Saturday, October 12, 2013

Random thoughts about Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18%) and 1 in 71 men (1%) have been raped in their lifetime.  
  • Approximately 1.3 million women were raped during the year preceding the survey. 

  • One in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same. 

  • One in 6 women (16%) have been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men.
Statistics from - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

This month is greatly out colored by the sea of pink.  The purple has been lightened with white and a tinge of red.  Basically it becomes a month - hot pink in color. 

I feel that I’m pressured to choose breast cancer over domestic violence.  I’m enticed to buy pink this and that at the grocery store check out and from the pizza shop.  Even my sports teams are getting into the spirit - goalies are wearing the same shade of pink as the soccer balls and American football players are having pink dying parties for their socks.  Somehow, breast cancer has become more palatable to talk about even though interpersonal violence is more prevalent. 


Amethyst – the purple quartz crystal – My Grandmother’s Birthstone

Amethyst has been used to strengthen the immune system and help heal imbalances of the respiratory tract and skin.  It is said to have meditative and calming effect on the individual by working on the emotional, spiritual and physical planes.  It is also has been used to help heal grief and pain from the past.  Amethysts have helped the wearer become more flexible and cooperative with those around them. 

It seems like a good stone for those working and healing from domestic violence.  


Minimizing, Denying, Justifying, Blaming – I feel like we tend to think that these 4 words are only what batter, rapists, sexual harassers and bullies do with regards to their behavior, however I believe bystanders use them too.

This past week I've felt like I’m living in another universe.  On Sunday, I noticed a signs for a candidate who is running locally for school board.  I kept thinking:  “You have to be kidding.”  (Note: this is the PG version of my thoughts).  The candidate had a romantic relationship with his student for three years.  I kept thinking, have people forgotten? 

The responses I've gotten so far:  “Well, she was 18 when it started.”  “He was in his twenties and near her age.”  “It takes two.  It isn't as if she was a minor.”  “I don’t think she was in any of his classes, just going to school there.”  “He had to give up his teaching license and his career.”  “He’s had to give up a lot.”

Let me back-up.  As a teacher (or name your licensed professional – doctor, police officer, nurse, social worker….), there are ethical guidelines that you are to follow.  The teacher-student relationship is an unequal power and status distribution.  The teacher has a hierarchical power over the student based on their role in the school and in the community.  Students are to obey and respect teachers.  Teachers enforce the rules of the school to all the students, not just the ones in their classroom.  Teachers are also required to treat and evaluate all students fairly. 

Based on this power dynamic – how can a student give true consent towards a romantic relationship?  How can a teacher treat and evaluate a student fairly who they are dating?

To my community – As bystanders, I’m deeply concerned about the lack of clarity in why dating a teacher is wrong.  And this being the case, how can we elect someone who didn't understand the ethical guidelines into a position where they have to enforce these rules?  Who will be providing the oversight over him?  Clearly us bystanders aren't on top of this.

I’m hugging my Amethyst.


What you can say to a friend experiencing violence
  1. I am afraid for your safety.
  2. I am afraid for the safety of your children.
  3. You deserve to be safe. 
  4. I believe you and I am sorry this has happened to you.
  5. I am here for you when you are ready to leave.
  6. You do not deserve to be abused.
  7. No one deserves to live with violence in their home.
  8. There is help available.  Can we call this number together?
  9. You are not to blame.

Telephone numbers to share
National Domestic Violence Hotline -  1-800-787-3224  1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Rape Incest Abuse National Network - 1-800-656-HOPE
Click to Chat With an Online Representative

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sharing Abundance - Working from your heart.

