Tuesday, January 31

Positive Thoughts

"positive thoughts" pastel drawing by bohemian girl, kodak easyshare digital

Yesterday, my inner critic was at her worst. She was having quite the field day on my psyche...and I was sucker punched. She knows when to strike...waiting until those hormonally challenged hours!!

I was drowning in a dark, downward spiral of negative thoughts about myself; my art, my business, my ability to conceive a child, my body image, my hair...you name it.

I decided to blow the friendship horn, calling out to some of my tribe. I was at the point where I felt I couldn't resurface and pull myself up without an extra hand. Well, those blessed souls came running at the sound and I was given a plethora of hands and showered with warm virtual hugs, wisdom, acceptance, love, listening ears and validation.

It was all I needed to stand up and tell my inner critic to GO AWAY.

Thank you yummies...you know who you are.

Last night I went to bed hugging my inner child (thanks to Leonie's reminder) and asking her to tell me in my dreams what I needed to do tomorrow to nurture my fragile self. I found out my inner child is wise beyond her years. She nestled those brilliant ideas into my psyche where the negative ones had once been.

I woke up and felt as if a thousands pounds had been lifted from my body, soul and mind. I felt more in love with me again. I was breathing full rhythmic breaths. I had an inner smile and a true warmth bubbling within.

So this is what I did with all of this good, good energy today:

Enjoyed a cup of warm green tea while reading my favorite she~blogs (andrea, jen, christine, leonie, Keri, dooce)

Drank a delicious healthy shake for breakfast

Wrote in my journal the advice I was given by my friends yesterday and what I had read in a few online articles about the power of positive thoughts and words

An hour of Power Yoga

This meditation CD

I then spent the remainder of the day creating a new pastel drawing (above) which emulated what I had learned though all of this:

Postive Thoughts Create Positive Change.

Towards the end of the day, I sat in my chair, put my hands on my belly and said some loving words out loud about me that I have forgotten or put aside for the time being. I repeated particular ones over and over. Tears began to roll down my face. Not out of sadness but welling up from a spring down deep within my soul where unconditional love resides.

It works. I am a believer. It transformed my whole being, my perspective in a matter of a few hours.

A challenge for you, dear hearts out there...do share your experience if willing.

The Pathless Path

path, kodak easyshare digital

Clarity wrote this to me...

"Wander where there is no path.

Let things take their course...do not try to force.

Accept that the universe is infinitely wise.

Do not make plans, do not seek fame, do not be absorbed by activities.

Do not think that you KNOW, be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite possibilities.

There's no time like the present to "get lost." Realize that a path has many expressions: exploring creativity, indulging intuition, pursuing a relationship.

Choose one, and get lost on the pathless path today."

I truly needed this today. Not only in regards to my creativity lately but also in regards to our journey of conceiving a child. "Let things take their course...do not force."

She will know I was listening...once she reads this.

I like the idea of the "Pathless Path"...not knowing what I will find and not allowing that to stop me. To be at peace with uncertainty.

It reminds me of that scene in Indiana Jones when he is at an edge of a cliff thousands of feet above the ground. He wants to get to the cliff on the other side. Looking down he sees nothing to step on but he knows that if he steps, the bridge will appear...and bring him to where he is meant to go.

So he takes the risk of falling thousands of feet and steps into thin air...

onto the Pathless Path.

Monday, January 30

Hey Nonny Nonny...

A pensive Sean, Kodak EasyShare Digital

I know I write quite a bit about my friends. I just think they're so darn adorable!

The story of Sean is this...

It was a few years after I had been living in Dallas, Texas (lived there for four years) and I finally just moved into my own apartment in a purdy part of town (that's the way Texans pronounce the word "pretty").

I had just returned to my place from a jog when a knock came to my front door. I opened it up and there was Sean, writing a note on a yellow sticky pressed up against my door. We both had expressions of surprise on our face. Perhaps for him because he had expected to finish his note and for me because he was writing me a note!

With a warm smile and mid-western accent he said, "I live next door to you and I just wanted to tell you that I really think you and my roommate Bobbi could be friends. She's really cool and you seem to be the same age. We're both from out of town too." (they must have seen my California license plates).

How adorable is that?!?!? He was clearly very supportive of his best friend Bobbi and extremely courageous to knock on a strangers door based purely on a strong feeling he had in his gut.

So...he wrote down their phone number for me and a few days later, I met Bobbi the Beautiful. She turned out to be one of my bestest-soul-sister-friends and a bridesmaid in my wedding. I consider him our angel that saved us from our inability to soulfully connect with anyone out there in the Big D (aka Dallas). Bobbers and I had one another now and life felt so much lighter (and a hell of a lot more funny) with her in it.

Turned out Sean's gut feeling was right on.

Shortly after Bobbi and I met, Sean had moved back home to Minesota and for years I only heard through her what he was up to.

Two years later her and I moved on to other cities. I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area and Bobbi moved to Chicago but we remained in very close touch.

Now fast forward about 5 years and I move to Southern California. I am watching television and see Sean on a reality tv program. I phone Bobbi screaming..."Is that our Sean?!?!?"

"Yes...that's our Sean."

Come to find out, he's living 20 minutes away from my hubs and I...with his lovely girlfriend (now fiancee) whom I've heard so much about and have wanted to meet for years.

