Thursday, January 31, 2013

angels and snow

My week started off rocky, but as it usually happens in my weepiest moments come gentle reminders of love and care.

I like to think of it as my angels manifesting.

Now, for years I was hooked into the U2 lyric If God would send his angels, I sure could use them here right now - of course keeping my head lifted to the sky for some signs of support.  Then one day I realized my angels are the people who manifest in my life: my family and friends, certainly, but also the people who pass through my life often in seemingly random ways.  The car that lets me merge ahead of them; the check-out lady at the grocery store who remembers I buy some interesting produce; and of course people who pass through this space or who I've met in other virtual classrooms.   

So many dear angels lightening up my heavy mood with their words and remembrances.

And as if Mother Nature knew I needed to pause and center myself, she gave us a snow day yesterday! (I didn't even mind the 5:40 am phone call from the school announcing the closure ... immediately turned the alarm off and went right back to now blissful sleep!)

Time to linger over the morning tea and write back to my angels and time to go outside and discovery more winged ones fluttering about me. 

And time to receive the healing magic of long days playing, cuddling, laughing and loving.

As Charlie so famously would say:
Thank you angels!

Monday, January 28, 2013

overflow ... overwhelm ...


Yesterday I found myself opening up Facebook, seeing a huge number of notifications up by that little globe icon (notice how they use the color red which sends me the message urgent! attend to now!), clicking to see what had seemingly caused the world to implode while I was slumbering. As I scanned the list of activity my head nearly imploded.

I had to close the laptop and walk away.

I couldn't figure out what was rattling me so ... I mean, there are many private groups I participate in with wonderful people, fascinating material, great ideas and support ... it wasn't the usual run-of-the-mill facebook fodder ... photos of people's Sunday brunch orgy or gripe of the moment (yup, I'm prone to posting my vent-du-jour) ... there were quite a few things I wanted to catch up on and yet that moment felt like the zen story of a professor visiting a master to ask about the teachings. As the master poured tea the professor kept talking and talking and  the zen master kept pouring the tea, letting it spill over the cup and into the saucer.  When the professor commented upon it, the master replied "You say you want to learn but you are like this cup: so full nothing else can go in."

Of course I am both the cup and the teapot pouring pouring pouring ...

I actually felt like there were all these voices shouting at me, vying for my attention and I could not hear my own self in that moment.  

I think it must be the season. This is a time of inward being, hibernation, sitting in quiet and abiding in the wisdom of that which has been as I rest and ready myself that which waits to bud and grow.  I know I have been sleeping much more - 9 1/2 hours when I don't have to set the alarm.  Being with my family and falling into the meditative rhythm of knitting. 


Making more snowflakes and suncatchers (for what little sunlight we have) and watching the birds come to the feeders.



 So excuse me if I appear a little recluse-ish these days.  I've felt raw and tender.  I cried pretty much the entire time I was at work today (a whole different story of overwhelm and frustration.)  I am peeking out, catching your words, images and stories but not able to hold much.  Allowing myself time to empty. Perhaps that is the reason for so many tears? Washing myself clean.  Clearing my cobwebs and internal space so that when I am ready, I can fill again.

I am seeking the quiet wisdom that surrounds me in my home.  Little faces and friends keeping my hands and heart busy.  Oh, yes ... right ... I am building right now ... a virtual nest for myself and for anyone who wants to join me (two week away!  my heart swells and new tears form, but of a very different nature!) 


Do you feel the same pull this season?  How does the rhythm of Winter manifest in your life?  I am curious as I peer out from my cave. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

how we do holidays

Winter break was only a couple of weeks ago, but we were ready for a long weekend! Here's how we spent our time:

Lots of hot, gingered lemonade (heavy on the honey please - yum!)

Catching up on correspondence (this will be the year of writing letters for both of us)


Filling the house with the smell of baking (oatmeal cranberry cookies)

Note: the heart shape never happened but they were delicious in any shape or form

Musical jam sessions (I rock the wooden thingy with the ridges; Cowgirl likes to begin each selection with a little harmonica or kazoo prelude before the main event of bongos)

Marathon game sessions complete with popped corn or s'mores (marshmallows roasted over the gas burner ... not as quaint as a campfire, but as effective)

Making paper snowflakes from coffee filters because we want snow! (the idea came from The Artful Winter ebook -  the source of the above cookies and lots of great craft activities which I hope to use in a girl's circle with Cowgirl and her friends; can't wait to check out the other seasons' offerings)

After I hung the snowflakes up, look what happened!

