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2020

Such an interesting number … 2020.

An interesting year it was for sure! A lot was documented in the first half of the year… and then fall came… and school started back up virtual, and then we bought a house.

Things have been in a constant state of motion. 2020 was like the winding up of the music box, doing the work with hope of something beautiful to come out of it.

I had been looking to purchase my first home for a while… but I had not seen anything that resonated with me. It took me over a month, and seeing over 20 houses until I finally found the right one.

On my way to see the house, a bald eagle flew over my car and followed me along my route for a while. When I finally pulled up the house and got of the car, I felt my heart start to get warm.

When we went inside, the current owner was there and I felt comfortable in the space and speaking to her about the home. As we took our tour, we headed outside to the yard… 1.53 acres.

Walking the property, my heart grew warmer and warmer… filling up with excitement. Tears began to roll down my face, tears of joy and gratitude that this land has chosen me as its steward. Excited to be able to care for mother earth in this beautiful sacred space.

We have 4 peach trees, and a very large area designated as a garden, with beets growing all over. There is a shed for the garden specifically, as well as a 3 car garage that will be used as a studio!

The house has taken up a lot of my extra time, as I dive right into home ownership and all that it entails.

Our first project was the hot water heater! It was slowly dripping from the temperature pressure release valve, which is not a HUGE deal but it did need to be fixed. So as I look into the project some more, I find out that the thermal expansion tank should be checked to see if it is still functioning. Well come to find out the tank had failed and needed to be replaced. After many many trips to Lowes, I finally completed the task and replaced the tank! I learned so much from one of the employees in the plumbing department, like to check your water pressure and to make sure you inflate the tank to the proper pressure for your system.

After replacing the tank, the temperature pressure release valve stopped leaking!!! First DIY fix completed and in the books.

Aside from fixing little things here and there, we have repainted almost the entire house, and are currently putting up drywall in places that had remodeling begun by the previous owners. Still lots to do!

It has been wonderful being home and teaching virtually for this period of time in my life. And being that it was winter, we were forced to stay inside and complete projects. Though I am very excited for spring, when I can get outside and work on the land more. Also it seems we will be going back to in person teaching in March!

We also got a new addition to our family! Meet Daisy! She is a Border Collie Blue Heeler.

And last but not least… one of my very favorite things about our property… we can see the sunrise from my backyard AND the sunset from the front!!

All of this, while completing commissioned art for clients, teaching 3 in person private art lessons, teaching virtually, and studying a few new interests.

2020 was a powerful year for me… it wasn’t an easy year for sure, but it was a year full of growth, and blooming. Coming into my power and realizing my dreams. Connecting with the land and with other like minds. Stepping into the future I have been manifesting for a while… it was such a powerful year, and has me excited about what is to come.

Making it through the energy of 2020 has helped me to see that I am strong, centered, unified and more than capable to navigate the path the universe has before me.

Here is to all of the learning and growth that propels us forward… Thank you for being here with me, and for following your heart as you walk your authentic path in this life. <3

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Sacred Retreat

I know many people who are entrepreneurs, and small business owners. The world is different from the point of view of owning and operating your own business, whether it’s making art to sell at craft fairs and events, or doing reiki in a room you rent at a wellness center.

As practitioners, makers, and vendors we have in essence two jobs. One is to practice and create the thing we are passionate about. The other is to manage and structure the flow of that passion into a sustainable living.

The REVIVE, REFILL, REFRESH retreat was planned with a vision, hosting a space for people to come and find their center. To come and revive, refill and refresh their soul. What we received was far more powerful then we could’ve ever imagined.

There were 8 participants, and 8 vendors. Each vendor presented a 30-45 min workshop about something they were passionate about.

Auria Faith lead us in an active listening activity where we were partnered up and then given a sheet of questions to ask the other person. The trick was we could only listen to their responses. We were not to talk back or have a conversation about the answers.

She also led us in a guided meditation using essential oils to envision our passions as a seed growing and expanding out into the universe. The choice of oils were Lavender, Wild Orange, and Manuka. Most everyone went for the meditative qualities of Manuka.

Merlin Peters discussed Tensor Rings and how he was lead to being creating them. Marlin discusses how the length of the copper wire is important to how the ring works. Tensor rings transmute negative ions into positive flows. It clears out energy from EMF’s as well.

Joanna Baker lead us in a guided meditation to our shadow selves to see and accept ourselves as we truly are, from all points of view. This was a very peaceful meditation for me, as I felt my shadows were simply there as way showers for the path.

Johanna Geister talked about our energy bodies, discussing the different energy lines and points of our body. She also led us in a grounding visualization where we all went barefoot to the grass to connect with the earth and envision our energy flowing through us as we breathed. It was such a beautiful experience with a little mist coming from the clouds rolling over. She also taught restorative yoga which was a perfect ending to the day.

Brenda Solonoski from Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat gave everyone a tour of her gardens, and identified plants that most people would find in their environments.

She also led a bundle, and tea or steam blend making workshop where people created their own smudge bundles from freshly picked herbs.

Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman from Therapeutic Thymes shared with the group ways to take their business to the next level through target marketing. Therapeutic Thymes is a holistic and nature magazine based out of York.

Jill Reed from Green Healing Room shared her journey to practicing stone readings and was available for readings for everyone. She read EVERYONE at the retreat, each reading was spot on and exactly what each person needed to hear. After her readings she gave each person a stone that was called for them. I received two rough cut jades. These stones have really been powerful for me lately. Holding them while I meditate. Jill has a gift to translating messages she’s open to receiving for each person she reads.

I shared how creativity is spirituality, using the flower of life and sacred geometry to tie everything together. Everyone explored creating the flower of life as we discussed how the meditative process opens up your mind to seeing new perspectives. I also was blessed to share intuitive henna with a few people <3

Each of us has a passion and a desire to share that passion with others. Most of our time is spent working on our goals to keep our fire burning, as well as learning ways to share what we know with others. When we do events and vend at places, a lot of energy goes into preparing our gifts, as well as our hearts and minds for the many people we will interact with throughout the event.

Rarely do we have time to commune with one another. Let alone share and learn from one another. We each have so many gifts we offer the world, but we are also the people who miss receiving those gifts. We give so much of our time to goals, that we rarely have time to be open to receiving.

This retreat was a time for vendors to come together and share and receive from one another. This retreat showed us how important this was for each of us. We need to remember we too deserve to receive our gifts. It gave us time to listen, and process what we learned. To sit and communicate our own experiences and thoughts. To be there for eachother, witnessing each others light and standing in our own.

When we heal ourselves, we help others on their journey by sharing what we’ve learned. Supporting one another by holding space for self expression and authenticity is vital, we are all connected.

I am forever grateful for those who participated in the Revive, Refill and Refresh Retreat in August. Miigwetch to all my relations.

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The Rising of the Phoenix

Summer Solstice 2020 at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat was an amazing growing experience.

Bringing up the story of the Phoenix. A powerful fire ceremony, balance through the water, and rising above the ashes.

The weekend started off with lots of rain, which canceled the awesome set The Wild Hymns were going to play! Instead they sat with us and Megan played a little guitar while we listened to the pouring rain.

Around 8pm my children came to me to tell me our tent had flooded and everything was soaked! I became so frustrated… and disappointed. It was a tough moment for me. And on top of that, when we went to get into the car… the door was locked with the keys inside! The universe was really testing me. The rain finally stopped around 8:30 pm, everyone tired, wet and ready for bed.

Saturday morning I woke up early to pray and meditate, to help ground and center my energy for the rest of the weekend, and was greeted by the fog, so peaceful and serene. The message was to breathe and let go. Let go of expectations, fears, worry and doubt.

Everyone woke up a little groggy, but ready to get into the heart of the summer solstice energy. Our schedule was adjusted a bit to accommodate time to clean up campsites. Breakfast was delicious and morning yoga was perfectly lead by Brenda. Our day was off to a more balanced start.

Brenda lead a garden tour, and tea making workshop while others spent time on their creative expressions for the altar. The time was so peaceful.

I was able to fix up the altar area and light the Solstice candle just before it started to rain again. Grateful that this time we were all prepared, we danced and made music to celebrate.

Our fire ceremony was to be held out by the pond, however with the rain we improvised and rearranged the tables under the pavillion to have our ceremony there.

It was divine.

After the ceremony the rain departed and the sky opened up to a beautiful night, where we saw shooting stars and celebrated with jumping the fire, a drum circle and fireworks.

Sunday started with Laughter Yoga, lead by Tammy and Jack Bray.
The perfect ending to such a divine weekend.

At the end of the event on Sunday I went back to the altar to clean up and to my wonder, the Solstice candle was still lit! Even after all the rain!

I am so blessed to know so many beautiful and magickal people. So many kind souls to travel through this life learning from and growing with.

I am forever grateful for my dear sister, Brenda Solonoski. Without her love, support, and partnership this event would not have happened.

Check out the video of our event and look out for the next retreat …

REVIVE, REFILL & REFRESH
August 14th-16th 2020

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Earth Meditation

The earth is the Goddess, in all her feminine and receptive energy. Her direction is North. The Pentacle and a bowl of salt are her tools. Her colors are green, yellow, brown, black, and her season: is Winter.  The Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn are earth signs.

Earth energy is grounding, bringing us back to the present moment when all else might be up in chaos.

The Earth is the foundation of our lives, as it is both our home and our source of sustenance. The Earth Element is ever-present and highly versatile, manifesting as both soil and seed, and witnessed in the eternal rhythms of growth, harvest, decay, and regeneration.

Earth is represented by the diverse topographical features found all over the planet, including forests, fields, caves, rocks, valleys, and gardens. This “classical” Element is associated with abundance, prosperity, and strength.

It is presented as the duality of existence.

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Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Nettle is a superb nourishing food and has beneficial actions on many parts of the body including the urinary tract, liver, digestive tract, reproductive system, and respiratory system. Known as an overall nourisher and strengthener, stinging nettle leaf is full of vitamins and minerals most notably magnesium, calcium, iron, and protein.

