Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-four

IMG_2417“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A quiet work day, not many of those these days.

Joy: Listening to the rain, ordered dinner in.

Awareness: Robins line the gutters splashing in the rainwater. Red winged blackbirds, cardinals and sparrows peck about the ground. A yellow finch feasts on the dead head of a coneflower. Birdsong and fluttering wings warm my heart.

August 20

Creativity: I did not feel well today so I did absolutely nothing I’d consider creative unless you want to count throwing together Caesar salads for dinner! I did read and mentally idea storm for writing plots.

Gratitude: Took car for a routine service appointment that was made the day we bought it, and they didn’t have us on the books but they saw us anyway. The diligence of our cable company and my husband to get our internet back up. (Purchased a new modem router, ended up being faulty so we had to get another one.)

Joy: A visit to the health food store owned by a friend, and I purchased an Aventurine angel.

Awareness: The presence of a dog at a Subaru dealership makes all the employees happy. People from all departments come out to play with Wylie, and she is absolutely thrilled with the attention. Dogs open up conversations, and you find out all kinds of things about people in the process.

August 21

Creativity: Writing, Stained glass (grinding glass)

Gratitude: A day at home, enjoyed not being on the run. Got the laundry done and cleaned house.

Joy: Watching the lightening and listening to the wind and rain. I love a good thunderstorm every now and then. Reading time.

Awareness: There are times it is more important to “be” rather than “do”…and guilt has no place in the aftermath.

August 22

Creativity: Writing, crafts with the kids

Gratitude: Sitting outside today it was actually cool with the breeze.  Hubby had to work tonight, but I was able to cook dinner and eat with him before he left.

Joy: Funny texts and phone call from a friend.

Awareness: Sometimes we just need to talk to someone who “gets” us.

August 23

Creativity: Writing, crafts with the kids

Gratitude: waking up with lots of energy after a good night’s sleep, another cooler day

Joy: Watching four female yellow finches on the feeder and a male nearby feeding on the deadheads of the coneflowers, Friends with a sense of humor and a little visit time with one and a phone call with the other

Awareness: Contemplating on these words “Care but don’t carry” found in an online article; a reminder of being empathic and doing what you can to make the world a bit better without carrying the burden .

August 24

Creativity: Writing, painting

Gratitude: Home, family, friends, love, laughter,

Joy: Time spent with a dear friend and frozen yogurt for dinner!  A good laugh over a text from another friend…she meant to send it to her significant other! Added three more angels (sodalite, clear quartz, and rose quartz) to my collection…I now have a chorus of angels.

Awareness: My energy was a bit scattered for the past several days and it seems like I’ve evened out now. My mental alertness and my physical actions suffer when I feel off.

August 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: an early morning ruckus of beautifully brilliant black ravens on my front lawn, a friend who knew I was looking for something in particular and not only found it but purchased it and dropped it off at my house

Joy: spending time with a friend who has been away most of the summer

Awareness: When I quiet myself and tune in doubt disappears and the words I need come to me.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-three

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving


August 12

Creativity: Mosaic tutorials, kids art class

Gratitude: hot herbal tea, candles, essential oils, phone call with my brother, outside time

Joy: My children’s sense of humor. The hubby, Oldest, and myself were in the car on the way to dinner. Youngest texted my phone. My phone is connected via Bluetooth to my car. What I didn’t know was that anyone in the car can answer the text and it appears as if it is from me. (My kids have for years sent one another off the wall crazy texts to one another using my phone…you know the kind of texts one would not expect to get from mom and ones that would make them question my sanity!) Anyway, text from Youngest is just shooting the breeze.

Oldest texts (as if from me): I’m running late.

Youngest: What for?

Oldest: Do you need anything?

Oldest: I’m stuck in traffic. Do you need anything?

Youngest: Yeah sure. I’ll take a dozen tacos, a bag of ice, three twinkies, and a water buffalo.

In the meantime as I am writing a text I see all of the texts appearing and I tell him it’s his brother not me.

Youngest replies: So no tacos?

My sons crack me up. And they fill my heart with joy.

Awareness: Even when your children are grown and live far away you continue to carry them close…the heart knows no distance.

August 13

Creativity: stained glass design and soldering (completed consignments for an angel and a fairy), practiced cutting with both mosaic tile nippers and wheeled glass nippers. I must say it looked simpler on video. Not to say I didn’t get any decent cuts, but glass did fly across my studio…to be found at a later date with my bare feet I am sure!

