Day by Day

My husband went away on business today. He’ll be gone for two weeks; same as last year. That first time was pretty rough because we had never spent more than two nights apart in 14 years. It was really strange having him gone so long. He will be in intensive training all day, every day and then there’s 2-3 hours of homework every night plus projects on the weekends. Quite frankly we won’t be talking a whole lot. I’ll miss his calls and texts. But I’ll really just miss him. His soft kisses and big strong bear hugs.

He warmed our hearts today (mine actually melted) when after giving us goodbye hugs and kisses, he handed each of us a small notebook. These little notebooks had handwritten messages for each day. We were told not to look ahead, just read each entry for that day and then do our part. I was good, I only looked through the kid’s books because he whispered in my ear that I could, but he stressed the fact that I was not to look all the way through mine. “Day by Day” he says, “and when I read them when I get home I will savor your responses just as much as your curiosity tempts you to look ahead.” Then he kissed me again; a long languorous kiss that sealed the deal. I swooned over my big, burly, Irish Druid. And said goodbye.

He wrote personal little messages for each day he’ll be gone. For the kid’s books, he created tasks for them to complete and sometimes asks them questions about their day. For example, a couple of our daughter’s things to do is, “If you could be any animal real or mythical what would you be? Write me a story about a banana eating a monkey.”

For our son, “Draw your favorite food being eaten by a bug; Tell me a story about a boy that couldn’t stop farting… And then he threw in a few math problems for the both of them; what a meanie, right?

My notebook’s first task was to listen to a song that reminded me of him and then text him the song. What a brilliant way to check and make sure I was doing my mini journal. He’s smart like that. I’m so glad I didn’t forget to look at my notebook!

So I’m alone. Sort of. I’ve got my kids and dog so I’m doing okay tonight. In fact, I will be fine for the first 3 or 4 days before those pesky little pangs of loneliness and longing start creeping their way in. I plan on being busy doing activities with the kids to make the time go by faster. A trip to the science museum, see a movie, visit the library, go to the pool, and then the yogurt shop where we can create our own frozen yogurt with mountains of toppings….

As much as I will miss my husband, there’s also a few advantages to my alone time too. I’ll get to stay up as late as I want reading a book. I’ll have Alexa all to myself (Amazon Echo was my birthday gift last week) and I’ll be tempted to eat cookies in bed and allow the crumbs to fall on his side….just tempted though because I know I’ll probably end up over there in the scratchy crumbs at some point. So I shall save my wild woman ways for the upcoming weekend….

Which brings me to something fun for just me. I’ll be kid-less this weekend thanks to my mom and dad and I’ll be spending the Lammas weekend away in the forest with my Sisters in Spirit. And oh my, will I ever be a wild woman wandering through the trees, luxuriating in the beauty of nature and reveling in the powerful magick of the old growth forest. My feet will be dirty, my hair tangled, and I will be wearing a big smile on my face.

Those are the things that will get me through the first week. The second week is still a blank page full of magickal possibilities.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The to Return to Reality; A Family Affair

So much has happened since we left for our vacation. Good things happened in our little bubble and bad things happened on a global level. For purposes of this blog and my topsy-turvy emotional state, I’m going to stick to my little “bubble”for the most part.

Sigh.

Our week at Disneyland was all in all a success. It wasn’t perfect, it was really hot and crowded. The kids weren’t perfect. My husband wasn’t perfect. And I know for damn sure I wasn’t perfect. But those little imperfections were so small and short-lived that they were easily forgotten about. So basically we had an amazing adventure.

And I was scared.

Scared of a panic attack on the plane because of my claustrophobia. Scared that the kids were going to fall out of a ride. Scared I would be in so much pain I’d have to spend a lot of time in the hotel room alone. I was scared of being scared of the crowds. Scared the kids would drown in the hotel swimming pool. Scared of forgetting my fentanyl patches. Scared of a crazed gunman running loose….the list could go on and on but you get my point. Catastrophizing is something I’m really good at and I do it with great clarity and knack for detail.

No wonder I don’t ever like leaving the house.

