Sunday, September 23, 2018

Astrology Talk: Libra Season

Happy Birthday to all my Libra Babies!
(September 23 - October 22)


We say goodbye to the feminine, mutable earth sign of Virgo where we spent time discovering ourselves and the many layers of who we are. During Virgo we were able to learn how to clean up our spaces and make little refinements to our blueprints of self. 

Now we welcome the 7th astrological sign of the Zodiac. The Masculine, cardinal air sign of Libra where we will spend the next month in absolute stillness and balance. Perfect timing with this Autumn Equinox. The next 28.5 days will be a time to connect with your inner self and get in touch with your inner peace. Are You Ready to work in the garden of all of your relationships, including the relationship with yourself?

When working with a masculine duality, the signs characteristics are direct and energetic which pairs nicely with a cardinal (initiator) air sign ( intellectual and communicative). Putting these all together to create a Libra, we get: a direct, outgoing, active, communicator. 

Libra is ruled by the planet of Venus. Venus is the Goddess of Love and Beauty. During her season, Libra finds ways to find a balance in everything she does with grace, harmony, and love. It's effortless for Libra to find a space where she is undisturbed because she is in a constant place of harmony. With Libra, everything is as it should be in this exact moment. The Symbol of Libra, the scales, represent balance and order. The written symbol, or glyph, is an ancient Egyptian symbol that offered as a doorway between worlds. the glyph is shown as a crescent moon resting between two lines that represent emotion balanced by reason, while the line below represents partnership. 

We see Libra govern the 7th House of Marriage and Partnership. When aligning with Libra energy we find more balance in our relationships and our communication skills are better. Libra seeks information, clarity, and truth as she navigates through each of her relationships whether that is her partner, co-worker, family, children, or herself. She teaches us empathy, patience, and calmness. When Venus, Libra's Ruler, is in the 7th House, we look for fulfillment and peace in our relationships/marriage. This is the time to tap into your communication skills and gain new perspectives on how to find understanding with others point of views. Find Harmony and open communication when speaking to others and to yourself. Find Balance. If you find yourself in a position of judgement, or labeling - try taking a step back and find a new perspective. There are always 2 sides and Libra teaches us to understand them. 

Libra doesn't run scared. She doesn't hide or take cover when facing adversity. She goes head strong into her truth and her power by staying quiet and leading with grace. She has no time for conflict, unlike her polarity, or opposite, Aries. 

Libra does have a shadow side though, so proceed with caution, especially if your sun sign does fall in Libra. Libra is so captivating and full of love, that she tends to stir up ill feelings from others in situations that have to do with love. When it comes to decision making, this is not a Libras strong suit. Her indecisive  mind often leads her to hand her power over to another. 

While we are in Libra, this is the time to dig deep into your soul and sit in complete stillness. Allow yourself to go to a place that transcends you into complete awareness. Are your relationships at the level you want them to be? Do you need to cut relationships off or do you need to make some changes that will help grow your relationships in a positive direction? What is your relationship with yourself? Do you know who you are? Do you treat yourself with love and compassion? How can you move forward and find that balance?

Even if you don't have a Libra Sun, Libra Moon, or Libra Acendant (Look in Natal Chart) - I encourage you to take this time to slow down. We are in the Autumn Equinox which reminds us to slow down and embrace the changes that this season brings us. Find truth in all of your relationships, especially the one with yourself. Move forward into complete love and harmony. Libra is waiting to guide you. Let's get to work...

Love Yourself, Love other People, Love, Love, Love!

Twitter: @ashleefelkner  | Instagram: @ash_felkner

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Celebrating Mabon, The Autumn Equinox

Happy Autumn Equinox and Mabon. 

We have said goodbye to summer as we prepare for the cooler nights ahead. The sun is now in direct line with the equator and we see equal balance between dark and light.For us in the Northern Hemisphere we are welcoming The Autumn Equinox as Our Polarity, The Southern Hemisphere embraces Spring. Lammas, or the First Harvest, has made its turn around the wheel and we enter the next phase; The Autumn Equinox, or Mabon. As the sun and moon come into perfect equal balance with the earth we see the nights get longer and the days get shorter. Which reminds us to slow down and find that perfect balance within ourselves and our lives before we are met with the winter darkness. The Equinox is optimal time to clarify our intentions, focus on aligning our soul to it's purpose and settle down into our truth. We just spent August in Lammas, with the First, Grain Harvest - a time for gathering and giving thanks to abundance. We spent time baking from grains, seeds, and making breads. Now we move into the second harvest, a time to gather fruits like grapes, apples, and various berries. We will be spending the next several months more at home with our loved ones and so we want to collect things that will aide is in our long nights ahead once the winter season comes. Continue to honor Lammas as you bake - working with wheat, rye, flour, and seeds. Mix in to Honor Mabon, as you create foods with fresh fruits: Cherry Pie, Apple Pie, Banana Nut Bread, etc. Incorporate colors like green, orange, yellow, red, and brown into your meals and your seasonal decor as a way to honor this change of season. 

