Refine and Design 2016, Week Twenty


May 13

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: A weekend in the mountains

Joy: being far enough from the city to enjoy a starry sky

Awareness: Silence is sometimes underrated.

May 14

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: family, fog rising in the valleys and hanging over the meadows, country roads, rain on the river, lush green fields, blooming mountain laurel, seafood dinner, milkshakes, craft beer, and catching up with old friends, a jacket (fortunate I packed one since I packed all the wrong clothes for this weekend’s weather; forecast was way off!)

Joy: Hanging with the hubby on the river property in the rain…just like many times we’ve spent there

Awareness: How beautiful and peaceful it is to listen to the harmony of the river and wind singing their praises.

May 15

Creativity: Made a curtain

Gratitude: family, a husband who takes his time and energy to make sure my mom’s property is maintained, quartz stone, fields of wildflowers, safe travels ,

Joy: texting with one son and phone call from the other, visiting with my mom and sister

Awareness: Many of the things from which I am joyous are the very things that make me sick…allergies to the pollen of the gracious trees and beautiful flowers, and the molds from lingering rain. (Perhaps I should start taking antihistamines again. This is my first time in many years of not taking allergy medication.)

May 16

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: My five day headache finally vacated the premises!

Joy: Even though I was wiped out I still managed to grocery shop and go by the bank, bumping into a friend, hot chocolate

Awareness: how quickly my body gets out of whack when it hasn’t had proper exercise and diet for a few days

May 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My talents, was glad some of my abilities was able to benefit Oldest.

Joy: A quiet house, each to his own tasks or joys; mine was reading.

Awareness: Four pairs of house finch flock at the front feeder…they all flutter to it at the same time…feathers fly in all directions except for the two who get a seat at the table. The others bide time on the ground and come from beneath to chase the diners away so they can take a turn at the buffet.

May 18

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Moments spent unwinding with the hubby at the end of the day

Joy: Writer’s Group, laughter and informative conversation

Awareness: Synchronicities of hearing the right words at the right time or coming across something that moved me beyond words.

May 19

Creativity: Writing, drawing

Gratitude: Pleasant attitudes of all I encountered today! My husband taught our sons at an early age how to use tools properly, repair automotive problems and fix household appliances…it’s nice to know as adults they are able to do most things for themselves rather than having to hire someone. My life has always been blessed by family pets.

Joy: a sense of humor, laughter and funny conversations with my family

Awareness: The mundane moments of connection during any given day are enough…those are the moments that comprise a fulfilling life for me.

Define and Design 2016, Week Nineteen


Weeds or flowers?

May 6

Creativity: Android photography, art coloring book

Gratitude: Though a trip had to be cancelled due to a work emergency for hubby, we spent a Friday night relaxing, reading, and watching youtube videos.

Joy: Delivery of unexpected flowers from Youngest, and Oldest assembled the chair he bought me, and a surprise eight strand Earth bracelet from my sister…early Happy Mother’s Day to me.

Awareness: That moment when you realize you’re being led by your ego rather than your heart and you pull yourself back in to reassess and step back out in truth.


May 7

Creativity: Android photography and gardening

Gratitude: A husband who is capable and willing to repair almost anything in or around our house. Watching the birds in my yard: The juvenile female cardinal eats from the feeder while below a grey catbird feasts on a worm.

Joy: My first visit to The Fresh Market! Texts and video chats with my sons.

Awareness: The sun and clouds tussle for control…a few rain drops and a little warmth. However, the singing birds and romping squirrels have no problem sharing the tree branches.


May 8

Creativity: Android photography and building a bird bath (broke the glass bowl so I decided to place a slab of soapstone on the frame and place a pottery bowl on top, turned out quite pretty!)

Gratitude: a quiet day of all the things I wanted… a bit of creativity, a bit of writing, some reading, watching movies, enjoying the flowers and birds in my yard

Joy: Breakfast out with the hubby and dinner cooked by him…flowers, cards, texts, calls, and gifts; appreciation of my role in their lives from my hubby and sons and some others)

Awareness: It’s the simplest of words and gestures that usually are most heartfelt, offered and received.


May 9

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Dinner cooked ahead, only had to reheat. A friend sent me a photo of us and our other girlfriends from way back in the day, a blast from the past! Catching up with Youngest via phone.

Joy: Book Club!

Awareness: The more I know, the less I know; I will always be a work in progress.


May 10

Creativity: Mind mapping

Gratitude: Morning rain, now I don’t have to water the flowers I planted on Saturday.

Joy: Planning a reunion with friends from the past.

