15 September 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of September 14th through 20th 2015

Wow. Talk about a major hiccup there. This post should have gone out yesterday morning, but I guess the alignment of some random thing or another just didn't let it happen (or I screwed up. I do that sometimes). Sorry for the delay. Here's this week's reading.

We're starting off with the Celestial Tarot deck again. This is a simple one-card reading for what Bewitching Momma readers this week need to know.

King of Cups

Emotions are front and center this week. Do your best to stand firm as what you send out will be taken at face value. Inside, you may want to scream and holler, but what the people and situations around you need right now is a level head; someone who can navigate them through these emotional waters. You may need to seek guidance to help you do this. Just be sure to look for someone or something that will help you keep control of your emotions. Follow the example that keeps you calm and successful and you will become that example for those around you.

Did you do a reading for this week? What results did you get? Have a different interpretation? Be sure to check back and let us know how your week goes!

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13 September 2015

And We’re Back

It’s been crazy on our end between moving and settling in again. Gabe had an ear infection our third day here. Little guy scared the life out of me going from his normally hyperactive, stop-for-nothing self to a snuggly baby with no interest in playing. Thankfully we caught it right at the start and he got over that snugglyness quick. As a first time mom, I now understand what other seasoned moms mean when they say you’ll know when your baby is sick!

Things are moving along now that we’re all set up. With much needed support readily available, there won’t be any more delays in posts. I'm excited to get right back into the swing of things! Check back in tomorrow for the return of our weekly readings.

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24 August 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of August 24th through 30th 2015

We are changing it up a bit and using the Dream Oracle Cards by Kelly Sullivan Walden. I love these cards, but rarely use them for divination. Unlike other card decks that help dig into details of situations or provide insight into possible future outcomes, I find these are better suited for asking for guidance (think omens and "signs"). For this week, I pulled a single card asking for a message for Bewitching Momma readers to guide us.

Childhood Home
"Remember where you're from and who you really are."

It's time for a bit of self-reflection this week, retro-style. This card is telling you to take a look into your past. Go digging around in it (but don't stay there, just visit). Questions to ask yourself this week:

  • Where do you come from?
  • Who were you back then?
  • How did you survive? (especially for those with negative childhoods)
  • What/Who shaped you?
  • What changed?
  • What wisdom have you forgotten?

Remember, you are looking to the past for clarity to your life today. Have a conversation with your younger self.  Reconnect with the parts of you that were good and that you missed. Allow yourself to feel and let any wounds you have heal. The waters aren't always clear, however, you can find what you're looking for and retrieve it if you're willing to dive in and search.

Did you receive other guidance this week? Has taken a look back helped with any current problems? Are you making any changes based on what you found?

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21 August 2015

On the Move Again

If it seems we've disappeared lately, it's only because Gabe and I are preparing for another move. Thankfully this won't be another cross-country trip! But it is keeping us pretty busy.

This new blog is no where near done, so no need for tears. Bewitching Momma is still just getting started. I'll try to keep posts coming; at the bare minimum, you'll get your Monday readings for sure.

By the second week of September we should be back to the usual 3 post minimum each week  (typically Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned for the weekly readings and comment on any of the previous posts.

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17 August 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of August 17th through 23rd 2015

Was last week a crazy week or what? I know it was for us! Friday's post didn't happen, but never fear, your Monday weekly reading is here. (And cue dorkiness. Oh, wait. I see it's already happened...)

For this week, we're going back to the Celestial Tarot deck. As usual, this reading is for Bewitching Momma readers and anyone who comes across this blog during the week. I was only going to do a single card this week, but went with cards that were jumping out. About a dozen or so jumped out, so I went with a card that stood out among each of the three piles. Guess one card was just too boring.

Two of Swords
Eight of Pentacles
Four of Pentacles

If the conflict was in our heads last week, this week we may see it all around us. Question the sources you look to for answers. Information may be misleading, coincidentally or intentionally. Try to find balance in the conflict. If you look, you can find the truth and follow it, but only if you're open to recognizing it.

Something you've been working on is going to hit a tough spot. This isn't a stalemate or sign you should give up, however. What you need to be doing is staying on target, like the final sprint to the finish line. Discipline and hard work is what is needed right now. You've been training for this moment. It may seem like the end will never come, but all you have to do now is step onto the trail and follow the light. Success is so close! You may even see the new growth resulting from your efforts. You've got just a little bit more to go.

You're stepping out of the conflict (most likely last week's baggage) successful. Take pride in your accomplishments and don't worry about appearing a bit too smug. Enjoy the pleasure. The stars are shining down on you now and telling you to lead the way. (I should probably mention this won't last long, so make sure to make the best of it now. It's a good time to practice living in the present moment.)

Now it's your turn to share! What results did you get? Do you have a different interpretation? How's your week going?

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12 August 2015

Why Did She Go Back to Him?

Image of a person in tears getting punched while his heart is splitting in half.

So just about everybody knows someone (or is that someone) who goes back to an ex after a terrible breakup. Many cases, these same someones are repeat offenders with the same exes. It's bewildering to the rest of us! Why on earth go back to obvious unhealthy situations? Even if they did exaggerate things at the time, clearly they are so much better without that ex and deserve so much more. So why don't they learn?

It's such a common issue among some circles that the moment friends and neighbors found out about my marital situation they were quick to verify I would divorce my husband. Some even went so far as to outright tell me, "Don't you be one of those women who starts thinking she needs a man," and "You give that man hell and don't you dare go back to him. He don't deserve you." (Damn right!)

