Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hearing Loss Awareness Month - Guest Blog by Tara Chevrestt

The month of May is Hearing Loss Awareness Month. I'd like everyone to take a moment...not just now, not just this week or even this month, but try to remember throughout the year, that millions of people throughout the United States have hearing loss.

Some tips for the hearing world:

-The next time you speak to someone in a public place and they don't acknowledge you, don't just automatically assume they're being rude. Stop a minute and ask yourself, "Did they hear me?" Maybe they have hearing loss. Hearing loss isn't a visible illness. You don't SEE it. Hearing aids can be well hidden.

-Make it a habit of speaking clearly and enunciating your words. Don't mumble; don't stare at the ground; don't talk too fast. Try to make sure people are looking at you when you speak to them. This was a rule taught in my household growing up, regardless of if someone had a hearing impairment or not. Back in those days, it was a sign of respect to look at someone when they speak to you and vice versa. We need to bring this back.

-Facial a nightmare for us hard of hearing lip-readers. If we can't see your lips, we don't understand you. Men, keep that hair trimmed.

-Do not assume that because we can't hear, that we're any different from you. I can get married (I am!), I can have children, I can drive, I can ride a bike. I can do everything you can do, except HEAR. This does not in any way or form hinder my mental capabilities or make me dumb. Let's separate deaf and dumb. It's past time.

-Do not speak to us as though we are slow. Speak normally. There's a big difference in plain enunciation (speaking clearly) and spending one minute on each word you utter. Don't draw it out and move your mouth in an exaggerated fashion. We learn to lip-read normal moving lips, not comical.

-Don't yell at us. Many of us are deaf to certain sounds and it doesn't matter how loud you say it, it won't get through. Plain and simple: if you're not speaking clearly, we won't understand it. Your quiet blah blah blah maw wah just becomes a very loud BLAH BLAH BLAH MAW WAH.

-Don't leave us out of things and talk over our heads. We feel ostracized. When everyone around us is laughing at a good joke, we want to laugh too! Include us. Make an effort. If you feel it's too much work to talk to us, we're going to decide it's too much work to be your friend. And you could really miss out on a good friendship.

-Hearing helpers are just that: HELPERS. If you're asked to be a hearing helper, don't permit others to speak to you as though we aren't there. Don't answer for us. If someone says to you, "What does she want to eat?" do not tell them, "She wants pizza." A hearing helper should turn to the deaf person and say, "He asked what you wanted to eat." We can and will answer for ourselves. Be careful not to take over and remember to just help. We do value our independence.

-Don't say something and then get mad when we ask you to repeat it for the second or third time. Count to ten if you have to, but try to avoid that callous "never mind". If you said it once, I'm going to assume you wanted me to hear it. It must be important enough. It's very frustrating when people do this.

-Cochlear implants and medical procedures of that ilk are personal matters. Do not try to fix us. Many of us are happy the way we are and have no desire to change. We don't see ourselves as broken or in need of fixing, so don't act like we are.

-Teach your kids that we're no different from them, that deaf isn't dumb, that hearing aids are nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your children about bullying and its long-term effects.

Thank you for your time. In honor of Hearing Loss Awareness Month, I'd like to announce that two of my titles, one my memoir of growing up deaf and working in a hearing world (Hear Through My Ears) and one (Love Request) a contemporary novel featuring a hearing-"impaired" heroine, are on sale for 99 cents the rest of May.

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, dog mom, writer, and editor. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.

Tara is addicted to Law & Order: SVU, has a crush on Cary Grant, laughs at her own jokes, and is constantly modifying recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Her theme is Strong is Sexy. She writes about strong women facing obstacles—in the military, with their handicaps, or just learning to accept themselves. Her heroines can stand alone and take care of themselves, but they often find love in the process.
You can connect with her on Facebook or follow her blog.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Earth Sister: The Cookbook and My Son's Story

I wrote a guest post for The Paleo Mama blog, with the short version of my son's story and a recipe included! 
To read, click here. 

Cavemom's Cooking is not only a cookbook, but my son's story: how I stopped my son's benign myoclonic seizures and awoke his sensory processing abilities, our decision to go paleo, and the simple paleo recipes that followed. When we went paleo, I never thought about writing a cookbook. But as time went on and my son made so much progress, I knew his story needed to be told. And what better way than with what helped him the most? Food! Volume 2 is currently in the works!

Paleo eating is grain and gluten free, dairy free, legume free, and nightshade free. Simply fresh, whole foods - fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and seeds. Easy to make, tasty to eat! If you're looking to get away from today's processed foods filled with artificial ingredients, preservatives, colors, and flavors, give this a try.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Everything Changes...

As we all know from just being alive, everything changes. This too is happening within The Sisters Elemental. We have started brainstorming and thinking of new ideas of where to take TSE now that Earth and I are the two sisters left. Spirit and Water have recently stepped down from TSE due to personal constraints.

