“Bee”-ing Friendly

YIKES!  I’ve missed day three of the El Quotation Challengo…okay, so that’s not really Spanish and I’m okay with that as long as you are.

So here’s my final quote, but I’m running out of people to challenge.  I think it’s time to explore more on WordPress.

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.”  -Elizabeth Lawrence

Anyway, remember how I talked about that Victorian garden?  Well a few weeks ago I sent away for the Cheerios “Save the Bees” seeds you may have seen advertised on television.  Veseys is a company in Ontario, Canada that sells amazing and unique gardening products – mainly known for their seeds, of course – and graciously supplies the seeds for this campaign.

So what is the campaign all about?  Well, on social media we have been reading a lot about the effects of pesticides on our bee population.  Sadly, they’re dying at an alarming rate due to the use of neonicotinoids – which were not properly studied/reviewed before they were allowed into mainstream in my humble opinion.  Neonicotinoids are essentially a SYSTEMIC pesticide that was meant to kill grubs, aphids and other sap & root feeding bugs.  What I mean by systemic is that this toxin is in the actual system of the plant, not laying superficially on the leaves.  It is deep within the core of the plant.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, YIKES!  So, bees are taking the neonicotinoid-filled nectar, taking it back to their hives, where we know honey is produced (honey which we eat, no less…just remember that possibly a trace amount of that toxin is going through your own system while eating honey?), and young larvae are feeding on it….bing, bang, boom you have a whole hive of baby bees (larvae) full of the toxin and it’s no wonder they’re dying out!

So, as I said, I sent away for the “bee friendly seeds”.  Well, lookie what arrived in the mail yesterday!

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Along with the seeds I received – separately – a Veseys’ catalogue…oh dear, this could be dangerous on the bank account!  “My Best Me” could turn into “my broke me.”  😉 LOL

Did you know that an everyday, run of the mill person like myself, who knows NOTHING about bee keeping other than “I don’t have the balls to collect honey“, can purchase a bee house to place in your garden or anywhere you choose.  It’s meant for mason bees which are said to be non-aggressive!  Not too bad for educating kids and having a productive garden, am I right?  I also hear a rumour – and you all can tell me if it’s true or not – that those stinking yellow jackets & hornets won’t come within a certain range if there are already other bees/wasps/hornets nests around.  Could this be a way to keep those bullies away from our backyard?  I might be purchasing one very soon!

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Alright, so this post is not really anything remotely inspiring…then again, maybe it could inspire you, the reader, to do your research when planting your garden and maintaining it in a “bee friendly” manner this year.  I know I’ve already learned a lot from just one simple campaign.  Kudos to Cheerios & Veseys for “planting the seed” (see what I did there?).

In conclusion I will leave you with some facts about bees and suggestions on what we all can do to prevent the bee population from dying out.

Facts:

  • 1 in 3 bites of food we eat is possible by pollination bees provide.  You want to eat? Save the bees!
  • Honey is a natural sweetener, antibacterial, moisturizer, demulcent (relieves irritation in your mouth & throat – hence why it’s awesome for a sore throat), and much more.
  • You’re not the only one who wants their morning cuppa coffee.  Bees apparently love caffeine as much as the next java-addicted person!  Believe it or not, caffeine is produced in plants to repulse harmful insects…except bees….they need their caffeine BUZZ!    (….Yikes, is right!  Bad pun?)
  •  Ancient Egyptians (I hope “Bee Lore” the blogger, does not mind me plugging their site, but this was a good, brief but informative blog) kept bees too!  The Egyptians believed bees to be a sacred insect, bridging the natural world to the underworld.
  • Sadly, up to 30 percent per year are dying.  That’s a lot considering our need for bees!  Here’s what we can do.

