Thursday, December 31, 2009

On the Brink (part 3 of 3)

sooooo....... the days have run out..... the lessons re-learned.......where is it all leading???? well, if i'm to take my own lessons seriously, it's obvious that i don't need to know. i have a strong feeling that i am truly on the brink of something important for my future - something that will utilize my strengths in a new way and something that will actually make a difference (not to mention maybe bring in a few bucks!) but i have already spent way too much time and energy being frustrated that i don't know what it is. ITS OK NOT TO KNOW!! i'm starting to get that!

one thing that is very encouraging for me right now it that the words are coming back. when we set out to explore the country in our motorhome in 2001, i sensed that i might have some creative instincts, but i had no idea what they were. after a month or 2 on the road, i started taking lots of pictures, but more surprisingly, i started writing poetry. i had not done this before and it seemed as though the words, in some miraculous and serendipitous manner, would just fly into my head as i was hiking. this continued as we traveled, but not much afterwards, as i documented here:


Poetry Window 6/15/02

You opened so easily

Effortlessly really

Barely a nudge brought

A silken sliding

Brisk soothing breezes

Rustled the lacy curtains and

My words poured forth

Like icy lemonade

On an August afternoon

South Carolina, Georgia, Texas –

The window stayed open

The sunlit summer of my soul

Wallowing in the steady winds of change

New nightly nests

Nurtured new ideas

Wellsprings of words

And the window stayed open

Not prepared for the



Stuck there

Sealed with the weight of

Work and worry

Finance figures and furniture

The well ran dry

The window is closed

It may take a miracle

To pry it open again

that window did open again as documented here:

Lightning 9/22/02

I’m not writing

today I have nothing to say but

the pen and the paper just won’t go

away I need a small break I’ve spilled

out my last thought yet somehow

my mind whirls and – voila

I’m caught with the pen racing

madly the blank page disappears before I know

what hit me I’m immersed to

my ears In a verse or a

poem something totally

new that just struck me

like lightning fresh out of the blue

I gratefully seize these brain bursts that

occur - I grab them I keep them

I’ll read them next year

and it feels open now, at least for the moment, so i go forward with hope in my heart, plunging head-first into the beauty and uncertainty that is the year 2010. much love to you as you do the same and i hope that our paths will continue to cross!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Brink (part 2 of 3) The Lesson List

some lessons i can master pretty well on the first try and then there are those other ones - you know the ones - you learn and relearn and then, just when you think you've got it, well, it keeps you humble, you know? so in no particular order, these are some of the lessons i have been trying to re-learn this year:

anthony lakes, eastern oregon

• sometimes the tiniest, seemingly most insignificant act can have an impact that i can't even fathom

• every story has (at least) 2 sides. every. single. story.

• holding people to expectations i think they should meet can end up causing a lot of grief

• holding circumstances to expectations i think they should meet can end up causing a lot of grief

• i have something in common with every other person, even though it may not be readily apparent

• tapping into the creative work of others is useful for inspirational purposes – not for comparison!!

• no matter how impossible to see at the time, difficulties will always reveal that silver lining at some point in the future – that’s how life works

i do not need to know all the answers. living with uncertainty and openness is its own adventure.


i could go on, but theses are the ones that jump out at me at the moment.

also, if you want to do something powerful for yourself in 2010, read the power of now and/or a new earth by eckhart tolle. if you have already read them, read them again. trust me, there is waaaaay too much in there to be absorbed in one read-through!!!

coming soon - stay tuned for one more episode of "on the brink"!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Brink (part 1 of 3)

it has certainly been a year like no other for me and i'm trying right now to sift through my experiences and capture any hidden gems that might still be buried in the rubble, waiting to enlighten me with a message or 2 before i don my hiking boots and step out into the uncharted territory of 2010 (!) .....

i've decided to break this up into 3 little chapters and to intersperse some of my favorite snow scenes from the year so that you have something to look at in the midst of all this philosophizing! although we don't get any snow here, i have had some opportunities to be in the presence of snow several times this year and wanted to share.

nederland, colorado, september

oh yes, i have had my struggles this year. but in looking back and trying to analyze and learn i realize that all of these struggles existed in the same place - right there smack-dab in the middle of my own head!

i didn’t struggle for survival or for safety, i didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table or a roof over my head or clothes on my body. believe me, i don’t take any of these things for granted, so i am truly grateful for this! i also wasn’t sick a single day and didn’t have any major personal disagreements with anyone. as i write this out, i’m thinking, wow, how lucky am i!

joseph, oregon, june

instead, my struggles were more of the "who-am-i-anyway-without-my-job?, didn't-anyone-notice-what-i've-been-doing-for-the-last-3-decades?, what-happened-to-all-my-so-called-friends?, what-the-heck-do-i-want-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life? and how-can-i-make-a-difference?" variety. not earth-shattering by most standards, but daunting and self-shaking to the core at times, nonetheless.

so i had my share of disappointment, anxiety, sadness, grief, uncertainty, poor self-esteem and unrealized dreams. who doesn’t? some of these feelings lasted much longer and were more persistent than i would have liked or anticipated, but probably the biggest lesson i have learned (in very small steps and with much practice) is to let those negative thoughts go before they spiral out of control. i really think i am doing better on this!

stay tuned for part 2, my lesson list....