Okay, I confess we got a little Laura Ingalls Wilderesque here. Cowgirl and I recently started reading Little House in the Big Woods; I loved the Little House books as a girl and re-read them over the years so I am thrilled Cowgirl is enjoying them with me. I had forgotten the detail (which requires lots of pauses and explanations; I cannot remember if I was as baffled by the descriptions of frontier living) and it is making me nostalgic for simpler family life. (Not that my childhood resembled any kind of Father Knows Best, Family Ties or even Brady Bunch world which is perhaps why I crave these family-centric experiences.)  

Cue syrupy music and golden sunlight as I anticipated an afternoon spent in front of the fire playing a rollicking game of monopoly.  Then cue crashing glass, needle scratching over a vinyl record and the screeching of wild monkeys as said game quickly descended into a personal sturm und drang for Cowgirl when the Husband purchased Boardwalk before she could.

Oh yes, our little half pint of cider was not a happy camper.  And as I sat on the couch listening to the accusations (you don't listen to me!) and the wails (game was put away on account of poor sportswomanship which resulted in new depths of anguish) I was grateful for a new ally in what I think of as mommy moments.  

Introducing my Good Enough Mother (right; along with her opposite, The Too Good Mother who looks a lot like Peggy from season one of Mad Men which in itself is fodder for deep, psychological processing) who sat with me on the couch that long afternoon and reminded me that parenting is hard and that growing up is even harder.  She patted my hand, poured me another cup of gingered lemonade (good for the body and soul) and helped see that being challenged is the way we grow and that if we allow each other the space and time to vent and rage and cry then there is always a desire to cuddle, discuss, understand and learn.  We both are strong enough to withstand the friction and we help each other find our way back to calm after chaos. (Thank you Jane for introducing me to these powerful archetypes in your e-course; Too Good Mother is packing her bags and will soon be on her way out!)

I think Laura, Ma and Pa would be as baffled by our life as we are by theirs.  

For the record: next game of monopoly went smoothly and no tears ... of course Cowgirl got both Boardwalk and Park Place and then plodded straight on towards a Trump-like empire of hotels that wiped me out after an hour of play.  I faced bankruptcy without shedding a single tear.  See how I've grown? 

Oh, yes, another visit from the Tooth Fairy completed our holiday weekend!  I hope yours was as pleasurable if not as tumultuous!


Friday, January 18, 2013

my early Valentine

I am cross-posting here ... (ah, the confusion of multiple sites!) but for those of you who may not know my alter ego (no not Wonder Woman although I could do so much with  those indestructible bracelets and lasso of truth!) I have been experimenting in online offerings over here.  I think of it as my little playground ... or laboratory of dangerous thoughts? 

I have something new which is really exciting me as I am not certain What will manifest but I do know Why I am compelled to be leaping anyway.


I just feel it in my heart.  I feel and trust this intense desire to have a space to gather and share the stories of the heart, exploring the lessons and challenges of loving wide open and the power and wisdom gained by aligning ourselves with our hearts. 

My notebook is filling up with ideas. I am stepping into this flow and allowing it to carry me and damn!  it feels good! 

I love making soup.  I often have only a basic recipe in mind when I start cooking.  The intention is always to make something nourishing, tasty, warm and filling. As I add the first ingredients, other items seem to offer themselves up. Flavors, colors, tastes and textures magically come together.  Truly, the binding elements are love and magic.

Each of us is a unique ingredient necessary for a hearty bowl of love soup.  Can't you just taste it?  

I'm already bubbling with excitement ... must be careful not to boil over!

All the details are here.

Further enticement (2 minute love letter): 

password: heartfull 
direct link to video here

I promise to return to regularly scheduled programming next week :) Lots to share regarding monopoly games, knitting adventures, painterly messes and other mommy moments. I certainly could use those killer Wonder Woman boots!

Monday, January 14, 2013

custom word banners


I've been having so much fun playing with the idea of prayer flags.  I started out making them as holiday decorations for friends and family.

