Holding Space


Breath. Yours. Mine. Collectively, ours. It may be the first for one and the last for another. In between we hold space. We breathe for someone who cannot. We support the life as it becomes all it was meant to be, and when it ceases we remember. Always breathe; if not for yourself, for someone else…because in some moments breath is all there is.

We need not understand or agree to hold space, only to love, accept, and forgive in some instances. Life is not comprised of precision. While mistakes are the lessons of living, breathing is the essence of life. What we take in with each inhale and let go with each exhale is the art. I call this creative living at the heart of existence.

It has been my honor to hold space for others. Thank you for holding space for me.

****I have not blogged for over eight months. In fact, I have written very little. The end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 were months of various physical ailments. Fortunately, most issues are resolved and not as serious as originally imagined. I closed my business and took charge of my health. I apologize to those who sent messages and I didn’t respond as I didn’t blog during this time. This has energized and focused me. I have resurfaced into the public (big gasp for those of you who know how much I like solitude!) and realize I enjoy being with people as much as I enjoy being alone or in nature. I make no promises to an online presence though I plan to make appearances. For now I am loving, living, and listening to where I am being called…blessings to each of you.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifty-two

December 23

Creativity: Coordinating schedules and activities

Gratitude: Lunch and shopping with family…an absolutely fabulous day and night with the men in my life! I am so much enjoying having this time with my husband and both of our sons.

Joy: Youngest is home for Christmas! Oysters and firepit. A visit with good friend to exchange Christmas gifts.

Awareness: Humor is contagious!

December 24

Creativity: Mind mapping

Gratitude: A leisurely morning with hubby and both sons. Safe trip to the mountains with family and a stop for lunch along the way.

Joy: Watching my sons bottle beer. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it has been to have both of our sons under our roof this holiday season.

Awareness: It’s a lovely thought knowing the majority of these travelers are on their way to spend time with loved ones. Love is in the air!

December 25

Creativity: Android photography, cooking

Gratitude: A visit with MIL at the nursing home and got to visit with my SIL as well.

Joy: Family dinner with my mom and sisters, birds at my mom’s feeder, love and laughter

Awareness: I haven’t enjoyed a Christmas this much in a while.

December 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Made it back safely to the beach, time with my mom, hubby, and both sons

Joy: Sushi with hubby and Youngest at our favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant. We are sorry they will be closing their doors at the end of this week but so happy we got to eat with them one last time to say goodbye.

Awareness: The sky exploded in a brilliant array of orange and pinks and fizzed out as quickly as it happened…so glad I didn’t miss that short sunset.

December 27

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Got started on my taxes, took down the Christmas trees and decorations

Joy: Steak dinner with hubby and Youngest, phone call from Oldest, movie time with hubby and Youngest

Awareness: Sand slipping through the funnel of an hour glass is an accurate description of the fleeting of time.

December 28

Creativity: Reading about writing and stained glass

Gratitude: Safe arrivals for Youngest and Oldest to their destinations, finally tackled long overdue yardwork

Joy: Spending the day with hubby, watching movies, eating chocolate and drinking a glass of wine, Oldest’s fabulous sleuth work in digging through land records at the court house and uncovering genealogy information we’ve been searching for many years…I now know the names of my 3X and 4X great grandparents on one line in which I’d been stumped.

Awareness: Patience pays…answers to questions that need to be answered come in their own time.

December 29

Creativity: Made a 15 pound pan of lasagna!

Gratitude: a rainy day off so I stayed in my pjs all day!

Joy: Talking genealogy with Oldest, glass of wine with hubby, snuggly furry babies

Awareness: I am an early riser, and most times I go to bed at a decent hour. Even if I stay up I still don’t sleep soundly. I’ve tried to stay up late and sleep in, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’ve always been this way, wonder if I’m just wired this way.

December 30

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My niece and her longtime girlfriend got married!

Joy: view of a gorgeous sunset while on the road, sushi dinner at our friend’s restaurant (these are the first time owners of the sushi place in my neighborhood that is closing. We don’t get to our friend’s current restaurant as often as we’d like since it’s located in another city), a glimpse of fine snow flurries.

Awareness: Decided to start a bullet journal this year as my own way of personal accountability with a dash of creativity. I know I am more likely to stick to schedules and push toward goals if I write them down. I also know being appreciative of life helps me with awareness and creativity and instills calmness within.