So, we gathered together and the story of friendship continues. Ties run deep through a circle of friends. It felt as if we had been hanging together for years.

Sean & Carey...newly engaged, Kodak EasyShare Digital

They are each soulful, creative, deep, thoughtful, adventureous, mindful...all qualities that when bundled together create a rare gem of a person.

Every time we are with them, we leave feeling warmer, deeper, wiser and I am grateful for the growth between us.

This weekend we all gathered to break bread together and to see a modern version of the Shakespeare play "Much Ado About Nothing."

All I can say is...Hey, nonny, nonny...

Sunday, January 29

Gift of Color

Pacific Beach Sunset, Kodak EasyShare Digital

Two pieces of nature this weekend that nourished my soul...

Catching a sunset with my husband at Pacific Beach and buying fresh flowers for our home.

The colors that Mother Nature blesses us with seem more vibrant to me lately. Perhaps I am just paying closer attention.

Today I feel grateful for the gift of color in my life.

Flowers on our table, Kodak EasyShare Digital

Saturday, January 28

Clutter, Dust, Clutter, Dust

Some of my workspace in my studio, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I am having some not so pretty feelings today. I don't really know what to do with them except to blame them on the clutter around me. I can blame it on this because it is something tangible, something within reach that I have control over.

If I organize and clean my kitchen cabinets and drawers, if I re-organize our bookshelf, if I clean out our storage closet...then all will feel good and well within my soul.



But it is a start. It is better than staring at this computer screen with my shoulders rounded and slouched, my eyes drooping like a puppy and listening to the sound of my shortened breaths.

I feel like my living space isn't Zen enough, isn't harmonious enough to begin creating my art. Am I making excuses to not "begin" again? Clutter, dust, clutter, dust...not only does my home feel like this but my mind and heart do as well.

I woke up today feeling like this.

Feeling like I want to scream in my pillow...or run up a mountain and breathe fresh air. Why do I feel claustrophobic? Like the utensils messily placed in the kitchen drawer are moving in around me?

Perhaps it is because I just came from my parent’s house (over the holidays) where each drawer, cabinet and closet is meticulous and I noticed myself feeling more relaxed there as a result of this. So now the mess in my life is magnified to me.

I don't want to have to be in a meticulously clean environment to feel at peace. Especially if I have dreams of some day volunteering my skills in a third world country (along with my husband and future children).

Listen to me...I am all over the place.

I know what may help with this unsettled spirit feeling: Meditation, Prayer, Yoga, Writing (like I am now), a walk on the beach and perhaps taking one project at a time to de-clutter a particular space.

Hear that Denise? ONE project at a time.

My apologies for being such a blah downer today.

If any of you have any ideas to help me breathe and not be so overwhelmed with all this clutter...I am all ears.

Is it really the clutter? Or is it something deeper...

Friday, January 27

Messy Zen

Me being messy, taken by Carsten Kroon

I confessed to her that one thing I have been struggling with lately as an artist is that natural willingness to just play and be messy and not go by rules. Learning art in school was all about rules and I think that experience has influenced my behavior with creating products to sell for my business.

But this has been blocking a creative energy flow for me. I have felt stuck.

So she said this in response...

"Just for the rest of today, do me a big favor and go easy on yourself. Get a little sloppy."

So I did her a favor. I got messy. Pastels broken, liquids spilled, cans sprayed, brushes soaked, torn papers scattered, glue's spread and smudges of paint and pastel on my skin.

I want more of this in my studio. Art with No Rules. I felt a release in letting go.

Later, after cleaning up, I was then inspired to Feng Shui my studio with help from this book.

So I would say my day yesterday felt Messy Zen...a place in my consciousness that I would like to tap into more often.

Messy Zen, Kodak EasyShare Digital

Thursday, January 26

No guilt...just gentleness

Gentle Amy & Curious Micah

Amy told me yesterday that on those days when I don't quite feel like creating but would rather be outside walking along the beach or exercising at my YMCA and finishing up errands... that it is all part of my creative path.

She said that listening to my body's needs and nurturing myself in these ways creates a balance in my life. This balance will in turn contribute to the strength, vitality and inspiration I will need to run my business.

She said to let go of the guilt on those days and just be gentle on me.

Okay, my dear bosom friend of 20-plus years. Your words of wisdom, delivered in gentleness, have found a home in my heart and in my head.

No guilt...just gentleness.

Wednesday, January 25

Viking Womyn

Pammie, Kelly's Digital Camera

Meet my sister Pamela...aka Viking Womyn.

There is one story in particular, out of the many that my mind drifts back to when I think of Pamela's strength and willingness to go outside of the lines throughout her life.

My sister and I went to two different high schools. She was two years ahead of me. At her school, there was this extremely good looking 6 ft 5 inch star football quarterback that all the girls were swooning over. I forgot his name...but I do remember his face very clearly.

One day, he came over with a friend of his to my girlfriend’s house. While my girlfriend and his friend went into the bedroom for some naive-nookie, I sat across from Large Quarterback Guy on her living room couch. My virginal-self didn't quite know what to do with this mass of a human being. I didn't know him well. I just knew of him from our rival high school. Perhaps it was his lack of intelligence that turned me off a bit, as well as the fact that all he managed to do was look at me with this wanton face, hiccup and burp all at once.

