The Ponder Days

I am just a sojourner, an artist wandering through life with a sense of wonder about it all. Come ponder with me. This year is about observation and perspective.

This blog is interactive and is at its best when comments are left and opinions shared, lively discussions generated, and perhaps with your favorite beverage.

I would love to read your comments. Please, don't be shy...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Living Your Spirit #39 ~ The Love of Small Business

The heart of the communiy...that's what I think of first. In response to a contest challenge about supporting small, local businesses, I really got to thinking about what that means to me, and how being included in that definition inspires me.
What really sings to my heart is the camaraderie, the sense of community, and the sharing among others. The small, independent, local community business seems not to be selfish or greedy in nature. I see time and again, vendor helping vendor, with merchandising ideas, recipes, and bartering. While the object is to sell wares or services, for indeed people need to make a living, the methods are kinder and truer.
Stop in at one of these establishments and you are likely to be greeted not only with a smile, but with friendly conversation. You will receive exemplary customer service, and perhaps even gain a friend in the process. Customers are cared for in a more personal way, because the merchants truly do care.
Oh, and the products! You will find the most wonderful things - handmade, higher quality, better tasting, more creative, and how wonderful it is to know the creator. To carry home a fresh, warm loaf of bread that you know was baked not only with fresh ingredients, but with wrap yourself in the warm hug of a garment that was know that you are in the circle of continuity that is keeping your commnity alive...feeds the spirit so well.
I've included only a small list here and will be adding to it. I heartily thank Inkling Media for the inspiration. Although I do support small, local businesses, I have not been doing all I can to promote them. Perhaps this will aid in that effort. If you want your business added here...oh, leave a message. I will be sure to check you out!

My Aunt Debbie
Inkling Media
Double H Photography
Two Dudes Painting Company
Vulcania Graphics
lowercase gallery

Peace and light and love

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black Friday Trunk Show

The magnificent My Aunt Debbie is hosting Welsh Studio wearable art on Friday, November 25. My Aunt Debbie and Mommalicious have a wonderful shop in Lancaster chock full of the most amazing things. Come check them out. You'll love the experience.

Art Tip: Magnification

Are you an artist who uses magnification while working? Do you use loupes or magnifiers? They can be expensive. Did you know that Dollar Tree sells reading glasses (magnifiers) for $1.00? Up to 3.5x magnification. 3.5. This is not an ad, just something I think is useful to share. I picked up 5 pairs and keep them all over the house now...and if they break, so easy and cheap to replace. I'd much rather have glasses perched on my head when not in use than that big old band, and you can still attach jeweler's eyepieces to them if you need to increase.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 38 ~ Life and Pain

   Today I read a post by a father who has only a few days ago lost his sweet daughter to cancer. She was only 5 years old, the youngest of three sisters, and was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor only three short months ago. I have included the link on her name so you can read her story. Her name was Gabby.
I don't know him, but my heart goes out to this man and his family. I am glad he had the courage to post Gabby's story for all to read. I am glad he had the courage to share his unabridged grief. In the midst of our whining about our everyday inconveniences, he has brought a grounding point to us. His experience is one of the worst things that can happen to a person.

   We don't understand why children die. Yes, science and medicine explain some things to us, this is true, but it does not seem to be the correct order in which our society has placed things. We are born, we move through life to old age, and then we die. That is how we believe things are supposed to happen. That is how we want to believe. We don't want to accept any other order. But, it happens. It is awful.
   There are accidents. There is violence. There is war. There is disease. We try to understand it. We cannot. Not really. We can explain it away to the best of our ability, but the bottom line is: we just do not know.

   Scientists can explain a lot about how things work. Anthropologists and psychologists can explain why some people behave the way they do. Religion tries to explain the unexplainable. Great minds for thousands of years have tried to explain the meaning of life. Many have belief systems that help - help to cope with what life brings us, giving us reasons for things for which we so want reasons. Sometimes there are none; none that we know about for certain. And so we believe.

   We believe because it helps. We believe because it gives us structure, a way to live. We believe because sometimes it is the only thing to which we can cling. Our beliefs are different, and that is okay. That is what I believe. I believe it is okay that we all have different belief systems, as long as we are not hurting one another. I believe that we should be respectful of others. I believe that we should help each other. I believe that life can be hurtful enough on its own without us adding to that hurt.

