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-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 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-six

“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.” ~Osho

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September 2

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Got hurricane preparation completed, grabbed a quick dinner with DirtMan

Joy: DirtMan bought some pumpkin beer for me…I haven’t had any yet, but it’s the thought that counts, especially since he doesn’t even like it but knows it’s my thing! A letter from my mom with a picture of her father as a little boy. Texts and phone calls with family. Have been wanting a deep red (wine/ruby) colored purse and shoes; upcoming family wedding is an excuse to buy them, so I found what I like and purchased…sometimes it feels good to treat yourself. Ticket purchased for Youngest to visit at the end of the month.

Awareness: Siting on the porch swing…a cool breeze whipping through the air and against my skin, birds are active at all the feeders, the rustle of leaves and wings; all pure joy to my soul. (Not exactly stillness, but still the calm before the storm.)

September 3

Creativity: Writing, reading about writing, designed a sewing project and a mosaic one

Gratitude: Electricity outage early in the morning. DirtMan suggested we go out to get coffee and donuts and see if he could pinpoint where the electricity was downed. And then I discovered Chick Fil A had electricity and was open so I suggested we stop there as well. We ended up well fed for sure! Lots of time for reading, and movies after the power returned.

Joy: Funny texts with a friend during the Hurricane/tropical depression…thought I was going to delete my battery power before the current returned. Only out of electricity for slightly over seven hours.

Awareness: Build your brand. Reinvent yourself. These terms don’t mesh with “Be authentic” unless the reinvention of yourself or your business is the real you. Of course, we change and reshape constantly until we are sometimes no longer the person we once were. This kind of change doesn’t require a “reinvention” of self and “branding” generally refers to careers. This kind of change is gradual, a living and learning experience of “being”.

September 4

Creativity: Writing, stained glass (foiling)

Gratitude: After a slow start to my day due to back pain, my back improved enough to accomplish some yard clean up; always a mess after a big storm.

Joy: Sandalwood candle, a pumpkin beer, family

Awareness: There are times I put off difficult tasks to only find they’re not nearly as difficult as I’d imagined.

September 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Today was Dirtman and my 34th wedding anniversary…sometimes he might roll his eyes at some of the things I come up with but he lets me be ME, and that is a gift.

Joy: DirtMan and I started our day off at our favorite neighborhood pub for brunch. Then we headed off to the Eastern Shore. We brought essentials: cameras, water, wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit for a little daytime fiesta. We hiked a wildlife reserve which is ideal for bird watchers. We heard many familiar calls and some not so familiar, and a few sightings. We explored a bit more of the Eastern Shore and ended up at Mallards for dinner. We dined outside by the water and viewed a spectacular sunset and were provided live music for entertainment. It was a beautiful day all the way around.

Awareness: Everyday Everybody Matters (graffiti seen on building on Eastern Shore) Powerful words to contemplate on…in other words be kind to everyone.

September 6

Creativity: Writing, Painting, Stained glass (soldering)

Gratitude: Not having to leave my house all day! Made a phone call after I didn’t get a response to two emails on an Otterbox warranty. My customer service representative was excessively happy and helpful…don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an enthusiastic service person…I even felt guilty for steering her back to my problem a few times. Perhaps she just needed to talk about life in general, so I allowed it after I got my problem attended. Or perhaps the people in Colorado are just super nice!

Joy: Completed the glass projects of my Dancing Fairy and 57 Chevy stained glass designs!

Awareness: It’s a small world…finding mutual connections with people you’ve known for many years. Funny how things suddenly come up in conversations and it’s like someone has opened the window and a gush of fresh air enters.

September 7

Creativity: Writing, painting, Stained glass design (three mermaids)

Gratitude: A visit, though brief, with a longtime friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Joy: I sold some stained glass pieces and received several more orders. My ruby purse and shoes arrived…I absolutely love them, makes me think of my goddaughter as she loves “ruby slippers”.

Awareness: I find my creative focus shifting more and more from writing and sewing to stained glass. I’m thinking I’m better off not trying to fit myself into a mold but to allow my spirit to mold me  and reshape me as I find my own places of purpose and pleasure.

September 8

Creativity: Writing, painting, Stained glass design

Gratitude: When small children exhibit compassion. I had a headache today and was resting on the sofa. A little girl (two and a half) brought her favorite blanket over and tucked it around my neck, rested her beloved stuffed giraffe on my chest, and leaned over and kissed my cheek. Just melts your heart, doesn’t it?

Joy: A quiet house, a cup of herbal tea, a hot bath with essential oils, a bowl of caramel ice cream

Awareness: Intuition is an innate gift many of us shed due to ego or societal pressures.

 

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-two

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

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

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

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

August 5

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

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

Joy: Mountain weekend!

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

August 6

Creativity: Writing, Photography

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

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

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

August 7

Creativity: Photography

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

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

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

August 8

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: purchased a day planner I like a lot

Joy: Book Club, great discussion!

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

August 9

Creativity: Writing

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

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

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

August 10

Creativity: Stained glass design, photography

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

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

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

August 11

Creativity: Stained glass design

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

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

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

Define and Design 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.