Throwback Thursday

TBT

Sporting a smart hat and dinosaur shirt. Always loved dinosaurs.

Motivation Monday 2/23/15

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Lent 2015

Mormons don’t participate in Lent as a religion, but I feel that as part of my spiritual journey I will take part in it this year. I have been researching it to make sure that I do it correctly and respectively.

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

During Lent, people give up certain luxuries as a form of penitence and replace them with more spiritual disciplines that draw them closer to God (prayer, scripture, etc.).

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (or Clean Monday for some Catholics) and ends on Easter Sunday. There are 6 Sundays of fasting and also a few feast days. Here is a timeline I found of the days of Lent:

  • First Sunday of Lent (Sunday, February 22, 2015)
  • Second Sunday of Lent (Sunday, March 1, 2015)
  • Feast of Saint Patrick (Tuesday, March 17, 2015)
  • Feast of Saint Joseph (Thursday, March 19, 2015)
  • Third Sunday of Lent (Sunday, March 8, 2015)
  • Fifth Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday) (Sunday, March 22, 2015)
  • Easter (Sunday, April 5, 2015)

 

Things I am GIVING UP for Lent:

I was going to give up the internet completely, but I’m working on getting my Etsy shop up and running so that’s not going to work. I had then decided to just cut out certain websites, but all the websites I go on are ones I need to advertise my shop on. In the end I just decided to give up these 3 things. I think that abstaining from these during Lent will definitely make an impact and help me reach my spiritual goals.:

  1. Netflix & Hulu-Completely (this one will be hard because this is mostly all I do at work).
  2. Sugar-I had planned on giving this up anyway, why not do it for Lent?
  3. Frivolous spending-I’m going to stick to a strict budget of only buying the necessities.

Things I will be ADDING for Lent:

  1. Scripture reading: At least 1 chapter a day.
  2. Prayer: Twice daily (Right now it’s only been once).
  3. Meditation: Once a day.
  4. Journal: Once a day.
  5. Reading: One good/positive book a week (as an avid reader this is a doable goal. Especially if I’m cutting internet).
  6. Water: Eight glasses a day.

Also, Lent begins on a New Moon which I think is perfect for new beginnings.

What are you giving up for Lent?

Throwback Thorsday

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Chillaxin with my neon green shades.

[The smudge on my chin is just a smudge on the photo when I scanned it.]

Madison’s Pensieve

This morning I woke up around 5am and couldn’t go back to sleep even though I was still really exhausted. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately (what else is new) so I tried really hard to fall back to sleep. After tossing and turning for a couple of hours I finally decided to get up. Though I was physically exhausted, my mind was wide awake. Something that often happens to me. This time I decided I’d start one of my other new year’s goals I have: writing in my journal.

It wasn’t my typical entry of catching up because I had gone too long since last writing (this time it has been about 19 months). Those entries are never helpful in my racing mind, no sleep situations. I just wrote down the highlights of the past year and half and said I’d come back to them. I then wrote down my current thoughts that were on my mind. I wrote for exactly an hour. I wrote truthfully too. Usually I just write hinting at certain things for fear someone might find my journal and read it. This time I wrote down everything on my mind. It was very therapeutic. It has also motivated me to keep up my journal habit it because I still have a lot more to get off my mind.

Pensieve

Every time I write in my journal I feel like Dumbledore pulling a memory from his mind and putting it into his pensieve. I just hope no one finds my pensieve later and decides to fall into and re-live my memories. Especially with what’s been on my mind lately.

Journal writing is very therapeutic. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often. I bet I’d get more sleep. My main reason is because I feel over whelmed about having to catch up after a long break. Well after today’s entry I definitely feel motivated to keep it up. Keeping up on it will make it less over whelming. Good job Madison. Yes I just had an epiphany and then congratulated myself on it.

I thought I’d share a picture of my journal:

Journal

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I modeled it after River Song’s Tardis journal. I was going to name it River after her (because I like to name things), but for some reason it just didn’t fit. Every time I write an entry, I automatically imagine myself writing to an old, wise woman. Like a grandmother figure. Not my grandma, but a nicer one. The grandmother I never had. That’s why I named my journal Mrs. Nesbit. Yes it’s after Toy Story, but I thought it would be a funny grandmother name. Every journal entry now starts with Dear Mrs. Nesbit. It’s nice because when I don’t really have something to write about (which is rare), I’ll just tell her about my day. Makes journal writing easier and more enjoyable.

mrs. nesbit

Well now that I’ve gotten a lot of mind for this morning, I think it’s time to go back to sleep.

What Dreams May Come…

Lately I’ve been keeping a dream journal. I started it as part of my spiritual journey. I write down the dreams as best as I can, writing mostly what I feel is of importance. I think look at different dream dictionaries and interpret what they might mean. Sometimes I also write my own interpretations of what I feel they might mean. My dreams have been really helpful lately on my path to finding my way.