“Life and death are not opposites. Death is integral to the whole/holiness of the sacred web of all that is. In this experiential workshop with slides, movement, trance, song and sacred theater and whatever arises in spontaneity/gaiety we will explore a way of viewing death that actually comes from the realm of our pre-patriarchal ancestors. Very little is known or taught about how our early ancestors lived, and in this space together we will learn from them and bring forward a much needed shamanic integration about life and death for body mind and spirit. We will also learn what it means to “midwife” death in our current time and how to transform fear about death into pure love."  Leslene della-Madre


“With tears and prayers and tender hands, Mother and sisters made her ready for the long sleep that pain would never mar again, seeing with grateful eyes the beautiful serenity that soon replaced the pathetic patience that had wrung their hearts so long, and feeling with reverent joy that to their darlings death was a benignant angel, not a phantom full of dread. “ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Death can be looked at as both the end and the beginning.  I see it as part of the sacred cycle of breathing and expiring, combining and recombining, gathering and giving away.  However, I tend to think we moderns like the birth process better than the death process.  We can’t see any joy when a spirit leaves us as our ancestors did. 
Many of the books I read as a teenager set the stage for death.  The Victorians didn’t seem to have the same mindset as we moderns do.  It wasn’t usual for the dying to be in bed surrounded by loved ones and friends.  There were prayers and poems read, final kisses and words said all providing the dying one the support they needed to reach the place between the earthly plane and the divine.  The gatherers were equal in volume as the gatherers at a birth.
This past Sunday I popped into my favorite bakery for a muffin and coffee.  The baker had saved me a pistachio one; he knows it’s my favorite.  When he went to pull it out of the case, he broke down with a deep sigh.  Clearly he was upset and then quickly apologized.  He told me he can’t look at the chocolate muffins without crying and thinking of his friend. 

These past days have been rough for him.  He told me his tenant who became his friend passed.  The chocolate muffins were his favorite.  He can’t not look at the muffins and see his friend.

The baker went to check on him and found him on the floor.  He had suffered a stroke.  The baker quickly called the squad.  His older friend was admitted to the hospital.  When his grand-daughters arrived at the hospital, they demanded all his things.  The baker gave them his friend’s keys and wallet.  The girls disappeared.  

The baker stayed with his friend.  Holding his hand and walking with him to the crossroad.  The baker believed – it’s what friends do.  He was sad in for his loss, but also sad that the grand-daughters were there to also say goodbye.   

When the baker returned home to his rental building, he found that his friend’s apartment had been raided by the grand-daughters.   They were looking for material things he didn’t have.  The baker explained to me – they didn’t realize the wealth their grandfather shared abundantly were in acts of kindness over coffee, conversation and chocolate muffins.

The baker was a man who was working from his heart.

Deep Peace to You
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
- Adapted from ancient Gaelic runes
This is John Rutter’s music set to the ancient words with the Edinburgh Singers. 
My friends from Europe have asked me what is going on here.  I’m asking myself the same.  What is going on here?  Why can’t my government get along?  As a CCWWW, I know that things reflect each other.  My government only mirrors what is happening in the general population. 

I think we are not working from our hearts.  We have lost sight of the abundance we have and focus only on what we don’t have.  Many of us are living from scarcity.  When we work from scarcity it is okay to not get along and put others down.  It is easy to shame, laugh at or ridicule someone who‘s not doing as good as we are.  It becomes easy for us to climb over another to get “X.”  We have lost sight of compassion and love. 

Think about it:  How do you look at a homeless person on the street?  How do you view a family living on minimum wage and going to a food pantry?    


Recipe for chocolate muffin with chocolate chips was created by cooking Goddess Nigella Lawson – May you find time this week to share abundantly with a friend over coffee, tea and conversation.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: Muffin tin with paper muffin cases
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, remembering that a lumpy batter makes the best muffins. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy

Saturday, September 28, 2013


“Humor is a spontaneous, wonderful bit of an outburst that just comes. It's unbridled, its unplanned, it's full of suprises.” ― Erma Bombeck

“The secret to humor is surprise.” ― Aristotle

“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.” ― Tierney Gearon

It has been a while since I wrote here.  I need to thank my brother for jump starting this process.  But, I feel I’m ready.  Writing here seems to stir-up my creativity and connects me to the sacred. 
My creative witchy friends up north put out a challenge for the season.  I decided I needed to make something for myself.  I needed an item that would help me through the winter season.  Soaking Salts came to mind.  Part of my challenge was to also use what I already have: Epson salts, sea salt, baking powder and essential oil.  I looked outside and the lavender was on a second bloom.  I immediately thought they should be added to my mixture.

