Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pagan Reading Challenge

I plan on doing this in 2012, will you join me?

http://www.thedomesticpagan.net/p/2012-pagan-reading-challenge.html

I hope everyone is having a magical December.  Yuletide Blessings from my family to yours!

Blessed Be,
Crystal

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ginger is the New Pink - Stevia Giveaway

Hi Everyone!

If you are new to my blog or a returning reader, you will learn that I am transitioning to the world of Vegetarianism and preferrably one day going at least 80% Raw.  That is the ultimate goal anyway.

About a month ago, I learned a recipe for a raw Basil Lemonade from a wonderful lady named Bethe.  She is the first person that introduced me to the liquid version of Stevia.  I had never used it before, and frankly still only know how to use it in this one recipe.

Anyways, Lauren at "Ginger is the New Pink" is having a wonderful giveaway that involves Stevia. 

"The people at NuNaturals are giving 4 lucky winners a bottle of their Vanilla Stevia Drops (2 oz bottle) and a box of their White Stevia Powder (50 ct. box)!"

I am trying to be one of those lucky winners.  Here is to crossing my fingers and hoping I am a lucky one! 

This blog in itself is a wealth of knowledge.  Being new to the Veggie world, Lauren provides recipes and photos of what good food looks like.  She has motivated me to try a few veggies I never would have even thought about eating.  She has many recipes and tips to try.  She also introduced me to glass straws.  Those are so on my wish list for my husband to get me for the upcoming holidays...they would make a great stocking stuffer "Hunter" !!!!!!

Anyways, check out Ginger is the New Pink, you won't want to stop reading!  I haven't!
You can access her page by clicking the title of this post or going to:
http://gingeristhenewpink.blogspot.com/


Happy Halloween, and Blessed Samhain from my family to yours!

Sincerely,
Crystal

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Convocation 2012

I have received word that I will be presenting two workshops at Convocation 2012.

Out of the classes I did submit the following are the ones that are tentatively schedule for:

Magical Moontime - Friday 2:00pm

A woman’s cycle has been referred to as the “Curse”. She has been taught for decades her body is dirty and the blood disgusting. How do you feel about your menstruation? Do you collect your flow for magick? There are few rituals that honor this special time women experience. Reclaim your sacredness.  Align your magical cycle by tapping into this unique power.  Learn your own natural rhythm.  Honor your Magical Moontime.  We will discuss Blood Mysteries, the creation of Moon lodges, Red Tents, blood magic, menstrual rituals, and cloth pads.

Pregnant Pagan Priestess - Saturday 11:30am
Are you a Pregnant Pagan Priestess or know someone who is?  Come discuss ideas what you can do for yourself or that special priestess during this magical phase you’re in your life.  Celebrate becoming a Mother.  Topics covered include different types of rituals for Fertility to Delivery, Creating a Magical Nursery, celebrating the Sabbats as a Pregnant Priestess and so much more!  
Please make sure to check the Program book and Message boards for any possible schedule changes. 
I look forward to seeing you there!

Also with any luck I will have copies of my book "A Pagan Pregnancy" available for purchase there as well.
Sincerely,
Crystal
PS. The location has changed for Convocation 2012, make sure to check out their website for importanat information! 
Or you can click the title link of this post and it should take you there as well!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Samhain Slumber Party

Well this past weekend was Women of the Willow's annual Samhain Slumber Party weekend.

Every year for the past few years, we have gathered at one of our houses for a weekend of fun usually around Samhain.  I have been lucky enough the ladies have allowed me to have it at my place for the past few years.  (Mental note, Willowrose if you are reading this, we actually have been doing it since at least 2008, that one was at your house and think it was our first weekender so you started the tradition sweetie! LOL) 

Anyways, I am tired.  We had a ton of fun.  Emerald, Willowrose, Ravenswood, and myself started out the weekend with Friday night dinner.  The guys ate pizza while we feasted on an asian inspired salad made by Ravenswood as well as a few side orders from our favorite Chinese restaurant that delivers.

We had many projects and alot of fun.  We talked about the past, the present and the future.  We are excited about voting in a new member who will serve as our Maiden for the Coven.  With this turn of the wheel, we close the chapter of the past year and look forward into the future. 

I just realized that I did not take a single photo this past weekend.  I don't think anyone did.  It's probably for the best since some of us were in our pjs all weekend.  (I still want those pants that Ravenswood was wearing! I need to find out if she made them or purchased them!)

I look forward to this next turn of the wheel, Samhain is upon us and the veil is getting thinner I can feel it.  I look at my old photos of those that have passed (family, friends, and mentors) and think about what they have contributed to my life and thank each and everyone of them for it.

The boys are gearing up for trick or treating, and its a Star Wars theme.  I only have photos of Lancer and Shaunessy, "Hunter" is not allowing any photos until the big day.  He is even excited about dressing up and taking the boys out that night!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pantry Challenge

While surfing the net, I came across a few blogs that were participating in a Pantry Challenge earlier this year.  This concept seems pretty simple in itself.  Use what you already have in your pantry so that nothing goes bad.

As I look into my own pantry stuffed and full to the brim, I thought I would partake in a Fall Pantry Challenge so that I can dwindle down my own stock and possibly take control of my pantry and have a clean and organized pantry this coming 2012.

So here are the before photos:

The Left Side

The Center
The Right Side

For dinner tonight, it will be pasta night:

For the boys, Chicken Fettucinni  and for myself a veggie Pad Thai. 



Friday, September 30, 2011

Sisters of the Craft Gathering

Yes, I packed "light".  Just ask Ravenswood!

View from Driver's seat.

KOTH sister and First Degree Dedicant, "M"

View of the lake from the dock.

View from dock looking up to the lodge.

Stairs between the dock and the Lodge.

M's been experiencing Phoenix's these past few weeks and we both saw them in the fires this weekend.






Well the SOTC gathering for 2011 has come and gone.  We had a wonderful time.

During that weekend, The Sacred Birch Society also ordained one of the SOTC "Sisters" into their Clergy.  It was a magical weekend and I am honored to be apart of it.

To my sisters both old and new, it was a wonderful weekend full of crafts, workshops, and bonding as women and sisters.  It was also great to meet two of our "Mom's" as well (Ravenwood's Mom and Amistis's Mom in law). 




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Doc Visit - Results of becoming Vegetarian

Well today I went to my Nephrologist and received the results of my monthly bloodwork and urine tests.  From my original numbers in the hospital I went from 11.4 grams of protein per oz to 2.3 grams!  In just under two months of changing my diet, I am on the way to recovery!  My doc even said he has not seen numbers drop this drastically due to dietary changes and even asked permission to share my experience with a few other patients who's numbers are not changing or not feeling better as a possible option! 

