Gardens Are Good!

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My garden earlier on in the summer

When I was a little girl, I used to love watching “Gardeners’ World” (and still do, actually) with my Nan and Grandad. The presenter at that time was the wonderful Percy Thrower, another Shropshire resident like my grandparents, and those evenings spent in the company of my beloved grandparents and the gentle voice of Percy Thrower stared a love of gardening in me.

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These petunias are called “Galaxy” – you can see why!

It’s only in the past two years that my love of gardening has been able to translate itself into the creation of my own garden. For some reason, it was assumed that I didn’t like it, the dirt, the labour, the bugs… However, this misunderstanding is something I have endeavoured to put right.

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These are “Ray Sunflower” – love the name!

Also – the link between gardening and the benefits to mental health are undoubted. That veritable green-fingered gardening god Monty Don and the brilliantly brave and lovely Rachel De Thame have both in recent programmes talked about the emotional connection with their garden. I found it very moving.

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One of my wonderfully tactile ornamental grasses, “Pennisetum Rubrum” – or “Basil” to his friends..

I am perhaps a somewhat chaotic gardener. I start out with the best of intentions (“Why don’t you make a plan Mum?”) but then I get carried away digging, or something, and I forget what I’ve planted where… It’s like my birthday every day in my garden when Spring arrives, as there are new surprises sprouting up all over, much to my delight.

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I named this one “Casanova”…although he is more properly “Pennisetum Fairytales,” just couldn’t keep his hands to himself on the bus home!

I love the stately beauty of tulips, the robust colours of dahlias, but perhaps my favourite, well, in this year just gone at any rate, have been the petunias and ornamental grasses. The grasses bring a lovely flow and movement to the garden which I find ineffably soothing, and after a stressful day, there is nothing more I like than to come home and dig a few holes, plant some things, tend to others and communicate my love for my garden, watched, usually, by my four faithful girly gardening buddies.

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Not unsurprisingly, one of my favourite books is “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I would like to finish with this quote:

If you look the right way you can see that the whole world is a garden”

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Rough And Tumble…

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Fluorite (left) ~ to increase concentration, balancing and positive, Moonstone (right) calming and soothing

Not that I would ever engage in that myself… no… Alex and I visited a new crystal shop last week, a lovely lady with some unusual rough pieces of crystal in stock. I am often asked, which is better for using, rough or tumbled crystals and I always reply that there is no right or wrong – it’s simply a matter of taste, personal preference.

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Rhodonite -~ the pink stone in the foreground, good for dispelling emotional pain.

Obviously, if like me, you carry a lot of crystals on you – my partner always warns me to stay away from water… – then tumbles are a lot easier to shove in your pocket and off you go. That’s purely practical though…

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Rough Howlite ~ good for calming the active mind, relieving muscle tension and stress. It’s sitting in a flattened nest of my ornamental grasses, mentioning no names. (Ting)

I asked Liz the same question and she gave me a lovely explanation that completely made sense and that I’ve been able to pass on to other people who ask me without getting too confused.

Rough crystals are basically a mass of energy – polishing them into tumblestones, wands or palmstones, helps to contain and focus the energy and healing benefits. Liz used the example of walking into a room and turning on the light, or using a flashlight. Focus, direction – that’s what polishing does, perhaps making the energies a little more accessible too.

Sometimes, though, rough pieces are simply too beautiful or too unusual not to have… my very first crystal, courtesy of Alex, was a piece of rough Rose Quartz, whose loving, warm energy was a big help at a rough time.

My relationship with my sister is a good example of rough and tumble, although now we are a little older, not literally of course! We have only just – well, about two years now – really started speaking after a fall out of ten years, that ended up being one of our more epic sister scraps….

When we were younger, our rough-and-tumble was slightly more physical. Anyone ever tried an onion fight? No? They can be quite good fun, providing your opponent is smaller and weaker than yourself… The aim of the game is to seize a piece of cut onion and hold it to your adversary’s eye, for as long as possible – or without being caught by your parents.

As my sister is ten years older than me, you can probably guess who came off worse on a regular basis. Like a cat, then, I made stealth my skill… and crept up beside my sister to shriek “BOO!!” in her ear just as she was taking a roast chicken out of the oven… it ended up as an involuntary foot covering.

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Ting… tenderly licking Tooty on the top of her head!

It’s a joy to see the family link between Ting and Tooty, there is a definite bond of love, affection and sisterhood that is exclusive to them and not shared with the other two girls. It doesn’t stop them having pretty spectacular kicky scratchy fights and slapping matches where tufts of fur fly as do the hisses.

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Ladies, please!

