Friday, December 28, 2012

Coco Key

Georgia comes down the slide!
So many people.

Was it fun to be warm and wet and having an adventure?
Or was it Hell to be crowded, damp and unable to find a table?

Both, I guess.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kris Carr

Here is a blog post that really touched me this week.  I read it and it soothed something deep in me.  May it do the same for you.

It's by Kris Carr who you can find at




  The myth of finding your purpose

December 24, 2012

Hi Sweet Friend,

Lately, I’ve been working on being softer towards myself. Kinder. Slower. Why? Because it just feels so darn good, but also because I’m feeling anxious. You might be feeling the same way. Anxiety is fairly common this time of year. There’s lots of pressure to party, socialize, buy and give the right stuff, pressure to map out the perfect 2013, and let’s not forget the nagging pressure to finally dump the junk in our collective trunks.
Countless wellness bloggers are writing about solutions for these very timely issues. And while I have my own tips and tricks, we’re not going to chew on those today. This isn’t a blog about strategies or resolutions. It’s about a bigger question that often leads to the ultimate anxiety: How to find your purpose.
Just thinking about “finding your purpose” exercises can literally make folks sweat and pace — especially this time of year when our toes are curled over the diving board of 2013. Like it or not, we’re at a precipice. We’re being called to leap into new beginnings and all that jazz. Perhaps you’re reflecting on the last 365 days and saying “Well, I sure got a lot done, but what’s it all for? What’s my higher calling? How do I stop spinning my wheels and get down to business? And to be even more blunt: What the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life?!”
I struggled with this too, until I finally found my purpose (spoiler alert: or so I thought) with Crazy Sexy Cancer and then Crazy Sexy everything else. At first I felt very strong and proud. My feathers were fluffed. I had finally arrived spiritually. For the rest of my days I wouldn’t have to worry about the burning “what’s my purpose?” question. I used to tell myself, “Well, that’s one good thing that came from cancer …” It seemed pretty clear: My purpose was to help people get healthier and to teach prevention. Pretty rad. A karmic home run.
But here’s the rub. When our purpose is external, we may never find it. If we tie our purpose or meaning to our vocation, goal or an activity, we’re more than likely setting ourselves up for suffering down the line.
Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do. There, I said it. Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. That’s it. Everything else is your burning passion, your inspired mission, your job, your love-fueled hobby, etc. Those things are powerful and essential, but they’re not your purpose. Your purpose is much bigger than that.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot on a personal level lately. My deeper understanding of purpose feels right in my bones. It diffuses the ache of separateness I experience when my work isn’t appreciated or when my efforts are overlooked or criticized. Sometimes folks will treasure your work, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes you’ll get the gig, sometimes you won’t. You’ll be on the marquee and you’ll be passé. You’ll be thanked and you’ll be taken for granted. You’ll give and you’ll get nothing in return. You’ll be “Liked” and you’ll be unfriended. That’s life. But, so then what? You have no purpose or meaning? Absolutely, positively not. Can you see how tying your worth to that circus will only make you feel depleted, depressed and even resentful? Anchor your purpose within, sweet friend. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself drifting out at sea again and again.
What if your purpose is very different than what you’ve been taught to believe?
  • What if your purpose is to build an everlasting relationship with yourself? To fall deeply in love with precious you? This isn’t self-centered or selfish, it’s self-expansive. Interconnected. Conscious.
  • What if your purpose is to forgive yourself and others? And by doing so, to allow warm waves of compassion to wash over the entire planet (yourself included).
  • What if your purpose is to gently heal all self-injury? And by doing so, to become a mentor and role model for others to do the same.
  • What if your purpose is to release all shame and feelings of unworthiness? Guess what you’ll find behind those feelings? Vulnerability. Roll out the red carpet for the V word because vulnerability is where your true strength and glory resides.
  • Shall we talk about perfection? Yes, I think we must. What if your purpose is to teach yourself that there is no such thing as perfection and that your never ending pursuit of it is destroying your life and your relationships. Let it go.
  • What if your purpose is to speak kindly to yourself so that you elevate your energy and the world around you?
  • What if your purpose is to develop an everlasting faith in yourself? To remember your holiness and treat yourself accordingly. The deeper your faith gets, the stronger your connection to a higher power.
  • What if your purpose is to take impeccable care of yourself so that you have the energy and joy to serve others?
And lastly …
What if your purpose is to bear witness to your suffering? To acknowledge it and embrace it in order to move through it. “They” say that “suffering is optional.” I’m not so sure about that anymore. I used to think that was true. But that was before I had a deep and layered experience with suffering. Today, I think suffering is essential. The trick is to learn how to move out of suffering once you get the nugget and are ready to apply the lessons. Note: Residue of pain may remain (and that’s OK), but at some point you can fully release the suffering.
Seriously, what if finding your purpose is about finding and nurturing yourself? Not an external to-do or accomplishment, even if that to-do or accomplishment is the most important discovery of all time. Because if you are the one destined to find the most important ah-ha of all time, you will probably find it quicker and easier if you feel good, loved and happy. Start there. It’s that simple.
Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t love my job (or you) or that I’m going to quit in anyway. I cherish my work and all of my readers. And it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start an orphanage or save animals or empower women or teach people how to file taxes. It means that you no longer need to connect your personal self-worth with a plaque on the wall.
Your self-worth has nothing to do with your craft or calling and everything to do with how you treat yourself.
I’ve met brilliant and effective activists who I have gallons of respect for but who are dirty messes inside. Mean messes. Bitter messes. Sad messes. And guess what? Their reach and impact reflects their attitude. Imagine what they could accomplish if they moved from loathing to love, if they knew that no matter how important their mission, their inner purpose matters even more. Folks are like plants, we all lean towards the light.
You are the light. Your inner purpose is to connect with that light. Everything else will follow in time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: 
the mountains and the hills shall break 
forth before you into singing, 
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas morning

