Monday, March 30, 2009

Stop "Should"-ing on Myself

I subscribe to a blog I've mentioned here before: 37Days. All I can say is "Do it." Patti Digh (who lives and mothers and writes in Asheville) created this blog to honor many things, not the least of which are the stories we all hold and love to hear and tell. Patti is constantly telling her story... and asking her readers to tell theirs.

I'm Southern. We are born storytellers. I learned it from the best: my mother.

Today is Day 4 of Patti's 37 Day Challenge: What one thing can you change in your life for 37 days? Just one thing. Your choice. And stick with it. She offers a contract to make with yourself. She even offers a Bingo scorecard to keep for yourself (created by a reader. Other reasons I so appreciate what Patti does is because she is always encouraging art from the heart and she creates community wherever she is).

I have chosen to stop "should"-ing on myself for 37 days. You know "should"-ing: "I should do this" or "I should not do that" or "he shouldn't think that way" or "she shouldn't wear that sweater" or "I ought to be more forgiving" or "I ought not to eat that chocolate"... "should"-ing on ourselves. I have chosen, instead, to say "I want to..." or "I don't want to...". It's much more honest and less guilt-filled (another thing my beloved mom taught me... how to be a martyr.)

I started this on Day 1 and today is Day 4. I'm pleased to say that it's going well.

This past weekend, I participated in a "Festival of Healing and Awareness" in Greenville, SC, my first art show in over a year and my first time at this one. And while the traffic was low, I am very pleased with the reception my jewelry received! I not only sold many pieces of my jewelry but also received a lot of very positive feedback from folks who didn't purchase (I understand that we can't buy everything we love, although we want to... notice I didn't say "should"!). The timing of this is perfect (as always): I had begun to let my focus be distracted from my artwork and wander to other things such as volunteering, etc. So, instead of saying "I should stay on as a volunteer there", I have chosen to say, "I don't want to dilute my focus on my art" and have resigned from some of these responsibilities. Right now, my time and energy is better spent focusing on my artwork, on what I love... and on what I have had so much affirmation over the past couple of days.

My art has shifted since my pilgrimage to England last summer. Not surprisingly, the pieces that people most liked were my newest pieces (and higher priced because more time and costly materials went into them). I didn't expect these to sell as well as they did because of our economic times. So I was proven wrong by a number of people (and I appreciate the correction!). It reinforces "if you do what you love, the rest will follow". The Universe proves true again!

Thanks to Jan Posey (CEO of A Class Act! which has produced these festivals for 11 years!) who brings all these gifted and interesting people together. She pointed out that 5 is the number for freedom, so I am including crop circles in this post with 5 main parts.

We vendors also were assisted by Daniella, a feng shui practitioner, who positioned each of us according to our birthdates in the most advantageous locations and directions for "wealth". Additionally, Daniella helped me better arrange my table display and my seating so that I would have more "wealth" flow. Boy, did that help! Thank you, Daniella (who did this out of the generosity of her heart without knowing many of the vendors there) for helping encourage this flow abundance.

It was a great group of people, folks offering items for sale as well as services (energy work, massage, reiki, readings, etc.). There are two such festivals in Greenville annually and two in Columbia, SC, each year. I am applying for the Columbia show (in July).

Much of my newest jewelry has photos of crop circles or the Chalice Well in Glastonbury on the back of the pendants that add a little "secret" for the wearer. It was such a joy to talk with folks who have visited crop circles or Glastonbury or Stonehenge, etc. or who knew what special places those sacred sites are and plan to visit them some day.
So I'm going to close now, not because I should, but because I want to start working on another necklace.

I hope you fill your day with your own choices!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Bliss

Have you ever noticed how green the plants appear in fog or under dark clouds? The greens seem to pop. I love the contrast of green and grey. Not only was it my first impression of England (back in 1981, when breaking through the clouds during our landing descent into Heathrow) but grey really does cause everything else to brighten. Like the soft pink sprinkles of a weeping cherry tree in our backyard. These trees are just breathtaking when they are big, old, and full! Ours, although older, has been shaded by other taller trees for years and years. Sadly, we lost a 72 foot white oak in a hurricane a couple of years ago (we're still warming our house with some of its wood!) and the Chinese chestnut is starting to decline with age and isn't shading it as much as in previous years. So the weeping cherry is getting more sunlight, and therefore is blooming more. Both sides of the coin: death and birth. The way of the Earth.

