Friday, December 28, 2012

Patina

I've had this quilt since the first year we moved into this house (circa 2001). I loved the brilliant red and white and thought it would make the perfect winter covering for the bed. I enjoyed it so much I left it on for part of the summer. When I went to remove it one day I detected a discernable fade had occurred. It made me sad. I folded it up and put it away in the bottom of the closet. That’s been 11 years ago. Much has changed. I have changed. I’m far less a perfectionist. I now prefer that most of the items I seek, purchase or house have a “used and worn” look, with the exception of my car, computer and phone. Having three children under this room has likely paved the way for this to happen; try as I might, not much stays in good condition. Our windows, on any given day, have circles where the nerf darts hit their mark. The floors are a mix of dust and paw prints. The ceiling has various smudges due to children bouncing on the bed or jumping off the counter to show me how tall they are. I still prefer order, organization and tidiness though those standards slip often. I’m happy when I can see the color of the counter and the kitchen desk is clear. Oh it’ll fill up again, but that is always the goal, to have the countertops cleared off. November and December went so fast this year. Instead of the usual abundance of Christmas d├ęcor, I only drug out the tree ornaments and ribbon. The stocking were hung only a few days before the 24th. I also put two velvet pillows, one read and one green on the bed. And for some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I drug out the red and white quilt. It made me smile to see it, to notice the wear and the fade. Instead of feeling sad, I felt nostalgic. The white had faded to a cream color and the reds were now various shades. My “bed jumper” exclaimed, “Wow! Mom! You got a new blanket” and commenced to jump and bounce. “Not new,” said I. “It’s been here awhile.” She’d never seen it. I’d forgotten about it completely. Unlike the tree and decorations that were tucked back into trunks the day after Christmas, the quilt gets to stay. It’ll stay on through February and then retire in March. I see myself in this quilt. I look back and see how far I’ve come. My memories are most likely faded as well, perhaps not as sharp as they were a few years back, only picking up bits and pieces. Sometimes I can’t even remember what I did last month, let alone 5 years ago. I have come to accept the flaws in my own life's quilt, the scars, the tears, the many imperfections. These aspects are what give my life the "patina". I’m more comfortable with who I am and where I’m headed. I have a better idea of what I’m about, though I don’t feel that I have even hit my stride yet. I'm certainly "softer" than I used to be, and like this quilt I have shiny spots and those that are faded. Spending time in the sun does that to us and yet that type of light is what I crave! So here's to the well-worn look, faded and authentic, honoring one's patina and learning to shine though. Finding appreciation in people, situations and items that are less than perfect but oh so loved. Thanks for the insight 2012, it will be put to good use!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Feathers n Such

One of my all-time favorite decorating objects are feathers. I love them! Two good friends, Joe and Justin, keep me in steady supply. I have all kinds of craft ideas to try out but mostly I just like to scatter them about. I've had these in a glass cylinder on the coffee table but I just added blue and silver orbs so the feathers found a new home.

I didn't decorate much this year. I barely got the stockings up. I think the theme of simplicity may be settling in. I have some ideas around this. More soon. Steaks are on and supper is ready!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pausing At Solstice

Hi Friends,

I've gotten quite a number of blop posts stored in the old computer that have never made it to the posting page. I've spent the better part of the past few months keeping up with my family. The boys are both into basketball and their schedules no longer coordinate as nicely as they once did. Pake is a student manager and travels with the high school team. Parker plays with the Curtis team since there aren't enough boys from Maywood to make a team.

I'm going burning through the house to bring some type of order. It is a known fact that I think and feel better when my "nest" is neat. It is an ingrained trait and try as I may to ignore the chaos, I simply cannot. I'll "power clean" the upstairs and downstairs today and then retreat to my very full craftroom to put the finishing touches on packages. We've got a few more gifts to secure and then we'll begin the holiday preparations.

I do love this time of year though it takes some focus to really get me into the Christmas mood. I've felt like our lives are moving at mock speed and to me, this is not enjoyable. Not at all. I prefer a slower, quiet rhythm and that is not what my days have felt like. I like to savor moments within the season and really soak up the vibrations of this time of year. I'll be doing that this evening and tomorrow. Just soaking and basking in the goodness that is here.

Winter solstice is one of my favorite wheels of the year. I love them all but there's something magical about this time. I've always felt that way though I am a sworn lover of summer, sun and water. This is my one deviation. I'll light a simple candle, sit by the sparkling tree and tune in to the rhythms present. There is depth, stillness and presence here, all are elements I am thirsty for right now.

I'll be dreaming, creating and planning a new path for the coming year. My time  in the fire station has been enlightening, to say the least! I've seen things from an entirely different perspective and I'll be using that insight in the action plan I'll write up and follow in 2013. I can feel my "wings" expanding and my gypsy vibrations being activated. I'll be shaking out the backpack and prepare it as my second home. I've completed my time in the homey two earth location and now...it's time to move, explore, discover and make tracks.  I'm feeling a deep calling to spend more time with writing and art, avenues I've been missing. Good, good things on the horizon and now, time to go deep, ground and anchor so that when the wind is right.....I'll be ready to fly.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Okay...Maybe she gets it from me?

Hi Friends,

I have a rare moment for a quick blog post. As usual I'm in the midst of what feels like a personal marathon (I just don't seem to be dropping jean sizes )

I have been bustling about today, dragging three kids along (they loved it.) Tonight I decided that it is time to bring some organization  to my art supply collection. I've been accumulating for awhile now and was quite shocked to find that ALL that I now have doesn't not fit into one bag. Not even two bags. I had to do some brainstorming and get really cre8tive, coming up with a solution to house all of my supplies in one spot. If this were the case then I could easily haul my "entertainment" anywhere and I could work at the dining room table (most convenient) or my studio (most spacious). After browsing the local antique store and finding nothing, I came home and looked around the place. BINGO! I knew I bought this vintage Samsonite for a reason. Eight years later, I know why!

I wanted to add that I probably shouldn't tease my daughter anymore about being a hoarder.......I may know where those tendencies arise. All I can say is at least I have a theme! At least my "collections" (sort of )match. You won't find last year's blown up fire crackers in that suitcase! Nor will you find random keys or old cell phones, bags of chips, basketball shirts, or knives (her current favorite thing to sneak away.) Don't worry, she won't use the knives she just likes to hide them from her brothers!

So what is your favorite organizational piece? What do you use to bring your collections under control? Please share in share in the comment section below. My Clutter  Free Living class is coming up soon, I'm always on the lookout for cre8tive solutions!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's Up




Greetings Friends,

I hope this coming fall alignment finds you ready to cozy down and relax a bit. That's the ideal aspect for me, though one look at the calendar indicates otherwise. I am taking daily steps, actions, intentions and clarification to create that much needed "downtime" whenever and sometimes wherever I can get it. Sometimes I can get away with planning a mini-retreat and sometimes I have to just scrap the plan altogether and be spontaneous (which certainly creates surprise and joy when I take advantages of these opportunities!)

One of the ways that I create "reminders" to stay connected to my creativity and passion is to display visual reminders of those ideas, aspects and items that bring me joy. I found this ADORABLE little suitcase in one of my travels this summer. It's old and fragile and PERFECT for displaying my art supplies. I truly love and almost walked away from it.

You know how you see something and you know, you JUST KNOW, that's what you've been looking for, even if you hadn't realized you were looking for it. This was the situation I encountered. I saw the "find" in a secluded corner of an eclectic store in Colorado. I knew I wanted it but I didn't know what I'd use it for. Usually I identify the "use" and then look for a supportive item. After spending May and the entire month of June, de-cluttering my space, I was pretty adamant about not bringing in anything that didn't have a preordained purpose. (Still having a hard time saying no to skirts, bags and vintage looking shoes!)

I hemmed and I hawd and wondered and scanned my brain. The only think I could come up with was that I would be sad if I didn't adopt this sweet suitcase so I turned around, walked back to the store and claimed my prize. It was probably over-priced but I didn't care. It felt right and I loved it.

It wasn't until a week or so later that I realized this was to be my "art icon" a daily reminder that would slow me down long enough to pause, smile, and play. I have several sketch pads of various sizes, markers, water colors and pens so that with only a "download" of an inspiration I can go to this spot and get it on paper. I've put in my most favorite books/magazines, Kinfolk in it. I adore the pictures and stories, they are soul-feeding and spirit-affirming. When I need a boost of any kind, this is where I head to!


This becomes my anchor in times when I get really busy too. With football games, junior high rodeos, homework, on-going projects, housekeeping, animals, chores and the myriad of other "responsibilities" I need an active arsenal of spirit-lifting activities or mini-retreats/solace finding options. I've dedicated this fall to self-exploration, discovery and re-crafting my path and purpose. I know where I am right now and I am also gathering ideas and inspirations for what I want to be "up to" next. In addition to taking a Leadership class I'm also involved in two other extraordinary experiences: intuitive painting with Flora Bowley http://braveintuitiveyou.com/e-course/ and connecting with my life path/purpose as well as AMAZING SoulSisters here http://sweetsalt.squarespace.com/soulstorm/ As yet, the journey is quite new and very fresh so both you and I may be surprised at what emerges!

