Just a few thoughts

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Over 24 Hours!

I'm officially past the 24 hour mark since my  last regular cigarette. It's been about 29 hours or so. I've only had a few minor cravings, but when they strike I just start puffing on a full strength cartridge and it passes within a minute.

So far I'm loving the classic menthol flavor. At first  I thought I preferred the regular menthol, but now I think they both have their perks. The newer menthol is sweeter, but the classic is closer to the menthol you get from regular cigarettes.

I also got some coffee cartridges and they're fantastic! If any ladies out there ever had Bonne Bell lipgloss in cappuccino, the coffee cartridges smell and taste a lot like that. It's not really what I would call a true coffee flavor, even coffee with sugar and cream, but it is very similar to a really good cappuccino.

I'm not sure if V2 gives out freebies all the time, but in my package there was a bonus pack of flavor cartridges in what I think was a limited edition flavor over the summer. It's passion fruit and it's like inhaling candy.

Overall, I'm totally in love with my V2 and couldn't be happier. I just wish I'd made the switch to vaping sooner.

Review: V2 Standard Plus Starter Kit

This is the kit that I ordered, the Standard Plus Kit. It came with two batteries, a wall charger, the USB cord, 10 flavor cartridges (two flavor packs of 5 each), and a charging case for charging while on the go.


The batteries come in a metallic blue, silver, white, or black. You can choose the standard length (what I got), or a shorty or long battery. The length of the battery determines how long it stays charged. A long will stay charged the longest, a shorty will stay charged the shortest amount of time. Pretty straight forward. I'm happy with the standard length. You can also choose manual or automatic for the batteries, or one of each. I preferred the automatic (just take draws from it) over the manual (press a button while inhaling) at first, but now that I've used both, I think I prefer the manual battery slightly more.




It came with two boxes of flavor cartridges, with five cartridges per box. These cartridges are supposed to be equal to about one pack of cigarettes each, but there's debate about that amongst ecig smokers. I think it's roughly 3/4 of a pack to one pack, because I go through one cartridge a day and that's how many regular cigarttes I smoked before. You can choose  the flavor and strength, from no nicotine to full strength (which is, supposedly, the equivalent of smoking an unfiltered cigarette).  I chose the medium strength in peppermint and menthol.



The charging case is really cool. All you do is plug it in to charge it up, then you can use it to carry up to three cartridges and one battery at a time, or two batteries. When you're out of the house, or otherwise unable to plug up your ecig, you just screw the battery into the case, turn it on, and wait  for the indicator lights to show that the ecig battery is charged.





These are by far the best ecigs I've ever tried. There's a lot of vapor, a good throat hit, and the flavor is great. The menthol, to me, is very similar to Camel menthol, after you pop the extra menthol bead in the filter. It's comparable to another menthol cigarette I've tried, but I'm not sure which. Probably either Kools or Salem, though. The peppermint is great. It's similar to Marlboro Smooth when they were new, and very peppermint-y. The last ones I tried were nasty, though, so I'm not sure how they taste now. Imagine being able to smoke the best peppermint tea, and that's sort of what it's like.

The battery life for V2 is pretty good, too. I alternate between my manual and automatic batteries, so I recharge every other day, unless my husband has been smoking one of them.

When the cartridge is empty, the taste changes. It starts to taste kind of burned. All you do to change a cartridge is pop a new one out of the blister pack (another great thing about these, because they stay fresh longer than carts in a box), unscrew and dispose of the old one, and screw the new one on the battery. It's recommended that when you begin a new cartridge, after around 12-15 puffs (about one regular cigarette), you give the cartridge at least a 30 minute break. I *think* this helps it last longer, but I'm not sure since I rarely smoke every 30 minutes.

With V2 you can also purchase blank cartridges and bottles of e-liquid and fill them yourself to save money. This is what I'm planning to do after I make sure of which flavors and  strengths I prefer. I believe that doing this averages out to be about $1 per pack, but it may be less with their new cartridges that last longer, and larger bottles of e-liquid now available.

I just got more cartridges in, so I'll do another review of those when I've used enough to do a review. I ordered two new flavors and different strengths.

If you're interested, get 15% off a starter kit from V2 Cigs with coupon code 1081278.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Last Cigarette

I decided to blog about this, partially to keep myself in line, and also so I have a record showing how things are going.  When I finish taking pictures of my V2 kit, I'll post my review. It's finished, I just have to add the pictures. Also, my husband bought a V2 kit a few days ago and it should be here by Friday. I'm so excited for both of us! I'll do a post about his kit, as well, because we're sort of sharing it (he got the Ultimate Kit, which had everything he wanted, as well as a few extras that I wanted).

So, I've had my V2 started kit since Friday, December 7th, 2012. I've continued to smoke a few regular cigarettes since then, because I didn't know how long it would take to get more cartridges in the mail. To give you an idea of how things have already changed, I was smoking between half a pack and just over a pack a day. Usually I smoked around 3/4 of a pack a day. Since the 7th, I've smoked approximately 2.5 packs of regular cigarettes, so that's about 4-5 regular cigarettes a day, roughly half a pack less than I was smoking before.

Today, I was down to my last V2 cartridge, which was almost empty, and I had two regular cigarettes left in a pack. Then I got  the e-mail alert  that my V2 package had arrived at the post office. So, I smoked my last cigarette around 6:45PM this evening. Since I got my V2, I didn't even really enjoy smoking regular cigarettes anymore. I found myself disliking the taste, the feel, etc. and reaching for my V2 more often. It's been about 5 hours since my last cigarette, and I'm glad.

I've told myself that I'll quit someday for  so long. I've been a smoker for almost seven years, so not a terribly long time, but I never should have started smoking in the first place. I've "tried" to quit a few times before, but never made it very far before I broke down and bought more. This time, I meant it. I knew that I was going to quit and I was determined to do it. I think I'll post maybe once a week from here on out to keep track of how long it's been and the like, as well as reviewing V2 products I try.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

(More Than) A Few Words on Fertility Charting and Other Things

I'm learning about FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) and reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. That link will take you to the Amazon page for the book, if you're interested in learning more about it. I won't go into the details of FAM, but I did want to mention something because I just noticed it while going over my records from the past 6-7 months of recording my cycles. I've only recently began to formally chart, but while reviewing my cycles from the past few months, I began to notice a pattern.
At first, I thought my cycles were close to the lunar cycle, because I was starting around the same moon phase. Then I noticed that starting with my second post-BC pills period, I began to start my period during the same sign each month. While on the pill, they were all over the place because they were being regulated by synthetic hormones and the like.

