Tag Archives: family

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 3

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The Wheel turns. Nothing stays the same. Since 14th June this year, my life has been chaotic. I’ve spent the past three weeks attempting to restore some of my familiar, important routines, but from the chaos I’ve emerged changed myself.

I don’t think we know what we’re capable of until we are challenged. Eighteen months ago, I stopped smoking, my hormones went crazy and I gained 30lbs in weight. I’ve never felt so ill, depressed and anxious in my life.

I didn’t look like myself, and felt like a totally different person. The doctor told me I’d have to get used to the mass of weight around my middle, that there was nothing I could do about it. I refused to believe her, and embarked on my own programme of diet and exercise, in a way that suited my life and body. Whole food plant based eating plus walking, dancing, yoga and a few specific exercises meant I attended my son’s wedding on 30th July, having lost all the weight and happy with my ‘new’ body.

And on the 14th June, we made a commitment to our daughter, to renovate the upstairs of our house to create a welcoming room for her by the 3rd August. We turned a barn-like space into a sanctuary.

Eating good food and not smoking helped our endeavours. Having lost a lot of weight and getting my waist back, helped me lime mortaring, lime washing, emulsioning and rubbing down woodwork, as I was able to bend and stretch as I always had, but realistically, I knew I couldn’t do everything. I still had dance classes to teach, and performances to lead my ladies in, so they had to stay, but without a deadline for my novel, I put my writing on hold.

I didn’t stop writing completely. I had a short story started, so I set myself the deadline to get it ready for the submission date of 15th July. I didn’t make it, but I’ll read you the story from my Welsh riverbank soon, and you’ll hear how much I enjoyed writing Secrets in the Water. (You can listen to other stories read by me on my YouTube channel Phoenix and the Dragon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber)

And why have I changed?

I can do anything. All I need to do is go for it. Living my life with my daughter is wonderful. Who knows what adventures she and I will have in the future. Maybe we’ll start a business together. Deadlines are important, but spending time supporting and loving your family and friends is more important.

Visit again to find out which routines I’ve reinstated and a new way to get writing again.

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 2

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I remember when each of my children were born, my wish for them was health, and I was blessed with three healthy babies. As they grew, my wish for them was happiness, and that wish carries on to this day, and must be every parents’ wish for their child.

On 30th July 2019, my eldest son was married. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

I spent the day smiling, remembering the determined little boy who wanted to fly aeroplanes when he grew up, who became a handsome, focussed adult…and a pilot.

During the evening celebration, my son sat with me and told me how much he appreciated all I’d done for him. I didn’t need his thanks. All I wanted was to see my child happy, and I was blessed to be part of a magical day where I could see how happy he really was.

Bringing up children is hard work, and there were many times over the years, when I worried about the decisions I was making for them, but seeing them all, good looking, intelligent, well rounded human beings, I took a moment to be proud of all I’d done.

I gave them all the best start in life, and for me, that was bringing them up as vegetarian babies and young children. As they grew older, they were given the choice to eat what they wanted, and it broke my heart that at the age of 15, my eldest son chose to eat meat. He found pressure from others difficult to bear, so I didn’t blame him, but I’m thrilled to say he and his wife have been vegan for the past three years, and they chose a vegan menu for their wedding. The food was fabulous, and everyone enjoyed it.

There is always a hint of sadness on these days, thinking of those who have passed, who would have loved to be part of the celebration, but weddings are days to look ahead.

The Wheel turns and the world changes. Maybe in a year or two, my partner and I might be celebrating being mamgu and tadcu.

 

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 1

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Nothing stays the same. The Wheel turns and all those plans go out the window. On the 14th June, a phone call from my daughter in Essex changed the course of my life for the foreseeable future – she wanted to leave Essex and come and live with us in Wales.

It wasn’t an unpleasant surprise, just an unexpected one, and her arrival that evening, distressed and upset that her relationship in Essex was over, was the beginning of my sleepless nights, but to survive, one must adapt. I’ve always believed being flexible with arrangements and filling life with new adventures is a way to keep young, so we made a plan to renovate a room upstairs in our house for her, and we would collect her from Essex on 3rd August. Somehow, we needed to turn a room from  a barn-like, cobwebby mess into a welcoming room in just over a month.

It was a daunting task, especially as we were still working at our day jobs (my partner lays and sands wood floors, while I was teaching dance and writing my tenth novel), but we set to, clearing the room and sorting boxes and suitcases. My Mum died four years ago, and much of the sorting involved going through boxes from her house, so this wasn’t just a physical task, but an emotional, draining one too.

But looking back, remembering, grieving and looking forward is good for the soul. We were sorting our house for one of our precious children to live with us. It was a good kind of sadness, and we burned a lot of unwanted rubbish on our Midsummer bonfire, thinking of Mum and how happy she would have been that her grandchild was coming to live with us.

