Does Anybody Know What Love Is?

Let me tell you the best love story I’ve ever heard.

Ettore Storto lived in Chicago in the early part of the 20th Century. At 8 years old, he knew exactly what he wanted from life. Ed, as he became known to his friends, grew up down the block from a family of three girls, daughters of a Bell engineer. He was in love with the youngest of those girls. When he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, “I’m going to be an engineer, and I’m going to marry Annabelle.” Not what he wanted to be, but what he was going to do.

Ed lived his whole life that way. He did what he said he would do. He married Annabelle. He served in the Army corps of engineers in WWII. While he was in the Middle East on deployment, he wrote to Annabelle, sending her floor plans of the house he would build her when he got home. That house still stands in Harriman, TN. He came home and worked for Union Carbide as a chemical engineer until he retired. He promised Annabelle that he would take care of her until she passed, and he would make sure she had a proper funeral – ‘see you decently into the ground’ – is how he put it.

Annabelle was trained as a nurse. Once Ed came home from the war, he didn’t want her to work, so she gave up her nurse’s cap and devoted her life to her husband and family. She took care of everything, down to paying the bills and keeping the checkbook balanced to the penny. Sometime in 1986, Annabelle was sitting at her dressing table, balancing the checkbook, and she began to cry. She couldn’t make the math work out right. For many of us, this would be merely frustrating. But Annabelle was a nurse, and she knew what it was. Annabelle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 5 years later. She lived until 2002.

In 2000, Ed was diagnosed with bone cancer and given 6 months to live. This was unacceptable to him. He had promised Annabelle that he would see her decently into the ground, and that is what he would do. Over the next two years, his health declined along with Annabelle’s. Annabelle had long since forgotten her grandchildren, her friends, that her mother had passed away, even her children. But Annabelle remembered Ed and that he was ‘her man’.

Two weeks before she died, Annabelle was comatose. The decision had been made to remove her from life support and send her home. Ed and Annie spent those two weeks side by side, in hospital beds, in their own bedroom. Their daughter had moved in two years before to help care for them. A nurse was hired to come in at night for the last month. The night she died, Annabelle awoke from her coma, reached upwards, said “Gracie?” and breathed her last. Grace was Annabelle’s oldest sister, who had died two months earlier. Annabelle’s funeral, long since arranged and paid for was 5 days later, giving the family time to gather. She was interred at 2 pm on a cold, overcast, windy Saturday in November. On Sunday morning at 4 am, Ed woke up, reached upwards, said, “Annie?” and joined her.

 

That story began 100 years ago. Ed and Annie were my grandparents. Many people think that this kind of love doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t believe that. Here’s why:

 

Genny and Clinton are in college. Clinton is working on his Master’s degree and Genny is finishing up her Accounting degree. They’re 23 years old and have been together since they were 15. They spent 4 years at different universities, only living together, but with other roommates, over the summers. Last summer they moved into their own apartment. Genny is my oldest daughter. She was living in Birmingham, about 2 ½ hours from home. When it came time to move her back here, Clinton came with us to help. We made the 2 ½ hour trip together, and had a rare opportunity for one on one conversation. We talked about a myriad of subjects. Clinton is an intelligent, wry, observational person who is adept at expressing himself. He said one thing that really stood out to me and made be believe that the kind of love my grandparents shared is not dead. I asked if he was looking forward to living with Genny full time, as it were. He said, “Joy, I am so excited and happy that I finally get to live with Genny. I know we’ve spent summers together, but this is different. It will just be us.” The depth of his love for my daughter was so evident in his voice that I was brought to tears. This is love. And it exists.

 

Namaste

Practical Witch

Making All-Natural Salves

I’ve seen lots of resources on the internet and in books about how to make salves and balms at home. Most of them are quite intimidating. They’re really much easier than they are usually made out to be. You need to be sure to research the herb you’re infusing to make sure you use the correct method (hot or cold infusion). You also need to make sure you choose the correct oil for your purpose.

To cold infuse oil, add your herbs after they’ve sat out for at least 24 hours from cutting and keep it in a cool, dark place. Shake vigorously every day or two. After 6 weeks, strain as below and use as you would a hot infusion.

