Sunday, April 27, 2014

PTSD Service Dog Fundraiser

One of the biggest reasons why I haven't been posting anything online is because my wife Kellie has severe PTSD and we have been doing all we can to manage it. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. 
Kellie's PTSD has recently been getting worse and we have not been able to get her the help that she needs. Besides Therapy and doing what we can with managing symptopms with medication, Kellie needs daily support that I cannot always provide because I have been working hard every day in order to try to offset some of these medical expenses.
These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.
PTSD symptoms are grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened

I started a fundraiser for Kellie so that we are able to get her a Service Dog specially trained for her medical needs.

I ask everyone to please help us any way you can. Sharing this blog post with friends and family, donating any amount (I'm serious, even $1 would help), anything to show Kellie that she has something to live for.
Kellie's PTSD Service Dog Fundraiser

If you can please find it in your hearts to help us out, we truly appreciate it!
Thank you very much and Blessed Be.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Phases of the Moon: A Poem by Kat

Tonight at work I was inspired and a poem started to form in my head. I quickly jotted it down during my dinner break, and worked on it every spare moment I got. I hope you all enjoy.

 Phases Of The Moon: A Poem by Kat Johnson   

   New Moon, Sweet Maiden    
   How swiftly you grow bold,   
   Grown Full with child   
   Blessed Mother we behold,  
    Now Waning softly   
   Fading as the Crone of olde,   
    Making way for the Maiden   
    Silver cycle worthy of gold.    

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Power of Positivity: Breaking the Negative Cycle

Last night I came home from a hard day at work. One of my employees was a no call/no show for work and I ended up staying late calling everyone to see if they could come into work last minute. I was feeling kind of annoyed and negative when I got home. Later on my wife Kellie came home from work and handed me a beautiful homemade scarf. Her boss had made it, and when Kellie complimented her on it and said that I would love something like it, her boss handed her the scarf and told her to give it to me. Kellie's boss said she makes these scarves and she decided that every time someone compliments her on her scarf she will give it to them to help spread joy and positivity to the world.
When I received the beautiful scarf I was touched by her generosity, and it really brightened up my day. I wanted to thank her so I asked Kellie what kind of things her boss likes and she said Baked Goods and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
I went to work having fun baking some flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I wrote a nice Thank you card, and I sent Kellie to work this morning with a plate full. I hope she likes them. The rest of my night was happy, and I enjoyed myself.
This inspired me to write this blog about the importance of being positive. Positivity spreads positivity, and can really change the whole outcome of someone's day, but Negativity spreads more negativity, and that is a hard cycle to break once it has started.
For example, have you ever been to a store and the person behind the counter is rude to you? Doesn't that make you feel off? Think about what happens after you leave the store, maybe a person bumps into you and you snap at them. That person then goes into the store and impatiently snaps at the person behind the counter when the coupon they had doesn't scan. Thus causing the cycle to continue, spreading negativity to everyone around you.
But say the person behind the counter is friendly and genuinely smiles and wishes you a good day. You feel pretty good when you leave, and if someone bumps into you when you are leaving the store, it's not a big deal, you smile and say your excuse me's and head on your way. Then that person is more patient when their coupon doesn't scan, and the person behind the counter manually enters it without any problems.
Sometimes you have to be the one to break the cycle of negativity. If someone is being rude to you, think about it and realize they probably are having a pretty hard day and they are letting other people's negativity enter their life. Maybe you can break the cycle of their negativity by being positive. And if it doesn't break their negative cycle, at least you don't have to continue it and spread it to others.
What I am trying to say is, be Positive, and spread that positivity to others. Smile more, say hi to the people you pass on the street or in the hallway, think about why someone might be being rude instead of taking it personally. Hold the door for strangers, be generous, help out when you see someone struggling to carry their groceries, or dropped their wallet.
It only takes a few seconds to turn someone's potential bad day into a good day. And you may be surprised when the positivity flows back to you.

Here's some more information:
It’s easy to become entrapped by a cycle of negativity. Negative thoughts and energy, just like positive thoughts and energy, are literally contagious and propagate themselves.
But any cycle of negativity can be transformed into a positive one by making the choice to do so and then intently focusing on it.

1. Return to Nature

To break a cycle of negativity, return to nature. Escape the chaos and commotion of your daily life and take some time to immerse yourself in nature. Feel the crunch of each step on a hike in the woods. Listen to the waves crashing over the shore and the sound of the wind passing through the trees. Embrace the simplicity and beauty of nature. Return to a purer, less cluttered, simpler sense of self.

