Sometimes We All Just Need To Be Rescued…

I saw something at the clinic this week that hit me square between the eyes.  I was walking around a corner preoccupied by my own busy-ness, when I saw a young military fellow and his dog.  The dog was quite obviously older and was leaned against this young man’s leg.  The dog’s eyes were closed in a contented bliss.  I had to know the story behind this poignant scene.  It turns out that the young man was indeed military and the the old dog was just adopted from a shelter.  He had gotten him as a companion for his wife when he was away.  They had decided on an older dog because they wanted to give an older animal a chance….they wanted to give him the best in his golden years.  It was so obvious, as I watched this senior pup, that he knew he was given something that not many in his circumstances receive.

As I watched and listened, I tried desperately to swallow the lump that had been forming in my throat….but my eyes gave me away.  As I felt the tears welling up, I looked at the soldier and he was also tearing up.  He said to me, “Yes, we are very much indeed the lucky ones.”  This left an indelible image engraved into my heart and memory.

Of course, that night, I headed to the pond with that little blue chihuahua.  I leaned into my friend Oak and waited for the herd of cats to join us.  I wasn’t disappointed.  As I looked out over the water….my brain was racing….racing back and forth.  All I could think of was that old dog and the soldier. 

My back was against Oak.  I felt his strength and support.  I wondered…..how many people and animals out there need rescuing?  How many just need a comfortable place to rest through the turmoil that life has thrown.  Yes. Yes.  I know.  We are all so strong and capable that we don’t need anyone to rescue us. We never get tired of everyday stresses.  We never worry ourselves to the point of feeling that we are going to throw up.

Lies….all lies.  I, for one, know that I am a strong person…..but I get tired of being strong.  Sometimes…I feel like that old dog.  I have been the support for so long that I just need someone else to lean on….just for a minute or two.  I just want to lean and know that blissful feeling of someone elses shoulder.

But then again, how many times are we needed to bear the load for someone else?  Now, I am not talking about absorbing all their troubles, taking on their issues….I mean just being there.  Much of the time you really don’t even need to say anything….they only need know that you are there, willing to hold them up as they lean…listening as they talk.

That little blue chihuahua of mine is a leaner.  He just likes knowing I am there.  It is his sense of security….he knows that as long as I’m there that nothing can hurt him.  My Merlin is the same way….he was dropped off at the clinic as a kitten.  Even though he is 17 pounds now, he loves nothing more than to wrap his arms around your neck and go to sleep with his head under your chin.  I have often said that he just wants to be closer to the heartbeat.

Isn’t that the way we all feel?  We just need to be close to the heartbeat.  We only need someone to tell us that they care enough to be there.  It can be hard sometimes to allow someone into our personal space that closely, but sometimes we just have to realize, it is not about us at that point. 

Most people look at me and see a big teddy bear.  To be honest, I am not all that touchy feely…..especially with people.  I will hug on and love on animals all day.  I have to make myself be a hugger.  This is something that I have found that those around me need.  They need me to be a teddy bear and a hugger, and that’s ok.  I will be for them.  Goddess gave me one thing that I intend to use until the day I die……a strong back.  If I have to plant myself so that someone else can lean for a moment…then so mote it be.

As I write this, I can hear folks saying, “You normally write about such magickal stuff.  What happened?”  What is more magickal than sharing yourself for the sake of people and animals in need?  Give someone a hug and tell me that the feeling isn’t some of the strongest magick you will ever feel.

The cold weather is coming.  Take care of the animals.  I have a friend who always sets up shelters for the outside cats….blankets, you name it.  She has gotten me into the habit of doing the same thing……maybe that is why I now have a herd of cats.  Donate blankets and food to your local shelters if you can….Homeless and Animal.  As the holiday season approaches, look for people and animals that you can be there for.  Stir up some strong magick….One thing I like to do when I am taking treats out for the outside cats is stir a little magick into it.  Protection magick. 

I am so not a kitchen witch, but when I make treats…human, canine, or feline….I always add magick into it.  Always strength, protection, joy and peace…isn’t that what we all need? 

Go out looking for somebody to rescue this week.

Blessed Be!

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Where Did ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Happily Ever After’ Go?

