Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ten Things Thursday ~ Final Category

WOW! Today is the last day of the first month of a new year. I don't know about you, but this month has been more than busy, a little hectic at times and productive in SO many ways for me. I've got so much going on here at home and with my studies over at Ashford University. I've also found I *must* have time each day to spend in my Craft room grounding and keeping my inner being on track for the things I face on a day to day basis.

Even though the title of this post says final category, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging... far from it. I have a different way I've been directed by the muse to travel in and to be honest, I've run out of topics for the Ten Things Thursday meme. So today I not only give you the final post, but I feel it's the most important one I've shared with you.

I want to share the top ten blogs I follow and I'll be giving you a link and a reason why I follow them. I hope you'll take the time to visit each of them and if you don't already, please consider becoming one of their follower's. Each blog has something important to share while at the same time being entertaining and able to relate to those who read their work. So without further adieu I give you Top Ten Bloggers I follow...

1. The Secret Life of the American Working Witch ~ Kallan has so much energy and knowledge to share. I've been following her for a few years now, and each time she posts an entry I can literally feel the earth shake under my feet. She writes on a variety of topics and I've never been disappointed. Among her various entries she also post a weekly blog post on every Sunday called The Sunday Stew, which is so full of information, and excitement each week, it sometimes takes both a spoon AND fork to get it all digested. I was privileged to actually meet Kallan face to face in real life last July and we have since become great and lasting friends. To say I hold her in the highest regard doesn't begin to give you an idea of how I feel about her. She has recently returned to class and is seeking a degree in English and Journalism. Once you read her blog you will understand why this field of study is RIGHT up her alley. I hope you will stop by and visit with her soon...maybe this Sunday for the weekly Stew?

2. Tales of the Wolf Queen ~ Meet my friend Bella. This woman has so much love to share, even though she is going through some very difficult and trying times in her own world, she still takes the time to write about the things she is facing and her own personal challenges and how she is growing from the experience. I have to say, Bella is one of the most precious people I have in my life. I am honored to call her Sister and friend. Her outlook on life and the challenges she faces each day are one of the reason's I get excited when I see she has posted an entry. I'm following her progress as she makes the journey to discovery and faces the probability of being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's Disease. If things work out and I can get all my ducks in a row, Jimmy & I will be taking a road trip in the next couple months (I'm hoping for late March) down to Florida to actually meet Bella and her family face to face. Boy what an explosion that's gonna be, LOL!!!

3. Confessions of a Modern Witch ~ Once you meet Renee you will wonder where she has been all your life. No I'm serious!! This wonderfully creative woman is one of the most down to earth and REAL people I know. I also know Renee in the real world, face to face like huggin and stuff. We met at the 2011 Central North Carolina Pagan Pride Days and have become solid friends. This woman is a multi talented wearer of many hats. She and her husband Eli have a variety of irons in the fire from  ET Kennels where they breed Yorkshire Terriers, and shelter/foster local animals in times of crisis, to Sosanna;s Closet, where both Renee and Eli create magick with her work in clay and Eli's tailoring skills. Renee is also a devotee of Hecate and does counseling over at Pagan-Place all the while dealing with her own issues associated with being bi-polar. I am truly amazed by this loving, caring and devoted woman. She is the perfect example of what being a friend means in every sense of the word.

4. Pagan Culture ~ If you haven't met Magaly, you have NO idea what you are missing out on. She is one of the most talented authors it is my privilege to call friend. I have followed Pagan Culture for a little over 2 years and have learned so much from Magaly, I can honestly say I'm addicted! Even though I've read her blog for a while, I really got to know her while we both worked on Samhain's Sirens this past October. Luckily we have a way besides blogging to keep connected and I completely enjoy chatting with her and seeing the things she posts on a daily basis. This woman wins the *Smile of the Year* award in my book, because she's ALWAYS grinning. And she has a beautifully infectious smile. You won't want to miss her book AlmaMia Cienfuegos either!!

5. Is this the real life? ~ I met Amanda when we first moved to the Raleigh, NC area back in 2009 at a Pagan book Club I'd been invited to join. We hit it off immediately! She & I, together with 3 other ladies organized an open circle in the Raleigh area called Gaia's Circle where we celebrate the Sabbats, the earth and all she has to offer us. Even though I'm not able to attend Circle as often as I'd like (I haven't been in over a year...*sigh*), they still keep me in the loop with the things going on with Gaia's Circle. Amanda and I have attended many functions together, from Pagan Pride Day, to Carolina Spring Quest, to Carolina Renaissance Faire. Last fall, Amanda returned to college as a Grad Student where she is seeking her degree in Social Work. Amanda is also an ordained Agnostic minister who performed the wedding ceremony for my daughter Tanya in 2010. I love this lady and miss the times we shared before I moved over 2 hours away from her. We were able to get together for Thanksgiving this past November and it was like we had never been parted. Once you meet Amanda you will ask yourself how did I miss knowing this delightful and inspiring young lady? So go...check out Is this the real life? I promise you won't be sorry!

6. East Coast Craft & Curio ~ Tess is one of my new friends and bloggers. We also met while working on Samhain's Sirens and I have to say this is yet another amazingly multi talented lady. She makes some the most beautiful crafty items, jewelry and paintings. Although I haven't known Tess for very long, I can see a lasting friendship in it's blossoming stages. I am looking forward to building our friendship and getting to know her much better. She is REAL, down to earth and very dedicated to her faith, way of life and crafting abilities. Her blog will give you a variety of things to dig your teeth into. She also has a Facebook page for East Coast Craft & Curio, so make sure you check that out as well.

7. Bones, Buried Treasures and Beliefs ~ I had only heard about Sam from friends we have in common, but didn't really know much about her until we actually met face to face this past July at the same time I met Kallan, Kelly & Shelby and Lyssa. I had been told she knew who I was and wanted to meet me. I am so happy we did. She has been a blessing to me and to my daughter Mylia, who lives not too far from Sam in Maryland.  Sam is also an author, and a grad Student, and works a full time job at a government contracting firm. To say this gal is busy would be an understatement! And on top of all the things she already does, she just became engaged on New Year's Eve and is now in the process of planning her wedding! Sheesh!! However, she still finds time to write in her blog and share her life with those of us fortunate enough to know about her. Once you have visited her blog, she's one you will want to subscribe to.