In addition, I'm excited to offer a BRAND NEW course through MPCC!!!! I'll be presenting Exploration through Art Journals on October 1st at 6 pm at the college. I'm SUPER pumped for this one as I've been working within this area since last spring. This is a GREAT opportunity to play, explore, craft, really connect to your inner creative inspirations, ideas and rhythms. The class is geared for anyone 13 and up. Please consider joining us and do bring your paints, pencils, crayons, markers and even pictures. I'll be packing my vintage suitcase full of supplies, journals, resources, examples and other of creative offerings for you to explore.

I'm also offering Clutter Free Living, October 8th and Healthy Habits on October 29th. All classes are at 6 pm at Mid-Plains Community College. Please email, or FB message me with questions!

This is what I've been up to...how about you, what are you up to? What are you into? What themes, titles and experiences are really catching your eyes and bringing you joy and inspiration these days? I'd love to hear and please leave a comment in the space below.

And I'll do my best to be a bit more regular on here. I have SO MUCH to share :)





Thursday, August 2, 2012

And We're Off!

The direction is west. Kids are fed, dog is napping, books and art journals and books are packed, sun is shining. It's a good day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eye Candy....



Seriously. This. Turns. Me. On.

These COLORS ignite my creative passion. Thanks to the Pages and Paint class, I've becoming more aware of the colors around me, and especially what resonates. I've never been a "pink" sort of girl but I love the muted tones of my "flamingo" tea cup. I've also not been a huge fan of yellow but that too is ch ch ch changing.

Our world is full of amazing color combinations. I was up at dawn this morning and hiked to the top of the hill. I often forget how beautiful this view is. Though we are in a very dry cycle, there is still plenty of green to be seen. A light spray of humidity rose above the canyon and not a trace of a breeze was present. It was just me, the three dogs and the sounds of a bob white. It was serene. I spied flaming reds and gorgeous orange hues from some bushes along the canyon rim and I also noticed a few turning leaves, which make me want to savor, collect and hold all these summer colors. I'm going out later today, armed with a camera and sketchbook. I'm going to do my best to make summer last as long as it can.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Something New




I'm in the second week of Sarah Ahearn Bellamare's Pages and Paint class and am learning so much about myself as an artist and a person. I'm joined my many crafty, talented women from all walks of life, nationally and internationally. It's so FUN to see how "art" comes through one's being, easily, effortlessly and joyously. I am loving the way everyone's style is unique and different and yet all tied through the common bond of creating! Two other common threads that the majority of us share are 1. not enough time and 2. fear of failure.

I may be talking about both of these in future blog posts. I've certainly battled such "mind blocks" myself. Time is something we all want/need more of it. The world does seem to be moving at an accelerated clip for sure. The pace has forced me to prioritize and get focused (some days are easier than others). I DO make time for art/creating EVERY DAY. I could almost call this an addiction but hey, I brush my teeth every day and I don't consider THAT an addiction! Even if I only have 10 or 15 minute blocks here and there, I do something creative, something that moves the ideas within my being to the outside world, even if I'm the only one that ever sees them!

Pictured above is something new that I've learned. I jumped the gun a little in preparation for a coming assignment but it was SO COOl to create that I wanted to share it! This is an image transfer and it will be used in my sketchbooks and paintings. I'm super excited that it turned out too, only a few FLOPS before I got it right. I'm sort of "that kind of learner" usually the first attempts are disasterous and then I get better as I roll along. I have all kinds of ideas for how I'll be using these and some of you lucky readers/friends may very well end up with these in the form of x-mas cards and gifts..oh yeah baby!!!!

Fear of not being good enough is also something many of us are working through right now. It is definitely intimidating to see such amazing, artistic work coming through this group. I'll confess, I had pangs of doubt and fell back into the "comparision trap" but I didn't stay there long. These ladies are also on a journey, they are just not on MY journey. I'm taking this class so that I can have the understanding, support, guidance and inspiration to dive more deeply into my creative rhythms. I'm not doing this as a career I'm doing simply because it is FUN and it FEELS REALLY GOOD to be working with my eyes, hands, heart, colors and creative rhythms.

I don't fully yet know who I am as an artist. I am observing some particular "styles" colors and image that really seem to be prevalent. Did you notice I have a thing for dirt roads and trees? Yeah, me too! <3


What is it that you make time for each day? What do you love to do SO much that you DO make time for it, even when there's no time to spare? Please share comments below, on fb or email me ;) I ALWAYS love to hear from you!

Happy Weekend!

Monday, July 16, 2012

@ 40


This is a birthday that I've had some mixed feelings about though what I've come up with is that it is just a number....

When asked a couple of weeks ago what I wanted to do for my birthday, I looked at Chad and said..."nothing!" And I meant it! We've had a crazy, full, busy schedule and I didn't see a way that we were going to fit in a birthday celebration on top of it all. However, I have a GREAT friend who wasn't about to listen to any of that!!! Ann and her hubby Bob showed up at the boys' baseball game and completely SHOCKED me (YES! you two got me GOOD!) From the sounds of it, Chad and Ann had been compiling plans for several weeks and with our ever-shifting and extremely full schedule there was not great time so they MADE it happen anyway! We enjoyed ordered mouth-watering ribs, brisket, salad, delicious beverages and hilarious conversation on the deck. Later we took in a colorful campfire, more laughs and created some "original" campfire songs! (Pretty sure these will NEVER be released!) The stealthy, creative planning paid off~ It was a most delightful, memorable surprise party! I am blessed with wonderful friends and family. To me, this is the greatest gift anyone can ever receive.

I had sort of dreaded turning 40 but now that it's here, it feels like the "pressure" is off. I can honestly say am comfortable with this age (no matter what those cards say! And yes, my "ass" really is that old!) As I watched this gorgeous sunset on the eve of "39", I realized that I am not nearly as concerned with making others happy as I am with making choices in right alignment with my truth. That may sound selfish but a wise woman once told me, there's no way to argue with TRUTH. If you are doing what is right for you, everything else falls in line. Being responsible AND caring for yourself means that you'll make choices based on your heart, not your head.

I wouldn't want to go back to the insecurities and indecisiveness I sported throughout my 20's. My 30's were very special to me, for this is when I really took up the quest of self-discovery. I am more confident in my skin and less worried how I appear to those outside of it. I'd rather tone, build and strengthen my creative skills and talents than workout, but hopefully I'll get motivated there too! (I would LOVE to be a morning person and enjoy consistent, focused exercise but right now, neither of those appeal to me at all!) I love fiercely, move boldly and know that I really have no frickin' idea what's coming next! I've stopped wondering and started enjoying, no matter where I'm at, no matter who I'm with.

I'm at an age where I can see clearly where I've been and I can also look down the road and have a sense of where I want to go. I know who I am, what I'm about and I have a few clues as to why I'm here! All the searching I did during previous decades has formed a wonderful platform of insight, awareness and deep appreciation. Through it all I hold my family and friends as the most important treasures in my life. I feel that I have been wonderfully blessed in this department. Love is reflected back to my in a myriad of ways and the more I allow, the more I receive.

I have some plans, ideas and goals for this decade. I have set my intentions and am coming into what feels like a grace-filled presence of mid-life. I've come far enough to see the lessons and I have a fair idea of how to navigate so that some of those lessons are not repeated! I'm young enough to keep trying, keep learning, keep studying and growing and old enough to know what really matters.

This is a new path for me and I'll continue to report where this road goes. I'd love to have you accompany me on this journey, sharing friendship, insights and humor along the way. Happy New Decade!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where the Road Goes




Whenever we start out on a venture, we really don't know where we'll end up do we? We certainly carry hopes and aspirations, dreams and visions but until we are fully within the experience, we simply can't know all that awaits us. And what lies within that inner "suitcase" is often a surprise, at least for me!

I've been in this body long enough to know that I typically start out on all journeys with a rush of anticipation and excitement. I see through brightly colored lenses and seldom acknowledge possible challenges, I'm just not wired that way. When the glitches and pitfalls begin to emerge, I do my best to take them in stride. I've been known to implode, whine, kick, scream, bawl, and vent if I sense it's too much, yet I've never REALLY had to go to a depth that I couldn't handle. I don't say that in a boastful manner, I say that because usually those obstacles bring me to a depth I didn't know I had (and often didn't want to know I had). I've been in some tough places, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I've wondered and questioned everything. I've doubted and wanted to just drop it all, run away and never look back, but I don't.

I have long worked with allowing ALL experiences in my life and releasing judgement of anything particular thing being good or bad. When I drop those labels there is an openness, a freedom and expansiveness that cannot be replicated within constriction. I'm leaning into that more and more. I'm following more of what makes my heart happy and less and less what I "need to do, have to do, should do". That too is liberating though it does come with some confidence building lessons.

When I start out on a new venture I'm always confident. And then there's the day, the event, the situation that arises and I implode. I panic, I get sick, I shut down, stop talking, retreat into the recesses of my own being and hole up. The rest of the world may not know this, only those closest to me do. I'm typically an outgoing, outspoken, confident "go-getter," fiercely determined to succeed, but not always. No, sometimes I'm really scared, self-conscious and fearful. Why? Its the truthful recognition of having a chance to walk down a road that before I retreated from. I may have taken a few steps in the right direction but when things got tough I sought safety and ran back the other way.

