Monday, May 21, 2012
The year has been interesting and chaotic at times but not all chaos is a bad thing.  I have done a lot and am enjoying a lot while other things continue to be a struggle in daily life.  Sometimes I wonder if it is the multiple roles I play or the recovery from the trauma associated with the loss of my mom that has me in a perpetual state of exhaustion.  I think it is a combination of all of those things, even though many of the tasks are fulfilling and make me happy.

Raising a family of 6 is challenging in and of itself.  When I add onto that school, a full time job, writing my books, workshops, writing for Daughters of Eve and PNC, life becomes a mixture of textures that are booth beautiful and tiring.  I feel so blessed to be able to fill my life with all of these things and I also know I need to take a blessed nap sometimes.  Naps are good ya know...

In an attempt to update my blog I will say that I was accepted for my masters program at Cal State East Bay in Social Work, I start in the fall.  I have the third book in editing with the publisher and waiting for the first rewrite.  Robert was in his first play and was magnificent.  He did so well and has so much stage presence that I felt so proud of him.

I had a fabulous PantheaCon and presented three workshops.  It was great to be a part of so many fabulous things happening all at once and to enjoy the company of those I don't get to see that often.  I am now coming to the end of my term as the co-first officer of the Northern Local Council of CoG (not sure if I will run for the next but might) and I have been asked and accepted a board position with Solar Cross.  I am excited to be working closely with Thorn on some really important projects.

I was asked and accepted to be a Featured Speaker at Pagan Spirit Gathering and will be going to Illinois in June for that festival.  Looking forward to seeing all of my Minnesota folks again and meeting new people.  I also spoke at the 11th Annual pagan Festival this past weekend and was honored to be asked to speak for a slot.  That was a fun experience.

All in all things are transforming, shifting and recovering from the last two and a half years... it is in progress.  I am still working hard and writing harder.

Blessed Be
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I try to focus on the great things, that makes me powerful in my job.  I see kids that range from having very little to almost nothing.  It is hard work, it is rewarding work but more than any of those, it is necessary work.  I have met some of the most incredible people with the most incredible children that have survived things I only see in my nightmares.  And yet they live....

Today was one of those days for me when I concentrate on the good in a sea of harshness.  Two things happened that I want to reflect on.  I went to the homecoming game for the middle school that I work for.  It was incredible.  The boys were on the court like professionals, in uniform and working as a team!  From the outside you would not know that they were struggling, inner city kids that live in the hardest conditions in one of the hardest cities in the US.  The team beat the other team 36 to 22.  It was beautiful to watch and I was so proud to be a part of supporting hope to these kids.  

In the rush and excitement of the game, I went to say hello to the kids on the team.  It took me a couple of minutes after the kids came out of the huddle to realize what they were doing.  The boys (excited and smiling) were taking off their shoes to return to others because they don't have their own basketball shoes.  They were borrowing shoes to wear with their uniforms.  It hurt my heart.  

Such talent, such heart, such resilience.... such poverty, such disparity, such sadness.  

After the game I was talking to one of my student.  He was basically one of the MVP's of this game and was beaming.  He wanted me to meet his mom and she was very pleasant.  We all went outside and I heard my name in the distance, "Ms. Crystal!!"  I turned around to see one of my old students from 3 years ago.  She is now in the 11th grade.  I hugged her, asked how she was and I truely felt joy in my heart!!

She tells me about her life and school and says, "that's my brother over there!".  I looked over to see her speaking of my student that I was just referring to, the MVP.  Right after she said that, the mother said, "yeah, that is my other kid".  I was floored as this sunk in.  I have been a counselor to both of these kids, siblings, in the last 3 years and never made the connection.  How crazy is it to work in a community where I continue to treat siblings and the pain is so deep, so entrenched. 

I hope to be around to support generations of kids coming through the doors of this community.  I love that I have been a consistent face that they can come and see and I am still there.  I am humbled that I have the chance to be that very person that has the trust of so many kids who struggle with trusting others.  I am humbled.....

