GrannyMoon’s Weekly Feast 30 July-5 Aug 2018



Happy Full Moon and Blessed Lammas/Lughnasadh to you!

Blessed be my little witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon


The true meaning of life, is to plant trees,
under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
– Nelson Henderson


Goddess Month of Tinne (Holly) July 8 to August 4

Celtic Tree Calendar: Month of Kerea begins 7/11 – 8/8


Current Moon Phase: Full Moon Magick

Goddess Aspect: Mother

Associated Goddesses: Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Asherah, Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Isis,, Selene, Sisters of the Wyrrd, and the Norns

Magickal Attributes: Fruition – Manifesting goals, Nurturing, Passion, Healing, Strength, Power.

From fourteen to seventeen-and-a-half days after the new moon. Prime time for rituals for prophecy. From seven to fourteen days after the New Moon.

Full Moon: Symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire.

Full Moon energy is used for banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magick, and divination.

The Moon travels 1/2 way around to the 6 o’clock position, and the face of the Moon is fully illuminated. We love full Moon magic, an apt time for fruition, completion and wholeness. Some say the magic can be done the day of the Moon as well as three days on either side of it. It is a good time for all Positive Magic, protection, scrying, love, healing and prosperity. Also a good time to grow closer to the Goddess by Drawing Down the Moon

Full Moon energy is used banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magick, and divination.

Full Moon magick can be conjured for seven days: the three days prior to the Full Moon, the night of the Full Moon itself, and three days after the Full Moon.

Full Moon energy is used banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magick, and divination.

Full Moon magick can be conjured for seven days: the three days prior to the Full Moon, the night of the Full Moon itself, and three days after the Full Moon.

Honoring the Goddess Every Day at
So mote it be!!


Each And Every Day A Feast Day!
Embrace It!!!


The GoddessSchool
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The Goddess School Grimoire
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The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School ( has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women


GrannyMoon is Founder and Mother High Priestess of GoddessSchool, Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine. Living in the Washington, DC suburbs, she attended LDS Seminary, Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity, since 1999. She is a current board member of the Northern Virginia Pagan Pride Day, charter member and former counsel and board member of The Order of the White Moon. A scholar of ancient mysteries, Doula, Reiki Master, Herbalist and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. and former VA State Representative A.R.E.N. Alternative Religions Educational Network. She has dedicated her life to the study and teaching of the Esoteric.

Join us!

GrannyMoon occasionally teaches classes, and on the last Saturday of the month she hosts the Most Excellent Order of the Black Hat – open to all – a group of solitaires who celebrate the wheel of the year. 7:15 – 9:00 PM

Face to face classes at Sticks and Stones – 11037 Lee Highway · Fairfax, VA

GrannyMoon’s Herbal Witches Cauldron – Every last Saturday of the month. Explore a new herb or two and work on a hands-on project with us.

Coming Soon – Reiki Training



GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Moon Day
Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon – Rules emotions, protection, healing, and
women’s mysteries – Use for magick involving the subconscious, healing,
emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals,
women’s mysteries, the female side of men, mothers, sisters, female
partners, wives, instincts
Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine,
Travels, Visions, Theft
Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaeleach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The
Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast
Incense: Myrtle
Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower
Monday – Wear pearl, moonstone, or crystal. Use an emerald for amulets.
Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White
Colors for Tomorrow: Red
Candle: White
Lucky Sign: Monday Is The Lucky Day For The Sign of Cancer
Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity, insight, maternal
nature, and Goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal Martha
Hail Tyr! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Tyr’s or Tiu’s Day – the day of Mars…also Ares, Tiwaz,
Tiw (from whom it is named), Tuisco, and Tyr. Tuesday is ruled by Mars,
whose Magickal influences are: Passion, courage, aggression, and
protection. Tuesday comes under the influence of Mars, the planet associated
with vitality, passion, ambition, and raw, unabashed power.
Mars energy makes the mind acute, and the body restless; therefore, on
Tuesday we are likely to exert ourselves physically and take action to
achieve goals. This day is dynamic and high-spirited, and the prevailing
energies may include carelessness and destructiveness as well, so it is good
to be cautious-especially while traveling.
Tuesday – Wear a ruby, star sapphire, or emerald. Use topaz for amulets.
Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Destination, War, Courage, Surgery, Physical
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Soorejnaree, Pingalla, Anna, Aine, Danu,
Yngona, Bellona, Aida Wedo, Sun Woman
Perfumes: Hellebore, Carnation, Patchouli
Incense: Lignum Aloes, Plantain
Color of The Day: Red
Colors for Tomorrow: Yellow
Lucky Sign: Tuesday Is The Lucky Day For Aries
Candle: Red
Cooking up a hearty meal featuring carrots, peppers, and garlic (all Mars foods and spices) to empower yourself for victory and success
Hail Odin! GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Woden’s or Odin’s Day
Energy: Male Ruler: Mercury – Rules healings, the mind – Use for magick
involving mental issues, learning, higher education, addictions,
communications, travel, young people, messages, perception, self-expression,
artists, poets, and writers
Wednesday – Wear amethyst, star ruby, or lodestone. Use turquoise in amulets.