When I was little, I loved to draw. I fancied myself as an artist. My Mama bought me an art set and I was so excited! I read the instructional books and practiced with the pencil and ink pen, but that was it. I didn't touch the paints. Nope, didn't even open a tube. The case was pretty and neat and I kept it that way. I opened it up and "played" with what I knew wouldn't make a mess. I had no idea where to begin so I didn't even try. I drew all kinds of pictures on the papers and with the pencil and practiced calligraphy but NOT ONCE did I touch those paints or brushes.

I've always been drawn to crafts, creating and writing. When I started scrapbooking I found a wonderful outlet for my journal, record keeping and creative vibrations but I never reached for that paint set. I've kept it with me since I was 10 years old. It's been in every home I've lived in, including my college dorm. The inks and paints are dry but I still have the case. I've had the urge to return to this road for sometime now. Gently inviting me to return here, take up the challenge and see what's within. It's not something I'll probably do "for a living". It has nothing to do with impressing anyone. It has everything to do with allowing my body/being this experience that seems so deeply ingrained in my cells. I'm returning to that early road.

I learned a HUGE lesson in college about facing fears, going back, relearning and redoing things correctly. I wasn't good at math. It took me seven times to pass the PPST so I could be a teacher. I had to go back and teach myself basic math. It didn't stick from 8th grade to up until I was a junior in college. I had one hell of a block and it was clear I wasn't going down any road until I STOPPED and faced it. I did. I took an entire semester off and studied like mad, studied until it made sense to ME. I arrived at the answers in non-traditional ways. I learned how my brained worked, how I was wired and most importantly I discovered that the only way to have an authentic experience is to TAKE THE ROAD and release worry of how it will all end up. It is the experience, not the destination that I most needed to focus on. The destination is great, but only secondary. And the final destination is the beginning of the next, continuous, winding road.

I'm ready to go down THIS road. I don't care where it takes me. I have a 10 year old artists that I've put on hold for a very long time. She's been patiently waiting to join hands with me and play in the paint. She's been with me this whole time, cheering as I got out "good dishes" for an ordinary meal, and wearing dress-up clothes even though I wasn't leaving the house, breaking out a special bottle of wine for an ordinary evening of sitting on the deck. She's silently witnessed me breaking through barriers of keeping things "nice and neat" knowing deep down that we both want to "go wild" with paint and............just see what happens when she gets to "run down that road". We'll both be a little surprised to find out I'm sure.

I don't know where this road goes. I know it won't end, it will simply offer a different type of scenery that what I've been used to.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I feel like......Johnny Appleseed







This summer has been a "bust" in terms of my garden. The only thing still growing are the tanks of potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes. The beans were lost with the early June weeds and last week something got out and snacked on the nice stand of sweet corn we had. I'm very sad about the corn, we had some really cool varieties planted and we all LOVE fresh corn out of the patch. In addition I was hoping for enough to freeze because we are running very low. By August we'll be out. I haven't bought sweet corn in 8+ years. I am now looking for some to buy.

*What did go right was something so totally unexpected that I nearly fainted when I realized it wasn't a weed! As sort of a lasy/smart @** act, I carelessly threw zinnia seeds into the green pots at the foot of our deck steps. (That's Marley at the top, saying "hello"!) My mom lovingly sends us seeds in the spring. I usually plant them in the garden but for some reason they've never taken off (not enough water, too many weeds, combination of who knows what?) Knowing that I wasn't going to shell out $50 for my favorite bright red geraniums, that I tried desperately to keep alive through the winter months, I thought I'd just look at empty planters. At least they wouldn't need to be watered... Remembering the pack of Mama's seeds, I thought, "What the heck! We'll throw some in these pots and see what happens." I forgot all about it, it's been a busy summer.

A few weeks ago I went to pull out weeds from them (don't ask my, it was purely an unconscious, programmed act) and realized they were not weeds, they looked like....F L O W E R S! Great Gasp! And then I forgot what kind they were?!?! Last week, Pryce was very excited to inform me that they had buds on them and sure enough, this week, they are blooming. It is one of those nice surprises that really makes me smile (especially after the roping steers, calves, or deer helped themselves to our corn).

This morning as I walked out to feed the goats and chickens, I had a fleeting and comical vision of myself as Johnny Appleseed, only with Zinnias, which are more colorful, easier and faster to grow. If they took any more time or effort, I'm quite sure they wouldn't be growing here.

Here's to finding a few, sweet, simple surprises this week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ready, Set, Studio

Day Two of the Pages and Paint Workship begins today. I'm super excited for this venture. I've spent the ENTIRE month of June cleaning, clearing and preparing so that I would be able to fully dive into the experince. I knew this would be difficult if I was distracted by clutte r and disorganization....I met my goal of going through every room, every closet and every shelf (PHEW!) My main tasks now the daily duties of laundry, dishes, cooking prep and clean-up and just making sure everything gets put away so that I can just C R E 8 T E this month!!!

And here it is. I'm flashing this "neat n tidy" picture as a reminder of what it was like before I started this experince. My craft room has been cleaned and straightened in many times, the sad thing is, it hasn't been used to its full potential. This is a room I've dreamed of having for 18+ years. So many things have distracted me from it. It is on the lowest level and furtherst room away from the activity. That's both good and bad. Good because it will feel like I'm actually getting away from the chaos, bad because it's not nearly as accessible as my dining room table, where I do most of my cre8tive activities (you know, Mama/multitasker....stir the spaghetti, type a little, edit a picture, sketch a quick idea, unload the dishwasher...)

My main goal this month is to consciously dedicate time this month to actually be in my studio. My other "mission" is for this beautiful space to actully work as a studio and that will mean "cuyestomizing" it to my tastes...so a little tye-dye, peace signs, pictures of Subarus and mountains?!?!

I have a feeling as I explore this new aspect of my being, the space around me will change as well. It always does. What's on the outside is a reflection of what's on the inside. So I'm quite interested to see what's really "under the hood". What exactly as been hiding out under my skin and within my cells?!!?! Believe me, I'll be just as surprised as you!

I'll be posting pics of my progress and of course my reflections as they come through. If any of you would like to join me in cre8tive explorations this month...feel free to post your goals, progress and even pictures here on the blog, facebook or for the more timid peeps (I feel your pain!) Feel free to email me (You KNOW you have my total support and encouragement!) Go to the edge of the personal boundaries and start pushing....I'll be right there cheering you on! For someone that "gave up" on drawing and painting at the age of 10 this is a GIANT leap for me. Wheeeee, here we GO!





Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Know It's Good When....

I don't consider myself an "expert in the kitchen" by any means. In fact it has only been in the last 6 years or so that I've become comfortable, expanding my boundaries and trying foods/dishes that would have otherwise been only looked at as scanned through recipe books and mags.

I am not gracefull in the kitchen either. I've been known to start towels on fire and scorch counters. I've burned the hell out of my wrist. In the midst of any cooking creation, the kitchen looks like a bomb went off. There's no visible order or organization, try as I may to keep it neat.

There are a few meals that I cook with regularity. The predictability and ease are necessary during a week with two baseball games, golf night and rodeo practice. I am adamant about cleaning up leftovers and I very much dislike food waste. I do my best to cook around what I have in the pantry, so much to my childrens' dismay, we DO have food/dishes that are not their favorite. Those who have spent some time around my crew know of their complete distaste of soup. Soup of any kind is to them, "food of the devil". They seriously think I am trying to poison them when they see the big soup pot coming out of the bottom of the island. They instantly frown and voluntarily retreat to their rooms. They'd rather go hungry than eat soup. I don't get it. I love soup, their father does too. All of our friends and family love soup. What's not to love?!?! This is a mystery and one that I have yet to figure out.

I share this because my kids are my biggest "food critics". If they don't like something, they'll do little (at my house) to hide their absolute disgust. I'v made it clear that if they do this any anyone else's location...well we'll just say that I think they know what is expected of them (we're still working on the youngest one's bluntness.) I know what they like but I do not cook to their tastes. One doesn't like cheese, one will avoid ketchup at all costs, one changes her mind on a daily basis....it really would be impossible to please them all, all the time.

On Monday, I went on a cooking/baking marathon. I knew we'd be busy on Tuesday with Parker's birthday so I made the most of my time on Monday night.  The good were: Spinach Artichoke Dip, Magic Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Seafood Pea-Ista Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Angel Food Cake. The sweets went over well. The eggs are nearly eaten up (Pake's favorite) There's still plenty of salad (I think I'm the only one here that will eat crab meat). However, the cake is gone. How do you know a cake is REALLY GOOD? The answer: when you DON'T EVEN NEED FROSTING! I had strawberries and Cool-Whip ready to go on the cake for Parker's birthday, so I was utterly shocked when NONE of my offspring requested frosting! They gobbled down the cake and asked for seconds. I checked their temp (just kidding) and pondered this feat. If I made any other cake and didn't frost it, no one would touch it. They would have wondered was wrong! Pryce even mentioned how delicious it was....sans frosting. (Now THAT is impressive!)

