What are you waiting for?

No, seriously… What are you waiting for? Because we all have something. Something we’d like to do, or be, or have. Some secret dream that we’ve buried away, waiting for the day when we’re finally good enough, strong enough, smart enough.

Here’s the thing though: All the wanting and waiting in the world isn’t going to make that dream come true. At some point, you simply have to scrape up all your courage and say, I’m not afraid to fail.

What if, as an infant, you let your fear of falling keep you from trying to walk? Or what if your first clumsy attempts to hold a pencil kept you from learning to write? Your fear wasn’t enough to stop you then. Why do you let it stop you now?

Don’t wait any longer. Be brave. Every baby step you take is a step closer to realizing your dream. Begin today.

Magical Boosts for Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again… time to make your New Year’s Resolutions. But how and why you make your list can be just as important as what is on it. Let’s look at some techniques (magical and otherwise) to make your goals more likely to be met.

1. Make a list. Start by actually writing down each and every goal that is important to you. Then cull, ruthlessly, until you are left with only the goals that you really, truly are willing to put the time and effort into. Once you have your final list, make a copy of it and place it where you will see it every single day of the upcoming year. You can print it out with your computer, if you want. But how about hand-lettering the list in your best handwriting, and framing it with hand-drawn zentangles or sketches? Or maybe some fancy calligraphy is more your style. However you choose to do it, you want to send a convincing signal to your brain (and to your heart) that this list carries more weight than last week’s grocery list, or next year’s Christmas cards.

2. Another thing to keep in mind when making your list, is what are your “victory conditions”? Keep them ultra-specific. If you end up going beyond your original ambitions, then fine and good. But as any psychologist will tell you, your brain is an expert at changing the goalposts. So if your resolution is something like: “Learn to play the guitar”, as soon as you learn to play a few basic chords, suddenly that’s not good enough any more, and you want to learn your favorite song. And then maybe you’re disappointed because you don’t have it memorized. And on and on, until pretty soon it’s the end of the year, and you still haven’t “Learned to play the guitar.”

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with continually re-evaluating and re-aligning your goals. The problem comes when we are so focused on our new aims that we cannot see the slow, painfully won progress that we’ve already made. Set clear, attainable goalposts all along the way, and then (most importantly), celebrate your victories and acknowledge your progress.

3. Find a patron deity to call on, but don’t expect them to do all the work. Light candles, whisper prayers, whatever you need to do, but understand that you, yourself have to do the heavy lifting. In other words, don’t pray to Asclepius to make you a brilliant surgeon, and then forget to enroll in medical school! For that matter, don’t even blame Asclepius for the test you failed because you were too busy re-arranging your altar to spend any time studying. If you want something badly enough, ultimately you’ve got to be the one who makes it happen.

4. Don’t confuse temporary defeat with permanent failure. Not gonna lie… it can be so disappointing when you don’t reach your goal. But when that happens, you have choices. You can give up and admit defeat (never a good option). Or you can gird your loins and join the battle once again (Yay, you!). A third option might be to allow yourself a time of introspection and contemplation, so you can reflect on what is really important to you, and what price you are willing to pay for it.

Remember too, to take a clear-eyed, detached look at what you have actually accomplished. For instance, if your goal was to make a drawing a day for the next 100 days, and you only managed 50 days before life interrupted your plans, guess what! You’ve had all sorts of successes, even if you didn’t accomplish your goal as it was written. After all, you made a GREAT start at creating a habit, which will make your success that much more likely when you begin again. And you’ve learned new skills and new techniques… so much more than you would have if you hadn’t set your goal in the first place. Don’t overlook all the things you’ve done right!

5. Find your focus. And I don’t just mean your powers of concentration. I mean like Dumbo and his feather. Have an actual physical item that can act as a touchpoint or anchor- something like a ring or a crystal- that reminds you constantly of your goals. If having a physical item that you can hold and touch makes you stronger, smarter, and more determined, then by all means, use that to your advantage. At the very least, it will serve the same purpose as a string tied around your finger– as a reminder to help you stay on track.

6. Don’t limit yourself to once-a-year resolutions. With the goalpost so far out, the tempatation is to feel like you have plenty of time to get the job done. Want to lose weight? Sure you do… starting next week, after all the holiday baking has been consumed.

