Good night a-livin’! I am up to my eyeballs in homework, housework, and out-of-the-home work. Wanna know how much of it I have got done? Yep, you guessed it: not much.

See, I’m a horrible procrastinator. If it is something I don’t wanna do, I will find a gazillion other things to do instead. My body even sabotages me. I become extremely exhausted and/or I get migraines that feel like the entire left side of my face is going to collapse and explode at the same time. My left nostril closes up and I think, “Dang it! I’m getting sick!” Then, my husband says “Nope, it’s psychosomatic. You just don’t want to do your homework.” Then I secretly curse him for being right. Again.

My assignments are all due Sunday evening and I’ve done two of them. That is two out of about 30 (when you include discussion board postings and responses). I decide that we need bread. Or cookies. Or cake. Or I remember that we are out of ketchup and I just HAVE to have it NOW. I mean, what if I want a French fries at 11pm? Who can eat fries without ketchup? That is a CRIME. Communist even!

What was that? Did you just ask me if my homework is done yet? Of course not, silly! Why do you think I’m writing this? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I better get back to it before The Teacher aka my husband catches me and I’m in trouble again. Which reminds me, I have to do some laundry…


Taking Care of Business aka Taking Care of Me

This full moon cycle has been a doozy. I have seen blow ups between family members and between friends all over social media. For most of my life, I have avoided confrontation and expressing my feelings. I have been concerned with gaining (or losing) the approval of people I respect and care about or looking like a “bitch”. I’ve heard the saying “You can’t please everyone” a million times, but the truth of that statement is really manifesting in my life.

One thing I am working on is taking better care of me. This is not easy. I have begun removing people from my life who are toxic. On social media, if we don’t interact for a month or more (in person or online); I am unfriending. I don’t want people who simply fill a space on my friends list. Also, if you regularly post updates and memes that air your dirty laundry or bash people who live different lifestyles than you; I am unfriending.

Over the past two months, I have removed about fifteen people. Some of them have messaged me and behaved in a passive-aggressive manner. As difficult as it was, I simply stated the reasons for my removal of them from my profile. These messages have prompted me to examine myself and what causes these people to think this behavior is acceptable. What is it about me that brings this out in our interactions but not their interactions with mutual friends?

I think these people know that I have a hard time asserting myself. Like a dog can smell fear; they can smell a doormat (or what they think is a doormat). I hate being perceived as mean or a bitch because I am neither of those. I also hate being perceived as weak or a doormat because I am neither of those.

What I have noticed is that the more assertive I am, the easier it gets. I have some truly wonderful people in my life who inspire me to be myself and to take better care of myself. I watch them and think, “Yes. That is how I want to be: strong, confident, kind, loving, and still taking care of myself.” These people encourage me every day, and I am grateful for their friendship.

As one of my favorite authors, Ly de Angeles says, “There is no room in the Craft for whiners, wimps, hypocrisy, cowardice, pomposity, or any other of the acceptable masks of the inept. It takes courage to be unfettered. It also takes a degree of daring (p. 83).” ~ Witchcraft: Theory & Practice

I am a Witch and it is time to start behaving like one.

The Beauty of Winter

As I sit wrapped in an afghan clutching my coffee, we are currently sitting at -4* this morning with a wind chill advisory in effect and a winter weather advisory going into effect at 6pm. The advisory is calling for 2-5 inches of snow and the wind chill advisory is calling for temps of -15 to -30.

My adopted hometown of Amberg, WI is sitting at -15 with a wind chill warning until noon today. They may reach temps of -45, which causes me to worry about Grampy and whether he is warm enough and has enough firewood close to the house or not.

I am always in awe of this season. Although the land and trees are barren, there is such beauty in it. There is something so breathtaking about leafless limbs cloaked in snow. I love looking outside to see the ground covered in a blanket of white. I look for animal tracks and try to identify what kind of animal has been out and about during this frigid weather.

It is also the time of year when I get a little crazy. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a caged animal; never able to stretch my legs outside in the fresh air. There isn’t much to do on this homestead in the winter. We have no livestock (the village won’t allow it), so the only outside chore is shoveling and my husband usually does that. The compost is frozen solid, so it won’t even tumble.

The lack of outside activities mean I’m either in the kitchen baking bread, rolls, or desserts (which pack on our winter weight), or working on crochet and cross-stitch projects. January is not a very busy time for Leave Them in Stitches, the small-business I co-own with my sister-in-law. Most of our customers have already ordered their hats, mittens, or scarves to get them through the season. If we are lucky, we have the occasional order that feeds our yarn addiction. We are going to add more items to our product line in the coming year once I get reacquainted with the sewing machine. Hopefully, business will pick up then.

In the meantime, I will gaze outside at the Earth in all her winter splendor and watch her as she sleeps. I will peruse my new Rare Seeds catalog, plan this year’s garden, plot my trip to the Mother Earth News Fair (it’s finally coming close enough for me to attend), stock our freezer with goodies, crochet and stitch my little heart out, and patiently away the arrival of spring. I’m in no hurry, though. Mother Earth needs her rest, so I will just tiptoe quietly so as not to disturb her because I know she is so very weary.

Starting 2015 Off Right

It has been said that whatever you do on the first day of a new year is what you will be doing all year. If that’s the case, then I will be hugging & kissing my husband, listening to good old Country music like Alabama, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Jr., and Charlie Daniels while rendering lard in the crock pot and baking bread. I definitely can handle that.

I’ve also decided to avoid engaging in debates on social media as much as possible. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I’m not going to convince folks that the answer to irresponsible gun ownership is not more gun laws or abolition of guns altogether. I’m not going to prove to someone that homemade is better than store-bought or machine-made. I’m not going to get folks to agree that Florida/Georgia Line or Luke Bryant just isn’t Country music. I’m not going to get people to understand that my beliefs don’t include a devil and I certainly don’t worship one.

Instead, I’m going to focus on building my homestead. I’m going to focus on getting out of this gigantic hole I have dug for myself because I subscribed to the belief that the only way to succeed in life was by getting a college education. See, I got one but couldn’t use it without another one, so I got a second one. That one was useless, too. So, I got another one. As of right now, I am a grossly under-employed certified high school Social Studies teacher who has a middle school endorsement. Being able to teach grades 6-12 should make me more marketable, right? Wrong. I’m currently working on my English as a Second Language endorsement with the hopes that I will finally land a teaching job so I can pay down this mountain of student loan debt.

I’m going to focus on planning a bigger and better garden this year (and remembering to plant that garlic in October!). I’m going to master the art of bread-baking (I want those perfect loaves I see in blog posts). I’m going to can more and waste less. I’m going to make rain barrels and use that rain water for the garden. I’m going to make better use of the composter out back.

Finally, I’m going to work on ignoring the naysayers. I’m sure you have them in your life. The ones who look at you with one eyebrow raised while asking, “Why don’t you just buy it at the store?” or “I don’t have time for that. I’m much too busy. I have better things to do.” The ones who look down on you because you don’t subscribe to the same idea of life that they do.

If you’re like me, some of them may even be family members. It hurts me that they are not able to accept my lifestyle because it means that they don’t accept me. It hurts more than I want it to, and I find myself defending this way of life I love and want to go farther into.

I just looked at some numerology for this year and my personal year number is a 4. This means “A year of hard work, discipline and opportunities.” Well, given that I am going to work harder on my goal of homesteading, I think that is a pretty good sign.

I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. You have the power to make it great, so get out there and MAKE IT SO.