Goodbye, Uncle George

My husband’s uncle George passed away this week. He was a good man who had a lovely family: a beautiful wife, Ruth; five sons; several grandchildren. He lived to the age of 93, an achievement all its own. The family resided in a small house in an older suburb of Cincinnati, and every year, George and Ruth had a Christmas party for everyone in the Van clan. The party was held in the unfinished basement of their home, with folding tables set up practically underneath the wooden stairs and the beer keg next to the washer and dryer. Once everyone arrived, it was pretty cramped, but you couldn’t have asked for a better time. The adults drank and ate and visited in the basement while the little ones played upstairs. Aunt Ruth brought down trays of dog food (a sausage mixture served on tiny bread slices and heated in the oven) to add to the feast while everyone admired cousin Dave’s leather pants. I daresay everyone looked forward to this party, a chance to visit with the family and catch up on each other’s lives.

I remember my first Christmas party at Uncle George’s clearly, even though I was only 17 or 18 at the time. As we drove there that night, Keith warned me that whenever someone brought a new boyfriend or girlfriend to the party, he or she had to know all the names of all the relatives by the end of the night. “There will be a test,” he said. I chuckled, thinking he was joking. How could there be a test? Did Uncle George and Aunt Ruth keep a Scantron somewhere?

When we arrived, Keith began introducing me to his family, and believe me, there were a lot of folks to remember. The cousin’s wife who liked photography. The cousin who was so tall and lanky, he reminded me of a cowboy. The uncle with the bad leg, and the cousin who used to dress Keith up in girls’ clothes when he was little. Their names, and all the others, spun around me like a flurry of snowflakes. I recited them in my head, hoping that the beer Uncle George had given me wouldn’t make my mind fuzzy. Keith quizzed me while we stood around the food table, but there wasn’t much time for practice. Too many people interrupted us, more names to add to the list.

Toward the end of the evening, Uncle George strolled over to me and took my hand. He led me to a metal kitchen chair set up in the center of the room and sat me in it. “Now,” he said, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses, “let’s see how many names you remember.”

I glanced around the circle of expectant faces surrounding me. I don’t get nervous in front of people very often, and that was true even in my younger days. But I was nervous then, and even though these folks smiled and teased in a good-natured way, I wanted to impress them. I knew I loved Keith, and I knew someday, this would be my family, too. I searched for Keith, drew some reassurance from his nod, wiped my sweaty palms on my pants, and started naming relatives.

I don’t remember how long it took, or how many I missed. Very few, if I recall correctly. I remember lots of laughing, and I remember Keith smiling proudly when I was finished. And then Uncle George came over to where I sat with a big grin on his face. He took my hand again, pulled me to my feet, and said, “Pretty good. You’re a keeper.”

Those words may not seem like much, but they meant the world to me. In that moment, I felt accepted and loved by the Van clan. And in that moment, Uncle George completely won my heart.

You’re a keeper, too, George. I know Bob and Helen will be so happy to welcome you to the Other Side, along with so many others who have gone before you. We’ll miss you. Thank you for so many happy Christmases and cherished memories.

And the winner is…

I am so pleased to see such a great response to my last post, where I offered a chance to win a free 6-month forecast reading. And I am equally pleased to announce that the winner of the reading, chosen at random, is Linny! Linny, I have sent you an email, so please look for that so I can get the information I need to complete your reading.

Thanks to everyone who responded. Please keep visiting the blog–I hope to have more contests, and more interesting information, throughout the year.

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year! Get a FREE Reading!

Happy New Year 2012! I am enjoying the beginning of the New Year so much, I want to do something special for everyone here.

On my website I am offering a 6-month forecast e-mail reading that combines numerology, Tarot, and clairvoyance to give clients insights into the months of January through June, 2012 for only $50. This offer is good through January 31, 2012. But here on the blog, I will give one of these readings away for FREE on January 4. All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post for your chance to win. Please feel free to pass this on to others, too, so that they know about the drawing–and maybe you, or they, will be the winner!