Suggestions:

  1.  Purchase ONLY seeds & plants that HAVE NOT had a treatment of neonicotinoids.  I believe certain suppliers are now labeling them.  As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t say anything about neonicotinoids put the product back.  The label should clearly state it has not been treated with the toxin.
  2. Do your research before you buy.  If you can find the information online, you’ll be better equipped to purchase your products.
  3. Consider using NATURAL pesticides if you’re adamant/insistent on having a pest-free garden.  (dish soap, eucalyptus oil, orange oil, onion and garlic spray, Himalayan salt spray, cayenne pepper, other plants such as marigolds, etc)
  4. Also remember to respect the natural circle of life.  Take clues from it.  If your garden is attracting aphids, maybe you’re over fertilizing the plants.  Aphids love nitrogen!!
  5. Plant a wild flower garden!  Remember, neonicotinoid free 😉  Bees love echinacea, yarrow, sunflowers, black eyed Susans, lavender, pumpkin, mint (be wary of this invasive plant if you’re worried about it taking over your garden…it WILL), chives, crab apple, squash, and many others.  The beautiful thing is, many of these plants are either edible (veggies, fruits, & herbs), and some have healing properties!

I’m off to plan my garden now.  I believe drawing it out may help to keep me on track.  Plus it will give me enough time before actual planting begins.  Keep posted & check back often to see the progress & what I’m learning.  Until then, BEE kind! 😉

Buzzing off now…

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Cheers!

 

 

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Gardening Fun

Quotation Challenge continues!  As I said yesterday I was nominated by A Nene’s Life to, in three days, post 1-3 quotes each day.

Today’s quote is gardening related because I worked my hiney off to get my garden ready in order to create that Victorian garden I talked about.  Plenty of beautiful spring flowers are already popping up including Snow Drops (mighty coincidental, don’t you think considering it was my picture in my blog regarding rediscovering the self), crocuses (…crocii??  What would be the correct term?), and the leaves of tulips & daffodils.

So here it is, my quote for the day:

“What is a weed?  A plant who’s virtues have never been discovered.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Plenty of weeds to be plucked, I’m sure.  But maybe I can do more research into the healing properties of those weeds…hmmmm that sounds like a challenge!  😉

Okay, so I nominate…

The Natural Nanny

Fiona Horton Reflexology

Rocks n Rituals

Again you are not required to participate but it’s fun, and easy.  Besides, I realized yesterday it offers free advertising for each blog…and hopefully they’d do the same in return.  That equals more views on your page 🙂

Happy blogging!

P.S. after this challenge I will post more on “My Best Me Challenge”.  Things are a’happening with my 30 Day Nutritional Cleanse….I’m gaining my lean muscle back, feeling amazingly energetic AND I’m losing the extra weight around the middle!!  YAAAAAAS!

Quote Challenge!

So I’ve been nominated by a talented blogger, A Nene’s Life!  Thanks for including me in the fun 🙂

The challenge is three blogs, three different random quotes…I believe that’s what I’ve been challenged to do.  It’s fun.  It’s easy.  It’s all good.

I’m a lover of all things Harry Potter, so naturally the first quote that popped into my head was from the seventh book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  It’s probably one of my favorite quotes in all the books, so here goes.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry.  But why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”  Dumbledore (author J.K. Rowling)

Eeeeee!  Love it!!!  LOL  It’s one of those quotes that make me go, “YEAH, Dumbledore!  Exactly!”

Okay so now I have to nominate three other talented bloggers….so here goes.

Art From Perry

Cafe Book Bean

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Go for it 🙂  By the way, you do not have to participate…and if you have already been nominated, my apologies 🙂

Cheers & Have a great night!

 

They Are Who We Have Become…

(Today’s posting is a little on the lighter side.  Still thought provoking, but a bit less deep.  Just feeling a little playful.)