December 31

Creativity: Cut DirtMan and Oldest’s hair, researched bullet journaling

Gratitude: scent of wood fire burning (fireplaces and stoves) in the neighborhood

Joy: Spent the day with the hubby test driving cars. Watching the twinkling lights in the neighborhood while sipping a glass of wine with the hubby.

Awareness: Of the many things I intended to do this year my most successful was my pledge to defeat the daily Spider Solitaire Challenge, ha! That said, I did live a creatively appreciative and joyfully aware year. I did find by allowing inspiration and pleasure of artistic expression to lead my pursuits my focus was on stained glass, writing, and photography. I did manage to get in a bit of embroidery and quilting, but I’m honestly not sure if I picked up a crochet needle this year.

As for 2017 I plan to continue to pursue my creative endeavors as inspiration leads me. I intend to keep a bullet journal for my own personal use, not to be posted. Perhaps I will post on “Relishing the Moments”. For now I make no blog commitments. I plan to allow 2017 unfold in its own time. Happy New Year to each of you! As in the beginning of each year I leave you with this:

May Your Blessings Be Abundant

I wish for you a life of simple abundance; an abundance of necessary tools to learn to bend with the wind, stand strong against the tide, and forge trails across life’s arduous mountains.

I wish for you the gift of time, moments of explicit joy with those you love. I want you to open your hands wide and let time escape and settle in your heart. I wish for you time to touch the morning; to feel the cool wetness of dew as it clings to the grass beneath your feet. I wish for you the time to see birds in flight; to notice the perfection of each single feather giving lift and how they join a myriad of others to create a formation which soars the vast blue skies. I wish for you the stillness of time to hear that voice; the one that calls deep within and guides you among the living. I wish for you the opportunity of time to taste the salt of the ocean so that you may enjoy the sweet pungency of earth. I wish for you time to smell the fragrance of daily living; the bittersweet scent of disappointment so you may savor the aroma of fulfillment. I wish for you time to know the value of living.

I wish for you the gift of vision so you might see the colorful rainbow of your life; the possibility of who you can become and the immeasurable value of who you are.

I wish for you the ability to take sorrow and weave it into a basket of hope; that you might know strength is developed through adversity, and character is built by conquering fear and overcoming obstacles.

I hope you will learn to accept defeat as a rung on the ladder of success. I wish you the wisdom to recognize success as you walk along its terrain and know the valleys and peaks are not measured upon the opinions of others.

I desire patience for you to wait your turn, to know your timing is not always yours to choose. I wish you to be able to let go of control and allow your life to flower of its own accord.

I wish for you prosperity; to know it does not always come in material form and the intuition to feel the richness laden within the layers of your soul.

I wish for you faith not only in times of distress; but to know you are always loved in every moment and in every situation.

I wish for you mercy upon your own mistakes and forgiveness toward others. I wish for you a grateful spirit; an appreciation of those around you and all you are offered in this life. I wish you grace to pave a life of love.

I wish for you a generous heart, compassionate soul, good intentions, and a life of positive influence.

I pray for many moments of happiness in your life, but more importantly joy because joy is not merely a feeling but a condition of existence. More than this I wish you peace, a comfort which resides deep within and transcends all understanding.

I wish you conservation of your own well-being: I pray for your good health that you will make wise choices and reap the benefits of walking in comfort to enjoy every step of your journey.

I ask that you know the difference between being alone and being lonely; that you will find comfort in yourself and strength in knowing you are never truly alone.

I wish for you trust in trying times and compassionate hands to reach out and pick you up when you are down.

I wish for you to know the importance of limitations but also the freedom and power to step outside of self imposed boundaries.

I wish you the desire to let go of anger and shame and replace them with a calm spirit and self-worth. I wish you acceptance of your past as it has created your beautiful soul of today.

I wish you work to challenge your being, play to enjoy life‘s pleasures, and rest to recharge your faculties. I wish you the opportunity to teach your craft and to serve others and the poise to receive the same. I wish you balance among your many interests and harmony in your life.

I pray your struggles are few and far between and never more than you can bear. I also pray you grow from your experiences and your healing be fully restored.

I wish for you clarity in times of chaos and discernment in times of doubt; that you will continue to reach when you feel nothing within your grasp.

I pray you recognize the many gifts in life which are free to those who reach for them. I pray you will continue to dance among the wildflowers while you reach for the stars.

