Turning Holiday Tree into Purification Bundles (a.k.a. Smudge Sticks)

I love the smell of burning white sage for purifying home and personal space. However, as I continue into my studies of all things Nature-based it occurred to me I should be seeking out plants native to our region to make my own. All part of the keep it local movement that has become quite the theme these days.

This morning we still had our holiday tree up and I wondered how I might recycle or repurpose it, then I remembered a video shared on Magical Crafting (see link below) where she used pine needle twigs, cinnamon sticks and rosemary to create her version. Rosemary sounded like nice addition but my plant is still too young and small to donate some of its parts.

Little Rosemary in container

Evergreens, on the other hand, are plentiful around here, a handsome juniper berry tree out lives out front, and some recently bloomed lemon thyme plant. These became my ingredients for today’s project.

If you’d like to recycle your holiday tree, or simply forage around the neighborhood for some fallen pine branches then follow along to see how you might go about creating your own smudge sticks. Please note you can include whatever ingredients you have on hand. It just depends on the theme of what you’d like to create. I’d love to hear feedback in the comments section below of what you made yours with.

Here I trimmed off and set aside the smaller branches of the tree.

Then continued till I had only a long trunk left. Thinking I’ll use this in the garden in some way. The larger branches will have to compost, or they could easily be turned into a wreath, a haven for little birds, or some other creative idea, like pine needle tea (link below).

Maybe a nice walking stick or javelin 😀

Three littles piles of the ingredients used today: Juniper Berry, Lemon Thyme, and Evergreen.

Of course, my kitty had to get involved, … because well, she’s a cat!

Quality control inspector arrives.

A bit of twine was used to anchor the cinnamon stick into the twigs.

Some red and green embroidery thread is wrapped each direction to secure the pieces. Then a little trimming at the ends and all around to clean off excess pine needles that were poking out. Voila! Nice gifts for holiday or whenever!

First, they’ll need to hang for a while to completely dry out before use.

As a side note, Douglas Fir and Spruce tree tips make incredibly nutrient-rich, Vitamin C packed tea. Make sure you know how to identify each by doing some research in advance. Here’s a couple helpful links for that:

Katie Carter, ND discusses the importance of high quality Vit C, tree identification, and gratitude for staying healthy!

If you prefer to read about making pine needle tea then here’s Steve’s blog:

Magical Crafting is an amazing YT channel with a ton of creative videos!

Thank you for reading! Please “Like”, comment, and share!

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Or make a one time donation to: https://reginachante.org/donate/

Balancing and Awakening the Brain| Audio of Simple Exercises

A stressed, inactive, undernourished brain (and body) can eventually lead to problems with comprehension, memory retention, ability to clearly communicate, execute organizational skills and functions. Simple exercises that balance left & right hemispheres of the brain are one facet to helping resolve this issue. Start your day off with some gentle movements. Take a listen and enjoy the scene of the Oregon coast while you attend to your mind, breath, and balance the body. It’s simple, relaxing and doesn’t take more than a few minutes of your day.

Guest Blog: Annie’s Mini Garden!

Annie (left), yours truly (right)

Recently I offered to share this blog space with my Patreon supporters who are lovingly donating $3/ month to keep my blog muse happy. Those same Patreons are very talented folks themselves. Take Annie for example. She is truly a plant whisperer and has an astounding relationship with a local hummingbird. From her delightful apartment she inspires other small space dwellers to take full advantage of what they have and turn their abode into a plant sanctuary. Below is her blog describing in detail, with many lovely photos, the little garden of eden she has bloomed.

If you’re enjoying this site and would like to become a supporting member please visit: https://www.patreon.com/ReginaChante
The cost is only $3/month and, if you like, you too may be a featured guest blogger!

And now, to Annie’s indoor garden…….

*********

Guest blogger: Annie Ordonio Silvestre

A man can work from sun to sun but a woman’s work is never done” Oh so true! Just like Mother Earth she sure works continuously nonstop in her household home the beautiful blue planet Earth.
Since this pandemic situation I have trusted the Universe to help guide me to what is best for me since I no longer have a job. All this free time given to me it has given me the opportunity to do fun things I love to do so this old familiar saying goes “If life throws lemons at you – make lemonade” So I am following Mother Earth footsteps indeed. I now consider my occupation as a homemaker and a balcony gardener. 
My husband George and I are currently living with our oldest son and our youngest daughter in a suburban area in an Bethany Oregon apartment. We all plan to temporarily live there for another year until we find our house and then more gardening opportunities for me.

