Category Archives: Grandchildren

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2018….

 

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Merry Meet my friends!  I hope that this post finds you all well.  It’s been a HOT Summer here in Ohio…many days over 90*.  We had a good amount of rain for a while, but now we’ve been much more dry.  However, the forecast shows both some cooler temps and rain in the next week which is most welcome.  As much as I love gardening, the garden beds are looking poor from the heat and lack of rain and watering from a hose just doesn’t do the trick as much as natural water.  But tomatoes are ripened and sooo good, my herbs will give me a huge harvest and the bees, birds, and butterflies are happy.

I know I’ve been absent again…..losing my daughter has just taken the wind out of my sails. But the writing bug has bitten me a bit so here I am. I’ve focused a lot on my home..doing necessary cleaning as we all do, but also purging every drawer, closet and cupboard, nook and cranny of unwanted, unneeded and unused items.  From books, to clothes, to even knick knacks etc.  It’s very freeing and I’m feeling my life falling into better organization and less stuff…which is a good thing.  I’m also finding comfort in my family and spending time with them as much as possible.  We all miss Sara so it helps us.  My grandkids are so busy and so fun and they bring me great joy as well. My daughter Kate and her husband include my husband and I on so many events in their life and we’re grateful for our time with them.  As they live so close, we see them often and it’s fabulous.

I dream of Autumn…as you all know, my favorite season.  But I will have to admit, losing Sara in October..my most favorite time of year…may temper my feelings on the month this year…..but not on the season.  I will always love Fall.  I’m not a fan of hot weather, and we’ve had a very hot season so far, so of course I’m perusing my Fall recipes, gathering fresh supplies for my pantry like flours and yeast for breads, fresh spices and seasonings, I’m freezing things like tomatoes and peaches, and chopped veggies like peppers. Casseroles will be made as well.  I often send food to my elder in-laws and my own parents and of course try to help any friends out from time to time.  I have a lovely neighbor who I often talk to over the fence, and we pass yummy things back and forth to each other as well. So having things in the pantry and readily available really makes that easier.  And of course, I’ve now discovered ordering groceries for delivery!  Or to pick up which makes me very happy!  And the farmer’s markets are in full swing which is wonderful.

Last week, my daughter and I were gifted with a big bushel of fresh Georgia peaches right off the truck.  We decided to make peach pie filling to freeze so we can make pie or cobbler or ice cream topping to enjoy in the Fall/Winter.  We came across a delicious recipe and got busy.  I decided to share it here as my most commented on posts are often the ones that contain recipes.  I hope you can get your hands on some peaches and give this a try.  You don’t have to “can” these….they can be frozen in freezer containers or even freezer bags.

Quick and Yummy Peach Pie Filling

*recipe is enough for one pie.

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

4-5 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thin

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, stir together the water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook until thickened and bubbly about 5 minutes.  The Cook another 3 minutes as it simmers, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon.

Add the peaches and mix until peaches are well coated and combined.

Cool filling to room temperature then use right away, store in refrigerator a few days or freeze in containers or bags.

This recipe is seriously yummy.  You’ll love it! So much better than the canned stuff!

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I love having prepared foods in the freezer to make my life a little easier, and cooking these foods with someone you love, sharing them, sharing recipes to try etc makes it even more great!

Lughnasadh comes very soon…August 1.  I love this Sabbat because it’s heralding the coming of Autumn, the harvest season and cooler weather…eventually.  It’s also all about good food, the harvest, grains and breads, herbs and oils…..it’s a fun time when it’s too hot to be outside, you can be cooking yummy things in the kitchen to share or to save for yourself later.  In my past blogs I’ve posted many recipes for herbed oils, breads, fresh veggie dishes and fruit desserts.  Be sure to check them out.

How has your summer been?  I’d love to hear.  How do you celebrate Lughnasadh?  My coven will be gathering just a couple days ahead.  I always look forward to that.  We’ve had some amazing Moons this Summer huh?  Part of what I DO love about Summer, is basking under the Moon without being cold, or needing shoes and coats etc.  lol.  Barefoot in the grass in my jammies works great this time of year.  New protections and witch jars are always put into place this time of year..between Solstice and Lughnasadh for me and my coven.  Again..it’s so easy and nice to do it in the warmth.  Often I’m accompanied by the sounds of the crickets, lightning bugs, bees buzzing, and soft winds rustling through the trees.  Those are the great things about Summer.

I’ll be back soon, I’ve been giving thought to recipes I can share here along with other ideas of things to talk about.  I want to thank so many of you for your kind words about the loss of my daughter.  It’s appreciated more than you know and touched my heart.  I do know she’s with me, always in my heart, and she’d be proud of how I’m doing my best to take care of me and my loved ones, remembering her in great love and being comforted by our memories of her.  I know I’m not alone in loss and life must move on.  Thank you again for the love and support.

