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 Fort-six

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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November 11

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: The first day of a three day weekend to leisurely do as I please, slept in a bit later than usual

Joy: Music, Dinner out with DirtMan

Awareness: While I like setting intentions for my day I prefer to allow a bit of flexibility, prevents stress and welcomes joy.

November 12

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: Enough free time and finances to explore the creative venues which interest me…maybe not enough to the extent I sometimes wish but definitely enough to fill my well.

Joy: Tried a new spa/salon and now have a great new hairdresser…love my haircut.

Awareness: There is a huge difference in accepting people as they are and accepting them because of who they are.

November 13

Creativity: Stained glass and writing

Gratitude: Finished two projects, a Neti pot

Joy: Did not complete the third project because I had a mishap…the joy is I know how to fix it! The rest of the Halloween candy is finally gone.

Awareness: No matter how well I manage my time I fall slightly short of all the things I attempt to cram in…perhaps it not time management but an attempt at overachievement.

November 14

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: enjoyable work day, time with the hubby,

Joy: Book club

Awareness: Things of this world will not always go the way in which we’d prefer but the fact we are not simply witnesses but participants is a wonderful thing. The greatest thing of all is if we are not satisfied we have the ability to be the change we’d like to see to move things in the direction we want.

November 15

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Creative inspiration, phone calls with my mom and sister and texting with my niece

Joy: Synchronicity, even if I don’t grasp the meaning I know it’s in there somewhere! Speaking of synchronicities or maybe this really isn’t but still is odd. I watch five children, three have the same birthday but three years in a row, a fourth is the day after , and the fifth is fifteen days prior to the middle age children.

Awareness: People demonstrate love in different ways. We see it in actions and hear it in words, but the best indicator of all is how we feel in the presence of another. Energy is everything.

November 16

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Home, family, creative inspiration (designed a stained glass panel and some suncatchers)

Joy: Looking at machine embroidery design and planning a quilt for my niece’s baby who’s due to arrive this spring, dinner with my family…realizing Thanksgiving is next week. Skipped my writer’s group so I could do some designing.

Awareness: There are times in my excitement I jump ahead of myself rather than taking small details into account…and often those small details make a big difference in the outcome. This is another lesson in looking at the whole picture rather than focusing on one aspect.

November 17

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Inspiration…it’s rolling! Figuring out a computer problem on my own, left overs because I feel kind of crummy and don’t want to cook dinner, hot bath and hot tea, pencils, erasers, sketch pad

Joy: Vanilla eggnog (unspiked), some new designs I can hardly wait to make, stained glass online groups who share their expertise

Awareness: I think the saying “Put your money where your mouth is” is outdated. I’d much rather people be silent and put their hands to work. Action is how we get things done; I’m talking about being the change you want to see…not just donating money to your cause (though that’s great) but getting out there and volunteering your time at the food bank, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, animal shelters, mentoring children, teaching people to read, reading to the elderly or children, visiting the sick, spending time with the elderly, prison ministry, clean the bay, volunteer at the hospital, help maintain nature trails…this is just the tip of the iceberg. I used to do a lot of volunteer work when my children were young, and they participated. In the last few years I’ve resorted to giving money but not so much of my time. I realize I’ve been slacking, and it’s time for me to step back into action.

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

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.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-seven

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Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.  ~Yo-Yo Ma

September 9

Creativity: Stained glass design (an angel, a fairy, and a mermaid)

Gratitude: Started rereading Julia Cameron’s “Walking in This World, The Practical Art of Creativity”. I hadn’t thought about this in years and wasn’t even sure if I still had it as I’d unloaded all of The Artist Way books on a friend. Sure enough, it was on my shelf. Take out sushi. Erasers.

Joy: Phone call from my goddaughter. A short surprise visit from a friend. I am delighted this is not a travel weekend for us because my body told me it really needs to rest. Chamomile tea and hot bath with chamomile essential oil.