Yah...real attractive.

He got up from his spot on the other end and moved within inches closer to me and that is when I smelled the gross stench of beer coming from his mouth (well, the smell of beer was gross to me back then...now I sortof like it). When I leaned back, he threw his gigantic self on top of me trying his personal best to score a touchdown on Field-Denise. It took quite a few pushes, pulls and oomph to get him off of me. He wanted that goal and could care less about what the opposing team (me) wanted. I then stomped to my friend’s room, pounded on her door (not caring about naive-nookie interruption) and told them they need to come out and take this smelly monster home.

So what happens to him at school the following day?

My beautiful, intimidating as hell sister (from the crowd of artsy mods), charges towards him and his football team posse hanging out at "their spot" on the quad. While he stood there with folded arms, looking as tall as the empire state building next to my petite sister, she forcefully throws her warm (not hot) coffee from her styrofoam cup onto his face (note: she's so cool to drink coffee back then at this age). As he looks at her in utter disbelief with wide eyes and java dripping down his neck and shirt...she points her finger up at him and says, "Don't ever touch my baby sister again!!!” and walks away with her dainty nose held high.


He of course never touched me again fearing the Wrath of Pam. I saw him once at a party and he lowered his head as he passed me by.

If you think about it...in high school, when the importance of popularity is at its worst and cliques run far too rampant, this was so incredibly BRAVE for her to do this.

She was a mod. He was a football star.

It could have risked her status as Miss Cool but rather it gained her much respect from her peers. The fact that her love and protection for her baby sister overruled what this popular football player might think of her was rad (insert 80's word).

Puppy Love, Kelly's Digital Camera

Well...this bravery has continued to manifest itself in her life in a myriad of ways. She pretty much kicks butt and takes names with everything she does.

Sometimes when you're that age, you question how much your siblings really love you. Her actions that day spoke so LOUDLY about her fierce love for me that it carried me through many years. I didn't question after this…I just knew. Even when we fought over who got to use the mirror in the bathroom to put our 80’s blue mascara on (ugh).

Lovin' on you, sissy...you Viking Womyn!

Could she BE any prettier? I know...try living with it all your life!! Her beauty is so classic and what amazes me is that when you think she couldn't get any more beautiful...she does. It's nice to know my future bebe's might steal some genes from her, eh??

She also cooks like noone's business. We all know how fun it is to watch pretty cooks in the kitchen. Sexy~Sassy~Chef.

Love, love, love her.

Tuesday, January 24

Wave of Pure Joy

Shell beach wave, Kodak EasyShare Digital

My dear friend phoned me yesterday to share a romantic and crazy~beautiful weekend she just floated through all dreamy~like. A weekend of soulful sharing, warm embraces, gentle kisses, healing words...and feeling safe.

As she shared her story...my heart swelled, tears began to fall down my cheeks and a wave of pure joy crashed right through me.

It feels so damn good to love someone that much.

I love you, shmoops.

Sunday, January 22


Mirror Skirt & Messy Mat, Kodak EasyShare

Imagine a woman in love with her own body. A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is. Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who has access to the full range of human emotion. A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly. Who allows them to pass through her as graceflly as a breath.

Imagine a woman who tells the truth. A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it. Who refuses to defer to the thoughts, perceptions and responses of others.

Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses. A Woman who produces original creations. Who refuses to color inside someone else's lines.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life. A woman who trusts her inner sense of what is right for her. Who refuses to twist her life out of shape to meet the expectations of others.

Imagine a woman whose relationships deepen in satisfaction and contentment without depleting her. Who chooses friends and lovers with the necessary skills to navigate through the challenges of life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life. A woman who sits in circles of women and is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

~ Patricia Lynn Reilly, Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself


Beautiful and moving words for me to stumble upon this week. Just what I needed to hear.

Also...I honor how Jen speaks her heart openly and bravely. We can all learn so much from her.

Oh...and on a side note: this is a cool website by the Music Genome Project to help you discover music you might not find otherwise.

Friday, January 20

We Happen It!

My shadow on rock, Kodak EasyShare

Love does not "happen" to us.
We happen it.
We happen it by removing that which blocks it.

Living a life is simply the process of removing
those barriers to experiencing Love.

~ by Joe Dominguez (In the book "The gentle art of blessing" by Pierre Pradervand)

I am working on removing that which blocks love in my life.

I felt a release yesterday as I walked along the shore and captured the sea through my camera lens.

I think a block also crumbled when I spent a short while at my favorite cafe, writing in my journal and sketching in my sketch book.

Another one crumbled as I read this book curled up on my couch with tea and a kitty nestled up against me.

And yet another one as I strummed my guitar.

These are just a few of the many things that I am learning help remove barriers for me. I know it works because today I definitely received some unexpected love soaked emails, phone messages and calls.

So by doing what nourished my soul..."I happened it". I happened Love.

This concept thrills me. I always wondered..."How do I remove blocks?" I think I am learning that I remove blocks by actively doing what inspires me to dive deeper, by being gentle with myself, by being raw and honest and putting myself out there.

I feel a crumbling, a melting...and what will I find when the blocks are gone?

To be continued.