Once upon a time, long ago in a land far away…….It is amazing where my brain takes me sometimes when it has the opportunity to slow down and just think. It goes to far away places with dragons and sword fights and castles.

Most people dont know one of my favorite indulgences. It isn’t candies or sweets or bucket loads of ice cream. I love to read fairy tales. I have a book of Grimm’s fairytales that I love to take with me whenever I have time to read. It accompanies me to the pond quite a lot. I am one who can, quite literally, lose myself in a book. When I am reading a story, whether it be one of the Grimm’s tales or “Harry Potter,” I am lost in that world.

As I sat by the pond this morning, I contemplated all the ‘Once Upon a Times’ and ‘Happily Ever Afters’ that I have read in my lifetime. I started to wonder about Snow White and her Prince Charming. In the time between ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘Happily Ever After’ did they have to clean up hairballs that the forest animals had left around the castle? Were the seven dwarves constantly under foot with non-stop whistling? And talk about mother-in-law issues……how many of us would be able to stand a mother-in-law who you just couldn’t trust when it came to fresh-baked apple pie? I told you….the places my mind can go can be quite scary sometimes.

Over the past few months, I have become quite addicted to the show, “Once Upon A Time” on ABC. I love the fact that the cast of characters have all been magickally transported to a small town in Maine named Storybrooke. For a while, magick did not exist there and no one remembered their past identities….and then magick was brought back to them. So here they were stuck in this world…knowing who they were and forced back into an unremarkable life.

Again, my brain was just reeling over all the possibilities and how this could apply to my life. I asked myself, “When did my ‘Once Upon A Time’ start?” Truth be told, it started the day I was born. My life is by no means a fairy tale. I haven’t been poisoned by apples, slept for 100 years, or even worn a glass slipper. I didn’t have a fairy godmother to get me ready for my proms in high school….and alas there were no castles.

My ‘Once Upon A Time’ starts in a small town in North Carolina and then the roads curve into the different adventures that my life has taken me through. My life is not one of heart-wrenching tragedy, but it is also not one of stupendous conquests and beanstalks.

One thing that I have learned in my years as a witch is that everything is about intent. If I desire adventure, then it is up to me to make that happen. If I sit on my broad part all day long and never try anything new then there is an issue. I have made a decision in the past two weeks to take an archery class. I have always wanted to do it…..and now my intent has matched my desire. Atlanta…..watch out for flying arrows!

If you think about it, the content between Snow White and Prince Charming’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Happily Ever After’ was survival and to eventually have the life that they knew was out there somewhere. Ours is the same. Every day of our lives, we fight traffic ( that alone is Atlanta’s own Dragon), we work diligently at our jobs ( Hi Ho, Hi Ho), and we clean. If you are like me, you constantly have a broom in your hand.

Like Snow White, we have to find our safe place. Hers was the forest with the seven dwarves. Mine started out as my courtyard….then it became the pond. I was seeking a place of refuge where I could get away from the day to day world….from the responsibilities that seem to constantly bombard me. A place where magick once again exists in a strong way and nothing can make me forget who I am. Think about it. How many times during a day have you been so beat down and walked over that you forget the power that actually lies within you? How magickal do you feel in the midst of that 13 hour shift? How magickal do you feel wiping puke and hairballs out of the floor at 3am? How magickal do you feel before that first cup of coffee in the morning? It is important to remind yourself of who you are and what you are capable of.

I am not talking here about living forever in a fantasy. Goddess has given you power…..don’t forget to access that at all times. I realize that Prince Charming is not always 6’3 with shiny brown hair and perfect teeth. Sometimes he is 5’5 with glasses….but he is everything you ever dreamed of. Your trusty steed is a 2007 Toyota and the sharpest sword you will ever draw is a ballpoint pen, but you are still strong and powerful. You have within you more power than any evil queen dared to dream of. Stop looking in the mirror and seeing all the faults and blemishes. It is time to see yourself for who you are….you are a god. You are a goddess. You have a universe of power right there at your fingertips.