I pray you will not feel you are entitled to life but blessed to live it.

I pray you will view the power of surrender as an act of acceptance; that you will both give and receive daily as needed.

I wish you immeasurable love and continuous light in all you encompass.

Whether your needs are physical or spiritual I pray your thirst might be quenched and your hunger satisfied all the days of your life; that you know your visit here is not absolute but life and love ring eternal.

May you find a piece of heaven in all you touch on earth.

May you may always live your life as poetry in motion.

~Susan Carter Payne

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifty-one

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.  ~Tecumseh


December 16

Creativity: Painting, preparing kid’s craft activities for next week

Gratitude: Chapstick, hand lotion, reading a new book

Joy: Watching the toddler’s excitement when I projected colorful snowflakes across the walls, ceiling, and floor. Phone call with Youngest. Christmas music and Christmas lights!

Awareness: My dog gives various signals when someone approaches my door or walks through the front yard. It’s funny how we can tell exactly who the person is by her yip, wag, or dance…and a complete stranger is totally different from her happy welcomes.

December 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Grocery shopping for making Christmas sweets, in home spa time, reading, iron and ironing board, soap and hot water

Joy: Christmas music, two Christmas parties even though we left the second one early because it was just too many people and too much action to handle in one day

Awareness: The huge, golden moon hung low in the sky. It followed us all night, peeping through the skeletal trees and holiday-lit buildings, dipping behind walls of fog and popping up on one side and then the other. Finally Luna swooped in front of the road and led us home.

December 18

Creativity: Made a multitude of sweet treats to get us through the holidays

Gratitude: family, home, hot tea

Joy: At home doing the things I wanted to do, my pretty kitchen baking apron, Christmas trees, and Christmas music

Awareness: The wind was speaking in tongues; we deciphered it to mean stay in bed which we did. Once I was up and about I found it was 70 degrees with a lovely wind whipping at my back, delightful for the few minutes I was outside.

December 19

Creativity: Painting

Gratitude: Family dinner, reading time, “light at the end of the tunnel”, Hubby and Oldest are enjoying all of the Christmas treats I made this weekend

Joy: Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song! (So many memories of my Dad and me and also of my children)

Awareness: Aromas, textures, sounds, tastes, beauty…the senses bring the soul to life. What in each of these five senses moves you? For me it’s a (aroma) woodsy scent, (texture) smooth and silky fabric or a cold gemstone, (sound) music (especially the blues),(taste) a combination of salt and sweet, and (beauty) a landscape (which includes mountains and a river )in which  I feel connected.

December 20

Creativity: Drawing and painting

Gratitude: Christmas shopping

Joy: Watched “Love Actually”, talked to Youngest on the phone

Awareness: People would live much more fulfilling lives if they didn’t depend on the media to tell them how to feel and act…think for yourselves and follow your hearts, people. Be good. Do good. Retribution is NOT progress!

December 21

Creativity: Crafting with the kiddos, writing

Gratitude: Christmas shopping, only a few things left on my list and will do those on Friday (or will send hubby out for them, ha!)

Joy: Tried on the most comfortable pair of shoes ever at the shoe store and decided to purchase them. When I got to the counter the cashier asked me where my second pair were…they were buy one and get one half price…yay, I scored two pairs of the most comfortable shoes ever, in black and brown!

Awareness: I get much more accomplished when I shop alone. I don’t shop for fun; it is a mission for me. On rare occasions I do enjoy shopping with a friend, and then it’s for fun.

December 22

Creativity: Playing games and dancing with the kiddos

Gratitude: A multitude of blessings, small and large. Oldest ordered a bushel of oysters for a family feast when Youngest arrives.

Joy: A sensational sunset, Air travel-Youngest is on his way here!

Awareness: Love, joy, and peace truly are conditions of the heart. I am blessed beyond measure.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifty

Sometimes there are so many options I don’t know which way to go. It is then I quiet myself and listen to my inner voice.


December 9

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: Socks, music, time alone,

Joy: Dinner at home with the hubby, hot tea

Awareness: I really needed this week of not lifting. However, I am so ready to get my babies back here on Monday. I had no idea I’d miss them this much. When on vacation I’m busy, but here I feel like a part of me is missing without them during the weekdays.