I believe that this precious little girl's life was amazing. I believe she touched others in a way that not many of us can. I believe her father helped many people with his sharing. I know that does not bring him or his family much comfort at this moment, but it is my hope that he continues to share so that we all can that we can believe that people can make a difference in other people's lives, whether they know them or not. Through little things or big things, though joy or grief, through laughter or tears, we can help each other. We need to help each other.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 37 ~ Fairy Tales are Pretend

It is interesting to me that many people complain about getting older, something over which there is no control. The media has finely crafted a capitalist consumerism misconception that younger is better, that age should be feared, that we need to be pretty, wrinkle free, and quite frankly, stay dumb enough to believe it all. Anti-aging is a multi-billion dollar business. It is also discriminatory. Please don't waste precious energy trying to stop the clock. You can't, and really, you don't want to. There are many people whose clocks were stopped too early who would love to be here getting old with us. Thank your lucky stars (or whomever your belief system thanks) for each precious day! Enjoy being a real person!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 36 ~ Incredible Moments

Sometimes, when we are very fortunate, we experience periods of enlightenment in our lives, a shift in our consciousness, often not recognized in language, but in an internal, deeper form of communication. It seems to happen in those rare instances when we are finely attuned. I find that what I receive is unable to be expressed, and while that at first gave rise to frustration and confusion, I have since learned to graciously accept what is given, and it now fills me with an appreciation of the glimpse of grace and knowledge I am blessed to receive. During those moments, I am saturated with gratitude and humility, and I give loving thanks to all of those people whose lives send me reminders. There is a glow about those who are in the midst of receiving, and a silent sharing exudes as we learn from one another.

Peace and love and light to all of you

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Country Needs a Mom

Ordinarily, I try to stay away from religious and political postings, not because I don't have beliefs and opinions, but because I don't want this to become a platform. I'd rather just keep it ground for sharing.

Today, however, I am stating a political opinion, half tongue-in-cheek, half seriously.

Our country needs a mom! Really. Think about it. This country is our home, and should be run more like a home and less like a business. Just think what would happen if we got a good, practical mom in charge:

There wouldn't be deficit spending. "If we don't have the money, we don't buy it, simple as that." Can't you hear her? "Let's save for what we want. NASA, you might consider an Adopt an Astronaut Program to help with your budget." Saurday White House lawn bake sales would become a frequent activity.

Waste would certainly be cut, and some White house dinners might even become pot luck. If everyone brought something to share, it would certainly cut costs. And the elected officials would be expected to set a good example. Their behavior would be monitored and they would have their allowances cut (read unpaid leave) when deemed necesssary.

Ah yes, "And you (pointing a finger at unruly, misbehaving illegal aliens) go back to your country until you learn how to behave. When you come in legally, and nicely, and don't break the rules (laws), then we'll talk."

Time outs (prisons) would be structured so that offenders would not want to go back.  Behavior modifications programs would include incentives and consequences appropriate to the infraction. "And no desserts! Not until you get out and be good" (as the aroma of warm apple pie fills the air).

Any more mom ideas to share? All in good fun, not meant to inflame...

Peace and light.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Smiles ~ Kids Learning to Talk ~ Remembering

You have to write them really do. You absolutely will forget a lot of those cute things your kids say when they are trying to figure out the language. There will be occasional events that trigger a memory, and some memories will stay strong, but wouldn't a book full of those cute little words be  wonderful? I am sure I have forgotten a lot more than I have remembered.

My two daughters are different as night and day. I have always said I received the best of two different worlds in their arrivals. They are grown now, but some of the words they coined are with us still, or at least with me. Both talked early, and learned the language quickly, with fun things along the way.

DD1, when learning the parts of the body, said "elbow" and then pointed to her leg joint and said "kneebow". It made sense to her, and I must say I agree. FeeVee was the designation for the television, and compound words were reversed: widesalk, sindowill, and flutterby were the favorites. She was convinced that the thing that went around her neck at mealtime was called a bibon - isn't it just obvious why? Have(with a long a) was a verb, as in, "Mommy, I'm being as have as I can!"

DD2 preferred belbow as her arm joint reference, but loved the y sound. Yadeerow was her word for radio and we still call the little round candy covered chocolates Yem and Ms. Anywhere you went to get something was a store: grocery store, clothing store, money store(bank) and dinner store(restaurant).

Kids have such a great view of the world and often make more sense than do we adults. It is such a joy to watch them experience learning. I am now blessed with two grandchildren and am witnessing that fun all over again.

Please share your kid word memories. They are smile makers, and we can never have enough smiles!

Peace and light

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living Your Spirit #35 ~ Nothing

Take time to do Nothing.

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky is by no means a waste of time."
                                                                                                                         ~ J. Lubbock

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Free Printable Planner Page Hot List

I used to write my Hot List (see previous post) on an index card because it is cheap and convenient and I can fold it in half to pretty much fit any pocket. I was doing some designing one day and made some printable lists for myself that I found I really enjoy using. As I have to print them, I am also more careful not to waste them and use them more efficiently. I sometimes used too many index cards at one time and pretty soon I didn't know which was which.

I like making my own fillers for my planner because I can tailor them to fit my needs. I also enjoy designing attractive pages that make me want to use my planner on a more regular basis. Creative types like me tend to get bored with plain lines. I am working on some sets now and hopefully you will be able to see them soon.

I'll be putting my printable lists on Etsy in the near future. For a FREE printable of my Hot List, just link to this post on your blog or website, and add your email address in the comments section here along with a link to your blog or website and I will email you your own printable version in PDF format. Please note that you may use this as much as you want for personal use, but not for resale (that's a copyright no-no). This Hot List is part of the River Cottage Collection, which will soon be available as printables and scrapbook set.