I believe I posted a while back about following various aspects of life and the phases of the Moon,weather, Moon signs, etc. and how they're related. I haven't kept up with this as much as I intended to, but I'm getting better. Anyway, looking back of the records I have kept, I can predict how I'll probably be feeling at certain times throughout the month. It isn't foolproof, but if I'm feeling a certain way, I can glance back over my records and see if I felt the same way in previous months and, if so, prepare for future mood swings and other issues that may arise.

I know, this post is all over the place, but please ask questions if you have any! I'm a bit distracted today, so this may not be making sense to anyone but me.

Back to fertility charting for moment. If you've ever looked at a chart (but have not practiced charting), it looks overwhelming. I promise, it isn't! I literally spend about two minutes  a day on mine, if that. Plus, it's kind of fun! Maybe I'm a freak for feeling that way, but it is for me. Taking Charge of Your Fertility is really informative, easy to understand and covers more than just how to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. I really recommend this book for any woman, even if you have no desire to use the FAM method, because of what you can still learn about your body. If you can find a copy at a library or borrow a copy, I suggest doing so. I bought my copy, and less than 100 pages in, it's already more than worth what I paid for it.

Another thing about this book, if you've ever looked at it before. It looks huge and intimidating, especially if you flip through and see the sample charts and the like. But, the last third or so of the book is basically just a bunch of resources for various issues, Q&A, sample charts, etc. The bottom line is that all this looks so intimidating and like it will take up a lot of your time to learn, but that's not true. I think any woman could easily begin to use the information from this book and it can be helpful for much more than just knowing when you ovulate or when to expect your period.

So, now that I've noticed my lunar pattern, I intend to add that to my chart. I wanted to talk about this in case anyone else is charting and might not have thought of the lunar cycle in relation to their menstrual cycle. So there's my mind numbing post of the weekend lol. Basically pointless, but at least I'm blogging some, again.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend and have a blessed Yule!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's The Latest

Since Samhain, I've been changing a LOT and very quickly. I've seen goals begin to manifest themselves, my outlook on life is changing... a lot of things are changing in my life, including my spiritual path. Here's a brief overview of what's been going on, followed by what to expect from this blog in the future.

So I overwhelmed myself again with responsibilities and ended up basically taking a break from the internet altogether, besides my e-mail and Amazon (I'm a total Amazon addict). The night I did my Samhain ritual, I felt a power within myself. No, it wasn't a "supernatural" power, it was my power. My personal power that I've allowed others to slowly strip me of throughout my life. I started seriously re-claiming it after that night, without even realizing what I was doing until a few weeks later.

Throughout my life, I've allowed other people to walk all over me, put me down, and make me feel like a worthless waste of space and air. No more. This has been coming on for a long time, and the big picture is becoming clearer and clearer to me all the time, and I have my spiritual path to thank for that. Paganism has helped me know myself, face my demons, and find my inner strength and I'm so thankful for that. But, I digress...

One of the things I incorporated into my ritual was a short list of goals, or resolutions for the future. I've always sucked at keeping things like New Year's resolutions, but I really think things are different this time around. I have determination like never before. No more thinking I can't do something, or something is too hard. Instead, I'm thinking things like, "I'm totally doing this, no matter what!"

If you've noticed up at the top of the page, I have a thing about V2  Electronic Cigarettes. That was part of my resolution for the upcoming year. I've been researching e-cigs for a couple of years, and finally committed after several crappy e-cigs in the past. The V2 has been great. It's only been a week and already regular cigarettes are beginning to taste bad for me and be less enjoyable. I've smoked for almost seven years, so this is a great  change for me. The only reason I'm still smoking regular cigarettes at all is because I'm waiting for more cartridges to come in the mail, so I'm stretching out the few I have left by smoking regulars now and then. It's not good, but I know now that I can and will quit smoking them completely in about...3 days, once my cartridges come in the mail. After that, bye bye nasty regular ones.

So, to make the rest of this long, long story as short as possible, a lot has been changing for me and this blog is about to change as well. I'm not limiting my posting to almost exclusively Pagan/Witchy themed posts anymore, because there's so many other things I want to talk about. So you can probably expect reviews of products (such as my e-cig and new menstrual cup, books, etc.), random posts (like how practicing the FAM method for birth control is working out, my coffee obsession, and life in general), and who knows what else. There will most definitely still be spiritually themed posts, though, I just don't have a clue exactly what will be coming in that department.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Samhain Ritual and Other Thoughts

Wow I really didn't realize how long it had been since my last blog! I suck. The really pathetic thing is that I actually have several partially finished blogs saved on my computer, I just haven't gotten around to finishing and uploading them. *dramatic sigh* Maybe I'll make blogging more frequently a resolution this coming year.

That said, I wanted to talk a bit about my ritual for Samhain this year. I'm not going to post it, so if that's what you're looking for, I'm sorry, but I don't post my personal rituals and the like.

I'm not a fancy, elaborate, lots of props kind of girl when it comes to my rituals and spells. I started off with those, years ago, but never felt that it was right for me, so I stopped doing them. And then I all but stopped doing rituals altogether. So, for Samhain this year, I decided to go all out. I set up an altar (I might post a picture of it later), complete with a couple of skulls, God and Goddess candle, ancestor photos, etc. I planned a ritual for a few weeks, and as Samhain approached, I found myself really getting into the altar setup, writing the ritual, and other preparations (like re-writing the ritual five times because kittens shredded it, my child tore it up, and so forth). By the time Samhain arrived, I felt like I was making the right choice by doing a big ritual. Then, I fell asleep before I could do it.

That didn't stop me, though. I just took time the next day to review my ritual and make a couple of minor adjustments to my altar, and then I was ready to go on November 1st. The whole thing took about an hour and I have to say that it was actually really great. I hoped it would work out for me, but I really didn't have my hopes up. Throughout the entire experience, I felt a connection to the Universe and my ancestors, and after it was finished, I felt spiritually peaceful.

I'm horrible for putting everything and everyone before myself and not attending to my needs. That includes my spiritual life. I've been in a slump for ages now (just look back over my blog, I've talked about it), and had no idea how to get out of it. None of my old standbys like meditations, altar care, working on my Book, etc. were working for me. If you've been following me for a while, or read over past posts, you might have seen me mention how my spiritual path was changing.  Well, I think I've finally figured a few things out about that.

