Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Rock and the Raven

Totally loved this story this week:

I think there are some beautiful spiritual lessons in it about how our reactions shape our reality.


Monday, February 23, 2015

fire art journal meditations

One of the things I've been trying to do more, is to turn my art journaling into a meditative practice.

With that in mind, I sat down to meditate on the element of fire:

It was a fun exercise. I enjoyed layering subtle symbols, colours and ideas onto the page while meditating on fire.

I was listening to this podcast interview with Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist, and he said something that resonated with me that morning: art allows us to access things/tap into things we can't otherwise tap into (or to tap into them differently). I'm paraphrasing really loosely here, by the way, but that's the general gist of it.

When I think of that in relation to an intentional meditation practice, I find it absolutely fascinating as an idea. What, over time, will I tap into with an intentional artistic elemental meditative practice?


Friday, February 20, 2015

loved lately

One of the things that has given me a lot of joy lately, ironically, is the podcast Serial.

It totally fascinated and frustrated me and got me thinking about our legal systems (US and Canada). I love that in the end, you don't really know. And I enjoyed that the show made me think about media bias a lot in the way the story unfolded.

All that random thinking = Joy in Fayeland!

Tell me what you're loving right now...


Thursday, February 19, 2015

scrapbook #BOS sketch

One of the things that I find challenging when it comes to the idea of creating a BOS scrapbook page is figuring out how to combine a text heavy page with images.

I'm starting to play around with ideas and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Here's my inspiration layout:

template idea that inspired my sketch

This is how I'm going to break up the space for my info:

Dropping the right hand paper column and creating more space for writing. Colours used are just markers, not meant to be indicative of what I'm actually going to use. Looking forward to seeing how it'll look all pulled together. I'll share when done.

For those of you who are trying to do their own scrapped BOS, how do you deal with the text/image issue?


Monday, February 16, 2015

distorted reactions

I've been thinking a lot about personal perception lately and how that influences how we see the world around us, from day to day events to the way we interact with others.

I think sometimes the universe conspires to make us aware of things all in one fell swoop. Things that have been on the periphery of our minds suddenly become concrete in unexpected ways. For me, lately, this has been driven home a lot through watching my thoughts during meditation and conversations with friends about their reactions to things that I see as having unfolded very differently.

There are many ways of looking at meditation, but for me, the key thing that I tend to take away from my meditation practice, is what I tend to try to fill my mind with when shying away from letting go of my attachment to my thoughts.

It's always a bit of an awakening when I have to face how much of my life is filled up with notions of to do, should do, should have done, and a kazillion re-created conversations and scenarios. I should have said this, I feel this way, how could they say that, I wish I had...

You know?

The irony of course, is that all this busyness keeps me from having to deal with my reactions. I never have to look at why I'm reacting this way or that. I'm just reacting, often with ingrained responses that don't really have anything to do with what has actually happened.

Which leaves me wondering, how many of us are doing this? Filling our days with stuff and to dos and reactions to the point of creating distorted realities that harm us?


Friday, February 13, 2015

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada

Since coming back to work from my maternity leave, I've been working a lot on Indigenous issues and with Indigenous students on my campus. To say that it's been a learning curve, even given the fact that I grew up next to the Res in my home and my mom was interested in Aboriginal issues so I grew up with some awareness, would be putting it mildly.

In part it's been a huge learning curve because I'm dealing with an entirely different nation and traditions that go with it. In part it's been eye opening because I've come to realize how much I really didn't know (and still don't) about Indigenous issues in Canada. And in part, well it's just been amazing because I'm working with wonderful students and passionate educators and a community of people who care so much about these issues and it's awe inspiring and humbling.

But with the awe and humbling comes the heart breaking and the frustrating.

Often I find myself wanting to smack every day people I know over the head and yell "what's the matter with you? How can you be so unaware of your ignorance and prejudice and the harm they cause?"

To say that I have been angry a lot over the past few months would be putting it mildly.

