Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-nine

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.~ Khalil Gibran

September 23

Creativity: Stained glass, writing

Gratitude: Bargain shopping! MIL was released from the hospital. Safe trip to the mountains. Early morning coffee on the porch with my mom listening to the songs of the birds and the creek.

Joy: Youngest arrived! Wonderful family dinner, lots of love and laughter…oh yes, always laughter when Youngest and Oldest are involved! Wylie’s excitement over seeing Youngest was absolutely fabulous!

Awareness: There are no words for a heart overflowing with love and blessings.

September 24

Creativity: Dancing at a wedding (That’s all I got! Can I count it?)

Gratitude: Time (We crammed an incredible amount into a 12 hour period.) Heartfelt conversations. Early morning coffee on the porch with my mom listening to the songs of the birds and the creek.

Joy: A family wedding. Love, laughter, family, friends, fun, good times…Youngest absolutely insisted I dance with him (I’m not much of a dancer unless DirtMan pushes me into it…had a wonderful time on the dance floor!)

Awareness: While things are ever changing there are things that forever stay the same…and the most important of those things is love.

September 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: To be back home after a whirlwind weekend, Oldest had ordered lunch for us before we arrived home

Joy: A few hours at home before taking Youngest to the airport for his return trip.

Awareness: When your children live far away and you only see them once or twice a year, the joy of their arrival and pain of their departure doesn’t lessen with time.

September 26

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Back in the groove of work, today’s errands accomplished (actually yesterday’s errands a day late!)

Joy: Thrilled to finally have a pattern finished for a commissioned piece (It only took about 6 designs to get it to where I was satisfied, ha!)

Awareness: When I push myself I can often accomplish things I didn’t think I could do.

September 27

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: a rainy day, sometimes a rainy day is good for the soul

Joy: Pulled out my book “Fire Starter Sessions” by Danielle LaPorte. I didn’t read much of it when I bought it a few years ago. Now, I feel like it pertains to my life, working on an art project, a series of stained glass that I’m extremely excited about. Loving the designs and finished products, also involves some writing as well. A glass of wine!

Awareness: My attitude sucks today…I am worn down and out of sync; I really need a vacation; fortunately it’s next week!

September 28

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: On schedule with two commissioned projects,

Joy: A hot shower and an early bedtime

Awareness: As one thing dies another blooms, such is life.

September 29

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: A relatively light day, and was able to run an errand at the end of the day and cook dinner.

Joy: Realized there is an unfollow button on Facebook…yay, so tired of all those political rants. There is no way I could remain on there through the rest of the election season with all those antagonistic posts. I enjoy using FB to keep up with family and friends, but shuffling through all the bitterness was really messing with my inner peace. Some quiet time to myself.

Awareness: “I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible; to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom goes on as fruit.” ~Dawna Markova:  I posted this quote a year ago as my FB status, and I finally feel I am comfortably “Living in the Gap”. You see, this was my intention for 2012. But when 2013 rolled around I began to shift…while it is difficult to live a balanced life I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-eight

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”  ~ Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

September 16

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Enjoyed a quiet Friday night at home, reading time

Joy: Design inspiration is still strong.

Awareness: Sitting on the back swing in the cool air is a balm to my soul.

September 17

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Had a complication with one of my stained glass pieces and figured out how to take it apart and redo a section on my own…yay, me!

Joy: Completed seven stained glass projects, a hot bath, a glass of wine

Awareness: When I exhaust myself doing something I enjoy I feel satisfied, yet when I exhaust myself with drudge work I focus on my used energy and sore muscles. Yes people, life is all about attitude and focus; we make it what it is.

September 18

Creativity: Writing and photography

Gratitude: DirtMan and I met friends in Smithfield for breakfast. Dinner with Oldest. Phone call with Youngest.

Joy: Needed a sweater/jacket to accompany a dress and found a perfect match, reading time

Awareness: Words are powerful. They are able to edify or destroy, use them carefully. When angry try to reach for love because once words are released there is no return.

September 19

Creativity: Stained glass embellishment videos

Gratitude: My husband did not have to pull nightshift when it was expected. I would say we got time together, but he was so exhausted from working nights and getting little sleep (this is week # 5 of nightshift) he slept over twelve hours…so I’m thankful he was able to catch up on his rest.

Joy: People who make me laugh, especially when it’s my kids. Being a witness to happiness.

Awareness: When people are happy with themselves they seem to establish healthier relationships.

September 20

Creativity: Stained glass design

Gratitude: Raincoat and umbrella because the rains keep coming…glad my street was not flooded while I had to go to the store.

Joy: Absolutely thrilled DirtMan doesn’t have to work any nights this week. Phone calls with my sister and a friend. Two little ones playing hide and seek; the counting out of order was hilarious, especially since the other child totally got it!

Awareness: It’s a wonderful feeling to have someone who gets you, and even greater if you have more than one person.

September 21

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Schools were closed due to flooding, waters were down (at least on my street) by the late afternoon though it is still raining. Writer’s Group cancelled so I didn’t have to go out in the pouring rain (except to take the dog out as she refused for the past 24 hours: I swear her bladder must be the size of Texas!)