But as with most relationships in Life, as long as you respect one another you learn to take the rough with the smooth…

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My sister cats xx

On The Love Of Dogs:

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Now. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but as regular readers know, I am primarily a cat person, although I have several canine acquaintances, including a mountainous Dogue De Bordeaux. It’s some years now too since I had my own little dog, but my sister and my mother are both stalwart and faithful dog owners.

I have regarded my mother’s dogs, most particularly her German Shepherds, as sister dogs and daughter dogs, but it wasn’t until an incident the other day that I gained a proper and full appreciation of the true meaning of the love and loyalty of dogs.

Briefly – my mother has two dogs, her German Shepherd called Erin, and a (supposed) lurcher/whippet crossbreed called Rocky. He’s fun and bouncy, hurts like hell when he steps on your toes with giant clawed feet or sends you flying with a casual shoulder barge. I have played the extremely boring game of directing the laser pointer mouse so he can chase it, been on walks with him and saved pieces from my dinner to give him as he has sat gazing soulfully at me whilst gently drooling on my trousers.

I have suffered the indignation of his cold wet nose shoved unexpectedly down my top in friendly greeting and most recently, his bemused examination of my face and throat as I squeak and hoot at him with my laryngitis affected voice. However, what happened the other day touched me most profoundly and moved me – too often we underestimate the power of an animal’s love and emotion, the depth of their feeling for us.

Unfortunately, my eldest son has had some extreme personal issues and my relationship with him has deteriorated to the extent where physical violence was offered, after a lot of shouting between us. Rocky had watched the exchange growing more and more heated and unpleasant and when he raised his fists, the dog pushed himself firmly between us and growled at him. Fiercely and with meaning.

I won’t go into any further details about the argument – it is absolutely no longer my story to tell, but what remained with me was Rocky’s unquestioning defence and obvious love for me in the way he wanted to protect me.

So, in essence, then, I just want to say thank you to all our wonderful, loyal and loving canine friends. Good dogs!

Fluorite, Friends And Family.

33384838_244632196282195_5819976450412904448_nAnother crystal worth a return visit, and although it’s always been one of Alex’s favourites, I’m still getting to know it… we are in the early stages of our friendship.

All types of Fluorite are protective and cleansing, they will shield you from negative outside influences and psychic manipulation – that friend who always has your back – and it helps to draw away anything stressful and restore order and discipline – think spiritual spa day with your best friend.

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Green… good for stomach disorders and absorbing negative environmental energies

Fluorite helps to sharpen intuition, giving you the confidence to trust your own judgement. It helps you to recognise and remove the old and stagnant patterns in your present life with kindness and empathy.

This crystal is useful for working with groups as it brings unity and purpose, while being stabilising and clarifying. Clear Fluorite is good for dentists’ visits (you can hit them with it – no, not really, it just helps to reduce pain, yours, not theirs…moving on…) and it also helps you to learn new information and process it.

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This piece of Clear is fascinating – the manifestation within changes constantly… sometimes it just has rainbows… 

Rainbow Fluorite brings its own special energy to the party, encouraging independent thought, mental agility and emotional well-being. Plus I like rainbows.

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A mixed bag of crystals then with a variety of beneficial qualities – rather like your average family.

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However, sometimes family doesn’t mean someone you are linked to by blood. Sometimes, a blood relationship counts for nothing and it can be as spiritually toxic as a septic flesh wound. Sadly then, we must admit defeat for our own sakes, and although we may always love that person and forgive what they did, or what they put you through, we can never actually forget and those memories continue to colour our responses towards them.

Sometimes, though, within your own family, you also find a friend, that person who just “gets” you. Friends and family both are my girly cats, they provide love and comfort (when they feel like it) and I provide cat food and unquestioning adoration, even as I pick up the scraps of shredded wallpaper…

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Guess the paw’s owner… 

They make me laugh, and they graciously put up with the things I sometimes ask them to do…

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The tiara may be plastic but the princess attitude is real!

And then there are human friends – they step in to fill the gaps that family can leave. That’s the wonderful thing about WordPress too – I’ve had some difficult times, but the support, love and friendship from people here has been equal to and above that of family.

For which I am humbled and grateful. Sincerely – thank you. And, of course, Love. Always.

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Clear and Rainbow, best of both with the symbol of eternal Love

Magnesite And Mummy’s Girls…

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Nope. Not a cauliflower. Or a brain – although the complex folds and crevices found within Magnesite mirror the structure of our brains where our emotions and intelligence reside. Not unsurprisingly then, Magnesite is wonderfully beneficial for the emotional health of our mind, balancing the brain’s hemispheres and clearing the pathways for greater emotional intelligence and understanding.

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It is a complex crystal – it can show demanding people how to step back and make room for others, whilst also teaching self love, giving you the strength and inner resources to deal with challenging situations and remain a source of support to those around you.

