Friday, August 31, 2012

IHS Giveaway Winner!

 Thank you to all who entered! I won't be able to make it to this session of IHS because of us going ahead with trying to buy a house right now. We are on a spending strike. So I won't see you gals there but I know you will love it!

To sign up for the Intuitive Heart Sanctuary and receive 25% off:

Peace and Love.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Sometimes nature is just....naughty.
And I am immature.

I needed the good laugh of the tushie fruit, I mean cherimoya, that was awaiting Donna and I at the store the other day. And FYI, always wait till the cherimoya is ripe before trying it for the first time. How you know it's ripe? I have no idea. I think it involves squeezing it to see if it's a bit soft. Oops. There I go again thinking about squeezing a tushie. Alright, alright. I'm going too far. I swear, this is a spiritual journey I am on that you are all following along.

We also harvested some herbs yesterday. 
 We have three basil plants that we have saved but all this basil minus the lot we used for pesto for dinner is now in the dehydrator.

 This isn't even 1/3 of our Rosemary. I didn't want to over harvest it.

Dimple butt. <3
I need to look up all the medicinal uses for basil and rosemary now.

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Moving Forward

I have a kitten asleep on my lap and although life is super hectic around here it's somehow completely calm. 

We have decided to move forward with buying a house and selling or getting our house ready to rent out. I found a house I liked a few weeks ago online but didn't show Joey. I figured it was out of our price range and just bad timing. He found the same house Sunday night and really liked it. We never agree on a house so I figured we should at least go look at it. I messaged the realtor to set up a showing and on Monday we were emailing about a time. There was an offer put in that morning on the house so she wanted us to come ASAP to look just in case, in case we wanted to fight till the death for it. We went hoping to find something wrong with it. Something that would show us it wasn't meant to be, that we needed to sit on our hands and ban internet surfing when it came to homes for a year. It didn't. And the offer that came in was rejected.

The offer was rejected.

Joey left there deflated because he was in love with it. Mad that he wanted to move forward with it. He said he did not want to try to get it however because he didn't want us to get our hopes up and then not be able to get it. I told him that I'd rather we try and get turned down for a legitimate reason than to never try at all. I'd rather stave off any "what ifs."

Here we are. Climbing out of the comfortable. Diving into the chaotic and exciting. 

And that kitty I mentioned?
Another change in this household. We had gotten a kitty earlier this year. It was bad timing and either Penelope happened to be allergic to it, or just conveniently got sick at the exact same time it entered the doors of our house. We had him for a couple days and then re-homed the little abandoned kitty. My friend was recently gifted a Balinese cat momma. She was pregnant. She had 7 little kitties. I may or may not have rubbed a kitty on Penelope's face to see if she'd have a reaction. Balinese kitties are supposed to be hypoallergenic but the kittens are not pure bred so we weren't sure. So far no reaction. This little guy is now a part of the family. We've named him Tesla, after Nikola Tesla of course. He had this mad scientist look to him and his tail reminded us of a Tesla Coil when he got mad at the dog. Joey wants to call him Skippyjon Jones.
Yeah, I see it. 

Peace and Love,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good Earth Living

While in Texas with Laura we got chatting about apothecaries and our mutual desire to have our own. Knowing I have a love for natural healing and knowing that I was on the path to this, Laura told me about this "Apothecary Circle" that she wanted to sign up for and asked if I would do it with her because she thought it would be nice for us to take this journey together. When she sent me the info for it I immediately found myself saying, "Yes yes YES!" This was the perfect time to finally dive head first into it instead of just putting it off till later. I was already in the process of starting to grow my own herbs/medicinal plants to use in my own tinctures and teas so this is PERFECT. 
If you are interested in this path I suggest you check out Laura Emily's listing for this class that starts in December, but even better, she has offered anyone who signed up in August the chance to be an affiliate. Which means I have a coupon code for you! If you use the code Herbs75 during checkout you get 15% off and I earn 15%. Plus, look at this amazing kit she gives out to the August sign ups!
 AUGUST Sign-ups
Those who sign up in the month of August, they will receive:
-a free master apothecary kit to start their home apothecaries. This kit include 15 bulk herbs, 5 earth clays, boston round bottles to create tinctures, organic beeswax, 3 resins (frankincense, myrrh, and copal) organic sweet almond oil, organic essential oils -including lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass-, Himalayan pink salt, dead sea salt, organic celtic grey salt, Epsom salt, and more! Over $100 worth of materials! The Master Apothecary Kit will be mailed out in October.
-August sign-ups will automatically be enrolled in the Good Earth Living affiliate program to earn 15% commission on sales made with their individual code, including a press kit to ensure their success in earning commissions (members will NOT be asked to sell products- our affiliation program works purely on referrals). The Affiliate program is pretty new for Good Earth Living, and I am already sending out several hundred this month in commissions to sweet souls just like yourself, who merely posted about the shop on facebook.
-August signups throughout the year they will access a monthly one-on-one consultation with me, checking in and scripting out a game plan. Along with earning a certificate of training in Home Apothecary, August member sign ups will earn emphasis studies in Space-Clearing, Holistic Nutrition, and Detoxing. All Apothecary Circle members will have free access to all eBooks, eCourses, workshops and lessons throughout 2013.