Joy: Tonight DirtMan and I watched family videos of when our sons were small. It was wonderful to visit the days of our early family and the joy of sharing the river and mountains with them. We spent a lot of time camping, hiking, fishing, ATV riding, and just enjoying the bounty of nature and love of family. I hope they will always have fond memories of their youth.  Learning about creative energy patterns, fascinating how the right side of the brain controls the left (female energy) of the body, and the left side of the brain controls the right (male energy) side of the body.  We need both; female for inspiration and male for structure…this makes our dreams tangible. This comes from the book  “Wild Creative” by Tami Lynn Kent. I am so enjoying this book.

Awareness: Learning this concept in the above joy section helps me understand what I need to expand on in various creative endeavors. I am balanced with stained glass. With writing I have lots of inspiration but I lack structure. I knew this but I’d never looked at it as an energy form.

September 22

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Feeling appreciated…kind words on a card, gift certificates. The sun returned today!

Joy: Love. Twittering birdsong and twitching fluffy squirrel tails have made their way back into our yard now that the rain finally stopped. Manicure and pedicure (with the enjoyment of massage chair) Phone call from Youngest…he is due to arrive tomorrow!

Awareness: Sometimes we receive the honor and joy of positively impacting another’s life, and perhaps they touch your heart as well…though no relation, we call these people family. And often the time comes your job is done and they move on which is the case in my work. My heart is sad and yet it is full as one of my little guys moves up to preschool.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-seven


Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.  ~Yo-Yo Ma

September 9

Creativity: Stained glass design (an angel, a fairy, and a mermaid)

Gratitude: Started rereading Julia Cameron’s “Walking in This World, The Practical Art of Creativity”. I hadn’t thought about this in years and wasn’t even sure if I still had it as I’d unloaded all of The Artist Way books on a friend. Sure enough, it was on my shelf. Take out sushi. Erasers.

Joy: Phone call from my goddaughter. A short surprise visit from a friend. I am delighted this is not a travel weekend for us because my body told me it really needs to rest. Chamomile tea and hot bath with chamomile essential oil.

Awareness: Though I’ve been in a productive stage of creativity, my energy is still scattered. Noises have really had me on edge for the past few days…zooming planes practicing for air show, nearby drums of the high school band, vibration of the AC, shrieking screams and whines…things I don’t usually pay much attention to while inside have me feeling dizzy, my neck tense, headache, and slightly shaking. Not sure if I’m getting sick or if I’m sensitive to the Mercury Retrograde. I just know that for a few weeks I have felt off though some days have been fairly normal.

September 10

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: A trip to my favorite glass store, and they had exactly what I needed. Added bonus is I left my list at home, and I still remembered everything.

Joy: phone call from my goddaughter. After running errands I spent the rest of the day in my studio.

Awareness: So, do you think the universe is trying to tell you something if it throws you together with two complete strangers and in six weeks you find yourself at the same place three times? We remembered one another because we struck up a conversation. Originally, I met them in the glass section of a local hobby store. In conversation we realized we had taken glass classes at the same shop but at different times. A few weeks later when I went to the glass shop they came in while I was there, and we laughed because we’d met up shopping for glass just a few weeks prior. While I was shopping for glass this time I heard someone say, “No way, it can’t be her.” We got a good laugh, and when I left I told them I guess I’d see them next time I need glass. It is ironic we have a lot in common other than glass, and they happen to have the same retirement plans as DirtMan and I have…opening up some sort of creativity studio! And none of us want to retire where we currently live.

September 11

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Spent the entire day absorbed in creative endeavors. Even got in a little reading time.

Joy: Getting my studio back in order after having everything out of place while working/playing. A hot bath, cup of hot tea, sandalwood candle…a quiet evening.

Awareness: There are times I set unrealistic goals for myself. Rather than beating myself up for what I don’t accomplish I am going to start being appreciative of the objectives I achieved.

September 12

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Time to browse through the bookstore, and talk with a few people before the book club started.

Joy: Book club, always great discussion and laughter, stumbled upon an excellent book and purchased “Wild Creative” by Tami Lynn Kent.

Awareness: What we need always find its way to us, especially things we don’t know we need.

September 13

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: DirtMan always supports my creative meanderings.

Joy: Surprise breakfast with DirtMan, phone call from Youngest

Awareness: I’ve always considered my husband to be analytical while I am more of an artsy or free spirited soul, even though he has the heart of a poet and is creatively dabbling in photography and woodwork. I’d never before though his engineering career to be creative…what was I thinking? He builds highways and bridges, of course he’s creative. I guess I considered my first career (hairdressing) to be creative because it had flair…point is engineering and hairdressing, start with a set of plans and you build from there. I realize that was sort of a ramble, but the realization we both have creative careers and hobbies has been on my mind today.

September 14

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Sitting on the back yard swing as night tiptoes across my yard. Frogs and cicadas blend in the darkness but their songs are an invitation to play hide and seek. A lifelong friendship.

Joy: A lovely sunset while eating dinner with DirtMan at a neighborhood pub.