It is time to realize that ‘Happily Ever After’ is just around the corner. You have the ability to make it happen. Contentment is such a hard thing to realize. We are always so conscious anymore about ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’

I am not a rich man, but I am perfectly happy with what I have and who I am. I may not be able to afford too many luxuries, but I am able to make many of the things I need or buy cheap knockoffs. I think the key, for me, is that I have learned that I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. I am me. I am the most magickal me that I can possibly be. I have my courtyard, my pond, my herd of cats, a little blue chihuahua, a little black doxy, and my own Prince Charming. That, in itself, is a whole lot of magick.

As I thought of all these things, I felt a smile play across my face. That feeling is magick in its purest form….without ritual….without ceremony.

Think about the things that make you happiest……

Magickal Things Sometimes Happen Through the Most Mundane

Something has struck me quite odd this year.  Normally as fall starts to set in, I find myself preparing for nesting or hibernation mode.  This year has been quite different.  As the leaves begin to fall and the wind picks up noticeably and there is a crispness in the air that hasn’t been there for quite a while…..I find myself energized.  I find myself motivated.  I find myself……at peace.

A dear friend of mine said earlier this week, “Be careful what you ask for.  You just might get it.”  He had been talking to the Goddess about prospering his business….we all had done magick on his behalf.  He saw it come to fruition.  You all know that over the past month or two that there have been a few challenges trying to circle their way around me.  I was seeking out Goddess for motivation, health, calming.  Again, as my friend said….”Be careful what you ask for.” 

Magickal things sometimes happen through the most mundane.  It was through my own doctor that motivation began.  It was either get healthy or….well, let’s just say that he gave me a long list of ‘what if’s.’  So, I set the goal of getting healthy.  It has been almost a month now and it seems almost effortless…but then again, I have done non-stop motivation magick, and I know that many friends have done the same.  I also did something that I never do….I ordered an outfit that I want in an XLarge to help me see where I want to be.  Maybe frivolous, but I feel it will be effective.

I use a lot of music in my magick.  How was I to know that was the key to calm.  Normally, when I am doing spellwork, I will sing over the cauldron or the fire.  I let my music float into the universe to accomplish the spells intent.  One afternoon at work, I felt my stress levels start to rise.  Softly, under my breath, I started humming…..nothing identifiable..just lilting music.  I found myself being soothed, calmed within minutes.  What do you know…..music really does soothe the savage beast.

Yesterday at work, I was allowed something that alludes most.  A client brought in a baby owl that had flown into her glass doors.  You could tell by looking at it that it was an immature bird, but this beautiful creature was by no means small.  Apparently, I am the only one in the clinic that is not afraid of birds, so I held it for the examination.  It was very obviously dazed.  The doctor determined there was no damage done, but we needed to feed it and call our wildlife rehabilitator.  I ran to the supermarket across the street and bought raw hamburger.  With strong leather gloves on, I was able to handfeed this magickal animal.  It ate heartily and I placed it in a toweled kennel for safekeeping until the rehabilitator came.  It was in this moment with this strong and beautiful creature that I was shown a glimpse into myself.

How many walls and windows have I hit over the past year?  How many times have I walked around dazed because something had overwhelmed me?  How many times have I walked away unscathed by something that could have completely destroyed me?  Too many times for recollection.  It is in those times that I must nourish my spirit…..seek out those energies that will invest in me and heal those deepest parts.  I know that it was magick that brought me into contact with this creature of the night.

The crispness in the air in the mornings has been calling me to the pond more and more.  I am beginning to see worn ground against Oak.  It faintly resembles the shape of a large behind.  Last night, I felt the need to unplug and just be.  I said goodnight to my friends on Facebook, left my cellphone behind charging and took a book into the courtyard to read.  As I sat on the outside sofa, I could hear my name being whispered in the breeze.  I knew it was my ‘Lady of the Lake’ calling to me.  I left my book behind and leisurely walked to her.  Friz was already in bed, so I walked down by myself.

It was pretty chilly last night so I had on my lightweight fleece jacket.  This couldn’t have been more appealing to my herd of cats.  Yes, Black and White cat has started bringing friends along.  There is now a tan, brown, and white cat that looks like the ragdoll breed and a seal point himalayan.  The other two are more tame than Black and White cat.  They came right up to me….and of course everyone wanted to snuggle in the fleece. 