I want to thank all of my regular readers for another wonderful year of blogging. And if you’re new here, welcome! I hope you’ll come back and visit often!

Reading and Movie List 2011

As the end of the year 2011 draws near, I thought I’d post my annual Reading and Movie List. Here are the works I have taken in over the last 12 months:

Fiction

Mary, Mrs. A. Lincoln, Janis Cooke Newman, January, ***1/2

The Miracle Worker (play), William Gibson, January-March, ****

Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen, April, ***1/2

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe, April, ***

Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult, April-May, ***

Fool, Christopher Moore, May, **1/2

The Help, Kathryn Stockett, May, ****

Two Truths and a Lie, Katrina Kittle, May, ***

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, May-June, ***

The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson, June, ***1/2

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson, June. ***

The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper, June, **1/2

Handling the Undead, John Ajvide Lindqvist, July, **1/2

The Crucible (play), Arthur Miller, July, ****

A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin, July-August, ****

A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin, August, ****

A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin, September, ***

A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin, September-October, **1/2

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff, October, ***1/2

The Raven’s Bride, Lenore Hart, October, **1/2

Blood Red Road, Moira Young, October, ****

Green Angel, Alice Hoffman, October, ***1/2

Summers at Blue Lake, Jill Althouse-Wood, October-November, **1/2

Double Dexter, Jeff Lindsay, December, ***

A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness, December, ***

Promises to Keep, Char Chaffin, December, ***

Nonfiction

My Spiritual Journey, The 14th Dalai Lama, March-April, ***

Cincinnati Haunted Handbook, Jeff Morris and Michael Morris, June, **1/2

Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons For Making it Work, Tim Gunn, June, **1/2

Say Her Name, Francisco Goldman, July, ***

The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, Louis Martinie and Sallie Ann Glassman, July, **

Movies

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, January, ****

Precious, January, ****

Rocky, January, ***

Whip It, January, ***
The Messenger, January, ***

Hot Tub Time Machine, February, **

Quantum of Solace, February, **

Winter’s Bone, February, ****

True Grit, February, ****

Citizen Kane (re-watch), February, ***

(500) Days of Summer, February, ***1/2

Tropic Thunder, March, ***

Sixteen Candles (re-watch), March, ***

Limitless, March, **1/2

Source Code, April, ***

Thor, May, ***

The Social Network, May, ***1/2

Super 8, June, ****

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish), June, **1/2

The A-Team, June, **1/2

Bridesmaids, July, ***

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Swedish), July, **1/2

The King’s Speech, July, ***

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, July, ****

Captain America: The First Avenger, July, **1/2

Cowboys and Aliens, July, ***

The Kids Are Alright, August, ***

Dexter Season 6, August, **1/2

The Green Hornet, October, **1/2

Tangled, November, **

Zombieland, November, ****

Into the Woods, December, ***

Hugo, December, ***1/2

You can see my favorites by the number of stars given. On the whole, it’s been an enjoyable year of reading and film-watching.

Next year, I intend to also list plays I go to see, since I am making an effort to attend more live productions.

What are your favorite books and movies that you read or saw in 2011? Feel free to share in the comments section! I’m always looking for recommendations.

Blog at SMP Authors Today

I am blogging today for the first time at the authors’ blog for my new publisher, Soul Mate Publishing, who will release my first novel, Merlyn’s Raven, in April of 2012. I hope you’ll all stop by over there to see the blog!

The Magic of Christmas Eve

I also want to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with love, light, and joy!

Dream Appearances

I am a very vivid dreamer. I always have been. I actually enjoy going to sleep at night, not just because I feel rested in the morning, but because I can’t wait to experience whatever awaits me in my dreamscapes. It’s rare for me to have a bad dream or a nightmare, but they definitely happen every now and then.