Make your remaining Summer days fantastic!  And for those like me who love Autumn, it won’t be long!!  The old Wheel turns very fast!

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures,

and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August,

I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and Blessings,

Autumn

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Bits of Magick, Cleaning & Organizing, Daughters, Family, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Grandchildren, Gratitude, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Pagan, Protection, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Summer, Summer Solstice, Thank You!, Uncategorized, Witch

My heartbreak……

Merry Meet my friends.  I hope this post finds all of you and yours well and happy. I have been away from my blog and writing for many months.  To write why is very difficult but I felt it was time. I’m writing this as part of my healing process and hope that you all will understand my need to do so.

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This is my beautiful daughter Sara.  Sara passed away October 20, 2017.  She was my heart, my brave, kind, generous, darling oldest daughter.  Her death came unexpectedly and shockingly on the day it occurred.  Though we knew she’d lived beyond all expectancy, and over the last few years had become more frail….we were not prepared to lose her and it hurts beyond belief.

Let me tell you a little bit about her.  Sara was 35 when she passed away.  At the age of 6, we were in a terrible car accident that left her a quadriplegic, from the neck down and dependent the rest of her life on a ventilator to breathe 24/7.  She could only move her eyes and face.  We had to read her lips when she spoke.  She had multiple surgeries in the beginning to repair all the damage to her body, but her mind was sharp and intact.  We brought her home after several months in the hospital and there she stayed with the help of home nursing care, wonderful nurses (friends) over the years and with me, her constant caretaker.

Now you would think that sounds very sad and it was.  But over the 29 years she survived each day in that condition, she went to school graduating with honors.  We lived life as normally as possible.  She went everywhere with us.  Whatever it was, we found a way.  She’s been in the mountains and on beaches.  She shopped, traveled, saw movies and broadway shows, museums and bookstores.  She read with a passion. She was a collector of fairies, nutcrackers, keychains, and souvenirs.  She journaled her life every day.  She adored our pets, her niece and nephews, her sister, brother-in-law, extended family and myself and her dad.  She was kind, considerate, so very patient. She was a worrier about everyone but herself.  She was a Nature lover, a healer, a keeper of secrets and had a smile that lit up a room.  Everyone said she was an angel on Earth and I too believe that was true.

She was a one- of- a- kind spirit.  No one who knew her will every forget her.  Or the lessons she taught us.  As her mom, I couldn’t be more proud of the person she was.  And as her mom and full-time caretaker, my life has been drastically changed with her loss.  She is greatly missed, but my Path tells me she is with our Goddess, in Summerland, whole and happy and well again.  My other daughter Kate and I picture her with our rainbow pets, in her huge library comfortable and happy, having tea with our ancestors and waiting for us.  This comforts us greatly.  I wish you could have known her.  You would have loved her as we did.

So now, nearly 6 months later, life moves on.  I miss her constantly, light candles and incense every day for her.  I write notes to her and send them off with fire, smoke and ash.  Every holiday, birthday, family event without her is hard.  But we remember her and can smile now.  Talking about her is good for my family.  As Spring arrives (very slowly here in Ohio) I plan a memory garden for her as she loved the outdoors, watching the birds, butterflies, seeing the flowers grow. A dear friend is sending rose bushes in her honor, another a beautiful fairy wind chime, and I’ll plant her favorite flowers as well….sunflowers. Another friend has given us a gift card to plant a tree in her honor.  All these things will be done.

Her bedroom was such a place of loss and sadness.  But with help of family, we painstakingly went through her things.  We’ve kept all that meant so much to her…fairies, wall art, her books, bookmark collection, family pictures etc.  We saved her t-shirts to make into a quilt one day.  Family members and friends took small things to remind them of her and her journals will be with me until they pass to her sister one day.  I then turned her room into a beautiful library filled with the things she loved, and it’s become a place of comfort, serenity, and we know she’d have approved 100%

So now I’m learning my new “normal”.  I am doing okay as time marches on.  I’m about to turn 60 and because of being her 24/7 caretaker there were many things that I couldn’t do easily.  Even taking a walk, or planning an outing etc were difficult at times.  I would have kept doing that to my dying day…..but now that she has gone before me, I’m trying to find my way to care for myself for a while.  To do things I wasn’t able to do before.  To find “me”!  What do I enjoy?  What makes ME happy.  My hubby and I have plans for some travel I think.  I’m probably going to get a job at some point.  But for now, I heal, rest, do things that make me happy, work in my home, my journals, my planners, my crafts.  Dream of my garden beds, walks in the park, books to read and my Path to follow.  I do my best to remember Sara is always with me in Spirit and I know she’d want me to be happy and do for myself.  And of course, I have my other daughter, her husband and 3 beautiful grandchildren who need me, and my husband and extended family.  And I have my sisters in spirit, close friends who surround me with love and concern, and despite losing my darling girl, I know I’m blessed.