Make a practice of making smaller goals, more frequently. I love to set new goals for myself on the New Moon. It’s a simple-to-remember, utterly magical time that is naturally aligned to fresh starts and renewals. The moon phase has the added benefit of being very visible and easy to follow. Are you on-track for your current goals? A glance at the night sky will tell you!

7. Words have power. Use them wisely. Make time each and every day for affirmations. The quiet times of the day, first thing in the morning or last thing at night, tend to work particularly well for this practice. Keep the affirmation short and sweet, and don’t shy away from adding an “As my will, so mote it be” on the end of it. This is spellwork, make no mistake.

8. And on the subject of words: listen closely to your self-talk, and adjust it as needed, because frankly, we tend to say things to ourselves… dreadfully hurtful things… that we wouldn’t say to our worst enemy, much less to someone we care about. This is absolutely not ok! The next time you catch yourself saying things like, “I’m so fat, I’m so stupid, I can’t do anything right”, just stop! Find an alternate message that is positive and encouraging, such as “I am eating healthier, and making better choices.”

9. Above all else, let your thoughts and emotions work together. Take stock of how badly you want to reach your goal. Is it an all-consuming passion? Or more like a, “Gee, I guess I should…”? Don’t fall into the trap of living up to others’ expectations. Find what means the most to you, and go after it with everything you’ve got.

I wish you every success in reaching your goals, this New Year, and always!

Summer Solstice

Midsummer Day is coming to a close. Throughout the day, my Facebook and Instagram and what-have-you have been filled with cheery greetings of “Have a blessed Litha” and “Merry Midsummer”, which never fail to give my heart a lift. How wonderful it is to know there are kindred spirits all over the world, sharing in the celebration.

The days will begin to shorten now, although the Sun’s power will still hold forth for many more months, especially down here in the South. In some ways, the conveniences of modern life make it more difficult to stay attuned with the passing seasons. Air conditioning holds back the summer heat. Electric lights make even short days seem long. How many times do we look up one day and ask, “Where did the time go? How can it be Fall already?” Acknowledging the turning of the Wheel of the Year, whether you do so with a formal ritual or simple private observance, keeps us in tune with the seasons in ways that many people are not. We know in our bones the dance of Darkness and Light, although we sometimes forget it in the rush of day-to-day life.

Merry Litha to you all!

Spring Altar

spring altar

The seasons are changing down here in the South. The spring equinox is just around the corner. Grey and gloomy weather has given way to sunshine and soft breezes.

This feels like the start of the new year to me, no matter what the calendar says. I feel itchy and restless and ready for new beginnings. Every tiny green leaf I see, on branches that have been bare all winter, remind me that I, too, have had a season of rest, and now it is time to burst forth and grow, grow, GROW!

I snuck away from my regular duties for a while today, to sit beneath the trees and recharge. And, because the day was so beautiful, I set up a few favorites of mine that will soon find their way to an indoor altar space. I thought they would enjoy the sunshine as much as I. Does that sound odd to you?

A quick Google search will yield numerous sites that will tell you how your altar “should” be set up. This crystal here; that candle there. And I have to admit, I just don’t get it. My sacred space needs to be mine alone, not a copy of someone else’s blueprint.

See that goblet? That’s a piece of Depression-era glass that I inherited from my Grandmother. It’s not just a symbolic vessel for my altar. It’s a connection between me and my ancestors. That wand? Made by my own two hands, from wood that grew right here on our homestead. The tiny eggs in the nest are “practice eggs”, laid by our hens when they first began laying. They aren’t just a symbol of new life. They are reminder of my connection to the land here. Everything in that untidy little pile has a meaning beyond what is easily seen.

And I have to admit, it’s unlikely that these treasures will all find their way to a single, formal altar space once they come back inside. Some of it will, surely, but the flowers will probably go to the kitchen table. The acorns will go back outside for the squirrels. The sage candle will go to my desk, because it smells like green and life and hope, and I love to have it burning as I work. And each of these spots around my home will become an altar. I will surround myself with my magic, and tuck it into every nook and cranny of my life.

