Sunday, July 24, 2011

Methods of Prayer ~ bundles ,candles , sticks & fire

One of the biggest gifts & lessons that I received while in formation was the return to prayer . This formation is for all people to rediscover whom we have created to be so many people are a part of it be they housewife or priest . During formation when one discovers ones plan of life the very first topic discussed is that of prayer .
Why ? Because without prayer , without that openness and communication we cannot have that transformation happen .
There are hundreds of methods of prayer
Most people are familiar with written prayer or group prayer .
However examples of prayer are dance , song , building , painting , our daily work of reading a book to children can be a form of prayer .
Prayer is that road of communication between us and Creator and all that is given .
There of course are also meditation and contemplation which are in themselves a state of being I find not so much a method because meditation & contemplation can take place in many methods of prayer .
Then of course there are the deeper states of prayer we may experience
such as purgative , illumitive and unitive etc.
For myself rediscovering my own methods of prayer was truly a big return to self ☺
We are asked to try all forms of prayer because then if we are not working well with one we may try another which may bring us closer .
I personally am a silent prayer person . I do almost all my prayer in silence , even when alone I rarely will speak out loud . When in communal prayer such as mass I struggle alot . I can barely say the Our Father or other prayers because the sounds of all the voices mix me up , it is as though I need to begin to follow each voice and it drives me crazy . Same with the public rosary I just can't do it .
However one way I do not do badly in communal prayer is when out of doors say in a park ,when mass is held in these settings , it is strange but the sound of a bird or the wind in the leaves brings me closer to what is going on during mass.
I have written before about my work with plants on a spiritual level .How I know the herb , tree, flower , root to pick before the why is given .
This is truly part of my pray life of who I am and what I do with it .
I write this for others who are perhaps lost , disconnected , perhaps who have been labeled bad , witch or pagan .Which of course you know you are not but you feel you must hide who you are because somehow being a Christina became and meant you need worship within 4 walls and purchase statues, and drive cars and walk on pavement .
No you are not bad or wrong etc.
 many saints were like me & you .
 Jesus always went into nature to be at one it was His most sacred space to be with Creator .
Many nuns, monks & priests connected through God via the moon , seasons , etc. they knew what plants to pick for what ailments and what plants began to represent certain spiritual aailments as well.
I personally believe the reason why many religious prayer at very early hrs began because of the cycle of the moon . Like me I cannot sleep during this time so I learned I am not to toss and turn I am to get up and pray ☺
One of the most beautiful times to pray the rosary is during a summer full moon ☺
If you want to learn more you can write to me , I just wanted to share some of my creations to give inspiration .
I love creating stuff, using natural items from nature , I also have trouble sitting still for to long so these methods of prayer keep me busy planning , preparing , touching , feeling , and most of all giving !
so below are some photos of items I use and creations I make during these prayerful times
I hope you enjoy .

I began making these cute little prayer bundles upon my return to the city .With having no garden ( another method of prayer ) I was extremely slothful and knew I needed something .
I made this one up for my sil on her birthday , just like prayer sticks or candles bundles can be used for private prayer or given as a gift to someone . These are to be placed on your prayer fire when the time is right ☺

I cleaned off the lovely outdoor table dh made me and set up a little outdoor work station

Summer is best season of all because you can collect items from in the garden etc. There are many books on Marian flowers , herbs etc. on what each type of tree flower represents . So if you feel called to prayer for someone or make them a gift use those ingredients which most represent what you are called to prayer for . Such as cedar for healing & protection .Spruce or balsam for healing and conversion etc. I am personally thinking to begin the plant ally study some fellow bloggers are doing . I of course have many allies but the one plant that is always with me is Lavender , always . I just learned that this plant represents Mary's flight to Egypt ! Of course it does ☺There are many herbals written by those in convents and monasteries as well from old . I've yet to get my hands on any but I've seen them in reference in all my herbal books .

I then transfer items to the mortar and pestle

This is fun too , you get to squish it all up
Keep in mind while you are doing all this much prayer is being prayed for loved ones etc.

I have on hand holy water , oil & salt
blessing , protection & purification

Then you get to mix it altogether ☺

I have used palm leaves from palm Sunday for this or like this bundle for my sil I decided to use birch bark .I set a piece of moss down on it , like a heavenly cloud so soft .

I then placed some of the herbal mixture on top the moss and then a beautiful lily in bloom to represent Our Lady .

I used some wool we got from the sheep farm

To tie it all together ☺
I also used the same herbal mixture to make her prayer candle

As many people know I also make prayer sticks , some sticks are like prayer shawls . Usually red diamond willow is the wood I prefer .  I sand them and oil them using much prayer and give as gifts . Then there are these other sticks I now make which are for the fire .

I find a stick I like for that person

For my sil I wanted to use Patchouli because it is her fav scent .

