Solstice Blessings

Happy Solstice

On this first day of summer, may the blessings of the solstice, the time of the longest day, bring love and gratitude into your daily lives.

Here’s a prayer that I feel is fitting as we enter into the turning of another season ….

This is the time of year when everything is ripening. This aspect is synonymous with adulthood and knowledge, as well as developing body, mind and spirit in balance.

This is a time to celebrate our fullness, magnificence and radiance — All of us.
We are shining stars, each unique.

Happy SolsticeLet each of us, male and female alike, know we are beautiful, powerful, loving and strong.
Let us know that we deserve love, approval and support.

The feminine spirit in each of us wants to rise and reclaim us–reminding us that we are here on Earth to love one another.

Let us seek all that is true and loving and good.
We ask that our loving kindness and generosity bless our communities, our families and our friends.

We ask for wisdom and guidance that we might reach the highest vibration of humanity possible.

Let us be a blessing to those around us, remembering we are all one.
Let us shine our unique Light, while empowering and loving others

May you feel free to be more of who you are–to cherish and draw on the wonderful traits you already have.

May you celebrate everyday life with sacred playfulness and love, enjoying this gorgeous lush planet that sustains us.

While the life you create and the way you create it may be different than mine, ALL paths are special and legitimate.

May we all live authentic lives.
May we all find a source of spiritual sustenance in ourselves, in community with others, and the Divine, however defined.

Be blessed with the knowledge that all paths to the truth are valid.
May we walk our paths with loving kindness, hope and joy.
May we let go of the past and sing,
Enjoy the present and play,
Look forward to the future and dance.

By Marie Anderson Whitehurst

In remembrance ….

Remembering my brother Kenny
What a beautiful engaging soul my brother was …
19 years ago today we lost Kenny in a motorcycle accident.

He is dearly missed … thought of daily and remembered with the utmost love and respect. He will forever be the incredibly talented, free and pure wild-child, my beloved older brother.

Someday I hope to post a gallery of his artwork, scanned in from the hundreds of slides that I have tucked away, in storage. I can’t imagine a better way to pay homage to his beautiful drawings and cre8tive spirit. Someday soon I hope.

travelling

Today I was humbled …
I’ve always thought that I’ve been well-travelled, until I observed that I have only travelled 15% of the world’s countries. Oh how I yearn to travel more … so many countries to experience and live in, so little time! I do feel eternally grateful, however, for the enormous opportunities that I’ve had in living in many of those countries visited. Those memories will last a lifetime (especially if I write a book about my many stories!)

Facts to get you smiling this Monday morning :)

cute piggletIf you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)

A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (In my next life, I want to be a pig)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. (Honey, I’m home. What the…?!)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still want to be a pig in my next life … quality over quantity)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmm ……)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you’re ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. (Okay, so that would be a good thing)

A cat’s urine glows under a black light. (Again, I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that)

Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that too)

Polar bears are left-handed. (If they switch, they’ll live a lot longer)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about that pig??)

Laundry day: pursuing a greener option

Ever the environmentalist, I’m always looking for nature-friendly products to use in our home and lifestyle. For example, it’s important to me to both wash our clothes with natural products and air-dry either on an outside clothes line or with a clothes horse.

Did you know that “laundry equipment consumes vast amounts of energy and water to clean a load of clothing. On average, washers are the second-largest water user in the home, consuming 40 gallons per load (Energy Star-rated appliances use around half that). According to the Energy Information Administration, dryers annually consume 1,079 kilowatt hours per household of energy, the production of which contributes up to 2,224 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that adds to global warming.”

Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you start living a greener life, making a difference, one person / laundry load at a time!

* To make your own laundry detergent, combine either liquid castile soap or plain soap flakes with either washing soda to cut grease (it is caustic, so always wear gloves when handling) or borax to remove stains (keep away from pets and children, as it can cause vomiting if ingested).

* If you need fabric softener, you can make your own by adding 1/4 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle. Adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar will also soften clothes, as well as eliminate static cling.

* You can eliminate static cling in the dryer by drying natural-fiber clothes and synthetic-material clothes separately. Better still, line dry the synthetic clothing, as those materials tend to dry faster than cotton.

* For stain removal, try soaking fabrics in water mixed with either borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar.

* Scrubbing stained areas with a paste of washing soda and water effectively removes some stains, but be sure to wear gloves when using washing soda.

* Launder clothes on the warm or cold water setting for washing, and always use cold water to rinse clothes. Washing clothes in cold water can cut CO2 emissions down by 100 pounds and save you up to $64 a year on your energy bill.

* Clean your lint filter with every load and check your dryer exhaust frequently to make sure it’s clean and that the flapper on the outside hood opens and closes freely. This will help improve its energy efficiency.

