo

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tick, Tock...

There is no such thing as "bad timing" -- this phrase spoiled, all-or-nothing hearts are wont to hide behind.  When you crave someone enough; when you can taste the life you're meant to live you will move heaven, and earth until it is yours.  Time be damned.

Sometimes circumstances arrive that can keep us physically apart from those we love.  There are also times when prioritizing something else above romantic desires must take precedence; a sacrifice for the greater good, as it were, but make no mistake there is always choice involved.  The act of removing the notion of choice from the narrative you construct for yourself, of willfully ignoring that you've had any part in designing your own list of priorities is naïveté on parade at best.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fresh Start: Be Your Own Guru.

Part Three:

"When you truly understand that your food choices are powerful and life affirming, you can exercise control and restraint without deprivation."
- Marlene Adelmann

I begin each one of the posts in the Be Your Own Guru series with "Fresh Start" because I believe every single day is an opportunity to begin anew.  No matter where you are at in your journey, each morning your eyes open, and you have breath in your lungs you have the power to continue, or begin living the life you imagine for yourself.  I also use it as a personal reminder, and motivation for myself!  Believe me, when I'm posting I'm doing it for myself, it's great if other people find something worthwhile around here, but I'm actually (selfishly) leaving myself a bread-crumb trail, and also attempting to hold myself accountable, I'm not just sitting here screaming at strangers, and trying to dictate their lives.  I'm really just talking to myself, which is either incredibly healthy, or ... not, but if you find something that resonates with you, you're always welcome to come along!

One of the most powerful lessons I've been able to learn when it comes to my health, and food choices is perfectly stated in the quote above.  It took me a long time to get here, but once I got it, I finally felt liberated.  I'm one of those weirdos with a long list of allergies, and food sensitivities, like, looong (several sheets of printer paper long, in fact).  We didn't find this out until I was about twelve years old, or so, all my family knew was that I was skinny, and sick or in pain all of the time.  When my test results revealed what I was allergic to was the same foods I'd been fed nearly everyday my entire childhood my parents were horrified.  Things got really difficult when we noticed the foods on my list weren't exactly obscure, they were everywhere, and ingredients in everything: wheat, rice, sugar cane, chocolate, peanut, soy, egg white, beef, dairy, just to name a few.  Try eating something in 1992 that doesn't have one of these things in it.  At the time, my list of known foods I could eat looked like a ghost town (tumbleweed blowing across the deserted streets and all).  So while my food issues may not be exactly like your food issues, and your food issues are different from the girl down the street, it doesn't matter what your personal obstacle is, if you've struggled with the feeling or notion of deprivation, we've all had the same struggle.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Mistress Mary


Her garden may grow with silver bells, and cockleshells, and pretty maids all in a row.  But mine has neon leaves, moonbeams, a few weeds, and ivy covered fences.
xoxo

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Eevie, Ivy, Over

Skipping double dutch
from shadow to burst of light
City, my playmate

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Meta Mix-Up

One of my favorite personal lessons from last year was becoming aware of the messages I'm sending about what I need, want, and intend to manifest.  After I read the line, "Stop sending mixed messages to the universe," from a piece of Denise Duffield-Thomas' work, I started seeing them everywhere.  You know the whole, "I want this, but I'll be happy with that," or "I need, but I'll settle for..."

When we make bargains with ourselves we don't get our highest desires, or needs met, and I quickly realized I'd been low-balling myself, and when I'd get exactly what I asked for, it wasn't the universe's fault that I wasn't happy with the results.  Okay, no, I'm not so daft that I believe if the words are spoken, that things will just magically materialize in my life (or not), I do believe in the power of suggestion, and that our subconscious mind has a funny way of taking us to task, and shaping our behavior, but stay with me, because never has this lesson been more clear than when I watched it playing out before my eyes on social media.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Beware the Bad Guru

