Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sing Beyond Your Hearth

This is the time of the year when crickets decide to come inside to get out of the cold.  I'm adamant that we leave them there... right by our hearth.  I want to hear them sing and bring our home luck.  We have had circumstances and people who have done their best to threaten my family and home, so I will take whatever peace of soul these crickets want to bring.

But what about taking that peace of soul and spreading it beyond our own hearths?  How do we make a difference out in the world?  The cricket brings in luck and love, so how do we take it back out?

How do you make a difference?  A Mighty Girl highlighted Katie Stagliano of South Carolina on their Facebook page about how she raises gardens for soup kitchens.  She gets what I like to call a Soulful Cricket Chirp!

Do you know somebody who deserves a Soulful Cricket Chirp for making our world more just, equitable, and good?  Tell me!!  I would love to post stories of folks doing good and right things!  You may message me through the comments below or through our Facebook page.

And maybe... just maybe... our chirps will drown out some of the ugly tweets that seem to be taking up more space than is necessary!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Yesterday I started my foundation year field placement as part of my MSW program.  I have been placed at Home of the Sparrow to work on their initiative to bring an ACE Assessment Coalition to Chester County.  First... let me tell you about Home of the Sparrow...

Home of the Sparrow is an organization located in Chester County that provides support to single women and single mothers and their children by providing housing assistance, education, and other supportive services to prevent homelessness and help low-income women become self-sufficient.  Their programs include shared housing, emergency support, pre-senior assistance, and supportive housing.  Graduates of Home of the Sparrow are not just let loose, but have a permanent connection and support to facilitate their continued success.

The ACE Assessment is a series of questions used to evaluate Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  Studies have shown that the higher the ACE score, the more likely an individual will have mental health issues, physical health issues, addictions, and a host of other problems that may be keeping them from succeeding.  By determining an individual's ACE score, we can better address those issues by building resilience, working through traumatic experiences, and focusing on the strengths that each individual has.

The results of  a high ACE score may require a need for many services and it is our hope that, as a county, we can connect those working with the public (schools, hospitals, doctors, social service agencies, etc) together so that services are offered quickly and efficiently.

Education is key to ameliorating the consequences of ACEs.  Take the test yourself... and don't focus on the number too much.  The same studies have proven that those with high ACE scores who have succeeded often had other factors (a strong support system, a high rate of resiliency, etc.) that can offset the deleterious effects of the ACEs.  However, if your score is high and you find yourself struggling with something, look into this further.  ACEs determine NOT "What's wrong with you?" but "What happened to you?"... and that can be handled.

I'll be posting articles about ACEs and the research here, so watch!  It is fascinating!

I suggest highly that you TAKE THE TEST yourself.  I have.  If you're interested in finding out more, please let me know!

Pax, solatium, et benedictionem

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wherever You Stand

Welcome Back! Sort-of.  Maybe you never left, but I did.  For those of you who know me personally, you know that my life went through a major upheaval in late 2013-2014. During the summer/fall of 2013, I decided to apply to graduate school to get my MSW.  I'm currently in my 3rd of 4 years.  We also listed the house for sale (yup - it's on the market!  It's such a great place and we really hope somebody can give it a good home!  Wait... did that make sense??).  I also have experienced something that caused me to change personality a bit - and life-attitude.

So The Soulful Cricket has become more of an idea than a place.  Given the right circumstances, I can still host events at the house until it's sold.  Contact me if you're interested so we can see if it will work out or not.  I am keeping the name The Soulful Cricket, as I believe it will still be appropriate if I choose to go into direct practice or some other profession that applies to social work.  And, well, I like the name. :)

In the meantime, I'd like to use my blog to post items related to positive mental health.  In other words... I'd like to continue my Tea Talks.  Guest writers are welcome and encouraged.

Stand and be soulful.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Holistic Moms of Southern Chester County

The Holistic Moms of Southern Chester County are taking a break to hibernate this winter.  The January and February meetings are canceled.  Please watch for more information about starting-up again in March!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fireside Journal Newsletter - January 2014

The Fireside Journal
News from the Soulful Cricket
January 2014
Edition #4

Namaste.  Welcome to the fourth edition of The Fireside Journal.  

You may sign-up to receive the newsletter (and interim announcements) by using the "Receive Announcements & Newsletters via Email or Feedburner" box in the right column of the website or by sending me your email address.  Once you've signed-up, be sure to check your inbox to verify your email address.