So, thank you for letting me talk about my girl.  Hold your loved ones close as you never know what a day will bring.  I’m hoping to write more here again. Perhaps some writing will help me to continue to heal and put one foot in front of the other.  Beltane comes soon… and Spring!

May Goddess bless each of you with great love in your lives.  The love, even when lost, remains forever.

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Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

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Filed under Beltane, Family, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Grandchildren, Gratitude, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, quotes, Seasons, sisters, Spring, Uncategorized

Welcome 2016!……..

download (10)Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gloomy and chilly day here today in Ohio.  We had several days of rain to the point of flooding in some areas…including my own backyard!  The rain is gone for now, but the gloom remains.  I’m home today, at least until this afternoon.  I have Blackmore’s Night playing, a fire in the hearth, laundry going, and decided I had time to do a blog post.

How were your holidays?  I hope that Father Christmas/Santa was good to you and that your family and friends had a blessed time together.  I had a very nice holiday.  My family enjoyed each other, the food was delicious, and Santa was good to us.  My grandkids, especially, made the festivities fun for us all.  Seeing Yule/Christmas through their eyes is a wonderful thing to experience.  Brings back memories of my own childhood and my own children’s as well.  And more memories were made I’m sure 🙂

Now, we head into a new year!  For us Pagans and Witches, Our New Year officially started at Samhain, but having said that, there is much to celebrate about a new calendar year!  There is something about counting down the last of 2015 and knowing that 2016 is here.  For many, it’s time to re-evaluate our lives.  Many of us look back on the last year and see things that were great and things that can be improved on.  Some of us set goals or resolutions for the new year.  Maybe we want to improve our health, our relationships, our jobs, our attitudes, our love life etc.  Maybe we are still healing from illnesses or losses.  I do all these things.  But I do them kind of constantly, not just at the new year.

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I don’t set resolutions, but I always have goals in mind.  I think most of us do.  After all, we grow stagnant and boring if we don’t have something we are striving for!  Don’t you think?  The start of a new year is like having a a brand new clean calendar of days ahead of us.  We can jot in, fill up our days with whatever we want!  You choose whether they are filled up with empty days of daily drudge, unhappiness, inactivity, and anger etc.  Or…we can fill them with joy, love, happiness, activity, learning, and finding time to do the things we love.

 

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I’ve talked about this before.  Years ago, I read a book about changing one thing in your life to start yourself off on a better way of Life.  It was a profound thing for me.  Think how easy it is to take that first step….just change one small thing to start!  For instance, you want to be healthier in 2016.  If you need to exercise, try walking to the end of your street and back to make a start.  Or sign up for a yoga class or look one up on Youtube.  Or get a step monitor and pay attention to how many steps you’re getting in each day.  Want to lose weight?  Maybe stop drinking sugary drinks first….or cut down on bread and sweets, or don’t eat after 7:00 at night.  Want to improve a relationship?  Invite that person to have coffee with you, or make a long overdue phone call.  Want to get a better job?  Make a list of what works with the job and what doesn’t. Is there one thing on there that you can change to make it better?  Or maybe take a class ..something that will lead you to your dream job. Tired all the time? Figure out how to get 30 minutes more sleep..in a bed! Not in a chair in front of the tv! (a mistake many of us make lol)  These of course are just basic ideas, but you get the picture.

One thing I changed for myself was that I realized I didn’t have enough time to myself.  Just quiet, by myself time.  What one thing did I do to fix that?  I got up earlier to have time in the morning to myself.  Then I decided NOT to get on facebook first thing, but to journal or read, or practice my Craft in a simple way.  Now, it’s a regular thing with me that I look forward to and very much need in my Life.  It has improved my mood and my day immensely.  And it was just realizing what I needed, and devising a way to get it!

No matter how wonderful our life is, or how not wonderful it is for that matter, we can improve our lives by making choices.  My next step, to make time to get that herbalist class done..to make it a part of each day or a few days a week to get that certificate I’ve been wanting for too long!  Also, I have been losing weight for nearly 10 months now and I have a bit more to go..but I’m getting there!  Adding in better exercise will be a priority as well. I know that is something I NEED to do to get all the way healthy!

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I am 57 years old, heading to 58.  I’ve learned a lot in those years, and still learning.  The main wisdom I’ve garnered?  We make our life what it is.  We can not blame other people or circumstances for what is right or wrong in our lives.  It’s up to us not to allow that to happen. If your life isn’t as you want it…change it.  Other things I’ve learned…always be grateful, find happiness in the small things, take time for our loved ones and relish every moment of every day!  There is beauty all around us if we look for it, and listen to your inner Goddess/Spirit/Guide always!

Let’s look at 2016 as the year we’re going to do something wonderful in our lives!  I’d love to hear what it is you would like to do?  And by the way, it’s a goal, not a resolution that gets broken immediately.  A goal is a long-term thing..at least that’s my take on it.  We strive to meet a goal, no matter how long it takes or how many set-backs we have along the way.  It’s the working to get there that leaves us happy and satisfied.