Our balcony isn’t as spacious but it is cozy enough for me to create something very nice and pretty for my family to come home and enjoy after a long day at their jobs and on their days off. One day I was  browsing on the internet and came upon a cute little water fountain. It was solar powered and it sparked my creative thinking idea. I created a foundation of water by using a glass pie plate and then added water and placed the water fountain mechanism above it and viola! a beautiful refreshing relaxing pretty water display and sound. 

Unfortunately the water fountain did not last very long. So brainstorming took place and made me come up with the idea to make a little moat for our hummingbird feeder!!
(Photos)of seedlings Goji berries, lemon balm and mustard greens. And strictly seed logo

One day in late spring I was browsing through the boxes in our garage and saw an old seed catalog called Strictly Medicinal seeds and my green thumb started to get itchy! My mind was filled with gardening ideas and made me reminisce a beautiful garden I once created many moons ago in our beloved home in St Johns. I then had the idea to start sowing some seeds and plant a garden in our balcony!I went online to Strictly Medicinal Seeds and ordered a variety packet of seed. The first seeds I ordered we’re Goji berry, Mustard Greens and Lemon balm and I also couldn’t resist I had ordered a variety packet called The Hoedown Collection – Organic Vegetable seeds they are a variety of organic vegetable seeds to plant in the spring and summer season. I said what the heck I’ll start sowing some now and raise them in large pots and when we move I can take these babies to their new home when we move. 

My seedlings of mustard greens and goji berries sown in early fall. Goji’s are under growing lights like the goji berries to keep them safe from the winter cold. The mustard greens love cold weather so the still remain outdoors.

Another fun gardening project I like to do is cut and grow. I like to cut up veggies and place then in water and watch them grow. I do the same with house plants as well. When they start having roots I put them in pots with good seed starting soil.  My family enjoy watching them grow too!

So Winter is a great time to dream to plant and plan what to plant for the next season which is Spring. I look forward to start sowing seeds for a nice and bountiful garden of flowers for the hummingbirds, butterflies and other guests like fairies 🧚‍♀️and things.  Also some nice snow peas, spring greens, kale and dwarf carrots. 
Here are some wonderful websites below to help you create that beautiful balcony or small garden you’ve been dreaming about. 
Happy gardening 🌱🥕

List of sources:
https://www.chatelaine.com/home-decor/balcony-gardening/
http://theherbexchange.com/how-to-grow-an-eco-friendly-balcony-or-rooftop-food-garden/
https://blog.strictlymedicinalseeds.com/
https://www.norhart.com/blog/2019/05/15/ideal-plants-for-an-apartment-balcony/

Healing and Communicating With the Animal World

Bee Painting by Monica Vieira 2020

This year I set my intentions on expanding my education. One of the courses that synchronistically availed itself while I was out of work: Animal Energy and Communications. Instructor Lynn McKenzie offers a plethora of audio, visual, written material at her website to keep a person busy for at least a couple years! She brings many decades of wisdom and experience, and I highly recommend her course if this path calls to you.
https://animalenergy.net/

Other talented animal communicators continue to appear on my radar with a diversity of styles. For some speaking with animals is done through imagery, feelings, sometimes words. The investigative ones, like former police officer Karen Anderson (below), help detectives solve missing people cases! However, to do so requires that a pet or other animal nearby witnessed the event. Below is her Spaced Out Radio interview describing how animal communication works for her.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2xcK3Ypkbw&t=4344s

Penelope Smith, an internationally famous animal communicator for over 40 years has inspired many to enter the field, self included. Her website is replete with resources:
https://www.animaltalk.net/

“For over forty years, Penelope has been the founding pioneer for the field whose name she originated, interspecies telepathic communication. Author of the popular classic books in the field, Animal Talk, When Animals Speak, Animals in Spirit, many audio recordings, and editor of Species Link magazine, Penelope has held the hub of the growing community of animal communicators world wide for decades.”