Last night I had kind of a morbid dream. I don’t remember that much except that I was in a room with an old friend and all of a sudden the roof collapsed. Inside were parts of a dead body. Gross I know. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. I did the interpretation using dreamhawk.com and it actually sounds positive. Here is the excerpt:

Body Dismembered

This suggests emotional or mental stress and breakdown. As difficult as this is to meet in actual life, it may be followed by emergence of a new self. The dream could also suggest that you are tearing yourself apart in facing a difficult situation, and this could be causing your present inner and outer life to fall apart. This may be the result of living a life that was not true to your own inner needs or the needs of the present. Sometimes habits of response to life that were generated in your past are so damaging they lead to this self destruction. The need is therefore to recognise them and let them go or transform them. It is worth remembering that feeling dismembered or torn to pieces by events is just that – a feeling. The feeling leads you to see life in that way – as a threat and not worth having. But such feelings can be moved beyond. 

The dream may depict parts of yourself that have been torn apart because you discarded them, have feelings of guilt about them, or you repressed or split off from them.

 

This definitely applies to me right now. I’ve made it my main goal this year to begin a spiritual journey and find the right path for me. So far that path has been to find my way back to Christianity by studying other religions and incorporating some of their beliefs into my daily practices. [Examples: meditation, crystal healing, chakra healing, reiki, etc.] It may not make sense to other people, but it makes sense to me. It’s my journey, not theirs. In adopting these new habits, I’m trying to purge myself of bad/harmful habits that damage my spirit. This dream to me represents me tearing myself away from those bad habits and forming these new ones that build my spirituality and bring me closer to God.

Motivation Monday

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Health-New Year’s Goal #4

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Back in 2012, I became really sick. I was diagnosed with 2 auto-immune disorders and had a mass inside my chest. I ended up having to have surgery to remove the mass. The 9 months leading up to the surgery were brutal though. I was always sick and had to have several different tests done. The whole time they weren’t sure if it was cancerous or not. Luckily it was not. It was just an enlarged thymus. During this period of illness, I had to put my weight loss on hold. I didn’t have the energy to exercise, nor would my body let me. I could barely walk most days. My body was fighting against me. I lost my appetite. I did end up losing 30 pounds, but at an unhealthy rate of about 3 weeks. I was throwing up a lot and had about 2 migraines a day everyday for 2 months. After my surgery though, it started to recover. Most of my symptoms went away. I was able to go on medicine to control my auto-immune disorders. I was starting to get back to normal and started eating again. I did end up gaining the 30 pounds back, but I figured I would since I had lost it mostly from not being able to eat. I also gained an extra 30 pounds while I recovered due to inactivity. Not good. I also developed chronic back pain. This back pain has prevented me from starting working out again. It hurts when I try to work out. It hurts when I sit and it hurts when I lay down. I’ve been to the doctor and I’ve had x-rays, yet they don’t know what it is. My guess is from lack of activity and carrying around that extra 30 pounds. It’s been little over 2 years from my surgery and I’m still carrying it. My goal this year is to finally get rid of the weight, plus a little extra. I still have chronic back pain so I’m going to have to start slow. I want to focus mostly on changing my diet it for right now. Hopefully I can lose some weight just for that and it will help my back feel better. Once it does, I can slowly introduce exercise again. I do have some back stretches I can do to kind of alleviate then pain until then. I’ve tried to do yoga, but this extra weight has also put strain on my hips and knees, making it hard to do some of the poses. I won’t give up though. I’m going to look so some simple sitting exercises I can do on here for now. I’ve made some small goals to start with and slowly work my way up as I lose weight:

Month 1:

  • Cut fast food– I eat out way too much because I don’t feel like cooking.
  • Drink more water-I don’t enough as I should. My goal is eight glasses a day. I’m going to start drinking infused water again.
  • Back stretches-A physical therapist friend of mine gave me some back stretches to do for my lower back pain. I’m going to do these once a day to help minimize my pain.
  • Seated workouts-I’ve found some seated workouts on Pinterest and Sparkpeople that I think will work without hurting my back.
  • Develop a better sleep pattern-This one will be tricky because I work overnight on the weekend, but I want to work out a sleep schedule that will fit in with that. I’ll just shoot for 8-9 hours of sleep a day.

Month 2:

  • Cut all processed foods-My goal is to eat completely clean, which means no processed foods (canned, frozen, etc.)
  • Introduce yoga – Hopefully my back pain will have eased some by now and I can re-introduce yoga back into my workout regime.

Month 3:

  • Completely clean– My goal is to be eating completely clean by now, drinking lots of water, and getting well rested.
  • Start walking again-I used to love walking for exercise. I was able to walk between 3-5 miles a day. But that was when I was younger and before my surgery and extra weight. By month 3 though, I want to be able to start doing it again. Starting with at least 1 mile a day.

Year’s End:

  • Lose 30 pounds – I’m setting my goal low because in the past I have set it up way too high and have failed. Mostly because the goal was always too unrealistic. I think 30 pounds in 11 months is definitely doable though.

Well, these are the health goals that I have so far, I will make more as I go.