Space Rentals Available!  The Soulful Cricket began taking day-use reservations for the downstairs spaces!  There are several rooms available, including the dining room, den, living room and great room.  To see more information about the rooms go to What We Do on our website.  For pricing, please call 610-444-2629 or email for a quote.  Many weekends are already filling in, but don't forget that weekdays are a good option, too, especially for off-site business meetings!

Fabulous Partnership!  The Soulful Cricket is so happy to have the opportunity to work with Sue Bara and her own business expansion into Kennett Square.  Sue is the owner of Nature and Spirit and DandeLion Grove.  She will be taking appointments for Reiki Sessions, Herbal Counseling, Stress Counseling and Holistic Health Counseling here to serve the Kennett Square area.  To make an appointment, please call Sue at 302-722-4476 or by email.  Keep an eye for other classes that Sue will be offering here, as well!

Do you have a passion?  Is there something that you'd like to see us offer or do you have a passion that you can teach to others?  Email me and let's talk!

Schedule of Events
For the actual calendar, please Click Here.
Be sure to check the website often, as updates will appear!
• Holistic Moms of Southern Chester County - Wednesday, January 15th, 7pm - 9pm.  Meetings are open to the public.  "Our goal is to develop a thriving local community of holistic parents with a wide range of interests.  Come on out, get connected to other like-minded moms and dads, and catch the excitement of our community!"  For more information, please visit their website.  
JANUARY'S TOPIC:  Teenagers and Vegetarianism.  Guest speaker, Grace Myers, is a Junior in high school and has been a vegetarian since she was nine years old. 

Tea-Table Talks

     The beginning of a new year is a time when many people commit to making changes in their lives.   I've always found this to be an interesting thing, because in my experience I have found that when people commit to something, they commit with the idea that what they are committing to won't change.  Yet, at this time of the year, we deliberately commit to making changes.   Maybe that's why so many of us are unsuccessful with our New Year's Resolutions.

    Buddhists believe that suffering comes from our not wanting things to change when in fact, everything is changing all the time.  In the Buddhist perspective, by not accepting change we actually cause suffering.  This is why Buddhists practice meditation... to live in the moment and appreciate it for exactly what it is, because the next moment is different.

     Sometimes we cause suffering because while we know things will change, they don't always do it in a way we expect.  Yet again, Buddhists teach us to not have expectations... just accept what is.   This doesn't mean that we can't do things to improve ourselves, or create positive change, it just means that often times our expectations are not met through our exertions.  The Rolling Stones summed it up probably the best way, "you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need."  The expected outcome may not have been what you needed.  The actual outcome may be.

     So, we need to take a look at our views of commitment.  If we do, in fact, look as commitment as adhering to something that won't change, then we are setting ourselves up for failure/suffering.  What if we approached ALL of our commitments, not just our New Year's Resolutions, knowing that what we are committed to will be changing?  We need to continue to honor our commitments, but allow it to flow with the inevitable fluctuations that will occur.  We need to allow ourselves to work hard to adjust to that flow and allow it to become what we need, even if it doesn't seem that way.  Notice I said work hard?  Without hard work, then we haven't fully honored those commitments; but the results are worthwhile, as we will grow, find ourselves and end up being stronger for it in the end.

     I currently have many opportunities arising for directing some changes in my life.  Some of this does affect The Soulful Cricket.  The Holistic Moms of Southern Chester County will still be meeting here the third Wednesday of each month, Sue Bara is still taking appointments here and rooms are still available to rent for meetings, events and appointments.  The only real difference you'll see is that I will no longer be offering classes.  Third-party classes will still be available as the opportunities arise, so keep checking the schedule!  In the meantime, I am working to see that the commitments I have made will continue to flow with the changes that are occurring around me.

     May you have a blessed 2014 and may you be able to initiate changes that allow you to continue growing as a good person, honor your commitments and serve others.  Embrace the changes that happen this year.

 The Soulful Cricket
140 Thompson Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348  •  610-444-2629  •  •  Email
All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MEETING: Holistic Moms Network - Southern Chester County

Tomorrow evening, Wednesday, November 20th from 7 - 9pm is this month's meeting of the Holistic Moms Network Southern Chester County.  From the website:  

 "Join us in November as Landscape Architect Margot Taylor talks about developing sustainable home landscapes that use water wisely, conserve soils, have wise choices of vegetation and materials, and design that supports human health and well-being. Ms. Taylor's residential property was awarded a 3-Star Certification by the “Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™), an international program that evaluates and rates sustainable practices in Design, Construction, Operations, and Maintenance of landscapes."

For more information about the Holistic Moms Network, please visit their website at, their Facebook page at or contact the group leader, Catherine Kegley via email.  See you here tomorrow!