Also, I have a nifty little affiliate button on the sidebar for you to come back to and access it easily. The code Herbs75 works for 15% everything in her shop!  Let me know if you sign up! 

Click here to visit Good Earth Living.

I think as we are holed up with the storm coming that this will be a perfect time to replant some calendula, echinacea and other healing plants in pots as a "rainy day" activity.

It's time us women healers harness our energies we have deep within.

*All photos are copyright of Laura Emily of Good Earth Living.

Peace and Love,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fence

For a fence is not a barrier but a chance to break them down. To not have it stand in the way. In the way of making a friend. Physical fences are weak, emotional fences are strong. To break down those you are free to love and to live. As a child you have not yet built emotional fences. You are free to pass flowers to the friends on the other side.
In watching my daughter with her friend, befriend some boys in the house next door, shake and climb trees in order to get flowers for them, it made me again realize we have much to learn from our littlest members of society. How can I extend a flower, an offering of friendship, to someone today? Someone I do not have my heart fully open to. What barrier can I un-assemble today?

What is one thing you've learned from watching any little people in your life recently?

Peace and Love,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Date Night.

My friend Donna messaged me the other day and said,"I'm coming over around 6 on Friday night so you and Joey can go on a date." Like I'm going to say no. We haven't gone on a date since before Penelope was born so this was such a treat! We had the intention of going to the local "pub" (ish) but when we pulled up there was a radio station van outside and it was packed. I turned to Joey and said, "I'd really rather not go there when it's that busy." We drove around for a few minutes trying to decide where we would go instead and came to the conclusion to go to the fancy restaurant that we have gone to for a couple of dates, one being the first date we went on after Leena was born. We called to make sure we could dine there since they prefer reservations and it was a Friday night. Luckily we were able to get in and they were having a special musical night. When we got there there was a full rainbow above us. I've never seen a full rainbow in person, a complete, beautiful, glowing rainbow. While walking into the restaurant, that was when I realized that it was so very fitting that we ended up there for our first date after Penelope was born. Kind of that "full circle" feeling of after having Leena. We were seated in perfect view of the string quartet that was playing and enjoyed the 3 course meal they were offering that evening. It was bliss. I also was slightly afraid of eating my salad because it was a work of art and felt terrible that as soon as I started eating it, well, it looked like a bomb went off on my plate. 

I love that we don't need many dates or really any to keep our "spark" alive but I also love that going on dates really reminds me that I so dearly love my husband. I think any couple, no matter how long you've been together, you need to make time for a date every once in a while.
And you see that in the upper left hand corner?! AUTUMN COLORS!
 Outfit details:
Dread wrap: Sarong type wrap gifted to me from Laura
Necklace: Shakti Studios
Dress: Thrifted
(Thank you Donna for not talking me out of buying it.)
Belt: Thrifted

It's funny how things evolve. I told Donna and Joey that I wasn't going to post these photos on the blog as they were taking them tonight because I felt like it would detract from my purpose with this new blog. Then I thought about it and sharing these photos feels right. 

"People do unconscious alter building all the time; we call it interior decorating." - Luisah Teish
I feel this same way about the ways we adorn our body as well. Tattoos, henna, clothing, jewelry, etc, it's all unconscious alter building to me. When we take the time to really put something together and feel good in it, I think that only helps us in putting good out into the world, if it's for ourselves that we do these things. 


