Last night, my favorite yoga studio held a crystal class with a focus on crystal chakra meditations. It was BUZZING. Personally, I am usually drawn to purchasing black tourmaline, amethyst and turquoise, but I've yet to experience the metaphysical rush or clarity some people describe when working or meditating with crystals. Maybe I just haven't met the right crystal? I don't typically meditate with crystals, but I do have them nearby when I do. Maybe I should try utilizing them more often.

One of the coolest moments of the evening was when we all had a chance to hold the crystal above (Phenacite, the small clear one right above the paper in my hand) and press it into an ice cube. It would slide right in with little to no resistance and was clearly melting the ice. There is something to be said for the energy the crystal contained which allowed it to do so because there was no heat involved. Interestingly, the corresponding zodiac sign is Gemini. I wonder if Dylan would resonate with this one?

There is a crystal emporium in Cave City, Kentucky where large pieces that bring hundreds or thousands of dollars out west are priced at rock bottom prices. Get it? Rock bottom. Rocks. Crystals. I'd love to take a trip up there and check it out. I should get an Airstream and just drive around selling crystals. How fun would that be? Guaranteed to meet some interesting people!!

Do you have a favorite crystal or experience any metaphysical reactions to holding one?

Mom and I took the girls down to see Naiya at Vandy yesterday. This is her third inpatient chemo IV treatment that lasts 3-5 days, and she is feeling hospital burnt. And, so is my sister. Ash is so humble and loving that when totally human (necessary!) emotions arise, she immediately prefaces them with how grateful she is that Naiya is well enough to be argumentative or frustrated. She never loses sight of her blessings. I worry about the physical impact all this emotional stress will inevitably bring to my sister because there are no breaks or outlets in the foreseeable future. And, she needs one...she would refuse one...but, she needs one. Who wouldn't?

When we first arrived and were walking through the parking structure, a little girl who appeared to be close in age to our girls was walking with her mama. A black cap hugged her head tightly revealing the absence of hair. Nova, ever the observant one, excitedly called out, "Naiya!!" and we had to explain to her that it wasn't Naiya. But, my god, it might as well have been by the way my heart just fell to the floor and shattered. How can childhood cancer still exist? We know there are breakthroughs and possibly cures that never see the light of day because they would cut profits to pharmaceutical companies. Patients are customers. We know there are companies who cut corners by using toxic chemicals/ingredients to maximize profits. We know we are being slowly poisoned by the food we eat, the water we drink, the way we clean our houses, our bodies, etc...the list goes on. It is overwhelming...but, it is true. And, we know it is true by how Vanderbilt Children's hospital is currently building several additional floors (there's already 8!) just to keep up with the amount of children seeking treatment there. It is no longer the one random child in a town who gets cancer. There are several from our hometown right now. Naiya. A boy close to her age. A first grader. Two teenage boys. And, that list doesn't include the ones with debilitating chronic illness or autism. You simply cannot have a sudden genetic epidemic. Something is happening. And I believe there are entirely too many people in board rooms wearing expensive suits and enjoying immense profits who know and have made a decision to choose money over these children. I cannot imagine being so morally depraved. Sorry to be such a bummer...but, sometimes these things just get to me. Kali Ma energy activates inside me and I want to burn it all down. It's also a driving force behind seeking a holistic nursing career. The primary reason, of course, being Naiya.

Yesterday, we had a parade around the hospital with the girls riding in a little red wagon blasting Katy Perry and, as we passed other people, I watched their faces. They smiled, or waved/spoke to the girls and tried to conceal the little cringe most people experience at the sight of a sick child. I wondered if they could really see us beyond the tragedy of the situation. Could they really see Naiya, a girl who loves Minnie Mouse, and her cousins and playing dress up? A little girl who should be healthy and carefree during her childhood? Could they see Nova and Kindred, two girls who love playing with their cousin, and Calico Critters, and dolls? Girls who have no idea why their cousin can't come play sometimes? Could they see me, an aunt, a sister who loves and worries and would move mountains to protect the tiny little souls behind her in the wagon? Could they see Ashley, a mama who will never stop worrying and praying and fighting to keep her daughter well? Or, our mama, who loves her girls and her girls' girls with everything she has? I'm not sure they could 'see us' because the shock factor must be absorbed first. Naiya has cancer. My niece has cancer. I still can't say it or write it without feeling a sting in my eyes. At best, others can feel momentarily bad for her or her family. But, to fully realize the emotional spectrum of what is in front of their eyes? People would drop to their knees as we passed by. It would be unbearable in an acute dose. She is so loved. She is precious beyond any fathomable measurement. She is irreplaceable. She is ours.