Awareness: The house doesn’t moan and groan of her aging ailments. The overhead fan whispers with each whirl of cool air brushing against my arms. Cool sheets drape my body. My breath, deep and content, snuggles into the softness of sleep.


May 11

Creativity: Writing, playing with color pencils

Gratitude: A late start to my morning…I love unexpected unstructured time!

Joy: Perfect timing of finding a reference book on my Kindle I’d forgotten. The view from my studio window…hanging baskets of ruby, magenta, and coral blooms.

Awareness: The silver lady drifted across the yard and through the pines pulling her sweat-drenched skirts behind her. House wrens flew through her ghostly image. Proof of her existence…tear-stained cobblestone.


May 12

Creativity: Writing/Outlining a project

Gratitude: Working from home

Joy: Yogi Kombucha tea, it’s the little things, folks! I really don’t know if this is beneficial or not but it tastes good. Besides, hot tea is soothing…and the inspirational tags attached to a Yogi tea bag is nice. I generally prefer loose tea, but if I use a bag tea I choose Yogi brand…why? Taste and inspiration; again it’s the little things, folks!

Awareness: The sloshing of running water muffles the whooshing of the plane flying over the house. There are times I hardly hear these things. There are days all noises are magnified which don’t necessarily bother me, but today I am hypersensitive to sound.

Define and Design 2016, Week Eighteen

Night pics 005

While night sometimes fades familiarity like a dream, morning lights our lives back to fluency.

April 29

Creativity:  writing

Gratitude: Rainy…ordered dinner in

Joy:  a fuzzy blanket and a glass of wine

Awareness: Some stories end and initiate beginnings of new stories. These life experiences are for learning and character building. As painful as they can be, they are necessary. Every day starts as a clean slate. There are times I am overwhelmed with good feelings when I see people I love act instead of react and choose respect and responsibility.

April 30

Creativity: adult coloring books for the artist!

Gratitude: After running errands and cleaning house I had the rest of the day and night to read a great book, perfect for rainy weather!

Joy: cotton candy, feeling appreciated

Awareness:  No matter where we spread our wings, we carry a bit of our roots with us.

May 1

Creativity: Quilting, machine embroidery writing

Gratitude: DirtMan and Oldest delivered our old sofa to its new home. We got a few other errands taken care of today.

Joy: The sun came back out this afternoon after days of rain, and we’re headed into four more days of rain. I don’t mind the rain but I do enjoy the sun peeking through as well.

Awareness:  Sparkling stars in the daylight or is it diamonds in the sky? It is the glitter of the setting sun breaking through the tiny gaps of the pine boughs.

May 2

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: Things generally work themselves out or fall into place on their own accord.

Joy:  Some backyard relaxation time with the hubby before dinner. The first bloom in my iris garden!

Awareness: How good it feels for the soul when the body just breathes while the mind is at ease.

May 3

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: The new sofa and throw pillows arrived, and at the exact same time as that delivery another unexpected one arrived at my door…Oldest bought me a nice chair for my studio, a Mother’s Day gift!

Joy: Purchasing college graduation and Mother’s day gifts! Being able to do unexpected things for others.

Awareness: I used to make many life goals and often found myself disappointed, anxious, and frustrated. I find myself making few goals these days, yet I am content…

May 4

Creativity: Quilting, sewing a table skirt

Gratitude: Able to get some business work accomplished over lunch time.

Joy: Got a short visit with a friend, and a great phone call with another one

Awareness: Darkness crept over the neighborhood with a slow grace. The trees became shadows and houses lit like a model Christmas village. Time seemed to stand still in the quiet embrace of nightfall.

May 5

Creativity: Android photography, art coloring book

Gratitude: Had enough time this morning to bake and frost a birthday cake before work!

Joy: My “Cinco de Mayo” baby (Oldest) turned 30 today, and I don’t feel old just incredibly blessed.

Awareness: The Vinca vines and amethyst blossoms swing in the breeze. Three cardinals (two males, one female) sing to their hearts content as they flit about the backyard. Two vultures swarm overhead. The pines wildly swing their arms as if they can’t contain the secrets they’ve heard in the yard.

Define and Design 2016, Week Seventeen


LanternAsia at Norfolk Botanical Gardens, This dragon is the length of a football field.


Made of silk

April 22

Creativity: writing, android photography

Gratitude: the rain, just enough to quench the thirst of our spring blooms

Joy: Dinner with hubby at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, pizza and wine…and gelato

Awareness: Feet cushioned in the plush grass, wind in my hair, grey clouds blocking the sun, thunder rolling, and the first few rain drops soaking into my skin.


