Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-nine

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. ~Thomas Szasz


The Quarry Gardens, Schuyler, Va

July 15

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: the ability to say no to prevent being taken advantage

Joy: the stimulating scent of rosemary as water is poured on the bush, moon over the river, trains in the night

Awareness: As the road we were traveling blended into the dusk, flickers of neon yellow began to swoop over the car and darted around each side; a small joy of night driving on a country road.

July 16

Creativity: cut my sister’s hair (I don’t know why I always forget to include hair cutting/styling as a creative endeavor)

Gratitude: visiting with family, traveling familiar roads with DirtMan

Joy: farmer’s market, lunch out with hubby, winding mountain roads, lush green forests and fields

Awareness: The energy of love (the rising high spirits, the warmth and richness, the sensation of completion; isn’t it a wonderful feeling?

July 17

Creativity: photography

Gratitude: gathering of family and friends, my mother fell again and fortunately only suffered a bump to her head (not that it was nothing but it could have been worse)

Joy: private tour/short hike and photography session of the quarry gardens, wee hour morning call of whippoorwill , hummingbirds, water reflections, seeing my stained glass hung in someone else’s home (same wonderful feeling as seeing a quilt I made across someone’s sofa or one of my books on the table)

Awareness: the gentle melancholy that pulls at one’s heart and settles in the stomach when parting with loved ones…

July 18

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My mom had sent dinner home with me yesterday so I only had to heat it in the oven…oh the joy of comfort food!

Joy: a glass of wine and reading time, watermelon

Awareness: No matter how much evil there is in the world there is much more goodness. No matter how grim things might seem, I try to remember love conquers all.

July 19

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: Safe arrival of family members return to Georgia. Decided to cut my hair myself; when I had my hair cut the stylist said my hair wouldn’t do what I asked. Newsflash: It is doing exactly what I wanted now that I cut it myself!

Joy: A telephone call from a voice I needed desperately to hear. The first bloom on the Crepe Myrtle we planted last year

Awareness: In case you didn’t know or might need to know…gel nail polish doesn’t come off with nail polish remover. I had a manicure for my birthday and the nail technician told me she was going to use gel polish because it will last a long time. Why yes it does; now I know ‘firsthand’ (pun intended)!

July 20

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: My sister is doing well after surgery, had a kidney removed. I guess I need to back up here. Remember my sister was hit by a car while driving her Vespa? Well, the ER scans showed renal cancer. The accident became a blessing in disguise as she probably wouldn’t have found out about the cancer as soon.

Joy: Conversations with both of my sons. There are days I miss their childish chatter of yesteryear, but I’m enjoying these adult discussions. I skipped Writer’s Group and feasted on an ice cream cone!

Awareness: When I over concern myself with “fixing” something, it falls apart…and when I leave it alone it takes care of itself. Remember the potted flowers the squirrels tore up? All of the plant and blooms were completely ripped out. I gave up trying to salvage it and sat the pot on the side of the house a few weeks ago. I had forgotten about it and went to scoop some compost out of the bin (the pot was on top) and WOW; it is now filled with beautiful leaves, blooms will be next!

July 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: market fresh peaches, communication with family and friends this week

Joy: Talked to my sister and my mom. My sister went home less than 24 hours after having her kidney removal…she is doing splendid! I have been listening to hymns today. I’ve always been moved deeply by both the music and lyrics; I feel it on a soul level. The strange thing is I wasn’t brought up in the church, but I’ve always gotten chills and been moved to tears when listening; hard to explain.

Awareness: I look around me and I look within me, and I know without a shadow of doubt I am deeply blessed: I see the beauty of the world in nature and in people. I feel love tugging and touching my heart. I hear the beauty of the world in voices, in music, in nature. I smell the perfume of flowers, the aroma of food, rain, dew, mud, the world around me. I taste the richness of life. I am able to live life through not only my heart and head but through my senses; and in all its simplicity and wonder what a beautiful life it is.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-eight


What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. ~Pericles

July 8

Creativity: Designed and sewed a project (a headband that can be extended into a scarf/cap to cover the top and back of head). I tweaked it a bit after I finished it, but otherwise it’s still cute and functional. After I alter my pattern I plan to make some more as it’s perfect for protecting my hair from the sun or wind.

