Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 34 Count Down to Funky 55

Day 34 - I'm standing in front of the red door of Yesterways Cottage. Did you know that the color of front doors are a message to the world? A red door means your house is paid for and would have been a big deal to paint your door red. In my case, the door was red when I bought the house and it isn't paid for at the moment although I hope for it to be in the not so distant future. The sale of my former house was supposed to pay for this one but I ended up having to sell at a deep discount because the house needed work and I didn't want to borrow money to fix a house I was trying to sell and juggle that loan on top of two mortgages. It was a pretty tough year for us while we tried to sell the former house. But now that we have just Yesterways Cottage in our budget, life got a whole lot simpler.

I don't know if this outfit is so much funky as it is comfortable. I love the colors and the floaty unbound feeling when I wear it. The capri pants (pedal pushers back in my youth) are nice and comfy too and I suppose taboo. They say you shouldn't wear elastic waist clothing because it stretches which is exactly why you wear it. But that stretching means you tend to ignore when your body is stretching and by the time that elastic becomes tight, you are good deal bigger than you started out. So, you leap on to a bigger pair of elastic pants and you have room to grow again -- and most of us do. Keeping that in mind, I try to wear flat band pants so that when I gain a bit, they push back and I try to drop the weight.

And speaking of dropping weight, that has been a nightmare roller coaster for me for the last 20+ years. I didn't get pregnant until my early 30s. Before that, I was skinny as a rail -- and I do mean skinny as a rail. I loved to exercise but gyms were frightened that I was some sort of anorexic that was going to be a problem so they were always very cagey with me. I finally quit going to gyms -- it seemed pointless. I was healthy as horse -- mostly. The only thing I seemed to suffer from was random hives that would hit a few times and then go dormant for years. Those hives recently flared and hospitalized me because they were messing with my breathing.  As a young woman I had a very strong immunity system -- so much so that is what they determined was my fertility issue. But low and behold, my stubborn, beautiful baby girl made her way into this world despite my immunity system. And she gave me two beautiful grandchildren which are sleeping as I write this post. That is the only way I could write this post. 

I wore that outfit above to the doctors office with my bright blue cape. I must have looked a sight but it was rainy and cold out so I needed the cape. And I have to say that cape felt very nice in the doctor's office which was very cold. I got the results of some lab work and I was pretty stunned to hear that I am *walking heart attack waiting to happen*. Of course they didn't say it like that but that is what my ears heard. It shook me up pretty good. I have had cholesterol problems all my life to the point that I had just blown it off. I refused to take medications because I felt it would trade one *maybe* problem for a *definite* liver problem. That seemed pointless to me. I should be able to change my problem with my food -- but the problem with using food as medicine is that you have to keep with it. You can't just short dose yourself and fall back to your old ways -- well, not if you want to stay healthy.

My challenge now as I close in on Funky 55 is to become a healthier Funky 55. That is going to be tough for me because hubs and I are total opposites on the food court. Actually, we're not -- I can eat what he likes and what I like too -- he only eats what he likes. Because I have adapted my diet to his frat boy ways, I am paying big time. He exercises daily, never has bad cholesterol, good blood pressure -- the works. The only bad thing that happened to him in our 13 years together was a gallbladder removal 2 years ago -- maybe 3. So, I suppose he has paid for his diet and to be honest, without another gallbladder to throw under the bus, I'm not sure what his diet is going to do to him. I really don't want to find out. Therefore, in addition to trying to make my home chemical free with homemade cleaners, I will be pushing to eat more at home and to eat healthy. I have to get my cholesterol under control before my heart has a blow out or I have a stroke. Neither of those is a place I want to go. Maybe the love and joy of my grandkids is what made this hit me so hard finally. Or maybe I am just finally listening to reason. Either way, I'm on a journey now to better health. I expect it will be a very wobbly, winding one with lots of mistakes and heartache along the way as I fight through finding a new way to eat and live.

Wish me luck.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 33 Count Down to Funky 55

Before long I'll actually be 55. Boy how time flies. Here I am on the ramp at Yesterways Cottage. We had just gotten back from eating Italian food. One of my goals is to eat at home more, and incorporate more vegetables -- preferably those grown myself. My little garden isn't doing well though. But I haven't given up.

This outfit is three pieces -- a skirt, a tank top and then the black sheer blouse over the tank. I really liked that black blouse. I remember when I bought it I was anxious to wear it for some special occasion and I did -- my Father's funeral. That wasn't at all what I had in mind but that's the way it turned out. I figured you couldn't get more special than honoring a deceased loved one. I have to admit, that has sort of tainted my wearing of this blouse. It evokes all the memories connected with Dad's loss. Now that it has been almost 5 years, the painful memories are easing up -- I can remember my Father with joy and actually get to think about him before the pain crashes down. 

The necklace was a neat thing I got in the Bahamas. I have a thing about buying *keepsake* jewelry wherever I go. I still remember my daughter at barely 3 years old with her baby fine hair in Jamaican braids holding a dead crab in her hand and looking all sorrowful. And I remember having her hanging on my back while I was decked out in snorkle gear, bobbing over at the waist to look down into the water. She had her snorkle gear on too but she much prefered riding on my back to shoving her head under water. At 3, she just didn't quite get the hang of using the snorkle tube.

Well, I'm off to finish watching a B movie before curling up and crashing with hubs.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smelling Good with Vinegar

I know right? Who would ever think that vinegar can make your house smell good but I'm telling you, it really, really works. I mentioned in one of my Count Down to Funky 55 posts that I have been researching homemade household cleaners. I really have been enjoying it and to be truthful, it is pretty simple and very fulfilling.