There are three lists on an 8.5 x 11 sheet. I just use a paper trimmer to cut them (or you can use scissors). I also have a seven hole punch for classic size planner that I just love. They run anywhere from $10 to $50. I have a Franklin Covey that works very nicely that I bought for about $25.00. has it listed right now for $20.10.

Note: I do not make any money from companies that I recommend here. I am only passing along my own preferences.

As always, I'd love to know what you think.
Peace and light.

Living Your Spirit #34 ~ Bringing Mindfulness to Life

I awaken...and immediately beging to mentally list all of the things to do, then I stop, and remind myself to be aware of the light. I look out the window and look at the day. It is bright and beautiful and I make a mental note to make sure I allow some outdoor time today, even though it is still cool and crisp.

As I go through my morning routine, I find my mind starting to wander again to the day's list. This list is usually comprised of more things than I can reasonably accomplish. Once again I remind myself to be in the moment. "You are brushing your teeth," I tell myself. "Be in the brushing."

I wend my way through the hall and downstairs to prepare coffee, my morning indulgence, although without caffeine, and I enjoy the aroma of the grounds and the sparkle of sunlight through the window. While the coffee brews, I wipe the sink clean and take a moment to enjoy the shine while I pour my coffee.

I settle at my desk with pen and pad and my previous day's list, adding anything I think may be of importance. Then I give myself just a few things to do. It's my hot list for the day and contains only what absolutely must be done and a small number of other things I'd like to accomplish. Once this is done, I carry the hot list in my pocket, and refer to it as the day progresses. I do not even look at the Master List again until the next morning. If anything occurs during the day that needs my immediate attention, I write it on the bottom of the hot list. As I think of other tasks or appointments I write them on the back of the Hot List and will add them to the Master List the next day. Choosing only a few things that have to be done and looking at the Master List each morning while enjoying my coffee helps me to prioritize which allows me to "be in the moment" of whatever else it is I am doing for the day.

As my mind's natural bent is to race forward, this has taken some practice. Slowing down is not what the world preaches today. We are encouraged to be fast-paced multi-taskers, and there is a cost to that. Our stress levels are sometimes off the charts, and unrelenting stress can cause permanent health damage (a post for another day).

We do have lives that are full, and usually have a lot to accomplish. It needn't be overwhelming. We don't have to go full speed ahead all the time. We can do one thing at a time and enjoy the moment for what it is, be it work or pleasure. Even an unpleasant task can be made more tolerable by looking at it with new perspective. Putting the unpleasant things at the top of the list will get them out of the way first, enabling you to better enjoy the rest of your day.

Being aware of our surroundings...on the drive to the office, for example, can give us bursts of joy to carry us through a day. Instead of trying to think of all the things you need to do when you get there, be in the driving and be aware of your surroundings. Notice the sun rising in the sky, maybe the smell of the rain, or that chocolate factory you pass every day. Witness the fact that the lady that lives in the farmhouse that you don't even know has planted flowers, and you get to enjoy them too. Oh, and in the driving!

Part of being mindful is to organize those potential distractions early in the day so they don't keep interrupting you. Some people I know like to do this before bed so they can start the next day fresh. I admit as nice as this sounds to me, by the end of the day my brain sometimes doesn't want to play. You'll find a system that works well for you, I'm sure. If you already have a system, please share it with us.

Peace and light and joy to you in your moments! I'd love to know about them...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Housecleaning Files ~ Folder Tip

Spring cleaning and taxes - time to reorganize the files. Don't you just hate it when you have to tear off a label and put on a new one and either it won't come off at all or it tears most of the folder away? I bought a box of recycled folders a few years ago and didn't like that it was difficult and messy to reuse them and still have them look neat.

My solution? I placed a piece of clear packing tape in the labeling area and then used blank address labels (the kind you buy for your printer) to place on top of the packing tape. When it comes time to change the label, it peels off the packing tape nicely and a new one goes in place just as easily. It takes just a little time to put the packing tape on your folders, but saves time, money, and frustration in the long run. If you don't want to buy labels, any piece of paper with a strip of scotch tape on top will serve the same purpose.

Plus factor? Everything stays relatively neat, and your folders last longer.  If you mess up a label, it's easy to change it...

Happy organizing!

Please share any tips you might have.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living Your Spirit #33 ~ The Important Women in Our Lives

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day it only seems fitting to recognize, remember, and think about those women who have affected our lives in large or small ways.

Famous women, of course, have made an impact by the things they have done and the things they have said. There are many heroes among them, and I applaud their intelligence, courage, creativity, and all the things they have accomplished. I have learned much from learning about them. There are many women, however, that remain unsung. These women who have made an impact on our lives, but have never gained fame or recognnition, are the women I would like us to think about today. Here are but a scant few from my own life.

My Mother.
     I learned from her example never to be afraid of hard work. She worked very hard all of her life, often at more than one job, and never once made us feel like she was sacrificing anything. Among many other things, I can thank her for a strong work ethic.

My Grandmother.
     She taught us not to waste anything. She lived through the depression as a widowed mother of three and "Waste not, want not" was her mantra. The verse of the day was "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." My fondness for recycling and repurposing surely comes from her.

