The Eco-friendly, Affordable, Beautiful Wedding (your ideas are welcome!)

Emily will not let her dad and the officiator (her dad’s friend) wear their kilts to the wedding.  The child is like 98% Celtic origin.  She wants what she wants.  She (like most of us) has been planning her wedding since childhood.  Pinterest is well used.  The wedding is going to be beautiful, all spring desert colors of blushes and mints.

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Weddings are costly numbers.  Venues are pricey, and photographers are even more than the venues!  There are ways that my family has kept costs down in the past.  My sister was married in a park at the base of the foothills with the fall colors blazing in the trees.  We then went to a rec center and had a potluck, our great-aunts busily working in the kitchen.  We love potlucks.  This wedding will feel like a destination wedding, however, because it is in the mountains west of Pueblo in a spectacular park in the woods, in the morning, so folks won’t be able to get up and cook and drive to the mountains.  There is no kitchen in the lodge where the reception will be.  So, we are looking at catering.  But…

What if we did huge batches of spaghetti and garlic bread and salad?  Could we get them up there and keep them hot?  How do you make enough to feed a hundred people?  Any ideas out there?  We are a creative lot in this blogging world, I am all ears!

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A bright, rust colored fox shot past us nearby as we got out of the car at the park.  Auspicious, I am sure.  The hawks and crows gather and the frogs sing from the river below.  There are deer tracks.  The lodge is made of stones that are a couple of feet thick, built a hundred years ago.  The wheels from the wagons that were used to transport granite from the quarry here to the state capitol have been turned into lantern chandeliers in the high vaulted wood ceiling.  A fireplace with its elaborate stone face stands prominently, taking up nearly an entire wall.  The heavy, wood doors open to the magical woods and picnic tables beckon.  There is an old bar and steps to a choir loft.  The worn wood floors are heavy and long to be danced upon.  Parks are an affordable option for any event.  They are scenic and lovely and support a good cause.

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I am realizing that weddings are quite easily not eco-friendly.  Emily wants succulents and roses.  They are fifty cents a piece, plastic and from overseas.  They are affordable.  The succulents are five dollars a piece at the store.  We have opted for real tablecloths and chair covers.  It is cheaper to buy them then to rent them.  I found that odd.  Emily says she can always resell them.  It is cheaper still to do plastic.  Then there are plates, silverware, glasses, containers for food…

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Succulents are on sale right now so I think I will purchase them and keep them alive until the wedding in July.  I just cannot bring myself to buy plastic plants!  Maybe we can get compostable dinnerware.  Ideas?  Thoughts?  How do you keep the cost of a wedding down while still making it an elegant and memorable affair without destroying the earth in the process?  We will be figuring out all this and more as we go.

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I would love to hear your ideas and I will report back through the planning process as we master the eco-friendly, affordable, beautiful wedding that I will certainly share with all of you readers out there.  Many of you have been with me since Emily was fifteen years old.  How wonderful to see her marry the love of her life!

 

The Second Step to Achieving Your Goals

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Resolutions are meant to make us better people.  Goals and dreams are set into our hearts to guide us on this journey.  Listen to your spirit when setting your intentions for the new year.

Okay so you want to be size six, never eat donuts again, and travel to Malaysia…

Looking at your goals, why is that your resolution?  Why do you want to lose weight?  Get in shape?  Eat better?  Travel?  Be kinder?  Start a business?  Change your life?  Once you see those answers clearly you will find the passion that will drive them.  Your passion and your clarity will make it manifest.  Simple phrases and ideas will do nothing but flutter away in the new year’s wind.

Be clear.  “I want to pay off 5% of our debt this year.  I want to pay off debt because it is keeping us from living the life we want and causes undue stress on our relationship.  I will start a Dave Ramsey debt snowball (pay off one debt, then use that money to add to another debt, and keep it rolling!) and get the small loan and half of the car paid off.

Now I must make that designated money untouchable.  It cannot be used to buy donuts or go to Malaysia.

The key to this is one moment at a time.  I can get myself so worked up over food choices that by day three I am out at an all-you-can-eat buffet.  One meal.  Plan one day’s worth of healthy food.  Save a few bills at a time in an envelope for an emergency fund.  Plan a reasonable budget and stick with it.  Dedicate time to meditate and do yoga in the morning.  But don’t forget why those things are intentions.

Why do you want to set your resolutions?  What passion drives them?