Connecting to Mabon through Meditation
As we take this time to dig deeper; Mabon, The Autumn Equinox, is a time  of rest and reflection. As the sun slows down, so do we. Take this time to face any consequences of any negative actions you may have took during the months before. Once you've come to a place of acceptance, it is time to meditate on moving forward. Just as we have in moons past, it is time to let go of all the things that no longer serve to a higher purpose in your life; this is the time to leave behind anything you don't want to bring into the next year. With Mabon, we also look at the intentions we have set before us and we move into action to manifest them into our physical world. Before we can manifest our set intentions, we must first find our balance by grounding ourselves. This is the time to activate and get in touch with our ROOT CHAKRA, which aligns with the color Red, a color that Mabon connects with as well. Aligning with our Root Chakra can be done with meditation where we are sitting or laying down - but during Mabon, we tend to find ourselves outside in nature taking in the beauty of the seasons color. Take your meditation outside and find a place outside in nature where you can dig your feet into our Mother Earths soil. The Root Chakra, or Muladhara, is our bodies most fundamental source of energy as it sits at the base of our spine, near the groin area, our main support system for holding us up. It is our Chakra closest to the ground which makes it a perfect chakra to use in a grounding technique. 

With toes in the dirt, or if you choose an inside setting, connect yourself with a Crystal that is intertwined with the Root Chakra. Before you do, don't forget to cleanse your Crystal to rid of lingering negative energy. Cold water, Palo Santos, or Sage will do. Once you are ready either lie down or if outside, place feet in the soil. Red Jasper, is the primal choice as its red in color. Red Jasper also promotes grounding, stability, and emotional balance. Another great crystal to use is Smokey Quartz (One of my personal favorites). Not only will Smokey Quartz help ward off any negative energy, but it will also help you connect to yourself as you let go of anything that no longer serves purpose to you. If working outside with your toes in the dirt, You can place your Crystal(s) on one foot, or if you are working with two, which would be better, place one crystal on each foot. If you wish to hold your Crystals instead that is okay. If you are inside and laying down for your meditation, you can place your stone(s) close to the base of your spine or on your legs themselves. Breathe in and let your mind begin to settle. It may wander for a few minutes and that's okay. Find your way back to center and breathe in a cycle of air. Start off by expressing Gratitude. By showing Gratitude for the things you have, you are doing a multitude of things. 

You are telling yourself:

 "I have all I need at this exact moment. I am blessed with all that I have."  

You are telling the universe: 

"Thank You for all you have brought into my life." 

and you are telling this new season, Mabon, "I am grateful for all the fruits you've harvest to keep me full and energized." -- Gratitude will also help you connect more with your intentions as a confirmation to the universe that you are ready to take on the New. Once you've shown gratitude, sit with your breath. This isn't the time to think or go through anything sitting in your mind. This is a time to gain clarity and balance. Mabon is all about balance so allow yourself to celebrate the energy around you and in you. This meditation doesn't have to last long, just enough for you to feel grounded, connected, and grateful. 

Welcome, Sweet Mabon, I embrace this mid-harvest with open arms, an open spirit, a grounded mind, and a balanced heart. I cannot wait to give thanks, to spend time with my loved ones, bake and honor this harvest season, and to find balance within my true self. Get outside and be one with the beautiful colors that Autumn has to offer us. Give Thanks and set the intention to honor yourself and the wonderful blessings Mabon brings. Merry Meet, My Loving Friends.

Tomorrow is all about LIBRA, where we discuss more in detail how to find balance in our lives here in this Autumn Equinox. Libra and The Fall Season merge together at the perfect timing..So Stay Tuned... 

Love Yourself, Love Other People, Love, Love, Love!

Twitter: @ashleefelkner  | Instagram: @ash_felkner

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Complete Guide to Cooking

I turned chicken to mush.
No, I am serious! I turned what should of been BBQ chicken to mush.

Mush: (N) a soft, wet, pulpy mess. 