Awareness: Though I’ve been in a productive stage of creativity, my energy is still scattered. Noises have really had me on edge for the past few days…zooming planes practicing for air show, nearby drums of the high school band, vibration of the AC, shrieking screams and whines…things I don’t usually pay much attention to while inside have me feeling dizzy, my neck tense, headache, and slightly shaking. Not sure if I’m getting sick or if I’m sensitive to the Mercury Retrograde. I just know that for a few weeks I have felt off though some days have been fairly normal.

September 10

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: A trip to my favorite glass store, and they had exactly what I needed. Added bonus is I left my list at home, and I still remembered everything.

Joy: phone call from my goddaughter. After running errands I spent the rest of the day in my studio.

Awareness: So, do you think the universe is trying to tell you something if it throws you together with two complete strangers and in six weeks you find yourself at the same place three times? We remembered one another because we struck up a conversation. Originally, I met them in the glass section of a local hobby store. In conversation we realized we had taken glass classes at the same shop but at different times. A few weeks later when I went to the glass shop they came in while I was there, and we laughed because we’d met up shopping for glass just a few weeks prior. While I was shopping for glass this time I heard someone say, “No way, it can’t be her.” We got a good laugh, and when I left I told them I guess I’d see them next time I need glass. It is ironic we have a lot in common other than glass, and they happen to have the same retirement plans as DirtMan and I have…opening up some sort of creativity studio! And none of us want to retire where we currently live.

September 11

Creativity: Writing, stained glass

Gratitude: Spent the entire day absorbed in creative endeavors. Even got in a little reading time.

Joy: Getting my studio back in order after having everything out of place while working/playing. A hot bath, cup of hot tea, sandalwood candle…a quiet evening.

Awareness: There are times I set unrealistic goals for myself. Rather than beating myself up for what I don’t accomplish I am going to start being appreciative of the objectives I achieved.

September 12

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Time to browse through the bookstore, and talk with a few people before the book club started.

Joy: Book club, always great discussion and laughter, stumbled upon an excellent book and purchased “Wild Creative” by Tami Lynn Kent.

Awareness: What we need always find its way to us, especially things we don’t know we need.

September 13

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: DirtMan always supports my creative meanderings.

Joy: Surprise breakfast with DirtMan, phone call from Youngest

Awareness: I’ve always considered my husband to be analytical while I am more of an artsy or free spirited soul, even though he has the heart of a poet and is creatively dabbling in photography and woodwork. I’d never before though his engineering career to be creative…what was I thinking? He builds highways and bridges, of course he’s creative. I guess I considered my first career (hairdressing) to be creative because it had flair…point is engineering and hairdressing, start with a set of plans and you build from there. I realize that was sort of a ramble, but the realization we both have creative careers and hobbies has been on my mind today.

September 14

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: Sitting on the back yard swing as night tiptoes across my yard. Frogs and cicadas blend in the darkness but their songs are an invitation to play hide and seek. A lifelong friendship.

Joy: A lovely sunset while eating dinner with DirtMan at a neighborhood pub.

Awareness: Those who are demanding often push others away rather than pull them in…I can only be pushed so far before my energy resources are depleted.

September 15

Creativity: Stained glass

Gratitude: I am eternally grateful for the prolific creative phase I am experiencing. My stained glass designing and creating has been on an unbelievable roll this week. I’ve created fourteen designs, and am in various stages of creating these pieces. Most of these even fit into a feminine theme. I’ve focused mainly on angels, fairies, and mermaids, and used inspiration from my feminine ancestry and women who inspire me. Most surprising to me is I haven’t had any desire to write, only to create with glass. I can honestly say when I started this “Define and Design” theme this year I had no idea this would be the direction I’d be headed. Life is full of surprises!