Awareness: Those who are demanding often push others away rather than pull them in…I can only be pushed so far before my energy resources are depleted.

September 15

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: I am eternally grateful for the prolific creative phase I am experiencing. My stained glass designing and creating has been on an unbelievable roll this week. I’ve created fourteen designs, and am in various stages of creating these pieces. Most of these even fit into a feminine theme. I’ve focused mainly on angels, fairies, and mermaids, and used inspiration from my feminine ancestry and women who inspire me. Most surprising to me is I haven’t had any desire to write, only to create with glass. I can honestly say when I started this “Define and Design” theme this year I had no idea this would be the direction I’d be headed. Life is full of surprises!

Joy: Able to steal a few minutes tonight with my husband. His job has been taking a lot of his time these days as they are winding down on a huge project…been working nights (and parts of days, extremely long hours at times) for a month now…and so much to look forward to – one week and Youngest will arrive for family wedding…another week and vacation, yay!

Awareness: I am sitting outside. The air is a bit chilly, cool drips of moisture settling on my arms. Robins bomb dive from the tall pines across my yard. I haven’t seen this many Robins since early spring. Fall is in the air. I witness death around me: dead heads on the coneflowers and black-eyed Susan, Sedums lifting a final wig to this year’s fashion show, pines are shedding their needles, the huge Oak is dropping leaves of varying degrees of change…and yet this excites me because autumn is my favorite time of year.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-six

“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.” ~Osho


September 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Got hurricane preparation completed, grabbed a quick dinner with DirtMan

Joy: DirtMan bought some pumpkin beer for me…I haven’t had any yet, but it’s the thought that counts, especially since he doesn’t even like it but knows it’s my thing! A letter from my mom with a picture of her father as a little boy. Texts and phone calls with family. Have been wanting a deep red (wine/ruby) colored purse and shoes; upcoming family wedding is an excuse to buy them, so I found what I like and purchased…sometimes it feels good to treat yourself. Ticket purchased for Youngest to visit at the end of the month.

Awareness: Siting on the porch swing…a cool breeze whipping through the air and against my skin, birds are active at all the feeders, the rustle of leaves and wings; all pure joy to my soul. (Not exactly stillness, but still the calm before the storm.)

September 3

Creativity: Writing, reading about writing, designed a sewing project and a mosaic one

Gratitude: Electricity outage early in the morning. DirtMan suggested we go out to get coffee and donuts and see if he could pinpoint where the electricity was downed. And then I discovered Chick Fil A had electricity and was open so I suggested we stop there as well. We ended up well fed for sure! Lots of time for reading, and movies after the power returned.

Joy: Funny texts with a friend during the Hurricane/tropical depression…thought I was going to delete my battery power before the current returned. Only out of electricity for slightly over seven hours.

Awareness: Build your brand. Reinvent yourself. These terms don’t mesh with “Be authentic” unless the reinvention of yourself or your business is the real you. Of course, we change and reshape constantly until we are sometimes no longer the person we once were. This kind of change doesn’t require a “reinvention” of self and “branding” generally refers to careers. This kind of change is gradual, a living and learning experience of “being”.

September 4

Creativity: Writing, stained glass (foiling)

Gratitude: After a slow start to my day due to back pain, my back improved enough to accomplish some yard clean up; always a mess after a big storm.

Joy: Sandalwood candle, a pumpkin beer, family

Awareness: There are times I put off difficult tasks to only find they’re not nearly as difficult as I’d imagined.

September 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Today was Dirtman and my 34th wedding anniversary…sometimes he might roll his eyes at some of the things I come up with but he lets me be ME, and that is a gift.

Joy: DirtMan and I started our day off at our favorite neighborhood pub for brunch. Then we headed off to the Eastern Shore. We brought essentials: cameras, water, wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit for a little daytime fiesta. We hiked a wildlife reserve which is ideal for bird watchers. We heard many familiar calls and some not so familiar, and a few sightings. We explored a bit more of the Eastern Shore and ended up at Mallards for dinner. We dined outside by the water and viewed a spectacular sunset and were provided live music for entertainment. It was a beautiful day all the way around.

Awareness: Everyday Everybody Matters (graffiti seen on building on Eastern Shore) Powerful words to contemplate on…in other words be kind to everyone.

September 6

Creativity: Writing, Painting, Stained glass (soldering)

Gratitude: Not having to leave my house all day! Made a phone call after I didn’t get a response to two emails on an Otterbox warranty. My customer service representative was excessively happy and helpful…don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an enthusiastic service person…I even felt guilty for steering her back to my problem a few times. Perhaps she just needed to talk about life in general, so I allowed it after I got my problem attended. Or perhaps the people in Colorado are just super nice!

Joy: Completed the glass projects of my Dancing Fairy and 57 Chevy stained glass designs!

Awareness: It’s a small world…finding mutual connections with people you’ve known for many years. Funny how things suddenly come up in conversations and it’s like someone has opened the window and a gush of fresh air enters.