If you'd like to have a taste, here are the directions.
No frosting is included. We do not use the stuff (kidding again!)

ANGEL FOOD CAKE
*this is adapated for KitchenAid mixers:
1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 &1/2 cups sugar, divided
1& 1/2 cups egg whites, about 12-15
1 &1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 &1/2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix flour and 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl.

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Gradually turn to Speed 6 and whip for 30-60 seconds, or until egg whites are frothy.

Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Turn to Speed 8 and whip 2 to 2 /2 minutes, or until whites are almost stiff but not dry. Try to Speed 2. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix about 1 mintue. Stop and scrape bowl.

Remove bowl from mixer. Spoon flour-sugar mixutre, one fourth at a time over egg whites. Fold in gently with spatula, just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10" tube pan. With knife, gently cut through batter to remove large air bubbles. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cracks very dry. Immediately invert cake onto funnel or soft drink bottle. Cool completely. Remove from pan.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Wave Runners

Life's twists and turns always amaze me. Sometimes I have to just sit back and smile at the brilliant orchestration that happens in my life.

For example, I grew up near the Niobrara River. My childhood was spent splashing in those waters. We visited it year round; summer was my favorite because I could cool off but fall ran a very close second with the gorgeous display of leaves shifting colors. As I got older, I visited the river less frequently though I would return in the summers as much as I could. I would always leave determined to buy my own kayak and continue to the adventure closer to home, though this never "stuck". I'd get busy and forget about it.

I love the water and sun, (thus my "silly dolphin tattoo"). And though I'd often thought of having a kayak and hitting the waves, it never really seemed to pan out. This spring Chad forwarded me an email from Menards. I thought it was something to do with our on-going (enternal) home improvement but this was not the case. They were selling kayaks. I bought two. I didn't hesitate nor did I stop to consider if this was a good purchase! There were there, the opportunity arose and I took it. I really had no idea how we'd transport them or where we'd go, let alone how many times we'd actually use them. Rodeos and kayaks typically don't go together.  Now mind you, my boys have never been in kayaks and so they had no idea what treat they were in for! One evening on the little Wellfleet lake, and they were hooked. So hooked in fact, I didn't get much time on the water.

This past week, Chad noticed that Alco had kayaks on sale. I bought one of the remaining two left. We spent Saturday evening and the majority of Sunday on the water~it was glorious! Pake prefers to use his to fish but Parker and I head for the wakes of nearby boats. There's something deeply freeing about being so near the water and feeling your own muscles being the reason why the vessel is moving forward. (Yes, I'm feeling it today and yes, it WILL improve my golf swing, I'm sure of this....at least that is what I am telling myself today!)

Why would this simple activity bring up that smile I mentioned eariler.....because truly, I wasn't looking for this. I didn't expect, didn't plan on it and certainly didn't try to "make it happen."

Some events and situations in my life are intentional. Some things I identify, focus on and work toward. I set the intention, gather information, collect my resources, visualize the end result and take daily, consious steps to make it happen.

Other events seem to arise, triggered from an unconsious aspect, deep within my body and being. I have wanted a kayak for a long, long time. I didn't figure I'd have the energy, time or even equipment to make that a possibility. Sure it was something I dreamed up but at the time I was dreaming I was driving a VW Beetle!
I never gave up on having a kayak and being able to ride the waves, it just wasn't something I put a lot of effort or time into manifesting.

Apparently though it was meant to be and it was on the energetic backburner until all the dynamics were in supportive for this vision to become reality.  Cool enough, I'll take it! It just makes me smile because I have to wonder what else is "cooking". I kind of like the excitement and wonder involved in the observation.

Hopefully there's a trip to Ireland somewhere waiting to come out.....

In the meantime, we have a birthday to celebrate and Independence Day to ring in. I have a feeling we'll be doing this with the water element. Time to ride the waves......Happy JULY!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

AM Reading Material

This morning I grabbed a "vintage" Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book, copyright 1968 to go with my morning coffee. I love flipping through the pages and seeing perfectly red, polished nails popping from the pages, as the hand is pressing a pie crust in a pan. It almost makes me wanna go through the pantry, grab the ingredients and whip up a coconut cream concoction that would make Martha proud!

In reality though, I'm just flippin'. I am compiling the last of July's Ki previews and then I have the looming project of school papers to finish sifting through. I'm not going to attempt to go back and catch up. Nope, too much. I'm going to start right where I am now, as if I haven't missed three years of documenting the lives of my children and family. When the kids ask why they grew so much and look so different in only a page, my answer will be "we were just too busy living life!" 

With those two items on this week's agenda and a major goat/chicken complex overall that's been looming for months, I should have my summer to-do's wrapped up. I'm ready. I'm dedicating July to my month of Cre8tive Explorations. I'm taking an on-line painting class and I have giant plans to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  I doubt I can completely sidetrack laundry, dishes, cooking and floor cleaning but I'll give it my best shot. I really thought I'd be traveling. This is the month that I wanted to take off and live like a gypsy. I had visions of hooking up the camper and heading west. That's not going to happen. Given the baseball and rodeo schedule, we'll be right here. We are looking at squeezing something in the first part of August (and I mean squeezing, not enough days to really make tracks). Perhaps next year...anyone want to come animal sit?!?! I'll pay well and you'll get to keep all the eggs!!!!

And since the 4th of July is in the middle of the week, we'll not have enough days to really get anywhere. Again, what I had visions of are not panning out. Maybe it isn't just random that I picked up this 'ol cookbook? Maybe the pefect holiday recipe lies within these pages. Orange Avacado Salad anyone? Barbeque chicken? Apple Pie? I think that one might be a stretch but the pictures were definitely fun to look at!

What's your favorite 4th of July food dish? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. (PS I need ideas!!!)









Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walking Treasues

I am slowly re-establishing my walking routine in the mornings. Though I had set intetions of getting up early in the morning, when it is cooler to walk I haven't been as diligent as I wanted to be. I select sleep in lieu of fresh morning air because the previous night's ball game has completely worn me out (and all I'm doing is sitting there watching...sad, I know!)

I LOVE to walk down my road. The exercise factor is great but I'm not really into an intense work out or getting a sweat on. It wouldn't hurt my physical appearance in anyway, but the benefits I seek are peace, clarity and serenity.

When I walk I focus on the present moment, the birds songs, the crunch of rocks beneath my shoes, the breeze (or some days the blast of wind). I consicously release whatever is bothering/bugging me when I'm out in the wind. I open wide, take a deep breathe and visualize it all being blown away from my body, mind, heart, head and soul. Release, release, release. Seemingly without a hitch, my mind shifts, shoulders ease and I take a deeper breath.

Here is where I do most of my processing. Thoughts come through not as a bombardment or with the sledgehammer of "have to's out to's, should's, they flow, gently, easily and effortlessly. Some of my greatest ideas arise from these walks. Solutions pop into my brain and make sense here. I plan lessons, classes, and my daily schedule on such walks.  And I see the world with brand new eyes and appreciation. I see the seasons being born, come alive and then slowly die into the next cycle.

Today as I looked down I noticed a little branch that blew out of the tree. By no means was it earth shattering or in any way special but something about it lying there on the gravel made me pause and smile. I love that all the leaves were hanging out together. I had the instant inspiration to take a instax pic of it and put it in my sketch journal. I'll be placing the picture in my journal, sketch it and then creating a painting. (I feel the subtle hint of fall, still far off on the horizon but knowing always that it is coming.) I have colors, images and phrases now zipping in and out of my brain. I do believe that it is time to hang out in my cre8tive space very soon to see what is ready to come through!  This is part of the collection phase of an on-line class I'm in the process of cre8ting. Like anything I have to experince the process before I feel confident to share with others.

So what image, thought, idea, song or little something has inspired you today? And if the answer is nothing.....consider shifting your focus? Sometimes the tiniest of treasures, seemingly insignificant little pieces of daily life can open our hearts, eyes and spirits to see the truth of how much goodness we are surrounded by.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

If It Makes You Happy.......




In both classes and private sessions and in my personal quest, I'm a big promoter of self-care. And sometimes this self care routine involves making choices tha are contrary to the images we hold of ourselves, as well as enjoying activities that are different from what the kids enjoy. Young mom's (and dad's too) quickly learn that their personal needs, and even much loved activities take a back seat to the bouncing, (bawling, in our case) bundle of joy. Babies require an incredible amount of energy and focus (all definitely worth it!). In the process, we can easily loose track of ourselves, what we most love, enjoy and those little daily events that remind us of our passion and life force. We can rejoin in those activites but sometimes it takes years to get back to them.

As my children grow, I've slowly gotten back to some of the activities I enjoy. I've also made time to explore new aspects that I didn't know I'd love. Though my children require less of my hawk like focus, I still feel the need to "swoop" in and offer support and council (or referee the continual fights). And just because I want to go someplace and do something fun like hike, golf, kayak, or even paint, it doesn't mean I follow through and "jump in". I feel I can only do these things if and when my children are 1. safe/in the presence of another adult I trust and 2. are entertained! If these requirements are met then I'm good with doing something for me, be it an art class, weekend with the girls or just sitting quietly in my sacred space.