Today’s Magickal Influences: Conjurations, Predictions, Knowledge, Writing,

Incense: Cinnamon, Cinquefoil

Perfumes: Sweetpea, Lavender, Mastic, Frankincense, Cloves

Color of The Day: Yellow, Grey
Colors for Tomorrow: Purple, Indigo, Blue
Candle: Purple
Lucky Sign: Wednesday Is The Lucky Day For Gemini And Virgo
Today’s Goddesses: Aset [Isis], Demeter, Ceres, Spider Woman, Bona Dea, Oya,
Devi-Kali, Hella, Rhiannon, Coatlique, Maman Brigette, Sekhmet, Hathor

GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Thor’s Day Hail Thor!
Energy: Male
Ruler: Jupiter
attracting more of what you have.
Today’s Magickal Influences ~ Luck, Religion, Healing, Trade And Employment,Treasure, Honors, Riches, Legal Matters,
Use Growth, Expansion, Prosperity, Money, Business, Attracting More
Thursday – Wear sapphire, cat’s eye, or carnelian. Use sapphire in rituals.
Today’s Goddesses: Juno, Hera, Kwan Yin, Mary, Cybele, Tara, Mawu, Mlaba
Mwana Waresa, Ishtar, Nuit
Perfumes: Stock, Lilac, Storax, Aloes
Incense: Nutmeg, Henbane
Color of The Day: Purple, Indigo, Blue
Colors for Tomorrow: Light Blue, Pale Green
Lucky Sign: Thursday Is The Lucky Day For Sagittarius And Pisces
Candle: Blue
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Freya’s Day
Energy: Female Ruler: Venus – Rules lovers and pleasure, affairs of the
heart – Use for magick involving love, peace, beauty, gentleness, women’s
problems, healing, protection, lovers, ease, pleasure, affairs. Resolve
quarrels today!
Friday – Cast love spells on Fridays. Wear blue robes and use turquoise, ruby, emerald or cat’s eye.
Today’s Magickal Influences: All Love Matters, Friendships, Affection,
Partnerships, Money, Sex
Today’s Goddesses: Astarte, Aphrodite, Erzulie, Aida Wedo, Eve, Venus,
Freya, Frigg, Diana, Aset [Isis], The Witch Of Gaeta, Chalchiuhtlique
Incense: Saffron, Verbena
Perfumes: Stephanotis, Apple Blossom, Musk, Ambergris
Color of The Day: Light Blue, Pale Green
Colors for Tomorrow: Black
Lucky Sign: Friday Is The Lucky Day For Taurus And Libra
Candle: Green
Saint Jegudiel represents Friday
GrannyMoon Says Today Is: Saturn’s Day
Day of Seatere, Seater, and Saturn and of Loki, the Norse god of tricks and
revelry. Saturday is ruled by Saturn, whose Magickal influences are:
longevity, endings, and homes. Saturday comes under the influence of Saturn.
Saturn’s influence directs our attention toward routine chores, customs, and
conventional traditions. Saturday is a good day for furthering our ambitions
through perseverance, patience, responsible action, and a sense of purpose .
Saturday – Wear turquoise, labradorite, or diamond. Use amethyst.
Saturday is a good day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving
spirit communication, meditation, psychic self-defense, binding, and
locating lost things or missing persons.
Today’s Goddesses: Ops, Rhea, Tellus Mater, Gaia, Eartha, Ge, Tonantzin,
Asherah, Anath, The Shekinah, The Matronit, Mary, Gula, Herodias, Oddudua,
Today’s Magickal Influences: Duties, Responsibilities, Finding Families,
Works Of Magic, Buildings, Meditation, Life, Doctrines
Today’s Energies: Female – Rules obstacles, overcoming blockages – Use for
magick involving overcoming limitations, the elderly, endings, deaths,
blocks, constrictions, and those restricting you.
Incense: Pepperwort, Assodilious, Black Poppy Seeds, Henbane, Lodestone,
Perfumes: Hyacinth, Pansy
Color of The Day: Black
Colors for Tomorrow: Orange, Gold and Yellow
Lucky Sign: Saturday Is The Lucky Day For Capricorn And Aquarius
Candle: Black
GrannyMoon Says Today is: Sun Day
Energy: Male
Ruler: The Sun
Rule health, prosperity, leadership, joy, and protection – Use for magick involving happiness, prosperity, joy, healing, protection, power,
leadership, ego, authority figures, fathers, husbands
Today’s Goddesses: Sunne, Frau Sonne, Aditi, Igaehindvo, Amaterasu, Arinna,
Izanami, Ochumare
Sunday’s Magickal Influences: Health, Healing, Confidence And Hope, Prosperity
Incense: Mastic, Palaginia
Perfumes: Heliotrope, Orange Blossom, Cloves, Frankincense, Ambergris, Musk,Myrrh
Sunday – wear topaz, sunstone, or diamond. Use pearl in crafting talismans.
Color of The Day: Orange, Gold
Colors for Tomorrow: Silver, Gray, White
Lucky Sign: Sunday Is The Lucky Day For Leo
Candle: Yellow


Lammas: August 2, July 31st/Aug 1st

Frey Fest/Lughnasa/Lugnasad/Lammas

This is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which commemorates the funeral games of Lugh, Celtic god of light, and son of the Sun. In the mythological story of the Wheel of the Year, the Sun God transfers his power into the grain, and is sacrificed when the grain is harvested. So we have a dying, self-sacrificing and resurrecting god of the harvest, who dies for his people so that they may live. Sound familiar?