Thursday, January 19

Missing You...

Suz & Me at tea, Kodak EasyShare

I am really missing my girls today...my tribe.

I am sending each of you a yummy warm hug (and perhaps a tear or two) to San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Seattle, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Chicago, Santa Cruz, Livermore, Davis, Modesto, Santa Barbara, Canberra-Australia, Missoula, Asheville...the list goes on.

How electric and magical would it be to have you all with me in one room?

To spill, laugh out LOUD, cry, tease, tickle, dance, create...PARTAY are arsies off.

I just wanted to put it out there that I feel a longing today to be wrapped up in your arms with hopes that your energies will find me where I am.

You are all such A M A Z I N G women...and that is why you are where you are, doing what you do so gracefully...but I selfishly want you here for a wee bit today.

Today I am not feeling articulate or wise or profound. I feel a bit small and sad and lonely for estrogen! I know it is all part of this new journey of mine. Adjusting to being my own boss and having my own gig.

I read this last night from Andrea's Creative Business Guide:

"For the first two years of my business, I struggled with feeling lonely, afraid and overburdened by responsibility. What saved me was an awesome community of friends who offered support in various ways. Sometimes this showed up in the form of web design help or sales assistance at a trunk show. Other times it was a much needed phone call of encouragement. I discovered that I didn't feel so alone when my tribe of friends surrounded me."

I believe this is all part of the package of being BRAVE and putting our creative selves out there. So, I will embrace it as being NORMAL and okay and that I am not going insane or feeling hormonal (well, maybe) but that others have and do experience this as part of the whole path...especially in the beginning.

Perhaps it is a Rite of Passage. So with that...I accept this and will enter.

I thank YOU lovelies for all of your strength. Without you in my life, I wouldn't be as inspired to create. It is images and the essence of YOU that dance across my sketch pad.

I love you

I squeeze you

I kiss you

I hold you

I laugh with you

I cry with you

I dance with you

I partake in a pink drink with you...*smile*.

Off to the drafting board...(and perhaps a creative date with myself later for cheer).

Hands, Holly Horner Photography

Wednesday, January 18

Guinness Times Three

Our Liquid Dinner, Kodak EasyShare

I think there is a potion in Guinness that provokes one to tell their deepest, darkest secrets. Stories that live somewhere sacred within you waiting for that perfect vulnerable and trusting moment to spill.

Carsten and I simultaneously got a wee bit fed up with being inside our heads here at home writing, creating, planning, THINKING too much and said screw this...let's go drink a pint.

Or three...or four.

Our favorite Irish pub downtown is quite the experience. Sitting up at the bar on very worn, wooden stools, listening to the Irish accent of our bartenders and the Celtic music floating in the background...we always feel as though we are actually there.

In Ireland, that is.

Everything is imported from its country, including all the folks that work there. Sometimes, after a few hours, I'll even catch Carsten talking with a bit of an Irish lilt unbeknownst to him.

It's intoxicating, really...no pun intended.

Beam above bar, Kodak EasyShare

It's been far too long since we've ventured into what feels like a second home at times. We sat there, legs intertwined up at the bar, trying to search our minds for stories about ourselves that we haven't yet shared with the other. A fun game to play with someone you feel you know like the back of your hand. Come to find out...there is always so much more.

Pieces of their stage, Kodak EasyShare

There will always be so much more to learn about your partner and/or friend...if you listen and watch.

I like knowing there will always be a bit of mystery between us and forever a new story to tell.

Especially when they leave you with a serious belly laugh and happy tears rolling down your cheeks.

Monday, January 16

My Guitar...a love affair

Guitar on my lap, Kodak EasyShare

She's back in my life.

Carsten and I are working on a little ditty we can play together.

The tips of my fingers are red and sore...but it is so worth it to be a rock star, isn't it? Even if my only audience is and will ever be my kitties, my husband and our future bebe.

"Sometimes you want to give up guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded" -- Jimi Hendrix

I'm sticking to it, Jimi. The love affair has begun again.

My inspirations for this new venture:

Hope Sandoval

Jonatha Brooke

Saturday, January 14

Blonde Moment

Suzi's Blonde Locks, Kodak EasyShare

I had such a blonde moment the other day. I don't really like associating blondes with brainless moments. We all have them. I'm obviously a brunette. It's just that our culture has used this terminology to describe what I am about to share, so I decided to give into this term...just this once.

My husband, our friend Billy and I were standing in line outside of our theatre door waiting to be let in for the movie Munich. On the walls behind us were three posters/ads hanging for movies coming soon. One of them was Miami Vice.

I never watched that series when I was younger...but my husband had just admitted that he did. As soon as the woman standing next to us heard this, she added that she was a huge fan of Miami Vice, Don Johnson and the whole bit.

As I was listening to them talk about how this program was the quintessential 80's show, I was pondering something...so I patiently waited until they were finished and I chimed in;

"I wonder where this show took place. I remember it being really beautiful with loads of Palm Trees. Do you think it might have been Palm Springs?"

"Ummm..." my husband responded..."Miami?"

My mouth dropped open. I blushed something fierce. They were all trying to hold their laughter with smirks and their cheeks full of air. So I gave them the cue that it is okay to laugh at me...because I started laughing at myself.

Good one, Denise. Classic.

