Wednesday, February 29, 2012

thankful

Still keeping things low key over here for the moment. Just dropping in to share what I'm thankful for today:


Hope life is treating you well and I'll be back in the not so distant future full of projects and adventures to share.... things are brewing over on my end.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

this week I am: Feb 12-27 2012

Last week I was...


a little all over the place and this week I'm playing catch up. I should qualify last week with the fact that it was a good week, just one that sort of took me all over the place in terms of the spectrum of emotions and experiences. One moment I would annoyed by something to the point of wanting to freak out, the next I would work with a student whose writing would have me on the verge of tears because of how touching I found their work. I was a little crazy last week, but yet, it was a good crazy. Go figure!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

testing testing...

This is a test post to show JennyLou how to blog! Please ignore it...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

remembering gratitude

Today was kind of a crappy day, particularly at work. Traffic was bad, work politics sucked, I felt frustrated by college bureaucracy. It sucks but it happens.

So I thought that today would be a good day to take some time to be thankful!

pagan scrapbooking: altar

 I've been really playing with layering paper lately, and this is a page that I'm quite pleased with because of that and because of the fact that I really veered away from my traditional colour palette.

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I've never been quite sure about the etiquette surrounding sharing altar images. While I love ooohhhing and aaaawwwing other people's altars, sometimes I feel uncomfortable with sharing my own. Call it a weird superstition...

But for now, this is my temporary altar, which you can see really reflects my Buddhist/Asian leanings in my practice. I say it's temporary because I have a tendency of redecorating it! For now I'm digging the cranes from the branches but next week I may move on, you know, if I'm not feeling lazy!

Oh, and yay! Today marks my 200th blog post. How crazy is that? Time flies and I talk a lot!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

this week I am: feb 13-19 2012

This week has been busy. But then again, I keep writing that so maybe they're all just busy!

We signed our mortgage, picked our tiles, and finished up that details for the house. Now we wait. But on an exciting home news front: a friend of mine is studying grey water systems and is going to go over our plans to show us where we'll be able to install our very own grey water system in the not so distant, hopefully, future!


Other than that, working on getting back into shape and am happy that it seems to be helping with my energy levels. Woo hoo for extra fun side effects.

That's it!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

sabbat art journal inspiration

Was listening to a scrapbooking podcast yesterday in which the speakers were talking about how they'd scrapbook pages related to the theme of the season, ie., around Valentine's day they'd scrap stories about love in their lives.

I think this is a pretty great idea and am thinking about ways to incorporate it into my artsy life. I know I've been a little off the art journaling lately but I just needed a break after working so long on so many pages. But now that I've been a bit of scrapbooking fiend, I'm looking forward to getting back in with the paints. And I'm thinking that for the next sabbat (Ostara) that I'm going to try creating pages that reflect the theme of the Spring Equinox.

I suspect that many of you out there wondered why I never really did this during last year's adventure, but honestly, it's because I wanted to do something that was just devoted to that, without anything else. And I think it's a great way to really get into the spirit of the season and embrace the mood of each particular turn of the wheel.

With that in mind, here's my brain-dump of all the things that I immediately think of when I think Ostara:


  • eggs
  • pastels
  • birth
  • fertility
  • energy
  • spring fever
  • thawing
  • snowdrops, crocuses, tulips and daffodils (can you tell I grew up on the west coast?)
  • cleaning
  • freshness
  • crisp air
  • light
  • joy
  • melting snow
  • break (rest)
  • relief
  • excitement
What would you add to the list? You know, so I can blatantly use you all as a source of inspiration!


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Friday, February 17, 2012

cat meditation

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I've been working on remembering to pray or express gratitude for things in my life. Well today I want to bring you an image of something I am not only amused by, but very thankful for:


This is my wee little beastie, meditating on the flame after I've finished my daily meditation. She was so committed to her meditation that even after I booted her from my lap, she continued contemplating the flame! :P

Moments like this, when she is so absorbed in something that she doesn't even react when my camera shutter clicks, actually kind of fill me with happiness. I love watching her watch the world around her, trying to figure shit out or completely drawn in by it. It's pretty cool!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

pagan scrapbooking : Incense

 Do you use incense in your practice, circles, or home? If so, which incense do you always grab to stock you supply?

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I'm a big sandalwood, nag champa, and frankincense fan. Those are my go to scents and my home has an underlying scent of frankincense to it.