What we can all see, though...are the increasing numbers of these children. We can see the labels on the products we buy. We can research the companies who manufacture those products and see how they treat their workers or the environment. We can go beyond the public relations campaigns of Big Agriculture and, yes, even Big Pharma to see what is really going on with the food we eat or the medicines we are given. If there is going to be change, it has to start with us because they've made their choices. We will have to fight for it, but ALL OF OUR children are depending on it. Vote with your dollar when you make a purchase and speak out against the ones who are guilty. Shop local. Grow veggies! Cut out processed food. Use natural cleaners. Look at your cosmetics, lotions, bodywashes.

In the short term, you may be inconvenienced, but if we want healthy children, we must make a change! And, we must start right now...

Tonight, the full moon in Scorpio will rise above us. I read somewhere that Native Americans referred to this particular full moon as the "pink moon" to reflect its appearance in blooming springtime. The general astrological consensus in working with the moon's cycles are that New Moons are the best time to set intentions which then develop during the other phases and come to fruition during the Full Moon. Our new moon was in Aries, which is ruled by Mars, which also rules Scorpio. Mars is the tinder box planet. Think fire, propulsion, aggression... This full moon will also sextile Saturn which rules boundaries, routine, stability. ('Sextile' in astrology means in cooperation, encouragement, inspiration.) So, if we are enforcing/establishing boundaries, altering routine, and thwarting stability...these changes are not likely to be temporary. It's not too late to visualize the life you want and use this full moon's energy to get on your way, baby.

A pretty simple full moon rite is to make a physical list of things you would like to release or change in your life...whether it be behaviors, relationships, beliefs...and then take a moment to go outside under the moon and speak the list out loud. Afterward, you can burn the list so that it stays private between just you and the moon. I also believe in taking a moment to express my gratitude for being part of and being cared for by the universe, Creator, God, whatever name you identify with.

Are you feeling the full moon energy today? If you'd like to see what Kaypacha says about it, click here.

Springtime views around the "witch's den" in our house. Plants, oils, and two retired dogs, not pictured. What has been called the spare room, the study room, the furniture project room, and the dog's room has now been renamed by Kindred since we added the poster of the witches from WICKED last week. I think it suits...

Isn't it interesting how many historical 'witches' were really just herbalists or women who knew how to read 'the signs' in the seasons, the moon, etc? Performing 'magic' or worshiping the devil...dancing naked under the full moon...were all figments of man's runaway imagination or suppressed sexual fantasy. Countless murdered women through the ages were nothing more than victims of a 'christian' man's perversion or toxic masculinity. And, to be fair to the fellas, gossip and jealousy among women were often the start of the accusations. She was in danger if she were beautiful or widowed, self-sufficient or opinionated, and, often times, simply a property owner with opportunistic neighbors.

The thought crosses my mind when I am deep in study, or speaking to a stranger on the benefit of certain herbal remedies, that just a few centuries ago, I would have likely been punished (or worse!) for having and sharing this knowledge. I work with a small group of strong, extraordinary women who toil away long hours at the task of serving their fellow community members and they would have met the same fate. It is a curious world we live in, friends. What was once considered witchcraft is now considered placebo (by some) or essential (by others) and will someday (hopefully) be considered an integral faction of healing modalities.

The girls planted these flowers last week and we already have some peeking through! They are so excited! Nothing makes me happier than sharing tidbits of herbal folklore or the names of plants and hearing Kindred repeat it later. She knows milk fistle(thistle) is good for your liv-ah(liver). And that crocuses are purple but daffodils are yellow even though she wants them to be pink. And, she looooves to help me mix up oils for different blends or the diffuser!

(This was taken a few weeks has even more oils now. I may need an intervention.)