* Irons can consume up to 1,800 watts of energy, and if used for two hours, one iron emits 4.8 pounds of carbon dioxide. Line drying clothes, drying with cold air or removing them promptly from the dryer will keep wrinkles to a minimum.

Cats and dogs you say?

Copyright Adam brinkWell I must admit, I was feeling a bit adventurous when I ventured out in shorts and a t-shirt, laundry encased in a large green rucksack, sans umbrella. The looming clouds had been darkening the skies for much of the afternoon, and I figured that it might hold off for perhaps another 45 minutes. Boy, was I wrong!

Slade was unwinding at home, soaking in a bath after a particularly rough day at pushing and pulling heavy steel around. I figured he’d be in bed, deep in slumber-land, when I called him from the laundromat with my urgent pleas of “Please come pick me up! I don’t want to drown in the puddles”. What an understatement. Lightening was flashing like a fireworks display, with intermittnet showers of pellet-sized golf balls hailing down on the poor suckers (aka me) deluged by the torrential downpour, as I’ve not seen since last in the jungles of Guatemala!

Raining cats and dogs … what a funny term. But indeed it was ….
Its origins?? In medieval times, no less.

Peasants used to live in tiny hovels with thatched straw roofs. Their cats and dogs would live outside and often climbed onto the roof to bed down for the night presumably warmed by the heat from the fires inside the hovels.

When there was very heavy rain falling, the straw would become very slippery and the animals often fell to the ground!

My life’s soundtrack

How random can the music that you live and love for, depict who you are?
This is such an interesting experiment … mine’s rather interesting actually. And I must admit, it’s very fitting to who I am!

meaning of life guruSo, here’s how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie!

Opening Credits: Nobody Knows Me – Aya
Waking Up: Whow It’s Me – Adagio
First Day At School: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins / 2 Pac Remix
Falling In Love: Me Myself and I – Beyoncé Knowles
Fight Song: Tong Poo – Ryuichi Sakamoto
Breaking Up: Standing Together – George Benson
Prom: Ain’t No Sunshine – Stryke
Life: When I Fall In Love – Diana Krall
Mental Breakdown: Every Time I Close My Eyes – Babyface
Driving: Flora’s Secret – Enya
Flashback: Track 09 – DJ Jetk
Getting Back Together: Enormous Trap – Rumi
Wedding: When Two Hearts Meet – Jessica
Birth of Child: Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
Final Battle: Song 2– Blur
Death Scene: Centre of the Sun– Incognito
Funeral Song: Gone With The Wind – Various Artists
End Credits: Do You Want To Know A Secret – The Beatles

life soundtrack

abundant greenery

African violetYes, another wonderful freecycle discovery has enriched our lives and the air that we breath in our humble abode … I am now the proud Mum to 5 delicate African Violet plants (my Mother’s favourite!). I just hope that I can give them the delicate green-thumbed touch that my Mom was born with and I’ve yet to discover (I’m about as nimble and talented as Shrek and his giant green hands).

An anniversary, not so welcome

felled by the newsIt’s amazing what can happen in a year … the good, the bad, the ugly. I witnessed it all. And survived, quite unharmed, gratefully. But today I had some sad news that has tied me in knots and was a huge factor in my returning from Guatemala a year ago, to the day. How strange that this news comes to me on the anniversary of hearing about my stepfather’s prostate cancer.

I spoke with my Mother this morning, after several weeks of telephone tag. My excuses for calls that should have been made (but were put off because of a busy lifestyle) were feeble and silent, upon hearing Mom’s news. Pat’s cancer had returned, renewed and invigorated, spreading to his bladder. The clock stopped, my heart beat loudly and I was taken back to a year ago, when fear struck home, oceans apart from my family. Here I am again, thousands of miles away, and a similar chord has been plucked: same ‘ole song, different tune. To top it all off, his heart’s irregularities amplify the seriousness of reality’s bite.

Radiation is the next step for my wonderful stepfather. Thank God Mom and Pat have each other. I’d be falling apart if it were me. They’ve gone through so many health issues and scares over the past few years. I’m thankful that we’ll have a little time together when we return home next month.

Time is so precious when it comes to family. When the clock ticks slowly by and you can hear the beat of its drum, everything else seems to fall away. Nothing is more important than family, especially when crises befalls those around us. The harsh reality of life: the only guarantees that one has is this very moment and breath. And that can disappear in a heartbeat.

Why is it so easy to forget and take for granted the time which sails by with each passing day and season change? So frail is the heart which grows silent and weary with the sadness of the unknown. Embracing each moment with our loved ones is a precious gift easily and often set aside, hoping for a better tomorrow, which may not even come.

Please keep my dear stepfather in your prayers for me. I thank you for this ….