Define and Design 2016, Week Fifty-two

December 23

Creativity: Coordinating schedules and activities

Gratitude: Lunch and shopping with family…an absolutely fabulous day and night with the men in my life! I am so much enjoying having this time with my husband and both of our sons.

Joy: Youngest is home for Christmas! Oysters and firepit. A visit with good friend to exchange Christmas gifts.

Awareness: Humor is contagious!

December 24

Creativity: Mind mapping

Gratitude: A leisurely morning with hubby and both sons. Safe trip to the mountains with family and a stop for lunch along the way.

Joy: Watching my sons bottle beer. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it has been to have both of our sons under our roof this holiday season.

Awareness: It’s a lovely thought knowing the majority of these travelers are on their way to spend time with loved ones. Love is in the air!

December 25

Creativity: Android photography, cooking

Gratitude: A visit with MIL at the nursing home and got to visit with my SIL as well.

Joy: Family dinner with my mom and sisters, birds at my mom’s feeder, love and laughter

Awareness: I haven’t enjoyed a Christmas this much in a while.

December 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Made it back safely to the beach, time with my mom, hubby, and both sons

Joy: Sushi with hubby and Youngest at our favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant. We are sorry they will be closing their doors at the end of this week but so happy we got to eat with them one last time to say goodbye.

Awareness: The sky exploded in a brilliant array of orange and pinks and fizzed out as quickly as it happened…so glad I didn’t miss that short sunset.

December 27

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Got started on my taxes, took down the Christmas trees and decorations

Joy: Steak dinner with hubby and Youngest, phone call from Oldest, movie time with hubby and Youngest

Awareness: Sand slipping through the funnel of an hour glass is an accurate description of the fleeting of time.

December 28

Creativity: Reading about writing and stained glass

Gratitude: Safe arrivals for Youngest and Oldest to their destinations, finally tackled long overdue yardwork

Joy: Spending the day with hubby, watching movies, eating chocolate and drinking a glass of wine, Oldest’s fabulous sleuth work in digging through land records at the court house and uncovering genealogy information we’ve been searching for many years…I now know the names of my 3X and 4X great grandparents on one line in which I’d been stumped.

Awareness: Patience pays…answers to questions that need to be answered come in their own time.

December 29

Creativity: Made a 15 pound pan of lasagna!

Gratitude: a rainy day off so I stayed in my pjs all day!

Joy: Talking genealogy with Oldest, glass of wine with hubby, snuggly furry babies

Awareness: I am an early riser, and most times I go to bed at a decent hour. Even if I stay up I still don’t sleep soundly. I’ve tried to stay up late and sleep in, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’ve always been this way, wonder if I’m just wired this way.

December 30

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My niece and her longtime girlfriend got married!

Joy: view of a gorgeous sunset while on the road, sushi dinner at our friend’s restaurant (these are the first time owners of the sushi place in my neighborhood that is closing. We don’t get to our friend’s current restaurant as often as we’d like since it’s located in another city), a glimpse of fine snow flurries.

Awareness: Decided to start a bullet journal this year as my own way of personal accountability with a dash of creativity. I know I am more likely to stick to schedules and push toward goals if I write them down. I also know being appreciative of life helps me with awareness and creativity and instills calmness within.

December 31

Creativity: Cut DirtMan and Oldest’s hair, researched bullet journaling

Gratitude: scent of wood fire burning (fireplaces and stoves) in the neighborhood

Joy: Spent the day with the hubby test driving cars. Watching the twinkling lights in the neighborhood while sipping a glass of wine with the hubby.

Awareness: Of the many things I intended to do this year my most successful was my pledge to defeat the daily Spider Solitaire Challenge, ha! That said, I did live a creatively appreciative and joyfully aware year. I did find by allowing inspiration and pleasure of artistic expression to lead my pursuits my focus was on stained glass, writing, and photography. I did manage to get in a bit of embroidery and quilting, but I’m honestly not sure if I picked up a crochet needle this year.

As for 2017 I plan to continue to pursue my creative endeavors as inspiration leads me. I intend to keep a bullet journal for my own personal use, not to be posted. Perhaps I will post on “Relishing the Moments”. For now I make no blog commitments. I plan to allow 2017 unfold in its own time. Happy New Year to each of you! As in the beginning of each year I leave you with this:

May Your Blessings Be Abundant

I wish for you a life of simple abundance; an abundance of necessary tools to learn to bend with the wind, stand strong against the tide, and forge trails across life’s arduous mountains.