I think it's time for me to start switching things up more often so I don't feel as bored, or whatever it is I've been feeling. My ritual, and later divination, seem to prove me right about that. Our paths are always changing, evolving. We're always growing and changing. The only constant is change, and I haven't been particularly willing to adapt to the changes trying to occur lately.

I hope to finally start getting more blogs up more frequently from now on. I hope everyone reading this (if anyone reads it) is doing well, and I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Samhain.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm Not a "Real" Pagan and Witch

 According to many Pagans and Witches I've met over the years, I'm not a "real" Pagan and Witch because:
  • I am also "Goth," so therefore my spirituality is merely a show for shocking the general public even more.
  • I only use spells when I've exhausted every other option, or feel that a magickal "boost" is necessary.
  • I dye my hair.
  • I have piercings.
  • I have tattoos.
  • I am not Wiccan.
  • I have not sworn a lifelong oath to any Deity.
  • I think it's acceptable to work with Deities from any pantheon.
  • I don't believe in any one "right" way to do things.
  • I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and movies, as well as Charmed, Practical Magic, The Craft, etc.
  • I don't have a huge garden full of magickal herbs.
  • I don't worship Scott Cunningham (or Silver Ravenwolf, or Raymond Buckland, or Gerald Gardner, etc.)
  • I don't believe that all rituals or spells must be elaborate, with an altar full of props.
  • I don't believe Witches are "made" by other Witches.
  • I don't believe you must be descended from a great and powerful Witch from the beginning of time to be a real Witch.
  • I don't believe that Wicca is an ancient religion.
  • I don't believe you must follow the spiritual path of your blood ancestors to be a real Pagan.
  • I like ice cream.
  • I'm a pescatarian.
  • I don't believe anyone, or any religion, has all the answers.
  • I have cats...and I don't think they're all familiars.
  • I don't have an ancient tome that's been passed down for a billion years from mother to daughter.
  • I don't believe you must be a certain gender, race, age, etc. to be a Pagan or a Witch.
  • I don't believe Silver Ravenwolf is evil incarnate.
  • I despise the term "fluffy bunny"
  • I have no problem with hexes/curses/etc. 
  • I believe "To each their own" applies to all parts of life.
  • I enjoy spending time in cemeteries and find the energy peaceful.
  • I don't go skyclad or wear an elaborate robe for rituals.
  • I paint my nails black sometimes.
 So you see, folks, according to many Pagans and Witches I've encountered over the years, I'm not a REAL Pagan or Witch, and therefore you should flee from this blog immediately, lest I corrupt you! Alright so a few of these are exaggerations, but the point still stands that you can't please everyone and don't let someone tell you that you aren't a "real" Witch or Pagan because of something stupid.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cycles

This is something I'm going to be doing in the near future, probably beginning with either the New Moon or the next Full Moon. I've done it half-heartedly in the past, but never for very long.

For one full lunar cycle, keep a journal of all the cycles you go through. Keep track of:
  •  your overall feeling of the day (happiness, sadness, depression, excitement, etc.) 
  • your physical state (lethargic, energetic, aching, normal, etc.) 
  • and if you're menstruating, keep track of your cycle as best as you can (when you ovulate, if possible, when cramps or other symptoms begin, when you start bleeding, when it ends, etc.)
Basically, keep track of anything you can think of and note the phase of the moon, moon sign, weather, etc.

For example, one entry may look like this:

Tuesday February 21
Moon: New, Pisces
Rainy.
Felt lazy, but content.
Ovulating; minor cramps.

At the end of the month, look over your "journal" and try to pick out patterns.  If none emerge, try keeping a log for a few more cycles.

You can also keep a log of the moon phases and signs along with your dream journal to see how your dreams change throughout the month. Also, some women have more vivid dreams during certain times in their monthly cycles, as well as during pregnancy.

Always in a Rut!

That's how I feel. I went through a couple of months of feeling like I was in every rut known to mankind. Now, my spiritual side is climbing out, along with the part of me that loves studying things and taking notes, and I'm cleaning like a mad woman. However, my inspiration tank is dry, it would seem. I sit with a new blog open for hours, staring at the screen, thinking, going for a snack or something, coming back...nothing. I can't even come up with new spells right now. I keep thinking, "There's an idea in my brain, somewhere! If only I could access it..." Even ideas for blogs that I've had in the past seem to have vanished. On that note, I think I'll post the draft blog I've had saved for months. It's just an idea I had, nothing special, but in the interest of posting something new, besides this random babble, I think I'll let it out.

An online Pagan group I belong to gave me the idea to start a "stone/crystal" of the week, so I may do that on here as well, just to have something to post with some regularity. I'm considering doing something with tarot, but I'm not sure yet. We'll see, I suppose. If anyone knows of anything you'd like to see a blog about, feel free to ask me about it lol. I'm open to suggestions at this point.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cottage Witchery by Ellen Dugan ~Review~

Let me start by saying that I adore Ellen Dugan's books. Her writing style is comfortable and friendly, like she's written each sentence just for you. She doesn't try to be formal like some authors out there, which can become confusing sometimes (especially when it seems like the author was sitting around with a thesaurus throughout the writing process, trying to sound smarter)... I just love her! Now, moving on.

Cottage Witchery is one that I picked up ages ago and kept putting off reading it. I wanted to wait until we were done with my daughter's room, getting new furniture for the rest of the house, etc., so there was a little more order instead of chaos, that way, I could actually put some of her ideas to use. Well, we're still not 100% finished, but we were close enough for me to feel comfortable reading this book, and boy am I glad I did! Less than 20 pages in, I was cleaning and organizing like a mad woman lol. Something about her books is very motivating for me.

Ellen's book are never fussy with lots of props for spells, expensive tools, etc., and this was no exception. She talks a lot about making the most out of what you have on hand (inside your home and out), or could easily obtain. I loved the section on container gardening because we don't have much yard to work with, and I'm no gardening expert (Ellen is also a master gardener). She talks about various plants and their magickal properties (including herbs, flowers and trees), magick in the kitchen (herbs, fruits, etc.), utilizing things you probably already have for magickal purposes (jars, ribbon, other craft items), and so much more.

Briefly, I'll go over the chapters:
Chapter 1 is an introduction and discusses things like the heart of your home, blessings, decorating your home magickally, warding, etc. It basically continues to set the theme for the book, after the introduction.