So let me reiterate what's on everyone's mind these days: Shit ain't easy. It's tempting to make the situation easier by telling my husband to get a truck and come get us. Not for any desire to be with him, but for the stresses it would eliminate (more like trading-off) and opportunities it could open up that are a tad bit easier to navigate. Any thoughts of taking the jerk who walked out on us back are more strategic than anything romantic.

But there's moments creeping in where the romantic side sneaks up and jabs my brain with a dose of "Oh but don't you miss him?" concoction.

And finally the answer clicks. We can psychoanalyze all day long. Or we can make it simple and fail to recognize our distorted image of what love is by claiming that going back to an ex who wrong their significant other is a case of "true love." (If you're a psych major dork like me, you'd rather jump into analyzing not only the couple but also the ones justifying the poor decision.)

So here I am, questioning the whole "Don't go back" logic. When I met him he was good man. Sure he built our relationship on lies, but with the truth exposed now, surely I can move past it in time. What made him a good man during that brief point in his life? What if he manages to make that man come back?

Then I asked myself why. Why even question these things?

And I'm reminded of what my doula explained about giving birth. We have a baby. We go through unimaginable pain. Some of us go through unimaginable trauma. Instead of saying, "Screw doing that again!" we see a baby and decide to have another one. And then repeat the process. Why? Because we forget. It's not that we don't remember any of what happened. We just forget enough of the details that we become overwhelmed with the joy of having a baby and it's not until the birth process kicks in that we remember why we said we weren't going to do it anymore.

That's exactly what my thinking feels like!

So why do someones go back to their abusive exes? Because they forget. They clearly remember that they've been wronged. They never want to go through it again. But with distance and time to dull the memories, they forget just how bad it really was. It's not even a matter of intelligence - we're just programmed that way. Mystery solved.

Do you agree with this answer? Have you ever gone back to someone who hurt you? What were your reasons?

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10 August 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of August 10th through 16th 2015

We're doing The Psychic Tarot deck again this week and changing it up a bit before it gets too repetitive. It'll be a 3 card spread, but with a focus on the general energy, relationships, and finances.

General Energy for the Week: Mental Conflict
Relationships for the Week: Memories of Love
Finances for the Week: Rejoice in Celebration (reversed)*

You may find this week a bit tough, but it's all in perception. We start off with some confusion. For some of us, it's a matter of having to choose between goals or who we want to be as things are in flux and these decisions (no matter how small) will play a big role later on.

The same applies to the rest of us, but this card is speaking of the fuzzy or wild thinking that's going on inside our heads. Thoughts are competing for priority and we may find ourselves overwhelmed if we don't find a creative way to keep them all organized right now.

If you do get overwhelmed, use the other energies this week to your advantage.

You may find yourself drifting off to revisit cherished memories (of loved ones, of course). Or those memories may be forcing their way into your mind via spiritual 2x4 (nothing jogs those kinds of memories like a big whack to the head, right?). Find calmness as you look back. Not all memories are happy, but there's something to them that will help soothe the fires going on in our brains this week. If you don't see the happy right away, dive into the waters and go searching for it.

Years ago, I had a woman tell me something very important. Finances weren't great, she was struggling to pay bills, and she worked her butt off. So I was confused when she took her family out for steak dinner. Looking at this card today, her words come to mind. "It may not be smart and it may seem irrational, but sometimes you just have to do something nice like this or you'll go crazy." (Okay, so I paraphrased big time. This was from like 13 years ago.)

Get together with loved ones. Hang out with friends. Do something fun. There's no telling if your financial dreams will come true (not this week, anyway), but you need to relax to give them a chance. Sometimes you just have to go into party-mode and unwind.

If you spend all day every day too focused on the future, you'll drive yourself bat-shit-crazy and that won't get you anywhere. So let loose at least once this week, Be kind to yourself and those around you. It'll work out. But only if you stop getting in your way with all that clogged thinking.

As usual, it's your turn. Did you do a reading for the week you want to share? Did I just jog any of those memories you needed this week? Stop on by throughout the week and let us know how it went!

*I don't put much weight into whether or not a card is reversed. I include that information for those who are doing their own interpretations.

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07 August 2015

The Number One Mistake to Ruin Search Rankings

Graph showing number of search impressions declining after changing URLs
Number of search impressions took a dip after drastically changing URLs.
I've run my website, Messages in the Moonlight (MIM), since 2003. In all that time, I've made a lot of stupid mistakes in terms of SEO and networking. I've fallen into time-suckers (think Facebook) and I've applied tips that took a lot of work to implement (and dropped off the radar while I did them) only to find out after the fact that search engines penalize against them. I'll be putting a list together of good advice to help with boosting your website's popularity. In the meantime, though, I want to make sure you don't do the one ridiculously stupid thing I did.

Don't change your URLs!

I'll say it again so it sticks. Once your website is set up and you continue adding pages, don't change your URLs.

For the first 5 years, MIM went through changes all the time. I often rearranged the navigation. But I always kept the URLs the same. This wasn't intentional at the time. I just didn't consider changing them. The site slowly, but surely, gained popularity.

When Geocities announced closing it's doors, I hadn't considered the impact the changes in URLs would do. When I moved the site to a custom domain (www.moonlightmessages.com), I kept most of the page file names the same. It also helped that I made the switch ahead of time, allowing me to set up a big ol' "We've moved!" notice on the old URL redirecting them to the new domain.

From then on, I continued moving things around, but always keeping the URLs constant. The site wasn't the most popular in the sense that people hung out at the forums and were active (social media boom killed that), but the site was often recommended. It showed up in search results regularly, even if it wasn't always at the top.