But once we boarded the plane, cramped as it was, the kids’ excitement was contagious. It was not only their first flight, but their first trip to Disneyland. We met the pilots who handed out stickers and trading cards (I have no idea who you trade Alaska Airlines cards with, but hey, it’s the thought that counts).

The four of us were pretty much inseparable for the week except for on two occasions. One was when I took a few hours to myself at the resort spa getting a massage, using the sauna and steam room, and then their amazing shower with its expensive shampoo and body wash. While my hair was drying I drank every variety of tea they had while wandering around naked underneath a fluffy white bathrobe and spa slippers.

It was pure bliss.

The other time was when we dropped the kids off at “Pinocchio’s Workshop” (the only prerequisites were that they were “potty-trained” and “played well with others”) to be watched properly while my husband and I took a couple of hours to ourselves in the hotel room. Alone at last, we ordered room service, fooled around and then took a nap while our 9 & 10 year-olds ate Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets and apple sauce under harsh fluorescent lighting amongst much younger kids. I figured at least they had each other. After being “rescued” we took them over to Downtown Disney for a big waffle cone to help make-up for it. For the most part it worked.

The thing I was surprised about was my lack of homesickness. I still get weepy just thinking about how much we enjoyed each other (kind of sad, I know). The day after we got home my husband started talking “reality”. We had to go over bills and discuss his upcoming two week trip for work. I actually started to cry. I didn’t want all that reality crap. Give me Cinderella and the dumb light parade. I want to watch fireworks while standing in line for a ride. I want to complain about how much my feet hurt, and by how hot it was so it must be time to get another frozen lemonade.

Coming home meant I was no longer sheltered from the big wide world. I was ripped from the clutches of Fantasyland where there was no bad news except that maybe the carousel was down for the day. We never once turned on the t.v. in the hotel room, never saw the news or read the paper. I left my laptop at home and the only apps we used were the ones for the Fastpass and other related “necessary” updates. We were constantly busy at the park or at the swimming pool (where I rode the giant waterslide with the kids more than once).

So the reality of the world hit me harder than I could have ever imagined. It was time to return to dealing with laundry and dentist appointments, and hearing about what’s going on in the “real world”. How fortunate we were to have the luxury of even being able to seclude ourselves in non-reality, turning a blind eye to even Tomorrowland’s foibles. Most of the world has no such luxury. I’m daydreaming of frozen lemonade while over 600 million people lack access to clean drinking water. The children in war-torn countries have no idea what it’s like to stand in line to go on a thrill-seeking ride. Thinking of these things can really put things back into perspective, depressingly so. I have been working hard not to feel horribly guilty for indulging in a family vacation that we had been saving up for years to take. Knowing these things makes it all that more special; that we were blessed with a reprieve, and that we took joy in just being together.

Over the past few days we have looked through the many photos and laughed about the ridiculousness of some of the rides and I am able to smile. As far as reality goes, that’s the reality of our Summer Vacation and I will treasure it always.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Cheers to Summer Solstice and Happy Places

 

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Many Blessings to You and Yours Today, On This Summer Solstice & Full Strawberry Moon!

We leave tomorrow for Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth”, I should probably be happier than I am, right? I’m truly excited to go as a family especially since these youngest two have never been. But I am too stressed at the moment to enjoy the preparations. As I’ve mentioned, I am from Southern California and lived 20 minutes away from the Magical Kingdom. Our family went 2-3 times a year, but I haven’t been in at least 15. So I know that although a lot has stayed the same, I also know that a lot has changed and I am looking forward to what’s in store.

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Except this stress! I have to make sure the flight stuff is in order and that we arrive at the airport on time. I have to drop the dog off with the boarders and then to the doctor’s office to have my daughter’s stitches taken out. I also need to give the boys haircuts tonight. I’ve made reservations for all the cool places to eat at the Park (Rainforest Cafe, Blue Bayou in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and brunch with the Disney characters) but there is still so much left to do and if I don’t slow down, I’m going to forget something important; like one of the kids. (I’m joking!)