This summer has led to a giant mom step for me. Ok, maybe not giant, but significant. I've followed the "rodeo trail" with Chad for 18 some years. While I enjoyed watching and supporting him, I've come to discover this isn't my favorite scene. I really don't see him unless its going to and from the location. I've sat through many a hot, miserable, seemingly never ending rodeo and I just DON"T LOVE IT. This isn't a bad thing, it's just not MY thing. This past weekend. I went in another a direction, a decision that I didn't take lightly but one that was right for me. Instead of hitting the rodeo trail with the guys, I headed to the lake with my girl and my camper. You know what? It was FABULOUS! Not that I didn't think about the boys and how they were doing and not that I didn't feel a tinge of guilt when I didn't see Parker's winning steer ride, but in that space I was able to feel all of us grow. This was personally liberating because I was in a location I really wanted to be in (I LOVE water) and they were too, even though it was not in the same location. Every mom wants the best for her children. I also believe every mom has an opportunity to be a shining example of how to align with personal truth and navigate accordingly. Giving ourselves permission to "be happy" allows our children to see the process of responsibility and responsible, loving self-care unfold. In the past, I've been one to load up on heavy doses of guilt and make myself do things because I thought I had to. As I let that thread unravel, I am remembering there are other choices, equally satisfying and just as enjoyable.
Will I endure another rodeo this summer? Yes, there's a strong bet that I will but only if I REALLY want to be there! Otherwise I think we all agree, if Mama's happy, we're all happy! Maybe I do have more "pull" around here than what I think I do?!?!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Reading

Im always reading something and alwaya on the lookout for a great read! A quick scan of any space I dwell with reveals that I am in it by the books and magazines strewn about. Whatever I'm "into" is revealed by at least three or four titles on the subject. (Amazon loves me!)

Books find their way to me. I buy both kindle and print versions. I received a kindle fire for Christmas and I'm almost certain it was a ploy to stop the continual Amazon arrivals. But it didnt work. The books still come to me.  It's an addiction I happily claim.  I feel that i am not alone either, most of my closest friends are book nerds too!

The genres are based on my mood and the subjects I study. Right now art journal, drawing and painting books litter my dining room table. I adore decorating themes with vintage, eclectic, DIY ideas. I also have bird books (can't explain this one but apparently Grma Ruth's genes are showing up here?!?!?) I have Sherlock Holmes on the kindle (I read this at night, the visuals and sensory images are divine!) I have started in the Hobbit with Parker (a classic that I'm just now in the mood for, again can't explain it, just going with it)

Im not above reading Larten Crepsly Saga, though I have yet to read the Twilight series.  Id like to get into the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey, which reminds me.......I got busy and never finished 11/22/63!

So many books....so little time. Sort of makes me wonder how I'll ever find tje time to write one of my own?!?!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Sand Project








Here are a few quick shots of the craft project. I could tell there was not nearly enough sand so we filled the rest of the space with shells (I've been wondering what to do with those!) Parker brought out popsicles so while one scooped sand, the other two slurped! I loved seeing them "work" and create their own arrangements, not how I would have done it, even BETTER. Kids have an uncanny, unfiltered way of being in the moment and that is the lesson I'm needing right now! These are the fun times of summer that I've been craving!

Maybe we'll move on to sand castles next or maybe just the sprinkler?!?!


PS THANKS Mrs. Covey!!!!!

Summer Sand




Wednesday is "Summer Reading Day" at one of my local favorite hangouts...MPS Library! The kids and I love it and frequent the location often (local MPS kids, join me there and bring your art journals! I know this means that you have to roll your sleepy heads out of bed but DO IT! We'll have fun!)

This week, our sweet friend Mrs. Covey "gifted" us with colored sand, which delighted the troops! Ooooh they said with delighted smiles,"When we can do THIS?" In my head the answer sounded something like, "NEVER"! I know, I know that's rotten and awful. I've spent the last how many &*$% weeks cleaning this pit of a house...and you wanna do something with sand? NOOOOOOOO

With three eager (and highly creative beings) how could I resist? The old cleaning grump in me has been "won over". Mainly because I can't right now muster the motivation it will take to reclaim a scary basement (Lucy, Jax was SPOT ON!) heehee

So after having completed a few necessary to-d0's, laundry, food prep, clean-up, scheduling, client calls, class prep, etc. I'm bowing to the creative muse and about to dump sand into jelly jars!

We live too far from any hobby lobby to go shopping for pretty glass bottles. Though I think the hour glass/timer idea was simply grand we do have to be cre8tive and practical and that means using what we have right here.

I'll post pics of the final masterpieces! And for those of you that are reading this and silently thinking, "Wow, she's gotten over the whole 'don't make a mess thing!' I just want you to know, we're going OUTSIDE!!!! Remember I'm the mom that thought finger painting should be banned (unless it is with someone else besides ME!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer




What are your favorite things about summer? "Flexible schedule" rockets to the top of that question. I don't really have true freedom, to go wherever I want, whenever I want, though there is no place that I HAVE TO BE and that feels really good. I have some strong ideas about where I want to be, but at this moment, those fantastical images just aren't my reality.

I've lost my cleaning and clearing mojo altogether. I'll pick it back up when I have more energy. For those of you that follow nine star ki, my number 1 water element is in the center and that is a direct signal to stop, observe and just be. That's hard not to do when there are always so many people and activities around me that need/demand my attention. The center station is like a vortex of energy and so keeping balance is the overall goal. Some days are speedy fast and some days drag by at a snails pace. The idea is to catch your breath when you can and roll like hell when you need to. Today is a "cathing my breath day". In a couple of hours we'll be headed to a baseball game and tomorrow I'll do my best to excavate the pit of all disasters....my basement.

My goal is to tame this last "inner frontier" so that next week I'll be free to fully honor the solstice energies that will be streaming in. MidSummer is a special time for me. I love the peak of summer and the gold light of sunshine that streams in my window each morning. (I'm getting better about honoring it instead of ripping the covers back over my head!)

There are so many things I love about summer, truly I picked an excellent season to come into the world. I love seeing and hearing my children play (fight mostly) on the plush green grass, waking up to bird songs and feeling the warm caress of light on my skin first thing in the morning. Not being biased to mornings, I equally enjoy the summer sun setting and the gift of more light in the day. I adore watching flames dance within a campfire and smelling the smoke as it rises to the heavens. No matter how crappy my day is, all I have to do in the summer time is go outside, slow down, breathe and relax. Mmmmmm, delicious.

What are your favorite concepts of the season? What do you most love to experience that you are not able to in other seasons? Feel free to share in the comment section or on FB!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Freezer Quit...go back 20 spaces

If my life were a game this week, I don't think I'd be leading the pack!  I woke up to a new Monday, fresh and ready to start the week. I spent most of the day tidying up and prepping meals and doing laundry. I moved with ease, say five spaces ahead. I completed cleaning and clearing the top part of the house, rearranged book shelves and created space for my Art Journal Books and supplies. (Move ahead 10 spaces, that job has needed to be done for a long time!)

I woke up Tuesday ready to cross another task off my to-do list. However the task was much larger than I anticipated. Instead of just a few mice inhabiting in our camper for the winter, what I discovered was that we had an entire universe in there. It was THE MOST DISGUSTING site I have ever witnessed. There was more poop in there than in any grain bin I had ever seen. Honestly, it made me cry.  (Clean "mouse disaster" in camper loose a turn=an entire day.)

As I got to the worst part of the camper,  I opened the cupboard and a tiny rodent was peering at me. Yikes! (Go back three spaces, he was little). I continued on my route, cursing the entire way. My family steered clear of me, they could tell I was not a "team player" at this time.

As I stepped on the last step of the  camper, I nearly landed in the calving lot when I noticed a very LONG snake stretched out near the garbage bag. (Go back 5 spaces, big scare!) I gingerly sidestepped him, noticing the tail. Phew, no rattles. (Move ahead 2 spaces) That said, he wouldn't go away, he was hunting what I was trying to get rid of. I thought he was safely tucked in the gargabe bag, he'd crawled in of his own accord, so I went to work on the bike trailer that the mice had also snacked on. Realizing that I'd ripped my gloves I went to the house to get another pair and as I came zipping by the bike stroller I noticed an extra black and yellow "strap" that was moving. Holy Crap! (Go back 7 paces, this scared me more that the first time!) Knowing that "snakey" was wrapped up in the stroller I ventured back in the camper to clean as I was about to step down I saw him moving below me. Craaaaap!  This phase of the game concluded with the snake not bothering my anymore (THANKS JOE!) (Jump ahead 10 spaces!)

Wednesday: I woke up with a rotten cold and a raw throat. I can handle a lot of things but a sore throat is my achilles heel. Hate those. I mustered through the day, secretly wanting to go back to bed but not making it there until that late that night. (Move back 10 spaces)

Thursday: My throat was a little better but still very achy and sore. (Take time out to recouperate, consider the fact that sometimes this game just sucks!).

