Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in the DiLuzio Home

I find myself at the close of yet another year gone by too quickly. So many schedules to keep track of, appointments to make, places to go. It seems that the rat race never ends. It's like that everywhere, and our home is no exception. So, let's catch up with the family and see what we've been doing for 2012.

Jim, the resident King of the Castle with me as his Queen, continues his work at HP. There are always several projects going to keep him busy, but that's a good thing. Big business, of course, still makes me shake my head, but we are ever so blessed that he is employed and gets to work from home. At home, he is the most awesome dad, with the kids enjoying their nightly "torture" of being tickled until they have completely collapsed on the floor and lack the ability to stand just prior to heading to bed.

Shiori is now a junior in high school. (WHO allowed that one?) She has also started driving and loves her little red mini Cooper convertible. She continues on with her passion for cooking and baking and all things culinary. She is looking forward to 2013 when her Spring semester will include Advanced Food Prep classes and her probationary period of always needing to drive with an adult in the car will end. Shiori is becoming quite the beautiful young woman and all of her siblings look up to her.

Sabrina, now 9, is in the fourth grade at a newly built school. She is thoroughly enjoying her time there and the new friends she is making as kids from a few different schools have now been re-districted to come to the new school. In the spring she played softball, and I'm pretty sure she is looking forward to that again this coming spring 2013. Sabrina takes every opportunity to try to emulate her older sister, Shiori, when she can.

Sophia, now 7, is currently in second grade and loving school-life at Delaware School for the Deaf. This school year marks her fourth year at our state's deaf school. The class sizes are much smaller than other public, or even private, schools and this allows for greater attention and focus. Her reading skills are crazy. At the beginning of the year she had a sight-word vocabulary comprehension at a sixth grade-level and she currently reads on a third grade level. She excels in many areas and wants to be a scientist when she grows up. She also played softball this year on the same team as her sister and looks forward to Spring 2013. Sophia is quite the unique individual with her own sense of timing and humor.

Xander, also 7, began first grade this Fall as his birthday falls later in the year. He is excelling in school, is incredibly smart and challenges his teachers (in a good way). He continues his love of soccer and has moved up to the older league where they actually now keep score. He is quite comical and keeps us all laughing. Soccer for him comes twice a year in Spring and Fall. Xander truly enjoys being the oldest of the three boys and having two younger brothers to look up to him.

Calvin, just now 6 as of December, is currently in Kindergarten, also at a newly built school. He is loving school, is very respectful and is currently ahead of reading goals. His teacher informs us that he is very bright and works very hard. I can honestly say I was concerned just because he can be a rough and tumble kind of kid and incredibly stubborn, but his teacher has said he is nothing short of an absolute delight to have in class. In fact, he is apparently quite the comic relief, but does his work when assigned.

Anthony, who turned 2 this year, amazed us all. Prior to turning two years old, he decided to potty-train himself completely and all at once. His was definitely the easiest, and most-enjoyable potty-training experience of all. If only all children were that easy and determined. Anthony continues to grow in leaps and bounds and, while he relishes his time at home with his mama, gets excited just thinking about going to school like his siblings. He wants so very much to do the same things that they are doing. Being the youngest of six has its advantages as Anthony has learned so much from his older siblings.

As for me, I am still loving my role as a stay-at-home mom. Some days are hectic, others relaxed. It's never dull though. I started writing for the Pagan Children's e-zine, The Pooka Pages. I consider it a great honor to have been asked to contribute. I continue broadcasting on Cauldron FM, and love my two shows. I get much enjoyment from both and relish in the fact that both of my radio shows are quite different from each other. While one allows me to take on my role as teacher, the other gets to bring out my more opinionated side. In August, I performed my first wedding as a legally ordained minister. Becoming ordained was something I was called to back when I was a child, just as the Pagan path and the Goddess had called to me back then. I take my role as a clergy-woman seriously and push myself to never stop learning, reading, and applying knowledge. Within this role, I have also felt the call to become a Sacred Pregnancy Instructor. This will allow me to continue my ministry and to attend to women and their babies in a different way in which I can walk them through a course during their pregnancy that centers around them and the sacred nature of their pregnancy. My initial training course is coming up in February and I am incredibly excited for this opportunity.

As a family, we have a love of going to the bowling alley. Three of the children have their own bowling balls, and even little Anthony finds it to be great fun. The library, especially in the Summer, is another enjoyable adventure for us. the kids love the Summer Reading Program and challenge themselves to read as much as humanly possible.

We are looking forward to 2013. There is no looking back, right? So, onward we go. Despite any troubles or stumbling blocks from 2012, we are all here in one piece and standing strong. We wish all of you a most wonderful and prosperous New Year.

BRING ON 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

For the Love of an Ocarina (or Music to Stir the Soul)

No, this won't be a huge post. I won't be proliferating about this or that. Honestly, I'm trying to ease myself back into being accustomed to writing just for the sake of writing, not necessarily for anyone, cause, or thing. I write. I love to write. I always have. It moves my soul. It will always be a part of me.