We are doing a simple family Summer Solstice observance tonight. It’s going to be hard to get the excited kids in bed at a reasonable time, but we have to get up early in the morning and head out to the airport. Nevertheless, today is a special turning point in the Wheel so we are having a small bonfire in our fire pit and do a little bit of drumming. Our outdoor altar has been set up for a few days now and we’ve enjoyed it while sitting on the porch swing listening to the rain. I am definitely going to set aside some time tonight for my personal Summer Solstice ritual and much needed meditation/downtime.

It’s recently been raining here with highs in 50’s-60’s. It feels more like April than the first day of Summer, even the nearby mountains have received several inches of snow in the past week. It’s supposed to be 108 degrees F in Anaheim today but is supposed to cool down a bit tomorrow. It’s going to be a bit of a temperature shock as we aren’t acclimated. We’ll be drinking Lots and Lots of water and spending the heat of the day in the hotel swimming pool before heading back in at night. Nighttime at Disneyland is the best because the crowds have thinned out and the lights are beautiful.

There has been a slight issue with my son being afraid to fly. His sister is excited as hell. I just want them both to enjoy their first flight. We aren’t able to sit together as a family because the seats are in rows of three. So there will be three of us together on one side of the aisle and one of us across the aisle. I told my husband that I would prefer to sit across the aisle and that I’d like to request a window seat. That may sound selfish, but I know the kids will feel safer next to their dad and I can be looking out the window as the plane taxis, speeds up, and eventually leaves the ground, watching the earth pull away in that strangely soft way, feeling a slight dip here and there as the aircraft gains altitude.

And I want to be far enough away from the kids so they don’t see me if possibly panic. For the first time ever, I’m apprehensive to fly. The last time I flew wasn’t a very good experience. It was a flight home from Alaska on a small, wobbly prop plane that felt like it had a hard time staying aloft. I knew it was silly, but it was still a very stressful experience. The only other reasons I can put together are that since that last flight 12 years ago I have had a few surgeries (one major) and I have developed claustrophobia and social anxiety disorder. Add to that I’ve been having to reassure my 8 year-old son several times a day that the plane will not crash and that no, the pilot won’t be drunk (I hope he’s not, but I will more than likely be).

I’ve already got my headphones and IPod in my purse with my most recent calming addition of “Drift” by Tonia Rose for the flight. All in all I know I’ll get a grip on things, especially the stress. To slightly paraphrase a quote from the Seven Dwarfs, …..”it’s off to work I go” so that I may relax and enjoy the experience through the eyes of my children.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Gnome Project; Mother’s Day Musings

I have always said that I don’t want or need a Hallmark card or flowers for Mother’s Day because what I really want is a hug and a kiss from each of my kids. Even so, I was brought a warmed cinnamon roll to me in bed this morning along with little laminated poems my children made at school. They took great pride in their work so I read the poems out loud and shared the cinnamon roll with them.

I was then cryptically told there was one more little thing waiting for me in the dining room. I reminded them that I just wanted lots of hugs and kisses (although I must admit the cinnamon roll was a nice treat). I was shushed and told to close my eyes while I was led by little hands to the last “little thing”.

“Okay, you can look!” I opened my eyes and was immediately face to face with a 3 foot tall garden gnome standing on the dining room table staring at me. Much to the delight of my youngest children, I jumped in surprise, my hand clutching my throat, more than likely to hold back a scream. Oh but what sweetness there was in hearing them squeal in excitement and laugh at my reaction.

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One by one, my grown children came by to share a hug, kiss, and an “I love you”. One brought me a pot of tulips, (my favorite flower) another brought me a very sweet card (even though he knows how I feel about cards) along with a tiny Tarot deck (one of the itty bitty teeny ones) and a small book on mindfulness. The third one brought over Chinese food for everyone and we all shared a meal that I didn’t have to cook which was really nice. I even got a text from my oldest daughter who leads a very troubled life. It was such a relief to hear from her.

After my older kids left, I finished loading the dishwasher with the help of my two youngest. I sent them off to finish their homework as I wiped down the counters. Smiling over the events of the day, I finished up in the kitchen and rebooted the dryer. Turning to head back to the living room, I gasped, startled by the presence of The Gnome.

He has got to go.

Maybe no one was truly aware of how creepy I would find this giant garden gnome. But then again, maybe they were perfectly aware. Perhaps that was the point. I swear I saw his eyes move more than once, following me.