The Land of Enchantment; Dreaming Big

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I have come to the Land of Enchantment.  I know that New Mexico is known for that,  I had been trying to get there for close to a decade, but I found this Land of Enchantment along the path.  As a Colorado native, I have no idea how this beautiful place so close to where I have lived has eluded me.  As I crest the hill past Fountain I know I am almost home because the entire landscape changes.  Cholla cactuses take over the fields and the colors mute and brighten, and the air always feels like spring.

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Many mornings I am met with a magical veil of fog.  This city is filled with lakes.  It is more humid here and my skin loves it.  This morning the sky was a shade of lavender at sunrise.  It is a very special place here.

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Because it is one of the warmest places in the state, the birds love it here.  Eagles, hawks, falcons, geese, ducks, sea gulls, and many birds I am yet to identify.  Many plants I am yet to identify.  I am still getting to know the land.  There are many things I do not know yet.

second-4Here’s what I do know; we were given a gift.  “Be very specific to the universe in your requests,” our friend told us when we first became homeless.  “Think big!”

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An adobe home with real wood floors throughout.  A woodstove, a large kitchen, a place to entertain, a guest room, a root cellar, a large area to garden and be self sufficient.  A fenced yard, a chicken coop, a front porch, somewhere between out in the middle of nowhere and inner city.  And please close to our kids and Maryjane.  Oh, and a warmer climate.

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That is the very thing we got.  The exact specifications.  Amazing, huh?  Just have faith in the process here.  What do you really desire?  Careful what you wish for!  Be specific.  Make sure it won’t harm anyone.  Then go…put it out there in exact detail and watch as it manifests into your life!

A Daily Meditation

 

img_5801A daily meditation is a lovely way to begin or end a day.  A time to reflect, think, dream, pray, be.  An idea floated upon me yesterday.  An idea to listen and record a daily message from nature.  We all know that we go too fast in this society.  We have isolated ourselves from the things that enchant and feed our life force.  We desperately try to connect but get a busy signal.

I am among the most guilty of this.  I despise sitting for a long period of time though I do dream of great books and cups of tea and long walks.  But from sun up to sun down I busy myself to the point of frenzy.  My body yells for rest now.  It used to whisper, now it demands.  Fatigue hits me with a powerful force mid-afternoon.  I get the subtle and not-so-subtle messages my body and weary spirit are telling me.  Slow down.  Breathe.  Listen.  There is much to learn still.

So each day I will be out in nature, even if that means walking along the pavement, and will listen and record what I am being told.  Plenty of photographs and symbolism will intertwine with the daily meditations I write.  These will all be recorded on my other blog, Medicine Wolf.  I will still be writing this blog daily with all of the fun, recipes, homesteading, farming, herbal remedies, and stories you have grown to love.  But, then maybe hop over to Medicine Wolf and sign up for a daily email with insights and wisdom from nature.  Let’s all become students of nature and Spirit.  (Click on the name Medicine Wolf to be taken over to the other page.)

A New Year’s Resolution to Truly Live

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As we take the final footsteps of 2016 we look back on the year past.  It was a very good year for us, but a lot of folks have gone through similar circumstances as our dreadful 2015 of loss, and I know we are all looking towards 2017 with great anticipation and hope.  It seems the universe is sweeping so much from all of us, a cleansing of sorts, a realization of the reliance we had on items, jobs, people, and places, a new chapter of self discovery and path changes has occurred to most people I know.  This can be a very good thing.  Through the ashes and chaos comes a bright new path through the woods of adventure, inspiration, great views of beauty and joy that could only be experienced through darkness.  This is going to be a beautiful year, Friends.  (What are your resolutions?)

Every year I plot my course, a rigid syllabus filled with learn everything about…., master this language, do this, achieve that, be in perfect physical shape and eat only green smoothies for a year!  This year I sit with pen and paper and attempt to write out my desired life.  My beautiful new house awaits our family.  There is a garden to tend (an entire yard to garden, that is!).  My shop is busy.  We are planning a second shop down south.  I find myself battling questions like, “Should I still teach?”  “Should I start the homesteading school up again?”  Every cell of my body wants to sit with a cup of coffee and a good magazine.  I realize that I do not need to plot out the whole year.  I don’t want to teach…right now.  Perhaps I will later.  Perhaps I won’t.  I have spent so long coming up with every hair brained scheme to make enough money for us to survive that this year I want to just trust.  We are good.  I am taken care of.  I am blessed.  (What blessings did you have this year?)

