Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-one

To be creative means to connect. It’s to abolish the gap between the body, the mind and the soul, between science and art, between fiction and nonfiction. ~Nawal El Saadawi


October 14

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a few hours to myself to read

Joy: Cardinals in my back yard

Awareness: The things that annoy me probably say more about me than others; I need to work on this…changing me not others.

October 15

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Was able to finish hurricane clean up (except backyard), only problem is I blistered my hands and now can’t do any stained glass cutting for a few day…body is too tired and sore to do it today anyway, still managed to do my grocery shopping (after a hot shower), reading time

Joy: comfort of resting on the sofa with a hot cup of tea, interesting conversations with a few neighbors

Awareness: I often say my body can’t do what it used to do. However, it still can do most things, just slower and with consequences.

October 16

Creativity: Meal planning and prep for the week

Gratitude: Full of energy, friends we consider family

Joy: a night with family friends, love and laughter always win

Awareness: Following the lights wrapped around the limbs of the tall tree I walked into the backyard. The beauty of the sparkling tiny lights was surpassed only by the Hunter Moon filling the dark gaps between the tree branches.

October 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a light and cooperative workday, finished the book for book club, a good dinner thanks to my preplanning

Joy:  Glass of wine, a hot shower, and an early bedtime!

Awareness: This morning the Hunter Moon was still hanging around visiting with the sun!

October 18

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: The internet makes research so much easier than a trip to the library. Made a lovely vegetable stir fry for dinner.

Joy: Communicating with several cousins via FB. A phone call from a good friend and laughing over a euphemism, actually an acronym, she shared with me…always laughing when on the phone with her!

Awareness: There are times it life it calls for you to just kick back and be silly.

October 19

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: love, life, family, comfort, provisions, the end of the work day

Joy: Friends, writer’s group, candy corn M&Ms

Awareness: I tend to live in my own little bubble, and am surprised to hear the reality of some situations. There is not only the shock value of learning certain conditions exist in the world, but once you are aware the next thought is what can I do to make a difference…

October 20

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A better work day than yesterday, catching up with two friends

Joy: A few hours to myself, a glass of wine, my dog and my cat, phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in 25 years!

Awareness: Compassion builds bridges where judgment tears them down.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-one


The frailty of wearing thin awakens us to the strength and beauty within.

October 7

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Visiting with family

Joy: Seeing Wylie after being away from her all week!

Awareness: Though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our adventures, a week of wilderness hiking has worn me down…you can hear my knees and hips creaking a block away!

October 8

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Home

Joy: My own bed!

Awareness: Though disappointed when the weather cancels plans sometimes it works out for the better.

October 9

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: Made it through last night’s storm with only a very short time of power outages, no damage from the flooding and only minor damages of fallen tree limbs.

Joy: We all made it home safely after being out and having to travel through flooded streets to get home.

Awareness: Though the storm was said not to be remnants of Hurricane Matthew, the wind and rain seemed stronger than Isabelle which kind of beat us up in 2003.

October 10

Creativity: Read a book about creativity

Gratitude: Got some of the debris (Limbs, sticks, pinecones, and leaves) picked up from the hurricane. Both of my nearby grocery stores were closed but B.J.s was open and running with generators so I was able to pick up a few needed supplies.

Joy: Oldest and his friend cooked lunch for me. Watched a movie during scheduled book club time as it was cancelled (my local Barnes and Noble is closed until further notice; I’m guessing they received damages from the Hurricane)

Awareness: A day balanced with work and pleasure is sometimes just what one needs.

October 11

Creativity: Read a book about creativity

Gratitude: First day back at work after vacation was a good one, some business issues resolved

Joy: Phone call with Youngest…his birthday is today. We celebrated while he was here a few weeks ago.

Awareness: Being a witness of words spoken with love and compassion is a beautiful moment.October 12

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Made dinner ahead of time, so only had to reheat later.

Joy: A surprise visit from some friends!

Awareness: No matter how much things change some things remain the same and usually it is due to someone being stuck in their ways; this can be positive or negative and is definitely something I’ll be thinking about…there are times watching/listening to other people makes me reflect on my own life.

October 13

Creativity: Designing, photography

Gratitude: My headache went away before bedtime, was able to throw together a decent dinner with the staples in my cabinets and freezer, yay me!

Joy: A little visit with a friend, started my book club book for the month

Awareness: My energy level and creativity ebb and flow accordingly.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty

A wise man travels to discover himself. -James Russell Lowell

September 30

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: a relaxing night after a trying day, quiet time

Joy: Saw the most brilliant red cardinal at one of the backyard feeders, Dinner out with DirtMan and a funny phone call from my sister while we were out

Awareness: When I allow myself to get to the point of burn out I’m not fun to be around…need to remind myself not to reach this point again.