But then I was stupid in 2013. I wanted to give the site a much needed makeover. While I was at it, I wanted to take a lesson from newer, more successful websites. Instead of my typical rearranging but keeping the files the way they were, I got all those pages nice and organized. I was so proud of myself! Then I started to drop off the radar. I even made sure to hunt down sites that were linking to the old URLs and letting them know of the changes. But MIM just seemed to get less and less popular (and not in a changing of trends kind of way).

After my son was born, I decided to switch to a host that allowed me to cut back on the time-consuming HTML and CSS and switched over to Google Sites. I thought I was so smart implementing descriptive URLs (because search engines like those). I was so certain it was going to be the greatest thing for MIM. It would up its ranking in search results, people would find it easier, and it would be awesome.

Cue devastatingly low stats, very few pages showing in search, and crushingly low ranking.

Analytics data for Messages in the Moonlight in 2013 before changing URLs compared with today
MIM wasn't the most popular website out there, but there's a massive difference between stats in 2013 before drastically changing URLs and today. What improvements can be seen are so minimal they're insignificant. Multiple factors play a role, but the URL changes have had the most impact on search results.

What the heck? Where the hell did all my loyal visitors go? Well, they got lost and thought it was me who disappeared.

Then I discovered just how important it is to never change your URLs. Now, if you can do a long-term redirect you're great. If you can avoid 404 errors by keeping the old pages in place and set them up to link to the newer version, great. But if you can't, just keep the old URLs.

Here's What Happens When You Change URLs:
  • All that networking you did with the old URLs just went down the drain
  • All those awesome fans who recommended pages think the page is gone forever
  • Outdated sites linking to your site will only reinforce the idea that your site is gone
  • People take advantage that they think your site is gone and pass its content off as their own (and because your new URL is younger, you get the penalty for duplicate content)
  • Search engines treat you like a brand new site (never mind that you've been around for over a decade)
  • Crawlers get confused with all the 404 errors, often taking forever to stop looking at cached versions despite removal requests
  • New URLs may be penalized or take much longer than expected to appear in search results
Now don't get me wrong, there are ways to beat this. Changing one URL isn't the end of the world. And redirects, if you have the option, will do you wonders.

One of the fortunate things about hosting at Google Sites is that clicking on old URLs will take you to a Page Not Found page on MIM, so at least visitors make it to the site. That said, not everyone is like me and willing to go searching for what I was looking for in the first place, so you may as well assume 404 page visitors will bounce and ignore any other links to your site.

Bottom line: If you change your URLs - especially in drastic ways - be prepared to loose years of hard work. I made other silly, easily correctable mistakes around the same time, but this is the one that hurts the most and took MIM back to square one in terms of search ranking.

Have you ever made this mistake? What impact, if any, did changing URLs have on your site rankings? Do search rankings even impact your fanbase? What did you do to fix it?

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06 August 2015

Follow Bewitching Momma on Bloglovin'

The other day I mentioned updating my reading lists. Well, I kept seeing this Bloglovin' mentioned all over the place. After checking it out I realized it's totally awesome. It's the Pinterest of blogs (only better, considering I don't like pinning). I'm already following dozens of new blogs I'm so happy to have found.

Since I've got Bewitching Momma now, I went ahead and added this blog. You'll see the follow button on the right. (Yes, I'm following myself. Every writer ought to like their own stuff enough to follow it!) Or you can click the image below to visit our Bloglovin' page.

Bloglovin' banner

Be sure to check out some of the other awesome blogs out there. I know I'll have a new list of favorites soon thanks to Bloglovin'!

And for my fellow bloggers, make sure you claim your blog. Once you do - or if you're already using Bloglovin' - let us know so we can follow you, too! (Then make sure you check out the Bloglovin' contest.)

05 August 2015

I Want to Hear Your Stories - Writing Prompts

I was originally planning on throwing another rantish post at you today (I have so many lined up!), but after an hour and half long battle-to-the-nap with my 8 month old, I want something a bit more laid back. So today, I'm encouraging you to get involved.

Bewitching Momma is my campfire project. These aren't just my stories, my opinions, my rants, my jokes, and whatever else. Those are just the tinder to get the real fire started. I want to hear your stories. Share your rants, your ideas, whatever is on your mind. We all have something to share, and there is always someone out there somewhere who will benefit from something you have to say. So go on and say it!

Use today's prompts to inspire you to write your next comment, blog post, status update, tweet, novel, or whatever. Just be sure to share a link to it in the comments here so we can check it out!

  1. Do you believe in an afterlife? What do you think happens?
  2. Have you ever gone on a ghost hunt? Any interesting findings?
  3. How do you handle your anger when you just don't want to deal with anything else?
  4. What's your take on Angels, Spirit Guides, and Totem Animals?
  5. A man, a lion, and an angry mob.... (You tell us what happens!)
And for my story writers out there looking for a plot idea:
  • Protagonist on a quest to find the love of his/her life - on another planet. (Because the one s/he's on sucks.)
  • Antagonist finds creative ways to sabotage protagonist's ship. Bonus points if antagonist is a protagonist from another story.
  • Incorporate a one-handed tax attorney somewhere in the story. Bonus points if s/he lost the hand to a cicada.
  • Give the protagonist a sidekick who will twist the plot at an unsuspected moment by accidentally getting involved with the searched for love in some way.
Remember to share your stories with us! If you take on the plot idea, definitely keep us posted on your project. I can't wait to read your answers!