This display is made with over a million china plates, cups, saucers, and spoons tied together with fishing line, no glue!


April 23

Creativity: sewing

Gratitude: made a new cushion/cover for the window seat…sort of looks like something I might have made in 7th grade home economics class, but the dog says it’s quite comfortable.  I’d forgotten what a pain it is to sew a zipper in thick upholstery fabric. The fabric and foam were on clearance because the store is going out of business. (The sale part is gratitude, the store going out of business is not.)

Joy: Met up with girlfriends to go to the Norfolk Botanical LaternAsia show…long line on the road and were only taken pre-bought tickets. It’s all good, we went back to my friend’s house and drank wine; lots of fun!

Awareness: The great thing about a group of women is we are self-entertaining. There is never a void in conversation. We can laugh and talk about anything. Everyone has something to bring to the table. A group where everyone is comfortable to be themselves, shares interests and wisdom, and has fun together is a good group.


April 24

Creativity: Does yard and house work count as creativity? Oh wait, photography! Yes, took loads of pics at the exhibit, and night photography was a definite experiment for me.

Gratitude: Slept in until 9:00 am, don’t remember when we’ve done that! Who knows how late we would have slept in if I hadn’t been awakened by a text message. We tackled the jungle in the backyard…yay, so delighted to be able to have some backyard fun now. We even got the rugs moved out and prepared for the arrival of the new ones.

Joy: Met up with my girlfriends (We pre-bought our tickets online this time!) and attended the Norfolk Botanical LanernAsia exhibit…Just wow, amazing!

Awareness:  Chasing the moon. Have you ever witnessed the appearing moon when for like a five minute span it is humongous? It was as if God placed a giant tangerine in view but just out of our reach. It shined brilliantly and seemed to be taunting us to catch it if we could, which we tried, by camera that is. We rode around trying to get a clear shot, and as soon as we arrived at a perfect locale it was back to a normal moon, not that we don’t love Luna is her normal radiant glow. After a bit of time giggling and attempting to get the perfect shot (and failing) we dubbed our tribe the Moon Chasers…notice not the Moon Catchers!


This display consists of tiny glass medicine bottles filled with colored water and tied together.


April 25

Creativity: photography, writing

Gratitude: Rugs and a new book arrived today, home cooked “country” meal my mom sent by my son who had gone to visit her over the weekend.

Joy: backyard time with nature, reading time, hot bath with essential oils

Awareness: I’m sitting in the backyard enjoying a glass of wine and listening to the birds sing and a bumblebee flutter about and bore a hole in the picnic table. A gentle breeze caresses my shoulders. The scent of mint takes me back to childhood days and romping near the reservoir. Funny how a scent or sound can transport you to another place and time.


April 26

Creativity: photography

Gratitude: Friendly people. A beautiful (and hot!) sunny day. Therefore, I appreciate air conditioning in the house. Got some business taken care of via telephone, including scheduling my overdue mammogram.  Though it was late by the time I got around to it, I got my grocery shopping completed!

Joy: Dark chocolate with raspberries!  Though I am still weak (this cold has been a doozy!) I managed to get back on the elliptical today, yay! A phone call from a friend.

Awareness: The night is dark. I don’t only feel like the curtain has been dropped, but I’ve been swaddled in its coziness. Surprisingly, I find comfort in this, not only the darkness but the heat…I might not feel like this in a month from now when summer is in full swing, ha.


April 27

Creativity: writing, photography

Gratitude: Morning coffee. Happy toddlers who all seem to be almost over their spring sniffles.

Joy: Music. Another new book!

Awareness: When my body/mind is tired, reading mandates snoozing.


April 28

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Family, especially my husband and sons. a good neighborhood watch website and neighbors who keep one another in the know

Joy: We found a home for our old rugs and sofa! The color purple, not the movie or book (Though I think it’s great!) or in reference to Prince (He was a brilliant singer/musician/songwriter.) but the color itself…I’m feeling really wrung out today and the color people does make me feel a bit of needed vibrancy.

Awareness: Stepping into a tuft of grass, blades wrap around my bare feet sending icy chills up my spine. The rain hitting my arms feels almost warm, not at all cold like the wet grass beneath my feet. Everything is grey, as if I could reach out my hand and pull a cloud against my chest.


Hope you enjoyed the beautiful colors as much as I did!

Define and Design 2016, Week Sixteen

Dandelion Wishes

Sunny days are made for backyard wishes.