Friday, August 24, 2012


This is melding.

Here's some music for your Friday.

Peace and Love.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Intuitive Heart Sanctuary Giveaway

All photos are property of Lauren Luquin of the Intuitive Heart Sanctuary.
 These past 8-10 weeks I've been in a group/forum called the Intuitive Heart Sanctuary, where Lauren would give us prompts to do some soul stirring work within. My immediate impression of Lauren was how kind she was. She is super laid back and welcoming to everyone. She speaks words of poetry that you can't help but feel deep inside you. She lovingly and thoughtfully guides you along to find that inner you that you may be hiding even from yourself. I haven't had a chance to go through all the prompts yet from having to put most things off to get The Bohemian Collective lookbook photos done but I'm slowing starting again in these last couple weeks of August to go through and do the work. It's art and nature based which was perfect for me. I loved it so much that I asked Lauren a couple weeks ago if she'd be willing to let me host a giveaway for a free membership to the fall session of Intuitive Heart Sanctuary. She has so graciously offered one of my readers a seat. I will be rejoining. Who will I see there?

How to enter:
You must first be a follower of my blog.
Then to enter go to Lauren's blog and follow her.
These two must be done for your entry.
To get additional entries:
Leave a comment with what you did to enter.
The winner will be drawn on Thursday, August 30th and announced August 31st.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am afraid of the dark.

As I hear stumbling down the hall I am awoken from my sleep. Groggy eyed and confused I strain to listen to muffled words in the dark. Muffled voices getting louder. I slide off my bed and cower as a tear in the fabric of our home is coming. "Did you do the other one?" Other what? What is he talking about?

Phone being dialed. Buttons clicking. Waiting. "I need an ambulance. My wife has slit her wrists."

Groggy eyes instantly fade away. I am now alert.

My father yells for my older sister. Again. I jump up and yell that I will go get her. Running out of my room into the hall I see it. Blood. It's everywhere. I run as I dodge touching any of it. I barrel into my sisters room speaking in another language to her. Panicked. She only makes out a few choice words.

My sister calls my grandparents to come get us. Waiting outside in the summer air. Dark but somehow cold. Two vehicles come up the street. An ambulance. My grandparent's car.

Sometimes I am perpetually 15 years old with this fear of the dark burned into my soul.

Wounds that healed, that I thought were healed, are reopened. It's time these demons are finally put to rest.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Busy Bee

This past week has been crazy with editing The Bohemian Collective photos among life as a mom of two with my husband offshore at the moment. Along with photographing a birth in there. I finally finished the Bohemian Collective photos and I'm in love with them. I can't wait for you all to see this wonderful lookbook that Laura is putting together. It will release tomorrow! 

Today is for catching up on things I've been putting off however. Things for the soul. Like reading and doing some henna on a canvas. SouLodge and the Intuitive Heart Sanctuary. It's been too long since I've done any soul work. I will catch up on emails you may have sent and getting my sponsor spots all taken care of later today. Then after I catch my breath, I will begin editing all the birth photos I have and the lovely belly dance girls I photographed yesterday. 

Peace and love.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Around here.

I remember being proficient in the kitchen and doing household tasks at a relatively young age. Being able to cook myself eggs (among other things), do my laundry, stay home alone. Leena is more than welcome to go to the kitchen and get herself some food throughout the day. I am a firm believer that we need to listen to our bodies and eat when we are hungry and not eat when we are not hungry. I mean, don't get me wrong, I will tell Leena to slow down on the food intake some days mainly because those are the days she is eating out of boredom. As long as I keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy items, I'm not really concerned about how much she eats since it tends to all mainly be fruits, veggies and nuts. As of lately though, I'd like her to start having some more knowledge about cooking or even assembling food, like a yummy, healthy sandwich. Yes, she is still 4 and I get that guilty feeling that maybe I've made her a bit too independent but that is silly momma guilt that we all seem to have over one thing or another. We've tried to include her in baking and helping get meals prepared but lately we are venturing into the scary world of using the stove. (Obviously she still needs to use the stove under our careful supervision at this point.) Joey started with having her help him make eggs. I followed suit and even letting her flip her egg. She did burn herself lightly but was her bubbly self and simply kept going. I rubbed it with lavender oil to help it not hurt but I digress. Yesterday for lunch we made pancakes. After a rough night we had a slow morning and then treated ourselves to "breakfast" for lunch. She did amazingly well. I flipped and poured the pancakes onto the griddle however because that sucker is much easier to burn yourself on than a pan. We made "low allergen" (at least I think) pancakes so that Penelope could have one, sans the carob chips!
Oat Banana Carob Chip Pancakes
2 cups gluten free* organic oat flour 
1 cup organic unsweetened coconut milk
2 large free range eggs*
2 tbsp organic butter, melted*
 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp aluminum free baking soda*
3 brown-ish bananas, smashed
Carob chips

