First of all – a new post! I know it’s been awhile. I’m thinking that this blog is probably going to end up taking on more of a story-of-my-life kind of spin soon. So, be prepared for that mess.
Second of all – I’m sure you guys have been seeing the Girl Scout fundraiser floating around your social media lately. If you haven’t had the chance to read up on the situation, here it is…
Basically, Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and fundraisers. A huge portion of these donations go towards bringing low-income and at-risk kids to summer camp, so that they can have an amazing experience that may otherwise be unavailable to them. While Girl Scouts is nationwide, there are regional troops who work within their own communities.
A while back, Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a massive donation of one hundred thousand dollars. But this donation came with a stipulation – that none of the money could go towards supporting transgender girls.
Now, to me, this isn’t even about whether or not you support LGBT rights and issues. It’s about whether or not you will tolerate discrimination in your community.
And Girl Scouts absolutely do NOT tolerate hate or discrimination of any kind.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned the money.
And I have never been prouder to be a Girl Scout.
Though I was never a part of Girl Scouts when I was younger, I’ve spent many summers working at Girl Scout Camps in Northern California. When you are hired at a GS Camp, you become a Girl Scout (which, incidentally, is why The Husband is an Honorary Girl Scout). Part of the pledge that all Girl Scouts make is to do their best to be “considerate and caring, courageous and strong … to respect myself and others … to make the world a better place”.
The organization truly works to maintain this pledge. They never discriminate towards either campers or staff, girls or troop leaders.
Yes, some of their wording and traditions center around Christian ideals, because Girl Scouts was founded by people who HAD Christian ideals. However, as most of you know, I am not a Christian. And never in my time with Girl Scouts did I feel unwelcome or unable to participate. Staff members were encouraged to uphold the spirit of the tradition, rather than follow it to the letter.
For example, every night at GS Camp, the flag is lowered and put away for the night. After this is done, we sing “Taps”, the final lines of which are “All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh”. My very first flag ceremony as a staff member, we told that the final line is, of course, optional. Some people repeat “All is well”, while others stand silently. Basically, the staff was told that we should do whatever made us feel comfortable.
Occasionally, girls would ask me why I stood silently during the final line of “Taps”. I would gently tell them that I loved flag ceremony, but that I preferred not to bring someone else’s God into it. None of my girls ever argued or told me that my choice was wrong.
Every camper and every staffer at Camp is different. We have different religious beliefs, different gender identities, different orientations, different races, and different economical backgrounds. I have talked with fellow staff members about their lifestyles and told them about mine. I have had girls ask me about my spiritual tattoos, my spouse, and my “real job”. Never has anyone treated me as inferior or unwelcome. Staff or camper.
There is an atmosphere of respect and understanding within the Girl Scout community. It’s ingrained.
I’m proud to be part of such an amazing organization.
You can learn more about the Girl Scouts’ commitment to diversity here.
You can learn how to donate to Girl Scouts, and help give under-privileged girls an amazing camp experience, here.
Cypress is sometimes known as the Tree of Death. That sounds creepy, but actually the name refers to an old custom of placing a cypress branch into graves to bless the deceased in the afterlife.
Keeping cypress branches in your house, or planting the trees on your property is thought to protect and bless a home.
Adding cypress boughs to bouquets at funerals is believed to ease grief and bring peace to loved ones.
I often get questions about Wiccans’ beliefs in heaven and the afterlife. Some people think that if we don’t believe in hell, we couldn’t possibly believe in heaven. And, I suppose, that that’s a fair assumption to make.
However, many (but not ALL, because remember that Wicca is a very individualized religion) Wiccans believe that when we pass, our souls go to a place called The Summerland.
For some, this is a place where our souls find peace and rest for all of eternity. For others, The Summerland is merely a comfortable waiting room that our souls pass through on their way to beginning life again.
We do not believe that a person can get “kicked out” or barred from The Summerland because of bad behavior or decisions made in life. Nor do we believe that only those who followed a certain faith may find peace after death.
Occasionally, you may hear someone saying that someone has been “reborn in The Summerland” when they speak of a person passing. This is because many Wiccans believe that as our physical bodies die, our souls shed any hurt or negativity that we may have collected in this life and arrive “new” in The Summerland.
Some Wiccans and Pagans also believe that after several lives (or reincarnations, depending on who you ask), our souls may be elevated. Some believe that angels and spirit guides are simply elevated souls who watch over the living.
Whatever you believe, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. When it comes right down to it, none of us have definitive proof of what happens after we die. If someone needs to think that there is a peaceful place for their soul to rest, let them. If someone needs to believe that we are rewarded for our good deeds in this life, let them. As long as no one is harming or damning you with their beliefs, there’s no sense in arguing. Understand that death (whether it’s our own or that of a loved one) can be a terrifying subject for some people.
Be compassionate. Always.
Two months later, here I am again.
In those two months, I’ve spent my time searching for a house, obtaining and recovering from yet another illness that baffles medical professionals, and writing … but not on this blog, apparently.