Merry Christmas to all!
Hope Santa was good to you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Cookies for breakfast!
Feelings are running pretty high so there might be notes like this:

Dear Mom and Dad I am not selabrading chrimas

I am running away

And vanilla growing potent in the cold sunlight.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Revels

 Rob drove us to the Revels in Cambridge because my car has has an oxygen sensor that is acting up.  He thought he was being a generous chauffeur, but after Lily got carsick reading and threw up a half hour into the ride, he was ready to turn around and go home.  "No!" we all yelled and we carried on. 

 Going to the Christmas Revels is something my sister and I have done for 23 years.  We found it one year on our quest for a spiritual magical holiday tradition that was not Christian based.  We had been going to church on Christmas Eve for the candles and the singing, but we were not raised Christian, the rest of the family did not join us.  We just wanted somewhere to celebrate the season.  But we weren't comfortable in any church.  We didn't know what to do when the people stood and sat in unison and usually the sermon would would injure some deep part of our feminine spiritual selves.  My sister must have found the revels when she was living in Boston and finally we found our home.  It is inclusive, welcoming, funny and uplifiting.  We get to join hands and sing and dance during the intermission.  It was all we wanted.

I have been so thrilled to share it with my children.  My parents started coming a few years after my sister discovered it.   My girls have come every year except for the year Georgia was born (maybe during the performance?) My sister had to scalp our tickets, "My sister's in labor.  Anyone need a ticket?"

Sanders theater, where the revels is held, is my Hogwarts.  It gives me hope for the world that such a luminescent beautiful place exists.  It is brimming with stained glass but it's not a church; it's a theater.  Perfect.

So I was deeply hurt and annoyed after the performance when the girls told Rob it was boring and he declared we should skip it next year, "WHAT?" I felt such rage and rejection; I had to deep breathe all the way home.  "How could they?  Boring?  Singing and dancing?  People in costumes?  What's wrong with them?"  

I find one of my biggest places of disappointment as a parent is when I have cultivated something so tenderly for the mythical children I thought I would have (There were supposed to be 6 or so of them, but that's another story) and the children I actually have don't really dig it.  Ouch. 

 I had a bit of a tantrum.  They denied saying it was boring.  Rob raised his eyebrows, but kept quiet.  I think they partly said it to appease our grumpy driver who abhors musical theater. (I used to drag him to the performance but I stopped.  Now he just drinks coffee and shops in Harvard Square or stays home.)

Look at that finale.  Who doesn't like that?

The next day my sister reminded me we could go without them and maybe they'll want to come another year.

I think I might drag them, against their will. Damnit.

See, I'm smiling.

Friday, December 21, 2012


We went caroling again this year; this time on the Solstice. It was lovely.
We had a bigger group than last year with a few ringers.
We even had flyers with the words to classic carols, so we were all singing the same words at the same time (sort of).

We ended at each house in classic form with "We wish you a Merry Christmas" (who knew?)

We had one house from last year hoping we'd come back. (As my friend said, "We've got a fan base!")

We brought plenty of lighters this time so when the candles blew out again and again, we had more than one lighting source.
 It was a wonderful way to spend part of the longest night of the year.