April 15

Creativity: writing, drawing, android photography

Gratitude: It has been five years since my brother died. Instead of allowing sorrow to take over my day, I will rejoice for the years with him and the impact he had on my life.

Joy: I weighed in today, and I’m eight pounds down. The fact I feel better and my clothes fit comfortably is enough…but what can I say except admit I like the numbers going down. While I’ve cut out processed foods for the most part, if I really want something like a cupcake I indulge myself rather than eating around it.

Awareness: The farther away from the city, the less traffic. The closer to the mountains, the more relaxed we became….how great it is to get away on occasion.

April 16

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: Taking lunch to my MIL at the nursing home, and seeing some upgrades having taken place there.

Joy: Driving along country roads…very little traffic and everyone waves at you…beautiful blooms along the roadway…and then a beer at our favorite hometown brewery

Awareness: The shifting of emotions. I am always sad after leaving the nursing home. Spending time with the residents can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. We tend to absorb ourselves in nature when able after leaving. We traveled through some of our old haunts. I didn’t quite notice the sadness melting away, but suddenly felt my heart was full.

April 17

Creativity: cooking dinner for loved ones and mowing (believe it or not but when mowing several acres one can get a bit creative in the process)

Gratitude: splintered sheds, rusty hinges, clay dirt, babbling creeks, dense woods, soapstone and quartz rocks…visiting my roots. Bumping into hometown friends from childhood.

Joy: Taking my mom out to breakfast. I am not particularly fond of breakfast and don’t especially like to go out for it. However, it is my mom’s favorite meal and she loves going out for it, specifically to a particular truck stop diner. The happiness she showed in us taking her was enough in itself. We rode around a bit afterwards and visited the area in which she was raised. Watching a Great Crested Flycatcher dart in and out of a nest she’d built in a piece of rolled tin stuck in the shed rafter…she was tending to her eggs but also scoping out a few snacks!

Awareness: Riding the lawn mower and taking in the beauty before me. The spring green buds stretched into the cobalt sky. Pink “fairy wings” (maple seeds) floated through the sunny day. Robins stood erect listening for earthworms and dipping their beaks into the grass only when a score was certain. A lone yellow finch hung to a scraggly tree limb watching.

April 18

Creativity: writing, drawing

Gratitude: Time enough to zip out after dinner and attempt to find a rug, a no go in finding one we want but we tried. Able to catch up on laundry and even grocery shop.

Joy: Dinner prepared by my mother that I only had to reheat in the oven…she makes the best beef stew I’ve ever had!

Awareness: Seeing or hearing words that are so true: “If it looks good, you’ll see it. If it sounds good, you’ll hear it. If it’s marketed right, you’ll buy it. But if it’s true, you’ll feel it” From the song, “My Oedipus Complex” by Kid Rock

April 19

Creativity: Android photography #nothingisordinary

Gratitude: finally finding and ordering a rug online, and it should even arrive (I hope!) the same day as  the sofa

Joy: Sitting outside on the swing watching and listening to nature while sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio, usually not much of a white wine drinker but this beautiful sunny weather called for it!

Awareness: The balance of a squirrel-how he can climb the thinnest twigs and not flip off but manage to jump onto the fence line and run it like a tightrope, mating calls between the male and female cardinals-songs of love, how the oak leaves glisten in the sunlight and the pines wag their spindly fingers back and forth, the grace of a yellow monarch butterfly wings in flight, how time seems to stand still but passes so quickly while absorbed in nature, the woodsy-almost camphor scent of rosemary, the peppery apple aroma of Carolina Spice, the fragile lavender buds of lilac, the gentle rustle of Japanese Silver Leaf grass, whispers and crackles of tiny bird feet upon dried leaves, pings of falling pine cones…I love my backyard!

April 20

Creativity: writing, making a dandelion salve

Gratitude: a neighbor who allowed me to pick all his dandelions…surprisingly, we only had one in the front yard, probably because they’d all gone to seed, ha!

Joy: shopping for fabrics for a quilt, success on my first dandelion salve, an early bedtime

Awareness: When I listen to the needs of my body and spirit rather than ignoring the obvious signs my body appreciates it by healing quicker.

