We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making a Difference: Therapy Cats


Ever notice that your cat seems to have a natural instinct for being there when you need comfort most? Whether you are feeling down, worried about something, broken-hearted over a bad romance, or simply feeling sadness for any reason at all, they just seem to know!

It is a well documented fact that merely just petting a cat, stroking their fur while they lie next to you purring, naturally lowers ones blood pressure. Is it any wonder that cats are being used more and more as therapy animals ~ both at home and in nursing facilities? Cats have proven to be wonderful therapy for nursing home residents and children with autism as well.

I'd like to share with all of you a true story I had read while researching the subject of therapy cats:

Cats as Therapy in the Home

By Franny Syufy, About.com Guide

 
 
"Much has been written about the role cats play as sources of comfort in our daily lives. One of the most inspiring stories I have read was about a cat who helped a boy with autism. The author, J. Manerling, is a widowed father of two children. His son, Richard, was four years old when his mother died, and lives with autism. By a strange coincidence, J. Manerling already worked in the field of neuroscience, with children who have neuropsychological disabilities. At four, Richard had no mental retardation, but still was non-verbal. Reasoning that a therapy pet might help Richard come out of his shell, he made every effort to expose his son to every kind of animal. Nothing worked until the day J.M. took Richard to an animal shelter. In his words:

'I walked past the cat room into the dog area. Again, I was disappointed that my son just stared around him at everything else, but not at the dogs. They seemed to hold his attention for a few seconds.

As we were leaving, once again we walked past the cat area doors. I figured, "What the heck? It's worth a try. Though I have no idea what he'll find interesting in there." We walked into the cat area, which was significantly smaller than the dog area. As we walked past the cages, there in a corner was a black and white tuxedo cat. Suddenly my four-year old non-verbal son pointed to the cage and said, "Cat!" That was it. That day we took the cat home. My son could not come up with a name for his new friend. My daughter, who has always been very protective of her younger brother tried to help find a name that he could pronounce. Finally, the name Clover was discovered.'

At the time of its writing, Richard was a college student, and had two other cats, Linus and Melody as his muses. You can read more of Richard's story at Cat Therapy for Autistic Children."


Is it any surprise that cats are great therapy for nursing home patients? Some nursing homes are even fortunate enough to be able to keep a cat in residence. Cats have even been known to be used as therapy for patients with alzheimers disease. These cats serve to stimulate both memory and forgotten emotions.

The health benefits cats provide are just astounding. They lower your stress level, they slow down your heart rate whenever you are feeling anxious or nervous, they comfort us in so very many ways. Although dogs are generally known to be used as therapy for humankind, cats are also now coming into their own!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hubby's Rune Board


Although my husband considers himself "agnostic," he has always held a strange fascination with the runes. A few years ago, he had bought and read numerous books about them ~ their different traditional origins, what the symbols mean, and how they are used as divination tools.

While I have spent many years studying and reading tarot which is a method generally used for long-term readings, the runes are a more short term answer your questions about the future.

My hubby even went as far as to make a homemade rune board to practice his readings ...

 

And he owns two sets of rune stones ~ one bloodstone and one made out of bone. He is far too shy; however, to do readings for anyone but me. I, myself, have always enjoyed gemstones and divination, but for some reason I could never really get into rune readings. I have been known to use the rune symbols in certain spellwork, but that is about all. Perhaps someday I will give them another try ~ if I ever find myself more drawn to them. Goddess only knows!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just a thought ...


"A good friend is a connection to life ~ a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world." - Lois Wyse

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Four Feet Tall & Rising" ~ A book review


There aren't very many (quote) "Reality Shows" I bother to watch on TV. In fact, there are only two and they both happen to air on Animal Planet. One is "My Cat From Hell" and the other is "Pit Boss."

