From dark to light. Blessed Imbolc.

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Yesterday evening, leaving my midwife’s house after my 4:00 appointment, I exclaimed, “I think this is the first time I’m leaving when it’s still light out!”.

And this morning, while rising to get Cora ready for Montessori school I was similarly taken aback that we weren’t going through our morning routine in the dark.

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The dark.

It feels like there’s a lot of darkness around lately.  I live a relatively insulated life surrounded by people who value peace, equality, and justice, but the difference between my bubble and what actually exists in the world is hard to accept.

And yet, all things in nature, our world, and our human psychology move in cycles from dark to light, dark to light.

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Just as the winter seems like it can’t get any longer, the light begins to return. I hear birds calling where yesterday there were none.  The tracks of awakening creatures scurrying out of their burrows catch my eye when I walk to the compost pile.

And when my inner landscape looks dark, like I can’t face the realities of this world, the realities of how hard it is for me to parent my 3 year old the way that I imagine, then light returns to my heart, too.  I see her smile and tell me I am the best mother.  I feel new life squirming and growing within me. I see people rallying together for the world I believe in.

 

The world that is coming. The world that awaits when old, outmoded structures of being and doing and seeing from a place of fear are finally put to rest. From dark to light.

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The light is returning once again. We are halfway to spring.

Blessed Imbolc.

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(The photo of Brigid on my altar is by Joanna Powell Colbert)

Read last year’s Imbolc post here.

Gather has some awesome examples of Imbolc fare.

 

How One Small Garden Can Change Your Life

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You don’t have to own acres of farmland to enjoy the benefits of gardening. Growing your own food and enjoying some fresh flowers can be done even with just a few patio pots if need be, but even a small patch of dirt can change your life for the better. Gardening is the number one hobby in the country, and its popularity is growing as more people discover the joys of growing their own organic food.

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Check out some of the biggest benefits of starting your own backyard garden patch: Continue reading

Our Year on the Farm – 2015

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I had fully intended to upload these photos to the blog, but mistakenly uploaded them to the main Light Footsteps website. Instead of doing everything all over again, I hope you’ll hop on over to see this post in its entirety – I think you’ll truly be inspired by our 2015 on the farm!
Come join us next year!

Light Footsteps

I’ve been taking these last days before the New Year to slow way down, reflect, and dream of what I’d like to manifest in the coming year. After the fast-paced preparation for the holiday season, this time of quiet reflection is essential and has been bringing me a lot of joy.

It makes me wonder — how can I keep this appreciation for quiet reflection alive throughout all of next year?

Today I began going through some of our photos from the year and I have to say: none of the reflecting I’ve done comes close to the way I feel after going through our photos.

Wow –  we have accomplished A LOT.  It’s so hard to realize all that is going on when you’re in the midst of life.  Looking back, I feel such joy at what we manifested this year and the beauty of our life.  I couldn’t…

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Make your own sunscreen at home! ~ Sun Stick Recipe ~

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Now that things are heating up outside, it’s time to break out the sunscreen!

But not so fast…have you seen some of the warnings and fact sheets about conventional sunscreen?

Ugh. It’s not fun news that many of the most common brands contain chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, common allergens, and can be detrimental to the environment.

What’s more confusing is that despite our increased use of sunscreens, skin cancer is on the rise and many Americans have Vitamin D levels that are way too low (vitamin D is critical for healthy bones and a strong immune system).

We certainly still need to protect ourselves from the sun, but maybe we need to rethink the way that we’re finding our protection.

So how do we do this while still staying safe from excessive and dangerous exposure to UVA and UVB sun rays?

Here are some of the top tips:

  • Wear big hats, shirts, and pants to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Go outside in the early morning or late afternoon rather than at mid-day when the sun is most intense.
  • Hang out in shaded areas, or bring shade in the form of umbrellas.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation.
  • Research sunscreen options and find the best, safest choice for your family when you must be out in direct sunlight!

Continue reading

Revolution Review

It’s rare to find a documentary that appeals to both my interest in learning about the human condition as we live on an Earth with limited resources, and my interest in animal biology and ecosystem health.

Coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by 36% over the last 25 years. That’s an enormous loss. Photo © Rob Stewart. From the documentary film Revolution.

Revolution did just that with an appealing storyline, gorgeous cinematography, and an important message to share with viewers.

Through a mix of personal history, interviews, and travels to various sites around the world, Rob Stewart, who previously released the award-winning film Sharkwater, shares a compelling call to action.  Our Earth is full of wondrous, magnificent places and beings and we are rapidly destroying much of it.  Not only is this a tragedy because of what we are losing in biodiversity, but we do this much to our own detriment.  To use resources the way that we do in the Western world, we would need SIX Earths to sustain us.

Obviously, we do not have six Earths, but we do have a lot of people who are waking up to our circumstances and are demanding people and politicians to also open their eyes and act accordingly.

Rainforest, Brazil. Photo © Brennan Grange. From the documentary film Revolution.

Expanding from filmmaker Rob Stewart’s background investigating the large scale slaughter of sharks, the film explores the interplay between ocean and terrestrial ecosystem health, why many ecosystems are in trouble, how this impacts us as humans, and what we must do to change the current course of events.

This complex subject is shared in an easily accessible and engrossing format that will leave you ready to make change in the world as well.

The movie is available to watch by following this link.  I hope that you find it valuable and visually exciting as well.

Rob accepting the “Fossil of the Day” award on behalf of Canada – for doing the most to disrupt the climate negotiations at the UN Climate Conference UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE, 16TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP 16), in Cancun Mexico. Photo © Tristan Bayer http://www.earthnative.com From the documentary film Revolution.