Remember when I said earlier, anyone who wants the job probably doesn't deserve it?  You know, I think after Jonestown, David Koresh, and Heaven's Gate the obvious cult-leaders are easy to spot, but what about the casual-controller?  I think they can be much more difficult to pin down.  I know I've certainly run across a few recently who currently have astonishing popularity, and sycophants who will defend even the most despicable practices seemingly right down to their last breath if need be.
I'm always a little bit amazed by how many people need someone else's permission to live their own lives ... 
But if I'm honest, I think we all do it to varying degrees, and most likely unbeknownst to us, even!  I know I like a good daily horoscope, but if I examine that a little bit closer, what exactly is that?  I always treated it as a bit of fun, putting about as much stock into it as a fortune cookie cracked open at the end of dinner, but is it really that something inside me is searching for a little guidance? 

Not that long ago, I found myself following an Instagram Astrologer who did in-depth "readings" for each sign in the zodiac several times a month.  For quite a while, everything was going just fine, I was intrigued by how eerily accurate many of the posts had been for me, but it wasn't all readings all the time, she would share happy milestones in her life with us as well -- moving, and setting up house in a beautiful new location, etc. until there was a certain feeling of familiarity forming, and then one morning there was an announcement made on her profile to her tens of thousands of followers that she had died.
*Cue the outpouring of love, and grief from devastated followers*
Several hours later, the post was edited, and she began leaving comments explaining that her "guides" had instructed her to make the announcement, and further told her that her followers needed to experience the feeling of "loss".   Later still, she came back again to say that maybe her guides had just wanted her to feel the incredible torrent of affection and adoration she was receiving, after everyone had spent hours leaving comments expressing their deep sadness, and reverence for her.
Wait.  What?  
Okay.  First of all, who or what exactly is "guiding" you, and secondly, the fake-funeral scene in the cult classic, Empire Records, for an angst-y teenager is one thing, but faking your death on Instagram when you're a middle aged shill is just a sick level of emotional manipulation I won't support.  One of the things I found most disturbing is how she really didn't seem to learn much from the feedback she was getting over that stunt.  Believe me, not everyone was amused by the fake-out, and they kindly, but firmly let her know.  The result?  Just make your account private for a little while!  An account that is (as of this post) 54.4 thousand followers deep, and newly reopened to the public.  Hopefully her followers wise up, or she cuts the crap and sticks to frivolous parlor tricks moving forward.

Watching people fall prey to this kind of behavior is one of the many reasons I'm so passionate about people empowering themselves, staying away from "thought leaders," and taking the time to seek out the reluctant teacher -- mind you, this is not to disparage those amongst us who are called to teach and share, this is about paying attention to who is in it just for the ego boost, and who is actually walking their talk -- as well as becoming aware of those around them who use their experiences (spiritual or otherwise) to manipulate, or condescend, and to be careful that we don't become one of them ourselves.  In fact, one of my favorite article titles of all-time sums it up rather perfectly, I think:

 
xoxo

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bathroom Lessons

A mirror is useless when your eyes are shut.
It doesn't matter how many mirrors you have, if you can't see who's staring right back at you.

Shower curtains go inside the bathtub.
Preparation is the key to success, they say.

Do not place anger on the drain for what is circling it,
when the plug has been in your hand the entire time.

Air freshener, a window that opens, and a fan are all nice things to have,
but ultimately you still have to flush the toilet.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Three Things Cannot be Long Hidden:

 The Sun, The Moon, and The Truth.
-Buddha
Can we know the truth?  What is truth, anyway?

This conversation keeps finding me, as I've been asked in a handful of ways what truth is to me, which leads me to believe the people in my life either think I'm the biggest liar on Earth, or it's just a barometer for where we're at as humanity trying to wrap our heads around fundamental, yet oft over-complicated concepts.  The latter of which, I happen to view as a worthy, if sometimes exhausting, endeavor.
I think truth is the only thing we ever can know.  Everything else is a song & dance of conjecture, and assumption leaving us constantly questioning.
Truth is incorruptible.  The same as both the sun, and the moon, the truth is there whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we understand it or not, and definitely whether we like it or not.  It does not depend, or rely on our perceptions or opinions in order to exist.  Truth.  Just.  Is.