There are many things that can move a soul, cause someone to spring to action, or just help them acknowledge the Divine that lives within us and all things. Recently a friend introduced me to the ocarina. An ocarina, for those that do not know, is a wind instrument. It reminds me of wooden flutes and pan pipes; it definitely has the allure of those too. I fell in love the minute I heard the ocarina play. My friend gave me a link to someone playing "Over Misty Mountains Cold" (from The Hobbit) on an ocarina; on several different ones, actually, and the guitar. The sound was so gorgeous, so moving, so soul stirring. Now, ages ago, I took flute lessons (another wind instrument) and succeeded in coming to the realization that it wasn't for me (You can read that as I sucked at it and thusly it was a "fail" experience.), and gave it up. My younger sister is the most amazing flute and piccolo player though. :)

Something about the ocarina (and oy are there many varieties to choose from) called me back to give another go at a wind instrument. Now, I had never thought I would have one in my hands so quickly. It came to me talking to my husband one night and we were looking at different ones. He began to wonder how easily the instrument could be played. Mind you, this is the guy who can play 5 instruments or so. Personally, I thought he was taking an interest. Little did I know, he turned right around and ordered one for me until I opened it last night during our Yule celebrations.

Immediately I tried to figure it out. In fact, I spent two hours after I put the kids to bed just playing. I completely love this instrument. It speaks to my soul and the sound is incredible. I have fund all sorts of songs I am intent on learning, as well as several songs that I am working on mastering. Yes, I said mastering. I don't want to sound like a third grader attempting to play "Hot Cross Buns" on a recorder with a bunch of other third graders at a school concert while the parents all seem to listen intently while inside their minds are screaming "Will this ever end? Please stop the torture!" I don't want to just "muddle through," but, rather, I want to master it as best as I can, so the music is fluid and I am easily moving from note to note.

For me, there is something soul-soothing about the ocarina. It lifts my spirits, speaks to my soul, and moves me. Music can be like that for me, in general, but never have I found it in the love of an instrument. Now I have.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Reflections

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,'s all over and unavoidable; the news, Facebook, the radio, blog posts such as this, Twitter, everywhere. Frankly, unless you are unplugged and out of touch with humanity and the world, then chances are you know what happened. Twenty-six lives lost, of those were 20 very innocent little children. No, I do not recognize the mother of the shooter, or the shooter, as being included in those lives lost because I feel they do not need the recognition. I am talking about the children and the staff at Sandy Hook whose only crime was going to school that day. And every one of those 26 deserve to be here today.

This is something that has rocked not just the nation, but the world. I am a mother of six children, 4 of which would have attended that school had that been the area we lived in. For me, a tragedy like this cuts deep, deep into my soul. Newtown, CT needs to heal, as well as the Nation, and so does the world. Apart from Westboro Baptist Church, I have yet to hear a person say that any of those 26 deserved it. No. They did not. However, it happened. Newtown, CT may as well have been Anytown, USA because it COULD have happened anywhere.

Now you hear the people screaming -- NO MORE GUNS! STRICTER GUN LAWS! MORE GUN CONTROL! Well, I'm going to say this plain and simple for all THIS IS NOT A GUN CONTROL ISSUE!!!!! When do we realize that it's not about the guns? If it wasn't a gun, it would have been a knife, an explosive device, or any number of things that can be used to inflict injury and death. Guns aren't killing people. People are killing people, and that's the whole of it. People have been killing people for ages. It isn't anything new. Take away the guns, and those who wish to kill just find another means. Stop blaming guns. Stop blaming inanimate objects for that matter.

There are those that are pointing the finger at the Autism Community with wild-haired beliefs that autism causes mass murderers. Ummm, really? I think not. And if they don't blame autism, people will point the finger at bi-polar, schizophrenia, or any number of other issues. Stop pointing fingers. Go get yourself educated and get off the blame wagon. People live and function with these things everyday.

Frankly, I'm waiting for the conspiracy theories to start. You know, the ones that will spread with rumors that the murderer was a product of government brain-washing. The rumors that will say he was trained to do this just so the government could come sweeping in and impose all sorts of anti-gun laws on a nation whose Second Amendment Rights include the Right to Bear Arms. To those people I say, GET A GRIP ON REALITY. You need to stop before you ever even think of going there. How is it I can say that someone out there has a conspiracy theory like this? That's easy. There are always those who talk crazy conspiracy theories. Please come back to reality or crawl back under the rock you crawled out from; not everyone is out to get you.