October 1

Creativity: Stained glass, finished both commissioned projects

Gratitude: Got our entire list of errands completed to go on our hiking vacation, found a really nice backpack on clearance at REI, and it not only fits better than my old one but it more suited to my needs.

Joy: Bumped into Oldest and friend at the brewery…funny story about this, another one of Oldest’s friends stopped by for a short visit, texting with a friend, lunch out with DirtMan

Awareness: There are some people who brighten our day whenever we see them.

October 2

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Got everything done that needed to be done before leaving home. Safely reached my mom’s to drop off Wylie for the week.

Joy: Phone call with Youngest and seeing Oldest before we embarked on our trip. A beautiful bright double rainbow before pulling out of town! Silliness with DirtMan on the road.

Awareness: Haste makes waste – you’d think I’d remember this by now! Again, rushed through something and had to redo it.

October 3

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: First day of vacation! Lots of hiking adventures planned. We checked out Lover’s Leap, Mabry Mill, Chateau Morrisette (lunch on the patio with the view of Meadows of Dan and wine tasting at the winery) Elk Garden, White Top

Joy: Cows, up close and personal!  We walked through a small portion of the AT which ran through a cow pasture. Enjoyed the view (a distance of 78 miles) and the sunset from White Top Mountain, the second highest mountain in Virginia…Amazing! (Overjoyed to reach the hotel!)

Awareness: Sitting outside in the dark wee hours of the morning listening to a crowing rooster. A train whistles in the distance while overhead heavy dew falls, thump, thump, thump, onto the tin roof.


Mabry Mill




Sunset from White Top Mountain


October 4

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: We made it to Devil’s Bathtub after a false start on the wrong trail. We creek scuttled because it would have been impossible to hack through the rhododendron thickets armed only with our bare teeth and a Swiss Army knife! At any rate, it was well worth it. We followed directions someone had posted which wasn’t correct, but quickly found the trail on our own. We hit Little Stoney Falls (Beautiful!) and then stumbled upon Bear Rock. We just pulled over and took a random trail, and boy, were we glad we did! It was an amazing vista of leaning rocks off the side of the mountain. I’m slightly afraid of heights, but it was stunning! We caught the sunset at Bark Lake.

Joy: A surprise of about 60 plus cairns built on the river at Devil’s Bathtub. I named it Children of the Cairns. Really sore muscles were delighted to reach a hot shower and a hotel bed!

Awareness: We were so tired we didn’t know how hungry we were until we started eating. Also too tired to be fazed when the waitress knocked my glass of wine over me; guess she was tired, too!


Swimming hole at Devil’s Bathtub


Devil’s Bathtub


Some of the many cairns someone built


A few more cairns


Another fall and swimming hole at Devil’s Bathtub


Little Stoney Falls


Bear Rock


Sunset at Bark Lake

October 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Hiked to the Channels, absolutely amazing! These are mountain outcrop with beautiful vistas from the top of the rocks. From the base you climb into slots (similar to canyons or perhaps caverns) and follow channels that have been formed through the years. Breathtaking, no words to describe!

Joy: We are still alive! The park we were headed to didn’t have a cabin available and couldn’t guarantee us a tent site so we stopped at Glade Creek Park to camp. The camp ground was empty. In fact, we were the only ones in the park. We were taking pictures of the moon over the river that night and the Park Rangers pulled up and asked us what we were doing. When we said taking photos they questioned it because it was dark, but were amazed when they saw DirtMan’s images. Anyway, they went on to tell us they’d had some problems there with “unsavory characters” doing some really bad things. Wonder what kind of “unsavory characters” we were temporarily mistaken for!

Awareness: Upon entering the vacant campground it instantly felt eerie. Not sure if it was because it was dark and empty or more because a river and railroad track ran along it. After the Rangers stopped I felt reassured since they patrol the area. However, no sleep as the trains ran all night long…when we didn’t hear the iron clanking of the tracks or the whistles blowing, two dogs barked and howled. Not much sleep!


Set of outcrops on the mountain. We did not go around these or attempt to climb inside this set.


An amazing view from on top.


Slot which probably leads to channels


One opening to the Channels we explored


Inside one area of The Channels


One channel leads to another


and another


and so on.


Truly unique rock formations


These channels surely tell a story of time.

October 6

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Babcock State Park, New River Gorge Bridge, Sandstone Falls

Joy: Made it from Hinton, WV to Lexington, VA shortly after 11 pm…dinner, a hot shower, and a hotel bed…never underestimate simple comforts.

Awareness: Witnessing amazing architecture constructed by nature and man is humbling.


Babcock State Park


New River Gorge Bridge


Sandstone Falls


Sandstone Falls, photo taken on the opposite side of the mountain from the first one.


Sandstone Falls, zoom photo of one segment.

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!