There are no rules for your magic. Only the ones you write yourself. And you know, far better than any expert, what will call to your soul and light your fire within.

*** Would you like to share your springtime altar pictures and stories with us? Maybe your ideas will become an inspiration for someone else. What are you doing to celebrate the season?

Please come share with us on our Facebook page or you can share here on our blog page.

Back to School for Everyone.

gandhiIt’s that time of year again. Families are savoring the last few days of summer vacation, and proud parents are posting pictures of their kids, fresh-faced and eager, headed back to a brand-new school year. We tend to think of “back to school” events strictly as kids’ activities, but… when is the last time you learned something new? When did you last put your brain into gear and set out to master something new and exciting? The internet has made an astounding range of learning opportunities available at little to no cost, and you can adjust your schedule and workload to your convenience. Here are some of our favorite sites for learning something new:

TED Talks

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) features an ever-growing collection of talks about a wide range of subjects. These short (usually less than 18 minutes) talks are not detailed how-tos, but they are fascinating and often inspirational introductions to topics, served up with enthusiasm and humor.
http://www.ted.com/


YouTube

On YouTube you can find a vast array of helpful tutorials on more subjects than you can imagine. Want to learn glass blowing? Scuba diving? Hippo herding? Chances are, someone’s made a YouTube video about it! Part of the fun is, you never know how good (or how bad) your instructor will be. Just take everything with a grain of salt. It’s pretty easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.
https://www.youtube.com/


Facebook

Facebook has numerous groups where you can share and learn with others on many topics. From blacksmithing to gardening, music to jewelry making, and so much more. You may find that you learn best when you are part of a “community of learners”, where the lines between teacher and student are blurred, and everyone is sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm. Facebook tends to work very well for supporting this social aspect of learning.
https://www.facebook.com/


Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers an extensive selection of on-line classes from Kindergarten level through high school and beyond. They have also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.
https://www.khanacademy.org/


Coursera

Coursera offers college level courses from top universities for free. That’s right: a FREE college education. There’s no diploma at the end, of course, but if you’ve ever wished you could stay in college forever, without ever declaring a major, well, here’s your chance!

https://www.coursera.org/


MIT OpenCourseWare

Looking for something a little more advanced? MIT offers a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate level courses for free.

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm


picassoWe’ve focussed on online resources in this list, but don’t overlook learning opportunities in your local community as well. There are usually plenty of clubs, classes and get-togethers to match your interests. And if not, perhaps you can start your own.

In short, never underestimate the benefits of being a lifelong learner. Your brain will stay healthier and more flexible, and you will find yourself with a renewed sense of purpose in life.

Affirmations

Do you listen to yourself? 

I mean, really, do you hear the messages you say to yourself day after day, year after year?

I Never thought I was a Bully... until I listened to how I speak to Myself. I think I owe myself an Apology. ~z2z~The internal dialogue you carry on with yourself is easy to overlook, but it nevertheless plays an important role in how you perceive yourself and your abilities. So honestly now, when was the last time you said something nice to yourself? Or is it more likely that you’ll find yourself saying, “How could I be so stupid!” or “I’m no good at that.”

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t– you’re right.” Smart man, that Henry Ford.

Listen to the thoughts running around in your head. Do you have a particular problem that’s bugging you? Some situation that’s making you anxious or angry? Fine. It’s time to take a closer look at it.

Imagine for a moment that your very best friend came to you with that same problem or concern. What would you say to them? Would the first words out of your mouth be “You are such an idiot!”? Of course not! You wouldn’t bully your friend, so why on earth would you bully yourself? And yet, we all seem to do so. Day after day after day, we repeat negative messages to ourself, and even worse, we believe them!

It’s time to change the message. Each morning, choose a simple affirmation for the day. Do you feel ugly and unloved? Tell yourself you are beautiful and appreciated. Do you feel like you waste too much time? Tell yourself you are focussed and productive. One of my favorite affirmations comes from the old story of the Little Engine That Could: “I think I can. I think I can.” Say that to yourself, and see if you don’t have a more positive, determined attitude.

The words you say to yourself matter. Choose them carefully, and treat yourself like a friend, not an enemy.

