Friday, March 29, 2013

my friday pause

Fridays are my ME days ... I try not to schedule anything and allow the day to unfold, following my energy, dancing with my muse.

After a winter of needle arts (knitting, sewing, embroidery) I find myself picking up my cameras again.  It's as if my eyes need waking up after my winter's nap.

So here is my practice, for the time being: a moment from my ME day - a visual poem if you will - or an excuse for not writing, just uploading.

What in your life is calling for your attention?  Where does your gaze long to linger?

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

on the mat

Isn't it funny how inspiration, like water, finds the quickest way in?  And always when we least expect it.

a lovely heart from an even lovelier soul, Emily

Oh, yeah.  Here's some karmic unfair play:  for the set up, you must understand I have been disdainful neglectful when it comes to domestic engineering tasks.  In other words, I've been overlooking the filth and clutter in my home. But after a long winter of one virus after another setting up squatter's camps, I got a bee up the bum and dove in by cleaning the sinks.  Somehow I spiraled into the laundry room and I had the vapors when I saw the sink that has never been cleaned since we moved in which was, um, 5 years ago?

I filled it with warm water and began scrubbing (yes, I was using a toothbrush!)  As I worked, I noticed a draining sound which I quickly discovered was the water that was supposed to be in the sink, pouring out the seal and into the cabinet underneath!  I grabbed a bucket, shoved it under the mini waterfall and yelled for the Husband.  I then ran downstairs and towards the garage to grab another bucket.  That's when my first A-Ha moment arrived.

You know the prank where someone rigs a bucket of water over a door and the unsuspecting fool opens the door all the way and water is dumped upon them?  I was that fool.  I opened the door to the garage  (which is apparently under the laundry room sink) and a torrent of water poured down through the jamb and upon my head.  

After the initial shock and surprise worn off, I tried arguing that this was some kind karmic punishment for cleaning (the Husband didn't buy it.) Only later did it occur to me that I had been cleansed while receiving a watery wake up call. 

You see, I've been receiving all kinds of signs that I need to keep clearing out the negative thoughts, the doubts, the scarcity thinking.  It is obviously an on-going process requiring some guerrilla tactics on the part of the Universe.

My next A-ha moment came during Cowgirl's martial arts tournament.  I attend such affairs with a poor attitude; it feels like one more way the center tries to squeeze us parents for money.  Before the event started, the master ("Master") addressed the audience and the kids, explaining the purpose of such events. While I still question his true motives (every office encounter I leave checking to make sure I haven't sold off a kidney or signed up for a tropical timeshare), his message was unexpectedly inspiring.

He started out by saying that people will always judge us ... how we look, how we talk, what we wear, how well we perform ... and that the competition is an opportunity to get used to being judged in a safe environment where the judges are part of the martial arts family who want to see them succeed.  We will be judged, but what matters is what we do with that feedback.  What matters is how we feel about ourselves.  He said told the kids sitting in a circle around the room that the most important thing was their decision to compete; that by stepping out upon the mat, they had already won because they were there to challenge themselves.  No matter the outcome, they showed up and tried and dared to excel. 

I think this is the practice: daring on a regular basis.  I  go through periods where I lean into my edges and attempt that which makes me feel both exhilarated and afraid. I make my appearance on the mat, but then I retreat to the safety and comfort of life as it was.  I let ease and certainty numb me.   I take calculated risks so I can say I tried, but I never face the really big fears.  

And what am I afraid of? Of falling flat on my face, not measuring up, not able to deliver the goods. I am afraid of putting myself first, making a choice and it being the wrong one, and not only a bad decision, but one that negatively impacts my family.  I am afraid of the judgments (that I'm selfish, irresponsible, deluded, spoiled, privileged) of others but in all honesty, I am the harshest judge of all.

What would it mean to stay on the mat? Is that even possible?

And maybe the mat is just a gate that stands open, waiting for me to become curious enough to pass through it and onto the path that leads, well ... I'm not sure where? But does that really matter?  Isn't it about honoring one's heart and saying "my happiness matters."

A HeartFull Living offering made for me by a true sweet heart, Donna Wynn

I am curious enough and tired of wondering "do I dare?"

I dare

This sleeping bear has awoken and is ready to lay claim to her life. Bring on the honey and the bees, the sweetness and the stings. I want it all.  

