Spell a Day – Feb 28th 2016

Time to take stock of where we are so far this year my Gentle Readers. We are 2 months in, one-sixth of the year is over. How is everyone doing on their goals for the year?

Here was my list I made:
1 – I want to finish the rewrite/editing of my first book so that the improved second edition can be released. – The second edition is at my editor friend getting looked over, hoping for a spring release.
2 – I want to self pub my novella (still in the editing phase). – I have the edits back, just haven’t worked through them all yet.
3 – I want to finish, edit, and self pub my the second book in my Family Heritage series this year. – Waiting on feedback to the extended ending of book 1 so I can flow it right into book 2.
4 – I would like to make some major progress on my high fantasy (think Tolkien) series. I have the skeleton of a realm, deities, antagonists/protagonists. Just have to finish plotting and then get to work fleshing out the stories. I haven’t quite figured out if it will be a series of short stories/novellas, or if each set of characters will end up in their own full blown novel. Since they will also overlap I have to make sure my outlines are complete for consistency. – Tabled this one for now.
5 – I plan to get myself down in weight before summer. I have at least the 20-30 to lose that I want to, so from there I will evaluate what I still can lose healthily. – Still holding steady where I was at the beginning of the year. At least I haven’t gained back any of the 30lbs I lost last year.
6 – I want to blog at least once a week, if not more often. I will be looking for topics to discuss. As part of this I want to do at least 2 book reviews a month. I need to get a submission page setup for anyone interested in having me review their work. – So far this is going well. I am averaging at least 1 book a week and my Spell a Day posts seem to have gathered some avid readers. I hope everyone is enjoying them.
7 – It would be nice to put together a book of poetry as well. I have a notebook almost full and a thumb drive with a few dozen from when I was younger. Just not sure if I have enough that would be of interest to others. The ones I have blogged here have received favorable reviews so perhaps there is potential in others as well. – This is buried under the other writing projects.
8 – I want to bring down and gain a better handle on my temper. I am not a homicidal maniac, but there are times where a cooler head would be a better face to present. I have noticed my son picking up some of my habits and I hope that if I can break my cycle, I can help him to not struggle like I have. – Things seem to be going well in this category. No blow-ups. 

A few other updates, my home office is done and so is the nursery. We are all ready for the new baby to arrive in April. I am excited and scared all at the same time. That’s all for now my Gentle Readers. Take stock of where you are and keep striving for those goals.

 

Spell a Day – Feb 13th 2016

Today’s topic is special in and of itself, but also because tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is also my grandmother’s birthday. She would be turning 86 if she were still alive. Not a day goes by that I do not miss her and wonder what she would say about how my life has changed in the last few years since she left us here for the next great adventure.

Parentalia is an ancient Roman tradition where one honors their ancestors in some way. Many would visit the graves, bringing flowers and wine, to commune with their forefathers(and mothers) in a meaningful way. I think this is a lovely tradition. Since my grandmother passed I have tried to spend some time on her birthday to remember the lessons she taught me on the road to becoming who I am today. She was always filled with compassion and forgiveness for others, even when better judgement said the person felt no remorse for their actions. She always tried to see the good in people, especially her children and grandchildren. The world is a darker place for her departure.

I have shared this before but this is a poem I wrote when she was alive and we used to play cards in the morning when I got off from my third shift job.

Spending Time with My Grandma

There are mornings where I have a new pastime.
It involves a visit with my aging grandma.
We sit and talk and play a few hands of cards.
While I talk to her about my work and day,
she listens intently, always with a few kind words,
or a bit of advice to help me on my way.

Staying with my mom, she is right on the way
home from work. This new fun pastime
of mine is sometimes hard to put into words
what it truly means to me. When I visit grandma
she always tells me she misses me every day,
and is quick to bring out the deck of cards.

Her shaking, aged hands shuffle the cards,
everything on the table cleared out of the way.
With school and work I can only visit every few days,
but nothing can take away the joy of my pastime.
The time is precious that I spend with grandma,
and the hours spent is more important than any words.

We pass the time in laughs and exchanging of words,
shuffling, dealing, shuffling, and dealing the cards.
“I am going to beat you this time,” says my grandma,
getting three aces and clearing the cards out of the way.
I think she has as much fun as I do with our pastime.
With excitement I wait for the visits on those days.