Thursday, January 12

Wide Awake

Kayaks, Kodak EasyShare

"I'm wide awake...I'm not sleeping." - U2

I heard this song yesterday morning as I was driving up to one of my favorite hiking spots. I decided to take U2's advice and choose to be "Wide Awake" the remainder of the day.

Do we really know the difference? What it is to be awake or sleeping throughout our days? I think so many times we drift through the hours a bit numb, trying to get through each moment longing for the evening when we can snuggle under our covers and put our day behind us.

I also stumbled upon this quote earlier that morning:

"You have to eat the world with your eyes. You must look at everything as if you are going to die in the next five minutes, because in the relative scheme of things, you are. You can't miss a trick." -Winter Sorbeck

I felt like God was trying to pound this concept of "being awake" into my head. He knows I don't pay attention to neon signs (too busy) but I do pay attention to quotes and music. Not because I think I am going to die in the next five minutes but perhaps because I have become a bit numb in order to protect myself. The past 16 months have been a roller coaster in regards to our fertility. Every month I go through a myriad of emotions: The first week is full of disappointment for not conceiving, the next week is full of hope that it will happen this month, the last two weeks is a waiting game full of anticipation that this month did the trick and this goes on and on...all along trying to keep my body healthy, relax and not stress.

I don't mean to sound like a whiner at all. As mad as this journey has been...it has also brought Carsten and I closer and has forced me to learn a few things about myself that I am not that particularly thrilled about: I can be impatient and a control freak.

I also figured out yesterday, after hearing the song and reading this quote that as a result of this journey, I have allowed a numbness to build up in order to survive through it all. A result of this is that I have been missing a lot of life around me. I've been more asleep than awake. Is that really living? Do I want to conceive my child in a state of sleep or being wide awake?

So, I put being Wide Awake into practice yesterday during my hike. In an effort to do this, I felt my senses become more aware; the air smelled sweeter, the sky many shades of blue, the trees softly swayed to the songs the birds were singing. I began to appreciate the fact that I could move one foot in front of the other after I noticed a woman pushing someone in a wheelchair. This made me want to run...because I can! So I did. I ran to the edge of a cliff and watched...and listened...and felt. I was far up above the beach where the birds were swooping down, then up high between the cliffs around me. My first instinct was to do some postures I've learned in yoga. So there I was, doing sun salutations up on a cliff, underneath the bright blue sky and the sun shining all around me. I actually felt the vibrations of the sun's rays on my skin. I don't think I would have ever noticed this had I not been in this state of awareness. I would have walked up and down the trail, perhaps feeling how tired my muscles were or wishing I was somewhere else. I didn't even notice my muscles feeling tired. I was far too energized with all that was surrounding me. I didn't want to be anywhere else but there...in that moment.

Later in the evening, my husband and I drove back to the beach after dinner to go on a walk in the moonlight. As we walked along the shore, holding hands, we remained quiet as our senses drank nature in. I won't go into details with this particular walk. I hope to inspire you to do it yourself...to see what I saw. If you do...I would love to hear your experience, please share.

Today I plan to bring myself downtown with my camera. I will again try this new awareness and perhaps capture what I would have failed to notice before.

So does this mean that without the numbness I will then feel more sadness, more dissapointment every month? I really think I would rather feel the sadness then miss all that I saw, felt, heard and touched yesterday.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, January 10


Preparing the Space, Kodak EasyShare

It is time to begin.

I am off to play with my pastels. To put into color the lovely women that have danced across my sketch pad in ink and pencil.

"The epiphany I had today is that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing now. My artistic work and creative journey - and the fact that I am sharing and chronicling it here - is what I need to do most of all. The more I put myself out there, share, encourage others, and do my best to inspire, the more my path feels like home and the more secure I feel in my own skin." - Swirly Girl

Thank you, Swirly Girl...for putting into words exactly how I feel today.

Here I go...

Music dancing thru the loft.

Candles burning.

Smudging and clearing my space.

Pictures of my tribe and those that inspire me smiling down on my drafting table.

Hair in a messy braid.

Shirt sleeves rolled up.

Fingers covered in chalk.

A happy tear in my eye.

A smile on my face.

Today I feel like me...fully.

Monday, January 9

Into the Hedge...

Angela (right) and her friend (and mine) Tiffany, Kodak EasyShare

In the picture above, Angela had just returned from her semester in Europe and was newly "21". She came down to LA to get her best friend and then drive even further south to be with her Auntie (me), so we could celebrate this milestone together. After all, it is indeed her time to be the crazy~wild one in the family, so I had to pass the crown!

The first night, we took them to our favorite Irish pub downtown. We had originally planned this stop to be an appetizer for the evening. It turned out to be five hours of sitting in this old wooden booth (me, Carsten, Tiffany and Angela), Irish music drifting in the background, while we each exchanged stories from the deepest places of our hearts. I love that Carsten captured this moment (above) of the girls holding my hands across the table. They were intently listening to a story of mine that had purposely waited to fall upon Angela's ears until a moment like this.

Next thing we knew...the pub was closing and we were in awe of how time stood still. Five hours??? I dig how that happens when you're in the company of good friends. I will share more on this eventful weekend in yet another blog.