This is our fourth day of rain and/or mist. It's almost like Nature has formed a coccoon around the mountains in anticipation of spring's burst of blooms and flight. The weeping willows (another favorite) are feathering out. Frost was right: "Spring's first green is gold." I love how trees and bushes seem to tremble with color just before the new leaves/buds sprout. There's a subtle excitement in the air that I can feel and almost see. And the smell of that first spring rain is such a joy to me! It's as though the dirt is rising to catch those first drops, eager for reunion and interplay. One can smell the Earth's excitement!

As I think about Nature's excitement, my mind wanders back to this past summer when I visited crop circles in Wiltshire County, England. The circles we visited were in fields of barley. They are not always found in fields of grain; however most are reported in England, specifically the Wiltshire region.

Crop circles are created by electromagnetic energy that somehow form perfect, natural, and exquisite works of art. The energy causes great heat, but only lasts split seconds so that the crops are not burned. The crops are bent at growth nodes but not harmed; eventually, the stalks straighten and the grain finishes maturing for the harvest. That's one difference between naturally-occurring crop circles and the man-made hoax circles: the hoaxes damage the crops (they are also not perfectly created; even I can recognize a hoax with its irregular lines and faulty geometry when I see one and I'm no expert!)

I had never walked through a field of grain before. I've been in cornfields, but that is completely different from barley or wheat or oats. The day was overcast and windy, and as we were walking out of the field, the sun started peeking through the clouds. So I watched the fields come alive as it partnered with the winds and the sun. The grain danced with the wind and laughed as the sun shone between the clouds. I felt that I was observing a living being. It was like watching the ocean, always moving and changing and singing and sacred it in its place on the Earth. And then I was overcome by an exquisite sense of bliss from the grain: for the first time in my life I truly understood the term "staff of life". I was surrounded by life and the joy that the grain held.

Some farmers fear the circles because they don't understand what causes them and so consider them vandalism or -- worse yet -- works of evil. They mow them down as soon as they discover them. Some farmers, however, have small boxes at the gates to their fields so that people who visit the crop circles can leave a small donation. There is a specific etiquette to visiting crop circles: only walk in the tram lines, do not destroy any crops, and always close gates behind you are three of the most important.

Our guide, Francine Baker (an internationally-known authority on crop circles), maintains they are created by "higher intelligences". I'll leave that to your own interpretation, just as she left it to each of us to choose how to interpret her term. However, whoever or whatever creates these works of art is loving and peace-filled because when I was in the circles, I felt healing and peaceful energy coming from the phenomenon.

Francine has worked with the crop circles for 20 years. French Canadian, Francine traveled to England to study ancient symbols more than two decades ago and once she discovered crop circles, she never left. Circles incorporate ancient symbols and sacred geometry.
Not only has she studied the symbols, but Francine has also done scientific research on the circles, taking samples of grain and earth from the circles for independent scientific analysis. The effect of the energy literally changes the chemistry of the dirt that the circles are in. We all know that heat chemically changes whatever it affects. So it makes sense that the grain and the earth is chemically changed. And circles often occur in the same fields from season to season. That is because they are often located on "ley lines", or Earth energy lines.

As we left the circle we walked single file along the tram lines. I flashed on the scene from "The Gladiator" when the hero was dreaming of reuniting with his family, and he was walking through a beautiful field of grain, his fingertips brushing the bearded seed heads. The sun was golden and the grain was dancing in the breeze. It was a vivid and sensuous scene: watch it, one could almost feel the grain and hear its whispers. I asked Carla in front of me, "Did you see "The Gladiator"?" and she answered, "Yes. I know exactly which scene you're talking about."

As I was leaving the field, I felt absolute bliss from the grain and the earth. And I had another scene flash in my head. I "saw" the farmers planting their grain seeds in the early spring in rows of rich earth. I saw the seeds germinate in their dark earthy womb, sprouting delicate roots and the first stem that would push through to the surface and the sun. I saw these seeds growing and strengthening, deepening their roots in the rich soil that had been enriched by the previous crop circles created there and lengthening and lifting their first leaves into the air and to the sky. I saw them facing the sky and holding up their leaves and joyfully exclaiming, "Do me! Do me!" like a child begging to be tickled. The vision still makes me grin.