So I mixed patchouli up with some holy water , oil & salt .
Then taking a rag gently rub this all over the stick . It always brings out the beautiful red , golden and brown earthy tones in the wood.

and there You have it ! I for some reason also wanted to tie a sage bundle to her stick so I did .I'm sure it would smell wonderful when she burns it in her prayer fire ☺

I also made this beautiful prayer stick

and prayer candle
my dear friend & midwife gave me that little statue of OLMC yrs ago , it had belonged to her Grandmother , who also had been a midwife ☺ The little blue bird my ds10 gave to me back when he was 6yo .It represents the Holy Spirit to me ☺

once again using lots of fresh ingredients

This prayer was for someone who really feels unwanted and unloved so I tended to pick alot of things representing protection but mostly gentle love like baby's breath ☺a soul so in pain needs gentle touch , nothing harsh .

and then there was fire .

Yes everyone knows Rox loves her fires Lol !
I am however not the girl who plays with fire but rather the woman who tends the fire ☺

Be it day or night but truly day time is the best for me , a sunrise fire !
I love prayer by candle light

and I've special spots I love for prayer .Environment really does have an influence on our prayer life . Just look at how residential schools killed spirits & damaged souls !

I've my fav prayer books , well worn

beautiful souls helping me along the way

and never , I mean never discourage others from learning their true method of prayer .always invite them ☺

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Environmentalist

Yep, that's my Mum ☺
She is also known by the campers /cottagers as the lady who comes out of the bush lol
this is because they will be sitting out on their decks enjoying their drinks & sunning and all of a sudden the bush starts to move , is it a bear , no , its my Mum out walking about in the woods identifying what is there and what has been disturbed etc.
My mother is one of the reasons of course that I am who I am I am 1/2 her ☺
Don't get me wrong my family & friends also know I am not 1/2 my mother and we certainly have our struggles in our parent/child relationship .
Yet I have also received much good from her and for this I am really thankful for .
One of those gifts is that of living naturally , simply & one with nature .Being comfortable in my own skin in things natural.
We do things differently of course . My mother does not have so much the spiritual attachment to creation as I do , she works differently .She is very much into the practical side of things . She is I will tell you an activist .She works on and makes things known and as a result changes have occurred due to her activism .
Like I said she protested the building of hydro dams on the river because it would effect lake levels long before the professionals came around 30 yrs later talking because of course now they see the effects .Like Jesus said some see long before others that which is to come .She also worked very hard at making the ATV use in the little area banned .
She is also very radical at times , I am far more like my grandmother was in that I like the garden , I like the visual appealing , where my mother does not .She is very aware of what trees, plants and animals are not present due to human encroachment upon the earth . She tends her yard which looks at time barren to some because it is located on a sand hill. Yet she knows where all the little seedlings are sprouting up in amongst the tall sandy grasses that no one else can see. She notices how people walk in the forest , people who also care about the environment yet when going out to pick things are not watching what they walk on. An aboriginal elder said we should actually wear moccasins while picking because it is much more gentle a step.
She also has found plant growth of those species which are not from our region coming in .plants that may tend to need the warmer environment of the southern part of our province like the ground cedar have now arrived here .Global warming I'm certain.
So who is a true & real environmentalist ?
Yes we all know David Suzuki is labeled the professional .However to me it is someone who is just like my Mum. Who just naturally knows what is what and what is right & what is wrong in their own environment. One who has their natural surroundings as part of their life not living separate from .
What brought on this thought or meditation was a little story my Mum told me while I was staying out there this spring . It was the story of the carrot bag . I guess we were talking carrots and she said when she was 16yo she wrote a letter to a company that sold veggies. She was using carrots and told her mother , isn't it a shame they put this clip on the bag because the only way to get it off was to destroy the bag . If the company were to just put a tie on the bag then we could reuse it . Back then plastics were made for that purpose to have long life and reuse not to be disposable like now. So what was my grandmothers response ? Why write a letter of course ! So my Mum did she sent off a letter to this company how she liked their nice bags so much but what a shame it was she could not reuse the bag itself for other things .
I have to say that my dd Natasha is just like her gramma in this way and I like my gramma I'd tell her to write the letter ☺
But that is it , just the little things in life , that is how my Mum was brought up and how she lives today too. She needs no degree to see it or know it .
I am really really Thankful for this gift .
Thank You Lady who comes out of the bush !