I married a prince.  No, really, I did!  I married the great great great great…(you get the idea) grandson of King Robert 2 (Stewart) of Scotland.  Okay, so he’s not “officially” a prince, but the genes are there. 😉

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King Robert II of Scotland – my great, great, great….etc father-in-law 😉

I’m a bit of a history nut, as well as obsessed with genealogy.  So you can imagine my excitement when having “royal blood” running through hubby’s veins went from possibility  (hmmm his great grandmother was a Stewart) to fact (genealogical records and 3rd cousin with someone who has the DNA results to prove it).

Really cool!  But what does that mean in the grand scheme of things?  You might think to yourself, “Not much.  He doesn’t have a castle does he?”

Well of course not!  History will tell you the Stewart kings lost their battle for the throne along the lines, not to mention at some point this specific branch goes from King to Laird to commoner due to birth order and emigration.

See, that’s where genealogy is fun.  It’s not just about dates and names and finding out what, if any, royalty you’re related to.  It’s a way to delve into history through the eyes of our ancestors.  And if done with heart you can discover snippets about yourself that may amaze you where they may have come from!

My obsession started out with learning about my paternal side.  The tree was well developed by a fellow family historian, and well documented with stories and pictures.  To be able to see yourself in the eyes of a great-grandmother is pretty cool.  You almost wonder as you’re looking at the photo, what she was like, what she was thinking at that moment, or if she too had a wonder about her own ancestors.

With my paternal side well established I felt an emptiness on my family tree display.  My mother’s side consisted of my mother & her siblings, her parents and a couple names of great-grandparents.  I knew nothing of anything on her side.

All I knew was who my mother was, and who my grandparents were as people and where they came from.  What made them tick?   Why were they the way they were?  What traits would they have received from the ones who came before?  I didn’t know.  And it drove me to immerse myself in the world of birth, marriage, death, census, and many other records that become the obsession of the common genealogist.

What I was about to learn gave me a deep understanding of not only my ancestors, but also about myself and what my own fighting spirit meant to me.

My journey started off fairly rocky.  Members of the family claimed to know very little as well, although there was a secret or two along the way that “no one was to speak of” – to this day I’m still not 100% certain of what that secret is/was, though I have my suspicions.

With the help of an historian in the town where my mother hailed from, I was able to find out more about my grandmother and her family.  My great-granny, a devout Catholic, had all her children out of wedlock!

Wait a minute…I was told growing up that my grandmother never knew her father due to an accident that may or may not have happened in the 2nd World War.  My great grandmother, a hardened yet loving woman, was left widowed according to family tradition.  It would seem someone had been telling little white lies.  Okay, I’ll say it like it is – BIG fibs!  And really, basic math should’ve told me the truth of this long ago…the years between birth and war didn’t match up.

So, secret number 1 may have been revealed and believe me, I got guff for discovering that one and revealing it to the world!  However, getting in trouble for discovering your grandmother and her siblings were fatherless for scandalous reasons really left me confused.  Okay, I get that in those days it was probably an outright sinful catastrophe to have relations and offspring out of wedlock especially if one is a practicing Catholic.  But to me, it didn’t matter.  First off, we live in a time where single mom-hood is a common thing.  You can’t throw a stone without hitting a single, “out-of-wedlock mom” to save your life.  It’s not a shameful thing these days at all.   We know how difficult it can be and we respect peoples’ choices and situations.  And second of all, to me, it didn’t matter to me because I am here because of it!  I felt no shame towards her.  How could I?  She was my own flesh and blood and we all make mistakes.  Although in this case I can’t call it a mistake.  Things happen for a reason.  My grandmother was born and that means my mother was born and so I could be born.  Thank the good Lord she did what she did because I quite enjoy life!

Going back further I discovered who my great-grandmother’s parents were and how they lived.  It seems they lived from “pay day to pay day” and found themselves travelling the countryside just trying to find work in hard times.  My great-grandmother and her siblings were all born in conditions that were less than sanitary.  The lodging house was not exactly the most private (sometimes rooms were packed with plenty more people than there should’ve been) and clean of places to give birth.  But the 2x’s great-grandmother did what she had to.  And no one died because of it – lucky enough in those days.