Gratitude: a funny birthday card from my brother, my ability to sew, my kindle, inspiration

Joy: marriage of a sweet couple, Did I mention in the last few days that my amaryllis bloomed a second time this summer? An awesome birthday celebration at our favorite restaurant which is nestled back in our neighborhood, a bottle of 2006 Twomey Merlot-a gift from Oldest.

Awareness: How much I enjoy the company of my family and how much we miss Youngest now that he lives so far away from home…my heart was full last night yet it ached a little; make sense?

July 9

Creativity: creating craft ideas for the preschoolers and shopping for supplies for them

Gratitude: Witnessing the beauty of people we’ve known their entire lives grow up to be responsible productive citizens…watching them make a positive impact on this world

Joy: Celebrating love and marriage with friends, seeing old friends and making new ones

Awareness: Treated myself to a mani and pedi and yet found it difficult to relax…why do I feel guilty for taking time for myself? It’s not that I was needed by anyone or to do anything; I just kept thinking about what I could be doing, kind of like sometimes when I meditate.

July 10

Creativity: Playing with fabrics

Gratitude: breakfast out (Hair of the Dog) with DirtMan and Oldest, sure was missing Youngest today though.Backyard swing and birds. Visits from people I love.  Feeling incredibly loved and blessed. Another wonderful year of life.

Joy: A phone call from Youngest and others, A birthday song from my mom…now I know where I inherited my singing ability, bwahaha!, a precious birthday song video from my Goddaughter along with a text and phone call and a call from her brother, many birthday texts and messages, homemade biscotti. My friend’s daughter made me the most incredible gift ever; she overlayed the cover of a book (Jazz by Toni Morrison) with her own artwork, incredibly detailed scenes of the book…I am so touched and in awe. Froyo and a fabulous dinner by the hubby.

Awareness: “Because you are loved” words inscribed on the artwork done for me…doing for other because we love them; there is no greater gift.

July 11

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Love, life, happiness, good health!

Joy: Book club! New books! Fun in the Sun! Family!

Awareness:  The spark and flitter of lightening bugs and the distant call of a hoot owl ushers in the city’s dusk with a certain country charm. I’m so glad I live off the beaten municipal path where lots of trees and wildlife thrive.

July 12

Creativity: art project with the kiddos, writing, reading books about writing, threw together a homemade gourmet dinner at the last minute, yay me!

Gratitude: a short visit time with a friend, texts with my sister

Joy: Lightening bugs and hoot owls!

Awareness: We are told many things in life we automatically believe. Things of truth are innate, like love, compassion, honesty, self-responsibility, nurturing. Even fight or flight. Perhaps the honesty, self-responsibility are debatable…I tend to think they are primal unless taught otherwise. What do you think?

July 13

Creativity: writing, androidphotography

Gratitude: being appreciated, family dinners, a good book

Joy: an invitation for a private tour and photo session (more on this next week), finding something I looked for all last week, and yes, it was right where I kept looking but somehow missed it, ha! Knowing I’ve passed my bargain shopper genes down to my kids!

Awareness: Acceptance of situations out of your control is much easier on your health than fighting it.

July 14

Creativity: writing, androidphotography

Gratitude: a good night’s sleep and waking up well rested, movie time with the hubby

Joy: A bit of early morning and early afternoon time to myself, phone call from my sister, my amaryllis has yet another bloom!

Awareness: In the heat of the day, a female cardinal and a house finch eat from the feeder while a hoot owl hides in the pine limbs and softly calls their names.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-seven

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness


July 1

Creativity: Writing, reading a mosaic project book

Gratitude: Today I like my haircut…guess it had to grow on me, ha! Five loads of laundry completed before noon! That means I’ll have time tomorrow for stained glass. Window panes (Ever looked at what can get through the screen but doesn’t manage to make it through the glass into the house? Not a big fan of spiders and other unknown creepy crawlies.)

Joy: My mosaic book arrived today! Outside time with the little ones!

Awareness: The time and effort put into people and projects pay off in friendships, appreciation (yours or someone else’s) of a job well done.

