Hey, all – it’s time for a check-in with how my Everyday Magic Challenge is going. I’ve got some parts on lock, and others I’m still working on. During the month of August, I’ll be checking in weekly here and at the Half-Assed Circle with photos to make it a little more exciting as we go, but for now, here’s July’s progress:
Natural Connection: It’s not too hard for me to keep a natural connection in the summertime! My herb garden has been booming, so I’ve been Nurturing Nature by watering my plants, weeding my beds, and harvesting my herbs, tomatoes, and peppers. The Husband and I have also started a project to build a small observation deck at the back of our patch so we can have an established place to stand and survey the grounds (and probably put a little outdoor altar for my witchery) as well! Oh, and I can’t forget Monarch Mansion – thus far this summer, I’ve raised and released 25 monarch butterflies, with at least twice that many more waiting to eclose and that many more eggs and caterpillars munching away on milkweed in the butterfly enclosure my crafty papa built for me. I have been doing my Moment of Zen by sitting on my swing and just watching the world go by, but I’ve also used my Pagan Planner (more on that in a future post) to note times when I physically connected with nature – for example, I’ve put my feet in the grass every single night before bed, let the wind blow away some negativity, immersed my hands in a running stream, touched plants to feel and smell their leaves, hugged trees (yes, literally), felt the tickle of butterfly feet as I released them from their enclosures, and I made it a point to get outside to see the full moon (even though it comes up after my bedtime this time of year). I’ve not done a lot of journaling other than very basic notes in a planner, and I’ve not started my Nature Scavenger Hunt yet – I’m saving that for August to give me something fun to focus on rather than fretting about the school year starting again.
Craft Building: Since I’m still very much a novice, I’ve been bouncing between topics all month – some have been chasing rabbits down holes, but some have stuck. For Everyday Focus, I read Deborah Blake’s The Goddess is in the Details and Everyday Witchcraft, both of which I will be re-reading and reviewing in August to squeeze every last drop of awesomeness from their pages. To Hone My Craft, I have read some form of witchy or alternative medicine book, article, or blog post every single day this month, focusing on Ayurvedic medicine, chakras, green witchery, magical properties of oils and herbs Pagan fiber crafts and prayer beads, and Lammas/Lughansadh crafts and celebrations. Granted, this is a LOT of info and I’ve not delved far into any one of them just yet, but I’ve pinned lots of info on Pinterest for future study and I’m exhausting my library system’s supply of Pagan books at an alarming rate of speed. I have admittedly been weak on Spelling It Out while I get my feet under me with my research, but I plan to begin actually practicing some spellwork in August. I did put together a care package of spells and supplies to perform them for a loved one who is facing legal difficulty and needs some self-care support as well as a spiritual boost to ensure justice is served, but I didn’t perform any of the spells myself. For Grimoire Growth, I’ve printed a ton of info to put into my grimoire and I’ve worked on coloring divider pages from Amy Cesari’s Coloring Book of Shadows series. Lots of room for growth here, but I’m learning every day!
Physical Connection: It’s summer and the season of ice cream and sandwiches, so I am giving myself some leeway with my Nutrition Mission. (Unfortunately, I can make that excuse for all the seasons, so I really do need to crack down harder on this.) I am half-assedly following Marla Heller’s DASH Diet eating plan (with plans to do so more diligently in August) and snacking less – that’s what I’m willing to do for now. I’ve been building Solid Strength by walking a mile daily and studying and practicing Tai Chi a few times a week. I’ve studied yoga a bit and am contemplating starting it later this year after I’ve built some strength and flexibility with Tai Chi. As for Keeping House, I’ve honored my meat temple by taking weekly baths with lavender Epsom salts and with my diffuser wafting out relaxing oil blends, and I’ve used lavender lotion on my beat-up feet (I go barefoot pretty much constantly in the summertime!). I’ve also kept my very short finger- and toenails painted pretty pink because it makes me happy. On a TMI note, I’ve been more mindful about having fun during “petting sessions” with The Husband – admittedly a bit personal, but that’s a part of my physical life, so there it is! I’ve fallen short on tracking my Mind-Body Connection with my bullet journal, but I can tell a difference in my mood when I’m taking better care of all aspects of myself and I plan to give tracking another shot next month.