Keeping a long story short, we find many other things about my 2x’s great-grandmother.  Not only was she a survivor of spousal abuse, but she was a whistle blower.  She saw injustices in her life in which she stood up for and was shunned by her family for it to boot!  She was a fighter.   She did what she had to survive.  And ultimately, I am here because of it.  What’s to hide of that?

Some family members continue to believe I stopped searching long ago, when I discovered the truth about my so-called war hero of a great-grandfather, or lack there of.  But I didn’t, and I won’t because deep within me is the spirit of my 2x’s great-grandmother.  The whistle blower, the truth seeker.  And really, she and all the members of my matrilineal tree deserve their story to be told.

What’s more is, the hardships they faced – our ancestors – is reason enough to live our lives full out.  My 2x’s great-grandmother didn’t fight to live in order to have her descendants “just go along” with life.  My maternal grandfather didn’t escape hell in a prisoner of war camp just for me to piddle my way around and just get by.  My 3x’s great grandparents on my paternal side didn’t flee Ireland, give birth to my ancestor and live to survive the typhus outbreak on a so-called “coffin ship” for me to just ride the waves of life.  You get the picture.

Deep within each of us are pieces – glimpses if you will – of our ancestors that fought to be here.  And we can either ignore them, or we can embrace them and be proud of who we are, who they have collectively become – deep within us.  We can take those amazing stories of those survivors, creators, fighters, healers, heros, and sometimes kings and queens and see the reflection of them staring back at us in the mirror.  And we can do something about it.  We can continue their heroic stories in their honor.  Enjoy the life we’ve been given to show it wasn’t all in vain.

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I am reminded of a quote from Riverdance that is spoken as a voice-over while a fiddle player enters the stage to join a Bodhran player:  “Always the child of the emigrant feels the tug of the home place; always that child feels the urge to return. What she or he brings there is a sustaining knowledge: we are who we once were, we are who we have become.”

“We are who we once were, we are who we have become.”

That line specifically resonates with me.  Nicely, it ties into yesterday’s post of losing & rediscovering ourselves.  But it adds a dimension of our genetics and history.  We are pieces of them, and we have become what they wanted, or at least we CAN.  Let’s do that!  Let’s make them proud!

So, did I marry a prince?  In my eyes, yes!   His spirit of honor is deep, he is a leader, a gentle fighter, and as far as I’m concerned, if it was found, he could pull Excalibur from the stone. 😉

Yours in Royalty! 😉

Rise From Your Ashes, Snow!

I recently discussed my blog with someone going through a difficult time in their life – my last post, more specifically.

This person has been dealing with issues regarding their ex-spouse, issues which would make one think the ex has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  NPD is nothing to laugh at.  It’s a problem that once you see it in one person you can’t unsee it, and you’re then a radar for others with the disorder.  You can spot it within minutes to hours of speaking with the person.

The soul that I was speaking with regarding my blog brought up the issue of past hurts.  They said to me, “I wake up everyday thinking…KNOWING…I will be messed up for the rest of my life all because of ‘what (insert spouse’s name here) did.  Despite therapy and knowing the truth about things, what “he/she” did to me cannot be undone.  The scars will always be there.”

Yeah, we feel that way sometimes. A person we trusted with our heart and soul betrayed us in unspeakable ways.  Maybe the person isn’t a spouse.  Maybe it’s a parent.  Maybe it’s a sibling or a best friend.  Either way, we feel damaged and that damage cannot be undone.  It really can’t.  The past cannot be changed.

I feel for the person, I do.  There have been hurts happen in the not so distant past in my life that were a bloody shock to my whole being.  A shock that would change my whole perspective on my life growing up.  Never in a million years did I think I would be betrayed by a person I’ve known and trusted my whole life.  I struggle with my own demons everyday regarding this.