My High School English Teacher
     She made us learn the words in the Reader's Digest feature every month and stressed the importance of good grammar. Her joy in words was so evident, and she was definitely a positive influence in my love of language.

My Sister
     She taught me grace. She was loving and good and as far as I know, never said an unkind word about anyone. During her terminal illness she was the epitome of grace and dignity throughout. The continued presence of those elements sustains me often in troubling times.

My Daughters
     I have experienced pure love and joy through their mere existence, and found delight in accomplishments that were not my own. I have savored every moment of their differences and their similarities. To observe a child grow is one of life's greatest mysterious pleasures. I am grateful to them for having been born.

My Granddaughter
     It is everything they say and more ~ being a grandparent. All of a sudden you are willing to risk your life, and very possibly someone else's, to protect this child. You can find pleasure in the moments you might have missed as a mother because you were busy taking care of your children's needs and being totally responsible for their welfare. My granddaughter just makes my life sparkle!

There are many others. Aunts and cousins and friends and teachers and grocery store clerks and co-workers and strangers on the street have all made a difference. I thank all of the women who have passed through my life, and cherish all of the women who are still in it.

Who are your special women? We would love to know...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just Too Cute Not to Post

Little Bucky Foo Foo
I don't want to see you
Chewing up the cushion
And pulling out the fluff

Looking innocent

Acting nonchalant

Thinks I'm not watching

Planning the next move



Little red-eyed devil

Good thing he's so cute!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Most Extraordinary Story

Just a story about luck, and other-worldly things.

My father was the one with the Irish heritage, but my mother had all the luck. She never had a lot of money, but always had a positive attitude and was always winning things...not usually big things, but door prizes, raffles, and on one plane trip to Las Vegas, she won on the slot machines in the airport before she even got there! So...she got the reputation as the lucky one.

She had a hard working life, but a nice, simple retirement that was full of pleasure for her. She lived until 92 years of age and smiled every day. I was her youngest child, and we had a special relationship. In her final two years in a lovely nursing home, I always felt that my brother looked after her financial and physical needs and I looked after her emotional ones. My sister had passed on years before.

On the evening of the day she died, I took a long walk around my brother's neighborhood, enjoying and needing the solitude. On that walk, I found six four leaf clovers. Count 'em, six!  It took me some time to process, but what could it be but a message from my dear mother sending me her love, and maybe her luck.

As if that wasn't extraordinary enough, for weeks after, I found at least one four leaf clover a day, often more than that. It seemed that they were finding me. At first, I pressed them between pages of a book, but then I started giving them away, usually to the first person I saw after the finding, for I already had so many.  I put one in a painting, gave them as baby gifts, even finding them on my way into the hospital to see the newborn child. I keep very few now, and don't find them nearly as often, but I still look, and once in a while, find a happy surprise.


These are just a few. The two tiny ones in the lower right hand corner I found on my birthday. The pretty one below them is one I found on her birthday, and the one to the left of the tiny ones I found on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blind Sketching 2nd Day

Same blind sketching process, done quickly. On this, green was done blindly first, followed by blind pen. I then deliberately (and sightedly) accented what the blindness brought me in red. This is fun and I sometimes have an idea where it's going. It does allow me the freedom that I usually have trouble giving myself, so it is a good exercise.

Sketch Wednesday 2nd

no...not blind.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday ~ Blind Sketching

Today I started a week of blind sketches. I started with the blue, my eyes closed, and just let my hand do what it wanted.  I then took the pen, closed my eyes, relaxed, and did the same. I then used the violet, eyes open, to accent what the blindness brought me. I did this last step quickly, not wanting the result to become elaborate or deliberately representational. This meditative exercise has brought my spirit to the surface on many occasions. It was interesting to note the circular patterns my blind steps took.

Tips for Eating Raw

I enjoy eating raw foods and "uncooking" all of the wonderful recipes out there, and coming up with my own concoctions. One of the things that I have noticed though, is that just as in the standard american diet (SAD), there are a lot of sweet treats, however raw and natural they may be. It is a good idea, if we are going to embrace raw eating, to balance these as we would in any other healthy eating regimen. I don't prepare too many elaborate sweet recipes. I am happy with the Chia Bliss Pudding (below), a piece of fruit, or one or two medjool dates if I want a sweet treat. I find that the less I include sweets in my day, the less I crave them.

Another thing about eating raw is that many of the recipes are nut based, which means that they have a high fat content. While they are good fats, and are unadulterated by the heating process, it is easy to consume a diet that has a higher fat content than is desirable. I love nuts, so this is something I try to watch.

Adding plenty of fresh vegetables and greens is a great way to bring balance. I'll be posting some salad and salad dressing recipes (some nut based, some vegetable based) later in the week.

This is my cabinet of basics. Although I do have some nuts and seeds stored in these jars, they are usually used quickly. For things stored for a longer period, I refrigerate or freeze. This is especially true of macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds. I also refrigerate hemp seed and ground flaxseed, except for small portions that will be used within a few days.