I am still no way close to being "normal".   Normal is considered to me less than 150mg (1,000 mg per gram) in one ounce.  But for it to drop that much in two months is a huge victory!  Giving up meat is definitely one "sacrifice" I am glad I decided to do.  The benefits are showing for my hard work and effort!

So I just wanted to share the "good" news.   There was a bit of bad news, that my kidney functions themselves are not as good as normal, but doc is hoping that it was just a day that maybe possibly I was not as hydrated as I should have been.  So I need to keep track of my food (journal) more than I usually do.  Better than I have in the past, so for the next month I will be focusing on trying to do that better!   Knowing that what I do and eat could help others is definitely a motivation!

Hubby purchased me a Vitamix!  So I have a wonderful tool (the blender) to help me in my quest for eating health from now on. My husband spoils me so!  He rocks!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Camping Menu

This weekend, I will be attending the Sisters of the Craft Gathering hosted by KOTH, SBS, and WOW.  (Those would be Keepers of the Hearth, Sacred Birch Society, and Women of the Willow in which I am a member of all three.)

I am so excited, Jenn will be receiving her ordination from SBS!  Looking forward to camping out the entire weekend with a wonderful group of women as well.  Sorry guys, you are only allowed during the public ritual timeframe for SBS's Mabon Celebration....then we are kicking you out shortly after 9pm to resume our Wild Women Weekend! LOL

With all my dietary restrictions it seems now a days, I have no clue what to pack to eat.  Guess this weekend would be a wonderful time to come up with a Raw or close to Raw menu!  But alas, there will be some cooking involved, there is no way I am passing up a campfire and not having a smores or two or three, or four.....

I keep racking my brain on what to pack, so that way I am not spending alot of time prepping my veggies or food while I am there.  So I basically have two days to figure out what the heck I am going to eat and go grocery shopping tomorrow as well. 

Here is what I am thinking:  Just don't know if I want to spend alot of time in the kitchen on Thursday...

Breakfasts:
Though I have a problem with protein, I also have a problem with low blood sugar and Hypoglycemia.  So I still have to eat some protein.  I am going to narrow it down to Yogurt with Granola and or a hard boiled egg for emergencies (I will be bringing two.)  Fresh fruit of some sorts (most likely apple or orange since I have those well in stock will be the lucky fruits).

Lunch:
I really only need lunch for Saturday, so I am thinking of making a few jars of Gazpacho soup that I can keep cold in the cooler and grab a jar whenever the hunger strikes.  If I make it smooth enough I could even drink it instead of eating it like a soup. 
Bruschetta.  Yeah I eat alot of tomatoes....this could be another option and throw it on top of some kelp noodles if I can score a bag prior to leaving...I have already demolished my supply...need to order a case of them.
Tabouleh is another option...well I do plan on bringing at least a small container with me, cause I eat it every single day...its my snack.

I am making two chili's for the potluck...one meat one and one veggie one, so dinner will at least be covered as well for me.  I just hope the veggie recipe is a good one, its the first time I will be making it and I am always worried about not trying a recipe prior to brining it to a potluck. 

I now its not exciting, but if I can make it to Trader Joe's then maybe I can pick up some of their dried fruit mixes.  But then if I go to Whole Foods, I can look at their stuff too.

Oh the stress of packing!  It will be alot of fun....I just hope my poor little car can hold everything!

Crystal

Monday, September 12, 2011

Protien

Lately I am finding myself researching protein.

With my kidney disease, my body has a problem with protein.  I have to limit the amount of it that I eat every single day.  Past few months I have switched to Vegetarian diet and I am attempting to go Raw and Vegan with time.  However, as I research, I find that some of the vegetable proteins are just as dangerous for me as animal proteins.

Most websites I am seeing/researching offer high protein options to substitute for the meat.  This unfortunately is not what I need.  I need little to no protein in majority of the food I consume in a daily basis.  I am trying to not exceed the minimum amount required for me which is 40 grams a day.  (FYI an egg has about 7 grams of protein)

At my last raw food class I had a dish that involved Kelp Noodles.  These were actually awesome.  I plan on doing a post on the dish itself shortly.  It was a mock fetucinni alfredo.  It was pretty good.  Can't wait to get my Vitamix to try it out.  I did it in my food processor and was a bit more chunky than at the Raw class.

Need to ask Whole Foods about a class that focuses on LOW PROTEIN!  I can't seem to find a class on it anywhere!

Sincerely,
Crystal

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your Nourished Body - Class on Raw Italian

This past Saturday, I attended another Raw Food Class.  This one was presented by Deb Klungle.  This was a very interesting and informational class.  I knew I was in for a treat whenever I seen all the chairs that Whole Foods set up for and also put a divider between the regular dining area and the Lifestyle Center to separate the class from the "outside" world.  This was my first time seeing the divider put up as my past classes I attended were low in attendance.  (Not taking away from the other teachers because both Cindy and Beth were absolutely wonderful and I am actually hoping that either Beth or Deb will be able to counsel me should I be able to afford it!!!)  However, because of the large attendance, it is definitely a validation to Deb's knowledge, personality, and passion for Raw Food that I think her class was extremely popular!

This is the description from Deb's website on the class I attended:

RAW FOODS FOR REGULAR PEOPLE: LA CUCINA ITALIANA
Saturday, 8/27/2011, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., $10
Whole Foods Market - Rochester Hills
Who does not LOVE Italian food? That big, heavy pasta dinner takes so long to digest though & puts you right into a food coma. Join Deb & see how to prepare Italian dishes that won't weigh you down & actually energize you for that Bocce tournament! But how do you serve traditional Italian food without processed pasta made from grain flour? Well, there are a number of delicious options for a raw diet & you'll get to taste a few of them. In this class, you'll learn to make capellini pomodoro as well as a creamy Alfredo sauce. And to help cool off in the August heat, we will whip up a batch of strawberry gelato as a classic finish to your Italian meal.


I have to admit I was a bit mortified and scared to try Kelp Noodles that were in the Alfredo.  I LOVED THEM!  I even bought a package from Deb after class because Whole Foods does not currently carry them....they should!! 

If you are interested in Raw Food and are in Oakland County (or willing to drive) you should check out one of Deb's future classes.  I know I am definitely going to be attending more of hers as much as my schedule allows!

There are two ways to get to her website.  Well actually three.
1.  Click on the Title link of this blog post.  It should take you there unless I wrote it wrong.
2.  Incase I did write it wrong, you can go to http://www.yournourishedbody.com/
3.  She has a second domain name that will take you to the site by going to http://www.rawfoodteacher.com

Deb, by chance if you are reading this, THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL EXPERIANCE!

Sincerely,
Crystal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adventures in Vegetarianism

So if you read my blog, you will know that earlier this year I was diagnosed with Kidney Disease.  Last month during my checkup and bloodwork, the tests came back that my protein numbers were increasing.  This is a bad thing.  That means I am getting worse not better.  So during our conversation about what I should and should not be doing, the topic of what I eat and how I eat came up.  Limiting the amount of protein in general came up.  Eating less meat came up...until doc suggested that I give a go at becoming Vegetarian and possibly Vegan. 