Gratitude: Errands done early to allow for an afternoon of creativity and reading, Yardwork done by hubby and Oldest, carved out time to watch a movie

Joy: Started my day with a (long time ago) picture in a text from my nephew! While I wasn’t happy I had to cancel my mosaic classes due to conflicts in schedule, I am thrilled I was able to get store credit for my payment…I bought new glass for projects, yay! The idea is to teach myself to mosaic, and if I don’t get it I will take the next available class.

Awareness: The “zone” is a great creative place to be…time soars and much gets accomplished.

August 14

Creativity: Stained glass: design, pattern cutting, and glass cutting.

Gratitude: opportunity to sleep in, a day of creativity, time for reading

Joy: I created a dancing fairy stained glass design; I know it should be under creativity, but I am overjoyed with the results. Creating fills me with joy…and that is an awareness as well!

Awareness: A day of total creativity exhausts both mind and body, but what a pleasant kind of tiredness!

August 15

Creativity: Stained glass cutting, writing

Gratitude: Time for reading, another book I had started and not finished managed to catch my attention for a second attempt…this time with better results than the last time. I just love how things return when you are ready to learn them.

Joy: In two different creative venues I encountered challenges. I discovered tools in my artistry arsenal to help me out in both instances.

Awareness: Two sparrows are eating from the bird feeder. A female cardinal hangs from the pole and shakes; the pole wobbles, her feathers flutter, and the sparrows fly away. Promptly, the cardinal hops onto the feeder and begins to eat. Within seconds the sparrows join in. The cardinal takes off, guess she wants to dine alone today.

August 16

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: A request for permission to use some of my photos for a magazine. I usually always grant permission for books, magazines, and one to be placed on a mall wall. However, there was that one time my photo was requested and I said no: they wanted to photoshop out people and put their staff in to appear they were there for a retreat…and they wanted to change the clouds in the sky and a rock…I think they should have climbed the mountain themselves and taken their own photo, ha!

Joy: I needed to find an important paper. I thought I’d recently seen it. I thought of two places where I must have spotted it. On route to place #1 I remembered where I had it which wasn’t there or place #2. What a thrill it was not to search the house over for it…and yay memory was good to me today!

Awareness: How a cup of hot chamomile tea and a hot bath with chamomile essential oil relaxes a sore and tired body.

August 17

Creativity: Writing, stained glass design

Gratitude: Oldest brought dinner home for us. Creative inspiration. Sunshine. Water. Wind. The internet finally came back on this evening. (I kept attempting to research for my writing. I sometimes take conveniences for granted. I can’t even imagine if I had to go to the library every time I wanted information not at my fingertips!)

Joy: Writers Group, much enjoyed!

Awareness: That moment when you’re in the midst of writing and a new idea changes everything you’ve done thus far, but it solidifies the story…the Muse takes its job seriously though not always timely.

August 18

Creativity: Writing, stained glass design

Gratitude: I have discovered my worst childhood flaw (according to others) has become my strength.

Sensitivity. Yes, I embrace it. It enables me to scratch beneath the surface. It allows me compassion in situations where the need is not obvious. And my Yogi teabag affirmation was “Live in your strength.”

Joy: Booking a plane ticket for Youngest to attend a family wedding. Love times the family gets together, especially in the name of love!

Awareness: “I don’t have answers to much of life’s mysteries, and not knowing gives me comfort…Yes, I just admitted that.” I wrote these words in my journal this morning. In the afternoon I was listening to a live internet class on joy and the facilitator said the same thing. Synchronicity!

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-two

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Both photos are of the same scene but with a different focus. Life is all about perspective.


In this photo I focused on the Queen Anne’s lace, and the back ground is a blur.


In this photo I focused on the fog rising from the mountains, and the wildflowers are a blur.

August 5

Creativity: Taught myself to mind map using Excel…yay me! Stained glass design

Gratitude: a light and shortened work day. At the end of the day, I accidentally locked myself out of the house…a dear friend kept me company on the phone until the hubby was able to get home to let me inside.

Joy: Mountain weekend!

Awareness:  Remembering things don’t always happen in my timing…I am not in control…if they are meant to be they happen when the time is right…things I’d let go of are happening. Surrender can be a good thing. There is a difference between surrendering and giving up. I’m a full believer in letting things be though I sometimes don’t follow my own advice, ha!

