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November 2010
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January 2011

December 2010

Cran-Grape Punch

Punch I'm drinking this punch right now.

Oh yes I am.

I love it--and make it for every occasion...birthdays, Christmas, New Year's Eve...

And it's so easy!

Cran-Grape Juice
Ginger ale
Orange Sherbet

That's it!

You can change the juice to your tastes, or even the sherbet flavor. You may also add ice, too. If you want to go alcoholic, you can substitute Arbor Mist Island Fruits Pinot Grigio for the ginger ale...or maybe even their Sangria. (Personally, I like the carbonated drinks, myself...and ginger ale works perfectly).

-- Janet Boyer


Snapfish Coupon - 99 Prints for 99¢

Merry Every once in awhile I get some tasty coupons, so I figured Hey! Might as well share them with my friends and readers!

Just got this Merry Deal Reveal in my inbox. Too bad I've already ordered my Christmas prints from Snapfish!

Go to Snapfish.com and use code 2011PENNY at checkout by 11:59 PM PST on January 9, 2011.

Great savings, because those prints are usually 9¢ a piece!

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

-- Janet


Creating Mandalas With Intention

Ron Mandala small Mandala is a Sanskrit word for "circle" and is a sacred, symbolic diagram used for contemplation. In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas usually include images of Buddhas or deities. Yantra is a Sanksrit word for "instrument", and is meant to inspire inner visualizations, meditations, and spiritual experiences. However, since the two terms are often used interchangeably, the word mandala usually refers to any circular image or diagram.

You can create your own mandala for meditation, as well as for a specific intent. For example, perhaps you'd like to allow prosperity and abundance in your life. Or, maybe you'd like to be more courageous and learn how to speak up for yourself.

Click here for a full-size blank mandala template that I've created for you to print and use.
 
Creating A Mandala With Intention
 
Step 1: Gather the medium/s you choose to use for creating your mandala. You can use crayons, watercolors, chalk, colored pencils, etc.
 
Step 2: Find a quiet spot, and consider something that you'd like to allow into your life. Breath deeply, from your belly, slowly inhaling to the count of 5...then exhaling to the count of 5. Do this several times until you feel calm and centered.
 
Step 3: Working from the center, draw, paint, or color how you feel about what you want to allow in your life. There is no wrong way to create a mandala. This process is a personal one, and for your own empowerment, growth, and peace.
 
Step 4: After completing your mandala, place it in a prominent position where you'll see it often. You could buy thin magnetic strips with sticky backing to hang it up on your refrigerator or metal cabinetry. Or, frame your mandala and hang it on a wall. This will remind you of your intent, and help you focus and allow what you are wanting to bring into your life.
 
Examples Of Intention
 
Here are some intentions for creating a mandala:
 
*To allow joy
*To surrender worrisome circumstances
*To allow love into your life
*Self-acceptance
*For world peace
*To allow abundance
*For gratitude
*To release anger and bitterness
*For working through grief
*To welcome the job of your dreams
*To connect with the Divine
*To learn to say NO
*To culivate a compassionate attitude
 
Many blessings to you as you create a mandala for intent!
 
My husband, Ron, created the mandala above. Click here to see the larger version.


Corn Pudding

Corn pudding This recipe for Corn Pudding is so darn delicious, it may as well be dessert! We love it around here.

Corn Pudding

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 package (8 ½ ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
½ cup milk
1 can (15 ¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14 ¾ ounces) cream-style corn

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Gradually add corn bread/muffin mix alternately with milk. Fold in the corn. Pour into a greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

-- Janet Boyer


BIT Tarot Method Changes Lives

Gassho I knew my BIT Tarot Method [as found in my book Back in Time Tarot] was powerful for exploring personal issues, but WOW...this note I just received from Jennifer Moscone, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, gives me chills:

I've been a fan of yours for a long time! I'd just like to say, briefly, that your BIT method blew me away when I used it (more than once) to explore a spinal cord injury I had four years ago. You should be so proud that your creativity and ability can change lives. :-).

I am truly humbled, Jennifer. Thank you so much, Dear One.