Friday: I woke up, a bit groggy but thinking that I'm going to get things done today. I feel a little better, still some drainage and lethargy but throats isn't as sore. I thought I'd make a nice cup of coffee and sit out on the deck to ponder my day. (Move ahead 4 spaces).  I ask edChad to bring in a package of hamburger from our freezer in the barn. He doesn't come back for a long time. I wonder what he's doing? What we didn't know was that the freezer quit working (Move back 20 spaces and consider just ditching this blankety-blank game.) Unhook and drag hoses to wash out the stupid freezer (Go back 5 more spaces)

We did catch the mess in time to salvage our meat, the freezer still had ice in it. (Lucky break move ahead 25 spaces). (Note to self, work on attitude!)

Since I'm not a math person I haven't stopped to figure out if I'm ahead in the game, if I've broke even or if I'm in the hole. There have been some distinct set backs this week but most of them have ended on a high note. The camper is being disinfected and professionally cleaned today. We didn't loose any meat and I am feeling much better than I was. I am hoping that if I draw the "wild card" soon, that it will at least be a GOOD ONE, something like...boundless energy or instant basement clean-up or Russell Crow pays a visit....you know, something completely realistic like that ;)

Here's wishing you all good luck in the "game" you are playing right now!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something You've Always Wanted To Try

In the busy hustle and bustle of our every day life, little things that we are interested in exploring something go by the wayside. Personally I'm good with pushing something aside in lieu of something else that needs to be done. This may be why I haven't scrapbooked since 2009? Laundry, dishes, cooking and housekeeping take priority. In my reality I do put work before play. That is something I'm looking at consicously and consistently changing this month.

As mentioned previously, I feel the need to have a clean environment BEFORE I start on a project. I think better and am more open to creative ideas. The challenge is knowing when I can safefly and loving walk away. The dishes will pile up, the laundry will multiply, the floors wil get dirty. How long can I actually be away before I'll be starting over?

Maintence and consisteny is key here too. I'm slowly trying to help my children get into the habit of not only taking their plate to the sink but rinsing it out, and then putting in the dishwasher.

So this month, as I am releasing clutter and finding my way back to me. I have several self improvement intentions. One being taking the time to honor my creative aspirations.

I've found this book and have signed up for Sarah's on-line class. This is my birthday gift. The materials were on the pricey side, which is great. If I pay the money, you can bet I'm going to full on, full out participate.

I'm excited to begin. I'm excited to see what I have stored "under the hood". I have found I'm an awesome collector/gatherer and organizer but no so muh and eager "do-er". That's about to change.

I'd like to invite any of you along for the ride as well. I belive there is power within the collectve so if you'd like to message me or add comments below to what your personal goals, intentions and manifestations hopes are, feel free. Mabye you are going to take up mountain biking or rock climbing. knitting or canning, photography, song writing or putting a puzzle together?!?!? What do you suppose our world would look, feel and be like if we were all doing exactly what we want to be doing, what we most love?

I believe it is possible. Collect, gather and then Let's do this!!!!

PS I didn't want to include another blog post about my endless cleaning obsessions so I'm focusing on the fun stuff!


Gettin There

Hi All,

It has been awhile since I last posted and so this is just a little catch up! Thanks for all the very sweet comments and encouragements to "get to writing again"! I hear you and I'll do my best to keep up!

We wrapped up a very busy school year and since then, I've spent my days trying to reacclimate to having all five of us, in the same dwelling at the time. Not an impossible feat but one that is requiring extreme patience on my part. Fighting children and not my cup o' tea. That may be a post for later.

I also spent time at the end of every school year going through the entire house; top, bottom, left, right, up, down, every nook and cranny is seen. This is a great feeling in the end but a daunting taks to do it the "right way".

I feel I've come far though I still have a long path to do. Next week, I'll be back in the trenches aka the basement family room, craft room, storage room, boys' bedrooms. Right now it looks like nothing of the serene, neat, tidy organized image I have in my mind. I can say it is lived in and played in.......

It does sometimes feel like all I write about is cleaning, organizing and cleaning some more but sadly, that's about what I get done! Having three growing children demands that I stay on top of laundry, dishes, food prep and all things household and motherly.

And for some strange reason I feel much more cre8tive when my enviornment is in order. That said, I'm cleaning for another reason. I'm going to venture deep into my being and excavate a part of me that was lost a long, long time ago.....I'll be taking a painting class in July. In fact, I've dedicated July to playing, exploring and creating! I'm in the process of gathering supplies this month. I have butterflies and jitters (of my own making) to remind me that the unknown can still offer me routes to old fears and blockages (am I good enough? Do I have what it takes?) Etc.

I've never felt like I've found my stride, let alone hit it. I'm still looking. I've got some better ideas of who I am as a person and the sights, events and practices that resonate but there's still plenty of room for exploration and expansion.

I'm taking today off to rest. My body is demanding it. I've got a strange little cold and so I'm not pushing through that to do list with the gusto I had last week. I'll sit out a few days, tie up some details and then roll up the ol sleeves to begin the quest on Monday.

I post this for those friends who feel like their cleaning conquest never ends. It doesn't. I also post this as a sign that I not only teach the clearing clutter and organization classes, I directly apply the pracitce in my space!

Transformation is here and  I'm in! What projects are you looking forward to this summer? What dream are you following and allowing yourself to experince?

Feel free to share in the comments below. And yes, I promise more "musings" to come!




Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Way I Like to Spend My Day

This is the kind of day that my body and soul needed~no schedules, no deadlines, nothing that HAS to be done this minute kind of deal. It's been glorious I must say.

I've sorely missed cre8tive time so I made time today to be in my craft room. It's funny. I've wanted a room like this for my entire adult life and when I finally get it, the rest of my life hits hyper-space and it becomes a place to dump all the collections that I glean throughout my days, weeks and months. I'm actually shocked at how long its been since I've cracked open a scrapbook page, once one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend.

It took me the majority of the day to sift through stacks and piles of papers (dare I throw away a precious Kindergarten art piece! *gasp*) but really I see that ALL of the pages can't say, they'd probably be best used as kindling for coming bonfires~

Puttering in this way, no matter how seemingly insignificant is truly therapeutic. I see parts of my life coming together and even the act of cleaning, clearing and reorganization is deeply grounding. I'll need that solid ground. It'll be a good long time before I have this many days at home so I'm savoring it.

This is a picture of the kid' cre8tive endeavors today. We couldn't hold back the eager egg dyers for a minute longer. They had fun and then, they split! It is a nice day so I don't blame them. Normally I'd be out too but something about photos and completing the task at hand seems more important today.

We'll be kicking back with a movie, delicious chicken corn chowder soup and a lovely glass of Poker face. Should be nice relaxing evening.

Wishing you and yours a glorious Easter!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring's Arrival

I thought I'd share one of our unexpected signs of spring...Pryce found this outside and shrieked with glee. I too was a bit surprised. I thought these bulbs were dug up long ago with Chad's "dig to China", which resulted in a dislocated shoulder. Long story short we had to seal our basement because every time it rained, we ended up with a pool in the basement (not cool).

This served as a lovely reminder that unexpected delights abound, especially when we approach life with wonder! I'm in the mood to clean and reshape my space so I need to go with that "unexpected delight" right now...


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back at the Ponderosa.....

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This is an AMAZING picture. Why, you ask? It is because the floor is visible instead of being strewn with the laundry of five people! It took most of the weekend to get things put back in order and still, I have a ways to go but I am settling back the normal routine.

One of the things that I notice each time I travel is the I return to my abode and surroundings with new "eyes". I notice things that I "numbed out" to before. As such, it seems that I have quite a spring cleaning/reorganization project ahead of me. After looking at my calendar today, the launch date will likely be in April. I have a distinct need to clear, cleanse and reorganize. What I don't have is a lot of time to do it in. Several projects from all directions are calling to me. I've learned the fine art of prioritizing so I'll get to them "all in good time".

This brings me to this week's word: balance.

There's a part of me right now that really wants to just throw up her hands and walk away! This is post-travel blues and it happens every time I come home to the seemingly monumental task of reintegration. Each time I travel my personal energies and awarenesses are expanded and I find it hard to fit back in to where I was, because where I was has now shifted....a lot. It's all good, it's all part of life, the planets, the energies, the cosmos and all that other stuff that we feel but may not see.

In this pre-equinox shift, I'm choosing to open to new ways of balance, perhaps ways that I haven't practiced or pondered before. I'm ready to spread my wings and see what is ready to come through...it most likely will be as much of a surprise to me as everyone else! I just never seem to know what's coming next....guess I must love mysteries?!?!

What are your tips, tricks and techniques to stay balanced and focused when you have a whole lotta things shaking in your world? Feel free to share in the comment section below. If you are creating an art journal, photo collection of balance, song lyrics, paintings, etc, be sure to add the link to your site so we can all take a peek!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The South

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Greetings Everyone!

I've finally taken time to update the blog. As usual, we've been on the go. This morning we're taking a slight break from our adventures to rest. The younger two are still sleeping next door. Chad and Pake have gone to listen to the ICBA presentors and I'm typing.

