Wednesday, July 30, 2014

That word Inclusive

In preparing for the Love to Learn Conference this week, all those little things that need to be done the week before the conference, I started thinking about why Teri and I started this eight years ago.  How we really felt there was a need for a really inclusive conference that focused on homeschooling and where everyone would feel welcome, and a part of the experience.  We provide the only secular conference, that I have researched (and I have researched every one that I see advertised), in North Carolina.  We are so passionate about this conference, even as our children have grown.  But in thinking about all of this it brought back the memory of an e mail conversation I had with a friend.  She wasn't a close friend at all but I considered her a friend.  This was a few years ago now, but at the time it really made me think about the words we use when we talk about homeschooling and "inclusive".  I wrote a blog post about it but, at that time, decided not to share it.  So this post sat in my "saved posts" box for all this time.  I think now I am ready to share and think more about what it is we do for the homeschooling community here in NC.

Here is the post from several years ago:

I had an friend this past week moderate a list post of mine, a list she had invited me to. It sparked much debate between the two of us, and has really solidified, in my mind, the ideas and questions I have had swirling around over the past couple of years, concerning the words inclusive, exclusive, and tolerate. Those are such vague terms to me and I know there are definitions, but the feelings behind those definitions seem illusive.

OK this friend, invited me to a regional homeschooling list, the list is for disseminating regional homeschool information, events and activities. This past week she sent along a link to a very conservative Christian conference. So I took the time to read through the web site, as I do with most e mails when I have the time. I could find nothing about that conference that was homeschool related. It was for Christians, and was about how to defend your faith to those around you. She said, in a private e mail to me, that it might be of interest to homeschoolers, that was why she posted it. So I sent along a link to a Peace Conference at a Dharma Center close by. That e mail was rejected because she said it did no uphold Christian values. The e mail exchange that followed allowed me to examine my thoughts and ideas about that word inclusive and the word tolerate.

All these years I have heard that to *tolerate* was a good thing, that I should want others to tolerate me. But that just didn't sit well with me, the feelings associated with the use of the word are not positive, not loving or caring at all. And then the word inclusive. I know many groups that say they are inclusive, until any one member wants to speak up. Then the word takes on a new definition. I know many Christians here tolerate me, even though they do not know my beliefs on many, if any, issues. For me the word tolerate has a more "putting up with" feeling when it is used. I feeling of "we know you are wrong and we are right but we will let you breathe this air anyway, as we feel you have a right to exist, just be sure to play by our rules." I don't know if I like the word inclusive any better but for me it has more of a positive intention.

For me it is OK that people do not believe as I do, it is OK that people do not want their children playing with my children because they don't agree with how I parent or live. It is OK with me that people don't want to "hang out" with me, really it is. There are people I don't hang out with as well, just too many differences to make it a joyful experience, and ya know, if it isn't bringing joy into my life then I really don't want to be a part of it. That isn't exclusive at all, IMO, that is life. We don't click and get along with everyone. But it is the feeling and intention. For me I believe that we all decide what is right for ourselves. I can't decide what is right for anyone else, even my own children. Only the individual truly knows what is right for himself. I do my best to provide a rich environment for my children and help them navigate this world, as they want me to. But they have to make final decisions for themselves. So many Christians here feel that they are right and others are wrong, so black and white, us vs them, divisive. That their way is the only way. Just like some homeschoolers do. They feel their way of homeschooling is right and other's is wrong. I truly believe that people do what is right for themselves and their families, that they have chosen the best path for them. I see many paths.

My acquaintance loves her "hole analogy". What she shared with me several years ago is that she is called by God to warn others about the "hole around the corner", the evil that is not Christianity (as her church sees it). That if she sees someone about to step into the hole it is her calling to tell you about it over and over until you see the hole as well. So I took her hole analogy and expanded on it for her.  This is my side of the e mail conversation, I did not want to share her e mails to me as she might not want that out on the Internet, so in consideration of her privacy here is my side:

"You are living outside the hole and loving every minute of it. I see you living outside the hole, I might say 'oh wow, look at her she is just living such a beautiful life, I don't want to be in that hole, don't even want to get near that hole. She told me there was a hole there but I don't even want to try life in the hole.'  Of course then I might say 'wow she is leading a great, beautiful life, but I still want to see what is in that hole...OK you are telling me about the hole, yes I hear you, but I want to try out life in the hole anyway.' And I may decide that what is inside the hole isn't all it's cracked up to be so I want to live, like you do, outside the hole. I may also decide that I love the hole. I love everything about the hole. Living in the hole is right for me, and I can see that living outside the hole is right for you. But you keep yelling at me that the hole is wrong, there is no light in the hole. And I say, 'sure there is light in here but it's coming in from over there, you just can't see it.'  You tell me that I am doomed if I keep living in the hole, that it is wrong, and I keep saying 'It's right for ME.' I see you living outside the hole and I know it is there. But you still see my hole as wrong, and I still see both inside and outside the hole as right places for different people.  I see us as equal, you don't see us as equal, you see me as damned. (personally I don't like the hole analogy as it assumes inequality to begin with).

You are telling everyone about my life, and how to protect themselves from people like me, again implying that my life is wrong. I want to tell people about my life, give them the opportunity to share in what it is I enjoy, but you stop that message short. Why, I don't know why? I personally think people are smart enough to decide for themselves how they want to live. But they should know what life is like everywhere to be able to make an informed decision. So I want to share what life is like for me. Why would that be so wrong? I am not saying the way you live your life is evil, I am not saying it is wrong, I am not saying your life is any less joyful, than my life is for me, it is just a different life. But I don't, and other's don't need anyone to keep preaching to them about the evils *of the hole*. Seeing my beliefs (or lack of) as bad, evil or wrong but allowing me to share the same air with you, is not my definition of inclusive. Seeing my life as an equal option, living your best life as an example of your beliefs, allowing people equal access to information, so they can make up their own minds, that is inclusive, that is equal. But you don't have to go out to lunch with me. Seeing my life as an equal, joyful alternative....just as equal and joyful as your life...that is inclusive. It is about the feelings and intentions.

I am not trying to change your mind, just trying to allow you to see where I am coming from, peek into my life for a bit. I am not out to hurt you or anyone. I know what you believe, have heard it over and over. I do see your life and your family and your beliefs as beautiful, and joyful and right for *you*. I just wish you could see other beliefs as just as beautiful and joyful and right for other people. "

I really feel for me, that my definition of that word inclusive means more than just "putting up with differences", for me it means seeing the individual as doing what is right for him/her, in this moment in time. And knowing that what is right for me may not be right for someone else, but is no less right, no judgments about you, attached. That is my idea on the word inclusive at this moment in time. Hopefully more thought, discussion, life experience will help me refine these ideas in my own mind.  And of course I reserve the right to change my mind as I choose.  Isn't life great! "

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am the SUN

I picked a random video to have on in the background yesterday while I was balancing the checkbook and paying bills, one of my least favorite chores.  It was a Grey's Anatomy episode, actually I think it was one of the last episodes, or the last episode.  Anyway, it was the one where Cristina Yang is leaving.

At one point toward the end of the episode Cristina says "He is very dreamy, but he is not the sun, you are." I think sometimes it is just so nice to hear that, and that must be why that one particular video was the one I picked to be background to my moment.  I must have needed to hear that, at that particular time, to remind me.  I AM THE SUN.  I am the center of my universe.

It took me a while, in my younger years, to really "get" that.  Being brought up with a Christian mom, I was taught the song "Jesus and others and you...put yourself third and spell joy." Raised to believe that I must put myself last to be worthy. Not sure worthy of what.  So it took time to break that programming and come to understand that I need to put myself first, I need to nourish myself, I need to believe that I am important, if I ever expect my children to believe they are important.  They need to see a confident mom who takes care of herself.  Once I make myself the center of my universe I can give so much more to those around me, and enjoy it, and cherish it, and love it. No martyr here. And I am fortunate in that I discovered my truth before having children.

I do not depend on anyone else to be the center of my universe, I AM THE SUN!

If you want to see that clip you can watch it below, the part I love is found around the 2:30 mark.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Just a few pictures this morning after our cook out/pool party yesterday.  We had such a good time with friends/family.  Can't live without them, such a beautiful day, wonderful memories to fill up my tank!  So while I was thinking about all the fun last night I snapped a few shots of the morning.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scattered Life Collective: Reflection on my Week

You can see more of the Scattered Life Collective on Cynthia's Blog, so please join in, if you haven't already!