FTC DISCLOSURE: As a way to support my blogging and related activities, I may receive monetary or other compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services within this article. However, it is my promise to you that I am sharing my honest opinion and that I only recommend products or services that I have personally used or recommend and are in alignment with Light Footsteps ideals.

The Best Way to Create Harmony in Your Home & Life – Dawn Gettig’s #1 Tip

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Today we have a guest post by the talented and inspirational Dawn Gettig.  She will share her #1 tip for creating harmony and balance in your home and life. 

I have been assisting clients with Medicine Wheel, Yoga and creating Sacred Space for years now, and I want to share with you my favorite tip on how to create harmony and balance in one’s environment and life.  This tip is the reason Feng Shui (creating Sacred Space) and Medicine Wheel were created as an art, science and philosophy thousands of years ago.  Therefore, my favorite tip is to bring a lot of nature into your home and life.   Nature is the purest model for creating harmony and balance. Nature inspires great music, design, art, food and so much more.

Artwork by Dawn Gettig

Artwork by Dawn Gettig

Here are a few quick and easy ways to bring nature into your spaces and senses:

The scent of nature

  • Regularly use lavender and other fragrant herbs or essential oils in your home for a naturally fragrant smelling home.
  • Weekly create simple flower arrangements and place them in key areas of your home to uplift the energy.
  • Be sure to have houseplants in your rooms year round to keep the air fresh and reduce indoor toxins.
  • Open your windows and bring in fresh air.   People often don’t open their windows — in the winter it is too cold, in the summer too hot! I have neighbors who never ever open their windows, creating very stagnant energy in the home.

The sounds of nature

  • Listen to a CD of soothing nature sounds and absorb the lovely music made by animals, birds and the ocean. Remember sound has power and can create an atmosphere of sanctuary!
  • Again, open the windows and you will hear so many wonderful sounds. At my home at night we often hear an owl in the backyard and it brings us much joy and connection to nature.

The colors of nature

  • When choosing colors in your home, be sure to choose the natural colors of nature.   Scientific studies show color can evoke feelings. For example; lovely natural blue tones will bring more flow and peace, yellows and orange more joy and sociability, and add green for harmony and healing.

The feel and texture of nature

  • Purchase bamboo or cotton (preferably organic) sheets and you will either consciously or subconsciously feel greater relaxation when sleeping on natural fabric.
  • Use natural rugs and flooring materials instead of synthetic items. Synthetics release toxins in your living areas which can cause health issues in children and adults (and pets).

The taste of nature

  • Bring the natural flavors of nature into your spaces and you will enjoy greater health. Unnatural flavorings and other processed ingredients are in many food products on the market today and these can create health issues.

The unseen quality of nature

  • In your home and body there is vital life force energy (also called Chi) that moves in and all around us. If you keep your home free of clutter and do most suggestions above then you will have good Chi flowing in your home, in turn you will breathe freer and enjoy greater health and peace of mind.

Bringing nature into your home and senses will make you feel better mentally, emotionally and physically.

Dawn's photoDawn Gettig lives in her nature-filled home in Kirtland, Ohio with her husband and two daughters. She is an advanced certified Medicine Wheel, Feng Shui and Space Clearing practitioner. She also teaches yoga and is a mixed media artist. Follow Dawn on Facebook , Pinterest or visit her website at dawngettig.com.

Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature

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Today you can find a guest post about my three favorite ways to feel more connected with nature on Dawn Gettig’s blog.  She’s an amazing and inspirational yogini, artist, and feng shui practitioner who will be sharing some of her favorite feng shui tips with us here in a few days.

Please hop on over to my article on her blog: Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature.

We also love to connect with nature by visiting some of our favorite natural places.  Holden Arboretum had its annual Arbor Day Festivities over the weekend and we had a wonderful time searching for wildflowers (I found some gorgeous bloodroot and twin leaf!) and playing in Buckeye Bud’s adventure area for kids.  Continue reading

Scenes from (Early) Spring

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It’s starting to feel more and more like Spring on the farm!

…And it’s starting to feel more and more like we actually live on a farm!

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Maple production has continued.  We finished our 3rd batch this past weekend and it was the best one yet.  This week we’re in the midst of the fastest rushing sap we’ve seen so there will be at least a 4th (and probably a 5th) installment of our syrup!

We’ve tried boiling the sap down a number of ways – a grill, a rocket stove, and this last time we used a portable electric cooktop that we placed outside.

I think the rocket stove was the most fun, but we had a hard time keeping the sap boiling and it took a lot longer than it should have (like, 10 hours!).  We finished the last bit of sap on the kitchen stove and ended up with a decent amount of syrup.

The electric cooktop definitely won the contest for the most efficient way to boil down the amount of sap we collected. Continue reading

Walking Mindfully

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“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” —John Muir

IMG_0679Today I was reminded of how important it is for me to do walking meditation.

There are many ways one can train and focus the mind, but walking meditation is by far my favorite, and I think it’s also an important part of feeling more connected with the natural world. Continue reading

Steer Clear of Toxins to Improve Health and Fertility

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Today I have a guest post from Nita Ewald of Nurture with Nita.  We are both members of a local women’s group of holistic health providers and educators.  I’m pleased to share with you this piece about the importance of avoiding toxins to improve your overall health and in particular, your fertility.

Steer Clear of Toxins to Improve Health and Fertility

Nita Ewald

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Couples thinking about starting a family in 2015 should begin by taking a closer look at the products they use. They might want to switch deodorant and throw out the waffle iron. Continue reading