All of these things instill fear. Instead of talking about the killer, instead of pointing the finger at any number of things, and instead of allowing the media to keep projecting all of these negative messages into the public (makes for such great news, doesn't it?), change the conversation. Yes, I said change the conversation. Talk about true issues that matter. Let's get into a discussion on mental health and how we can help. Let's stop the stigma that "chemical imbalances" aren't the norm. Hey, buddy, what's normal for you isn't necessarily normal for the next guy. Stop making them feel like less of a person. If your child has ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bi-Polar, ODD, and the list goes on, get them the help they need and get yourself some support. This is not the time to feel embarrassed or ashamed. If you are too concerned about how those things reflect on you as a parent, then you have more problems than your own kid because that means you're spending too much time worrying about how YOU LOOK and no where near enough time investing in your child to make sure that he or she becomes the best person that he or she can become; something as a parent you should be doing for ANY and ALL of your children. So, get help. Get yourself help. Find not only a way to support your child, but a support system for yourself. Children, all children, don't come without challenges of one sort or another. Just because the "challenge" presented to you wasn't what you wanted doesn't give you a right to be hush hush about it. It has been proven time and time again that ignoring something does not make it go away. In many instances, it can further exacerbate the problem.

Now to get off my soapbox here, I will end with this. Twenty-six human being lost their lives, and many more than that have lost their innocence due to the actions of someone who needed help and wasn't given that help. TWENTY-SIX. Now is not the time to act out in violence, or in anger. It is time to stop looking at our differences. Now is the time to gather your prayers, blessings, energies and candles. This is a time to remember the innocent lives that were lost and pray for them, for their families, and for healing. However you pray, whomever you pray to, now is the time to set aside our religious differences and lend our energies to these families. Forget the person who caused these people's lives to end earlier than they should have, but, rather, remember those who died. If you do nothing else, remember just one name of those twenty-six. 

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

Rachel Davino, 29, Teacher
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, School principal
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Teacher
Lauren Rousseau, 30, Teacher
Mary Sherlach, 56, School Psychologist
Victoria Soto, 27, Teacher

Lift them up, that the memory of them carries on. Peace & Blessings to all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Hamsa: Symbology, Roots & My Personal Views

Nearly 30 years ago, as a little girl visiting Epcot and going around to the varying countries within the park, I gained a love of the Hamsa instantly upon seeing it. Thirty years later I still can't explain exactly where the draw comes from, but it draws me in. It always has, and very well, may always draw me in. The intricacies of this symbol are lovely to behold. I have seen varying designs over the years, and I find them fascinating. They still hand out a plastic Hamsa there at Morocco inside Epcot. Every time I have visited, I have always collected one. They usually end up in my personal items and such. Up until I decided to leave my job of 11 years, I had one up at my desk within the confines of the area that I had other sacred items. I would venture to say it is one of my favorite symbols. 

So where did the Hamsa come from, who (as in religion) does it belong to, and what does it mean exactly? Off I went to go find that out for myself. Why? Because I love history, culture and research. In addition, I wanted to know why I love this symbol so much so that anytime I see it somewhere I pause and gaze, taking in all of the details. The Hamsa, or Hamsa hand as some call it, has a few spellings - Hamsa, Hamesh, Chamsa & Khamsa. It is a Middle Eastern amulet that can be seen upward or downward facing. It symbolizes the Hand of God, and, regardless of the faith that uses it, is considered a protective sign bringing it's owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. For me personally, looking at the Hamsa brings about a conscious level of the ever-present Divine. What each person calls the Divine is up to them, as well as, the confines of the religion utilizing it. It is said to be protective and ward off the evil eye. With the powerful nature of this symbol, I can see that interpretation. While I have only seen the one rendition of it, there are two shape variations of Hamsa; one being the hand with two symmetrical thumbs pointing outwards (that's the one I am familiar with), and the other being shaped like an actual hand and not at all symmetrical.

Looking a bit deeper into the Hamsa, beyond knowing that it is an ancient Middle Eastern symbol, you find that it is utilized mainly in Islam and Judaism and has been for centuries. So what, as a Pagan, does this mean for me? Or, why would a Pagan be so drawn to a symbol used in Islam and Judaism? For me, personally, just because there is a symbol primarily used in another faith or faiths, it does not deter me, nor do I allow it to be the deciding factor from utilizing it within my own spiritual practices. I am of the mindset that if a symbol draws you in, there is a reason. As it turns out, it has been found that the Hamsa pre-dates those 2 religions and goes back even further to the Phoenicians where it was used as a protective symbol for an ancient Middle Eastern Goddess. That one simple fact speaks to me in volumes and resounds within me. I often talk of interconnectedness amongst religions, that while our paths may differ, there is much that is the same or of equal magnitude. The Hamsa is proof of exactly that!

It has been said that it has always been associated with a female energy or entity. In Islam this can be seen as The Hand of Fatima who is the daughter of Mohammed the Prophet. In Judaism, it is the same, but symbolizes the Hand of Miriam who is the sister of Moses and of Aaron. Ancient Pagan Goddess, Miriam & Fatima from three distinctly different religions, and yet, here the religions are connected together within the framework of this symbol. 