Have a glorious day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Quick Sketch

Trying to keep with the program...more sketching, even if only a few minutes.

We Can't Rig Sails to Our Cars

"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast."

This was written by Steven L. Hopp in Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It was written in 2007 but is still pertinent today, maybe even more so. We are so concerned with gas prices as should we be, but there is more involved that the cars we drive ourselves. This book is well worth the read.

Some days there are no posts...some days a lot. This was important enough to add to today. I may repeat it ocassionally for emphasis.

Please know I make no money from things I may mention on my blog (other than my own artwork and other makings that I sell separately). I recommend things becuse I like them or think they are valuable or useful. We need to do more free sharing.

Thank you, I'll get off my soapbox now, although it does give me a vantage point I don't usually have from the low to the ground perspective with which I was biologically blessed.

Coments? Yeah...if you want.

Living Your Spirit #31 ~ Take This Moment

This moment...take this moment and embrace it, wrap yourself in it, even if it isn't what you think you want, for we don't always understand that this moment may have unseen purpose.

There is the zen philosophy of living in the moment, and I feel it is an important one, for often we are muti-tasking to the point that we are not even paying attention to the moment, let alone living it. But embracing the moment...that goes a bit further. It is when we stop, recognize the moment and hold it close to us, fo it may have something to teach.
I know, many of you are sitting there shaking your heads saying, "Yeah, well you don't want MY moment!" and I know that not all moments give us pleasure. There are many, many unpleasant and painful moments. Our lives have sadness, grief and pain as well as pleasure, laughter and joy, but whatever it is we are experiencing at one moment in time has something to teach us.
We miss many lessons of the moment because we are busy living them, or trying to live through them. We can't possibly embrace every single moment of every single day, but throughout the day, we can stop at random and recognize a moment, sieze it for what it is, look deep into it, and maybe learn.
Peace and light on your journey of moments.

Friday Raw Breakfast ~ Bucky Granola (gluten free)

I don't have to worry about gluten, but for those of you that do, this breakfast recipe is gluten free.  I was waiting to get the buckwheat in the dehydrator so I could get them in my tummy! I am usually careful about what I dehydrate together because of possible cross contamination of onions with apples, etc. I have been wanting to make onion bread, but wanted to wait until after the flax crackers and Buckies were done. I had the flax crackers in and then had to wait for the buckwheat to sprout so I have had a few days of a partially filled dehydrator. It IS more efficient if you can think of things to dry that can go in together to fill up your trays.

First - making the Buckies (dehydrated buckwheat groats)

Sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat is great and can be used in a lot of things. Many people think buckwheat is a grain, but is actually a fruit seed from a broadleaf plant that is similar to rhubarb. You can buy buckwheat groats at any health food store.  I always buy organic anyway, but you want to make sure you have organic to ensure sprouting. Sprouted seeds are easier to digest.

Soak 1 cup of buckwheat groats in filtered water for about 8 hours. I like to do mine overnight so they are ready to rinse in the morning. Rinse thoroughly in a large strainer or sieve. I find they will slip through the holes of most colanders, Allow the buckheat to remain on the strainer and place it over a container to allow for drainage. Set aside on the counter in an area that receives light. Rinse well every several  hours until you see tails beginning to sprout from the seeds. This may take 1 to 2 days from the initial rinsing. Spread in thin layers on dehydrator sheets lined with teflex, or on cookie sheets lined with wax paper if you are planning to use your oven (remember, lowest temp for oven with door slightly open). Temperatures over 115 degrees usually will destroy raw plant enzymes, but if you don't have a dehydrator, and want to make these, your oven will have to do, right? You can also put them in the sun, just be careful of critters. Dehydrate 8 hours at 115 degrees. Some people will say 3 hours, but I like to make sure there is no moisture left, so I just put them in before I go to bed. You can't over-dry them.  Oven times will vary. They will be very light and crispy when done. You can use them for so many things, you may want to make a larger batch. They will keep indefinitely stored in an airtight jar.

So here's the Bucky Granola recipe. I eat 1/2 cup of it with 1/2 cup of almond milk and a packet of stevia. My current batch was made without raisins because I was out of them. Experiment with this and try different things.
I use all raw, organic ingredients.

Bucky Granola
Buckies (from a 1 cup soaked batch)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup hemp seed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup goji berries
2Tbsp sesame seeds
2Tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup dried coconut
1/4 cup raisins
2Tbsp sunflower seeds

Mix together and store in airtight container. Makes 2 and 3/4 cups. Enjoy!
Let us know what else you're doing with your Buckies!
Don't you love the shadows from the bowl?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Raw Breakfast ~ Cinnamon Flax Crackers

This is breakfast this morning with a piece of fruit. No, not ALL of them. They just looked so pretty on the plate. I'll have two or three and wrap the rest and put them in the breadbox. They are completely dehydrated, so will keep a long time. Another raw food offering that is easy to make, although you do need to plan ahead if you want them for something special, because they do need time in the dehydrator. I make my own almond milk and use the leftover pulp. You can simply soak almonds overnight and grind them and use that.

