Refine and Design, Week Four

“May our heart’s garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Celebration of Life 006

January 22

Creativity: Baking a chocolate caramel cake, art journal, writing, watercolor

Gratitude: a fuzzy blanket

Joy: A short day of work due to impending snowstorm

Awareness: I heard the pinging before I saw it. I sat in the window seat and watched the tiny icy pellets fall. In no time the snow turned to huge flakes. First objects became outlined in white and then they filled. The birds clustered at the feeders in a frenzy. I watched them flit and dive about. Two pairs of resident cardinals skimmed in and out of the gardenia, flicking their tails about. The snow dusted their feathers and spun trails through the branches.


January 23

Creativity: watercolor, writing

Gratitude: Went with hubby to check condition of job site, ice out there…made it home safely.

Joy: A phone call with Youngest

Awareness: hundreds upon hundreds of red-winged blackbirds swooped upon our lawn, along with about five or so neighbors. In flight, the red and yellow streaks painted like ziplines through the neighborhood. While foraging, you can only see the yellow and the red is tucked in. A few grackles and starlings mixed in with the blackbirds. I was amazed at the volume of chittering, sounded like a group of teenage girls!


January 24

Creativity: Writing, water color, art journal

Gratitude: that my Godchildren still think I’m cool enough to call and text me daily…I look forward to their sweet messages because I know one day they will reach the age I will suddenly not be cool or worth their time. Watching a movie with DirtMan.

Joy: A day spent with the hubby

Awareness: The glare of the sun as it bounces from the snow intensifies. I can close my eyes and still see it. It’s kind of like something you deny but once you admit its truth you cannot shut it out…it’s all you see from then on.


January 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A quiet evening after a particularly hard day

Joy: A glass of wine

Awareness: A knot under my shoulder blade (pulled muscle?) makes me notice every move I make and the effort it requires to perform small tasks. It’s amazing to think of all the beautiful functions of my body I often take for granted. I realize how much I depend on my body to perform my job.


January 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Amazon Prime; I love shopping from home

Joy: an early bedtime

Awareness: The morning grey gave way to pink and yellow cotton candy as it popped up through the limbs of the pines… Morning danced across the sky.



January 27

Creativity: Experimenting with oil pastels

Gratitude: tissues

Joy: A surprise package in the mail!

Awareness: the peace the quiet morning ushers in…nothing is sudden…darkness slowly gives in to light…a simple tweet gently transforms to birdsong

January 28

Creativity: drawing, writing

Gratitude: trust, given and received

Joy: little arms around my neck with a soft little face tucked in my neck

Awareness: children as little as ten months know how to comfort one another. I watched two ten month old little girls: One was crying and the other crawled over and wrapped her arms around her and lay her face against hers. Love is splendid. It knows no color, gender, or age. It just is. What can be greater than that?

23 thoughts on “Refine and Design, Week Four

  1. These are novel postings of a kind I have not seen before. Whilst I take it that these would not be typical of all your offerings, may I say that the prose in the ‘awareness’ sections is quite deliciously wrought. Many thanks for a novel blogging experience SuziCate, and I hope to connect with you here in future. I have seen your avatar around and about over the past several months, yet cannot put my finger on quite where it may have been. Anyway, I am pleased I was prompted to take a peek, and thankyou for allowing me to. With all best wishes, Hariod.

    • I have seen you on Nancy’s comments for the past few years and started following your blog as your comments interested me. I have not been around on the blogs as frequently for the past year as I have focused on “living”. My soul prompted me to come back to this awareness on my blog as I used to do a section a few years ago I titled “Standing in the Gap”. I missed seeing the ordinary in the extraordinary. These days, less is more to me, and I’m trying to live that by focusing on what is here now and doing what I enjoy which is nature photography (which I mostly post on my poetry blog with haiku) and many other creative endeavors. Thank you for commenting. Blessings to you.