Much like love, I believe it is something meant to be felt; to be inherently known someplace that resides within us much deeper than the thinking mind.  By putting too many words to the topic we run the risk of muddying the waters, and disorienting ourselves along with anyone else who happens to be trying to follow along.

I believe there is no your truth ... my truth ... his truth ... her truth.  There is only the truth.  Adding qualifiers to it somehow distorts its singular wholeness.  I do believe they were added by well-meaning people trying to help others find the power to exercise their voices, and for that I at least applaud the attempt, but I feel that by inventing these phrases, we've created a big ol' mess.  My favorite description of "your truth" is found over at Feld Thoughts where Brad elaborates,
"When I say 'your truth' I’m not referring to opinions. I’m referring to your deeply held beliefs. Your truth is the set of ideas that forms the basis of your view of the world. It requires a huge act of will and introspection for you to change your truth."
I think this is a pretty great explanation, but the problem as I see it is that the phrase "pronoun + truth" doesn't come with an asterisk, and a footnote everywhere it is printed or spoken, and so leaves a lot to interpretation, and too much room for bastardization by those with a mind that loves to flex creatively with the notion of truth.  I know I can't possibly be the only person out here who's witnessed a tirade of brazen lies in the name of someone telling their truth,  "I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.  I AM TELLING MY TRUTH!"
Uhm, okay sweetheart, you wanna go ahead, and let us know when the true part begins, or nah?    
I haven't been this put off by a word or phrase since it was popular for school girls to scrunch their eyebrows together and smugly declare, "Random!" at everything until the New Age community firmly colonized this one, and spread it like a freshly imported virus.  By doing so, and making it ridiculously easy for liars, and drama queens alike to co-opt it for their own personal gains, I strongly feel that this abuse of the term dramatically weakens it for everyone else who may be trying to impart a significant morsel of wisdom to the rest of us.  Like, if we listen to an African American woman speaking the certainty of her daily existence, or in other words, her truth, we learn it is incredibly different from my own, and that both of our experiences that have shaped who we are have been vastly different from that of men, what's more, the LGBTQ folks each face their own set of unique circumstances and reality that the rest of us are not forced to confront with the same frequency, and still all of us experiencing something wildly different than those of other nations.  Just in that alone, I see and value the weight, and importance of the concept.

It's tremendously difficult for me to come to terms with the actuality that something created to further our understanding of one another, life, and our connection with all life envelopes has had its authenticity corrupted by those too willing to spin tales for validation, entertainment, or whatever other void they feed with deceptive practices.  Especially when truth itself can not be mistaken.  We may not always be aware of the absence of truth, but we undeniably know it when we are in its company.  Truth is experienced by the entire body even if the mind is unable to recognize it.  You feel it in your gut, your bones, your cells, your soul.
There is nothing more obvious or profound than when you are in the presence of pure truth.
The truth exists (period) but it is up to each one of us to uncover it for ourselves if we choose to live wholly in accordance with the natural order of things in our universe.

Monday, April 9, 2018

I'm Just a Girl in the World ...

...That's All That You'll Let Me Be


I've seen a lot of talk lately about the trouble with keeping women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers, first of all, why there are so few to begin with, why they drop out, and why they quit the work they love in an industry they should be thriving in.  A lot of people argue that getting in the door isn't the problem, it's staying in the room once you're there.  But, pretending that sexism only occurs, or is recognizable once the woman is inside the industry is not helpful, or honest.  Many women, and young girls experienced sexism (especially casual-sexism), and discrimination as students.  It might be a little bit different for the generation coming up behind me, but I can't imagine it's changed all that much for all females across the board, in every classroom in America.  The ones lucky enough to have incredible, and fair teachers and professors who encouraged and supported all students equally were riding for a hard fall when the reality of how women are treated in these fields finally presented itself.  I was aware of it well before it happened to me, but even when it did finally happen, I was still only a child of thirteen.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

At What Cost?