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03 August 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of August 3rd - 9th 2015

This week's reading is done with The Psychic Tarot oracle deck. (It's one of my absolute favorites as I feel instantly in-tune with them.) This is another 3 card spread, again, asking about the general energy of the week and anything readers (and visitors) of this blog need to know.

Victory & Success (reversed)*
Recognition & Reward

If the titles alone don't give you a hint, this is going to be a good week. But don't get complacent now! It's only good in that goals will be met, desires fulfilled, and accomplishments fruitful. You still have a lot of work to set this outcome in stone.

The horn signaling Victory is the same horn sounding a call to action. You've got to give it all you've got to blow that horn and remember that help is standing by, waiting for you before they act. The best part is you know it's the final push. You've got to give it your all, and the energy is set just right so that your all can make anything happen now. The sunshine is hiding just behind the clouds and blowing that horn moves the clouds.

This energy (and your willful actions) will turn the spotlight on you. Accept the praise humbly and remember this is a quiet applause. It's your diligence that makes things happen and that's what's being recognized. Ulterior motives or self-oriented goals aren't what's getting you on others' good side. Think community efforts.

As you reach success this week, wear your colors with pride. You know who you are and don't be afraid to show it. You can both be humble and know you're awesome. You can be community-oriented and still be an individual.

Listen to the words whispered on the breeze this week. You'll find guidance to keep you determined and focused until Victory and Triumph are yours.

As before, I want to hear your results. Let us know how your week goes! Did you do your own reading for the week? What messages did you receive?

*I don't put much weight into whether or not a card is reversed. I include that information for those who are doing their own interpretations.

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31 July 2015

From Moon to Moon - My First Full Moon Goals

Under 2 weeks into blogging and I'm already (indirectly) invited to a link party (does this mean I'm cooler now than when I was in high school?). Thank you, The Faolan Girl, for sharing your link-up in the Pagan Writers Page!

The Faolan Girl

Considering the chaos in my life, some goal-setting is much appreciated. Since this is my first Full Moon Goals, I'll just highlight achievements of the past month.

1. Got settled into our relatives' place despite movers messing up.
It was a pain. I'll be sure to write about it in the near future.

2. Had my first job interview only days into my search.
I'm fairly certain the guy called in everyone who applied and I totally bombed all of 30 seconds I got, but I'm still counting it.

3. Didn't break down emotionally.
Stay-at-home mom with 6 month old has her husband abandon them with no money, pending eviction, having to sell or donate all her belongings, and plan a cross-country move... Yeah, this was major.

So now to set some goals from now to the next full moon. I'm feeling 5 is the lucky number.

1. Secure steady employment or be on track to do so.
I'm staying open to new training opportunities if I can qualify for assistance.

2. Find a good daycare for Gabe.
This is assuming we'll afford to have a choice.

3. Finish reading Penczak's The Mighty Dead
Christopher signed it for me 2 years ago at INATS when it first came out. The Mighty Ones keep distracting me!

4. Post to my forums at least once a week.
It won't be a priority with everything that's going on if I don't make it one.

5. Play with Gabe everyday.
No more of that whole "let him cry because I have too much to do" business everyone insists I stick to. Applications don't get bumped to the top of the pile just because I submit a tiny bit faster than if I take the time to address his emotional and bonding needs.

Find out how well I do at the next full moon. Until then, what goals are you working on? If you've got a blog, why not join in the party? (Click the Full Moon Goals banner above.)

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Parent Freak Out! Moldy Contigo Bottles for Kids

Since the last post was lengthy and I'm determined to work on using less words these days, I bring you my second rage comic!

Mom freaks out when she sees mold in her baby's water bottle. Cleaning it only makes it worse.
Everywhere I looked, people claimed that as long as you clean as per instructions, there won't ever be mold. Lies! All lies!
So if you want to know about the bottle in question, it was a couple of plastic Contigo water bottles for kids from this 3 pack on Amazon (note: I bought it from Costco).

When I first saw mold in one of the bottles, I upped the diligence in cleaning them by hand and putting them in the dishwasher. It came out of the dishwasher with a disturbing amount of mold (think month-old petri dish).

Then I looked up reviews because I was sure there must be some trick to it. They're mixed. Several complaining of mold with no solution. Everyone else claiming that you won't ever see mold if you just follow the cleaning instructions. Well, then. Guess I got the bad batch.

My best guess is the mold popped up because I put half juice half water in the bottles instead of plain water. Once there's mold, there's no getting it out of all those complicated little pieces no matter what you do.

Doesn't really matter. Gabe had tummy troubles around the same time so I threw those bottles out. His tummy is all better now. No more Contigo for us!

Ever dealt with moldy bottles? Share your frustrations below!

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29 July 2015

Why I'm Done Doing What Everyone Else Says I Should

In The Skeptic Psychic post I mentioned that my skeptical nature causes me problems sometimes and that I'd elaborate later. Well, this post is going to go over a major part of it.

Like other sensitives, intuitives, psychics, mediums, etc. I'm often confronted with questions like, "How didn't you see that coming?" or "Didn't you know that was going to happen?" or "If you already knew, why did/didn't you do it that way?" Sometimes it's from naysayers. Others who know I'm not full of crap will sincerely wonder these things. Looking at events in my life over the past few years, even I have to wonder if I'm delusional.

Well, the truth is, it's not delusion. It's not even wishful thinking. It's knowing one thing, but putting my trust in something else. It's a common problem among those of us with special gifts; we're taught to put more weight into the larger group - who aren't as sensitive - than our own instincts.