I wish for you the gift of time, moments of explicit joy with those you love. I want you to open your hands wide and let time escape and settle in your heart. I wish for you time to touch the morning; to feel the cool wetness of dew as it clings to the grass beneath your feet. I wish for you the time to see birds in flight; to notice the perfection of each single feather giving lift and how they join a myriad of others to create a formation which soars the vast blue skies. I wish for you the stillness of time to hear that voice; the one that calls deep within and guides you among the living. I wish for you the opportunity of time to taste the salt of the ocean so that you may enjoy the sweet pungency of earth. I wish for you time to smell the fragrance of daily living; the bittersweet scent of disappointment so you may savor the aroma of fulfillment. I wish for you time to know the value of living.

I wish for you the gift of vision so you might see the colorful rainbow of your life; the possibility of who you can become and the immeasurable value of who you are.

I wish for you the ability to take sorrow and weave it into a basket of hope; that you might know strength is developed through adversity, and character is built by conquering fear and overcoming obstacles.

I hope you will learn to accept defeat as a rung on the ladder of success. I wish you the wisdom to recognize success as you walk along its terrain and know the valleys and peaks are not measured upon the opinions of others.

I desire patience for you to wait your turn, to know your timing is not always yours to choose. I wish you to be able to let go of control and allow your life to flower of its own accord.

I wish for you prosperity; to know it does not always come in material form and the intuition to feel the richness laden within the layers of your soul.

I wish for you faith not only in times of distress; but to know you are always loved in every moment and in every situation.

I wish for you mercy upon your own mistakes and forgiveness toward others. I wish for you a grateful spirit; an appreciation of those around you and all you are offered in this life. I wish you grace to pave a life of love.

I wish for you a generous heart, compassionate soul, good intentions, and a life of positive influence.

I pray for many moments of happiness in your life, but more importantly joy because joy is not merely a feeling but a condition of existence. More than this I wish you peace, a comfort which resides deep within and transcends all understanding.

I wish you conservation of your own well-being: I pray for your good health that you will make wise choices and reap the benefits of walking in comfort to enjoy every step of your journey.

I ask that you know the difference between being alone and being lonely; that you will find comfort in yourself and strength in knowing you are never truly alone.

I wish for you trust in trying times and compassionate hands to reach out and pick you up when you are down.

I wish for you to know the importance of limitations but also the freedom and power to step outside of self imposed boundaries.

I wish you the desire to let go of anger and shame and replace them with a calm spirit and self-worth. I wish you acceptance of your past as it has created your beautiful soul of today.

I wish you work to challenge your being, play to enjoy life‘s pleasures, and rest to recharge your faculties. I wish you the opportunity to teach your craft and to serve others and the poise to receive the same. I wish you balance among your many interests and harmony in your life.

I pray your struggles are few and far between and never more than you can bear. I also pray you grow from your experiences and your healing be fully restored.

I wish for you clarity in times of chaos and discernment in times of doubt; that you will continue to reach when you feel nothing within your grasp.

I pray you recognize the many gifts in life which are free to those who reach for them. I pray you will continue to dance among the wildflowers while you reach for the stars.

I pray you will not feel you are entitled to life but blessed to live it.

I pray you will view the power of surrender as an act of acceptance; that you will both give and receive daily as needed.

I wish you immeasurable love and continuous light in all you encompass.

Whether your needs are physical or spiritual I pray your thirst might be quenched and your hunger satisfied all the days of your life; that you know your visit here is not absolute but life and love ring eternal.

May you find a piece of heaven in all you touch on earth.

May you may always live your life as poetry in motion.

~Susan Carter Payne

Define and Design 2016, Week Fifty-one

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.  ~Tecumseh

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December 16

Creativity: Painting, preparing kid’s craft activities for next week

Gratitude: Chapstick, hand lotion, reading a new book

Joy: Watching the toddler’s excitement when I projected colorful snowflakes across the walls, ceiling, and floor. Phone call with Youngest. Christmas music and Christmas lights!

Awareness: My dog gives various signals when someone approaches my door or walks through the front yard. It’s funny how we can tell exactly who the person is by her yip, wag, or dance…and a complete stranger is totally different from her happy welcomes.

December 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Grocery shopping for making Christmas sweets, in home spa time, reading, iron and ironing board, soap and hot water

Joy: Christmas music, two Christmas parties even though we left the second one early because it was just too many people and too much action to handle in one day

Awareness: The huge, golden moon hung low in the sky. It followed us all night, peeping through the skeletal trees and holiday-lit buildings, dipping behind walls of fog and popping up on one side and then the other. Finally Luna swooped in front of the road and led us home.

December 18

Creativity: Made a multitude of sweet treats to get us through the holidays

Gratitude: family, home, hot tea

Joy: At home doing the things I wanted to do, my pretty kitchen baking apron, Christmas trees, and Christmas music

Awareness: The wind was speaking in tongues; we deciphered it to mean stay in bed which we did. Once I was up and about I found it was 70 degrees with a lovely wind whipping at my back, delightful for the few minutes I was outside.