For those who don’t know, lavender is known to have healing properties.  I’ve used it for helping my headaches.  I put 2-3 drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and breathe.  (I try this before taking an aspirin.)  It is also used by white witches for purification, clarity of thought and protection. 
I put it out to the universe – what else do I need for the coming months.  My answer came as a surprise.

This past week I was demonstrating to Z that you can make Ramen noodles without the MSG package.  I put the water on the stove to begin to boil.  I opened the package of what I thought were dried mushrooms (Note: the label was in Chinese).  As I poured the hot water over what I thought looked and felt like mushrooms; a citrus aroma filled my kitchen.   The mushrooms were dried orange peels. 
Let me tell you, the laughter that came as a result of this oops.  (T managed to find where it said dried orange peel on the package in English.)  More laughter.....  But what do you do with a half bag of dried orange peel.
My co-worker told me it was obvious - put it into the soaking salts I was making.  I have to say every time I think of an orange I think of the Tarot card – The sun.  The child on the horse always makes me feel happy and filled with optimism.

I’ve also decided to add bergamot to the mixture.  It too has magical properties of joy and laughter.    
What blessings the Motherfather Spirit has in line for me this coming year - joy and laughter with protection and clarity of thought.

Why is it easier for kids to accept surprises that adults?  I think this is a question I will ponder this coming year. 


BEMS @ Homelight
My Soaking Salt Recipe:

Basic salt recipe mixture – ½ cup sea salt, ½ cup baking soda, ½ Epson Salt – mix together  (The salt proportions are from Jude's Herbal Home Remedies by Jude C. Williams, MH)

Added ingredients based on feel - dried cut up orange peel and lavender blossoms. 

Essential oil: lavender, bergamot, and tangerine – based on your smell preference

Mix everything together. And place in a glass jar with lid.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Spirituality and Sexism

This past week I’ve been hot.  Hot not from the August weather, but from what has been happening this summer in my neighborhood.  There are some men in my neighborhood that think it’s appropriate public behavior to grab, jump out of the shrubs and flip skirts while skyclad, and follow behind women while squirting their DNA on the sidewalk.  What pushed me over the edge was the news article about the man “who ambushed women (38 incidents) and took pictures of their shocked reactions to his nudity, is seeking reinstatement of his law license” (Candisky, 2013).  Then there was the front page of the New York Times article on Saturday.  A college professor had to step down from his position because of sexual harassment.  He felt he was trying to teach his 1 year doctoral student about logic and the e-mails with sexual overtones were all about learning logic. 
So what does this have to do with spirituality?

If spirituality is about love and kindness, how can I walk on earth without being suspicious of every man I come in contact with?  Many would feel very sad that they are lumped into the pot with these few.  But, how do I know?  Personally, it makes me sad that 1) I have to be suspicious and 2) that I’m thinking this unkind way.


I’ve just finished reading Tina Fey’s book Bossypants.  She writes about attending workshop about bullying and girls with Rosalind Wiseman.  Wiseman asks the all women audience to reflect back to the first time when they were told they were a woman.  Wiseman asked what was that experience like?  Fey says she found it very sad to hear similar responses from her fellow workshop participants.  The women described the calls from the street and I’m not talking about a “hi how are you” or “good morning” kind of calls.  The calls the women described were the ones that rip into your heart with each utterance.  They are calls that make you feel like you don’t belong and tear you down.  They are the utterances that make you question yourself or question your body part.  We remain silent and not responding to the calls - hoping the person doing this will get tired and go away. 

My first experience?  I was called “dog face” by the guys in my high school.  I’d walk to my locker and they’d come leaning over near enough to whisper it in my ear.  They would then laugh and then saying loud for people to hear.  I kept my face blank and telling my eyes not to tear up.  It was hard to look into the mirror without feeling very unbeautiful.  It was hard facing the school hallways without feeling embarrassed and wanting to melt into the shadows.

Looking back, the whole process of tearing another down a person is anti-spiritual.  It makes you feel like you don’t belong.  Makes you feel like don’t belong in your physical body by wanting some other type of “beauty.”  Makes you feel like you don’t belong in your home or here on earth.  You’re kept in a perceived place dictated by others.  And, this is sad.  This is not sharing love or kindness to others.


Candisky, Catherine.   Ohio State football scandal figure, ‘naked photog’ to fight for law licenses. The Columbus Dispatch. 1 Aug, 2013 Web.