With gratitude,

-- Janet  


Making Friends With Any Tarot Deck

Phantasmagoric_Theater_Tarot_3One side benefit of my Back in Time (BIT) Tarot Method is that it enables you to bond with ANY Tarot deck.

Yes, that means the pretty deck (or two) that you bought on impulse, but now feel you can't "read" with.

Here's the scoop: your deck isn't mute. If you acquired that Tarot deck because you found it appealing on some level, then it can--and will--speak to you.

Here's the problem: you haven't made friends with your Tarot deck. Like any relationship, you need to go beyond the surface. In this case, going beyond the lovely or provocative imagery.

Here's what NOT to do: Buy more Tarot decks, hoping the next one will be "it"--your special deck that will wax eloquent and divulge secrets both great and small.

Here's the solution: Imprint your beguiling deck of choice with memories and sensory detail--those deep, lasting parts of the brain that will stick with you...and endear you (finally) to that Tarot deck you long to use.

BackinTimeTarot 200

If you'd like to know more about my BIT Tarot Method, visit this link on my website to view the book trailer, read the Introduction, access online reviews of Back in Time Tarot and more. (You can get a free sample of the Kindle version here, or just go ahead and gift yourself with it. I don't mind. Really. Go ahead, you--and your decks--deserve it!)

-- Janet


Goldengrove

Goldengrove "When I said I didn't want to go out, they sounded a little annoyed, as if I was acting princessy and spoiled. Why didn't I appreciate the good deed they were doing? They seemed relieved when I said no and they could hang up before I changed my mind or started crying. Naturally, they sounded strange. They weren't talking to the same person. I was no longer Nico. I was the dead girl's sister." -- From Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Choosing this book to review from the Amazon Vine Program was an utter gamble on my part, for I never heard of Francine Prose and wasn't sure if I was up to a book on grief (especially having lost my first husband to leukemia).

What I discovered while reading Goldengrove was an author who had the extraordinary ability to paint subtle word pictures that animates sunlight, dust, song, shirt, fireworks, ice cream, pond scum and other surroundings normally overlooked on a given day. But arguably author Francine Prose's best gift, at least in this book, is offering an unflinching, accurate portrayal of the way individuals differ in handling grief.

I don't want to spoil your reading experience, so I won't provide plot details.

What I wish I could communicate (but words are failing me) is the uncanny ability the author has for getting under your skin--making you sympathize and squirm, exult and panic--by writing a book that appears to have a straightforward plot: a girl drowns, and her family and the dead girl's boyfriend attempt to deal with it.

While Goldengrove may sound like a depressing book, it's not. Sobering, yes...it catapulted me into a very contemplative mood for a day ("Gothic" my husband remarked). But death is a part of life, and how individuals deal with grief is as varied as the people on the planet (although the five stages simmer somewhere amongst the grief stew--denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance).

Francine Prose's writing is pure poetry. I marveled at it--pondered it. I read passages to my husband. One part, where she described why her sister had a buggy startled look in her school portrait, had me laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. I tried to read it to my husband, but everytime I started, I lost it. After the fifth time, I just handed the book to him so he could read it for himself...

There are too many gorgeous passages to highlight in this review, but here's a small sampling of Prose's writing style:

"If all the clocks and calendars vanished, children would still know when Sunday came. They would still feel that suck of dead air, that hollow vacuum created when time slips behind a curtain, when the minutes quit their ordering tick and ooze away, one by one. Colors are muted, a jellylike haze hovers and blurs the landscape. The phone doesn't ring, and the rest of the world hides and conspires to pretend that everyone's baking cookies or watching the game on TV. Then Monday arrives, and the comforting racket starts up all over again."

If you're looking for a feel-good novel or a beach read, this is not for you. No, Goldengrove is work to be enjoyed by those who appreciate nuance, the art of words, and the vagaries of human experience portrayed with sheer artistry.

I am glad I chose to read Goldengrove. It was time well spent. It reminded me to treasure every fleeting moment, take nothing for granted, and be grateful for the living around me.

I'm also glad to discover Francine Prose, and will be putting her books--fiction and non-fiction--on my Amazon WishList.

For the discerning, Goldengrove is a novel well-worth the time spent in its presence.