So today, when this Aboriginal teen photo project came across my feed, my heart just broke a little more. It's not anything new. It's not a truth I wasn't aware of. But it's a truth, on a small minute level, I can identify with and as such, I felt a small pang of the fear that shapes these girls' reality on a very personal level.

I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Literally and metaphorically. I did mention that I grew up next to the Res in my hometown. And when I mean next, I mean 2 blocks away.

The neighbourhood I grew up in had prostitutes wandering the streets. And when I say that, bear in mind that it was a residential neighbourhood. The photo on the right isn't my home growing up, but trust me when I say it's not far. These are homes I walked past on a regular basis. (By the way, my family no longer lives here, which is why I'm comfortable sharing the photo).

Why am I sharing this? Because walking home in this area, at any time of the day, I could be followed or harassed. It didn't happen all the time. And I was cocky enough as a teen to feel relatively safe despite it because usually men would be more embarrassed than not when I pulled out the disgusted look or disdainful attitude and told them off for it.

Looking back, of course, I'm horrified by the risk that this attitude represented. I could have seriously gotten myself into trouble. I shudder at the thought now...

But I also recognize that on some level I was privileged, as a white, lower middle class female, to feel safe enough to pull said attitude. And that girls, 2 blocks south of me, would likely have not felt that same privilege. That 20 years ago, some of these girls might have already been hearing stories about Aboriginal girls going missing and that their realities were already so different than my own despite the fact that we were growing up in the same area. Ironic, isn't it?

However, it would be wrong to imply that I always felt this safety;  that there weren't times when I was scared. Cause there were. Despite being a relatively safe neighbourhood, in spite of the protitution, there were men who followed or harassed me who scared me. A lot. And perhaps one of the greatest ironies about that is that I wouldn't have admitted to just how much they did scare me until recently.

So when I read the above article and think about the fact that these girls (who are the same age I was when this happened to me) don't have that same privilege, my heart breaks. That they feel the need to walk home with a knife or that they don't trust the police (and they have reason to feel this), fills me with frustration. Because if my fear was nothing compared to theirs, then there aren't even enough words to express the sadness and anger I feel for them over having this as a reality in their world. Or the anger I am filled with over the fact that people think it's ok to not only treat women like this, but that these stories aren't an important commentary about racial attitudes towards Indigenous peoples in Canada.

And then I look at the girls I work with and my heart feels full of fear because as much as I'd like to think that this won't touch them, in actuality, it already has. Maybe for some of them, that fear is minimal, akin to what my was in my teens. Maybe it's less. Maybe it's more.

For their sake I feel called to be more vocal about the issue and to ask my own peers to rethink their own assumptions and ideas on Indigenous issues in Canada. Because more often than not, the story we are being told is not the full story and only sees one perspective, one that does a great deal of harm. And that harm is happening, albeit unintentionally, because, like me, we often just don't know and don't take the time to learn until we are in a position of really having to.

It's been a humbling few months. Frustrating. Angering. And eye-opening. Which is why tomorrow, for Valentine's day, I'm doing something to make the day super meaningful to me. Something more important than chocolates, hearts, and romance. I'm joining the Annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. If it's not too cold, I'll be bringing Baby Faye with me because I want him growing up understanding that feminism and Indigenous are not dirty words, but rather words full of strength and meaning.


Monday, February 9, 2015

diy liquid soap

Update on the diy liquid soap:

It took me a while to get the mix just right (I had to add more soap into it a few times to get it right... but keep in mind that I quadrupled the original recipe).

It's made up off 2 soaps I made and some olive based soap that was given to me.

I added a little bit of Thieves essential oil to the dispenser but think I'll add a bit more to up the fragrance factor of it (it still smells strongly of the calendula that I used in the baby soap).

I don't know how much you notice it in the photo, but ironically all my adding actually left me with quite thick soap. For now it's working, but I may have to add some hot water down the road to thin it out a bit if it thickens any more over time.

