Time out for now.

I am taking some time out as my Dad died on Tuesday. If you read my other blog, then you know my brother died four months ago. Not been a great time, so taking some time off blogging at the moment.

Earth Day.

Earth Day is a day where we can stop to think about our commitment to the earth.  It started in 1970 and has grown massively over the past 41 years.  I often read blogs, links, tweets, articles etc about Earth Day and feel as if I’m not doing enough, after all, on this day there is a huge hype about what we can do for Mother Earth and her resources.  But then I get to wondering, how many of these Earth Day tweeters/bloggers etc have actually just jumped on the bandwagon because it seems like the cool thing to do?  How many of them are actually committed to Mother Earth every single day?

I hear all of the time about people who say such things as “I don’t need to buy my sweetheart a gift and card for Valentine’s as I love him/her all year round”  and “My Mum knows how much she means to me so why am I being guilt tripped each year onMother’s Day”  Well, I feel the same when it comes to things like Earth Day.  Don’t get me wrong here, I think days such as this have a fantastic impact on creating awareness and that if even a small proportion of humankind becomes more Earth aware because of Earth Day then it is serving its’ purpose.

But I won’t be guilt tripped by people who will get involved with the whole day and then over the next few days they start to forget about Mother Earth and caring for her.  It isn’t possible (not really) for us to do huge acts everyday – such as the like that some people do on Earth Day.  But we can make change by doing small acts each day, little and often doesn’t have to mean nothing at all.  Of course I’m not knocking anyone’s sincerity in such matters, I just hate those who never do the green thing but then become holier than thou on a day like today and then try to give others a hard time for not doing something huge.  It just doesn’t occur to them that we are doing something always, whatever it may be.

A tip that is appropriate right now is this one:

As the weather turns nice we tend to spend more time outdoors, in our gardens and so on.  Picture the scene; it’s a beautiful day, you have friends and/or family round and you are making merry.  The day is so wonderful that you decide to sit out as long as you can, but as the sun sets it starts to feel chilly.  You don’t really want to have to go indoors as it’s such a beautiful night, albeit cooler.  Your thoughts instantly turn to creating heat in order for you to spend more time outdoors enjoying nature.  This is when some folks start to consider buying patio heaters.  A patio heater creates warmth and light and seems like the ideal solution for when the evening is cooler.  But they are a huge drain on the environment.  Instead, grab a few candles to create some light and put on a cardigan/jumper/fleece jacket or use a blanket or rug. 

Far better for our health and the environment.

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.

Being kind to bees.

Over the past couple of years it has become apparent that our bees are in decline. The facts and figures are really quite sobering. This article http://ht.ly/4CAyb   gives an insight into the facts.  As part of my pledge to myself I thought it would be a great idea to see where I could help out in my own garden.  I already have an abundance of flowers and plants but I’m keen to see if they are bee friendly.  And I don’t just wnat to stop there, I want to have a good look at my garden and see just how nature friendly it is.
That sounds very cliched, I know, but I’m finding in life that the cliched things have a tendency to be pretty accurate, so, my next challenge is to get my garden as natural as possible.  I’m going to start by making an inventory of everything I have in there and then seeing what I can do to make it more natural.

I also want to have a small area where I can make a fairy garden, whether or not I attract any fairies will remain to be seen, but I think I’m going to have a lot fun creating my fairy garden.  My garden used to be my haven but we have new folks in the neighbourhood and they are really rowdy, so we spent less time out there.  I want to change that and whilst I’m helping the bees and nature and attracting nature, I’m going to see what I can plant to ensure our privacy and maybe even drown out some of the noise from neighbouring properties.

© 2011 Susan Park.  All Rights Reserved.

Waste no more.

There are have been numerous reports in the media recently about how much we (as humnas) waste food.  It is said that many of us buy food products, store them in our refrigerators and then just leave these items there until we eventually realise they have gone out of date and we end up binning them.

Quite shocking when put like that, but true all the same.  Only, the majority of people I know don’t have unlimited funds and so have a tendency to write out a shopping list and only buy what they need.  Still, there could be items wasted in this way, but I would think it less likely.  A good way to ensure that we don’t waste money and food is to not only write out a shopping list and stick to it, but to plan meals for ourselves and families in advance.  If we know what we will be cooking then we will know what ingredients we need.  And if we know what we need then we are less likely to impulse buy, which means food products are less likley to end up binned.

It seems like the obvious thing to do really.  Not only is it good for the environment, it is good for our purses/wallets and it is good for our health too.  If we make a conscious effort to be careful when it comes to our food choices we can make a difference, even if it is just a small one.  I believe that the slightest change we can make and keep is far better than trying to do something major and giving up a few weeks on.

As funds are limited for my family we are well used to having to buy only what we need.  But there have been times when even we have had to throw things out.  This doesn’t sit well with me and I have made a conscious decision to make more of an effort to cut down on the waste we have, even though it is a very small amount.  I want to make more of an effort to plan our meals more carefully so that we have virtually no waste – let’s be honest here, I don’t think we can ever eliminate it completely.