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums

while visions of sugarplums danced in her head.....

and one more thing for you dog-lovers out there -
I swear, this had me laughing and crying at the same time - enjoy!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Wish for You

this is truly my wish for you

that brightness fill the corners of your life

we all know that that light can only come from within

but sometimes the circumstances can pile on so deep

that only a pick, ax and shovel

can uncover a measly spark

my wish is that when your spark gets buried

you will never forget about it

that you will do whatever it takes to retrieve it

and that when you find that fledgling spark

no matter how small

that you will nurture it tenderly

give it some healthy air to breathe

bring it right out into the open

and, well, that's all you need to do.....

now sit back and watch what happens!

much love and holiday cheer to you!!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's All Christmas!

i used to really anticipate christmas, you know, counting the days, just couldn't wait (even as an adult!) then finally the day would come and it would all be over so quickly. but i finally became wise enough to realize that starting with that first candy cane and christmas cookie, those dogs dressed like santa, the kid-made ornaments, the lights on the palm trees, opening cards from far away with adorable pictures inside, the pageants and parades and kisses under the misletoe (ok, maybe not that annoying christmas music they play in the stores before halloween) ITS ALL CHRISTMAS and it lasts for a good long time. whether or not you celebrate the main event of christmas, there is a lot of joy and giving out there if you are willing (and unstressed enough) to find it so don't let it pass you by!

here's an image from a couple years ago when i was just discovering the joys of photoshop.  yes, it's a photo, taken in my living room.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quantity vs. quality

at our house, we’ve kind been going with quantity over quality when it comes to christmas gifts. so what if you get some socks or post-it notes? at least you have a lot of presents to open! the best part, though, is that we know some families who are struggling (who doesn't, these days?) and since we don't really need any big-ticket items, it allows us to help out. so it's kind of a win-win!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


i'm not much of a baker, but something about the holidays just brings out the betty crocker in me and i get the urge to create something in my own kitchen. i've made these cranberry pecan tassies before and, while i always remember how yummy they are, i never seem to remember how majorly time and labor intensive they are. each of the 48 little pastry shells has to be individually pinched and kneaded into place - quite a project!

so was it worth it?? well, i let my husband be the first taste-tester and these are his exact words:

i guess i would call that success!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dark and Light

i'm an early riser, but, man - it's hard to get out of bed these days - my bed is like a warm and comforting cocoon shielding me from the harsh, cold world (contrary to public opinion, it does get cold here, especially in the morning, and since heat is inefficient and expensive, we rarely use it) oh, and it's seriously dark, and lately, rainy. in the end, it's all the big and little projects that start calling my name and battering my brain that drive my out and over the edge of the bed....

on the lighter are a couple of new images i am using for cards and magnets.  hope one of them speaks to you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


it's been a while since i have been to the actual ocean (even tho it is only 9 miles away), but i thought a calming ocean poem would be a tiny breather for you in the midst of the hecticness that this time of the year can escalate into if we're not careful.  inhale.......  exhale....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Light, You Amaze Me!

we had a rare whopper of a storm yesterday, which gave me an opportunity to have some fun with my camera, inside and out...

the light breaks through..... the only (very short-lived) moment of sunlight during the day, just before it headed down over the horizon.  it was still raining at the time, pretty cool!

this was how the yard looked lit up by that very same sunlight

back inside, playing around with the Christmas tree lights

and one more....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Core Values

been wanting to post this for a while....  one of the exercises that the lovely andrea led us in at the bepresent retreat in October was designed to help us define a set of core values for this particular time in our lives, based loosely on attributes that we admire in other people. i got to work with sweet friend kate. we coaxed each other along and this is the list i ended up with. these ideas have stayed with me and serve as trailmarkers on my journey.

some thoughts about how these ideas figure into my life at the moment....

#1 - when i upgraded photoshop, i got a free trial with and i am totally hooked! for me it is easiest and most painless way to master every type of software that you can imagine. i am learning so much - check it out!

#2 - there is a lot of nasty fighting going on right now in my local art group (yelling, accusations, negative emails, etc.) being able to see both sides keeps me from getting emotionally attached to one side or the other and alienating a lot of folks in the process.

#3 - i think it's a good reminder around the holidays as so many walking among us are struggling and hurting. there but for the grace of god....

#4 - it's been kind of a serious year for me. in spite of the distractions of a lot of traveling and fun, the anxiety of worrying about losing my job and this whole transition out of the work world has left me with plenty of negative thoughts, isolation and self-doubt. so pretty much daily i resolve not to take it so seriously, laugh a lot and concentrate on the many positive things in my life.

#5 - this was easy when i was out there teaching special needs kids every day. i know i will get there again in a different way, but at the moment i am struggling with just what my contribution will be. i have faith that some day it's going to be something amazing!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's That Time of Year

ok, so we don't get snow and frigid temperatures around here -there's still no mistaking the holiday season

because my christmas cactus is in bloom!

took these yesterday out on my deck.