Stir all ingredients together. Pour onto a hot griddle. I put some raw coconut oil on the griddle to help them not stick. Flip when bubbles form on the pancake batter. Cook till done! Banana pancakes are a bit harder to tell when they are actually done since the banana is so moist.

*Oats themselves are gluten free but usually are processed in factories that share equipment that gluten containing products touch. Egg whites are considered an allergen so you should proceed with caution when giving to a baby under 1 year old. Pancakes without eggs are just as yummy. I've had many a vegan pancake in my day and I'm a fan. You can also substitute the butter for coconut oil and meant to do that but then well, forgot. And please please please spend the little extra money to get aluminum free baking soda and baking powder. I don't think it's as common for baking soda to have it as much as baking powder but aluminum intake wreaks major havoc on your body. It may also be linked to Alzheimer's disease. 

Leena asked me to make her a flower pancake, so I of course obliged. 
 And it's happy to see you! 
(Topped with Omega Swirl Flax Oil by Barleans, in the orange flavor.)
Penelope loved her banana pancake. 

Another household lesson that Leena got yesterday. Don't use dish soap in the dishwasher. I asked her to put the soap in so we could start it and she really likes doing it. Well luckily I caught that she had put the dish soap in so I was able to scoop out most of it. The real problem was though that she had closed the door of the dishwasher so the pre-wash cavity had dumped into the dishwasher already. I cleaned out as much as possible and emptied the main wash compartment. We turned it on and hoped for the best. Well when I walked back...
Leena helped me scoop soap into the sink and thought it was so much fun. And hey! My floors needed to be mopped anyways. She apologized for it and I had to tell her it was okay and that momma had done that before as a kid. (My dad did it a few times as well I remember from growing up.)

Laura did a photo shoot of me during a little down time we had when I visited to shoot the lookbook for The Bohemian Collective. 
 Go check out the photos!

Peace and Love!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Slow down, time.

This makes me want to scream, "SLOW DOWN!" I am not ready for my baby to not be a baby. I love toddlerhood but man, am I seeing just how fast time goes now with two little ones. It seems like just yesterday I was rolling around on my birthing ball through contractions. And now. THIS! I just don't know about you Father Time.

Also, I changed up my sponsor section. I signed up with Passionfruit to make my sponsor section easier for me because I hate html coding. Check out my page here and read the description! :)

Peace and Love.

Friday, August 10, 2012


This thundering sky matches the thundering of my heart.
Boom boom boom.

This gypsy soul of mine weeps.
Ripping open.
 The inner workings ticking away.
Breathing and regenerating.

The changes happening.
They hurt.
They exhaust me.
They remember.
And they heal.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sponsor call.

See those crazy awesome cool sponsors in the sidebar? →
If you haven't checked them out, you should, really. They are all great. On the 15th some new sponsors are going to roll out over there. I am going to start gushing over them more this month. With the new blog rolling out it got pushed to the side but these gals need to be gushed over. They are UH-mazing. If you are interested in being a sponsor right now it's free! I do have some guidelines. You can't be a huge corporation, preferably a handmade mom and pop type business or a lovely blog. I love all things "crunchy", healthy eating, gentle get the picture. The more in tune with the world the better. Oh and love. You must love what you do and pour love into the world. Simple enough right? :) 

If you are interested email me at and we can chat. Also, I like button swaps.  Just in case you wondered. :) AND for those of you that I chatted to about putting up your button already, email me, please.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This momma is booked. Full. And happy with the chaos of life right now. Besides editing gorgeous photos not only from the collective but also from a birth and maternity shoot, I am getting this house in shape. I've never been one for keeping organized but now it's past the point of wanting a clean house but NEEDING a clean house. My soul is screaming for space to explode all over the floors, walls, and mostly, all over these children of mine. We start full on homeschooling next Monday. It's time. I am getting this house Montessori/Waldorf and just plain homeschool ready. If any one has any great ideas to share for homeschooling in these styles (and unschooling) send them my way! 