Here is the process for hot infused balms:

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Put your dried herb and oil in a small crock pot on warm. Do not use low as it can get hot enough to destroy the good stuff in the herb you’re using. Let it get up to temp and soak for at least 45 min. 

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While its soaking, get your storage jars ready by adding a drop or two of a preservative essential oil, such as lavender, tea tree or vitamin e oil. I used two drops of each, e and tea tree, in a 4 oz. container.

 

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Once your soak time is over, strain your herbs from your oil using cheese cloth, a plastic strainer and a plastic or glass bowl. Squeeze the excess oil from your herb bundle (it can be messy but at least you know it’s good for your skin!). Be sure to allow it to cool a tad so you don’t burn your hands.

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Measure your oil by weight, not by volume! Make sure you take into account the weight of the container you’re using. A salve is 1:10 beeswax to oil and a balm is 1.5:10. Add the appropriate amount of wax and place into a pot of water. Warm it gently (on a med-low to low setting) until the beeswax is completely melted into the oil.

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Now you have to move fast. Be sure to wipe your container when you remove it from the water so that you don’t add water to your salve. Pour the oil and wax mixture into your containers and set them out to cool naturally, not too quickly.

Label and date your containers and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Blessings,

Practical Witch

How to build a greenhouse for less than $100

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We talked about it for 5 years before we did it, but it’s finally complete and for less that $100. This project takes foresight and real work but it’s worth it. My husband started collecting windows from refurbishment projects in our area 7 years ago. We also keep scraps that even might be worth using from every project we do. We bought the treated wood using gifts cards requested for birthdays and holidays and used heavy weight clear plastic shower curtains on those areas we didn’t have windows that would fit. The door is another rescue from a remodeling project in our area. While your out and about, keep your eyes open and don’t be scared to go ask for things. The worst that can happen is for someone to tell you, “No.”

ImageWe set 6 4x4s in a rectangle.

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Using a level and whatever came to hand, we set in the first row of windows.

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We covered the tops of the posts a bit late. It rained and got very cold which effectively split our posts. Since we build this to be easily taken down (we’re planning on selling the house after the last kid moves out), we just kept building. After the first row of windows went in, we added 2x4s but left them pulled away from the posts so that the second row of window could slide in. After the windows were screwed down, we went back and tightened the 2x4s down.

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We used some 1×6 wood we’d purchased from the local saw mill to make shelves out of. We ran them through the planer and the table saw to get consistent pieces. It was way cheaper than buying from the local DYI store.

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RFP (plastic wall sheeting), also saved from someone’s remodel project, went on for the roof.

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The door goes in.

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Not the fanciest door lock but functional and made from scrap so it was *free*!

ImageWe took more of the 1×6 wood and ripped it, then measured and cut it to fit around the openings left between the windows and the roof and well as the area next to the door on the front. Then we cut to fit and stapled the plastic on. Done!

ImageThat’s it! We’ve got a tarp on the ground inside to kill the grass and we’ll be putting rocks from our yard down for the flooring. Counting the cards spent on the treated wood and the plastic shower curtains, we spent less than $100. And that is one happy gardener! 😀

Blessings,

Practical Witch

Inner Self-sufficiency

I have come a long way from Newtown, Connecticut. Everyone has heard about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I am a former student of Sandy Hook. Thirty-nine years ago I began kindergarten and then attended first grade at Sandy Hook. I was in the morning kindergarten class. My teacher, whose name is no longer retrievable, was a wizened old woman who hated children. She spanked me in front of the whole class and turned my desk over because it was messy. Looking back, it’s clear to me that I was ADD. I couldn’t understand what she wanted from me. I saw nothing messy about my desk. I knew where everything was. I hated being singled out. I just wanted her to leave me alone and stop drawing attention to me. I didn’t want anyone looking at me. Being in the spot light of a single adult always meant trouble.