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Magnesite teaches you the value of past life lessons that may not have always been pleasant, giving you the ability to view the information with a balanced mind, accept and move on. It calms and soothes, lending strength to nervous people and overcoming irritability.

A useful crystal for healing, perhaps because of its resemblance to the seat of human consciousness, Magnesite can help with cramps, bone disorders and temperatures and as it contains a high level of magnesium, it aids its absorption within the body, preventing poor memory, tiredness and reduced learning skills.

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It took me a little while to learn how to live with four cats, adjusting after sixteen years with my beloved Walter being my only cat. He was kind, loving, even-tempered – a wonderful introduction to the joy of being a cat person for my partner too. Then, after Walter passed, I spent nine days without a cat until Princess Charlotte arrived in our lives to rule us with her dainty paw.

She was an adorable, demanding baby, who left her feline mummy far too soon, but decided I would make a passable substitute.

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Lily followed soon after, primarily as Alex decided he needed a kitten too. Recently, although Lily has always been polite to me, she has come to the realisation that I am actually quite a nice person and has taken to sitting on my knee for cuddles, purring and kneading.

Ting and Tooty, our bonus hedge find kittens, love me – Ting to the point of obsession, gazing up at me with adoration apparent in her slightly crossed blue eyes and crying piteously when I leave her.

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Tooty chooses to show how much she loves me at her own convenience, generally at about three o’clock, by sitting on my chest and breathing heavily into my face.

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It makes for a tempestuous household at times, rather how I imagine living with four teenage girls must be… they all have their own likes and dislikes, preferred flavours of catfood, special sleeping places, pre-arranged times for individual attention… but they all like to sleep with me, in on or around the bed.

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Each and every one of them are individual and unique – all are Mummy’s Girls! And do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Trust.

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Walkies! Great! Let’s go! What? In the car? All right then… but wait. Stop. Please. Where are you going? Don’t leave me! Gone.

Dark. Alone. Afraid. Where am I? Home. Want to go home – what’s that? Frightened. Noisy. Run. Run. Run.

Hurt. Paws hurt. Tired. Alone. Afraid. Hungry. Afraid. Sad.

Dark. So tired. Sleep.

Gerrout! Go on! Gerrout of it!”

Run. Oh – that hurt! Run. Lost. What did I do?

Bad dog!”

Run.

Tired. Frightened. Alone. Sad. I’m not a bad dog. Just old.

What – run!

Shouting, throwing things and not to play.

Here – quiet, lie down…

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The old dog jumped, startled awake at the gentle touch on his head, and struggled to sit up on tired old haunches, ready to run at a moment’s notice on cracked sore paws.

It’s all right, boy, don’t be scared…”

The young man reached out a hand to the old dog who looked up into his face; and consideringly, carefully, he lifted his paw and put it in the young man’s hand.

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Spare Angels

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I was helping out (yes, all right, playing with the pretty crystals at Lizian) and Liz was just giving me a quick reminder as to where everything was:

And here… just in these boxes, are the spare angels…”

These words stayed with me because I thought it was a lovely concept – spare angels. Liz, of course, meant crystal angels, which in addition to the symbolism of the actual angel figure combined with the benefits of the crystal it is shaped from, bring dual advantages to the owner.

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These angels are pocket sized and ideal for carrying about with you… but everybody’s interpretation of angels is different. They can make themselves known in a manner of ways, from finding feathers in unexpected places to seeing flashes of light or even being aware of a wonderful flowery fragrance…

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I am very fond of these crystals at the moment, known as Opal or Angel Aura Quartz. They are said to raise your vibration so you can communicate with beings on a Higher level.

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Sometimes crystals can have an angel formation within them… a bonus for the owner who can draw on the highly protective symbolism of angels in addition to the crystal properties.

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Angels can be portrayed as splendid beings of light and glory, or that little voice that reminds you Someone is always there. In my difficult past weeks I have sometimes felt that I was walking very close to the edge and might have indeed fallen over, were it not for the fact that I felt a Hand was there, just pushing me gently back on the path…

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So then, however you choose to see your angel… make sure you have one spare!

Rainbows And Rabbits

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Succulent rabbits…. 

I have shared my life with quite a few animals so far, each bringing their own special brand of joy and love, family members each and every one. Apart from rabbits… I’ve only ever had one pet rabbit myself, who I absolutely adored..

Back in the day when there were still such things as live meat markets here, my parents and I were walking through one (strange place to take a four year old… but there you go…) when I saw a large wild rabbit who was destined for the pot confined in a tiny cage.

Of course, I burst into tears and begged Daddy to rescue the pretty rabbit (Dad = veterinary surgeon = animal saviour… it’s all so simple when you’re little) so he bought her, having first informed the seller that no, he did not want her “necking”.