So these are some of the reasons I love crop circles and want to keep them in the forefront of my mind: they are benevolent and beautiful, amazing and awesome. We are surrounded by miracles all the time, and some of them are so outstanding and astounding that we just can't ignore them or write them off as coincidence. That is the magic and miracle of crop circles.

I hope you see the miracles around you today.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Perfect Stillness

I couldn't resist including this today, from Finding Beauty In A Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams, an environmentalist committed to showing human's impact on the land:

"I watched prairie dogs every day rise before the sun, stand with their paws pressed together facing the rising sun in total stillness for up to 30 minutes. And then I watched them at the end of the day take that same gesture 30 minutes before the sun goes down they would press their palms together in perfect stillness. I don't mean to anthropomorphize, but when you look at a creature that has survived over the millennium begin and end each day in that kind of stance, it causes one to think about one's own life and speed and rapidity in which we live."

And this picture reminded me of this poem by Pablo Neruda:

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much
It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.

-from Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon
I guess these thoughts on stillness struck me today because I am still following a delicate, fragile inner strand that is telling me how to regain and maintain balance in my life. I know stillness is part of the process. Conversely (no pun intended), I also just started an intentional walking practice this morning. And while walking and stillness might sound like opposites, I think my walks help focus the inner stillness that feeds my creative spirit.

I've been thinking about doing this for years... and especially since becoming unemployed. Get up in the morning, take the kids to school, and go for a walk with the intention of finding and following my path. The operative word in that statement is "thinking". But this weekend, I read a post by Patti Digh on her 37 Days blog (check it out; it's wonderful! And if you haven't read/practiced the book, please do!). Patti, who lives in Asheville, has made a commitment to running a half-marathon in May in Cincinnatti. She is training for it with trepidation. A reader wrote her a beautiful message of encouragement. I was so inspired by Patti's courage to follow through on what she fears that I have made a commitment of support for her by intentionally walking every day. Literally "Walking the Talk".

I used to be a strong walker. I loved to walk and would do it just for the heck of it. I remember walking with someone decades ago who commented on what a good, strong walker I was (while I was just walking!). Now my steps are heavier and slower, my stride shorter and stiffer. I need to become more flexible and strong physically so that I can do the same mentally and emotionally, and walking is just the ticket. So while I can't physically cheer Patti on at the race and congratulate her as she crosses the finish line, I can add my energy and commitment to hers -- while increasing my own and finding my way at the same time. Win-win!

So today I went for a walk at Connemara, Carl Sandburg's home which is only a few miles from our own. Connemara is a National Historic Site and is beautifully and lovingly maintained. There is a small lake below the house and a trail circling it surrounded by trees and rhododendron thickets and birds and quiet, peaceful joy. It's no wonder Carl and his wife Lillian decided to settle there; it was the perfect spot for them and their family: enough space for him to "dirty paper" (as he called it) and her to raise her award-winning goats. Make a visit, take a walk and it is clear why a writer could be so prolific there.
Today, while the crows were cawing in the early morning chill, I walked around the lake. As the tree tops captured the sun, the mosses caught my eye and my imagination. I want to find some green velvet and wash it in the washing machine and see if it comes out resembling moss so I can use it on a journal or a book or a pendant or something.
I imagined being a wood sprite and how I would set up home deep in the forest. I would sleep on moss in a bark home with cicada wing windows on a foundation of an old oak stump. Spider silk would surround my soft green bed made of fragrant cedar wood and comforted with down-filled ginko pillows and spring green leaf quilts. A laughing stream would sing to me all day, and I would serve tea in acorn caps in the fall and winter and honeysuckle blossoms in the spring and summer. Birds would be regular, curious visitors. I would be friends with all the animals. There would be no fear in the forest, only wisdom, sharing, and laughter.

(These pictures are not from Connemara, although they share green. They are from St. Nectan's Glen in Cornwall, England. I took them this summer. But that's another story for another day.)

I'm looking forward to the visions tomorrow's walk will open for me! Thanks to Carl and Lillian and Patti for the inspiration.

I hope you find your joy-filled visions today.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Teasing Nature

For 14 years, we have lived in a wonderful old Craftsman home with beautiful old plantings gracing our yard and standing sentry for our home. Among the old oaks and magnolias and camellias is a stunted white tulip tree. It is small; it may be declining, I can't quite tell (all our old dogwoods have been declining and dying because of the mountain blight that has held them hostage for many years). Our tulip tree blooms at the same time her pink sisters do, in early spring. Early enough so that there is often a biting frost between the blossoms peeking out of their brown blankets and the blooms opening fully to the sun.