Yesterday, I cleansed my stove top and had it sparkling very nicely. The day before that, I wiped down my refrigerator and had it looking very nicely. I did all of this with vinegar as the base of my cleaner and added essential oils to it. The EOs that I used for this project were Rosemary and Lemongrass. I love the scent of both of those. Rosemary is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and bug repellant. That's some good *anti* stuff going on right there. The Lemongrass is antimicrobial, fungicidal and insecticidal. With the combo of vinegar, rosemary and lemongrass, I had a very powerful cleaning solution that was good on multiple levels: a degreaser, a bug repellant, sterilizing, and air purifying. It was really nice to do something so hands on that was worthwhile.

Now instead of pets and litterbox smell, I have a lovely herbal smelling home!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Day 32 Count Down to Funky 55

Well, I just wasn't feeling too *funky* in just t-shirts and jeans lately so I had to get back to my dresses. Today was purple day -- for no particular reason other than my dress was purple and my shirt was purple so I did everything else in shades of purple too!

This dress is one of my all time favorites. I got it from Holy Clothing. I could do my whole wardrobe from Holy Clothing and Pyramid Collection if the budget was willing. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful stuff. See, just talking about this outfit is so uplifting. For some reason, t-shirt and jeans just feels, I don't know, BLAH! 

The jewelry I wore today was a mixed set. The necklace is gemstone bits laced with purple, presumably amethyst so naturally I stuck that on. It is a weird 3 strand thing that is hard to figure out which strands have the latches on them but I always figure it out. The earrings don't truly match but they do in a pinch. And of course, I have on my usual black leather roman sandals. I will be very sad when this pair wears out. I think they have a lot of good wear in them yet so I'm not too worried.

Location was our favorite Mexican restaurant. I was hungering for that white cheese dip that is so good and my delectable choice today was a shredded chicken quesadilla. Yum! It's making me hungry again remembering it. Sigh.....

And what exactly is this photo all about? Success! Results! I awakened at 5:30 a.m. this morning. GAK! Too damn early but sometimes that is the way it is. So, for a while I dinked around on the laptop picking up on my homemade cleaner research where I left off the night before. After about 2 hours of reading about stuff, my laptop battery choked and said enough was enough. By then it was 7:30 a.m. and it was bright and sunny outside so I decided to hit the deck and try to do something useful. This clean and bright shining stove was that something useful. Armed with a mixture of vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle, I attacked the stove top and with some polishing with baking soda, VOILA! This was the result. I think what makes it particularly astounding for me is that all the *crap* is off the stove top. I generally have odds and ends of stuff sitting on the burners. Not today! I FINALLY cleared it all off, cleaned it up real good and allowed it to look like, well, what it should look like -- CLEAN AND CLEAR! LOL. Yes, my accomplishments are simple. But it was a very good experiment with my homemade cleaner efforts. Vinegar is acidic so it handles grease removal quite well and anything that was baked on buffed off with the baking soda. 

Wimp alert: I have been thinking all day about those fun and funky shoes I didn't buy yesterday. I think I might be caving in. If I haven't forgotten about them by the 3rd day, it will be game on to go get them. The only thing that will stop me then will be if they aren't there any more. There was only one pair so there is a strong possibility that they are gone.... hmmmm.... what will be will be. May the odds be ever in my favor. LOL

And this is the funky report for today. Hope you enjoyed it. See you tomorrow for Day 33.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life After Delivery...

Even though I have cut way down on my FB time, I still take a peek at it -- mainly because I am advertising for a pageant and I have to refresh the ads several times a day -- usually morning and early evening. Today, as I popped on, I found this neat little story that was a post from Awakening People:

In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?"
The other replies, "why, of course. There has to be somethingafter delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.
"Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?"
"I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths."
The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short."
"I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here."
The other replies, "No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere."
"Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us."
"Mother??" You believe in mother? Where is she now?
"She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world."
"I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist."
To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her." I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality....

I enjoyed this little story and its perspective very much. So, how about it, do you think we are preparing in this life for the next one?  Even if we are, I definitely believe in living this life to the fullest.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Day 31 Count Down to Funky 55

Today is Day 31 of Count Down to Funky 55. I started off the day early in my wolf shirt. I had to go for a follow up mamogram from last year because they found some dense tissue last year that they are keeping an eye on. I don't sense anything *wrong* so I haven't been worried. Just one of those better safe than sorry things. After the smash party at the hospital, I went on a shopping spree. Well, more of a look-see than a spree. We are now at the end of the month which means also at the end of the money so I could only bruise the check book very very gently. Oddly enough, that meant I wouldn't spend on myself so I passed on a pair of high top shoes that were really, really very cool looking. I'm telling myself they were more fashionable than functional - that way it gives extra oomph to the pass. But I managed to get my shopping fix in all the while going gently on the check book by hitting some sale racks and buying goodies for the grand babies. I know they don't need a thing -- their mommy dotes on them quite well so it was really more of a feel good thing for me. But I know they will love the stuff I got them. Little Rudy got a little 4 piece business suit and two swimsuits. Miss Peach got a cute romper, and two swimsuits. I'm really looking forward to giving it to them when they come to stay with me this Friday night.

As you can see in this photo, I don't have on my wolf shirt anymore. Instead I have a patriotic *love freedom* shirt on. Yep, I admit I did sneak me a tiny purchase. But it was deeply discounted and I passed on the shoes. Credit where credit is due, right?

I sported this new t-shirt when we went out to eat at hubs favorite diner. He had waited two weeks for it to reopen after being closed for vacation. He gets something called the Lt. Sam which is a chili burger with cheese and fries and Fritos -- all on the plate together slathered in chili.  A rather unappealing food to me but he LOVES it. I got the cheeseburger and  *spanish fries* which is french fries (chips?) fried with jalapeno pepper slices and onions. Now THAT is good eating. 