Since this morning I’ve been trying to think of what I was going to do with him.

I thought about chucking it into the neighbor’s yard but realized that was silly. Mostly because I knew I couldn’t throw something that heavy (this thing is ridiculously dense) at least not well enough to go over the blackberry brambles and onto the other property. And there was also a part of me that was afraid of being successful only to get up in the morning to find him sitting in the exact same spot on the dining room table (cue Psycho violin screech)
So I’m attempting to compromise, which as a mom is something I oftentimes must to do for the benefit of my children. I would hate to hurt their feelings (never-mind pissing off Mr. Gnome). I’ve been trying to think of a secluded spot for him to be placed…some hidden corner of the far garden… somewhere very, very hidden…someplace where I couldn’t see him and he most certainly couldn’t see me. Somewhere very close to the property line.

Today I’d like to acknowledge not only the loving mothers out there but all women who choose to nurture others. It matters not whether it’s people, pets, plants, or nature. Thank You just the same. Thank You for allowing the flow of love to lighten the world. Thank You for your willingness to give selflessly of yourself without demanding anything in return. Thank You for venturing forth even when you may be frightened by what you may face. Thank You for giving all that you can to create something better for someone or something else. Thank You for loving and cherishing that which you nurture, for you are the embodiment of the Great Mother Herself.

Happy Mother’s Day~ May your day be as Beautiful and Blessed as you are.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Birds, the Bees, and Fairy Beltane Blessings

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The clover has become a wonderful carpet, soft and lush, telling us it’s time to tend the Fairy Garden. So much of our little Fairy Village has taken quite a beating by the rain and winter winds. It’s time to clean up the damage and spruce up the garden in hopes of another magickal, fairy-filled summer. Of course we will keep some mud and grime because of course, fairies love that.

 

The temperatures have been very warm and mild for early spring so the daffodils and tulips have bid their farewells for the year. In their place, the air is bursting with the smell of the rosemary bushes and the lavender is ripe with unopened buds. The mint is gaining momentum, and the return of the thyme and oregano in the little herb garden is a welcome sight. I love to look up towards the heavens to see more blue skies with white puffy clouds, and then to the trees that are filling out nicely with tender new leaves.

 

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The birds are singing and the bees are buzzing keeping company with all the other miraculous living things that have come out from the shadows of winter and are ready to play. Once again a blackbird has nested in the birdhouse outside the art studio, her hungry baby birds making quite the fuss. Mamma Bird will make sure her presence is known to me if I get too close (like when I try to enter the studio). Out she’ll fly, whooshing over my head, making me jump or squeal. Sometimes both. Personally, I think she gets a kick out of scaring me.

The whimsical ringing of wind chimes mingles with the rustling sound in the cedars where squirrels dart back and forth. And then there are the wondrous, soothing night sounds of the tree frogs who are out calling again tonight. I opened all the bedroom windows to let in some cooler air and welcome the song of the frogs. My husband is out at a poker game he plays with his buddies once a month and the kids and I stayed up well past their bedtime. After realizing how late it was, we quickly brushed and flossed our teeth, fed the dog and cat, and refilled our water glasses. Then I tucked them in bed with lights out and left their windows open the cool breeze and the soft lullaby sounds of the little frogs. They’d be asleep in no time at all…

Some time later when I was about to turn out the light, the symphony of chirps and whistles was crashed by a loud, annoying toad. Well, I think it was a toad. Before I knew it my kids were climbing into my bed with me, furiously kicking their legs beneath the covers to protect them from whatever was making that loud racket. “Probably just an old toad,” I told them. But even I began to wonder…It (whatever “it” was) eventually quieted down long enough for us to drift off to sleep. I woke them when my arms began to ache beneath the weight of their ever-growing bodies. I nudged them off my bed and tucked them back into their own. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, what with it being the Eve of Beltane and all.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

May We Honor Mother Earth Today and Every Day

When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother, we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force. When we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. When we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet.
~Jamie Sams

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Force of Nature

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I can’t believe that Imbolc is here which means we’re already halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Although it doesn’t really feel like it, the quickening of the earth has begun. To remind my kids (and myself) of this reawakening, I rummaged through the junk cabinet, you know, the one underneath the junk drawer, (no junk cabinet? I send great kudos to you, but you can’t convince me that you don’t have at least one junk drawer somewhere) and I found the crumpled paper bag at the very back. I’m not sure but I think I may have heard a chorus of angels because in that bag was the Holy Grail of possibilities and new beginnings. So out of the bag and onto the kitchen counter roll several small, strange looking brown blobs of promise.