April 21

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: news of a successful surgery for a little boy

Joy: A lunch time filled with warm fuzzies: a cuddly cat, a warm blanket, a good book, and a cup of hot herbal tea

Awareness:  Today would have been my father’s 86th birthday. He was a man who respected the earth and taught me to do the same. What we give to the earth is returned to us. I was led to two books today, and can’t think of any greater way of honoring him this day than indulging in them. This is a quote from one of them: It is the energy behind the method that heals. In our culture we tend to be “addicted” to methods, forgetting that ultimately being a vessel of love is the greatest form of healing. By Sandra Ingerman, Walking In The Light: The Everyday Empowerment Of A Shamanic Life

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifteen


Claim the ordinary, for it is only a weed if you label it as such,

April 8

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: getting out of the house and not having to cook tonight, reading

Joy: sushi and sake

Awareness: Though I am an introvert, I notice how my spirit soars when I get out, not in the thick of people, just out of my environment where I can watch or converse if I choose…if there’s too much involvement I tend to wear out.

April 9

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: life

Joy: wine and caramel

Awareness: Sometimes choices can be binding or freeing, and what binds one frees another. It’s kind of like beauty; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

April 10

Creativity: coordinating colors and items for a room redo

Gratitude: decluttering…cleaning out cabinets, home life

Joy: buying new furniture

Awareness: While it can be difficult to let go of some things it is necessary to make room for new. It is incredibly refreshing when your space has been decluttered…and there are always more loads to be lightened and places to be cleaned.

April 11

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: swift actions (recovery and future preventative measures) from our bank as our accounts were hacked and used fraudulently…someone was having a field day with “go fund me” pages

Joy: book club

Awareness: I often forget how enjoyable it is to just get together with a group of women to converse and laugh. I never realize how much I need it until I experience it.

April 12

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: hot homemade lasagna on a rainy day

Joy: Texting back and forth with my niece whose birthday is today.

Awareness: Being a witness to happiness…laughing children, vibrations of a purring cat, wagging tail of a dog, smiles on faces, warmth in conversations, a sweet sigh, feeling of lightness and increased energy

April 13

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: shelter, clean water, food, and clothing

Joy: The sound of absolute pleasure from those eating something I’ve cooked…Asiago chicken is divine!

Awareness: They wave their pearled fingers in the wind. The undersides of their arms a shade lighter than their avocado upper arms. They swish to and fro telling a spring story to all who listen. The leaves of the lugustrum are soft and smooth as satin while their blooms carry a slightly bitter, unpleasant scent.

April 14

Creativity: Writing, drawing

Gratitude: a reading list…always a good book waiting to be ordered and enjoyed

Joy: Prismacolor pencils, hot herbal tea

Awareness: A golden light cast tortoise shell designs across the trunks of the tall pines. Behind those trees the same gold spotlighted the boughs of the neighbor’s pines. Good morning Sun.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fourteen

“For example, the wind has its reasons. We just don’t notice as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you. The wind knows everything that’s inside you. And not just the wind. Everything, including a stone. They all know us very well. From top to bottom. It only occurs to us at certain times. And all we can do is go with those things. As we take them in, we survive, and deepen.”  ― Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing


This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I love this macro shot I took when I was in the mountains.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: I hugged a tree today

Joy: Blooms on my lilac and Carolina spice bushes

Awareness: I was standing on the driver side of my car spraying the oak pollen off. I felt a breeze about the time I heard a whoosh as a limb flew over my head and hit the car roof snapping the branch in half and with a thud it landed on the ground on the passenger side. I realize as I try to be cognizant of my surroundings, some things can’t be predicted. The wind has blown warm and hard all day, and the clouds have festered into dark, angry mobs as the impending storm rolls this way.

April 2

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: I got caught in the pouring rain, and the chill against my skin felt fabulous, frizzy hair and all!

Joy: An evening wedding at the best venue ever! Have I told you how much I love weddings? And champagne! Oh, and cake! Celebrating love, happiness, and friendships is a blessed event.

Awareness: Sopping wet I sat down with a cup of hot herbal tea. I leaned back and closed my eyes, feeling the hot liquid go down my throat and warm my body. The rain pounded on the roof, as soothing as a shower massage. I opened my eyes to see the rain spraying sideways across the yard. Sprinkles splattered as they hit the base of the squirrel feeder. A rivulet ran beneath the base and slowly dripped only to disappear into the soil.

April 3

Creativity: quilting

Gratitude: The hubby did some updates on my phone and laptop

Joy: I slept in this morning (9:00 is sleeping in for me) and my coffee was ready when I got up.

Awareness: I had sugar last night and some today along with processed food, how sluggish I have felt.

April 4

Creativity: writing and designing

Gratitude: Back to clean eating today… Restricting processed food from my diet has resulted in more energy, clearer thinking, and better quality sleep.

Joy: Phone call with Youngest

Awareness: The sunshine hugs my face as I walk outside and the wind invites me for a ride. A cardinal darts into the gardenia bush, rattling the braches and shaking the leaves like a feather duster.

