Practical Magic for Soul Liberation

I have a lot to say....

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Sometimes it's serious, sometimes it's silly, but it's always the truth.

Mostly, I share my stories and the wisdom gained from my own journey, in hopes that it helps you on yours.

A Message From The Fireflies

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I live in Northern Ontario where we are fortunate enough to enjoy being surrounded by nature. When I was a kid in the summer, we spent a lot of time outdoors because you have to capitalize on the few months of summer that we get. Our summer vacations were spent mostly at camp (what some of you call the cottage/lake house/cabin depending on where you live). Our cousins had a camp just down the road and we were constantly going back and forth at all hours.

At night, when we walked the dirt road, we would see fireflies flickering everywhere. There were no street lights of course, just some camps on one side, and a whole lot of forest on the other. It was dark. Really dark. So seeing the fireflies always made me feel safe. They were a glimmer of light in the pitch black night. Sometimes, we would even catch them in jars and use them as our own personal flashlights for awhile, before releasing them back to nature.

As the years passed, the fireflies disappeared. It was disappointing, but eventually, I got used to not seeing them anymore. Apparently, so did a lot of other people. Those of us who grew up being fascinated by fireflies, resigned ourselves to the fact that our kids would likely not experience the same magic on a summer’s night.  Fireflies, also called lighting bugs, are found all over the world and according to my google search, this decline in sightings has occurred everywhere. The culprits are thought to be development and light pollution.

Almost 40 years later, I have my own camp and my sister has one down the road. So again, cousins spend many a summer day and night going between one camp and the other. And this year, something really cool is happening....

Fear and Loathing in Orlando
& How We're All In This Together

Fear

Another terrible tragedy in the news. Another mass shooting in the U.S. The biggest one to date. Another barrage of news stories and FB posts pontificating about the details, the whos, hows, whys, and what ifs about the event and the people involved. My head is swimming with endless debate about gun control, LGBTQ (human) rights, alleged terrorist connections and religious affiliations, stories of the victims last moments, the accused’s past and current relationships, and family history. The list goes on.

All of it makes me want to cry and kick and grab people by the shoulders and scream at the top of my lungs, "STOP THE MADNESS! Why can’t we just stop the fucking madness already? What the hell is wrong with us?” Wait, don’t answer that... I think I have a theory.

Like so many of you, I am completely overwhelmed with emotion and almost at a loss for words. But, I am trying my damnedest to conjure some up, even if they are rough and messy and bordering on inarticulate, because saying nothing is just not an option. Saying nothing feels like a cop out to me. Saying nothing, means we have given up, and giving up, giving in to the dark side, should never be an option.  EVER.

Summer Reads For Kids

From My Bookworms to Yours

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Our family reads a lot.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we spend more money on books in this house than almost anything else that isn’t a total necessity.  Actually, scratch that… books ARE a necessity in our world. I would rather buy books than just about anything…except maybe food.  We do buy a lot of our books because there are certain ones we like to own for re-reading, or we pass them on to family and friends.  Sometimes, when we run out of shelf space, we do a bit of a de-cluttering and donate books to the library or other places so other folks can enjoy them.  But really, there’s no need to spend oodles of cash on books.  You can find tons of great reads at your local library and we do that sometimes too.

I love that our kids are bookworms.  I think it’s because they’ve grown up in a house full of books, where it’s been our routine since they were born, to read to them at night.  Sean and I alternate between kids.  One night he reads to Evan and I read to Marley, the next night we switch.  Very few things interfere with that routine except sometimes weekends, special occasions, or a rare night out.  If one of us is away for the evening, the remaining parent and two kids will crawl into bed and read together.  Then everyone goes off to their own rooms and reads some more.  When it’s time for lights out, we often hear appeals of, 'Just one more chapter, pleeeeeaaase" Or, "But I HAVE to know what happens next!" There have even been tears when we finish a particularly good book or series, because as Evan says, “When it’s over, you kinda feel like you’re losing people you care about.”

Nightly reading has become such a part of our family routine, that I can’t even imagine how I’ll cope when the day comes that they decide they no longer want mom or dad to read to them.  I had no trouble sending them off to kindergarten, and I suspect I’ll deal with the transition to high school just fine too…but the thought of them not wanting me to read to them anymore, gets me a little choked up. Sniff.

Dear Kids, Here's What I Want You To Know

Evan homecoming from England

Recently, I had a conversation with a couple of friends about how I'm glad my kids are getting a little older and more independent. I even admitted out loud, that the baby or toddler stages were never really my thing, and that I white knuckled it through most of those years. I knew it was only temporary and that we could handle anything for awhile. Mostly, and in spite of a crapload of chaos that came our way, we did. Although I wouldn't give myself any awards for being the best baby momma on the planet, our kids came out of the baby/toddler years relatively unscathed. At least it seems that way so far.

I've always known I would be a better parent to older kids. You know, the kind who can rationalize, at least some of the time. Don't get me wrong, I love kids! I spent over two decades working with them in some capacity. Babies? Of course they're adorable. It's just that they're even more adorable when I don't have to wake up at 2 a.m. to feed them, or worry every five minutes about why there's no noise coming from the other room. I prefer it when those are someone else's problems to deal with. So now that our kids are at that (sometimes) rational stage - almost 12 and 9, I'm loving it in so many ways. But truthfully, I'm also panicking a little.