Now, I am definitely more of a cat than a dog lover and as far as the Pit Bull breed goes, I neither love nor hate them. I do; however, agree that they have gotten a pretty crummy rap in societies eyes and through the media's typical irresponsible reporting. Let's face it folks, almost ANY animal, as far as I am concerned, is capaable of doing  harm or killing. Whether it be for defensive reasons or by the ignorance of those humans who train them to be killers! Frankly, those people make me sick to my stomach!

That being said, I really do love this show. So much so that I purchased Shorty Rossi's book/memoir, "Four Feet Tall & Rising"  at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday and I just finished up reading it today. This book is so good that I just could not put it down once I began reading it!

Shorty covers the story of his amazing and inpsiring life from his disfunctional family life to running a cat rescue while in County jail and also working for a law firm while there, his interesting life in Folsom Prison thereafter, how he got into acting in several big name movies and stunt work in Hollywood, up to his current happenings of being a strong and outspoken advocate for Pit Bulls and running his talent agency for Little People called "Shortywood."

Whether you are into Pit Bulls or not, this book is a must read. Most especially if you enjoy the show, "Pit Boss." He gives his fans a lot of insight into both his business and private life ~ incredible story!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Imbolg/Imbolc/Candlemas ~ Feast of Lights


Our next holiday celebration will be the cross-quarter and greater sabbat of Imbolg. Imbolg, as we all know, is also known as Imbolc, Candlemas/The Feast of Flames, Festival of Lights, and Groundhog Day among others.  It falls on February 2nd of every year and it is a time for purification and cleansing ~ the “sweeping out of the old and bringing in of the new” as it were. It marks the first fetal stirrings of Spring in the womb of our Earth Mother and seeds are prepared for sewing.
  

It is also a time when we honor the Triple Goddess in Her maiden aspect of Brigid (pronounced “Breed”) who is the goddess of fire, inspiration, healing, craftsmanship, and midwifery. She is also the patroness of the hearth, poets, smiths, craftspeople, healers, and priests/priestesses. The God who was born of the Goddess at Yule stirs in His slumber and awaits the Spring Equinox. It is also said that Groundhog Day (later known as Candlemas), which had its’ beginnings in German Paganism and is celebrated in both the United States and Canada, symbolizes the manifestation of the God Himself. In regard to six more weeks of winter: “If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its’ might. If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away.” Of course, in reality, either way we must still endure six more weeks of winter before the start of Spring. Personally, I just adore Groundhog Day here in the States. It is such a fun festivity whether celebrated locally or abroad. We always enjoy watching "Punxsutawney Phil" awake from his hibernation to make a brief appearance to predict our winter's future on early morning of February 2nd. For more on Phil, please read my post, “Can't get enough of that Phil!” Just an aside, last year when we took our 5-day cruise on Ontario, Canada's Rideau Canal, the Captain and family business owner's sister, who happened to be the Cruise Director named Ann, told us a story of how she made a special trip to Punxsutawney, PA here in the States for the express purpose of actually meeting "Phil" and joining in on the town's festivities! Such a delightful woman!

 
Imbolg is a good time to get organized ~ spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is also the traditional time for dedications, rededications, and initiations if you are associated with a coven or group. It is an ideal time to cleanse your sacred space, altar, and tools. Activities may include making Brigid’s Crosses, Sun Wheels, a crown of candles, creating a grain or wicker dolly to represent Brigid, making a Brigid’s Bed using the corn or wheat from the previous Lughnasadh, and hanging a scarf outside on the eve of Imbolg so that Brigid will bless it with healing powers. Other activities include hanging three ears of corn on your door until Ostara to honor the Triple Goddess and making Dream Pillows for every member of the family. I always like to cleanse and bless our home on Imbolg.

Also, on Imbolg eve, it is customary to leave food and drink out for Brigid such as buttered bread, milk, grains, or seeds.


IMBOLG CANDLES


We light the candles on Imbolg
Weave our crosses end to end
We light the candles on Imbolg
To urge the Sun to come again,
We light the candles on Imbolg
To honor the Goddess Brigit,
We light the candles on Imbolg
To plow the field and sow the seed


~ Lady Caer Morganna

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Okay, here's my Benny & Joon theme song true story ...

