Define and Design 2016, Week Seventeen

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LanternAsia at Norfolk Botanical Gardens, This dragon is the length of a football field.

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Made of silk

April 22

Creativity: writing, android photography

Gratitude: the rain, just enough to quench the thirst of our spring blooms

Joy: Dinner with hubby at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, pizza and wine…and gelato

Awareness: Feet cushioned in the plush grass, wind in my hair, grey clouds blocking the sun, thunder rolling, and the first few rain drops soaking into my skin.

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This display is made with over a million china plates, cups, saucers, and spoons tied together with fishing line, no glue!

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April 23

Creativity: sewing

Gratitude: made a new cushion/cover for the window seat…sort of looks like something I might have made in 7th grade home economics class, but the dog says it’s quite comfortable.  I’d forgotten what a pain it is to sew a zipper in thick upholstery fabric. The fabric and foam were on clearance because the store is going out of business. (The sale part is gratitude, the store going out of business is not.)

Joy: Met up with girlfriends to go to the Norfolk Botanical LaternAsia show…long line on the road and were only taken pre-bought tickets. It’s all good, we went back to my friend’s house and drank wine; lots of fun!

Awareness: The great thing about a group of women is we are self-entertaining. There is never a void in conversation. We can laugh and talk about anything. Everyone has something to bring to the table. A group where everyone is comfortable to be themselves, shares interests and wisdom, and has fun together is a good group.

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April 24

Creativity: Does yard and house work count as creativity? Oh wait, photography! Yes, took loads of pics at the exhibit, and night photography was a definite experiment for me.

Gratitude: Slept in until 9:00 am, don’t remember when we’ve done that! Who knows how late we would have slept in if I hadn’t been awakened by a text message. We tackled the jungle in the backyard…yay, so delighted to be able to have some backyard fun now. We even got the rugs moved out and prepared for the arrival of the new ones.

Joy: Met up with my girlfriends (We pre-bought our tickets online this time!) and attended the Norfolk Botanical LanernAsia exhibit…Just wow, amazing!

Awareness:  Chasing the moon. Have you ever witnessed the appearing moon when for like a five minute span it is humongous? It was as if God placed a giant tangerine in view but just out of our reach. It shined brilliantly and seemed to be taunting us to catch it if we could, which we tried, by camera that is. We rode around trying to get a clear shot, and as soon as we arrived at a perfect locale it was back to a normal moon, not that we don’t love Luna is her normal radiant glow. After a bit of time giggling and attempting to get the perfect shot (and failing) we dubbed our tribe the Moon Chasers…notice not the Moon Catchers!

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This display consists of tiny glass medicine bottles filled with colored water and tied together.

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April 25

Creativity: photography, writing

Gratitude: Rugs and a new book arrived today, home cooked “country” meal my mom sent by my son who had gone to visit her over the weekend.

Joy: backyard time with nature, reading time, hot bath with essential oils

Awareness: I’m sitting in the backyard enjoying a glass of wine and listening to the birds sing and a bumblebee flutter about and bore a hole in the picnic table. A gentle breeze caresses my shoulders. The scent of mint takes me back to childhood days and romping near the reservoir. Funny how a scent or sound can transport you to another place and time.

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April 26

Creativity: photography

Gratitude: Friendly people. A beautiful (and hot!) sunny day. Therefore, I appreciate air conditioning in the house. Got some business taken care of via telephone, including scheduling my overdue mammogram.  Though it was late by the time I got around to it, I got my grocery shopping completed!

Joy: Dark chocolate with raspberries!  Though I am still weak (this cold has been a doozy!) I managed to get back on the elliptical today, yay! A phone call from a friend.

Awareness: The night is dark. I don’t only feel like the curtain has been dropped, but I’ve been swaddled in its coziness. Surprisingly, I find comfort in this, not only the darkness but the heat…I might not feel like this in a month from now when summer is in full swing, ha.

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April 27

Creativity: writing, photography

Gratitude: Morning coffee. Happy toddlers who all seem to be almost over their spring sniffles.