December 10

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: Finished the last embroidery square for a quilt, learned to take my embroidery sewing machine apart to clean and repair; amazing what one can do when there is no one around to help and you need it done NOW! No pain when I woke up and very little at the end of the day, yay!

Joy: A surprise cheer me up gift from a friend arrived in my mail today! Christmas lights, Mint M&Ms, cappuccino

Awareness: Sunshine and shadow dapple across the yard, highlighting the pretty and hiding the ugly; kind of light our personalities do with our strengths and weaknesses.

December 11

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Hubby put up the bed (in the bedroom he’d converted to an office) in anticipation for Youngest’s arrival in a few weeks

Joy: Cooking a big family dinner, wearing my “most comfortable socks ever”

Awareness: When the fur babies of the house detect a human delectable edible they prey on the weakest human link…which happens to be me.

December 12

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Realized I misnumbered my weekly blog posts and corrected it.

Joy: Book Club Christmas Party!

Awareness: Now that I’m back to riding my bike every morning I can see an increase in my energy level and a positive difference in my attitude.

December 13

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Completed stained glass pieces for Christmas gifts and one commissioned piece.

Joy: Talked with my sister on the phone two days in a row!

Awareness: Predictions: Sometimes it is gut instinct and other times you know people and situations all too well.

December 14

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: family, home, jobs, friends, water, warmth

Joy: Sushi dinner and froyo with the family as we are celebrating wonderful things, only wish Youngest was in town to be with us.

Awareness: How people treat (good or bad) others (strangers, friends, or family) is a true indicator of one’s character.

December 15

Creativity: Writing, painting

Gratitude: A crockpot dinner, prep work done for some projects next week

Joy: A surprise package in the mail

Awareness: Every single year I wait until a few weeks before the end of the year to order a particular business product I need on the first…sometimes it gets here rather speedily the first but most times it doesn’t. I wonder when it will arrive…I’ve reminded myself several times in the last few months to order and yet I didn’t.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-nine

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”  ~Alan Cohen


Made it back to Hatteras just in time for the sunset

December 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Resolutions to a few difficulties, Amazon movies

Joy: Knowing I have the next nine days work-free and hopefully healing ensues

Awareness: My temper is short and emotions are high wired when my body is out of sync.

December 3

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: my friend who helped me with PT exercises, order in pizza

Joy: hot tea, a trip to the library (checked out six books), reading, watched a movie with the hubby, call from my sister and a friend, a friend who texted me photos while she shopped and picked up a few things I’d been hoping to get out to buy for someone

Awareness: It’s strange how you think about something and dismiss it and a day or two later you find you find its significance or something of relevance arrives in the mail. Both happened today.

December 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: another day of rest,Reading: Book #1 is finished and book #2 is started

Joy: scented candles, hot tea

Awareness: The world stands still. No swirl of clouds move, just a grey motionless sky. Acorns and pinecones sleep upon a bed of pine needles. Tassels of the silver leaf grass are now statues. The golden leaves of the neighbor’s trees droop to its sides as if the day is not worthy of a welcoming wave. No scurrying squirrels, fluttering birds, nor laughing children. The street is not only still but silent…it seems to be waiting. But for what? Tomorrow?

December 5

Creativity: Cooked dinner

Gratitude: GPS, reading time, people doing the lifting for me

Joy: Yoga pants, fuzzy socks, reclining sofa, furry companions,

Awareness: I fare much better with a flexible schedule than all free time. Couldn’t decide what to spend my “resting” time doing…a movie or a book? Book. Then which one? I’m not even going to tell you how long it took me to decide. I have a feeling this is going to be a long week.

December 6

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: catching up on things I’ve gotten behind on

Joy: a great PT evaluation appointment, Amazon movies, books, hot tea

Awareness: I’ve decided to focus 2017 on “relishing the moment” as it will combine my awareness, appreciation, and pleasure of life.

December 7

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: Sunshine, fresh vegetables for salad, hot tea, reading time

Joy: music, friends

Awareness: It is difficult for me to remain idle.

December 8

Creativity: Quilting, decorated both Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, stuffed stockings

Gratitude: home, scented candles, exercise bike, reading time, hot tea, time off for healing

Joy: lunch with a friend, evening time with the hubby, talking and texting with a friend

Awareness: Neither Time nor distance separates close friends.