New Arrivals!

One of the few perks of being a business owner, is having the ability to take a day off when needed. Today was just such a day. When we went out to feed the goats this morning before work, it became readily apparent that our oh-so-pregnant doe, Sassafras, didn’t have much longer to wait. And sure enough, within about an hour, she had three of the cutest goat kids you ever did see. Sassy is a terrific mother, and we are all so proud of her!

So, to any customers who may have been inconvenienced today… we apologize! No packages got packed. Phone calls didn’t get made. Orders didn’t get placed. But it was a wonderful day nonetheless. And we promise, everything will be back to normal again tomorrow. Thank you for understanding.

Beltane Blessings

Beltane doesn’t have to be all maypoles, bonfires and naked dancing. In fact, if you have nosy neighbors, those sorts of things can be downright hard to explain. Here are some suggestions for ways to honor the turning of the wheel while keeping it simple and discreet.

  1. Light a candle. Burn some incense. Shoot off some fireworks. Heck, cook something on the grill. This is a fire festival, after all. It’s time to turn up the heat!
  2. Do something to connect with nature, even if it’s just a walk in the park. If you can’t manage that, at least open a window and let some fresh air into your life.
  3. Plant a seed. Don’t be too literal about this. Sure, if you have space for a garden, this is an excellent opportunity to do some planting for future harvests. But you can plant metaphoric seeds as well – start a new project, take a class, make a plan. Anything that will yield a harvest of some sort down the road.
  4. Wear brightly colored clothing. Put a smile on your face, even if you don’t really feel like it. It’s time to shake off the winter blues.
  5. pancakePlay with your food. Eat something round and sunny, like oranges, or key lime pie. Make pancakes shaped like the sun. Drink lemonade.
  6. Find some quiet time. Breathe deep. Close your eyes. Step away from the hustle and bustle, and create a space within yourself for magic.
  7. Share your blessings. A May Day card or small gift, either shared in person or left anonymously, can really brighten someone’s day.
  8. Pick flowers. Put them in a vase, or make a small bouquet to hang on a door or window. Save one to stick behind your ear, or in a shirt pocket.
  9. Play some music. What songs remind you of summer? What music stokes your inner fires, and fills you with energy? Play that!
  10. Engage in acts of love and pleasure. ‘Nuff said!  😉

Magic in the Night Sky

The night sky is always a source of wonder and awe, particularly when the heavens play host to a dance of shooting stars. The Lyrid meteor shower will peak in the pre-dawn hours of April 22 or 23, and if you don’t mind losing a few hours of sleep, chances are good you’ll get a spectacular show. Because the moon will set early on these days, conditions will be ideal for viewing (assuming your weather cooperates).

The Lyrids are a notoriously unpredictable meteor shower, often only producing modest numbers of shooting stars, and in other years, creating amazing outbursts. It is likely that you’ll see 10-20 meteors per hour, although rates of 100 per hour have been noted in some of the most active years.

You can find more information on the meteor shower here:
Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower

Update: If you can’t see due to clouds or other conditions, watch them live at Space.com

Good luck!

-Bill, Kimberly & Rhys Tuttle

A Bit About Us

This month, we are celebrating our 20th year in business. That’s a huge milestone for any small business, and we’re awfully glad to be able to celebrate it with you. Our customers are the best in the world, and we look forward to serving you for another twenty years (at least!).

We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings, selling at local weekend events. As our customer base expanded, and our merchandise lines grew, it became readily apparent that a shift to online and mail-order sales was the way to go. Although we miss being able to meet our customers face-to-face in the real world, we knew that we wanted to give you the personal service of a mom-and-pop shop combined with the ease and convenience of internet shopping. Rest assured that no matter how much our company grows, when you contact us with questions or concerns, we will always do our utmost to make your shopping experience a good one.

We have big plans for the future as well. Of course we will continue to seek out new and interesting items for you and your home. We’re also working hard on several website improvements, including making it easier for you to shop with us on mobile devices like phones and tablets.

In short, we’d like to say “thank you”. Your support and patronage over the years has made this dream a reality, and we are truly grateful.

-Bill, Kimberly & Rhys Tuttle