Now, it can't just be that simple to me. It never is. So I looked further. My favorite number, my lucky number, has always been the number 5. I was born of the 5th of the tenth month. In numerology, my husband's number equals out to be a 5, and the son we have together was born on the 10th day of the 5th month. Also, of my six children, I have given physical birth to five of them. The number 5 has cropped up a bunch over my 37 years. I come to find out that Hamsa means five. That makes sense to me as there are five digits, or fingers, on the Hamsa. The Hebrew word for five is Hamesh, which, as I stated above, is another name for the Hamsa. There are further references to the number five regarding the Hamsa. Five is significant of the 5 books of the Torah. In Judaism, one of God's holy names is Heh, which also happens to be the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Within Islam, the symbology is representative of the Five Pillars of Islam and also the Five People of the Cloak for Shi'ites. I found that the connections regarding the number five in my own personal life and how Islam and Judaism connect in with the number five to be interesting ones. 

The more I research into the Hamsa, the deeper I can connect in with myself. While some of the answers in my research so far have been answered, for me I feel that Is just a topical connection. I look forward to continuing to explore the Hamsa, its meanings, and the direct effect this symbol and its meanings play in my life. I am very well rooted in my religion. I love my path and I love where it leads it. That being said, I am still a Seeker of sorts. I seek knowledge and understanding. I have a natural craving to learn and gain as much knowledge as I can. While it is true that I am a language aficionado, I love to learn about other religions. With the information I have uncovered thus far regarding the Hamsa, its roots, its meaning, and the fact that I am drawn to it in such a deeply spiritual way, I have no doubt that I will be exploring further by delving into Judaism and Islam; not as a means of converting to with religion, but more as a means to better understanding religious interconnectedness. I truly believe that if we are to grow and carry forward as a people, we need to learn to better understand one another, not only as human beings with distinct cultural differences, but also on a spiritual level. We need to find within each other our spiritual interconnectedness so that we may have greater respect and understanding for each other. Is it possible that this is one of the truths that the Hamsa holds for me to be able to unfold? It is possible and only time will tell. There is an immense soul-stirring feeling of the Divine and intense calm whenever I see the Hamsa. It is a feeling that will not fade, is not a fad. Being that some within Islam and Judaism wear the Hamsa as a symbol of hope and of peace in Israel and other areas of the Middle East, it is then understandable how those feelings can be stirred within my own self when I see this symbol. So I will continue to seek, research and gain new insight into the Hamsa. I don't know where it will lead me, but I know I'll enjoy the journey.

~Bridget DiLuzio, HPs

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Well, I'm sure by the title you're probably thinking I've either lost my mind or I just don't know the date. Truth is, I know this date all too well. May 8, 1999, I made a decision that would change my life forever. I left an incredibly abusive situation to save the lives of my daughter and myself.

Yep, the strong woman that I am, was not always that way. I have been beaten, raped and abused. I have been put down, knocked down, knocked out, and attacked. I have been made to feel that I had no worth and my life meant nothing. I've been bruised and battered, gagged and bound. I have felt the wrath of a miniature baseball bat and glass bottles come down upon my head repeatedly. I've been beaten with samurai swords, metal hangers, and thrown across the room half-conscious only to have my head greeted by the metal corner of a steamer trunk. I learned to create a perfectly time-stamped paper trail to account for my whereabouts to avoid further abuse. I have been poked & prodded, had my clothes ripped off of me, and been humiliated. I have been enslaved.

Yet, here I stand today to tell the tale.

By now you may be wondering who the hell had me held hostage and kept me in such a place that I would have suffered such. My captor was none other than a man that I once called "husband." You got it! I was one of those battered women that you hear about on the news and read about in the papers. No one knew my story (or at least I thought). I learned to hide behind fake smiles. If ever there was a "glamour" spell that was utilized, I used it daily. Never one to admit defeat, and an insanely stubborn refusal to be "just another divorce statistic," I continued on living that life. I was not only physically beaten down, but mentally and emotionally as well. The chains that bound up my spirit were so heavy that I felt I could never leave as there would never be anyone better. He was the best I was going to get.

I had left him once. He had been arrested when he showed up where I was working, threatening to kill me. That was dumb. My employers had me well-protected. We separated and I filed for divorce. A few months later I went back, convinced we could make it work. I got pregnant. My pregnancy was the most peaceful and happy time of that entire relationship. Not once was a hand laid on me. I was treated so well. I thought things were truly on the mend. Wrong thought. Time went on and everything resumed. I remember being at work one day when the repairman turned to me and said, "You know, one day you're going to run away from all of this (meaning my husband; he knew him as we worked in the same place) and end up running into the arms of someone who really loves you." Had I really become so transparent? Even a glamour can wear off if the person has been beaten down enough I guess.

I was miserable, knew I was miserable, but just kept going. The turning point came when all of that anger, all of that rage my former husband had turned to our daughter. I watched in horror as he got up in her little 2 year-old face and screamed at her. She had moved his precious $5,000 watch and he was pissed off. Personally, I never understood the need for that expensive a watch, and he owned several. But, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. He could abuse me all he wanted, but there was no way I would allow for him to turn that on MY daughter.