8. The Multi~Faceted Experience ~ Even though we met through crazy circumstances, Kourtney and I  became friends and have nurtured that friendship to the point we chat online every day. She is an amazing woman, has an active family, is active in her Pagan community and still finds the time to not only write The Multi-Faceted Experience, but also hosts Pagan Pages Blog Hop, and all the while living with clinical depression and rheumatoid arthritis. More recently Kourtney has undertaken the challenge of being a *stage mom* to her daughter who is looking for her chance at working in the entertainment industry. How she manages to do everything she does is beyond me, just reading about her adventures sometimes wears me out. To say that this woman is amazing would be an understatement. I am fortunate to have her in my life. I was extremely happy to continue the friendship we had begun and I'm looking forward to the future...

9. Sabrina's Thoughts & Things ~ I found Sabrina quite by accident while browsing through the blog roll from another blog I follow. I gotta say, this blog is full of some of the most exciting information I have come across in a very long time. You will find everything from the latest home remedy, to instruction for making homemade soap, to growing your own herbs. Every time I see an entry from Sabrina in my reader, I know I'm going to find information that is relevant to living a sustainable life. I highly recommend you stop by and pay a visit to Sabrina over at Sabrina's Thoughts & Things, you won't be disappointed, I PROMISE!!

10. Soul, Liberty, Faith ~ Once you meet Lisa you are going to ask yourself, where has she been and why haven't I ever read her blog before now. No, I'm serious! Lisa considers herself an organic Christian, she walks the path of her faith without the dogma and judgement. She's learned how to be a loving wife, mother and follower of Jesus. I have never met anyone who has a heart any bigger, nor one that is any fuller of love and compassion. After many years worshiping in a cult environment, Lisa and her family finally found the freedom to honestly be a light shining brightly for the faith she has chosen. I am very blessed to have Lisa in my life, to call her friend and more importantly to call her sister.

Well... that's it for Ten Things Thursday. I hope you have enjoyed the little things I've given you over the past few months. I'm not exactly sure where Aoibheal's Lair is going from here, the muses have a few things bouncing around up in my head.  You can rest assured I'm not leaving blogland, I'll be around to bring you the in's and out's and up's and down's of this Faerie Witch and my crazy and often times confusing life. Until next time, I wish you love and light...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ten Things Thursday ~ My Wish List of Ten Electronic Type Things I Think I *Need*, LOL!!

This post was actually Jimmy's idea. Last week I was trying to figure out what to give you and he came up with a few suggestions. For this week I'm going with his first thought and then will add his additional ideas in the weeks to come. I already have so many tech toys and electronics and I'm grateful for and more than happy with each one. However, there are some things I would like to upgrade and have added them to my *Wish List*.
1. iPod Classic ~ Most people I know have or want the iPod touch, and that's all fine and good for them. I don't need all the bells and whistles that come with the touch cause I've got other toys for those things. I want my iPod to store and play music...that is all. The iPod Classic holds 160GB which translates to over 40,000 songs. This means I won't need to re arrange my music and I can keep it all in one place. So yeah, the iPod Classic is pretty close to the top of my Wish List.
2. Nikon D3200 ~ Jimmy and I are big photography amateurs, we love to take photos but have never had a *good* quality camera. So for the past few months we have seriously been researching the different brands and different models trying to figure out just which one we want. We have finally chosen the D3200 for various reasons. The biggest one for me is is has the ability to share photos to the internet without hooking up the camera to the computer with a USB cable. This way, I can easily share pictures of Ravyn or road trips or even items for my etsy shop.
3. HP Pavilion p7-1500t Desktop PC ~ Jimmy is a gamer when he is home and his desktop is 4 years old. Not only that, it completely quit working a few months ago, and won't even turn on now. I've been looking around and checking things out and have decided this is the system I want. Yes, if you must know, I'll also be using it when he's on the road, so it has to work for both of us. This one is fast enough for gaming, has a great video card and has some of the extras I want. One of the important features for a new desktop is it MUST be wireless, because our router is now in the living room, thanks Century Link... Luckily we don't need a new monitor, we have 2 22" and they are working perfectly, LOL!
4. Samsung 22" LED TV ~ I want to get a TV for Jimmy for his truck. He doesn't read, so doesn't have much to do when he's finished driving for the day and needs to take a 10 hour or more break. There are times when he's sitting in a truck stop for 34 hours when he's driven out his allotted time for the week and must have a reset in order to be able to legally move again and go back to work. His truck has a place for a TV with an antenna connection so he's able to get local programming. Which comes in great if he's out over a Sunday when the Nascar race is on. 

5. Keruig Vue V700 ~ I already have a Kuerig and I LOVE it. My only complaint is the size of cups it can brew. I drink a LOT of coffee and even setting it to brew the largest cup only fills my mug about 3/4  full. This new model brews multiple sizes and temperatures. The ad on the Kuerig site says it will brew up to 18oz travel size mug, so yeah... I gotta have this machine. 
6. Samsung Galaxy S III ~ Jimmy needs to upgrade his cell phone, he currently has my old Blackberry. I have the Galaxy S II and LOVE it. I usually want or think I want the newest technology of anything. So when this one came out he began teasing me about he was gonna buy the S III for himself. I'm good with that, him having the S III, no REALLY, I'm good with it. I LOVE my S II and still don't know everything it can do. So, for a change Jimmy is getting the latest and greatest and I'm keeping the one I have. 
7. Kindle Fire HD ~ First let me explain, I already have a Nook and I love it, unfortunately I'm a little restricted in the things I can do with it. I have downloaded a Kindle app for my phone and use it all the time. When I began classes this past fall, we were told we could download our text books onto a Kindle. I haven't been doing this the screen on my phone is just too small to try to read a text book. So, because I use my Kindle app so much now, Jimmy has been looking at the Kindles. This model is the one I want. It will do everything I need and more. 
8. Samsung Smart Home Theater System 3D Blu-ray Player with built in WiFi ~ We all know by now I don't do anything small. Instead of buying just a 3D Blu-ray player, I found this. It's not too outrageously priced, I can budget it maybe for Yule, LOL!! No seriously, we currently have a DVD player/surround sound system that has moved a few times and will no longer play the iPod. It is time to replace it and I'm looking to upgrade. 
9. JBL OnBeat Venue Lightning ~ This is actually a shelf docking system for the iPod. I don't have any way to play the music on my iPod when I'm in the Temple room unless I use my headphones. This can be distracting sometime like when I'm trying to meditate or when I just want to hear music but not use the earbuds. We have shopped around and I've looked at many different brands, but I keep coming back to the JBL. It has a great sound and will fit nicely into any shelf I want to tuck it into.  
10. Janome 1100D ~ For Yule 2012, I made envelope type bags for Tarot cards for the girls. I also made arm warmers for Cheyenne. The Tarot envelopes were relatively easy and didn't give me much trouble. The arm warmers on the other hand were much more challenging than I had hoped. After spending some time with them, I did get them to turn out... but just OK. I love to sew, and can be pretty creative. I've sewn costumes and all sorts of clothes. And I've come to the conclusion I would probably be better off if I up grade my sewing machine. The one I have does a LOT. I've just decided I want a serger, and after checking out quite a few, I've found the Jenome. 