December 19

Creativity: Painting

Gratitude: Family dinner, reading time, “light at the end of the tunnel”, Hubby and Oldest are enjoying all of the Christmas treats I made this weekend

Joy: Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song! (So many memories of my Dad and me and also of my children)

Awareness: Aromas, textures, sounds, tastes, beauty…the senses bring the soul to life. What in each of these five senses moves you? For me it’s a (aroma) woodsy scent, (texture) smooth and silky fabric or a cold gemstone, (sound) music (especially the blues),(taste) a combination of salt and sweet, and (beauty) a landscape (which includes mountains and a river )in which  I feel connected.

December 20

Creativity: Drawing and painting

Gratitude: Christmas shopping

Joy: Watched “Love Actually”, talked to Youngest on the phone

Awareness: People would live much more fulfilling lives if they didn’t depend on the media to tell them how to feel and act…think for yourselves and follow your hearts, people. Be good. Do good. Retribution is NOT progress!

December 21

Creativity: Crafting with the kiddos, writing

Gratitude: Christmas shopping, only a few things left on my list and will do those on Friday (or will send hubby out for them, ha!)

Joy: Tried on the most comfortable pair of shoes ever at the shoe store and decided to purchase them. When I got to the counter the cashier asked me where my second pair were…they were buy one and get one half price…yay, I scored two pairs of the most comfortable shoes ever, in black and brown!

Awareness: I get much more accomplished when I shop alone. I don’t shop for fun; it is a mission for me. On rare occasions I do enjoy shopping with a friend, and then it’s for fun.

December 22

Creativity: Playing games and dancing with the kiddos

Gratitude: A multitude of blessings, small and large. Oldest ordered a bushel of oysters for a family feast when Youngest arrives.

Joy: A sensational sunset, Air travel-Youngest is on his way here!

Awareness: Love, joy, and peace truly are conditions of the heart. I am blessed beyond measure.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-nine

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”  ~Alan Cohen

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Made it back to Hatteras just in time for the sunset

December 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Resolutions to a few difficulties, Amazon movies

Joy: Knowing I have the next nine days work-free and hopefully healing ensues

Awareness: My temper is short and emotions are high wired when my body is out of sync.

December 3

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: my friend who helped me with PT exercises, order in pizza

Joy: hot tea, a trip to the library (checked out six books), reading, watched a movie with the hubby, call from my sister and a friend, a friend who texted me photos while she shopped and picked up a few things I’d been hoping to get out to buy for someone

Awareness: It’s strange how you think about something and dismiss it and a day or two later you find you find its significance or something of relevance arrives in the mail. Both happened today.

December 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: another day of rest,Reading: Book #1 is finished and book #2 is started

Joy: scented candles, hot tea

Awareness: The world stands still. No swirl of clouds move, just a grey motionless sky. Acorns and pinecones sleep upon a bed of pine needles. Tassels of the silver leaf grass are now statues. The golden leaves of the neighbor’s trees droop to its sides as if the day is not worthy of a welcoming wave. No scurrying squirrels, fluttering birds, nor laughing children. The street is not only still but silent…it seems to be waiting. But for what? Tomorrow?

December 5

Creativity: Cooked dinner

Gratitude: GPS, reading time, people doing the lifting for me

Joy: Yoga pants, fuzzy socks, reclining sofa, furry companions,

Awareness: I fare much better with a flexible schedule than all free time. Couldn’t decide what to spend my “resting” time doing…a movie or a book? Book. Then which one? I’m not even going to tell you how long it took me to decide. I have a feeling this is going to be a long week.

December 6

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: catching up on things I’ve gotten behind on

Joy: a great PT evaluation appointment, Amazon movies, books, hot tea

Awareness: I’ve decided to focus 2017 on “relishing the moment” as it will combine my awareness, appreciation, and pleasure of life.

December 7

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: Sunshine, fresh vegetables for salad, hot tea, reading time

Joy: music, friends

Awareness: It is difficult for me to remain idle.

December 8

Creativity: Quilting, decorated both Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, stuffed stockings

Gratitude: home, scented candles, exercise bike, reading time, hot tea, time off for healing

Joy: lunch with a friend, evening time with the hubby, talking and texting with a friend

Awareness: Neither Time nor distance separates close friends.

Define and Design 2016, Weeks Forty-seven and Forty-eight

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“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” ~ Michael J. Fox

November 18

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Inspiration, hot tea, order in pizza, family

Joy: Phone call from Youngest

Awareness: Home really is where the heart is.

November 19

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Though I was late for the party I did finish both of the birthday presents to take.