Happy Solstice

This image is from the Birth 2012 movement who believe this solstice will bring a wondrous awakening.  I actually have been too busy to read much about this exciting time but my sister sent me an email from Women's Lodge, a circle of women who meet near Boston, and I'll share their newsletter

Grandmother Spider's Webletter December 11, 2012

This is the time we’ve been waiting for!
 The Mayan and other indigenous prophecies have spoken of this Solstice as the portal to a new age, a time when humans are called to open to a higher vibration of unity with all beings on Mother Earth. At the end of 5,000 years of patriarchy, it is time for the promised return of the Goddess, a radical rebalancing of the divine feminine and the divine masculine.
The Shift Network, inspired by the teachings of Barbara Marx Hubbard, is coordinating events around the globe to celebrate the birth of a Unity consciousness, beginning with aDecember 21 sunrise ceremony with indigenous elders in Australia and continuing throughDecember 22, the Planetary Birth Day. They are asking everyone to participate in “3 Days of Love” by sharing only words and actions of love on December 20, 21 and 22. Details can be found Here in Boston,Birth2012Boston.comis planning community events in Cambridge and Arlington on December 22 to celebrate Birth 2012 as we shift into the emergent Global Culture of Peace.

We invite you to consider how you want to prepare yourself to be a container for this emerging new vibration. On 12/12/12, at 12:00 noon, you might join others around the world in prayer for a new Declaration of Interdependence. The New Moon on 12/13/12 and the remaining days through 12/20/12 are a potent time for reflection on limiting beliefs and behaviors that you need to release. The Solstice darkness invites us into the Dreamtime, where we journey into the worlds beyond words to meet spirit guides and angels. Imagine flying out into the cosmos; go out under the night sky to open to the energy of the stars, especially the Pleiades.

You may want to be under the sky on December 21 at 6:12 a.m. EST for the exact moment of the Earth’s and Sun’s alignment with the center of the galaxy, joining in prayer with people gathered at ceremonial centers around the earth.

On the evening ofDecember 21 at 7:00, we hope you will join your Women’s Lodge sisters for a time of deep stillness in the womb of the Mother as we prepare for the transformation to come. We will send you a separate e-mailing with more details as they become available to us.

Your co-creation team is taking inspiration from the words of Deena Metzger, one of the grandmothers of Women’s Lodge:
What is this date after all? Why the fuss and urgency? The ancient Maya identified a place in the Milky Way that was, for them, the place of birth and death. Individual lives, tribal life and the cosmos were intrinsically connected to it.

And as it happens, the place they identified is the dark hole around which our solar system circles, is the dark hole from which the solar system and so all known life, all our lives emerged.

And as it happens, our very sun, around which we circle, will be, with other planets, in a direct alignment with this dark hole, this place of birth and death, the heart of the universe, at 6:12 ESTa.m. on December 21.The light of the sun aligned with the dark at the center.

Or so it is said.

How will we meet the demand? How will we meet the Heart of the Universe? How will we step out of our involvement and enchantment with the details of our own little lives, the bloody sacrificial altar to which we have been relentlessly bringing the earth, so as to meet this sacred challenge, the great possibility of our collective and community lives?

Everyone who is reading this has been met by spirit and called to some awakening . .  . It seems to me that we are being called to another consciousness, not ours, but that which was connected with the earth in the beginning. A consciousness that would never have developed the ideas and values that have led to the horrors that are afflicting all beings at this time.

Imagine this. The Kogi, the Indigenous, the Animals, the Dead, the Ancestors, the Elementals, Gaia Herself, will be entering our circles, will be literally behind us, invisible but present, insisting that we devote ourselves to meeting this moment. Will we listen, hear, accept their call, instructions and guidance? How shall we be, who shall we become, in their presence?

This is the question we have been given to hold at the alignment with the Heart of the World and the Universe.

So I woke up at 6am so I could be outside to meditate at 6:12am.  It was quiet and moist out; it felt lovely to be part of a huge gathering at a magical time.  Then I came in and got the kids ready for their last day of school before vacation.

Happy Solstice to you!
May light and love fill your life and the lives of all of those around you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Georgia turns 7!

Georgia turned 7 this week.
Here she is opening the doll my parents gave her.
I love how her little feet are wiggling together in their excitement.
The table was spread.  I spent way too much time on gingerbread houses that hardly even attracted the kids' attention. 

G dances to her party mix.  My mother grabbed this motion pic.

Present opening and present testing with my sister helping with the tattoos
We played blind man's bluff and it was fun.  A little spooky to put the blindfold on and flail your arms around, but I caught a victim!
My mother and I double photographing the big birthday cake moment.

Big sister chillin' out.

My mother reads to Georgia after the party.
And my Dad joins them on the couch.

Happy Birthday Georgia.  We love you!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Out of Bounds

A sign that Georgia should carry around with her and pull out when she is in certain moods.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

more crystals

Some delicious stones.
Above are dark rich garnets on the left and a pokey spirit quartz in the center.  On the right are some pinkish Lemurian Seed crystals.