While I’m at it, let me thank my 748 followers who have visited my blog over 201,000 times!  Wow!  I very much appreciate anyone taking an interest in my writing or what I have to say.  I love your comments and feedback as well and some of you have become dear friends.  Thank you Thank you!   Happy New Year to you and yours! May it be filled with all the good things Life has to offer!! ❤

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Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

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Filed under Discussion, Family, Friends, Goddess, Grandchildren, Happy New Year, Holiday, My Writing, Pagan, quotes, Seasons, Thank You!, Uncategorized

The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2015……

“Suddenly the day was gone,
night came out from under each tree and spread.”
― Ray Bradbury  “The Halloween Tree”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMerry Meet my friends!  It’s been a bit too long since I’ve posted anything here on my blog.  As you all know, Autumn is my favorite time of year and I’ve been very much enjoying all the pleasures of this beautiful, magickal season!  We’ve had temps anywhere between cold, frosty mornings to unseasonably warm afternoons..like today! We went from 32* a couple mornings ago, to 74* today! It’s typical here for Ohio though lol.  I love it either way.  We are at peak color or close to it and it’s a brilliant year for color.  The skies have been clear, with star-filled, Moonlit nights that I love so much!   Crisp, autumn days with leaves crunching underfoot and falling in colorful waves upon the ground, pumpkins grinning from porches, and you gotta love sweaters and scarfs coming out again! I’m in my element that is for sure!.  I’m energized and content!

I hope that you all are enjoying the lovely season too!  Whether you are coming into spring in the southern hemisphere or the fall here.  I also hope that you have been reading and enjoying Samhain’s Sirens this month!  You will find amazing bloggers, music, information, pictures, recipes, crafts, give-aways and so much more!  My recipes are there on most days, so if you’re looking for wonderful Samhain recipes, you need only look there.  The link is on the right side of my post over there —–>  You’ll love it!

The veil is thinning as all witches and pagans know.  Our ancestors and loved ones wait to connect with us, to share with us, to impart knowledge and love to us.  We have only to listen.  I have many friends who have lost loved ones recently, as I have, and I know they look forward to feeling them close again.  Even our beloved pets.  It’s what Samhain is all about for me.  That connection to our family, friends, ancestors, and guides.  There are many forms of divination of which to use to this gain….but I find a quiet flame and quieting my mind, opening myself to them, is all it takes.  What is your best way?  Scrying? Tarot? Meditation? ….There are many.  I’ll be setting up my altar with many tools for that purpose, but being quiet and listening is the main thing for success, I have found.  I hope that you are so blessed with a visit from those you seek the most….and maybe you’ll discover someone else who is trying to reach you too!  Be open to all possibilities!

Samhain is also the Witch’s New Year!  We wind down a year of Sabbat celebrations, of Moon phases from new to full to dark. We have gone from cold, long nights to hot, long days.  We’ve had meteor showers, eclipses, Blood Moons, Supermoons and all the magick that we bring to our lives each and every day.  The New Year is a time to celebrate our past year, let go of those things unwanted..both physically and mentally, and look forward to planning our next year.  It’s a time for looking back and looking forward.  I find myself getting ready to nest in.  Even with the upcoming holidays, it’s knowing the dark season is upon us. Being by hearth and fire during long, dark, cold nights can be cozy, introspective, productive and filled with comfort and joy.  Even if you don’t have a fireplace, fill your home with the warmth of candlelight, bake and cook things that scent your home with goodness, have warm blankets and cozy jammies you love, a stack of books by your chair, a project or two you’d like to get done, and maybe something new to learn too.  Your winter will be wonderful.  I always look at it as a time to work on myself, my home and a time to increase my knowledge on something I want to learn!

Yesterday, my daughters and grandkids and I did something together that was so simple and so fun. We made homemade applesauce.  A really, yummy, cinnamon-y applesauce.  The kids got involved by learning how to use an apple slicer, stirring in brown sugar, measuring out cinnamon etc. They loved it as did my daughters and I.  It so brought to mind for me doing that very thing with my grandmother when I was a child. And while I don’t remember making applesauce with my girls when they were young, we certainly did a LOT of baking and cooking together.  Seeing my daughter teaching her children what she learned from me…well…it’s a special thing.  I can’t wait to tell my grandma, when I hear from her through the veil on Samhain night, all about it!  ❤

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I thought you might enjoy trying the recipe too since apples are abundant right now…. so here you go!  This is not the canning type of recipe.  This is for immediate use. Jarred up, it should last a while in your fridge.

 Cinnamon Applesauce

6 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 8 slices (use your favorite kind..we used cortlands)

1 cup apple juice or apple cider

3 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 cup packed brown sugar. (we added 2 Tbs more)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Use a masher to mash down any chunks.  If you like it super thin, run it through a blender or food processor (we liked the texture without doing that)

Store in covered jar or plastic container.