I have also have updated my Sparkpeople.com account, so if you have one to feel free to add me as a friend and we can go on this health journey together.

My First Imbolc

Moon at sunset

[Imbolc day sunset. If you look closely, you can see the moon. I took the picture with my phone so it’s not the best.]

Imbolc (February 2) is a Pagan holiday that celebrates the first signs of spring and the return of the sun. It’s also a day to celebrate the Celtic Goddess Brigid. This is a Sabbat of purification after the shut-in life of Winter, through the renewing power of the Sun. It is also a festival of light and of fertility, once marked in Europe with huge blazes, torches and fire in every form. Fire here represents our own illumination and inspiration as much as light and warmth. Imbolc is also known as Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brighid’s Day, and probably by many other names. Some female Witches follow the old Scandinavian custom of wearing crowns of lit candles, but many more carry tapers during their invocations.

Since I am ChristoPagan, I focused more on the purification and renewing part of the holiday rather than Brigid. I also practice in solitude, so to celebrate Imbolc I just held a cleansing/purification ritual and meditated. It actually went rather well. For this particular ritual it was meant to be alone. I am working on purging myself of some bad habits and this ritual was to help with that.

Here are some pictures of my altar before my ritual:

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In the red dish is salt (purification/cleansing) with bay leaves (represent wishes and growth). On top of the salt I put a beeswax tea light candle. Beeswax candles purify the air when they are lit and I used it to also represent purifying myself.

 

Pre-ritual1

I surrounded the salt dish with amethyst and clear quartz. Amethyst is good for ridding addictions and clear quartz is a major healing crystal. I also used candles the colors of the 5 elements and placed them in their place. I used the white tea lights as just fillers.

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I made a cleansing and healing bottle spell. From the bottom, up: salt, cinnamon, salt again, basil, eucalyptus, lavender, sage, mint, and peppermint. The last three I dried myself. They were the herbs from my garden. The others were ones I had in my kitchen.

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The other gemstones I have lined up are (foreground to background) 3 Zebra Jasper & 1 Red Jasper (healing), Rose Quartz (love & inner peace), and Citrine (protection & healing).

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My Imbolc incense.

I held my ritual on the floor because it took up a lot of space. Plus, I wanted to have it under my open window so the moon could shine in. [I wanted to have my ritual on the following night which was the actual full moon, but I didn’t think I’d have as much privacy then because my roommate was going to be home. I was right. I’m glad I did it on Imbolc. The moon was pretty much full that night.]

This picture is my set up pre-ritual:

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I have my sage smudge stick and bowl (the orange one), and my grimoire. I have kind of set up the way it was on my altar, except here I added a clear dish for a piece of paper I’m going to burn and a spirit candle I made. I won’t go into details of my actual ritual because it’s kind of personal and private. I will, however, show you a picture of everything lit up right before I performed it.

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After the ritual, I set up my altar again (a little different this time) and lit it while I meditated.

Imbolc altar 1

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After meditation I made some Lavendar Imbolc Milk Tea.

Imbolc lavender milk

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I think it went pretty well for my first Imbolc. 

Career Change-New Year’s Goal #2

Back in September I had to retire from doing hair due to chronic lower back pain. I got a job doing home health care and taking care of an elderly man. It’s not as bad on my back since I don’t have to stand on my feet for 6-8 hours anymore, but I do have to lift him quite a bit. The lifting still hurts my back so I’ve been trying to figure out what else I could do career wise. There aren’t many jobs out there that don’t require you to constantly stand on your feet or to do some heavy lifting.

For some time now I’ve wanted to open an Etsy store and sell my hand-made jewelry and paintings. When I was a hairstylist, I just never had the time and when I did, I didn’t have the energy because of my back pain. Now that I have more time and energy I want to really pursue it. I’ll still do CNA work to pay bills and provide supply money. I’m giving myself a year to get the Etsy store to turn at least a little profit. I had an Etsy store a while back, but it didn’t do too good. Mostly because I didn’t put much effort into and because I didn’t market it. I’ve been putting together a business plan. Here’s a peak at what I have:

  • Make a few pieces of jewelry to list to get my shop started.
    • Goal accomplish date: mid-February
  • Advertise my shop and get some buyers.
    • Network through social media sites and get my name out there.
    • Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
    • While I’m getting my name out there, work on expanding my shop.
    • Slowly expand shop and give customers a variety of products.
    • My goal money flow for right now is about $400 a week.
      • Give myself a year to start making that.
      • Or at least making some kind of profit and progress.

This is just kind of an outline. I’m working on a more detailed one and hope to have it finished within the next week or two. I’m doing research on how to run an online business. I want to treat my Etsy shop as a business rather than a hobby. I want to eventually be able to solely support myself on it. I know it will take time and a lot of hard work, but I think I can do it. Even if it takes longer than a year. I’m mostly just giving myself a year to see if it looks like I can get somewhere with it. If it does, then I will keep with it.

I already have a Facebook page up here.

I hope to have items added in the next week or two.

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