The time right now is 6:12 AM, I have been awake since about 5:30
On the menu: I have no idea, I will probably have a coconut yogurt for breakfast, beyond that will be a surprise for everyone.

Out the window: It is dark but I am starting to see glimmers of light.

I am reading The Lonesome Gods by Louis L'Amour.  There is a gentleman I bump into at the River View Cafe a couple of times a week, and he always has a book in his hand, so we have been talking about what he has been reading and one book was a Louis L'Amour book, I mentioned that I had never read Louis L'Amour so he suggested The Lonesome Gods.  When someone suggests a book I generally will read it, without knowing anything about the book.  Most of the time I pick up great reads that way, and I have read such a variety in the process.  I am enjoying this book so far, will see how it goes as I work my way though.

Listening to: I am, at this moment in time, listening to the sound of the grandfather clock ticking away against the silent morning.  Quiet time here at my house. I enjoy these quiet moments.

Watching: On TV I am watching reruns of Tabatha's Salon Takeover.  Just can't seem to find anything to enjoy on TV right now, even with so many channels.  But I catch an episode of this in the morning and, after I journal, watch while I drink a cup of hot tea.

As for movies, I am debating the new Planet of the Apes movie, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes".  I remember planet of the apes from when I was so much younger, so I feel sort of a sentimental desire to see the movie. But from the preview, I am not sure I will enjoy it.  I do have a couple of friends, that I have chatted with, that said it was a great movie and worth the time.  As for me I am still on the fence, we will see.

We did see Hercules, and was surprised that I enjoyed it.  My boys love the action movies.  This seemed to bring Hercules down to earth, which was a nice change for a movie.

Good things this week:
   ~Rain for the garden, bringing with it cooler weather
   ~Getting things done
   ~Finishing up an art project
   ~Cucumbers from the farmer's market, none from my garden so far
Bad things and their silver lining:
   ~Letting go (wasn't sure if this should go on the good or bad list).  Silver lining-opening up space for more wonderful things to emerge.

Looking forward to:
   ~Seeing friends this weekend
   ~Starting a new art project
   ~Continuing to work on my blog's look and feel
   ~The start of a new Goddess journey on Saturday, if you want to join in for the Artemis Course just click       here and scroll down toward the bottom.
  ~The Love to Learn Homeschool conference coming up on August 2
This coming week is lining up to be a BUSY and EXCITING week full of lots of wonderful moments!

"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive."
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Life and Death

I know this is not a topic most people want to think about but I have this "stuck" feeling when it comes to aging and death. Something a friend said to me a few years ago keeps popping back to the front of my mind, and I have been ponder this, wondering so many things.

I have experienced quite a bit of loss in my life already.  Neither my husband nor I have any living parents or grandparents.  We are orphans. (which kind of makes me smile in some ways and grieve in others).  My children do not know what it is like to have grandparents, my mother died when my oldest was just 11 months old.  My father died just over a year later, I was pregnant with my youngest son.  My husband's mother died before I even met my husband, so I never knew her, and his father died when my boys were so young that they don't remember him now, and they had only seen him a couple of times.  So really my sons just don't know what it is like to have grandparents or really extended family, as we live so far away from our families.

Five or six years ago a friend experienced the loss of a family member (grandparent), and we were talking and she was saying how it must be difficult for the children of someone who dies, as those children must have a sense that they are next.  Meaning that in the scheme of life, in the fundamental sense, the elders cross over first.  And when all your elders are gone, you are next.  I had not thought of things that way before.  And I just laughed and said something like "well thanks I guess that means I am next in line to die".

I think about that often, thanks Julie. I do think about getting older, but really have no point of reference, I have no intimate experience with aging.  My mother died in a car accident when she was 60, still youthful very active. My father killed himself one year and five months later, as he could not live without my mom, he was 56 at that time.  Those would be the people from whom you learn about aging, as you see them intimately, see how they live and age from day to day, share your innermost thoughts and feeling with, in many instances caring for them, caring about them or visiting with them.  These are the people you have shared your life with from day one.  So I think my ideas on aging are warped sort of.  I don't have that.  My parents died so suddenly, neither of them died of "natural causes" (that phrase has always bothered me but that is for another post).  Neither of them were elderly, both were still working, and traveling.