September 7

Creativity: Writing, painting, Stained glass design (three mermaids)

Gratitude: A visit, though brief, with a longtime friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Joy: I sold some stained glass pieces and received several more orders. My ruby purse and shoes arrived…I absolutely love them, makes me think of my goddaughter as she loves “ruby slippers”.

Awareness: I find my creative focus shifting more and more from writing and sewing to stained glass. I’m thinking I’m better off not trying to fit myself into a mold but to allow my spirit to mold me  and reshape me as I find my own places of purpose and pleasure.

September 8

Creativity: Writing, painting, Stained glass design

Gratitude: When small children exhibit compassion. I had a headache today and was resting on the sofa. A little girl (two and a half) brought her favorite blanket over and tucked it around my neck, rested her beloved stuffed giraffe on my chest, and leaned over and kissed my cheek. Just melts your heart, doesn’t it?

Joy: A quiet house, a cup of herbal tea, a hot bath with essential oils, a bowl of caramel ice cream

Awareness: Intuition is an innate gift many of us shed due to ego or societal pressures.


Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-five

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.  ~John Muir


August 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Words. Weekend trip with DirtMan…able to avoid Lockn’ traffic on route to mountains

Joy: The workweek is over and the weekend is on!  Listening to some old time rock and roll on our road trip, got ice cream at a gas station, unexpected rain shower

Awareness: Traveling into a rain shower and you can actually see it clear on both sides…only where you are momentarily is being watered; life is life that. I’m not talking about the poured on soaking rain (though that happens as well) but the nourishing soul watering; not everyone gets it at the same time.

August 27

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Time with family, Orchard peaches and apples, homegrown tomatoes, fresh air, a pink cap the hubby bought me, a beer at the hometown brewery. Sharing a profound poem I came across with DirtMan and how the words touched each of us.

Joy: DirtMan and I were exploring country roads and stumbled upon quite a gem, Staton Falls. This gave us not only a photo op but a bit of a hike as well. Cloud watching with the hubby while we were at the brewery. Friendliness of people in the country, waves everywhere and easy conversation.

Awareness: Sitting at the base between upper and lower falls, watching the many butterflies feast on giant milkweed and the water flowing and splattering onto the rocks. Listening to the combined songs of the upper and lower falls. I know I am in the midst of a Holy place. ..a tiny stream carved its way through the mountain; water shaped the mountain. Can you even imagine the power it that? If God has given a trickle of a stream that power, can you even imagine the magnitude of what he has equipped humans. We can change the world in wonderful ways…we are changing the world. We may never know the impact of our presence; our very presence is a present to the world.




August 28

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: a short hike to the family cemetery with my sister and Wylie (the dog is always up for a walk outside)

Joy: porch sitting with my mom and sister on a beautiful day filled with sunshine, breezes, birds, and a few lizards, spotting a cardinal flower by the creek, lightening bugs

Awareness: A day of nothingness is good for the soul…also good for the mind for when it empties it fills again but with fresh ideas.

August 29

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My body, mind, and spirit: Though I might complain at times I am truly grateful my physical capabilities, my mind’s perception, and the essence is which I carry out the daily tasks required of me. I am blessed. Happiness.

Joy: Phone call from my sister. A glass of wine

Awareness: Sometimes judgment clouds my vision and I have to step back, clear my mind and heart, and start over; mainly, there are times I need not think. All I need to do is be.

August 30

Creativity: Prepping for kids art projects

Gratitude: the cold smoothness of a polished stone (red jasper is my pick today)

Joy: Phone calls with my children

Awareness: Sometimes people are so concerned with what others are doing they begin to stunt their own growth.  My mantra today, “Be considerate of your fellow travelers but focus on your own journey.”

August 31

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Kid’s naptime, a pair of cardinals flying past my window this morning

Joy: Opening my email to find an inspiration I need to hear. An added bonus was sharing it and having someone tell me it was exactly what they needed this morning.

Awareness: Every once in a while there is a day of stress that only a hot bath with essential oils and cup of herbal tea can heal.

September 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A message from someone thanking me for something I did for her a few years ago. Some books I purchased on my Kindle a while ago came back into focus. I never got around to reading them…today I almost purchased one of them; glad Kindle lets you know when you’ve already purchased something!

Joy: Synchronicity at play!

Awareness: Surrendering to Spirit is peace to the soul. Simple moments are often the greatest blessings in life.


Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-four

IMG_2417“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A quiet work day, not many of those these days.

Joy: Listening to the rain, ordered dinner in.

Awareness: Robins line the gutters splashing in the rainwater. Red winged blackbirds, cardinals and sparrows peck about the ground. A yellow finch feasts on the dead head of a coneflower. Birdsong and fluttering wings warm my heart.

August 20

Creativity: I did not feel well today so I did absolutely nothing I’d consider creative unless you want to count throwing together Caesar salads for dinner! I did read and mentally idea storm for writing plots.

Gratitude: Took car for a routine service appointment that was made the day we bought it, and they didn’t have us on the books but they saw us anyway. The diligence of our cable company and my husband to get our internet back up. (Purchased a new modem router, ended up being faulty so we had to get another one.)

Joy: A visit to the health food store owned by a friend, and I purchased an Aventurine angel.

