Define and Design 2016, Week Eight


February 19

Creativity:  drawing

Gratitude: Cuddling with fur babies

Joy: fun time out for dinner and drinks with DirtMan and Oldest

Awareness: Music. Where would we be without it? Even the smallest of tots respond to it. A baby is crying and stops mid scream to smile as she starts swaying her body to the beat of background music. I have no instruction or experience with any musical instrument (except the recorder, haha!), I can’t carry a tune, and I trip over my own feet when I dance…but oh my, I love to sing and dance…when I’m alone, of course!

February 20

Creativity: macro photography

Gratitude: A day to myself, a trip to Trader Joe’s, a walk around the neighborhood

Joy: cooking homemade spaghetti and meatballs…one of my favorite things to make

Awareness: Never seems to amaze me how nature (fresh air, sunshine, a bit of greenery, and wildlife) can lift me out of a melancholy mood.

February 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Reading time! DNA, nuff said!

Joy: Multiply conversations with my brother and one of my sisters…perhaps, I should just say family.

Awareness: How I can smell rain long before it arrives… How do I describe this scent? I really don’t know how to say it…an earthy moist air that I distinctly associate with oncoming rain. Ok, I’m standing outside and the air feels thick, slightly damp, smells close to lined dried clothing, and the birds, oh the birds, how that chitter and fly about and the squirrels scatter about as they eat pine cone seeds and acorns. The grey sky looks and feels as if I can almost reach up and grab a chunk of it. And I think the clouds most certainly taste like creek water, not a fresh flowing mountain spring, but a rivulet which stands a bit more as it circles and tops rocks and takes in the flavor of tree roots intruding upon its banks.

February 22

Creativity: doodle art and writing

Gratitude: an unexpected lighter day

Joy: finally started reading this month’s book club selection

Awareness: I am content to be in silence among only the breath and heartbeat of love. I hear nothing else.  I feel total satisfaction as I snuggle into myself and listen.

February 23

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: another light day which allowed some writing time

Joy: creating art from mistakes!

Awareness: In art there are no mistakes! Today I am noticing the beauty of mistakes, mainly the lesson. Specifically, it’s a perspective thing. What one would view as an utter photographical error can actually be a life lesson, not necessarily in photography but in living, how we approach our work or play…even how we view ourselves. Photography not only shows us what we see in detail, but it puts what we miss right in front of us.

February 24

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: After tornado warnings most of the afternoon, we found ourselves safe and sound

Joy: A much quieter evening than day, reading time

Awareness: The scent of roses overwhelmed me as I was sitting at my desk. No roses in the house. I walked outside, and the scent was even stronger (no roses outside either), even stronger than browsing in the rose garden at Botanical Gardens. The only time I’ve ever smelled the depth of this scent was on my grandmother as she wore rose perfume. I sniffed my blouse and hands, weirdly roses wafted from them as well.

February 25

Creativity: Unless you count daydreaming and a note here or there I have zilch…migraine messed me up

Gratitude: Thankful by late afternoon my migraine had lessened to a manageable headache, and I was finally able to eat. Also grateful we suffered no significant damage from fallen limbs from the high winds.

Joy: A writing reference book I ordered arrived

Awareness: After tornados in surround areas yesterday, we still had high winds today. At times, it was difficult to differentiate the pounding on the roof from the pounding of my head. The swirling winds sounded like howling ghosts one minute and a motorboats cutting through a wake the next. The cacophony of pings, rings, and dings kept the dog at the window. A few times the sound of rolling pine cones on the roof sounded more like a fat squirrel dive bombing and losing his footage and tumbling down. Small limbs smacked and cracked against the house while a couple of larger ones crashed with a heavy thud to the sodden ground. Amid this, the rustling of the dried Japanese Silver Leaf grass (which we didn’t trim down this fall) fought for its place among the melodies of all the wind chimes.


Define and Design 2016, Week Seven

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.”  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV


February 12

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: snow, work day ended early, but not enough snow to interrupt our plans

Joy: winetasting and dinner out with the hubby

Awareness: Starlings flew through the wall of snowflakes like darts. The harder the snow fell, the pairs of cardinals flitted about the gardenia and soon scattered across the lawn. The red of cardinals against a pure snow is breathtaking.

February 13

Creativity: Zentangles

Gratitude: got our taxes done

Joy: a day of togetherness

Awareness: A sigh of accomplishment, the easy breathing, how the body relaxes after finishing something you dread doing.

February 14

Creativity: sketching

Gratitude: a family day

Joy: making a lovely dinner and desert for my family

Awareness:  Having been absorbed in the kitchen I did not notice the aromas. I went upstairs and sat at my desk and suddenly I was overwhelmed with delectable invitation to return to the kitchen.

February 15

Creativity: Impromptu photo lesson

Gratitude: waking up to a winter wonderland, but having rain wash it away in a few hours

Joy: watching chick flicks by myself

Awareness: The rustle of flannel against denim, the pull of a zipper, the clinking of a belt buckling, the slipping of feet into boots, the thud of booted feet upon the stairs…sounds of early morning rising.