-- Janet


Sweet Potato Casserole

S potato My Sweet Potato Casserole is a favorite here at the Boyer house. (My husband swore he hated sweet potatoes...until he tried this!)

My Mom loves it, too, and requested I make it for Thanksgiving this year (I did).

Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ stick butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten

Combine all ingredients and spoon into 3-quart baking dish.

Topping

½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/3 stick (2 ½ Tablespoons) melted butter

Combine all topping ingredients. Spread over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.

-- Janet


Tarot in Reverse Book Update

Reverse Tarot 180 Whew!

I’ve been hard at work finishing up my second book, Tarot in Reverse.

In order for my book to come out Fall 2011, my sights were set on a December 1st deadline. However, “life” got in the way and I decided that it would be better not to rush the process, even if it meant a later release date for Tarot in Reverse.

The good news is that I’ve come up with some added goodies that I’m able to put in the book now that the pressure is (mostly) off, and since the manuscript is 90% complete.

Tarot in Reverse will be the first book on Tarot card reversals that features extensive keyphrases, anecdotes, sample readings and new spreads--all for those cards that end upside down...and the reversals of life.

Schiffer Small If you have any last minute suggestions for the book or want a few teasers (pick a card, any card!), feel free to comment here!

Tarot in Reverse by Janet Boyer, coming Spring 2012 from Schiffer Publishing. Cover not final.

-- Janet


Janet's Mailbag: Best Beginner Tarot Book and Deck?

Green qAnd another email arrives in my inbox!

This question comes from Adrianna, a client of mine...and it's one I'm asked a lot.

She asks:

Can you recommend a beginners tarot book and deck?

Here's my response to her:

Do you have my book Back in Time Tarot? If not, please get it. :o)  It's great for beginners and has the entire Universal Waite Tarot reproduced in it for those who don't have a deck. To see if you resonate with this type of personal journaling, you can see some samples of my BIT Tarot Method here.

If you have a Kindle, and you're an absolute beginner, consider my eBook Tarot Basics to get you started. Also, you can learn the Tarot card-by-card via my Tarot Explorations series (click here to see all the eBooks available). 
 
C for youOther fantastic books are Mark McElroy's Absolute Beginner's Guide to Tarot, as well as his book What's in the Cards for You? Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning is also good , but she has the whole book already on her site at LearnTarot.com

The best Tarot deck is the one you resonate with. I have tons of reviews on my site with lots of card images to give you a feel of the variety out there at this link. If you like snow, frost, winter and even Christmas, check out the Snowland Deck that my husband and I created on SnowlandDeck.com

Since many Tarot books and blogs reference Rider-Waite-Smith style decks, you may want to check out the Universal Waite (one of the most attractive of the RWS decks).

21 ways Of course, dear Readers, there are other fantastic Tarot books on the market (and I include them in the Bibliography of my first book, as well as my subsequent works).

For example, Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card is superb, and should definitely be on your shelf after you work through the beginner books I mentioned.

But if you're starting out completely fresh with the cards, the resources I've mentioned in this post will more than get you on your way...especially if you actually do the exercises or contemplate the questions offered in each book.

-- Janet


Janet's Mailbag: Why "Back" in Time?

Q mark I get emails all the time asking me to recommend decks, explain my BIT Tarot Method, offer suggestions for good books and so on.

It occurred to me that if someone aks me a question, there very well may be others out there wondering the same!

So here's the latest email that arrived in my inbox less than 20 minutes ago:

Dear Janet

I am just wondering with your book and way of reading tarot cards, back in time,  I am a little confused.

Its it not best to dwell on your past,  to let go of the past and move forward?

For me, I would rather know I am on the right direction instead of going back.

Please advise.

Regards,

Janis in Australia

Hi Janis,
 
Bit cover In my book Back in Time Tarot, anything that has occurred--from 1 second ago to 1 millennia ago--is "the past".  The phrase "back in time" is just a way to describe the process of using Tarot cards to "capture" an experience and then matching it with the imagery. These existing scenarios can be anything--movies, songs, tales, personal experiences, overheard conversations and so on.

Everything we've ever experienced, especially if we remember it well, is likely anchored in memory because of sensory or emotional content. When we combine this powerful default setting of our brain with Tarot cards, we can then interpret the images to not only inform our present, but help shape our future.
 