Afterwards we went to Walgreens and I ferreted out some Dr. Bonner's lavender castille soap. I am researching green cleaners and every recipe seemed to start with castille soap. Now I am one ingredient closer to making my own cleaners. I actually have several of the others already from prior experiments: Soda Ash, Borax, Zote Bars, Vinegar, and now Castille soap. Plus I have essential oils galore so lots of combinations available there. I have read articles online all afternoon and into the evening until my eyes are rolling back in my head. It can be done as a liquid, or grated as a powder. Big batches, little batches. More for dirty loads of laundry, less for HE loads. DON'T mix vinegar with castille soap -- the vinegar pulls the soap apart and turns it back into oil and makes everything very very nasty. Also castille soap will leave horrendous white spots on everything if you have hard water. Yada, yada, yada -- you get the idea. I am totally overwhelmed and still have 12 browser tabs open reading, reading, reading about making *green* home made cleaners. At some point, the reading has to stop and the doing has to begin.

As soon as I actually create something with all these ingredients I have accumulated, I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 30 Count Down to Funky 55

Today was a holiday in America - Memorial Day where we honor our dead. It was a lazy, dreary, rainy day and I played the lazy bone very well. I did get up and buzz around the house cleaning with some home made mixtures of vinegar, water and essential oils. My fridge was nice and sparkly and my stove top too. Then I dressed in an odd mix to dart out to get a bite to eat.

I have this tank top that is a peacock feather print, but because it was dreary and rainy, I didn't want to have bare shoulders so I wore a popcorn shirt underneath. You can't really see the popcorn shirt - it was white and it has little puffs in it that remind you of kernels of popcorn. The whole thing pulls up very tiny looking but it will spread out big enough to cover a rather good size person -- like me. LOL  As extra layers, I have my black and white shawl draped over me to knock the chill air.  In this photo I am posing with Sir Sable El Gato -- he has been the cat of the house for nearly 17 years. When we got him, daughter had declared she either wanted a brother or a kitty from the box in front of Wal-Mart. We got a kitty. And the lady told us they were all girls so it was a bit of shock several weeks later when Miss Sable Kitty turned and had very male parts protruding from the back side. Daughter and I had spent all those weeks thinking of ourselves as *the girls* and now suddenly we had a *boy* in our midst. It was a weird grieving process that seems silly looking back but we had to adapt to our kitty being a boy. The first step was to re-dub him as Sir Sable El Gato. Once we got acclimated to him being a he, life went on without a hitch. Almost. When he was about 8 months old he came running through the house screaming, did a weird flip and landed real crazy on the carpet and laid there screaming and howling. I had no clue what he was doing. When I approached him he gave a horrendous growl and snarl that was shocking. I had to throw a towel over him and wrap him up and rush to the vet with him to see what was going on. Seems he had kidney crystals and they had blocked him. Had we not taken him to the vet, he would have died in the night a horrible death from what the vet told us. They were able to clear his crystals and unblock his urine. What we got out of the deal was a life long aversion to the litter box. To this day, he will secret himself away and urinate on soft things whenever he can. It has been a very trying time living with him over the years and all the things he has destroyed with his pissing problem. grrrrr! But look at that adorable face. He really is a beautiful cat and sweet as can be when he isn't wreaking havoc with his pissing issue.  Being an elderly cat now and could have failing health at any time, I try not to gripe too much about him and I try to love him as much as possible. My husband is a cat lover deluxe so Sir Sable definitely gets his pets and purrs as my hubs calls it.

Here I am bent down petting my little *Dorgi* -- a daschund/corgi mix. I love that little rascal. His big ears get attention where ever he goes. His hair looks a bit rough in this photo because I have rubbed him down with virgin coconut oil to deter fleas and to help him with a rash that fleas caused on him. He had a wonderful flea free winter and then suddenly, it was spring, a few hot weeks and POW! He was tearing at his hind end like he was going to rip himself apart. I felt so bad about the slip up not having him slathered down in advance of getting bitten. He really is allergic to flea bites and I know exactly how he feels. They drive me wild also if they happen to get me. I do everything I can to make certain I don't get bit by fleas. As a child, I crawled under a house and got fleas all in my hair. They bit me so badly that they made sores that caused my lymph nodes to swell. A round of antibiotics knocked it out but I was pretty sick for a while.  My father cured the flea problem at that house by building a fire just outside the hole that went under the house. All the fleas jumped into the fire and that was that. Of course, I never crawled up under the house again so I really don't know if it got all of them. As an 8 year old child we are fearless and it never crossed my mind about fleas, spiders, snakes and centipedes that could be under there. I shudder to think of all the creepy creatures I exposed myself too not knowing any better. But getting sick like that sure taught me a lesson -- no more crawling under the house.

On this Memorial Day holiday, I honor the following relatives that have passed:

My Dad - William Leon Hollingshad

Grandpa Hollingshad - George Thomas Hollingshad
Fat Granny - Minnie Lena Fulton Hollingshad Remy
Uncle Charles - Charles Thomas Hollingshad
Granny (Aunt) - Jeanetta Collins Hollingshad
Aunt Dot - Dorothy Louise Hollingshad Bachlund
Cousin Robert - Robert Bachlund
Cousin Bruce - Bruce Bachlund
Uncle LeRoy - George LeRoy Hollingshad (my Dad's twin)
Aunt Helen - Helen Marie Brumley Hollingshad
Aunt Pickle (cousin) - Thelma Louise "Pickle" Hollingshad Badgett
Uncle JC (cousin) - JC Badgett
Cousin Rodney - Rodney Dwain Duncan

Granny Connor - Charlotte Temple Craft Connor
Grandpa Connor - Elvis Verdo Connor
Grandma Dean - Virginia Lucille Connor Dean
Uncle Richard - Richard Alan Dean
Uncle Ronnie - Ronald Eugene Dean
Uncle Randy - Randal Keith Dean
Aunt Ann - Virginia Ann Henderson O'Neal Finney
Counsin Alecia - Alecia Rena Dean

And this concludes Day 30 Count Down to Funky 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 29 Count Down to Funky 55

Here I am in a comfy caftan. I have one is red also. They are wonderful for a day of ease about the house. On occasion I do wear them out of the house but usually not. Today, I was exhausted from a week long of staying up late and getting up early and not allowing myself any naps to catch up the lost time. So, today I slept nearly 18 hours. My body is happier for the rest but I am saddened that I lost a whole day. I will have to try to do better with my rest cycles.

