Gratitude and Positivity Only!

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Aren’t these “namaste/praying” skeleton and black cat figurines I found at Michael’s cute? They had an entire line of both skeletons and black cats doing various yoga poses and I had to pick up a couple of them. I picked these two because I love how this pose represents gratitude and a peaceful heart. Some people might think the skeleton one is kind of creepy (which makes sense considering these were part of a Halloween display), but I think there is something beautiful about the simplicity of a human skeleton doing yoga.

I used these figures on my altar the other night while I was doing a gratitude ritual. I decided to do an impromptu meditation/prayer session, focusing ONLY on feeling and expressing gratitude and thankfulness for anything I could think of which makes my life (or the world in general) better. I specifically chose to NOT ask for anything, request divine help, or focus on any problems or pains I am currently wrestling with. ONLY GRATITUDE. ONLY POSITIVITY.

So, how did it go? Well, it definitely improved my frame of mind and sense of well-being that night. No, it didn’t cure the deep depression I have been fighting with, and it didn’t open the floodgates to riches or worldly success (at least not yet!), but it did make me feel good at the time, and it is something I would recommend to anyone (including myself) who tends to become weighed down with negativity and pessimism.

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Meditating with a Crystal Healing Grid

As you guys might know if you have read my blog for long, I have an interest in spirituality and new age stuff. Recently I discovered “crystal healing grids”, which are a simple tool for meditation and other metaphysical purposes. I decided to try them out, so I bought this raven/crow (I’m not positive which one it is supposed to be) themed one.

The official name of this grid pattern is “See Past the Darkness”, which I thought worked well with my issues overcoming my own kind of darkness (depression). It came in a little kit with the grid, the crystals, and instructions (although I tend to disregard instructions and do things my own way). In case you are into gemstones, the crystals used are amethyst (in the center), with clear quartz and Snowflake Obsidian alternating around the edges. These happen to be three of my favorite crystals, which is a bonus. I think it makes a pretty little decoration too:

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To be honest, I don’t know if meditating with stuff like this genuinely helps my depression or not, but I think that having something to concentrate on that represents positive thoughts and energy certainly can’t hurt!

If you guys are interested in trying out one of these grids for yourself, Ebay is where I have found them most easily, usually be just typing “healing crystal grid” into the search bar. You can find complete kits like the one I got, or just pick up a grid and use your own stones (or whatever else you wish to use). Happy hunting!

Children’s Book Review, “To the Cider Mill”

Author Danna York holding a copy of “To the Cider Mill”

As you might have noticed, I have been on a bit of an art kick lately, so today’s featured book is a great pick since it is very artistic, as well as literary. It is also very timely because autumn is quickly sneaking up on us, so I know teachers and parents are already looking ahead to plan fall activities and excursions. Now on to the review…

“To the Cider Mill” by Danna York is actually three books in one! That might sound a little crazy, but it is true. For the price of one book, your child gets a coloring book, a sketch book and a rhyming picture book story about the fun childhood experience of visiting a cider mill!

While the book is about the size and shape of a typical children’s coloring book, the setup is a little unusual. For each double-page spread, you have one page with a fun, harvest themed picture to color and a little rhyming verse at the bottom and on the other page you have a mostly blank space for children to create their own pictures with a little suggested drawing exercise. The suggested drawing exercises go along with the rhyme and illustration on the adjoining page and are generally fall-themed as well.

I really liked the concept of this book and think it would be a great gift for creative kids everywhere. I could easily see this book being used in a preschool or elementary classroom, for any kind of artistic group or to bring extra excitement to that annual trip to your own local cider mill. It would also make a great keepsake for parents, grandparents and other loved ones.

If you are interested in more information about “To the Cider Mill” or would like to order a copy, please visit the author’s Facebook page or email her at yorktim@att.net.

“The Pumpkin Field” Picture Book Review

With fall just around the corner, you may be looking for Halloween or other seasonal stories to share with your children.  A great one to consider is Linda Nance’s “The Pumpkin Field”.  This picture book was both written and illustrated by Linda, and she is certainly one gifted storyteller.

So what is “The Pumpkin Field” about?  It is a catchy little rhyming story that brings out the best and spookiest parts of autumn.  From the bare, skeletal trees to the black cats, magical scarecrows and spooky witches, this story literally has it all.  And of course, there are lots of pumpkins to be found as well!

I know it can be hard to pick just the right kind of spooky, but not-too-scary book for your kids.  This one has an edge of fright, just enough to give you a little shiver, but is certainly not violent or terrifying.  Even the smallest ears will be fine listening to this little tale.

The pictures that accompany the story are well-drawn, but definitely have a handmade feel to them.  No computer generated graphics here!  However, I find this style of art quite charming and a welcome change from the overly digitized picture books that are often produced today.  Art like this has a homey feel to it, one that makes you want to curl up with a blanket in front of the fireplace and get lost in the story.

If you would like to consider adding this book to your Halloween collection, you might want to visit the book’s Amazon page or Linda Nance’s blog.