Chapter 2 is about incorporating natural magick into your home. She talks about decorating your home with natural objects, color magick, elements and astrology and how they relate to color magick, Feng Shui, altars, etc.

Chapter 3 is about Kitchen Witchery. She goes over spices and their magickal properties, using tealight candles, reading tea leaves, kitchen folklore, etc. This chapter also includes a worksheet for planning out kitchen magick.

Chapter 4 is about Deities, faeries, etc. that are associated with hearth and home. Pretty self-explanatory. She also talks about the days of the week and magickal influences.

Chapter 5 is about seasonal decorating. She goes over plants and the like associated with the seasons, some folklore relating to them, etc.

Chapter 6 i about "outdoor rooms" and houseplants.  She talks about making your porch/deck/patio a more magickal place. She also discusses container gardening and houseplants, and basically gives a brief introduction to caring for them.

Chapter 7 is about protecting your home. She gives a spell that corresponds to each element (I'm going to try the dream catcher air spell after I tweak it). In this chapter she also talks about protective plants and the like.

Chapter 8  is about prosperity. This is a great chapter with a lot of good ideas for inspiring yourself and giving your goals a magickal boost, including a brief selection of plants useful for prosperity, a spell for buying a home, and selling a home. This chapter also includes a worksheet for planning natural magick.

Chapter 9 is about happiness and harmony. There are some spells for restoring harmony and the like, as well as sections about house cats and dogs and magick.

At the end of the book there's a "household journal," which includes quotes, simple charms/spells, and places for you to write in.

If your Witchery tends to be more on the natural, no fuss side, I highly recommend this book. Even if you're experienced with these things, it's been my experience that reading a new book on the subject might still give you new ideas or give you a fresh perspective.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: The Way of the Hedge Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

This was my first book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, to the best of my knowledge. While I didn't hate the book, I didn't love it, either. I think the title is misleading, but that might be a misconception on my part. From what I know of hedge witchery, though, this book doesn't really fit under that category. I don't even think the term was used more than a couple of times in the whole book, if at all.

Instead, Arin describes what she calls "hearth craft," which is (in my opinion) something like a cross between cottage witchery and something I'm not familiar with ("hearth craft" I suppose), with a hint of kitchen and green witchery thrown in.

This book places emphasis on the home being a sacred place innately, and how everything we do is spiritual. She talks about setting up a shrine/altar in the heart of the home to serve as the spiritual hearth, and drawing upon that energy for spell work and rituals. The rituals are very informal and simple (which I like, as that's how most of my rituals go), and she encourages looking to things you already have or can easily obtain for spells and rituals, as well as things for the altar.

What really made me not like this book is the way she kept repeating the same things over, and over, and over, and over again throughout the book. It was never anything huge, it was just the same general idea (about what "hearth craft" is and the like) being rephrased and repeated many times, usually at least once per chapter.

There are some ideas for rituals (things like home blessings and the like), crafts, recipes, etc., which I liked for the most part. All in all I wouldn't recommend buying this book, but if you can read it for free, I think it's alright. I have Amazon Prime, so I borrowed it on my Kindle for free. I almost bought it for myself before finding it in the Kindle library, because I got it for my friend last year for Yule and she seemed to really like it. Now, even though I could have gotten it really cheap, I'm glad I didn't spend the money on it because it isn't a book I would refer back to in the future, except possibly for recipes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reincarnation

I have finally managed, I believe, the put my beliefs about reincarnation into words. I've tried before, and it was close, but I could never quite get out exactly what I believed. There were still lingering questions and the like attached to those attempts to describe my beliefs. With that said, this is the gist of what I believe about reincarnation, souls, etc.

Everything is made of energy, from to plants to rocks to animals to people. Energy never goes away, but it can be transformed. I believe that everything in the known and unknown universe is made of energy, with some things carrying more than others (ex. a rat would have more of this energy than an ant.)

Everything, living and inanimate, are like tiny pieces of the Universal energy. Their separate components also have bits of this energy (think of the composition of minerals present in stones: each component has it's own energy, then those components together create the overall energy of the stone.) 

 The soul is also energy, but more specifically it is the energy that animates things and gives them personalities. This part of the energy is shaped by the person or thing it inhabits, and traces of that person/thing remain after the soul leaves the body. More on this later when I talk about past-lives.

When something dies, it goes back to the earth and the energy that gave it life is reunited with the Universal energy. The soil takes in the physical and the energy from decomposition can yield new life, richer soil, etc. Think about the Lion King and the "circle of life." The body decays, which lets new things grow and then be consumed by something that will in turn die, decay, be consumed, etc.

See, this energy does not disappear, it is transformed. It begins as something living, dies and decays, something grows where it decayed, something else consumes the plant and is nourished by it, and the cycle continues.

To explain how the world has more people now than ever before, while still believing in reincarnation, think about how species become extinct, and so forth. Their energy doesn't disappear. So the energy of dinosaurs, as an example, would still exist, it just transformed, became embodied by something else.

As for past lives, as I said before, the imprint of a person lingers in the bit of Universal energy they were made up of. When the energies of the deceased transfer into someone else, because it's all the same energy in different forms, it's possible, in my opinion, for someone to remember pieces of the past.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hold Your Fire!

*Covers face protectively*
...

So, I've been MIA for freaking ever, right? I know, I know, I suck lol. But, before you open fire, hear me out!

First of all, I'm currently right in the middle of that big transformational thing that I could feel coming for the past year or so (I don't know if I ever blogged about that, but I think I mentioned it on YouTube). Let's just say that I have been ass deep in shadow work and I think the reasons I've needed Hekate's presence in my life are being revealed, layer by layer. Once this particular "episode" (for lack of a better word) is over, or at least closer to being over, I'll fill you in on everything. For now, just let me say that there are HUGE changes occurring in my everyday and spiritual life and my eyes have been opened to so much that I never knew existed, feared, or repressed.

Second, when it rains, it pours. I swear... First, my husband has car trouble. Then I have car trouble. Then our sink basically exploded (a pipe) and flooded about a third of our home, which took days to fix and nearly a week to figure out all the damages and get everything dried, etc. We've been totally rearranging our place, putting things in storage, sorting through junk, basically spring cleaning that should be classified as an Olympic sport. Then we started having electrical issues, and I'm having car trouble again. Those are just the highlights, there have been tons of other minor issues, but jeez it's been a crazy month.