The power of the sun goes into the grain as it ripens. It is then harvested and made into the first new bread of the season. This is the Saxon hlaef-masse or loaf-mass, now Lammas. Seed grain is also saved for planting for next year’s crop, so the sun god may be seen to rise again in Spring with the new green shoots, as the sun also rises in the sky. There are many traditions and customs all over the country that are still carried on at harvest-time today.

Lammas is a festival celebrating the first fruits of harvest, the fruits of our labours, and seeing the desires that we had at the start of the year unfold so rituals will be centred around this. Lammas is an early  festival, “lammas” means loaf mass and represented the first loaves baked from that years crop.

It’s a time for bread-making and corn-dollies. Goddesses celebrated around this time include Demeter and Ceres. Trees associated with lammas are Hazel and Gorse and herbs are Sage and Meadowsweet. Colours associated with Lammas are golds, yellows and orange for the God and red for the Goddess as mother.

Lammas is traditionally first harvest. Look around you and you will see various trees namely Rowan yielding bright red berries and brambles showing ripening fruits along with apple and pear trees. In this day and age when food is mass produced and imported so we get fruits and veg and corn no matter what time of year it is, it is easy to loose touch with the natural cycle of things. ~The White Goddess UK Blog

Suggested Activities:

Creating and or decorating ritual items such as a Stang. Walk through the woods to spend some time meditating in beautiful surroundings. Making bread, make a wicker man and put all of your bad habits that you want to be rid of inside him and throw him in the bonfire. Making corn dollies.


2nd Annual Maryland Paranormal Conference A event for those curious or serious about the paranormal.

Six well known professional speakers in the field of the paranormal will be giving presentations along with having vendor tables. See them live and in person as well as being able to talk to them and seek out their services, buy their books, etc at their vendor tables .
Pre-register via Eventbrite cost is $39.95 If not pre-registered the cost is $50.00 at the door No one under 16 yrs of age will be admitted. .
Saturday August 4, 2018 Gambrills, MD
Doors Open at 09:00 a.m. Program starts at 10:00 a.m. Ends at 5:30 P.M.

Speakers :
TIM SCULLION : Presentation: The Ghostographer – (Ghost Photography)
SANDY & JIM YOUNG : Presentation: Beyond The Veil
ROB GUTRO: Presentation: Ghosts of England: A Medium’s Vacation Encounters
UMA BEEPAT : Presentation: Spirit Communication 101
DAVID SALISBURY : Presentation: Don’t Blame the Witch
HIRAM HENDERSON : Presentation: Ghosts, Poltergeists & Hauntings For more info about each speaker and their presentations and/or to buy tickets go to


Llewellyn’s Spell a Day

Fellowship of the Ring
Spell Date: Sunday, July 29, 2018

Today in 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien published The Fellowship of the Ring, wherein we learn that Bilbo Baggins’s “precious” is a manipulative weapon, charged with the energy of the evil Sauron. Of course, there are other rings imbued with positive power, giving their wearers the strength they need to deal with the challenges they have to face. You can do the same.

Ask your fellowship—those whom you call your closest companions—to imbibe a token with their energies so you can carry them with you. Select a piece of jewelry that holds meaning for you (it does not have to be a ring). Have each friend hold the piece, breathe on it, and say:

“To this token I give some grace,
Let it stand for (your name) in my place.”

Wear and feel the power of friendship. You can do this ritual as a group to multiply and share support.
This post was written by Natalie Zaman on July 29, 2018
A Shell Spell
Spell Date: Saturday, July 28, 2018

This spell will bring any wish into your life. You’ll need nine seashells and your ritual cup filled with bottled spring water. Place the cup on your altar or a table and fill it with the spring water. Surround the cup with the shells to form a circle. Think of your wish, then ground and center. Hold your hands over the shells and cup, and say the following charm:

“Shells, set in a circle so round,
To me, let my wish be bound.
Shells, totaling the sacred number nine,
Let my wish be mine.”

Take a sip from the cup and set it back in place. Leave the shells and cup undisturbed for a day. The next day, place the shells with your ritual tools to use again. Use the water to water a plant. Return the cup to its usual place. The spell is now working in the unseen realm.
This post was written by James Kambos on July 28, 2018
Shine Bright
Spell Date: Friday, July 27, 2018

The full moon is all about positive influences. The lunar eclipse, which won’t be visible to most North Americans today due to the timing, is a sign that even though the moon is hidden in the shadows, she is still just as powerful. Therefore, the eclipse actually can give you a boost in any workings you do at this time. Make a special batch of magical water to use in future spells and rituals.