Define and Design 2016, Weeks Forty-seven and Forty-eight


“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” ~ Michael J. Fox

November 18

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Inspiration, hot tea, order in pizza, family

Joy: Phone call from Youngest

Awareness: Home really is where the heart is.

November 19

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Though I was late for the party I did finish both of the birthday presents to take.

Joy: Shopped for both glass and fabric on the same day…and yes, I did bump into that couple at the glass store yet again! She said on the way there they wondered if I’d be there, too funny!

Awareness: We don’t have to know everything; we only need to get out there and give it our best shot.

November 20

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Stained glass orders. Willpower to turn down frozen yogurt; ok, it might have been the cold weather, but whatever! Seat warmers (feels like fall is gone and winter has arrived here!)

Joy: Breakfast out with DirtMan and Oldest at our favorite neighborhood pub.

Awareness: Watching the sun go down through a sheer curtain…the glimmering citrine gem drops through tree branches and swaying grasses changing its shape and size until it disappears into a cave of dark nothingness.

November 21

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Having a studio and tools Oldest needed to use for a project.

Joy: Salt water taffy! Phone call from my sister

Awareness: Most times I am stressed it is due to my own high expectations of myself…I need to lighten up and realize I really don’t have to do all the things I think I should.

November 22

Creativity: Stained glass, making desserts

Gratitude: I am thankful my mom is here for another birthday. She turned 83 today. I hope she sees many more birthdays.

Joy: Making dessert ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner, call from a good friend and talking to my SIL.

Awareness: Things don’t always turn out according to our plans, but faith in the powers that be makes it all ok.

November 23

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: early end to a light work day, early start to mountains, safe arrival

Joy: Dinner and smoothies on the road, early arrival to the mountains

Awareness: How comforted the soul is in silence.

November 24

Creativity: mind mapping

Gratitude: dinner with family, movie time with my mom and sister, hearing from Youngest though I was too sick to talk to him at that time, a warm blanket and a chaise lounger

Joy: a spunky, silly little dog who thinks she’s huge and a big, sweet dog who think she’s little

Awareness: Love can alternate in spits of chaos and spells of calm, and it’s usually personalities who determine which mode.

November 25

Creativity: Cooking

Gratitude: Fever gone, week long headache gone, spray and wash and a washing machine, Oldest driving me home as I do not feel comfortable driving at night

Joy: a brief visit with a school friend I hadn’t seen for maybe twenty years or more, another family gathering, lunch out with my mom, a surprise gift from my SIL, scarlet and mustard hues across a rusty mountain range

Awareness: Sometimes it’s better to allow people to speak their truth even when you see an opposing truth in the same situation; there are times in life people simply need validation.

November 26

Creativity: project planning

Gratitude: A hard working husband and son who cut and split wood (already fallen on the property) two days this weekend for my mom, forest fires near here are finally contained. One consumed over 11,000 acres and the other roughly 1600. My heart hurts for all the wildlife.

Joy: Watching tv movies with my mom most of the day, a visit with my sister, hot tea

Awareness: Lazy days usually occur in my life when I need them most.

November 27

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: heat from a wood stove, was able to help the hubby stack logs by driving the ATV which was pulling them

Joy: a cup of vanilla cappucinno, helping Oldest bottle wine, Stumbled upon a Christmas parade on a back country road.

Awareness: It’s easy to slip into a bitter mood when one is in pain…recognizing it and refocusing is crucial and possible when one sets intentions as such.

November 28

Creativity: Watching Youtube videos on stained glass

Gratitude: a chance to run to the grocery store to stock up the pantry, all the weekend laundry done, bumped into Oldest at the grocery store and he bagged and put the groceries in the car for me, text from Youngest, a neighbor picked up packages delivered to our house while we were out of town, two kindle books for a total of less than $5

Joy: Hot tea and Amazon Prime movies, a snuggly cat, answered prayers

Awareness: So often progress results with the loss of what was actually more beneficial.

November 29

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: neighbors, no broken bones, hoping it’s not a torn rotator cuff as it appears to dr to be sprains to the AC, clavicle, and chest…time will tell for sure (fell down my mom’s basement stairs, but only the last four,  over the weekend)

Joy: Ortho Urgent care rather than an ER (Only an hour as opposed to five or more and less expense)

Awareness: I’m not as young as I used to be. Payne vs. Pain; one is not as tough as the other.