So easy and you will love it!  Would be great in recipes calling for applesauce as well!

I am in the process of working on getting my altar set up.  I got my Mabon altar taken down, cleansed and cleaned my table and it’s ready to set up.  Samhain is my very favorite altar to do..well, I think it is. I love most of them. I’ll post a picture here as soon as it’s done.  I’ll also be back in a few days with more recipes as my recipe posts are my most popular 🙂

My coven of wonderful sisters will be gathering on the 30th.  Samhain night is Beggar’s Night here…so we have chosen the night before so we could be with our families for Trick or Treat with our kids and grandkids.  We will have a feast, a hearth fire, a ritual for our loved ones who have crossed the veil, and we will be in full Witch regalia which is so so fun!  I so love celebrating Samhain with them.  That includes those sisters I hold dear that live in other states….they know who they are ❤

Samhain is a magickal time. To me, the most wonderful time of the year.  (now that song is going through your head right? LOL!)  However you celebrate it, whether quietly or with full All Hallow’s Eve celebrations…enjoy it!!  I’ll be back soon!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

*All pictures are my own.

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, coven, Daughters, Family, Friends, Grandchildren, Holiday, New Year, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Sabbat, Winter, Witch

The Spirit of Christmas revisited………..

christmas-candle-douglas-pulsipherMerry Meet friends!  I hope that  all of you here in  the USA and those who celebrate it;  had a blessed Thanksgiving day.  I had a very nice day!  It was celebrated at my house (as usual) but a very small group this year.  My sister and her hubby were in St. Thomas, so their grown kids, who live out of state, didn’t come in.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids take turns with both sides of the family for holidays..it wasn’t our year so they weren’t here.  So I had 8 family members and two lovely guests.  My mom and I split the menu….the traditional meal as we have made for years..and that everyone expects! 🙂  The food was great! Everyone was relaxed and happy and a good time was had.  After, I put my jammies on early, had some coffee with Baileys, sat by the fire and vegged out!  How about you? Was your Thanksgiving a good one?

Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?  I did that one time many years ago.  I vowed to never do it again and I haven’t! LOL.  It was a nightmare in so many ways.  As I watch the videos on tv of people fighting over an item, being trampled as stores throw open their doors, etc..it all just seems crazy to me. Don’t even get me started about stores opening up on Thanksgiving eve.  You can get good deals all through the holidays, online etc…I just don’t get the appeal.  If you braved it..kudos to you and hope you got great deals!  I got good deals too…I shopped in my jammies online and got most of my shopping done! Yay!!

The rest of this blog post is from a previous post back in 2010 that I decided to repost for new readers who may not have come across it.  I was watching “A Christmas Carol” again today,  remembered my writing this and thought you all would enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.

 

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Now that Thanksgiving is past, our thoughts all turn to Yule/Christmas.  Other than Samhain, probably my favorite Sabbat!  Before I go on any further, let me explain that I celebrate the Winter Solstice AND Christmas.  Christmas to me is a secular holiday..all about family, feasting, good will, music, lights, trees, gifts of course, etc etc.  The story “A Christmas Carol” is all about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day..so that’s what I’ll be speaking about for now.

I love Winter! ( yes I know some people will be groaning right now!)  I love all it entails.  Sitting by the fire, nesting, going outside and feeling the cold air whip across my face and take my breath away, wearing cozy sweaters, knitted scarves, hats & mittens, hot chocolate, warm spiced wine, feeding the winter birds and having time to read, crochet, relax, bake, take on projects on the inside of the house, ..well I just love the slower pace.  Today I watched “A Christmas Carol”…my all time favorite book and movie…all versions..ever!  Today happened to be the musical version..which I happen to think is excellent.  Has Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge and many other great stars.  My favorite version..for the record..is probably George C. Scott…he was a most excellent Scrooge! Though sometimes I think it must be Patrick Stewart! 🙂

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

I am sure many of you will recognize this quote.  I am a huge lover of Charles Dickens and I think he writes beautifully and from the heart and his words are still ringing true all these years later.  He was indeed teaching a lesson in this Novella.  What is the lesson?  I would imagine most people would say the same thing…”goodwill towards men”.   I see it as more than that.  My understanding is that Dickens was appalled at the poverty he saw around him, and that the middle and upper class were doing nothing to help them at all.  His Scrooge talks about the work houses and the programs set up by the government to aid the impoverished…but it was nowhere near enough.  He wrote this book to open the eyes of those who were not “seeing” what needed to be done.  For people to open their hearts and their wallets to help the less fortunate and it would make them happier and more blessed in their own life.