July 2

Creativity: cut stained glass for two projects, shopped for mosaic materials, organized glass and mosaic material in my studio

Gratitude: life, good health, left overs, no schedule, books,

Joy: Scored a $44 blouse for less than $3 including tax!

Awareness: If you just reach out (talk) to the people you run into at random places on a daily basis, you’ll be surprised of common denominators.

July 3

Creativity: grinding glass for two projects

Gratitude: a laid back rainy Sunday

Joy: phone calls from a friend and from goddaughter. My goddaughter got a part (and the only talking part, mind you!) in a commercial. This little girl ( young as she is) is conscious of her fellow man’s plight. The commercial is something about the coal miners in West Virginia where she lives. No matter what you think about fuel and natural resources these are people’s livelihoods. This small child is willing to speak on their behalf, and I am more than proud of her. I’m not really sure of the context of the commercial, but she always pulls for the underdog, wants everyone to have provisions and happiness, a truly empathic child. She is the type of child who will grow up to change the world. She started a toy drive at age three, and does it yearly, so that underprivileged children are able to have Christmas.

Awareness: The Oldest brought home the remaining contents in a keg from a party he and his friends had last night. After a glass of beer, I decided I didn’t want to cook dinner. I ordered pizza so I could laze about like the rest of the crew. Anyway, while waiting for the pizza to arrive I noticed the foam patterns in my glass, how they changed from one “picture” to another as I lifted tilted the glass hitting the foam with the liquid…and how amazing this would be if we could create art in similar ways. Yeah, I’m sure people already do this in one medium (paint) or another. However, it’s not something I’ve tried, and it really has me thinking…

July 4

Creativity: created summer curriculum and schedule for work days

Gratitude: family cook out, got the little kid’s pool ready, reading time, movie at home with the hubby

Joy: Movie (Me Before You, and I enjoyed it as much as the book) with my friend

Awareness: As much as I enjoy being with my hubby who I consider my best friend, I still greatly enjoy and need time with girlfriends.

July 5

Creativity: Fun and imaginative play time with the kids…sorry, that’s all I’ve got today!

Gratitude: Super fun and busy day with the kiddos

Joy: Messages from unexpected people. Finished my book club selection “The Quality of Silence” by Rosamund Lupton

Awareness: Playing is good for the soul! Good sleep follows hard play!

July 6

Creativity: Working on plotting a project

Gratitude: Another day of fun in the sun! Lazy evening time with DirtMan

Joy: Sharing photos and suggestions from some of our hikes to someone who is planning some hiking trips in the area we’ve often tread.

Awareness: I have absolutely no singing or dancing ability, but it sure is fun when the only ones watching are kids who participate! Kids have a way of making you feel young (at least, for a short period of time. You know…before the body catches up!) and alive. Their love is genuine, their curiosity is refreshing, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

July 7

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: a remote desktop, Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, orange daylilies, puppies, babies, laughter, grocery stores, water, food, family, love, home, books,

Joy: time, sunshine, conversation with sister and Youngest, texts with friends

Awareness: Sometimes your first impression can be wrong (don’t judge a book by its cover!) However, if your gut instinct is still saying something is not what you’re seeing, don’t dismiss it. That deep feeling is often more correct than what we see and hear. (Sometimes strangers too close to your home can make you uneasy…especially if they have no business with you.)

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-six


As time moves on I find the importance of taking time out and doing things that are fun or creative, outlets that cause my spirit to soar.

June 24

Creativity: Stained glass design

Gratitude: the ability to order dinner and have it delivered to my door

Joy: books, finished one and started another

Awareness: Mulberry tea: tastes exactly how I envisioned if I’d grabbed a hunk of grass from my yard and steeped it in hot water! It’s pungent, almost the scent of a water-logged lawn. It’s not strong nor is it repugnant, simply bland and earthy. The upside is if the tea is chilled it is quite refreshing.

June 25

Creativity: Purchased stained glass supplies, made a carrot cake from scratch (for hubby’s birthday tomorrow)

Gratitude: errands accomplished and relaxing time at home afterward, the hubby and I tried to watch a movie; either we were both tired or the movie sucked…we opted midway to go to bed early!