Let me back up two years. I was three when my mother married my step-father. We moved from my grandparents’ home in White County, New York to the shore of Lake Zoar outside of Newtown. We rented a small cottage from an elderly couple, the Edgerton’s. For years I remembered very little from that time of my life. Like snapshots in my mind I recalled the wooden speedboat of our landlord; jumping into the lake to swim in cold water; my mother’s convertible lemon chiffon VW Bug in the driveway; climbing a huge rock near the top of the street while waiting for my sister to come home from kindergarten. I had darker memories as well: hiding from my step-father in the closet of my bedroom, my chest heaving and my heart racing, praying he wouldn’t hear me; watching my mother patch the ceiling in the living room from my step-father punching through it in a rage; crying in front of the Christmas tree because I’d heard my step-father yelling at my mother the night before and learned that Santa wasn’t always jolly; being stuck on some rocks on the side of a hill in the woods with my step-father screaming at my mother because when it started snowing and she wanted to turn back, he wouldn’t and now the ice building up on the rocks made it too dangerous for us to climb down. The memories of that house always brought tears and terror, but nothing that provided a real reason for that terror or those tears.

Fade to four years old. We’d moved to an old farm house in the country, still outside of Newtown. And another place of snapshot memories for me: pushing an old manual mower around the yard; having my own room for the first time; adopting my first cat from the farm down the road. Here, though, the dark memories are more frequent: my mother cringing away from my step-father as he raised his fist to her; getting put into the crawlspace of the attic in my sister’s room because we’d been bad and my sister telling me that the sound I heard (my heartbeat) was giants coming to eat us, screaming in terror when my step-father would beat on the crawlspace door screaming that he would kill us to get some peace and quiet; being frozen in fear when my step-father came into the bathroom when I was in the tub.

Eventually, my mother divorced and we moved to Danbury, Connecticut. There was some sort of scene outside of a Dairy Queen that precipitated the divorce (I have no idea if that was really the final straw but I remember the scene coming shortly before the move). I only remember that we moved away from ‘him’ and I thought life would get much better. But, inexplicably to me, it only got worse. My older sister, who should have been my protector, started to beat on me and ostracize me. She called me ugly, stupid and weird. She told me I had a nose like a golf ball. She made fun of me in front of the neighborhood kids. She joined in when they made fun of me. She hit me when I didn’t do what she wanted fast enough. She pulled my hair, always somehow managing to get the same spot at the crown of my head. Lots of kids hit their siblings. This wasn’t a normal sibling tussle. She punched me in the ribs, the kidneys, my stomach, even my head. She was careful not to leave a bruise anywhere visible or that couldn’t be explained on an active child. I tried to get up before her and go outside, avoiding her as much as possible, but it rarely worked for long. We moved to Marietta, Georgia just outside of Atlanta. My mother had been involved with someone for several years in Danbury and when he was transferred to Atlanta, we moved too. He and my mother went on an alcoholic binge that culminated in the end of that relationship. And the abuse from my sister never stopped. The older we got, the harder she tried to torment me.

By the time I was 13 I was incredibly shy. I had one or two friends but no one that I could really tell any secrets to. My sister had taught me that telling anyone anything you wanted kept private was a sure fire way of having it announced to the world in the most humiliating way possible. When kids at school starting teasing me about needing a bra I was so uncomfortable talking to anyone about myself that I left my mother a note asking her to buy me a bra. For reasons still unknown to me, she took my sister shopping for my bras instead of me. My sister has always been smaller around in the ribs than I am, so my new training bras didn’t fit comfortably, but I wore them anyway to avoid having to talk to anyone about my body and in an attempt to stop the teasing at school.

I have very spotty memories of my middle school and high school years. My sister was sent to a girls’ home, then to my grandparents’ house, then to another girls’ home. Her violence when she was at home escalated from just being directed at me to being directed at my mother as well. At one point, I was cleaning her room while she was living elsewhere and found a box with my hair in it. All those years of pulling my hair, and eventually pulling me down the stairs by my hair, had provided her with quite a collection of my hair. I was physically sickened by it. The memory still makes me queasy. One evening, my sister chased me down the street with a knife in her hand, threatening to kill me. This was no idle threat. She was out for blood and she got it. A neighbor boy tried to stop her and made a grab for the knife. She cut his hand badly enough to require stitches. By the time I was 15, she was gone for good. She’d applied for and received emancipation. I was overjoyed.

In my senior year of high school, I dated a boy and had my first sexual relationship. One night, during my very first act of fellatio, I started bawling. I had no idea why. It was just traumatic, but with no basis for trauma. He left confused and helpless. I had only tears and no words for him.