As a pagan witch, I believe that God/Goddess, the Universe, the Creator, whatever you believe in…  put us here to learn lessons..with the ultimate goal being LOVE.  Our goal in life should be to discover that..LOVE.  And to love means to care for our “fellow man”.  To me, “Goodwill towards Men” means just that.  We should love our family and friends as I’m sure we do.  But we should also love those we don’t know, help those who need it, love and care for Mother Earth and the creatures who inhabit Her…  No judgement, no greed, no setting standards for others in our own minds, equality for all, acceptance of all religions, courtesy, kindness….Love.  To me, Dickens hit the nail on the head so to speak…he saw a vision of how the world should be.  More of us could learn from Scrooge’s Christmas Eve night.

Scrooge was not an evil man..he was afraid.  His father did time in debtors prison..causing him to have to slave in a work house at 11 years old.  He never wanted to do that again..but he lost track of his self, his soul..so focused was he on never being poor.  Until he learned what dying a lonely old man would truly be like..did he become a truly rich man.  Hoarding his money, working long hours, never enjoying the money he had;  even for himself.  He didn’t have a relationship with anyone except his business partner, Marley.  He lived a very “poor” life in every way…because of his fear.

There are many positive wonderful characters in this book.  Old Fizziwig, who gave a huge party,  sparing no expense,  to show his gratitude to his employees.  There is the clerk, Bob Cratchit, so lowly in Scrooge’s eyes, but greatly loved by his large poverty stricken family, especially Tiny Tim.  Then there is Fred,  Scrooge’s endearing nephew.  He was the epitome of a good man who’s life was abundant in family, friends, love , joy, and blessings.  He showed love at every turn.  All he wanted from Uncle Scrooge was for him to come to Christmas Day dinner.  He came every year and requested it every year.  He never gave up on him.  and when Scrooge had his life altered…he welcomed him with open arms..holding no grudge for all the years of rejection.  Though he was not a rich man…he was rich in every other way.

I don’t know about you..but I want to be like Fred….I want to be rich in friends.  I want to be rich in experiences.  I want to be rich in appreciation for the blessings that come to my life.  This is the lesson that Scrooge learned..luckily while he could still have some time to truly appreciate it. Look into your own Past, Present, and even into your Future.  Have you done well by others?  Can you do better? ” A Christmas Carol” will always mean a lot to me…and I will try to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.  and as Tiny Tim says……God(Goddess) Bless Us Every One!!

Every year in recent years, my family has adjusted how we celebrate the holidays.  Yule is for me about introspection, welcoming the Light,  and having quiet time to myself.  Christmas is as I said above…family, food, fun, giving, and Santa!  Having said that, we have simplified so much and it has made the holidays so much more enjoyable.  There are less gifts and more time spent together.  Whether baking cookies, watching a movie together with popcorn and a fire, hot chocolate and driving around to see light displays, breakfasts or lunches together, a little shopping, romantic candle lit dinners….just making memories together.  That after all is what your family will remember.  Looking back over your childhood, do you remember what was under the tree, or do you remember decorating it?  Do you remember what gift who gave who or do you remember grandma and grandpa coming over to visit?  While we all may remember that favorite gift we got, most of what we remember are the not things..but people and how they affected your life growing up.  I keep this in mind every day with my girls and now my grandkids.  Just remember, things don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to spend a lot of money…you just have to make memories!!! It’s the simple things in Life that matter!

 

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Have a Blessed Week and Breathe deep as the holidays are under way!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2014……….

imagesCA0GN85BMerry Meet my friends.  I have been so busy I’m very late coming to my blog to write about my favorite Sabbat!  It should come as no surprise to anyone that it’s my favorite.  I’m a Witch after all!  Samhain is the Witch’s New Year, the night the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, the night we can commune with our ancestors who have passed on, and of course, it’s the night many Witches love to put on all of their witchiest clothes, jewelry and of course our pointy hat! For me, this year, it’s also Beggar’s Night. Little ones will be coming to my door looking for candy (my grandkids will be doing that here too!)  The leaves are falling, the nights are cold and crisp, the wind blows, pumpkins are lit, adults and kids alike shiver with both a little bit of excitement and a little bit of something magickal!

For Samhain night, my family will gather here  for dinner, a fire and of course to pass out candy and for the grandkids to go trick or treating in my neighborhood.  After the little goblins have gone home with their parents, I will do my own quiet ritual. Divination to hopefully have my ancestors come thru to me will be done.  Also, an offering to Mother Earth as she slowly quiets and goes to rest for the Winter.  I also always express my gratitude to God and Goddess for the abundant Summer and beautiful Autumn season of growth and harvest both in my garden beds but within me as well.  As the Wheel turns, I too change and grow…no matter how old I am…I still do.