Joy: Shopped for both glass and fabric on the same day…and yes, I did bump into that couple at the glass store yet again! She said on the way there they wondered if I’d be there, too funny!

Awareness: We don’t have to know everything; we only need to get out there and give it our best shot.

November 20

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Stained glass orders. Willpower to turn down frozen yogurt; ok, it might have been the cold weather, but whatever! Seat warmers (feels like fall is gone and winter has arrived here!)

Joy: Breakfast out with DirtMan and Oldest at our favorite neighborhood pub.

Awareness: Watching the sun go down through a sheer curtain…the glimmering citrine gem drops through tree branches and swaying grasses changing its shape and size until it disappears into a cave of dark nothingness.

November 21

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Having a studio and tools Oldest needed to use for a project.

Joy: Salt water taffy! Phone call from my sister

Awareness: Most times I am stressed it is due to my own high expectations of myself…I need to lighten up and realize I really don’t have to do all the things I think I should.

November 22

Creativity: Stained glass, making desserts

Gratitude: I am thankful my mom is here for another birthday. She turned 83 today. I hope she sees many more birthdays.

Joy: Making dessert ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner, call from a good friend and talking to my SIL.

Awareness: Things don’t always turn out according to our plans, but faith in the powers that be makes it all ok.

November 23

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: early end to a light work day, early start to mountains, safe arrival

Joy: Dinner and smoothies on the road, early arrival to the mountains

Awareness: How comforted the soul is in silence.

November 24

Creativity: mind mapping

Gratitude: dinner with family, movie time with my mom and sister, hearing from Youngest though I was too sick to talk to him at that time, a warm blanket and a chaise lounger

Joy: a spunky, silly little dog who thinks she’s huge and a big, sweet dog who think she’s little

Awareness: Love can alternate in spits of chaos and spells of calm, and it’s usually personalities who determine which mode.

November 25

Creativity: Cooking

Gratitude: Fever gone, week long headache gone, spray and wash and a washing machine, Oldest driving me home as I do not feel comfortable driving at night

Joy: a brief visit with a school friend I hadn’t seen for maybe twenty years or more, another family gathering, lunch out with my mom, a surprise gift from my SIL, scarlet and mustard hues across a rusty mountain range

Awareness: Sometimes it’s better to allow people to speak their truth even when you see an opposing truth in the same situation; there are times in life people simply need validation.

November 26

Creativity: project planning

Gratitude: A hard working husband and son who cut and split wood (already fallen on the property) two days this weekend for my mom, forest fires near here are finally contained. One consumed over 11,000 acres and the other roughly 1600. My heart hurts for all the wildlife.

Joy: Watching tv movies with my mom most of the day, a visit with my sister, hot tea

Awareness: Lazy days usually occur in my life when I need them most.

November 27

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: heat from a wood stove, was able to help the hubby stack logs by driving the ATV which was pulling them

Joy: a cup of vanilla cappucinno, helping Oldest bottle wine, Stumbled upon a Christmas parade on a back country road.

Awareness: It’s easy to slip into a bitter mood when one is in pain…recognizing it and refocusing is crucial and possible when one sets intentions as such.

November 28

Creativity: Watching Youtube videos on stained glass

Gratitude: a chance to run to the grocery store to stock up the pantry, all the weekend laundry done, bumped into Oldest at the grocery store and he bagged and put the groceries in the car for me, text from Youngest, a neighbor picked up packages delivered to our house while we were out of town, two kindle books for a total of less than $5

Joy: Hot tea and Amazon Prime movies, a snuggly cat, answered prayers

Awareness: So often progress results with the loss of what was actually more beneficial.

November 29

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: neighbors, no broken bones, hoping it’s not a torn rotator cuff as it appears to dr to be sprains to the AC, clavicle, and chest…time will tell for sure (fell down my mom’s basement stairs, but only the last four,  over the weekend)

Joy: Ortho Urgent care rather than an ER (Only an hour as opposed to five or more and less expense)

Awareness: I’m not as young as I used to be. Payne vs. Pain; one is not as tough as the other.

November 30

Creativity:  Writing

Gratitude: life, friends and family especially a hubby to do the lifting

Joy: a good book, egg nog,

Awareness: Fence-line Hitchhikers: Golden braids of the silver leaf plants wave a thumbs up hoping to catch a ride with the wind. Perhaps they are unaware one must lift his feet from the ground to fly.