For myself, I have always been a die hard meat eater and advocate.  I still love meat and for the past month have had some. Before June of this year I ate probably an 80% meat diet compared to what I need to eat.  I know I need to change if I want to live.  I know that I need to eat more fruits and vegetables in order to do that and also to survive.  The more protein I eat, the quicker my kidneys will burn out and I will either end up on dialysis or worse, die. 

So for the past few weeks I have been doing alot of research which I am sure will be ongoing for the rest of my life.  My new adventures in vegetarianism are fun and exciting.  Who would have known that I would actually like avocado!  For years I have been requesting that the Mexican restaurants hold that green gook off my plate please!  None for me.....now that I have actually TASTED it, I LIKE IT! 

Yesterday I had a horrible day.  I still feel pretty cruddy.  This past weekend I did eat some meat and I think that my body is retaliating from it.  My feet are swollen, my face was so swollen it looks like I was a caveman (some swelling is still present if you look closely at the photo but much better today when it was taken).  I am noticing that when I am a "bad girl" food wise, I feel well, bad!  I am beginning to pay more attention to my body.  I am drinking more water.  I am drinking more fresh juice on a daily basis.

I want to live a long healthy life.  I want to grow old with my husband and watch the sunsets and our great grandchildren playing in our yard.  I want to live without pain, without being obese, and not lacking energy to play with my children now!

Today I decided to document via camera what I have eaten so far.  I made my first green juice drink today.  It was spinach, celery, parsley, cucumber, and grannysmith apple.  It was good.  I liked it.  Not as sweet as I had hoped the apple would make it, but for my first one I think it was sucessful. 




For lunch I decided to use what I had in the fridge.  Spinach seems to be what I have the most of right now and I don't want it to go to waste.  I had a left over sundried tomato Lavish wrap near the sandwich fixings so I decided to use that as my shell.  On the recommendation of my friend Vicki I purchased some Vegan mozz cheese for melting.  For lack of a better word, I made a spinach quesadilla.  It was really good!  It was not raw, but it was Vegetarian.  I don't know about the lavish so I don't think its Vegan.  But its a start right?  I added Beth's corn salad which I learned how to make at my local Whole Foods class that Katherine and I attended last week.  That seems to be my new go to favorite and will be experimenting with the seasonings to see if it will double as my new filling for tacos because it already has cumin in it, so I might play with it a bit and add some chili powder to spice it up a bit more. 



Ok, so my plating skills are not exactly the quality of a chef.  I can barely cook. LOL  That might be why I am so interested in the Raw Food lifestyle.  No cooking. LOL 

I am going from ZERO percent fruits and vegetables to having eat them all the time now.  Every week I am trying at least one new vegetable to expose myself to it.  Last week was eggplant which I fried and liked.  This week's new veggie is spaghetti squash which I tend to use in place of a pasta sometime this week. 

My game plan and overall goals is to each week up the amount of food I am eating whether it be Vegetarian, Vegan, and or Raw.  Moving away from the animal products is my overall goal.  I hope to be 50% raw by December and then my ultimate goal is to be 80% Raw by my birthday next May. 
Reason I am taking so long for this transformation is that I want to start small and slow.  I want to make changes that are going to stick with me.  I also don't have the money to be able to afford the tools of the trade that are being recommended to me by my friends and family.  I have purchased a food processor.  Here are the things that I am wishing for:


First on my list is a Juicer.  I would love to get the Hurom juicer or a Green Star but both are a bit pricey.  I bascially want something that is of a really good quality, and will last for a long time that processes fruits, vegetables, and the leafy stuff like parsley, cilantro, and especially Wheatgrass!

Next on my list is a good dehydrator.  My friend Poteet who is my staunch Vegan  recommends the Excalibur. 

And the final thing on my wishlist right now is the blender that everyone's vegan blog I am reading raves about....I really really really want a Vitamix!


Well that is all for now.  Don't think I have written this much in a long time!  I hope you are having a truly magical day today! 

As I have posted in the past, the Cauldron will be moving towards a food theme.  If you have any Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw recipes you would like to share, by all means, send them my way!  I will try them out and see what makes it into my new staple menu! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Convocation 2012

In the past few weeks, I have recieved a number of emails asking if I had submitted my application for Convocation 2012. 

At first, with my current health condition, I was going to consider not applying this upcoming year.  Seriously, I was not going to do it.  But after all the emails I have received, plus a few phone calls, I have gone ahead and submitted my application for the MEC to consider for 2012. 

So those of you that asked me to do it, thank you all for your constant encouragement and support!  It is greatly appreciated and makes me humble that you think I am worthy to present these topics in our community and that they are actually desired or needed!

I have asked to only present one to two classes max, but submitted three for their consideration.  They are as follows:


Workshop: “The Pampered Pagan’s Pantry”


Room Set Up: - Open to any style available

Equipment: Table

Length:  90 minutes

Category:  All

 This year we will focus on making an Esbat Body Scrub! You will have your choice of one of three magical moon blends or create your own.  Did you know you might have all the ingredients you need to in your own kitchen pantry?  Come and learn a simple recipe that will help you rejuvenate and pamper your skin.  Take the time to pamper yourself, use your home spa to lift your spirits and howl at the Moon!


Workshop: “Pregnant Pagan Priestess”

Room Set Up:  Any style available

Equipment: None

Length:  90 minutes

Category: Women Only Please

Are you a Pregnant Pagan Priestess or know someone who is?  Come discuss ideas what you can do for yourself or that special priestess during this magical phase you’re in your life.  Celebrate becoming a Mother.  Topics covered include different types of rituals for Fertility to Delivery, Creating a Magical Nursery, celebrating the Sabbats as a Pregnant Priestess and so much more!  


Workshop: “Magical Moontime”

Room Set Up:  Any style available

Equipment: None

Length:  90 minutes

Category: Women Only Please


A woman’s cycle has been referred to as the “Curse”. She has been taught for decades her body is dirty and the blood disgusting. How do you feel about your menstruation? Do you collect your flow in your magick? There are few rituals that honor this special time we women go through. Reclaim your sacredness.  Align yourself within your magical cycle by tapping into this unique power and learn about your own natural rhythm.  Learn rituals honoring the Magical Moontime.  We will discuss Blood Mysteries, the creation of Moon lodges, Red Tents, blood magic, First Blood rituals, sea sponges, cloth pads, and Earth bleeding.


So if there is a specific one of these you want to see,  make sure to write your request into the Programming Committee at Convocation!   Also, if you are wanting to present a workshop at Convocation 2012, you better submit your proposals soon!  Deadline is September 1st!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Raw Food Rehab

Greetings everyone!