And every year my kids will ask the same thing, “Are they dead?”

One of my favorite things to do a week or so before Imbolc is to force bulbs to grow in my kitchen window.

At the end of January that statement makes me feel so empowered! In midwinter I can’t do much of anything outside because of the thick mud and my little Summer herb garden seems like a distant memory. Sure, I’ll feed and water the houseplants but even they start to look sluggish. But believe you me, I will force those bulbs to grow!

And they do. They always do. Rain or shine, their vibrant green shoots will burst through the surface within days of planting, and before I know it they’re blooming with confidence and sheer force of will. And every year I am humbled by their elegant beauty, knowing full well I didn’t force them to do anything. I simply gave them a place to start and in return they shared their lovely blooms with me and my family.

That’s the power of Nature. All around us are reminders of Gaia’s strength, compassion, and never-ending gifts of beauty.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

 

A New Journey for our Beloved Feathered Friend

My youngest daughter buried her pet parakeet today. She had received the blue budgie she named “Sweetheart” for her birthday two years ago after she begged, and begged, and begged for a bird. I wasn’t sure if she was ready to care for a bird because it needed more than just interaction, it also needed basic care and frequent cage cleaning. She insisted and promised that she was ready but I still had my doubts.

So I had her research the parakeet species and write a five paragraph essay on how to care for one and what her expectations were. She did a lot of research online and checked out all the library books she could find about them. What she ended up creating was two pages (which is pretty good for a second grader) filled with heartfelt words of persuasion (so persuasive that any and all spelling and grammatical errors were immediately and easily forgiven) so needless to say, she won what had become the “Battle of the Bird” hands-down.

And she stayed true to her words and was a brilliant pet budgie owner. There were no regrets and the entire family enjoyed her company.

There were no signs of any illness or distress at all. She was eating well, and played with us the night before, chirping to the t.v. and seemed content. And like any other night, my daughter took her to her bedroom and sat her on the perch next to her bed and read to her.

Then this morning I made the unpleasant and sad discovery. Luckily we were running late for school and I hadn’t had the chance to uncover her cage until the kids were off to school. It bought me some time to first figure out how I was going to tell my daughter Sweetheart was gone, to find a proper box, and think about how we were going to handle the final goodbye.

My husband broke the news to her and talked with her for a little while as she asked questions that he could readily answer in his special way because he is both a biologist and a druid.

She then came to me and climbed into bed and I held her and stroked her head as she cried. After some time we dried her tears and began the task of saying goodbye.

Her little coffin was a cedar box with a hinged lid that hadn’t yet been painted for one of my Tarot decks. We placed muslin in the bottom with cotton batting underneath. The bird was gently placed in the box and at our daughter’s request we left the two of them alone until she was ready to close the lid. She had taken a piece of millet (Sweetheart’s favorite treat) because she wanted to tuck it into the box with her bird. We found a spot under an umbrella shaped deciduous tree that is deeply shaded during the hot summer months. My husband used the shovel and began digging the hole then handed it to our daughter and we each took with the shovel. She placed the box into the earth and began covering the hole. My husband finished and smoothed the top.

She rewrote a prayer from the book “Circle Round” on an index card and read it out loud.

“Sweetheart, fellow traveler and my trusted friend. I am sad to see you go. I will miss your funny chirps, and your soft feathers. I will miss reading to you at night and will always smile when I think about how much you liked sitting on my shoulder and how you loved to have conversations with your own reflection in the bathroom mirror (we then went around and each of us shared something). May your journey be peaceful, happy, and free. As you join the great dance of creation, we thank the Goddess for your time with us, and we will hold you forever in our hearts.