February 16

Creativity: Mandala

Gratitude: a beautiful warm day

Joy: watching a movie with the hubby

Awareness: Warm wind whooshed my hair across my face. The warmth and the noise transported me to the beach on a spring day. The reality: pine trees instead of palm trees, dead grass instead of sand, singing cardinals instead of squawking seagulls. Still it was warm; I’ll take it!

February 17

Creativity: Tangram art and mind mapping a project

Gratitude: the value of integrity

Joy: giggling children

Awareness:  Sunshine lifts my spirit, of course it could be the abundance of chocolate I’ve eaten!)I can’t help but smile every time I pass a window with bright rays reaching out to dance with me.

February 18

Creativity: drawing and writing

Gratitude: I have a thing about accepting life as it unfolds rather than the way I want it. I have faith in it, and that alone carries me a long way. Today I am grateful I am not in control.

Joy: It is National Wine Drinking Day, so therefore it is my civil duty to drink a glass of wine. In case you’re interested, National Beer Day is April 7.

Awareness: Today the sun put on a spectacular light show as it speckled the long trunks of the pines and highlighted limbs of needles here and there. She cast her eye upon the green shoots of the early hyacinths and daffodils. She lit a path across the cobblestone. She was most welcoming to her guests.

Refine and Design 2016, Week Six


February 5

Creativity: Day #5 of Creative Live 28 day challenge, sketching

Gratitude:  a less stressful day than yesterday

Joy: a last minute weekend get away

Awareness: In the darkness, we head from “somewhere” to “nowhere”. A soft glow of peach, gold, and pink float above the tree line, beckoning us ahead.  I look behind to see a fading luminosity of the “somewhere” we left behind. Above us, the Milkyway, a batik blanket scattered with sequins, follows our every move. I snuggle into the long ago familiarity of home.

February 6

Creativity: a spectacular photoshoot

Gratitude: the hubby schooled me in some “how tos” with my camera

Joy: a chance meet up with Youngest’s childhood best friend…we were leaving an eatery and he was arriving, this was some 300 miles from where we live!  a bit of a hike along the gorgeous Maury river in Goshen

Awareness: We watch the river, a trail of loose peridot stones, tumble through the mountains. The Maury sings a song of happiness as it skirts around and over boulders and laps upon the banks. The brown and barren oaks and maples join their pine friends dressed in gowns of green to watch her majesty as she travels on.


February 7

Creativity: writing and baking

Gratitude: arrived back home from our trip earlier enough to grocery shop. Being able to remember when disappointing things happen it could very possibly be a deterrent to what could have been.

Joy: The hubby ordered me a macro lens so I can say bye bye to the extension tubes.

Awareness: On our return trip the pale blue clouded sky exploded into the brightest tones of red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple. Winter’s scraggly treetops floated in a sea of flames. The fire glow lit our rear mirrors until night threw her shawl across the sky and stamped the embers to coal.

February 8

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: dropped my ring off at the jewelers to have the lost diamond replaced and was told it would not be a charge

Joy: book club, Flow journals

Awareness: Sharing a comfortable silence. It’s as if hearts beat the same rhythm and you share the same breath. For the time being you are one.

I ran across this quote today…think about it. I have, and if you reflect and dwell on it a bit you will see the profundity of its simplicity. “All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.” ~Regina Brett, American Writer

February 9

Creativity: writing, drawing challenge doodles and shapes

Gratitude: hot homemade soup on a cold day

Joy: A fabulous work day! And realizing I’m off on Monday!

Awareness: My muse often visits while I’m riding the elliptical…I wonder if my muse trying to sabotage my exercise plan. I think it is more likely when my mind empties it opens to receive what is being sent my way. I think this because I also get ideas when vacuuming or wake up from sleep with words rolling through my brain. Does this happen to you?

February 10

Creativity: blind self- portrait – this was a really cool experiment…the rules are you cannot look at the paper and you can’t lift your pencil once you start drawing…I lifted my hand for the hair and outlining face…but still I loved doing this. It’s as fragmented as I sometimes feel. Try it and let me know what you think.

blind self portrait

Gratitude:  Having a personal library/research center at my fingertips via internet.

Joy: a relaxing evening without technology

Awareness: In paying attention to “why” I am feeling the way I am at times I better understand my own needs and drives. By allowing myself to feel what I feel instead of stifling my emotions I am able to quickly regain my peace if I’ve lost it. I think an even steady breath attributes to it as well. Ever noticed a small angry child hold his breath, turn red, and shake? As adults we can’t get away with tantrums. Not sure how much good it would do anyway except to scare people away and lose friends. If I control my breath, not hold it, my anger or frustration dissipates quickly. Or perhaps, it’s simply I’ve developed a bit of patience with my age…or due to the practice of being with small children daily.

