Friday, July 30, 2010

the hills are aliiiiiive...

There was a break in the rain just long enough for Kiki and I to go frolicking over the hillside, covered with wildflowers waving and bobbing in the breeze. Joy!

At a corner of the field I discovered these wild, ripe, delicious, beautiful jewels...

...but more about those, and what I'm using them for, in the next post. :)

Have a LOVELY weekend, my dear ones!

xoxo country girl

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fill Jars With Sunshine

Cover the bottom of a pot with water; throw in sliced apricots; sprinkle over sugar; cook, stirring once in a while, on low-medium heat, until fruit has melted; taste and add more sugar if too tart; fill clean glass jars with sunshine; keep in fridge and eat with yogurt, ice cream, on toast, sprinkle with granola, make into an apricot crumble or apricot bars. Or give to a friend.

xoxo country girl

today, one year ago: my 10 words

Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with Vedic Astrologer Robert Koch

Back in May I told you about my reading with Vedic Astrologer Robert Koch, and how it ultimately filled me with new hope after the loss of our first pregnancy last fall. I was so fascinated by this process, and by the information he was able to provide us with, that I longed to know more about this ancient science, and how it can help you and me. Robert was kind enough to answer some questions I had from the comfort of his home in Bend, Oregon, and I'm happy to share them here with you!

Dawn: Robert, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for my readers and I. I'll begin with a question which some people who have heard I had a reading done have asked me: What are the benefits of having a Vedic astrology reading done?

Robert Koch:  There are many benefits, the most compelling ones being a clear definition of life's purpose and destiny; and then timings of events which support and contribute to that destiny.  We are all challenged at certain junctures of life to take a more critical view of all possibilities, and if changes need to be made, to have the courage to make adjustments to the normal course of lifestyle.  Often we are confused as to which path to take, with whom, or whether there should be no change at all at a particular juncture in life.  Vedic astrology gives clarifications to these dilemmas and offers various types of spiritual remedies as well in case the challenging issues are especially vexing.  

D: Which aspects of someone's life can you NOT predict?

RK:  Predictions on any aspect of life are difficult and require a lifetime of study, skill, and application of rules for interpreting horoscopes.  So just about all areas of life can be predicted given that the astrologer is qualified.  Some exceptions, however, are:  where and to whom a person will take birth in his next lifetime; and, when Divine Will intervenes in some special cases to offset a difficult situation. 

D: When someone finds out about something in their chart that they don't want to happen, is there any way they can change it, or is what stands in the chart going to inevitably happen?

RK:  This depends on the nature of the event.  Some things will happen regardless of our attempts to deflect the event.  Other events may not happen because we were forewarned ahead time and took diversionary actions.  The magnitude of the event, or the severity of it, is not easy to determine, but an astrologer can almost always determine the dangerous period of time knowing which the client can make adjustments accordingly.  However, if something is fated to happen, then even knowing about it ahead of time will not enable the person to prevent it from occurring.  Forewarning can go a long way, however, as maybe an event is meant to happen, but by taking some precautionary actions, the client may be able to deflect the severity of the outcome.  

D: If you see something painful in someone's future...a disease, an accident, an unfaithful you tell the person?

RK:  The astrologer's duty is to give forewarnings if some dangerous situation is seen in the client's future.  However, to what extent he may tell the client, and to what degree the dangerous event may impact that person, the message will need to be buffered accordingly.  In certain cases, such as in death, astrologers are taught not to reveal such information.  Only in specific and particular circumstances should the details or timing of death be given, and not otherwise.  But if there is an indication in the chart of an injury or accident, or sickness, for example, the astrologer will forewarn the client and thus the latter's vigilance during the dangerous planetary periods may help to divert a dangerous outcome

D: When you told me that you see two children in my near future, a boy and a girl, I was overcome with peace, and my hope was renewed after a long period of grieving after the loss of my first child. How do you think your readings have helped others?