When it is time for me to leave at the end of those days,
a sadness creeps into my heart. We put into brief words
the happiness and comfort that comes with our pastime.
The table has been reset, the scorecard and the cards
have been put in the drawer and out of the way.
With a hug I leave, saying, “I love you grandma.”

The time with my grandma on those special days,
will always outweigh the advice or the words,
or the little deck of cards of our favorite pastime.

Spend time with those loved ones that are getting on in age Gentle Readers. I would give up anything to play one more hand of cards with my grandmother.

Spell a Day – Feb 10th 2016

Ash Wednesday, not a particularly important day unless you are part of the Christian faith. While I may not be in the realm of “practicing” anything these days, I still respect their traditions, as long as someone doesn’t try to cram them down my throat.

For today however, we are going to talk about reconnecting with nature. Even when I would have classified myself as a Christian (Methodist to be exact) I always felt this awe inspiring power in nature. As a kid I would go fishing with my cousin. We never caught much in the ponds near our house but it was still fun. As I grew older I became more of an inside person. I blame technology and too many books, along with the Carolina heat in the summer.

Shortly after moving to Wisconsin I enrolled in a university with the intention of becoming a high school English and Theater teacher. Yeah, I wanted to be that teacher. The one that assigns the 2000 word creative writing exercises then covers the grammar and spelling mistakes with red ink and an encouraging word to just “Keep writing, the rest is all in the editing.”

During one of my assignments in Creative Writing 101, we were tasked with finding a quiet spot in nature to reflect. In the midst of a snowy winter, I went deep down the cross country skiing/hiking trails on campus and found a relatively clean downed tree to sit upon. I was far enough away from any roads to forget I was even in the city. No cars could reach me where I was. I sat on this log and breathed the crisp air until my fingers and toes went numb. It was glorious.

I highly recommend finding a special place to do this same exercise and write down your impressions and feelings from the experience. Just dress warmly if you are doing this in a snow covered forest like I did.

Take care my Gentle Readers. Until next time.

Spell a Day – Feb 2nd 2016

Imbolc, Groundhog day, The Feast of St. Brigid. That is right Gentle Readers, we are halfway though winter. While many of us in the US will be waiting for that little rodent to pop out of his home, I will be wishing for a more traditional Irish celebration. St. Brigid, the Matron saint of Ireland, shares her name and her feastday with the Celtic goddess of Inspiration. There are traditions of feasting and gift giving to ring in the coming spring. As the plow is also associated with this time of year, I read about a tradition where children decorate the plow and take it from house to house demanding sweets. The homes that failed to buy off these young people may find fresh furrows in their front lawns. I doubt we would get away with this today unless you really knew the neighbors. Or they wanted to plant a vegetable garden there.

The awakening of spring as it begins to win the war against the cold harshness of winter leading up to the spring equinox (at least for us in the northern hemisphere) is a cause for celebration and renewal. Today is the day to seek the blessings of Brigid for creativity and inspiration in your life and pursuits. Be they of the musical, artistic or literary ilk, she is especially important and this is a momentous time. Dust off those notebooks or tools of your trade and get back to your passions.

It’s also time to start that spring cleaning and purification phase of the year. Grab some sage smudge and push out the winter spirits to make room for spring. Organize that garage for the upcoming yard sale season, or to donate to charity.

A little springtime poetry. Until next time my friends.

Spring’s Awakening
Stretching to the sun
Seeking its life-giving warmth
Spring’s awakening

Pushing back the cold
Of Winter’s frozen embrace
Shaking off the ice

Relief is coming
From the bitter winds and snow
Of Winter’s harsh reign

Eyes turn to the skies
The sun peeking through the clouds
Spring’s Awakening

Spell a Day – Jan 28th 2016

moneyevil

So, I did a bit of reading and reviewing instead of keeping up with my Spell a Day my Gentle Readers, and I apologize. I hope you will check out the reviews I have posted and will be posting in the next day or so. Today’s topic regards money. Now, the Spell a Day has to do with redefining your relationship with money in order to bring abundance and prosperity. I went in a different direction with my poem this time. I hope you enjoy.

Money = Evil?
Some believe Money
Is the rot of all Evil
But why is this so?