Whenever I've followed my inner knowing, things worked out. Maybe not necessarily the way I wanted them to, but life moved in positive directions. When I listened to everyone around me, despite all their words, opinions, advice, etc. going against my inner knowing, life moved in not so good ways. Sometimes the bad things were quick to pop up. Other times, it was a slow progression that easily goes back to that decision.

Let me give you a few examples.

All through high school, I was drawn to the Army, but told it wasn't for me, that I couldn't do it, I'd hate it, I wouldn't fit in. Blah, blah, blah. It took me a whole year after high school and looking into the military over and over again for me to ditch what everyone told me and just do it. The Army was the best thing that ever happened to me. Sure, that career was cut far shorter than I wanted it to, but at least I got the experiences, skills, and perspectives I needed to become a better person than I was.

College. Oh, college. That's the one everyone insisted I needed to do, even strangers. At the end of high school, I finally listened to that voice that told me it wasn't for me at the time. Good move. Life would have been worse.

But when I got out of the Army, the media and society insisted I wouldn't get a job without a degree (never mind that I was a requested temp with a positive employment outlook as a recently separated service member). I ignored that voice that told me not to do it and pursued a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Years later, my writing went from loved to hard to swallow as I couldn't break the academic writing habits outside of work and school, my student debt that I paid on while still in school is skyrocketing without an income to pay any of it back, and I found myself in Colorado employment limbo. I was overqualified for jobs anyone should be able to get. I was under-qualified for jobs the degree was supposed to get me (because I lacked the required experience employers wanted in addition to the degree), and the available jobs in the middle were slim with steep competition from the hundreds to thousands who listened to society (just like me!).

The college one ties in with the house situation. Now, I liked the idea of owning a home. I felt it was a good move. One day. But instead of following that voice that said to give it time to find the perfect one, I bought into the thinking that I had to have it as soon as I had a permanent job. As soon as I came across a house I liked, in a neighborhood that seemed compatible, I jumped on it because that's what I was advised to do if something I liked could even so much as maybe sell before I really thought it through. I even ignored that deep inner feeling that my realtor felt she should be talking me out of it. Instead, I took comfort that my trusty professional would advise me against it if that was best.

Biggest mistake ever. That house was nice. I loved living there. But there were many problems with it. Once my GI Bill money ran out, I quickly became overwhelmed with the cost of the mortgage, taxes, and yard maintenance. Never mind something was always starting to leak or needing replaced. Let's just say that didn't end well. And that particular house would never have been anywhere near my budget if I hadn't gone to college and had that GI Bill safety net when I went house shopping.

(Looking back on the college thing, if I had listened to the inner knowing and waited, I could have switched my GI Bill over to the newer variants they have now. I could be going to college for a more specialized degree, attending a great school, and afford to care for my son without depending on others for support. Damn.)

Don't get me wrong. I had some happy moments during these past few years. And I can tie most of them to following my own inner voice and dancing to my own beat.

Problem is, I got so fed up listening to people telling me what was logically, scientifically, rationally best for me that I dove into the total opposite side of the spectrum. I started listening to people who told me to trust my feelings and desires.

Now if you're the sensitive/psychic type like me, you're likely familiar with this dilemma. Sometimes, the feelings and desires we perceive to be our own really belongs to someone else in our proximity. Likewise, our true feelings and desires don't always match what the inner knowing has to say. So the more people told me to follow my "heart," the worse life seemed to get. Cue bad choices in roommates in an attempt to save my house, an ex who tried to run me in with a sword (oh, make sure I tell you about that one later!), quitting a job and marrying a man who turned out to be a conman, and then staying married to that man when red flags started to pop up.

(If you want to know the truth, the "follow your heart" influences were the typical New Agey types who either have some merchandise or service they want you to buy regardless of its authenticity or are the type who will buy up merchandise and/or services they can't afford even if they don't need them.)

Now this is where the naysayers are quick to tell me I'm delusional if I think I'm psychic. Following my heart clearly didn't do a damned bit of good. True statement. But if I had listened to that inner knowing, the "voices," the instincts that stand outside of what everyone else tells me, outside of wants and desires, outside of romantic dreams, outside of purely skeptical thinking, the choices I made would have been much different. And much better for me.

So I'm done. Past fed up. No more listening to anyone not my instincts. That's not to say I don't care what people have to share or that I'll ignore advice. To the contrary, I'm always open to that. After all, I'm incredibly far from all-knowing. What I'm saying is that from here on out, no more ignoring the inner "voice" when it tells me that there's a different path for me, something's not right, or that guides me to a different decision from the norm.

Now that I've got all that off my chest, what has your experience with listening to others been? Do things work out better when you dance to your own drum? Or when you follow the guidance of others in your life? Do rational choices work out best? Or does following the messages in dreams, visions, readings, or hard-to-describe feelings pave the way to your happiness?

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27 July 2015

Reading Fun for the Week of July 27th - August 2nd 2015

Mondays are busy, and dull. Stuff you didn't get done last week and anything that popped up over the weekend piles up. Mondays just suck. So, because I don't like Mondays, we're going to do something fun to make them better! Every Monday, I will post a brief reading for the week. It's a general reading for Bewitching Momma readers (or anyone who happens across this blog during the week). I'll typically stick to cards, though I may occasionally throw in some other mediums. Anything to make Monday less of a drag!

Today's reading comes from the Celestial Tarot deck. It's a 3 card reading, asking about the energy for the week and anything you, my readers, need to know.