Joy: signed up for mosaic classes

Awareness: How important it is to put love first…before opinions (judgments), before feelings. Just love and the rest follows.

June 26

Creativity: Cooked a lovely birthday dinner for DirtMan

Gratitude: family time, also includes phone calls from those not physically near

Joy: breakfast out with hubby and Oldest and dinner at home to celebrate, a hanging basket with Portulaca to replace the flowers destroyed by the squirrels, the first two bee balm blooms

Awareness: Realizing I am not the only sentimental fool in this family…gave hubby a gift I’d love (to remind him of a fun day we recently had) and he liked it as much as I did.

June 27

Creativity: mosaic and stained glass design (owl and dragonfly), watching mosaic tile videos (probably shouldn’t have paid for a class and just dove right in, ha!)

Gratitude: a relatively light work day for a Monday, time to read

Joy: Beautiful sunny weather but not too hot, a chance to water the flowers, left overs, a glass of wine, communication with loved ones, snuggly cat, playful dog

Awareness: Love spreads love…joy spreads joy; you get the picture.

June 28

Creativity: mosaic and stained glass design, Youtube videos on various processes

Gratitude: Hubby home safely from trip, phone call with Youngest, Oldest making me laugh, texts with sister, phone call with a friend

Joy: New project ideas! And ordered a mosaic book.

Awareness: Appreciating presence…the spirits of those in my life and how our presence in one another’s lives makes a positive difference.

June 29

Creativity: stained glass design

Gratitude: Finally got a chance to get my hair cut…I don’t especially like it but my hair grows quickly.

Joy: Finished my work day up a couple of hours early! Exchanging emails and messages with the hubby’s cousin. She is an accomplished stained glass artist and gave me great tips and places to get patterns.

Awareness: Will there ever be enough time (even when I retire) to make all the things I dream of constructing. I focus far more on things I can make with my hands (fabric and glass) than I do with writing. I think this tells me writing is something I enjoy  mostly cathartic) but really not what I want to spend the majority of my time on. This is why I no longer feel guilty for letting my blog go to one post a week. Will I continue next year? I have no idea, but I do like trying to focus on the things I find important in my life, as trivial as those things might seem to others.

June 30

Creativity: I was unable to do any creative projects. However, I dreamed of stained glass, mosaic, and fabric patterns while resting…lots of great ideas, the ones I remember! I did manage to make my hubby homemade baked spaghetti for dinner so I’m counting that as my creative effort for the day.

Gratitude: Coconut water and vitamin water.  Had a light day which worked out well since I had a bout of diverticulitis. Though it took me half a day to figure out what was wrong. I had felt off kilter for the past two days, but blamed it on a virus which it wasn’t. One would think I would know to stay away from popcorn, nuts, and other irritants, but no, I decide to give it a try anyway every now and then.

Joy: At 7 pm I was finally able to eat without my body rejecting food. A positive update from a loved one.

Awareness: I need to listen when my body speaks. Ignoring nudges often ends up with negative results.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-five

sunset at Chippokes

June 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: family

Joy: love, moonroof, stars in the sky

Awareness: My body gently hugs the curves with the car. My lungs fill with mountain air as it gently caresses my face through the moonroof. I lose myself into a night lit with moon and stars. My soul is home.

June 18

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: watching the power of ice cream in action

Joy: rolling hills of green, hometown brewery and friends, contrails in an azure sky that connect puffy clouds, abundance of orange daylilies along the roadside, deer that stood and watched us, wildflowers (Queen Anne’s lace and daisies), Yucca blooms

Awareness: I take a stroll and see nature’s medicine all around me. Of course there is the zen of walking in nature, but I’m referring to the myriad of holistic plants which the average person can’t identify nor would know of their benefits. Some things we carry with in heads or hearts, and sometimes in our souls

June 19

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: country roads, country diners, country stores, country air…see a theme here? And not seeing any snakes while out and about

Joy: A stop at Chippokes State Park  on route from the mountains: the swirling pinks and yellows of sunset over the river, fossils, heart shaped rocks, feathers, the scent of campfire at dusk, sloshing of the river against the shoreline, the tinkle of shells and rocks, sparkle of lightening bugs, a chorus of frogs, cypress knees, glow of the full moon

Awareness: Brown eggs and frogs kept popping up on our radar today…then as we were riding a tree frog fell onto our windshield and hung on a couple of minutes before the air brisked him off. Not sure what the universe was telling us through brown eggs and frogs; any idea?