Today I am signing up to join the community of Raw Foods Rehab.  You can find their website by clicking on the link of this title blog. 

I had my monthly check up with my doctor this past week and my protein numbers are increasing.  That means bad news for me.  My kidneys are getting worse, not better.  After the doc and I went over all the lab tests, its in my best interest to attempt to go Vegetarian and possibly Vegan.  Right now the less protein I eat, the better for my kidneys, my body, and overall health. 

This week has been a really bad wake up call for me.  It has shown me that I need to take better care of myself.  I need to eat healthier not only for my own being, but for that of my family as well.   I am still rather young and want to live a long life.  I want to be able to hold my future grandchildren one day.   I want to grow old with my husband and watch the sunsets on the back porch of our dream home.    I simply want to live!

So over the course of the next few weeks, my blog may be changing once again.  In fact it will happen most likely sooner or later.  I am contenplating on using it as a chance to document my new life in the culinary aspect.  Crystal's Cauldron will most likely be shifting its primary focus around food. 

Please wish me luck on this new journey, Goddess knows I have not been a very good girl eating my fruits and veggies most of my life.  Its time to take in her bounty to nourish not only myself spiritually but also physically!

Blessed Be,
Crystal

Friday, July 29, 2011

Playing Pool

This weekend I am off for a tournament and playing pool.  It's a yearly tournament I am invited too and there will be some stiff competition this year.  Wish me luck.

Here is  photo of me with one of my trophies from the past.  Wish 20 years ago, I would have stuck with becoming a professional Poolplayer.  I could have been a contender!



This trophy was won back in 1996 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  It was for the "City Cup" of the APA (American Poolplayer's Association) Tournament.  By winning this tournament, I was given the opportunity for meeting the love of my life in Las Vegas, Nevada of all places!  That is where my husband and I met.  I was on a team from Louisiana and he was on a team from Michigan.  It's wonderful how the Gods of love strike you when you least suspecting it! 
We have been married over a decade and have two beautiful boys!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Blessed Be,
Crystal

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Pagan Patient

In the past few weeks I was hospitalized.  What originally I thought was to be just swelling may be something more.  I went into the docs for swollen and hurting ankles.  Next thing I knew I was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.  I am still awaiting results, which I hope to get next Tuesday from a biopsy that was performed.  I hope all tests come back negative so that it was just a fluke that I had/have a large amount of protien where I should not have any which is a key factor that my kidneys are not functioning properly.  (I just don't want to get too gross on you, LOL). 



While in the hospital, one of my friends came to visit me and we were talking about being Pagan.  I don't exactly remember what exactly we were talking about as I was on some pretty powerful painkillers at the time.  However, my roommate in the hospital no longer wanted to be in a room with me because of my religious preference.  She was unable to make a move to another room due to the lack of beds and decided to keep the curtain between us closed at all times.    I did not know whether I should be offended or thankful.  I happen to like my privacy so the curtain being drawn really was not a big deal to me.  What happened later during my course of stay at the hospital did make me think about my religious preference and hospitals.

Once it got "out" that there was a Pagan on the floor, I began to recieve vistors of people I did not know wanting to lend their "spiritual support".  They were all women and I would guess they were at least in their 60's as they looked the same age as my mother and mother in law.  When they would enter the room, they completely ignored my room mate and immediately come to my side of the curtain and come to talk to me.  They always asked permission to pray for me, which I always accepted.  I will always accept any kind of energetic gift of getting better when I am ill or need help.  I do not care whether or not it is a prayer, candle ligthing, spell, reiki, or other type of gift.  If it is given, I usually will not turn it down.  What matter if its my Gods or yours?  I would offer someone the same spiritual support that was offerred to me. 

Right now I am only aware of one Pagan Minister that has been accepted within the hospital setting within my local communtiy and it was not for the hospital that I was seeking medical treatment.  My friend Etain has been accepted at Genesys Hospital as apart and their only Pagan Clergy.  This made me think about how a there is a need at large for other Pagan Clergy are needed. 

Do I think my unexpected visitors were trying to pray for my soul?  Possibly. 

Do I think their prayers were for my well being?  Most definitely.

Do I think they were trying to convert me?  Not at all, as many of them were in the room less than 5 minutes.

Do I think they were seeking me out? Most definitely.  Why I think that is because not a single one of them stopped by my room mates' bedside to pray with her. 

I have no idea where I am going with this blog.  I guess I would like to see those that are Pagan Clergy, offer their services to hospitals for other Pagans.  It would have been nice to recieve spiritual support from my own peers than those of another religion. 

I do want to extend my thanks to those that did stop by to see me while I was in the hospital.  Many thanks to my Coven Sister Katherine for aiding me in my time of need when I was physically unable to take care of myself.  Many thanks to my friends T.S. and JG for the gifts of word search, romance novel, and Burts Bees chapstick to keep me going while I was in the hospital and out afterwards!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Litha!  And many blessings to my friends and family celebrating St. John's Eve that are in New Orleans.   May the Summer bring much light to our lives as well as warmth! 

Here is also to a recovery from a very long trip to the hospital! (The bloodsucking nurses were not very kind with the needles!)








Sincerely and Blessed Be!
Crystal

Friday, June 17, 2011

Coming Soon - The Pagan Patient

I was in the hospital this past week. Right now I am on my iPod but will be sharing my experience as a Pagan patient!

Stay tuned, I am going to bed to recover now!

Blessed Be from me to you!

Crystal LunaRouge )0(

Monday, June 13, 2011

Working on Book 2 Outline

Well the past few weeks I began my research for my second book and also on my working outline.  It's coming along alot easier than I thought it would.  I am excited about writing on this topic which is so close to my heart!  I am also working on a workshop to accent what I am writing and will plan on submitting it to the MEC for consideration at the 2012 Convocation in Troy, Michigan. 

So keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Request Permission to Use

Today for the first time, I had someone call me and ask my permission to create a workshop on something I presented in the past.  I was floored.  Here is someone whom I entirely respect and admire asking ME for MY permission!  Usually, its me asking someone else for permission to do/use something. 

Of course I said yes, and I am honored that she even called me to ask!  I told her I am even willing to copy all my notes and mail them to her so its less work she has to research.  LOL 

I miss her so dearly, she has alot going on in her life.  Recently it was her birthday and very soon she's expecting another grandchild this week!!!   She asked me if I was able to go to PSG this year, but I don't know if I can swing it....and just for anyone reading this that is interested, the cut off date for Registration is TOMORROW!  June 4th!  So make sure to check out their website and register if you plan on going extremely soon!  There should be a link on my sidebar to the left and if not go to http://www.circlesanctuary.org/ and click on the PSG tab! 

Nora, you are such a blessing in my life and you made my day today with your phone call!  Miss you, you beautiful woman!  I hope you have a fantastic time at PSG if I am unable to make it.