RK:  I am very happy that those readings gave you peace and hope that you will be blessed with children in your future, Dawn!  Most people send me feedback after receiving readings in which they felt a similar kind of peace that you report.  At heart, or on soul-spiritual levels, we actually know what is coming in our future.  It is only due to contact with the illusions of the material nature that we either forget this knowing, or we doubt it due to fear.  Fear results from a gradual separation from Source, or God which has taken place during our various incarnations as humans.  A reading in Vedic astrology reminds us of the fact that the connection with Source, and thus our true spiritual intelligence, is never deleted.  When the reading thus confirms what a person knows internally, but may have forgotten temporarily, then a great sense of context, perspective, and peace comes over that individual.  This is what others have reported after having received a reading from me.  So it is not so much a matter of learning something new, but remembering things that the soul has known for a very long time but which he or she has briefly forgotten. 

D: A friend was concerned when I told her about your predictions for a child in 2011, afraid that I might be disappointed. Are you ever hesitant or worried about giving someone information which may result in false hope?

RK:  Most predictions do not go wrong, and in fact I have about a 95% accuracy record.  However, the 5% of incorrect predictions do happen and this can be chalked up to the astrologer's error.  Also, the birth time given by the client may also be inaccurate thus setting the potential for incorrect predictions, which are not the astrologer's fault.  Thus even if the astrologer is qualified, incorrect information will result if the client does not take the trouble to confirm his/her time of birth carefully.  In most instances, however, the astrologer's error lies at the fault of bad predictions.

In answer to the question, I am never worried about giving false hope to an individual as the prediction is given with the greatest sincerity and drawing upon all the skills that I've developed thus far after 21 years of professional practice.  If the prediction goes wrong, then the first step is to re-check the accuracy of the birth data given by the client.  If the client confirms accurate birth data, then the astrologer takes full responsibility for the bad prediction.  In this regard, some spiritual knowledge and detachment is necessary for anybody who consults a Vedic astrologer.  The astrologer is not God, and thus cannot predict all things with 100% accuracy, and thus the client should know that a small margin of human error is possible.  Spiritual detachment means to take guidance or insights from the astrologer as to the possible destiny which will unfold, while at the same time realizing that ultimately things happen or don't happen not just as a result of re-occurring karma, but also according to God's plan.  This sort of detachment protects the client from a shock or let-down if the desired result does not happen.  

D: To what degree is a warning from you, such as 'be careful when travelling' or 'be careful when driving,' able to help someone avoid a pitfall which is predetermined in their chart? Can being aware of those dangers actually help someone avoid a possible accident or injury?

RK: Yes, but not always.  Sometimes a period of instability, especially while travelling or operating vehicles is indicated, although no malignant or terrible outcome is foreseen.  If that is the case, then a simple forewarning can help to deflect a painful situation.  Other events are destined to happen and will happen whether or not one knows ahead of time.  For example, an astrologer may warn a client against falling objects causing potential injury.  But if he then walks down the sidewalk and a piano falls out of the window overhead, how could such an event be avoided?  Generally if someone enters an extremely dangerous period of life planetarily speaking, the astrologer will give a forewarning the result of which the client will exercise great caution and not take any risky actions.  Ultimately, however, fate will play its hand regardless of one's attempt to the contrary.  

D: Do twins or multiples share identicle charts? And if so, why are their lives different?

RK: Twins do not share all the subtleties of the horoscope, even if they are born within 2 minutes of each other.  There are finer layers or dimensions of a Vedic chart called Harmonic charts, and these show differences in children born to the same mother, on the same day and place, and within 1 and 1/2 minutes of each other.  In most cases, such children have very different lives, but not always.  

D: How often do you look at your own chart for guidance in your life?

RK:  I look at my own chart every day.  There are daily charts, for example, which give not only the effects of a given day, but also the times of the day when those experience should happen.  There are also monthly, bi-monthly yearly, bi-yearly charts as well which are very useful in seeing what is going to come at a given time.  Ultimately, the birth chart is the greatest calibrator of the trend or evolution of experience over the course of a lifetime.  I find myself contemplating the broad themes and timings less than the daily or monthly charts, as the latter give more detail for shorter periods of time.  

D: Is what you see before you in a chart what you would call fate? Or destiny? Is everything predetermined?

