Saturday, January 26, 2013

Desert Magic

sometimes nature
does a little showing off
no holds barred
really lets it all hang out

 and every once in a while
we find ourselves lucky enough
to be witness
to such a show

 there’s something about the desert…
in winter
before, during or after a storm
it’s one of those special shows

 how grateful i am
to have been part
of such a performance

(pure magic....)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


amongst the thorns, beauty can grow….

 have you ever felt like an outsider?  i’m pretty sure there is not a person on the planet who could answer no to that question.  for some it may be a rare experience though, while for others it may be much more pervasive.  and the associated emotions may run the range from slightly uncomfortable to heart-wrenching and everything else in between. 

 my friend soraya has some familiarity with this feeling and choose to devote a whole art journal to exploring it.  what she created in the process of doing that was something so special that, upon serious consideration, she decided to submit to art journaling magazine as a means to share with others.  apparently she struck a chord with her expression.  her work was gifted with the magazine cover as well as a 6 page spread inside.  you just never know! (gorgeous magazine btw!)

Way to go, Soraya!!

 as i was reading through her thought-provoking article i started thinking how we are all outsiders in one way or another.  it’s definitely part of the human experience.  we all have our issues and areas where we feel we don’t fit in.  take me for example.  while on the surface i appear pretty average.  caucasian.  middle class.  american citizen from birth.  ancestors from europe.  grew up in the midwest… 

 but i left that culture almost 40 years ago.  so when i visit i definitely feel like an “outsider”.  even more impactful though for me is the fact that i never had children. this often puts me in the category of outsider.  get a group of women together and what do they want to talk about?  well, nowadays it’s more grandchildren than their own kids, but you get the idea. 

 there are a lot of other things that put me in this position as well. as a child i struggled greatly at times with trying to fit in with the group.  i wasn’t as social as so many others (still am not) and at times that caused me a lot of grief.  (i sometimes just want to have a good heart to heart with my little girl self!)

 i really love the idea of exploring and even embracing our outsider-ness.  in some of my workshops we do an exercise called “i’m a little different” which is an attempt to isolate each person’s unique-ness (or outsider-ness) and then build that into some form of creative expression. 

  it’s cathartic.  and healing.  i plan to follow up on this idea in my own journaling and pass it on to the girls i am working with.  thank you soraya, for bringing it all out into the open!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Intention Specifics (and Tucson)

 my intention with this post (ok, i’ll try not to over-use that word!) is to share some of the specifics related to my word of the year… and also to share some of the many pics from our recent trip to the tucson area.  

Pima County Courthouse

Yes, there are skyscrapers!

At the historic Presidio
 we did something different every day while we were there, so i’ve tried to choose a few that would capture that variety and also some of the essence of this lovely southwestern area.  this post will show the more civilized areas and i will save the natural settings for another post. 

Tubac shopping and so much ART!
History in Tubac

 in general terms, my intentions are to:

nurture my creative spirit
nurture my healthy body
nurture my relationships
inspire, encourage and share whatever i can with those around me

St. Augustine Cathedral

Ranch House at Colossal Cave

  that keeps things pretty simple.  beyond this, i have many specifics as well which i won’t enumerate.  and i’m going to try to work with “intention-setting” as a new practice.  it still feels a little awkward for me, but i know it will evolve with time! 

San Xavier Mission exterior

San Zavier interior (amazing!!)
Downtown Tucson
 i have a notebook (of course!) to document brainstorming
 ideas and generally keep track of things.  i’m excited about the possibilities! 

Inside Colossal Cave

Titan Missile Museum

in other news, i have started my grant teaching and added a recent update to my inside out project

Our host on New Year's Eve

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Word of the Year 2013

intentions are bred
in the delicate depths
of our being
they come from
the seeds that are scattered
across the soulfield of experience

they sprout forth
peeking shyly above the soil
often turned back inside
never feeling the sun’s full rays

they need to be named and noticed
spoken of
called out
nourished and kneaded
watered and tended to

soin lies their power
no longer dormant
but thriving and flourishing
like a flame
which severs the darkness

San Xavier Mission

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Love when this Happens!

i definitely have more to say about my chosen word “intention”… but i also have a boatload of pics from our recent trip to the tucson area and want to share some of them before they become old news and i get involved in other things.

one of the things i love about the southwestern states is the native american influence.  i have often thought that i may have been the member of one tribe or another in some former life.  the music, the customs, the fires, the homage to the earth and natural things… it all excites me and feels, in a way, somehow familiar.  coming from dutch heritage and growing up in the midwest…. go figure!

 anyway, when we were tooling around downtown Tucson on foot we happened upon la cocina (“tucson’s venue with a menu”). not only was the food fantastic, but your dog can be at the table with you.  the outdoor courtyard is surrounded by artisans, studios and historical shops (you can browse while waiting for your food!).  there’s a stage set up and the aztec dancers were just getting ready to perform.  perfect timing and i had my camera!

the dancers were a family from mexico city (ok, technically not native american), very sweet and informative about what they were doing.  i spoke with them afterwards and bought a few of their crafts.  even though i am not a city girl, this was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  totally unexpected….right at the dawn of the new year... i love when that happens!! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Choosing my Word

Toasting the new year from our desert casita

i thought i had it a month ago.... i even had this nice clean progression:

2010: justbe – it was the transition from the hectic work life to a different, slower way of being and seeing myself

2011: imagine – i needed to do some active brain-storming to look at lots of possibilities for the future

2012: venture – the idea was to turn some of those ideas into reality – to step up and act on the ideas i had generated

2013: focus – all that venturing moved me forward in lots of different directions... my idea was to reign it in a little and focus on what’s most important

Pondering the future at Saguaro National Park

 perfect, right?  well, i’m not known for my decisiveness and this was no exception.  focus fit in some ways but didn’t have the feeling i was looking for.  many other words presented themselves to me, each with compelling reasons to choose them.  but if you have too many words, well, then you lose focus, right?  ha ha, back to that. 

The saguaros seem to have big open arms

the other word that has stayed with me is intention.  i really like the idea of setting intentions before i do things and i haven’t really practiced this, though i have heard from many sources of how powerful that can be.  as i get older, i don’t want to spin my wheels or waste time on stuff that’s basically meaningless.  i want to act intentionally as much as possible.  to live on purpose.

Thought this was a good sign for the new year!!

 the other thing i like about this word is that it really is closely related to focus so i can tie that in as well.  in other words, my intention is to focus on........ more on this next time.  for now, i’m happy that i have a new word for the new year and knowing now after the last 3 years what an impact it can have, i’m excited to see where it will take me! 

Last new year, there was a heart wind chime where we stayed, this year a bear... (??)

 i’ve already written about the results of my venturing here and here.  i loved the name of this shop in tucson and thought i would use it to remind me that justbe, imagine and venture are not going away…. they are part of me now and here to stay!  

i hope it is a magical and meaningful year for you also (hoping to catch up soon!!)