windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (joy fae)

These two songs are at the top of my iTunes most-played list. I'd consider them personal anthems and insights into what makes me tick. (Gratitude, perspective, keep-goingness.)

1) Swim by Jack's Mannequin

2) Life is Sweet by Natalie Merchant
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (book magick)

I've answered many a question about my favorite books. I love Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, Anne McCaffrey's DragonFlight and Walter Farley's Black Stallion. I came to paganism, or realized that my hard-won spiritual beliefs weren't as individual and uncommon as I thought at least, thanks to Kevin Sullivan's The Crystal Handbook and Scott Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner. I survived my late adolescent and teen years thanks to X-Men and Catwoman comic books and the paranormal romances of L.J. Smith. I love every wonderful word that Jane Austen ever wrote. I'd wholeheartedly recommend the work of Christopher Penczak to any current or potential magicworker.

But that'd all be repetition so I'll tell you something new by choosing four books that really speak to me as a pagan parent.

1) Celebrating the Great Mother: Earth Honoring Activities for Parents and Children by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw

2) Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill

3) Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
(Such a gorgeous, thoughtful storybook for children.)

4) The Next Place by Warren Hanson
(Another richly illustrated storybook, this pagan-friendly book explores 'the next place' we go after we die and what it might be like. If I had the money or the means, I'd buy a copy for every one of my friends regardless of their religious beliefs or if they had children. It is thought-provoking, colorful, and comforting.)
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (harm none cows)

Let's go out to eat! All vegans, at the very least, need to make a journey to these five places before they die. :) Their cruelty-free offerings, I think, would win over even the most skeptical omnivore.

1) Green Zebra (Chicago, Illinois)
2) 3 Sisters Cafe (Indianapolis, Indiana)
3) Darbster (West Palm Beach, Florida)
4) Fleur (Las Vegas, Nevada)
5) Inn Season Cafe (Royal Oak, Michigan)
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Grow)
Day Four of trying to post something and/or access LJ. Here goes!


So far, this has been the biggest mental challenge of the meme for me. I found something like 17 definitions for "want" in the dictionary ranging from wishes to deficiencies. My initial reaction, though, is that I want for nothing in my life. I would like to have more of some things--more financial security, more time, continued health--but I lack nothing vital. I have access to water, food, and shelter. I have loved ones and companionship. I am sound of mind and body.

Secondly, it occurs to me after a few days of thinking about the nature of 'wants' that if I really, sincerely wanted something I would be taking active steps to attain it. I'd be saving up or making compromises or planning my way to it. Saying "I want to win the lottery" but never buying tickets, for instance, is just me saying something would be nice and I wouldn't turn it down if it happened to me. "I want to be in better physical shape" without making a commitment to the diet and exercise it takes to achieve that is again, insincere. It seems lazy--like me making a grand order off the Universe's menu without being willing to go into the kitchen and cook it myself. Not a want but something I'd take and devour if someone else handed it to me, if it cost me nothing to have.

What does that leave me beyond those big, humanitarian wishes for other people, animals, or the world at large? Do those count as personal 'wants'? If so, doesn't everyone want those, by default, rendering this question entirely impersonal? Do I really need to tell you that I wish for world peace, environmental restoration, animal welfare, universal kindness and food for all? That's not something I'm lacking but something the entire world, as a whole, is lacking.

Maybe I've over-thought this--but I'm an unabashed air sign.

I don't have seven wants. I can't even think of one that meets my criteria. I have everything I need and I'm enormously grateful for it.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (pink lotus candles)
For me, anytime I'm feeling low, what I need to regain my equilibrium is time and perspective. My natural state is calm, logical, and balanced, so I can trust that I'll return to that after even the most crushing upsets. I can hurry it along with sleep, a hot shower, a phone call with my Mom, time spent sifting through items at a thrift store, a walk outside, an open window, time to write, working on a project to help somebody else, or watching one of my favorite movies--like Sense & Sensibility and getting a good cry in. :)
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
Graeme had finished eating his dinner a few days ago and was having an audible conversation with what sounded like a group of invisible companions. I overheard him say, "Okay! I will ask her right now!" and then he asked me to help him down from the bar stool height chair. I helped him down and he said to me, "Mommy, you have to watch me. I'm going to go into the kitchen and do some dancing!"

I said okay and I stood back to watch.

I wish I had a camera rolling. It would have been a YouTube sensation.