I took these photographs of some of the white blossoms on Friday, amazed at the beauty of the blooms (which I had never seen because of those freezing night frosts). The blossoms are delicate, and in the morning light, they looked as though they were poised to take flight.

Sadly, Mother Nature is a tease this time of year: while our days have been lovely, sunny, and fairly warm, our past 2 nights have been at or below freezing. This morning's frost was too much for the brave tulip, and all but a handful of her blossoms were burned brown by the temperature. It makes the fact that I saw the pure white beauty -- albeit briefly -- that much more special. Another lesson in transience.

I hope you see the beauty around you today!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Celebrating Spring Equinox

Blessed Spring Equinox!
There are many ways to celebrate the Vernal Equinox, which is when daylight and night are exactly the same. Imagine how happy the ancients were for the lengthening days and warmer nights! Our plants and flowers continue those celebrations, even while we humans artificially expand daylight and warmth.

There are eight solar-oriented holydays each year, the major ones are the two solstices and two equinoxes: winter solstice and summer solstice and spring and fall equinox. The winter solstice brings us the longest night of the year while summer solstice brings us the longest day of the year. Spring and fall equinoxes are, of course, half-way between the solstices and offer an equal length of day and night. They are 16 weeks apart. Minor holydays fall in between these four to round out the turning of the wheel of the year. More on other holydays in future posts.

The Vernal Equinox is a perfect day to celebrate balance. As I wrote before, I am seeking to find balance within myself, my family, my work, my world. Tonight, my family will spend time talking about how we are going to try to establish balance in ourselves and within our family; we've gotten quite out of balance recently.

Spring is also a time of fertility and growth. While I've not tried it yet, I understand that if you place an egg on its end on the Vernal Equinox, it will stand up because of the balance of the earth's tilt. Try it. Another name for this holyday is Ostara, the derivative of Easter, in celebration of OEster, the goddess of fertility. That's why we celebrate Easter with eggs and chicks and bunnies: fertility.
So I am celebrating new growth with the equinox.
I wish you wondrous new growth within balance this season!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Balance and chaos

I am starting to feel a little more comfortable with blogging. My question is how do I keep up with this and leave enough time for creating art? My questions are always about balance. Whether it's working outside of the home or at home, the key is in balance. I have not created for a week or so, and I feel like a carbonated drink that has been shaken and is ready to blow! We had some chaos in our family that caused distractions from life's routines, but that has settled down some (teenagers! Need I say more?). Now I am acutely aware of the clutter and chaos surrounding me in my studio (repurposed from our living room!), so I am itching to sort and straighten so I can focus on art instead of everything trying to distract me. I also know that not only is the clutter visually distracting, but everything carries energy and too much of that can be very distracting!

I am remembering the self-defeating believe one who works in the home has to battle: that not working outside the home means I have all the time in the world to do everything (and I am a life junkie, so I want to do everything)! I am reading a wonderful book right now (ah, the time to read! What a luxury!) entitled The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. McMeekin interviewed about 45 creative women to glean their thoughts on how to be creative. It's a fine book, informative and thought provoking as well as offering challenges to the reader to follow through on ideas.
I am pretty avid about using highlighters when I'm reading books, and this one is already marked on every page. I relish quotes and McMeekin does, too, because she has designed the book with wide margins where she inserts wonderful quotes. Such as:
"What you love is a sign from your higher self of what you are to do." -- Sanaya Roman, writer
"One exciting aspect of the current ferment by women is the fact that as they struggle for authenticity, they simultaneously illuminate their personal creativity." -- Jean Baker Miller, women's researcher and writer
"Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes I even have trouble doing it." -- Tallulah Bankhead, actress.
And a personal favorite that I am now incorporating into my morning ritual:
"In the sacred traditions, the first thing you do in the morning is ask for blessings from the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Because all that you are going to do that day will change the universe." --Laura Esquivel, writer.
Above all, McMeekin affirms the power of women. YES!

Anyway, one of the statements that struck me yesterday (as I was sitting on our deck in the warm sun of early spring... yum!) was that one needs to make time to create. Creating takes time. This sounds like stating the obvious, but so often we forget this important aspect of creating. I believe that each of us is creative; however most of us don't give ourselves the time to explore that creativity. One of the things I love most about teaching/facilitating "playshops" (we're not working, we're playing... so why call them workshops?) is seeing a light go off in someone's face who didn't believe she was at all creative and finds that she has created something beautiful and uniquely hers. What a teacher's reward!