Possibilities ... I return to my intention and discover I am standing in a field of possibilities.  I just have to choose one and begin. And I see you in your field and say we all can dare together. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

heart mantra



What words do you need to hear today?

Can you offer them to yourself?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It's that time of year when the seasons seem stalled ... Winter hanging on while Spring only hints at her arrival ...


A time of season when I too feel suspended ... yearning for warmer days and all that is implied by Spring's activities, and yet ...


Feeling resistant to moving, taking action ... all to readily settling  back into the couch cushions, deep sighs, picking up embroidery needle and through slow, repetition motions creating my own sense of time ...


Slow, slow, slow ...

 inertia threatening ...

Winter's cold still grips my world.  Scurrying back from the mail box, shifting through the day's post, worrying over an unfamiliar hand inking my name on an otherwise plain envelope (no return address, no postmark - who is this?!) ... at the edges of my awareness the call of geese in flight ... instinct or intuition compelling me to pull out of myself and look up ... and I stop, in front of the neighbor's house and stare ... a countless number of geese, bird after bird, v upon v, looped like black embroidered lines across the expanse of sky ... another voice breaks the reverie go get the girl!  and I take off running for the house, shouting out as I come in hurry hurry! and I scoop her up (because it is cold and she is shoeless) and bundle her in my arm and outside ... look up! and we both stare upwards at this miracle of geese, breathless with wonder, the only words appropriate to the moment: wow ... wow ... wow ...

no photo, because i made that choice not to rupture that perfect moment of beingness ...

So I feel the call, feel the pull and yet I know it is not time yet for me to begin.  What? I'm not sure.  A recurring dream from the past 6 months or longer has me in the middle of a move, my husband having made the decision and arrangements to sell our house, pick up, and travel elsewhere.  Always, I am frantic ... upset to realize I agreed to this shift, confused as to how our current home could be so easily toss aside for this unknown future place.  

I have been puzzled by these dreams.  The fact that they are reoccurring tells me they hold significant clues or insights but I have not decoded them.  I think they have something to do with my struggle between restlessness and nesting; my desire to create something with my life, but not at the cost of abandoning that which brings me comfort, security, a sense of place and rest.  The masculine do/make/achieve part of my persona trying to override my inner feminine voice who counsels be/allow/experience.  There is the part of me that relishes the planning, building, creating but there is an equal part that requires play, spontaneity, unfolding and presence.  I think this is what my dreams suggest: not so much being resistant to growth or movement or change, but  a balancing of those energies with home and simple being. 

So here I am, savoring this in-between time, this frozen moment of transition, when the impulse to move tips the scales from being into becoming.  Knowing that soon becoming will ease back into being.  Or perhaps the trick is to hold both at once?  I believe that may be true grace in living.  I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

For the love of Pom Poms✺

It's been crafting mania over here ... 

Cowgirl and I seem to be trading colds back and forth and coupled with some snow days, we've been trying to keep busy while staying home.  So combining 2 antsy craftistas, scissors and lots of stash yarn and you know what you get?

Pom Poms!

Actually, pom pom mania came about while talking with a friend who is a book arts specialist.  She had worked with a group of kids and was telling me how shocked she was by their lack of manual dexterity.  We were bemoaning the probable evolutionary development of massive thumbs - kind of human claws that can clutch technology and run the world via the thumb. 

Deciding I was not going to go down without a fight, and in no small part inspired to do something with my burgeoning stash of left-over bits of yarn, I grabbed onto the project of a pom pom scarf.



Never have two girls with scissors, yarn and a wide open floor had more fun.  It is a pretty simple project: made tons of pompoms in various sizes and then string them up on a crocheted chord.  Easy peasy pompom breezy!

 The upside to being stuck home (and truly, I always find an upside to being home!) is plenty of time to finish old projects 


And begin new ones

I know, I know, we are turning into the ideal 19th century accomplished young ladies. It just dawned on me that I am morphing into the subject of my almost-dissertation topic - a self taught artist named Eunice Pinney whose work is often categorized under Schoolgirl Art (except she was an adult woman when she created her work.) 

While I am following the lessons of Rebecca Ringquist on Creativebug (that's also her sampler design), Cowgirl is free-forming her toothed serpent.  But I wonder if Cowgirl's true passion may lie in other creative pursuits?