Joy: Able to steal a few minutes tonight with my husband. His job has been taking a lot of his time these days as they are winding down on a huge project…been working nights (and parts of days, extremely long hours at times) for a month now…and so much to look forward to – one week and Youngest will arrive for family wedding…another week and vacation, yay!

Awareness: I am sitting outside. The air is a bit chilly, cool drips of moisture settling on my arms. Robins bomb dive from the tall pines across my yard. I haven’t seen this many Robins since early spring. Fall is in the air. I witness death around me: dead heads on the coneflowers and black-eyed Susan, Sedums lifting a final wig to this year’s fashion show, pines are shedding their needles, the huge Oak is dropping leaves of varying degrees of change…and yet this excites me because autumn is my favorite time of year.

Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty-five

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.  ~John Muir

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August 26

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Words. Weekend trip with DirtMan…able to avoid Lockn’ traffic on route to mountains

Joy: The workweek is over and the weekend is on!  Listening to some old time rock and roll on our road trip, got ice cream at a gas station, unexpected rain shower

Awareness: Traveling into a rain shower and you can actually see it clear on both sides…only where you are momentarily is being watered; life is life that. I’m not talking about the poured on soaking rain (though that happens as well) but the nourishing soul watering; not everyone gets it at the same time.

August 27

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Time with family, Orchard peaches and apples, homegrown tomatoes, fresh air, a pink cap the hubby bought me, a beer at the hometown brewery. Sharing a profound poem I came across with DirtMan and how the words touched each of us.

Joy: DirtMan and I were exploring country roads and stumbled upon quite a gem, Staton Falls. This gave us not only a photo op but a bit of a hike as well. Cloud watching with the hubby while we were at the brewery. Friendliness of people in the country, waves everywhere and easy conversation.

Awareness: Sitting at the base between upper and lower falls, watching the many butterflies feast on giant milkweed and the water flowing and splattering onto the rocks. Listening to the combined songs of the upper and lower falls. I know I am in the midst of a Holy place. ..a tiny stream carved its way through the mountain; water shaped the mountain. Can you even imagine the power it that? If God has given a trickle of a stream that power, can you even imagine the magnitude of what he has equipped humans. We can change the world in wonderful ways…we are changing the world. We may never know the impact of our presence; our very presence is a present to the world.

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August 28

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: a short hike to the family cemetery with my sister and Wylie (the dog is always up for a walk outside)

Joy: porch sitting with my mom and sister on a beautiful day filled with sunshine, breezes, birds, and a few lizards, spotting a cardinal flower by the creek, lightening bugs

Awareness: A day of nothingness is good for the soul…also good for the mind for when it empties it fills again but with fresh ideas.

August 29

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: My body, mind, and spirit: Though I might complain at times I am truly grateful my physical capabilities, my mind’s perception, and the essence is which I carry out the daily tasks required of me. I am blessed. Happiness.

Joy: Phone call from my sister. A glass of wine

Awareness: Sometimes judgment clouds my vision and I have to step back, clear my mind and heart, and start over; mainly, there are times I need not think. All I need to do is be.

August 30

Creativity: Prepping for kids art projects

Gratitude: the cold smoothness of a polished stone (red jasper is my pick today)

Joy: Phone calls with my children

Awareness: Sometimes people are so concerned with what others are doing they begin to stunt their own growth.  My mantra today, “Be considerate of your fellow travelers but focus on your own journey.”

August 31

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Kid’s naptime, a pair of cardinals flying past my window this morning

Joy: Opening my email to find an inspiration I need to hear. An added bonus was sharing it and having someone tell me it was exactly what they needed this morning.

Awareness: Every once in a while there is a day of stress that only a hot bath with essential oils and cup of herbal tea can heal.

September 1

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A message from someone thanking me for something I did for her a few years ago. Some books I purchased on my Kindle a while ago came back into focus. I never got around to reading them…today I almost purchased one of them; glad Kindle lets you know when you’ve already purchased something!

Joy: Synchronicity at play!