Passion Cooking

I've had this thought , meditation in my head for some time now about how we cook .
I was thinking of cooking with divine inspiration , cooking with passion compared to the just doing it because . Being a mother I have had to do alot of the just because type of cooking lol
I'm talking the type of cooking where it takes you hours upon hours sometimes and you still come out of it enlightened , uplifted , the breath at the end is sheer contentment not Thank God its over ☺
Sometimes when wishing to make something I'm inspired to make I've even put it off for 3 days until the timing is just so. I know for certain if I bake cookies when mad they will flop and I am an awesopme cookie maker , so I just know , don't do it unless you can get out of the funk .
So while I was meditaing on this I thought of all the cooking and people who are inspirations where you know they just are so with God when cooking , like Julia Child or the monks who tended gardens and make the cheese that is known all over the world .
To me passion cooking is like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book or Sarah Addison Allen's book Garden Spells .
That kind of passion !
Everyone must remember Like Water for Chocolate !
I love love fiction and even more so mystery that invloves Botany & food like Susan Wittig Albert Books
So as I was meditaing on this I read my saint of the day book and I've always heard of ST.Pascal being the saint for cooks & everyone must know Pascal & the Kitchen Angels
However the saint I read about I'd never heard of him ST.Benedict the Moor , he was known for many healing miracles but mostly his miraculous works in the kitchen ☺ often when cooking it is said there would be an incredible glow following him . He loved to prepare food as gift to others yet he himself would only nibble ,which he said was a form of fasting because you get a bit but not to much plus you are practicing great restaint in not falling to temptaion of wanting more than is needed ☺
I myself am not so much a passion cook as I am a passion baker .
As I said I'm mum and granny and meals are a must in the home .Of course I love and put much passion ionto cooking for feasts , holidsays , birthdays etc. but my main true love in the kitchen is baking .
I think too I tend to be a person who is very visual but also very touchy feely . I love working with clay , in the garden touching things , so it is the same with baking one gets to actually touch and interact with the ingredients . I love to grind nuts to add to the flour to make a batch of passion cookies , or the smell of the cinnomon , brown sugar and butter one spreads on rolled out dough for cinnamon rolls .
below are some items I have enjoyed making with great passion ☺ 

I love making cream puffs ! I especially only make them in spring & summer because they are best with fresh berries . I learned the best cream puff recipe from a mennonite cookbook because naturally the mennonites make the best cream puffs ☺
this cake is elegant yet so so simple it is wacky cake ! yes that simple little cake we all learned to make in home economics class . place a doily on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar ☺

evereyone knows I love tea parties

no I didn't make this cake lol but I could've ;-)

I love love to make different types of pancakes for the kids , we even have pancake parties 1
 add toasted seeds & coconut . berries , sauces & syrups , yum yum

summer cakes lemon poppyseed with lemon/rose icing

crepes ! I love savory crepes most of all but I make these on pancake tuesday sweet with tangy lemon juice ☺

Ah yes , the cookie !

lavender rose

almond orange

okay this is one thing I stress to people , let your kids cook ! I really had no idea there were people who did not let their children cook . Until I saw it with my own eyes! This was a friend of mine ! I just had made the assumption all children grew up helping to add the flour , stir the eggs in , drop on sprinkles , place raisens for eyes . Nope !
some children grow up having to just watch never touch ! if lucky they get to lick a beater , what even shocked me more is how this awful behavoiur is passed on !
so yes our children learn at a very young age how to scramble an egg , bake a cake , chopping soft veggies with a dull butter knife , boil pasta etc.
this photo is not just of my mother who taught me to partake in cooking but her with her great grandson !
tradition continues and if it isn't it is up to us to start the great tradition ☺

I mean how can you not do this !

when you get such great results as this !
lol this was my grandsons creation ☺

we of course love to use fresh & natural when possible


gooey cinnamon rolls

flowers yummy nummy flowers

seasonal cooking also involves making things pleasing to the eye

fresh rolls

cabbage rolls and trad Ukranian staple come autumn

waffles for my man on fathers day
Oh and one of the best spring treats ever !
grapeleaves !

cleaned and ready to roll

we make veggie ones and meat ones

a Lebanese delight !

wild strawberry

okay you know my all time fav thing , pie ! pie ! pie !

did I say pie ☺

Adventure boy and I picked wild roses this spring and I made several batches of rose syrup .
It is wonderful for sweetening lemonade , herbal teas and of course using in desserts and sauces ☺

I had to make this yummy lemoney rose petal pie . yes it is deliscious !

this is one of ds21 fav desserts .frozen lemon lime raspberry dessert

yes it is so good ☺

there are so many great cookbooks out there ! Tomorrow it is to rain all day so I'm making ginger crinkle cookies with added orange rind , from the Moosewood cookbook .
I also love The Pioneer Lady's cookbooks . Not to be confused with the new trendy Pioneer Woman cookbooks

he was thrilled when the berries started showing up ☺

We love what we discover when out gathering ingredients . Have you seen these white spiders that live on the rose bushes ? They have such great camaflouge ! They at times have a pink stripe on them like a wisp of rose coloured paint . This fellow was eating a fly !
How can one not experience passion when cooking envolves life lessons like this ☺