Awareness: The presence of a dog at a Subaru dealership makes all the employees happy. People from all departments come out to play with Wylie, and she is absolutely thrilled with the attention. Dogs open up conversations, and you find out all kinds of things about people in the process.

August 21

Creativity: Writing, Stained glass (grinding glass)

Gratitude: A day at home, enjoyed not being on the run. Got the laundry done and cleaned house.

Joy: Watching the lightening and listening to the wind and rain. I love a good thunderstorm every now and then. Reading time.

Awareness: There are times it is more important to “be” rather than “do”…and guilt has no place in the aftermath.

August 22

Creativity: Writing, crafts with the kids

Gratitude: Sitting outside today it was actually cool with the breeze.  Hubby had to work tonight, but I was able to cook dinner and eat with him before he left.

Joy: Funny texts and phone call from a friend.

Awareness: Sometimes we just need to talk to someone who “gets” us.

August 23

Creativity: Writing, crafts with the kids

Gratitude: waking up with lots of energy after a good night’s sleep, another cooler day

Joy: Watching four female yellow finches on the feeder and a male nearby feeding on the deadheads of the coneflowers, Friends with a sense of humor and a little visit time with one and a phone call with the other

Awareness: Contemplating on these words “Care but don’t carry” found in an online article; a reminder of being empathic and doing what you can to make the world a bit better without carrying the burden .

August 24

Creativity: Writing, painting

Gratitude: Home, family, friends, love, laughter,

Joy: Time spent with a dear friend and frozen yogurt for dinner!  A good laugh over a text from another friend…she meant to send it to her significant other! Added three more angels (sodalite, clear quartz, and rose quartz) to my collection…I now have a chorus of angels.

Awareness: My energy was a bit scattered for the past several days and it seems like I’ve evened out now. My mental alertness and my physical actions suffer when I feel off.

August 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: an early morning ruckus of beautifully brilliant black ravens on my front lawn, a friend who knew I was looking for something in particular and not only found it but purchased it and dropped it off at my house

Joy: spending time with a friend who has been away most of the summer

Awareness: When I quiet myself and tune in doubt disappears and the words I need come to me.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-three

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving


August 12

Creativity: Mosaic tutorials, kids art class

Gratitude: hot herbal tea, candles, essential oils, phone call with my brother, outside time

Joy: My children’s sense of humor. The hubby, Oldest, and myself were in the car on the way to dinner. Youngest texted my phone. My phone is connected via Bluetooth to my car. What I didn’t know was that anyone in the car can answer the text and it appears as if it is from me. (My kids have for years sent one another off the wall crazy texts to one another using my phone…you know the kind of texts one would not expect to get from mom and ones that would make them question my sanity!) Anyway, text from Youngest is just shooting the breeze.

Oldest texts (as if from me): I’m running late.

Youngest: What for?

Oldest: Do you need anything?

Oldest: I’m stuck in traffic. Do you need anything?

Youngest: Yeah sure. I’ll take a dozen tacos, a bag of ice, three twinkies, and a water buffalo.

In the meantime as I am writing a text I see all of the texts appearing and I tell him it’s his brother not me.

Youngest replies: So no tacos?

My sons crack me up. And they fill my heart with joy.

Awareness: Even when your children are grown and live far away you continue to carry them close…the heart knows no distance.

August 13

Creativity: stained glass design and soldering (completed consignments for an angel and a fairy), practiced cutting with both mosaic tile nippers and wheeled glass nippers. I must say it looked simpler on video. Not to say I didn’t get any decent cuts, but glass did fly across my studio…to be found at a later date with my bare feet I am sure!

Gratitude: Errands done early to allow for an afternoon of creativity and reading, Yardwork done by hubby and Oldest, carved out time to watch a movie

Joy: Started my day with a (long time ago) picture in a text from my nephew! While I wasn’t happy I had to cancel my mosaic classes due to conflicts in schedule, I am thrilled I was able to get store credit for my payment…I bought new glass for projects, yay! The idea is to teach myself to mosaic, and if I don’t get it I will take the next available class.

Awareness: The “zone” is a great creative place to be…time soars and much gets accomplished.

August 14

Creativity: Stained glass: design, pattern cutting, and glass cutting.

Gratitude: opportunity to sleep in, a day of creativity, time for reading

Joy: I created a dancing fairy stained glass design; I know it should be under creativity, but I am overjoyed with the results. Creating fills me with joy…and that is an awareness as well!

Awareness: A day of total creativity exhausts both mind and body, but what a pleasant kind of tiredness!

August 15

Creativity: Stained glass cutting, writing

Gratitude: Time for reading, another book I had started and not finished managed to catch my attention for a second attempt…this time with better results than the last time. I just love how things return when you are ready to learn them.

Joy: In two different creative venues I encountered challenges. I discovered tools in my artistry arsenal to help me out in both instances.

Awareness: Two sparrows are eating from the bird feeder. A female cardinal hangs from the pole and shakes; the pole wobbles, her feathers flutter, and the sparrows fly away. Promptly, the cardinal hops onto the feeder and begins to eat. Within seconds the sparrows join in. The cardinal takes off, guess she wants to dine alone today.