June 20

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a light day, watering flowers and finding they survived a hot weekend without rain

Joy: early morning sunlight dappling across the backyard pines, phone calls from Youngest and two long-time friends, organic honey from an apiary back home

Awareness: Certain music soothes my soul and settles in my bones. If I name the music era it will date me, ha!

June 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: an early bedtime

Joy: I heard the owl again last night! Sounds like he is in the tree by my bedroom. Texts from Youngest and Oldest

Awareness: I was particularly grateful for a text Oldest sent me regarding an herbal tea. I mentioned it to someone and they laughed and asked why he sent it. The reasons I thought were because I love herbal tea, am interested in holistic nutrition/remedies and the history of it not to mention the benefits of said tea. Then my friend mentioned “didn’t it state it was a weight loss secret?” Now, I wonder if the joke was on me; funny, that never occurred to me! He actually sent it because we have Mulberry trees on the family property and he wants to make some mulberry tea…see, all I had to do was ask what he thought about it.

Angel Fairy

Many of you have asked I share a few of my stained glass pieces. This is the first fairy I designed and made…ok, she really looks more like an angel.


This is the second fairy I designed. I tried to make her a bit more playful; a fairy with an attitude!

June 22

Creativity: Writing, photography, stained glass design

Gratitude: The rhythm of early morning: drinking my coffee watching the sun peek through the trees and listening to birdsong and wind chimes…got grocery shopping out of the way, yay me!

Joy: An adorable text message from my niece. I opened my email to find I had an Amazon Kindle credit (some kind of Apple settlement that is shared with all users)…so, I immediately ordered a Kindle book!

Awareness: Brown wing feathers curl, fan, and toss dust about its body. Red feathers follow the drab feathers of his mate. White and black feathers chase away the black and grey feathers landing on the feeder. Feathers flutter in flight…I find it ironic how bird watching grounds me.

June 23

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Conversations with Oldest and Youngest, sharing their plans and enjoyment of career paths and willingness to put in the work to get where they want to be

Joy: Backyard swing time listening to the many bird calls and watching wings and tail feathers of various colors dart through the air, into the trees, upon the fence, on the flowers…

Awareness: There is a time to give and a time to receive…like all in life a balance must be achieved.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-four

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya AngelouIMG_2249


June 10

Creativity: writing and reading about writing

Gratitude: a light work day, hubby got home a little earlier than usual

Joy: dinner out at a neighborhood café with DirtMan

Awareness: Read a wonderful essay about authenticity. While it’s good to be who you are (depending on who you are, I guess), the author states we don’t have to say or share everything about ourselves, but feels being sincere is utmost important. During a discussion a friend stated he felt being the best version of ourselves is the right way to be. I agree.

June 11

Creativity: Stained glass (soldering and completing project)

Gratitude: slept in, mowed grass, grocery shopping, and laundry done as well as down time to read and relax, texts from my goddaughter

Joy: Surprised an old friend by dropping by and picking her up to go to wine tasting with me

Awareness: Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness: I’ve always heard chores are more joyful when one is mindful. Two chores I am always mindless (yet creatively prolific) when doing are vacuuming and mowing. While doing both of these I seem to get my best writing or other creative project ideas.

June 12

Creativity: Designed stain glass patterns, watched youtube videos and learned some great shortcuts to implement in some of my upcoming stained glass projects, can’t wait to try them!

Gratitude: requests to order some of my stain glass pieces, went shopping for one thing and ran across a bargain and got that instead! DirtMan ordered me a new battery for my laptop as mine has experienced “permanent failure”!

Joy: mango mimosas in the back yard…trees, breeze, and birds, and most importantly it does not feel like 97 degrees! After plans for dinner out with friends who had to cancel we ordered in pizza…did not feel like cooking today.

Awareness: As much of an introvert as I am when I have plans I look forward to I am terribly disappointed when they are cancelled…I really do enjoy being with people when they are ones I love!