Joon (to Sam): "You're out of your tree."
Sam (to Joon): "It's not my tree."


Many of you who have been following my blog for quite a little while now know that my hubby and I have recently celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary together. But, what you don't know is that, like most couple's, we have not been without our share of trials and tribulations. The truth is, we have actually been together a lot longer than 11 years as we lived together for 7 before we got married.

So what has this got to do with the "Benny & Joon" movie or it's theme song? Well, first of all, "Benny & Joon" was the very first movie we saw together and it is also one of our favorites. But, this little story has very little to do with the movie itself and more to do with the theme song actually.

You see a few years ago, we were having some very serious marital troubles at the time and on the verge of separation. Without getting into any huge detail or anything, let's just say that he was purposely working late nights every night at work and I was spending more time away from home to escape our problems.

One night while I was out clubbing with my girlfriends, my hubby decides to come looking for me via "shoe leather express" where he thought my friends and I would most likely be. The pub we usually frequented was about 10 miles away and would take you about 17 minutes to get there if you were driving a car.  Mind you, he walked there! Why? I honestly can not answer that question other than to say that he says that he was trying to make what he considered a romantic gesture.

Anyway, he said he was coming to meet me to tell me that he had gotten a nice big raise at work and wanted to share the good news with me. His efforts were in vain; however, since I had not happened to be at my usual haunt on that particular evening. He also said that the "Benny & Joon" movie theme song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)" by The Proclaimers kept running through his head for some reason.  Now I, too, can not hear that song without thinking about that ridiculous night so long ago.

And that is just one true story of our quirky life journey together so far. Thanks for listening, my friends, and have blessed weekend ALL!!!


 "Have A Little Faith in Me" - by John Hiatt

Monday, January 14, 2013

A little "Benny & Joon"

Expanding Our Knowledge

My brother-in-law practiced the Kabbalah for many years and taught me a little bit about his faith. One of the things I remember distinctly, were the basic alchemical symbols which resonated deeply with me. The simple fact that they represent the four elements of fire, water, earth and air made a lot of sense to me. For example, take note how when these individual triangles are combined, they make  The Seal of Solomon also known as The Star of David in the traditional Jewish religion.


 
Fire



Water

Earth

 Air


It is also interesting to note that not only was the six-pointed Jewish Star of David orginally a Pagan symbol known as the Seal of Solomon, but the menorah, which is also associated with the Jewish religion, is often used by many Wiccans (myself included) during esbat rituals. The main reason for this is because of the number "9" which has long been considered a magickal symbol.* The number 9 is the only digit which always comes back to itself. For example, 9 x 9 = 81; this sum broken down is 8 + 1 = 9; 9 x 5 = 45; 4 + 5 = 9, and so forth.





Although my faith is and always has been Wiccan, to me, one of the most beautiful things about Wicca is its' open-mindedness and willingness to learn from others. It is not solely a matter of education; however, it is also a case of appreciating eachothers' differences - whatever our heritage.


 *Reference taken from the book, "The Sabbats" by Edain McCoy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Close call ...

First and foremost, I would like to give a shout out and a huge "Thank you!" to Stacy, Jan, and Stacy's very lovely mom for the home remedies for Mr. Gray's little "problem." I will give them a go and hopefully something will do the trick!



Now for the other issue. All afternoon I prayed to the Goddess that I would not be called for jury duty tomorrow morning. She indeed heard me and the prerecorded message to all from the Courthouse was as follows, "No jurors are to report for jury duty for the service date of Monday, January 14th." Hurray! Hurray, I tell ya!!! I know it seems a bit petty to ask the Goddess for such a request, but my little boy just may have to make yet another trip to our vets tomorrow and I am not taking any chances with him after everything he has already been through.

(L-R clockwise) Tabitha, Mr. Gray, Haley, & Midnight


In the meantime; however, he is still enjoying his siblings company and is very, very happy to be back home with us.  ;)

What's up with that?

