I take in the scenery from my favorite spot on the front porch.  The bounty I can see around me is just a small piece of my growing Empire.  This is my Victory Garden.  Everywhere I look is evidence that I’m creating a life worthwhile.

Is evidence necessary?  Certainly.  What’s the point of Worthwhile Witchcraft without the show?

The Bean Ranch is alive and well.  Unusual and fascinating developments unfold here on a routine basis.  Orbs abound.  Real time coinky-dinks come in rapid-fire succession, and good shit happens here.


Setting aside the time to take pictures, record my observations, and edit my words to post on this website has become, well, considerably less exciting.  Or necessary.

I still love to write.  That hasn’t changed.  I write for myself, every day, just as I always have.  Whether or not my words will be read is never more important than my passion to write them.  If I’m not inspired to publish whatever it is I am writing about, than there is no point in sharing.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

All the stories, revelations, and winning recipes for a bountiful life are in constant flow.  I no longer feel any sense of urgency in writing this stuff down.  I tell myself, “If it’s important, I’ll remember.”  And I do.

As it turns out, Amazing and Powerful Worthwhile Witchcraft really isn’t so complicated.  Writing about it for this blog, or thinking that I had to, is what had made it so.

Since October of 2009, I have published a total of 167 articles on this site.  My original intention to share “the art of living a merry and worthwhile mortal life” is intact.  I am the Ruler of My Empire.  I am the creator of my experience.  I am God.  And You Are Also.

Big sisters are the best.  Without Mary Jo, a modern Victory Garden would not be a story worth telling.

Quite unexpectedly, Jillian’s luck had taken a winning turn.  Cautionary optimism had been abruptly replaced with unshakable certainty, and she would never again view her life the same.

She blamed solitaire.

Until recently, it was the one card game she had expressly passed off as a waste of time.

“Surely there are better things to do,” she concluded.

Staring off into space would be a far more acceptable choice to spend one’s idle time.  Perhaps it was this opinion that shadowed her sudden curiosity in playing the game herself.

Working on her laptop one hot afternoon, she found herself void of any interest in writing. Endless themes raced through her mind, yet not one was worthy of words.  “Writer’s block” is often misinterpreted as “I don’t give a shit.”

No one else was home.  Not one human being in sight could offer any reason for the manner in which she peered around apprehensively immediately after witnessing her very first hand of solitaire spill out onto the screen.

Five thousand winning hands later, she would appreciate not mentioning how she has been spending the majority of her time away from her blog:)

“How old am I?”

I pause within a sudden urge to skip, refraining from the possibility of looking like an idiot in heels.  This is only because I am keenly aware that people will see me.

Sadly, the fleeting moment of spontaneous expression has evaporated.  The mere thought that another human might witness my childish behavior has effectively sucked the life right out of any impromptu display of joy.  I’m a grown-up.  I’ve been socialized.  I decide upon an appropriate smirk and a short hop in my stride, instead.

It’s a trivial consideration, really.  Entertaining a brief notion that another human being might observe my behavior, and formulate an opinion toward it, had introduced just enough doubt to stop me from skipping in public.  The content of their perceived opinion is irrelevant.  It’s only that I considered their feedback at all, however briefly, that had effectively thwarted my stride.

So why should I care what anyone thinks?

I know all the “healthy” answers to that:

“What other people think is none of my business”

“Personal power is significantly diluted when the perception of others is considered”

“Secondary opinions undermine primary creative control”

Blah, blah…

Any witch seeking to orchestrate the circumstances of her life experience knows this crap.  She studied it.  It is an intellectually sound concept that reveals the truth in her innate ability to create the life she desires, effectively defining the absolute power of  sovereignty.

If I know all this, why on earth would I still practice caring about the opinions of others?  I wondered that, too.  I wondered about it so much that I dissected the pesky habit right down to the underlying source.

The truth is that positive feedback from a fellow human being feels good.  Why wouldn’t it?  It’s satisfying to be recognized with a compliment.  This is a good thing, right?!

Of course it is!…Until I inadvertently allowed the satisfaction of praise to mess with my self-worth.

I thought about this in ‘big picture’ view.  Sometimes stepping back to simply observe the dynamics of my interaction with the rest of the planet facilitates a neutral understanding.  When I eliminate any judgment, remove the emotional factor, and view the way I respond to others as if I were just a character in a story, then any elements of discord can be recognized pretty quickly.