Blessed Be”

We are going down to the creek bed tomorrow so that my daughter can find a special rock to use as a marker for Sweetheart’s grave.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Darkness Before Dawn

Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year hasn’t yet arrived but it’s been dark and stormy for what seems like weeks now. The days are short, and it’s still dark as night in the mornings when the kids get on the school bus. Then before I know it, the deep gray sky is once again fading away into the darkness of night less than an hour after they get home. The rain remains steady throughout the nights with downpours thudding the roof from time to time. I’m trying my best to keep myself and the kids sane while our family journeys through this time of darkness.

It has been a strangely wet winter, raining daily, nearing 9 inches for the month already. The mossy green vegetation is no match for the onslaught of the relentless storms. The rivers and streams are swollen, and the roads are slick with moving water. The mud is thick on our property and many of our tall old-growth trees are leaning, roots becoming more and more exposed day after day of rain, and many will not be able to recover.

So on this rainy Saturday afternoon the kids and I remained hermits tucked away in our little house. My husband was building shelves in the garage when the kids and I decided to get our Craft on. We spent the afternoon making peanut-butter bird feeders and hanging them along the eaves for our feathered friends who are braving the storms. Even though we regularly fill our bird feeders there’s just something about making them that carries a special magick. We haven’t done it in several years but just seeing my children’s faces light up as they watch the birds (and um, lots of squirrels) flock to the feeders, I can feel their satisfaction and contentment in making a difference in the lives of the little creatures.

When we heed the dark call of winter by nourishing others we awaken the instinctual knowledge of how best to nourish ourselves. Slowing our lives down to the pace of midwinter’s heartbeat, we are better able to acknowledge and honor the darkness before dawn.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

The Tower: Open Your Heart as the Goddess Moves Through You

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The Tower Card: The Tree Tarot

Miles of ocean blue-serene yet unsettled
I look out over the horizon and the water is lit up
like millions of shining diamonds-the backdrop of the coming twilight

Out beyond the breakers a beacon appears
A Tower that exudes solitude and unrest
Rooted beneath the sea, it has been painstakingly built and I watch
Helplessly as flames began to lick up the sides of the stone walls.

The structure will be consumed before the darkness of true night falls.
Watching this unfold comes the realization that
this is the falling of me.

It now becomes a bright torch engulfing itself.
The storm cast waves do little to soften the flame’s fury.
And it continues to grow impossibly higher and brighter.
Its existence is becoming nothing but smoke and ash in the wind
Or falling chunks of stone breaking away and falling to the water below
I am powerless watching the pieces of my life being tossed around in
the choppy waters.

The ruins drift aimlessly out to sea,
now beyond my reach for sure.
I stare out at the dark sky left by the smoke of destruction
The blank canvas of my soul; I don’t even know where to begin.

I wander aimlessly along the shore feeling the storm clouds follow me
Weary, I sit upon the sand with my head in my hands.
And weep through the night.

Dawn breaks, giving light to the beach and warmth to
my body- a true balm to my soul.
At my feet I discover a small stone that has washed up on the shore.
A token from the sea- a remnant from my past laid before me.

And the Goddess speaks to me from the breath of the sea; “Daughter of my womb, I have never abandoned you, even on
the darkest of nights.

I watched with sorrow as you suffered through your great loss.
You must accept that you are not meant to control all
aspects of your life, but my child, that does not mean that your
life is out of control.”
I have a choice. I pick up the stone and stand-
Again I look out over the horizon. The surface now glimmers
like millions of golden butterflies in the morning sunlight.
I bow my head in reverence and whisper a thank you.

I place the rock to my heart until it warms to my skin. I gently kiss it and toss the rock out into the waves and watch patiently
as the tide pulls it out to sea.

There’s a slight tremor in the sand beneath my feet
as the rock roots itself. A new foundation is taking hold and I smile.
Before long a peak will appear from the waterline that will someday
evolve into a splendid tower, built stronger and even
more beautiful than the last,

A feeling of quiet peace surrounded me
and I smiled for I knew the best was yet to come.
Please open your heart as the Goddess Moves through you.
And may those feelings of quiet peace surround you and yours as well.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(