Sorrel was as wild as they come, a large doe who bit and scratched everyone; yet strangely, would let me kiss her, cuddle her, carry her around, dress her up… She annoyed the life out of my father as when she was out in her run on the lawn, she would dig complex tunnels spoiling its pristine green velvet…

My sister, not unnaturally, requested a rabbit of her own. A second rabbit was duly purchased and introduced to the household. Personally, I think it was actually a hybrid of piranha and hyena. I was terrified of it, yet my sister persevered until one day, the rabbit charged her.

It ran at her like a demon and sank its teeth into her achilles tendon at the back of her leg, just at ankle height. It wouldn’t let go. It growled and scuffled… my sister coaxed… then pleaded… then started screaming… She and the rabbit were engaged in a deadly duel – she spun around, quite elegantly, on one leg, while the rabbit sank its teeth further into her flesh till finally my father rescued her. And re-homed the rabbit. Swiftly.

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Not sure of its proper name but I call it Rabbits Ears

I have never had another pet rabbit, but even so I remember Sorrel with love, as she made me happy, much like a rainbow makes me happy. I am always fascinated by the natural light show created by rainbows and I am lucky enough to own several crystals that contain these sparkly bits.

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Crystals that have these rainbow shimmers have an added quality of joy and optimism to them. They’re pocket vials of loveliness and hope, tangible reminders to us to look for the beauty in the smallest of things.

The spectrum of colours can be used in crystal therapy and healing to help us deal with the pain of loss and overcome sorrow. There is comfort to be found in these multi-coloured sparkly crystals – they remind us too, of a Promise made for continuity and love.

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When our fur family members leave us, we say they have gone over The Rainbow Bridge; for even though we are sad they have left us behind, we know they are turning over a new page in their own Book Of Life. But we know they’ll wait for us, and when we have reached the end of our own story, they will be there to greet us and love us. Always.

With love from all of us here at CrystalCats to Jean, Bill and Shoko – thinking of you

Lemurian Jade And Leaping Cats…

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Our eyes met across the crowded village hall…dark green, seductive, I was irresistibly drawn towards him… I reached out my hand to gently cup him…

Liz! What’s this? It’s…beautiful! Can I..?

Never one to stand in the way of true crystal love, Liz turned my latest crystal purchase over to my tender care and I sped away, so we could become more… closely acquainted.

Lemurian Jade – smooth and silky to the touch and wonderfully satisfying to hold, the sensual weight of this crystal in my hand transported me far away… think Amazonian jungle, green and verdant, the colours so vivid and varied you can tast them on the back of your tongue. Spotted with gold and dappled with black, this lovely crystal, named after an ancient civilisation thought to pre-date Atlantis, has a strong connection with Mother Earth, helping you to strengthen your own bond with her and live in balance with the planet.

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Lemurian Jade brings stability and confidence to a relationship, encouraging balance but also trust and honesty. Its presence alleviates conflict and smoothes away friction, replacing them with healing and courage. New energy and growth are stimulated and it’s a wonderful stone to help heal past abuse and life difficulties, also bringing a gentle recognition and awareness of our blessings. It helps us to feel gratitude for this knowledge and move on with new awareness… to make that leap of faith, if you will, in yourself and those around you, as sure-footed as any cat.

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Charlie leaping!

Holding my Lemurian Jade I am soothed by the flow of images… servals, ocelots and margays; cats of the jungle who slide and leap easily from one tree to the next, much as a passing thought is captured, examined and sent on its way.

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Ting… not leaping… 

I find echoes of these jungle cats in my own cats, their elegance and grace always a pleasure to watch, even if I’m just a little too slow to capture that perfect picture. The image remains, as does the love. Always.

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Lily…(s)leeping!

“Never Apologise – Never Explain!”

IRIS

Or so said John Wayne… and various other people…So, of course I fully intend to do both.

First, the apology. Sorry for my lack of response here on WordPress, but it’s been an absolutely BLOODY few weeks. I’ve missed you all, my friends, but thank you for bearing with me.

We’ve had a fair few traumatic events here at CrystalCats which set off a severe bout of depression… something that I have had for a long time. I tend to visualise my worries as balloons and I’ve clutched this particular set to me for a while. Sometimes they have threatened to carry me off, but generally, on the whole, I cope.

I was going to go into vast, exhaustive detail about what happened; but on reflection, it really isn’t my story to tell. Suffice it to say, after a lot of emotion (and tears from me..naturally) my partner, Chris, myself and our son are united now, in a true family spirit of love and honesty.

There’s still a bit of work to do, but I am getting there. Doubtless I’ll find more stuff to worry about, and yes I will probably get tired… and weepy…

But sometimes, you just have to let stuff go.

FROG MUM LET GO