November 30

Creativity:  Writing

Gratitude: life, friends and family especially a hubby to do the lifting

Joy: a good book, egg nog,

Awareness: Fence-line Hitchhikers: Golden braids of the silver leaf plants wave a thumbs up hoping to catch a ride with the wind. Perhaps they are unaware one must lift his feet from the ground to fly.

December 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Anti-inflammatory meds, ice packs, a good friend who is a physical therapist, a physical therapy department who is bending over backwards to get my evaluation moved up as soon as possible

Joy: Hubby cooked dinner, Hot herbal tea, hot bath with Epsom salt and essential oils, phone call with my sister, clients who are understanding of my need to be closed next week to help my healing

Awareness: Feeling weepy is totally out of character for me. I’m not weepy in a feel sorry for myself kind of way, but in waves that come out of nowhere and for no particular reason; wondering if this is the part of menopause that never hit or if this is some psychological reaction I can’t pin down due to my current physical condition. I do know I don’t like feeling this way and find it embarrassing. I wonder if it could be a reaction of the anti-inflammatory meds I’m taking.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fort-six

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.


November 11

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: The first day of a three day weekend to leisurely do as I please, slept in a bit later than usual

Joy: Music, Dinner out with DirtMan

Awareness: While I like setting intentions for my day I prefer to allow a bit of flexibility, prevents stress and welcomes joy.

November 12

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: Enough free time and finances to explore the creative venues which interest me…maybe not enough to the extent I sometimes wish but definitely enough to fill my well.

Joy: Tried a new spa/salon and now have a great new hairdresser…love my haircut.

Awareness: There is a huge difference in accepting people as they are and accepting them because of who they are.

November 13

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: Finished two projects, a Neti pot

Joy: Did not complete the third project because I had a mishap…the joy is I know how to fix it! The rest of the Halloween candy is finally gone.

Awareness: No matter how well I manage my time I fall slightly short of all the things I attempt to cram in…perhaps it not time management but an attempt at overachievement.

November 14

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: enjoyable work day, time with the hubby,

Joy: Book club

Awareness: Things of this world will not always go the way in which we’d prefer but the fact we are not simply witnesses but participants is a wonderful thing. The greatest thing of all is if we are not satisfied we have the ability to be the change we’d like to see to move things in the direction we want.

November 15

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Creative inspiration, phone calls with my mom and sister and texting with my niece

Joy: Synchronicity, even if I don’t grasp the meaning I know it’s in there somewhere! Speaking of synchronicities or maybe this really isn’t but still is odd. I watch five children, three have the same birthday but three years in a row, a fourth is the day after , and the fifth is fifteen days prior to the middle age children.

Awareness: People demonstrate love in different ways. We see it in actions and hear it in words, but the best indicator of all is how we feel in the presence of another. Energy is everything.

November 16

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Home, family, creative inspiration (designed a stained glass panel and some suncatchers)

Joy: Looking at machine embroidery design and planning a quilt for my niece’s baby who’s due to arrive this spring, dinner with my family…realizing Thanksgiving is next week. Skipped my writer’s group so I could do some designing.

Awareness: There are times in my excitement I jump ahead of myself rather than taking small details into account…and often those small details make a big difference in the outcome. This is another lesson in looking at the whole picture rather than focusing on one aspect.

November 17

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Inspiration…it’s rolling! Figuring out a computer problem on my own, left overs because I feel kind of crummy and don’t want to cook dinner, hot bath and hot tea, pencils, erasers, sketch pad

Joy: Vanilla eggnog (unspiked), some new designs I can hardly wait to make, stained glass online groups who share their expertise

Awareness: I think the saying “Put your money where your mouth is” is outdated. I’d much rather people be silent and put their hands to work. Action is how we get things done; I’m talking about being the change you want to see…not just donating money to your cause (though that’s great) but getting out there and volunteering your time at the food bank, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, animal shelters, mentoring children, teaching people to read, reading to the elderly or children, visiting the sick, spending time with the elderly, prison ministry, clean the bay, volunteer at the hospital, help maintain nature trails…this is just the tip of the iceberg. I used to do a lot of volunteer work when my children were young, and they participated. In the last few years I’ve resorted to giving money but not so much of my time. I realize I’ve been slacking, and it’s time for me to step back into action.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-five

“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.” ~ Caroline Kennedy


November 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Safe trip to the mountains

Joy: A bright sliver of a moon that seemed to follow us in the darkness.