RK:  I like to use the word destiny more that fate, as even the sounds of these words carry various ominous types of connotations, and the word "destiny" carries a softer vibration than the word "fate."  As indicated above, some kinds of events are fated or pre-determined; other effects will bring certain potentials, but free will may be used to deflect the outcome to a certain extent.  My mentor in Vedic astrology was of the opinion that we have 30% free will, even though we would like to think that we can orchestrate all the situations and outcomes of life by our own intelligence and self-determination.

D: What would you say to someone who is skeptical about a Vedic astrologer's ability to see the past and predict the future?

RK:  If the person approaches me with a challenging sort of attitude, then I would say nothing to that person.  If the person were sincere but also skeptical, and thus needed some kind of verification of the efficacy of predictive astrology, then I would point that person to a compilation of various predictions I had made in the past which came true. I would also venture to tell that person - given access to their horoscope - about various things that should have happened in their past in order to give them faith that the science of the stars can see the past, the present, as well as the future.  I have written articles about some predictions, for example, including the correct outcome of the last five presidential elections in the US.  I also predicted the 9/11 attacks in New York City, but that was to a client who lived near ground zero and who had a reading from me four months prior to that.  Another client of mine, an author, inquired about the outcome of her book which was about to be published.  I told her that this book would bring her great fame, beyond her wildest dreams.  Thereafter, Oprah Winfrey caught wind of the book (entitled Women, Food, and God, by Geneen Roth ), interviewed her twice on the Oprah show, and thereafter the book has since been # 1 on the NY Times best seller's list for two consecutive months!  So any astrologer who has been practicing long enough, will have a folder of correct predictions, and that should help someone who is skeptical about the power of Vedic astrology. 

D: Thank you, Robert, for this fantastic look into Vedic Astrology!

If you are interested in a reading with Robert Koch, please click HERE .

For a detailed introduction to Robert Koch, please click HERE . 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meeting Boston!

It was so hard to leave this soft, clumsy ball of love and playfulness. We are so in love, and can't stop talking about him. Kiki was a little suspicious of this tiny curious creature, and his seven brothers and sisters. But we know that she and Boston will become best friends once he is home with us. We're picking him up August husband's birthday! What a gift. 

xoxo country girl

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Never Too Late To...

Sometimes I find myself enjoying childlike things. Yesterday it was chocolate birthday cake. Today it was wading in a creek, thinking of Christmas, and eating potato chips and grapes for lunch. I try to make up for a not-so-happy childhood as often as I can, and my husband does, too, which I love and appreciate. 

Do you act like a child sometimes? What do you miss? What do you still do?

I still braid my hair in pigtails sometimes. I paint my toenails pink. Cut my own bangs (though I've gotten much better since I was three). Read children's books. Draw. Write to penpals. Drink hot chocolate. Write little notes to the boy I love.

xoxo country girl

p.s. there are three new cake buntings up at Kiki La Ru! Have a look here .

Today, One Year Ago: wild plums and a small cry for help 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Change in Weather

Some people are Summer People. They love the heat, the sweat, the skimpy clothing, the sunbathing. I am not a Summer Person. I am an Autumn Person. I like mist. Fallen leaves. Wet grass. Puddles. Woodsmoke. A stack of books. A cup of frothy hot chocolate. Snuggling. Cinnamon. 

In the night there was a change in weather. You could see it coming in...just look at the photographs in the post below. The rain and wind has been an enormous relief. I slept the night through without tossing and turning on a sweat-dampened pillow. Kiki slept better, too, and when we woke up in the morning, we looked at each other and smiled. Aaaaaaah YES, a good night's sleep. Wind in the trees. Rain-soaked streets and fields waiting.

I put on my new boots, a new rain coat, and wrapped my spirit around me. It wasn't cold, but a very comfortable cool. No horseflies biting my legs, no bubbles of sweat on my lip. Everything felt fresh!

There were some pretty yellow leaves in the dewey grass. And then I thought to myself, "A four leaf clover would make the morning perfect." And a second later God showed me a five-leaf clover and said, "How do you like them apples?!" Oh yes, God...You are truly talented. Thank You for this cool, wet morning swathed in mist.

Now for that frothy hot chocolate and stack of books...

xoxo country girl

p.s. see a preview of three new kiki la ru cake buntings by clicking Here .