I hope everyone has a magical weekend!  Bring on Litha and the Summer Sun!

Crystal

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with Nora Cedarwind Young

A few years back, I was able to meet in person someone I admired.  I nominated her for the KRobins Peace Pendant Award which she was chosen to receive.  With Memorial Day upon us, I thought I would share this interview I conducted with my mentor (and since, grown into a friend and sister of the craft) Nora Cedarwind Young.

Sincerely,
Crystal



Interview with Nora Cedarwind Young


by Crystal LunaRouge



With Samhain upon us, many of us think about remembering those who have passed and left this realm during the last year's turning of the wheel.



This past year, I have the privilege of meeting a Death Midwife. Her name is Nora Cedarwind Young. We first met through her website www.thresholdsoflife.org. Then this past June, we met in person at PSG (Pagan Spirit Gathering http://www.circlesanctuary.org/psg/ ).



Earlier this year, I nominated Nora for something called the Peace Pendant Award. She was accepted as one of the 50 recipients (http://www.krobinsdesigns.com/peace.htm). It was an award she truly deserved receiving. Sharing her knowledge trying to prepare people for their crossing into the Summerland is truly a gift that she is sharing with us this Samhain.



1. What is a Death Midwife?

My role as a Death Midwife is to support family-directed end-of-life choice usually in the family home, but not always. Sometimes families need support with end-of-life in a hospital or care facility environment. Our main focus is to support the person that is dying and family in the realms of comfort, spiritual support, creating ambience, paperwork, active listening, and details that assist in realms from art therapy to direct cremation or direct burial. Most cultures have some form of death rituals. Many involve family caring for the dying and supported by an experienced person to help direct the transitions, and these were usually positions held by women. Some cultures did utilize shamans or tribal priest/ess to help the transition be in line with their belief systems. Most include practices of comfort, nurturing, bathing, prayer, song, family or ancestral connection, farewells and ritual preparation of the body once passed.

No two encounters are the same; however, they do embrace certain patterns. The major work is education, advising people what their choices are so they are not making important decisions under duress and grief…when you make a good plan, a home funeral can be a healing and beautiful experience.

I like to say I am “proudly reclaiming family directed choice at end-of-life.” Death midwives offer comfort measures like washing, herbs, touch, Reiki, massage, touch, touch, touch, holding the hand, stroking the head, swabbing the mouth. Even chanting, singing or praying can offer comfort to the dying.

I provide all kinds of services, from education or counseling folks on how to prepare necessary paperwork that will assure they have requests that will be honored to hands on physical support.

I answer questions for family and friends and help support them in all sorts of ways, from shopping to cooking. But usually I sit bedside with the dying, caring for them, listening, listening, listening. I also educate and do workshops on caring for the body of our beloved dead (how to bathe and prepare a body for home viewing and funerals). Education can include alternatives to the funeral industry, as the high costs can cause unnecessary hardship. I also educate people about ordering your own cremation container, how to decorate it, what permits you need, what the laws are in each state, how to keep the body from deteriorating quickly. I do memorial services, facilitate funerals and often do bereavement work later.

As I said before… No two deaths are the same, however they do embrace certain patterns.

2. What training takes place for one to become a Death Midwife?

There are some trainings through Funerals for Families with Jerrigrace Lyons. Crossings with Beth Knox offers workshops too. I also teach workshops, including three and four day intensives. It also requires the research and reading of lots of experiences and learning about what is going on in the realm of choice and the home funeral movement. I suggest people always volunteer with Hospice for at least six months to a year to become exposed to end of life and what impacts death has on families. Reading books on the various aspects of death and dying is important also.

3. What lead you to this calling / path?

The Goddess. She brought me to the balance of life and death through the wheel of the year and through that, I saw that death was inevitable and we need to start getting ready, not dealing with it as a necessity, but as an educated choice and deciscion.

Is certification available?

My certification is through Funerals for Families and is available after completing all three levels with Jerrigrace Lyons.

4. Do you offer train others?

I think teaching is one of my favorite parts of this work. I love watching people become empowered and think on things that can be challenging.

Yes, I do teach and I can come to any state. It keeps costs down when only one persons travel instead of all of them coming to me. I can do groups of six to ten for best dynamics.

5. What would a male be called, would he use Midwife as well?

Yes, and I know Male Midwives.

6. How did your path lead you to Circle Sanctuary? You being in Washington state and Circle in Wisconsin?

My husband is originally from Wisconsin and I have been reading what was originally called Circle Network News since it was first available. My husband goes way back in the PSG community and Selena and Dennis did our handfasting for us at Circle.

I was already an ordained priestess before I began in a two year “minister doing advanced studies” program with Selena. During that time we did an on line study with Dr. Marilyn Stoner on end-of-life preferences for Wiccans, Pagans and Nature Spirituality Practioners. The results were published in The Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.

7. How long have you been involved with them? See above

8. You are one of the few ordained ministers through them, could you give us a general description of the training did you received and how long it took to accomplish that goal?

Actually, there are several ordained ministers through Circle. Each person comes to ordination through different work, training and aspects. Many of us have done work in special areas such as death midwifery, military issues, social justice, some have more Wiccan and some are more Shamanic….it’s really a one on one experience. I do know Selena is looking at revamping the Ministers Training Program.

Some groups have specific lessons and requirements. My ordination was a full on three year commitment including outreach, community service and a year long project like a masters thesis. Training in counseling, and in several other faiths and worship styles etc.

9. What was it like to be recognized as the first Pagan Clergy at your local hospital?

Although there were no trumpets, it felt great that they believed in me and were willing to welcome me. I live in a very liberal and fairly alternative community so they recognized the need to have alternative spirituality addressed in the spiritual care team.

10. Where they receptive of the services you offered to them?

Absolutely. I have done some education to help clarify some misunderstandings, and it’s been good to be able to support those that need support when they need it.

11. Where there any struggles becoming recognized?

Most institutions think in an academic mindset, that is what degrees you have after your name. Since my faith is mostly oral in teaching, and includes many teachers, I just had people write letters on the work I was already doing on my behalf. But this has been a constant struggle for folks that have a lot to offer, but do not attend a seminary school.

12. What about going into and serving the Hospice system?

I think everyone should try this at least once in life. The people you meet, the stories you hear and the personal transformation you embrace will be well worth your minimal time commitment.

13. What information / advice would you give to someone that wanted to become a Death Midwife?

Check out my reading list on my website www.thresholdsoflife.org and start reading. Volunteer for hospice or consider volunteering at an elder care facility. Then, have me come do a training, or seek one out from other providers.

14. Earlier in the year when I wrote to you, you were generous enough to provide me with some information about furthering my own education after the loss of my father. You provided me with a number of books that could help me and others wanting to learn. On the list you provided you noted your "Top 10". Out of your top 10, what would be your top 5 books and why?