It changes a person, deeply.  It has the ability to darken the brightest of souls, ripping off those rose-colored glasses many empaths and optimists wear.  It has the ability to harden a heart that was born soft and gentle.

But there is the key word – “ability”.

Life is a series of choices.  We can choose to let the ability of something change our whole being, or we can grow from it.  Our choice is what makes us, and ultimately is our responsibility.  If we choose to allow something to take hold of us, it’s our own doing.  “What he did”, “what she said”, “what the hurricane did to the city”, it is what it is.

I love that saying, “it is what it is.”   It is!  Really!  🙂

We can’t change it.  And it’s neither good nor bad because it just “is”.  “Good and bad” are our perspectives.  So the responsibility falls on us, how we take this new information and use it.

Are we going to let it change who we are?   Are we going to choose to be damaged goods?  Or are we going to learn from it?

Choose.

Were you a person born with a soul so pure it believed in the good in everyone?  Were you a positive being of light that radiated for all to see?  I can bet you were.  And you still are.  If you don’t think you are, I assure you, you CAN be.

Let me side track here.  I enjoy watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time.  I got hooked when the whole “Frozen” storyline came about.  Yes, I’m a fan of “Frozen”.  I’m a kid at heart and Anna is the princess I best relate to, so how could I not watch a show that extended that story?  😉  But from that one story, I became enchanted with the other characters.  Fairy tale characters trapped in the so-called “real world” bringing their issues with them.

In a fairly recent episode (about a month or so ago, an episode that helped inspire the “My Best Me Challenge”), Mary Margaret – the character who is “really” Snow White – comes to the realization that she “lost” herself in the everyday negative happenings of her current life in Storybrook.  She steered away from the fire within that made her a warrior and a hero and became the victim, the damsel in distress we normally think of when we hear the name Snow White.  Things happened to her and she allowed the events to override “who she was” essentially.  Her a-ha moment gave her the deep yearning to re-member who she was and therefore vowed to bring back “Snow White”, the hero, the warrior, the one who stood up for right, love, light and hope.

Was she scarred from her past?  Probably.

But she closed her eyes, shook her head and came to the realization that she is NOT a victim, she still is that hero.  The only thing that had changed was how she allowed the events to change her.  But then, she never really did change, as Snow White was always there, within.  She is not damaged goods!

And that is where I connect it to the idea around this blog. 🙂

We may have had things happen to us and it’s unfortunate…or is it?  Was it meant to develop who we truly are?

We are NOT damaged goods!

What if we stopped pointing the finger at the person/event that “did this to us”?   Is it going to kill us?  Probably not.

Instead, let’s look inward at who we really are.  Who we were before “it” happened?  Chances are, that undamaged soul is still there and has actually been sitting there waiting to be released, to bloom from what we learned – rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the fire that killed it in the first place.  And really, that phoenix self-combusted, didn’t it?  Rise from your own ashes.

Don’t think I’m lecturing you about this.  Like I said, this challenge is for me, and it’s your choice to join me as you please.  But I do invite you.  These reflections everyday are things I think about and sometimes I follow the ideas.  And sometimes I’m weak, and I don’t.  But the challenge is for me to have more moments where I follow the path Spirit is leading me.  At least I hope so!  😉  I hope to be as heroic as Snow White in Once Upon a Time.  The character is a great role model for anyone with struggles.

My response to the person I spoke about at the beginning of today’s blog was a shortened version of the rest of it. 😉  “You’re right.  You can’t undo what has been done.  But it’s your choice to see what has developed within you from that.  There is something different and better for you to discover within yourself to display to the world.  This didn’t happen by accident.  You were meant to shine from this experience.”

And so, I need to take my own advice, ponder what I’ve written and let’s see what kind of “My Best Me” can come about.

Love & Light!

 

Get a Bigger Plate

I’m baaaack!