We left on Mother's Day that year, May 8, 1999, and I have never looked back. That beautiful little girl I took with me will be 16 later this year and I am so happy to be here to say the gorgeous woman she is turning into.

I celebrate this day every year. It was only a few years ago, that my daughter asked me why I silently celebrate that day. She wanted to know what it meant. So I sat her down and explained. Unless you have been in my shoes, you could never understand the "victory" of leaving that type of situation. Now, she & I celebrate each year. While I still like to celebrate silently, I share in the way that she chooses to celebrate as well. After 13 years, I decided to type this up.

Yesterday, I walked into my living room to have my 8 year-old daughter tell me I couldn't see what she was doing. This morning, she gave me a kiss and said, "Happy Independence Day, Mommy" and gave me this card.

Last year, Celia Farran ran a contest called "The Everyday Goddess Contest." The winner would be chosen on Mother's Day, which happened to be May 8th. I entered in my daughter's name. While I didn't "win," my daughter absolutely loved the video I put together. If you would like to view it, here it is:

In the last 13 years, there have been countless hugs, kisses, tears, triumph, joy & love shared. A mother's love is an incredible thing.

So, that's my story. Believe when I say that's the short version. So forgive me while I linger a little longer while enjoying things with my kids, cartwheel through wildflowers, dance barefoot in the rain and live my carefree life as only an "extreme free spirit" can. I've earned it, and now you know why.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

And the Giveaways Just Keep Getting Better!

For any of you familiar with Author Laura DeLuca's blog, you already know that in celebration of the release of her books, she has been doing giveaways on her blog. The giveaways are fantastic, I must say. If you haven't had the chance to stop over today, GO DO IT!

Right now, Laura has an AMAZING piece from Strega Jewelry entitled Mother of Sighs. Did I mention that it's AMAZING? It is a gorgeous piece. The giveaway is running now through May 26th. If you are looking for an amazing piece that will provide calming and encouraging energies, then head on over and enter today. Even if this piece isn't your "cup of tea," I encourage you to visit Strega Jewelry's site and check out the other incredible pieces there as well.

Need the link for Laura's blog? Just click here.

I entered. Now go get your chance!



Saturday, May 5, 2012

An Incredible Compliment & Some Cool News!

Wow... So hold the phone! Two posts from me in one day! What am I thinking? Honestly, I wanted to share some things with you. Several months ago I was asked if I would be interested in being interviewed by a woman who is currently writing a book on the way women worship. I was very interested and intrigued, and even more so after I was able to read what the "mission" is behind this book. I truly believe that everyone has their own path and that it is up to each individual to find what works for them. (I wish the school systems would figure that out when it comes to teaching to different learning types - I'll save that for another day) So, I whole-heartedly agreed to this interview. The questions were not easy run-of-the-mill type questions, but, rather, ones that required deep thought and introspection. I got 3 questions in on the writing portion and had stopped, not because I was unsure of what to write, but because I knew there really wasn't enough room. I had my interview with the author over the phone and we went through each of the questions in-depth. I then went back, and, taking my time, re-answered those same questions on paper. We were also asked to include poems, prayers, anecdotes, inspirational quotes, etc. along with the questions. I retyped many of the things that are incredibly moving to me and carry with them great meaning for me and the path that I walk. I sent all 12 pages along with pictures from rituals, of my various altars, etc off to the author. She responded to me letting my know how truly overwhelmed and moved she was by my responses in a positive way.

Now let's flash forward to May 4th - Star Wars Day all over Facebook. I don't think a single person could have gotten away without seeing "May the 4th be with you." That phrase, by the way, makes me giggle. Anyway, a quote by Yoda came across my page, and I had forgotten how much I truly loved this particular one and how well it fit my chosen path. I took the quote and shot a message off to the author asking her to please add that to my list of quotes that have special meaning to me.

So why am I telling you all this? Not only did she let me know she would do that, but she then re-posted the quote on her wall and paid me a truly incredible compliment in the process. Here's the quote, as well as, what she wrote afterwards:

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship." - Yoda (via Bridget Di Luzio--one who walks her path with honor, dignity and grace)
You inspire me, you help my spirit remember it's Truth. — 

To have someone publicly say that I walk my path with honor, dignity and grace was just mind-blowing and humbling. I was completely moved to tears. There are days when you wonder if you're doing the right thing, and then there are days like this when you know that you truly are on the right path. Everything I do has purpose and meaning, and apparently I'm not the only one that sees it. So, yeah, I was completely amazed by this public statement, and graciously thankful to be recognized in this way.


And now for some really cool news from author Laura DeLuca.

To celebrate the release of Destiny Unveiled, you can now get your copy of Destiny by Laura DeLuca for FREE on Smashwords from now through Monday, May 7, 2012. Here's the info:
Remember, the offer is only good on SMASHWORDS until May 7, so grab your copy today!

Coupon Code: DY64R
Expires: May 7, 2012

You read that right. You can get Destiny for FREE right now through Monday, May 7, 2012 on Smashwords! Well? What are you waiting for? Go get your copy!