Eventually I married, had three children, divorced, started dating again. During the intervening years, I never really emotionally grew up. I read a huge amount of material covering abuse. I could see in myself the symptoms and the effects of abuse. Even with that insight, I allowed myself to continue to be abused emotionally. Victims of long term abuse frequently stay in an abusive relationship because that’s all they’ve ever known and its familiarity makes is comfortable. Eventually I went to a doctor who diagnosed me with depression. One month into treatment, it was like a light came on in my brain. Suddenly I could see clearly. I wasn’t cured, but I was strong and getting stronger. I decided to not allow anyone else to abuse, control or define me. It wasn’t a change that occurred overnight, but it happened.

I had one serious boyfriend after I divorced my kid’s father. We were much better as friends than we were romantically. One night, as we friends were talking, the memories just started to come. He sat patiently and listened. He held me as I cried and sobbed out the memories. The whole story, from three years old. My step-father had physically abused and sexually molested my sister and me.

The memories were as physical as they were visual. I remembered waking up with my step-father’s penis in my mouth. I gagged as I related it. I remembered him forcing me into the shower with him, his penis right at my mouth. I remembered him coming into my bedroom to ‘kiss me goodnight’. I smelled the liquor laden breath that warned me of what was in store that night. I remembered him beating me, punching and shaking me. And I remembered these things happening in both houses we lived in with him. I told the story for at least thirty minutes. And my friend listened to the whole thing. He never judged me. That was a gift that will remain in my heart until I die.

I don’t remember everything I told him about now. That purging was a deep cleansing for my soul. I let most of the memories go that night, out of self-defense. Was I angry? No. It had been too many years for anger. Did I self-pity? No. Why? I had allowed that man to be a shadowy influence on my life for far too many years already. I refused to allow him to control any more of my life. But having purged some of the memories, I began to question them. Was that really what happened? Did I somehow make any part of that up? I don’t have any answers for those questions. I vacillate between thinking that the questions are a result of the abuse (self-doubt), that all of it is true, none of it is from my traumatized imagination and thinking that it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t all true. What I still retain has the physical, emotional and smell of true memory. The results of the abuse are real.

Coming to understand my own psyche has been truly the only path I could find for self-acceptance. I understand now the ‘why’ of the holes in my memories. The brain will defend itself in whatever way it can. Mine defends its self by blocking out what I can’t deal with. But the purge has allowed me to finally grow up emotionally. I knew I had behavioral tendencies that were not only immature but self-destructive and co-dependent as well. Now I’ve come to see that understanding and emotional maturity is truly where self-sufficiency starts.

So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I heard an author discussing his own childhood molestation and the effects on his life. Some of the long term effects of his abuse made him incapable of becoming truly self-sufficient. And that bothered me. He talked about abuse victims in general of being incapable of complete healing. I disagree. He was asked by the interviewer if, when he found out years later that his abuser was abusing other boys as well, did he feel better knowing he wasn’t the only one, or worse because it had happened to them as well. And he said that no one had ever asked him that before and he didn’t know. I can tell you that no matter what my sister did to me, regardless of her reaction to the abuse that we suffered at the hands of our step-father, it does not make me feel better that she was molested too. Absolutely not. For emotionally whole people, misery abhors company, it never enjoys it.

That immediate internal response made me think that there are millions of others out there who have suffered similarly to me, worse than me. If I can be of any help to anyone, if any good can come of my suffering, I can have this conversation. I can open this discussion and bring it out into the light of day. I can show you my scars, my doubts, my fears, and my triumphs. I can cry with you, I can understand you, I can listen without judgment, and I can hold you and let you sob out your story. Because I truly believe that anyone who has suffered should be given the opportunity to begin healing. You can be self-sufficient!

 

Blessings,

Practical Witch

 

What Archetype Are You?

 

 An archetype (pron.: /ˈɑrkɪtp/) is a universally understood symbol, term,[1] statement, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures. [1]

In Greek mythology we find the most obvious archetypes. In fact, in reading it now, it strikes me that these were stories told to youngsters to help them learn how to behave in polite society. Sort of like the ten commandments of the Jewish and Christian bibles, these are guidelines on what acceptable behavior is and what is not. In case you need a refresher, here are some examples: Zeus, king of the gods (having a level of control over all the others.); Aphrodite, goddess of love; Hades, god of death; Athena, goddess of wisdom; etc. One can easily see that the personalities of the gods and goddesses were archetypes of one or two ideas.