Caring for the Dead by Lisa Carlson

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying- M. Macha Nightmare and Starhawk

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley

Grave Matters A Journey through the modern funeral industry by Mark Harris

Lifetimes - The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

Lisa Carlson did incredible work and tells us what is legal and what the law codes are in every state. It is a must have of must have books for home funerals and death midwives.

The Reclaiming Collective, Starhawk and Macha Nightmare wrote the Pagan Book of Living and Dying after the 80s AIDS crisis and the loss of many community members. The offer excellent rituals, prayers, chants and insight into the death process, including that it isn’t always calm and can come at any time.

Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley cover the language of the dying in Final Gifts. This book has helped countless people understand the words and process of the dying, a priceless book.

Mark Harris gives the best insight into green burials and what’s happening that I recommend his book to everyone.

Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen make death real for children, explaining everything that lives will die. From trees, to butterflies to people. It’s simple and complete. I carry it with me to every house I go to

15. You were nominated to receive K Robins’ Peace Pendant. What were your thoughts when you first learned about it, especially being nominated by someone you never met until today?

The nomination was deeply, deeply touching. I felt so touched that such an act of kindness was shown to me, and that the work I am doing is appreciated. I was surprised that you Crystal were surprised I would write back to you. I try to respond to everyone that inquires through my website. Very kind of you Crystal.

16. What were your thoughts, when you found out that you were going to be a recipient?

I was touched immensely. When you presented it to me at the morning meeting and everyone applauded, standing up and shouting my name, it was just deeply moving. I sat down and I was shaking. I so value this award as I am truly committed to peace. For my bio at the hospital we were asked to state an inspirational quote. Most did scripture, I simply put “Imagine all the people, living life as one.” – John Lennon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dinner Party Challenge

Dinner Challenge Thanks Inis MadMadam!  (If you click on title of this post, it will take you to Inis's guest list!)

One of my fellow bloggers has tagged me in this and I really like her guest list!  Trying not to use any of her guests its going to be tough to come up with my own list. 

Here goes:

Elvis Presley
He was probably my first hollywood crush.

Heath Ledger because he had a wicked sense of humor, could sing, act, and dance.



Brandon Lee because it was a shame that he entered the Summerland so young, and so soon!



and his father Bruce Lee.  Bruce Lee was truly a man of vision, wisdom, and changed the way martial arts was perceived within the motion picture industry.  He truly had an impact and changed the world for the better.




Mata Hari, one of the greatest female spies of all time and had that magic of making men fall in love with her.


Zelda Rubinstein
Because she is the first psychic/witch I can remember liking and not being afraid of....."Don't go to the light!" Plus she was so darn cute as the mentor Madame Serena!



So the rules are now that I need to tag six people...so here goes:

AmistisReudan
Mickie
Adalis Stargazing
Nydia
Wyckked
Homeschool Witch

Who would you invite?

Crystal

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recouperating

Well the surgery is well over and I am into my second week of recovery.  Doc initally said that it would take 2-6 weeks of recovery based on what I had done and what he had to do to make me better. 

I have my good days and mostly been having some really bad days.  Hopefully the healing will be swifter than what it was the past two weeks!  Tomorrow is my two week check up.  Here is to a road to health.  I am tired of being sick and feeling blah, never having energy and down right feeling like shit.  Even though I am experiencing some painful days, my energy level is actually twice of what its been on the daily basis for the past four to six months!  So that overall is a plus!   I am looking on improving that once I get the ok to start exercising again because right now I can barely walk and barely sit.  I lay on my left side alot or stand now a days.  Tomorrow will also be the first time I drive in since the surgery as well.  So I am a bit nervous about hitting a bump in the road (literally) and experiencing some pain shortly after.  I am sure I will be fine, I know where most of the bumps are between my home and the docs office.

I am making myself a "honey do" list to get the things I need done completed!  I have been making changes and updates to the KOTH website so hopefully those will be done soon.  We will be opening up an online store soon, we have tried a few times in the past, but just never got around to doing it.  I plan on making some ritual kits, pagan prayer beads, Mooncycle Menstration necklaces plus a few other goodies.  So please be on the lookout for them.  Also if you have anything you would like to donate to the KOTH Temple that we can sell for raising money, we could use that help as well! 

Sisters of the Gathering is now open for registration, so hopefully we will have a nice turn out for it as well!  I mailed in my registration last week and Rev. Etain has recieved my paperwork and check so I am definitely going now. LOL  I can't wait to spend a weekend with my sisters of the craft and watch my friend Jenn recieve her ordination with SBS (if she finishes all of her requirements, so get your bootie in gear girl!) LOL

I am also writing on a few different magazine articles hopefully that will be considered for publication.  So keeping my fingers crossed for that as well.

My newest guilty pleasure is listening to "The Witches View" Podcast by the Circle of the Silver Moon.  Those ladies are a hoot and remind me of my gal pals back home.  If you haven't heard them, you should really check them out.  If by chance, one of the ladies is reading this, keep up the great work ladies, I really enjoy the show!

You can find them here:  http://circleofthesilvermoon.org/Witches__View_Podcast.html

So that is all in a nutshell right now.  I am just recovering and hanging out at home.  My sister Autumn has come and gone, and I miss her dearly!  It was wonderful to spend so much time with her again (as if we lived with one another like we were children).  Makes me realize how important family is and what they are willing to do for those they love when they are ill. 

Many thanks to my husband "Hunter", my sister Autumn, and my coven sister Katherine.  The three of them were instrumental in my recovery the few days shortly after my surgery and took such wonderful care of me!  I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  The Goddess truly blessed me by having the three of you in my life! 

Blessed Be,
Crystal

Friday, May 13, 2011

100,000 to get Jason Pitzl-Waters on the Daily Show


In an effort to support religious equality and equal voice, we are trying to get Jason Pitzl-Waters a spot on the Daily Show to address recent attacks on minority religions. Media responds to numbers, if we show that enough people are actively interested in seeing Jason on the Daily Show then it is likely he will get on!


Spread the word and let's make it happen!
Jason Pitzl-Waters is co-founder and Projects Coordinator of the Pagan Newswire Collective. He is the author of the news-blog The Wild Hunt, and a columnist for the Washington Post.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/100000-to-get-Jason-Pitzl-Waters-on-the-Daily-Show/129104200500171?sk=info

Make sure to check this out on Facebook (the link posted above)!

Also write to the Daily Show itself as well!

http://www.thedailyshow.com/

Or follow its Twitter and tweet them at "@TheDailyShow "


We support you Jason and hope to help make this happen for you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birthday Surprise!

First let me say, I am truly blessed!

Now a photo is worth a thousand words right? !

Even after feeling horrible from my surgery (today was really bad), Eric was able to put this huge smile on my face whenever he came home this evening.  He gave me this really big box to open and the thing I wanted most (besides his love of course) was the beautiful statue I have been wanting for oh so long!