Fill a glass bottle with filtered water. Take it outside in the morning and raise it up over your head. Ask the Goddess to bless the water and infuse it with energy. Allow the bottle to sit out all day and all night. The water will be exposed to the sun, the moon, and the eclipse, harnessing the magical properties and strengths of all three. Before bringing the bottle in, thank the Goddess for charging this potent water.
This post was written by Kerri Connor on July 27, 2018
Void-of-Course Moon
Spell Date: Thursday, July 26, 2018

The moon is void of course (VoC) for a surprisingly long period today—from 9:41 a.m. EDT today to 6:41 a.m. tomorrow. VoC moons aren’t that rare, but for those who are strongly influenced by the moon, there are some things you might want to avoid. VoC moons are never a good time to start projects or to try to push forward with ideas. You’ll only end up frustrating yourself.

All is not lost, though. This is a wonderful time for meditation, introspection, reflection, and just slowing down. The VoC moon can also trigger karmic events, so make sure you act with integrity in order to avoid future repercussions. That’s particularly important with this VoC moon, which occurs in Capricorn. Use this time for prioritizing what needs to be done, and you’ll be rested and ready once the moon enters Aquarius and reaches its fullness tomorrow.
This post was written by Charlie Rainbow Wolf on July 26, 2018
Prosperity Spell
Spell Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The moon near full in Capricorn gives us lots of energy we can use for prosperity spells. For this work, choose some favorite moneydrawing herbs in multiples of four. Patchouli, oats, allspice, and pine nuts are all good options, and adding a spell-sealing herb such as Echinacea will help set the magic and hold the energies together. Essential oils such as patchouli or sandalwood will give the mix an earthy fragrance.

Chant over the herbs as you mix them, with simple words such as these:

“By the grace of the divine,
prosperity is mine.”

Or chant more complex words of your choosing.

Once the herbs are fully imbued with your energy and intention, tie them up, along with a silver coin and a small crystal, in a square of green cloth with green, gold, or silver ribbon. Sprinkle some of the herbs or wear the charm anywhere you could possibly come into contact with money.
This post was written by Thuri Calafia on July 25, 2018
Cultivating Strength
Spell Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuesday is ruled by Mars, the planet of strength and courage. Open both hands and look at your palms. In palmistry, the line encircling the base of the thumb is called the “line of Mars.” With your left index finger, trace the line of Mars on your right hand. Traditionally the right hand “sends” energy. Draw to mind all that you do and give, the work you undertake, the help you provide, the meals you cook, and the chores you complete. You are valuable.

Now stroke the line of Mars on your left hand with your right index finger. Allow yourself to breathe. Inhale and receive the energy of others. Feel how they support, hold, and help you. Know that you are loved, admired, desired, respected, and enjoyed. Traditionally the left hand “receives” energy.

Press your palms together in the middle of your chest, giving and receiving energy. You are your deepest source of strength and courage.
This post was written by Dallas Jennifer Cobb on July 24, 2018
Celebrating Neptune
Spell Date: Monday, July 23, 2018

During the heat of summer, we look for any way to cool down. We revel in the water and how it nurtures, calms, and cools us. Neptunalia was celebrated by the ancient Romans on this day, at the time of year when water was scarcest. By taking a moment to honor and invoke Neptune, you can garner his favor.

Create a sacred circle in which you can call upon Neptune. On your altar you may want to drape a blue cloth and include items such as shells and sand. When you feel ready, call upon Neptune and honor him. Be open to any messages that come from him. Feel free to offer him an item such as a blue stone as a token of your thanks.
This post was written by Charlynn Walls on July 23, 2018


Heartwings Love Notes 838 When it’s time to say Goodbye

Heartwings says, “With time and experience, saying goodbye gets easier.”

Recently Stephen and I attended a graveside funeral for a long time friend. It was a lovely occasion with many in attendance, some of whom had entertaining stories about him to share. He was well loved and had traveled the world; he had lived his life to the fullest. This may be why before he died he could say to at least one friend: “I’m looking forward to the next adventure.”

The Waterside Cemetery in Upton where his physical presence on earth will rest in a plot overlooking the pond where he used to fish, is a lovely, peaceful place. There, together with his other friends we said goodbye to the earthly remains of our friend and then went to a nearby function room to celebrate his life and share our memories of him. An important part of a funeral and afterward is to share stories about the deceased that help recall his life with love and joy.

Saying goodbye to someone I’ve known for a long time, though perhaps not been close to feels strange. When I haven’t seen a person in some time and then they pass on, I have trouble remembering they’re gone. Just the other day when I drove past the address of a dear departed friend I was almost persuaded to stop and ring her doorbell. I have to remind myself that no, she no longer lives there, and no I can’t visit for a cup of tea.

As I gain in years I find myself saying goodbye more frequently, both to people and to certain aspects of my life. My bucket list has grown shorter. There are things I once thought I wanted to do that I now do not wish to, like go up on an air balloon. I once believed it would be fun to go on a three months ocean cruise–not any longer. Vigorous gardening is a thing of the past. Still, as I miss all to which I have said goodbye, I am reminded to cherish all that still remain.

May you remember those who have departed with joy and gratitude.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS Thanks for your comments, always. We can all share in our memories, not to mention our joys. Feel free to do so.


Enlightenment At Home
By Madisyn Taylor

Spiritual growth can take place anywhere, if you are open and ready to learn and receive.