This year I want to live.  I never put that on my resolutions.  I want to rest more.  Spend more time with friends.  Go dancing.  Go travel a bit.  Read more.  Eat well.  Be happy.  Laugh more.  I am far too serious.  I must learn to laugh. (What do you need to do more of?)

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In order to achieve this deep seeded peace and happiness I realize that I need to get rid of animosities and deep seeded irritations.  I have such a profound anger, I realize, towards the medical model.  The urgent cares popping up on every corner.  Friends in the hospital under care for things obviously caused by drugs they are on, only to be given more drugs that interact.  The brainwashing of society to believe that doctors know everything and that we have to take their advice, must take the pharmaceutical companies’ drugs, must run to urgent care for fever, sprained ankles, you must not make your own decisions towards health care….I fall in a heap of sadness that mothers have lost their power to heal.  I want to reteach everyone that plant medicines are every bit as effective, or more so, that they heal, that you can treat yourself, that you can….Another commercial comes on for another drug that won’t heal.  Marijuana also parading around pretending to be medicine.  I sigh and take another sip of tea.  I have to let this go.  I have to let this go.  (What do you need to let go of?)

People can do their research, they can read side effects, they can make their own decisions.  I am not responsible for the world.  I need to just do my work.  Make my medicines.  Help those that come.  Love them. Smile.  Help who I am sent.  Breathe.  I am not responsible for the world. We all just need to do what we are here to do.  Do your work with great love and passion.   (What is your work?  Hint: not necessarily what you do for a living.)

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Live.  That is my new year’s resolution.  I want to live.  Be in the moment.  Laugh.  Smile.  Love with all of my heart.  And all will be well with the world.  All the other resolutions will fall into place.  But peace is the best resolution we can have.  The dawn of 2017 looks wondrous.  (What are your hopes for the year?)

A Novel Breathes Life and the Wisdom of the Elders

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My friends, you must read Big Magic by Liz Gilbert.  I keep referring to it.  I loved how it stated that genius lands on people, not people become geniuses.  An idea has its own entity, its own life and “lands” on willing recipients.  Sometimes a recipient isn’t ready for it and it goes to another person.  That is the reason we see books, movies, songs that we were going to write.  With this in mind, I asked for an idea to land on me.  I wrote snippets in California.  I asked every day for an idea.  And one landed on me last week.

I then sat in front of my computer, a first time novelist, trying to construct a “proper” novel setting.  Where do I insert dialogue?  How many adjectives should I use?  How do I set the pace?  I have been reading novels this month trying to see the map of it all.

When I do my work in herbalism, I just kind of zone out, so to speak, and do the work.  My hands move deftly to the right plants and combinations, and I can “see” easily.  If I were to overthink it, I wouldn’t get much done.  I went into that same zone and just started writing.  It was as if I were meeting the characters myself as they hopped from fingertips to screen.  “Oh, well, hello, nice to meet you!”  “Are you coming back at the end of the book?  How nice.”  The prose and which person I used to speak changes and surprises me.  I am not writing this book, it seems, I am just privy to how it is creating itself, much like my paintings, much like my recipes, much like my work as an herbalist, I am merely the middleman…woman.

The book starts in the nineteen thirties.  As I was visiting my grandparents yesterday I asked a few basic questions, like did they drink tea or coffee more?  Did many folks have cars?  I told them I was trying to research the Cherokee land disputes that took place in the 30’s due to land rushes and oil companies.  Turns out Grandpa remembers all about it.  Grandma and Grandpa took turns illustrating in real life the dust bowl, the depression, the locusts, the farming, history unveiling itself.  Many, many things we never learned in public schools.  I was fascinated, humbled, grateful.

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These beautiful old dolls are among my grandmother’s.  As if my day couldn’t get any better, they were gifted to me.

Sometimes I fall into an irreconcilable sadness, wondering if we will ever get our own place, our own homestead, the city life here…I try to make the most of it.  I visit other’s farms, I try to save money (try being the key word), I cry.  It all seems so impossible.  But I can, at this moment, write….

A Whir of Creativity

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The old clock ticks from the mantle. The tea is ready. The sun is going down in the west through the snow clouds. The light is luminescent and warm despite the chill. I am oddly, most strangely content here. I would never believe it so. A Farmgirl in an apartment?

It is as if I have not breathed in years. I awake without any trace of anxiety, without any fear. Just joy. Peace. A funny feeling of mirth and prosperity though fifteen dollars is to my name. I walk around this place and feel nothing but happiness. The cream colored walls, tints of sunshine, and creamy carpets, plush beneath my feet, all bring me joy. The stone fireplace, the view, the kitchen, the walk in closet, the huge tub, a vacation designed to bring me back to my true self and respite much needed after years of toiling. I am in my element.