Eight of Wands (reversed)*
I The Magician
Prince of Wands (reversed)*

This week's energy appears to be all about purging the old and committing to the new. Whether what you're losing is burned away intentionally or comes as a complete surprise, you're accepting of the losses. Getting rid of the old's clearing up some stuff you'd really like to be rid of anyway (like negative relationships, sources of conflict, fears, etc.).

You're in control now and know exactly how to harness your power. You're standing strong and communications will run smoothly on your part. Make sure you take advantage of this now as you're about to start a new venture or project that needs all that confidence and energy!

The path ahead will be long and require discipline and commitment. But don't be discouraged! You'll reach your goal and have teachers, mentors, and other examples who will inspire you along the way. Keep your focus on the path ahead, as now isn't the time to look back!

Now it's your turn to chime in! Did you do a reading for the week? What guidance did you receive? Do you disagree with today's reading? As the week progresses, keep us posted and let us know how your week went!

*I don't put much weight into whether or not a card is reversed. I include that information for those who are doing their own interpretations.

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25 July 2015

Seriously, Yahoo? WTF!

A couple months back, Yahoo Mail went and made another stupid change. Usually I adapt and get over them, but having all my emails separated by annoying bars telling me which ones are from today, yesterday, a couple days ago, last week, etc. makes me rage quit and ignore my inbox entirely.

Apparently, other Yahoo users agree. Search for "how to get rid of yahoo mail date bars" and you'll find tons of results from or about angry users. You'll find complaints on Reddit, across Yahoo! Answers (like this one), and there's even a Facebook group of complaints including this outrage over forced segregation of emails.

My message to Yahoo: If our inbox is cluttered with old emails, that's what folders are for. Don't assume you know how we think!

My fix is just switch to Basic view in the Settings menu, but the Basic view is terrible, seriously out-dated, and makes modern correspondence difficult at times. So, even though it makes Yahoo Mail bearable, I constantly have to "Switch to the newest Yahoo Mail" to do simple things and then back to Basic again.

This new feature - with no way to shut it off - is boggling to me. Even more-so when you consider the Android app version is just like the new Yahoo mail, only without the date separations. It's like they're saying, "Hi, we're the new Yahoo. If you aren't mobile, we hate you. Here's some stuff you don't want, never asked for, and we will defend to the death because we're better than you. Have a nice day!"

Now, there's apparently a fix using AdBlock Plus, but in all honesty, I think it's time to just ditch Yahoo. They don't care about their users, so why should we give a rat's ass about them? (Granted, I'm the same woman who stopped using Facebook for worse reasons, and most people are annoyed with me about it instead of the other way around. Apparently, the worse a company treats us, the stronger our loyalty should be? Hmmm....)

What's your take on the newest Yahoo Mail? Feel free to rant about it below!

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24 July 2015

What's in Your Cauldron?

Updating my reading list here at Blogger, I came across the Mom’s a Witch blog and quickly fell in love with the Blog prompts. So, in true social conformist fashion, I’m going to use one for this post.

Do I have a cauldron? Why yes, I certainly do. After Gabe’s dad walked out on us, I had to sell and donate almost everything we owned. When it came to my witch tools, supplies, and other goodies, I restricted myself to the bare essentials (far less than you New Agers imagine). I considered my cauldron to be one of them.

You may think it’s strange that I would consider a heavy, cast-iron cauldron to be an essential item at a time like that. Maybe a few survivalist types would get it if I mention it can double as a cooking pot.

But the truth is, the cauldron’s that tool that keeps working even when you forget about it. It’s like a mirror of your unconscious mind. Things go in there and they’ll impact your life until you address them. Be careful of what you put in there, because what goes in manifests in your daily life.

So let me tell you about a stupid thing I did.

Awhile back, I was working on releasing some negative habits and feelings. Basically, you do this by calling up the thing you want to get rid of about yourself. You really feel it until you are very nearly overwhelmed by it. You write it down on a piece of paper, transferring all those emotions and associations into the paper. You come back to it later on, tap into it (not as strongly this time) and then burn the paper, releasing the thing you want gone. You feel it draining away from you and consciously commit to never letting that thing be a part of you again.

For the non-witchy types, this technique can be used at any time. But for us witchies who like to spin a little magick into things of this nature, it’s pertinent that the burning of the paper occurred during the waning moon, closest to the New Moon as possible.

Now, at the time, I had a lot of things I wanted to purge after an in-depth self-evaluation. Since these techniques don’t really work in bulk, I limited myself to just a couple things per moon cycle. Where did I store my little pieces of paper with the things I didn’t want in my life anymore? In a cauldron! Because, you know, it made sense at the time…

Looking back, that was okay. Putting them in the cauldron helped manifest the energy that these things needed to be addressed. Problem was, I still had a few left when life through a couple wrenches in and those little pieces of paper sat in that particular cauldron for a couple years. It wasn’t so much that I’d forgotten all about them, but when I did remember, it was never the right time.

When I finally got around to purge those last things, I couldn’t help but notice which ones they were. They were the exact negative traits and things that had been central in my life during the past couple years; the very things I couldn’t seem to get past! Leaving them in the cauldron had ensured they remained manifest in my life.

So now, whenever my cauldron isn’t actively in use, I make sure it’s never empty. I put in symbols, words, and other objects to help draw in the things I need and want in my life. If the cauldron acts as a mirror to my unconscious mind, I’d rather be affected by positive things that help both my life and the lives of those around me.

What do you put in your cauldron? Even if you don’t have an actual cauldron or aren’t the witchy-type, imagine a cauldron, grail, or even just a cardboard box you’d stick in your attic. What’s in there right now?