I clearly discovered the glitch.  Associating that ‘good feeling’ I had whenever someone recognized my behavior with a compliment, especially when I was young, is what has served to program my internal operating system.  Seriously.  Credit the power of socialization, my ignorance, or the child-like willingness to please, but I had allowed the positive feedback of others to literally train my self-perception into a habitual pattern of seeking approval from others.  I woke up one fine day to realize that the manner in which others respond to my behavior had seemingly become more significant than any opinion I may have had of myself…that is, if I could even remember having an opinion of myself that was not in some way influenced by the feedback of someone else.

Good god.  What have I done?!?

Well, this is easy now.  No need to get emotional once the big picture is clear.

The ‘girl in the story’ feels good.  She feels really, really good every time that she is recognized with a compliment.  On the other hand, she has learned that responding to criticism interferes with her personal agenda, so she’ll just have to ignore any feedback that feels bad.

And there it is.

I can’t have it both ways.  I reclaimed creative control over my life experience the moment I decided to devalue outward perceptions across the board.  Just as I declare my independence from the scrutiny of others, so too must I detach my vested interest from the positive recognition offered by my fellow human beings.

Some feel good, some feel not so good.  Neither can affect my behavior.

Accepting criticism as gracefully as a compliment is easy when neither is attached to the expectations I hold of myself.  Whether we deem the opinions of others as praiseworthy or critical bears little consequence on the power within each and every one of us to create our own happiness.

Put on those high heels and skip your heart out, bitches! (…Er, witches)

Nothing says “I love you” like fresh-cut flowers.

Thank you for not getting me a stupid potted plant.  I don’t want anything that includes dirt. When it requires extended care, it’s not a gift.  It’s a chore.  I already have plenty of those.

I want to admire an object of affection.

Fresh stems?  There’s the real prize.

“Wow. You had something killed for me.”

Presenting the “catch of the day” must have initiated this ritual.  Back when we lived in a cave, the desire to please was clearly touching right up to the moment when I had to gut, pluck, clean, and prepare the kill for our sustenance.

“It’s the thought that counts.”

This concept has encouraged the ingenuity in which a Neanderthal will attempt to express his love.

Durwood piloted his bicycle over 35 miles of country roads through acres of cornfields, territorial dogs, and other potential hazards (that may have required a fair amount of slaying), just to bring me a once-living flower.

We had only recently met.  He stood outside my door, all sweaty from his treacherous ride over the 1984 Oregon Trail, and presented me with a ragtag blossom that he had plucked en route.

He knew that I was in the process of moving out of my apartment over the next few days, and he wanted to offer his assistance.  (Because, of course, the touring bicycle had recently been established as an effective means of moving shit.)

No matter.  I had already procured a preferred method of transporting cargo.  I had the moving van.  What I didn’t have was a breathless and willing Neanderthal who wanted to be with me.

“He loves me,” I knew.  It was the flower.  No dirt.

This single act had secured Durwood’s position in the romantic qualifying round that has continued over the last 28 years.  The primal stages of courting have evolved to include outsourcing his slain gifts to ProFlowers, with chore-free gifts now comprising the majority of his repertoire.

Nothing says “I love you” like the occasional dozen of long-stemmed roses,…or the unsolicited offer to go out and pick up my cigarettes, simply that I may postpone the necessity of donning a bra.

Now there’s something I can admire.

I have at least a dozen posts waiting in my draft file.  I must have opened one every week for the past month or so, but the inspiration to edit and publish one of them just wasn’t there.

I had become so attached to the perfection of the archive feature, that I was committed to post something, anything just to ensure that every month since October of 2009 is accounted for.

Okay, and now that self-imposed agenda is over.

December of 2011 is gone.  The deed is done.  There is no recognition, trophy, or perfect attendance reward for a writer who has not missed one consecutive month posting an article on her website.

Imagine that.

Happy new year, my friend.  May you find peace and happiness in letting go of all the things in your life, big or small, that just don’t matter:)

I was home from college for the weekend and all I wanted to do was sleep.

The scratchy wool rug on my sister’s hardwood floor was not a deterrent.  I tucked my arms underneath my chest, cradled the side of my face within the palms of my hand, and willingly surrendered myself to slumber.  I was making the full commitment, allowing myself to drift effortlessly within that magical realm where consciousness is suspended.  Physical awareness was yielding itself to the soothing waves of relief that were beckoning,


beckoning me,

ever so gently,

toward the glorious sea of tranquility…


…And then there is something, somewhere, within this ethereal state of bliss that feels mildly incompatible.  It begins as a slightly foreign sensation, fluttering somewhere near the fringe of what I vaguely recall to be my right ear.  This curious signal audibly rises, producing a rather persistent disturbance, until I manage to register the intrusion of another human being.  A miniature voice releases a soft puff of graham cracker breath near my cheek, and I am finally able to discern the lyrics of the chorus that was now ringing through my head.