On Saturday night, my Circle will gather in full Witch regalia for fire, feast, and ritual.  Dressing the part is such fun for Samhain, as of course, we don’t walk around in black dresses, striped socks and pointy hats on a regular basis 🙂  We will honor our loved ones who have passed on, including our beloved pets. We also will have quiet discussion together on what the past year has brought for each of us, and what we look forward to in the next year.  On Sunday evening, my hubby and daughter and I will have a Dumb Supper or Ancestor Supper. This will be a quiet and introspective evening for me especially.  I always look forward to the fun and busyness of this Sabbat…but it’s the quiet times that have depth of meaning.  The quiet can bring messages from our ancestors, from Goddess and from our own conscience.  Always find time to be quiet and still and to listen.

One of my most popular blogs here over the years, has been my Samhain Recipes.  I’d like to go ahead and give you a few this year too.  If you have been following Samhain’s Sirens this year (button on the right side here) you will have already seen these recipes…but I will share them again here for those who haven’t.

 

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Autumn’s Spiced Apple Cider

*The perfect Samhain drink….add rum or vodka if you wish 🙂

 

1 gallon apple cider

15 whole cloves

10 whole allspice

1 TB candied ginger

12 cinnamon sticks

1 cup packed brown sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar and bring to a boil in a large pot on the stove.  Lower heat, add sugar and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Strain and serve or place in a thermos for your picnic or drive.  You can keep it warm on the stove or crockpot all day long.  Store the leftovers in the fridge.

*If you like, place orange slices in the pot too..adds a sweet bit of tang!!

 

finished

 

Apple-Brie Crostini

These little toasted Crostini are a wonderful appetizer to serve for any Samhain gathering!   They are sweet and wonderful.   Great for an after dinner treat too!

 

1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

13.2 oz pkg Brie cheese, thinkly sliced

3 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

Arrange bread on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 350* until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Mix together butter, sugar and walnuts.  Top each slice of bread with a cheese slice, an apple slice and a teaspoonful of butter mixture.

Return to baking sheet; bake briefly until cheese melts.  *Makes 24-30

**Variations….a sugared pecan with a drizzle of honey to top it…or a nice dollop of apple butter!

 

Farmer’s Market Autumn Stew

*A great way to finish up your Summer harvest or that last visit to the Farmers Market veggies!

 1/2 lb stew beef, cut into small cubes

2   1/2″ thick boneless pork chops, cubed

1 TB olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 apples, cored, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 TB quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked

1 cup apple cider

1 cup water

2 tsps beef bouillon granules

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

Salt to taste

Brown beef and pork in oil in a large skillet over medium heat; drain.  Place vegetables and apples in a slow cooker; sprinkle with tapioca. Add beef and pork.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; pour over beef and pork. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add salt to taste before serving.

*Makes 6 servings

 

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

 

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps baking soda

2 tsps ground cinnamon

12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar.  Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir in half the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  Sprinkle remaining chips over batter.

Bake at 350* for one hour, or until golden brown and inserted toothpick tests clean. Cool then remove from pan.  Top with fresh whipped cream to serve if you wish.

*Makes 12-16 servings.

Hope you enjoy the recipes if you try them.  I think you will!

 

I have gotten my Samhain altar done finally today. I particularly love Samhain altars.  This one literally gives me goosebumps.  Most of the time my altars are outdoors…simple and only a few necessities, but for Samhain, I love to go all out!  As you can see 🙂

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I’m working on writing up the rituals for my Circle gathering, and have a few cards to do yet.  But I am also very relaxed, using the fire in the fireplace to help me meditate, and again…..finding quiet time.  I hope you’re doing the same.  What loved one do you hope to hear from? What will you decide to let go in the old year and bring forth in the New Year?  Think on these things my friends.  Witch or not!

And finally, a favorite poem….I’ve posted it before but wanted to share again. Can’t you just feel the magick when you read it?   Blessed Samhain to you all…..Happy New Year!

 

The wheel has turned, the wheel of light

 stoke the fire and make it bright

Samhain call, Samhain come

 feel the rhythm , hear the drum

The veil it thins, the veil it shrouds

 the spirits rise upon darkened cloud

The time of orange , time of black

 time to move forward and not look back

Pumpkin lit , with candle burn

 away dark spirits this guardian turns

Night of the ancients, night of the olds

 remembered in stories now to be told

The Crone doth rise upon this night

 look into the shadows without a fright

Rituals and rites across the lands

 empowers the soul where they stand

 Trick or treat, heal or curse ,

 the hand should be crossed from a silver purse

The Wheel begins its time anew,

 the release of the old for the knowledgeable few

The time to scry to see the path we must take

 and of the choices we need to make

She comes to us in many guises

 the Crow and the owl her favourite disguises

The Earth gives us her last to give

 the bountiful harvest so we can live

We feast and drink in a sacred space

 behind samhain masks to hide our face

Through darkened day and moonlight night

 All hallows Eve is a beautiful sight!

(C) Copyright Phiona Hutton July 2010

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Bits of Magick, Family, Friends, Goddess, Grandchildren, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Year, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons, Winter

Summertime!……………….