Many spiritual seekers feel called to far-flung places across the globe in the interest of pursuing the path of their enlightenment. This may indeed be the right course of action for certain people, but it is by no means necessary to attaining an enlightened consciousness. Enlightenment can take root anywhere on earth, as long as the seeker is an open and ready vessel for higher consciousness. All we need is a powerful intention, and a willingness to do the work necessary to moving forward on our path.

In terms of spiritual practice, at this moment, there are more tools available to more people than at any other time in history. We have access to so much wisdom through the vehicles of books, magazines, the Internet, television, and film. In addition, the time-honored practice of meditation is free, and sitting quietly everyday, listening to the universe, is a great way to start the journey within. There is further inspiration in the fact that the greatest teachers we have are our own life experiences, and they come to us every day with new lessons and new opportunities to learn. If we look at the people around us, we may realize that we have a spiritual community already intact, and if we don’t, we can find one, if not in our own neighborhood, then on-line.

Meanwhile, if we feel called to travel in search of teachers and experiences, then by all means, we should. But if we can’t go to India, or Burma, or Indonesia, or if we don’t have the desire, this is not an obstacle in terms of our spiritual development. In fact, we may simply be aware that our time and energy is best spent in our own homes, with our meditation practice and all the complications and joys of our own lives. We can confidently stay in one place, knowing that everything that we need to attain enlightenment is always available right where we are.


Stephen Halpert
The Promise

Peter Hays found the khakis at his neighborhood thrift shop. Though old and somewhat out of style they were well made, strong and best of all, his size. When he tried them on they fit perfectly.
At first his wife Mary seemed dubious. “Don’t they look a little old fashioned?”
“Khaki slacks can be pricey, especially if they’re as well made as these.” Compared with the newer, flimsier ones from China he’d seen lately at the mall these were tough and resilient.
But Mary persisted. ” Most men don’t get rid of their trousers until they’re practically threadbare. There’s probably holes or worn places you haven’t seen.”
Peter smiled, took off his slacks and put them on. “Take a look at the royal exception.”
“They do fit you well.” She examined them closely and ran her hand down his right leg. “There’s something in the pocket. “Be careful. It could be an old handkerchief best to be thrown away.”
He reached into his right pocket. His fingers brushed against folded paper. “Odd, that wasn’t there before at the thrift shop when I tried them on.”
“Or in your excitement you didn’t notice.” She smiled lovingly as she recalled what his mother had said about his absentmindedness.
He reached int his pocket and pulled out a folded dollar bill. Looking at it carefully, he saw it had been issued in the ’50’s at the time of the Korean war.
“That’s crazy,” he exclaimed. “How’s it get in there?” He handed it to Mary.
She examined the bill. “Sometimes people just plain forget. I’m always taking pocket change from your jeans before I wash them.”
“That’s different than finding money from over sixty years ago.” He ran his hand over the material and smiled. “These fit so perfectly. It’s like I never want to take them off. I haven’t had a pair of khakis this comfortable in years. Reaching into his pocket again he felt another folded piece of paper.
He was surprised. “This wasn’t there when I took out the other one.” This time he saw a folded five-dollar bill, again from the ’50’s.
“Let’s put it in the basket at church.”
Mary frowned. “This is downright creepy. Are you sure you want to go on wearing them?” She looked at them suspiciously.
He nodded. “Oh I’ll wear them,” he said. “Like I said they’re the most comfortable khakis I’ve ever worn. I just don’t like it when something’s going on that I can’t figure out.”
“Maybe you’re not supposed to try to figure it out,” she said. “Maybe it doesn’t matter. See yourself as fortunate. But please take them off and let me run them through the washer.
“But they’re spotless.”
She sighed and threw up her hands. “Oh all right, I’ll go fix supper.”
That night Peter slept fitfully. He dreamt of battle weary soldiers in severe pain, missing limbs, being airborne to hospitals. Then he saw himself as a boy watching General Macarthur on his parent’s TV addressing Congress shortly after he had been relieved of duty by President Truman for his insistence on crossing the 38th parallel into North Korea.
“You look tired,” Mary said at breakfast. “Didn’t you sleep well?”
He yawned and poured more coffee “Something’s going on.” He shared his dreams.
“It’s those khaki’s,” she said. “Maybe whoever owned them was a veteran and is still attached to them in some way.”
He smiled. “The plot thickens.”
“Just be careful,” she said. “Old clothes hold memories. For all you know they could be haunted.”
With that ominous thought he went back to the thrift shop where he has purchased them.
The proprietor asked to see the waistband. Then he said. “Yes they came from the Old Soldiers Home. I’m sure someone there can help you.”
The receptionist was kind though vague. Finally, she found that those particular trousers had been donated when Sgt. Mike Duffy passed away. She called several residents who had been his buddies and were willing to talk with Peter about “Iron Mike.”
They met him in the solarium that overlooked the manicured lawns.
“Salt of the earth,” one elderly retiree in his eighties said. “Mike always gave whatever he could when someone needed a helping hand.”
“That was his promise to God,” the second veteran said. “Mike got pretty shot up during nighttime maneuvers. I remember hearing that when they airlifted him to a base hospital he said if he made it he’d dedicate his life to being there for others. I guess it was touch and go in the hospital for close to a year.”
The first retiree nodded. “Once he was released life didn’t offer him or any of us much, for that matter. Just his purple heart and commendations signed by Ike.”
“But even here in the home he kept that promise he made to God; he was always coming up with a few bucks to help out. God knows where he came up with the money!”
After Peter left the Soldier’s Home he drove back to town and stopped by a restaurant to get some lunch. Outside two homeless guys looking somewhat raggedy were standing. They nodded at Peter but said nothing.
He stopped and put his hand into his pants pocket. “You two eat today?”
They looked at him and shook their heads but still said nothing.
He felt a wad of paper in his pocket. He pulled it out and without counting the money handed it to them.”
They looked at him in amazement.
He smiled at them. “Get something to eat.”
Both nodded, murmured thank you and went into the restaurant smiling and talking animatedly.
Peter looked after them and shook his head. It felt so good to be able to be of help. He gave a nod to Iron Mike and murmured, “Thanks.” He thought about the kindness of one who had suffered so much and still thought of others. As he turned to go into the restaurant himself to get some lunch, and knowing he had just given away all his money, he reached into his pocket for his checkbook. His hand encountered more folded paper.
Peter pulled it out and smiled, it was a twenty. In his mind’s eye he saw the face of a grizzled soldier. “Thanks, Iron Mike,” he said. “I’ll do my best to carry on your work.”
The soldier tipped him a wink and a smile and Peter went in to buy his lunch.


Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Easy lavender lemonade recipe made from fresh lavender flowers.

I know using lavender in recipes has been popular for quite awhile, but I guess I missed the boat. Lavender grows well where we live in southeastern Washington state, and we have a couple of beautiful lavender farms we can go visit to harvest fresh lavender. I decided to try this easy lavender lemonade recipe to see what all the fuss was about.

If you’ve never tried lavender lemonade before, it’s really different! My 13-year-old son told me he really liked it but he couldn’t smell it while he was drinking it because it smelled too much like flowers. That cracked me up. I love the smell of lavender.

Lavender actually has lots of medicinal qualities. Herbalists claim that lavender helps ease headaches, tension, and calm anxiety. Well, I sure hope that is all true. If it is I will definitely be drinking it every day!

You can make this recipe with either dried lavender flowers or fresh lavender flowers. The measurements are just a little different.

English Lavender vs. French Lavender

I have never learned much about lavender, so I was surprised to find out that there are so many varieties. The woman at the lavender farm told me that all kinds of lavender are edible, but that some is more suitable for cooking and eating than others.

English lavender is what you are looking for to use for cooking, especially if you are harvesting the lavender yourself and you have a choice as to which kind you want to buy. French lavender has camphor in it, which gives it a much stronger taste that some people don’t like. It’s still fine to use, but the flavor will be slightly different.

Also make sure that the lavender you use has not been treated with any pesticides or any other kinds of chemicals that would make it unsafe to eat.

If you don’t have easy access to fresh lavender, you can order dried lavender online from Amazon. Most of the lavender available from Amazon says that it is from France, but it does say that it is culinary grade, so that is what you are looking for.


6 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup dried lavender flowers or 1/3 cup fresh lavender flowers
1 cup fresh squeezed or bottled lemon juice

In a small sauce pan, combine 2 cups of the water with the sugar and lavender. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove from heat. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove lavender flowers.

In a large pitcher combine lavender mixture with lemon juice and 4 cups water. Stir.

Serve with ice. This recipe serves about 8 people.
Note: The color of your lavender lemonade will vary widely depending on the variety of lavender you use. Your lemonade may not have a purple tint to it at all if the flowers are really light colored, and that’s totally fine it will still taste great!

If you want your lavender lemonade to be the same shade as in the photos, I added two small drops of red food coloring and two drops of blue food coloring to the pitcher before serving. This step is totally optional.

Like this recipe? Try my recipes for lavender iced tea or rose petal iced tea.

Tag @creativehomemaking on Instagram and hashtag it #creativehomemaking


Honeysuckle – August Flower of the Month.
by Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs –

Lonicera japonica

Family: Adoxaceae, syn. Caprifoliaceae

This lovely, cascading, woody vine, with its divine scent, is often planted as a landscape attraction. It dazzles the eye with its gorgeous blooms in warm weather and retreats to a pleasant but unremarkable placeholder at other times of the year. Its name refers to the fact that fairies {and everyone else} love to sip the nectar from the flowers. There are well over 100 different species, and at least 15 are used medicinally.


Honeysuckle is a perennial, deciduous or evergreen climbing shrub that typically wraps tightly around other plants or a support. It can grow to over 20 feet long and is invasive enough to be considered a noxious weed in the eastern United States. The tubular flowers bloom in the summer and are a pale yellow, sometimes tinged with pink, that turns a darker golden color as they age. Orangish red fruits that are rather nasty-tasting but are attractive to birds occur in clusters following the flowers in the fall.

Preparations and Dosage…

Make a strong infusion by steeping the flowers for as long as 30 minutes, or even gently simmer them, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup twice daily, or as often as desired. Honeysuckle also makes a delicious syrup. It’s found commercially in powder, granule, extract, and tablet form. Follow the directions on the product label.