Whew! This one was a challenge. There are a few that can be managed this year, and others will need to stay on the *Wish List* for a while longer. But as with everything, I'll be taking this with Baby Steps... a little at a time. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wood Burning ... Fail!

At least for me. I tried it, and I think I'd probably be able to be productive with it. However, my hands say absolutely NOT! I was only able to manage one letter that was about an inch before my right hand began cramping up and looking like the *claw*.

So, Jimmy said he'd be glad to do any wood burning I'd like to have done for which ever project and I'm just going to stick to sewing, beading and painting. That leaves me 3 different mediums that have many creative outlets in each...

I have enough fabric to make 8 more Tarot bags, and then I've got a couple ideas running around for Spirit Boards. I know they look best when burned (at least to me) but I think I'm going to see if I can make them look *right* by painting the design.

Then I've also got some other things that haven't quite come together yet... In time, Vickie, in time. LOL!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Posts in the *Draft* mode... or Rambling on a Friday Morning...

This morning I was going through my settings here on the blog and found I have numerous posts I've begun, didn't finish and then stored them in *Draft*. Some of these posts may or may not ever see the light of day. I found a few of them to be things that I wrote when I was upset or angry or just needed to put thoughts into writing, these probably won't ever be *published* unless I go through and do some heavy editing. Others contain information I want to keep, and instead of putting it into a word doc and saving it to my laptop, I saved it here where I can find it from any computer. 

Then there are the few I've begun chronicling my trip to and from Arizona this past November. I'm not sure I can ever complete those posts and publish them. One in particular is my memories of my Momma. I write a bit in it every now and then, but can't seem to get it to the point I'd want to make the information public. I believe this particular post is my way of keeping Momma close to me while I deal with the loss of such a remarkable woman. 

At any rate, I wanted to clean up my post list, but found I can't remove anything. So, while this doesn't make any difference to those of you who read my blog, it DOES make a difference to me and my random bouts of OCD and the *need* to have things organized, clean and clutter free. 

And there you have my senseless rambling for today, LOL!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Faeries' Oracle ~ Sylvanius

I am really liking working with this deck. It is like a whole new world has opened up and each morning I find more words of wisdom to live by. Today's card is Sylvanius...


Sylvanius is the lord of the woodlands, his crown of antler branches signifying his authority. He presents the mask to us, supported by the Faerie of Aspiration, as she welcomes us to our own potential. We wear the mask to look inward, seeing our true selves - not our false and fearful selves, but the beings of light we truly are and what we have potential to be. It becomes very difficult for us to make excuses and blame others for our failures and fears once we have seen what we could be if we were willing - what in fact, we already are but are not quite living up to.

From before the time we were born, people have been projecting their ideas, hopes, fears and confusions on us. As we grow up, we accept many of these untrue projections as our reality - our partly false, partly true picture of ourselves.

At this time you are discovering new truths about yourself. They are essential for you to know in order to create relationships based on mutual respect, affection and trust. These things can only work if we see ourselves and others as we are. Currently, both Faerie and this world are functioning as a giant mirror in which we see ourselves in many surprising ways. People tend to dread this because we assume that we are worse than we think we are, but this is far from necessarily true. Now is a time for finding out the false and misleading beliefs you have accepted and discovering that you are a better person than you thought - and have the potential to accomplish more than you believed you could. If someone says you are better or simply different than you think you are, don't automatically reject this. Think it over carefully. You have more to give and more to enjoy than you have been giving yourself credit for.

Reversed ~ Sylvanius, Kundrun and the Faerie of Aspiration have ganged up on you. They are creating cracks in your ideas about yourself so that the light of truth may shine in. Mirrors jump out at us with unexpected reflections. The trick is learning to distinguish the distorted reflections of others' masks of untruth from the clear reflection of the Mask of Truth. Beware of the reflections that others cast upon you and look within for your own truth. Whenever someone says "Oh, you are so..." stop and ask yourself is this really true. It might just be their stuff, their projections and have nothing to do with you at all. (Froud & MacBeth, 2000).

Froud, B & MacBeth, J (2000), The Faeries' Oracle

Ten Things Thursday ~ Ten Favorite Places

WOW! Can you believe it is Thursday already? Since I missed last week I've been on top of the post for today. I went back through the archives to make sure I haven't duplicated anything, wanna keep this fresh and interesting for you all. Today I'm giving you ten of my most favorite places. I've been to each and every one of these locations and if I can find a picture I'll add them as well. So here we go ... in no specific order I give you my Ten Favorite Places.

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely~Lesperance

1. The Beach ~ We all know I LOVE the ocean and spending time on the beach, walking in the surf, or just sitting in a chair at waters edge gives me the most energizing I can get from any place. The ocean gives me peace, it gives me strength and it gives me my sanity. I've been to the beach on both the Pacific and the Atlantic and while both coasts are beautiful in their own way, I have to admit I prefer the east coast beaches. They are cleaner, and the water is much warmer. Also there is no seaweed in the east coast swimming areas. I'm not saying it's not there at all, I just haven't run into any. I did find seaweed along the California beaches... The picture is from Emerald Isle, North Carolina and it's of our very first trip before we ever moved down here from Maryland.

Picture Credit Travel Through San Diego

2. San Diego ~ When I lived in Arizona, I fell in love with San Diego on a trip with which ever husband it was at the time. After we divorced, I made numerous trips all by myself and found I could explore and discover so much more without having a tag along who didn't like to travel in the first place. Between 1998 and 2001 I would drive myself from Mesa, AZ to San Diego every 6 weeks and spend 3 or 4 days just relaxing and seeking. I found many things but my favorite place in San Diego was the Gas Light District or commonly known as The Heart of San Diego, with the cobbled streets and gas light lamp posts. The old world charm was everywhere you turned.