All three types of incense are known for being good for bringing about meditative states and I like the fact that I've focused in on just a few types in order to create a strong association with them and my practice.

In my day job we often talk to students about how the mind is like a muscle that we train into doing things, bit by bit. Over the years our brain has been trained to fall asleep when we crawl into bed, or to focus when a test is put on the desk in front of us. We've learned the social, physical and emotional cues for these expected behaviours over time.

Since sounds and smells also have the ability to bring us back to certain memories or states of being, by using the same scents over and over again, we slowly train our minds to associate that activity with that smell. I'm sure we all have had the experience of a memory being triggered by a smell. For me, the smell of one of the Body Shop's perfumes always brings me back to the summer of grade 10.

What all the means is that the smell of frankincense will one day, always bring me into the frame of mind to meditate. It may already without me realizing it. I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty awesome way to boost your practice that little bit extra.



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pagan scrapbooking: winter

 Having not grown up in a wintery environment, I find living through 4 seasons a very fascinating experience.

I both love and loath winter.

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In terms of beauty, winter has it made. There's just nothing quite like a quiet, snowy day when everything becomes hushed and calm.While Fall is a time that I inevitably start reflecting on my life, beginning new projects, and get ready for the darker days, Winter itself can be this amazing blend of meditation and sunlight days full of energy. Some days I feel like I become like my cat, running around the house, a little crazy, to fight off the cabin fever. Other days it's about cozying up and enjoy family, reading, and stillness.

I've been promising myself for years now that I live in winter that I would get outside and partake of winter joys.

I've tried ice skating... no go, give me the rink any day cause it's cold outside and the ice is too bumpy.

I've tried downhill skiing... forget it. I just about killed myself. I'm good for the bunny hill and that's about it!

I've tried snowshoeing but no one seems to want to go with me.

I've tried cross-country skiing. And you know what, I think we may have a winner. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the stillness of the forest was gorgeous! So I think it's a go! Yay!

That said, this year has been a blessing with its mildness but a bit of a challenge in terms of me sitting down and doing the work!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

this week I am

This week:


Has been pretty busy on my end. But good. Very good.

I tried out a new restaurant in my old neighbourhood... it amazes me how gentrification has taken over and now this once cheap dive area is all hip and swank. And we're not talking hipster cool, no, we're talking full fledged yuppie, high end gourmet restos and antiques, and so forth.

But in between it all, you still find the seedier areas, which makes it an odd blend to hang out in. I still go because it is part of my old stomping grounds and for the amazing little gems that have been there for years. Of course, the swank pizzeria I visited on Monday, wasn't an old haunt... but you know, fresh, local, organic foodie pizza... you can't really say no to that!

Anyone who says that you can't tell the difference between organic and fresh goods... needs to eat a local peach, in season, from the farm around the corner and a California peach shipped in across the country.... or a strawberry. You'll know what I'm talking about when I say that the pizza was delish!

Anyways, enough of the food talk.

On a mundane, muggle level the other news of the week, tangentially related to food still, is that I've started working with a nutritionist and a trainer to lose the extra weight I put on after hurting my knee a year ago. I'm so thankful that I'm finally in a place where I can actually get back in shape. It was a long 1 1/2 year. I had tried to do yoga, which I still will in time, but first I think that I want to focus on getting the extra weight off. So yay for new projects that embrace this year's word: balance. I knew that this year I really wanted to find more balance between my crafts, spirituality, health, and time for friends and family. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of girl and it's been a lot of nothing on the fitness end of things for far too long!

On a spiritual level I've been trying to take the time to express gratitude (through prayer, I guess, to the gods) and I have to say that while I haven't done it daily, when I do do it, it's amazing. I just think of it as a  conversation with the God and Goddess to say, hey, this has been pretty awesome this week, or day, or in general, so Thanks a lot. I noticed and appreciated it. And honestly, it makes me feel more connected to them and more like they are present in my every day life, which rocks!

Highly recommend it as a practice.

Ok, that's it for today!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

pagan scrapbooking : library

 I don't know about you, but I'm a bookworm. Through and through, certifiable bookworm. I love books. So it is only natural that I would be the collector of several books on pagan subjects.

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In fact, over the years I have collected quite the assortment, only to give most of them away when I came back from my trip to India feeling like I had too much stuff and needed to be less material. I rue the day, I tell you. I rue the day! Oh the books I have sacrificed...