Cinnamon Flax Crackers (makes about 24  3 inch diameter crackers)
Pulp from 1 cup of soaked and ground almonds. ( I use the leftover pulp from my almond milk making)
1 cup ground flaxseed (flax meal)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1 packet stevia (or to taste)
pinch sea salt
1 cup filtered wated

Combine all ingredients. Drop by teaspoon onto teflex sheet and smooth into thin circle with back of spoon. This takes a little time, but is fun and relaxing. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for several hours, or until tops are dry, then flip onto another tray and remove the teflex. Allow to dehydrate several more hours or until completely dry. This usually takes less than 24 hours to complete.

For those without a dehydrator, you can put your oven on its lowest temp, and use a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Over 115 degrees approcahes the limit for the raw enzymes to be preserved, but they will still be delicious.

Flax seed is renowned for its high omega 3 content and is a good oil for your body.
Almonds are considered alkaline (one of the few nuts that is)

Enjoy these. Let me know what you think. I love feedback.  And I remembered the picture today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday's Sketch

Need to do more sketching, just for the serenity of it's so cathartic. As my studio is in the garage, and it is still usually pretty cold out there, I dragged a little basket with my watercolor supplies into the study, and there, on my rocking chair, I was perfectly happy. It is tantamount to meditation,as I get lost in it all. Here's today's sketch. It's just a small thing. It is on 5 x 6 inch paper of unknown content.

Chia Bliss Pudding ~ Now You're Going to Think I'm Just Nuts

Chia seed, really! Chia seeds (food grade, not Chia Pet grade, silly) are one of the most nutritionally dense foods around. Read HERE for a good article on this high energy endurance food.

Anyway, you are either going to love it or hate it on first try. The texture is quite interesting. It has gelatinous properties and can be used as a thinkening agent, but the little crunch of the seeds remains. It could become and acquired taste...I adored it from the beginning!

This is my own recipe. Look for more variations later. Again, no picture. I have to remember to shoot before eating. Bliss? *nodding* Yes...because I feel REALLY good after eating this.

Chia Bliss Pudding
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 packet stevia
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp slivered almonds

Mix almond milk, stevia and vanilla. Add chia seeds. Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes.
Stir well and add almonds and coconut.
Makes 1 serving. 258 calories

Okay, I really would like to know if you like this. I know I loved it, but I eat a lot of things at which most people will turn up their noses.
Good? Huh? What do you think?

Keeps You Going All Morning ~ Hemp Hemi

I'll get back to the art posts, and Living Your Spirit - I promise, but I feel so good when I consume raw food that it just doesn't seem fair not to share it.

I had this for breakfast this morning. I make all sorts of smoothie drinks, but my husband thinks the word smoothie doesn't do justice to the power of the drink, so we call them Hemis now. Laugh if you will, these mixtures are great energy boosters, good for you, and taste teriffic.

Hemp Hemi
1 cup purified water
1 banana
2 Tbsp Hemp seed, hulled (available at most health food stores)
2 cups frozen mixed berries (anything with raspberries will have seeds in it...I don't mind, you may)
1 handful spinach (yes, spinach! You don't even taste it.)
Stevia to taste ( I use one packet Sweet Leaf)

Mix all in high speed blender until well processed.
Add straw for extra fun.
I drank it before I thought to take a picture, but it looks something like this.

Makes two servings about 200 calories each. I drink the whole thing and then go lighter at lunch.

Try this one, and let me know how you like it. Stay tuned for other variations. More on the benefits of hemp seed in a later post.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Raw Ginger Limeade

This is so refreshing, and much better for you than commercially prepared beverages:

1 5" piece fresh plump ginger, peeled and chunked
3 cups filtered water
Blend in high speed blender until thoroughly mixed and ginger is finely ground. Allow to sit for half an hour.
Strain mixture through cloth bag into large bowl. Transfer to glass jar if desired. This will keep in refrigerator several days if it lasts that long.

For beverage:
In a tall glass mix 1/4 cup of ginger water with 2T lime juice and 1 pkg stevia. Fill glass with water. Add chopped ice if desired.

For a sweeter ginger drink, omit lime juice. You can substitute raw honey or agave as a sweetener.

The ginger water can also be added to hot water for a great ginger tea.


For Fun ~ Cryptic Crosswords ~ for the Love of Wordsmithing

Some are easier than others.

They are all cleverly tricky.

Many are available's one source:
and one a little easier:

Here's an online guide:

I find them therapeutic and calming...some may find them stressful.

Oh, go ahead...vent here!

Living Your Spirit #30 ~ Health Care or Fear-Based Symptom Management for Profit?

So what do you think?

One of the things I am pondering today is the outrageous launching of new products by the pharmaceutical companies and their incessant and inane advertising. How much of what they are selling is actually advantageous and how much is preying on our "magic bullet" belief systems?

One small example: "Buy this pill for indigestion," they'll hock, but then list the side effects, which often include the word fatal. I know...they have to include the disclaimer, no matter how small the odds, but why would someone opt for any chance at all...for indigestion?