Awareness: Stressors seem to dissipate as we slip out of the city and into a starlit night.

November 5

Creativity: Stacking wood…yep, there’s an art to it; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Gratitude: Things accomplished for my mom, time with her and my MIL, grateful for a relative who is a neighbor who checked my mother’s property. She had a prowler while we were visiting with my MIL.  It’s always good to know there is someone who can be there in less than two minutes if needed. Fabulous fall weather and colors in the mountains.

Joy: Spending the day with hubby and Oldest, message from my niece telling me how much she is enjoying her stained glass classes

Awareness: Never underestimate how much your presence can lift someone’s spirits.

November 6

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Hubby and Oldest got a few other things done for my mom and I had visiting time with her. Fabulous fall weather and colors in the mountains.

Joy: Talking to Youngest on the phone, a new book on my kindle…yay for reading time!

Awareness: In business you will come across people who will do anything to avoid working and then you will meet those who go the extra mile to make sure your needs are met.

November 7

Creativity: Research for a project

Gratitude: Headache is now gone! My aunt was able to fill in some blanks in a story where I couldn’t remember what my dad told me…write those stories down while you remember them!

Joy: A super happy cat that I am home! Went to book club to find out it’s next week, bwahaha. Well, it opened up my night for reading, so I’m happy!

Awareness: Judgments are often made from the outside looking in and are quite often inaccurate. Most of us know this as we have been on both sides, and yet we continue to do so.

November 8

Creativity: Studying stained glass, reading about writing

Gratitude: the right to vote, freedom

Joy:  a night to read and enjoy a glass of wine

Awareness: No matter which way the election goes, at least it’s over. It’s time to move on, repair relations, lead with love. Be the example you want to see.

November 9

Creativity: Stained glass, writing

Gratitude: a light workday, reading time, dinner, quiet evening at home, early bedtime,

Joy: hot shower, cup of hot tea, talking with a friend who makes me laugh

Awareness: When you focus on the moon you neglect to see the beauty and power of the stars and vice versa. Open your eyes and take in the celestial masterpiece. I must remember focusing on one thing prevents me from seeing the whole picture.

November 10

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: friends, family, people with character and class (a bit disappointed with those who’ve jumped to social media spreading vitriol, especially saddened to see this done by people who are self-proclaimed light workers)

Joy: People who spread the light

Awareness: Temper tantrums don’t change outcomes; positive actions better humanity and the world.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-four

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton

October 28

Creativity: Writing, reading about writing

Gratitude: Some quiet time alone at the end of the day, finding my way around a roadblock and a detour I didn’t want to use, ability to have prepared food delivered to my door

Joy: Communication in all its various forms…I love getting texts from friends or family that cracks me up or a phone call that lifts me just when I need it.

Awareness: Having faith in myself destroys obstacles and fills me with renewed inspiration.

October 29

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Getting in and out of the post office on a Saturday in a record time of five minutes! A sale at the glass store!

Joy: I purchased a glass saw today, and I am so excited. It will make some of the curves of the angels, fairies, and mermaids so much easier to cut. I can also cut various materials (metal, plastic, stone) using different blades. My son has given me a collection of soapstone so I can’t wait to get a mega blade and cut some shapes from them!

Awareness: Having faith in others lessens my concerns (which I shouldn’t allow myself in the first place) and also makes them feel good knowing they are supported.

October 30

Creativity: Stained glass, writing

Gratitude: a laid back day, learned how to work my Taurus 3 Ring Saw, slow cooked dinner so I could do other things.

Joy: Designed and completed another stained glass mermaid

Awareness: The more I study a craft the easier it is for me to alter processes to achieve the same goal or envision changes I’d like to see in the finished product and figure out how to achieve it….it’s all about practice. I am definitely a hands on learner.

October 31

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Watching the sun rise, filling the gaps between the tree branches with yellow, orange, and pink layers. First shipment of new daycare toys arrived today and the little ones were so excited! phone call from my brother

Joy: 129 adorable and polite little trick or treaters, what a delight!

Awareness: I appreciate people who share their expertise with others or take the time to mentor. Anyone who has been a recipient of this usually will take the time to do the same.

November 1

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: My sister had another post-op cancer check and received another glowing report; all numbers are good and still no sign of cancer…YAY! Of course, this is also a joy!