This is a pledge I have made to myself.  I have been thinking about how I can be true to my pagan beliefs and have decided to make small amounts of change within my life.  I have a chronic illness that prevents me from getting out and about when I want to.  And I have a very sick husband who needs my care and attention, this also prevents me from doing some of the pagan themed things I have wanted to.  Life is very busy and often gets in the way of what I want to do from a witchy point of view.  With this in mind I have decided to set myself small challenges, things that don’t involve me having to travel far and wide in the name of my craft and beliefs, things I can do that are free (or nearly always free), just small changes that I know are achievable and won’t leave me feeling downhearted when something crops up.  It isn’t a gimmick, nor is it a fad, it is a city witch trying to make positive change within her life in order to stay true to her beliefs.

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.

April’s Full moon.

The full moon for April is known as the Pink moon.  These are pictures taken from my garden last night around 10.30pm.

May Selene smile upon you this full moon.

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.

Dedicated follower of fashion.

At this time of year many of us are thinking about updating our wardrobe for the summer months ahead. For some of us it will be a necessity, maybe we have finally discarded our old summer clothes after many years wear out of them and really do need new ones. Or perhaps we have a new job and it is essential that we have some smart workwear for the summer months ahead. Or maybe we have lost or gained a little weight and we are in need of some well fitting clothes to see us through the summer months.

But what if we are feeling the pinch financially? Should we succumb to the pressure of kitting ourselves out with the latest summer togs? Well, I guess that depends on your circumstances. If you really feel you must go out and buy this season’s fashion then so be it. But what if you aren’t able to afford more than a couple of items or if you feel you want to be greener?

Then there are plenty of ways you can kit yourself out for the winter ahead and at a fraction of the cost.
Firstly, if you are hooked on designer labels then how about looking for the high street equivalent. Often newspapers and magazines will have articles on how to dress like your favourite celeb etc but at a fraction of the cost.
Next is the charity shops. Most now have a really good selection of clothing (as well as shoes, handbags, accessories – not to mention household goods) to accommodate all shapes and sizes and tastes in fashion, again at a fraction of the cost. And if you’re really lucky you might even get to wear an item of clothing that belonged to a real celebrity (if that’s your thing), as quite a few celebrities have been known to donate their unwanted clothing to charity shops.

You could, if you are able to, make your own clothing. Sewing and knitting are becoming very popular once again and if you are willing to learn how it is a very viable option for the thrifty or greenies.

Another option is to just wear whatever you have. Obviously if everything is tatty then you should think about updating your wardrobe, but if your winter clothing is in decent condition and you are happy enough with it, then there really isn’t any need just to discard last years togs and go out and buy new ones.
This is a really good option if you have limited funds and/or are passionate about the environment.

Another option is to have a clothes swapping party. If you have a few friends (or even just one or two) who have similar tastes in clothes to you and are roughly the same size, then you could invite them over and have a swap around. This is a really great way to recycle last years items and it will save you money and it’s good for the environment.

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.

These are just some ideas of how to save money and be kind to the environment.

Celtic Tree Lore and getting involved.

The Celtic Tree month of Willow has just begun.  I always aim to incorporate the tree months into my life, but somehow it just never happens.  I begin by bringing up the information I have and pinpointing where we are within the cycle.  I usually manage this for a couple of months and then life happens and it all falls by the wayside.

Of course I am so determined about such stuff that I’m having another go.  So, what can be expceted during this month?  Well, throughout this tree month – which runs from April 15th until May 12th – we should be concentrating on healing, growth of knowledge, nurturing and women’s mysteries.  I aim to expand my knowledge in a certain area, so that seems appropriate right now.  I have been involved in some distance healing with someone – nothing too strenuous though – and I have been nurturing my seedlings, so far so good.  Also, my book is kind of about women’s mysteries too, so I think I am ticking all of the boxes for this month, which pleases me.

One thing I always complain about is how my real life has a tendency to get in the way of my spiritual life.  I have tried to incorporate the two, somehow it never works out.  I think because I am happy to remain in the closet the two aspects of my life remain seperate and whilst that frustrates me no end, I think it is just how it is and how it will always be.
Of course another aspect of real life that gets in the way of me practicing is duty.  I am learning that I am entitled to a life of my own, that I can and should say no at times.  I am learning that it is healthy for me to say no, especially when I am not feeling 100%.  In recent times I have had many heavy burdens to bear and they have taken their toll on me.  But last week I put my foot down and refused to be the dogsbody for everyone anymore.  I took three days out from those burdens and felt better for it.  They are still there, but other people managed without me and I have done the same again this weekend.

This doesn’t mean I have not had to talk myself out of the immense guilt that washes over me.  I am pretty adept at having to have a word with myself when it comes to releasing my grip on situations.  But it does mean I am managing my time better and doing what I want for myself, something that has been lacking recently.  I only hope I can keep this up and can manage to stay true to myself.

Don’t waste water.

When cleaning your teeth do you turn the tap off during the cleaning or do you leave it running? To save water you should either use a glass of water for rinsing your tooth brush or only turn the tap on to rinse it – a whopping 4.5 litres of water can be wasted when we clean our teeth if we leave the tap running.

Really makes you sit up and think doesn’t it!

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.

Green Tips.

If you have recently bought a carpet, or have offcuts lying around then there is no need to throw the surplus/offcuts away. There are plenty of ideas for using up these pieces of carpet – lining draws, or using them in your pets bed, or cutting them into small pieces and placing them underneath plant pots etc outside so as not to mark windowsills or the like.
You could use them in the boot of your car or even lag pipes with them.

They may seem useless at first but they can be used in many ways which means they won’t end up in landfill – now that’s good for the environment.

© 2011 Susan Park. All Rights Reserved.