April 5

Creativity: Making homemade bread and spiffing up the recipe

Gratitude: home cooked meal, leisurely evening, reading

Joy: laughing at some silly jokes, my sister has the same humor; funny thing is we could have been the butt of the jokes, but fortunately not

Awareness: The howling wind caught my attention. I looked out to see what appeared to be huge snowflakes. I assumed it was actually the whirly birds of the oak tree traveling with the winds current. I focused and realized it was indeed snow, flowing and dancing, and melting in thin air. And yet the sun was shining, no rainbow but somehow I pictured Mother Nature smirking.

April 6

Creativity: All I can claim on the creativity front is reading and cooking Asiago Chicken for dinner.

Gratitude: I can call or text my sister and she always gets me

Joy: Seeing my friends at my favorite gourmet wine store and there was a particular wine they have that my friend has wanted to try; they had two bottles of it left so I bought one for her and one for me!

Awareness: Music has been my friend today, traveling in and out and perhaps directing my mood, comforting me and energizing me. Without it today, I would have been not just lonely but lost.

April 7

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: The expected morning rain was only a bit of a spit early in the morning and that was it, yay!

Joy: the fresh scent of clean laundry

Awareness: The heat upstairs was a bit much while I exercised on the elliptical so I opened the windows. The wind howled, competing with the whirl of the elliptical, airplanes whooshed through the sky, and wind chimes clanged and battered the tree trunks. Cars and trucks revved up and down the boulevard. All this noisy activity while the sun quietly vied for her place in the sky. She drifted in and out of clouds and smiled each time she came in the lead. The sun peeked through the eyes of a metal dog yard décor hanging from a pine, casting a shadow against the tree trunk which looked like an owl head with four dangling bell-chain legs…funny how shadows can appear to be something they are not at all.

Refine and Design 2016, Week Thirteen

March 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Saddened to hear of Earl Hamner’s death yesterday, but grateful to have known him and shared a hometown, a birthday (though 40 years apart), and a love of simplicity, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. And a love of words. In case you don’t know who he was, he was the creator of the television series The Waltons, among other series, and a wonderful writer.

Joy: A short but sweet surprise visit from my godchildren

Awareness: The trees gently sway their bodies and wave their fingers to the clouds saying, “Come on, we’re thirsty.” The grey clouds move over the cotton puffs and across the expanse of denim sky as if they are slowly reaching out to the beckoning limbs while deciding if they care to share. And then the sun pops out as if to say the joke is on them. Perhaps it will rain in the sunshine and give us a rainbow.


March 26

Creativity: writing, photography, lots of macro

Gratitude: The Scenic Route

Joy: Hike along the Pedlar river to Panther Falls

Awareness: I sit on a large rock above the falls. An eddy forms a cluster of ever expanding foam that drifts along a gorge in a boulder. The water waves and ripples as it rolls over, around, and beneath rocks and limbs. The river hums, whistles, sloshes, and roars. I close my eyes and listen to her sing her way home.


March 27

Creativity: photography, lots of macro

Gratitude: my husband taking care of some things for my mother

Joy: Laughing with my sister and mother, coming back in town to a manicured lawn courtesy of Oldest

Awareness: Beautiful Flowering and Budding Trees of Spring – Whites, lavender, purple, pink, scarlet, yellow, and various shades of green applaud us as we drive by. Redbuds are adorned in a million tiny amethysts while the red oak is dressed in rubies. A huge red oak appeared to be cloaked in tiny scarlet birds lifting their wings to flight. Bradford pears danced in sweaters of snow while the apple and cherry trees wore lacy pink layers. All the trees in their various shades of green buds rose to wave their jeweled fingers at all who passed their way.

March 28

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: a light day

Joy: Not getting bonked in the head by any flying pinecones while in the backyard…love windy days

Awareness: As enjoyable as it is to open a window to feel the breeze and listen to the singing birds, it comes with a price…a coat of yellow pollen throughout the room, a bit of sneezing, and building of a headache…oh, how I wish I didn’t have allergies because dusting is worth the ambiance of nature, but a headache isn’t.

March 29

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: finally had time to start this month’s book club selection “Euphoria” by Lily King

Joy: phone call with Youngest

Awareness: The lone crow strutted up and down the road pecking in last night’s rain. The early sun glossed brightly against his back, feathers shining an iridescent blue. He straightened his neck and tilted his head back as he swallowed and followed with a caw caw both front and back as if to ward off anyone cutting in on his buffet.