But never fear, I'm building up the collection again! The books you see above are just a few of many.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a new adventure

So, I'm going to use this blog's anonymity to it's fullest and use this space to explore my next big adventure: the pregnancy project.

Before you start panicking... rest assured that this blog is not going to turn into another mother blog (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's your schtick).

I believe that I am more than a potential Mom and I struggled for a long time with my fears of losing myself to motherhood before finding peace with my ability to find a balance between the me as an individual and me as a potential Mother. I've had friends who swore up and down that they wouldn't turn into that mother, only to turn around an regale me with stories of diapers, playgrounds, and ptas.

I've come to understand that this is, in some ways, a bit inevitable and that I too will venture down this path from time to time. But I've also realized that I didn't become that wife, so why would I become that mother, particularly if I strive to avoid it. (Please understand that if you're a soccer mom and love it, that's great for you and I totally respect that choice, for you). For me, however, I want to be able to find a way to carve out a type of motherhood that reflects who I am and my choices.

So I decided that I'm going to use this space and allow this blog to mirror my journey as a witch, crafter, memory keeper,  wife, teacher, and eventually mother. Because I think it's going to be a grand adventure! And I'm excited about it. And I'm going to keep talking about crafting and spirituality, so don't you worry. I'm just going to add a new element into the mix! Feel free to skip it if it doesn't work for you or if some of my overshares freak you out (cause knowing my nature, there are bound to be some overshares along the way)!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

this week I am : jan 31st - feb 5th 2012


This week has been a reminder to get out and live life. It's been about balance and spending an equal amount of time with my husband as I do crafting. Yeah, that's right... I spend more time crafting that I do quality time with my partner. For shame! This week we played 2 different board games, cards, and went cross country skiing, along with a big family lunch, groceries, and quiet time. It's been nice. Really nice.

I'm someone who gets sidetracked by the details, so this week really felt like I was being reminded to see the whole picture again. It was a very much needed reminder!

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

pagan apps?

Ok, I've mentioned it before: I'm addicted to my iPhone. And now, with iCloud, that love has grown into a grand romance. It's just so much easier than all the uploading, etc. What can I say, it makes me happy.

Pagan friendly apps that I'm currently loving:
  
 iLuna
I have to say, honestly, of all the lunar based apps, this one has my top vote. 
It rocks. Pure and simple. If you want to know what the moon phase is, what it will be, what sign it's in: this app will do it for you. I've tried the wiccan moon, the whatever, blah, blah, blah moon/calendar. None of them really give the details like this one does. 
Now if only I could figure out how to add alerts and holidays to it, or better yet, sync it with my calendar, it would be perfect!

 
 
 
FortuneBall

Ok, seriously? It's just fun. That's it. And it amuses me to shock people into thinking that I would actually rely on this app for sound life advice.

For example: Should I go to the gym tonight? No? Sweet, I didn't feel like going anyways.

Or: should I pay my credit card with this paycheck? No. Perfect, more money for crafting supplies!
 

 
 
 
iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 3 Horoscopes
Because who doesn't like getting their horoscope? I know some people live by them and others think they're bunk, but regardless of where you sit on the spectrum, they're just fun to read. 
As I write this, my horoscope tells me that I've got plenty of stamina to get what needs to be done, done. Good to know since I'm currently multi-tasking up a storm!
 

 
Not really pagan but I use them in a pagan-y kind of way:
 
iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2Pranayama (Lite... i.e. free)

If you want to work on meditation, I think this app is great. I really enjoy it and found it helped keep me focused when first learning how to use my breath in meditation.

Is it for everyone? Maybe not. Some might find the breathing times off, too long, or too short. But it gives you a sense of what expect or do, while trying to learn meditation at home, on your own.

iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2SpeakEasy

I love this app.

I actually ended up purchasing the full version because I discovered that the free one was rather complicated when it came to exporting the files (and the app that comes installed on the iPhone for audio recording continues to boggle my brain in terms of converting the files on my laptop).

Why do I love this app? Because I use it to record my dreams. When I wake up in a haze, I don’t even try to write it down. Nope. I record it. And my husband has gotten used to my morning mumblings. In fact, every now and again he likes to add a commentary track of random (but intentional) sound effects into the background.

But seriously, audio recording my dreams works way better for me when it comes to dream keeping! Now, if only I was good about writing them down in my dream journal afterwards…

iPhone Screenshot 1Instacast

I like that this app is easier to stream while I’m on the go.

For someone who has a pretty decent length commute, I like listening to podcasts.

