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.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-nine

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


The Quarry Gardens, Schuyler, Va

July 15

Creativity: writing

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

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

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

July 16

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

Gratitude: visiting with family, traveling familiar roads with DirtMan

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

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

July 17

Creativity: photography

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

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

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

July 18

Creativity: Writing

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

Joy: a glass of wine and reading time, watermelon

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

July 19

Creativity: Writing, photography

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

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

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

July 20

Creativity: Writing, photography

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

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

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

July 21

Creativity: Writing

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

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

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

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-eight


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

July 8

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

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

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

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

July 9

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

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

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

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

July 10

Creativity: Playing with fabrics

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

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

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

July 11

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Love, life, happiness, good health!

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

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

July 12

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

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

Joy: Lightening bugs and hoot owls!

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

July 13

Creativity: writing, androidphotography

Gratitude: being appreciated, family dinners, a good book

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

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

July 14

Creativity: writing, androidphotography

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

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

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

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-seven

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


July 1

Creativity: Writing, reading a mosaic project book

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

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

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

July 2

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

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

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

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

July 3

Creativity: grinding glass for two projects

Gratitude: a laid back rainy Sunday

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

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

July 4

Creativity: created summer curriculum and schedule for work days

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

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

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

July 5

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

Gratitude: Super fun and busy day with the kiddos

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

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

July 6

Creativity: Working on plotting a project

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

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

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

July 7

Creativity: writing

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

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

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

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-six


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

June 24

Creativity: Stained glass design

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

Joy: books, finished one and started another

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

June 25

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

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

Joy: signed up for mosaic classes

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

June 26

Creativity: Cooked a lovely birthday dinner for DirtMan

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

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

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

June 27

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

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

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

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

June 28

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

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

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

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

June 29

Creativity: stained glass design

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

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

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

June 30

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

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

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

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

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-five

sunset at Chippokes

June 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: family

Joy: love, moonroof, stars in the sky

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

June 18

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: watching the power of ice cream in action

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

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

June 19

Creativity: Photography

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

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

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

June 20

Creativity: Writing

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

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

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

June 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: an early bedtime

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

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

Angel Fairy

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


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

June 22

Creativity: Writing, photography, stained glass design

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

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

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

June 23

Creativity: Writing

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

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

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