Earth and I are looking to start carrying some baby and toddler items such as ring slings and burp cloths. We are looking to start gearing some wooden signs more towards babies and children too! If you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see for signs, sayings on the signs, or even some baby or toddler item let us know! We are open to suggestions and can't wait to start bringing you new things for your little witchlets!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers huh?

Well, I was going to write about Beltane for the May blog but my head and heart just aren't in it. There is a saying that April showers bring May flowers, I sure hope so!

April was a month that was a complete rollercoster ride for me. I'm hoping that because it was it'll be a great month of May. I'll break down April for you here just so you can see what a rollercoster ride it really was but I'm pre-empting this break down with: I'm not trying to "dump" or be negative. I have some insights here that may be useful for others that are going through similar situations.

March ended with my Grandfather, who was more of a Dad to me than anyone has ever been and who I called Dad my entire life, in the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He was on 15 liters of high flow oxygen and the docs were not very optimistic about him ever getting off the high flow. But he showed them! He went down to 6 liters by the first week in April and was transferred to a Respiratory Rehab (RR) facility until we could transfer him to a Transitional Care Unit (TCU) and then finally back home. At the RR he was getting Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy to get his strength back seeing that he was very weak due to being bed ridden from March 7th until he transferred to the RR. We were so excited when just two weeks ago he was told that the RR was kicking him out because he was doing so well and he had been approved for the TCU we were hoping.

With all this going on we kept taking our boys to the RR or the TCU on Sundays. That was our day to visit with Dad, have lunch with him and enjoy every second that we could. It was important for the kids and I to spend that time with him not just because of the CHF and the COPD but because he had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bones back in February right after Valentine's Day. I knew how important, when he was gone, the time that we got to spend with him would be to each of us and so did he. Dad loved the boys. He was so proud the one day because my youngest, M, decided to give his Papa a hug and kiss all by himself when we arrived. It made not only my heart soar but dad's too.

Mind you, during this whole thing with my Dad happening, my husband was still working his day job, our private company, volunteering for our fire department as an EMT and volunteering as an adult leader for our county 4-H. He was busy. We also had the added stress of my being on jury call... We didn't know for sure if I was going to be called in but thankfully I made it through the month without being called in to serve.

In the end it's a damn good thing it was important to us to get the kids into the cities to see Dad. Last week he fell in the bathroom, even though he had been doing good with his PT and getting stronger. He was trying to get dressed and missed the seat. He was pretty shook up about it and I don't blame him. It's a scary thing as an adult to fall like he did. That fall, I think, really marked the beginning of the end. Thursday, almost a week ago, my Mom showed up to the TCU to find that Dad was back up to 6 liters of oxygen and was on a mask, not a nasal cannula. She called me at 7:45a to tell me this and said she was taking him to the hospital. Once at the hospital the ER doctor ran some x-rays and ended up telling my Mom that he didn't think that Dad was going to make it through the day and suggested she call everyone who needed to be with her and Dad. When my Mom told me this I called my husband home from work, gathered my boys including the oldest being pulled out of school. When my husband got home, we flew down to the hospital. We got there around noon. Arriving in the ER to Dad being in a coma basically was a scary thing. I knew that it wasn't a good thing and his breathing was labored and erratic. By 1p the ER was sending him up to the ICU where he would be until the mortuary came to get his body. That transfer from the ER to the ICU was horrible. His vitals dropped further and when he was settled in the ICU the nurses actually turned off the monitors so we didn't have to worry about numbers.

At 2:35p Dad passed away. What's funny is that I was right there next to him, telling him that it was OK, we were all going to be OK without him, and he needed to go with Grandma. Grandma has been gone for almost 18 years and I know he wanted to be back with her... She was his ONLY love and he missed her so. But at the very end when he drew his last breath I smelled Grandma's perfume that she always wore. I took so much comfort in the fact that she had come to help him cross. He was at peace finally. He was back with the love of his life. After he had passed the boys were able to come in and say their final goodbyes. R and B didn't want to get close to Dad and that was perfectly fine. M on the other hand had me lift him up, gave dad a kiss on the forehead, told Dad "love you Papa" and was done. J took the boys home for me after that and I stayed with my Mom until the mortuary had come and taken Dad's body.

Friday we signed papers for cremation and had a final viewing of Dad. I kissed his forehead one last time and told him I loved him. I think the hardest part of all was leaving him at the mortuary knowing that I'd never see him in body again. THAT fact hit me like a ton of bricks and broke my heart.

Now that I've gone through all of that and brought you up to speed... Here's my "AH-HA" moments and insights.