“Aunt Jilly,… Aunt Jilly,… Aunt Jiiilleeee…”

I have no recourse but to re-enter the world of the living.  My retreat into dreamland has been successfully thwarted by a pack of toddlers.

“Ugh.  Remind me to never have kids,” I vow in silence.

Sesame Street had just ended.  Currently, this was the one and only television show that my sister allowed her preschool-aged children to watch.  Twelve-hour broadcasts of Nickelodeon Junior and recorded episodes of Blue’s Clues were nonexistent.  Satellite television was science fiction.  None of us knew what a DVD was.

Had today’s technology been available, I suspect that my sister’s list of approved programming may have been more lenient.  As it was, Gen had a good bead on what, when, and how much media exposure to prescribe for her kids.  “The Electric Company” had not yet made the cut.  Leaving the television on for another twenty minutes or so (to let Aunt Jill catch some shut-eye) was not an option.

These were three smart, beautiful, well-behaved kids who promptly turned the television off during the final credits of Sesame Street…Because that’s what their mom had instructed them to do.

Splendid human specimens.  But I prefer to sleep, thank you very much.

Thirty years later with three grown children of my own, I obviously changed my mind.  Who needs sleep, anyway?

Parenting may be mostly instinctual, but I credit my sister Gen with the basic framework that I relied on to foster those instincts effectively.  Had it not been for the time I spent with Gen, (not sleeping), during her early years of  motherhood, I may have fumbled around for guidance and resources more than I ever felt like I had to with the Bean sprouts.

The great thing about being a grown-up is that you get to choose what feels right and healthy in the nurturing of new arrivals.  It always felt right for me to follow Gen’s lead.  Patience, kindness, an abundance of humor, age-appropriate mindfulness, and an unwavering focus on the individual nature of each and every little person who chooses us for a parent…these are the basic ingredients of Gen’s “home” recipe that I chose.

Now when my twenty-year old son tells me that he loves me, out loud, or my twenty-four year old daughter wants me to join her for a drink at the local pub, or my seventeen-year old baby brushes the side of my hand to hold it while we’re waiting in line at the store, I feel content with the decision to waive my right to sleep when they were much younger.

Thanks, Gen.  I may have tweaked the recipe when needed and incorporated a few substitutions, but I stuck with the basic ingredients that you gave me.  Your concoction has allowed me to foster a few of the best damn people on the planet…right there next to yours.

Congratulations, Grandma Genevra.  The fool-proof recipe continues:)

Boundaries blurred

Whispers heard

Be mindful of your spoken word

Let not intention be recanted

From seeds once planted

Requests be granted

Equals only be enticed

Review the guest list once or twice

Then light the candles

And fire up the blender

‘Tis no better night for wishes rendered!

His name was Duke.  I remembered the name so suddenly that it surprised me.  I wasn’t counting on coming up with a name while recalling a scenario that occurred over 25 years ago.  But there it was, right out of the blue, having no significance whatsoever to the memory of what had actually transpired.


We were sitting around a picnic table placed on a small grassy island in the middle of a vast concrete parking lot.  Someone decided that this was the ideal spot to hold a staff meeting.  It was a warm summer afternoon just two short weeks before we were scheduled to open.  Most of us were seasoned in nightclub operation and development, so the recent construction delays and increased work hours were expected.  What we had not anticipated was the unusual amount of resistance from a neighboring homeowner’s association.  There’s only so many community meetings you can facilitate while you have five thousand other items of business to attend to.  With our public relations skills to the test and stress levels in overdrive, our general manager thought it prudent to invite a motivational speaker to meet with us.  And so here we were.

Had the acronym written on the board before us been the least bit impressive, I suppose I would have remembered it.  I only remember that the letter “E” represented the word “elan.”  This seemed to be the word that Duke was having an issue with.  He kept interrupting the presentation to ask for clarification on the word.

The rest of us might have had a sense of bewilderment with this word, also, but we were too preoccupied with our own agendas to admit it, much less care.  I remember thinking that I had shit to do, and that this stupid gathering was just a waste of precious time.

I watched with mild amusement as Duke persisted in returning to the subject of “elan.”  Sporting a Flock of Seagulls hairstyle, our guest speaker grew noticeably flustered, pushing up his carefully turned shirt sleeves and adjusting the end of his belt to hang just-so over the front pocket of his pleated linen pants.  He shuffled his sock-less, leather slip-on clad feet back and forth while attempting to articulate his thoughts.  It became rapidly clear that he actually had none.