I then saw the possibilities of turning them into more personalized banners, creating this bee happy set for my sister-in-law who is a beekeeper.

When I began thinking about my word/intention for 2013, I realized a banner or prayer flag would be a great way to set one's intention in a tangible way. (I'm still planning this one!)



Making the above flags for friends, I found myself thinking about their words (Create and Emerge) as I decided upon stamps, appliqué designs and colors. 


As I carved new stamps and sewed banners, it felt like I was meditating upon these intentions, adding my thoughts and prayers to their words, their energy. It has been a rich and powerful way to move into the new year with mindfulness and love.  


Now, I am not a great sewer (straight and even are foreign concepts for me)  nor are my stamps perfectly neat and tidy, but I am enjoying the process and learning so much from experimenting with fabric, ink and forms.  For anyone who would like their own customized set of prayer flags (or Intention Banner) I would be happy to discuss making a set for you.  

Here are the details: each flag measures 5 by 5 inches and is a cotton fabric (honestly, not sure what is it called; the fabric is in the "home" section of Joann's Fabric store ... it lightweight and takes the fabric inks nicely.)

The cut edges are left raw and I fray the loose threads, so the squares are slightly uneven.  Some sets I add ribbon on the bottom, others I stick with stamps and appliqué elements only.

One banner is comprised of 5 flags sewn to twill tape which measures approximately 6 feet long (so you can pin or tie the flag and allow for draping.)

I mix up sewn elements with stamps.  The stamps are all my own carvings.  The sewn elements may be layered (as in the hearts) or single layer collage (I created some flower and leave designs in the bee flags.)  

I only have the one set of large letters for words and a long word or phrase could comprise an entire flag or span two in the middle.

As I am testing the waters on this project, I am offering to accept a few orders at this time.  Please note that I am a working mama and cannot guarantee something immediate; two weeks would be my promise (not including shipping time; if I need to make a new stamp, that could take me a little longer).  The cost (including first class shipping to the continental U.S.) is $20.  Canada and Europe: $25.

If you are interested, please contact me via email at: Lishofmann(at)novia(dot)net with prayer flags in the subject line and we can discuss details. 

Of course, these are super fun to make so perhaps you will want to experiment with designing your own?  Feel free to contact me if you have questions.  I am thinking the possibilities (there is my word again) are endless! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

cozying in ❋

This morning the possibilities of the day seem shrouded in secrecy.

I walked Moose in the dark dawn mist, coming home dewy damp and steaming warm after trudging in heavy boots, snow pants and coat.

The day spreads out before me ... I hear the drone of the heat pump, the click of the coffee maker, the snores and sighs of the dog. (What burdens his soul?  Where do his dreams take him and what adventures require such snorts, yips and twitches?)

I have been in cozy-down mode.  Lots of knitting, finishing up holiday gifties and realizing there are more I want to make/send as I love the idea of being a kind of craft-crazy Robin Hood spreading wealth through the postal mail.

i finished this shawl ... the yarn was purchased pre-Cowgirl for a more complicated pattern but i welcomed simplicity into my life and followed this easy peasy pattern (i could swear i had started this only a few months ago but in the course of finding the pattern i discovered i cast on back in ... april?)

Possibilities ... possibilities ... 


Every day I wake up and feel excitement knowing that I am staying wide open to adventures and growth.  Trips are being planned. eek! ... one to New Zealand as a belated 50th wingding celebration of sisterhood; and now a family trip to a cottage somewhere - Devonshire? (ancestral stomping grounds of the Husband) Scotland? (my mother's side of the family) or Ireland? (where we honeymooned 24 1/2 years ago) Wherever we go, Cowgirl has been reassured dragons and fairies are there.

My girl who described herself in her school autobiography as skill, love, fast, happy.

yes, more knitwear completed ... girl not available to model but her stand-in from school  was very cooperative! (pix for their tongue-twister project)

Lover of dragons
Who fears spiders
Who needs shelter
Who gives friendship 

How would my autobiography read? All about Lisa: laughing, loud, eclectic, joy. Lover of love, who fears separation, who needs color & song, who gives all of her self. 

Ah, yes ...  a True Joy Warrior, Ninja mom with camera.

 If this post seems a little jumpy it is probably because I am on a water challenge which means I am constantly stopping to sip water and constantly jumping up to pee!

