Monthly Archives: October 2016

Trick or Treat

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Does it count if I wear my ritual gear as a costume?

Does it count if I wear my ritual gear as a costume?

Halloween on a Monday!   It’s been a weekend of ghouls and goblins and I’ve still got a lot to do to be ready for the little ones knocking on the door tonight.  Of all the scary things we’ve done in the last week I think the top one was voting.

 

 

 

This has been an election season wrought with emotional ups and downs, no matter who you prefer.  We have the option of voting early and have found it’s much easier for Orion and me.   It feels like a weight off to have it done, although the election results are still a bit Sword of Damocles.   I’ll say it again next week – the day before the actual election – but if you have the opportunity, please exercise your right to VOTE!

Not quite as scary during the day, but easier to get a photo

Not quite as scary during the day, but easier to get a photo

 

 

Karina threw her first big party in the new house.  Halloween Housewarming.  (Oh, and incidentally her boyfriend’s birthday).  It was a smash.  She entertained kids, visited with relatives, partied with old friends and stayed up until the wee hours with the dependable hold outs.

What more do you need? Coffee, beer, "poison" apples and a birthday pie.

What more do you need? Coffee, beer, “poison” apples and a birthday pie.

 

 

 

I did my part the day before.  We shopped and tidied up decorations and got the food prepared to go.  She still has most of my chairs.  Of course I put in an appearance at the party as well.   It was fun to see all the kids all grown up.

These girls slept over, traded clothes and shared secrets for years. Now one is pregnant, one is engaged and one just moved into a house.

These girls slept over, traded clothes and shared secrets for years. Now one is pregnant, one is engaged and one just moved into a house.

 

 

 

Halloween is a mixed bag because it’s also a high holiday.  The honoring on the ancestors happens all year round, but at this time of year it is done formally.  Sharing remembrances is a little bittersweet, but it can be very heartwarming as well.

Even Orion's Grandpa stopped in to see the new house.

Even Orion’s Grandpa stopped in to see the new house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few posts I’ve written in the past about Samhein celebrations.

Ancestors and Descendants

Legacy

 

 

Author

resized_20161022_171951It’s been awhile since I’ve really felt like an author.  My first book is out of print.  The last few years I’ve been contributing to anthologies rather than writing on my own themes.  I’ve had a hard time making the space to work on my next book.  Life happens.

This past weekend, though, has been a writers week for me.   On Friday I attended Women of Words.   I’ve been a member of this amazingly supportive writers group for over a year, but I’ve had to miss meetings the last few months.  It’s great to feel “back on track.”

Then, as my regular readers know, I went to the Minnesota State University, Mankato Women and Spirituality Conference.  I spent most of the weekend vending my books (and the anthologies) and being “seen” as a writer.  I also gave a well attended workshop on Daily Practice (the next book).

my view for most of the weekend

my view for most of the weekend

There were some gems that dropped into my ears over the course of the weekend.   Some of them were immediately useful.  Others I’m still digesting.  I’ll share.

One of the Women of Words said that when you go to sell your books you need to have the expectation that they will sell.   Now that seems self evident, but I know I have set up vending with “Maybe I’ll sell a few books” in my head.  Not this time, and it made a significant difference in my sales.

The conference keynote speaker, Daisy Hernandez, talked about the power of memoir.  How when we share those personal stories we often find they are much bigger than we are.  In telling our own stories we tell a human story, a culture story, and there are at least elements of that story that belong in other people’s stories as well.  It’s hard for me to share those personal stories, but I know when I do my books are better for it.

My table was across from the artist who drew the cards in the Spirit of Archetypes divination deck.  I drew the Martyr card.   These cards carry “illuminated” and “shadow” meanings.  The shadow of the martyr is exactly what you think.  The illuminated archetype is about conviction and commitment to a purpose.   Like being an author and owning it.

Speaking about Daily Practice

Speaking about Daily Practice

When I speak about Daily Practice, and especially when I speak to women I have to address the issue of “How do I put myself first?”.  This comes across in a lot of ways.  It can be about time.  It can be about priorities.  It can be about reluctance to do self care.  It’s a very prevalent theme when I converse with people about their issues with Daily Practice and it’s certainly been one of my issues as well.

One of the suggestions I give to people who can’t seem to “do it for ourselves” is to dedicate the practice to the Divine.  Make your practice devotional, take a sacred vow to do the practice, add a gratitude component.  Essentially I recommend heightening the perceived value of the practice beyond just something we do for ourselves.