There's so many ideas bouncing around this head of mine and starting to really personalize the studio has put the fire under my bum to go on with the rest of the house. We are planning on moving sometime hopefully in the next year but having a home is essential no matter where you reside. 

Note: Laura told me I was no longer allowed to use cell phone photos on my blog since I have such a nice camera now. Sorry Laura. ;)

 Peace and Love

Monday, August 6, 2012

And back again.

I've made it back home after a crazy week at Laura's house. It went by so fast. Too fast. We took over 3,000 photos between the two of us and broke in the new camera (but not in the literal sense thank goodness). I can't wait to be able to share some photos from the lookbook with you. I dare to say that Laura and I rocked it out. 
We had such a good time and thoroughly exhausted  ourselves. By Saturday we were pitiful and a tad cranky.

Our trip was filled with baby wrangling, preschooler entertaining, photo shoots and soul filled talks. It was much needed time together.
Penelope had fun playing in the dirt.
Said preschooler almost ate us out of house and home.
 There are more photos to come but for now I have to get started on my giant list of editing and run a few errands to be caught up with daily life. Normal posting should resume soon! Hope you all enjoyed the guest posts. 

Peace and Love,

Friday, August 3, 2012

Getting it down, letting it out.

Jennifer is such a beautiful soul. I met her on facebook and instantly fell in love with her honesty, snarkiness, compassion and her writing. Oh and her photography, how moving and raw.  Here's a story she wrote in 2009 about her childhood and she wanted to share it here.  

 Of course, it makes sense that it is the extraordinary moments that we remember.

I don't recall specifics; I don't know what else happened that day or what the weather was like or what I ate for breakfast.

I see flashes, a mental flip-book of images. I see my mother's face contorting, I hear her anguished wails. I remember the color leaving my father's skin, and in my head I watch him sit down on the couch and put his face in his hands. My mother screams, "I knew it! I KNEW IT!" I can still hear her hysterical cries.

My parents have just found out that John Lennon was killed.

I am almost three and this will be my earliest childhood memory.

Later, I will learn that my mother's insistence that she 'knew it' came from her having a premonition just days before, one she had even told my father about. She felt that something was going to happen to John, that he was in danger. That he would be dead soon.

In my father's study, he has stacks upon stacks of records, the makings of a dilapidated musical city. He has the cover of 'Two Virgins' framed and hanging on the wall and I sit for hours and stare at the naked John and Yoko. My parents aren't uptight about nudity or sex, so I'm not looking because it is forbidden and taboo, but rather because I am so mesmerized by the raw love between them. I will look for so long that my father will eventually say, "Okay, kiddo, that's along."

But I love being in there. As I grow up, my father will tell me more about John. He plays his music constantly. He gets really high and sings his favorite songs and plays guitar for me. The sweet smoke in the air makes me feel tired and silly. My father can't seem to accept the fact that John will never write another song. It's just too much to wrap his mind around. He looks at me evenly and tells me it's a fucking tragedy, a waste. I am maybe five by now.

My mother wears her hair long and straight, directly down the middle. She paints her fingernails rose pink and makes crowns for me out of the tiny white flowers that grow in our front yard. She can charm anyone in her presence if it suits her to do so. I watch her and wonder if I will become her as I get older -- if I might stop men in their tracks and leave them looking after me with unabashed desire, even for long after I've left the room.

Such thoughts about my future woman self keep me awake one night when I am about six years-old, and I soon find my mind wandering to John's nakedness in the next room. I can't stand the idea that he will never be touched again, that all that beautiful flesh and mind and words and heart that changed the world and made my mother sob as though her life were being pulled out of her could somehow just be gone. I cry for him and for us, but I also think more about how his penis looks to me -- foreign and odd yet extremely endearing and fascinating, and I feel like someone is sitting on my chest; I can't catch my breath. And the next day I ask my mother to tell me what sex is all about, and she does. Then it all makes sense, that breath-stealing, crushing feeling. I was never one of those children who was appalled by 'the talk'; on the contrary, I began to look forward to it immediately. To me, it just seemed like another beautiful art form yet to be explored.