December 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Anti-inflammatory meds, ice packs, a good friend who is a physical therapist, a physical therapy department who is bending over backwards to get my evaluation moved up as soon as possible

Joy: Hubby cooked dinner, Hot herbal tea, hot bath with Epsom salt and essential oils, phone call with my sister, clients who are understanding of my need to be closed next week to help my healing

Awareness: Feeling weepy is totally out of character for me. I’m not weepy in a feel sorry for myself kind of way, but in waves that come out of nowhere and for no particular reason; wondering if this is the part of menopause that never hit or if this is some psychological reaction I can’t pin down due to my current physical condition. I do know I don’t like feeling this way and find it embarrassing. I wonder if it could be a reaction of the anti-inflammatory meds I’m taking.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-five

“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.” ~ Caroline Kennedy

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November 4

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Safe trip to the mountains

Joy: A bright sliver of a moon that seemed to follow us in the darkness.

Awareness: Stressors seem to dissipate as we slip out of the city and into a starlit night.

November 5

Creativity: Stacking wood…yep, there’s an art to it; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Gratitude: Things accomplished for my mom, time with her and my MIL, grateful for a relative who is a neighbor who checked my mother’s property. She had a prowler while we were visiting with my MIL.  It’s always good to know there is someone who can be there in less than two minutes if needed. Fabulous fall weather and colors in the mountains.

Joy: Spending the day with hubby and Oldest, message from my niece telling me how much she is enjoying her stained glass classes

Awareness: Never underestimate how much your presence can lift someone’s spirits.

November 6

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Hubby and Oldest got a few other things done for my mom and I had visiting time with her. Fabulous fall weather and colors in the mountains.

Joy: Talking to Youngest on the phone, a new book on my kindle…yay for reading time!

Awareness: In business you will come across people who will do anything to avoid working and then you will meet those who go the extra mile to make sure your needs are met.

November 7

Creativity: Research for a project

Gratitude: Headache is now gone! My aunt was able to fill in some blanks in a story where I couldn’t remember what my dad told me…write those stories down while you remember them!

Joy: A super happy cat that I am home! Went to book club to find out it’s next week, bwahaha. Well, it opened up my night for reading, so I’m happy!

Awareness: Judgments are often made from the outside looking in and are quite often inaccurate. Most of us know this as we have been on both sides, and yet we continue to do so.

November 8

Creativity: Studying stained glass, reading about writing

Gratitude: the right to vote, freedom

Joy:  a night to read and enjoy a glass of wine

Awareness: No matter which way the election goes, at least it’s over. It’s time to move on, repair relations, lead with love. Be the example you want to see.

November 9

Creativity: Stained glass, writing

Gratitude: a light workday, reading time, dinner, quiet evening at home, early bedtime,

Joy: hot shower, cup of hot tea, talking with a friend who makes me laugh

Awareness: When you focus on the moon you neglect to see the beauty and power of the stars and vice versa. Open your eyes and take in the celestial masterpiece. I must remember focusing on one thing prevents me from seeing the whole picture.

November 10

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: friends, family, people with character and class (a bit disappointed with those who’ve jumped to social media spreading vitriol, especially saddened to see this done by people who are self-proclaimed light workers)

Joy: People who spread the light

Awareness: Temper tantrums don’t change outcomes; positive actions better humanity and the world.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-four

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
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October 28

Creativity: Writing, reading about writing

Gratitude: Some quiet time alone at the end of the day, finding my way around a roadblock and a detour I didn’t want to use, ability to have prepared food delivered to my door

Joy: Communication in all its various forms…I love getting texts from friends or family that cracks me up or a phone call that lifts me just when I need it.

Awareness: Having faith in myself destroys obstacles and fills me with renewed inspiration.

October 29

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Getting in and out of the post office on a Saturday in a record time of five minutes! A sale at the glass store!

Joy: I purchased a glass saw today, and I am so excited. It will make some of the curves of the angels, fairies, and mermaids so much easier to cut. I can also cut various materials (metal, plastic, stone) using different blades. My son has given me a collection of soapstone so I can’t wait to get a mega blade and cut some shapes from them!

Awareness: Having faith in others lessens my concerns (which I shouldn’t allow myself in the first place) and also makes them feel good knowing they are supported.

October 30

Creativity: Stained glass, writing

Gratitude: a laid back day, learned how to work my Taurus 3 Ring Saw, slow cooked dinner so I could do other things.

Joy: Designed and completed another stained glass mermaid

Awareness: The more I study a craft the easier it is for me to alter processes to achieve the same goal or envision changes I’d like to see in the finished product and figure out how to achieve it….it’s all about practice. I am definitely a hands on learner.

October 31

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Watching the sun rise, filling the gaps between the tree branches with yellow, orange, and pink layers. First shipment of new daycare toys arrived today and the little ones were so excited! phone call from my brother

Joy: 129 adorable and polite little trick or treaters, what a delight!

Awareness: I appreciate people who share their expertise with others or take the time to mentor. Anyone who has been a recipient of this usually will take the time to do the same.