February 11

Creativity: watched an art webinar, read about writing; some days I’d rather study craft than practice it

Gratitude: husband vacuuming

Joy: baby hugs

Awareness: We know the people we enjoy being around and those we don’t. We know how we feel around them. Have you thought about the energy people carry with them and how that energy melds or clashes with yours? Have you thought about the effect your energy has on others? What about your pets? Lately, in group settings, I’ve practiced not only listening but processing the energy around me. In doing this, I’m cognizant of the vibes I am sending as well.



Refine and Design 2016, Week Five

“These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed.”  ~Abigail Adams

crabtree falls 084

January 29

Creativity: Baking biscotti, drawing

Gratitude: modern household appliances that make life easier for me…before 6 am I’ve used the vacuum, food processor, KitchenAid stand mixer, stovetop, oven, and microwave

Joy: taking simple staples and creating a culinary delight, Sushi dinner with family

Awareness: At five am I was grinding, tossing, blending ordinary foods (flour, sugar etc.) My hands rounded dough into logs and flattened them on a board. I baked the loaves, sliced and rebaked…no resemblance to original items I used; how incredible. Life is like that; we take what we get and what we make of it is up to us. Today, I am in awe of my hands. They have the ability to cause pain or show love…I choose love.

January 30

Creativity: Writing and collage

Gratitude: picking up jewelry I’d dropped off for repairs and am thrilled with the results.

Joy: perusing the local elementary schools’ art exhibit at the mall. It’s amazing to see the talent in people of such a young age. I remember when my own children’s art was on exhibit; these are now framed in my home. I can only wonder how many of these children will actually continue artistic endeavors and how many will pursue their art in their later years…and how many will chuck it and never look back.

Awareness: Walking through the busy department store: The cash registers pinged interruptions in the blur of conversations. Hangers scraped against racks competing with the echoes of my boot steps on the tile floor.

January 31

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: a crockpot which kept me from standing over a kitchen stove for several hours

Joy: a phone call from Youngest, being warm enough to sit outside without a jacket

Awareness: Although I call it procrastination, when it comes to creative decisions I am frozen with resistance. I know exactly what step I should take and yet I stop completely. I think this is probably what some refer to as writer’s block, or at least I used to call it writer’s block. The thing is I am never at a loss for words, and am only reluctant to share those words.

February 1

Creativity: water color, Day #1 of Creative Live 28 day challenge which involved drawing

Gratitude: I am delighted to pick up a book (nonfiction) I previously tried to read and didn’t finish to find myself totally clicking with what I am reading this time.  Sometimes the second time is a charm. I’ve found this to have been true for me more than once. I, for one, never stop learning.

Joy: 74 degrees, barefoot and in shorts sitting on the backyard swing with a glass of wine, nice way to end the day; cold cobblestone beneath my feet as I am enveloped in warm air. A book I ordered arrived!

Awareness: The dried Japanese Silver grass along the fence line bears a liking to ripened grain as the flowers curl with the breeze and the sun brightens it to a golden brown.  The leaves slowly bend as if they are waving a long goodbye to me.

February 2

Creativity: Day #2 of Creative Live 28 day challenge which involved drawing

Gratitude: a hot bath with essential oils

Joy: a free kindle book

Awareness: The candle flame is fickle. She stretches tall and then shrinks low. She leans to the sides and pulls away from her root while she tests her wing. She fans fat in an arc then shoots tall and skinny. She twists and turns and shimmies and shakes from disco to salsa. Her white glow turns amber. She changes her dress from orange to pink and accessorizes with a dash of blue. Her flame flickers, and her fire burns. Catch her eye and you are mesmerized.  She speaks a language of her own. I know not what she says, but I swear it is a thing of beauty.

February 3

Creativity: drawing and writing, Day #3 of Creative Live 28 day challenge which involved drawing

Gratitude: I lost my cell phone and found it by retracing my steps

Joy: the beginning stages of planning a summer trip out West, last time we explored Zion NP and are thinking about Arches NP this time.

Awareness: The wind has been quite the intruder today. It has banged at the door, tapped the windows, climbed upon the roof, and even thrown sticks and pinecones against the walls. With two loud barks, the dog told her she was not welcome today. She momentarily calmed and waved from the pine tree. Like a good guard dog, Wylie sat upon the window seat and held her off. An afternote: The intruder was also a thief as it took two of my garden flags upon her departure!

February 4

Creativity: Day #4 ofCreative Live 28 day challenge which involved drawing

Gratitude: leftovers

Joy: the end of a work day. Ok, I realize that was cheating. I’ll start over. After losing a diamond from the ring I just had serviced (I mean lost as in it is just gone, nowhere to be found), I decided to have another ring I’d lost a diamond in replaced at the same time as this one (though I did not make it to the jewelers today). I haven’t worn this ring in many years, and when I got it out I found I had already had repairs done and had forgotten about it.

Awareness: The rain pinged and wooshed sideways at times….one drop at a time, building puddles throughout the yard.  Dark clouds paled to grey as the rain poured. The deluge of water merged sky and earth.  While sometimes the water falling sounded like fairies dancing on the roof, other times it was as if someone was emptying a pool over our heads. The flow became a trickle after it washed the sandman ashore a bit earlier than I would usually call it a night.