The stories that accompany these gods are what would help a child to understand good or bad behavior. Zeus embodied the characteristics of a good leader; Narcissus spent too much time on good looks and not enough on good actions. Like the parables of Jesus, the tales of Coyote or the musings of Confucius, there are lessons in these stories. Each of these could be considered a children’s tale. Aesop’s Fables come to mind. So do many of the books written for young people that are so popular today. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Bekka Cooper series; all of these contain characters that represent archetypes found in ancient Greek mythology. Rick Riordan uses actual Greek gods and goddesses in his, so if the reader has missed those, they’ve missed the whole story.

Most of us can find people in our lives that we could easily match up to these archetypes. A control freak boss who can’t allow any new ideas that are not ‘their’ idea would represent Zeus. Persephone would be exemplified by the adult person who must involve their parent in every decision of their life, but still wants to be married or in a relationship. When I was a Girl Scout leader I would tell the mothers who went camping with us to leave their curling irons and make-up at home. We were camping, not ‘being seen’ for the weekend. Those parents who just couldn’t go without always reminded me of Narcissus. (Of course, if they put on their make-up but worked their tails off, that would be a different story.) That natural athlete who seems to be the Golden Child calls Hercules to mind. There are plenty of examples. One only need cast their eyes around the office to find them.

The challenge arises when we look within to find the archetype in ourselves. We would all like to find Athena or Hephaestus in ourselves. But who wants to see the dark reflections of Dionysus or Hades lurking in their soul? Being wise like Athena is great. Being a know-it-all like Hermione could create friction in your relationships. Not that Hermione wasn’t a person of good character (pun intended), she certainly was. But, wow. Didn’t she get on your nerves just a little bit? If you’re reading this, then you’re probably one of my friends and know that I can definitely be like Hermione. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of useless trivia. I don’t even know enough about enough to win money on Jeopardy!, which is frustrating. What other archetypes do I have living in my brain? Well, that’s for me to figure out and grow from. In order to be truly self-sufficient, you need to know yourself. What archetype(s) are you?

 

Blessings for the New Year

Practical Witch

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

This question has been floating around a lot lately. One person asked me, “If you get what you put out there, why does someone who is always kind have bad things just keep happening to them?” [1]  That’s a super good question. In fact, a very dear friend of mine is going through this right now. And I’m pissed about it. Why? What did they do to deserve this? They didn’t! So what gives, Universe? *stomps feet*

I taught a class recently, and I mis-taught an idea because I forgot what I’d learned. I saw something online (you know if it’s online it must be true!) that resonated with me and it distracted me from the truth. I’m going to take the opportunity to correct that now:

In Hinduism, karma is not the Westernized concept of cause and effect that most of us think it is. It doesn’t relate to the Rule of Three. It doesn’t even relate to the Golden Rule. Karma is the life you’ve earned based on how you live this one. To understand karma, you must first understand dharma:

Dharma refers to the religious ethics as propounded by Hindu gurus in ancient Indian scriptures. Tulsidas, author of Ramcharitmanas, has defined the root of dharma as compassion. This principle was taken up by Lord Buddha in his immortal book of great wisdom, Dhammapada. The Atharva Veda describes dharma symbolically: Prithivim dharmana dhritam, that is, “this world is upheld by dharma”. In the epic poem Mahabharata, the Pandavas represent dharma in life and the Kauravas represent adharma.

 

GOOD DHARMA = GOOD KARMA

 

Hinduism accepts the concept of reincarnation, and what determines the state of an individual in the next existence is karma which refers to the actions undertaken by the body and the mind. In order to achieve good karma it is important to live life according to dharma, what is right. This involves doing what is right for the individual, the family, the class or caste and also for the universe itself. Dharma is like a cosmic norm and if one goes against the norm it can result in bad karma. So, dharma affects the future according to the karma accumulated. Therefore one’s dharmic path in the next life is the one necessary to bring to fruition all the results of past karma. [2]

 Image                                                          photo: http://www.vishnumandirofnewyork.com/history.html

 

As Westerners, we are all about immediate gratification. “Not me!” you cry, “I know you have to earn your retirement. I know you have to wait for the seed to become the plant and the plant to bear fruit.” What if you planted seeds that only your grandchildren would be able to harvest? Could you wait that long? Because that’s much closer to what the ideas of dharma and karma represent. 