And while I was heart broken to see this student take off the shoes he had on after his winning game, his sister (my old student) was a reminder that there is still hope despite disparity and adversity.  One day, he might just have the rights to own his own pair of shoes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

 It has been a rough two years for me that have been overwhelmed with various levels of grief and sadness. I do know that it is not just been a hard time for me but for many people who are dealing with the ups and downs of life these past two years, it has been very challenging.

My mother died in a tragic accident in January of 2010 and my aunt just died a bit over a week ago from a long battle with cancer. I am not sure what lessons I continue to learn from the last several years but I know that I am learning and growing through this process; it is a delicate balance though.

After nights back and fourth to the hospital and late nights, I decided to go to the gym and release some of the pent up stress from the last several days. I had this moment in the locker room where I made a last minute decision to go into the pool instead of run on the treadmill. The pool is notoriously not my thing, so to speak, but that night it felt important for me to just allow the water to cleanse me.

I stayed in the pool for about 40 minutes and then decided to go run. While changing I checked my phone and noticed a missed call from my other aunt and knew what news was awaiting me. Amazingly my aunt passed while I was floating in the water, within that 30-40 minute span. Was this a gift from Yemaya? I think so.

I felt prepared when I got the call, felt a bit as if I had been washed of fear so that I could be ready for that very phone call and that very moment. I felt warm still from the water, as if I was receiving a hug that was embracing me through this. I knew it was She.... I know her comfort and her ways.

While I think about all of the horrors of losing yet another person in my life, without the time to recover, I know that she is where she needs to be and I am as well. I have continued to hear and feel Yemaya coming back to my life as a strong presence, she knew I wasn't ready yet and now I am.

Brings me to wonder how the Gods decide what we are ready to handle and how sometimes their presence seems so far away and others it feels ever present. I have missed her from time to time and I am glad that she and I are reconnecting, like a distance relative that is familiar and comforting.

And I know that she is working with my aunt on her transition and that my mother is excited to have her friend with her. My aunt was trying to tell me goodbye and I just couldn't hear it in that moment. She told me that it would be ok, no matter what happens, that I would be ok. I told her that I knew that to be true and she very clearly looked me in the eyes and told me “I am excited to hang out with CoCo”. It broke my heart but I knew it to be true. She and my mom would be together again and I am grateful.

May Yemaya continue to grace them both with comfort and happiness....... and me as well.
Blessed Be
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sitting in a terminal in LAX for the next two and a half hours and thinking about all the wonders of the process that I am in right now. As my plane touched down in LA and we were navigating the roadways to get to the gate, I looked out of my window at all of the wonders that sat before me. The mist created a shadow onto everything that was on the ground and made the planes we passed look like the biggest of birds that were sitting for a rest on the ground.

The shapes of the planes, the mist, the flashing lights and sure size of the machinery that I was viewing and sitting on made me really think about the incredible wonder of our age and what we have come to take for granted here. I walk into a man made structure that is comprised of metal, wires, technology and steel wings, then I sit down and fly among the sky, above the clouds and into the lands that only the Gods naturally are able to soar.

I am amazed at how this happens and then we walk among one another on the ground and treat each other with no foresight into what great things we accomplish together as people. If only the world could acknowledge one another for his or her gifts and the collective intellectual and spiritual gifts we bring to this universe, we could not dishonor one another the way that we do.

All the thoughts of soaring above the worries of the mundane world became ever present in my mind when I looked down at the world beneath me and was reminded of how much bigger the world compared to the bills, common dissension, job woes, relationship mishaps and personal insecurities. While we become encapsulated into our own worlds of deficit thinking and pain, we are missing so much beauty in the world and the knowing that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

So, I await the next flight here at terminal 6 and wonder if I will be able to stay in the present moment enough to let my own problems become just situations that I will overcome because in the moment, there are no problems that need to be solved. This very moment is the only thing that is real.