      • Of course, Nancy’s blog, the famous chocolate-eating Nancy. Is it macro photography that interests you primarily – the above image is quite stunning. I am in the process of researching cameras with a little macro photography in mind, as all I have is an antediluvian analogue SLR and it would be too arcane a contraption to experiment with in these digital days. Less is more, and the ordinary in the extraordinary – my sentiments entirely, though it took me a good while to realise the wisdom of such an approach. Blessings to you too, SuziCate. _/\_

  2. Yes, macro photography pulls me in. I like to explore the inner workings of life in general. That particular shot was taken in 2011 with a simple point and shoot camera. My husband’s passion is photography (and he is quite spectacular; I sometimes use his photos but note when I do), and he bought me a nice camera you have to change lenses. Well, I’ve found macro is much more difficult with this camera because I am not as patient (or skilled) as he is, ha! With this camera I am actually using extension tubes for macro. I’ve gotten some fabulous shots, but I still need the hubby’s assistance or I have to look things up which is time consuming and not fun when on a trail. My camera is a Canon SLR1 which is a compact camera with all the functions of a larger one. I don’t enjoy post processing which according to my husband is really what makes a photo outstanding. I prefer to stick with what I get; mostly because I’m lazy in that department. Photographs take me back to the moment on the trail which is most often quite spiritual for me. I can only hope to impart a small part of that to others. Sorry, it’s really hard to explain what it does for me.

    • Interesting that you should mention patience in respect to macro photography, as that is precisely what the only other person I have asked about it says too. Maybe you really mean the business of swapping lenses around though, and I can see that such shenanigans would demand some forbearance if the subject is only available briefly – a bee on a flower, or whatever. I can see that Canon SLR1 is a fancy piece of kit, and I think rather too much for me at this early stage. I shall probably go with a Bridge camera ’til I find my feet. Thanks Suzi.

      • It is the swapping of lenses which is frustrating for me, time consuming. My point and shoot had a better zoom. The main thing with a point a shoot for macro (or any camera for that matter) is a tripod. It’s impossible to hold the camera perfectly still. I am able to get good shots but so much better when using a tripod. Honestly, I didn’t need as nice of a camera as I have. I hope someday to be able to invest more time in learning its functions and utilizing them in photo shoots. In the meantime, it does provide the hubby and I another common interest. Best wishes with whatever camera you choose.

      • Ah, a tripod; I hadn’t thought of that – thankyou Suzi. May I ask, is a lens with image stabilisation necessary for macro shots too? I am currently thinking of a little Samsung NX with a 9mm prime lens, which doesn’t have image stabilisation.

      • I will ask my husband. I think I have the choice of that in manual mode (which I almost always use), and I leave it on though the hubby turns it off because it runs down your battery life. I shot both automatic and manual modes in macro on my point and shoot, but I don’t recall anything about image stabilization on it. I also wonder if that could be what it’s called when it follows (centers) the image you are going for. Hmmm, going to have to look at my manual or ask the hubby when he gets home from work. I apologize I am not much help at this point.

  3. Suzi, I’m glad you and DirtMan stayed safe in the blizzard! And it sounds as if, despite the cold and snow outside, you had another calm, lovely week — well done! Keep inspiring me to become more aware of my blessings, too!

  4. It wasn’t bad here at the beach. We got about two inches and the rain washed it out a few hours later and the next evening we got a few more and it was gone the next day…no inconvenience here, and it was pretty!

  5. I am amazed at how many ways you find to be creative. It makes me feel very lazy. Does cooking count? Even if I semi follow a recipe? I am planning some delicious menus for today and tomorrow but that is as much energy as I have to spend on creating this weekend.

  6. Of course cooking counts, event coordinating an outfit to wear…seriously, creativity comes in many forms, especially in problem solving if you think about it. Don’t feel badly, sometimes when I say “collage” for instance, it might only be ripping out pieces from magazines and brainstorming them on the page for future use or “writing” might simply be a haiku. Personally, I think daydreaming ought to count…I do a lot of that, ha!
    I admit, my hands stay busy all the time, but they pay the price. The wrist and arm of my dominant hand have been in excruciating pain which is making creativity difficult lately, so I’ve been taking smaller steps on projects. Also. the act of creating is stimulating for me though what I produce might not be visually aesthetic to others.
    Planning delicious meals takes creativity. Running a household requires much creativity! I work with wee ones all day and it certainly takes creative efforts to keep them happy and entertained.

  7. What? You baked chocolate carmel cake and didn’t call me? 😉 Sounds like you had a lovely week. Thank you for sharing it with us. And you are so correct in saying creativity comes in many forms.

  8. I love these tidbits that you share with us and I also enjoy the risk you are taking with your writing space. SO much goodness here, Susan. Thanks for showing us a glimpse. xo

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