 A little Kat von D?  (It was Dr. Seuss week and her teacher read them the Foot Book.  She sent home a note explaining the markers would be washable ... let's just say those were more than temporary dragon/serpent tattoos.)

One additional gift this down time has given me has been hours in bed watching umpteen cooking shows.  It is crazy, but when I am feeling less than 100% I am more likely to enjoy watching chefs cook things that I would never eat myself, much less cook. Like beef tongue (I am a vegetarian) or braised pork cheek with sorrel puree (?)  But what keeps me returning to those shows (Chopped - a favorite of Cowgirl's - and Top Chef and Iron Chef) is the one essential ingredient that they all have in common: passion.

Even though I had no appetite for food of any kind, I found myself compulsively watching these cooking shows and I realized it was the passion every chef shared for their art that had me hooked.  Each chef talked about struggles, hardships, set backs and each avowed that they would never quit, they would never not want to cook and share their love of food with others. No-matter-what this was their life.

Which has me thinking about my passions and how best to share with my girl the importance of discovering one's passion (which may or may not be considered your gift) and following it because doing so, in and of itself, is the only way to live life. 

From pom poms to creme brulĂ©e with a little stitchery tossed in for some color.  What can I say?  It's all about the love.  Pom Poms and life.  I think there is a dissertation in there somewhere.


 Meanwhile, our next endeavor involves lots and lots of bird drawings ... 

Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, March 4, 2013

making magic (+ Amulet giveaway)

This is how we fill our days ...

I'm not ready for Winter to exit just yet ... I am loving the snow that seems to arrive while I'm sitting at the kitchen island, sipping my coffee.  I turn around and snow is falling and I can just sit and watch and take my time dreaming.

And I can watch this girl play in it ... before donning my boots and joining her.  

But the reminders are all around us that it is indeed a time of celebration and new beginnings ... 

Happy Year of the Snake in case you didn't know!  Snake's message being one of forward movement (although I think of snakes slithering sideways which is more my style) and shedding what has become confining, out-dated, no longer needed.  

Time to step into new dreams, new adventures.  


My girl was so proud of her outfit!  After the New Year performances, we ran into the bathroom where several of the dancers and musicians were changing.  "I look like a performer!" she said with great pride.  Yes, indeed ... she would have been a good Monkey Queen!

I love that our home is a place of magic and wonderment for us all.  Cowgirl still leaves offerings for the fairies in their mailbox. 

She explained it was a tiny velociraptor that the fairies could ride if they needed to travel quickly.  Knowing she would be waiting for a response, I decided to offer my support in some fairy magic making ...

His name is Edmund Owl.  I purchased the kit on a whim last Spring from Fancy Tiger pop up Shop when I was attending the Makerie Creative Retreat.  He's been waiting patiently for his birth and even with my rusty sewing skills I was able to whip him up in no time! (And now I see how easy it would be to recreate and expand upon this simple but adorable design.)

I ask you: who could resist those eyes?

Even though  it was day time, Edmund waited for Cowgirl's return from school.  Now, she had seen the kit so I was a little worried about her reaction.  But my girl is a believer and I think she wants to believe even when there are gaps in the curtain and we can see behind the screen to the wizard. (When visiting Santa this year, he invited her to take a toy from the basket by his chair.  She grabbed a top - she loves spinning things! - and immediately noticed the made in China sticker.  Did you know elves from around the world apply to work in Santa's workshop?  There are many Chinese elves!) 

When she came home she immediately saw Edmund sitting in the mailbox.  "Mom!" she exclaimed, "the Fairies made the owl for you!" 

Like I said ... who could resist those eyes?

Speaking of magic ... I have a copy of the online magazine Amulet to give away this week.  It is full of magic and inspiration in words and images and yes, I have a piece about my girl nestled within its virtual pages.  I am giving away the current edition (one)  Winter: Frozen, Hope, Transition.  The second edition Burst of Spring will become available for purchase April 1. You can read more about their offerings here or visit their facebook page.  

I will pulling one name from the comments for this post, so leave me your words and be entered to win!  Tell me ... how do you support magic in your life?

I will draw the name on Sunday, March 10 and announce the winner next week.  Be sure I have a way to contact you should you win!  Good luck!