Since we brought Mr. Gray home from the vets yesterday morning, he seems to be constipated. I have tried adding some Clear & Natural medamucil to his food. I even made him a scrambled egg and mixed it in with that? But to no avail. Poor little guy, we can see that he has to go, but just can't.


The worst part about all of this is that if Goddess forbid I would need to take him back to the vet tomorrow, I run the very big chance of not being able to. As per every two freakin' years, (and I can't stress this feeling near enough!), I receive a jury duty summons in the mail from the Berks County Courthouse. Really does suck, believe me!

First of all, there are so many people not working right now around here why not ask them? Plus, there are actually people who want and can serve on a jury and I see no reason why they have to feel they must keep hounding me. I got picked a few years ago and this was NOT A FUN EXPERIENCE by any means!! I had to drive in the nightmare which is called the City of Reading, we sat there with our thumbs up our "a's" until 3:30, they took us into the courtoom and then sent us home because they decided they couldn't use us afterall! What a damned pain, honestly. All we knew was that it was a D.U.I. case which involved a teenager and the judge asked us if there was anyone who felt they couldn't be unbias. About four people stood up and said they couldn't because they knew someone close to them who was killed by a drunk driver. Home we went., only getting paid enough for our gas milage. PFFFF! Since then, they have sent me a summons every 2 years. This time, I fear they will get me and I will have NO choice in the matter at all.  I tried to get out of it right after I got the notice in the mail, but they refused to let me. What a system, eh???

Anyhow, my real fear is that because I can only call after 5PM tonight (you must call the night before the service date) they will pick me this time for sure and should my poor Mr. Gray need to go the the vet I am screwed as is he!!!! We never went through this before with our other cats getting declawed and I think it might be because they insisted on keeping him an extra night.

Oh well, keeping my fingers crossed that he will be okay if I get stuck on jury duty, EHHHHH!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Home tails ...


This morning we picked up Mr. Earl Gray from the vets. As soon as we placed him in his temporary cage, Tabitha ran over to greet him and she continued to lie next to his cage for about 20 minutes ...





After she checked him out to make sure he was okay, we decided to let him into the bedroom where he relaxed cozyly on the bed. We will still have to keep him confined for a couple of days or so until his paws heal completely, but that doesn't mean that he is a prisoner in his own home. We will leave him out for a couple of hours at a time and then put him back in his cage. He is not allowed to use regular cat litter for the time being and must use shredded paper in his box. That being said, we must keep an eye on him for his own good.

It's so good to have him back home where he belongs. After spending three days at the vets office, I know he is thrilled to be home again! Have no fear; however, he is on some pretty great kitty cat pain meds. In fact, they are so good that they told us that cats usually forget that anything happened and sometimes try to use their paws before they can. Keeping him as calm and mobile as possible is the name of the game right now!
 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Waiting for Mr. Gray …


Four cats and our house still feels empty without our sweet Mr. Earl Gray. This morning was his surgery and the vet called us afterward to say that we can come pick him up and take him home Saturday morning. Normally, we would have been allowed to take him home Friday night (tomorrow), but the vet said that since he is such a big kitty cat, it would be best for him to stay for peace, quiet and observation just one more night. And so, we set up his huge cage from downstairs up in our living room so that when he comes home he will be able to recuperate for a couple more days around his loved ones. Of course, he will not be able to use regular cat litter for these couple of days. Instead, we must use shredded paper in his box.