And there you have a short, but sweet, Day 29 Count Down to Funky 55. I tried to make up for the shortness here though with a few posts on other topics. I'll be back on my feet tomorrow in rare form. Perhaps I'll have a post on making bread to go with Day 30. No promises, but we will see...

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Always Credit Your Sources -- even in your BOS

One thing I notice is that people feel if they find something on the internet they can pluck it off, reprint it, share it, etc. and never give another thought to where they got it or who created it. It never occurs to them that by reposting it or sharing it in a document that it wrongfully implies they are the author.

Stuff on the internet is not *free* to take. It does belong to someone. Anything on the internet was created by someone at one point. Often times there can be the question of *who* does it really belong to. Chances are if you find the same identical information over and over again, it comes from a book somewhere -- just sadly, the people have failed to give credit where credit is due.

I'm very big on providing sources of anything that I do not personally author. For one thing, it shows respect for the creator and allows me to go back to my source. It also gives people an opportunity to seek out more information by the same author if what they see is to their liking. There is absolutely no reason that you shouldn't quote your sources other than to be deceitful about the origins of the material.

People often times don't quote sources because they just didn't think about -- please change that behavior. Do think about it. If you personally spent a lot of time creating and writing something, you wouldn't want someone to just pluck it off your blog or website and pass it off as their own or allow others to mistakenly think of it as their own. Most likely you would be very steamed to see your personal works all over the internet with no reference back to you whatsoever.

I also stand firm on this regarding Book of Shadows materials. If you didn't write it, credit the source. ALWAYS. I can't stress this enough. And seriously, it isn't very hard to figure out when a person is laying claim to something they didn't write -- we all have a speaking voice and style of writing that is very distinct. It will stick out rather obviously when something in written in a style very different from your own.

As a teacher, it is very very important to your credibility as a teacher to quote sources if you use materials other than your own. The reason being is it effects your credibility. It makes you look like a fake if your materials are all nicked from books and around the internet and you pass it off as your own. Some people defend themselves and say they never claimed it as their own -- however, by not declaring the true author of the materials, you have allowed it to be implied that the materials are yours and therefore, passed them off as your own. Once your students catch on to this, they will lose respect for you and just ferret around the internet for information rather than look to you.

Another thing to keep in mind -- changing a few words or piecing together from several sources still doesn't make the materials yours -- it makes it exactly what it is -- a collage of things that belong to other people that you have worked over a bit. This is called plagiarism and is very serious business. If you have any aspirations whatsoever of being a respected writer during your life time, you are best to avoid these practices.

I have had students attempt to grab stuff from the internet and tried to pass it off as their own. Very disappointing. I let them know I found their source and ask them to redo their assignments. They generally comply or drop out of the class. If it is too hard to do on your own, then don't do it, but cheating is definitely not the answer.

Not only is all this crediting your sources a matter of ethics, but it can be a very costly legal matter which age and ignorance will not protect you from.

Do the right thing, harm none and declare your sources on any and all things in anything you use them on whether it be a FB post, a blog post, a journal entry, a BOS page, etc.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

What is Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca?

I have spoke on this a few times but not sure if I have covered it in a blog post. I do get asked quite often about my "tradition". I generally think of my spirituality more as a *path* than a tradition because a path is more of a winding, meandering course of learning, whereas I think of *tradition* as being a set way of doing things.

Like Wicca, WiseCraft Wicca  follows the Wiccan Rede, it is nature based, believes in a Goddess and God, honors the feminine and masculine equally, follows the Wheel of the Year, celebrates the Esbats and Sabbats, does not proselytize or actively recruit, and uses spellcrafting. It is definitely ecclectic in nature because I take from various sources, keeping what resonates and discarding the rest. So, a person might very well be able to say, that is a Buddhist thing, or Native American thing or Hindu, or shaman etc. If it fits my life, I take it into my lifestyle for as long as it fits. That may be a short while or lifelong. I don't squabble with people about things like this. We are all complex beings composed of our life experiences and acquired knowledge. The broader our exposure, the more we may incorporate into our lifestyle.

Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca also honors the ways of the wise men and women and the more simpler, non-toxic traditions of days gone by. It seeks out herbal remedies and old fashioned healing modalities before the creation of pharmaceuticals and modern medicine practices. That's not to say that I totally discard modern ways but when ever possible, I choose to follow an older more natural method of doing something.

All in all, Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca is in fact a daily way of living that goes beyond just spiritual practices. It lives in harmony with nature, is as green as practicable, lives by the cycles of nature, eats seasonally, grows food when possible, eats as fresh as possible.

Do I live this 100% -- I wish I could say yes. It is a journey and each day I try to get closer to my ideal way of life. This year I am growing my own herbs. It is my first endeavor at Yesterways Cottage since I moved here almost 2 years ago.

And I'm going to be experimenting with making artisan bread. I love bread but don't eat store bought bread. As a consequence, my diet has been sadly lacking in bread. I am really looking forward to having some *real* bread. I'll be sure to make a post on my efforts.