A few generations back, no matter who we are, the women in our family would probably have grown a garden to feed their families...they would've used home remedies to cure (to the best of their abilities) what ailed them. With disease exploding at exponential rates in this country, we have got to get ourselves back to as nature intended. And so, it is my intention to raise my little witchling to do just that...starting with her own little herb garden this summer. 

What are you growing in your garden or windowsills this year? 

The weather is going to be absolutely beautiful today...

We are having a store-wide Earth Day sale, which is probably a given at all natural health shops everywhere right now, haha. I am missing out on the Annual Herb & Craft fair at the Unitarian Church in Nashville, which is a bummer...not to mention, I'd looooove to be at home breaking in the gazebo by just laying on the patio furniture and soaking up the warm breeze...haha! But, more of the community will turn out for a big sale, so I will serve a purpose today instead. Which is a blessing, to be of benefit to even a single person.

If you're local, come see us! We are giving away free non-GMO heirloom seeds with every purchase!

On Tuesday morning, we loaded up four unicorn popsicles (pink strawberry on top, purple blended middle, blueberry bottom, & edible glitter!) from PopWorks and hit 65 South to go see our Naiya! She is receiving inpatient treatment this week at Vanderbilt.

Naiya wanted to race for pinks...but Kindred was too focused on her uni-pop. 

This is one of those bittersweet moments, captured. I don't know how much of this they understand or will remember...but it is forever imprinted on my heart.

Silly little girly giggles.

In September of 2012, I took my mom to go see the musical WICKED because we both loved the book so much. It was such a special day for us and I still have the ticket stub displayed with my favorite photo of mom from that day. None of these little girls were even a blip on the radar then, though Novaleigh was soon to be discovered. Fast forward to Monday night, Ash called to tell me that she had just found out we could meet the cast of WICKED during our visit the next day! I was very excited, but also surprisingly emotional about it. I guess it was just how different life was the last time we saw it and how close we were to everything we've ever wanted in having these girls. I played the soundtrack during our drive down (and every time Kindred has been in the car since then, per her request) and we were all super excited to see the cast. When they came in dressed in plain clothes, Kindred was a little disappointed. She walked up to someone she deemed to be in charge and said in her tiny chipmunk voice, "Where are their costumes?" which resulted in a collective "Awwwww!" The girls lost interest pretty quick and started having their own interview, so we left. But, we got two signed posters as parting gifts and I basically can't wait to take the girls to see the real deal someday. On Broadway would be cool, but I'll take Lou or Nashville as long as I have these three girls with me.

Unicorn balloon for a unicorn niece.

My niece demands much physical comedy from me. She throws bracelets I have to dodge and scoot around on the floor for and sometimes she tries to run me over with my own daughter. But, she laughs and I love to hear her laugh, so it all evens out.

By mid-afternoon, Kindred was pretty much tired out and fell asleep before we made it to the first stoplight. Right before she drifted off she said she missed Naiya. I knew how she felt. I miss her too. Hopefully, next week, she will be able to come over and visit us though!!

Super grateful to have spent this day with the girls and Ash. We are so blessed to have these girls and each other!
(last night)
We caved in the name of sleep deprivation and peace in our home...

Kindred now has a tv on her wall to help her drift off to sleep. Obviously, this is not what I wanted but she usually lasts 15-30 minutes and then off it goes. In its absence, we have to snuggle, cry(Kindred), refuse to sleep for at least an hour, cry(me), and then everyone sleep fitfully for the next few hours. She came into this world with a different circadian rhythm than her fellow communal members. She thrives on short sleep cycles while the adults must over caffeinate in order to survive. What has finally changed is that I have surrendered my attempt to coerce her into a sweet bedtime routing of a shared bedtime story and/or soft music. I need sleep!! We've tried bedtime stories, singing lullabies, listening to other people sing lullabies, and nothing works like a tv or tablet. I'd rather a tv than a tablet in bed with her, so here we are. Since there isn't a tv in my room, it encourages her to lay down in her own bed.

And, look...that's her on the very first morning...asleep in her own bed!! Did her daddy sleep in the floor beside her because he was worried she'd fall out of bed? Yes, yes he did...but, I slept like a baby all alone in my king sized bed. Once a good night's sleep has become the norm, I will be happy to have sleepovers in her room, or feel her climb into our bed in the middle of the night...but, for now, this was a needed concession and we are all much happier at bedtime!