Most of my friends have both parents still living, and many have grandparents still living.  Many will get to see that aging process on an intimate level and experience the death of a parent in a more natural way.  I will have to live it, and am working to create my own image of aging, in my mind and in my reality.  Working to make this such a positive journey as it comes, whatever comes my way.  Creating this for myself.  I am working hard to not fear the unknown, and it is exciting to be making it up as I go along.  With no preconceived ideas of what growing older looks like in my immediate family past the age of 60, I do feel free.  Free to imagine the most wonderful experience ever.  Granted I am only 48 now, I was 29 when my mother crossed over and 30 when my father crossed, we never know how far this life will take us (that is a lesson I have learned) but in my mind it will be a most spectacular journey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If I Could Do One Day Over Which One Would It Be........

hmmmm that really isn't a hard choice.  But the reasoning may not be what you would think.  There are days I have not made good choices, things have gone wrong etc.  And many would think I would choose to do over the day my mother died, so I could call and warn her and avoid all the pain.  But really I wouldn't.  I think the events of that day have shaped me in many, many ways.  That grief makes me who I am today, makes me so much more compassionate, caring and loving as a person, to/for complete strangers as well as family and friends.

I know that if either of my parents were still alive, we would not be living in North Carolina, we would be in Maine.  We would not have the friends that we have now, our lives would be so much different, who knows where that path might have taken us.

No, the day I would do over is the last day I spent with my mom.  The last day she spent (her and my dad) in Germany with us.  They helped us move from Frankfurt to Augsburg, Dallen was around 6 months old I believe, maybe a little younger.  I do remember the morning we took them to the airport, goodbyes like that were always hard, I cried and cried, not knowing it was the last time I would see her, but just knowing she was leaving.  I don't regret anything about that trip, or our relationship, I know my mom loved me and she knew that I loved her, we were very open about that.  But if I could do that last day over, I would soak up as much of her as I could.  I would have stayed up all night talking with her.  I would have etched her face in my mind, I would have asked her so many questions.  We had a wonderful visit then, but I would have just packed in more hugs, had I known they would be the last we would share. Although I am not sure I would ever get enough.

Yup, that would be the day I would do over if I could.  But I can't, so I am moving on with today, in this moment now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


It gets easier every year.  I think Teri and I have this down to a science of sorts, we know what to do, what each other is doing, when to do it and how.  But there is no way to alleviate the hustle of the last two weeks prior to the conference.  So many things that need to be done but can't be done until toward the end: conference handbooks to bind, conference bags to stuff with pamphlets, magazines, and catalogs, speaker name badges to make, schedules to print, box lunch lists to total, registrations to keep up with, as well as scholarship recipients, volunteers and vendors.  Whew!

I don't stress as much over these things now.  I know how long each item on my list takes, and I check them off my list one by one.  I can smile while I am doing it.  I don't get a headache the day of the conference any more, an accomplishment for me. And Teri hasn't had a headache since the first conference (of course her headache was due to meningitis...what a conference goddess).  We can laugh when unexpected bumps come along, problem solve to resolve issues or work with/around them.  It is amazing what doing this for years teaches us.  Like what things truly are "little things", most of them.

We also know what to do with diva speakers and problem vendors- muahahahaha.


So when you go to a conference, know that there is a LOT of behind the scenes work going on.  People put in lots of time and effort to make your day go as smooth as possible.  Stop and say hello (we LOVE meeting conference attendees), think about offering to volunteer for the next conference, say "thank you", and above all else, enjoy yourself.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear 15 Year Old ME....

.....i wanted to let you know that things do get better.  I know you don't understand all that is going on right now, or how to stop it, but you will find your voice.  You will say no, you will make it stop and you will not let this stop you from your goals, your dreams, your future.  You will not stay stuck in this moment in time, but, with grace, you will rise above.  You will not only stop what is happening to you, but the possibility of it happening to others.  You have courage beyond your imagination.

This will not be the only difficult time you will face, and actually, with perspective, this will not seem like the most difficult time at all.  But it is through these difficult life events that you grow spiritually, and emotionally. These struggles will make you an amazing person, with such compassion and strength.  A person who always seems to persevere through the struggles and come out stronger and more loving than before.  These give you perspective, help you to see life is not black or white, right or wrong.