Photo Credit Steve Watson

3. San Francisco ~ You know that song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"? Well that applies to most people who have spent any time at all there. From Fisherman's Wharf, to Lombard Street, to the Golden Gate Bridge, to Alcatraz, to the famous and historic Painted Lady row houses, San Francisco has something for everyone. San Francisco is another place I would whisk myself away to on a solo trip. I'd have so much fun playing tourist, asking questions and just embracing the energy found there.

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely~Lesperance

4. Quechee Gorge, Vermont ~ I will be the first to admit, I am absolutely afraid of heights. But I LOVE Quechee Gorge. I think the thing that made it work for me was I didn't leave the ground at all, but walked across a stable highway bridge and looked down into the gorge. It is BEAUTIFUL!!! The water rushing through the gorge is amazingly loud and comforting at the same time. The flora and fauna of the area is so green and breathtaking. I've only been there once so far, Jimmy took me there on one of the trips we took from Maryland to Vermont to visit his family when we first moved to the East Coast. I am hoping to get back soon, maybe this summer if we can somehow work it out.

Picture Credit Greg Pease Photography

5. Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor ~ The first time I saw the Inner Harbor I was overwhelmed. There is SO much to do in downtown Baltimore and it can be a bit confusing if you are trying to figure it out on your own as a newcomer to the city. Jimmy and I went downtown exploring not too long after we moved to MD, we explored many places the entire time we lived there. But the Inner Harbor on New Year's Eve has got to be a very close rival to Times Square (OK, maybe not in reality, but it is in my world as I've never been to Times Square at all). The people, the excitement, the fireworks from a barge out IN the harbor. It was just unbelievable. And we were lucky enough to acquire two of the limited tickets to watch the fireworks from the top floor of the Trade Center just feet from the water and front and center to the barges. (That tall building to the right of the fireworks is where we were for the fireworks that New Year's Eve that I'll never forget.)

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely~Lesperance

6. Revel Grove, Maryland ~ Revel Grove is actually where the Maryland Renaissance Festival is held each year. When we lived in AZ, Jimmy & I had always wanted to go to the AZ Ren faire held in Gold Canyon  just outside of Apache Junction or the Phoenix metro area. However, that faire is held in January and February. Even though the temps could be mild, like as not it was too cold. And besides, a Ren Faire in the desert, with sand and cactus, just didn't fit my minds image of a Ren Faire. After moving to Maryland, we found the local faire and became addicted. It is held on a huge parcel of land that is rolling hills, grass, trees... everything I pictured in a setting for a Renaissance Faire. The first couple years, we looked like the normal touristy types, wearing street clothes and becoming lost in the crowd. Then we met some of the best people I have ever known and we felt like we became part of the *family*. I drug out the sewing machine and set to crafting *garb*. I made a kilt with a flowing poets sleeve shirt for Jimmy and for me it was a simple wenches chemise and over dress. Being in garb probably gave us more confidence, but the people are what made us feel welcome and included. Our last trip to Faire at Revel Grove was the 2006 season, before we moved to Michigan. I miss Revel Grove, and the people, food and entertainment we found there. Soon, Vickie... get your ducks in a row. Remember it's only a 5 1/2 drive from Hope Mills to Maryland. (The picture is actually at the Faerie Festival not the Ren Faire at Revel Grove. I couldn't find any pictures with just Jimmy or myself.)

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely~Lesperance

7. Glen Rock, PA & Darlington, MD ~ Yes, I know, 2 locations. These are the locations for the Faerie Festivals we have attended. I can't give you just one, because they BOTH are full of awesomesauce. Our first time at Faerie Festival was in Glen Rock, PA. at Spoutwood Farm. This is a huge wandering, meandering location full of magick and of course the Fae. Again, the first time we went we dressed in street clothes and stuck out like a sore thumb. Yes, there were other people not in costume, but not very many, LOL!!The pictures I have are mainly of the Faerie Festival in Darlington, MD as this was much closer to where we lived. And, to be honest, I didn't think to take a camera to Spoutwood... my bad, LOL!! This picture is of Candice Night (and me) from the group Blackmore's Night, which was taken after she autographed her latest CD for me.


8. Sedona, Arizona ~ Sedona is located half way between Phoenix and Flagstaff and is more commonly known as Red Rock country. Some of the mountains there have such an energy force flowing through them you can actually feel the pulsing as you are walking down the street. One of the prettiest places in the area is just north of the town in Oak Creek Canyon. The winding switchback two lane highway is not for the weak, LOL!! Living in Arizona for 41 of my 57 years, you can imagine how many times I visited Sedona, every time I went there was a new and exciting experience. The last time I was in Sedona, Jimmy & I went for the Christmas holiday 2001. What an amazing display of lights and decorations. We stayed at the Poco Diablo Resort (our room had a fire place and a view of the mountains, oh my!) and took the trolley to Tlaquepaque Courtyard for the Festival of Lights where they have so many Luminaries lighting the walkways, it's almost as if it is the edge of daylight instead of completely dark. The Festival of Lights is a one day event honoring those who have survived cancer in any form. If you are ever in Arizona, visiting Sedona is a MUST!!

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely~Lesperance
Justin, me, Mylia & Tanya 11/2012

9. & 10. Jimmy & Family ~ Yeah, I know, this is where I get all sappy. But it is true. I LOVE being with my family. There were a few years where we were all spread out so far across the country, I didn't think I would ever be able to see them very often. Justin & Tiffany live in Texas, they are the farthest away, and I MISS them and think about them all the time. Mylia & Cheyenne live in Maryland, not so far now that we have a reliable vehicle, but I still don't see them as often as I'd like. I guess I'm in the same boat as many other mother's whose children really did *fly the nest*, LOL!! Tanya is just 3 streets away, and even though I see her more frequently than the others, I still fantasize of having us all living closer together.

Picture Credit Vickie McNeely Lesperance
This is 5 of 7 granddaughters and my great niece
Cheyenne (with Riley my great niece on her lap) Cassandra, Taya, Alanna, & Micheyla. Ravyn was tired and didn't want her picture taken, LOL! And Angel couldn't come from Michigan

We were able to all get together for Momma's memorial back in November, but before that it was over 15 years since we ALL had been together at the same place at the same time. I don't know how we'd figure out how to live closer to each other. Justin has a great job at Lufkin Industries and Mylia works for NASA in Maryland. At any rate, I'm hoping things will somehow work out where we can all get together for family vacations or holidays or something every few years... 15 years is just too long between all of us getting together.