From the time I was born until I was about seven years-old, this was my truth: That John Lennon was God, that the Christian God was dead, that art was the essence of true beauty and that war was the height of all evil. Everything you needed to learn in life you could learn through folk music and great works of literature, and also, perhaps most poignantly, that my father was one hell of a fucking pothead.

And then everything changes.

My mother gets angry. She has always been angry, I will hear all about that as I get older; but now I can see it. I can feel it. My father grows resentful of her endless stream of lovers and essentially checks himself out of the relationship.

My mother will break countless hearts and bring crazy men into our lives. One will confront her during a play rehearsal (she did a lot of theater in those days), furious over her inevitable disinterest. I sit on the stage in between acts and talk to the other actors and I see him shaking his finger in her face. His skin is ruby red with fury. "Cunt!" he screams, his voice a siren in the still air. An older man swoops me up, takes me backstage and teaches me how to play poker while the jilted lover is led off the premises. Years later, we will run into the angry man at the mall and have to hide in the bathroom until we are sure he is gone. "He'd probably like to kill me," my mother will tell me, quite matter-of-factly.

My father is tired and his pure idealism takes a beating as a result of my mother's antics. She's a woman we no longer recongize, screaming and tearing the house apart and slamming doors in our faces. She wants to get away from us. I begin to feel like it's me she wants to get away from, that I'm holding her back from a life in which she can pursue her glory and her destruction on her own terms.

My father tries to remedy this by buying her a house. It lasts for approximately two years during which time her rage boils over into a staggering crescendo; the night that she hurls a thick drinking glass at my face and my father has to put up his hand in front of me to stop it is the night they decide to divorce.

They sit me down and ask me with whom I wish to continue living. I love my house, my school, and all of the time I spend with my aunt Debbie and Nana, my mother's sister and mother, and I choose my father. But, really, I choose out of fear. I am scared to death of being whisked away by my mother and made to be continually punished for transgressions I cannot begin to understand.

And this is the first time I will wonder if, when John died, the best parts of her died as well.

When I am nine, my mother willingly leaves her only child to live 200 miles away with a man nearly thirty years her senior, a man who will eventually nearly destroy us all.

My parents will never again be the people they were during the first seven years of my life.

But who they were then is the very foundation for the entire story of who I am now.


"God, Jesus, or whoever the fuck you are - wherever you are - will you please, just once, just tell me what the hell I'm supposed to be doing?" - John Lennon, as read in Mikal Gilmore's book, 'Stories Done.'

Jennifer Summer

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blue Moon

Marissa is such a sweet moon daughter. I love the respect she has for this celestial being and how she celebrates her in daily life. I asked her write about the blue moon to give a bit more understanding of the importance of this occurrence.

Hello everyone! It's Marissa from Moondaughter. I want to thank Katelyn for asking me to join her on her beautiful blog today! I am so happy to be here sharing with you all :) If you cannot already tell by my name, I love everything about the Moon. She is the closest Celestial being to our Earth, so I believe it is very important to honor Her in some way or form.

This August is a powerful Lunar month because we get to witness a Blue Moon! In modern times this means there are two Full Moons in one month. The first Full Moon is today, August 2nd, and the second Full Moon (the actual Blue Moon) will occur on August 31st!

Moon info and image source:
While researching, I also learned the ancient definition of the Blue Moon. It is when a season has four Full Moons instead of normally having three. The Blue Moon would be the third Full Moon out of the four. According to this definition, the Blue Moon would then occur on August 21, 2013! And this is how the phrase came to be, "Once in a Blue Moon," because they are not as common! Fascinating to say the least!

Regardless of which definition you go by, having two Full Moons in one month is powerful and magical. August energies will be high and buzzing, so I thought I would share with you today a way to capture some of that awesome Lunar energy by making Full Moon water!!

It is so so simple too. Simply get a clear glass jar or bowl (I prefer mason jars) and make sure you can cover it with a lid. You can add items, such as stones, beads, shells, jewelry (make sure the jewels are okay to soak in water), or whatever you wish to bless or charge with more energy. Fill the jar or bowl with spring water then cover with the lid. Once it is dark out, bring the water outside and let it soak in the moonlight for a couple hours. You could let it soak all night but make sure to bring it in before the sun comes up! It is also best to do it on a clear night, but Full Moon energy is powerful and still surrounds us even if it is overcast. You could even ask Luna to bless the water for healing or love or whatever your spirit needs at the moment.