Last month over at Mythos and Marginalia my pal, J.G. Lewis published a little something I clacked my keys at as part of his Words for Someone Else series, and this is it:
http://mythosandmarginalia.com/2018/03/at-what-cost/
Image courtesy of J.G. Lewis
I learned early on, I'm the kind of bitch people don't worry about ... Probably because I was raised by one, or maybe because very little escapes my attention, and I rarely find myself playing the fool.  I don't coo, and giggle like a baby-doll come to life, I don't have a tiny voice and a vacant look on my face that begs someone else to "write my story for me," and I definitely don't play small to make other people more comfortable.  I have a big, loud mouth, and a head full of ideas that I believe should be used for more than just adding to the collective cacophony of noise.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Live! Live! Live!

"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my
significance,
to live so that which came to
me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit."

-Dawna Markova 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Take a Hike!

https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Pacific-Crest-Trail-California/dp/1594858780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522005292&sr=8-1&keywords=philip+kramer
At the beginning of this month, Travel & Nature Adventure Photographer, Philip Kramer released an incredibly beautiful labor of love to the world by way of Mountaineers Books.  In his debut publication, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California: Section Hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Green Pass, he illustrates a step-by-step guide for creating the perfect adventure-vacation centered around hiking (in any form) the 740 miles of the Northern California section of the Pacific Crest trail.  Loaded with gorgeous photographs he's become known for, Philip also crams this book full of information ranging from little known or even obscure facts, to preservation and conservation opportunities, to some of the smallest details (including tips & tricks from experienced hikers) worth taking into consideration when planning excursions.  Instead of just sticking to the obvious highlights, this newly minted author shines a full spectrum light on this oft ignored, or at least, seldom discussed portion of a very popular American attraction.

The truth of the matter is, I came for the photography, and sentimentality having known the author for 32 years, but I stayed for the writing that kept my pages turning, and excitement and wanderlust it ignited.  However, one of my favorite things about this in-depth guide is that you do not have to actually know the author personally to feel as though you're sitting down sharing stories with your best friend, which to me, makes the whole idea of planning a trip that much more fun.

If you'd like to learn a little more about Philip Kramer, visit his website PhilipKramer.com or if you're curious to hear more about his own experience hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2013 check out the Adventure Sports Podcast found, here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Siristean

 Blizzards of blushing
The snowfall of Ostara
Enchantress of Spring
 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

(re)Purposely Playful

After eight years (and much nudging from my mother), I'm finally releasing my patterns + instructions for d.i.y. repurposed sweater-sleeve stuffed animals to the public!  So if you're keen to get your upcycle on, or work through your scrap-fabric stash, I'm pleased to introduce:

The (re)Purposely PlayfulWoodland Pals collection

The seven page downloadable PDF includes a materials list, instructions, and the pattern pieces you need in order to create your own adult, and baby sized stuffed friends in three animal versions: Faryl Fox, Rikki Raccoon, and Willie Wolf.

*Note: You are purchasing a downloadable PDF pattern only.  Adobe Reader is required to view, and print this pattern from your home computer.
Don't forget!  Grab your free knitting-crib-sheet, below, so your (re)Purposely Playful Woodland Pals are the best accessorized critters in the forest...
Click to embiggen, right click & save image as!

Take heed: The critters, and accessories created through the (re)Purposely Playful collection are keepsake toys, and intended for supervised playtime, or for youngsters who are not tempted to chew off, or swallow buttons and other small pieces.  Please use your judgement when making (and especially gifting) your Woodland Pals toys.  Thank you!
xoxo