You will meet amazing people, share dreams, see the world, and find the soul you were meant to spend your life with, you will have beautiful children that will challenge everything you thought you knew about parenting, and joyfully you will bend, and change and find the best way to parent ever. The struggles that come before, leave you open to this change, to the possibility of change, to embracing the change.

So even though in this moment you don't see a way through, one appears.  A way through that leads to an awesome life full of peace.  And people appear to lean on, take advantage of those people.  You are building yourself, and all that is to come.

~Love 48 Year Old Me

Sunday, July 20, 2014

After the Rain

Rain, rain, rain, it has been raining here for the past couple of days and finally the sun decided to peek out.  So I grabbed my camera to catch a couple of shots.

Straight out of the camera

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Creative Soul

Art journaling has been such a great way for me to express my thoughts and feelings quickly.  This page took just a couple of hours total, with dry time in between layers.  The concept is something that you might find helpful as well.  It stems from the art journaling course I am taking but, of course, I didn't want to "stick to the rules" so I put my spin on it. 

I started picturing a wonderful time in my life, and really that is hard, there have been many times when I have felt I was at my best.  And this could be a time that is real or a future time if you think the best is yet to come.  I chose a past time in my life, but now that I write this maybe I will have to do another page focused on the future.  After meditating on that thought for a few minutes, I picked up my journal and just started writing it all down, when it was, how I felt, what I was thinking, where I was, who I was with, all those details.  Then I quickly, without thinking too much about it, I jotted down feeling words, in a list, HOW I FELT.  (This past part was sort of like the workshop)  And I chose one word to focus on in my art journal.  That word for me was abundance.  I jotted it down on a piece of paper and just kept it beside me as I worked, and kept looking back at it and feeling that feeling again.  

I started, of course, picking out colors, just three or four that I really felt drawn to as I thought about abundance.  I also tore pages out of a magazine that called to me.  I just started working, adding, painting, pasting, highlighting, and finally added my work abundance to the page.  To me it really feels like "abundance".  ABUNDANCE!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

10 Things You Might Not Know About ME

1.  I have a tattoo.  Got this tat more than 10 years ago.  It is small, and represents Jackson, the boys and me.  Jackson has a matching one.  I want another tattoo, but can't decide exactly what.

2.  I have always wanted to paint.  I enjoy taking acrylics and making a mess, seeing what comes out of it.  This has been a secret desire since I was very young, and it is just now coming out at the age of 48.  You should never wait that long to express your passion.

3.  I hated reading in school.  I was a slow reader back then, and would cringe when books were assigned.  I would freeze, fall behind on the very first day.  It took me years to start reading again, for pleasure this time, books of my choosing.  Now I enjoy reading, and am actually a fast reader.

4.  I sometimes miss writing letters.  It is so nice to receive a card or letter in the mail, instead of bills.  So there are times I will just take out a card and write a random letter to a friend.

5.  My friends ARE part of my family.

6.  As much as I love books, the actual paper page, I am moving to digital books.  In my head it just makes sense to save that paper, in my heart I still love turning pages and seeing how far I have come and how much there is left to the story by looking at the size of the book and where my book mark falls in all of that.

7.  I have a love for office supply stores, I could live in an office supply store, all that ORGANIZATION!

8.  Also related to number 7, I savor the smell of new plastic.  When we walk into an office supply store that smell hits me and I will say "smells like a new barbie".  So maybe it is the memory it evokes.

9.  Knitting reminds me of my mom.  When I sit and knit I can picture her sitting on the end of the couch watching TV and knitting, the cat playing with the yarn as my mom pulls it out of the skein.

10.  I cherish my grey hair.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The sunrise was so beautiful this morning.  I went outside to soak up all the beautiful rays and got a couple of pictures while I was out.

I had never been an early bird, I was always a "stay up late" kind of person.  When I worked outside the home, I preferred the evening or night shifts.  When we adopted our wonderful dog Ellis, everything changed, as he was/is NOT a night owl.  So I am up every morning around 5 or 6.  This has become my part of my routine, it is rare that I miss the sunrise.  Even on those occasions when the dogs do sleep in, my body is now so attuned to getting up early that I can't follow their lead.

I think I would miss seeing the sunrise, and the moonset, each morning.  It is spectacular, and changes with the weather and seasons.  I should take more pictures of the early morning on those days, when the sun is just a blur though the fog, or the fall leaves add to the spectacular fiery beauty of the sunrise. It is amazingly beautiful.