The pirate had outwitted Miami Vice.

In 1985, spandex frequently passed for business attire, particularly if you worked in the nightclub industry.  While women resembled Madonna’s Material Girl and guys wanted to be in The Breakfast Club, Duke kept his long hair in a ponytail, wore an untrimmed beard, and rode his motorcycle to work.  With his boot heels perched on a overturned milk crate, he rested his folded arms comfortably over the ancient jean jacket covering his flannel shirt.  This man would never follow a trend.  Amidst a sea of desperate wannabes, Duke was a rogue.  He was Jack Sparrow decades before we had the name.

Some twenty-five years later, I suddenly appreciate the manner in which Mr. Miami Vice’s well-planned motivational presentation had been derailed.  Back when words like “proactive” were used by everyone for subjects other than an acne solution, I realize now that I had the rare pleasure of witnessing a display of genuine individualism.  Spirited self-assurance is a state of being.

When I think back upon that one summer afternoon, it occurs to me now that Duke was already living his personal elan.  He was either fascinated with the notion that someone thought it could be defined by one word, or more likely, he simply knew that it could never be communicated with language, so he simply found it entertaining to watch someone try.  In any case, the memory will certainly remain entertaining for me.

Thanks, Duke….wherever you are.

What is an epiphany, exactly, and when the hell do I get to have one?

Water was sloshing from every surface of my shoes, including the spongy soles of those stupid gel inserts which, until now, had never given me cause to wonder just how many gallons of liquid they were capable of retaining.  Diligently running toward home seemed pointless now.  The alarming rate at which rainwater was streaming from the hem of my shorts should have been my first clue to abort this mad dash, but I had been clinging to the illusion that I could outrun the storm.  Once I dared to look up and take in the current weather conditions of the road ahead, the reality of my defeat began to register.

My route was veiled in billowing sheets of rainwater that were sweeping across the terrain in violent waves of wind.  An eerie approach of grumbling thunder rolled boldly along an expansive swath in the sky overhead, and I immediately heard another brisk crackle of electric energy somewhere in the distance behind me.  I paused to close my eyes.  Yielding the side of my face to a relentless pelting of raindrops, I allowed the full wrath of the storm to confirm the grim reality of my situation.  I get it now.  Storm wins.

I surrendered with a curt stomp in my stride, welcoming a brief distraction to marvel at the oddness of walking in water-logged shoes.  A heavy trudge through the downpour seemed an appropriate choice now that salvaging a remotely dry body part was absurd.

I was pissed.

I imagined my family members to be sitting, napping, or picking their noses somewhere within our comfortable and marvelously dry home.  Without the slightest concern for my welfare, it appeared as if no one would be making a rescue attempt.  Not a single one of the warm and dry vehicles that were parked in our driveway were being manned for a heroic recovery operation, nor did it seem that anyone would bother to call and inquire about my current location within the storm.

Like my long-distance runs, severe afternoon rain events are common enough that I can usually depend on receiving a brief text from home.  Most of the time.  This time they forgot about me.

“Fine.  So I’ll just call them,” I declared.

Malicious intention would be the driving force behind the hefty dose of guilt that I was fully prepared to deliver.  Woe to any unsuspecting loved one who may answer my call.  Now if only my phone would have been the least bit cooperative, then a ’someone-get-off-their-ass-and-save-me’ directive might satisfy a burning desire to express my outrage.  Apparently cradling a phone underneath the palm of my hand during a powerful rainstorm merely provides the ideal environment for an electronic instrument to go completely haywire.  This feeble attempt to shield my only communication device from moisture had failed miserably, and now it was taunting me with senseless voice commands and erratic call options.

My phone had become part of the conspiracy to ignore me.

The need to blame someone for my predicament smoldered as my head filled with contempt for the world at large.  It sucks to be soaking wet, chilled to the bone, and trapped underneath an endless waterfall of wind and rain where any progress toward relief seems nonexistent.  One pitiful thought evolved into a network of problematic scenarios, until the general perception toward my life experience seethed with unanswered appeals, patterns of hardship, and inevitable adversity.


Clearly it only takes one goddamn rainstorm to incite a Law of Attraction Pity Fest for one irritable witch.

So now I know that.

Were this my one and only epiphany, I could easily end my story here, adding to the never-ending notes that mere mortals gather regarding habitual thought patterns during times of misery.  If it only takes 17 seconds of consistent thought to attract more like it, then being stuck in this damn rainstorm became the perfect venue for me to wrack up multiple intervals of emotionally-charged blueprints.  This is how it works.  Find yourself within a shitty experience, notice the hell out of it, dwell on it some more, inject with appropriate feeling, and ensure the successful creation of many more similar disappointments in the future.