Last night, Dexter Morgan made an appearance in my dreams.

Now, let me just say: I love Dexter. I have read all of the Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay. I have watched every season of the Showtime Dexter series. I think the character is fascinating, brilliant, and scary.
Which is why I don’t want to see him show up in my dreams.
So this got me thinking: are there any characters from books that you’d ban from your dream world? Are there any that stick in your brain as such loathsome villains that you’d banish them forever? Are there any that are so scary you couldn’t bear to share the dreamscape with them?
Personally, I wouldn’t classify Dexter Morgan as a traditional villain. He’s certainly an anti-hero, and my fascination with him and my feelings of vindication when he murders a bad guy bother me a bit, I’ll admit. This complexity of feeling for him is what keeps me coming back to every book and every show. But I do not want to spend time with him in my own head outside of his literary and television appearances.
What about you? What characters could you do without in your dreams? Ever have one where that character made a guest appearance?

 

Please share here!

 

Rainy Days and Mondays…

…don’t always get me down, but…

Actually, I love Mondays. Ever since I left Corporate America and began my career as a self-employed person, I have taken Mondays off. This is mostly because I tend to work on the weekends, and everyone deserves a break. I look forward to the quiet pace of my Mondays, when I can take things as they come while doing chores around the house, writing, and generally playing catch-up from the week before.

Today’s Monday is pretty dreary. It’s rained steadily since last night, and I now have a moat to cross when I go in and out of my front door. There’s a new lake in my backyard, and the poor dog dreads going outside for fear of soaking his dainty little feet. I’ve spent the day responding to correspondence with business associates, putting out minor fires connected with my business, and writing materials for my publisher. Soon I will leave the house, drive through the rain to drop something off at my cousin’s, and then brave the terrible highway traffic and the crazy-weather drivers to pick up my boys from school. More than anything, I find myself wishing I could simply teleport them home with one of those “I Dream of Jeannie” nods. DOINK! They’re here!

Alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Still, the gentle drumming of the rain on the roof has lulled me into a state of quiet and reflection. It’s like an invitation from the Universe to take a few moments to just sit and be. Like many folks, I find it challenging to do nothing. Yet I understand that it is in this stillness, this silent peace, that Spirit speaks the most distinctly to us.

I urge you to try it. Sit still for a few moments and just breathe. In. Out. In. Out. When thoughts intrude, just bring your focus back to your breath. In. Out. In. Out. Allow yourself to be replenished by the silence and the stillness.

I give thanks on this rainy Monday for reminding me of this valuable lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrecting the Blog

It’s…alive!

Yes, I am back. Well, really, I never went anywhere. I was just experiencing an extreme case of lack of motivation coupled with a whirlwind life, which relegated the blog writing to the extreme low point on the priority scale.

But I would like to get back to connecting with you all…so I promise to try to do better with posting here.

This year has been a very difficult one. I won’t go into all of the details here because many of them are very personal, but I have been slogging through as best I can. One of my best friends always says, “Keep swimming,” and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do!

dog-swimming

I do have exciting news to share: my first novel will be published soon! My novel, entitled MERLYN’S RAVEN, has been accepted by Soul Mate Publishing. I don’t have any details about the release yet, but when I do, I will be sure to share–and to shamelessly self-promote! I am also in the process of working with a friend on re-doing my website so that I can feature things more easily and have all of my services, events, workshops, books, etc. available to everyone.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I hope life has been treating you all well. And please don’t give up on me! I will be here more often in the future. I hope you will be, too.

Bright blessings to you all! xox

Monday Message From Merlin 2-7-11

Greetings and blessings to you all! I am Merlin, the Master Teacher of the one called Rose who writes this on my behalf. As always, it is a great pleasure to work directly with her and to speak to you all in this way. I enjoy very much the time I am able to spend with you. It is a great honor for me and a cherished opportunity for me to continue in my own spiritual development.