It is not Sunday, but these photos are straight out of the camera.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Making the Switch

OK I thought of several titles for this post but thought something less "in your face" would be most appropriate.  I have made the switch to an all natural deodorant.  I know, I know....some of my friends will be saying "eeeewwww" and others will be saying "it's about time".

I have tried and tried over the years to change, and tried many different organic brands from the store, but had not found ONE that worked.  And yes, before you even comment, I gave them all plenty of time, gave my body time to adjust.  I bought one stick at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville this year and finally tried it out.  Small one person company making their own beauty products.  Bought just one, and have since found the recipe online so will be making my own from now on.  That one stick sat in my bathroom for MONTHS, and I just decided to go for it about two weeks ago.  So far so good.

Here is the product I bought, yes the container is black so it didn't show up well.

But looking at the ingredients list on the stick I bought (the ingredients with the stick on the web site are different), it looks like this recipe I found at the Wellness Mama site, please go take a look if you are at all interested in a new recipe.

Here are the ingredients, I will let you all know how it turns out when I make my own, if you want the instructions please visit the Wellness Mama.  
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 part)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tsp  beeswax
  • Optional: Vitamin E oil to preserve. I added 1 tsp vitamin E oil for  this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda (Omit this if you have sensitive skin and just use extra arrowroot)
  • 1/2 cup organic arrowroot powder
  • 2-3 capsules of high quality probiotics that don’t need to be refrigerated 
  • Optional: Essential Oil of choice – I used about 20 drops of lavender essential oil
OK so why did I switch?  Because of the aluminum in deodorants/antiperspirants, as well as well as the unnatural scent used.  But you can find lots of information about this on the internet, but here is one article specifically about the aluminum, Beware of Aluminum in Deodorant Products.

Friday, July 11, 2014

So GLAD it's Friday!

I am just so happy this morning that it is FRIDAY!  Not sure why, as for me, in my life right now, Friday is like all other days.  Maybe it is because Jackson is not on call this weekend.

When Jackson is on call for the weekend he is generally at work for half a day, Saturday and Sunday.  Even when he is home, though, his attention is still at work.  He attention, his focus is not at home.  I never feel like he is present with us, his family, when he is on call.  So Jackson NOT being on call this weekend is a big thing for us, as a family.

Maybe the "weekend" feeling stems from years of school.  It was always such a big deal to be "off for the weekend", even though I generally enjoyed school.  I do remember the knot in my stomach on Sunday night, just thinking about going back to school Monday morning.

I don't know where it comes from, but that feeling of "YES IT IS FRIDAY" feels good.  The weekend is coming up, the Farmer's Market on Saturday.  Hanging out with Jackson and the boys, doing nothing or doing something, who knows right now.  I just love the peaceful feeling I get when I know it is Friday.

Love these foggy mornings, you can see the fog lifting off the hills onto another beautiful FRIDAY!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fellow Travelers

I was watching TV the other day and someone was talking about... I can't remember what... anyway he used the phrase "fellow travelers".  It just struck a chord in my heart.  Something to really think about.

I see the meme quite frequently about who you would have lunch with .  You know the one...."if you could go back in time and have lunch with anyone, who would it be" or  "if you could ask anyone, living or dead, a question, who would it be and what would you ask"?  So many comments referencing famous people, most of them dead famous people...authors, scientists, humanitarians. After this character on TV said "fellow travelers" it really made me think, we are here on this earth for such a short time.  And I can look around and see all these fellow travelers.  We are all on this earth together at THIS moment in time.  Who knows what the future will bring.  But, I do know what is now, here, right in front of me.  I need to take this opportunity to reach out and connect with other "fellow travelers".  Ask the questions, talk, take the time and forget about the impossible, asking someone no longer here.  But connect on a human level with those here in this present moment in time.

We are here for such a short time, and traveling this space with each other.  Such a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers, connect with people, ask those questions of the living. Stay connected, make the time to be with each other, the fellow travelers in our lives.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Deep Friendships

It is so nice to go out to dinner with someone that has been a friend for a long time, or what seems like a long time, I guess we have been friends since about 2004 or so, so at least a decade, maybe a little longer.  There is that relaxed feel, no strange idle chit chat, no "get to know you" questions.  You just pick up where you left off.