So there you have this week's version of Ten Things Thursday. I hope I didn't bore you too badly and you'll come back next week to see what I come up with. I'm thinking maybe my 10 favorite flowers, or 10 things I dislike, or how about the 10 tech toys I have on my wish list? LOL!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saturday Roadtrip

We've got the family together and we are taking a day trip down to Myrtle Beach. Just cruising slow along the back roads taking in the laid back country life. The houses are beautiful older country homes with large wrap around porches, giant yards and mature trees full of Spanish moss. I'd love to stop on the side of the road and bring some back up to the house, but I don't know if it would grow in North Carolina. So, I will content myself with taking these mini vacations and enjoy the way the Spanish moss seems to not only thrive but provide a shady cover when the trees have lost many of their leaves for the winter.

This is Ravyn's first time to the ocean and I am more than excited to see how she reacts. After parking, we strap her into her new princess umbrella stroller and away we go, down to the board walk, past the shops some of them open but many closed for the season. Remember, it's only January 12th, so don't expect too much. I see the Gay Dolphin is open, mental note, make sure to take Tanya in there after beach time and show her the Faerie figurines.

The beach is as beautiful as ever, I am more than happy to be here. I had a rocky beginning to the trip, but won't go into detail. Just know, by the time we finally made it and I was able to walk in the sand and wade in the surf, I had reached an emotional crisis. Thankfully Manannán mac Lir welcomed me and wrapped his healing over me.

Ravyn was a bit intimidated at first. Daddy took her by the hand and led her down to the sea, she ran from the gentle waves, then turned around and went right back to the waters edge.

I was so excited to see her overcome her fear as quickly as she did. She even got some sea water in her mouth, and made funny faces til Mommy brought her something to drink to get the salt out of her mouth.

After that Abi stepped up and showed her it could be fun to play in the bubbles coming from the sea. At first she still wasn't too sure, but after I went in with her made a game of picking her up when a *big* wave came, she started giggling and saying more, more Abi! LOL!! She's growing so fast and changing every day.

She left her mark on the beach and made us all teary eyed over her cute little foot prints.

She tried to pick one up and got all upset when she erased it. OMG I forgot to tell you... she's an expert at dropping the F Bomb! We were in the grocery on Sunday and outta the blue here comes plain as day f%$#. People were looking at us like we were crazy, so I started saying truck, Papa's at work in his truck. Ravyn was having NO part of that, but she did stop and let us get the groceries paid for and back in the truck before she began again, LOL!! Yes, I know it's not really funny, but if you knew our family, you would see even at 18 months, she fits right in...

She tried eating the sand where her foot print had been, as you can imagine, THAT didn't go over well at all. It took all of us to get her little mouth cleaned out. By the time we were finished she was crying and screaming, but her Bubby brought the sippy cup and all was well once again in Miss Ravyn's world, LOL!!

After the beach we drove over to Broadway on the Beach and went to Ripley's Aquarium and again had such a great time! Ravyn loved the fishes and she even touched a Ray and a Horseshoe crab. I particularly liked the little tank with the different species of seahorses. I was so engrossed in watching them float around, everyone else kinda moved on and left me there at that tank. I think all in all we spent about 2 hours at the aquarium taking our time seeing the exhibits and just enjoying the time together as family.

We wrapped up our trip at Hard Rock Cafe where we enjoyed some awesome yummies. Our server there was so cool, he said he has been with the company for quite a few years. Let me tell you, if every eating establishment had just one person like this guy, there would many happy customers all across the country.

Back in the truck, GPS set to home and off we go. Of course it's dark and I can't see much, but we did take the route that drove us right by Kenny Chesney's North Carolina home. I'm going back in the daylight to take some pictures. It's a beautiful sight at night with all the lights, I can only imagine what it looks like by the light of day.

So, there you have a wrap up of our little road trip this past Saturday. Have I told you recently how much I LOVE having our own transportation with the bonus if it being large enough to seat all of us with NO problems? I see many more day trips on the horizon... LOL!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday... I OWN You!!

I've been having a bit of a struggle finding my inner bliss. It seems for the past few weeks, I get up in a great mood, begin my day and then around 3PM ... BAM! I'm a raging bitch, snapping at everyone and irritable beyond description. I can't keep doing this. So today I made some changes. From the minute I got out of bed, I changed most of my morning routine.

I used to run straight for the coffee maker, take the dogs out, turn on the laptop and slowly allow my body to find it's happy place all the while sitting in front of my Facebook News Feed. Before I knew what was going on I'd been sitting there for 2 or 3 hours! This morning I got up, let the dogs out, turned on the coffee maker and went to the Temple. I lit the candles and incense then turned on the iPod with some Gary Stadler. I spent about an hour meditating, grounding and re-energizing ME.

Before I lost track of what I was doing, I would draw a Tarot card each day and that would give me a clue as to how my day was going to go, if I drew it first thing in the morning OR how my day played out if it was drawn at the end of my day. Today, while sitting on the floor in the Temple, I took out my Faeries' Oracle cards by Brian Froud and Jessica MacBeth, began to shuffle them and for lack of a better word *play* with them.  I fanned them out in an arch on front of me and passed my hand over them a few times, before I pulled The Master Maker card.

The Master Maker is the card for Skill, Craftmanship, Magician, Moral Strength and Invention. "The Master Maker is the master of the forge, upon which we create our futures and forge our own souls. Do whatever you do as well as you can. And then, make it even better. The Master Maker reminds us that our very best work is always desirable, and in the present situation, it is necessary for success. In fact, he asks that we surpass our previous best. Don't cut corners and don't take the easy way. Whether making a thing or fulfilling a concept, be sure the design is elegant, pure, and functional, and then follow it, attending to every detail in its turn. He says "Design beyond your skill, and then raise the level of your skill to fulfill it". Give and accept only  the best, and do it with love of your craft, what ever that craft may be.

This card speaks of long lasting achievement, creative problem solving, and confident action. It may suggest cooperation with others, especially from a position of responsibility, or of traditional principles, in life and in work" (Froud & MacBeth, 2000).