Friday, July 26, 2013

WooWee Dance

The WooWee Dance is a spiritual dance that comes within each person.  It’s a dance that is joyful and unique to the individual dancer.  The dance is sparkly and reflective of a sunny day.  When I perform my dance – it is a combination of a yellow butterfly flitting on a breeze, bold yellow sunflowers and fireworks exploding in a new moon sky.  I do twists and a jump and 3 step-run in place and then another leap into the air.  I’m moving to my own unique song.

As many of my readers know, I have taken a hiatus from my blog.  I’ve been focusing my writing efforts for getting into graduate school.  This has been very important to me because graduate school has been a long time goal of mine (a bucket list item).  It has been something I’ve needed to do and feel called to do.  I admit my blog was a device I used to procrastinate from not writing the required pieces.  My blog is fun and writing required pieces weren’t.  But, I quickly realize if I really want my dream than I needed address what was getting in the way.  I had to put aside things that were holding me back.

I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted to Spalding University’s MFA program for the Fall Semester.  I received the call this week and have been doing the SpiritStitch WooWee Dance all week.

Reflecting back on writing submissions to Spalding, I can’t tell you enough about how my blog writings spilled over into its content and subject matter.  Motherfather Spirit is a very important element to my writing and creating.


A great influencer of my happy dance have been from the Peanuts.  If you need help creating yours here a clip to help out.  Note:  Some people might not appreciate your happy dance - ignore them and continue.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lemon Cake - Exploring Family Dynamics

These past two months I took a break from my weekly blogging to focus on finishing up work needed to submit my graduate school application.  The biggest wall I had to climb was writing the literary critique on a book I read. 
T felt the paper was forced.  Perhaps it was.  But, I think maybe it was more stressed.  A lot depends on this - like getting into graduate school. A dream..... 
The book I chose was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  If you haven't read this book its Like Water for Chocolate at a different angle.  The books is about a family relationship.  Most of Bender's stories I have found are about relationships.  Specifically, they are about dysfunctional family relationship. 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is about the masks and roles we play out in families. It is about not being truthful emotionally and going through the motions of being a family as seen on TV. This lack of honest communication creates a lot of missed opportunities to strengthen relationships.

Food is the primary symbol used throughout the novel's plotline. Bender uses it in a way opposite to how we think about it. The narrator, Rose discovers on her ninth birthday that she is a food empathic. She is able to taste the unspoken emotions of the food preparer. It starts with her birthday cake her mom bakes - lemon cake with chocolate frosting.

Before placing that first fork full in our mouths, we all can imagine what a lemon cake is going to taste like. The brightness, the citrus and the sunny energy. Rose can discern these flavors, but she also tastes her mother's sadness. She realizes that this is the opposite of the façade her mother appears - cheerful and all smiles. She discovers that no one is being truthful about their feelings after eating their dishes. Sadly, she discovers no one seems to be committed to changing.

A lot of people don't like the book. I think it has to do with reality. Not every story has a happy ending. There are some family relationships that are so toxic and you may need to just walk away. And, that is okay.  Some families can't be fixed.

The message of the book - you need to be honest with your emotions and be authentic with yourself and to the world.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hiatus - Contemplative Practice that Leads to the Edge

"Suddenly Star Wars came out while we were on hiatus,and we looked like the old Buck Rogers series,
where they had cigarette smoke blowing out the back of the rocket ship." ~ Gregory Harrison

I've been on hiatus these past two weeks.  I am sitting on my bum writing my Personal Statement Essay for graduate school.  I'm focusing on my story which always send me into a panic.  I've done some research finding out how others have approached it.  It is a piece or conversation that lets people know who I am after they look at my portfolio.

The Personal Statement Essay is about my journey that is leading to the next threshold.  

My Wild Woman Project group talked about using the energy that is at the edge.   I think of The Fool who is about to take the leap.  This leap is fearful and perhaps dangerous, but looking at this face, The Fool is smiling without a care.  He appears to have the same blind faith like those X-Gamers.  I'm trying to harness that "stomach ache" and "run the other way" feeling and use it to help write my essay.  