I hope this helped you understand a little bit more about what Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca is all about.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Dog Brindle : I Have Done Nothing, Is There No God Helen Duncan - The Last Person Found Guilty of Witchraft

Here is a fascinating blog post:

Victoria Helen McCrae Duncan was the last woman to be ever be charged and found guilty in the United Kingdom of witchcraft.

Dog Brindle : I Have Done Nothing, Is There No God Helen Duncan - The Last Person Found Guilty of Witchraft

Day 28 Count Down to Funky 55

We're now up to Day 28 of Count Down to Funky 55. Here I am cheesing it up holding my precious Miss Peach.  She was taking a quick little cat nap after her performances at the Pageant waiting for crowning and awards. This is day 2 of my new hair cut and I really do think I am liking it. In a way, it reminds me of a man's flat top hair cut from the 50s. All I can say is it feels good and is easy to take care of. 

I seem to wear a lot of black. Not exactly sure why that is -- it wasn't something I set out to do on purpose but it just seems to turn out that a lot of things my size come in black. Hmmmmm, maybe I am at that size where fashion wear decides we need to look slimmer? They say black makes a person slimmer but I don't know. I don't worry too much about fashion rules. You'll find me in wild colors just as quickly as you'll find me in black. If I can mix the two I like it even better. The top I have on is actually a blouse worn under --- you guessed it! -- another mini dress worn as a tunic top over black jeans. You'll see the full length photo below. The thing about the dress was I got it on a sale rack because the beading had been damaged a bit. It isn't very noticeable unless you are purposely looking for it. If someone is looking at my chest that hard, they are looking too dang hard! Just saying....  The blouse I had on underneath is just a simple thing I picked up at Wal-Mart. I know, I should hang my head in shame but I used to shop there a lot. Now I only go there when I have to. I hate the over sized, over crowded aisles with people standing in never ending lines waiting to get out. So, yeah, I have better things to do with my time than stand in one of the 3 open cashiers out of 25 available. Yes, that was being snarky....

Just for a bit of story, grandson Little Rudy was with us today. And he was making sure he was full front and center. He actually enjoyed having the attention of all the cute girls. He is definitely going to be a charmer. The girls were grouping up for a crowning shot and there he is up in the middle of them. Numerous shots were being snapped by the director and mothers before someone said, hey, there's a boy in the photo. His mommy had told him he was to support his sister and love her and make her feel good and clap for her. And to wear his big brother support shirt. And there he was, doing every bit of that. He kissed her every time she came off stage. A couple of times he pranced onto the stage with her. And once, during a break, he got up on stage and did himself a little jig and strutting his stuff for the girls. He actually snagged him one too. It is for certain that he digs older women. We'll see how that works out for him over the years to come. LOL

Here is Miss Peach with her first crown. She grabbed hold of it and wasn't going to let anyone have it back for any reason -- not even to get another crown! When it was over she had 3 crowns, 3 sashes, a big trophy, a treat bag, some jewelry and.... I can't remember the rest. She never really knew about the treat bag. As you can see in the back ground, brother snagged it and claimed it as his own. He very much enjoyed the contents. Way to go Little Rudy. Being a brother and supporting sister at her events has its perks.

Here I am 14 hours later back at Yesterways Cottage. You can see the full outfit from head to toe. And yes, I am wearing those fun tennies (trainers for my UK friends) again. I think I'm kind of hooked on them. I had an awesome day with daugther and the kiddos but it was good to be home. Took a hot bath, wrote this post and then adios -- good night to all.

See you tomorrow.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 27 Count Down to Funky 55

Today I had lots of things on my agenda -- had to go pick up my meds and epi-pen that I now have to carry since the last allergic reaction started messing with my breathing. 

For my running around I chose to wear my black sundress as a tunic over some brown pants that went with the pattern on the dress. I had on some earrings and necklace to match -- in this photo, the necklace is a bit wonky looking because one of the stones flipped. Oh, well, it happens. This photo was taken at hubs work in the flooring department. I love home building stores. 

While I was out and about, I got a hair cut. I didn't take photos with me because the girl that cut it last time had a really awesome display with the perfect hair cut on it. I was thinking, yeah, I'll get that again. As luck would have it, the girl wasn't working today (I just do walk in) and the display was GONE! Aye-yi-yi. So, I had to wing it with a new girl and just try to explain to her what I wanted. What I envisioned and what I got was a bit different but it's not too bad. 

A side view.

Back view.

Front view of me smiling away.

I finally figured out why I looked so dwarvish in some of the photos. Hubs is 6 foot tall and when he was taking photos of me he was tilting the camera at an odd angle that squished me up. I kept thinking surely I don't really look like THAT!

This is a photo from yesterday that I didn't use. It just seemed to have me scrunched. Now the problem is solved. No more tilting of the camera and I should be regular height. :)

And this is it for Day 27 Count Down to Funky 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 26 Count Down to Funky 55

Well, it is more or less halfway to 55 now. 

Today I had on my yellow tye dyed sun dress with my neat vest. Here I was resting outside the Golden Corral restaurant.

A good view of the back of my vest. I may have worn this with another outfit. It is very versatile and goes with lots of my clothes.

Black roman sandals. I have several pair of these slightly different in style but this is the pair I wear the most.

I love this necklace. I bought it at a craft fair from a local artisan. I don't know what stones these are but they are beautiful. Here choice of complimentary beads really made this set shine.

And of course earrings to match!

I wasn't too gabby today. I'll make up for it next time. LOL

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 25 Count Down to Funky 55

 Today's fashion was very unsophisticated. Just a tye dye flutter tail shirt and some brown capris and my faithful new tennies with zippers and pink laces and sparkle! It was a day with the grand kids and I expected to be doing a lot of moving around and lifting so I went with something practical. However, the day has some surprises for me that I never imagined.