June 13

Creativity: Writing, mind mapping.

Gratitude: My sister is alive! She was hit by a car while riding her scooter, no broken bones but a small brain bleed, hospital keeping her for observation.

Joy:  Texts from my sister, proof she’s going to be ok. Book Club! Need I say more? (And I actually went to B&N and did not make a purchase…what a miracle! Or would that be a travesty in the eyes of a book lover?) Oldest’s sense of humor.

Awareness: Helplessness is not a good feeling…oh, how I wish I could be in two places at once. How I wish I had the power to remove pain from those I love and the world in general. Sending all the healing energy I can muster.  I don’t think that is the draining part; it is the physical sensation of stress, the crushing of the chest, the weight of the soul, the beauty of love. I am not complaining; I am acknowledging. Love leads the way.

June 14

Creativity: Stained glass design, otherwise stuck in my head daydreaming

Gratitude: My sister was released from the hospital tonight!

Joy: My sister’s voice!  My first orange daylily has bloomed. There are usually silver linings in grey skies. A yard of birds and flowers! Phone call with Youngest! A lovely, inspirational FB post shared by my nephew.

Awareness: Realization unexpected things happen for a reason even often unbeknown to us.

June 15

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Updating some files and tedious work I usually put off

Joy: Writer’s group! Friendships and communication.

Awareness: Enjoying the gifts of nature from inside my house: the scuffle of scurrying squirrel feet across the roof, wingtips soaring past the picture window, beautiful birdsong, early morning sunlight filtering through the tree limbs, the sweet scent of gardenia sifting through an open window…and then add the melody of wind chimes and colorful garden flags waving.

June 16

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: A husband willing to change plans in the blink of an eye for me.

Joy: Having a good friend who knows what to say and when to say it and when to just listen, and best of all how to make me laugh when I need it most.

Awareness: Some things are completely out of our control, and it’s a good thing if we really think about it…after all, we never really know the complete picture beforehand.


Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-three


Like life, this Yucca is filled with sharp edges. However, if you focus on those you’ll miss both the beauty and the sweetness. The aroma of life,let it fill your lungs and sustain you.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Our maiden trip with Pearl, the new car. (We let go of the Oyster and got a Pearl! Naming our cars? Yes, we are silly like that!) We made it safely to the mountains…traveled through torrential downpours where we could hardly see in front of us. At least I couldn’t so it’s a good thing I wasn’t driving.

Joy: A mountain weekend with DirtMan, the sound of tree frogs in the night.

Awareness: No matter the clouds, the sky still sparkled with scattered stars…now that is just one delight of country life.

June 4

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Again, reaching our destination safely. We were traveling over a mountain during another storm; torrential downpours, lightening, flooding, mudslides…mowing (five hours of it) was completed before the storms hit.

Joy: Early morning porch sounds of the creek bubbling at the edge of the field, a train whistle in the distance, and the birds singing. Dinner and drinks out with the hubby after visiting the MIL.  A beautiful lightening show throughout our passage of the mountain …the black sky changes from black to blue to white in seconds, and the streaks and flashes add a bit of pizzazz.

Awareness: When the banks fill and water carves a new route…never underestimate the power of water…it will cut through what it must to move, and it will take out whatever it must to get where it wants to go.

June 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Waterproof boots, Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora, also called ghost plant) was everywhere we hiked along the creek. This was my dad’s favorite plant and we were walking the land he walked all of his life. I felt as if he was walking in spirit along with us. Hiking and photographing the family homestead and property with DirtMan….and we didn’t come across any snakes, yay!

Joy: Breakfast out with my mom and DirtMan. A rainbow after traveling through a downpour. Porch sitting, enjoying nature and cloud watching with my mom, especially delightful was hearing a Bobwhite in the mix of birds. Rusty horse shoes hanging on the side of the weathered barn and workshop.

Awareness: Most breathtaking-watching the early morning fog lift from the mountain range. Beneath the rising ghosts peaks of blue and green emerge.

June 6

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: work day ending early

Joy: First two blooms on my gardenia bush

Awareness: I am the captain of my ship. I often make up excuses to myself why I’m not doing something when in reality I am the only one who can do the things I can and need to do. It is not up to anyone else to complete my goals or fulfill my dreams.