August 16

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: A request for permission to use some of my photos for a magazine. I usually always grant permission for books, magazines, and one to be placed on a mall wall. However, there was that one time my photo was requested and I said no: they wanted to photoshop out people and put their staff in to appear they were there for a retreat…and they wanted to change the clouds in the sky and a rock…I think they should have climbed the mountain themselves and taken their own photo, ha!

Joy: I needed to find an important paper. I thought I’d recently seen it. I thought of two places where I must have spotted it. On route to place #1 I remembered where I had it which wasn’t there or place #2. What a thrill it was not to search the house over for it…and yay memory was good to me today!

Awareness: How a cup of hot chamomile tea and a hot bath with chamomile essential oil relaxes a sore and tired body.

August 17

Creativity: Writing, stained glass design

Gratitude: Oldest brought dinner home for us. Creative inspiration. Sunshine. Water. Wind. The internet finally came back on this evening. (I kept attempting to research for my writing. I sometimes take conveniences for granted. I can’t even imagine if I had to go to the library every time I wanted information not at my fingertips!)

Joy: Writers Group, much enjoyed!

Awareness: That moment when you’re in the midst of writing and a new idea changes everything you’ve done thus far, but it solidifies the story…the Muse takes its job seriously though not always timely.

August 18

Creativity: Writing, stained glass design

Gratitude: I have discovered my worst childhood flaw (according to others) has become my strength.

Sensitivity. Yes, I embrace it. It enables me to scratch beneath the surface. It allows me compassion in situations where the need is not obvious. And my Yogi teabag affirmation was “Live in your strength.”

Joy: Booking a plane ticket for Youngest to attend a family wedding. Love times the family gets together, especially in the name of love!

Awareness: “I don’t have answers to much of life’s mysteries, and not knowing gives me comfort…Yes, I just admitted that.” I wrote these words in my journal this morning. In the afternoon I was listening to a live internet class on joy and the facilitator said the same thing. Synchronicity!

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-two

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Both photos are of the same scene but with a different focus. Life is all about perspective.


In this photo I focused on the Queen Anne’s lace, and the back ground is a blur.


In this photo I focused on the fog rising from the mountains, and the wildflowers are a blur.

August 5

Creativity: Taught myself to mind map using Excel…yay me! Stained glass design

Gratitude: a light and shortened work day. At the end of the day, I accidentally locked myself out of the house…a dear friend kept me company on the phone until the hubby was able to get home to let me inside.

Joy: Mountain weekend!

Awareness:  Remembering things don’t always happen in my timing…I am not in control…if they are meant to be they happen when the time is right…things I’d let go of are happening. Surrender can be a good thing. There is a difference between surrendering and giving up. I’m a full believer in letting things be though I sometimes don’t follow my own advice, ha!

August 6

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: Not getting bitten by a snake! Roadside Black-eyed Susans, garden fresh tomatoes

Joy: family, gravel roads that lead to nowhere, rain showers (even though it created havoc with my hair!) Standing in fields of wildflowers watching the fog rise over the mountains.

Awareness: The rain-soaked cedar glistens in the early morning sun; raindrops morph into stars. Wind sweeps through the maples and oaks, overturning leaves of water…the trickle of drops tinkle from leaf to leaf. The creek sings a lullaby in the background while nature’s song (crickets and frogs) sends shrills into the morning air. A dog barks in the distance. A yellow finch, flycatchers, and sparrows dart and chirp about in their pursuit of breakfast. The broad hands of the walnut tree gently wave her hands; peridot jeweled fingers rise and fall to the tune of morning. Scents of cedar, rain, grass, and wildflower…wood and earth fill my lungs. White tufts of Queen Anne’s lace reach for the cloudy sky. Light and shadow dance across the meadow. Raindrops rumple across the tin roof. Cup of coffee in hand, DirtMan and I pause and take in this meditation, a balm to our souls. I open my mouth to breath, and I taste life. How sweet it is.

August 7

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Butterflies, birds, babbling brook, wildflowers, fresh spring water (running from the mountain not from a bottle!), grapes from vine to mouth, (natural) jack rocks, a visit with my 89 year old twin aunts at the nursing home

Joy: ATV riding with DirtMan…sun on my back and wind in my face, time with my sister and mom

Awareness: On the back of an ATV, soaring downhill so fast I can barely catch my breath yet I can smell wild mint with a mix of floral and spicy tones…butterflies of all colors (Monarch, Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Cabbage White) flutter and dance across the meadow of wildflowers (Queen Anne’s lace, wild sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans, Cardinal flowers, and yellow, blue, purple and pink nameless (to me) wildflowers.

August 8

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: purchased a day planner I like a lot

Joy: Book Club, great discussion!

Awareness: When I listen to other’s perspectives I catch a glimpse of things I cannot see alone…this one thing can change my attitude or my course of action. If nothing else, it simply enables me to understand the situation at hand.

August 9

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Slept in an hour later than usual. Slipping back into the comforts of daily routine.