2. Focus on the Moment

Too often, we become entrapped by negative thoughts and the endless stream of “what if” playing in our heads. The endless cycle of negativity compels us to feel like we need to escape our own minds. A simple remedy to abandon a cycle of obsessive thinking and over-thinking is to focus on the small stuff.
Boil down your attention and focus. Take your attention off of thinking and feel your other senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing and so on. Focus on the touch of grass, the smell of the air, the feeling of your heartbeat. Intently breathe in and out with each breath.

3. Surround Yourself with the People You Love

Seek out the ones you love and who love you. Surround yourself with them. Feel gratitude and contentment that they are in your lives.
Appreciate the relationships and friendships that you share with these other beings. Consider the simple miracle that is their very existence: that, out of the millions and millions of possible genetic combinations, defying the odds of luck and chance, they have come to be born and are now a part of your life. Intently enjoy their company.

4. Laugh (Never Stop Laughing)

Happiness, laughter, and smiles are beautiful.
They connect human beings on a level greater than we often fully appreciate. Laughter, happiness and smiling are common denominators among all human beings: we all naturally recognize, appreciate and connect through smiles and laughter. These acts of radiating positive energy bind us. They transcend human beings’ skin-deep differences, weave between us and intertwine us.
To easily break a bout of negativity, just laugh. Never, ever stop laughing.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pagan/Christmas Cooking Show

Hello all,
last week I was watching a rerun of one of y favorite cooking shows Good Eats with Alton Brown. I used to watch this show with y mom when I was little, and now I watch reruns every once and a while to get some good cooking tips and ideas.
Anyway, This episode is a Christmas episode, but there are so many Pagan themes I just had to share it.
I am posting the whole episode. I hope you enjoy it! And I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule Fruit Cake

Blessed Yule Everyone,

I am sorry I haven't posted in a long time. this past year has been a very busy one for me. I planned a wedding, got a job, got married, went on a honeymoon, got promoted in my job to assistant manager, worked more hours, got promoted to Manager and moved to a different store (45 minute commute) and I have been super busy with the holidays. But I am back today to post my Homemade Fruit Cake Recipe for this special Yule blog post.

This Fruitcake is Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free, and it stays moist. I don't know how long it lasts after baking because it doesn't stick around my house very long. The longest I have had any fruitcake left was three days, and it was a small piece left that I snatched for breakfast. Still moist and delicious!
Plus it's really easy to make.

Kat's Yule Fruit Cake
Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Mixed Dried Fruits (I used Raisins, Golden Raisins, Cranberries, Cherries, and Prunes)
  • 1/4 Cup Agave Nectar (Can substitute with Maple Syrup)
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pineapple with Juice 
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 

Dry Ingredients: 
  • 1-1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free all-purpose flour (or your favorite GF flour blend)
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free)
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt (Can substitute with table salt)
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 Tsp Xanthan Gum
Optional Ingredients:
  • Nuts to decorate the top (I used whole Almonds) 
  • Dried Fruits (Preferably cherries or prunes so you can decorate the top) 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Let it sit for at least 1/2 hour so the dried fruits can soften a little. If you have really dry fruit you may need to let the mixture sit longer to soften it a little bit. 
  4. Sift all dry ingredients into the wet, stirring to combine.
  5. Grease a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  6. Pour or spoon the batter into the loaf pan and smooth down with the back of the spoon.
  7. Decorate the top with some fruit and nuts if desired.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing, then remove and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.  
  10. Once cooled you can slice it and enjoy plain or spread on some jam, peanut butter, or buttery spread.  Enjoy! 

Blessed Yule and Happy Solstice!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Importance of Chanting

This is a topic I haven't covered before (and admittedly, don't know much about), but was suddenly inspired to look up.
This Video is one of my Favorite Wiccan Chants. The Earth, The Air, The Fire, The Water

Lately I have been feeling off balance or haggard. I have had many stresses in my life this past year including Starting a New Job, Planning a Wedding, Getting Married, Bringing our Kitten to the ER after he ate a Tiger Lilly, Money Issues, Gaining Weight, etc.
Needless to say this has left me feeling Tired, Unmotivated, Stretched in Every Direction, and Generally Off Balance. Until today, I spontaneously remembered how I felt last year when I joined the Witches Circle in Salem on Samhain. I felt like a new person after that, The Drumming and the Chanting realigned everything inside me, and I was left with a feeling of wholeness, and renewal. And it made me feel closer to the Divine Spirits the Goddess and the God, as well as gave me another perpose in life.
Anyway, While thinking about that I decided to look on youtube ad watch some of my favorite Wiccan Chant Videos, and I almost instantly felt better.