August 6

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: Not getting bitten by a snake! Roadside Black-eyed Susans, garden fresh tomatoes

Joy: family, gravel roads that lead to nowhere, rain showers (even though it created havoc with my hair!) Standing in fields of wildflowers watching the fog rise over the mountains.

Awareness: The rain-soaked cedar glistens in the early morning sun; raindrops morph into stars. Wind sweeps through the maples and oaks, overturning leaves of water…the trickle of drops tinkle from leaf to leaf. The creek sings a lullaby in the background while nature’s song (crickets and frogs) sends shrills into the morning air. A dog barks in the distance. A yellow finch, flycatchers, and sparrows dart and chirp about in their pursuit of breakfast. The broad hands of the walnut tree gently wave her hands; peridot jeweled fingers rise and fall to the tune of morning. Scents of cedar, rain, grass, and wildflower…wood and earth fill my lungs. White tufts of Queen Anne’s lace reach for the cloudy sky. Light and shadow dance across the meadow. Raindrops rumple across the tin roof. Cup of coffee in hand, DirtMan and I pause and take in this meditation, a balm to our souls. I open my mouth to breath, and I taste life. How sweet it is.

August 7

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Butterflies, birds, babbling brook, wildflowers, fresh spring water (running from the mountain not from a bottle!), grapes from vine to mouth, (natural) jack rocks, a visit with my 89 year old twin aunts at the nursing home

Joy: ATV riding with DirtMan…sun on my back and wind in my face, time with my sister and mom

Awareness: On the back of an ATV, soaring downhill so fast I can barely catch my breath yet I can smell wild mint with a mix of floral and spicy tones…butterflies of all colors (Monarch, Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Cabbage White) flutter and dance across the meadow of wildflowers (Queen Anne’s lace, wild sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans, Cardinal flowers, and yellow, blue, purple and pink nameless (to me) wildflowers.

August 8

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: purchased a day planner I like a lot

Joy: Book Club, great discussion!

Awareness: When I listen to other’s perspectives I catch a glimpse of things I cannot see alone…this one thing can change my attitude or my course of action. If nothing else, it simply enables me to understand the situation at hand.

August 9

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Slept in an hour later than usual. Slipping back into the comforts of daily routine.

Joy: DirtMan and I finished the lovely bottle of wine we purchased at Ruth’s Chris over a week ago.

Awareness: Sometimes the tension in my body is of my own doing; focusing on the wrong things and other times a lack of focus in general.

August 10

Creativity: Stained glass design, photography

Gratitude: DirtMan fixed my photo “thingy” (see how technical I am?) on my laptop and also installed/updated programs

Joy: Completed my fall/winter business schedule, and finally chose a week to take vacation.

Awareness: We tend to think we choose purpose, but purpose chooses us. Purpose is bigger and stronger than a body. It might feel relatively simple and perhaps not something you selected, rather something you were led to.  Regardless, the urge continues and pieces of the puzzle continue to fall into place. If one spreads wings with purpose it can grow into something not as simple or as small as first imagined…dare to dream big!

August 11

Creativity: Stained glass design

Gratitude: Catching up with my week; it’s about time since it’s almost over! Remembering to do two things today that I’d meant to do for the past three days!

Joy: Talked to two of my sisters and my mom today.

Awareness: As the sun is slipping from view, a golden light trickles in and out pine boughs dancing in the wind. The sky behind the treetops drifts to white as the gold travels down the tree trunks. Then the white drifts into grey and the gold is gone for another day.

Define and Design 2006, Week Thirty-one



“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~John Milton

July 29

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a fun day and a relaxing night

Joy: The contentment of being home and not traveling this weekend

Awareness: Reading each other’s minds: DirtMan got home from work a little early so the house was still reverberating with childish chatter and squeals. When the last one left, we settled on the sofa with a beer.  I asked him to listen. We both took a deep breath and he said “silence”. Something neither of us had heard (or not heard, ha!) all day.

July 30

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a rainy day to read and cat who snuggled with me all day

Joy: Hubby treated me to a dinner a Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Awareness: How validating it is to hear a total stranger speak words you’ve thought but never shared, and how affirming it is to be inspired by those of like minds.

