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.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-four

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya AngelouIMG_2249


June 10

Creativity: writing and reading about writing

Gratitude: a light work day, hubby got home a little earlier than usual

Joy: dinner out at a neighborhood café with DirtMan

Awareness: Read a wonderful essay about authenticity. While it’s good to be who you are (depending on who you are, I guess), the author states we don’t have to say or share everything about ourselves, but feels being sincere is utmost important. During a discussion a friend stated he felt being the best version of ourselves is the right way to be. I agree.

June 11

Creativity: Stained glass (soldering and completing project)

Gratitude: slept in, mowed grass, grocery shopping, and laundry done as well as down time to read and relax, texts from my goddaughter

Joy: Surprised an old friend by dropping by and picking her up to go to wine tasting with me

Awareness: Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness: I’ve always heard chores are more joyful when one is mindful. Two chores I am always mindless (yet creatively prolific) when doing are vacuuming and mowing. While doing both of these I seem to get my best writing or other creative project ideas.

June 12

Creativity: Designed stain glass patterns, watched youtube videos and learned some great shortcuts to implement in some of my upcoming stained glass projects, can’t wait to try them!

Gratitude: requests to order some of my stain glass pieces, went shopping for one thing and ran across a bargain and got that instead! DirtMan ordered me a new battery for my laptop as mine has experienced “permanent failure”!

Joy: mango mimosas in the back yard…trees, breeze, and birds, and most importantly it does not feel like 97 degrees! After plans for dinner out with friends who had to cancel we ordered in pizza…did not feel like cooking today.

Awareness: As much of an introvert as I am when I have plans I look forward to I am terribly disappointed when they are cancelled…I really do enjoy being with people when they are ones I love!

June 13

Creativity: Writing, mind mapping.

Gratitude: My sister is alive! She was hit by a car while riding her scooter, no broken bones but a small brain bleed, hospital keeping her for observation.

Joy:  Texts from my sister, proof she’s going to be ok. Book Club! Need I say more? (And I actually went to B&N and did not make a purchase…what a miracle! Or would that be a travesty in the eyes of a book lover?) Oldest’s sense of humor.

Awareness: Helplessness is not a good feeling…oh, how I wish I could be in two places at once. How I wish I had the power to remove pain from those I love and the world in general. Sending all the healing energy I can muster.  I don’t think that is the draining part; it is the physical sensation of stress, the crushing of the chest, the weight of the soul, the beauty of love. I am not complaining; I am acknowledging. Love leads the way.

June 14

Creativity: Stained glass design, otherwise stuck in my head daydreaming

Gratitude: My sister was released from the hospital tonight!

Joy: My sister’s voice!  My first orange daylily has bloomed. There are usually silver linings in grey skies. A yard of birds and flowers! Phone call with Youngest! A lovely, inspirational FB post shared by my nephew.

Awareness: Realization unexpected things happen for a reason even often unbeknown to us.

June 15

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Updating some files and tedious work I usually put off

Joy: Writer’s group! Friendships and communication.

Awareness: Enjoying the gifts of nature from inside my house: the scuffle of scurrying squirrel feet across the roof, wingtips soaring past the picture window, beautiful birdsong, early morning sunlight filtering through the tree limbs, the sweet scent of gardenia sifting through an open window…and then add the melody of wind chimes and colorful garden flags waving.

June 16

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: A husband willing to change plans in the blink of an eye for me.

Joy: Having a good friend who knows what to say and when to say it and when to just listen, and best of all how to make me laugh when I need it most.

Awareness: Some things are completely out of our control, and it’s a good thing if we really think about it…after all, we never really know the complete picture beforehand.


Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-three


Like life, this Yucca is filled with sharp edges. However, if you focus on those you’ll miss both the beauty and the sweetness. The aroma of life,let it fill your lungs and sustain you.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Our maiden trip with Pearl, the new car. (We let go of the Oyster and got a Pearl! Naming our cars? Yes, we are silly like that!) We made it safely to the mountains…traveled through torrential downpours where we could hardly see in front of us. At least I couldn’t so it’s a good thing I wasn’t driving.

Joy: A mountain weekend with DirtMan, the sound of tree frogs in the night.

Awareness: No matter the clouds, the sky still sparkled with scattered stars…now that is just one delight of country life.

June 4

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Again, reaching our destination safely. We were traveling over a mountain during another storm; torrential downpours, lightening, flooding, mudslides…mowing (five hours of it) was completed before the storms hit.

Joy: Early morning porch sounds of the creek bubbling at the edge of the field, a train whistle in the distance, and the birds singing. Dinner and drinks out with the hubby after visiting the MIL.  A beautiful lightening show throughout our passage of the mountain …the black sky changes from black to blue to white in seconds, and the streaks and flashes add a bit of pizzazz.

Awareness: When the banks fill and water carves a new route…never underestimate the power of water…it will cut through what it must to move, and it will take out whatever it must to get where it wants to go.