I sat out under the waxing moon.  It is the perfect moon for success and health and friendships.  I whispered the names of those friends who came to mind and blessed the Lord and Lady for the gift of renewed health.  I called on the gift of Cat Magick that I was blessed with.  A trilogy of magick curled up on me, built new anticipation in me.

This morning was just like any other Saturday morning.  I was walking Friz and he immediately headed to the pond.  I think his spirit yearns for it as much as mine.  We settled in and here comes the herd.  Friz didn’t quite know what to do with all this cat energy, but he quickly settled in.  We listened in the distance to the crows.  It was if each caw was telling some  glorious ancient wisdom.  I dozed off as usual and was awakened abruptly by a man shaking my arm vigorously.  There were no cats around me. Friz was standing at attention.  At first, I was perturbed that my solitude was broken, but the man began to speak.

He told me that he had seen me out by the pond many times.  He said that he had seen me in my ‘cape’ and had thought that I was the Grim Reaper.  He told me that he had seen me in the dark and wondered if I was a messenger of death.  He had been scared to come near the pond.  But this morning, he saw me from a distance and said that he felt like he needed to come up to me.  He asked if I was an angel.  I tried really hard to stifle a snort and told him that I was really far from that.  He told me that there was something different about me and asked if I had mojo.  I found out a bit later that he was originally from New Orleans.  I told him that I was a worker of magick.  He laughed out loud and told me that he just knew it.  He sat out there with me and Friz for the rest of our time…..he told as we left and he pumped my hand up and down, “You can throw some of that Mojo at me anytime you want.” I told him I would.

Who would have ever guessed that in the midst of my solitude that Magick would have tapped me on the shoulder?  It just goes to show that we have to be prepared for the Magickal things no matter where we are and what we are doing.  Sometimes those things that seem to be the most bothersome…..an interruption, so to speak…..can be the most magickal things experienced.

Blessed Be!

Where Do I Fit?

This past weekend I had alot of time to think about things by the pond. The coolness in the weather seemed to call me outside more than normal. The wind was begging to play and the water was laughing as it was tickled by the breeze. It seems that I am called to the pond so much more lately. My courtyard used to be more my refuge, but it always seemed so ‘put together.’ I knew that my spirit was being summoned to something wilder…something that had not been tamed by the city.

I decided to wander out there today after work. It was a really stressful day and my blood pressure decided to bounce up and down like a yo-yo. I found myself getting angry at every stupid little comment and trying to separate myself from everything and everyone. Now was my chance. I went by myself today. I could feel my Lady of the Lake singing to me. I could feel Oak calling for me to nestle myself against his trunk (when I am lying against him, it is almost as if he is absorbing the negativity within me and pushing it deep underground with his roots).

My mind was going in a thousand different directions. I thought about the past. I thought about all the things I had been allowed to do in life. I was a singer, an actor, a clown, a minister, a counsellor, an artist, a boyfriend, a farmer…..it seemed to me like it had been too short a life for all those personalities to be wound up inside me.

I have always been a mutt of sorts. I have always used the old phrase “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.” It is one thing to be able to do alot of stuff, but if you don’t completely excel at those things, it can be dreadfully unfulfilling. There were only two things that ever felt completely natural to me…..being gay and being a witch. I felt like I excelled at both. In the church, I had always been taught ‘Father God’ but I always felt drawn to the Horned one and Mother Goddess.

I laughed out loud today as I remembered my days in the church. I was very much like Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. It seemed that the other pastors I worked with were always singing, “How Do You Solve A Problem Like David.” I always had an unconventional approach to things. I loved to take the classes I taught out into nature to experience what I truly knew was Divine. I spent my lunches wandering through woods and creek beds. I never quite fit into the mold they had created for me.

And this is why I went to the pond today. I am feeling like I am not so much fitting anymore. I am caught inside the hamster wheel. Before the ooohs and aahhs start, my relationship is fine, my walk along the Path is fine, I am basically fine. There is just a puzzle piece loose somewhere.