Sometimes I think/and know we could talk all night and never run out of conversation.  That person knows how you think so you don't wonder how they will react when you talk politics or religion, you already know. A connection, an understanding there.  And an effort made.  You will always make time to get together because those times are important.  Talking with someone of like mind keeps me sane, lets me vent my frustrations and knows that I need just that, a place to vent and a safe person with whom to vent, to share those secrets.

I love those times.  Even for me, the introvert who thinks she would rather stay at home and snuggle up with a good book or movie, I love to get out with a good friend for the evening.  Just to talk, laugh, plan, vent, share our lives.  It feels good, it feels safe, it feels like home, we all need that in our lives.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Healing through Art Journaling

I wanted to share this exercise I worked on this past weekend.  I found it to be so cleansing for me, and helped get rid of some of the negative self talk I have rattling around in my head.  I thought others might enjoy this exercise as well so I am posting it here.

It stemmed from a workshop I am taking, the project we were working on just wasn't speaking to me at all. I sat with this particular project for about three weeks, just thinking about it, not wanting to dive in, not feeling called.  So I adapted it for me, and it was one of those art journal projects that I will probably do over and over in the years to come as life changes.

I started out with a blank page.  On that page I drew a figure of a woman.  You can draw her however you like, this is not a contest so draw her how you like but just make a basic shape as we are going to be writing inside and around her.

Once that shape is drawn, this is where the journaling part comes in, take some time to focus on the outside space, that space around your figure.  And in this space write all the negative self talk going on around in your head, the negative things you think about yourself, the things you mother used to tell you that were negative, the things others say about you, or that you believe they think about you.  Take some time to really get it all out there.  You can write down words or sentences or phrases, however that voice speaks to you.

Now on the inside of the figure let's write down the positive things about yourself, those things you already know to be true, those things other people are telling you, the things you want to be true, just lots and lots of positive *stuff*.  The *stuff* that belongs on the inside, the *stuff* that will replace all the negative.

Once this is done, lets paint, or get out the sharpies and draw.  Something that will cover up the words, or leave some showing through if you would like.  I think that would be cool, to let some of those positive words show through so when you look back at the art journal piece you can see the positive.  I started with the outside when painting, but there is no right or wrong way to approach this.  I just painted quickly, and when I finished the outside I could still see a few words showing through so I put some circles over those words.  It was healing to be painting over those words, if felt like I was releasing those thoughts, just letting them go, and creating something beautiful in that space.

Then I moved to the inside, and just really wanted her to be beautiful, as I am.  I wanted that space to flow, and be peaceful and embracing of all the positive word with which I used to fill her.  So many positive words, so many positive beliefs.

When I stepped back to look at what I had painted I really liked how the brown paint, which I chose because, to me, it evokes similar feelings as the negative words, seemed like a barrier, or a bubble around me, like that brown was keeping all that negativity out, away from me, right where it needs to be.  Enjoy, I hope you find this a healing project.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Little Things

Those two photos are taken in my house in the living room.  I have my mom's piano in there, although none of us play or really want to play.  On top are some things I hold dear, including two vases.  They are locally made vases that my boys bought for me over this past year.  They are such beautiful vases, and have been sitting on this piano, empty for quite a few months now, one on either end.  And while they are beautiful empty, it just felt like they needed something.  I have been telling myself that I am waiting until I see the perfect dried flowers for the vases.  Because those will last.  But really do the flowers need to last.  

While I was grocery shopping I spied, in their floral section, some small arrangements. not expensive, these arrangements varied in price but were around $5 each.  So I decided to just pick up two for the vases, and I am so glad I did, that was a few months ago, every couple of weeks I pick up two more arrangements and replace the flowers in those vases.  The vases are so much more beautiful now that they are fulfilling their purpose.  The flowers do not take away from the beauty of the vase but add to it, like a great team, working together.  I am really enjoying having the flowers in the house, I look at them every day.  The flowers make me smile, they brighten the room and I think of my boys and how much it means to me to have them in my life, how much the boys enrich my life.  Sometimes it's the little things.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Just a few thoughts this beautiful Independence Day.  It is so sunny outside today, not a cloud in the sky at the moment.  I mean really the sky is just a solid shade of beautiful cool blue, a slight breeze in the air and a comfortable 76 degrees,  LOVELY!  I think today is just going to be a nice quiet day for us today.  We generally don't attend any fireworks or picnics.  Usually Jackson is on call but not today.  So that is nice, no pager going off, no rounds, no visits to the hospital, so he can relax and be present, be at home.

