Rise Above

“To succeed it is necessary to accept the world as it is – and rise above it.” – Michael Korda

It has been a while since I have posted on my website. Life has been insane. The above quote came from a book titled Daily Devotions – a collection of inspirational thoughts and images. I bought this book at a local book shop in Ireland in a section for mindfulness meditation. I guess I wound up in this section looking for a tool to focus my thoughts on. Life in insane. On top of having a family I left behind, including the one person that means the most to me in this world – my husband, and being in a country on my own all the while studying for my masters degree I was left with a myriad of thoughts for my future: was it worth coming to Ireland by myself for my masters? Should I have stayed in the states (I did get accepted in a NorCal university)? Should I go for my phd right away? Here in Ireland? Back in Cali? Does Cali have a program? Do I even want a phd? Do I really want to focus on Irish archaeology if I want to live in Cali? When should we start a family? What does my husband want to do? What should I do? Who can I vent to? Am I talking to myself? Should I call someone?

What happened was I ended up picking up the phone to my husband, talking at him a million miles an hour, with him trying to tell me positive suggestions. At a million miles an hour I set myself up for a collision course that didn’t end pretty. Completely distraught the next day I found myself walking around town trying to grasp a hold of what the hell just happened, why I was thinking so damn much, and with a deep hurt pleaded with the universe for some sort of astral boot in the ass in the right direction. Sometimes when you ask the universe for help, unknowingly even, you get the most intriguing responses. I found this:

Rise Above

At first I thought the street art was just beautiful, but didn’t really think about the meaning quite just yet. I found myself over at the bookstore looking at mindful meditation and came across the Daily Devotions book. I saw the quote above and smiled. I also found two books to focus my thoughts onto (coloring even).

The previous night my husband told me to take it one thing at a time. By doing so I will rise above what I am going through – I will succeed.

“To succeed it is necessary to accept the world as it is – and rise above it.” – Michael Korda

Things are the way they are, but I have to rise above it. You see, when I asked myself how I could rise above this situation I realized that this is far too much shit for anyone to deal with. Sometimes you just have to let things go. For a postgraduate student, that is one of the best things to do. Give yourself the time. If you are freaking out because you feel like you don’t have enough time to make a solid decision then make the time. When you take a step back and be real with yourself, then listen to your own thoughts and ask yourself why you are even thinking about these things a lot of truth comes out. In that truth you find what exactly you need to do.

Also, what I discovered, is that a lot postgraduates go through this. If you are a grad student reading this, and your mind is running a million miles a minute, shift your gears. Slow down. Look at the mirror and ask yourself why you are thinking these things. Go for a walk. Go into that scary state of realization – you might just find what you need to do there to rise above it all.


Easy Peasy Unprocessed Tomato Soup

Fyre's Tomato Soup Need an easy and inexpensive vegetarian dinner? How about tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich! Albeit with the grilled cheese sandwich it isn’t the lowest caloric dinners out there, but it definitely is a tasty comfort-food dinner. Sans sandwich and you have yourself a healthy cheap meal that tastes amazing! Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds organic tomatoes, quartered (I used early girls)
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, sliced (small-medium sized will do)
  • 5 organic cloves of garlic, halved
  • Garlic powder and black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 T. olive oil

Directions: Fyre's Tomato Soup Directions Pre-heat oven at 350° F. Place tomatoes, peppers, and cloves on cooking sheet, then drizzle olive oil on top. Cover with foil and place in oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes take out of oven and place the cooked mixture in your blender (please be careful). Puree mixture and serve (careful, hot). I sprinkled garlic powder and black pepper on top of my batch to my preferred taste. Makes about 6 cups. Enjoy!   Slainte, Fyre

Lughnasadh: Honoring the Harvest Through Grief and Gratitude by Alison Leigh Lilly

“Lughnasadh is not only a time to celebrate the bright strength and impressive skill of successful work, but to embrace the darker side of work: the fear that all that we are working for will ultimately fail us; the fear that our work will not be enough to overcome scarcity, insecurity and injustice; the fear that the products of our work will be consumed thoughtlessly or mindlessly wasted, that we ourselves will be utterly used up, driven to the point of exhaustion, left at last to be forgotten when we are no longer considered “productive” members of society.