So it’s not because of karma as Westerners understand it.

What about the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (That’s not found anywhere in the Bible, folks. Just in case you thought it was a biblical passage, it isn’t.) That’s all fine and well if you’re a pacifist. Not so much if you’re a masochist. Just sayin’. Based on the Golden Rule, if you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you. This neatly places the blame on other people’s attitudes. But it doesn’t explain why nice people are shat on so frequently.

Speaking of the Bible, let’s throw some verses in here, just for giggles. In Christianity, the Beatitudes are a set of teachings by Jesus that appear in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The term Beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate, or blissful. For the sake of brevity, we’re just going to look at the most well-known set in Matthew. These teachings are expressed as eight blessings in the Sermon on the Mount. Each Beatitude consists of two phrases: the condition and the result.[3]

The eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12 during the Sermon on the Mount are stated as Blessed/Happy/Fortunate are:

  • the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)
  • those who mourn: for they will be comforted. (5:4)
  • the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (5:5)
  • they who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be satisfied. (5:6)
  • the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
  • the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (5:8)
  • the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. (5:9)
  • those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10) [4]

Image                 photo: http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-of-kells.html

These each speak of waiting for the result. Nowhere do you find out when these rewards will be received, except in the last: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Wait, what? You mean we have to wait until we die to get these rewards? How is that even worth it? Doesn’t this remind you, my faithful reader, of something else we just discussed? 

So you’re telling me that I have to wait for the next life to make up for all the shit that happened in this one? Well, that’s what it’s looking like.

I warn people frequently: Don’t ask for my opinion unless you really want it. You may not like it. I tend to be overly pragmatic for most people’s taste. Not all babies are beautiful. Not all haircuts look great on all people. Not all clothes fit all frames. Life can suck.

But there are still those people who are truly good who have really bad things happen to them. What gives? How does the Rule of Three apply?

Commonly, the Rule of Three goes something like this: whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times. If that’s true, it’s the base intentions of the person that are in question. If you do nice things looking for the reward, you’re not necessarily going to get what you give, but what you’ve asked for. As the Chinese saying goes: No good deed goes unpunished. If you do nice things because you’re a nice person…well, I know someone who should have won the lottery by now.

Imagephoto: http://woodewytchwoodburning.weebly.com/wicca.html

So why do bad things happen to good people? Sometimes, no matter how nice we are, no matter how hard you try, no matter that we refrain from committing the murder that some others deserve, Life just isn’t nice. I think we learned it best from Forest Gump: Shit Happens. [5] And that’s a sucky answer, but despite the fact that I’ve looked in lots of places, that’s all I’ve got. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t really have an answer.

Blessings,

Practical Witch

 

 

[1] See David? I’ve been thinking about this question for over a month now! 

[2] http://hinduism.about.com/od/basics/a/dharma.htm

[3] The ladder of the Beatitudes by James H. Forest 1999 ISBN 978-1-57075-245-2 page 17

[4] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02371a.htm

[5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edmqTODMZC4

 

Making a Lavender Wreath

I tried my hand at making a wreath from my end of season lavender this weekend. It went semi-well. Here’s how it went. I’ll tell you what I learned along the way.

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Gather your supplies….I used some fencing wire bent into a circle for the base. This is not sufficient. Get a styro base or  make one out of newspaper. 

 

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Cut plenty of lavender. I didn’t cut enough and by the time I realized it, I was too far into the project to add more. Separate your lavender into similar size bunches. Try to make each bunch a mix of lengths and a mix of stems with and without flowers. Don’t let the length get too short! Some of mine were as short as 8″ which I found was the very limit.

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Start by taping your first bunch low, I actually went back and added tape all the way to the ends of the stems.

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Layer your bunches over one another to cover as much area as possible without cramping them. 

 

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Here’s the part that will make it look like a wreath. Tie some pretty ribbon and start going around, catching parts of the bunches with your ribbon to cover the taped part of the bunch ahead of it.

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Hang it up to dry! This one is fairly anemic looking, but it was a learning experience. I’m planning on doing the same thing with my rosemary. Give it a try and share some pictures of your own.

 

Blessings!

Practical Witch