And the Winner Is... .

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It's time to announce the winner. I apologize for not posting this last night, but in all honesty, I fell asleep trying to get my youngest to sleep. Time to recharge the "mom batteries" under the full moon. Anyway, on with the winner... .

Congratulations to Catherine Carey! 
I have sent you an email, Cathy, so if you could just please respond back your prizepack will be sent off to you.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the drawing.

Now for some coffee as I feel like I've been run over by a truck and then off to the Amish Market for some yummy goodness.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Make sure to take the time to enjoy the full moon tonight as it is the Super Moon.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Almost Here!

How was your Beltane/May Day? Did anyone do anything fun? Well, now that May is here, that means it's nearly time for the Full Moon. And this month, the full moon means.....It'll be time for the giveaway of the Destiny Prizepack! I hope everyone is ready. I'm really excited as I have never done a giveaway on my blog before. I'll be announcing the winner shortly, so stay tuned.

Also, for those of you that listen in to my radio show, Raven's Circle, with your kids or grandkids, be on the listen! I may be doing a giveaway there in the next month or so.

Right now, I've got to get back to reading. I have some new reviews coming your way and I want to get everything ready. I'm also running the radio lineup on Veetle for CauldronFM for the next couple days while the producer is on a business trip.

Sorry for the long radio silence since the last blog. I've just been busy. Not that THAT is anything new, but exciting stuff coming your way!!!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Good Morning, please accept my apologies...And other things along the way.

Good Morning world. As I sit here with my morning coffee, I am contemplating many a thing; the fact that I need more sleep, how well my last episode of Raven's Circle came together, what to put into the next show (tho I basically have that covered), what news pieces I actually want to cover in the next edition of The Nest, the next steps of a project I am working on for a fantastic book that is coming out from one of my friends, all of the writing I need to finish for another book, how I hope that beginning the potty-training process with my youngest doesn't make me crazy, and the mountain of things (maybe just a small hill, really) I am going to be reviewing on my blog and upcoming shows. There are probably other things I have to think about as well, but those are what currently come to mind.

So, let me apologize now for the fact that my blog will probably seem, over the coming weeks, that it is turning into a blogger's review of everything. Totally not my intention, but I do like doing reviews of things, trying things out & letting people know my opinion. Not all reviews will hit my radio show as some of these are strictly blog only; most will though. :) But bear with me. If something is a great product, book, CD, etc. (at least in my humble opinion), then I want to let as many people know about it. How better to do that than by reaching out across the web and across the world.

Anyway, if my blog goes wonky for awhile and seems overloaded in reviews, it's only because I really want to let you all know about something for better or for worse.

And now for a really bad plug for myself... . For any of you who have children with special needs, I will be slowly be adding previous articles I had written in Pagan Moonbeams for the Special Pagans (aka Special Needs Kids) section to my Facebook page. I will try to have them all moved over within the week into my notes. I know of one very awesome blogger, and friend, Mrs. B. over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom blog who had reposted a couple of my articles after having contacted me a few years back. I was, and still am, very honored to have articles I have written featured and referenced over there. Having a special needs child is what inspired me to start such a section for the Pagan Moonbeams e-zine in the first place. While I no longer write for them, my sister, Pandora, is still over there. I highly recommend the e-zine. It's directed towards Pagan kids of all ages.

Off my soap-box now. Think I'll go mix up some edible finger-paints to try out. Yes, I said edible. So cool. I already know I love their edible sidewalk chalk, but that's all I'm going to say until my actual review.

Enjoy the rest of your day!



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rupert's Tales - a Pagan Mama's Review

Today's book review is a Pagan children's series entitled Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year by Kyrja and illustrated by Tonia Bennington Osborn. The 1st book in this series covers Beltane, Litha, Lammas & Mabon, while the second book covers Samhain, Yule, Imbolc & Ostara. I have 6 kids, as most ofyou know, so I am always on the lookout for something Pagan-centered for them. Let me tell you that hands-down, these are the perfect books for walking your younger children through the wheel of the year. In the two books, readers are following Rupert, a bunny rabbit, through the seasons. Rupert happens to have found his way to the sacred meeting place of humans who gather at a particular time each year, celebrating the passing of their seasons and holidays. Along his road to discovery of what these humans do as the seasons change, Rupert meets various forest friends that explain and teach him about the Wheel of the Year. I was enchanted by both books. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories magickal. The author, Kyrja, has an incredible way of explaining the turning of the wheel so that even your younger children will understand and grasp the concept. The day I received these books in the mail, my youngest, who, at the time of this show is still not yet 2 years of age, was all over these and completely engrossed. All of my children have loved hearing the stories contained within these two beautiful books. In a time when I have heard many parents speak out about needing more published works from a Pagan perspective that are geared for children, Kyrja and Rupert's Tales answer that cry for help. I also happen to have the companion activity book, which is exactly that, a Wheel of the Year activity book based off of the stories from within both books. There are coloring pages, along with activities for your children. These books are definitely a treasured keepsake. Not only are these books fantastic, but I was excited to hear that Kyrja and Tonia have teamed up again for 3 more books! That's right! Rupert's Tales will have 3 additional books full of tales (no pun intended) of this awesome bunny who has so much to teach our children.