Should we place blame
On inanimate currency
For man’s failings
And passions run amok?

Where is our moral compass
Why is it acceptable to dodge
What we responsibility we have
Because of want of money
Who thought this through?
How have we reached this point
When we can justify genocide
Because of want of money

Gold coins and jewels
Exchanged for dollars and pounds
Classic bait and switch

How does Money feel?
Being blamed for war and death
Throughout history

Spell a Day – Jan 26th 2016

Tuesday. One of my favorite days of the week Gentle Readers. This is because, unlike most people who work Monday through Friday. Tuesday is MY Friday. Depending on which week it is in my rotation, it is either a 2 day Friday (and I work the weekend beginning Friday morning) or it is a 5 Day Friday, granting me no work obligations until the following Monday. Pretty sweet deal for only giving up every other weekend.

Tuesday is also a day held to be sacred to Mars. Today’s topic focuses in on one of Mars’ traits, Courage. Courage can be shown in a lot of different ways. To some, the epitome of courage is our military service men and women. I am not going to argue that point. My little brother served two tours overseas in the early to mid 2000s. My grandfather was a marine in WWII and served in the Pacific theater. Nothing should ever be taken from the courage these people show. It is deplorable that our nation treats lazy baby factory welfare moms and illegals with anchor babies better than our military veterans. Before you get all up in arms about that last sentence, think about it a little. We have all probably met/seen those people who just like to bleed the system. I am not talking about single moms who are trying to make ends meet getting a little boost. I am talking about the ones popping kids out every few years to get a bigger check so they can keep themselves in nail appointments and fancy electronics. The freeloaders. Anyway, I digress.

Courage can also be found in small ways. Stand up for yourself and chase your dreams, no matter how big or small. It took me over a decade to try and share my writing with the world, and I am still not quite happy with it so I am going to be revising/editing again. To all the aspiring writers, poets and geeks out there, Don’t Give Up on your dream. Learn your chosen craft and show the world that you have value. Sure, there are going to be naysayers, but do you think any of the greats do not have moments of doubt? Even J.K. Rowling was rejected a couple dozen times. Now look at her. Dr. Seuss faced similar rejection. I grew up learning to read using his books. If he had given up, and not shown the courage to pursue his dreams, I don’t know what I would have learned to read while sitting with my grandfather.

Find your courage today Gentle Readers and chase your dreams. Until next time, just keep writing.

Spell a Day – Jan 25th 2016

Well, Gentle Readers, I am a little disappointed in today’s topic because it isn’t much different than yesterday’s. Apparently we are going to do things in pairs. However, today’s focus is on removing negativity using sound. I don’t know about all of you but I am addicted to my music, most of it from a previous decade, and some from before I was even born. Good music is timeless and has no age requirement to enjoy it.

My cell phone is packed with about 14 hours worth of music so that I can start it first thing in the morning and make it to work, through work, and all the way home without having to hear the same song twice. My coworkers have become accustomed to me strolling through the office with one ear bud looped in, the other hanging loose so I can grab the desk phone when needed.

Music is also a must when I am writing. I cannot count the number of times the right song has inspired something in me. It could be a difficult scene, or a poem. It helps to have my mind focused partially on the music, drowning out the distractions so I can focus on writing.

How has music helped and inspired you? Share in the comments and let’s get some discussion going. Until next time Gentle Readers.

Spell a Day – Jan 15th 2016

Today I am going to run straight to the point. My spell a day is about forgetting a bad memory. We all have regrets or experienced things we want to forget. Sometimes the mind is a blessedly intuitive device and we will have selective amnesia regarding these events. The truth is however that these events and memories shape who we are and how we see the world. One’s upbringing and experiences are who we are. While we would like to forget some things, we need to recognize the value of these mistakes and bad memories bring to our life. Now, I am not saying I hope that victims of horrible abuse or crimes should be force to relive those traumatic events. I wish with all my heart Gentle Readers that those people could find peace and solace from their mental, and sometimes physical, scars.

A memory that I wish I could forget, only if it would change the outcome, is the night I lost my grandmother. As my family prepares to welcome a new addition to our household in a few months, I cannot help but wish she was here to see the birth of her great grandchild. Her birthday is next month, she would have been 86 this year. Even though she has been gone several years now, I still shed a tear when I think about the woman that taught me so much growing up. I am ever thankful that I got to spend those last years with her, though I had to be the caregiver this time instead of her.