Healing Properties…

The flowers {or flowers plus young stems} are mildly antibiotic and antiviral and are used to treat colds and flu. They are also recommended in traditional Chinese medicine {TCM} for the relief of upper respiratory tract infections, fevers, bronchitis, sore throat, heat stroke, and diarrhea. The tea is also known for healing boils and other skin infections, as it helps to remove “fire toxins” {a TCM description that refers to metabolic waste buildup and inflammation} from your body. Teenagers and anyone who is prone to acne boils, and sties can drink the refreshing tea daily to reap the strongest benefits.

Western herbalists recommend taking the flower tea or extract to relieve hot flashes, to prevent and promote healing of urinary tract infections, and to treat skin conditions like acne, boils, and eczema. The whole vine, including the leaves and twigs, can be decocted and used as a compress for treating burns, sores, and acne.


The flowers and twigs are considered nontoxic by traditional Chinese medical practitioners.

In the Garden…

Honeysuckle is frost hardy, heat tolerant, and sturdy; it’s an easy plant to have around. If you want to create a hedge or fence-row, plant honeysuckle vines 3 feet apart, and expect them to push those bounds unless you trim them back during the dormant season. Honeysuckle likes moist, rich soil but is adaptable and somewhat drought tolerant once it’s large, and it will do well in full sun {or even partial shade, in hot climates}. Start it from seed, if you’re willing to wait a month or two for germination {stratification helps}, or take stem cuttings in the spring or woody cuttings in the fall. Easier yet, try layering a neighbor’s plant. Be sure to provide a trellis or fence for it to climb. Stems will trail along the ground, and you may want to prune them back for a tidier look.

Harvesting Honeysuckle…

Collect the flowers when they are just starting to open and are lovely, fresh and have a creamy hue. {Older, orange flowers will dry to a brown color.} Be sure to pick them every few days. As with all flowers, honeysuckle blooms are fragile and will bruise easily, so gather them in the morning, before the warmth of the day has compromised their freshness. Dry them immediately after harvest, at a low temperature and out of the sun. Tender stems may be collected also; they contain many of the same compounds.


Raising Our Consciousness
By Madisyn Taylor

From the peace at our center, we gain distance from our emotions to connect to intuitive wisdom.

Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.” A Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein’s scientific theories transformed the world’s understanding of the universe and its workings, so we can believe that these words come from his personal experience and helped him to explore both science and life itself. He offered us an example of what can be learned by looking deeply into nature to reach a deeper understanding of all life and by following our ideas to their logical conclusions in our minds before acting upon them in the world.

When we apply this quote to our lives, we can see that we cannot create abundance by staying in a consciousness of poverty, nor can we gain a sense of power in our lives while identifying ourselves as a victim. Situations begun from anger or fear can have little chance of reaching a state of peace and trust unless someone involved can conceive of that possibility and act upon it. We need to find ways to step outside of our limited understanding in order to seek a bigger picture. One way to do this is to shift our perspective to see the situation from another’s point of view and ideally the perspective of all others involved. Even if we can’t truly know another’s motivations, by imagining what they might be, we open ourselves up to numerous possibilities and an expanded vision. This alone can shift our feelings of anger to compassion and the desire for a positive solution for all involved.

Once we have opened our mind to greater possibilities, we can connect to our higher self for inspired solutions. From the peace at our center, we gain distance from our emotions to connect to intuitive wisdom that offers us understanding of the underlying causes and the inspiration needed to guide our steps in a new direction. Albert Einstein showed us the impact that can be made when we raise our consciousness and allow ourselves to imagine the possibilities.


Summertime Campfire Tales

There is something primitively satisfying about a campfire. We like to gather around the warmth and light, warding off the chill and darkness behind us. But what does that darkness hold? That is the age old fear.

Once the campfire is constructed, it is good to let your group get comfy, satisfied with some drinks and perhaps some s’mores or hot dogs.

You need to get people relaxed, comfortable and unsuspecting before you decide to wind up a tale that will make them afraid to leave the circle.

S’mores: Graham crackers, Hershey’s bars, marshmallows, fire-resistant skewers. Lay out your graham cracker, place a Hershey’s bar to fit. Heat the marshmallows over the fire until golden, but don’t get to close or they burn. Hold the hot marshmallows to the Hershey’s bar and place another graham cracker on top of the marshmallows and squeeze it closed while you pull the skewer from the marshmallows. Squeeze and let the chocolate start to melt. Consider keeping a kit on hand

Campfire Tales

There are two keys for a good campfire tale:
1. Identifying with characters and/or location.
2. Imparting primal fear and theatrics to make the listeners feel this story could happen to them.

The objective is to make that circle of campfire safe, but what is behind them in the dark, the great scary unknown. The listeners’ vulnerability must be showcased.

Begin with characters who reflect the same makeup of the group around the fire, such as “a family,” “a group of campers,” “a few couples,” or “some teens.” Now, you have the listeners identifying with the group.

Utilize a primal fear most folks have, fear of the dark, fear of being attacked by a wild animal or monster, coming up against some dark unknown force, an angry ghost, or a maniacal killer.