Strangely enough, I think that it is this very acknowledgement of fear and loss during the most fruitful time of the year that marks this as a holy season. It is this mingling of love and sorrow, hope and grief that transforms the cycles of production and consumption into something more: a sacred harvest. When we forget the hard work of our ancestors, when we distance ourselves from the sweat, blood and tears that connect us to the living reality of those who have come before us, when we anesthetize ourselves to the grief we feel at the struggles they faced and the sacrifices they made — that is when we risk becoming mere consumers. Grief serves a sacred purpose, for we cannot grieve what we have not loved. Grief is one of the fruits of love, even as joy and prosperity are the fruits of labor.” – Alison Leigh Lilly

This blog post is so beautifully written. I think Alison is dead on with fearing our labors will not be enough to overcome challenges and the bumps in the road of life. Insecurity and anxiety can easily fill you up when it comes to trying to succeed at something. Whether it be your final yield for the season, getting a promotion at work, trying to find work, or even the day to day stuff at home. Grief and love go together. Where there is a moment of what seems like failure there will be a moment of total triumph. It is the energy we put forth towards this… and yes, I even mean for ourselves, that bring us closer to triumph. Lughnasadh is the first festival of the harvest season. Take a moment and recognize what you have done so far. Celebrate with those around you. If you need an extra kick in the rear to get things going, then charge up on Lughnasadh and go for it!

Ms. Lilly’s post explains the heart of Lughnasadh so well. Please take a moment to read her article here.

The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen

The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen

I get asked often if it is absolutely necessary to purchase organic fruits, veggies, and grains. Our family supports organic farmers 100%, but sometimes I realize that access and funds can making a 100% organic lifestyle a little challenging. Here are a few of our tips:

  • Check out your local farmers market. Ask the farmers yourself what their practices are. You can also work your rounds to get the best price and produce. Buying a little more than the norm? Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price!
  • Go to a co-op – most of the produce will be local and/or organic.
  • Go to a natural food store – most of the produce will be organic.
  • Don’t be afraid to grow your own! Seriously. Now, no saying, “I can kill a cactus, much less a tomato plant…” Where you currently live has plants that grow perfectly in that particular climate. Find out what they are! If space is an issue, boy do I have some neat tricks for you! Small apartment patio? Not a problem… Purchase a utility shelf (they come in various sizes) and stack some pots on each shelf – the more sun that is needed the closer to the top you will place them. If you ever have trouble with a plant of yours, please feel free to email me or post a comment below. I’ll be happy to help you figure it out.
  • Join a CSA – A lot of CSAs offer different payment/delivery plans that can accommodate your family size and budget.
  • Learn about what fruits, veggies, and grains have more residual pesticides than others. Make a game plan if you must. Check out the link at the top of this post.
  • Buy your organic produce when on sale and learn to can. Trust me… Canning is very easy and is less complicated than you think. All you need are some mason jars, water, produce, a few tools to grab the jars, and a big pot.

Cheers to healthy eating!


Exhibit on Greek god Poseidon dives into new territory

Exhibit on Greek god Poseidon dives into new territory

If anyone is in the Tampa, FL area you should check this out! Kudos to the Tampa Museum of Art for pulling this off. Well done – even with the scary hoisting of precious artifacts that made my heart jump.

“Living The Path: Sacred Acts Everyone Can Perform” by Carolina Gonzalez

“… what I tried to teach her was to be more compassionate, more aware, more open, more receptive, less judging, less negative, more responsible, more self-sufficient. Because, in my opinion, THAT is what makes a Witch.” Beautifully said!!!

Humanistic Paganism

This essay was originally published in Carolina’s newsletter and then at as a guest post at PaganSquare.com.

One of the questions I get asked more often from our customers is “I want to have a Spiritual Path – how do I start?” – well, the answer couldn’t be simpler: Living It Every Single Day. Entwining your everyday life with a set of regular devotional practices will gradually increase and empower your energy, connect you with the energies and entities around you, ground you, and build the Personal Power you will need to have efficient results on more demanding practices like Spell Work.

There is something I would like to explain before we go on with the practices – while I am practising my path every single moment of the day, I do not live surrounded by Pagans and I do not speak of my path unless someone asks me…

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Indonesia Deforestation, Palm Oil, and a Choice

Indonesia Deforestation, Palm Oil, and a Choice

I viewed these images a few moments ago. Words cannot describe the pure chaos that is going on around the world when it comes to palm oil. 

Remember, we fuel this. Check those ingredients.