He gave me the bronze Triple Goddess Statue designed by one of my favorite artists Mickie Mueller!

Here are a few photos of the boys enjoying the box's stuffing.





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beltane

So Beltane is almost upon us.  This year I have been attempting to "share" my beliefs with my children.  Lancer is now starting to understand more since he's now 7.  Shaunessy still really has no clue what Mommy is talking about since he's about 22 months +.  He will be two at the end of June.

How does one explain to a child what Beltane is without talking too much about the aspect of the Great Rite and fertility rituals which are a major aspect of this Sabbat in my personal practice.  This is what I came up with.....Right now, I feel he just needs to know that the Great Rite is the love between the Goddess and the God.


The Red Rose.....

It's a symbol that I actually use during my rituals to symbolize the Great Rite.   It is a combination of both masculine and feminine.  It is one of the many things that is a product of the joining of the God and Goddess.  Its long green thorned stem represents the male diety and the beautiful soft red petals represent the womb of the Goddess.   Their "love" for one another produces many beautiful things upon this great place of Gaia.  Within my own practice I recognize the light and dark of everything.  Father Sun with Mother Moon.  Night and Day.  Cold and Hot.  Male and Female.  In my own beliefs, you can not have one part without the other.   The two become one to create life and or energy. 

How would you explain Beltane to children? 

Checking In / Surgery

Hi Everyone,

Just a short note to let you know that my presence will be a bit lacking for the next few weeks most likely.

I am having surgery on May 5th and may not feel up to sitting at the computer during my recovery.  But then, it may be one of the few things I might look forward to as I can do it from the bed as well.

Any thoughts, candles, and or energy sent for a speedy recovery would be GREATLY appreciated! 

Research for the my second book is in the works should the first book/manuscript be published by one of the big publishing houses (which would be a total dream come true for me). 

Just been having lots of things going on these next few weeks.  The family's annual neighborhood garage sale this week, then preparing the house the best I can prior to my surgery so my husband or sister won't need to go out to the store and purchase anything while I am down for the count.

I am so blessed to have the sister I have, she is flying all the way from Louisiana to come help take care of me during my recovery and help me out with taking care of my children as well!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Moonflow Magic / Mooncycle Magic / Menstrual Magic, etc.

So today I visited some of the Yahoo Groups that I like to follow.  On one of them there were a few posts about a young girl's first menarche.  Those that know me, know that I am very fond of Menstrual Magic and I have a number of workshops I have presented at Convocation in the past few years.  (Still debating if I should resubmit some of these workshops for next year as the Moon is the theme and they would fit into it very nicely).

I have been having issues with what term I should use.  If a person does a search for Mooncycle Magic, they will get a TON of results for the actual phases of the moon.  I have heard of the term Moonflow before.  Don't really know if I like it, but it is a bit more specific.    I am just wondering how to "classify" this type of magic to distinguish it from the phases of the moon type magic. 

So I am interested to know what others think about magic that evolves around menstruation.  What would  you call it?

Blessed Be,
Crystal

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sisters of the Craft / Sisters of Avalon





I am happy to say that the Sisters of the Craft Gathering is a GO! Registration is now open. There are a limited number of spots that are available. Should you want to come, you will need to know someone within one of the following organizations to gain entry:


Keepers of the Hearth
Sacred Birch Society
Women of the Willow Coven


Only reason is that this is the first year we are doing this and don't want to bite off more than we can chew. So if you know one of us and we know you, please by all means contact a member of one of the above or contact me to obtain the Registration Packet.

This will be primitive camping with a casual atmosphere. Its about connecting with our fellow "Sisters of the Craft" and get to know one another and bond as sisters should do! A few workshops will be presented and are being considered by the board should you want to submit a class for consideration.


We are currently looking for a sister that has extensive drumming experience and access to several drums to lead a drumming workshop. If you fit the bill, please email me at crystallunarouge@yahoo.com . We are unable to compensate for this time so looking for someone that wants to volunteer this gift of the craft with her fellow sisters.

I am so excited, I can't wait for September to come around! That Mabon will be extra special since fellow sister of the craft "J" will be receiving her ordination from the Sacred Birch Society!

So until the next blog, have a blessed and magical day!


Oh and PS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY IBISFIRE YOU MAGICAL AND PHENOMINAL WOMAN YOU!


Sincerely,
Crystal

Monday, April 11, 2011

Developing an Exercise Routine and turning it into a habit

Somewhere I can remember reading (or hearing) that it takes 30 days to develop a new habit.  Well one of the things I desparately need to add to my Transformation is the addition of exercise.

This past week and throughout the weekend, my family was and I am currently sick.  Yesterday, my husband decided that even though I feel like death warmed over, I needed to go outside and get some fresh air.  Knowing that we needed some basic groceries, he decided that a walk to our local store was in order.  So he got the kids ready (stroller and all) and called out to me that they were ready.  Slowly I put my shoes and socks on to make it out into the rare sunshine and warmth that has happened in our area.  While at the store, I said that I wanted to get back into couponing.  So I decided to purchase a Sunday Newspaper. However to my surprise the one the store had to offer had minimal coupons in it.  I needed the Detroit Free Press which is not what this store had to offer.  So we walked home, empty hands for a newspaper.  An hour later, I still wanted my dang newspaper!  My husband suggested going out for another walk by myself this time to the two gas stations a few blocks away to see if they had my cherished newspaper full of coupons.  I debated this for about 10 minutes and then decided that unless I wanted to wait another week for a newspaper that I did indeed needed to set out and go for my second walk of the day. 

I grabbed my Ipod loaded with my music from my Reclaiming and Friends cd and headed out for my second journey to find a newspaper.  The first gas station I stopped at was sold out so across the street I went into the second gas station.  I hit paydirt!  Not only did I get the last copy of the Detroit Free Press they had, but briefly had a conversation about just wanting the coupons that the store clerk handed me the coupons and ads from his personal newspaper!  So I got two for the price of one so to speak!  This exercise thing has extra benefits!  I look forward to walking to the same gas station next week to see if I can turn this into a routine for me and possibly score some more free coupons! LOL

I like to be organized about everything to every detail I possibly can.  Just ask my Coven sisters about any of our past trips to places such as New Orleans (back home) and or one of our many Salem, MA trips! LOL 

So I have decided to come up with a game plan of sorts to incorporate exercise into my life.
My first goal is to walk at least 30 minutes a day be it outside pushing the baby in a stroller or downstairs in the basement for 30 minutes prior to dinner.  If I am unable to walk that day for whatever reason, I will at least hope to accomplish one of my goals for the week which I have listed below.