Interested, I did a little research on the topic of chanting and I am going to share some of what I found.
The AAH sound, a primary sound to humans, is found in the many ways we invoke the Divine: Amen, Allelujah, Allah, Brahma, Ahtma, Shekina, Wakan Tanka, Pacha Mama, Gaia, Da, Jah, Jehovah, Amitaba Buddha, Kuan Yin, Ofunga. Medicine Men & Women, Shaman, Yogis, Sages, Healers and Mystics in all walks of life have stressed the importance of chant for deeper spiritual awareness, healing and a way to clear the mind. Everything in the universe emanates from vibration and its essence-energy. Vibration, which translates to us as sound, ranges from the gross to the subtle.

Native Americans have a deep tradition of healing with chants that clear physical ailments as well as remove emotional trauma and evil spirits.  Many of these songs have been passed down through generations and are in effect today.  The Medicine Man or Woman chants to the ailment and sends it on its way to the Light.

In India, the energy system known as Pranamaya Kosha, is comprised of the Nadis and Chakras (subtle channels through which energy flows) which are receptors of vibration.  These Chakras are highly influenced by sound which is why music has such a strong impact on us. It is believed that sound vibrations created by the voice can refine and attune the bodily systems, Nadis, mind and intellect. When music is practiced to transform the personality or ego into total absorption with the Divine, then it becomes Nada Yoga.  In North Indian Classical Raga, the note “Sa” is equated with Brahma (God), the sound wave that created the universe. From this one note all others arise, the way all beings are made manifest from the One Divine Being.

Chanting is very good for the health, and also leads us eventually to "peace of mind".

To explain the importance of chanting for spiritual growth, let's first look at the human brain. There are two different sides to our brain. The left side controls the rational, calculating mind - this is the part of the brain that allows us to think mathematically, scientifically and logically. It breaks down ideas into a step-by-step process. Our whole modern society is based mainly on the achievements and point of view of rational thinking.
The right half of the brain controls our intuitive mind. This gives us the human ability to appreciate art, music, poetry, and religion. The intuitive mind perceives things holistically - we appreciate a piece of music or a beautiful sunset, we have a flash of insight, or we feel spiritually inspired. These feelings come from our intuitive mind, in contrast to our rational mind.
Chanting is also good for our health, for a number of reasons:
  • The very sound of chanting helps to heal our bodies and minds. Parents have been singing lullabies to their children through the centuries. We all know that when we feel tired, it helps to listen to some soothing music. Scientists have taken this a step further through the study of plants. If you take a greenhouse full of plants, and play the music of Bach or Handel, which is very regular and rhythmical classical music, the plants flourish. But if you play discordant, disorganized, erratic music or sounds, the plants respond - by failing to grow. Plants fail to thrive in an atmosphere of disorganized sound. Discordant sound makes us nervous, and harmonious sound, such as chanting, heals us. Chanting is one of the most healing sounds in the world.
  • When we chant, it also acts to regulate our breathing. In to-day's world of "fast lane lifestyles" whatever we can do to slow down and regulate our breathing helps us. The automatic thing to do when we become frightened or uptight is to breathe in a shallow way, and that makes us feel more tense. Do you notice, when chanting, that your breathing rate goes down? And if your breathing rate goes down, then your heart rate goes down. And if your heart rate goes down, then your blood pressure also goes down. Chanting brings a general "cooling-down" of your whole body.
  • If done wholeheartedly, Chanting acts to release negative emotions. As you know, holding on to the emotions of anger and frustration over time makes us sick. We can clear out stress and irritation in several ways: by vigorous exercise, by singing, by shouting, and by chanting. Chanting is a physical exercise for the body that empties the lungs and muscles of toxins created by frustration and stress.
  • Another health benefit of regular chanting is that it brings us to a steady rhythm. The movement of the sun, the movement of the plants, the changes of season, our heartbeat, the movement of the tides - all these are done in rhythm. Balanced and healthy people are people who have balanced rhythm.
  • Chanting also acts to clean our mind. The nerve pathways of the brain are like a road map in a densely populated region. Some pathways, the ones we use all the time, are like major highways; others are like countryside unpaved roads. The action of Chanting gives healthy variety to our brain activity, using different pathways and mixing up the brain signals for a while. This gives a rest to the regularly used pathways of the brain, and promotes cleaning of the mind.
  • Chanting also focuses our thoughts. Group chanting is really group meditation. When we put all of our attention and all of our emotion on one word at a time as we are chanting, we are learning how to focus our mind.
Chanting exercises our intuitive mind; it soothes our nervous tension; it regulates our breathing. It focuses our mind, and teaches our body steady rhythm.
This video is one of my favorite Wiccan Chants. The Triple Goddess Chant.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin Magic & Recipes

I was in the mood to make a warm/sweet treat, but I didn't want to wait a long time while something baked in the oven, so I started searching online for an easy pumpkin custard. I figured I could use some of the leftover roasted pumpkin from my Autumn Cooking - Mabon Feast Though I also have a few cans of pumpkin in the basement that I could use as well... though using roasted pumpkin that I spent a lot of time and energy cutting and peeling and cooking felt more meaningful.
Anyway, I was not finding anything that quite peaked my fancy, so I decided to just throw a few things together and hope for a delicious result.
This is similar to how I approach magic and spell-working.
I like to use whatever I have on hand, and most of the magic is in the intent, well I had roasted pumpkin, spices, almond milk, and sweeteners on hand, so I decided to throw them together in the belnder and taste the final result.
After I tasted my concoction I thought it would taste better warm, so I put it in the microwave for a minute or two and gave it a good stir. And WOW! This was some kind of Kitchen Pumpkin Magic.