Arrived to pick up grandchildren in record time so I snagged them and pushed on to my mother's so the grand kids could have Great Grammy time. Brothers were both there and researching various plants for medicinal purposes. That was a pleasant surprise and right down my alley so I jumped in and began helping them. During a break, brother "B" asked me to try some fried cactus. Just harmless little sliver and much to my surprise it was really good. Sort of like a cross between a fried morel, fried green tomato and fried squash. It was very tasty but I just ate the one little piece. Next brother "B" brought me a green leaf to taste. It turned out to be a dandelion leaf. For me it was too bitter. ick! But I know Dandelion is a wonder weed so if I were going to use it, I'm sure there are ways to deal with the bitter.

From there I had conversations with brother "G" regarding his virgin organic coconut oil. We researched all the possible uses for it and ran across how people put it in coffee. So, I did that thinking it would taste grand. It was nothing to write home about -- there are other recipes that I would have tried if not for the problem that came next. I didn't get to drink much of the coffee because grand kids were trying to settle down to a nap and I was trying to lay with them to get them to drop off. And that is when it hit me. A tingly on the top of my ear that branched out to the inside of my ear, then my jaw, eyes and lips and tongue. I sat up thinking oh, god, not again! Yes, again. My whole body became hot and fiery with itching beyond endurance. My tongue got thick and I began to have difficulty talking and breathing. I think the breathing issues were related to possible hyperventilation from my panic. But after getting checked in at the ER, the doc told me that taking the 5 benadryl tablets probably saved my life. Whew! By this time it was easy to see by my lobster color and raised red rash all over speckled with angry welts that I was in deep trouble. I was rushed into ER and immediately put on drips of various medications to stop the hiving process. I could literally feel the medicine swoosh over my entire body and it sent a shock wave of sort through me. My swollen bright red feet had immediately relief as I saw them slowly change to patches of normal flesh like islands in an angry sea of red blotches. 

I slept for 3 hours. All in all, I had 175 mg of Benadryl in me, plus whatever was in the drips. I dropped into sleep and knew nothing of my surroundings for the rest of the time I was in hospital which was 3 hours. The doc said it was severe enough that it warranted admitting me for a hospital stay to be monitored. The reason he gave for not doing it was because the symptoms seemed to be partially arrested by the benedryl I had taken and that he believed it could be dealt with as an outpatient situation BUT that if I had any more issues whatsoever that I needed to check in immediately.

Got some scripts and now life moves on. I do have to go to an allergist thought and pin down the problem item that triggers these attacks. My life could depend on it.

And there we have it, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly on Day 25 Count Down to Funky 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 24 Count Down to Funky 55

Today is funky and functional. When it is hot outside and you're in the sun, you have to take care of yourself.  Drink plenty of fluids so you don't dehydrate. I do that with iced tea. Obviously, water would be the very best but I've gotten a bit off track. Gatorade is good too since and I especially like the lemon one.

I used to be a sun bather and get all tan and deeply browned. But I stopped that in my middle twenties. I think it has been very beneficial to me since people tell me often that I look 10 years younger than I am. Maybe they are buttering me up but usually not.

This outfit is far from *sexy* but like I said, today the funky fashion is about functional. The hat is to shield my eyes, nose and cheeks from the sun. The hat came from the Dollar Tree behind me. For $1, you can't beat it. I have this light one and a brown one, so I have fashion options. As for the outfit, it is almost shameful to admit but I have had it for TWENTY YEARS! I couldn't believe when I thought it through! The pants have some elastic in addition to the zipper and snap so they have been able to fluctuate with me through the years in my various weights. The shirt is a keepsake from my trip to the Bahamas when daughter was only 3. That is how I figured out this outfit was 20 years old. Well, the hat is new as in purchased just before this photo and the shoes are a recent purchase also. I guess you could say, if it isn't broke why fix it? Or you could just say lazy hoarder. I truly don't mean to be but sometimes stuff gets shoved in the back of the closet or put in storage. When I moved all my stuff out of the old house into the new house, stuff bubbled back out that I hadn't seen in a long time. The shirt and pants were two of those things. Lots of stuff needs to go. Maybe that will be my next blogging journey. Only I probably need to create a separate blog for that. This is my Witchy blog and here I am all up in fashion. So, why do that on this blog? Because it is part of my journey to be who I am and that is part of being a Witch -- shedding the need to fit in with others for the sake of fitting in. Daring to be an individual. I suppose it is also a natural part of aging where we care less about the opinions of others and more about living and enjoying life without hindrances.

Although you can't see it, I completed this outfit with a healthy slathering of coconut oil on face and arms for natural sunscreen. The less chemicals I have on me or in me, the happier I am. Now that WILL be part of this blog and it fits very nicely with my Witchy path.  I used my coconut oil plain but for an amped up sunscreen benefits, there are many recipes making making natural sunscreen using coconut oil and other ingredients including essential oils for fragrance. Check out some of these recipes:

And that is it for Day 24 funky fashion Count Down to Funky 55.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 23 Count Down to Funky 55

Today we will start with the boots since I forgot to show them yesterday. I have a few different pairs of boots that are similar in style but this particular pair gets worn on a regular basis. In fact, I'm seeing a little wear around the toe. Oh no! Say it isn't so! Will have to pull out another pair and keep a watchful eye for a replacement pair for these. There's lots of wear left in this pair yet so I have plenty of time.