March 30

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: Feeling healthy and energetic, managed to get in a good workout

Joy: Got off work two and a half hours early which enabled me to shop for a wedding and birthday gift and do my grocery shopping. This means I’ve freed my Saturday morning!

Awareness: The aroma of coffee permeates the air as I watch the steam rise from my mug. The rings on the shower curtain scrape against the rod. Feet thud across the floor above me as the birds chirp in the still dark morning. I pop a fresh raspberry in my mouth and the sweetness fills my soul. It is a blessed morning.

March 31

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: arrival of another squirrel buster bird feeder…no they don’t keep out the squirrels completely but I don’t have to refill daily

Joy: The cool rush of stepping barefoot into the early morning dew-soaked grass

Awareness: Breakfast Berries: My tongue pushes the raspberry against the roof of my mouth and the melody spreads. Blackberries squirt as the tiny seeds pop between my teeth, adding more sweet notes to the chorus. Strawberries break up with a tartness to liven up the ensemble. Fruit in the morning is incredibly refreshing.

Define and Design 2016,Week Twelve

Life sways, tangles, and straightens…and repeats itself. It’s called living.


March 18

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: comfort of home

Joy: Dinner out with the hubby and drinks with friends while listening to a great band.

Awareness: The wind chimes gently pinged with the melody of distant church bells.

March 19

Creativity: Art Quilting (entertaining color values, cutting, and sewing)

Gratitude: An entire day to do absolutely anything I wanted

Joy: Fabric shopping for an art panel, watching “The Prince of Tides” with the hubby

Awareness: Colors of Spring: Branches draped in lace, scarlet splattered across treetops, trees dipped in lavender paint. On the ground I spotted little Martians wearing yellow bonnets marching through the yard. They were surrounding ladies dressed in brilliant blue gowns and others in lilac, fuchsia, and pearl. The wind was whipping at their heels and heads, but the spring gala was decorated and in full swing.

March 20

Creativity: writing, art quilting (applique, drawing, sewing, and embroidery)

Gratitude: coffee already made when I got up, drizzling weather and good books waiting to be read

Joy: watching  videos with the hubby that were produced by a good friend

Awareness: Funny (but not really) how when one decides to monitor eating habits and cut back, the mind takes over and wants so much more! I quieted my mind and allowed myself to feel the sensations of my body…not really hungry, just a mind demanding control of my body and senses…

March 21

Creativity: writing, art panel

Gratitude: Amazon Prime…orders delivered to my door, bliss! Earplugs, bliss again! And watermelon.

Joy: Free motion machine stitching isn’t for sissies! Now, how is that a joy? It gives me appreciation for hand embroidery which I love, and tells me I need lots of practice which gives me a challenge. This panel might end up most interesting, ha! Free motion stitching is exhilarating, I’ll give it that. It’s been many years since I’ve played with it.

Awareness: I’m reminded today of those tiny ideas that nag and nudge at you…you know, the ones that are persistent little buggers. They continue to gnaw at you because your soul is trying to tell you something. I think it’s telling me it will continue to pester me no matter how much I ignore it so I might as well get on with it!

March 22

Creativity: Hand embroidery and beading

Gratitude: No broken bones, took a hard fall and landed on my hip and elbow…don’t ask, have no idea how it happened

Joy: An unexpected note from a friend who hadn’t heard from me recently.

Awareness: On the sofa reading and it’s still light outside…I so welcome the longer daylight. I notice how once again I am hearing lawn mowers mixed with pinging of wind chimes and chirping of birds. I look outside to see a grey mesh spread across the blue sky. A pink contrail runs through it. A soft layer of tangerine rests behind the lower tree branches as the sun says goodbye.

March 23

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: easy return for wrong item shipped to me…they pick up, yay!

Joy: a short visit with a friend

Awareness: Today has been stressful. I leaned back in my chair and let it melt away as I closed my eyes and listened to the hums of life around me…my computer, the fridge, airplanes, motor traffic, my breath; the highs and lows, the gruff and shrill…the melody of life is a beautiful thing. I needed a reminder.

March 24

Creativity: designing a quilt, baking homemade strawberry cupcakes with homemade icing, writing

Gratitude:  Convenience of city life…being able to get where I need in a matter of minutes, this is not to say I don’t enjoy fleeing  to the country for a weekend of pure simplicity.