So, do I love these books? You bet! And, I recommend them to any parent, grandparent, babysitter, aunt or uncle, or anyone! And, just because these books have a Pagan-based theme, doesn't mean that others won't find them just as enchanting and delightful. So, hop on over to your favorite bookseller or and share the joys of Rupert's Tales with someone you love.

Want more Rupert than just what's out? Check out their Facebook page: Friends of Rupert at and head on over to their main website:

That wraps up my reviews for today. I truly do love these books and am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to review more published works that are greatly needed and desired within the Pagan community.



**NOTE: I was in no way compensated for my review or any review that appears on my blog, my radio show, or anywhere else. These reviews are of my own free-standing opinion.**

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Destiny - a Book Review & a Giveaway!

For any of you that know me (I mean, REALLY know me), I love a good book. I also happen to love talking and writing about books I love. Top that with the fact that I found a Pagan author writing a Pagan fiction book...BINGO! I'm there. If not for the fact that I love reading, then for the sheer curiosity of how the envelope is pushed with what happens honestly within our religion, and what has been dreamt up by Hollywood, I knew I wanted to read this book. To give you a bit of background on the book, I give you what has been written upon the back:

"Gabriella is a witch. The problem is, she doesn't remember. She repressed the memories of her powers years ago when her mother was murdered. Now, the warlock who was responsible for her mother's death has set his sights on Gabriella. He is determined to use her fear to turn her to the dark side of magick...even if it kills her. Her mother's spirit is reaching out to warn her, but even that she pushes away. Desperate to save her daughter, the spirit finds a male witch - one that just happens to be in love with Gabriella. Darron is more than willing to help, but the two young witches will have way more to battle than just an evil warlock. There are overbearing jocks and petty rich girls who get tempers flaring and often set Gabriella and Darron at odds.

There is more to the story than Gabriella and Darron could even imagine. There are terrible secrets to be revealed, battles to be waged, and lives will be lost. Only after Gabriella and Darron both come to terms with who they really are, and open themselves up to the true meaning of magick, can they have any hope of fulfilling their destiny."

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. I think one of my friends, and an author herself, Stacy Evans, put it best when she said, "I may be jumping the gun as it hasn't been released yet, but I could see this book starting a whole new wave of Twilight/Harry Potter type mass following." Stacy completely nailed the head by making that statement.

Destiny is written by author Laura DeLuca. I have had the opportunity to correspond back and forth with her and she is definitely quite an awesome person, in my humble opinion. This is her first young adult novel and I was really impressed with how closely she kept within the actual concepts of the earth-based religions. I think having a book like this written by someone who follows the religion herself is a huge boost to the published work. The fact that she kept most elements as close to reality without delving into "Hollywood" stereotypes is a testament not only to her as a writer, but also to honoring her own religion, showing the respect that any religion would deserve. Yes, there are some things that you will find that can not be done (I wish I could make a rose just grow up and out of the snow), but I did say this was fiction and I would whole-heartedly expect there be things that we all know just DON'T happen in reality, no matter how cool it would be if they did.

Once I finished reading Destiny, I handed it over to my teenage daughter. "Kat" read it with serious enthusiasm, and at a much faster pace than mom. (What can I say? YOU try reading when you have a 21-month old leaping from unknown heights into your lap.) When she finished, Kat's comments were, "I love this book series, mom! When can we get the next book? I seriously want to know what's going to happen to Gabriella andDarron next. I need to know." I love that girl. She's so cute. So, we both enjoyed the book. As for me, I am looking forward to the next edition in the series to be released soon!

I highly recommend this book to teenage girls/young adult women. It was quite hard for me to put this book down. I was completely engrossed. There were times I had to force myself to mark the page and walk away. After all, things like the laundry MUST get done, don't they? Although, I personally feel, especially in moments when I am engrossed in a phenomenal book such as Destiny, that clothes are seriously overrated.

Now for the GIVEAWAY! The giveaway is for one signed copy of Destiny by author Laura DeLuca, 5 desert rose stones, 2 crystal points, and 2 boxes of incense. This is a huge gift pack for one lucky person to win. YAY! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below letting me know how you found my blog and your name goes in for the drawing. Want more than one entry? Here's three more ways (you must comment below for the additional entries to count):

1. Follow me on twitter and comment back with your twitter handle.
2. Follow my public profile on Facebook & leave me a comment there.
3. Follow CauldronFM(the station that broadcasts my shows) on Facebook & leave me a comment there.

That's it! That's all you have to do. One winner will be chosen at random on the eve of May's Full Moon.

Want to check out more from author Laura Deluca? Listed below are her links. Check them out!

Here is the link to her video trailer for Destiny:

You can also see more at her blog, Facebook and Twitter pages:

That wraps it up for me today!

