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.