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.

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