I come today to speak to you about success and failure. Last night, Rose and her husband watched the big American football game called The Super Bowl, which pits two teams against each other in fierce physical competition. As in many of these sports, there is only one victor. And yet I say to you, all competitors are victors in these matches, even the ones who do not score the most points by the end of the game.

Failure is a part of the human experience. It is not an especially enjoyable part, but it is necessary nonetheless.  It is one way we understand how some of our actions are mistakes, which allows us to recognize misguided judgements so that we do not make the same error again. When we experience failure, we grieve and face strong, undesirable emotions like frustration, anger, and sadness. Our self-confidence is often affected, causing us to feel even more depressed. With all of this, what positive outcome could possibly stem from failure?

The important lessons learned through failure give the experience great value. We learn how to negotiate negative emotions by remaining peaceful, calm, and compassionate with ourselves. We realize that our self-worth is not tied to the outcome but instead directly connected to the Divine Source, which is present in every person, no matter their success rate. We see that by failing at one endeavor, it opens up space for something entirely different, and something that is far better than we could have imagined. We recognize our personal shortcomings and are afforded the opportunity to mend them so we do not repeat the same mistakes in the future. We become more spiritually focused, concentrating on the meaning behind the failure and what we can do for ourselves to by more productive as we move forward. We allow ourselves to experience life lessons that we cannot experience in any other way.

Failure is never easy. Many will ask questions like, “Why did my business fail? I asked my spirit guides to help me, and it still went under. I was a fool to believe that they are working with me!” Beloved friends, your spirit guides always want what’s best for you. Remember, too, that your guides cannot interfere in any capacity of your life. As I have reminded you before, you must ask them for aid when it is appropriate. But never doubt that your guides are helping you when you’ve asked, even if the scenario turns out differently than you anticipated. Your guides are familiar with your life plan, and they may know something about why your failure is a necessary part of your spiritual evolution. You may not be able to see the bigger picture, but trust that Creator knows exactly what you need at every moment of every day. Putting your faith in Spirit is not easy, but it is never misguided! Search for the lesson that is to be learned, and you will understand it.

You are all such beloved creations! You are all so magnificent in so many ways! I wish you could truly understand the incredible love and energy that infuses this whole Universe and allows us all to be tied together to one another. Know that you are never alone in your life, through all of its good times and challenging ones. Spirit is ever-present, and the more you work with your guides, teachers, and angels, the more aware you become of their presences and of their help. It may not make failures easier, but this knowledge will help to bring you peace so that you can examine and integrate the lessons you need to learn during these times.

You are loved beyond measure. You are special. You are a unique creation of the Divine. You ARE Divine! Repeat these mantras to yourself, especially when you’ve encountered a failure in your life. No matter how daunting it might be, if you ask for help from Spirit in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, you will receive it! And whatever is coming from that point on may be bigger and better than what you first attempted!

I hope today’s message gives you some peace of mind, heart, and spirit. I take your leave now with my blessings and great love. Be well, and I will be with you again soon.

Merlin

New Crystal Grids

Yesterday, I was able to attend a wonderful workshop given by my friend and healing colleague Gene Jackson. I have taken a class with Gene before, and this time, he was joined by Becky McCleery, another wonderful crystal expert. Together, they presented information about the new energies affecting our Universe and consciousness at this time and explained how we can use our beautiful crystal and stone friends for healing and other kinds of positive work.

I enjoyed every aspect of this class, but I really connected with the idea of creating crystal grids with specific intentions. As a healer, I have built crystal grids under my healing table at work. These collections of stones, placed with intention and purpose, help each client to experience the very best energy possible during their healing and massage therapy sessions with me. It never occurred to me, however, to build a crystal grid for some other reason, one that might be personal or important to me on an individual level. In many ways, creating a crystal grid is a lot like magickal work. You choose stones intuitively to reflect the intention you would like the crystal energies to work towards, and then you create a pattern with the stones that keeps the energy flowing in a positive way. Along with creating our own crystal grids in the class (the one I created, large enough to sit inside, was for balance), Becky also showed us a grid you could build at home to draw in abundance, and another you could use to welcome love into your life.