I recently bought her (3) CD audio set (yes, I still listen to CDs). Such a great way to pass the time listening to knowledgeable and compassionate people, like Penelope, while acquiring valuable skills!

Penelope Smith’s (3) CD package

Penelope recently shared a blog from her prior student, Val Heart, about saving a bee during a canoe race. Such an inspirational story! Val has written many blogs about her work. Here’s where you can find her:
https://valheart.com/

“…a heart touching, life changing experience I had with a bee in a canoe race.
Paddling away as fast as I could, I happened to glance down and was astonished to see, in the water, floating inside the boat on its back, a honey bee.
It’s wings were water logged, it’s hair was soggy and it’s body felt very heavy.
I could feel it’s distress, weakness, discomfort, and how sad it was to be dying, how hard it was for it to breath and stay afloat against the powerful current sloshing around inside the canoe.
I was so afraid it would drown, I had to do something!
But before I could reach out to it, the water shifted and washed it away.
I confess, I had a moment of concern wondering if it would sting me if I touched it… but I sent my love for it, and hoped for the best… and went back to paddling.
A short time later, the bee floated close to me again!
WOW! Here’s my second chance to be of service to the bee. I promised I wouldn’t fail it this time.
To my canoe partner’s dismay I immediately stopped paddling and reached out to rescue it, hoping it wasn’t already dead.
I didn’t care if it stung me for my troubles.
I was compelled to do my best to help save it’s life.
So I carefully and gently placed my finger on its tiny little furry belly, hoping against my fear that it still had the strength to respond.
I held my breath and waited to see what would happen, but it seemed motionless and cold… maybe I was too late…
But then?
Tears sprung to my eyes when its tiny little feeler hands and legs suddenly grabbed onto me and I could lift it out of the water.
It clung precariously and shakily to my finger, dripping wet. It’s wings were drooping, too soggy to even unfurl.
Still being in the middle of the canoe race, I carefully placed the little bee on my pants leg out of harm’s way, and continued the race hoping it would have a chance to dry out a bit and recover.
It stayed, and we finished the race together.
And it was still on my leg.
I communicated with it and the bee responded wearily, with a sense of gratitude.
I told it that the world needs it, that it’s not it’s time to go, that we love the bees and appreciate them so very much. That I hoped it could recover and go on to live a happy productive life.
As soon as we got back to shore, I carefully walked over to a good bush by the river bank.
It crawled back on my finger and I invited it to step aboard the leaf so it could finish drying off.
But… it didn’t want to go.
It stayed with me a long time, talking .
It told me about what it’s like to be a bee. How hard it is sometimes, and what bees worry about.
It shared with me the fabric of life and how the bees fit into the life of plants and nature, and what the pesticides have done to our environment.
Without bees none of us would be alive today, they are that important.
On behalf of the entire human race, I asked for forgiveness because in spite the fact that my race is responsible for having done so much harm to ourselves, the planet and to the bees, many of us truly deeply care about their plight.
We are working hard to reverse what’s happened, and we need the bees to help us do right.
When we finished our conversation, my face was wet with tears.
And the bee thanked me, carefully crawling off my finger and onto the leaf.
Something truly extraordinary had just happened, and it changed me.
A month or so later, I went kayaking and when I got out of the car to go down to the river, I was SWARMED by bees!
Literally, 40 or more bees flew all around me, buzzing, so very close to me, landing on me, on my face, on my hat, my gloves, my pants and shirt!
I’ve never seen anything like it!
It was a bit alarming, I confess I had a moment of panic thinking they were going to sting me…
But then?
I connected and communicated with them.
I was astonished to understand that they only wanted to thank me. Their energy was joyful, celebratory, loving and powerful!
Word had spread of my encounter and rescue of one of their kind, and they were grateful and excited to be with a human who could understand them.
They flew around me, all over me, making it hard to walk, as I laughed and smiled and felt my gratitude for the gift of bees in our world.
And then, as one, they all flew away.
And that brings me to my point:
The animal world needs you.
Animals need you to be the very BEST version of your Self.
Their purpose in your life is to help you heal, evolve and grow.
My life’s vision is to be someone who is doing my part to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small, following my destiny, fulfilling my purpose, ultimately creating my legacy.
Will you join me?
Henry Ford said: ‘There is no person living who isn’t capable of doing more than they think they can do.’”