One of the questions I've been pondering is why do I want to go to graduate school.  I think it comes down to Nettie's questions to me: 1) What is my life's purpose?  Answer: To help people and make the world a better place.  2) Have you ever thought about doing it another way?  Answer: No.  Why not?

This week I've been sitting like the rest of America post Boston Marathon.  I look at the faces of these two young men and ask: Why?  Why choose violence to get your point across?  And, what is the point that you think that violence is the only way?  Did you ever think about doing it another way?

They could have run and worn T-Shirts showing their cause.  They could have been like Peace Pilgrim at the end of the Rose Parade with her sign; the beginning of her peace walk across the US.  They could have written letters to the editor, written letters to their political representatives...  The could have joint human rights watch; volunteered at the UN.  But, violence?

I ask myself what was my part in their decision?  Where did I fail in listening and having a welcoming heart that someone had to resort to violence to get my attention? 

As a CCWWW, I believe we all are connected like blood.  We are all dependent on each other plants and animal and us humans.  And, even though I didn't know those young men, I come in contact with many people daily.  I ask myself: How do I treat them?  How do I treat those who look homeless on the street?  How do I treat those with an accent that makes me listen harder?  How do I treat..

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gladness Factor

Maleficent from Disney Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Trickster Moon - Where do life's lessons sneak up on us/surprise us, and how can we greet these lessons with receptivity instead of resistance?  CAYA Moon Question

"Into the house where joy lives, happiness will gladly come."  ~ Japanese Proverb

"The most waisted day is one without laughter." - ee cummings.

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they're supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.” ~ Goldie Hawn

The Gladness Factor (GF) was “discovered” as an essential for being a Fairy Godmother in the late 1990s by Dr. Leticia Foon.  Most traditionalists have scoffed at her discovery, because GF was always perceived important through oral tradition.  Foon just wrote it down and gave it a name which instantly professionalized it in peer reviewed journals.  Current students majoring in Western Fairy Godmothering now are required a minimum of three levels to help increase and maintain their GF skill set.     


Maypole Dance
Foon states GF predates 900 AD coming from both the English and Norse Fairy Godmother traditions (Note: Foon hasn't studied other traditions).  Paintings from this period hint that singing and dancing are important components for increasing the intensity of GF.   It wasn’t until the Elizabethan period did twirling and skipping became an aspect of GF.  This can be best illustrated in Shakespeare’s play Midsummer’ Night Dream.  Foon developed several GF exercises lifted from Eleanor Porter’s 1913 book Pollyanna.


Researchers have shown that deficiencies in GF can lead to misery, cynicism and exhaustion.  It can be best illustrated in the case study of Maleficent, now associated with the Sleeping Beauty tragedy.  If we look at the beginning of Maleficent career, her personnel file shows that she had high levels of enthusiasm, team player, and had the knack to solve problems where other’s didn’t seem to find them.  She was written up twice for singing staccato happy songs, because they caused a disruption in the office.  Also noted was she’d work overtime without meal breaks or going to the bathroom in order to get the job done.  We find that around twenty years into the Fairy Godmother business, there was a change in Maleficent’s personality.  She became more isolated.  Her annual review states: “She lost her nimbleness and flexibility when waving her wand.”  She seemed exhausted and cranky at staff meetings.  She had taken to leaving notes on the bathroom like: wash your hands and close the door.  We have learned her change was due to the work climate: reduction in resources, endless requests that agency couldn’t compensate for and a management attitude: if you want to keep your job you need to be tough and committed enough to suck it up.  The cumulative toll at the worksite and the oversight by the King and Queen were the straw that broke the camels’ back so to speak.  It drove Maleficent to curse rather than provide a blessing. 


Understanding trauma and how it affects us is important.  Trauma has a way of sucking the GF out of our lives.  One way is to take back lunch. 

My co-worker retired almost a year ago.  One thing I’ve noticed is I’m eating more and more at my desk.  I’m catching up with e-mails while eating my salad, soup, and yogurt.  J always made me step away from my desk and eat somewhere else. 

I’ve decided to be part of the take back lunchmovement as a way of break in what I do.  To put my work back into perspective.


