Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adventures in Hair Coloring

So my hairdresser moved to Huntington and I didn't want to go all the way there just to get my hair done. Not to mention spend the $100 it would cost to get it done. So I figured I would try to do it myself.

The hair color I had done 6 months ago has grown out and faded. The Before Pictures:

My first mistake was going against my better judgment and choosing a shade that was too dark.

During Step 1:

After Step 1 (the base color):

Step 2 was highlighting, where I made my second mistake(s). I did try to do it right, I just wasn't very good at it. First I tried to do it the way it said, taking strips of hair and saturing them. Then I started adding random highlights just running the brush through my hair. Then I realized I didn't start high enough on the initial strands and tried unsuccesfully to fix that. I ended up with big chunks of highlighted hair.

The final result. It's darker than I wanted but I am getting used to it. I actually always wanted dark brown hair. This is dark red hair but it doesn't look bad, except for the highlights. LOL

Friday, November 28, 2008

I am thankful

Every day I give thanks for the many blessings in my life. There are so many that I can't list them all, but I thought I would at least try to list some of them (not necessarily in any particular order).

(1) My husband, who is also my best friend. He not only loves me unconditionally, he makes me laugh and I love hanging out with him. Although he may think I'm crazy sometimes, he lets me be me. I could not ask for more in a life partner.

(2) My Family: My parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws, step-siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. I am blessed to have a large and loving family. I am thankful all of our parents are still living and healthy. I'm grateful for my relatives who are passed that still watch over me from spirit.

(3) My cats (my children): Stubby, Snoop and Roscoe give me an amazing amount of joy and unconditional love. Each of them is so special and unique. I am also grateful for our extended cat family of outside cats who chose us: Spare, Bobbi, Junior and Rascal. I miss Hoppy but am glad he came to stay with us for awhile.

(4) Friends: I am so grateful for the wonderful friends I have in "real life" and here in cyberspace. My Girlies are my other sisters and I'm thankful to have a day set aside every week to commune with them. And there are people online I have a have a deep connection with that I've never even met.

(5) My new job: I have wanted a federal job for so long, and not only did I get that, but I got one that is interesting and where I can learn so many new things, and I like the people I work with. And I love the federal holidays!! I am also thankful that it gives me the opportunity to help people and to practice compassion.

(6) My home: I love our little piece of land (I typed "peace" first, freudian slip!) and its trees and flowers and birds and deer and possums and the cats that came along with the neighborhood. We're close to the city but far enough away for it to be peaceful. I love having a little space around us and hope someday we can have even more.

(7) The internet: what did we do before the internet?? I am thankful for having information at my fingertips. I am especially thankful for the ability to connect with people all over the world, people I never would have met otherwise. I am also grateful to use the internet to keep up with "real life" friends and family.

(8) Health: so often we take our health for granted until something shocks us into realizing we are not immortal. I am thankful for my husband's heart problems that started our year out, because it woke us up and helped set us on a path to better health. We are both healthier now than we were a year ago. I am grateful for all of the resources that have helped us learn and make better choices.

(9) Spiritual growth: the past few years have been a period of intense spiritual growth for me. I am grateful for the opportunities I've had to learn new things and meet new people that can help me on my path.

(10) Nature: Nothing feeds my spirit more than being in nature. I'm grateful there is so much natural beauty nearby. And I am so thankful for my trees, flowers and backyard wildlife.

(11) Machines, Appliances and Gadgets that make my life easier and more fun like my CRV, ipod, DVR, camera, new bed, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, PDA, cell phone, answering machine, tv, radio, computer, new printer, microwave, toaster oven, stove, refrigerator, freezer, heat pump, air conditioner, etc.

(12) I am also thankful for vacations, books, Mexican food, Oprah, medication and herbal remedies, comfortable clothes, pizza, Louise Hay, time alone, reiki, art, music, sunshine, jacuzzis, cabins, rocks, trees, crows, fresh fruit and vegetables, eyeglasses, roses, wildflowers, zoos and wildlife centers, state parks, national forests, comedy, chiropractors, swimming pools, board games, ice cream, family gatherings, and many more.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Give Thanks

"Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself."

- Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Medicine

Native Americans believe animals bring us lessons we need to learn - when you see an animal a lot, have a particular fondness for an animal or see one in an unusual situation, it may have a message for you.

They also believe each person has an animal totem (or totems) that teaches, guides and protects us through out lives.

"Turkey is quite a bit like buffalo. very sacred. It is one that gives unconditionally. If you follow a wild turkey and watch you will find other foods to eat. The feathers have been used to make caps for ceremony as well as to keep rain off. Almost every part of the turkey can be used for one thing or another and of course the bird is also a food source. To the Cherokee the turkey was as sacred as the eagle if not more so. They teach adaptivity for that is what has helped them survive the destruction of their forest. They are nest sharers with several hens keeping eggs in same nest and tending to them. This insures a greater survival for all the chicks. it teaches strength through being in the flock and allowing others to assist you in not only finding food but raising your young and being a part of the

source: Whitehorse Woman,'s Holistic Healing Forum

"Native American Indians view the Turkey as both a symbol of abundance and fertility. After heavy, uncontrolled hunting by European settlers and American hunters, the Turkey almost vanished to near extinction by the early 1900's. The Wild Turkey is a resilient bird and a survivor. When reintroduced, they renewed their populations very quickly, symbolizing the renewal and rebirth that must take place for all nature in order for humans to survive.
Turkey is the symbol of the Mother Earth and her abundant harvest. All of Earth's blessings and the ability to use them to their greatest advantage are part of Turkey's teachings. The Turkey is also a symbol of sacrifice. In Turkey's death, we have our life. This reminds us to act and react on behalf of others. Act not out of
some sense of self-righteousness or religious guilt, but out of the realization that all life is sacred.
Turkey is telling you that you have much to be thankful for, even if you can't see it at the moment. Life is a wonderful gift and the world is full of abundance. And not only do we receive, we can also give back. What are you giving back? How are you helping to replenish what has been given to you? Turkey is asking you to be aware of the needs of others. Generosity sent out will be generosity returned. Genuine gratitude and willingness to give opens the door for good to enter."

Monday, November 24, 2008

6 Ways to De-Stress Your Home

"Your home - whether big, small, or somewhere in between - should be your sanctuary, a place where stress is left at the door and your soul is nurtured. For a more comforting environment, gradually implement the following changes into your home:

  1. Bring the outdoors in. Green plants, cut flowers and blooming bulbs, or pieces of wood, rocks and other organic elements can create a feeling of nature indoors.

  2. Paint a room to suggest a mood. For instance, blue and green promote a relaxed feeling and may be good choices for the bedroom, while warm colors (maroon, coral, burgundy) suggest a cozy environment and may be inviting in a family room.

  3. Surround your senses with beauty. Artwork, fragrance, smooth textures and calming sounds all provide a pleasant environment in which to relax.

  4. Set aside a room or area for peace and calm. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.

  5. Clean out clutter. A low-maintenance home is refreshing after a day of hectic meetings, errands and chores. Fewer items can mean less frustration.

  6. Create an atmosphere of love. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In My Backyard

chickadee in silhouette

chickadee at the feeder!


Brotherly Love

Hanging with the Outside Cats

Miss Bobbi and the Boys

My Baby Boy

Arts & Craft Fair Loot

The Capital City Arts and Crafts Show is going on this weekend. As always there are lots of wonderful artists and so many things to choose from it's almost impossible. Here are a few things I bought.

Pewter tree of life pendant

pottery turtle

Wooden candle holder by Harry Clendenen. Harry has many wonderful wooden pieces!! I used to work with his wife.

Citrine gem tree

Friday, November 21, 2008

I hear them all

I love the music of the group Old Crow Medicine Show [and not just because I'm obsessed with crows - ha!].

I particularly love this song. When it comes up on shuffle, I usually repeat it 2 or 3 times.