July 31

Creativity: Writing, stained glass (foiling)

Gratitude: the scent of homemade spaghetti sauce permeating through the house, reading (finished “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult and started “H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald)

Joy: Phone call from Youngest

Awareness:  How comforting the tinkle of rain and the low grumble of thunder can be on the soul…and equally how disturbing the simple thwack of a pinecone on the roof can be in the midst of the calm.

August 1

Creativity: I’m claiming crafts with the kiddos today! (It’s a M-F art class, but only claim the creativity when I got nothing else!)

Gratitude: When things fall into place, messages I hear when I actually listen with more than my ears, essential oils (today’s picks are lavender and chamomile)

Joy: Picking up and understanding a book I once put down once because I just didn’t get it…timing is everything, sometimes growth must occur before digestion is possible. DirtMan and I watched the birds through the backdoor window.

Awareness: Sometimes I wonder if I have the intellect, discipline, organization (or some other needed tool) to accomplish some of the things I dream of doing…and then I remember some of the miraculous things God has equipped me to do, and realize if those things are possible these are possible as well. The human body is an amazing thing, and once someone uses the tools equipped within it, wow, talk about possibilities!

August 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: successful morning meditation, Himalayan salt lamps, herbal tea

Joy: Confirmation from my sister’s doctor that she will not need chemo or radiation! DirtMan and I hit the sack early…he was watching a movie and I was reading a book…in a matter of minutes he was out. Still, just having him sleeping while I was reading was comforting.

Awareness:  The rain pounds the roof and slides sideways across the yard. Water falls from the neighbor’s roof in thick sheets, appearing as if someone is sweeping snow through the air. The street floods. The sky rumbles, and occasional streaks of lightening pierce the rain. As I am enjoying nature’s show I realize there are many mail carriers and other many others who are in the midst of this and probably not enjoying it. It’s all a matter of perspective, or in this case possibly position (whether one is inside or outside).

August 3

Creativity: Writing, Created a sacred space/an altar using items which tug at my heart strings: angels and frogs gifted to me, prayer/meditation beads, an essential oil burner carved of soapstone, petrified wood, driftwood, purple (amethyst) geode, an Indian bowl (soapstone carved hundreds of years ago by Monacan Indians and found by DirtMan in the creek running through the family property, this bowl is filled with rocks and fossils I have collected or ones found and gifted by my sons.) This altar overflows with textures, colors, and history that move me and hold me in this sacred space of life.

Gratitude: I have discovered my studio is set up for all my creative endeavors which include writing. However, with the things cluttered on my desk it makes it unappealing to work on the project I should be. My intention for today was to declutter and make my desk inviting for inspiration. I not only did it but I also did another corner of the house I claim, yay me!

Joy: Early morning solitude and meditation time…Miss Kit Kat joined me. Candles. An online class. Wind. Texting with a friend I hadn’t heard from for a while. A surprise check in the mail! I know, that never happens, right? Well you see, I have some of my items placed in a museum store in my hometown. A while back I removed some of them and one was missing according to my records. They thought I miscounted so I let it go. The item sold and I received the check…so hmmmm, guess my count was correct after all.

Awareness:  Food for Thought: Blame shifting negates the power and sincerity of an apology. We are each personally responsible for our actions and or reactions. What I think is a choice…remembering that is liberation of sorts.

August 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Rituals: They are not always done as a religious ceremony, but in the order of things, the sequences of life, ways to keep us organized, comfortable, and sane. I find daily habits are to shake; while I am not confined or defined by them, they are a large part of who I am. Wind makes the heat of the day tolerable…and tonight it feels cool, almost autumn-like.

Joy: Being a mother to sons. I had a most incredible conversation with Youngest and a good chuckle with Oldest. I’ve enjoyed all the ages and stages (perhaps minus a few of the adolescent stubborn moments, ha!) of raising sons, but I must say my heart is full knowing they are living the dreams they’ve pursued and aspiring to higher visions for themselves.

Awareness: Holding Space: I’ve been thinking a lot about this, how we hold a space in our heart for those we love, how we lift them in light whether they need us to or not, how we are always there for them. There were times in my life when things went wrong, terribly wrong and there was no one there for me. But God was always there, always holding me and carrying me. And I held Him and carried Him in my heart always. My heart wept, and He listened. When I listened I received messages and synchronicities, the angels at work and play. So yes, I hold a space for those I love. And always, I hold a space for God as He has always held one for me, even when I felt most undeserving.