In the Battle for Your Soul, Choose LOVE

Art by Regina Chante, 12/12/20

Kind of an extreme title to give this blog for most folks, but if you really take a look at the history of our species, and our current status on planet Earth you realize it’s true. There has been a battle, an ancient war, for the heart and soul of each and every living being. If you have a pulse and you’re really paying attention you feel it in your bones, you see it at work in the media and politics, and you witness first hand the tragedy it creates and lives it takes.

Some say that’s just human nature and will compare our species to fleas, or a cancer on this planet. When I was younger I would’ve agreed based on how people treated each other and Nature; it’s easy to become jaded. But having matured, and especially after looking into the wonder of my babies eyes, full of pure innocence, and seeing the trust animals have in the humans who care for them, I know LOVE, a far grander consciousness than could ever be conceived, is embedded in every heartbeat. I also acknowledge there is something else afoot, something ancient and insatiable. It does not want us to discover it, nor does it want us to discover and own our true power, our Divine Nature. Name it what you will, it fosters and feeds on very unhealthy frequencies and weaves itself into the fabric of this reality and into the human story.

Perhaps this unsavory force is a teacher of sorts, challenging and testing us to be something greater than we could’ve imagined. Or perhaps it’s just a hungry ghost whose appetite is never satisfied, engorging itself on emotions, like hate, fear, self-doubt, judgment. Whatever the case may be, you get tired of it, at least I do. When you know in your heart of hearts you did not sign up for a life of endless tragedy, suffering, and belittling you feel pulled on a mission of sorts to throw off the weight of despair, and extend a helping hand to others to do likewise.

Whether anyone’s actually listening to me, reading these blogs, resonating with the energy being offered doesn’t seem to matter. Mission on Earth these days is to keep adding tasty ingredients to the soup of life, hoping it’ll inspire others to rise out of the murk, ponder life a little deeper, and love themselves a little more authentically.

With that said, tonight’s blog provides you a few more loving souls I recently discovered along the way who are extending their own light into the darkness.

Lilou Mace, a lovely french gal who has a plethora of wonderful interviews on her YT channel recently gave Michael Roads an avenue of expression. He’s authored a number of books, including Talking with Nature – Journey Into Nature, Journey Into Oneness and Into a Timeless Realm and speaks to the current times we live in. Grab a cozy drink and take a listen..

Or you might enjoy an interview with Dr. Bradley Nelson who specializes in bio-energetic medicine and emotional psychology. Having nearly escaped death a couple times in his youth and finding recovery through unconventional routes he seemed destined to teach others how to access their innate healing powers.

One of my fave psychic mediums, Kim Russo, gave us her take on the planet’s state of affairs last night. Always uplifting to hear her messages!

And finally, a fellow blogger who also understands the precipice upon which humanity now stands, Koyopa Rising / Eileen Meyer:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/75951767/posts/3088041153

Will we fly? Or will we crash and burn? I think Peter Pan had it right: Think happy thoughts. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, do the best you can, and keep a steady diet of uplifting food for the mind and heart.

Happy Solstice dear readers and thank you for your patronage!

Hodgepodge Hedgehog, courtesy of Fairy Magazine

Live Life

A qigong instructor once said, “You can’t DO qigong”. True. One does not do qigong, they live it. One could easily insert the word “life” in place of qigong.

To do life sounds like one has their ego at the steering wheel driving the show of life. How might one LIVE life instead? How does one live with a pet, a plant, the sunlight, the rain? In symbiosis! With heart! In a dance of equality and allowing.

You can live life like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the other, a victim this moment, a control freak the next. Yet allowing relieves the nervous system of always needing to be on top of one’s game. Allowing opens one up to the still, small moments in the day where the pause button of routine and time come to a standstill. In complete awareness of the breath, one can experience the internal sensations, thoughts, and feelings rising and falling like ocean tides, and it’s so much easier to move the body a little more gracefully, to step more softly on the Earth, with no expectation.