May everyone find their moment right now, acknowledge the sheer power and wonder of the human capacity to create and grow, and work your way towards being a part of collective healing and togetherness.

Sunday, July 24, 2011
I have found that life continues to move forward whether we will it to or not.  It is the human nature to think that removing one person from the equation would be a pause where life would stop for that moment.  Reality is that it doesn't stop and we have to evaluate our importance in any given situation along the way.

When we have the opportunity to reassess our priorities and where we place them in our lives, it is a chance to choose those things that we previously might have missed or overlooked.  It is essential that we always remember that every moment we are alive gives us the chance to evaluate and choose what path or road we are going to take.  It doesn't matter how far down the road you have already gone, you can turn around or do a detour.

So in light of several experiences this week and the death of a pop star to the overdose of drugs.... it just reaffirms that we make our choices, we have a chance to change them along the way and we ultimately will be responsible for the outcomes if we choose to ignore the open doors that are presented to us.  Whether those open doors are extra time to be with loved ones, a chance to be happier in life, some special time with your children, making time to meditate or ...... fighting for your sobriety...... in the end, life will go on without us and we have a choice to choose our fate all the time, every moment we are alive.

May we all choose wisely.
Blessed Be
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I wrote this on my retreat with coworkers a bit over a week ago,   just now ready to share.

.........Often times life is about being able to capitalize on the many different opportunities that randomly present themselves and today I am going to do just that. After a really challenging school year full of tears, laughter, confusion and trauma, I am heading to a overnight retreat in Sonoma with the school site staff.  There are many things I am not able to do because of finances, kid obligations or even time. When the opportunity cea for an overnight get away, I am learning to take it and make it valuable for me.

The weather is nice and the sun is shining here in Sonoma. It feels like a whole different world that is not filled with chaos, busyness and expectations.

What I like about some of the things that I am experiencing what many people don't understand and the many sacrifices that are made to support the lives of others is exhausting and yet rewarding at the same time.  I have been honored to work with some of the most fabulous people in the world and I have appreciated every moment of it.

Sunday, June 05, 2011
It has been an interesting last couple of weeks.  While some things are getting easier and seem to be on track, others continue to be increasingly complicated.  I have had the pleasure of turning in the manuscript for the Shades of Faith Anthology and have already gotten the copy editing sent back to me and returned.  I am now waiting for the cover to be completed and whatever other ends need to be tied before I am looking at a release date.  I am very excited about seeing it in print finally.... it has been a long time coming, with lots of work and coordination.  

Two major contractual things have happened in the last few weeks and I am signing away here.  We went to court last week and we have finally signed the papers for guardianship for our grandson.  We are now officially responsible to raise him until he is 18.... 

The second one was the contract from the Sacred Harvest Festival in Minnesota, the contract arrived and I have been reviewing it this weekend.  I plan to sign it and send it in Monday or Tuesday.  I am very nervous about it since it will be the first time I have flown to another state to give workshops and be considered the "honored guest".  I am so excited about the opportunity and know that it will be a pivotal moment in realizing the gifts that the Goddess has ahead of me.  I am trying to hold a space where I can move forward in accepting the grown I am going through and also trying not to get discouraged by the new family obligations I have now.  

I will also be doing a workshop in the Fresno Pagan Pride festival and will be preparing for that.  As things get busy, I will be balancing a even more complicated walk but do so in service to the mother.  

And finally, I turned 35 on the 28th of May and it was a decent day.  I felt good in my spirit and was feeling some optimism.  I miss my mother greatly and thought of her during the week more than usual.  I wonder what she would have done if she were here and how she would always look for the wordiest card and then only sign her name.  I am coming to realize more and more that I will mourn her every day for the rest of my life... hopefully I will slowly fill the voids so that I may find other ways to feel whole again.  

many blessings of love and honor. ...

Hubbie and I

Hubbie and I