"I hear the crying of the hungry
In the deserts where they're wandering
Hear them crying out for Heaven's own
Benevolence upon them
Hear destructive power prevailing
I hear fools falsely hailing
To the crooked wits of tyrants when they call

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the sounds of tearing pages
And the roar of burning paper
All the crimes in acquisition
Turn to air and ash and vapor
And the rattle of the shackle
Far beyond emancipators
And the loneliest who gather in their stalls

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

So, while you sit and whistle Dixie
With your money and your power
I can hear the flowers a-growing
In the rubble of the towers
I hear leaders quit their lyin'
I hear babies quit their cryin'
I hear soldiers quit their dyin', one and all

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the tender words from Zion
I hear Noah's waterfall
Hear the gentle lamb of Judah
Sleeping at the feet of Buddha
And the prophets from Elijah
To the old Paiute Wovoka
Take their places at the table when they're called

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all "

The video:

The band's site:

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment

"Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what's past. ... When we're at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. ... .

Most of us don't undertake our thoughts in awareness. Rather, our thoughts control us. ... In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current, to pause, and ... to "rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being."

We need to live more in the moment. Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.

Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. ... .

Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.
1: To improve your performance, stop thinking about it (unselfconsciousness).
That's the first paradox of living in the moment: Thinking too hard about what you're doing actually makes you do worse. If you're in a situation that makes you anxious—giving a speech, introducing yourself to a stranger, dancing—focusing on your anxiety tends to heighten it. ... To be most myself, I needed to focus on things outside myself, like the music or the people around me.
Focusing on the present moment also forces you to stop overthinking.
2: To avoid worrying about the future, focus on the present (savoring).
Often, we're so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that we forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what's happening right now. ... Instead, relish or luxuriate in whatever you're doing at the present moment—what psychologists call savoring. ... When subjects in a study took a few minutes each day to actively savor something they usually hurried through—eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, walking to the bus—they began experiencing more joy, happiness, and other positive emotions, and fewer depressive symptoms ... .
3: If you want a future with your significant other, inhabit the present (breathe).

Living consciously with alert interest has a powerful effect on interpersonal life. Mindfulness actually inoculates people against aggressive impulses ... . "Mindfulness decreases ego involvement," explains Kernis. "So people are less likely to link their self-esteem to events and more likely to take things at face value." Mindfulness also makes people feel more connected to other people—that empathic feeling of being "at one with the universe."
Mindfulness boosts your awareness of how you interpret and react to what's happening in your mind. ... Focusing on the present reboots your mind so you can respond thoughtfully rather than automatically. ... Mindfulness increases self-control; since you're not getting thrown by threats to your self-esteem, you're better able to regulate your behavior.
4: To make the most of time, lose track of it (flow).

Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you're so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you.
Flow is an elusive state. As with romance or sleep, you can't just will yourself into it—all you can do is set the stage, creating the optimal conditions for it to occur.
To set the stage for flow, goals need to be clearly defined so that you always know your next step. ... You also need to set up the task in such a way that you receive direct and immediate feedback; with your successes and failures apparent, you can seamlessly adjust your behavior. ... As your attentional focus narrows, self-consciousness evaporates. You feel as if your awareness merges with the action you're performing. You feel a sense of personal mastery over the situation, and the activity is so intrinsically rewarding that although the task is difficult, action feels effortless.

5: If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it (acceptance).

We all have pain in our lives ... . If we let them, such irritants can distract us from the enjoyment of life. Paradoxically, the obvious response—focusing on the problem in order to combat and overcome it—often makes it worse ... .

The mind's natural tendency when faced with pain is to attempt to avoid it—by trying to resist unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations. ... But in many cases, negative feelings and situations can't be avoided—and resisting them only magnifies the pain.
The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.
Acceptance of an unpleasant state doesn't mean you don't have goals for the future. It just means you accept that certain things are beyond your control. The sadness, stress, pain, or anger is there whether you like it or not. Better to embrace the feeling as it is.

Nor does acceptance mean you have to like what's happening. "Acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation," writes Kabat-Zinn. "Acceptance doesn't tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose to do; that has to come out of your understanding of this moment."
6: Know that you don't know (engagement).

You've probably had the experience of driving along a highway only to suddenly realize you have no memory or awareness of the previous 15 minutes. ... Or maybe it happens when you're reading a book: "I know I just read that page, but I have no idea what it said."