November 1

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: My sister had another post-op cancer check and received another glowing report; all numbers are good and still no sign of cancer…YAY! Of course, this is also a joy!

Joy: a gorgeous sunrise; a beautiful swirl of pink and blue.

Awareness: When people insist how other people should feel about a subject it clarifies the insecurities of the person imposing his views.

November 2

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Another pretty sunrise, getting some errands done after work and a homemade dinner made even though it was a bit later than usual. Though I was on the phone for over two hours I was finally able to get the price of my health insurance down…I took a higher deductible and less coverage and the price is still astronomical but it’s better than it was. (It’s really sad when health insurance for one person is as high as the mortgage, yet I realize I am one of the fortunate ones who is able to obtain insurance.)

Joy: a sweet phone video sent to me of a toddler telling me she loves me

Awareness: A small stress line can destroy a masterpiece; imagine what it can do to the physical body.

November 3

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Big hugs from little people, people with vision (as in goals) and passion, an abundance of scurrying squirrels in the yard today. A glimpse of a glorious sunset as I was driving.

Joy: My friend surprised me by showing up at my house with lunch for me! Someone called me an artist today! Vanilla cappuccino, DirtMan’s photography

Awareness: Thinking outside the box is often where solutions reside…I need to make it a habit to visit this place more often.

 

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-three

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ~Desmond Tutuimg_2707

October 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: extremely light work day, words,

Joy: wine tasting and sushi dinner with DirtMan, hilarious phone call with a friend

Awareness: I love being a “regular” at my local businesses.

October 22

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: cleaned closet, after errands and chores I had time to relax which was good because I was starting to feel crummy (The little kids have been sick for weeks, guess their germs have found their way to me, ugh!)

Joy: Shopping, time with Oldest in the am, phone call with Youngest in the pm

Awareness: There are people in this world who are in need, yet scammers run rampant. It’s important to use discernment. And when you’ve been “had” remember the good in the world far outweighs the bad.

October 23

Creativity: Writing, Stained glass, Cooking

Gratitude: A day at home with DirtMan to do absolutely what we want…it’s a pj kinda’ day here…still getting things done but leisurely. Cleaned out another closet.

Joy: Affectionate pets. Family. Homemade chicken noodle soup. Hot tea. Wine. Books. PJs. Talking with my friend.

Awareness: You never know what an impression you make on others. Remember there are always eyes on you so be the best “You” you can be.

October 24

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: home, a hard working husband,

Joy: Conversations with my sons…sometimes I still catch glimpse of the tots they used to be in these grown men; you know the saying the more things change the more they stay the same. The conversations between the two of them (while we are all on speaker phone) cracks me up.

Awareness: There is a time to think and a time to be.

October 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Hot water, electricity, Himalayan salt lamps, my Kindle Fire

Joy: Reading time, essential oils

Awareness: There are many books I enjoy reading a second time, and often it makes a bigger impact on me on the reread.

October 26

Creativity: Writing and reading about writing

Gratitude: Writing inspiration of an old project has resurfaced, reorganized my studio/office-this must be done each time I switch creativity modes. Chopped my hair off today and I like it; saved about $65 by doing it myself!

Joy: A home cooked dinner with DirtMan…has had a lot of crazy hours at the close of a project so it was delightful to eat dinner together at a decent hour. Had a problem with our heat system and the company we deal with no longer take calls in Virginia…DirtMan figured it out and ordered the part; extra bonus is the lovely weather we’re having here so we won’t need heat. Lovely memories of my high school friend who died way too young; her birthday was today.

Awareness: When I allow my mind to stray and enter the worry places (those places of which I have no control and usually not warranted to even visit) it totally throws me off center and takes great effort to find peace both physically and emotionally.

October 27

Creativity: Writing, baked homemade pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting that turned out well even though I tweaked the recipe!

Gratitude: One of the biggest lessons in adulting (and death to the myth we had as teenagers) is we are not always going to get our way…and many times we are quite happy about it. Shopping online; I love Amazon!

Joy: a yellow finch flying through the backyard; we don’t get as many of those as the other birds. Sitting on the backyard swing drinking a glass of wine and listening to the high school band a block away.

Awareness: We are each beautifully created. We should celebrate our distinctness and differences. We have much to learn from one another. We are each individual networks of cultural, religious, and familial beliefs entombed in varying intellectual and economic systems. These variances don’t make any of us right or wrong. I am extremely frustrated by a media who plays on this and creates divides rather than uniting.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-two

To be creative means to connect. It’s to abolish the gap between the body, the mind and the soul, between science and art, between fiction and nonfiction. ~Nawal El Saadawi

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October 14

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a few hours to myself to read

Joy: Cardinals in my back yard

Awareness: The things that annoy me probably say more about me than others; I need to work on this…changing me not others.