June 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Waterproof boots, Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora, also called ghost plant) was everywhere we hiked along the creek. This was my dad’s favorite plant and we were walking the land he walked all of his life. I felt as if he was walking in spirit along with us. Hiking and photographing the family homestead and property with DirtMan….and we didn’t come across any snakes, yay!

Joy: Breakfast out with my mom and DirtMan. A rainbow after traveling through a downpour. Porch sitting, enjoying nature and cloud watching with my mom, especially delightful was hearing a Bobwhite in the mix of birds. Rusty horse shoes hanging on the side of the weathered barn and workshop.

Awareness: Most breathtaking-watching the early morning fog lift from the mountain range. Beneath the rising ghosts peaks of blue and green emerge.

June 6

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: work day ending early

Joy: First two blooms on my gardenia bush

Awareness: I am the captain of my ship. I often make up excuses to myself why I’m not doing something when in reality I am the only one who can do the things I can and need to do. It is not up to anyone else to complete my goals or fulfill my dreams.

June 7

Creativity: Nothing specific, at least not in the “arts”. However, I did read some reference material on the craft of writing.

Gratitude: managed to run some errands after work

Joy: Cuddle time with the fur babies

Awareness: I had forgotten to take my amaryllis out of the shed in early spring. Last week, I took it out and it already had a bud on the stalk but only an edge of a leaf was visible. Today it has a beautiful triple bloom…however no leaves yet. How often are we lacking one thing in particular and think the rest of our assets aren’t enough to carry us through? Remember you are beautiful. Remember you are enough, just as you are!

June 8

Creativity: Baking biscotti

Gratitude: the end of a rough workday

Joy: Sunshine! Visiting with some friends I haven’t seen for quite a while

Awareness: A cool, brisk breezes brushes against my skin, sweeping across my soul and lifting me up, up, up…

June 9

Creativity: stain glass (foiling), writing

Gratitude: early morning accomplishments, a lighter workday than yesterday

Joy: The pursuit of dreams (mine and others)

Awareness: There are things we learn in life we forget, or perhaps we simply lose technique. After a few attempts it all comes back, kind of like riding a bike.

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-two

birdhouse looking out

Sometimes we appreciate the beauty of life more through glimpses rather than the big picture.

May 27

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: faith, life, love, communication, connection, acceptance, support…how these play in my relationships

Joy: Didn’t feel like going out for dinner so we ordered in, reading

Awareness: How important it is to be there for others when you are needed, even if it’s only listening. Sometimes your voice might just be what someone else needs to hear.

May 28

Creativity: Stain glass design, cutting pattern and glass

Gratitude: not being on a time crunch and being able to take it easy as well as mowing the grass, doing laundry, and cleaning house

Joy: Mini trip (last rendezvous’ with the old Suby) to North Carolina, glimpses of barns, river, fields and sunset, sweet hellos from the three little girls from next door

Awareness: Early morning quiet time outside with a cup of coffee, except nature is not so quiet…though I can’t complain of singing cardinals and tohwees, chirping sparrows, scrambling squirrels, or rustling grasses. There’s something soothing about starting the day with nature’s noise.

May 29

Creativity: Grinding stain glass

Gratitude: Sold the old Suby

Joy: Breakfast out and movie time with DirtMan, visiting with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time, sprinkles and sun at the same time…no rainbow though

Awareness: The illusion of time.

May 30

Creativity: Quilting, writing

Gratitude: appreciation of those who secured our freedom, a day off making it a long weekend

Joy: Completion of a project, dinner cooked by DirtMan

Awareness: Often small (to humans) things affect animals on a deeper level. I bathed my dog (who was not thrilled) to find the cat lay beside her, sniff her, and promptly retreat under the bed for several hours. Did she think I was going to bathe her, too?

May 31

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a smooth transition in my work day, essential oils, phone call with a friend

Joy: The buyers picked up my old Suby today, and it went to a wonderful family. First rate service from our dealership…a piece of paper was overlooked that I signed but hubby didn’t and instead of us having to drive to dealership city to take care of it, someone stopped by our house last night to do it.

Awareness: Watching joy pass from a little girl to a dog and back. I let Wylie out to the back yard and I could hear the squeals of delight of the little girl next door. She was all smiles as she leaned over the side gate to pet Wylie. Wagging tail, Wylie bounced up and down in exuberance. She leaned over and hugged Wylie as well as she could through a chain link fence. This sweetness lasted until Wylie heard her dogs in their backyard and she had to visit them through the back fence.

June 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: The internet for its multiple uses: business transactions, writing, information, recipes, tutorials, social media, email, music, reading, photos, videos

Joy: Visit with some friends

Awareness: Darkness fell over the room so quickly I felt I’d been swallowed by the night. Not the usual eye adjustment where I could see outlines and shadows.

June 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Because I had Monday off I’ve been ahead of myself all week…so nice not to be chasing myself around!

Joy: The hoot owl is back in the neighborhood! I hadn’t heard him for a long time, love listening to him call.

Awareness: I’m sitting beneath the air-conditioning duct wearing a bulky sweater and thick socks and drinking a cup of hot herbal tea. Only a fifty-something woman can appreciate the irony and necessity of this situation.