Joy: Music. Another new book!

Awareness: When my body/mind is tired, reading mandates snoozing.

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April 28

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Family, especially my husband and sons. a good neighborhood watch website and neighbors who keep one another in the know

Joy: We found a home for our old rugs and sofa! The color purple, not the movie or book (Though I think it’s great!) or in reference to Prince (He was a brilliant singer/musician/songwriter.) but the color itself…I’m feeling really wrung out today and the color people does make me feel a bit of needed vibrancy.

Awareness: Stepping into a tuft of grass, blades wrap around my bare feet sending icy chills up my spine. The rain hitting my arms feels almost warm, not at all cold like the wet grass beneath my feet. Everything is grey, as if I could reach out my hand and pull a cloud against my chest.

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Hope you enjoyed the beautiful colors as much as I did!

Define and Design 2016, Week Sixteen

Dandelion Wishes

Sunny days are made for backyard wishes.

April 15

Creativity: writing, drawing, android photography

Gratitude: It has been five years since my brother died. Instead of allowing sorrow to take over my day, I will rejoice for the years with him and the impact he had on my life.

Joy: I weighed in today, and I’m eight pounds down. The fact I feel better and my clothes fit comfortably is enough…but what can I say except admit I like the numbers going down. While I’ve cut out processed foods for the most part, if I really want something like a cupcake I indulge myself rather than eating around it.

Awareness: The farther away from the city, the less traffic. The closer to the mountains, the more relaxed we became….how great it is to get away on occasion.

April 16

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: Taking lunch to my MIL at the nursing home, and seeing some upgrades having taken place there.

Joy: Driving along country roads…very little traffic and everyone waves at you…beautiful blooms along the roadway…and then a beer at our favorite hometown brewery

Awareness: The shifting of emotions. I am always sad after leaving the nursing home. Spending time with the residents can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. We tend to absorb ourselves in nature when able after leaving. We traveled through some of our old haunts. I didn’t quite notice the sadness melting away, but suddenly felt my heart was full.

April 17

Creativity: cooking dinner for loved ones and mowing (believe it or not but when mowing several acres one can get a bit creative in the process)

Gratitude: splintered sheds, rusty hinges, clay dirt, babbling creeks, dense woods, soapstone and quartz rocks…visiting my roots. Bumping into hometown friends from childhood.

Joy: Taking my mom out to breakfast. I am not particularly fond of breakfast and don’t especially like to go out for it. However, it is my mom’s favorite meal and she loves going out for it, specifically to a particular truck stop diner. The happiness she showed in us taking her was enough in itself. We rode around a bit afterwards and visited the area in which she was raised. Watching a Great Crested Flycatcher dart in and out of a nest she’d built in a piece of rolled tin stuck in the shed rafter…she was tending to her eggs but also scoping out a few snacks!

Awareness: Riding the lawn mower and taking in the beauty before me. The spring green buds stretched into the cobalt sky. Pink “fairy wings” (maple seeds) floated through the sunny day. Robins stood erect listening for earthworms and dipping their beaks into the grass only when a score was certain. A lone yellow finch hung to a scraggly tree limb watching.

April 18

Creativity: writing, drawing

Gratitude: Time enough to zip out after dinner and attempt to find a rug, a no go in finding one we want but we tried. Able to catch up on laundry and even grocery shop.

Joy: Dinner prepared by my mother that I only had to reheat in the oven…she makes the best beef stew I’ve ever had!

Awareness: Seeing or hearing words that are so true: “If it looks good, you’ll see it. If it sounds good, you’ll hear it. If it’s marketed right, you’ll buy it. But if it’s true, you’ll feel it” From the song, “My Oedipus Complex” by Kid Rock

April 19

Creativity: Android photography #nothingisordinary

Gratitude: finally finding and ordering a rug online, and it should even arrive (I hope!) the same day as  the sofa

Joy: Sitting outside on the swing watching and listening to nature while sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio, usually not much of a white wine drinker but this beautiful sunny weather called for it!