There I was, being the poster-child for housewives, standing in the kitchen drinking a glass of wine when my Speedracer walked in from a long day at work. I hear his work boots smacking down on the tile floor as I hear "Wow, That smells great!" from the other room. Instant Tears. Just about the time he turned the corner into the kitchen I am throwing the pan into the sink and sobbing uncontrollably into my glass of merlot. 

My back was to him so he didn't see the downpour of tears falling into my glass, but I knew he is standing right behind me. I hear him ask "What did you make for dinner?" I slowly turned around and pointed to the trashcan. "Open it!" I mumbled while taking another gulp of wine! and then he asked the question that no man should ever ask a woman who just, attempted, to make him a nice dinner. 

"What is it?"  
Because yes, it was that MUSH(ed)

"Chicken." *sips wine*
"THAT was Chicken? What did you do to it?"

I cried. 
He laughed. 
I cried more. 
He followed up by saying..
"I'll get changed and we can see what else we have."

10 Minutes later we were in the truck and on our way to a local eatery because I refused to look at our kitchen a second longer. My arms were crossed and I was huffing to myself while staring out the window. He laughed and said 

"So..You want to tell me what happened?"
"Did you defrost it all the way?"

I whipped my head around so fast I think I broke my neck!

"Of course I defrosted it all the way. I'm not an idiot."

He laughs.
"Babe! I'm just asking."

I huffed again and crossed my arms.

" I didn't get the cooking genes like my mom and sister!
So either we don't get married or you have to deal with having
a bowl of cereal for every meal for all of eternity."

He laughed.
" I think I will marry you and take my chances." 

I rolled my eyes and huffed.

It's been a little over 6 years since mush chicken and I have only cooked chicken maybe twice since then. That wasn't the last meal my SR came home to find in the trash though. I went through a phase where everything I would cook, I would immediately throw in the garbage. I just didn't get the cooking gene. Mom has tried to send me the easiest recipes she has and I still mess them up. Yes, I mess recipes up that are as easy to follow as blinking your eyes. And any recipe that I do have and have tried to follow, I still find myself calling my mom about 15 times until the meal is done to ask questions that are ridiculous. And all the while my older sister is sending me pictures of chimichurri steak with garlic potatoes au gratin. Look Sis, I made captain crunch...again!

Now let me give you a quick history of this husband of mine. He was raised partly by his Grandparents and Partly by his Father - with the help of his Aunt and Uncle. He spent a lot of time learning how to cook from his Grandma, the woman he calls Mom. This woman is a saint, a freaking saint I tell you - and the patience she must of had with my husband when he was a kid is only something I can imagine. 

On the other hand, my father-in-law went to culinary school. So my husband spent a lot of time learning from his father about the ins and outs of cooking in the kitchen. The stories my husband would tell me of all the times they'd throw something together with the ingredients they had on hand; and all the home-made pizza nights they'd do. I love hearing how much these times in the kitchen with his Dad had an impact on him. I also have to be selfish here and say, I'm glad he likes cooking because at least one of us enjoys it. I'm also one of those woman who enjoy walking into the kitchen and seeing a man be all crafty with food. He Cooks, I eat. It's a win win situation here! Find you a man who loves to cook - Husband him up ASAP!

A while back I found a "Miss Fostino's 1st Grade Cook Book" - a little recipe book that SR's 1st grade class created full of their favorite recipes. As I was flipping through it I came across a recipe that made me laugh because this kid totally knew what was up when it came to cooking. It read:

How to Make Cereal:
Pour Milk and Cereal in Bowl.
Eat it.

Devon, Age 5.

Devon is my Speedracer's actual name. and it's safe to say - I knew I loved him even before we met. He knows just my speed of cooking. I mean, how brilliant of a 5 year old was he? He knows how to perfectly craft a meal that is pleasing to everyone and it's a meal that is totally acceptable to have at any time of day!

Now Ladies, I know you're thinking - Okay, this is the part of the story when Ashlee pulls a rabbit out of a hat and tells us she finally came up with a easy way to cook chicken in under an hour that is topped with a homemade lemon-rosemary sauce with ingredients that I had picked from my personal garden.

And so...Here I say...A Recipe...

To the girlfriend crying into your wine glass because you are trying to cook your boyfriend a good meal so that maybe, just maybe you'll get married since of course your only hope to wifehood is through knowing how to cook. Spark Note: It's 2018 not 1950. No Fear My Sister...You'll get Married anyways. A way to a mans heart is through his stomach. Food is the trick. well...not mush chicken, but you know...Other Foods. 