I think the clearest when I am in nature. I can breathe again. I needed my time with the Horned One and Mother Goddess. I needed it to be me. Just me. I took my shoes off straight away and dug my toes into the dirt. I pushed my hands down into the grass just to feel that connection with the earth around me. I could hear the crows in the distance. My have I heard the crows lately…..and seen the crows…they have been everywhere. I have also been having more dreams about travel this week. I travel in my dreams by broom or by foot or just by puff of smoke.

This has also been a week when animals have been drawn to me more than ever. Dogs that I don’t know at the clinic are running up to me in a crowd of people. The clinic cats have been leaving gifts (goddess help me) on my desk. Today I was standing in the hall at work and I see this flash of white running toward me……it was a ferret who had escaped and ran at me and climbed me. Now you have to know that I am afraid of ferrets, rats, anything along that line. I am hyperventilating and he is having the best time. Everyone around me is laughing because they know of my fear.

Of course as I come to this revelation, it should not surprise me that at that moment there is a black and white cat winding itself around me. I don’t think I have ever heard him purring as loudly. I feel my brain starting to relax. Too many thoughts have been circling it. I smell the turn of the wheel as I sit there. I am delighted by having friends circled around me. I take my cue from them. I make myself laugh with the water. I make myself dance in the wind. I make myself calm and steady along with the Oak, and I breathed contentment like black and white cat.

I am far from depressed. Something has just been off. I find the best way to deal with that ‘off’ feeling is to put myself in the place that I fit best…..right in the midst of the Lord and Lady. While I am watching the world start to go dormant as the wheel turns, I am reminded that there are those times in us when we feel like a blank page. It is in those times that I must allow the Lord and Lady to write on those pages. I must also allow my elemental friends to do the same….it is important to pull on the personalities of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.

I gather myself and bid black and white cat ‘Good Evening’ and give my offerings to the elements and head back to the condo. I go about my regular nightly duties. I empty the garbage and head to the dumpster with the bag. I open the door into the courtyard and look up….there is a hawk sitting on the brick of the courtyard fence. I fumbled for my camera and end up with a blurred picture of bricks. Immediately I think about the significance of the hawk. Hawk brings awareness and perspective ( Am I going through life blindly right now…going through the motions). He also brings insight and vision (Am I bottling my creativity? Is my self confidence waning a bit). He brings initiative and decisiveness (Am I procrastinating about something).

I can definitely see that the weeks ahead will bring many new thoughts and ponderings…..many days by the pond….culminating in a trip to the mountains of Asheville the first weekend of November. I see an adventure in the making.

Caressing the Feathers of the Morrigan

The Morrigan is a Celtic Goddess who has been known as the Great Queen, Specter Queen, Supreme War Goddess and Queen of Phantoms. She is also known as Great Mother, MoonGoddess, Great White Goddess, Queen of the Fae, Patroness of Priestesses and Witches, and The Goddess of Magick. She is frequently depicted in triple form, a goddess in three parts, a shape shifter, and a warrior. Yet, the Morrigan herself seldom actually killed; rather, she used her power and magick to stir up the warriors she favored and to weaken those she wanted to lose.

Basically, she is a goddess of battle, strife and sovereignty. Like all the Celtic goddesses, she is not totally evil or good. She is a balance. The Morrigan often steps in to wage justifiable war. She is called upon by warriors, and if she agrees with their battle and motives, she aids them.

The Celts lived their lives based on the changes in nature. They saw the fields grow cold and empty, becoming dead in winter, and then watched as the earth reawakened and the fields came to life in the spring. They knew death was necessary for rebirth and worshipped the Morrigan as the one who brought death so there could be rebirth. She was the one who led the armies, the one who brought death. She was also the one who brought life in her role as a fertility goddess; She was a bringer of life, not always the messenger of death that she had been painted to be.

She is not evil, but she is a dark goddess. By bringing death, she encourages and paves the way for new life. The death that she brings causes the rebirth of that which was buried and gone. Look at the flowers of summer. Once the blooms and greenery die, it is time for the bulb or seed to soak in nourishment and grow stronger. Her hand touches all aspects of life.

Her physical form has been that of raven, hawk, wolf, vulture or jackal. All of these at first thought are predators, but if looked at deeper, they all feast on the dead and decaying. It is in the death of weakness that strength and newness emerge.