So I need to set aside blocks of time (I did up until a couple of weeks ago since leaving my day job...) for my art. To show up.

About chaos and clutter on my worktable: sometimes it's a gift because pieces of art come together (by being unceremoniously shoved out of the way in a fervor of creating something else) and serendipitously present themselves as being perfect complements and connected to each other. That's how my "Light Catcher" Angels came to be. A couple of years ago I had been working with some vintage chandelier crystals. I had some mother of pearl "leaf" beads as well as some metal face beads shoved to the side of my work space on my desk (I have lots of space, but when I don't put things from previous projects away, it becomes a very small space!). When I again moved the chandelier prisms to the side in my hurry to start yet another project, the Muse gifted me with the realization that they all belonged together; I saw all those pieces miraculously arranged so that they made angels! So chaos isn't always a bad thing; but often it is really distracting!

I have decided to include a crop circle with each posting. I am so fascinated by their creation and their exquisite imagery. I hope you enjoy them, too. When I visited two crop circles this past summer, I felt peace, healing, and bliss from the grain and earth. More about that in another post.

I hope you feel peace, healing, and bliss today!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Inside/Outside Book Arts

I just learned this afternoon that two of the books I submitted to the juried "Inside/Outside Book Arts" exhibit at the Foundry Arts Center in St. Charles, MO, were accepted! Hooray! Even though I received the invitation to submit entries in early December, I didn't have the time/energy to do that until February after leaving the Center. Both of these are ideas that have been needing to "get out" for quite a while now.

As I was putting it together, I found myself feeling grateful to have the time to create "Time Flies", which is a delightful way to "repurpose" a vintage travel alarm clock. On the front is an old bottle containing a rolled definition of "time" as well as bits and pieces of clock movements inside, stoppered by a cork with more movements creating a "crown". Pocketwatch movements cut in half create the wings. A circular movement that displays the day of the month on wristwatches doubles as a necklace. What fun this was to create; the Muse was whispering to me the entire time! Inside the case, I have removed the clock movements and replaced a clock hand with a hand charm. On the back of the clock is an accordian book that holds quotes about time. My favorites are: "The sooner I put something off, the more time I have to catch up." and "Time is a great teacher; unfortunately, it kills all its students."

The second book that has been patiently waiting to be manifested is "Flags". The flag structure of a book utilizes an accordian spine upon which miniature pages are attached, creating a pattern of pages or "flags". I have wanted to create a book to honor all the red flags that have popped up in my intuition through my adult live (that I didn't pay attention to at the time). I also decided to include white flags. The red flags are those of warning or foreboding (interestingly, most of these had men's names on them...). The white flags are those of recognition or epiphany, surrendering to the inevitable (such as meeting someone for the first time and knowing him/her from another lifetime, feeling an immediate and deep and joyful connection with him/her). After completing my pages in the book, I also decided to include a pocket inside the back cover that holds blank white and red flags so that whoever purchased the book could honor their own flags.

The exhibit will open on Friday, April 24 and close on June 5. It would be great to attend! I did just receive a "fly anywhere in the US for free" for 2 certificate in the mail today... I need to read the fine print...

Here's hoping you have delightful surprises coming to you soon!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


This has been the second night of this full moon. I woke at 4:44am (since I'd fallen asleep at 8:30pm!) and decided to get up and write. As I let Indiana (our 2 year young dog) outside, I looked up and saw the moon softly shining through a heavy misty sky... it was like she was gently reverberating through the atmosphere. Exquisite.
This is the first full moon in Aries; some say this marks the beginning of the astrological year. All I know is that the Moon is rising when spring is surprising and delighting us at every turn. And with spring comes growth and transformation of major proportions!

Many of my friends (not to mention many of everyone's friends) are experiencing major transformation nowadays. These shifts and changes are mostly brought on by our current bleak economic conditions and outlook.

For the past 6 years, I was the executive director of our local non-profit mediation center. I loved promoting peaceful conversations in our community. I loved telling people what mediation entails, whether individually or to groups or via a monthly newspaper column. I loved representing an organization that walked the talk (and helped me to learn and strive to be more peaceable) and who taught others (youth and adults; neighbors, businesses, and families) the skills of respectful conversation and dialogue.