Joy: quiet time on the backyard swing with a glass of wine at the end of a work day

Awareness: Early Morning Cotton Candy Sky: The trees blended with the sky into a charcoal blanket. An amber illumination rose from behind the tree trunks radiating the many outstretched arms and finger reaching for the heavens.  A layer of rose pushed the amber higher. Below pink petals the blue sky peeped through before another tier of blush made an appearance. For a few minutes the limbs against the sky appeared to be fingers swiping a taste of cotton candy. In case you don’t know, cotton candy is my oldest all time indulgence…

Define and Design 2016, Week Eleven

Azalea Bloom

Week Eleven

March 11

Creativity: daydreaming was the extent of my creativity today

Gratitude: I was able to rest in bed all day and heal (Yes, I got that nasty virus!)

Joy: a neighbor who brought me saltines and bananas…the only thing I could keep in my body

Awareness: Amazed how heavy my legs grew at the increased necessity of my rising from bed…incredibly surprised at the noise in my neighborhood during the day. In noise I mean the business of life; the singing cardinals, foraging squirrels, barking dogs, laughter of playing children, and hum of vehicles on the street. I suppose the noise of the day inside my house usually has me unaware of the average day noise outside. It was a rare daytime occurrence for my house to be quieter than my yard.

March 12

Creativity: I did a bit of preplanning some future projects

Gratitude: I felt half alive after getting a hot shower

Joy: I was able to eat and contain a bowl of chicken noodle soup

Awareness: While being sick the dog has been excessively vigilant of neighborhood activity and has kept her eye on me, and the cat has been a constant companion for snuggles. I think animals sense when their family is off balance and tries in their own way to do their part to comfort or restore familiarity.

March 13

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: another day of peace and rest

Joy: Reading “The Prince of Tides”. This is thoroughly enjoyable. I usually don’t enjoy books that interrupt story with beautiful prose (poetic writing), but the story is enthralling and writing style places you in the setting and makes you love the South Carolina marshes as much as the characters. Most books like this I’d classify as literary novels, but not this one; while it is character driven it has many story lines covering many years. I’ve never seen the movie, but I want to now. Not to be disappointed but to see how all of it could actually be included or to see what was chosen to be excluded as I find all of the links necessary at this time.

Awareness: Listening to the rain playing music on the roof. It started suddenly, hard and fast and slowed for a while and sped up again. The song ended and started again in reverse order, or so it seemed. With closed eyes I allowed the melody to wash over my soul, absorbing it like the parched ground outside my door.

March 14

Creativity: Writing and art quilting

Gratitude: Pleased I was able to ride the elliptical today, even if it took me almost ten minutes to do two miles. At least, it’s a start. And I am able to eat today. I’ve missed real food!

Joy: Book club(we have lots of laughs in that group) and purchasing the new Flow magazine and a few other art mags

Awareness: The gardener’s grey cloak hangs over the neighborhood as the hungry robins peck at the damp ground in search for breakfast worms. The air pulses with the chirps and tweets of birdsong while a lone cardinal, bright as a begonia, flits between the gate post and the tallest limb of my neighbor’s overgrown hedge and sings a welcome to the day. A mourning dove in her taupe suite and rotund vest of pearls sits a spell on the gate while she assesses the yard activities. A squirrel, tail puffed out like a parachute, glides from pine to pine. Amethysts and opals rest upon the garden’s emeralds while searching for their friend, the sun.

March 15

Creativity: Writing and perusing art magazines

Gratitude: Ability to throw a quick dinner together

Joy: Running into an old friend and picking up where we left off

Awareness: Feather in the Bush – It was stretched across a leaf on the Azalea as if it was sunbathing. The tiny tendrils fluttered like dandelion fluff while the brown feather tip held together, strong as an otter’s tail. In case you’re wondering, it appears to be an owl feather.

Feather in the bush

March 16

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Television sitcom reruns…pulled my back out this am so not able to do much

Joy: unable to attend writing group due to back injury I found the joy in a purring feline who felt it her duty to stretch across me as a vibrating heating pad

Awareness: Rising of Dawn on a Foggy Morning – A dark curtain suspended in the air; no separation of heaven and earth. Slowly silver ghosts floated through the thick trunks of the tall pines and created the appearance of large chalk-smudged finger paths down a colossal black board.

March 17

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: Ibuprofen, with it I’m functional

Joy: My neighborhood…a terrific yearly St. Paddy’s Day party but I don’t feel like going…I can still enjoy the music of the band and bagpiper and laughter of frolicking party goers.

Awareness: Crows caw in the distance. There must be a dozen different bird calls and songs dancing through the sunny air. I’m writing with an open window by my desk, and I smile. I look out the window hoping to see some cardinals. With all the chatter going on I’m surprised not to spy a single bird. It’s like a bird city in the trees!