As I walked side by side this morning with that little blue chihuahua, I could feel a slight briskness to the air…..much cooler than those muggy summer mornings that had just been here weeks earlier. I had gotten used to the feeling of being covered by a heavy damp blanket as I walked to the pond through the Georgia humidity. This morning was different. Friz seemed to have a bit more spring in his step…even a little more playful, if you will. I was much the same. I felt like I could breathe in the cooler morning temperatures.

I knew this time was coming. I watched the signs for weeks now. The trees, even though the temperature hadn’t varied that much, had already started to drop leaves. More formations of birds were flying overhead..I laughed at the kids playing outside last week when they screamed as a flock of Canadian geese flew in toward them at a distance a little too close for their comfort. Of course, now all the grocery stores around here have pumpkins and gourds for sale. All the halloween decorations and costumes have been displayed…..and all that candy.

I am probably the only gay man that can’t wait for the hot, stiff air of summer to disappear and the cool relaxing chill of autumn to take its place. I am old and fat now….why would I want to run around shirtless. I look forward to the anticipation of witches flying across the moon and cauldrons bubbling over the fireplace flame with a green-eyed black cat snoring softly in front of it. Yeah…yeah…I know it’s a stereotype, but I watched alot of “Bewitched” as a child.

It seems strange to say that I have become closer to The Morrigan over the course of this year. My family has definitely seen its share of death this year. I have never been one to raise my fist and curse the Lord and Lady for another turn of the wheel. The summerlands has become a friend to me and my family. We have guided both my aunt and my grandma to the doorway and stepped back and smiled and waved as they finished the journey. The Morrigan has not been the deliverer of death, but instead she has been a guide. She shows us each step of the way those things that are required as loved ones have walked purposefully toward the summerlands.

I have become accustomed to hearing mama crow caw at me from her perch on top of the phone pole across the parking lot. It seems that it comes when I need to hear it most. I listen to her and of course I answer back. I hear her most when change is on the horizon. It reminds me again of my grandma. She would raise her bony finger into the air, laugh out loud and say, “The wind is dancin’ with another partner. Change is a-comin.'”

Change has visited many times this year. Over the past months, I feel as though I am the one “dancin’ with another partner.” Some things have left me spinning….trying hard to regain my balance. Other things have left me feeling as though I have been cuffed harshly under the chin or completely knocked backward. I have had to pick myself up too many times.

With each change comes a new battle. The Morrigan has taught me how to fight these battles. I see her favor as I draw my sword. I feel the stamina she has built within me storming its way to the frontlines. The biggest battle this year has been waged very recently. With a health scare a few weeks ago, I have had to readjust everything about my life. I have had to change the way I eat, my activity level, even the way I respond to stress. But again….I will emerge the victor. I have no choice. I will not be defeated.

I settled by oak this morning at the pond. I sat and watched the ripples of the water once again. My little pond….fighting its own battle with the city around it. It struggles to hold onto the bit of wildness that it has. It is tucked back behind all the cement and brick and traffic. It holds its own where it is. It will allow nothing to overtake it.

Friz seems to sense the thoughts that are galloping through my brain. He reaches up and licks the tip of my nose. I start to wonder where black and white cat is…..he is normally on his way to the tree by this time in our visit. I don’t see him. A friend of mine says that he is a Fae cat. Maybe he is running errands for the fae. I lie back against the tree and before I know it I have dozed off. Strange dreams of herbs and stones get tangled in amongst the thoughts streaming through. When I wake up, black and white cat is settled in beside Friz. I close my eyes one more time and breathe in deeply. I can see the shimmer of The Morrigan’s glossy black feathers in my minds eye.

During the dark months ahead, I look to The Morrigan for her guidance. Which battles are worth the fight and which do I leave for others? What is cut down by the sword and what is left standing? The pond has become that neutral ground where all is safe. I’ll rest here for now.

Blessed Be!

A Little Burnt Biscuit…

Let me just tell yáll. I was raised in North Carolina in the country. One of the things I remember most are those great big ole cat-head biscuits my grandma used to make. They were so good….slathered in butter with maybe a piece of ham or sausage tucked inside or just a little bit of scuppernong jam.