June 7

Creativity: Nothing specific, at least not in the “arts”. However, I did read some reference material on the craft of writing.

Gratitude: managed to run some errands after work

Joy: Cuddle time with the fur babies

Awareness: I had forgotten to take my amaryllis out of the shed in early spring. Last week, I took it out and it already had a bud on the stalk but only an edge of a leaf was visible. Today it has a beautiful triple bloom…however no leaves yet. How often are we lacking one thing in particular and think the rest of our assets aren’t enough to carry us through? Remember you are beautiful. Remember you are enough, just as you are!

June 8

Creativity: Baking biscotti

Gratitude: the end of a rough workday

Joy: Sunshine! Visiting with some friends I haven’t seen for quite a while

Awareness: A cool, brisk breezes brushes against my skin, sweeping across my soul and lifting me up, up, up…

June 9

Creativity: stain glass (foiling), writing

Gratitude: early morning accomplishments, a lighter workday than yesterday

Joy: The pursuit of dreams (mine and others)

Awareness: There are things we learn in life we forget, or perhaps we simply lose technique. After a few attempts it all comes back, kind of like riding a bike.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-two

birdhouse looking out

Sometimes we appreciate the beauty of life more through glimpses rather than the big picture.

May 27

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: faith, life, love, communication, connection, acceptance, support…how these play in my relationships

Joy: Didn’t feel like going out for dinner so we ordered in, reading

Awareness: How important it is to be there for others when you are needed, even if it’s only listening. Sometimes your voice might just be what someone else needs to hear.

May 28

Creativity: Stain glass design, cutting pattern and glass

Gratitude: not being on a time crunch and being able to take it easy as well as mowing the grass, doing laundry, and cleaning house

Joy: Mini trip (last rendezvous’ with the old Suby) to North Carolina, glimpses of barns, river, fields and sunset, sweet hellos from the three little girls from next door

Awareness: Early morning quiet time outside with a cup of coffee, except nature is not so quiet…though I can’t complain of singing cardinals and tohwees, chirping sparrows, scrambling squirrels, or rustling grasses. There’s something soothing about starting the day with nature’s noise.

May 29

Creativity: Grinding stain glass

Gratitude: Sold the old Suby

Joy: Breakfast out and movie time with DirtMan, visiting with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, sprinkles and sun at the same time…no rainbow though

Awareness: The illusion of time.

May 30

Creativity: Quilting, writing

Gratitude: appreciation of those who secured our freedom, a day off making it a long weekend

Joy: Completion of a project, dinner cooked by DirtMan

Awareness: Often small (to humans) things affect animals on a deeper level. I bathed my dog (who was not thrilled) to find the cat lay beside her, sniff her, and promptly retreat under the bed for several hours. Did she think I was going to bathe her, too?

May 31

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a smooth transition in my work day, essential oils, phone call with a friend

Joy: The buyers picked up my old Suby today, and it went to a wonderful family. First rate service from our dealership…a piece of paper was overlooked that I signed but hubby didn’t and instead of us having to drive to dealership city to take care of it, someone stopped by our house last night to do it.

Awareness: Watching joy pass from a little girl to a dog and back. I let Wylie out to the back yard and I could hear the squeals of delight of the little girl next door. She was all smiles as she leaned over the side gate to pet Wylie. Wagging tail, Wylie bounced up and down in exuberance. She leaned over and hugged Wylie as well as she could through a chain link fence. This sweetness lasted until Wylie heard her dogs in their backyard and she had to visit them through the back fence.

June 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: The internet for its multiple uses: business transactions, writing, information, recipes, tutorials, social media, email, music, reading, photos, videos

Joy: Visit with some friends

Awareness: Darkness fell over the room so quickly I felt I’d been swallowed by the night. Not the usual eye adjustment where I could see outlines and shadows.

June 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Because I had Monday off I’ve been ahead of myself all week…so nice not to be chasing myself around!

Joy: The hoot owl is back in the neighborhood! I hadn’t heard him for a long time, love listening to him call.