I'm also basically getting "back to basics" with my path. I'm pretty much sweeping everything I know to one side and looking at things from a new perspective. If you have known about my...knack...for attracting the paranormal, as well as my childhood and teenage "gift" of seeing and hearing spirits, you may know that that is one thing I've seriously suppressed. For whatever reason, when I was about 15 I shoved it aside and refused to deal with it. I was sick of being a "freak" (in an area of my life that I couldn't really control, that is) and for some reason it started to scare me. Maybe it was my hyper religious family, maybe it was friends discouraging me, who knows? That's something I'm dealing with now. I've been feeling for a long time now (about 3 years) that my ability to communicate with the deceased was going to play an important role in my life, I just didn't (and don't) know how. So, I'm working on my "shadow" and getting to the bottom of things like that (as well as other issues I have).

Back to the "back to basics" thing... I'm basically going to do a personalized "year and a day" type program of study, but I'm thinking it's going to go from midsummer to Samhain, roughly. I'll be delving into a few subjects I either want to learn about, or want to learn more about, as well  as reconnecting with my spiritual side. Spiritually, I've been very "stuck" lately. I haven't been making time to connect with nature and my spirituality in general, and it's really weighing on me now.

So, if anyone else is feeling a bit stagnant lately and wants to join me, let me know! We don't have to study the same things, but we could sort of act as "spiritual buddies" and check in, share what we're learning, suggest books, etc.

Ok, you're up to date on why I've been MIA! I wanted to check in and let you all know that I'm not disappearing for good, I'm just in the middle of something right now, but I'll try to start posting more again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Crystals from WitchOnTheRocks pt.1

So these are just a few of the stones and crystals I've gotten from her. I'm still in the process of getting pictures of everything. Check out her store: http://www.witchontherocks.com/
Her YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/WitchontheRocks
And her blog, http://hearsetoheaven.blogspot.com/

Uruguayan Amethyst, my prized piece (I wish this showed up better, it's absolutely stunning!):





Rough Amazonite:


Rough Moonstone:


Rough Tiger's Eye:


Big hunk of Lapis Lazuli (my husband's):



Blue Celestite, I believe:


Rough Crazy Lace Agate (ignore the bed and toys in the background lol, that was the place with the best lighting):






Large piece of rough Blue Apatite (I'm going to post more of this later because it's gorgeous!):



Two of my tumbled Sunstones:


Tumbled Lepidolite (trying to get better pictures of these):

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ostara

I rarely actually celebrate a Sabbat, and today is no different.  I actually had intentions of letting my daughter do some Ostara themed crafts with me (she's way too young to do them alone), but I really lost track of time. It's been a busy week for my family, and because I'm not really a Spring/Summer person and this winter has been more Spring-like than Winter-like, I'm not really in the "Celebrate Ostara!" mood.

Ostara was the first Sabbat I ever celebrated on my own, 3 years ago. Well, not on my own really, since my husband was there. It was a nice, crisp and cool day and that evening we walked to the park and then just enjoyed the breeze, the returning ducks and other critters, the budding leaves, etc. It was nice.

Though I've held Pagan beliefs as far back as I can remember, after the passing of my grandfather I went through a rough patch. I was 18, newly married and pregnant, and all around spiritually confused (because of my past with my family, in a Christian home and my newfound freedom as a legal adult) and miserable. I basically went through an "atheist phase" where I couldn't believe there was a higher power because of how badly he suffered at the end. I hate saying "atheist phase" because I know that, like Paganism and being Goth, Atheism isn't really a phase, but I can't think of any other way to put that.

Basically, I was finally free to quietly practice whatever religion I wanted, and it was a beautiful Ostara day. The next year, and since then, the winters grew milder and spring became an early summer and I grew to sort of hate this time of year. I hate the heat, once temperatures go over 60-65 (and today it's supposed to be 80, which 5 years ago was nearly unheard of here in March), and I lost any warm and fuzzy feelings I had once held about Ostara.

I say once again that I am not Wiccan. I am very Eclectic and I celebrate what feels right to me to celebrate. I do celebrate Samhain, usually Yule, and a couple other Sabbats throughout any given year, but I celebrate other "special days" as well.

So if you're ever wondering why I don't do a big, elaborate post for the Sabbats, that's why. If I don't feel strongly enough about one to celebrate it, I'm not going to do a blog telling about it, how I celebrate it, etc.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stones & Crystals 1: Amethyst for Healing and Well-Being

I'm going to try to do an ongoing series about stones and crystals, my experiences, recommendations, etc. I am not an expert at all on this subject, I am very much a novice still, so bear with me. There are, however, some stones that I have much more experience with and those are the ones I'll be talking about first (stones that I think everyone interested should acquire first).

I have no idea why, but for about two years now amethyst has been my favorite stone to work with. It's so useful and versatile, I think everyone should have at least a couple of pieces.

Amethyst can be used for depression, headaches, general well-being, insomnia, nightmares, calming, stress and anxiety relief, heightening intuition and other metaphysical abilities, and much more.

It's almost like clear quartz, in my opinion, in how useful it can be. Clear quartz is like the white candle of the crystal realm- you can use it for pretty much anything. Amethyst, at least for me, is a close second.

If you have tumbled amethyst, you can use it in many different ways. You can take a crystal bath, place it on your body, carry it with you, etc. I personally always keep at least one piece of tumbled amethyst on my bedside table. I've had nightmares for years, and I'm an insomniac, and I'm bipolar, AND I'm prone to debilitating migraines. I've found amethyst to be very helpful for all of these things, and more.

When you have a headache, you can hold a piece of amethyst to the points where the pain is worst. I had a headache last week that lasted for about 3 days. On the final day, I went to bed and broke  out my amethyst as a last ditch effort. Within 10 minutes of alternating where I held the amethyst, the headache was almost completely gone  and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I'd slept well and the headache was gone.

When I'm battling a period of depression, I keep amethyst on me at all times. I'll hold a piece at night while falling asleep, keep a piece in my pocket  throughout the day, bathe with it, etc., and I think I can thank amethyst (at least in part) for finally breaking away from cutting and suicidal thoughts.

I like to carry some around with me in general because it helps keep me calm during times that may prove stressful (family gatherings, trips to the mall because I'm empathic and it can be overwhelming, trips to the doctor when something may be really wrong, etc.), and now that I have  a bunch I'm going to keep a piece in my car and purse.