These autopilot moments are what Harvard's Ellen Langer calls mindlessness—times when you're so lost in your thoughts that you aren't aware of your present experience. As a result, life passes you by without registering on you. The best way to avoid such blackouts, Langer says, is to develop the habit of always noticing new things in whatever situation you're in. That process creates engagement with the present moment and releases a cascade of other benefits. Noticing new things puts you emphatically in the here and now.
Don't Just Do Something, Sit There

Living a consistently mindful life takes effort. But mindfulness itself is easy. "People set the goal of being mindful for the next 20 minutes or the next two weeks, then they think mindfulness is difficult because they have the wrong yardstick," says Jay Winner, a California-based family physician and author of Take the Stress out of Your Life. "The correct yardstick is just for this moment."

Mindfulness is the only intentional, systematic activity that is not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, explains Kabat-Zinn. It is simply a matter of realizing where you already are.
You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. What's happening this instant? Think of yourself as an eternal witness, and just observe the moment. What do you see, hear, smell? It doesn't matter how it feels—pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad—you roll with it because it's what's present; you're not judging it. And if you notice your mind wandering, bring yourself back. Just say to yourself, "Now. Now. Now."

Here's the most fundamental paradox of all: Mindfulness isn't a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what's happening at the present moment. As you read the words printed on this page, as your eyes distinguish the black squiggles on white paper, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you're aware of that feeling right now, as you're reading this, you're living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It's not a destination. This is it. You're already there."

Excerpted from this much longer article:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How To Create a Serene Sacred Space

""Sacred Space" is a special place you can retreat to and spend time alone in quiet meditation or retrospection. Here are a few helpful ideas for creating an indoor sanctuary.

Location - Choose an area within the interior of your home for your sacred space. Use a spare bedroom, a revamped pantry area, or a tucked away corner space apart from the main traffic areas.

Sweep Clean - Clear this space of stagnant energies by performing a ritual smudging (cleanse with smoke from burning sage wand). This should also be repeated periodically after you begin using your sacred space . If needed, give the walls in your space a fresh coat of paint.

Meditate: - After your space is cleared and free of "stuff" spend some time there in solitude before you begin introducing your new furnishings. What types of things do your love? Get in touch with each of your senses in choosing the furnishings and decorative items to fill the space.

Comfortable Seating: Choose from floor cushions, a gentle swaying rocker, recliner, or a stuffed chaise to stretch out in.

Calming Sounds: Introduce some wind chimes, water fountains, CDs & player, or a hand-carved wooden flute to play.

Taste: Peppermints for mental clarity, calming herbal tea blends, cinnamon red hot candies to awaken the taste buds.

Smells: Light scented candles, burn incense, keep a supply of freshly cut sprigs of lavender.

Visual: Decorate with mirrors, posters, paintings, art sculptures, altars.

Touch: Display several objects offering a variety of textures such as crystals, feathers, sea shells, woven cloths, a huggable teddy bear, etc.

Fresh Air: Having a window opening in your sacred pace is especially welcome to allow fresh air and sunshine for healing and happiness. If there is no window available, an air purifier is fair substitute.


Once your space is ready, honor it by making your presence there regularly.
Set boundaries by deciding who else, if anyone, is allowed in your sacred space.

Keep a supply of colored pens and notebooks if you want to maintain a journal in your sacred space."

Five Steps to Intuitive Healing

"The magic of intuition is that it insists you live in the moment with no expectations, a continuing freshness. Intuition is our birthright, available to everyone. To access it, I've developed five steps that can be applied to any issue you'll ever confront from healing your body, to riding a roller-coaster of emotions to sexual awakening. I live by these five steps; they continue to sustain me. I suggest you give them a try. My hope is that they will bring you the joy and clarity you've been searching for.

Step 1: Notice Your Beliefs
Your beliefs set the stage for healing. Positive attitudes stimulate growth. Negative attitudes impede it. It's important to rid yourself of counterproductive attitudes that you may not even realize you have. If you examine your beliefs, choose life-enhancing ones, you'll create optimal wellness. No organ system stands apart from your thoughts. Your beliefs program your neurochemicals. I'm not suggesting that you be Pollyannish, but that you be completely true to yourself. This will free you from unconscious negative beliefs that can sabotage your healing.

Step 2: Be In Your Body
Your body is a complex and sensitive intuitive receptor. You must make a commitment to be in it completely to heal. Most people in Western society are conditioned to live from the neck up, ignoring the rest of their body. This stance is counter-intuitive. I'd like you to shift that perspective-to enjoy your intellect but revel in your physicality as well. Being aware of the sensuousness of your body opens intuition. Then you'll become more cognizant of early warning signs your body sends. This gives you a head-start on preventing illness, choosing healthy relationships, and avoiding detrimental situations.