Awareness: I’m sitting beneath the air-conditioning duct wearing a bulky sweater and thick socks and drinking a cup of hot herbal tea. Only a fifty-something woman can appreciate the irony and necessity of this situation.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-one

May 20

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: The sun is back! I am able to find all of my files (thus far) since installing Windows10.

Joy: Phone call with my sister and a catch up phone call with a girlfriend. Dinner out at a neighborhood café with the hubby and Oldest and saw neighborhood friends. After dinner a trip by Starbucks. The hubby and I checked out cars at several dealerships.

Awareness: No matter how exhausted one feels, if you throw in something fun, something you’re passionate about, the energy soars. Funny how we always manage enough stamina to do what we really want and put off what doesn’t interest us.

May 21

Creativity: Scrapbooking

Gratitude: Finally able to get my overdue mammogram done. Another great trip to The Fresh Market. Also was able to get clearance foam to make a travel dog bed for Wylie.

Joy: Car research and test drives despite the rain. We’ve narrowed it down to two makes. Hot chocolate and massage chair while waiting at dealership. Wine time and fun night with my Moon Chasers Tribe!

Awareness: Driving out of the neighborhood I watched a Great Blue Heron shake the rain from his wings and inch toward a Raven. The raven continued pecking at the ground while the heron continued to flutter about as if he was trying to infringe on the raven’s territory. The raven kept pecking at the ground, not at all intimidated by the size of the heron.

May 22

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Detailed the interior of our car before the rain ran us inside. Now we only have to do the exterior before putting it up for sale.

Joy: Crème brulee. A hot bath.  Watched a John Muir documentary with the hubby. We made a decision on a car, and the dealer located exactly what we want; just have to wait for it to arrive. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a new car. I’ve had mine fourteen years and it’s a 1999. I’ve loved my Subaru so we decided to purchase another one, different model. They work well for us with all of the traveling we do to the mountains.

Awareness: They say if you go to wash your car it will surely rain the next day…might be true but I can attest that rain surely does not wash a car, not enough “elbow grease” involved! Trust me, I was surely hoping the rain would do the job!

May 23

Creativity: Groomed the dog. Made a travel dog bed for Wylie.

Gratitude: The rain stopped by noon….yay, sun I’ve missed you!

Joy: A delightful homemade card from a wonderful friend. And then a phone call with her!

Awareness: When we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations we must endure, if we accept the situation for what it is we become willing participants, discomfort can come from resistance…humans and animals alike. (me-mammogram, Wylie-grooming)

May 24

Creativity: Throwing together an impromptu dinner, yeah I’m claiming that as creativity!  Android photography. Collecting and filing natural health and home recipes

Gratitude: I made it home safely…those of you who know me know I have a small radius I drive, and I avoid the interstate at all costs. (It’s not the interstate I despise driving but the on and off ramps send me into a panic.) Any way, I had to transport my new car home as we purchased it in another city. I chose a route with limited interstate driving, however due to the crazy traffic I might as well have stayed on the interstate as I’d gotten on and off anyway.

Joy: A joint text with both my sons…adore their sense of humor! Loving all the bells and whistles of a new car. Started reading a new book, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Awareness: Stress is exhausting. Now that I maintain a certain level of inner peace I find the things that would have sent me into a panic attack or highly upset me more or less tax me, deplete my energy.

May 25

Creativity: Planting my herb garden

Gratitude: Even though the squirrels  dug up portions of the flowers in my hanging baskets and pots, I still have some colorful blooms. I’m not sure what’s up with those stinkers, they’ve never done this before. Perhaps, they’re telling me they are tired of trying to raid the squirrel-proof bird feeders.

Joy: Backyard time with the birds. Wonderful phone chat with Youngest.

Awareness: The days are longer, but when the light fades our neighborhood disappears into the night quickly…at least, it so appears from inside the house. I go outside and all that blended comes into view. Light, darkness, shadows, vision; it can all be deceiving.

May 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Reading time

Joy: Another snail mail card that made my day! Two in one week, yay me!

Awareness: My dog has been watching too much television; obviously she has seen those Subaru dog commercials: We decided to take Wylie on her inaugural ride…we opened the doors and back hatch and she jumped into the driver’s seat!

Define 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.