I also typically keep amethyst (and a couple other stones) handy while I'm working with the tarot. I usually meditate for a while with the stones, after programing them for working with a divination tool, and then proceed with readings.

Overall, if you're starting a collection of crystals/stones, amethyst is definitely one of the first I would recommend acquiring because of how useful it is.

Let Me Clear Some Things Up

First of all, I am *NOT* Wiccan. I am a Witch and I consider myself a Pagan. NOT a Wiccan.

Second, if I give out a description of how I do things, or make a suggestion, etc., you do not have to agree with it or take my advice, etc. If I recommend a book, or say that I do something a certain way, and suggest trying it, that does not mean YOU have to try it. No book, blog, YouTube channel, etc., is going to give you all the information you will ever need or instantly make you a Witch. Yes, they can be helpful and I recommend reading/watching everything you possibly can to help you figure out what feels right to you, but that doesn't mean that after reading a book and watching a couple of YouTube videos you instantly know how to do everything.

When I talk about "winging it" with rituals and the like, that doesn't mean you have to. I have been doing this for a while (not decades, but I have been a student of sorts for over 10 years, at least in this life) and I have come to a point where I know what works best for me and what feels natural, etc.

Pretty much everything I do is very simple. Think Cottage/Kitchen Witchery. I'm not into big, elaborate rituals and ceremonies. It doesn't feel natural to me and I can not focus properly to accomplish anything in such a setting.

If you're wondering where this is coming from, there seems to be a troll on YouTube who keeps going around to tons of Pagan/Witchy themed channels, watching a video or two and leaving rude comments about how the owner of the channel is not doing things right and other such nonsense because they aren't practicing the same thing the troll is (or claims to be). I saw this particular troll's comments on a few more well known channels and it really shocked me to find a comment on mine, since I'm a nobody on there, but I was targeted as well. I replied to a comment left by this troll before I put two and two together and figured out it was the same person I'd seen hateful comments for in the past on other channels. So, I felt the need to clarify a few things.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hiding Who You Are Will Not Make You Happy

This is something I've struggled with for most of my life: Trying to be what/who everyone else wants me to be, instead of just accepting myself and moving on with life and actually ENJOYING it.

First, I tried to squash out my Pagan, Witchy ways to conform to my family's ideas of what a person should be (Christian). That obviously didn't work out, which I realized shortly after high school. However, they still do not know (at least not for sure, even if they do suspect) that I'm not a Christian. I intend to keep them in the dark, at least until I'm much older. Where I live, grandparents have rights to grandchildren (at least under certain circumstances, it's hard to explain simply and quickly), and I've seen first hand how ugly it can get when a grandparent isn't happy with the parent's way of parenting. That is not something I want to go through, nor could we afford to go through it. It's a long and complicated story, so I'll move on.

In high school, I knew what "Goth" really was. I found out sometime around the age of 11 or 12 because I'd heard about it, became interested (since what I had heard seemed to describe me and my personal interests and the like), and did my research. I found that I adored the fashion aspect, loved a lot of the music, and seemed to have the mindset. I had found the thing that best described me in a single word.

But, I attended a high school full of judgmental idiots who took everything Hollywood said in movies as gospel (more on this in a moment).

I'm bipolar, that became apparent when I was about 10 or 11, and because of various things I turned to self-harm. So Goth, right? WRONG! Now not too many people knew about the self-harm thing. In fact, I don't think anyone knew until high school. I also wrote (and still write) poetry. I started writing when I was 4 or 5 (things of my own, that is) and continued. The things I wrote about almost always had a dark aspect to them.

Add the writing dark stories and poetry to wearing all black, and bingo we have a Goth! At least according to the idiots at my school. But they also associated the depression, and other random less than happy things with being Goth. So, my instinct was to protect the name of the subculture and deny it applied to me...vehemently.

Sure, I tried educating the idiots (no, I do not feel bad at all calling these people idiots because they were, and most still are), explaining what "Goth" was as well as the historical aspects of "Gothic" (architecture and the like). It did no good. I spent most of 7th-11th grade being bullied, teased, etc. until people became afraid of me. They weren't afraid of me because I was violent, but I wouldn't take crap from them. Each year there were fewer and fewer people who dared try to start a fight with me or bully me because I wasn't afraid to call them out on how stupid they were being and the fact that I was twice their size (I was a size 3/5 at the time and about 110lb and 5'3" so you can imagine how tiny some of the girls were). As for the guys who were twice my size, well, one dispute with the largest football player in school was enough to silence them after they saw I didn't back down.

Sure, I took the crap a lot of the time and just ignored them, but when it's the same people every day, eventually it gets old. I was more likely to immediately jump to a friend's defense than my own, though, so they learned quicker to leave my friends the hell alone, at least when I was anywhere around.

By 11th grade, the year I left my public school so I could graduate early, most people just left me alone and some were even nice to me. But, by the time I started going through some of the same crap in college and my family was still pressuring me to be "normal," I was starting to give in to dressing more "normal."

I still got all "Gothed up," but not like I used to. Those were the days I was happiest and felt most like myself...and it showed to those around me. But, when I was about 20 I almost completely stopped the "Goth thing," and my depression, and other negative emotions, came out full force. I lived for about 2 years pretending every day to be someone I'm not and it wore me down a lot. A while back, I gave up on that and decided that I was a freaking adult and it was time to stop pretending for good because if I tried to please everyone else, I would never be happy. So, here I am in all my "Gothiness." The first day I was totally back to normal, my husband actually told me he had missed my "Gothiness," but hadn't realized what it was he was missing until it came back. I was happier, all around. Our home is no longer full of building negative energy and there's peace, for the most part.

The point of this horribly long post is that you shouldn't hide who you are to please other people because you will not be happy and it will backfire at some point. Sure, giving up the act didn't fix every problem in my life, but nothing will fix everything. It did, however, make life much more enjoyable.

On Being a Pagan Witch and Part of the Gothic Subculture

Hmm... I am by no means the picture perfect example of either. But really, who is? Everyone is different, that's part of the beauty of being human, we all have our individual tastes, interests, etc.

This has been on my mind a lot recently, but I haven't really had time to sit down and blog because of various family things, but hopefully that's changing now and I'll be back to blogging at least a couple times a week. With that said, I'm going to jump right in to this and my thoughts, sorry if I ramble or don't make sense, but feel free to ask questions or comment on something and I'll try to clarify anything that didn't make sense.