Other elements I hope to add include:

Sundays - Walk to Gas station to buy a Sunday Paper

Monday - What I call  "Magical Monday" by breaking out and performing the exercises from the Devotional Dance DVD by T. Thorn Coyle (this Month I will be working on the Elements Section)

Tuesday - Turkish Bellydancing Video

Wednesday - Its all about the Wii.  One hour of playing either Wii Fit or the Yoga Exercises

Thursday - This will be my mental exercise day, Meditation is the key element to work on today.

Friday - Firm Fridays - I have about 10 of "The Firm" videos that I lost alot of weight with whenever Eric and I were getting married.  I was able to dust my collection off and even transfer them from VHS to DVD so I can do them upstairs!

Saturday -   Working out with the Spouse!  I hope to have E help me out on lifting weights.

Majority of accomplishing many of these on a daily basis will be that if the baby takes at least an hour nap so that Mommy can work on her fitness and health.  Otherwise its the walking for 30 minutes whenever Daddy gets home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Transformation

As most of those that know me, for the past 10 years I have had a serious battle (and losing that battle) of the bulge.  I am tired.   Sick and tired actually of how I look and more so on how I feel most of the time, which is pretty lousy.  I never have any energy to do anything.  I have become a couch potato.    This weekend something happened to be during a conversation with my husband.  He is clueless to how it has effected me and I do know that he meant no harm or disrespect.  But what he said did strike a cord within me and my weight.  He simply asked me why I wear sweat pants all the time and would like to see me wear something else again.  I was a bit taken back. When he left the room as I was getting dressed for my son's birthday party, I did not realize that I have become the stereo typical frumpy sweat pant and stained t-shirt wearing mom.  It was very hard to find anything in my closet that fit me and also looked good.  Majority of the clothing was too tight.

Well NO MORE!

Everyday I will do something.  No more sitting at the couch and watching tv all day. 
For Yule, my hubby purchased us a new treadmill and its going to be used on a daily basis! At least 30 minutes per day.  Also on the docket is to start using some of my old favorite videos/dvds for exercising.  My favorite is Devotional Dance by T. Thorn Coyle.  Last time I used this dvd on a regular basis alone, I lost over 20 pounds. 

I have thought about posting my "before" photos for the world to see, but I just do not know if I am ready for the whole world to see my Venus of Wilendorf shaped body (even though she's a beautiful plus size beauty, my body however is not beautiful, its disporportioned and I no longer like buying clothes.)

I am in no way saying I want to be a skinny Mini...but I do however want to become healthier than I currently am.  They say that your first goal should be 10% of your current body weight.  Well that is very close to 30 pounds for me (so you can easily do the math to see how much I currently weigh).

Guess this blog will primary focus on me getting healthy, and how I plan it will effect my relationship to the Goddess.  I know I am beautiful in her eyes as well as my husband's.  But now its time for me to look at myself in the mirror and love the woman that I see in it.

I hope you come with me on this journey to help encourage me on my path as well as call me out on myself when I need it.  I need a support system outside of my husband.  He is good and somewhat supportive, but he is skinny and healthy for the most part, so he just does not understand my point of view as a woman wanting to lose weight.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Taken directly from their site (which the link is included in the title of this post!)


Pagan Spirit Gathering


Celebrate Summer Solstice June 19-26, 2011!




It's official: PSG has a new location for 2011! The beautiful Stonehouse Park near Earlville, Illinois will welcome the PSG Community this Summer for our weeklong celebration of Summer Solstice, June 19-26!



About PSG

The Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) is one of America's oldest and largest Nature Spirituality festivals. Since its inception in 1980, PSG has been bringing together hundreds of people from throughout the United States, plus other countries, to create community, celebrate Summer Solstice, and commune with Nature in a sacred environment. Sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, PSG is open to long-time practitioners as well as newcomers of a wide range of Nature religion traditions, including Wiccan, Contemporary Pagan, Druidic, Heathen, Celtic, Baltic, Greco-Roman, Isian, Shamanic, Hermetic, Animistic, Egyptian, Native American, Afro-Carribean, Taoist, Pantheistic, Ecofeminist, and Nature Mystic. PSG is an opportunity for personal renewal, networking, education, and cultural enrichment.

Throughout the Gathering, there are hundreds of program activities, including rituals, concerts, workshops, panels, meetings, intensives, revels, dancing, drumming, firespininng, and bonfires. The are a variety of youth program activities, including those for children, tweens, and teens. In addition, there is leadership training for Pagan ministers and other leaders through the Pagan Leadership Institute.

Stonehouse Farm offers a very large 3 bay barn that has been renovated where we will hold indoor concerts! No more sitting in the sun for noon concerts! And no more hauling your chairs to the concerts there are plenty of picnic tables! There is a beautiful court yard for gathering right outside of the barn also.

The camp features a beautifully remodeled camp store with a wonderfully large deck great for sitting and chatting with friends or reading your favorite book! The camp store has phone service, wireless service, indoor restrooms and all the snacks and forgotten necessities you may need!

There is a wonderfully large shower house that has 3 showers stalls on both the mens' and womens' sides. There are also flush toilets here too! Behind the shower house is a large sink perfect for scrubbing dishes or clothes!

Attached to the shower house is covered pavilion that overlooks the wonderful swimming pond and sandy beach! Bring your rafts and lounge chairs and enjoy!

As in past years, PSG's spiritual community begins emerging as participants arrive on opening day, set up camp, meet and greet others, and create a Pagan Town together which will last the entire week of the Gathering. The Sacred Fire is lit during the Opening Ritual and is kept burning throughout the Gathering to symbolize the Solstice Sun and Spirit of the PSG community.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Long or Short?

I have always liked my hair short, but my love does not.  He prefers me with long hair. 
My hair is very slow at growing!  And now I have the new battle of the greys!  If I don't dye my hair I have a salt and pepper mix similar to many of the Hebert women in my family.  I did not get the Chautin gene with having the beautiful all silver hair like my grandmother Sophie! 

So I am debating what I should do, continue to attempt to be patient and let it grow out?  Or should I keep it short and just dye the heck out of it until I am 90 years old?

Me with short hair last Fall:

Or continue to let it grow out?   Me now:

What do you think?

Crystal

Friday, March 11, 2011

Preparing my path to Localvore

Lately the news has had me thinking about our economy (not only the US in general, but specifically here in Michigan).  What could I do as one person to help support my local economy?  What do I do on a daily basis that would and could make a difference? 

Buy and eat my food locally of course!

So I am on a mission to find out what food items are available to me locally.  With the spring and summer months ahead of us when local farmers markets begin to open, I will of course have much more available bounty of produce during the warmer months.  So now for the next month or so, I will begin to change the items I buy on a weekly basis to closer producers from Michigan.

First I look in my own cupboards and fridge at first glance, I know I currently buy:

Sugar: (Pioneer and Big Chief)
Better Made Potato Chips
Faygo Pop
St. Juliens Wines (ok I am a BIG supporter of them. LOL)

This might be harder than I thought...need to do some research to find out more companies!

Crystal
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