My childhood was jam-packed full of good old country cooking. All of my best and worst memories were always surrounded by this type of food. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, school accomplishments….all were centered around great big old spreads of fried chicken, banana pudding, hoe cakes, fat back, pinto beans and potatoes by the bucket. Everything was coated in cream or gravy or mayonnaise or a fried crust and was absolutely heaven on a plate.

Is it any wonder that when I am stressed or angry or sad or hell, even happy that these are the foods I have always turned to? Living away from family, I had to bring out the memories of the way granny used to make her biscuits. There weren’t any cups or measuring spoons in her kitchen. Everything was measured right there in the palm of her hand. Trust me, figuring out those measurements was something else too. She wasn’t real crazy about having anybody else in her kitchen…especially looking over her shoulder, so it was essentially a glean what you could as you could scenario.

Now, it’s funny that all these memories of food are coming to me now…..a week and a half after a fearful doctor’s visit where I thought I was having a heart attack. I was on my way to work and I could feel that elephant on my chest type feeling. I drove myself on in to my doctor’s office….don’t ask me why the hospital wasn’t my first thought. Well, it turned out to be hypertension…which I don’t take lightly. I had put myself into a full blown panic attack which resulted in the heart attack-like symptoms. The result of all this was having to give up all that which was sacred to me. No more fried foods, no more gravies, no more deep, rich black coffee, no more salt….having to totally retrain my taste buds.

The big thing for me was alleviating my stress. When the doctor told me that, I rolled my eyes with a “yeah right” type of attitude. He told that he was very serious and that I was going to have to become an expert at letting things go. Not all that easy for a Leo that is a very very strong fire personality. The hardest thing about all of this was the fact that food is what alleviates my stress. As I said earlier, I eat when any emotion raises its head…..it brings back happy memories.

Well, I have done really well with the diet part of all this. I did a little motivation spell when it all started, so that has helped quite a bit. The stress part has been a little more, shall we say…challenging. Of course, anything and everything that I would react to is going to happen when I am cutting out caffeine and refined sugars. Hell, that alone is like going through detox. Anything anyone said to me was like nails on a chalkboard….grating through to every nerve ending in my body. Anything that could go wrong at work has gone wrong. I have to say that, honestly, I failed most of those “don’t let it stress you” tests.

Now, I haven’t talked about my mama much, but my mama is a sweet little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. She is one of those women who hug you with their whole body. She is also full of spit and vinegar. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. The one thing that I have noticed…..even set back and pondered…is the fact that I have honestly never seen her stressed about anything. When money was tight, we just had a few more eggs that the chickens laid or potatoes from the garden. When something broke, we did without it until a new one could be bought. When she and pop fought, she was always the first one to say, “I’m sorry.” I never saw her and pop go to bed mad at each other.

I finally talked to mama last night about what was going on healthwise, and she just very matter-of-factly said, “Well, now I guess you just have to do it. No turning back, just eat what you have to and you got to stop letting things get to you. You just have to ask yourself if it’s really going to make any difference in a hundred years. Now my guess is, in a hundred years, you are going to be really old or really dead….so it really won’t matter.” Alot of wisdom comes out of that little lady.

So today, I get an email from my mama. It was the following story:

When I was a little boy, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned biscuits.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired.. And besides – a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

It slapped me across the face a little bit. I had to realize that there are things that are important and things that really don’t matter one bit. Is it really worth getting stressed out because I am standing in the midst of a rainstorm and the dog won’t pee? No. I should relish the cleansing that the rainstorm is bringing. Is it worth getting bent out of shape about something at work that can be fixed in ten minutes time? No. I should just fix it or show the person who made the issue how to. It is a lesson learned. Is it worth getting pissed at my partner for not scooping the cat litter? Again, no. I should just go ahead and scoop it and be thankful for the hundred other things he does in the course of a week.

Isn’t it funny? My mama used food to teach me a lesson. Only she would be able to do that and still keep me on my diet. Is it any wonder I love her so much…..that beautiful little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. Even across the miles she sent me one of those hugs with just enough vinegar in it to sting a little but not burn.

Blessed Be!