At the beginning of our fiscal year (July 1), we had 4 full-time and 4 part-time employees as well as numerous contractors providing services. By October 1, the officers of the board of directors had eliminated 2 full-time positions vacated through attrition. And on January 29, my position was eliminated. While it was sad to leave, it wasn't really surprising; I'd been suffering in many ways through the last six months of doom and gloom.

I had also been longing for a way to have the time and energy to create art. I felt a tension inside of me between earning a living and expressing my creative self. This internal conflict felt physical to me -- like a taffy pull in my upper chest -- and had been growing for about a year.

It really rose to a conscious level in June when I took a 2-week tour of sacred sites in southern England. Next to marrying Andrew, this was the best thing I'd done for myself in decades! The group was small (6 other women) and we traveled through England in a 12-passenger van (driven by yours truly. Am I The Woman, or what? Not a nick or a scratch in 12 days and 1500 miles! And you should have seen the narrow brick gate we had to drive through at a 45 degree angle outside of Marlboro each night for a week! Sometimes, back in NC, I still want to drive on the left side of the road; but I refrain. Folks just wouldn't understand.). When I first learned of the trip, I knew I needed to go; that was in December 2007. I flew over a couple of days before the group was to meet at Gatwick airport so that I could visit Bath. Together, our group visited The Shell Temple in Margate on the east coast; Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Avebury, Glastonbury, and crop circles (!) in the center of southern England; and Tintagel, St. Nectan's Glen, and The Eden Project in Cornwall. We stayed in lovely B&Bs throughout as well as at a beautiful thatched roof cottage (built in 1670!) outside of Marlboro. It was a lovely adventure.

When I first started thinking about this upcoming pilgrimage, a vision of Stonehenge would rise in my mind's eye and I would see the spaces between the sarcens (standing stones) as a doorway of some kind for me. And indeed they were. And while all the places we visited and saw had their effects on me, the crop circles had the greatest effect. More details about them another time. Suffice it to say that I purchased a 2008 crop circle calendar to bring home with me to remind me of the power of those natural works of art, and when I hung it in my office upon my return, I saw that the photograph for June was of a complex doorway. Perfect. I just had to smile. (This circle is at the top of this entry, like a moon.) If you are interested in crop circles, check out the Crop Circle Connector

I believe that doorway has led me to this spring's growth and transformation. Losing one's livelihood and job identity is a major shift. I have chosen to look at my change as a positive one, an opportunity to manifest what I have been desiring for so long: to create an art-filled life as a way to feed my soul as well as my family. So instead of looking for a full-time "blanket" job, I am planting seeds to create a "crazy quilt": creating and selling my art as well as teaching and writing. I am excited about this opportunity. Another lesson in "be careful what you wish for; you WILL get it"! And a lesson in the Universe provides in perfect timing.

Understand, please, that I wouldn't have been able to make this transition as easily without my husband Andrew's support (monetarily through his working as well as emotionally) as well as the support of my family and friends. Thank you all for your love and encouragement! Our son Allen (18 years young today!) immediately said, "Mom, you can have my paycheck to help make ends meet." And he and Paige both immediately came to me and gave me huge hugs of support. Kathryn came over to lend me a shoulder and important practical considerations. Even more comforting was Andrew's hugs that evening when he came home. There's nothing like family, eh? And I count my friends -- and sistahs -- in that group, too.

So planting the amaryllis bulb on Imbolc (Nature's holyday celebrating the first stirring of seeds underground) was an important symbolic ritual for me to perform. I have lots of seeds to plant in order to follow my desires. Perhaps that's one reason that I'm so wondrous of the growth of the bulb!