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23 July 2015

The Real Teletubby Scandal You Missed

You know this one: Cute but weird creatures with TV screens in their bellies playing around, having fun, and watching videos. There's even a baby laughing in the sun. What could be the problem? Well, the big purple one - who happened to be a boy - decided he wanted to wear a tutu and carry around a purse. Oh, the horrors. A boy who wants to cross-dress (not really, but those who didn't follow the show wouldn't know that). He must be gay. How dare the show portray that as a good thing. Cue a big debate to try to get the show off the air.

What's so wrong with loving your man-purse?
Today, the loud-mouth voices who'd still have anything negative to say about that would go largely ignored. So why am I bringing them up over 14 years later?

Because the way things are today, I think the show brainwashed us.

I don't care that Tinky-Winky carried a bag. I actually loved that he was comfortable with himself to go dancing in a tutu. I'm not talking about the possible homosexual undertones of the show.

I'm talking about the attitude toward technology and the relationship with the world around us.

How Teletubbies Brainwashed Us All
  • Focus on characters who have TVs in their bellies.
  • Everything cues some video to watch.
The Real Message:
  • You will carry a piece of technology with you everywhere you go.
  • It is so important and vital to your existence that you will treat it as a part of your own body.
  • Interacting with your environment is encouraged, but remember it's all about fun and laughter.
  • Anything that may happen - especially if it interferes with previous point - remember, there's a video (read: app) for that.
I've been accused of thinking too much, but you have to admit, it's a curious thing that this show aired around the time when technology (internet, home computers, cell phones, etc.) first showed up in everyone's homes, schools, and work places. (Yes, my younger readers, those things were limited to the elite not so long ago.)

Now, a decade and a half later, nearly everyone has a cell phone and at least one means of accessing the internet (where you can watch videos!). And, we are plugged in.

Did Teletubbies prep us to become addicted to technology, almost to the point of zombies in some cases? (Read Digital Zombies: The Age Where Kids Don’t Look Up, and Barely Go Outside Anymore over at TruthSteam Media for another view of this.) You decide.

What other hidden messages have you noticed in early childhood shows?

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22 July 2015

The Skeptic Psychic

You think you know me. I’m that hippie chick who believes in things “rational” and “sane” and “scientific” people are quick to dismiss.

I call myself a Witch. I know spells are real and work. I talk about mythology like historical events. Trees and stones are my friends. If you ask me what I think about Jesus (or any other God, Goddess, Elemental, Angel, dead guy, etc.), I won’t fail to mention something about chatting with him just the other day. I will not back down about the authenticity of Astrology, talk about channeling energy like it’s part of everyone’s daily routine, and promise you I’ve lived as an incarnate human on earth far more than just this once.

Without personal experiences, skills, and looking in-depth into the science behind these and other things, you probably won’t believe in them and be quick to call me naïve or silly or stupid or any number of other negative things.

Or you’re on the other side of spectrum and believe me in all these things, plus a whole lot of other stuff that’s just naïve, silly, stupid, or something else not-so-nice-of-me-to-say.

“Did she really just say that?” Yes. Yes, I did.

Because synchronicity exists and seemingly related things are related and do mean something. But so do coincidences, and seemingly related things aren’t related and don’t mean anything.

Because extraterrestrials, ghosts, angels, fairies, Sasquatch, parallel universes, and Gods exist. But they are not the answer to every question. They shouldn’t be your go-to response. They aren’t the only possible answers to the yet to be solved mysteries of the Universe. (Or just to questions like, "What was that sound?")

Because words have power, intention is powerful, sacred objects can be powerful, traditions can be effective, and these things can manifest real changes. But saying some words with intention while lighting a candle and waving some tool around so many times in such-and-such direction alone is not going to make your wish come true no matter how badly you want it to.

Somewhere along the line, despite terrible excuses for parents and a pretty shitty (when not outright neglectful) upbringing, I was raised to be rational. I was taught to find answers. I yearned for Truth, no matter what form it took and regardless of whether or not it was going to hurt my feelings.

I was trained to be critical of information that came my way. I was taught to never trust the first thing I hear and to doubt what I was told. I don’t take the easy way. I go digging and will take my time scrutinizing everything until I’m sure I’ve found the answer.

Science is limited to our current knowledge, technology, and ways of thinking. There are many things still unknown. It's irrational to dismiss something just because science hasn't proven it yet. But it's equally ridiculous to say all things are true with the excuse that science isn't perfect.

We can’t always prove something, but we can sure as hell do a whole lot to disprove it. Only when I can’t disprove it will I accept it as a possibility, and it takes personal experiences to make me believe it. So I may be "that hippie chick," but I'm also rational, sane, and science-oriented.

This skeptical approach to things does cause some trouble, though. And you'll get to hear all about it in upcoming posts!

In the meantime, share with us your approach to life. Are you quick to believe things? Or do you dismiss most everything as silly nonsense like a true, full-blown skeptic? Does your take on things cause you trouble?

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21 July 2015

Meatless Meats, Dairy-Free Milk Products, and Other Vegan Nonsense

I get questions about being vegan all the time. Some ask about nutrients like protein and fats. Others ask about baking and egg substitutes. The "why" question comes up every now and again, along with "Well, what can you eat?" But my favorite is in reference to alternative food staples like meats, yogurt, cheeses, snacks, and junk foods.