Joy: DirtMan and I finished the lovely bottle of wine we purchased at Ruth’s Chris over a week ago.

Awareness: Sometimes the tension in my body is of my own doing; focusing on the wrong things and other times a lack of focus in general.

August 10

Creativity: Stained glass design, photography

Gratitude: DirtMan fixed my photo “thingy” (see how technical I am?) on my laptop and also installed/updated programs

Joy: Completed my fall/winter business schedule, and finally chose a week to take vacation.

Awareness: We tend to think we choose purpose, but purpose chooses us. Purpose is bigger and stronger than a body. It might feel relatively simple and perhaps not something you selected, rather something you were led to.  Regardless, the urge continues and pieces of the puzzle continue to fall into place. If one spreads wings with purpose it can grow into something not as simple or as small as first imagined…dare to dream big!

August 11

Creativity: Stained glass design

Gratitude: Catching up with my week; it’s about time since it’s almost over! Remembering to do two things today that I’d meant to do for the past three days!

Joy: Talked to two of my sisters and my mom today.

Awareness: As the sun is slipping from view, a golden light trickles in and out pine boughs dancing in the wind. The sky behind the treetops drifts to white as the gold travels down the tree trunks. Then the white drifts into grey and the gold is gone for another day.

Define and Design 2006, Week Thirty-one



“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~John Milton

July 29

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a fun day and a relaxing night

Joy: The contentment of being home and not traveling this weekend

Awareness: Reading each other’s minds: DirtMan got home from work a little early so the house was still reverberating with childish chatter and squeals. When the last one left, we settled on the sofa with a beer.  I asked him to listen. We both took a deep breath and he said “silence”. Something neither of us had heard (or not heard, ha!) all day.

July 30

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a rainy day to read and cat who snuggled with me all day

Joy: Hubby treated me to a dinner a Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Awareness: How validating it is to hear a total stranger speak words you’ve thought but never shared, and how affirming it is to be inspired by those of like minds.

July 31

Creativity: Writing, stained glass (foiling)

Gratitude: the scent of homemade spaghetti sauce permeating through the house, reading (finished “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult and started “H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald)

Joy: Phone call from Youngest

Awareness:  How comforting the tinkle of rain and the low grumble of thunder can be on the soul…and equally how disturbing the simple thwack of a pinecone on the roof can be in the midst of the calm.

August 1

Creativity: I’m claiming crafts with the kiddos today! (It’s a M-F art class, but only claim the creativity when I got nothing else!)

Gratitude: When things fall into place, messages I hear when I actually listen with more than my ears, essential oils (today’s picks are lavender and chamomile)

Joy: Picking up and understanding a book I once put down once because I just didn’t get it…timing is everything, sometimes growth must occur before digestion is possible. DirtMan and I watched the birds through the backdoor window.

Awareness: Sometimes I wonder if I have the intellect, discipline, organization (or some other needed tool) to accomplish some of the things I dream of doing…and then I remember some of the miraculous things God has equipped me to do, and realize if those things are possible these are possible as well. The human body is an amazing thing, and once someone uses the tools equipped within it, wow, talk about possibilities!

August 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: successful morning meditation, Himalayan salt lamps, herbal tea

Joy: Confirmation from my sister’s doctor that she will not need chemo or radiation! DirtMan and I hit the sack early…he was watching a movie and I was reading a book…in a matter of minutes he was out. Still, just having him sleeping while I was reading was comforting.

Awareness:  The rain pounds the roof and slides sideways across the yard. Water falls from the neighbor’s roof in thick sheets, appearing as if someone is sweeping snow through the air. The street floods. The sky rumbles, and occasional streaks of lightening pierce the rain. As I am enjoying nature’s show I realize there are many mail carriers and other many others who are in the midst of this and probably not enjoying it. It’s all a matter of perspective, or in this case possibly position (whether one is inside or outside).

August 3

Creativity: Writing, Created a sacred space/an altar using items which tug at my heart strings: angels and frogs gifted to me, prayer/meditation beads, an essential oil burner carved of soapstone, petrified wood, driftwood, purple (amethyst) geode, an Indian bowl (soapstone carved hundreds of years ago by Monacan Indians and found by DirtMan in the creek running through the family property, this bowl is filled with rocks and fossils I have collected or ones found and gifted by my sons.) This altar overflows with textures, colors, and history that move me and hold me in this sacred space of life.

Gratitude: I have discovered my studio is set up for all my creative endeavors which include writing. However, with the things cluttered on my desk it makes it unappealing to work on the project I should be. My intention for today was to declutter and make my desk inviting for inspiration. I not only did it but I also did another corner of the house I claim, yay me!

Joy: Early morning solitude and meditation time…Miss Kit Kat joined me. Candles. An online class. Wind. Texting with a friend I hadn’t heard from for a while. A surprise check in the mail! I know, that never happens, right? Well you see, I have some of my items placed in a museum store in my hometown. A while back I removed some of them and one was missing according to my records. They thought I miscounted so I let it go. The item sold and I received the check…so hmmmm, guess my count was correct after all.