Dropping in – I love that term. Dropping in to the body on a tender quest to feel… where is the body tight and achy? Where is it loose and relaxed. Feel your inside world.

Then, feel the outside world. Peering out the window or door into a gray, windy, rainy day, just listen …. the soft woosh of a passing wind, allowing your body to echo the sway of the trees. Observe without judgment the body language of passerbyers. Feel the height, mood, and speed of the clouds sailing overhead.

Now, use your powerful imagination and merge the two … your inside world and outside world. They are one flowing stream of life, blending and creating seamlessly into one another every millisecond of the day and night.

Now that’s living life.❤

Create Raised Beds in the Garden

A six month course in Permaculture Design taught me the value of using the many downed branches and twigs brought by the spirit of wind. My instructor, Toby Hemenway, referred to this mound-building process as hugelkulture, or raised beds. In the video link below filmed at my last home (one year ago, March) I present this method using the natural components provided from that particular landscape. Sadly, I didn’t have time to complete the project before we moved, but it was a great experience.

If you have a chance please pick up a copy of Toby’s book, Gaia’s Garden, and educate yourself on the value of recycling Nature. We live in precarious times where the reliable supply chain of food and necessities is getting wobbly. That being said we always have opportunities to work locally, within our community, to get creative and grow sustainable, edible sources of healthy food!

One of my fave perculture books, Gaia’s Garden!

Toby Hemenway, Permaculture Design Instructor (RIP)

The River Spirit Called Me

Local field and handsome black cow.

I was just going to take a brief walk and photo the local black cow. He stands in all his grandeur amidst a massive field with a large, gnarly oak tree companion. The view revives my spirit! After this photo, however, it felt like I wasn’t done. The Tualatin river isn’t far away, but I thought, “I’m not here to stay, I’ve got homework to do.” Yet a magnetic pull beckoned me to walk on and make my way to the river I cross everyday on my way to and from work, a river whose spirit I always bless on my daily journeys. It seemed disrespectful to not follow the call, so…. onward my feet went.

Geese overhead.

A small flock of Canadian Geese flew overhead, trumpeting their next destination. I wished them safety on their long journey to wherever they go from here.

A dress of colors!

A brightly colored maple tree was twirling her leaves in the soft breeze.

Hawthorn tree – the healer.

And next to the colorful dancing maple was a Hawthorn tree, donning shiny, ruby-colored jewels. Even though all the leaves had dried and fallen she looked graceful in these berry ornaments!

Thistle fairy in there.

Why photo a dead blackberry vine, you might ask? Because somewhere in this photo is a gentle thistle fairy. No, I can’t see it either. But I can feel it. Someday soon I will draw what I feel it looks like.

A river mirror.

The river at last! Sooooo peaceful here. I can see why I was being summoned. A lovely elderly woman came along in her kayak, gliding silently through the rippled, mirror water. We greeted each other and commented on how relaxing the day was, if one was dressed for the temperature. I wanted to stay there longer but my phone gave me a “Low battery” alert. That’s also when I heard what sounded like the biggest killer hornet ever, but where was it?… Aha! It was overhead! A quick glance up and the peace-thief was identified: a drone spying on innocent people. In disgust I left the water’s edge, not before thanking it for the invite and our precious time together.

Aaargh!

As I worked my way back to the car the noisy man-boy was seen fumbling with his mechanical “evidence”. If I knew how to cast spells I would’ve asked a flock of birds to crap on him and his toy right then and there. Until such skills are acquired I’m thinking drone target-practice sounds like the next best option. 😀

Cattails exploding.

Thankfully, the Spirit of Place wasn’t leaving me in that foul mood and shared a few more precious sights, like this field of cattails against a fluffy, autumn-colored background.

While all the little robins initially flew away as I entered the park, they now trusted my intentions and calmly observed from a nearby birch tree.

Path to the heavens.

This wasn’t the last photo shot but it seems fitting to put it here. The path to heaven, to a higher state of consciousness, is always found in Nature. This blog is a thank-you gift back to the Spirit of Place that hosted today’s journey.

Thank you, dear reader, for sharing this little walk with me today as well. Till next time!