October 15

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Was able to finish hurricane clean up (except backyard), only problem is I blistered my hands and now can’t do any stained glass cutting for a few day…body is too tired and sore to do it today anyway, still managed to do my grocery shopping (after a hot shower), reading time

Joy: comfort of resting on the sofa with a hot cup of tea, interesting conversations with a few neighbors

Awareness: I often say my body can’t do what it used to do. However, it still can do most things, just slower and with consequences.

October 16

Creativity: Meal planning and prep for the week

Gratitude: Full of energy, friends we consider family

Joy: a night with family friends, love and laughter always win

Awareness: Following the lights wrapped around the limbs of the tall tree I walked into the backyard. The beauty of the sparkling tiny lights was surpassed only by the Hunter Moon filling the dark gaps between the tree branches.

October 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a light and cooperative workday, finished the book for book club, a good dinner thanks to my preplanning

Joy:  Glass of wine, a hot shower, and an early bedtime!

Awareness: This morning the Hunter Moon was still hanging around visiting with the sun!

October 18

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: The internet makes research so much easier than a trip to the library. Made a lovely vegetable stir fry for dinner.

Joy: Communicating with several cousins via FB. A phone call from a good friend and laughing over a euphemism, actually an acronym, she shared with me…always laughing when on the phone with her!

Awareness: There are times it life it calls for you to just kick back and be silly.

October 19

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: love, life, family, comfort, provisions, the end of the work day

Joy: Friends, writer’s group, candy corn M&Ms

Awareness: I tend to live in my own little bubble, and am surprised to hear the reality of some situations. There is not only the shock value of learning certain conditions exist in the world, but once you are aware the next thought is what can I do to make a difference…

October 20

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A better work day than yesterday, catching up with two friends

Joy: A few hours to myself, a glass of wine, my dog and my cat, phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in 25 years!

Awareness: Compassion builds bridges where judgment tears them down.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty-one

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The frailty of wearing thin awakens us to the strength and beauty within.

October 7

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Visiting with family

Joy: Seeing Wylie after being away from her all week!

Awareness: Though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our adventures, a week of wilderness hiking has worn me down…you can hear my knees and hips creaking a block away!

October 8

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Home

Joy: My own bed!

Awareness: Though disappointed when the weather cancels plans sometimes it works out for the better.

October 9

Creativity: Writing, Photography

Gratitude: Made it through last night’s storm with only a very short time of power outages, no damage from the flooding and only minor damages of fallen tree limbs.

Joy: We all made it home safely after being out and having to travel through flooded streets to get home.

Awareness: Though the storm was said not to be remnants of Hurricane Matthew, the wind and rain seemed stronger than Isabelle which kind of beat us up in 2003.

October 10

Creativity: Read a book about creativity

Gratitude: Got some of the debris (Limbs, sticks, pinecones, and leaves) picked up from the hurricane. Both of my nearby grocery stores were closed but B.J.s was open and running with generators so I was able to pick up a few needed supplies.

Joy: Oldest and his friend cooked lunch for me. Watched a movie during scheduled book club time as it was cancelled (my local Barnes and Noble is closed until further notice; I’m guessing they received damages from the Hurricane)

Awareness: A day balanced with work and pleasure is sometimes just what one needs.

October 11

Creativity: Read a book about creativity

Gratitude: First day back at work after vacation was a good one, some business issues resolved

Joy: Phone call with Youngest…his birthday is today. We celebrated while he was here a few weeks ago.

Awareness: Being a witness of words spoken with love and compassion is a beautiful moment.October 12

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Made dinner ahead of time, so only had to reheat later.

Joy: A surprise visit from some friends!

Awareness: No matter how much things change some things remain the same and usually it is due to someone being stuck in their ways; this can be positive or negative and is definitely something I’ll be thinking about…there are times watching/listening to other people makes me reflect on my own life.

October 13

Creativity: Designing, photography

Gratitude: My headache went away before bedtime, was able to throw together a decent dinner with the staples in my cabinets and freezer, yay me!

Joy: A little visit with a friend, started my book club book for the month

Awareness: My energy level and creativity ebb and flow accordingly.

Define and Design 2016, Week Forty

A wise man travels to discover himself. -James Russell Lowell

September 30

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: a relaxing night after a trying day, quiet time

Joy: Saw the most brilliant red cardinal at one of the backyard feeders, Dinner out with DirtMan and a funny phone call from my sister while we were out

Awareness: When I allow myself to get to the point of burn out I’m not fun to be around…need to remind myself not to reach this point again.

October 1

Creativity: Stained glass, finished both commissioned projects

Gratitude: Got our entire list of errands completed to go on our hiking vacation, found a really nice backpack on clearance at REI, and it not only fits better than my old one but it more suited to my needs.