I have long been an advocate of Natural Health and believe that the pharmaceutical companies and the allopathic medical community (run by the pharmaceutical companies) do not always tell you, if they even know, what you need to do to stay healthy, because they don't make money unless you are sick and need their drugs. This generalization certainly does not include all the wonderful doctors who work integatively with their clients to include comlimentary practices.

Do not misread me, I am very thankful for the good medicines we have that we need for many serious things, and for excellent medical and surgical care that is very valuable in many situations; but we need to think, because things are getting out of hand. They are getting out of control to the point of running amok. We need not to be so easily led that we don't use our brains to help us make wise choices for ourselves and our families.

Much of what ails us is from what we put into and onto our bodies and what we are exposed to either by our own choices or involuntarily. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine said, "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food," and it is still applicable today.

Just one thing...when I eat raw food, I never, ever have indigestion.

Interesting, huh? Your thoughts?

Monday, February 21, 2011


There are things too precious for words,

Moments that bring tears of joy,
Memories that can never be saved in a book of pictures;
Like the sweet, warm smell of a baby's damp head
When he awakens from his nap and you lift him into your arms;
Like the soft touch of his little fingers on your face
As he explores where your nose is, and your eyes, and your ears;
The delightful, repetitive giggle as the two of you play peek-a-boo
Over and over and over again;
The way he sticks his little toes in your face
Because he knows you will kiss and tickle them;
When he falls asleep in your arms in the rocking chair
And you would sit there holding his sleeping sweetness
All night, if you could ~
Moments of joy this little child will not remember
But that you will hold forever in the scrapbook of your heart.

Pictureless copyright Donna Welsh 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back in the Studio ~ Accidental Smile Stage 4

Finished the roughing in, now have begun detail work. This takes more time and progress may be slow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Free Printable Word Art ~ Embrace the Chaos!

This 8x10 word art print is available in my Etsy shop.  If you would like to have it in printable form now for FREE,  please write a post about it on your blog, linking back here so that your friends can know about it too! In the comments, include your email address and the link to your blog post and I'll email it to you in high resolution jpeg format. For your personal use only, thanks!

Embrace the chaos! It's one of my favorite things to say. It began as just repeating a fun phrase, often spoken aloud in the midst of a stressful situation. Recently I have been pondering the full meaning and its total involvement in my life, and it expresses pretty fully what I believe.

Life has some chaos amidst its order...and it's okay to have the chaos sometimes, to let it into your life, to appreciate and understand that we don't have ultimate control. If something doesn't go exactly as we had planned, or expected, there may be a benefit hiding somewhere under the rubble.

How do you embrace your chaos?
Peace and light to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forever Valentine

I made this on Valentine's Day and didn't post it here, but it deserves the post.
Our mothers were the very first persons we loved.  They should always be our valentines.
The day has passed, but you can still let your mother know you love her, even if it's telling her spirit.
I love you, Mother.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Living Your Spirit #29 ~ Love...Not Just for Romance

On this day that the consumer marketing world takes hold of and promotes with all the red and pink they can find, it is good to note that love is for everyone and everything. It is a good day for speaking your love, and showing your love. It is a good day to donate to your favorite charity so that some less fortunate soul feels your love. It is a good day to pay the love you receive forward. It is a good day to give.

Oh, I like romantic love as well as the next person. I am as goofy and sappy as all those commercials you see, but love takes on so many different forms, that we would be doing ourselves an injustice if we limited the expression only to our romantic interests.

I love a good movie that makes you cry at the end. And that doesn't have to be the man/woman love story kind of movie. Have you seen Hachi? The love between a dog and his master...true story. Make sure tissues are available.

Please share your love stories.  They deserve to be told. One of mine was between my sister and I.
You can find the story here.

Free Valentine Subway Art

This generous crafter is giving away this lovely piece of her word art here. Thank you Jessica. This is lovely.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raw Organic Almond milk

I make this myself all the time. It is a lot easier than you would think, and cheaper than buying it already prepared in the stores.

1 cup organic RAW almonds, soaked overnight in filtered water.
Rinse almonds, put in high speed blender with 3 cups filtered water
and blend thoroughly. Add 1 packet of stevia or 1 tsp vanilla if desired.
Pour mixture in cloth bag and squeeze milk into clean container (glass is best).
Will keep several days refrigerated, Mine never lasts that long.
Use leftover pulp for making crackers, pie crusts or bread. Pulp will freeze well until ready to use.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Accidental Smile - Stage 3

Almost finished with the rough, should be able to finish it this evening. This afternoon was great! 63 degrees in the studio with an outside temp of 34. No wind makes a big difference.  I'm happy with it so far and can't wait to begin the fine tuning.

Roughing in with Color Patches

I have almost half of the painting roughed in.  I am not getting as much studio time as I'd like because I still only have a small portable heater in there and the temps here have been frigid. Last night it went down to 5 degrees. It was 43 degrees in the studio this morning with an outside temp of 25, so I was able to do two 15 minute sessions and will go back this afternoon when it has warmed up just a bit more. I certainly have plenty of office work to keep me busy in the meantime.