I had to stop myself from eating it all so I could take a quick picture. I also had an idea to make a warm drink using some of the delicious pudding.
So I scooped some of the pudding into a mug and added some almond milk. Warmed it in the microwave and gave it a few good stirs... Wow again. Pumpkin must be my magical food this season. lol

Anyway, I am going to share the rough recipe with you (I do not have percise measurements because I just tossed things together and added whatever amount felt right to me.... sounds a lot like how I make spells as well) ;)
Pumpkin Pie Pudding:
Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free
  • 1-2 cups roast pumpkin cubes (or about 1 cup pumpkin puree)
  • Ground Cinnamon to taste
  • Ground Nutmeg to taste
  • Ground Ginger to taste
  • Dash Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Packet Stevia
  • About 1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • Up to 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (I used unsweetened)
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if it is too thick.
Pour into a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to stir it well before enjoying.
Warm Pumpkin Spiced Milk
  • 1-2 Spoonfuls of the above Pumpkin Pie Pudding
  • Up to 1 Cup Almond Milk (I used unsweetened, but if you like a sweeter result you can use sweetened)
Mix the ingredients in a mug and microwave for 1 minute. Take it out and stir it before microwaving for an additional minute.
You can top it with whipped cream if you so desire.

I think this would taste really good mixed with a Pumpkin Chai Tea or Pumpkin Spice Coffee!

Anyway, Since I have made/consumed these delicious pumpkin concoctions I have felt much better. I was feeling a bit down and chilly (it's been raining on and off all day today, and I'm feeling the chill in my bones) and my pinched nerve in my shoulder has been acting up again, but now I feel much better!
I thought I'd write this blog and Share some of the magical properties of the wonderful ingredients I used:

Pumpkin: Fertility, Contacting the Spirit World, Represent Abundance, Wealth, Divination, Love, Prosperity, Good Luck, Attract Money, Mysterious, Healing, Honors the Moon.

Pumpkin Seeds (I didn't use them, but I did eat a few homemade seeds while cooking): Improves Bladder Function, Helps Depression, Promotes Bone Health, Divination, Healing.

Cinnamon: Promotes Dreaming, Love, Protection, Business Success, Purification, Spiritual Growth, Overall Healing, Increasing Psychic Powers, Gain Knowledge.

Nutmeg: Prosperity, Love, Clarity of Mind, Divination, Luck, Protection, Healing, Uplifting, Psychic Awareness.

Ginger: Protection, Healing, Prosperity, Love, Luck, Money, Power, Sexuality, Courage, Success.

Vanilla: Love, Sexuality, Pleasure, Emotional Growth, Good Fortune, Energy.

Almond Milk: Success, Wisdom, Prosperity, Healing, Money, Stimulates Intuition,

Maple Syrup: Love, Luck, Prosperity, Money, Long Life, Abundance,

Stevia: Magical Properties are Unknown...
I have included a spell I found online and thought was interesting. (from This Website)
Sarah’s Pumpkin Seed Prosperity Spell

You will need:

A tall Glass of Water

A Bag of Salted Dried Pumpkin Seeds

My friend Sarah, herself a Wiccan High Priestess, learned this spell as a child from her grandmother who is a powerful kitchen witch in the New England tradition.  I have learned from various sources that this particular spell was in common use as early as the 1920’s and quite possibly before.  This ritual confers a double blessing since it acts as a spiritual cleansing in addition to attracting wealth and prosperity to the individual that performs it.

Sit in a place where you can meditate quickly for a few minutes.  Open your bag of pumpkin seeds and count out 9 seeds.  Eat the first seed.  You may choose to break the seed open with your teeth and eat the soft inner seed, personally I like to eat the salty hard shell as well.  Slowly chew the first seed and wash it down with a drink of cool water.  Repeat the process until you consume all nine seeds. After you swallow the last seed say to yourself aloud or silently may the seeds of this holy gourd cleanse me of all negativity and fill my life with wealth and blessings.  You will be surprised at how effective something so simple can be!  I have heard of people winning jackpots at casinos and encounter long lost friends after performing this easy ritual.