Step 3: Sense Your Body's Subtle Energy
We are composed of flesh and blood, but also of subtle energy. Chinese Medical Practitioners call it "chi," a vital substance which penetrates the body and extends many feet beyond it. From an intuitive point of view, these vibrantly colored energy fields, whose centers are called chakras have a significant effect on our health. For that reason, it is important that we learn to sense this energy within us, recognize when it is off, and learn to correct the imbalance. Feeling energy can be very sensual, an extension of love. Learning to tap into your body's energy is healing.

Step 4: Ask for Inner Guidance
We each possess an intuitive voice that contains answers about our healing. Because our intellect is often so loud, this voice often gets drowned out. It's essential that we learn to access the stillness within--though meditation, quite contemplation, connecting with nature, prayer-in order to gain answers about our health. Spend a few minutes each day devoted to listening to this voice. It may appear as a gut feeling, a hunch, an image, a sound, a memory, an instant knowing-as if a light bulb suddenly switched on. Learn to trust the signals your inner wisdom sends.

Step 5: Listen To Your Dreams
Intuition is the language of dreams. Every ninety minutes each night during the REM stage of sleep, we dream. Dreams provide answers about health, relationships, career choices, any new direction. The secret is to remember them. I suggest keeping a dream journal by your bed. Before you go to sleep, ask a dream a question. For instance, "Is this relationship healthy for me or should I move on?" The next morning, write down any dreams immediately before getting out of bed. Try repeating the question, every night for the next week until your answer comes. As you develop the habit of remembering dreams, you'll be able to benefit from this form of healing. As a physician, I have a continual sense of awe for the relationship between body and spirit. As your heat opens, so does your intuition. Your intuition will teach you how to see and how to love. It will instill in you a renewed faith to face anything. "

by Judith Orloff MD

More free articles from Dr. Orloff:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cats Galore

As the weather grows cooler, the cat tree becomes more popular. I guess it's warmer up high.







The Husband ... hey wait, he's not a cat...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Qigong or Qi Gong

Qigong ("chee-gung") is an ancient (5,000-7,000 years old) Chinese system of exercises and techniques designed to work with and improve the body's qi (life force energy).

Qigong has been influenced by and has influenced many other Chinese philosophical practices. It incorporates Taoist ideas of balance and harmony and Buddhist ideas of mental and spiritual awareness. Central concepts of the patterns of energy flow are shared with traditional Chinese medicine, and qigong stimulates the same points on the body that acupuncture and acupressure use. Qigong is often prescribed by Chinese physicians as part of medical treatment.

Qi (or chi) refers to the fundamental life energy of the universe which is present in air, water, food and sunlight. In the body, this energy sustains life. We are born with qi and get it from food and air. The balance of our physical, mental, and emotional levels also affect levels of qi.

Qi moves through the body along 12 main meridians (channels), which correspond with 12 main organs. The organs interact with emotions on the mental level. Qigong improves the balance and flow of energy through these meridians and increases the amount of qi. Another goal of qigong is to balance yin and yang in the body.

Qigong is used for health and healing but also for physical fitness and as a martial art (tai chi and kung fu developed directly from it).

Qigong consists of postures (standing, sitting, lying down), movements (stretches, slow motions, quick thrusts, bending), breathing techniques (deep abdominal, chest, relaxed, holding) and mental exercises. Postures and movements are designed to strengthen, stretch, and tone the body to improve the flow of energy. Meditations and mind exercises are used to enhance the mind and move qi through the body.

Qigong exercises are meant to be performed every morning and evening. But qigong is not just daily exercise. It is a lifestyle with the goal to produce a state of harmony and stability. You can live consciously by incorporating qi principles in everything you do by paying attention to your body, attempting to improve your posture, and moving and breathing harmoniously to activate and harmonize qi.

Sources/More Info:


I found some videos on You Tube to try out. I've only looked at a few of them so far but here are a couple I liked. Just do a search for "qigong" and "qi gong" and you'll find lots.