Joy: Bumped into Oldest and friend at the brewery…funny story about this, another one of Oldest’s friends stopped by for a short visit, texting with a friend, lunch out with DirtMan

Awareness: There are some people who brighten our day whenever we see them.

October 2

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Got everything done that needed to be done before leaving home. Safely reached my mom’s to drop off Wylie for the week.

Joy: Phone call with Youngest and seeing Oldest before we embarked on our trip. A beautiful bright double rainbow before pulling out of town! Silliness with DirtMan on the road.

Awareness: Haste makes waste – you’d think I’d remember this by now! Again, rushed through something and had to redo it.

October 3

Creativity: Photography, writing

Gratitude: First day of vacation! Lots of hiking adventures planned. We checked out Lover’s Leap, Mabry Mill, Chateau Morrisette (lunch on the patio with the view of Meadows of Dan and wine tasting at the winery) Elk Garden, White Top

Joy: Cows, up close and personal!  We walked through a small portion of the AT which ran through a cow pasture. Enjoyed the view (a distance of 78 miles) and the sunset from White Top Mountain, the second highest mountain in Virginia…Amazing! (Overjoyed to reach the hotel!)

Awareness: Sitting outside in the dark wee hours of the morning listening to a crowing rooster. A train whistles in the distance while overhead heavy dew falls, thump, thump, thump, onto the tin roof.

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Mabry Mill

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Moo!

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Sunset from White Top Mountain

 

October 4

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: We made it to Devil’s Bathtub after a false start on the wrong trail. We creek scuttled because it would have been impossible to hack through the rhododendron thickets armed only with our bare teeth and a Swiss Army knife! At any rate, it was well worth it. We followed directions someone had posted which wasn’t correct, but quickly found the trail on our own. We hit Little Stoney Falls (Beautiful!) and then stumbled upon Bear Rock. We just pulled over and took a random trail, and boy, were we glad we did! It was an amazing vista of leaning rocks off the side of the mountain. I’m slightly afraid of heights, but it was stunning! We caught the sunset at Bark Lake.

Joy: A surprise of about 60 plus cairns built on the river at Devil’s Bathtub. I named it Children of the Cairns. Really sore muscles were delighted to reach a hot shower and a hotel bed!

Awareness: We were so tired we didn’t know how hungry we were until we started eating. Also too tired to be fazed when the waitress knocked my glass of wine over me; guess she was tired, too!

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Swimming hole at Devil’s Bathtub

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Devil’s Bathtub

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Some of the many cairns someone built

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A few more cairns

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Another fall and swimming hole at Devil’s Bathtub

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Little Stoney Falls

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Bear Rock

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Sunset at Bark Lake

October 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Hiked to the Channels, absolutely amazing! These are mountain outcrop with beautiful vistas from the top of the rocks. From the base you climb into slots (similar to canyons or perhaps caverns) and follow channels that have been formed through the years. Breathtaking, no words to describe!

Joy: We are still alive! The park we were headed to didn’t have a cabin available and couldn’t guarantee us a tent site so we stopped at Glade Creek Park to camp. The camp ground was empty. In fact, we were the only ones in the park. We were taking pictures of the moon over the river that night and the Park Rangers pulled up and asked us what we were doing. When we said taking photos they questioned it because it was dark, but were amazed when they saw DirtMan’s images. Anyway, they went on to tell us they’d had some problems there with “unsavory characters” doing some really bad things. Wonder what kind of “unsavory characters” we were temporarily mistaken for!

Awareness: Upon entering the vacant campground it instantly felt eerie. Not sure if it was because it was dark and empty or more because a river and railroad track ran along it. After the Rangers stopped I felt reassured since they patrol the area. However, no sleep as the trains ran all night long…when we didn’t hear the iron clanking of the tracks or the whistles blowing, two dogs barked and howled. Not much sleep!

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Set of outcrops on the mountain. We did not go around these or attempt to climb inside this set.

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An amazing view from on top.

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Slot which probably leads to channels

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One opening to the Channels we explored

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Inside one area of The Channels

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One channel leads to another

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and another

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and so on.

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Truly unique rock formations

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These channels surely tell a story of time.

October 6

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Babcock State Park, New River Gorge Bridge, Sandstone Falls

Joy: Made it from Hinton, WV to Lexington, VA shortly after 11 pm…dinner, a hot shower, and a hotel bed…never underestimate simple comforts.

Awareness: Witnessing amazing architecture constructed by nature and man is humbling.

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Babcock State Park

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New River Gorge Bridge

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Sandstone Falls

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Sandstone Falls, photo taken on the opposite side of the mountain from the first one.

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Sandstone Falls, zoom photo of one segment.