No revelation there.

If any battle-weary witch could comprehend the theory of redirecting her thoughts, she certainly could put a little effort into the practice.

Cold, bitchy, and mad at the world, I squeezed my eyebrows together and stopped abruptly.  Be quiet.  Stand still.  Let the pouring rain fall upon thee.  It’s just water.  I’m already drenched in it, so what did it matter now?  Candid inventory availed a few basic conclusions: I wasn’t exactly in peril, I know that I am not wicked enough to melt, and though massive amounts of rain continued to descend from the sky, the distant thunder rendered me relatively safe from electrocution.  All I really needed now was a mood change, and the only person available to provide this would be me.

I considered removing my shoes.  The wonder of walking in one-hundred pound footwear seemed more appealing than having to carry them, so I tucked my aquatic phone inside the saturated waistband of my shorts and held my duty-free palms out in front of me.  Pellets of rain swept through my fingers in a curious rhythm as I raised my arms out to my sides.  Surrendering my sense of touch to the full force of nature’s shower massage, I allowed cool sheets of water to relax my neck and shoulders, while the wind at my back prompted me to move shamelessly forward through the downpour.

This was it.  This was my epiphany.  This is what it feels like to walk underneath a waterfall.  It could be water, or it could be anything.  Whatever it is, this is what it feels like to be in the midst of its limitless abundance.  It was as if I had no choice but to choose it.

Now every time  I find myself entertaining the notion that there isn’t enough of something, I remember that goddamn storm.  It turns out that there is no lack of anything but the desire to change one’s perception.

On a side note, turns out that no one in my family actually forgot about me that afternoon either.  Apparently, no one even knew that I was out there.  Failure to communicate before leaving the house aside, as well as obtaining a noteworthy epiphany because of it, did not, however, prevent me from satisfying latent traces of bitchinessI managed to briefly mask the recent euphoria that I discovered while walking home through that storm by pounding up the stairs of our front porch in my nine-hundred pound shoes, if only to delight in the act of firmly pushing the doorbell button repeatedly until Durwood appeared in his groggy “I was asleep on the couch” state.  Looking simultaneously bewildered and mortified was shamelessly gratifying as I asked him if someone could please bring me a goddamn towel…

This final act of contempt is now a mere remnant of worn-out patterns which no longer serve, only a fleeting and temporary moment of fruitless pleasure that cannot sustain a promising future, nor could such bitchiness ever compare to one’s true epiphany within the storm.

Watch yourself, sister.

Should you dismiss that vaguely familiar shitty feeling once again, your role in this recurring drama is destined to continue indefinitely.

Hold still for a moment.

Take an objective view of the scenario that you have found yourself drawn into.

Notice anything?

Ah, there it is.  Now you see it.

It is painfully obvious that once again you are the




While everyone else has abandoned the one who is in constant need.


Positioning yourself for sainthood, are you? :)

Or, perhaps you are simply afraid to be perceived as heartless, selfish, merciless.  Perhaps you are blindly committed to live up to someone’s definition of a true friend.

And yet if this behavior is so noble, why do you experience a feeling of doom whenever this one particular name appears on your caller i.d.?

I’ll tell you why.

It is because without even having to retrieve the message, you already know that it will contain yet another desperate plea for salvation from her perpetual hell.

You realize that you are ultimately unable to save her from a world that she has deemed unjust, but you have dutifully continued in your attempt to assuage her hopeless saga.  You provide comfort when there is no one else she can turn to, compassion when there is no one else who can understand her struggle, and assurance when there is no one else remaining to answer her cry for help.

When did that stop feeling rewarding for you?

When did that start to feel shitty?

Was it last week?  Last month?  Last year?  Or was it during one of the several million times before this when you answered her call to no avail?

And now here you are.


There has been no change in her dire circumstances.  There has been no change in her perception of the world.  There has been no change in her inclination to drain the energy from the resources of your open heart.

Change, my friend, has at long last come for you.

I commend you on your willingness to recognize the unsettling sense of futility you experience every time you answer her call.  Fearless inventory of your emotional response is a testament to the decision to be true to yourself.  When it comes to a chronic friend-in-need, ‘tough love’ may be a theory that offers self-preservation for a so-called savior; and yet the practice of said theory can be heart-wrenching.  When you are conflicted with your obligation as a dutiful friend, only you can determine the best course that will provide inner peace throughout your continued expansion.

Congratulations, sister.  To walk away is often the simplest way to say “I love you.”

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