Today my niece Angela sent me a piece of feminist literature by Virginia Woolf called "A Room of One's Own" that she wanted me to read so that we could exchange our thoughts on it together.

It is a beautiful piece thus far and I am weighted heavily by it. Have you read any of Virginia Woolf's works? I have wanted to for quite some time and perhaps didn't because I must have been waiting to receive such a piece from my dear niece today. I may not have truly listened to Virginia's voice so intently if it had not come to me from Angela with such passionate surrender. A plea that I felt not only came from Angela herself, but Virginia Woolf and thousands of women before and after her lifetime in regards to our equality.

I have only finished the first chapter and I am in need of some solitary time to absorb what I have just allowed myself to drink in. When I am finished with these six chapters, perhaps I will find the words to share the transformation that has taken place within me as a result of Mrs. Woolf's eloquence in writing about such a powerful subject.

For now, I will leave you with a quote that she left us with at the end of her first chapter, which was indeed also the end of her day as she wrote it. I thought it was quite apropos...not only for the description of Virginia's own day but for my own as well.

I thought at last that it was time to roll up the crumpled skin of the day, with its arguments and its impressions and its anger and its laughter, and cast it into the hedge.

– Virginia Woolf

Saturday, January 7

Being Held

Zsuzsanna holding me the day before my wedding, taken by Cairenn Russelo

Sometimes, when life feels overwhelming and frightening, one of the most healing places to go is into the arms of someone that truly loves you.

In this moment above, my close friend Zsu and I had stolen some time alone up in my loft. Family members were shuffling all around down below, excitement was drifting wildly from their voices up through the arched windows into the space where her and I stood. I didn't say a word, I just had this look in my eye that I was feeling fragmented. Tomorrow was the day that Carsten and I were sharing our love, our commitment a few feet away from those we love dearest in our life. I knew it would be a day for me with constant emotions welling. I felt like I needed time to meditate, to pray, to prepare for this because I tend to be such a solitary person when it comes to piecing together the puzzle of my overwhelm. I didn't have time to be solitary that day. So we stood there, gazing at one another in silence, breathing, sparkles in our eyes that could be tears or just complete giddy-ness...and with one swoop, she grabbed me, threw me on the bed and held me, not saying a word. Just being enveloped in her warm arms, hearing her heartbeat and the "knowing" that she gets what I need was truly all it took for me to be at peace with all my messy emotions.

Cairenn, Carsten's brother's partner just happened to walk up the stairs and capture this moment. Bless her for this.

Most of my tribe is scattered all over the states, the globe. Our friendships are nurtured with emails constant, phone calls, visits one or two times a year if finances allow. I am blessed with solid friendships that withstand this distance in body. It's also pretty cool that they all live in fabulous places!!!!

Although, at times the distance can be difficult. Especially when I need someone to grab me, throw me on the bed, tickle me, hold me...whatever it takes to get me out of my head. Nowadays, I get an email from my girlfriend Bobbi in Chicago that says..."You're a freaker"...which has become a fun subsitute for a good wrestle on the ground. It works. It somehow works.

Today I was having an email exchange with a girlfriend that was feeling overwhelmed and frightened in regards to a particular assignment to write about herself. With each exchange I could hear the tone behind her words and panic was approaching. I wanted so badly to be there in person to help make her laugh, to get out of her head. So, I told her to feel my arms around her and to breathe. "Feel my arms around you..."

It is amazing how vivid one's imagination can be...and how it can so many times feel like the real deal. I love that I can hold my friends...even in an email.

So...if you see a dear friend of yours unfolding in front of you and you know that words are not good enough at that moment to help..reach for them, hold them...envelope them until you feel a melting within their soul.

Sometimes it will be a playful grab, throw and a pretzel of arms and limbs on a bed like Zsu did for me.

Sometimes it will be a gentle touch and a look in your eye that asks..."can I hold you?".

Sometimes it will be a leaning of yourself onto their self.

Sometimes it will be a holding, a rocking...

Being held is healing.

I would love to hear some of your hug stories. I'm all about hugs today.

Friday, January 6


Bumper Sticker, Kodak EasyShare

Today I am feeling grateful for…

*Cool Canadian bumper stickers

*My acupuncturist and her ability to help shift my perspective yesterday

*Marmie's handmade scarves around my neck

*My sister Pam and her email with the subject title: “I love you”

*Green tea with evaporated milk and organic sugar

*Suz for leaving on our answering machine…"how’s my two favorite people?”

*My husband always willing to stop whatever he’s doing to hold me if I need it

*The sound of rain against our windows

*My yummy Aunt Marilyn for her dozen prayers (just in case God didn't hear the first one)

*A lovely woman dancing across my sketch pad

*My big sis Darlene for telling she thinks I should write a book

*Amber pouncing up on my bed every morning to nuzzle my neck and purr

*Letha not minding that she’s practically my human journal

*Cooking the first dinner that I haven’t ruined in a long time

*Connecting with an old friend…I dig you five

*Jen’s beautiful truthfulness with her feelings

*My niece Angela sharing how my spirit gave her courage during a rainy day in London

*Andrea’s endless support

*Discovering this night cream

*The new season of The L Word coming in a few days

*My niece Kelly wanting my fashion advice (she’s a teen – I’m in my thirties, so cool)

*Watching my husband get jazzed about writing his novel

*Browsing thru this fabulous book from my dear friend Zsu

*Wet braids at night transforming into curly hair in the morning

*Having a place to go when I need to lighten up

*Feeling so relaxed during a Guided Imagery CD that I fall asleep for a solid three hours not hearing the pounding construction next door (ahhh...meditation!)