Nashville is a really pretty location. I'd like to come back in late spring early summer when all of these trees have leaves though there is plenty of green to help me remember what that color looks like!

Some of our highlights include visiting Franklin, TN which is where one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War took place. It lasted about 5 hours and over 2000 men were killed. We've visited the Carter house where the battle was fought and the Carnton Plantation, which became a Confederate Field Hospital.Pictured above is the Carnton Plantation. This gorgeous, spacious home housed the wounded soldiers and years later became the final resting place for the Confederate dead. There are still blood stains on the floor of the south facing rooms. Doctors did the best they could in the morning/daylight hours. It had to be one of the most harrowing experinces to witness. If that old house talk.....

We've also been on a ghost tour (we didn't see any ghosts but viewed some really cool old houses!)We've seen Andrew Jackson's Hermitage and took in the Grand Ol Opry. Most of Sunday was spent getting situated and placed in our room. We're staying at the largest convention center in the world....which I believe is true because I've gotten lost several times. Interestingly the kids seem to be well orientated and so I just follow them!

Later today we'll head to Goodlettsville, home of the Old Hickory Bat Company. I'd also like to tour the Belle Meade Plantation. I'm really loving the architecture and viewing the houses. I've always loved learning about history but seeing these locations in person brings such a richness to all that I've read about. This trip is certainly making me want to visit other historical locations and check out neighboring states. I think the rest of the family is on board with this too.

Both boys purchased civil war figures, Parker, being the sympathetic child that he is, wanted to even the score a bit so I'm supposed to report that the Confederate Army is ahead 4-1! He set up his camp outside of the state reception last night. Interestingly he and one of the hotel employees started talking and he learned some interesting facts. He also learned the importance of listening and allowing information to find you, no matter what or who the messenger appears to be!

Chad and I discovered this as well. We went to the Jack Daniels bar to have a drink after the reception. The guy playing the guitar was REALLY good and as we were listening, I realized who it was....Ira Dean. Ira used to be with a band called Trick Pony. Ira is a great guy, very friendly and fun to visit with. He sat at our table during break and then played, "Just what I do when I Can't Get No Loving", one of our favorites! He'll be releasing his solo cd later in the spring. I have an advanced copy with his signature.

As always, I'm amazed at how quickly the time flies by. It doesn't seem like it should already be Tuesday! I always have the best intentions of blogging every day but I don't always take the time or have the energy. I am working on a great playlist to summarize the days. I'm also gathering some awesome ephemera for the art journals. One of these when I'm end the mood, cre8tivitiy will strike and I'll be happy to comply...til then I'm gonna be moving and shaking!

Peace y'all!

Friday, March 9, 2012

I Could Fly

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"I wanna thnk ou for the love you gave me and the sun that you put in my sky. You don't know how much you've lifted me up but I feel so alive that I could fly, I could fly"~Keith Urban

This song is a perfect fit for our departure, which happens in 10 minutes. We left NE last night and stayed with our dear friends, The Terrell Family. I have just a few mintues before we start boarding for our flight so I grabbed Chad's computer to write a few notes. I detest the tiny, impossible key board on the droid!

Later today we'll land in Nashville and this evening we'll be seeing the singer of the song listed above. I'm thinking it would be pretty darn nifty if he sang this song! It's one of my favorties (I have a ton of favorites!)

I'll be blogging our day's events so if you'd like to join our adventure, please check back!

So far our greatest accomplishment is getting 5 peeps successfully through security. I can tell that my children have matured because it doesn't take nearly as long as it used to. And..... Chad did check to make sure the fence plyers were left in the Dodge!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This week's word:Journeying

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There are times when I love to be on the move, traveling and exploring; there are times when I want to ground, nestle down and be a total homebody. I get “flashes” of favorite places I’ve been or I see an image in my mind of a place that is calling me to visit. I can close my eyes and smell pine trees and hear mountain streams bubbling. Though I may want to get in my car, fling open the sunroof and head west, I usually stay! (Can’t promise that will happen after May 21st!)

Without the domestic and professional responsibilities that I currently sport, I’m fairly sure I’d only be touching “home base” now and then. As crazy as it sounds, I have plans of living out of my camper, biking, hiking, kayaking, turning myself into a modern day gypsy. In time that will happen. I figure I’ve got a few years to plan this out thoroughly.When my 3rd graduates, I’ll have a nice long list of things to do, places to see and what it is that I want to experience. I do enjoy each phase of my childrens' lives and I know for the present I’m right where I need to be. That said, when they are on their own, I’ll embrace that phase as well; I’ll embrace it with a fabulously long adventure!

For the time being, my journeys have been primarily close to home, with the exception of a monthly trip to UNO. Most of the traveling I do is in my mind and on web sites. I’m currently learning to navigate the Library of Congress site for my Managing Collections Library Class. There’s a monumental amount of information so I do feel like I’ve trekked some miles by the time I’m done for the day! Today I trekked on over to Arrowhead Meadows (AND IT WAS GLORIOUS!) My game was great, but who cares, I golfed on March 5th!


As Emerson says, “Life is a journey, not a destination” and I believe this is true. We are constantly moving, continually evolving and experiencing ourselves against the backdrop of our environments. As I write this, I'm planning a lil 'ol trip to the east, a place that I've never been before. I'm acutely aware of all that needs to be done before I depart for this journey. I have to wonder if I am half cracked to even attempt this feat, given the many hoops I'm jumping through to make sure all will be well in my absence. I trust that it will.

My question/offering this week is, "What items go with you on your journey? What are your essentials? What luxuries do you tuck away?" If I travel by car, I ALWAYS pack a pillow, blanket, reading material, journal and camera. Travel by plane means extreme downsizing....I WILL be bringing my art journal and supplies,a camera, music (of course!), Salomon footwear and my t-shirt scarf (which doubles as a pillow, fashion accessory and is soft and cozy enough to remind me of home!)

So.....how about a song, poem, sculpture, journal entry, painting, scrapbook page, or collage on the "comforts" of travel? Feel free to share your "favs" in the comment section below or on my fb page! Maybe you can help me remember what I might be forgetting?!?!

And...I'll be posting our "Nashville Adventures" to the blog next week, so stay tuned (and please have patience with any spelling/grammar errors! I DETEST my droid's keyboard, but I will muddle through!)

Happy Trails!

Monday, February 27, 2012

This week's word: Expression!

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This week’s word: Expression~

Greetings friends, instead of posting the word of the week last night, I was actually in material collection mode. Pictured above are the items I’ll be using in the next days, weeks and months. Here’s the scoop: I’m now into Art Journals!

In the past, I’ve loved scrapbooking. It was a wonderful outlet for my cre8tive vibes and then…in the time crunch, I’ve gotten away from it. I now have the space that I’ve always dreamed of but I seem to spend more time out of the craft room than I do in it! Kids, sports, home care, domestic requirements and education have taken their scoop of my creative time.

If you’ve been reading my posts, then you know one of my 2012 intentions was to take more time for me and this has resulted in s l o w i n g down long enough to allow cre8tive inspiration to find me, where it can, where it will. It arrived over the weekend, at a basketball game. A noise gym is an unlikely place, most would surmise, yet in the solace of a warm car, I began to dream and search…(thanks to a wifi and Kindle, I’m uber-mobile.. (not sure if that is actually a word). The idea is that I have a NEED for creative outlets and since I’m often gone from home, on the go, I realized that I need portable devices and creative outlets that can travel at a few moment’s notice (i.e. “Robyn, can you……insert Chad’s lovely surprise suggestions for how to spend my day!)

It don’t really know how to explain the process other than to say “art journals” found me and it didn’t take long for the idea to “stick”. I do not fancy myself as an artist nor can I draw, sketch or paint. However, I do love the idea of keeping a daily journal and making it a little prettier than just words on paper. I’ve been an avid journal writer for years and yet, something has been missing. I am known to keep stubs of movie tickets, baseball games and other bits and pieces. I have the best intentions of putting these in a scrapbook and yet, time is usually not a commodity that I have in excess, at least not right now. I love to loose myself in an afternoon “scrap fest” but right now that’s not an option. The idea of journal/scrapping as I go DOES resonate! Instead of a formal scrapbook page, I'll be plopping in pictures, notes, receipts, comments, quotes, bird feathers....(I LOVE picking up feathers) and adding them to random thoughts and pages. Seems like a great match for all that I am experiencing in my life right now. If I wait to have a "sit down in my studio" I'll likely have already forgotten the cool, daily treats that I am receiving. Scrapping on the go, writing and recording, 'tis a "poifect fit" for Miss Robyn's adventures this year! I'll then be able to use the inspiration if I want to go back and create "official pages".

I’ve gathered a few portable supplies and I’ll be packing these along to ball games, rodeos and road trips of all kinds. I love the idea of tuning and recording often. Now this may not trip your trigger in anyway and I completely respect that so…..this week I’m opening the floor to sharing what YOUR favorite form of cre8tive EXPRESSION is? What is it that you do daily that brings you peace, joy, inspiration, motivation, delight and back to your amazing soul? Is it writing a song? Dreaming of a vacation? Implementing a project? Taking great photos? What is a simple, inspiring practice that you’ve found you can do anywhere you go?