They are an inexpensive vinyl pair of boots that lace up the front but thankfully have a zipper on the sides so you don't have to be bothered to lace and unlace with each wear. I also like the chunky heel and the treaded non-slip soul. And that bit of sock around the top of them is wonderful! It keeps them from chafing my legs. I have a leather pair similar to these that doesn't have that and I have a blister on my legs every time where the top part of the zipper rubs me raw. This photo was taking in the sitting room of Yesterways Cottage. This gorgeous hard wood floor was hidden away under yucky carpet. It is taking a while to clean all the carpet glue trails off the wood. Once that happens, I'll be ready to prep the floor for finishing. I do believe this floor is from the 30s back when they still used shellac rather than the poly finishes they use today. Maybe I will put shellac back on it and stay historic. We will see. Now, on with funky fashion.

Let's start with a close up on the porch of Yesterways Cottage. My natural gray hair with a head band. I have two that are similar but this one is my favorite. Same jewelry as yesterday. The color was right and it was handy. Perfect for someone in a hurry. Miss Peach is here today and she doesn't like to be kept waiting.

Here is a full length look by the rose bush. The dress is high enough off the ground that the boots show a bit and I don't have to worry about stepping on the dress. It might seem counter intuitive but dresses like this are much cooler for me than wearing shorts or pants in the summer time. Lots of freedom of movement and the air circulates. It's just very very nice. The jacket/vest/shawl thing is an unusual thing. I think I might have gotten it from the Pyramid Collection catalog but I'm not certain.

Here is how it looks from behind. It has a sort of shawl collar with a braided fringe all around it. I like the length of it. Gives privacy to the curvature of the caboose. LOL

I tried holding it up so you could see what it looks like when you put it on. It is a rather odd shaped flat thing with two holes in it. Unfortunately, you can only see one arm hole in this photo. I grab it by the arm holes and swing it up and around to put it on. That probably looses something in the translation but that is the only way I can put it on. It would probably take a video for that to make sense. Maybe next time.

And that was Day 23 Funky Fashion. We're getting close to the half way mark of 55. Yeah! I'm having fun. Hope you are enjoying my daily silliness on my count down to age 55. A young friend asked me what the big deal was about turning 55. Hmmm, I guess mostly because I'm still alive, have good health, have a wonderful husband to share my life with, a beautiful daughter that has given me two beautiful grand children. Life is good! 

If you review the symbolism of the number 55 (see here), it is perfect with where I am in life. I am letting go of my old way of life and living and embracing change. I went from full time working to being a full time home maker. I spend time with my grandkids and dote on my husband. Actually, I need to do better about doting on my hubs. He truly is an awesome man and deserves much more doting than he gets. I can't go on too much about how wonderful he is -- don't want anyone to get ideas. ;p

Until tomorrow,

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Monday, May 19, 2014

Curses and How to Deal With Them

One of the things that people frequently ask me about is curses and how to lift them. The thing about curses in my experience has been that they get most of their power from the person who is cursed more so than the person who cursed them.  This is why I say that, for a curse to work, it has to be fed energy and generally a person doing a curse does it in a fit of anger, a burst that spikes and fades away. It's not to say there aren't powerful magickal practitioners out there that can do long term curses but that level of magickal worker isn't a dime a dozen and the chances of you running across one is slim. And yet we have people that claim to be cursed and genuinely suffering from consequences of the curse they believe to be on them. Why? Because they *believe* in the curse and therefore, are the source of the energy that feeds the curse. Even more ironic is that this is true even if no one else cursed them. In other words, if a person believes they have been cursed, they are cursed. The mind is a very powerful thing and all things begin with a thought. Therefore, when we think something strongly enough, we make it manifest. Many people believe something about themselves so strongly that it is true.  As a worldly example, there are people who believe so strongly they have an illness they will suffer the symptoms of that illness even when they don't have it. These people are called hypochondriacs. Such people can be treated with placebos or sugar pills with no medicinal value but because they believe it to be a cure for their ailment, they will be cured.

Sometimes curses are self evoked when a string of conditions prompts a person to draw the conclusion they have been cursed. They will say things like *I'm unlucky in love* or *I'm unlucky* or *nothing good ever happens for me* or *just my luck - if I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all* or *bad things all ways happens in threes so there is more coming*.

All that being said, it isn't a far stretch then for someone who hears an actual curse uttered at them to be terror stricken regarding the consequences, which is exactly what gives the curse its power. The more the cursed person ruminates on the curse, the thoughts they have manifest making it a self-fulling prophecy.

How to break a curse? Stop believing in it. Change your thoughts and break its power. Generally a regimen of positive affirmations will break it if you sincerely believe them.

In summary, the power of a curse or blessing depends on what the people involved believe.  If they believe that the curse or blessing passes to them, that is what their mind manifests because thoughts are things and draw to you through the Law of Attraction what you believe.  For instance, if you say it is a hideous world and nothing good ever happens to you, you will have a horrible, miserable life full of bad things because that is what you expect and therefore, that is what you get.  However, if you believe life is easy breezy and always something good happening every where in every thing because you are blessed because your Great-Great-Great Great (however far back) Grandmother blessed her whole family line, then it will be so because you believe in it.

Bottom line, whether we're talking blessings or curses, the power comes from belief of the target person -- nothing more.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Day 22 Count Down to Funky 55

Day 22 starts out having lunch with hubs and our grandaughter Miss Peach. She has discovered the joys of chomping on pizza crust now that she has 4 teeth, two in top, two in bottom. And she isn't afraid to use them either! She pulled my knuckle into her mouth and it only took me half a second to realize as she was chomping down that if I let her get a full blown bite I might end up missing a finger! Babies have strong jaws!!!!

Peach gnoshing away on her crust. She was a happy little camper! What pizza crust didn't satisfy, chocolate pudding and that jello salad took care of.