He runs into the center of the hardwood floor in the kitchen, spins on his socked feet, and the drops to his back and starts spinning around on his shirt, for all the world looking *just* like a miniature breakdancer. He did some leg and back and arm stuff I can't describe, while still spinning and went to his side, his stomach, all spinning then popped back up to his feet with a little flair of a jump and then attempted a few steps, a sort of grungy arabesque, and then some jazzy hands before finishing with a big bunny hop and a deep-kneed gymnastics landing, complete with the arms over the head flourish. It was bananas. I was in shock, totally in shock, wondering where he suddenly picked this up.

He grinned like a crazy man and said, "See Mommy? I know how to break dance!"

No attempt at coercion has allowed me to get a video of him repeating the act. It seems to have been a one-time, possessed-child moment. :D
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
I dream of turning the tide from indifference to compassion-- swimming upstream through people going about their business until they notice my destination, my intention, and swing wide to join me.

I dream of bringing children home, opening the door to their very own bedroom, opening my heart, opening my arms and saying, "I've waited my entire life to find you, to love you, to adopt you into our family. Welcome home, dearheart."

I dream of bringing my children with me around the world and supporting them in their vast and varied interests.

I dream of a life of philanthropy. Putting shoes on feet, food on plates, books in hands, school supplies in backpacks, warm pajamas on children, smiles on faces, hope in hearts.

I dream of buying damaged/farmed/cleared land and restoring it, replanting it to be a haven for wildlife, simple living, and permaculture experimentation.

I dream of having a big, beautiful home where the guest rooms stand waiting and there are always wildflowers or evergreen boughs in vases on tables.

I dream of organizing and running a little storefront. Something sweet and lovely, where I can make lists and tie bows and punch keys on my cash register.

I dream of living a long, healthy life surrounded by those I love and being able to express my own love, devotion, and life's philosophy through service and kind acts.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (joy fae)
1) I believe that all creation is a reflection of the creator. Masculine and feminine, creative and destructive, ever-recycling forms of energy and embodiment. More than that, I believe that all creation is *part* of the creator. Every thing, every body is sacred and divine. I share the same essence of eternal connection and Love with every tree, every human, every fish, every breath of air, every sunrise, every animal, everything that has and is and will ever be and even that which is never expressed here and present, physically, upon the Earth.

2) I believe in the reincarnation of the Soul as a form of lifetimes long learning and spiritual evolution.

3) I believe that we are challenged, every day, to choose to act out of Love instead of acting, instinctually, out of Fear. I believe that pride, anger, guilt, impatience, rage, annoyance, brutality, envy, and other emotions that steal our sense of center and calm are manifestations of hidden Fear and disconnection from the whole.

4) I believe that religions are an arbitrary human construct, invented by humans as a form of social control, reassurance and "us/them" division, but that the philosophical spirituality behind them reveals many great Truths. I do not believe that any one religion, including mine, is right. I want everyone to have the chance to find the path that brings them to a place of Love and compassionate connection with those around them.

5) I believe that all that is, is divine. It follows, for me, that each person is capable of embodying the divine and gently reshaping the reality they live in. I believe that we have access to knowledge and extraordinary abilities from both past lives and between-life states of peace and review. I believe that our minds create our circumstances and that there is magick, yes, but no more powerful magick than gratitude, patience, and optimism. There are no limits, I believe, in the power of Love unleashed, fearlessly, in the world.

6) Likewise, Fear unleashed in the world by broken, lost, disconnected individuals is truly horrific to behold. I believe that war, crime and environmental destruction are symptoms of disconnection from our divine, immortal roots. I do not believe these are our natural states of being, but expressed moments of insane grief, hard-heartedness and wild, irrational fear.

7) I believe that parenting is a sacred duty, the honor of being entrusted to care for and protect another Soul in their most vulnerable state of embodiment.

8) I believe we choose the moment of our rebirths carefully, knowing ahead of time what challenges and burdens our lives will provide us to learn from. I know, though it can be hard to trust, that my Higher Self chose every hard circumstance and loss for me, trusting in our ability, together, to grow through those experiences. So in life, I try to trust, to adapt, and to cheerfully pilot the rough waters and appreciate the moments of sudden sunbeams and steadfast comradery. It all goes back to gratitude for me, which is an extraordinarily transformative off-shoot of Love.

Mine is a personal spirituality which can be best be defined by the motto, "In Gratitude--Peace and Plenty."


windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)

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