Although all of the grids that we built were amazing and powerful, I really connected with the love grid that Becky created for us in the class. I’ve been struggling with an issue in my extended family for a couple of years now, and unfortunately, the situation isn’t getting any better. I decided to modify the love grid that Becky showed to us to create a grid to promote family harmony. I was able to build this grid this morning; below is a photo of it:

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I used a tray and lined it with a black beaded placemat to contain and build the grid. In the very center, you can see a large piece of unpolished rose quartz, a stone associated with unconditional love. Directly above that piece, there is a stone angel also made of rose quartz, and two more polished rose quartz stones sit to the left and right of the center stone. Next to the angel on the left, there is a piece of pink kunzite, which promotes loving thoughts and loving communications. On the angel’s right is a piece of morganite, which is connected to the heart chakra and love energy. It also promotes fellowship along with listening and working together. Directly below the center rose quartz is a heart-shaped piece of amethyst, a stone of serenity, peace, and great harmony. Below the amethyst is snowy quartz, which helps people to think before speaking and enhances tact and cooperation. To the left of the snowy quartz is a piece of green aventurine. Aventurine helps to diffuse negative situations and promotes compassion and empathy. On the right of the snowy quartz is amblygonite, a calming and soothing stone. Directly below the snowy quartz is another piece of rose quartz. Eight quartz points encircle these stones at the four directions and at the cross quarter points, alternating with their terminated ends in and out. This arrangement helps to bring energy in and to release energy out, balancing the influx and output of the harmonious love. The rest of the quartz points move the energy around the circle in a clockwise motion, meant to mirror the building and gathering of energy.

After building the grid, I sealed it energetically with my intention. I am hopeful that this grid will help bring about more peace and harmony in my extended family, something we haven’t had for quite some time.

As I was sorting through my stones, my Master guide, Merlin, started talking to me, inspiring me to build a grid to strengthen our connection and to open up new ways for us to communicate. For a long time, Merlin has encouraged me to sleep with amethyst pieces on my night table, and we often mediate together in a crystal cave made of amethyst. I know that, along with the properties listed above, this stone also increases psychic experiences and visions. It is connected to the third eye, the seat of clairvoyance, and is sometimes called the psychic’s stone. I already kept several pieces of amethyst next to the bed so that I could rest in this energy at night, but I added a few more pieces and arranged them intuitively (see below):

100_3207

As you can see, the grid starts with the large piece of amethyst on the left, with an amethyst point to its right and two more pieces of amethyst above and below the point for balance. To the right of the amethyst point is a piece of epidot in prehnite. Epidot enhances perception and personal power, while prehnite promotes dreaming, contact with all kinds of spirit entities, channeling, and prophecy. In a grid, prehnite helps to provide calmness and protection. Finally, to the right of the epidot in prehnite sits a piece of merlinite. I was obviously attracted to this stone simply by its name with its association with Merlin, but I wasn’t surprised to learn it brings magick to the life of those who use it, along with facilitating shamanistic experiences. As you can also see in the picture, all of the stones are pointing in a particular direction: right at me while I’m sleeping. Thus all of the energy built in this grid with these stones will help me connect even more fully with Merlin and will point the energy right at me!

I have had so much fun in the past few years learning more about crystals, stones, and earth energies. I really enjoy getting to know the stones and working with them. Their energies have truly enhanced my life, and I’m hoping to build even more grids for particular purposes as I go forward on my journey.

So it you’re interested, stop by your favorite metaphysical shop and check out the stones and crystals that are there. I guarantee you’ll find a present from Mother Earth that will touch your heart and enhance some aspect of your life with its energy. Enjoy!!

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