Whew!  After a sudden change in the immune system department (remember I was dealing with a “minor” cold?  Well it would seem it was something else…bronchitis?  Most likely.), I had to take several days off from being “My Best Me”.  Really…I wasn’t my best me, unless you can call creating massive mounds of mucus and hacking my lungs up “My Best Me”.  It wasn’t pretty, I tell you!  😉

On a positive note, I had many days to digest the amazing things the universe served me on my proverbial plate – things I didn’t realize I had room for.  A good friend once told me, “If you find you have too much on your plate, then get a bigger plate.  And see, that’s the thing about telling the universe, “Bring it on!”  If you ask, you shall receive.  And you had better be prepared for what’s about to be put in front of you.

Over the course of a week and a half I pondered what was REALLY my reasoning for the “My Best Me Challenge”.  I spoke with a few trusted people about it and came to the conclusion that I felt that in order for us as humans to create a better world we had to start from the inside.

And then it happened.  Just over a week ago the universe said, “Okay, you are asking for a change within.  Abracadabra, here it is!”  I wasn’t prepared for it.  Honestly, I knew it would happen someday and I’d have to face it head on.

Someone, who I stopped speaking with for “toxic” reasons, just happened to come back into my life.  My ego had always told me, “Don’t open that door!  Because you’ll be faced with a rabid wolf, ready to attack!  People…don’t…change.”    There had been years of manipulation, text messages that could’ve landed said person with a cyber-bullying lawsuit, and I had just had enough and decided to go “no contact” about a year and a half ago (a term many people dealing with their own abuses will understand).

When the “knock on the proverbial door” happened, a part of me thought, “Oh dear, I have no space or time in my life to be dealing with this.  I’m trying to better my life.  Not add negativity.”

But I took a breath and did it.  I figured, the universe was willing to present me with this opportunity so I can be open to see what was going to happen.  I opened that door with bravery ready to face whatever was coming to me, with kindness.  I generally try kindness first anyway, and sometimes it backfires.  I half expected it to actually.

However, funny things happen when you recognize that you asked the universe for it and instead of avoiding it, add a bit of trust to the equation.  Not full on “take advantage of my empathy”-type trust.  Just enough to say, “I’m open to the possibility of what could be,” and, “I will accept whatever comes my way with courage.  God/The Universe will not give me more than I can handle.”

I listened, then I gently stated my point of view on how things were (without the gory details of emotional scars and hurts – I’m not a victim in this and I refuse to be one) and….well…it turned into a lovely conversation of self awareness, spirituality and life in general.  A good, wholesome, authentic conversation full of kind honesty.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen on a regular basis.  People don’t just “change” over night.  This is a special case to which I was not previously aware.  Life happened, and change occurred in this person’s life.  A drastic change, but a change for the better.  And the universe presented me with a chance to understand who the person is now.

We agreed that the past is the past and that in order to heal the rift, we both needed to try.  That we could “progress” with baby steps but do it in a way that both parties are respected and given the time needed to heal.

Because really, that’s all it requires – healing.  If we didn’t have hurt feelings, fear of others repeating their toxic behaviour on us, and many other negative things that happen over the course of the first, say, 30-40 years of our lives, we may live a little more peacefully in this world.  But we can’t live in a bubble, can we?  Life happens.  People hurt us.  Events change our lives.  You name it, you can’t avoid the hurt.  But we can heal it.

The universe will dish things out and it’s a choice of, “do we have any room in our life for it or are we going to get a bigger plate and deal with it?”

I chose to trade in my previous plate for a platter.  And now, I not only have room for healing this previously scarred friendship, but I have room for whatever else I’m going to presented with on the “My Best Me Challenge”.

Namaste!

P.S.  I’m going to call my questions to my readers “Thoughts” from now on…so here it goes.

THOUGHTS:

Do you feel there is something in your life preventing you from accepting “more on your plate”?  Or is there even a need for you to “get a bigger plate”?