I have to admit, I was a bit confused at first, but then I woke up some and figured out this was telling me how to set up the schedule I need to implement for getting through my next course at Ashford. I also wanted to find a way to set aside a portion of each day for sewing and crafting. I've got SO many things I want to accomplish before Yule, even though I have a time frame in my head for completing each project, I now have them plugged into a calender I set up just for crafting.

I have also been neglectful of my house and the way I like it to look. It's been *weeks* since I made our bed correctly. I've just been getting up and pulling the comforter up and throwing the pillows on. This morning I actually took the blankets and comforter off the bed, straightened the sheets, and put everything back as it should be... well at least the way I think they should be. I even pulled the spread off the shelf in my closet where it's been hiding for a while now and put that back in the bed in it's rightful place.

You can also see where I've begun the layout of the mural of Victoria Francis pictures I'm working on. I'm planning to buy frames for each of them and then actually attach them to the wall with picture hangers instead of tape and tacks. LOL!! (That little door type thing in the right side of the picture is actually our fuse panel or breaker box).

Before I fell into the pit of depression after my mother passed away I was taking vitamins and drinking lots of green tea and water. I fell off that wagon when we went to Arizona and didn't get back on until yesterday. I'm now back to daily taking Vit B Complex, bee pollen, honey & cinnamon, and drinking fresh brewed green tea along with 6 glasses of water throughout the day (my glasses are big suckers).

So there you have part 1 of my plan to change the things in my little corner of the world so I stop having a mini melt down each afternoon. Part 2 will be to see if I can follow the study schedule I've come up with so I can stop freaking out over how badly I've been procrastinating when it's the day my assignments are due and I haven't even begun to work on them... *sigh

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Munchies ~ Oreo Truffles


I have a friend who is one of the most amazingly talented young ladies I have ever met. She’s a Dean’s List student who has already been accepted to Graduate School for Elementary Education for Special Needs Children. Along with her dedication to her studies and future plans, she also makes some kick ass goodies. Last year she introduced us to Oreo Balls. Since then I've changed up the recipe just a tiny bit and renamed them to Oreo Truffles. Once you bite into these chocolaty yummies you will want more than one… I PROMISE!!

Oreo Truffles

 Ingredients:

1 (16 oz.) package Oreo cookies
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 (24 oz.) package white almond bark, or good-quality white chocolate chips
Optional: shortening (to thin out the chocolate)
Optional: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for drizzling

Method:
In a food processor, mix together the Oreos and cream cheese until they are well-blended. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush the Oreos in a large Ziploc bag, and then stir/mix in the cream cheese by hand.) 


Remove, and then shape the dough into little balls about 1″ in diameter. Chill the balls in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Or pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes.)



Meanwhile, melt the almond bark (or white chocolate chips) in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. If it is too thick, feel free to stir/melt in a tablespoon or two of shortening to thin it out. Then begin dipping each of the balls by dropping them one-at-a-time into the chocolate, and then carefully removing them with a fork (let the excess chocolate drip through the prongs), and then set them to dry on wax paper or aluminum foil.

 Optional chocolate drizzle: Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave or double-boiler. Then spoon mixture into a pastry bag with a small tip, and use it to pipe your favorite lines or pattern on the truffles. OR, spoon the mixture into a small Ziploc bag, seal it, and then cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners and use it to pipe your design. OR, simply dip a fork in the chocolate mixture, and swish it back and forth over the truffles for a fine drizzle.

Other variations on this recipe include:

Ingredients:
Switch the chocolates, so that you dip the truffles in dark/milk/semi-sweet chocolate, and then drizzle with white chocolate
Use mint Oreos for “mint truffles”
Add in 1/2 tsp. of your favorite extract to the Oreo mixture (almond, hazelnut, etc.)
Add in 1 tsp. ground instant coffee for “mocha truffles”

Toppings:
Finely crushed Oreos
Finely crushed peppermints (for “mint truffles”)
A coffee bean (for “mocha truffles”)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Falling Behind...

So I didn't write anything yesterday and today all you get is this pathetic excuse for a catch up post. I've been lazy and Jimmy is home for the next few days, so sharing computer and spending time together makes me not want to write.

I'm in my final week of Interpersonal Communication at Ashford which means I have to finish up a research paper and do 2 discussion questions. Week 5 always sends me into a mild panic, I don't know why, but probably because I procrastinate and put things off til the very last minute.

I need to do a post for Ten Things Thursday and accept the award I was given. I will do my very best to catch up tomorrow...maybe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Biting My Tongue...

Yes, I admit I have been overly careful with the things I've been writing. I didn't want to upset anyone, I wanted my blog to be all sunshine and lollipops. No one has made any comments to me about how I write, the inner *me* just felt I needed to change things up. This plan lead me to not be able to write as much as I wanted. And the muses are not pleased...

Unfortunately, that isn't who I am or how I write. I write for me. This is my place to express the things I'm feeling whether they be good or bad. If you have a problem with something I write about, the only option I'm giving you is to remove yourself from following my blog. I'm not going to be changing for anyone ever again.

There will be entries that are full of laughter and light and others that are from the darkest pits of depression. On some days I may write about how some close minded person pissed me off with their holier than thou attitude. On other's I may give you words of wisdom as only my off kilter mind can produce.

Bottom line here... this is MY place. If you don't like the things I have to say I'll share some very sage words of advice from my Momma & Daddy "Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya"!

Buh bye...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Munchies ~ Mongolian Beef

Once again there has been some issues with recipes and people thinking they are copyrighted. As per U.S. Copyright Law recipes are NOT covered by copyright law.

I LOVE Chinese food and have a difficult time finding a place where they make a good Mongolian Beef. I have tried the offerings of the many local Chinese take out's here in the Sand Hills with no luck. They either make it too hot and spicy or too salty. My favorite place to eat is of course PF Chang's or their more casual Pei Wei. Both places have the most excellent Mongolian Beef I have ever had, unfortunately there isn't a location for either of these places here in Hope Mills or the neighboring Fayetteville. So, I did some research and played around with a recipe, added some things and didn't use some others in the recipe I finally chose until I got it pretty close to perfection... The below is MY version of Mongolian Beef.

Mongolian Beef
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 lb beef tenderloin, thinly sliced against the grain
1 TB corn starch 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ginger, grated
2 1/2 – 3 TB Soy sauce
1 1/2 TB dark brown sugar
1 tsp dry sherry
2 TB water*
3 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces (green parts only)
1-2 TB canola oil for the pan

1. Stir together Soy sauce, sugar, water, and dry sherry. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil completely coats the bottom of the pan. Dredge the beef in corn starch. Shake off any excess starch. Add the beef and quickly sauté until lightly browned.

3. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the sauce from step 1. The sauce should quickly come to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and allow it to bubble. Keep stirring. Reduce until it becomes thicker and glazes the beef. It should happen very quickly, within minutes.

4. Throw in the green onions at the last minute. Mix. Turn off the heat immediately. Serve with steamed brown or white rice. (We like brown rice better)

*Note: The corn starch helps to brown the beef and thicken the sauce once the sauce is added to the pan. And make sure to shake off excess corn starch. It’s not a batter, you just want to lightly coat or dust the beef. If you are not using starch, you do not need to add water to the sauce. Additionally, you can use low-sodium Soy sauce to further reduce the sodium content.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sleepy Sunday...

It's very dark and dreary here in the Sand Hills, been raining all day and is supposed to continue through out the night. But that's OK, I like days like today. Jimmy is on his way to Dallas, I have the house all to myself and all is well in this corner of the world. Well, except for the cold I picked up last week and can't get it to continue on it's journey. I told it this morning I was finished and to pack up and take a hike. Damn thing didn't listen too well...

My day has been moderately productive, I made a pot of chili, made from scratch jalapeno & green chili corn bread and then  also whipped up a pan of made from scratch decadent dark chocolate brownies and topped them off with the frosting recipe found on the box of Hershey's baking cocoa. I did a load of laundry, and took off my acrylic nails.

I discovered a few days ago, if I'm gonna be a crafty Witch, my nails get in the way. And I'm not going anywhere special, nor is there a big holiday on the horizon (if ya don't count my birthday), so I can do without the nails for a few weeks. I have lots of projects to tackle, more Tarot bags to make, a Spirit board to work on and a few other items I need to *begin* in order to have them complete by Yule. Yes, I know Yule is over 11 months away... but I have a BIG list of things I want to finish for gifts and decorations and I'm NOT waiting until the last minute which will irritate me and cause me to not finish.

I'm trying to be more organized, make lists and check things off as I get them done. That's all good in theory, until my brain takes an unapproved vacation day like it did today. None of the items on today's check list were touched. Lot's got done, just nothing on the *list*, LOL!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Keepin Up With the Jones's ...

All over Facebook, I'm seeing where people have gone out and paid good money (anywhere between $119.00 and $200.00) for a Keurig coffee system but to later realize it's expensive to use this machine. The K-cups alone cost anywhere from $9.99 to $15.99 depending on the flavor and quantity in the box chosen. And if you love coffee anywhere near like I LOVE my coffee, this can be pretty expensive.

I have a Keurig and I LOVE it! However, I took the time to research the ins and outs of this system. I knew up front my initial investment would be big and I also knew if I wanted to use it on a regular basis, I'd be paying for the coffee that goes through my brewer.  I've been called a coffee snob and it's a title I'll proudly wear. We use Starbuck's Verona blend, it's over $12 a pound and you can find me each week visiting our local Barnes & Nobel where they have a Starbuck's inside to purchase a pound or two of this heavenly blend. I'll give up chocolate before I give up my Verona, LOL!!

Here's where I feel I'm ahead of the game. I use my Keurig but I also use my regular coffee maker. When Jimmy is home I use our regular coffee maker and brew up to 10 cups each morning. Depending if we have a lazy day and can sit and enjoy the coffee or if we have things to do, I have been known to toss close to half the pot down the drain. In order to stop wasting coffee, I went and purchased a My KCup single cup REUSABLE insert for my Keurig. This not only cuts the cost of buying KCups, but also keeps us from pouring coffee down the drain. It cost me about $15.

Don't get me wrong, I STILL pay for the flavored coffee's (Kahlua is my ALL TIME favorite!) I love so much for the Keurig, I'm just not throwing good money after bad, or deciding I can't afford to use my Kuerig any longer and go out and buy a new coffee maker that I really didn't need in the first place if I'd only done some research BEFORE I made the initial investment for the big fancy Keurig.

These things happen when you gotta keep up with the Jones's... and oh yeah, I'll be upgrading my Keurig system sometime this year. They came out with a model (it's called the Keurig Vue) that brews hotter, stronger and bigger. And you can bet your ass, I'll be buying the insert to use my regular coffee when I'm not using the vue cups. I did my research...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Grrr....

This morning I got up feeling much better than I had all week. Jimmy is home until tomorrow and I asked if he felt like going out and doing something because I've been in the house all week and needed to get outside for a while, he says sure let's go...

I have a million and one things running around in my head for craft projects and today I was on the search for the things to do one of those...just one. I came home with none of the things I went after. Which has left me more than frustrated and a bit irritable.

I want to learn wood burning, so we did buy a nice wood burning tool set. I have no idea how to use it and probably won't expend the effort to even unwrap it for a few days. My goal for today was to get a piece of wood I could play with/practice on. I'm thinking I can spend less than 10 bucks at Michael's or someplace... nope, didn't happen. When we started out, I wanted a piece of wood and some paint... somewhere along the way, my scattered mind went on vacation, leaving me with the inability to make a solid decision.

Thus I came home with a scrap piece of wood from Home Depot, a wood burning tool I have NO idea how to use and no paint... and this my friends is my fulfillment for posting today. Now I am done. I'll be back tomorrow. Maybe.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ten Things Thursday... My Favorite Quotes

It's been a while since I posted on Thursday. Now that we are in a new year and I'm in a better frame of mind, I'm going to make an effort to continue where I left off of SO many things. Today I'm giving you my ten favorite quotes in no particular order...


1. "Well behaved women rarely make history" ~ Lauren Thatcher Ulrich

2. "The first time I called myself a 'Witch' was the most magical moment of my life." ~ Margot Adler

3. "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." ~ Marilyn Monroe

4. “Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ~ Shel Silverstein

5. "More than life, more than honor, I love thee."  ~ Karen Marie Moning ~ The Highlander

6. "In your love, I've found, all the reasons my heart needs, to feel grateful, cheerful, and somewhat content." ~ Hallmark Cards

7. "Give to me my mouth that I may speak with it. May I follow my heart at it's season of fire and night, they come forth the souls upon the earth...” ~ The Egyptian Book of the Dead

8. " Open the door wide, get out of the way, and let in any wandering Goddesses in the shape of moods, inspirations, and passions. You can always send them home if they get too unruly and invite them back another day." ~ Francesca Di Grandis ~ The Goddess Initiation

9. "If that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of desire." ~ Doreen Valiente

10. “The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” ~ Chief Seattle

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Write Every Day...