*My decision to not take my temperature every morning for fertility reasons because it's adding stress

*Leonie and her word: Gigglesnort

*My Fall Cargo Pants from this cool company...

and last but not least; for my “Canadian Boy” and his nightly brew of Aveda Comfort Tea.

Wednesday, January 4

Love Song for a Savior

Sun through a tree, shining on my face, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I met the members in the band, Jars of Clay while working at a clothing store about 8 years ago. We talked and hung out in the store for a while before it slipped out who they really were. They had no idea and were actually surprised to find out that I was into their music. They were fresh out on the radio with their song called "Flood".

I used to listen to their song "Love Song for a Savior" in the mid to late 90's over and over at one time. I'd lay there in my bedroom, close my eyes and imagine that I was lying down in a field of flowers with the warm sun on my face and standing in a distance beyond the trees was a beautiful Jesus, waiting for me to run into his arms. I would imagine us walking together, picking flowers and talking about life. I felt safe confiding in Him.

I stumbled upon this song while cleaning the other day. I haven't listened to it with the same childlike ears in a long while. I let it flow through my loft and tears fell down my face...and my heart had a warm lump in it. It made me want to go back to that field of flowers again. But I know I don't have to...because I felt His presence all around me and smelled the daisies as if they were tickling my face.

I've struggled with my relationship with Jesus for the past 9 years or so. You see...I became a Christian when I was 7 years old and from that time forward, had been madly in love with this "Savior" of mine. I became deeply involved in the ministry first as a student, then as a leader:

Some of my students at a church camp (me in middle being hugged), Bad Disposable Camera!

I then went on church mission trips and felt a calling. One in particular to go to Cluj Napoca, Romania, not with my church but alone to join a team of strangers for a summer to care for infants and children that lived in orphanages:

Me with a young orphan girl in Cluj Napoca, Romania

Dancing with Romanian children (I am clown on right!)

Silly clown skit to make Romanian children laugh (again clown on right)

I also went to Bible College and traveled all around the Santa Cruz, CA area in a Mime Dance/Drama team with hopes of sharing what I was learning about Jesus and how knowing Him had radically changed my heart.

I think the Mime Dance/Drama team worked for me because I considered myself a "quiet" Christian. I wasn't preachy or judgmental and didn't expect people to understand what I wanted so badly to share with them. I just knew I loved this Jesus, who He was, what He stood for and what He did for me on the cross. One way for me to express my love and appreciation for Him was to dance quietly to music on a stage, hoping that the audience would sense even a glimpse of what I felt: Those feelings that words could not possibly express.

To me it was about sharing my heart without expectations...not preaching. I am still trying to figure out the difference.

What happened to me a few years later was this: I became disenchanted with Christians in general. I didn't feel that I fit in with those I surrounded myself with. What I saw was so much judgment, self righteousness and closed-mindedness. I began to feel embarrassed and ashamed at how Christians were being portrayed in our world...and I could see it all unfolding in front of me as to why this was happening and is still happening. I felt like Jesus and His teachings were placed in a stuffy box and I knew that His message was so much broader than this. It wasn't about Religion to me; it wasn't about which denomination was right and true and what I needed to do to get into "Heaven". My relationship with Jesus wasn't based on fear of the afterlife and what it held for me but was based on being alive and living in the Now. It was about getting to know Him and trying to be more like Him because He knew how to love like no other I'd ever known. It was very simple for me.

I actually learned more about the character of Jesus while bathing a neglected orphan child, than while sitting within four walls listening to someone preach to me their interpretation of what the Word of God was.

So...I left my "church" and moved to Texas with a girlfriend. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made. My 3 years living in Texas opened up a door for me to explore alone without living up to everyone's expectations of what I was supposed to be. Rather than shunning other faiths, I actually opened my heart and mind to them by listening. Listening to their messages. How can I form an opinion and find out if one faith or a philosophy feels right to me unless I listen to others? I found this to be a huge issue with many Christians. Perhaps they refused to listen out of fear of discovering there was more to God than what they were being taught and chose to sit in ignorance because it was most comfortable to them. When I would share my curiosity and need to explore, I just found judgment.

I don't think that is what God was telling us to do in His teachings. In fact, I don't recall Jesus being judgmental at all with the people in the streets. He actually chose to hang out with them and BE with them. His issues were with the religious zealots, from what I recall. I just don't think Jesus was/is so black and white...I think Jesus was a liberal hippy. But that's just me...doesn't have to be anyone else's opinion.

Anyways...I've studied quite a bit since then. Moving back to California, I researched Buddhism, Goddess-ism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Angel healing, Nature-lovin, Holistic healing, etc. I found that one message rang true in most all these philosophies: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love others as you would love yourself", as well as, that beautiful message about our bodies being temples.

Isn't that really so all encompassing?

I don't expect every person to have the same faith all over the world or in our Universe. I respect others faiths as I hope they will respect mine. I know one thing...that I am much more comfortable nurturing my own relationship rather than judging someone else's.