Spiritual Connection: I’ve been crap at this one – it’s the hardest for me to get a good handle on. The most I’ve done is to take a moment to thank all the elements during a couple of my Moments of Zen and to thank the Universe for the day during my nightly visit with the outdoors. I have done some research on prayer and meditation that I want to put into practice this coming month, though – baby steps!
Hearth and Home Tending: I’ve stuck to my monthly rotation of chores fairly well for Cleanliness – summer lets a few things slip, but not many. We found a better fix for a nagging drainage problem in our laundry room that eliminated our walking onto a wet towel on the floor every time our floor drain overflowed from air conditioning runoff, so that counts for repairs, and we’ve maintained lightbulbs that have burned out, a curtain rod that fell down due to loosened hardware on the wall, and other little things around the house that sometimes get overlooked. For some reason, my “suffer” project this month has been food prep – I think that because I’m busy outside with the herbs and inside with my research, I’m in a snit about having to go get and prepare all the veggies required for the DASH diet. I’m still doing it, but that is the task I have to talk myself through the most this month. Next month, I hope to take on some old scrapbook projects I’d like to have finished. As for Hygge Hearth Time, that’s rarely a problem in this house – we are all about the hygge! We have spent several evenings outside at The Boychild’s swingset with all 12 of our tiki torches lit and all of our solar lights twinkling around the perimeter of our yard. It’s truly magical out there when we sit watch deer, fireflies, and bats while we listen to the kid chatter all about the latest video game he’s into as well as the owls hooting, the birds bedding down. In his teenagerness, those days come fewer and farther between, so we really treasure the times when the stars align and we get a good night with him. I also splurged a little to purchase a Himalayan pink salt lamp for indoors – it gives off a very warm, almost campfirey glow that is very comfortable and has brought the three of us close to snuggle and enjoy a couple of rainy evenings together. I’m very much looking forward to enjoying that glow all fall and winter, too.
Human Connection: I think this area has surprised me the most upon examination – I do a lot more for and with people than I give my introverted self credit for. I asked friends for help on some technical aspects of my blog and new Facebook page, and I asked for my monarch-rearing friend to supply me with the caterpillars and milkweed to participate in the cause, and I received all of it with ease. (Asking for help is a big deal for me, so I’m counting this as a big win.) I’ve not been good about tracking when I give help, but I know that I am helping to raise said monarchs to better the environment, I help folks on some of my interest boards (gardening and healthy eating) with advice on Facebook, I help my friends and family anytime they ask, and I offer help when I see that help is needed. As for service, I’m not working outside the home at the moment, but I feel I serve my family by keeping the house running smoothly and I’m hoping to start providing an educational/entertainment service with my blog by posting some of my research and coming up with cool things to blog about. (It’s not much, but it is industry!) I’ve not needed a lot of services this month, being home and hermiting for the most part, but what service I have received I’ve met with gratitude. I did some heavy emotional lifting for my husband during a rash of family occasions he needed to attend (long story short, my in-laws are a difficult family to belong to), and I helped lift my mom as she worried about her family’s troubles this summer. I felt myself lifted by some relatives that took the time to come see the three of us separate from the family events, and I also felt lifted by my husband as he helped me process a major job disappointment. Best of all, I thoroughly enjoyed my boys this month as my husband took every Friday in July off to enjoy some extra time at home with us, I enjoyed seeing our cousins from Iowa when they passed through town, and I enjoyed the friendship of my friend and her butterfly tutelage.
Not bad for the first month! I’m glad to take a minute to take stock, though, and note what I want to work on next month as I go forward. Make sure to let me know how you’re doing on your challenge in the Half-Assed Circle on Facebook!