Awareness:  Food for Thought: Blame shifting negates the power and sincerity of an apology. We are each personally responsible for our actions and or reactions. What I think is a choice…remembering that is liberation of sorts.

August 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Rituals: They are not always done as a religious ceremony, but in the order of things, the sequences of life, ways to keep us organized, comfortable, and sane. I find daily habits are to shake; while I am not confined or defined by them, they are a large part of who I am. Wind makes the heat of the day tolerable…and tonight it feels cool, almost autumn-like.

Joy: Being a mother to sons. I had a most incredible conversation with Youngest and a good chuckle with Oldest. I’ve enjoyed all the ages and stages (perhaps minus a few of the adolescent stubborn moments, ha!) of raising sons, but I must say my heart is full knowing they are living the dreams they’ve pursued and aspiring to higher visions for themselves.

Awareness: Holding Space: I’ve been thinking a lot about this, how we hold a space in our heart for those we love, how we lift them in light whether they need us to or not, how we are always there for them. There were times in my life when things went wrong, terribly wrong and there was no one there for me. But God was always there, always holding me and carrying me. And I held Him and carried Him in my heart always. My heart wept, and He listened. When I listened I received messages and synchronicities, the angels at work and play. So yes, I hold a space for those I love. And always, I hold a space for God as He has always held one for me, even when I felt most undeserving.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty


Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.~ Khalil Gibran

July 22

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A light and short work day, accomplished things that needed to be done, short trip to the park, reading time

Joy: Dinner at home (doesn’t happen often on a Friday night) early bedtime

Awareness: The sun, a giant glowing grapefruit, stretched the pink, purple, and yellow tiers of her evening gown across the sky and surrounded us in her warmth of dusk.

July 23

Creativity: Writing, reading reference books, creating essential oil blends for the home

Gratitude: Answered prayers, early morning lounge time, housework done, reading and writing time, mowed grass in 98 degrees and didn’t feel sick…yay! Replaced the bulb in the Himalayan salt lamp in my studio

Joy: Sushi and sake with the hubs

Awareness: A mixture of earthy, spicy, and floral scents fill the air and envelope my soul. I am filled with both warmth and wonder; comfortable and observant, creativity flows like the river of life.

July 24

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Reading, writing, and reflecting time; I love stumbling across a gem of a book in a simple Facebook post…I wish I could give credit to whom it’s due but I can’t remember. Anyway, the book is “How the Light Gets in: Writing as a Spiritual Practice” by Pat Schneider After note: This is not so much a reference on spiritual writing but on the author’s practice. However, in reading it I did find myself more in touch so to speak.

Joy: DirtMan surprised me by serving me breakfast in bed

Awareness: Backstory. How important is it? Love is unconditional. Is that truth or a lie? I say it’s both…Here we go (these are hypothetical): A woman cuts you off in the parking lot. A teenager is screaming obscenities at people passing by. The woman just found out her child has cancer. The boy’s parents are getting divorced and he is being sent to live in another state, leaving behind his friends, his school, all he’s ever known for 15 years. Before you knew the backstory would you have scoffed or reacted negatively? After hearing the backstory did your attitude change, did you want to give them a hug? How did your answer change from when I first asked about the importance of backstory or said love was truth and a lie? Note: I have no idea why I put this in awareness or even why backstory and love are on my mind today. It was just something that popped in made head and made me think, and we all know I like to get people to think and reflect.

July 25

Creativity: Writing, photography, painting

Gratitude: A busy but pleasant work day

Joy: Post Op report for my sister is they got ALL the cancer, yay!

Awareness: There are many holy moments in life. Some are rooted in religion, others celebratory. And then there are those sacred unexplained times when one feels the presence; the beautiful, miraculous flow of life.

July 26

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: cantata of birds, cicadas, and tree frogs

Joy: Some days when the air quality is just so I can hear the church bells around the corner toasting their crystal goblets to life…today was one of those days. The hubby thought he was going to have to work late but he didn’t.

Awareness: Life continuously fluxes between ego and spirit. One drives us and the other rides us. Truth is we are the driver and the rider, a character and a soul pushing through the storms of existence.

July 27

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My hairdryer died so I had to get another one, and it’s AWESOME!

Joy: Dinner with the family, talking with loved ones (whether in person via telephone or text…it’s the communication and intent that’s important), cardinals on the fence

Awareness: There are times I am in awe when I think of when I worked full time, was raising children, taking care of a house, and chauffeuring children to events along with my own activities and I still had energy left over…now my days and nights are not filled with activities but I find myself exhausted. I guess it is part of life’s aging process.

July 28

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: waking up to a wet world due to a much needed overnight shower, a light day, three concerns for three different loved ones resulted positively (these can also be placed in the joy section!)

Joy: A peanut butter and jam sandwich…I haven’t had one of those in ages.  And I’ve never had elderberry jam. (Bought this at a farmer’s market, and find it a delightful treat.) Now I remember why kids love this old standby meal.

Awareness: My house is snuggled beneath a canopy of trees. The trees gently sway beneath a cover of puffy clouds. We are surrounded with beauty and comfort which protects or nurtures us in some way yet has the ability to cause us harm.