While my partner concentrated on getting the insulation, board and plastering fixed to our wobbly ceiling, I started work on the lime mortaring.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, but I made time to make fresh, whole food plant based meals which kept our energy levels up, and gave us a chance of completing our task on time. (We had our son’s wedding on 30th July in Rugby which took up three days – see Part 2 coming soon) Once my partner had plastered the ceiling, I switched tasks often between lime mortaring and painting, and then applying the coats of lime wash to the newly mortared walls. The scaffolding was too wobbly for me but I used steps and step ladders to reach almost to the appex and my partner finished the rest.

The other room upstairs also needed to be cleared,

and my partner was playing a gig at a birthday party, Tribal Unity were dancing at a steampunk weekend in Blaenavon and we were both performing at the Lampeter Food Festival. We worked late into the evenings.

Finally, we arrived at the days before we needed to go and collect our daughter, three cats, a rabbit and all her possessions. We pulled back the old lino to reveal the wooden floor.  

There was only time for one buff and coat on the floor as we needed to furnish the room, but apart from a wobbly board and a few repairs to do, it came up beautifully. I made a curtain from some new sparkly organza that was given to me, and a seat cushion, cover made from a new cream curtain. With the bed and a chair, it was beginning to look more welcoming. The room had a new door, but we ran out of time to finish the panelling and had to put a dustsheet back up. Chests of drawers and a hanging rail were accompanied by rugs and bedding, and the room was finished to the best of our ability in the time allotted.

Our daughter loves her room, the bunny likes her home in the byre and the cats are getting used to being part of a bigger cat family. The angst of the past weeks is over, and we’re all looking ahead to new beginnings.

If we’d still been smoking, I don’t believe we’d have had the capacity to keep working at this pace for so long, and the good, wholesome food really helped too. There were sacrifices (see Part 3 coming soon) but those things in life that are worth working for often require compromise.

We’re all enjoying the sunshine, catching up on outdoor jobs and looking forward to new exciting projects next year.

Now!

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For the first time, since I was eighteen, my Christmas dinner was cooked for me this festive season. We were away at our eldest son’s house, joined by our other children and partners. I shall remember it as one of my favourite Christmas times ever.

We walked and talked, catching up on life and sharing our thoughts and ideas for the future. After four glorious days, I made some decisions….

Now! Is the time to spend days and weekends with family and friends, the ones that make my heart sing.

Now! Is the time to embrace the fitness challenge with both hands, and see what I can achieve in 2019.

Now! Is the time to commit to plant based eating and to spreading the word by sharing recipes and ideas.

Now! Is the time to get the groundwork in place for our potting shed/greenhouse and new raised beds, so we can grow lots of veg.

Now! Is the time to finish my Lizzie Martin Witchlit series, inspiring women to embrace magic in their lives.

Now! Is the time to work magic every day, be it a lighted candle of thanks to the goddess or a chosen tarot guide to seek guidance or assurance.

Now! Is the time to push all our plans on our house and land forward, creating the warm, cosy home we seek.

 

Life’s too short not to do it now! ‘It’ doesn’t have to be big, but whatever ‘it’ is, don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Bright blessings, peace, health and happiness for the coming year xx

 

Name that tingle

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There’s all kinds of happy….happy with family

 

Happy with pets Happy with my books Happy with the work we’ve achieved in Wales  

and happy with my fabulous man

But what’s that tingle called, the one that begins a bout of bliss? I noticed it the other day while cleaning. The wooden shelf was clean and shining with lavender polish and I placed three items on it….and there was the tingle. My shelf looked right and felt right. Calm fell on my shoulders like a familiar cardigan.

I’ve experienced the tingle at the beginning of a dance set, half way through the puja. We dance improvised, so every dance is different but sometimes, the tingle begins. My ears ring, my heartbeat quickens, even if it’s a slow dance. Warmth, calm and contentment envelop me. I don’t remember the rest of the dance; my mind and body take over.

What about the tingle when you’ve been battling with a tricky scene in the novel you’re writing and a picture or word jog your mind in a certain direction, and the perfect scene emerges from your rapidly tapping fingers?

You probably have your own word for the tingle. I call it magic.

 

 

Family – Getting the balance right part 3

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Sometimes it’s all work… On the house and byre on the land, or writing and marketing my books

But there has to be a balance and I took a week off from everything when my eldest son and daughter came to stay with us.

We walked miles, took a trip to the animal park and talked and relaxed. We saw seals off the Cardigan coast, red kites over our house, butterflies, dragonflies and a kingfisher.

