Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! & New Year's Resolutions #HappyNewYear

I'll start by wishing everyone a Happy, Prosperous, Joyful and Healthful New Year!

It's common place to review the past year on New Year's Eve and then make resolutions for the upcoming year. For me, the key is to make *realistic* resolutions. I could make a resolution that I'm going to make $1 Million Dollars in 2015, but unless I sincerely have a plan to do it or am willing to work at making a plan to do it, such a resolution is pointless. What I could do though is say I'm going to work on my prosperity in 2015 and then figure out what that means and how I can accomplish it. I can spend less by trimming expenses so that I end up with more money. I could work more hours. I could switch jobs. There are lots of things I could do to increase prosperity. The point is, resolutions have to have a plan to back them up or else they are just wishes or just an activity to do on New Year's Eve.

Here are my resolutions for the New Year:
  • Make sure my loved ones know how much they mean to me and that I love them
  • Find joy and happiness in all that I do
  • Find time to read everyday
  • Stay in touch with friends more frequently
  • Advance on my spiritual path
  • Always be open to opportunities in whatever form they present themselves
I may come up with more but these are a good start and are things that I should be able to realistically accomplish.

Happy New Year and Bright Blessings to All!
Rayven Michaels

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

GJOYful Bears: Woodland Fairy Tree House 95% Complete!

What a GORGEOUS Fairy House! I am inspired to make one of my own! Wish me luck. It's a huge undertaking but it will be worth it! And I have some awesome ideas....  Enjoy the article.

GJOYful Bears: Woodland Fairy Tree House 95% Complete!: I have been working on creating a Woodland fairy tree house since September, between creating bears & dragons. The house is for my tin...

Bright Blessings!

Rayven Micheals

Friday, December 26, 2014

Yule Celebration 2014

I'm a little late posting this on the blog. I realized I posted it straight to FB but not on the blog. This year, our Yule/Christmas did not revolve around money and gifts. The only ones we did buy gifts for were the two tiny tot grandchildren.  This wasn't because we were being Grinches or without Yuletide Spirit. We opted to lead by example and not celebrate this season as Commerce Day, something my husband is fond of calling it due to an old Mac Davis movie. And there is a lot of truth to how Yule/Christmas is marketed -- anyone ever heard of Black Friday? I have never participated and have no plans to ever do so. However, I have friends and acquaintances that consider it the kick off event of their holiday traditions. To each their own. ;) As Grandparents now, we have decided to make the holidays more about family, traditions and memories. I think we got off to a very good start this year.

We had a great time at our family Yule/Christmas party. We had a humble meal of brown beans, fried potatoes, hot rolls, tabouli, sauerkraut relish, pickles, salad, dressing & chicken gravy. Nothing fancy and no meat -- was an awesome meal for me - one of my very favorites. In the summer we have garden fresh fried okra too but we enjoyed it without the okra. We played games and had a good time. The Christmas memories game was really fun -- enjoyable to see what things people remember and how they remember them. Then we played a game where everyone had a tiny gift bag with their name on it -- everyone put an anonymous note about each person in the bags. Then you had to read your notes and figure out who said it to you. Handwriting was helpful unless someone else wrote the notes. LOL Anyway, if you got it right, you got to take some treats from the treat bowl to go in your gift bag. We had two perfect scores that figured out who wrote every note about them. It was fun to see what people said. Was a great day finished off with GiGi being a rodeo bull for the Grandkids to ride alternating with being a sheep for mutton busting. I surely worked off all the calories from my meal because the kiddos dearly love their bull riding! LOL

Since my path is different than my family, I did a quiet ritual in my backyard later when I got home. All in all, Yule was simple and yet wonderful this year.

I am already planning for next Yuletide Season with lots of ideas for activities.  We have an unused house in town that I think should become our family gathering spot. Decorate it full out for the holidays and have get togethers there year round. Now I am on a quest to name it. But that shall be a addressed in a different post...

Bright Blessings to All,
May Your Day be Merry and Bright,
Rayven Michaels

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Blinging my Blog #checkoutmynewblogcolors

I got a bit behind on blinging my blog and keeping up with the seasons. My old colors were wintery but it was definitely a spring look. So, I finally sat down and winterized the look. Check it out! I think it's pretty... of course.

Living Without Electricity

We've all found ourselves some time or another without electricity. It could have been due to a citywide power outage, a downed pole during a storm or caused by a vehicle accident, perhaps a blown transformer, a limb ripping down the personal power line to your house, perhaps even an off-grid cabin camp out, OR the one everyone dreads, a payment issue with the power company. And then there is one more reason a person might find themselves living without electricity -- CHOICE.  Electricity is involved in such a large portion of our lifestyle these days that many cannot even begin to fathom the concept of willfully choosing to be off-grid -- but there are plucky individuals out there that make that choice everyday. My hat is off to them.

Regardless of *why* a person is living without electricity and whether it is short term or long term, it's good to have some ideas on how to cope.

The first thing that comes to mind for many is a backup generator of some sort. Those are usually gas operated, expensive to run and are quite noisy. Still, some people choose this route.

But what if you want some simple low tech ideas on how to get by? I decided to collect a few ideas.

Something that makes no electricity appealing is that it cuts out all the distractions in the house -- no radio, no TV, no computers. I don't really watch TV and never really have because as a young adult I always lived in remote areas where cable wasn't an option and we couldn't get an antenna tall enough to catch the free signal. My childhood love of reading naturally carried into my adulthood. I never missed television. Even now that I live in the city and subscribe to cable, I rarely watch it. I have contemplated shutting it off but on occasion I do like to binge on HGTV and some of the gardening shows. But truthfully, if I didn't have television, I honestly wouldn't miss it. I would be harder pressed to forgo the internet -- I do LOVE my internet. But if I were completely honest, it is a huge distraction that keeps me from living life fully. There are many chores that get neglected because I fall down the hole on the internet -- and I couldn't blog! But I could make better use of my internet time so that I wasn't online as much and still be able to blog.

Now, let's get down to lighting ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. Solar light spikes.  Our local Dollar Tree sells these little gems for $1 a piece throughout the year. I just have to get there at the right time to snag them. I have purchased some that didn't last long while others were an incredible bargain and very long lasting both in the length of light they provided and the length of time they worked.  They could be charged during the day and then brought in at night and placed in vases to hold them up and used like a flameless light. The neat thing about using these is that other than the initial investment to get them, there is no expense to use them. Just lots of remembering to place them out to charge.
  2. Vegetable oil lights.  I save my used cooking oil to be used for emergency lighting. There are numerous ways to do this but most involve putting the oil in a heat proof container inserting some sort of wick. I have seen olive oil suggested but that is quite expensive and I happen to like recycling. Here are a few videos giving ideas on how to do this:
     This next video shows an oil lamp with an open flame which I personally would place some sort of open ended *globe* over to both protect the flame from the wind and to keep children and pets safe and to avoid items from accidentally getting close to the flame.

These are just a couple of ideas. I will be posting more. Living a simple, cost effective life that brings me and mine closer together and allows us to thrive and survive safely in hard times is a strong priority for me.

Bright Blessings to All
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...