On the left are some green and clear calcite, which I have been reading about and some black tourmaline, which is used to clear blocks and move energy. 

Above are some chunky Amethyst for grounding and clearing.   I have been using crystals in the Reiki and Emotrance  sessions I've been doing with friends and I really love working with them (my friends and the crystals).

This weekend I woke up after a only few hours of sleep after working  overnight to stumble to the  Crystal and Gem show in Greenfield.  It is quite a scene for rock lovers.  The girls and I went a little crazy.  I got these two double terminated Tibetan quartz with fabulous markings.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roosting Crows

Crows are roosting in Greenfield, at the old Tap and Die building across from the hospital where I work.  This time of year hundreds of crows (mostly the juveniles) fly from miles around to a roosting spot to spend the night in the trees, making a ruckus for a while and then sleeping.  The other afternoon I saw the birds gathering outside of the window at work at dusk.  They were coming from all directions.

At midnight, after work, I stopped by the roosting spot for a visit.
The moon was full so I could see them gathered in the trees.  Some alighted and flew in a circle, cawing around the trees in a cloud.  I grabbed a picture, you can see them gathered in the tree.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It was my 42nd birthday on December 4th.
I sort of thought I was turning 41, so I had some adjusting to do, but it was a nice day.
I went for a misty walk.

and the family and I went for a birthday dip in the outdoor hot tub.

Here's Lily on the other side of the tub.  The night was cloudy and cool so there was a lovely amount of steam.
I brought some candles and Rob brought me some gluten free cup cakes.
Georgia and I getting a bit too hot, we sat on the edge and cooled off when we got overheated.

making my birthday wish!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


A photo of my Albertine rose blooming this summer.
I love roses.
I planted climbing roses when I moved into this house eight years ago, I chose them mostly for their fragrance.
(I ordered from Pickering Nursery in Canada.  This 1921 rose is described as "rich and sweet") )
This one is extremely aromatic and smells (and is, like all roses) totally edible.

Rose essential oil is astronomically expensive.
An ounce costs $1,268 at Elizabeth Van Buren's site

So I had never smelled it.
Never smelled the real thing.
I have smelled plenty of fake rose.  I bought some tiny bottles in India of rose oil when I was there in 2000 and I thought it was real, but it isn't.  It's fake and gives me a headache, if I am being honest.
I have smelled Rose Absolute and thought it was the real thing, but I learned in my Aromatherapy Practitioner Course (which I am loving and going to my last class this weekend! (other than the huge exam and presentation of our research study in March of next year)) that Absolute means the oil was extracted with chemicals and solvents and some of the chemicals will remain in the final product.  Yuck.

Last week I ordered the oils for my research study from Appalachian Valley Natural Products
I knew that, along with the oils I ordered, they would send me a few tiny bottles with sample oils to smell so I requested rose and jasmine (I had just learned that all jasmine oils are solvent extracted!  but I wanted to smell that mythic oil, too)  They sent along two varieties of Jasmine Absolutes and  Rose Otto, Rosewood, Rosemary and Rose Absolute.  The Rose Otto was the real deal.  I had butterflies of excitement in my stomach when I twisted the cap to smell it.

I took a deep breath and for the first time smelled bottled rose oil.
It was amazing!

It takes 30 roses to make one drop of Rose essential oil.
The oil was potent and magnificent.
Lily said it was the best thing she had ever smelled!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Sweet bird in her nest.
She livens up my jade tree that did not fare well in a late fall wind storm.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


How does she do it?
Another startlingly gorgeous poem from Ms Mary Oliver.

Flower Mandala 

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

~ Mary Oliver ~

The flower circle above is a beautiful dhamma cakkha (wheel of dharma) mandala. This wheel of flower petals symbolizes the Buddha's teachings of awakening and liberation.  It was made at IMS in Barre MA


She likes to sit on the front porch in the sun.  Right now the couch out there is piles with Halloween decorations and whatever else, but she found a tiny spot to curl up. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Putting up the potions

Oh it is a bit of a shock every year how much time it takes to obtain bottles, sterilize them, pour off the herbal potions and then label and ribbon them.  Yikes.  There goes November!

Here's the bright pink rose tincture concentrate.  Lovely this year.  Bright and tasty!

Here's the newly made vanilla.  it get so much darker so quick!
I made alot of salve this year.  St Johnswort and Comfrey in big and small jars because I always sell out and it is quite a production to make.

Lily and I did the craft fair at St James Church again and she had a great time making bracelets and hanging out.  Here is my newest fairy who I LOVE and did not want to sell even though Lily kept trying to get me to price them to move!

All the wares lined up and ready to go.