Spending time with family is a perfect way to relax and recharge your batteries, catching up and making plans for meeting up again.

Magic Matters

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People say to me ‘Magic isn’t real though, is it?’ My last blog post https://wendysteele.com/2017/06/06/a-magical-life/  was about being ‘present’ to experience the magic. ‘Magic Matters’ takes this idea one step further.

One of the definitions of magic, according to my trusty, yet rather battered Oxford Concise, is ‘an inexplicable or remarkable influence producing surprising results’. In order to experience this, however, we need to be connected to ourselves, the planet and the living beings upon it. Why? Because so much of our lives take us away from this state. We live in a dream supported by those who want to control us and who want to sell to us.

In so many ways, we don’t live our own lives. We perform the stories dictated to us by others. Taking back control is the magic. Here are a few ways to rewrite your own story and live a life full of magic and love.

1 Connect with the planet and the universe

We live on an amazing planet within an awesome universe. I’ve recently been inspired by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, helping me to understand the cosmos from both a scientific, as well as personal perspective. Human knowledge at this time gives us a tiny hint at the enormity of the universe, a glimpse of where we came from and the planet on which we reside.

We can play our own part to stop global warming and the rape and destruction of the world’s resources. Recycling and being choosy who and where we buy from keeps us connected with a world community who love their planet too.

The media wants us to buy more of everything, even if we don’t need it.

I’m lucky to be able to stand barefoot on grass or in the river circling my home. I can light a fire on my pebbly beach and feel the breeze chilling my skin while red kites perform their circle dance above me. I used to live in a town but on day’s off, I sought woodland walks or trips to the sea and spent holidays camping beneath the stars. Those moments of connectivity helped sustain me and I invested regular time revisting those happy moments in the natural world and thanking the planet for its sustenance.

2 Family and friends

One good quality of social media is the ease in which it enables us to keep in touch. The huge downside is how it drags us in, wasting our time looking at a screen. Communication has changed but, speaking to our loved ones or preferably hugging them, is far more rewarding. During the second year of our move to Wales, we spent months trying to get a new roof, rebuilding, knocking concrete off walls and remortaring with lime, clearing rubbish and brambles as well as working at our ‘day jobs’. Everything seemed to go wrong, take forever or land us with costs we hadn’t expected. Short of time and funds, we hardly saw our family. It wasn’t a healthy time for myself or my partner. I was a functioning but empty shell. I recognised what was lacking, started a ‘weekend away’ fund and have booked time to see family and friends on a regular basis ever since.

3 Animals, birds and other wildlife

Caring for the planet means caring for all living creatures. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twenty two and moved onto a plant based diet last year. When my children started school, talk between parents often moved to ‘what are you having for dinner?’ By sharing tasty, nutritional but meat free recipes, friends started adding one or two meat free meals to their repertoire each week. The production of meat, especially beef, is unsustainable. Vast areas of land and millions of gallons of water are used, resources that if sustainable crops were planted, could feed the world.

Other friends only buy their meat from local, organic farms and have switched to free range eggs. It’s definitely a step in the right direction but if you fancy trying some new recipes, have a browse on YouTube for inspiration. Cheap Lazy Vegan is funny and her recipes are easy to follow and delicious. Veganlovlie is adorable and her recipes are scrummy.

4 Caring for the world family

I love leading Tribal Unity Wales out to dance for our local community but in the past year I’ve arranged impromptu haflas (belly dance parties) to raise money for people who need help around the world. We’ve helped Wales Air Ambulance, Smalls for All and Hafla for Humanity and are supporting SHARP, Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response Project at the moment, raising money with a hafla and collecting donations of clothes from friends and family and adding one item of toiletries to our weekly shop to put together a box to be delivered to SHARP at the end of this month.

It isn’t about the amount you donate. When I shop, I add one item for the local food bank and one for SHARP and I think of those mother’s desperately trying to feed their children and keep them clean and well.

I’ve been criticized for my views on helping others but I refuse to judge or exclude. We are one family, the family of humanity. ‘Do as you would be done by’ is a good creed to live by in my humble opinion.

 

So where’s the magic?

Living in tune with the planet, loving friends and family, caring for all animals and wildlife and supporting the human family is the first step to magic and these lifestyle choices will change you. Why not give them a try? How bad can it be living the life you choose?

The next step is all about you so I hope you’ll join me and discover more about magical influence the surprising, exciting results???.

Keep sharing the love.

Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

A Magical Life

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We all experience magic in our lives. There is no need to be pagan or a practising witch. All you need to do is ‘be’.

We believe we live in the present, this time, now but often our minds have wandered to the past or the future and because of our lack of being rooted in the present, we miss the magic.