First of all, I do not know any other Goths in "real life." I also do not know any other Pagans or Witches in "real life." Well, that's not entirely true, but I live about 350 miles from the one that  I do know and I haven't seen her in about 7 years. We do talk from time to time, though. So, most of my contact with other Goths and Pagans/Witches is online.

As for the Goths I know online, I haven't had a single one tell me I'm less of a Goth because of my religion. Within the Gothic sub-culture, there is no established religion, so why should they, really? However, I have encountered other Pagans and Witches who have told me I'm less of a  Pagan or Witch because I'm a Goth. Perhaps this is because they've only had personal encounters with "pretend Goths..." The type of people who dress in all black, do seriously weird makeup, walk around blaring Marilyn Manson, and try to scare people, etc.

Ok, that is not Goth. Trying to scare people and act like you're the biggest badass on the planet is not Goth. Usually  those people are younger, teens, who think they know what being Goth is all about, but they really don't.Those are the people who give Goths a bad reputation and make people believe we're all like that and we're evil, blah blah blah. NO!

There are also those Pagans/Witches who say that "embracing the darker parts of life/finding beauty in the darker things" can not possibly be Pagans/Witches because it's all about balance. Ok, how do those two things NOT go well together? Embracing the darker side of things/finding the beauty in them does not mean you're focusing solely on them! It just means that you see the benefit of BOTH the lighter side and the darker side. In my opinion, that fits in pretty well with Pagan beliefs as well as with Witchcraft.

People seem to get hung up on absolute basic descriptions about things, and instead of learning more, they immediately shun them. Isn't that what a lot of people do when they hear about Witches, Pagans, etc.? And don't Witches/Pagans complain about people being close minded and not taking the time to learn about things before judging them based on what Hollywood and the like have said? So why in the world do they (Pagans/Witches) do the same thing? Because it's human nature.

I think I'm going to stop this blog now because it's getting long, but I will definitely be posting more on this subject later. Possible series? We'll see.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Am Dork, Hear Me Meow

I've been thinking about my BOS a lot lately, especially the ways I can customize it (such as doodles, borders, lettering, etc.). While thinking about this earlier today, after looking at some scrap booked pages in other people's BOS online, a very strange idea struck me. Now before I tell you about this, lets get a few things straight lol. First of all, I have NO IDEA where the heck I would use this in my BOS lol. Probably on a page dealing with children related topics, or maybe as part of a page about transitioning from a little girl to a little woman/first menses... I have no idea. Second, I am not a girly person. I like makeup and nail art, and that's about it. I want to be a makeup artist at some point (probably as a side job while I work as an aesthetician), always have, so I think obsessing over makeup kind of comes along with that goal. So, that out of the way, this is the idea that struck me:

My Hello Kitty stickers... Go ahead, laugh. I really am considering a Hello Kitty themed page in my BOS. These are those "nicer" stickers that are layered, know what I mean? Since I had that idea, I've had some ideas for a journal so maybe I'll just use it for a journal page, but it definitely got my creative juices flowing, that's for sure. My initial reaction to that thought was, "What the HELL are you THINKING?!" and then I responded to myself with, "Well, it's a new idea, isn't it?" And so it continued until I reached the, "Hmm, well, I can see your point...maybe...I'll think about it," point.

So there's at least one of my insanely random thoughts of the day lol. Blessed Be, guys )O(

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Gods, Oh My!

This is another blog from while I was MIA.

Lions and Tigers and Gods, Oh My!

I have no idea why this particular...quirk... I observed in a “Wiccan” I met about two years ago has been bothering me so much lately, but I can't get it out of my head once again. First of all, let me state that I live in the middle of nowhere. Actually, if you get to The Middle of Nowhere and take a left towards Hell, you'll find me somewhere in that barren wasteland. Ok, ok, maybe it isn't THAT bad, but if you've seen Wrong Turn, Deliverance, etc., you have a great idea of the area I'm imprisoned in (just add a Walmart in a nearby town). So anyway, being a Pagan and pracitcing Witch in a Bible thumping area in the backwoods isn't exactly easy. You have to keep it to yourself because there ARE still people here who would LOVE a good Witch BBQ with the family to make sure that their children aren't contaminated by Satan's mistresses or something. I am not joking about that, it really isn't safe to declare a religion besides Christianity around here. Atheists don't take as much grief as they used to, but it's still no walk in the park. So imagine my joy when I discovered someone I worked with was a Wiccan!

Now I'm the first to correct someone when they lump me amongst the Wiccans, because I am NOT a Wiccan nor have I claimed to be for quite some time now (yes, for a while I did for lack of a more fitting description of my beliefs, but I've changed a LOT since then). Still, meeting another Pagan was the highlight of my week at the time. She informed me that she was studying with an older man who had been raised Wiccan by his mother or grandmother. After talking to him about me, then talking to me some about him, she had him call me while she was visiting him one evening and apparently I just blew his mind by how well I read him over the phone (just general stuff about his personality and life, it was only a 5 minute conversation after all), so he wanted to meet me. Yay! Right?

I drove to his house later that evening, by which point my friend had left. But, several people knew where I was going and how long I should be gone, etc., so I wasn't concerned about being alone with this guy. I get there and he starts blabbing and trying to make me feel more comfortable (apparently I was nervous and didn't realize I was giving off tense vibes). I listened to him go on and on about energy and all kinds of other things and it wasn't a complete waste of time. I shocked him some more with the way I handled energy in my “untrained state,” etc. Whatever. But then he went a little too far. Apparently he ended up mistaking my disbelief for ignorance or stupidity when he made the blanket statement that “Pagan” meant “country dweller/peasant” (well, shit man, look around you! If this ain't country and the land of the peasants, I don't know what is in the modern day US!), couldn't possibly have evolved over the past few centuries, and that to be what I considered “Pagan” (Wiccans, Druids, etc.), one MUST be a Wiccan. Anything else was bullshit, fake, etc. Now that wasn't his exact wording, but that was basically what he said, summed up.

I was dumbstruck. I had encountered people online who disliked the term “Pagan” because of it's original meaning, but they never went so far as to tell people that Wicca (or whatever they practiced) was the only real term to cover so many different groups of people. That's like saying that you can't use the term “White” or “Caucasian” to describe all white people, they are ALL Irish. Yeah, right.