I chose amethyst, moonstone, and rose quartz to place in my moonwater!
Once you bring in the Full Moon water, you can set it on your altar or in your sacred space and that's it! You have Full Moon water! You can use this water for your ritual work if you do any, to bless yourself or your animals, or your stones, use it during reiki sessions, meditation, or yoga, even drink it as tea or use it for cooking (if you did not put anything in it that would not be good for you to consume!).

And once August 31st comes around, you can recharge it for a double dose of Full Moon energy! Woohoo!

Thank you so much for reading about the Blue Moon with me, and I hope this helps you all on your own sacred journeys :) Thank you again, Katelyn for sharing your lovely space with me!

Love and Blue Moon Blessings,

Marissa Moondaughter

-- Love and Blessings, Marissa Moondaughter

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hope's Journey

Joni is the sweet gal that I photographed in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. She has been going on this spiritual journey living life in different religions to find out what they are all about. I asked her to guest post because I love what she's been discovering through this journey and asked her to share her thoughts on if she was finding any common ground between them.

It all started with a book. (It usually starts that way for me). The Forty Rules of Love was part romance, part history lesson. It wouldn’t change the world, but it would change the course of my life. The book introduced me to Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, and to Shams of Tabriz the mentor and teacher of the great mystic poet, Rumi. As I read Shams descriptions of love for God, so powerful that he would rise and spin in ecstasy with delight that he was part of a Divine being and that he could reach the powerful beyond, something welled up inside me. His teachings on love being the most important thing: more than rules and laws, more than rituals and religions spoke to my heart and opened a door that would never close.
Raised in East Texas, my parents instilled in me a sense of Christian values and nationalism. I was fundamentalist evangelical. My father had gone to seminary and was a leader at our church. My mother was a stay at home mom for most of my life. And I was curious. I asked inappropriate questions, I dared to challenge the spiritual authority, I drew a line in the sand with the people who surrounded me telling them to live ALL of their Christianity, not just the parts that were easy. I was an anomaly in my small East Texas town. Yes, I loved God – I was passionate about him, but I also had a deep seated belief that my God was big enough to take my questions. I believed that if I questioned the truth, it would not come undone. So I set out to ask the hard questions and challenge the stagnant thought patterns of those around me. I was sensitive and the criticism and judgment of those around me hurt me over and over. I began to distrust the church and distrust people within it; I believed that love and compassion were hard to come by.
Over time, it  becomes easier to just conform, and because I didn’t know anyone else like me, I did. I married a man who believed it was God’s will for us to get married. I had three beautiful kids. I went to church, I worked, I prayed, I studied the Bible, and for a time, I numbed the part of me that wanted more. Then one day, he left me. I remember calling our pastor in tears and telling him I didn’t know what to do, but that I wouldn’t go back to my husband, now that he was gone. My pastor spoke words I will never forget: “If you can’t promise me that you’re going to work it out with your husband, I am not going to waste my time with you.”
On that day in 2006, I walked away from the Christian church and God and all that I had grown up with. In a few months, I found myself divorced and full of questions, and angrier with God and his people than I had ever been with anything in my life. I remember driving in my car and yelling at God: “I still love you, but your PEOPLE, Lord! I will never allow myself to be hurt by them again. If you want to reach me, then you know where to find me. I’m not coming after you.”
As I was reading The Forty Rules of Love, I began weeping. This love that Shams described, this desire to be close to God and feel his heartbeat, the joy of communing with the Divine – all of this was what I missed when I divorced God and the Church. I missed being part of something bigger, but more, I missed being close to God.
By this time, my views on God had shifted. I wasn’t sure what he looked like, but I had come to the place where I said EITHER God is exactly how I was taught growing up: judgmental, terrible in anger, fear invoking, impossible to please; or God is something altogether different. My hope was that it was the latter, and I set out to find God in other religions. I first had to unpack the God I knew, though, and determine what I believed for myself. I didn’t know all the answers, but I determined that I believed these simple things:
There is a God. He may not be a he. He may not be the way I’ve imagined him. We all may be part of him. But nonetheless, there is a Divine realm – something bigger than myself – and I call that thing God.
Love must be personal to be real. I cannot love God inside a box, I must love him the way I was made to love – uniquely my way. Everyone must love God differently because everyone is different.
God is love. A God who is love cannot turn his back on his own nature and reject love given to him – in fact, the love I have for God is really Divine in itself.
When I decided to find out what other people believed about God, it wasn’t intentional. It was simply the curious natural wanderings I am prone to. Then it began to dawn on me that my experience with God was based entirely on my cultural context of God. Questions began to rise in my mind, the chief of those being: How are other people experiencing God in their religion? And, more importantly, are we all experiencing the same God in a different context??
The question blew my mind. What if I wasn’t RIGHT growing up believing my way was the only way? What if all of those other people of different faiths were experiencing God in their own rite and in the way they most connect with? If God is love, how can God reject the love of anyone, regardless of whether they call him by the same name I do??
The questions came hard and fast, and I decided to find out. I determined to talk to people of other religions, find out what they believe, and why they believe it, but more importantly, find out how they saw God – and whether they loved him.
I’m kind of a “full immersion” type person, so I decided to actually live the religion I was studying: abide by their traditions and practices, and immerse myself in their way of worship. I started with Islam.
The first 30 days of this experiment I lived as a traditional Muslim woman - observing prayer times, wearing the hijab, and abstaining from alcohol and pork products – for 30 days.