And, because humans tend to get caught into ruts (repeating patterns), taking the time to actually look inside and evaluate our unique perspective may very well help us interrupt--or at the very least, understand--any repetitive behaviors that disempower us.
 
Does that make sense?
 
Blessings to you!

If you, dear Reader, would like to know more about my BIT Tarot Method, you can read the complete Introduction from my book on my website at this link.
 
-- Janet


Christmas Chronicles

Xmas chrThe man whom legend calls Santa Claus was born simply Klaus. He was the first and only child of a skilled carpenter and his good wife, both of whom, I am sorry to say, died when the Black Death came to their village at the foot of Mount Feldberg in the Black Forest in 1343. Little Klaus, barely out of babyhood then, had no other family, and so he was adopted by the Worshipful Guild of Foresters, Carpenters, and Woodworkers.” – From The Christmas Chronicles

Have you ever wondered how peppermint became associated with Christmas, Klaus entered the toy business, or where he met Mrs. Klaus (called Anna in this book)…or how red and green became the “official” colors of the holiday? And what are elves, really? Do your children ask how “Santa” enters houses without chimneys or delivers packages all over the world in just one night? Why, it’s all found in The Green Book!

Offering a new holiday mythos in his book The Christmas Chronicles, author Tim Slover weaves a tale that begins with the narrator driving through snowy mountains, scouting for pine boughs to decorate the family home. Suddenly, a straight sheet of icy road materializes out of thin air, connecting the ground before him to a place high in the sky. A speeding sleigh drawn by a talking scarlet reindeer careens onto the glassy road, and out bounces The Green Book—a magical tome recounting the “true” history of Santa Claus.

I enjoyed the explanation of Klaus’ early years, and how he sought to alleviate the post-plague suffering of his fellow villagers with kindness, compassion, good humor and handcrafted gifts. Introducing a jealous fellow Guildsman named Rolf Eckhof was a clever way to provide a tangible enemy for Klaus, as well as an explanation for holiday despair. I also appreciated the subtle reference to the Holy Family, but especially the inclusion of other spiritual traditions and practices (for example, Paganism, Astrology and Buddhism).

Xmas chronicles The first part of The Christmas Chronicles stitched together charming details of village life, toy construction and a grand entrance from a woman destined to become Mrs. Klaus (who knew Dasher was her faithful companion first?)  However, what should have been the most delightful part of the tale—how Klaus became a “saint”, the creation of Truth North and Castle Noel, the yearly deliveries—flagged a bit for me (despite some inventive explanations for common holiday questions like Christmas List Protocols).

What particularly disturbed me and shattered the “magic” (that, although losing its luster halfway through, was still there) was Anna’s obsession with stitching battle scenes on holiday accoutrements (such as the elves’ stockings)—including the Crusades. Worse, is the following passage from the book:

“About the subject of dangerous playthings, Anna grew quite excited. She instantly began planning a range of toys that would recreate in full working detail, but in children’s sizes, the armor and weapons of the Roman Ninth Legion. ‘Think what fun my children would have with their own real swords and shields!’ Anna exulted, her eyes glowing. ‘And we could make a line of working catapults…!” And then Klaus wondered aloud if parents would object to toys that might lead to loss of blood, and Anna declared indignantly that was all part of a happy childhood.”

Huh? These aren’t plastic weapons, mind you, but actual miniaturized weapons of war! Geez. It’s great that the author wants to (apparently) make Mrs. Klaus feisty and adventurous—but a lover of violence? Yuk.

Other than this glaring, unfortunate juxtaposition against holiday cheer, wintry sparkles, maple sugar cookies, generosity and forgiveness (yes, Mrs. Klaus is merciful, even to the point of forgiving her would-be killer), The Christmas Chronicles presents a fanciful re-imagining of the origins and practices of Santa Claus—and may even make a good movie in the right filmmaking hands. However, I think the book could have been better by expanding descriptions of what *must* be the stunning surroundings of Truth North, as well as a tweaking of Anna’s character…as well as a more realized narrator and family. 

-- Janet Boyer