Some of my favourite Pagan Podcasts, in alphabetical order, that you’ll find on my Instacast feed include:


~ Inciting a Riot
~ Iron Powaqa
~ New World Witchery
~ Pennies in the Well
~ Standing Stone, Garden Gate
~ The Infinite and the Beyond
~ The Wigglian Way
~ WitchesBrewHaHa
 
Not pagan at all, but just awesome:


iPhone Screenshot 3iPhone Screenshot 4Camera+

Honestly, this is my favourite photo app yet.
Better than instagram, better than hipstamatic. Yup, that’s right.

Why? Because I can do everything in it. I take the pic, edit it after with the filter I like best, upload, share it, frame it, what have you.

I hate that hipstamatic means taking multiple shots before I find the lens I like best. It drives me crazy. So I never use it anymore, even though I like the pictures it can create.

I love that instagram lets me add the filters after but hate that I’m uploading and sharing the photo. I don’t really want to share my photos with a whole community, just so I can get the filters I like. Though I really do love many of the filters.

Enter Camera+, which I now love because it is the best of the two other apps. Yup, it’s a hit for me.
 
iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2Labelbox

Because it’s free and it’s fun.

You get to add fun labels to your photos, which is just awesome.

And which is great for project life, one little word, and other general memory keeping type projects.

That’s it, that’s all.

I just dig it!
 
 Right now these are my favourite iPhone apps. Got any that I missed but you’d recommend?
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happy imbolc

Just wanted to send out #imbolc blessings:





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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

pagan scrapbooking: Chinese Year of the Dragon

 I wanted to take a little time to explore some potential pagan themes in scrapbooking. It's something that I had intended to do more of when I started this blog, and I've been a busy little bee, working on some pagan scrapbook pages, which I plan to share with you over the next few weeks.

Since this year is the year of the Dragon, I thought I'd start off with that. While it's not pagan per se, it plays with astrology (though can really call it astrology when we talk about the Chinese system?), and astrology is something that a lot of pagans enjoy on some level, even if only recreationally.

The year of the Dragon, in Chinese astrology, is considered one of great fortune, innovation, and power. Rumour even has it that some couples try to time their births in order to bring a dragon into their home. At least this is what my mom told me. But then, I'm a fire dragon and she's a water dragon, and my biological father is a water dragon. Come to think of it, my husband is a fire dragon too.... so the long and short of this story is that she (and I) might be a little biased about dragons!

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That's right, because they are the bestest! I am dragon, hear me roar.

Actually, some theories say that 2 dragons should never live together because their natures are so strong and overwhelming, it's bound to cause conflict. While that probably explains a lot about my particular mother-daughter dynamic, it doesn't particularly bode well for my marriage, particularly since we're both Fire Dragons, which makes us Dragons times 2 (or 4). We're like super Dragons! So I'm just going to chose to ignore it!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Moving on...

This year is a year of the Water Dragon, which means that the Dragon's natural tendency is mellowed a bit by the water sign, and makes emotional communication smoother and relationships less fiery (within the scope of dragon energy of course). But even with the mellowing influence, the year ahead promises to be a life changing year (this gets modified in nature based on your sign in relation to the Dragon), but overall the year ahead should be a good one to start new projects, make changes, and move forward. Many of us will feel very busy this year, and depending on your particular sign and element, this will manifest itself to different degrees. However, many of us will need to pay attention to our health (digestion and skin in particular), be careful with our money, and try to avoid conflict/aggression (water mutes the dragon's fiery nature but doesn't completely remove it). So apparently, the year ahead might be a bit challenging in some ways, even if it is rewarding in others. The long and short of it: make plans, find balance, and drink more water!

That said, apparently since water rules this year, we'll see more natural disasters (or an increase in water related weather), like snow, floods, and potentially earthquakes, though I'm not quite sure about the logic behind that (something to do with the water working in relation to the earth... it's feng shui based. But I'm going to go with it, cause let's face it, it's not an exact science.

I think I've painted a negative picture, but it's not all bad. Like I mentioned before, dragon years are one of optimism, big transformations & opportunities, and with them, the desire to break old habits, take risks, and change our lives for the better. This year folks, is the year of the resolution!*

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*it should be noted that all of the information above is compiled from the web, years of being curious about my sign, and general knowledge. It is not factual, I have summarized what I know, as compiled from the various tidbits of random info I've stored in my "very useful, small talk friendly" knowledge bank!