How's all that for a week?  And I've got more brewing for you all next week! ;)

Until then ...


Friday, January 4, 2013

weekly reflection

A few years ago I had a weekly reflections practice here.  Usually a phrase or thought blogged, photographed, painted or crafted in some form or another.

I spent a lovely morning puttering about a finally empty house.  I have reclaimed the dining room table for its true purpose: my painting table!  Pausing to let a layer of paint dry, I had a phone chat with a sweet friend who was also pausing in her busy day.  She mentioned embarking upon a weekly practice set in place by Amanda Blake-Soule or SouleMama (or Taproot Magazine mama!) which is to post a single photo on Friday that captures the essence of her week.  She calls it this moment.

Having completed a 365 photo-a-day for 2012, I am easing up on the old camera but I love the idea of having a weekly practice.  So here I am.  Week one.

I love the idea of this being a transformation of my weekly reflection into something simple, easy and do-able.

Stage one of a painting inspired by Katherine Dunn's Capturing the Essence course.  The lesson is to tell the story of a dear friend at her moment of passing over; here is my beloved Frida cat as her spirit soared out of her 18 year old body.  After much struggle, there was a tangible sense of her spirit springing out of her and I want to capture her flying to the stars. 

To join in, visit here and leave a comment with a link to your weekly reflection or moment to remember.

Thus possibilities take root! Thank you Maya for introducing me to so much goodness! (Off to find a cardigan pattern to knit for Cowgirl who has requested a new sweater!  And like any knitting mama, I cannot resist such a request!)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

my new year of POSSIBILITIES


That's my word/intention for 2013: possibilities.  Say it out loud ... it bubbles out of the mouth like water spilling over river rocks.  I love how the concept of possibilities conjures up a sense of spaciousness, a feeling of the magical, a suggestion of adventures and journeys.  

This is my fourth year selecting a word for the year and utilizing it as an intention or touchstone of remembrance and commitment for mindfulness in my daily life.  I have played with Fearless, attempted to Shine and this past year sought Clarity in myself and my life.  

With Clarity, I found myself remembering it whenever I felt overwhelmed, confused, lost or at odds.  It allowed me a pause in the tumble of life to re-set my course or re-adjust my attitude.  What can I gain from this experience?  What lessons are present in this encounter?  How can I take what is happening in the present and allow it to deepen my understanding about myself, my priorities, my values and my beliefs?

I tested Clarity in many ways this past year, particularly in the arena of relationships.  In attempting to stay truthful and honest to myself, I stepped on some toes.  I responded without thinking (usually responding from a deep seated place of fear or insecurity) and then had to follow through on some commitments that weren't the best fit for me but which forced me to grow and from that perspective, have clarity about what is best for me and my family.

Next to Clarity, Possibilities feels downright playful and relaxed and I am excited to think of the year ahead full of such qualities.  


Over the holiday break, an old friend was in town and we caught up on two years worth of changes.  The major shift for my friend being a long-term relationship after many years on the dating scene.  What he told me is one way I want to embrace possibilities in the year ahead.  He said "When I became the man of my dreams rather than looking for him out there, then he appeared in my life."

Becoming the dream that we seek - isn't that a ripe and yummy thought?  This is the time for me to draw upon my own resources, to cease casting my line in other waters and buckle down to the work that waits within me.  Writing, painting, crafting, but also playing.  Deepening connection with those who inspire and challenge me to imagine new possibilities, new ways to embrace a creative, fulfilling,  and nourishing life.  I spent much of the break writing letters and cards, returning to a more personal way of connecting.  I want to go deeper; I am tired of skimming the surface of so much stuff - not that it isn't a useful practice, but there comes a time to plunge inward. 

Like finding yourself with lots of limes and deciding to zest the hell of them and make key lime pie.  (Okay, so I didn't make the pie, but I documented and ate it!)


So you will find me here and there but more quiet than usual in the online forums.  I'm choosing to plant my words in richer soil; to allow space and time for those words and hopefully discussions to take root and flourish into new ideas, new perspectives and more vibrant and sustaining community.  I hope you will join me.  Grab a cup of tea, settle in and allow your words, your thoughts to steep until mellow and ready to share.  


May the coming year find us all cuddled in the embrace of many warm and loving possibilities.  xo