I’ll look forward to hearing all about it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This week's word: Ailments :(


This week’s word of the week: Ailments:

In our fast paced world, listening can be hard to do, especially when the outside world is so very loud! I crave silence and solace. I often have to fight for it by eeking time out of my day to take a walk on the road or to sit on the hillside and watch the sun go down (I appreciate a gorgeous sunrise, but I prefer to sleep until the sun wakes me…still working on that goal!)

I know my inner voice is strong, when I let it be. It speaks to me softly so I will purposely listen. If it was as loud as everything else in my life, it probably knows I’d ignore it. My children know all too well, the louder they are and the more they fight, the more liable I am to walk away. If you want my attention, I’ll need respect, attention and softness.

So how am I with listening to myself? I do pretty well for the most part. I believe in intuition and I know how to tune in. Listening then is quite different than following through. Following through means I actually act on what I hear; and this week I didn’t do that well.

I started feeling “lung issues” on Wednesday. I could feel that tickle deep within my body and knew that “sleep” was needed. I’m famous (sadly) for pushing through my reserves and driving hard. Responsibilities galore pile up and I tend to ignore my body's basic needs in lieu of a clock and the false belief that there isn’t enough time……

So this “crud” had been creeping up on me for a while and I ignored it along with my body’s request for sleep and nourishment. Long story short, we left the basketball tournament last night at 8:30. I was in pretty rough shape with fever, chills, hacking cough, headache, body ache and feeling as worn out as could be. I’d done several rounds of reiki, quantum touch and even ho’oponopono. I could feel a shift and I knew I’d live, I just needed deep rest. After a warm bath (we don’t have a big enough water heater and two very sweaty boys needed the water pretty badly!) I collapsed into bed.

I slept on and off until 1 pm today. I haven’t done that in…well, longer than I can recall. I did not do anything today. I sat. I watched the wind blow against the grass. I looked at my messy house and I sat some more. My mind told me to get out of the chair and get to work, my body said, sit. And I listened. This totally goes against my will. I am usually doing something but not today.

This evening I find that my cough has subsided. I’m still on the tired side but I won’t require anything more than sleep. I’ve nourished myself with several rounds of blue violet and chickweed tea, hot bath with espsom salts and baking soda, essential oils, Vic’s vapor rub and soup. It’s not fun to be under the weather but something tells me had I listened before, I quite possibly could’ve alleviated this ailment. And then again, maybe this aliment was what I needed to remind me of the importance of listening, resting and taking care of my body. Either way, I got the message loud and clear! I'm off to enjoy one more round of herbal tea and then another deep, rest. Tomorrow I should be back on track.

What lessons have your “ailments” taught you?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This week's word: GOALS!

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Hi Friends! I hope this blog post finds you cozy, comfy and in a peace-filled state of mind. I’m preparing for a super busy week, one that is filled to the brim with “go”! I’m ready. I may not know EXACTLY what’s on the rise, though I’ll be prepared for it as much as possible. Looking down the barrel at the next five days, tomorrow is the only night that I don’t have some type of event or activity happening. Time management has become second nature and though the internal clock is always tickin’ I’m learning to find ways to enjoy myself as well.

This week’s word, (and I’d lourve your input!) is GOALS. I’ve been working through Marci Shimoff’s “Happy for No Reason” course as well as Paul Scheele’s Genius Code. I noticed that my goals/intentions are really “down to earth”. There was nothing earth shattering or impossible on my list. Just about everything I wrote down was “do-able”. Some goals will take time (that I currently don’t have an excessive amount of). Some goals will take money (quite a bit of it actually) but many of the goals that I hold are not that far out there. It’s not that I’m afraid to dream big, it IS that I know where I’m at right now, energetically, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, financially……

I’d gladly welcome a large sum of money landing in my lap (I’m sure Id find some way to channel it!) and yet, I know that my goals are “rich” and entail much more consideration than, “can I afford this?” Instead I ask, “is this the best way to use my time, talents and resources?”

My major goal right now is getting my master’s degree. I had no idea that I would ever travel down this path. I love reading. I love libraries. I love technology. What I’ve learned: enjoy the journey. Unlike other classes and experiences, I’m not trying to power through the requirements. I’m doing something every day to inch toward this goal. I’m settling in, enjoying the journey and absorbing all I can. Instead of focusing on “getting done” I’m focusing on doing what I need to do AND then TOTALLY FEEDING MY SOUL throughout the day. I tend to put myself last and one of my goals for 2012 is changing this up and doing something that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE daily...not just when I feel I have time to do it.

This week, I’ll contine focusing on goals, what I want to do, where I want to go, what I want to experience and what I’m willing to invest. Please join me. You’re invited to share what you’d like to do from here on. What is your greatest hope? What do you focus on every day? What have you committed to and what have you learned from this? How are you caring for yourself while working toward this goal?


Feel free to post here or on Facebook! I look forward to hearing about your experiences with GOALS!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inspiration Is...doing what you heart

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I found this great little reminder yesterday on a free printables web link. The author is Lori McDonough. I printed it to add color to this week. Based on my time, I may only get a couple of letters in today...and with my newly adopted version of any cre8tive time is quality time, "that'll do".

Inspiration for me comes when I least expect and usually always when I am most certainly NOT looking for it. In fact sometimes it arrives when my mind believes that "this really isn't a good time". In truth, we don't look for inspiration, it looks for us. If we are open, flowing, ready to absorb and relfect, then we see, feel, touch, taste, smell, hear and experience inspiration. And if it isn't the right time now, then there'll likely be another time in the future.


Even in our most busy alignment, we can purposely notice when inspiration has found us. Thanks to all the beautiful souls who have left me "inspiring" emails and notes today. I'm encouraging you to share these with others (and know that I'll also keep your privacy, if you've indicated this in the email!) I'm delighted this is offering an opportunity for reflection!

If you'd like to post your examples of Inspiration on your Facebook wall, you are welcome to tag me in it so that others who visit my wall can see!

I'm blessed to be connected to such awesome, cre8tive beings!

Robyn

Monday, February 6, 2012

ShareYour Inspiration!!!!

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Since the new calendar year begin in January, I’v shifted my focus from the outer world to my inner being. I went through a really rough patch at the end of December. While I’m not a “whiner and complainer” by nature, I couldn’t help but notice themes of victimhood, sadness, lost hope, direction and grief. I’ve learned through my Journey practice that all emotions are “welcome here”. I no longer exclude those heavy, less than desirable ones as they are just emotions and “they too pass”. I also took them as signs that I was off track and out of alignment with my truest self.

I was determined to get "my groove back" but since I didn't know where I even lost it, I felt the best plan was to take a month to observe and what I noticed was that I was taking less time for me, specifically less time to putter, to play, to honor my creative muse. This type of deep, inner reflection has been supported by the winter season. Naturally this is a time to go within, see “what’s here” and clarify our intentions. While I notice that I don't have a lot of time to spare, I also notice that having time to create, share, inspire and be inspired is as important to me as eating nutritious, healthy food, exercising, brushing my teeth, and even breathing fresh air. As silly as it may sound, by not doing something creative daily, I lost my sense of direction. I think this is easy to do in the busy lives many of us lead.

In the past I’ve put my creative vibrations on hold for when I had more time. I dare not begin working on a card or writing something if I didn’t have time to finish my project because I may not get back to it for a month and I can’t stand leaving things incomplete! So instead of taking a few minutes to “create” I by-passed my creative urgings and just kept on working. In doing so, I wasn’t happier or more efficient….I was crabby! (True confession here…I know it’s hard to believe ;)

I have a strong feeling there are many others in the same non-creative canoe. We all know the value of prioritizing, yet I can easily prioritize myself away from what my heart and spirit most thrives on. My creative musings aren’t works of art, they aren’t masterpieces. They aren’t always for meaningful! Instead they are simply results of what happens when I allow my spirit to open, flow and create. If they do happen to inspire others, why that would tickle me pink, purple, yellow, orange and green! (Like exercise, I don’t do it to “get skinny” I walk, bike, hike and golf for the sheer enjoyment of moving and being outside.)

So it came to me that it would incredibly fun and it would also keep me accountable to my desire of consciously making creative time in my life if I invited others to join me. I am blessed with amazingly creative friends! My heart’s desire is to come together as a virtual community with the soul intention of having a creative forum to share, inspire and be inspired!

I’ll be post a word of the week, probably on Sunday and I'm inviting you to share how the word relates to you, what it means and how you’ve incorporated it into your week! You can drawn, doodle, paint, sew, knit, scrapbook, photograph, write, record, sing, dance, cook and DO ANYTHING that comes to mind, anything CREATIVE that you’d like to share with others of like heart and spirit.

You can leave your “musings” right here on the blog or on my Facebook wall. You can email me at crea8tivecowgirl@gmail.com to share any stories as well! I’ll post a new word each Sunday.

How about if we start this week with…..INSPIRATION? That feels fitting doesn't it?