So, here is my recipe for you on those nights when you feel defeated and your kitchen is full of smoke because you burnt the chicken that was supposed to come off the grill 10 minutes ago and now it's laying in your garbage looking like a pile of rotten cottage cheese...

How to Make Cereal:
Pour Milk and Cereal in Bowl.
Eat it.

Ashlee, Age 28. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keep Going - Nobody Gives a Shit!

Let's cut the crap and just get straight to the point of this post.. 

Nobody gives a shit about how you feel or What you have to say!

Weren't expecting that one were you? 
Yeah me either, but here we are. 
Good Morning! Welcome!

For as far back as I can remember, and that memory leads back to elementary school, I have always had a label attached to me. Now I know you're thinking..Damn Ash, you are such an individual I've never heard of anyone in the history of ever being labeled before. I'm not clueless, I know that I am not the only one out there who is carrying around a bag of words in my purse that I've collected over the years. But, this is my memory so stick with me here...

I'm not going to lie to you, my biggest defense mechanism growing up was one of two things: Stay silent and ignore or Fight Fire with Fire. There was no in-between. But I picked my battles and I think it was better that way. Here is another truth: I had no backbone growing up, I have talked about this before. I would literally lay down in the middle of the street and get ran over by a tractor before I decided to fight back. I hated confrontation and I still do. I learned quickly, around my teenage years, that sometimes people want to see how far they can push you just so they can watch you snap out of their own amusement. And once I learned that, I became aware of which battles I thought were worth it or not. Spark Note: Little to None were worth it. So, I took about 5 leaps back and just stuck to my own. No feeding the wolf, all is well. And yet,  by me making the decision to step back and not fight back - I was labeled. Teenagers - They Suck. It's a lose-lose when you're a teenager. Spark Note: People suck when you're an adult too..

Because then I was an adult and I had shed all of those labels off. I had emptied my purse and left my baggage behind somewhere between the day I graduated High School to The first day I walked into my first college class. Because you know, You're SO adult now that you're in college. *rolls my eyes and chuckles* A few years later, around 20, I realized that I in fact wasn't so adult, but I tried. And then. Labels. Label after Label started filling my purse again and I could feel my spine chipping away one vertebrae after another and I fell back into that defense mode of a girl with no backbone again. I willingly just laid back down and waited for the tractor. 

Luckily, this only lasted a few years before I stood back up and thought - Screw this. I am Ashlee. and that should be enough. No, it is enough. Sometimes I don't say enough, Sometimes I say too much and Sometimes it's the wrong thing because I get too emotionally involved. I still pick my battles because I am a firm believer that not everything requires a comment and not everything deserves our attention. If you don't feed the wolf, it won't have a reason to bite you. Around the time we got married I told SR that I was taking  a weed-wacker and flinging that baby left and right to get rid of all that wasn't worth it, needed, or brought happiness. It worked, tremendously. And I've spent the last 4 years doing spring cleaning with weed killer and a weed-wacker in hand. I am a modern-day Kill Bill. HEAR ME ROAR! and yet - Labeled. 

And then it hit me - Nobody gives a shit how you feel and what you have to say! Not a damn person on this planet. Truly. 

It's in our human nature to try to defend ourselves and I get it, because we should. But some people take defending ourselves as feeding the argument. Some people get off on getting a response, and some people take what they want and twist your words. And that's just how it is. Nobody cares what you have to say. People are going to see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. So here is what I think we should all do, because this is what I have done for years now - Shit, the last 8 months alone - I stopped giving a shit what people had to say. And I stopped explaining myself. I stopped. That's that. I stopped. I drop kicked the shit out of that hungry wolf and I happily skipped my way to grandmothers house. Guess what? Labeled. But Guess what? Nobody Cares! 

We are always going to be labeled - someone is going to try to define us and someone is going to try to stop us in our tracks - That's life. I've learned that it's totally okay to take a weed-wacker and go crazy. We are going to be labeled anyways so we might as well make it fun and entertaining.

"Nobody can make you feel Inferior without Your Consent". - Elenor Roosevelt. 

and it's true - nobody. So backbone or not, keep going! That little mantra came to me a few weeks ago when I was drinking my coffee on our porch. Keep Going! When you find your path, it makes it easier to keep going. When you find who you are and you stop explaining who that person is to everyone else, it makes it easier to keep going. When you stop picking up the labels, it makes it easier to keep going. and when you realize that Nobody gives a shit...It makes it easier to not give a shit either! So, Keep Going!