Sitting on my riverbank is magic…sunlight trickles through the leaves blessing my skin with the warmth of the sun…water rattles and skates over rocks and stones…dipper tips his wing and skims across the water.

Dancing in the rain is magic…clouds bursting their blessings on the earth…the wind blowing up the valley…music, friends and smiles.

Time with my children is magic…catching up on news…sharing success and new ideas…supporting them taking adult steps into the world.

Time with animals is magic …snuggles with a rescued lamb…warmth and love for a rescued kitty.

Looking into the eyes of a new born baby is magic…Dancing together to raise money for those in need is magic…Sharing my stories is magic…Decorating my home to welcome in the light is magic…The first flower of Spring is magic…Walking on the beach and paddling in the sea, whatever the weather, is magic…

 

I write about magic…real magic…the magic that fills our lives with moments of inspiration, hope, understanding, empathy and love.

Join me for stories on my Welsh riverbank https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

or find my books on my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

or for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

Make time in your life to ‘be’ and enjoy every magic moment.

 

 

One year on….missing you

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Approaching the end of the pagan year, it’s time to look back at both achievements and disappointments. Where have I been? Who came with me? Could I have handled that better? What did I learn? How have I grown from these experiences?

In November 2014 I launched a new book, the first of a new series, The Standing Stone books.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadowMy eldest son came to visit at the Midwinter Solstice. DSC_1200

I danced my feet off with my fabulous ladies of Tribal Unity Wales…we even danced for the eclipse! 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n11705339_1637467806511709_6336127877735496573_n11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_o11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_nOur little house finally has a roof!11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_n

I worked hard clearing to the end of Bramble Avenue, along our riverbank DSC_000811947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Tribal Unity came from Essex to visit and we danced on our outdoor stage

On the beach with my home girls

On the beach with my home girls

I introduced juicing into my diet and changed the balance of vegetables on my plate DSC_1436and published another book!DSC_1413

But my strongest feeling about this year is missing those I love. I’ve missed my children, a constant pain in my heart that though appeased a little by phone calls is only alleviated once I hold them in my arms. I’ve missed my friends, women who have loved and supported me through the best and worst of times. But most of all, I’ve missed my mum and dad. While mum was alive, my promise to dad to look after her kept him alive for me but now they are both gone, I grieve for them both. All year I’ve carried the pain of their loss, silently held within me, only let out in great gulping sobs and screams when I’m alone or the odd persistent tear I cannot restrain.

As the wheel of the year turns, moving us on towards winter, I must let go. My ritual on the riverbank tomorrow night will help me move forward, helping me leave the negative behind while I spend the winter months with my thoughts, working through emotions and emerging anew in the spring.

Samhein blessings xx

Red moon over the sycamore tree

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After grey, gloomy summer days, I looked inward for the sunshine and inspiration to move forward.

DSC_0002Out on our land, I am grateful that our baby apple trees are weighed down with an abundant harvest. Though I’d hoped to have our vegetable patch cleared and ready this year, I’m grateful to kind friends who have shared their produce and supplemented our meals. I’ve worked hard on Bramble Avenue. DSC_0007DSC_0008Metres of brambles have been cleared and a Pan grotto discovered as I worked two hours each morning. The sun came out to bless me. 11947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Lack of progress on the house renovations was also dragging me down so I ‘reclaimed’ a wooden unit from the kitchen and began sorting through folders and paperwork. Attempting to live and work in a small space is made easier when files are at hand. DSC_0009I’ve sorted dance folders and Wales folders but still have my writing to organise but one large plastic box has been removed from our bedroom, helping to clear the clutter.

I made a birthday cake DSC_0014

and welcomed my daughter and her boyfriend to Wales for a week. It was a chilly start to their holiday DSC_0017but the sun tried to come out DSC_0021and nothing could dampen my joy of spending a whole week with my daughter. DSC_0022I even managed a paddle. 12027079_1657883417803481_2711620859863796780_o

I donated clothes and toiletries to help the refugees and a van load gathered at our local health food shop, joined the Aberystwyth convoy.

This morning we were up at 2am to watch the moon. It was clear and cold on our hill top and I watched in awe as the milky way bathed the sky above our house in a swathe of infinite stars. Hugging my tea mug I watched the eclipse, the light of the moon disappearing until it was colour washed in red. The giant disc hung above the sycamore tree.

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Watching the moon, I reaffirmed my place in this amazing universe and recognised the path I have chosen to be the correct one for me. If you struggle with depression, as I do, have a look at my non-fiction book Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles for 101 ideas to help stimulate focus in your life, thinking of others and our world as we each live our different life path. There are meditations, recipes and stories from my own experience which I hope will help you.

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

 

I still have work to do before the winter solstice but the endeavours I have begun have moved me forward. Full moon blessings to you all. Love and light xx