We Plan To Have A Boring Summer 

            and I Can't Wait!

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Remember when you were a kid and you looked really forward to summer?  You couldn’t wait for the bell to ring on that last day of school so you could run out those doors and spend two whole months doing whatever the heck you felt like.  The world was your oyster!  No commitments, no homework, just hanging with your friends and doing whatever you were in the mood to do.  Sometimes that meant doing absolutely nothing.   Sometimes...  it even meant being bored.

As adults, most of us would do just about anything to have one day of boredom to look forward to.  The work doesn’t end just because it’s summer.  In fact, depending on your circumstance, it could be an even busier time for you.  These days, with both parents working, or single parents having to do it all on their own, and fewer people having family close by who are willing or able to help out with kids, it can be downright chaotic.  Summer camps need booking well in advance to ensure you get a spot, not to mention the added cost of putting your kids in these programs or finding and paying for child care, if your kids aren’t old enough to be home alone. 

Even when families do have holidays, there is so much emphasis on having to do something special with that precious ‘quality time’.  All the planning, expense, packing, travelling, sight seeing, visiting, etc. can be super stressful.  We can end up feeling like we need a holiday to recover from our holiday!

People I Want To Smack In The Head

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I recently started reading Jen Mann's book, People I Want To Punch In The Throat. This was part of my mother's day gift. My husband knows me well. He actually bought it for me because I'm a fan of Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), and she endorsed this book. It's a series of stories from Jen's real life. Bad ass truth telling is my favourite style of writing.  It's what I aspire to be brave enough to do, and so it goes without saying that I like the book. In fact, it inspired me to write this post. But since I'm not really a throat puncher, I decided to title my own list, 'People I Want To Smack In The Head'. It seems more true to form.

Dear June,

typewriter dear june
 

Dear June,

I’ve got some bad news for you. There’s really no nice way to say this so I’ll just cut to the chase... I think I’m breaking up with you. Because basically June, you suck!

What happened to you? Remember when you used to be all full of anticipation and promises of summer vacation, lazy days, easy ways, and freedom? Yeah.... those were the days right? But June, you’ve changed. The older I get, the more you disappoint me.

I’ve had about enough of your frenetic, schizo, unstable energy. I’m too old for this shit. You’re all over the map, and I can’t figure out what you want from me. June, don’t hate me for saying this, but I think you forgot to take your meds. Maybe you need a gentle reminder. Did you forget that people are supposed to look forward to you? Did you forget that you’re supposed to be all sunny and green, all curious, carefree and full of life? Sure, you might look like that on the outside, but at your core you’ve morphed into a black hearted devil. You’re like one of those icky Dementors in Harry Potter. Gross.

Free As A Bird

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                  The perpetrator, feigning innocence


Several years ago, a cat adopted us. No, I don't have that backwards, I mean SHE adopted US. She literally walked into our house one day and never left. We called her Nigella. She is adorable, and clearly knows how to get what she wants. Before her, we always considered ourselves more dog people. But now we're cat people too. Nigella is the chillest, most affectionate, low maintenance, least annoying creature on the planet....except for one small thing. She's a total serial killer.

Here’s To The Good Guys!

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There seems to be never-ending talk in the news and on social media about the generally crappy and sometimes horrific behaviour perpetrated by certain men. Rape, mass murder, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, pedophilia, homophobia, tax evasion, political scandal, the abuse of power, rioting at sporting events, the list goes on. It’s really gross.

There’s no denying it. There are bad guys out there for sure. This atrocious man-behaviour gets a lot of attention, and I’m not suggesting for even a second that we ignore any of it, or that there aren't a few women out there who are equally as heinous. But I think we need to acknowledge more often, that there are good guys in this world too. A lot of them. In fact, I dare say they outnumber the bad guys by a whole heap. But the good guys are rarely the ones who make front page news. They may get an honorable mention here and there, but mostly, they just quietly go about their good guy business, expecting little or no recognition, while the scum bags among them do their damnedest to paint the whole lot in a negative light.

I’m fortunate to know a whole lot of good guys. I happen to be married to one of them in fact. So as Father’s Day approaches, let’s take this opportunity to give the good guys in our lives (even the ones who aren’t fathers) the props they deserve.

10 Lessons I Learned From My Mom &
Some Truth Talk About The Mother Of All Relationships

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                                          Stevie (my mom), circa 1980 something

Mother’s day is quickly approaching and naturally, this always shines a light on the mother-child dynamic in people’s lives.  I’ve read a million blog posts, articles and Facebook memes where people gush and romanticize about their relationship with their mothers.  This is lovely and genuinely beautiful that some people have nothing but positive, heart swelling memories of their moms.  They may remember their childhoods (accurately or otherwise) as being full of hugs, homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk, calm, lilting lullabies, heartfelt talks and bedtime stories.  No word of a lie, these are some of the memories I hope my own kids have.

However, can we all just admit that this is definitely not everyone’s reality?  Not everyone’s relationship to their mom’s is a Hallmark card.  The truth is, a whole lot of folks had/have a tenuous relationship with their mothers.  Some may be completely estranged from their moms for a whole variety of not so warm and fuzzy reasons.  Some people may have lost their moms in natural or unnatural ways.  Others may have a hard time relating, and not know how to, or be unwilling to, go about repairing the bond that has been damaged over time.