I stored the extra in canning jars and I probably have enough for the next year (go big or go home, right?)

My husband, who doesn't tend to like the bars of soap I made, actually really likes the liquid soap. So it's a hit that will likely be repeated down the road.

Is it cheaper than buying liquid soap? Not if you're buying cheap soap. But if you're buying high end, super fatty soaps, this is definitely much cheaper.


Friday, February 6, 2015


This year I've chosen JOY as my theme/word for the year. Every now and again, I think it's important to remind myself of it through a quote/inspiration and some meditative painting...

Joy is the best makeup * Anne Lamott

For those of you who are fellow wordies, what do you do to keep your word alive throughout the year? I admit that some years are better than others for me, but this year I think that JOY is super important so I'm trying to keep it in the forefront of my life.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

#firsts scrapbooking 2015

My brother and sister-in-law bought me a membership to Ali Edwards Story Kits as a Yulemas gift, which was totally awesome and exactly the shift in scrapbooking focus I needed. I've been doing Project Life for the past 3 years (2012-2014) and I've burnt out on it to the point that I just don't do much in the way of traditional scrapbooking anymore. This year I am leaving Project Life behind. Maybe I'll pick it up when L gets older, but for now, with a toddler under foot, it's just too much.

This is the first traditional page I've done in a while (white squares represent photos that have been chosen but need to be printed):

It was awesome to think about scrapbooking this way again. Not as a list of what happened this week, but rather, as a story that I'm crafting. Don't get me wrong, I still love the idea of daily life captured, but I think I'm going to try more for a Day in the Life approach over the next year (I seem to be a bit on an Ali E bandwagon lately... go figure).

I'm actually really looking forward to going a little further with it though and capturing my spiritual practices within the framework of my daily life page, which means that I think it'd be awesome to pick certain days and capture them specifically. Sabbats, esbats, morning practices, classes.

I think it would be totally awesome to see some other pagan scrapbookers capturing their daily life too. It'd be an awesome diversity in paganism project, don't you think?!

Yup, I think 2015 is going to be a good year for traditional scrapbooking in Faye land.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

capsule wardrobe, capsule kitchen, capsule minimalism

Recently I read this article about having a capsule kitchen and found the idea intriguing. I'm not sure if it's right for us, but we're talking about it.

In fact, slowly but surely, we're working through our house in an effort to embrace a bit more minimalism in our life. I've gone through our bookshelf and we've gone through our kitchen. And, every now and again, I go through the house with a bag and grab stuff to donate.

I'm learning rather quickly, despite being someone who accumulates things, I'm actually better about getting rid of things than my husband is. I even have less clothing than he does because of this. Trying to get him to part with knives or various other utensils is a bit of a challenge. But we're working on it.

The idea isn't for us to get rid of everything, but rather to only keep the things that are important or meaningful to us. I feel like we're a society far too defined by our stuff and our consumerism and as a family we're trying to be conscientious of this tendency in our own lives. From baby toys to clothes, to kitchen gadgets and personal hobby based items, we're trying to minimize the clutter and accumulation of stuff in our home.

With every purge/bag we donate, I think we both feel a little lighter and enjoy a space that is more open and functional as a by-product of having less.

Go figure!


Monday, February 2, 2015

the new furbaby

Introducing our new furbaby:

After our last cat, we decided to wait until the new year to add another cat into our family. Last week we picked up this little fella, who is 7 months and already bigger than our last cat was. He is a rescue and you might notice that one of his eyes looks a little funky. That's because he had an eye infection when he was originally rescued. He's fine now but has a battle wound to add character.

He's a Maine Coon (not likely purebred but who knows) and he's living up to the reputation these cats have. He's gentle and super affectionate and shaping up to be a BIG cat.

Baby Faye, aka L, is super excited about him. R (the kitty), is still a bit unsure about L, but getting braver, day by day.

It's nice to have a cat back in the family. I missed having a furbaby (even if my real baby takes up lots of my time). My feet are much warmer at night :)