Hubby commented that he thinks that Miss Tabitha actually misses him as well because she is not her usual energetic self, attacking anything that dares to move, and she has been lying in the spot on the bed where he usually does. I very much agree with hubby!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blast from the Past - Part 2

My hubby's favorite Yule gift this year was most definitely the DVD, "The Return of Spinal Tap: Live at the Royal Albert Hall." For those of you who do not remember them or perhaps do not even know who they were, Spinal Tap was, for all intense and purposes, a "British rock band" whose rockumentary/mochumentary film in 1984 showcased their United States tour. It was called, "This is Spinal Tap" and it starred band members David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls. In reality, these characters were played by comedians and fellow actors and real life very talented musicians as well, Michael McKean (most notably remembered for his role of "Lenny" in the 70's/80's show, "Laverne & Shirley"), Christopher Guest (who was a member of one of the 80's "Saturday Night Live" casts and also appeared in many other films afterwards such as the movie, "Best in Show" as well as others), and Harry Shearer (known for his voices on "The Simpsons").

"Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" & "C.O.D." Live
 http://youtu.be/6gESFElAOpQ


 Songs such as, "Stonehenge," "Big Bottom," and "Sex Farm," are so ingenious. These guys are hysterical and we simply never tire of watching them and listening to their clever rock songs! If you haven't seen either of these films/DVD's, they are a must see!!

Have a Blessed Sunday ALL!

Blast from the Past - Part 1



Friday, January 4, 2013

A Catnip Alternative?


Everyone knows that cats go crazy over catnip. Well, most cats anyway. A third of the feline population does not. Midnight, for example, has never been affected by it. In fact, he merely sniffs it and then casually walks away.

Then I recently noticed that Auntie Judy's Christmas/Yule cat toys she gave to our kitties this year were getting a very good reaction from my Midnight. I knew that there was no catnip in these toys because I could not even get a hint of it. When I asked Judy about this, she said, "It isn't catnip. It's honeysuckle."

Honeysuckle? Whoa, really? Turns out that many pet stores are beginning to sell cat toys with honeysuckle in them as an alternative to catnip ~ mainly for cats such as my cat Midnight. And from what I have seen from ALL of our cats, it works pretty well! 


 

So exactly how does honeysuckle work? Well, apparently there are over 180 species of honeysuckle shrubs and vines. But, only one species, Lonicera tartarica or Tartarian Honeysuckle, seems to have an effect on cats. Cats who are stimulated by honeysuckle tend to act the same ~ exhibiting uninhibited playfulness and antics as those who are under the influence of catnip. This is because Tartarian Honeysuckle contains a chemical that is similar to the natural active ingredient in catnip. Most likely, it is this substance that puts cats into a frenzy state.

 


How safe is honeysuckle for cats? There have been no reports of serious side effects from honeysuckle toys and spray. However, some species of honeysuckle, and possibly the berries from honeysuckle plants, may be toxic to cats. To be on the safe side, you should only buy honeysuckle products from trusted vendors. Also, just as with catnip, some cats may be more aggressive than usual when under honeysuckle’s spell, so please keep that in mind when giving your kitty anything with honeysuckle in it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A little New Year's Eve Surprise!

 
Greetings, my dear friends! Hope everyone had a memorable New Year's! We traditionally spend New Year's Eve with my in-laws and then New Year's day with my folks. This year, since I was stuck working all day, hubby and I stayed home on NYE. As I may have mentioned to you all before, New Year's Eve has always been a little depressing for me (not that I was particularly unhappy to see this past year go or anything). So picture this little senario, if you will?:
 
My hubby walks downstairs in the cellar and brings up a still wrapped Yule present ...
 
Me:  (laughing, I say to him) "Ah, did you forget one?"
 
Hubby:  "No, I was saving it for you for tonight because I know New Year's always gets you a little down."
 
And so I opened his gift and to my surprise, it was a Mermaid Musical Snow Globe that rotates while playing, "Beyond the Sea." The engraving on it read, "For a love as timeless as the sea."
 
I told him how very beautiful it was and he replied, "Yeah, not bad for something I pulled out of my butt while paying for it at the cash register, eh?" I began laughing hysterically and said, "Yes, I'm certainly impressed!" LOL! Turns out that he hadn't realized that there was a place for engraving until he was ready to buy it and then had to do some quick thinking!

As I have so often said before, between our cats and my hubby, there's never a dull moment at our house!