The Husband and I have been house hunting off an on for the last few years. A couple of months ago, though, the search began in earnest. Our apartment neighbors have become outrageously loud, and my hatred of the laundromat has only grown lately. So, we decided it was time to get serious and look for a home without shared walls.
And oh, lord, has it been a journey. We stumbled across a Realtor when we stumbled across a house we wanted to see. That Realtor passed off to a fellow in his office who then proceeded to make our lives miserable. This guy was very friendly and likable, but terrible at his actual job. He was happy to show us any house I requested, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, he didn’t do any research on the house before we crossed the threshold. This led to us spending a lot of time in houses which were either not compatible with our loan, or already had a sale pending. Honestly.
Finally, we abandoned him and are now working with a very sweet, very competent lady who has a knack for pointing out potential money pits in the homes she shows us. Just today, we were hanging out in a basement of a cute little house (which unfortunately has a kitchen smaller than the one in my apartment). She turned to me and said “This stuff by the window is excrement from wood dwelling insects. I think this house has carpenter ants.”
And so, the search continues.
Hopefully, we’ll eventually end up in a cute little house with room for an herb garden and I’ll be able to post a million pictures a day of my basil and rosemary.
In the meantime, though, I’ll be lucky if I can crank out a Wiccan Wednesday post once in awhile.
Well, friends, once again I’ve been neglecting this blog.
Instead of filling the cyber pages with my nonsensical musings, current food crushes, and Witchy lifestyle, I’ve been off doing other things. What other things, you ask? Honestly, I don’t even know. I know that I’ve been spending a lot of time with Assassin lately, but other than that, it’s kind of a haze of jewelry wire, paint, vegan cheese, yoga, and coffee.
Lately, though, I’ve found myself muttering “I should really be working on the blog” at least once a day.
So here we are, friends. Once again I’m typing vaguely and you’re reading along, no doubt wondering what point this post is meandering toward. Well the joke is on you, because I have no point here.
Other than to say hello again, and that I’ve missed blogging. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be back with something real to say.
In the meantime, blessed be.
Don’t get me wrong – I love summer.
Summer is a great time to relax outside with a glass of iced tea in your hand and your feet up on a porch railing. It’s a great time to lounge on the grass and watch the sun slowly sink behind the hills, and to know that it will be back in just a few short hours.
But, honestly, once those lovely long days are gone, I’m real over summer.
Once the sun starts turning in earlier and earlier, and not even having the decency to take the sweltering heat along with him, I start counting the days.
I count down to cool breezes,to crisp apples, to crunchy leaves beneath my feet, to sweaters and jeans, to warming up beside a bonfire, and to soy pumpkin chai lattes at Dutch Bros.
I count down to fall.
So, my fellow autumn-lovers, HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!
(Sorry in advance.)
My friends, in case you’ve ever wondered to yourself what it’s like to be an unemployed freelance writer, let me tell you…
These days I feel like I’m spending every second of every day combing through the job boards trying to find a company that could benefit from my own quirky set of skills and who doesn’t mention the D Word.
(If you’re a squeamish fellow freelancer, look away, because that word is “degree”.)
I swear, I will NEVER understand why so many companies require degrees.
I mean, yes – if you’re looking for someone who can churn out 1700 words on the evolution of sea slugs, then it would make sense to hire an individual who spent 4 to 8 years extensively studying sea slugs.
But honestly, if all you want is someone who can write a brief and compelling article about why pizza is awesome, does that really require a journalism degree? REALLY? Really.
Thank you for listening. Have an awesome night.
So lately I’ve been extra lame. Not only have I not been taking care of this blog, but I haven’t been keeping up on the jewelry production and the overall awesomeness that I like to think I normally exhibit.
Sorry about that.
Part of the problem is that now I’m on a medication that makes me SUPER drowsy pretty much all of the time. I’ve been sleeping 8 or 9 hours a night (instead of my usual 4) and taking several naps. It’s ridiculous.
I’m hoping that my desire to write, create art, and play outside will overcome my desire to nap, eventually.
Until then, friends, stay excellent.
The longest day of the year goes by many names. But whether you call June 21st Midsummer, Litha, or even Beltane (as some covens do), today is a fabulous day to celebrate.
For Wiccans, Litha is celebrated as the height of the Sun God’s strength. After Midsummer the god weakens and begins to die (to be reborn again at Yule), but today he is strong and powerful. We may light bonfires or candles to commemorate as sun sets and the shortest night begins. In lieu of bonfires, some people prefer decorate their home in sunflowers to represent the Sun God’s warmth.
Love and fertility are also important themes at Midsummer. Dropping a Chamomile sachet into a bath is a great way to cleanse negativity, while attracting love into your life. Some people also choose to jump over bonfires for purity and luck (which is totally dangerous. If you choose to be ridiculous and jump over a bonfire, don’t try to blame your burnt off eyebrows on me).
Even if you aren’t Pagan, Midsummer is still a magical time. The longest day of the year is a perfect time for Barbecues, hikes, and trips to the beach.
Stay safe out there, no matter how you choose to celebrate!