Somewhat related to the topic of bad memories, here is a poem.

Tears
Tormented nightly
Reliving the day again
When she was taken

So strong an sure all my life
The pain overwhelming my senses
To see her frail and weakCutting deeper than any knife
Into my soul, through my defenses
Even now my eyes leak

Tears of loss
Sadness at her passing
Tears of joy
For the years of laughing
Tears of peace
Now her pain is lacking

Wiping away tears
Shed for all the stolen years
Now just memories

 

Until next time Gentle Readers, I need to find a tissue.

Spell a Day – Jan 14th 2016

Today’s spell is about bringing prosperity into your home, and is something that we have unknowingly been doing every winter in my household. It involves taking some great smelling herbs/spices and boiling them in a pot of water on your stove. It makes your house smell great.

We have radiator heat in our older home so in the winter, it gets very dry. Because of this we often take cinnamon and apples, or orange peels, and boil them on the stove as a make shift humidifier. Unknowingly this is exactly the same thing recommended to bring some prosperity into your home. I suppose our lack of using the incantation or pouring the remnants outside instead of down the garbage disposal might account for not seeing the influx we were supposed to. I wonder if I can convince my wife that she needs to give it a little rhyme when she starts the water to simmer. Maybe it would work.

I penned a little poem about success and prosperity. Hope you enjoy.

Success
Success is the prize
Awarded for much hard work
A prosperous life

Working to perfect your craft
Whether or not it is in the arts
Even when others start to laugh
One step and your journey starts

You will stumble and fall
It’s only natural you see
But answer your heart’s call
To be who you’re meant to be

Study and work hard
To gain that which you desire
Personal success

 

Until next time Gentle Readers.

Spell a Day – Jan 11th 2016

Today’s focus would be on using a locket or some piece of jewelry for magickal work. For the uninitiated, using the ‘k’ in magickal is to differentiate this type of spellwork from illusionists or tricks done for entertainment. I just think it looks better. More mysterious. Like saying Theatre instead of Theater. That swap of the letters trips up the eye and makes the reader stop, thinking, ‘Hmm, this is important or special.’

I never did much work with talismans of this sort. I have never made a hex bag, but I do thank the Winchesters for showing me how many times.
HexbagSupernatural

Some people find them very useful in their spellwork. I was always more of a gemstone/crystal person myself. Something about the feel of stone always made me feeler closer to Mother Earth.

In the second book in my Family Traditions series, I explore the use of a talisman in the form of a family heirloom passed down to the main character from his uncle. I am hoping to have this volume edited and out in the fall. A talisman for magickal work can be just about anything as long as it has meaning to the wearer. Many people of Christian faith wear crosses or crucifixes as a show of faith. These pieces of jewelry are ‘technically’ talismans of a magickal nature because of the belief that God will intercede on the bearer’s behalf. I am not trying to start a religious debate, but I do find it ironic that the Bible several times condemns the pagan use of these amulets or talismans, however you find quite a few of the same items in Christian denominations: rosary beads, Star of David as a necklace, medals and scapulars devoted to Saints or Angels. The idea of special ‘powers’ held by objects is also evident in the use of holy water. I have always thought that religions are not that far different as they like others to believe. It’s just always a “my way is better” attitude that spoils rational and thoughtful debate.  This is probably the biggest part of my break with most organized religion. I don’t need another person who feels they are more righteous with their God to tell me how to live my life. I can pretty much figure that out myself.

I used to wear a necklace with a dragon curled around a pentacle as a symbol of my belief in magick. My favorite was a pentacle with a crescent moon stuck through it with a piece of onyx in the middle. Onyx is supposed to help with warding off negative or harmful attacks. It is also supposed to help with healing and grounding oneself. I am very fond of that necklace. While I don’t often wear it openly, I still have it, tucked away with my runestones and tarot cards and other implements of magick and pagan worship. Always close at hand if I should need them.

What kind of talismans or amulets do you have or use in your life? I am curious to hear about any unique family heirlooms one might keep. Perhaps a locket or something that has been passed down for generations? Let me know gentle readers. Until next time.