You know...my husband once said to me that he thinks during the period of time in the bible before Jesus returned in his mid thirties, that He spent time meditating with and learning along side Buddha. Once I looked into this...it made so much sense. If you compare Jesus' teachings in the New Testament to the teachings of Buddha...you can truly see the similarity of their messages and the resemblance of heart and spirit.

It has always felt so right and natural to keep my mind open to such things.

So, I don't know what I call myself, really. I think ones faith is more about the heart and intentions than defining oneself within one religion. I think it is that very Self-Righteousness which turns seekers away, really.

I have a loving Tribe of women and men in my life of all faiths that inspire me to always search deeper for what feels true within myself.

So, I have a need to nurture my relationship with Jesus again. To get to know Him and His teachings without associating myself with a label that I feel no longer emulates who He is. I'd like to share with Him what I have learned too. I know He will listen.

It won't be a Religion but will be a Relationship ever growing.

Here are the lyrics to that song I mentioned earlier. It carries the essence of where my heart is right now:

"Love Song for a Savior" by Jars of Clay

in open fields of wild flowers
she breathes the air and flies away
she thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
someday she'll understand the meaning of it all
he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close as a heartbeat or a song on her lips
someday she'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call her and she will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you...(chorus)

sitting silent wearing sunday best
the sermon echoes through the walls
a great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can't feel the chains on their souls

he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close as a heartbeat or a song on our lips
someday we'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call us and we will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and we'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you... (chorus)

we want to pray

it seems too easy to call you "Savior"
not close enough to call you "God"
so as i sit and think of words i can mention
to show my devotion

i want to fall in love with you (chorus)

my heart beats for you.

- Jars of Clay

Tuesday, January 3

Drawer Envy

Amber in my drawers, Kodak EasyShare LS753

The cutest thing happened yesterday. I was cleaning out my closet up in the loft. I know, I know it sounds like I am avoiding "creating" by continuing to de-clutter...but this is actually an exercise in the book I am reading: The Seed Handbook - A Feminine Way to Create Business, by Lynne Franks.

So, as I empty out my drawers, my kitty Amber crawls in and looks at me like, "Don't even think about putting clothes back into my new bed".

I took this time to practice the patience of parenting skills and sat and talked to her, letting go of the fact that I was so done with cleaning my closet and wanting to step away from it all.

While I was sitting there, cooing at my kitty...our other one comes pouncing over with Drawer Envy. Oh if they could only talk so I could hear their exchange:

Elvis trying to get some lovins with Amber, Kodak EashyShare LS753

So, I grabbed my camera, which is practically attached around my neck these days and captured this precious moment for you all. Even the dog lovers will at least smirk a little at this:

Elvis determined, Amber reluctant and wanting space, Kodak EasyShare LS753

These days, with all this new transition happening in my life, I tend to notice the little things more than I have in the past.

I am craving more simplicity all around me. Taking time to talk to my kitty and watch their dance speaks to me. It tells me I am watching and listening.

Watching and Listening...*sigh*. That feels good.

Lots of people talk to animals. Not very many listen, though... that's the problem. ~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Sunday, January 1

Fruitful Year

Bowl of apples in my kitchen, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I am wishing each of you a brave and soulful New Year. I have a feeling that I will be hearing news of courageous leaps from you in 2006. Just a fluttery~excited butterfly in my gut is telling me so. I look forward to being inspired by you.

2005 was a fruitful year for me. I've been taking some precious moments the last few days to reflect on the goodness...the lessons learned...the relationships blossomed.

Here are some:

Our journey of trying to conceive has taught me so much about myself. I feel stronger, wiser and more open which ironically enough has left me with a childlike vulnerablity in regards to the unknown. Such a dichotomy of emotions flowing within and around me. I suppose it goes along with that saying..."The more that you know, you realize the less you really know."

I have learned that as much as I appear to be so calm and "Zen" to others, that I struggle inside with patience and anxiety. Patience with the goals in my life, including: the pace of my new career, the timing of a darling baby coming into our life, our household organization...and anxiety in social situations.

It's okay. I love these discoveries. I love that I am taking time to get to know me and learning how to wrap my arms around myself and embrace who I am.

Like right now I am writing this wearing two messy pony tails. I love wearing ponytails and braids. Someone told me a few years back that I was too old to be wearing my hair like this. I stopped wearing ponytails (but not braids). Now, I don't give a crap. I think I look cute like this and it gets my hair out of the way. This is one of many aspects of myself where I see growth and acceptance within.

I've met some passionate and kind-hearted artsy friends this year. I consider them a part of an artists community surrounding me, holding hands in a big circle. When one stumbles, we all use our strength to life one another up. I feel blessed with these friends in my life. In fact, I admired them for a while from a distance and reached out to them with no expectations. I ended up being reached for in return and am jazzed by the nurturing that's going on in these friendships.

This was my first year as a married woman. My family and I began to think this would never really happen for me. Like I was this wild flower with pedals that were constantly blowing in the wind, never to be rooted along with its stem. What happened is that I found another wild flower...and we float, we root, we float, we root..and it works harmoniously.

So these are a few of the fruitful things that have happened this past year.

More to come soon...