 I had never worn my religion on the outside. I had never been judged on site by the majority of the people I come in contact with. Heck, I have never been a minority! And I didn’t convert to Islam. But the strange thing is, people assumed I had. People looked at me differently, people judged me. Not because of who I was – because who I am didn’t change. They judged me because of who they thought I was, because of a preconception and a patent on RIGHT. But when I spoke to Muslim women, I saw women like me, who wanted to take care of their families, who wanted to build relationships and community, and most of all, who wanted to connect with and please this Divine being. Their God was the same as my God, I found out – they shared many of the Judeo Christian prophets and stories, they came from the same line of ancestry. Outside of the different words they whispered in prayer and the clothing they wore, I couldn’t see a lot of different between them and me.

I next explored Catholicism and the beauty of their tradition filled my heart with reverence. I could see deep love and adoration for God in the eyes of some of their priests and parishioners. I then took to Mormonism where I questioned the beliefs and traditions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And still, I found prayer being offered to God, and love being lifted up to him. Different than my way, yes, but vastly similar.

Judaism thrilled me with its coded language and the mystical aspects, but also for its focus on reason and logic. I couldn’t believe that it is encouraged to question the interpretation of scripture: in fact, if you DON’T question it, you are not a good Jew! The God they worshiped, again, was my God. The way they related to him was different, but the love was the same.

Jehovah’s witnesses spoke to me lovingly and respectfully of Jehovah, who cared for their needs and protected them from harm. Hindus shyly spoke of Krishna and their connection to God through ritual and through prayers. Unitarians spoke to me of Divine Beings, and great connections, and being part of something greater – a larger whole. The Vodou High Priestess spoke with awe when she spoke of a Supreme Being who was too vast and indescribable to even comprehend, and how she connected with God through the spirits who had passed on. I met a Buddhist nun who told me to listen because I could hear more with my heart than with my ears.

Sure, everyone had different doctrine. Everyone approached God a little differently. But uniting us all was a sense that we wanted to draw near to Divinity, to somehow merge part of ourselves with it, and escape the ties of this realm to some degree.

The God who is love is the reason I began this project. It was supposed to last 6 months. I’m now in year 4. Religion is beautiful to me, it speaks to more than rules and regulations: it speaks to an innate human desire to LOVE with abandon, and to be part of something more. My perspective on God has changed, drastically. But my love for God has only grown, and the things that divide me from my fellow sojourners on this path have become less significant. The truth is, no one knows the answer. But we are all part of something bigger, I believe, and when we walk our paths with compassion and love, we become part of the same big thing.

The Dalai Lama says “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message: that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” I find myself more open these days to other beliefs because I don’t know the answers. But I do know that love, compassion, and forgiveness are what stir my heart and ignite my passions.

Joni Martin
Hope's Journey