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Haying Day

xoxo country girl

today, one year ago: Blueberry Hill 

Friday, July 16, 2010

simple things for christina, and you

In celebration of wonderful Christina's birthday....a list of simple things.

ink on fingers after writing a letter
 the fragrance of soil after the rain
swallows dipping low over ripe wheat fields
the first bite into a croissant
a hot july sky with a black horizon
the first star

sleeping in his tshirt when he's gone
cream cheese frosting
a tidy woodpile
'i was thinking of you today'
a single leaf in a puddle
dew on wild raspberries
 spending the day in your pajamas

a perfect moment, and you remembered your camera

Happy Birthday, dear Christina!
Thank you for reminding us to savour the simple things.

xoxo dawn 

p.s. pictured are a batch of apple here for the recipe!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Collecting Faces and Stories

"Beverly, 10, and Kaye, 6"

I have a new passion: vintage photos. It all started with the photo above; I loved these two girls on a swing, enjoying a summer day. When it arrived, there was a description scribbled on the back with their names and ages. There was something about seeing these faces, and learning their names, that really interested me. I went searching for other faces and happy moments, and this is the collection I have put together so far:

"Bobbie Boyce, February 11 1927, Oglesby, Illinois"

little boy with american the tomato garden with tomato plants in the back!

"Alethia Black, age 13, taken October 7, 1903"
Such a beautiful face!
You have to wonder what her life story is.

couple at the beach...they look like they're having fun!

family on their farm at haying time...this picture just makes me happy!

"April 1945, St. Louis Missouri"
I love that someone felt the need to take this 'family portrait.'

They will all be framed and hung in our new apartment, along with other vintage paintings and book illustrations I have found on etsy. 

We went to look at our new apartment on Tuesday for the first time, and it's beautiful! We wanted to move in right then and there. My mind is whirring with design and decorating ideas. Looks like we'll be moving in October.

The Kiki La Ru shop is doing well, and I am working on new Cake Bunting, putting together new color combinations. Luckily it's my nephew's birthday next week, so I can combine making his cake with modeling the new bunting. 

xoxo country girl

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chocolate Cake and Healing

It was time to celebrate my mother in law's birthday, and time to see my sister in law's new son for the first time. I remember when I was pregnant last fall, I told Ramon's mother, "We'll be giving you a grandchild for your birthday!" "Well, that's just the best present I can think of!" She answered.

As you all know, I was not able to give her a grandchild. Instead she got a pink rain coat and shiny black rain boots from us. And a towering, 4 layer chocolate cake, decorated with Kiki La Ru Cake Bunting and flowers. My 3 year old nephew, who is still getting used to having a little brother, got his own mini cake, complete with rainbow sprinkles and a flag with his first initial. Something just for him, that he didn't have to share..."Only big brothers get these," I told him. 

I was nervous about meeting my newest nephew, who would have been about two weeks older than my own baby. And I was holding in feelings of sadness because I was going to this celebration without a newborn in my arms as I had pictured eight months ago. But it was time.

And once I saw that little being, sleeping stretched out, with a mohawk of fine hair and the smoothest, rosy skin, I only felt love. 

We dove into that huge, delicious cake while the baby slept behind me in his cradle. Once I heard him fussing a little, and I turned around to comfort him. He opened his eyes when I stroked his belly and smiled at me! A toothless, crooked little grin, before his heavy eyelids dropped and he fell asleep again. The sweetest thing. 

The only time I really felt my loss was when my sister in law nursed her newborn. Odd as it may sound, this is something I crave with my whole soul and body.

All in all though, it was a healing experience...over chocolate cake.

Black Devils Food Cake
a delicious vintage recipe from 'betty crockers picture cook book'

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C)
Grease and flour 2 9inch layer pans or a 13x9 inch oblong pan.

Cream together 2/3 cups shortening (i used butter)  and 1 2/3 sugar (i used brown)

Add 3 eggs

Blend together 2/3 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 1/3 cups cold water.

Sift together 1/3 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Stir in alternately with with the cocoa mixture.