How is this spiritual?  If you can’t laugh or sing songs, even out of tune with staccatos – how are you going to make magic?  How are you going to see possibilities?


Resource to learn more about trauma - required read for all Fairy Godmothers:

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forsythia – let there be flowering

Maker's Moon - What wants to be conceived/born/shaped/made from our own minds/hearts/loins/hands? - CAYA Moon Question

"Forsythia is pure joy.  There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of saddness or even knowledge in forsythia.  Pure, undiluted, untouched joy."  ~ Anne Morrow Lindberg

I woke up today and the weather guy was droning on about “weekend of snow.”   There is a nice thin layer of cake frosting covering my car windshield and if this was January, I’d be smiling, but not so much now in March.  Then my son looked out the window and groaned:  “You’ve got to be kidding.” 
This past week I crunched across the community garden to our plot to bless it.  When I dug in to plant my egg, I quickly discovered that the top soil is still pretty much frozen.  This is very different from last year when we were having sweatshirt weather and the weeds were already up. 
My Grandmother use to say:  “Three more snow falls after the forsythia bloom.”  I went to where my Forsythia are and and and …. No green, no green buds only twigs sticking up out the ground.  Disappointed I tramped back into the house.  Yes, the robins are singing and the rain sometimes smells like spring and the crocuses and snowdrops are blooming, and the trees all appear ready with their buds, but not the forsythia .  Ohio this year is having a traditional winter season.
I admit.  I was spoiled by last year’s early spring weather that started in February. 
As a CCWWW, I have a love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental.  These are a reminder that all creation is a gift from the divine.  These are a reminder that I’m just one piece that is interconnected.  I'm longing to lay in the grass and watch the summer wind blow the leaves. 
Let there be new flowering

let there be new flowering
in the fields let the fields
turn mellow for the men
let the men keep tender
through the time let the time
be wrested from the war
let the war be won
let love be
at the end
Potential tomato plants
Part of my practice as a CCWWW is growing my own vegetables and herbs. It is having a relationship with the devias or spirits of the garden and plants. My garden is a special place were we can meet. It is a place where I have learned many things that are magical.  It is in the garden that I learned about the tomato love spell.
Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow: sun, light, water and dirt.  And, it ceases to amazes me that some people have never seen a tomato plant growing in a garden.  These same people have told me they have never felt their fuzzy vines or smelled their distinct fragrance when brushed against.  They have never taken a bite out of a sun riped tomato.  They haven't held their tiny seeds in their hand.  (Maybe this is what intimidates people from growing them?)
I want to make sure we're all on the same page.  In Ohio, you don’t get tomatoes off the vine from your garden until end of June (maybe) July and August definitely.   It takes about 40-50 days to get tomatoes ripened off the vine according to the package and Ohio Cooperative Extension.  It also takes a specific type of weather – hot during the day and cooler during the evening. 
Tomatoes are part of a big family of plants known scientifically as Solanaceae or to gardeners the nightshade family.    Below are some of the cousins, and as in all families some are good to have around (edible) and some are toxic.
Mandragora (mandrake), Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Lycium barbarum (wolfberry), Physalis philadelphica (tomatillo) , Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry flower), Capsicum (chili pepper, bell pepper), Solanum (potato, tomato, eggplant), Nicotiana (tobacco), and Petunia
If you are thinking of “making” your own tomato plants - you need about 8 weeks to get those seeds ready.  I usually count 8 weeks back from US Mother’s Day – so now is the time for Central Ohians.  Mother’s Day Weekend has been usually our last known heavy frost day.  Tomato plants are annuals here in Ohio and don’t like the cold.    Here's a map of the world for planting times.
You start the seeds in plastic trays purchased from your local garden shop – or you can reuse the plastic lettuce containers and cardboard egg cartons.  You fill the trays (egg cartons) with dampened sterile soil mix. And plant the seeds.  I’m using a heirloom mix this year.  The seed containers should be placed in a southern facing window.  What is nice about the plastic lettuce containers is that they have a lid.  The egg carton can be cut down to fit the lettuce container and the lid creates a mini greenhouse that is waterproof.     

Before planting the seeds I thank the soil, thank the water, thank the sun and thank the seeds for the tomatoes that will help feed my family.

To be continued……..