Generally speaking, people get the idea of alternatives. After all, there's a ton of food allergies out there and why shouldn't someone get to enjoy an alternative since they can't enjoy the real thing? But for vegans, it's a matter of choice. If you're choosing not to eat meat. If you're choosing not to eat dairy. If you're choosing not to eat the real thing, why, then, are you seeking out alternatives?

It's a no-brainer that just because we're vegan doesn't mean we don't like tasty foods. But why do we try out alternative chicken to find one we like? Why do we hunt down recipes for the best vegan cheesecake? Why should we care if the vegan mayo doesn't taste a thing like regular mayo?

Usually we just say the alternatives are around because most of us weren't raised vegan. We ate meat and/or dairy at some point and still remember it. Most other foods we once enjoyed regularly have some form of animal product in them, so they're out now too. But I'll tell you, that's just nonsense.

Up until very recently, most of the alternatives just plain sucked and no cow-muncher-turned-vegan ever loved the taste of any of them at the start. (I, myself, couldn't stand the taste of the available dairy-free cheeses and several other options until over a year after making the switch.)

But then yesterday I came up with the real answer. It's the answer anyone from such an individualistic and self-centered society (bonus points for the non-conformists) hates to admit.

Walking through the grocery store with Gabe, I said to him, "I can't wait until they make vegan string-cheese so you can enjoy that." Well that's silly, isn't it?

No, not really. I mean, I want my son to get to enjoy things I enjoyed as a child, but I also want him to remain vegan until he's old enough to understand and make the choice for himself. (Yes, I'm one of those, "It's his body. Who am I to decide for him?" types.) Alternatives to meat and dairy-based foods for vegans are getting tastier and tastier, and easier to find. I love that I have these things to add variety for my son.

And I take comfort in knowing they're around to make him feel normal.

There it is. That's the sole reason for alternatives. We are a minority who are usually treated pretty mean (we may not be getting fired over it, but we certainly face prejudice regularly even from those we love). Thank you, deeply ingrained lies. You've made those of us who are different stick out like sore thumbs yet again. Now we have to make our food like your food so we can fake fitting in. *sigh*

But hey, I'm not complaining. I very much like my alternatives and it's not like there's people standing outside the grocery stores protesting about them. There's actually a growing movement toward accepting the alternatives to help non-vegans cut back on meat and dairy consumption for health reasons.

Fake meats and non-dairy versions of dairy products may seem like nonsense to you, but I enjoy my yummy "fake" food and my son won't be made to feel like an outcast when his packed lunch has lunch meats, puddings, cheese and crackers, and milks just like the other kids'.

What are you thoughts? Do you enjoy meat and dairy alternatives? Or do you think those of us who do are just silly?

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20 July 2015

Long Car Rides with a Baby = Endless Paranoia

If you're a parent, you know how this one goes: You put your little one in his or her car seat, start the car, and take off. Baby nods off, dozing quietly, and then the head tilts. Drastically. The flood of thoughts and emotions mix. There's the, "Aw, isn't he adorable?" to the "How can she be comfortable like that?" and "Will she be sore later?" Then there's me.

My son, Gabe, and I drove from Colorado back to the east coast. On the first day, he fell asleep the second I started the car. And he stayed asleep. For hours. Most of that time, his head was at a very sharp angle and after a couple hours of not moving an inch, I started to get worried. I mean, like bad worried. Like, I was speeding ridiculously fast to get to the next stretch of civilization so I could pull over safely to check on him bad worried.

To illustrate the rest of the story, I bring you my first ever rage comic.

while driving, baby is asleep, momma is freaking out that he might be dead, baby wakes up and she knows he's fine, baby falls back to sleep and momma starts worrying all over again
His head was at such a sharp angle for so long, I convinced myself that he manged to restrict airflow to his lungs. I was a complete wreck! He was happy as could be, probably dreaming about boobs. Go figure.

Just as Gabe isn't the only baby to sleep with his head at an awkward angle, I know I'm not the only parent to have this moment. How did it go for you? Were you as paranoid as I was? How did you handle it? Let us know below!

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14 July 2015

What's the Meaning of This? Bewitching Momma Introductions

Hey there. Welcome to Bewitching Momma. Get comfy and have a seat wherever you like around the campfire. I've got plenty of stories to share with you, and I know you've got a lot of your own. So don't be shy! Chime in and share as much as you want.

So let me tell you what happened. I put a lot of stuff on hold when I was pregnant. Postpartum complications nearly killed me, so I took my sweet time picking things back up. I was just getting into a groove while balancing a baby on my hip. Then out of freakin' nowhere, my husband reveals he conned me to get a son, doesn't want a wife, and see you, bye. He takes off, leaving me alone with a 6 1/2 month old, a pending eviction, no money, a car in need of repairs, a nearly nonexistent support network, and a cross-country move to plan and pull off.

It was rough, but I managed to get it done. Because that's who I am. I get through what others think is impossible. But that's who we all are with the right motivators, and my son is the ultimate. So I took things as they came. I talked to others as I needed to. And I dug down into the dirt and harvested bundles full of humor and threw it at every obstacle.

And that's where the seeds of Bewitching Momma were born. Family and friends kept telling me to write a blog. I've had so much happen to me, so much I've done in life, and no matter what, I find a way to bring laughter whenever I talk about any of it. So many of my stories could help others, and I've wanted to share them for a while.

This is me getting personal. No more biting my tongue for fear of bad PR. No more holding back and hiding. No more keeping the good jokes to myself because someone somewhere might get offended. It's time for me to show how bewitching this momma is.

And I'm looking forward to you all doing the same. So go ahead and share your intros below!

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