  1. We never know when or where the fates are going to cut our lines. 
  2. We need to spend as much time with our loved ones letting them know how much they mean to us as we possibly can so that we have no regrets. 
  3. Our loved ones will come get us and help us cross when the time is right for us to leave our Earthly bodies. 
  4. Smelling my grandma's perfume the exact moment that dad drew his last breath was her way of letting me know that she was there and everything was going to be OK. 
  5. We, as humans, stress about things that are out of our control but everything works out the way it's supposed to even though it may not be what we want to happen. 
  6. We need to live our lives without regret... Period. 
April was a rollercoster that I tried to take in stride and let the fates lead me where they needed me to be. Funny thing is I'm more at peace with Dad's passing because of that and because he was at peace with his passing. I'm determined though that April's showers of sorrow are bringing May flowers of happiness and peace. I'm hoping that May will bring us all flowers of happiness and peace! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Food and Spirituality

Food affects not only our bodies, what we eat also affects our mood and our spirituality.  Eating healthy helps keeps the energy channels open.  I've heard many people say they prefer to go meatless for spirituality; feeling more open, less clogged.  Some prefer to go grain-free, with the same result.  Personally I fall into the grain-free category.  When our bodies are bogged down with built-up wastes it can be hard to be in a good mood, feel energetic, work on our spirituality; it can be hard to connect with anything if we're not feeling good.

Cooking, for me, is not only a way to feed my family food, but to feed them love and positive energy as well.  Every meal is prepared with love.  Not just the love that goes into creating a dish, but stemming all the way back to either growing the food ourselves, or lovingly picking it out for purchase. 

photo courtesy of BeverlyLR
Call me crazy, but I think it makes a difference in not just how we prepare it but also how we obtain our food.  In the store hurriedly tossing whatever looks somewhat good into the cart vs. carefully selecting our items; part of the careful selection includes reading ingredient labels, or picking out the produce that looks/feels most fresh.  Some would argue they don't have time for all that nonsense . . . but they may easily make up that time by sitting in a doctor's office for various illnesses. 

What do you think?  Do you pay special attention when selecting food to eat?  Do you prepare meals with thoughts of love?


If you like, you can always catch up on my cooking adventures at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Demon, Book Two in the Dark Musicals Trilogy, inspired by Sweeney Todd is available now!


When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn
It doesn't help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca's father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.
Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.
 Head to face book to join the Demon Release Party.  You can also add Demon to your shelf on good reads.

If you haven't read the first book in the series, now is a great time to get your copy. To celebrate the release of Demon,  Phantom is now on sale for only $1.99 exclusively on Amazon!


Phantom, Dark Musicals Book #1

The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.


      Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player and Demon. She also has short stories featured in two anthologies called HerStory and A Celtic Tapestry.

 Follow the author Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Pinterest


To celebrate the release of Demon, Author Laura DeLuca has put together a Demon themed prize pack. It includes a signed copy of Phantom, geode and geode slice, rough crystal points, incense and holders, Gothic style leather key chains, smudge stick with abalone shell, mini Buddha and elephant statue, crystal, natural stone and pentacle pendants, and a $10 GC to Little Caesars, . 

The The Sisters Elemental Etsy shop has also created custom Lavender Purification  bath salts and a set of ammonite necklaces, both of which are featured in the book.

And finally, the awesome mommy bloggers at  Mom Powered Media are also throwing in a $50 Amazon GC to support one of their own!

One lucky winner is going to receive all these fabulous prizes. To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end on  5/17/13. Open to the US only. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to reply. Thanks again to Mom Powered Media, The Sisters Elemental and the author for offering these fantastic prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

****Please note no compensation was received for sharing this post. Host blogs are not responsible for prize delivery.***

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Celtic Tapestry Anthology

The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.

Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry


Buy the Book
Amazon | Goodreads
Guest Post by Laura DeLuca - Author of Brigid's Flame
Brigid’s Flame is my contribution to the anthology and it was inspired by my patron goddess, Brigid. She is the goddess of poetry, smith craft and childbirth.  In my story, a struggling writer invokes Brigid on the sacred night of Imbolc to help rekindle his creativity with her eternal flame.  The chant my hero uses in one I wrote myself and have used many times to help overcome writers block.

“Brigid, I call you on this sacred night.
I summon your flame. I invoke your might.
The words will come. My mind will soar.
My strength and confidence will endure.
Goddess Brigid, fill me with creativity.
As I will it, so mote it be.”

Here is a simple spell anyone can use along with the chant to help bring some inspiration into their lives.  All you need is a candle (preferably orange or yellow, but white can also be used), a bowl, and a few ice cubes. If available, snow or icicles would be even better.  Set the items up on your altar or some other space where you have privacy. Place the ice cubes or snow into the bowl and light your candle.  Star into the flame and focus of what you are trying to accomplish. Imagine that the ice is your creativity. Right now it’s frozen and blocked.  Now see that flame warming the ice, melting away those blocks. Continue this visualization as you chant the spell.  Once the ice has melted it, drink the water. This is your creativity flowing freely back into you. 

The Giveaway

To help celebrate the release of The Celtic Tapestry, our friends over at A Celtic Attic are offering one lucky winner a beautiful Brigid's Cross wall plaque. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end on 4/11/13 Open WORLDWIDE. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to reply. Thanks again A Celtic Attic for offering this fantastic prize.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Please note I received no form of compensation for this post***