10357532_740761952633883_8781510162816551980_nMerry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous Saturn day here in Ohio! We’ve had a few beautiful days of cooler weather….50’s at night and 70’s during the day.  This whole Summer has been fairly mild.  Sure, we’ve had a few days that hit 90* or near it, but we’ve had good breezes and enough rain and though Summer isn’t my favorite Season, I’ve enjoyed it.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Litha/Summer Solstice.  I know I did.  I was busy that day as we were leaving for the Smoky Mountains the next day, but I harvested my first harvest of herbs, worked in the gardens a bit, and had a simple Summer feast.  I made offerings to the Fae, and welcomed the Sun on the longest day of the year! It was a beautiful Sabbat.

 

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The next morning, my hubby, daughter Sara and our friend Shawna, left for the Smoky Mountains.  My daughter Kate, her hubby and my 3 grandbabies left at the same time as we were all vacationing together.  I booked a couple of wonderful cabins at our favorite resort area.  The weather was HOT, the traffic was terrible, and it rained every day….but it was a wonderful trip!! LOL.  Anytime I can be with my family, in the mountains that call to my Soul…..I’m a happy Witch!.  Ah the mountains.  They call to me and I never tire of seeing them, of being in them, and seeing how Mother changes the mountains with Her Seasons.   We even had the pleasure of seeing a momma bear and her very small cub learning to climb a tree 🙂  We ate well, spent some time by the pool and relaxed in our cabins while it was raining when it did.  We made some memories for the kids 🙂

 

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

~Sam Keen

Now, Summer!  Everything here is still green and lush.  Gardens are blooming at full bloom, birds sing and critters scamper, the 4th of July was celebrated yesterday. Fireflies, butterflies, and bees are busy.  I have so many fond memories of Summer when I was a kid.  The adage….lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer..was true then.  I spent a lot of time playing with my friends in the neighborhood.  Kickball games, tether ball, riding our bikes or roller skating, going on hikes in the woods near our homes, fishing at Old River (not allowed but we did it anyway).  We only went home to eat or use the bathroom.  In the evening, the parents would come out to their porches, talk together and keep an eye on us….and we got a holler when it was time to come home…or we came home at dusk like good children. There were day trips to visit parks, fairs, drive-in movies, picnics etc.  Summer was truly a wonderful, memorable time.

Every Summer I spent a week with my grandma and grandpa who had 10 acres of apple trees, gardens, hammocks and endless fun.  I loved helping my grandmother snap beans and shell peas. I helped her bring in good things from her gardens, washed them, canned them, sliced them…whatever help I could be. I give my grandmother full credit for my love of gardening and cooking.  I learned at her side.   There was time spent on hammocks with library books that she made sure I had an abundance of… by taking me to the library herself.  There were 7 course meals..even for breakfast..mostly things from her garden. Early to bed and early to rise at her house.  I still can conjure up in my mind, the amazing scents coming from her kitchen early in the morning, windows open to let in any breeze that came, mourning doves cooing and my sense of contentment when I was there at her home. I eagerly jumped out of bed to be with her…usually standing in her kitchen in housedress and apron, stirring something amazing on the stove 🙂  It was pure magick!

 

I did my best to make those amazing kind of memories for my own daughters, and now I have the extreme pleasure of trying to do the same things for my own grandkids.  I want them to have those memories of the lazy days of Summer.  To know that Life can slow down in the Summer.  Kids these days seem to constantly need to be doing something…they enroll in every sport, go to camps, take lessons, need trips to malls and movies, play dates, etc etc.   There isn’t anything wrong with that..don’t get me wrong…but I think kids need to know how to entertain themselves, to slow down and be lazy, use their imagination…just BE!  Get your kids close to Mother Earth…let them dig in the dirt..gardening or making mud pies.  Lay blankets out on the ground and watch clouds drift by, or count stars at night under the Moon.  Take them to the library and encourage their reading over the Summer. Plan simple picnics, outdoor day trips and if you have a drive-in theater near you! Go!  Sprinklers, jars for fireflies or bugs, popsicles and s’mores, long walks in the woods, fishing….find things to do that don’t cost anything….teach them to find the simple pleasures of Summer. They’ll thank you for it later!

 

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.”

~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894

 

I hope that you all have an amazing July!  August 1 is Lughnassadh already!! The first Harvest Sabbat.  The Wheel is turning fast! Make the most of every day of Summer!! Oh and for a couple of delicious adult Summertime drinks, be sure to read the Sunday Stew tomorrow for my recipes using mint from your garden.  Just click on the Cauldron link on the right here tomorrow morning 🙂  Can I just say yummy!!  Cool and refreshing drinks! I’ll be back soon to talk about Lughnassadh!  Have a great weekend!  Now I’m going to go hang clothes out on the line like my grandma did 🙂

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*Pics are my own!

 

 

 

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