Joy: a gorgeous sunrise; a beautiful swirl of pink and blue.

Awareness: When people insist how other people should feel about a subject it clarifies the insecurities of the person imposing his views.

November 2

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Another pretty sunrise, getting some errands done after work and a homemade dinner made even though it was a bit later than usual. Though I was on the phone for over two hours I was finally able to get the price of my health insurance down…I took a higher deductible and less coverage and the price is still astronomical but it’s better than it was. (It’s really sad when health insurance for one person is as high as the mortgage, yet I realize I am one of the fortunate ones who is able to obtain insurance.)

Joy: a sweet phone video sent to me of a toddler telling me she loves me

Awareness: A small stress line can destroy a masterpiece; imagine what it can do to the physical body.

November 3

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Big hugs from little people, people with vision (as in goals) and passion, an abundance of scurrying squirrels in the yard today. A glimpse of a glorious sunset as I was driving.

Joy: My friend surprised me by showing up at my house with lunch for me! Someone called me an artist today! Vanilla cappuccino, DirtMan’s photography

Awareness: Thinking outside the box is often where solutions reside…I need to make it a habit to visit this place more often.


Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-three

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ~Desmond Tutuimg_2707

October 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: extremely light work day, words,

Joy: wine tasting and sushi dinner with DirtMan, hilarious phone call with a friend

Awareness: I love being a “regular” at my local businesses.

October 22

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: cleaned closet, after errands and chores I had time to relax which was good because I was starting to feel crummy (The little kids have been sick for weeks, guess their germs have found their way to me, ugh!)

Joy: Shopping, time with Oldest in the am, phone call with Youngest in the pm

Awareness: There are people in this world who are in need, yet scammers run rampant. It’s important to use discernment. And when you’ve been “had” remember the good in the world far outweighs the bad.

October 23

Creativity: Writing, Stained glass, Cooking

Gratitude: A day at home with DirtMan to do absolutely what we want…it’s a pj kinda’ day here…still getting things done but leisurely. Cleaned out another closet.

Joy: Affectionate pets. Family. Homemade chicken noodle soup. Hot tea. Wine. Books. PJs. Talking with my friend.

Awareness: You never know what an impression you make on others. Remember there are always eyes on you so be the best “You” you can be.

October 24

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: home, a hard working husband,

Joy: Conversations with my sons…sometimes I still catch glimpse of the tots they used to be in these grown men; you know the saying the more things change the more they stay the same. The conversations between the two of them (while we are all on speaker phone) cracks me up.

Awareness: There is a time to think and a time to be.

October 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Hot water, electricity, Himalayan salt lamps, my Kindle Fire

Joy: Reading time, essential oils

Awareness: There are many books I enjoy reading a second time, and often it makes a bigger impact on me on the reread.

October 26

Creativity: Writing and reading about writing

Gratitude: Writing inspiration of an old project has resurfaced, reorganized my studio/office-this must be done each time I switch creativity modes. Chopped my hair off today and I like it; saved about $65 by doing it myself!

Joy: A home cooked dinner with DirtMan…has had a lot of crazy hours at the close of a project so it was delightful to eat dinner together at a decent hour. Had a problem with our heat system and the company we deal with no longer take calls in Virginia…DirtMan figured it out and ordered the part; extra bonus is the lovely weather we’re having here so we won’t need heat. Lovely memories of my high school friend who died way too young; her birthday was today.

Awareness: When I allow my mind to stray and enter the worry places (those places of which I have no control and usually not warranted to even visit) it totally throws me off center and takes great effort to find peace both physically and emotionally.

October 27

Creativity: Writing, baked homemade pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting that turned out well even though I tweaked the recipe!

Gratitude: One of the biggest lessons in adulting (and death to the myth we had as teenagers) is we are not always going to get our way…and many times we are quite happy about it. Shopping online; I love Amazon!

Joy: a yellow finch flying through the backyard; we don’t get as many of those as the other birds. Sitting on the backyard swing drinking a glass of wine and listening to the high school band a block away.

Awareness: We are each beautifully created. We should celebrate our distinctness and differences. We have much to learn from one another. We are each individual networks of cultural, religious, and familial beliefs entombed in varying intellectual and economic systems. These variances don’t make any of us right or wrong. I am extremely frustrated by a media who plays on this and creates divides rather than uniting.