Harvesting stinging nettle at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat was such a learning experience.  I used gloves to hold the nettles while I cut them, however I still got stung.

I learned when brushed by the nettle, its best to leave the area alone so it will sting less. If you touch the area a lot, it rubs the sting into your skin more and lasts longer! I got a few welts and a rash from where the nettle touched me above the gloves! It went completely away within 12 hours. 

Nettle’s sting, however, reminds us to value our gifts just as we must honor and protect our work if we are to remain healthy. With her sting, she asks us to recognize and honor the worth of what she gives; if you’re willing to brave the sting to gain her treasure, you’re more likely to value what you have taken.

Enjoy the video, please comment, like and subscribe!!

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Stewardship!

Stewardship is the job of taking care of something.

When we are stewards of the land, we are taking care of what’s been given to us.

We are showing our gratitude for all of the gifts we’ve received.

The earth provides so much life energy.

Show respect and reverence through tending the land.

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Harvesting Mountain Mint

Today Eli ArtSparkle and I harvested mountain mint, which will be used in our summer solstice event! The sun was HOT, but we gathered a lot. I would get flashes of how my ancestors might have felt, harvesting all day to eat and to store for the winter. I felt at home, squatting and cutting the mint quickly. Tomorrow we will harvest valerian, comfrey, and mullen! <3

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Stone Creek

The water at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat that flows beautifully through the woods, has been named Stone Creek, for the many stones you can find there.

Stone Creek houses many little waterfalls and surrounds a few little islands! These islands have been cleared and named as well… Solomons Stone Island, and Circle Stone Island.  Each island has been cleared so that people can camp and enjoy the water all around them.

My friend Eli ArtSparkle came to visit last weekend and I took her out to the woods and let her pick the spot we would sit for our artmaking. This specific spot is a beautiful place to sit on huge rocks that Brenda and Theo arranged.

Having Eli here really reinforced that my idea of a Plein Air workshop here at Burns Valley is something that I must plan! I can only imagine what beautiful work would be created from having many different artists here, inspired by the land.

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The Magick of the Flowing Hollow

The Flowing Hollow is a beautiful magickal place at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat.

Water flows from the spring out of the mountain, into a little creek.

Stones border the creeks edge, creating a path through this magickal water world.

There is more to the Flowing Hollow than water, there is an abundance of life from the earth, and a breeze from the wind. The stone circle brings the warmth of fire to all who gather around. There is also so much spirit, you can feel it.

I am so blessed to be able to spend time down in the Flowing Hollow and am excited to share its magick with others!

Here is a video of it in the day time,

Here is a video of it at night!

 

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MAEOE 2020: The Shore

In February I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 2020 MAEOE conference: Exploring Connections: Linking Nature, People, and Mindfulness.

The conference committee reached out and asked if I was interested in creating the logo for the conference, of course I said YES!  Art, nature, people, and mindfulness are all passions of mine. It was such a fun project to work on, and they asked me to create the logo again for next year’s convention: Climate, Nature, People and Education: It’s All Connected.

February 6-9, 2020, the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education brought together educators, resource personnel, scientists and researchers to share their experiences and ideas at the Princess Royale in Ocean City, MD. The weather was all rainy and cloudy most of the time, but we had a nice sunny day and a beautiful clear sky for a beautiful full moon.

The weekend began on Thursday with breakfast at the Bayside Skillet, it was delicious and hugemongous!  Perfect for keeping my fueled for the amazing Leopold Educational Program workshop. Peggy Eppig shared with us the land ethic and conservation education of Aldo Leopold.

Aldo Leopold was an American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac, which has sold more than two million copies.  

This full day workshop was full of learning and inspirational moments. We first went outside to the beach to spend time in nature. The beach provided a moment of clarity as well as discovery, of self and the world around me.

Learning about land ethics was a transformative moment for me. I am ever grateful for what Peggy shared with us that day.  I see another layer to my being and how it all connects to the path of knowledge of self.  Creative expression is simply a part of the whole. Our interconnectedness to all of creation is the energy, stewardship is the interaction of our connectedness…the product is beauty and love through creative expression.

Friday was a day of  hands-on sessions. One session I attended that day was taught me how to dye with natural plants. We experimented with cranberries, turmeric, and onions to name a few. I was excited to take it back to school and share it with my students!

Friday was also full of social time! I love that MAEOE schedules in time for us to network and mingle. We had lunch, a first timers meeting, and happy hour! I also created a banner for people to fill in with their intentions for the conference! It turned out so cool!

Fridays field experience was a trip to the Indian River Lifesaving Station. That place showed me the shore in a whole new light.

Saturday sessions were jam packed and the exhibit hall was super busy. There was a silent auction in which I won a few things!  Then we had a social dance costume party in the ballroom. MAEOE had an Eco Superhero contest that Ridgely entered! My green club students turned me into Rainebow Earth Brite! The kids made everything from recycled materials! My motto was I turn litter into glitter and trashy into flashy! We didn’t win the contest, however it was SUPER fun!

I left on Sunday after a morning meditation.