So, after my lesson in how he obviously knows me better than myself, he showed my something from a former spell. A spell he concocted to try to bring about the death of someone if they didn't uphold their end of some deal, or some such bull shit. Ok, so you're “Wiccan,” but it's ok for you to kill someone if you don't get your way (by using your super powerful, awesome spell created by you, the super powerful ruler of all of Wicca) and you know absolutely nothing about Gerald Gardner, or anyone else who helped shape history, except Crowley. Hmm... Right... Anyway, on this page for the spell, there were names of several Deities. He asked if I recognized any of the twelve (I think it was twelve) and I started naming the ten that I definitely knew something about. He stopped me after Hekate with a look of horror, then explained (as you would to a two year old reaching for a hot stove top) that you can't EVER say a Deity's name aloud except during ritual.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to conjure up something you don't want to (like bad energy), but I really don't think we're so significant in the grand scheme of things to have the power to instantly call a Deity into our presence by simply saying their name. If that were the case, the world would be drastically different. I don't believe it's necessary to throw yourself on your face and grovel to a Deity for them to take notice of you, but just saying a name instantly makes them appear to smite you? Eh, I don't see it. I mean, if you're focusing on calling their energy to you for some purpose, sure. But just saying it? I don't buy it. If that were the case, I'd probably have been killed long ago.

Let this be a warning for those of you who have yet to encounter your own crazy local “Pagan.” Just because you stand in a garage, you are not a car. Likewise, just because someone calls himself/herself a Pagan or Witch, doesn't make them so.

Randomness from My Absence

I'm not sure what's been going on with me lately. Maybe it has something to do with the HPV and possible cancer scare and all that, maybe it's just my spiritual development, but I've been changing a lot over the past few months. By the way, just to update:
I had a colposcopy and they did find a spot on my cervix. A biopsy was taken and I just got the results back, and I'm fine.

Anyway...

I started feeling like something was changing a few months ago. Maybe October, maybe earlier. It really hit me in the face when I was in a shop in the nearest mall with my BFF. We were sort of shopping, but mostly I was lusting after all the nifty stuff I couldn't buy lol. I like that store. It's the closest thing to an “open minded” atmosphere anywhere around here. A few Green Man things distracted me and I found myself drifting towards them for a closer look. It was like a magnetic pull and I couldn't even turn my eyes away. Something about that moment and seeing an image of the God caused a voice in my head or spirit or something to, not so much hear but sense the idea that the male aspects of Deity are going to be making a reappearance in my life soon. I haven't intentionally excluded the male aspect from my life, I've tried several times to find a connection, it just wasn't there. I think that's normal for people. Sometimes you need the Goddess more, sometimes you need the God more. So, instead of being frustrated I decided to bide my time and see what happened.

With our lack of internet over the past few weeks, I've submerged myself in books once more. In 2011 I read around 80, give or take a few. This year, I've already put away 11 (not a record or anything, but last year I hadn't read 10 by April lol) and something about some of what I've been reading has been nudging some concept in my subconscious (like Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete). Even my tastes in food is changing. This is so frustrating trying to pin down exactly what's going on and even more so to try to explain it. It's like you're driving down the road and you know your turn is coming up soon, but you don't know which side of the road it's on or how far away it is, you just know it's there ahead, somewhere. Maybe you don't even have any idea why you're going there, or what your destination is, or what you'll find when you arrive. But once you do, you know you'll understand everything that's been eluding you on this particular road, if that makes sense.

I had a “cosmic frying pan to the head” moment twice this past week. The first concerned the “entity” that was here when we moved in and an event that occurred something like 3 years ago. I won't go into details, it isn't that fascinating. The second involved the three-way crossroads. Hekate's Crossroads, if you know what I'm talking about. I hadn't put much thought into the symbolism of that until that moment, probably because I had no idea what the hell a three-way crossroads was until I looked it up on my phone. I should have known what it was, but I just didn't think about it too much. When I saw an image, it hit me. A weird mash up of thoughts of my own and Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken suddenly exploded in my head and I realized that it might refer to when our life reaches a crossroads where there are three options. Stay put and die, or choose a road.

Now these roads may not be like Mr. Frost's, with one being more traveled and the other not traveled as often, and therefore more difficult, but they will more than likely lead you in different directions. The end result might be the same, but the journeys will not be.

I have no idea why that struck me like it did, or why it happened then, and I couldn't even begin to write about all my thoughts concerning the matter. To most people, it was probably something obvious and I'm probably an idiot for not thinking more about it. Anyway, I'm just in a blogging mood tonight.

I think my tarot cards are going to attack me again soon if I don't pull them out. Usually at the beginning of the year I do a life spread, but this year I couldn't even force myself to do it. I knew that my results would be off because of the stress I was under, so I put it off. I decided to do it after my colposcopy, but that got pushed to the end of this month, and then they found the spot. Even though I'm not worried about it very much, it just doesn't seem right to do a reading like that at this time. I swear I can almost feel my cards screaming obscenities at me each time I pass them, and I'm sure our reunion will be tear filled and poetic, but for now they are staying put until my head is clear enough to not skew my reading and see nothing but bad omens in every image.

Until next time lovies, hoping your lives are filled with awesomeness and joy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm back!

Hey everyone! I'm so sorry for the sudden disappearance in November! Sheesh it's been too long. I'm so thankful for those of you who have stuck around, though, and for any new subscribers. I had some blogs typed up on my computer during my absence, but I'm not sure what I will and will not post. I've been changing (in a good way, I think) over the past few months (since before the internet fiasco), so my blog may slowly reflect that, who knows?

I suppose I should explain what happened lol.

We had internet through our last ISP for about a year. When we got it, our rate was just under $30/month. Well, in November our bill doubled with no warning and no explanation. That was just their new rate that they put out. I thought it might just be us, but no. A TON of people who have/had cable and/or internet through their company have been complaining because their rates suddenly doubled and sometimes even tripled with no warning or explanation given. Needless to say, they're losing business now. But, we finally found a new ISP with comparable speed, better customer service, and faster uploads (which comes in really handy for me with my YouTube channel) for just a little more than we were paying for our old ISP in the beginning. And no, this wasn't a case of "introductory rates" or anything like that, we checked our original contract and when we got them, my husband read ALL the fine print and asked questions about it. It wasn't an introductory rate. There are some people around here who have had cable through that company for years and are now paying for the absolute most basic package, what they were paying a year or so ago for the biggest package. It's ridiculous and I'm surprised no one has sued yet.

Anyway, I'm back and I wanted to thank you guys for sticking around and let you know that I missed you all!