There is no cable television. No internet. No plugs buzzing with chargers or surge protectors filled to capacity with this cord or that. There is only the sound of…Peace. Nothing to distract from my own thoughts.

My, this place has charged me. I finished a book I have been working on for seven months last night. I flipped over an uneventful grilled cheese and poured a glass of wine to celebrate. Doug closes most nights and I am alone more so than I ever have been. My creativity is positively overflowing.   Two books finished and three more being revised and re-released. Class ideas. Ideas for everything come flowing from my fingertips and the house is a whirl of creative smoke and untidiness until it passes.

 

New Year’s Resolutions (writing them down to manifest)

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Did you spend some time yesterday deciding what you want in the new year?  We must be specific, you know.  Write down a few things that you really would like to manifest and create this coming year.

Now why do you want that?  Really think about that.

I wanted to go back to school.  Teaching license, free school, four years, guaranteed job.  I could homeschool Maryjane and make a difference in children’s lives.  Great, but why?  Out of fear.  I read an article (click here to read) about a young woman who chose to plant corn over going to Harvard.  The simple ways of life have gone away with the idea that the corporate and socialized world is the only the way to survive.  When really taking care of the Earth and those around us is a far more valiant task.  I wanted to school because I am afraid of remaining poor.  I do not want to work in a common core setting or even for someone else.  As my shop gathers speed I look around and see that my place in among my herbs, my plants, my community, my garden, and encouraging everyone I encounter.

What I really want to manifest is  a farm.  If my shop could manifest itself out of nothing in a just a few weeks, couldn’t a farm do the same thing?

Do you want to manifest something because your peers expect you to?  because someone wants you to?  Do you have a passion for what you are manifesting?  If you can talk about it with a smile on your face and a can’t wait attitude then write it on the resolutions sheet.  We’re going to make some great things happen this year.  I want to plant corn.

New Year’s Project Day 1

Five days until the new year begins.  Just another day, but still in my heart the dawn will shine bright and this year will be but a whisper in time.

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We will be starting a new tradition this year.  At Pat and Rodney’s house, after Pat and I make a delicious celebratory dinner and before we sing karaoke until the new year, we will write on slips of paper.  Write.  Each bad happening.  Each disappointment.  Each bad habit we want to change.  One by one they will slip into the roaring fire of New Year’s Eve and dissipate.  Then we will write each thing we want to manifest.  Send it the universe in a prayer of smoke.  A symbolic resolution.

I will be glad to see 2016’s hopeful face.

And for the next few days leading up to the New Year I will lead you through an exercise.  Not necessarily writing down that you promise to go to the gym six days a week and drink green smoothies for the entire year but really big things.  We are all going to manifest what we want.  Document.  Detail.  Release what we need to release.  Heal broken hearts.  And start whirling into motion exactly what we want.

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Doug and I bought a calendar last night.  Of baby goats.  Let the manifesting begin.  Start thinking about what you are ready to release and manifest.  It’s going to be a good year.

The Blank Canvas and Protagonist

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Yesterday I wrote a post describing our dread and fear and the tyranny we have been enduring for the past three months but then I chose not to publish it.  After I wrote it all out (this is why I love writing) it didn’t seem so big.  I realized the landlords can’t harm us anymore.  After tomorrow we are free.

Doug and I are now faced with a rare and interesting scenario.  We are in a unique position to completely reinvent our life.  Our children are in their own homes now.  We have no job and we have no home and we have unlimited potential.  Imagine if you were given  blank slate.  “What is our heart’s desire?” my friend asked us yesterday.  Doug has not yet lived his.  I have exhausted mine to this point.  I am tired.  I want to sit on the patio of my adobe hacienda in the sun with my cats and write.  Our friend had Doug write down what he really loves.  He folded the paper and put it away.  Unlimited ideas and colors float all around us.

Doug had a good book idea for me.  I have not written anything fictional since I was in high school but his idea sparked a million ideas in my own creative furnace.  The protagonist could be an herbalist, part native, part Scottish.  I have a lot of great stories of helping people with herbs from my own experiences and mixing in an old fashioned atmosphere would bring a sense of history to the pages.

What do we want our life to be like?  Where is it?  What do we do?  What do we love?  We are painting on a fresh canvas with any mediums we like.