WRITE EVERY DAY, the Muse insists. Don't skip a day no matter how you're feeling, no matter how many wars your country is fighting, no matter how many tornado's are heading your way. Crawl into your storm cellar and pick up a pen. If you can't think of anything to say, write the word God again and again. If you don't believe in God, write the word dog. Everyone believes in dogs.
"Sy Safransky's Notebook," The Sun, July 2011

I'm going to give this a try and see if I can follow my Muse. I want to write something every day, hopefully it will be something I can post here so you all can hold me accountable. There may be days when I follow the instructions and just write *dog* and others when I write utter nonsense. Who knows where this will lead. Now, having made the above disclaimer I give you:

In just one short month I will be celebrating my 57th birthday. Yes, I am an Imbolc baby and I LOVE every aspect of what that entails. I was born on the second day of the second month of the Gregorian calender. I am many of the facets of a child born on the 2nd...

Born on the 2nd you have a need for peace and harmony. You dislike confrontations and chances are, you know how to make compromises to keep the peace. You are a lover, not a fighter. You work well with others and are very supportive. You also are very sensitive and your feelings can be easily hurt. You are very perceptive about people if not downright psychic. You sense far more than you probably realize. You may be indecisive from time to time simply because you see both sides of the decision you are trying to make. You are good with details and you may tend to collect things.

What I've Been Doing...

Monday, New Year's Eve, I spent almost all day in my Craft room. I began by giving it a thorough cleaning, putting things back in their place, dusting and then reorganizing, and then burned some white sage for purification. My room is my Temple. I spend so much time in there so when the energy is off by even a small bit I can sense it. This room is also my craft room, where I paint, sew, scrapbook, do bead work, and just be an all around crafty Witch.

After the holidays and the mess I made sewing, the Craft room needed some serious energy alignment. I worked my fingers sore for the month of December. Like many people our finances were extremely tight, especially after having to take an unexpected trip to Arizona. SO, I drug out the sewing machine, went to JoAnne's and got all crafty for the females in the family.

Cheyenne, my 16 year old granddaughter LOVES arm warmers. She had a pair with her the entire time she spent with us over the summer. Jimmy gave her crap and teased her relentlessly over her wearing things on her arms in 100 degree temperatures. I had no idea if I could successfully re produce these crazy things. But I gave it a shot and came up with 2 pair of arm warmers. They were a little more challenging than I at first thought they would be, but I persevered and even though I feel I can be more successful with a surging machine, I am ecstatic over the way they turned out. 

When she unwrapped the box they were in, she immediately put on the black ones. She said she was going to wear them to school and tell her teachers her Mother F*@#$%^# Grandmother made them for her. I was over the moon knowing she really DID like them! And in reality, they weren't as difficult as I thought they would be. You know how you psych yourself up to fail before you even begin? I do that a LOT. But I made these with no pattern, no written guidance and just from looking at the pair Cheyenne had over the summer. I don't think these left her arms the entire time they were here. She had them on the day the left to go back to Maryland too!

Next up were bags for Mylia, Cheyenne and Tanya's Tarot cards. I have this envelope type bag I keep my cards in, and after carefully looking it over, I figured I'd be able to duplicate it without too much confusion on my part. I took my bag apart, and measured and drew a  pattern. I have to say, this was one of the easiest things I have ever made. I gave each girl a black one, and then Mylia got a green one, Tanya a purple one and Cheyenne got the blue one. I kept the extra green and purple one and made an additional black one for myself. I LOVE these! 

It felt great to get back into sewing and crafting. There are so many ideas running around in my mind for things I can do, and I can't wait to put some of them to motion. I've set up an Etsy store, and while it's empty at this time, I know I can do this. When I have some things available to add to the store, I'll post a link and you can check me out, LOL!  I look forward to the rest of the year and the many opportunities I have been given.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2013!

I know, I know... everyone is writing today and setting their goals or resolutions for the coming year. I have a few goals as well, and like many people I believe mine are THE ones that will rock the world. However, unlike many people, I learned an enormous lesson from previously failed goals and my inability to stand firm with my resolutions. I don't make resolutions about weight loss, quitting smoking, writing every day or any of the more popular choices folks seem to trot out this time of the year. I don't make a last minute list to toss about in the first few hours of the new year... I spend some time contemplating the things from the previous year I want to remove from my life and the others I want to improve on. Then I set a plan for implementing the improvements. And I begin with baby steps...

First up is getting me back to me. The past 9 weeks have been the most difficult of  times I have ever experienced and I still find myself wanting to crawl into a hole and pull the ground in after me. Since my mother passed away on October 27th, my experience with depression has gone from a mild type of seasonal  depression that I go through every year, to full blown leave me alone, let me cry, I don't care, I'm not leaving my bed, non functioning human being here. Fortunately, I have an amazing family, fantabulous friends and support system who let me work through the grieving process but wouldn't let me become the zombie I so wanted to be. Today, I can look in the mirror and know I'm on my way back, and even though I still hurt and miss my Momma, it is getting a tiny bit easier as each day passes to be a contributing part of the functioning human species once again.

I am taking time to meditate and work on my inner self, which in turn will help me with my next step of eating better. I have been lazy, and lackadaisical with my kitchen and cooking responsibilities. I only cook when there is someone here besides me. With Jimmy on the road junk food was not only easier but seemed a way to *comfort* myself. I did cook for Thanksgiving and I did cook for Christmas. I'm cooking today and I'm the only one here. But the things I could microwave were what I've been eating for the most part. I know,I know...it's no where near being any kind of healthy and I am paying for it...I promise you that. And as I begin to eat healthy once again, I hope in a round about way that eating right will in turn lead to the beginning of weight loss. With both my parents and my maternal grandmother having TypeII diabetes I know I am a prime candidate to develop this horrible disease and I am determined to NOT be the next in line, to actually beat the odds. It's difficult, I know that, and I'm also weak willed, I give in to temptation all too easily.

There you have it, my baby step, real and attainable goals for the beginning of 2013. Yes, I have more hopes, dreams and things I want to manifest in my life and the life of my family through out the coming year, but again...I'm progressing with teeny tiny baby steps. One tiny step at a time...

Happy New Year, Y'all!!