(I just threw the ingredients into my kitchenaid one after the other, beating well after each addition, and it turned out very fluffly and delicious)

Bake for about 30 minutes.

My etsy shop is officially open now, with 10 lovely items. I am especially proud of the cake bunting. Stop by and have a look, if you like! click here: Kiki La Ru Shop .

xoxo country girl

Friday, July 9, 2010

4 Leaf Clovers ARE Lucky!!

Added to my etsy shop  one day, featured in an etsy Treasury the next!

This giant 4 leaf clover was featured in a Treasury named 'Crimson & Clover.'

Click HERE to have a look!

I guess 4 leaf clovers really ARE lucky!

Thank you Carleen from Bunk Foss Baby  , for this awesome feature.

This is a wonderful omen and I feel very blessed. Now I just have to hope that Carleen's Treasury makes it to the front page of etsy. 

Kiki La Ru has it's own blog where I post news like this and new products; look HERE . I would really appreciate it if you 'followed!'

Thank you all, SO much, for your encouragment! It's so precious to have this supportive and positive community.

The needle and thread await.....

xoxo country girl

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Setting Up (etsy) Shop!

Yes, Kiki La Ru will be open for business soon!

I am still working on product photos. So many details involved with setting up an etsy shop, I'm tellin' you! It's alot of work and alot of fun. I can't wait for you all to see it (and hopefully love it).

One of the hardest things when selling something handmade is to name a price. You want your hard work and hours of bending over with a needle and thread to be rewarded, but you don't want to make things so expensive that no one buys them. I think I have finally found prices for my items that I feel comfortable with. My handmade items are unique, precious one-of-a-kinds, and will make some Special Someones out there very happy.

The sun is shining here and I am full to overflowing with creativity. The days don't have enough hours for all the things I want to make and do. It is my great hope that, whether I am painting pictures for my book, or sewing cake bunting and little letters for my shop, the joy I experienced while creating will be spread far and wide, all over the globe, when I am able to share these things with the world.

xoxo country girl

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast...

Meet Boston.

Boston is a 5-week-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

He will be joining our family in September, and we are so incredibly excited!

Boston, pictured here being kissed/bitten by a sibling, is a ray of shining hope for us.
The pain of this day, today, my original due date with angel baby Blueberry, has been softened and soothed by the joy and happy anticipation of this sweet little boy.

It's one of those stories where, when you look back, you know it was God giving you a break.

On Saturday, I wanted to send Kiki's breeder a new photograph of her, as I sometimes do, but couldn't seem to find his email address. So I went on his website, and there they were....a new, adorable litter of puppies.
Our little Boston!!
(We've named him after the city we fell in love with last autumn.)

Boston....our ray of sunshine!

xoxo country girl

p.s. thank you all, SO MUCH, for your words of comfort and encouragment!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

this is july: loss and hope and learning

What can I say about this month July?

If I look at these photographs, I see nature...summer heat...and the sweetest little four-legged companion I could ever hope for. I see that I am surrounded every day by so much beauty; that I am so very blessed.

If I look in my heart, I see loss. As my due date approaches, July 5th, and I sit here with a flat tummy, with no baby on the way, I feel very empty, and very alone in my grieving. The end of June was an extremely painful, difficult time, and I don't expect this first week of July to be any better. I have been distracted, depressed, irritable, frustrated. And I have neglected my friendships. I have not been able to truly enjoy all of this fair weather, good company, sweet hours of sunshine. I'm given breathtaking sunsets, and fireflies, and still I am sad.

Even someone like me, who has received so much, who leads a very full life, wonders again and again, Why am I denied this one thing I hope for so dearly? Where is the lesson in loss and waiting? When will You relieve me? 

Again and again, I am given the answer: Learn to appreciate what you have. Learn to keep hope's flame burning bright. Learn to remain open and generous, even when you feel empty and as if you have nothing to give. Learn to have a soft heart, a loving heart, a joyful heart, a heart that is full and content, even if some wishes are left unfulfilled. Learn to accept pain, and learn to choose the lit path instead of the dark.

"A heart resolved leads to a fulfilled life." 
-Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

What does that mean?

I hope to find out in July.

xoxo country girl


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