Legend making: All good tales tell a legend. A legend is a discretionary tale. It teaches us things like – don’t go into the woods alone, or behavior so you won’t be punished or perhaps listen to your elders and stay within your safe parameters. This is the basis for what we call urban legends. In ancient times such tales kept children from wandering into dangerous places.

To make a legend stick, one has to create characters who push past warned boundaries, like parking on lover’s lane, going down a wooded path that was not allowed, or doing something wrong they must be punished for.

Vulnerability equals personal challenge and learning a lesson is the purpose of the legend. In other words, legends basically say “I told you so!”

Telling the Tale

Dramatics – Stand up at the beginning of the story and walk around the circle of people, taking a stick and drawing a circle around the entire group in the dirt. With a flourish, tell them that it is to protect them from what’s in the dark behind them and they must not break the circle (nice reminder to them that their backs are to the dark). Toss the stick on the fire for flare.

Now begin the tale. Pace yourself, speak slowly, be sure to make eye contact with each person so they feel you are telling it to them specifically.

To make everyone identify with the victims, you can have characters who are a jock, an outcast, a nerd and a cheerleader. Or you can do a ship’s captain, a first mate, a lighthouse keeper, and a lost woman. Perhaps “a short guy,” “an old timer,” “the young woman” and the “ditsy teen.” Whatever the characters are, make them characters and not names. It will make it easy to recall who they are and also give them listeners someone to identify with.

For the villain, you will want to use things that conjure up images immediately; a scientific experiment chimera creature part bear/part wolf or perhaps a lunatic from the asylum, a killer maniac, an angry ghost, a trouble recluse, a magical monster created by the mind of a wizard.

That villain’s objective must be something the people in the group relate to like; “the killer maniac inhabits the dark forest at night and caves by day. He is so troubled by light, it makes him go berserk. When he wanders the woods, even the fireflies are his victims and anyone stupid enough to use a flashlight or campfire, feels his wrath in a painful and agonizing way!” (At this point, you might want to add some wood to the fire for unsettling effect before you tell of people who were dumb enough to use a light in the woods.) Crane your head and say something like; “did you hear that agonizing scream?”

Other than back story about the villain, keep what he is doing in the present tense so it sounds like not something that just happened long ago, but is happening now.

“The lunatic escaped the asylum and even today lives in the woods nearby. In fact, it could be these very woods. There is an asylum on the edge of them. He slaughters animals and leaves their messy carcasses on the pathways. Hikers come across them all the time, like the dead gutted deer they cleared from the path we took in here (incorporating your groups trek in). That was just two days ago when the forest service removed that. You know that bend after the creek we passed earlier? That’s where they found it. He’s probably feeding close by. The smell of hot dogs cooking might just draw him in. Maybe we should stop cooking food right now?” (raise an eyebrow)

You will lead into graphic and tense descriptions of prior killings and then lead into the fact he/it is still on the loose, looking for more to add to the unlucky collection.

“By the time the ranger shot at him, he was already bounding through the woods, the wet blood of his victim spread all over his face and arms in a bloodthirsty ritual of ecstasy. The ranger never did find sign of him anywhere and the maniac was still on the loose in the woods, somewhere near a tall rock outcropping (nod your head toward the rocks behind you) and was awaiting the next victim who walked into the woods alone.” (add more theatrics here, by saying “should we take a break right now in case anyone needs to use the bathroom?” – if they dare!)

When you leave the story open-ended that we don’t know what happened to the monster/maniac, you can also point out something to give them lingering doubt. An example would be to say that they don’t need to worry, you can tell if the killer is coming because the tree tops shake. Most people think it’s the wind and pay it no mind, but it’s really the monster/maniac who shakes the trees in his frustration. (now your audience will listen for trees swooshing all evening).

Details: Remember details sell the story. Add things that make it here and now “did you see that tree over our path on the way up? They say he knocks trees down to mark his killing area.” Or, “watch out for any rock stacks. Those are his favorite way of marking where he is planning to hunt.” (having put up rock stacks earlier on the trail the bathroom, your listeners will now look for them and find them!)

Alternative: Another popular technique for campfire tales is the urban legend or Native legend. An historical event retold can only have a terrifying effect if the villain were immortal and still at large. Then, it could be along the lines of Jeepers Creepers or Gargoyles where the villain only emerges every (any odd number) of years and that lines up with today’s date or is of a supernatural nature that cannot be killed.

A little research of lesser known local legends can produce scenarios like the Bunnyman , the unexplained pagan, or the witch who was said to kill some boy scouts.

One of my favorites I did for a group was based on a legend from where I grew up. It was about a man who had a wife that drank and kids that were noisy. He had enough of it and moved to the woods where he built a shack and proceeded to get lonely over the years, so he would steal people to make a makeshift family. The only people he would not steal in the woods were noisy ones, so if a person were to whistle, sing, or laugh going through the woods, he would leave them alone. Later, after the story was done, people were whistling to the bathroom.

Movies with campfire tales and legends
The Fog
The Final Terror
Campfire Tales (1997)
The Blair Witch Project

If you notice in this opening to 1980 John Carpenter’s “The Fog,” the storyteller uses a specific time and date so that the listeners realize “it’s the anniversary right now!”

Happy storytelling and bonfires, s’mores, and thrills!
~Sharon Day


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