Blessings abound to all who stopped by to read the blog.


One last note... I was not in anyway compensated and/or paid for this review or any other review that appears on my blog, radio show, Facebook pages, etc. This review is my own personal opinion and given by my own volition and not because someone offered me compensation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"The Challenge" - Some Food for Thought

In October, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet an Elder from my Pagan community, Elspeth Odbert; known to many as Grandmother Elspeth. Just a week prior to meeting her, I had been shopping in our state's only metaphysical shop and had come across a beautiful piece of prose titled, "The Challenge." It was written by Grandmother Elspeth in 2004. It hangs in the entryway of my living room.

Not just a beautiful piece of prose, it truly is a "I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Will you pick it up?" challenge. While I feel it would be a complete injustice to Grandmother Elspeth to reprint the entire prose right here on my blog, I will post snippets though, to give some food for thought and to share the power behind the words.

"I challenge you, by Mystery and by Majick, to become the person you were meant to be..."

And so begins Grandmother Elspeth of Haven's challenge to all who dare to accept the challenge.

"I challenge you to live Life more fully... to know that you are the only limiting factor in your life"

The above statement, though I have it abbreviated, is HUGE! How many times do we honestly think about the limits we put on ourselves as people? While limits and bounds may be necessary for some things, there are many times when you need to become "the one who rocks the boat" in order to effectuate change. As a Witch, as a Pagan, I know that complacency can not take up residence in my home. There is no place for complacency in my life. Everything in life moves forward, even though at times one might wish it didn't. And since time stops for no man or thing, we must each learn to embrace that and stop limiting ourselves because we believe we can't change the outcome of things.

" know that war is not the answer."

In the thousands of years that we have been around, we haven't managed to figure out the above yet. We continue to wage war on each other, whether it's with knives, bows, guns, bombs, or even our words. We have yet to realize our connection to each other as people. When you look at your neighbor, do you see "the old black man that lives next door" or do you see the friendly face of a man who, now in his retirement and elder years, shares stories of his youth with your child that sits wild-eyed and listening intently? When do we break beyond seeing people by their nation, race, or even their disability and just start seeing them as people?

"I challenge you to continue in your chosen path, living joyously."

I stick to my claim that not everyone has the same path; we must each choose our own. The statement in this prose also states the same. It's the person's chosen path. No one said we all need to believe one way or the other. While there are those that try to push the envelope on that one, wanting to force people to believe how they believe to the letter, we grow so much better as a people that choose the path that fits each of us, yet allow ourselves to be open enough to listen and be accepting of another's path. My truths aren't necessarily the same as someone else's, but you will never hear me degrade another because they have a different set of truths.

I will leave it at this. I wanted only to share a bit of this thought-provoking prose with all of you. Hopefully, some of these sentiments make you think. For those who wish to seek the full prose or see what else Grandmother Elspeth offers, you can go directly to her site:

The words in "The Challenge" have been truly inspirational for me, pushing me forward, reminding me to think outside the box. Meeting Grandmother Elspeth in person after reading her prose was just as wonderful a thing. There is much that can be learned from our elders, if only we open ourselves to listen.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Holy Cow! It's March already?!

So the new year has been quite abuzz for me with some awesome things going on. Apart from my main computer crashing which wreaked major havoc for me, things have been good.

I have writing/research going on for both of my shows of Cauldron FM, Raven's Circle and The Nest. Cauldron FM is about ready to make the leap to 24/7 broadcasting, which is a major feat for us! The Nest will be broadcasting on CauldronTV as well, as soon as I get my act together (please be patient with me on that). Working with this radio station and the media company, as a whole, has just been a tremendously wonderful experience and really lifted me. I am excited for the future of Moonshadow Media Productions and my future with this company!

I have several book reviews coming up both for radio and my blog. Only one is not a Pagan book review, and I will also have some interviews happening! Stay tuned for details on all of those as they are coming down the pike rather soon! And be looking for me to make an announcement about a giveaway here on my blog. Yay, fun stuff!

Last year as I was trying to come up with gifts for Yule, I discovered a great love and knack for making things from wood and wood-burning as well. I have made pendulum boards, wands, hair-sticks, candle holders, and coasters. In doing so, I decided to open a shop on Etsy called The Well & the Flame. You can find it here. I even made a rune set. I have also got the kids crafting away. They are each making their own wands. My oldest made and wood-burned several pieces herself over the holidays.

I also recently was interviewed for a book being written about women/mothers and the way they worship. The author is an awesome person to talk to and the interview was a lot of fun, the questions really thought provoking. I'm really excited to see this book once it goes to print. :)

Daily I work on keeping complacency out of the home and away from our lives. There is definitely nothing worse than just allowing life to happen and not realizing the impact and change that you can make as just one person.

While things are still brimming and bustling, hopefully they have reached a certain plateau to allow for a more "normal for my family" routine to set back in again.

Until the next time, may you all be reminded that the Divine (however you define that) dwells within each of us and we are all connected.