So… it finally occurs to me on the drive home to LISTEN to some of the things that come out of my own mouth.  What if marketing and promotion (the necessary and my least favorite parts of this job) were sacred service?  What if all marketing and promoting was about opening a channel for the Divine to inspire more people?   This one I’m still chewing on, but it tastes a whole lot better with this kind of seasoning.

Samhein/Halloween is New Year for Wiccans.  I’m feeling well packed for a new start.

Resolve

The squirrels are building their winter nests

The squirrels are building their winter nests

It’s definitely autumn and this week I’m getting ready for the Women and Spirituality Conference at Mankato State University.   I’ve attended this conference in years past (links to old posts at the bottom) and enjoy it for a number of reasons.   I find it a great networking opportunity.  (too bad I’m so bad at following up on those networking contacts.)  The keynote speakers are often both educational and inspiring.  I have an opportunity to see people I only see at the conference, and catch up.

I also have the opportunity to present.  This year I’m only doing one presentation, and it’s one I’ve done in many different settings.  When I submitted the proposal I had a plan to get my next book written and possibly even printed before the event.  I went so far as to acquire a space in the vendors room to sell books.  That didn’t happen.

This year's program

This year’s program

I still have books to sell, just not a new one.  I will still do a great workshop and practice that whole self-promotion thing, referring folks to my other work.  But I won’t have a book on the topic of my workshop.  Life has just gotten in the way again.

Which leads me to thinking about how badly I need some resolve in my life.  I need to resolve to get back to work on my writing.  I need to resolve to be methodical in my attempts to deal with the house (the kitchen project is back at square one due to the bank and the city being unable to come to terms and my furnace isn’t heating).   I need to find space to work, to socialize, to write, to keep up with the daily grind.  That’s not as easy as it sounds when you don’t have a lot of structure in the schedule.

On the plus side I’m finding that I’m not as interested in the new TV season, even the shows I’ve watched in the past.  Mostly that’s because finding the sites to stream the series I like is more complicated.  (Hulu no longer carries everything)  I’ll take that as a blessing.    I know I spend way too much time on the computer, avoiding the things I get on the computer to do.  (More Facebook than writing, more YouTube than researching, more gaming community than business networking – I have a talent for distraction.)  But that also means that I know where to find the time.

Fall colors are starting to fade, even though not everything has turned.

Fall colors are starting to fade, even though not everything has turned.

A lot of my issue can be solved by a “just do it” attitude.  Hence the need for resolve.  As we approach the Wiccan New Year (Halloween/Samhein) it seems like a good time to get these things in hand.

That’s what the workshop I’m doing at the Women and Spirituality Conference is about.  I’m due for an updated version of walk the talk.   This week is my kickstart.  Resolve

 

 

 

Grandmothers

Crafting

Conference

Pain

Daily Practice

 

Full Heart

Thrilled to be there in support of my sister

Thrilled to be there in support of my sister

After last week’s migraine it was crazy trying to get everything packed and ready for this weekend’s adventure.  But it was well worth it.  Orion said, repeatedly, “My heart is full.”  Mine too.

This weekend we were privileged to attend my sister’s wedding.  Andrea and Butch have been together for many years now.  We’ve certainly embraced Butch as a member of the family and Andrea has also been welcomed into his.  There was a lot of resistance to actually getting married, especially on my sister’s part.

Their minister and good friend is happy to take some credit for getting these two together.

Their minister and good friend is happy to take some credit for getting these two together.

Andrea is a proud, capable, and independent woman.  She has been a music teacher since she graduated from college (lifetimes ago).  She has trained as an EMT and run the kitchen at a Boy Scout summer camp.  She is the music director at her church and plays in the orchestra for many local productions.

Butch is also proud and capable.  He built his home himself and continues to putter.  He’s worked in design and development as an engineer.  He’s traveled the world, served in the military and raised a family that includes an adult child with special needs.  (His best man at the wedding.)

Mom and Dad are overjoyed to see their daughter so happy

Mom and Dad are overjoyed to see their daughter so happy

This is not a marriage about finding a prince charming or a nursemaid.  This is not a marriage about needing someone to take care of things.  This is not a marriage about need at all.  This is a marriage about sharing.  Sharing a life together.  Sharing family.  Sharing joys and burdens.  Sharing service, in the church, community, and in the world.  Sharing interests and opportunities to learn new things.

There is nothing more delightful than to attend a wedding where EVERYONE is thrilled to be there. The children and grandchildren on both sides fully support this union.  My parents are beaming with joy.  As Orion so aptly states, our hearts are full.

Of course there was cake

Of course there was cake

Congratulations Andrea and Butch.  May you have many, many years of happiness and love to share with each other!

and more cake

and more cake

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