Awareness: The balance of a squirrel-how he can climb the thinnest twigs and not flip off but manage to jump onto the fence line and run it like a tightrope, mating calls between the male and female cardinals-songs of love, how the oak leaves glisten in the sunlight and the pines wag their spindly fingers back and forth, the grace of a yellow monarch butterfly wings in flight, how time seems to stand still but passes so quickly while absorbed in nature, the woodsy-almost camphor scent of rosemary, the peppery apple aroma of Carolina Spice, the fragile lavender buds of lilac, the gentle rustle of Japanese Silver Leaf grass, whispers and crackles of tiny bird feet upon dried leaves, pings of falling pine cones…I love my backyard!

April 20

Creativity: writing, making a dandelion salve

Gratitude: a neighbor who allowed me to pick all his dandelions…surprisingly, we only had one in the front yard, probably because they’d all gone to seed, ha!

Joy: shopping for fabrics for a quilt, success on my first dandelion salve, an early bedtime

Awareness: When I listen to the needs of my body and spirit rather than ignoring the obvious signs my body appreciates it by healing quicker.

April 21

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: news of a successful surgery for a little boy

Joy: A lunch time filled with warm fuzzies: a cuddly cat, a warm blanket, a good book, and a cup of hot herbal tea

Awareness:  Today would have been my father’s 86th birthday. He was a man who respected the earth and taught me to do the same. What we give to the earth is returned to us. I was led to two books today, and can’t think of any greater way of honoring him this day than indulging in them. This is a quote from one of them: It is the energy behind the method that heals. In our culture we tend to be “addicted” to methods, forgetting that ultimately being a vessel of love is the greatest form of healing. By Sandra Ingerman, Walking In The Light: The Everyday Empowerment Of A Shamanic Life

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifteen

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Claim the ordinary, for it is only a weed if you label it as such,

April 8

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: getting out of the house and not having to cook tonight, reading

Joy: sushi and sake

Awareness: Though I am an introvert, I notice how my spirit soars when I get out, not in the thick of people, just out of my environment where I can watch or converse if I choose…if there’s too much involvement I tend to wear out.

April 9

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: life

Joy: wine and caramel

Awareness: Sometimes choices can be binding or freeing, and what binds one frees another. It’s kind of like beauty; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

April 10

Creativity: coordinating colors and items for a room redo

Gratitude: decluttering…cleaning out cabinets, home life

Joy: buying new furniture

Awareness: While it can be difficult to let go of some things it is necessary to make room for new. It is incredibly refreshing when your space has been decluttered…and there are always more loads to be lightened and places to be cleaned.

April 11

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: swift actions (recovery and future preventative measures) from our bank as our accounts were hacked and used fraudulently…someone was having a field day with “go fund me” pages

Joy: book club

Awareness: I often forget how enjoyable it is to just get together with a group of women to converse and laugh. I never realize how much I need it until I experience it.

April 12

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: hot homemade lasagna on a rainy day

Joy: Texting back and forth with my niece whose birthday is today.

Awareness: Being a witness to happiness…laughing children, vibrations of a purring cat, wagging tail of a dog, smiles on faces, warmth in conversations, a sweet sigh, feeling of lightness and increased energy

April 13

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: shelter, clean water, food, and clothing

Joy: The sound of absolute pleasure from those eating something I’ve cooked…Asiago chicken is divine!

Awareness: They wave their pearled fingers in the wind. The undersides of their arms a shade lighter than their avocado upper arms. They swish to and fro telling a spring story to all who listen. The leaves of the lugustrum are soft and smooth as satin while their blooms carry a slightly bitter, unpleasant scent.