I guess my style today is *boho*?  Actually, that would be my style on most days really. I like to refer to myself as the *Gypsy GiGi*. This photo is in the post because I love murals and this one showed it off rather nicely. If you look beyond the light you can see the leaning tower of pizza nestled in a little Italian village.
 The black lace "top" I have on here is actually a mini dress! Needless to say, my days of wearing mini dresses with my bare legs shining are far behind me but pressed into service as tunic tops, they serve me quite well.  So, when I shop, I do look at mini dresses to see if there is anything cool and funky that I can use as a tunic top.  To break up the solid black topside, I wore my black lace shawl with pretty purplish sequins on it. I'm really not sure what color they really are but I figured they blended with this outfit good enough.

I did my usual layering of skirts. The colorful purple & black skirt with a tulle ruffle is being worn over a solid black skirt with a tiny row of double ruffles. The is photo shows you more clearly what the hemline looked like.

Normally I would have been wearing my large crystal and my amethyst set for jewelry. However, as I may have mentioned before, I accidentally tossed it in the trash. Long story and my heart seizes every time I think about it. Sigh..... Instead, I am wearing a piece I bought on vacation about 10 years ago in an antique shop. This was some sort of *estate piece* that reminded me of Victorian times. I suppose a Gypsy might wear something like it. This Gypsy did today. 

Unfortunately, the antique shop did not have any type of coordinating earrings so I just wore some glass bead dangles with it. Looked good enough to me.

I just realized I didn't take photos of my feet. I had on my black *combat boots* for lack of a better description. I wear them often so photos will pop up between now and day 55.

And there you have the funky fashion for Day 22.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 21 Count Down to Funky 55

Glad to see you are still hanging with me on my journey to age 55!  Today we went to lunch at Cowboy's Barbeque. I love the smell of burning wood used to smoke the meat. What a dreamy smell. Transports me back to another life in the old days on the trail, tending cows. It is amazing the memories that smells can evoke. I tried to go all hollywood on this post and put the photos side by side to make a shorter post but the pictures got tiny and text got out of bounds and well, UGH! So I just did a straight roll. Now, let's get on with it, shall we?

Display of Cowboy Memorabilia by our booth. Lots of well worn hats.

Display by the exit - lots of brands burned into the wall. And lots of famous cowboys - George Strait!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 20 Count Down to Funky 55

Today is about outer wear and being outside living the good life. And being outside sometimes requires a sweater and this green one is an all time favorite of mine. This photo is taken for me by my dear sweet brother at Yesterways Cottage. While I am doing this Count Down to Funky 55 anyone is fair game to be pressed into service for my photography needs. He was in town for a medical appointment at the VA and dropped by to say hello. We hand a grand time going to lunch and shopping. We both love shopping a little too much, especially for two people who really don't need anything at all. So we exercised restraint and stuck to consumables and few necessaries, so we behaved ourselves.

The black trellis behind the rose bush is actually two old metal bed ends that have been repurposed. I think they look rather smart and it keeps them out of the landfill. I was thrilled to see this rose bush bloom. It was wild and unruly and you couldn't use the walks because it was hanging out over them with its thorny limbs so I chopped it down hard to just the basic stem. My thinking was it would regrow and I could train it the way I wanted. After I was done and saw how severe I had cropped it, I was frightened I had killed it. But it bounced back and has more blooms than ever in the two years we have been here.

Now getting on about the green sweater, it was an internet purchase I made around 8 years ago. Hard to believe it has been that long but I know I had it in 2006 and I thought I had it before that. I used to wear it when I was flying regularly to visit my Marine husband when he was stationed at Quantico, VA. That was a long 3 years flying back and forth for one visit a month but we made the most of those 4 to 10 days. It was like having a vacation every month.

People at the airports LOVED this sweater and would make a point to call out to me and tell me how much they loved it. Once is a while I would get someone that would reach out and touch it but not often. I ordered it on ebay from a shop in Japan. You take a gamble buying things sight unseen but I was very very pleased that this was everything I hoped it would be. As you can see, it has the fake fur collar in green to match the knitted sweater portion. The closures are loops with green buttons shaped like claws or fangs. The shaggy bits decorating the sleeves and under the closures is square bits of contrasting knit cloth that has been cut raggedly to create a fringe effect. I do have to be careful at times so that it doesn't pull a bit of fringe off but in the 8 years that I've had it, it looks as good as the day I took it out of the package. Definitely one of my all time favorite funky pieces.

This photo was taken in 2009 on one of my trips to Quantico to see hubs while he was stationed there. You can see the closures a bit better here. Yep, I was still dying my hair black at that time -- just wasn't ready to give up to the grey yet back then. We were at Williamsburg the day this photo was taken. We had a great day wandering around reviewing our country's founding history. I especially loved the drum and fife corp. I could have run along beside them all day had I not gotten winded from the cold. Well, it might not have been the cold that made me winded but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I will never concede that I was overweight and out of shape. LOL

And that is Day 20 of Count Down to Funky 55.

Just for fun, here's a few more photos from my trip to Williamsburg that day:

Chasing along after the Drum and Fife Corp.

Standing outside the Print Shop. You can see my *invisible* glasses here. I had totally forgotten every having them. Wonder what I did with them. They were really cool but fragile....

Behind the Gaol door. I have to wonder how that was pronounced. Did it sound like *jail*?

Of course a military man would want to see the armory. And boy was it stocked But it's no small wonder there are so many guns, they were flint lock rifles so likely single shot. Plus, this armory had to provide for the militia for the surrounding area also which is why so many weapons. To me, it was neat to see.

And that is it for Day 20 Count Down to Funky 55. Just 35 more days to go. :)

Bright Blessings,
Rayven Michaels

Words to Live By - Do You Know What Yours Are?

When a person follows a pre-constructed religious path, all the tenants of faith are laid out for them and they have but to apply them to th...