Wishing you and yours positive changes and powerful growth under this full moon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another beautiful morning!
Spring is literally springing up all around. Check out this amaryllis! I was given the kit for Yule by my friend Kathryn. (Isn't the wooden birch pot great?)
I waited until Feb. 2 (Imbolc, the mid-point of winter when the ancients celebrated the returning of the light and the first stirring of the seeds underground) to plant my amaryllis bulb (while planting my intentions at the same time. I also had some friends over for a "Peace Feast" to plant their own seeds of intention in pots of dirt that evening. I plan to begin hosting periodic "Peace Feasts" again; I stopped when my full-time job took over my time and energy. I was laid off the end of January, so now I am able to focus on what I want to bring into my life.).
My amaryllis stayed in our kitchen for the next four weeks -- through February's cold -- and in the beginning of March, I started putting "her" outside in the warm sun (or the quenching soft rain) for a couple of hours a day. Yesterday, I took the first photo of her. This second photo was taken this morning! She has grown at least 1 inch in one day! Isn't that absolutely amazing... imagine how quickly those cells we all diligently drew in 6th grade science of plants and the process of photosynthesis, etc.
I wonder if you had a sensitive enough microphone: could you hear the growth? It is so astoundingly fast, I can't imagine it is completely silent.
Our camellia bushes are covered with buds. Yesterday, not one was open; only a few had a thin lipstick line of pink or rose grinning with promise. Today, there is one bloom opened (just peeking out from behind the garbage can) and lots of lipstick smiles. My heart leaps when I see this. It feels like my joy reverberates with theirs; it feels like a giggle in my chest. How's that for cool?
The sun is blessedly warm; the shade is still chilly, as it should be. It won't be long before I'm griping about the heat. For now, I am thankful for these harbingers of spring.
I'm not used to getting up an hour earlier yet. (I hadn't used up the hour we gained back in the fall!) Paige and I had an early teachers' conference this morning at 7:30. We left the house at 7:15 and the sun hadn't even gotten up yet! Well, with the turning of the year, that will take care of itself. Paige is a junior in high school and now is the time for her to focus on doing her best so she will have a successful year's end. I must remember to be patient!

Have a lovely day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Warm Connections

Good day! I am finally taking the leap into blogging. I've always thought blogging is the ultimate in egocentricity... thinking that "if I write it, they will come". Be that as it may, I do love to write, and I miss it. I have no idea who will read and/or enjoy my wonderings and wanderings, but here I am. Let me know if you're here, too, please.

I have just spent the last couple of days at an "Arts Business Boot Camp" sponsored by the Arts Business Institute and Handmade in America. It was held at Haywood Community College in Clyde, somewhere I've longed to attend to learn art techniques in metals, fibers, etc. for about 13 years now (family responsibilities have intervened). So not only was I on campus there (I love being on college campuses: they are so filled with inquisitive, exploring energy!), I was able to dialogue with and learn from three nationally known arts business people.
While I am not a metalsmith (yet), I am aware of a couple of things: metalsmiths connect pieces of metal through "cold connections" (rivets, etc) or soldering (heated method). Well, this weekend made me think of "warm connections". There were about 80 folks attending the ABI's Boot Camp, and there were lots of connections made in a warm and welcoming environment. Meghan, the executive director of ABI, set the pace for that: patient, attentive to detail, and friendly.
The speakers were all a wealth of wisdom that each of them shared generously. Wendy Rosen owns the Rosen Group which has provided artists with business services since 1981. Wendy has focused on supporting and encouraging quality American-made crafts over the past 25+ years. Check out her website at for lots of info.
Nancy Markoe owns her own gallery in St. Pete, FL. Coming to art with a varied and creative background (film and broadcast production, followed by publishing and graphic arts, and then 12 years as a potter before entering craft retailing). So Nancy, too, had a wide range of experiences to share with us.

Milon Townsend is a nationally-known glassmaker who is as down to earth as they come! He is a phenomenal glass artist (treat yourself: and has written books on marketing guidelines and insights for artists (among others). My 16 year young daughter attended the conference with me and he took a shine to her, including her in group discussions (where she grinned and mostly giggled). Paige is taking a small business class in high school and said what she learned this weekend reinforced what she is learning at school. (I'm sure the presenters will be glad to read that!)
And there were the other attendees, men and women at all levels of art business development. Melinda Knies is the manager of Mountain Made Gallery (in the Grove Arcade in Asheville: for a visual treat!) and was the first attendee I saw. What a pleasure to be around her all weekend! Melinda is truly a wise and generous person who is a fountain of information and encouragement for artists.
I'm starting this blog because I learned that one way to "get my work out there" is to have a blog for marketing. This blog is intended to share arts business info and also to be my own wanderings, wonderings, and musings... as well as my dances with the Muse and Nature. This morning, in taking a photographic walk around my yard, I found daffodils which had stood bravely through last week's surprising snowfall and frigid temps. I've cut a few for my desk and I can smell their spring scent right now. I also saw this group who were very excited about whatever was happening over in the side yard (can't you hear them whispering?).

I hope your day is full of enchanting excitement!

Wishing us all Peace AND Prosperity,