April 14

Creativity: Writing, drawing

Gratitude: a reading list…always a good book waiting to be ordered and enjoyed

Joy: Prismacolor pencils, hot herbal tea

Awareness: A golden light cast tortoise shell designs across the trunks of the tall pines. Behind those trees the same gold spotlighted the boughs of the neighbor’s pines. Good morning Sun.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fourteen

“For example, the wind has its reasons. We just don’t notice as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you. The wind knows everything that’s inside you. And not just the wind. Everything, including a stone. They all know us very well. From top to bottom. It only occurs to us at certain times. And all we can do is go with those things. As we take them in, we survive, and deepen.”  ― Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing

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This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I love this macro shot I took when I was in the mountains.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: I hugged a tree today

Joy: Blooms on my lilac and Carolina spice bushes

Awareness: I was standing on the driver side of my car spraying the oak pollen off. I felt a breeze about the time I heard a whoosh as a limb flew over my head and hit the car roof snapping the branch in half and with a thud it landed on the ground on the passenger side. I realize as I try to be cognizant of my surroundings, some things can’t be predicted. The wind has blown warm and hard all day, and the clouds have festered into dark, angry mobs as the impending storm rolls this way.

April 2

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: I got caught in the pouring rain, and the chill against my skin felt fabulous, frizzy hair and all!

Joy: An evening wedding at the best venue ever! Have I told you how much I love weddings? And champagne! Oh, and cake! Celebrating love, happiness, and friendships is a blessed event.

Awareness: Sopping wet I sat down with a cup of hot herbal tea. I leaned back and closed my eyes, feeling the hot liquid go down my throat and warm my body. The rain pounded on the roof, as soothing as a shower massage. I opened my eyes to see the rain spraying sideways across the yard. Sprinkles splattered as they hit the base of the squirrel feeder. A rivulet ran beneath the base and slowly dripped only to disappear into the soil.

April 3

Creativity: quilting

Gratitude: The hubby did some updates on my phone and laptop

Joy: I slept in this morning (9:00 is sleeping in for me) and my coffee was ready when I got up.

Awareness: I had sugar last night and some today along with processed food, how sluggish I have felt.

April 4

Creativity: writing and designing

Gratitude: Back to clean eating today… Restricting processed food from my diet has resulted in more energy, clearer thinking, and better quality sleep.

Joy: Phone call with Youngest

Awareness: The sunshine hugs my face as I walk outside and the wind invites me for a ride. A cardinal darts into the gardenia bush, rattling the braches and shaking the leaves like a feather duster.

April 5

Creativity: Making homemade bread and spiffing up the recipe

Gratitude: home cooked meal, leisurely evening, reading

Joy: laughing at some silly jokes, my sister has the same humor; funny thing is we could have been the butt of the jokes, but fortunately not

Awareness: The howling wind caught my attention. I looked out to see what appeared to be huge snowflakes. I assumed it was actually the whirly birds of the oak tree traveling with the winds current. I focused and realized it was indeed snow, flowing and dancing, and melting in thin air. And yet the sun was shining, no rainbow but somehow I pictured Mother Nature smirking.

April 6

Creativity: All I can claim on the creativity front is reading and cooking Asiago Chicken for dinner.

Gratitude: I can call or text my sister and she always gets me

Joy: Seeing my friends at my favorite gourmet wine store and there was a particular wine they have that my friend has wanted to try; they had two bottles of it left so I bought one for her and one for me!

Awareness: Music has been my friend today, traveling in and out and perhaps directing my mood, comforting me and energizing me. Without it today, I would have been not just lonely but lost.

April 7

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: The expected morning rain was only a bit of a spit early in the morning and that was it, yay!

Joy: the fresh scent of clean laundry

Awareness: The heat upstairs was a bit much while I exercised on the elliptical so I opened the windows. The wind howled, competing with the whirl of the elliptical, airplanes whooshed through the sky, and wind chimes clanged and battered the tree trunks. Cars and trucks revved up and down the boulevard. All this noisy activity while the sun quietly vied for her place in the sky. She drifted in and out of clouds and smiled each time she came in the lead. The sun peeked through the eyes of a metal dog yard décor hanging from a pine, casting a shadow against the tree trunk which looked like an owl head with four dangling bell-chain legs…funny how shadows can appear to be something they are not at all.