Awareness: Surrendering to Spirit is peace to the soul. Simple moments are often the greatest blessings in life.

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Define and Design 2016, Week Thirty

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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-eight

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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

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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-five

sunset at Chippokes

June 17

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: family

Joy: love, moonroof, stars in the sky

Awareness: My body gently hugs the curves with the car. My lungs fill with mountain air as it gently caresses my face through the moonroof. I lose myself into a night lit with moon and stars. My soul is home.

June 18

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: watching the power of ice cream in action

Joy: rolling hills of green, hometown brewery and friends, contrails in an azure sky that connect puffy clouds, abundance of orange daylilies along the roadside, deer that stood and watched us, wildflowers (Queen Anne’s lace and daisies), Yucca blooms

Awareness: I take a stroll and see nature’s medicine all around me. Of course there is the zen of walking in nature, but I’m referring to the myriad of holistic plants which the average person can’t identify nor would know of their benefits. Some things we carry with in heads or hearts, and sometimes in our souls

June 19

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: country roads, country diners, country stores, country air…see a theme here? And not seeing any snakes while out and about

Joy: A stop at Chippokes State Park  on route from the mountains: the swirling pinks and yellows of sunset over the river, fossils, heart shaped rocks, feathers, the scent of campfire at dusk, sloshing of the river against the shoreline, the tinkle of shells and rocks, sparkle of lightening bugs, a chorus of frogs, cypress knees, glow of the full moon

Awareness: Brown eggs and frogs kept popping up on our radar today…then as we were riding a tree frog fell onto our windshield and hung on a couple of minutes before the air brisked him off. Not sure what the universe was telling us through brown eggs and frogs; any idea?

June 20

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: a light day, watering flowers and finding they survived a hot weekend without rain

Joy: early morning sunlight dappling across the backyard pines, phone calls from Youngest and two long-time friends, organic honey from an apiary back home

Awareness: Certain music soothes my soul and settles in my bones. If I name the music era it will date me, ha!

June 21

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: an early bedtime

Joy: I heard the owl again last night! Sounds like he is in the tree by my bedroom. Texts from Youngest and Oldest

Awareness: I was particularly grateful for a text Oldest sent me regarding an herbal tea. I mentioned it to someone and they laughed and asked why he sent it. The reasons I thought were because I love herbal tea, am interested in holistic nutrition/remedies and the history of it not to mention the benefits of said tea. Then my friend mentioned “didn’t it state it was a weight loss secret?” Now, I wonder if the joke was on me; funny, that never occurred to me! He actually sent it because we have Mulberry trees on the family property and he wants to make some mulberry tea…see, all I had to do was ask what he thought about it.

Angel Fairy

Many of you have asked I share a few of my stained glass pieces. This is the first fairy I designed and made…ok, she really looks more like an angel.

Fairy

This is the second fairy I designed. I tried to make her a bit more playful; a fairy with an attitude!

June 22

Creativity: Writing, photography, stained glass design

Gratitude: The rhythm of early morning: drinking my coffee watching the sun peek through the trees and listening to birdsong and wind chimes…got grocery shopping out of the way, yay me!

Joy: An adorable text message from my niece. I opened my email to find I had an Amazon Kindle credit (some kind of Apple settlement that is shared with all users)…so, I immediately ordered a Kindle book!

Awareness: Brown wing feathers curl, fan, and toss dust about its body. Red feathers follow the drab feathers of his mate. White and black feathers chase away the black and grey feathers landing on the feeder. Feathers flutter in flight…I find it ironic how bird watching grounds me.

June 23

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Conversations with Oldest and Youngest, sharing their plans and enjoyment of career paths and willingness to put in the work to get where they want to be

Joy: Backyard swing time listening to the many bird calls and watching wings and tail feathers of various colors dart through the air, into the trees, upon the fence, on the flowers…

Awareness: There is a time to give and a time to receive…like all in life a balance must be achieved.