I am not feeling any more patriotic today than any other day, and despite the sadness I feel at the way some things are turning, at the moment, in this country and in North Carolina in particular, I do not feel powerless. Actually I feel powerful!  I know *I* can choose where to spend my money, how to vote and where to focus my energy.  I am powerful and all is good.

Independence Day for me means hope for the future. Knowing that, things in general, are never stagnant and are always in a state of change.  As history has shown us, we may take a step backward now and again but in the end we move forward toward a place of more love and honest respect, even though I may not see it at times.

There are so many issues in my mind right now, changes taking place on the local, state, and national level.  But seeing people taking a stand gives me hope.  Whatever side of any issue a person is on, seeing/reading/hearing their point of view, their voice, even if I have a completely differing opinion, gives me hope.  It means people out there still care, care enough to say something, care enough to do something, care enough to form an opinion.  I think when we are all silent, then hope may be lost.

So I do feel patriotic, every day.  I think having served in the military gives me a different sense of patriotism, something I never had prior. And I know those of you that are or have served, know what I mean.  Jackson and I have talked about this feeling before.  How you can't help but tear up when you hear the Star-Spangled Banner, a deeper/different sense of country.  I guess, for me, it isn't a sense of pride in what the United States of America is right at this moment (good or bad), it isn't a sense of being somehow a "superior" nation.  It is more a sense of kinship with all those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, that have come before me, that are serving now and those that will serve in the future.  It is the belief in what the constitution stands for.  It is the HOPE for the future.

The following pics have really nothing to do with this post but it was such a nice day outside I snapped a few photos:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Taking it all In

Oh these last few months have brought changes in my life, for the better.  Learning how to let go, try on new ideas, thoughts, and processes.  Changes that are physical, emotional, spiritual, and social.  And for this introvert change can be hard, reaching outside myself can really take effort and energy. Energy that, at times, I feel I don't have.  Working toward a more loving and gentle relationship with myself, has led to gentle and loving relationships with others.  Reaching toward a true sense of myself, and what it is I am passionate about, helps me in so many other areas of my life, as mother and wife, helps me to encourage those around me to be true to themselves as well.

Growth can be permanent or temporary but does require work, I may try things on for size and decide they just don't fit with who I am.  This is the time of year for growth, and a great time in my life for growth.  It is amazing watching my boys as they grow and change, try things on.  It really brings it all home and I am so enjoying taking it all in. Taking in the process in my life, taking in the process in the lives of others, is just amazing to observe. Having my daily self care rituals truly helps me stay grounded in the moment, and rooted in my life, rooted in the things that I know to be true for me, while at the same time providing a base for trying on new things.

As I do try new endeavors, I find that I need periods of rest as well.  Maintaining my rituals, and caring deeply for myself, provides a constant refueling.  Taking it all in at times doesn't look like an active process.  I need down time to evaluate how things are going, check in with myself.  But it is all good.  The growth and the reflection, progress toward a truer sense of self.

Beautiful candle and charger.  Gift from a friend, and I love it.  It is just so peaceful.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Mother's Comfort

My mom knows just when I need her.  I have times when I just miss her so much. Someone will say something, or I will see something, or sometimes it just washes over me, and I will feel her absence more.  But she knows just when I need to hear her.  She will send me a sign.  Her writing on a piece of paper, or I will run across her picture, or her signature on my quilt.  Those things just pop up when I need to see them, when I least expect it.  She knows when I need her.  She knows it will bring some comfort to my heart.
This is her note on a quilt she made for me.  This is the note I spotted a couple of days ago while making the bed.  I had forgotten she signed it, but that was just what I needed to hear!

This is a plant pot she painted for me YEARS ago.  There isn't a house plant in it currently but I hang onto the pot because I need to read the note from time to time.

This is my mom's banana bread recipe.  I do have quite a few of her recipes in her own handwriting, but this one is used frequently.  If you click on the picture it will bring it up larger and you can read the recipe.  It is delicious.  

I know how much this means to me, so I make sure to leave notes for my boys and sign the quilts I make for them.