The working title is now "Accidental Smile"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Living Your Spirit #28 ~ Doing What You Love

I have recently been working on a series of meditation paintings, small 12 x 12 inch canvases that are supposed to impart a feeling of drawing the viewer in. My current one is a challenge I gave myself, a vortex that is not doing what I want it to right now. I'm a little frustrated and  I have to set it aside. I'll come back to it, but I have decided to work on what I love best. The human body and portraiture. I've only started this one, but I will post the progress.

What a difference this has made! Some work we want to do, and challenge is good for us. I like to challenge myself with the new and unfamiliar, but oh, how stepping back into the world of love refreshes the spirit. Working on this will renew me and give me the energy back that I need to tackle the other painting.

What is is that renews and refreshes you?

This is the beginning, as yet untitled.

11x14 - Acrylic on stretched canvas

Living Your Spirit #27 ~ Always Learning

There's always something new to learn, every day, every moment.  Yes, years of experience count, but life is always changing. New things are emerging, new ideas are forming, new technology is galloping forward. There is no way we can possibly learn everything there is to know, let alone keep up with all of the new knowledge bursting upon the horizon.  It is said that humankind has acquired more knowledge from the turn of the 20th century (that's 1900) to the present time, than all of the knowledge that was acquired from the beginning of time up until that point.  I don't know if that is true, but there sure is a lot out there to learn.

I am learning a lot right now as I am moving forward into social media land, a land that was only being discovered a little more than fifteen years ago. I am such a new student and am still exploring many basics. I am learning that there are some things that work differently than they did several years ago.  I am learning things that did not even exist several years ago.  I am learning old things that are resurfacing as good and valid.

One of my favorite sayings is, Those who think they know, don't know, but those who know they don't know, know."

I hope to continue learning until I draw my last breath on this earthly plane.

What have you learned?
What do you hope to learn?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Living Your Spirit #26 ~ Spending Your Energy

Energy ~ I always had plenty of it. Even my high school yearbook says, "Small, but every ounce is energy." I won't tell you exactly how many years ago that was, but my energy stores don't seem so easily replenished these days. I often turn my thoughts to just what it is on which I spend what energy I have.

We can wear ourselves out pretty quickly by expending too much too quickly without adequate rest in between. We can pace ourselves, going along methodically and spending our energy in smaller allottments, enabling us to go a little bit longer. How we go about budgeting our energy varies as much as our personalities. We can, however, choose how to spend our energy wisely.

Painting is one of the best uses of my energy. It brings me peace and happiness and is almost meditative. Spending time with loved ones is a most precious and welcome use of energy, and holding a sleeping child brings exquisite joy. Working, whether it be the physical labor of digging in the garden or cleaning the bathroom, gives the reward of satisfaction and exercise to the body. These are but a few examples... then there are things which simply seem to be a waste

One thing for sure ~ negative thoughts are a waste of my precious energy.  Complaining ~ right in there too.  Being around negative people somehow drains my energy.
How do you spend your energy?
What do you think are energy robbers?
Which things are energy restorers?

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Peek Into the Studio

Where I sit ~ many things make their way to this makeshift work table/desk.
Yes, it's 53 degrees...I wear a hat

Storage area - mostly tools
Works in progress and paper trimming area (army blanket over chest freezer)

Painting area and storage for supplies.
I like the little cubby things because I can move them myself!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Living Your Spirit #25 ~ Problem or Inconvenience?

So many times we are faced with what we consider problems in out lives. Indeed, there are those. They happen all the time. Many of us, however, use the definition too broadly. When a situation (let's call it that for now) arises, we can look at it two ways. Is it a genuine problem, or is it an inconvenience? If it is a true problem, then we need to step back and figure out how it is to be handled, or solved. But, upon examination, if it turns out to be an inconvenience, it may very well be able to be let go ~ and so we weigh...problem or inconvenience? Work it out or let it go? Sometimes the answer is simpler than we had imagined.

Your thoughts?

Living Your Spirit #24 ~ Weather...or Not to Go Out in It

Many areas have been experiencing some harsh Winter weather lately. People in these areas have been heard complaining loudly about such weather. My take on it is this:

1. It takes all sorts of weather to support life on the planet.
2. For the most part, one chooses where they are going to live.
3. Complaining does nothing to help and only sets a negative tone for the day.
4. If Winter weather is that hated, one might consider moving to a place that is warm all year.

I know, I know - people still have to get to work and driving is risky and children are home from school and the logistics of child care has to be figured. It is grey and the lack of sun has some people depressed, but it happens every year, and there is really nothing to be done about it, except to be as prepared as you can or move somewhere else.

Do be aware that there is light therapy, also called phototherapy, for those who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Studies have shown it to be helpful.

Eveyone loves to talk about the weather. Here's your chance!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Living your Spirit #23 ~ Life Interrupted

When illness strikes, whether you work away from home or at home, the work doesn't get done, the house suffers, sometimes family is neglected, and there is absolutely nothing on the social front at all.
So, back at work, there is a lot of catching up to do. Looking around the house, setting it back in order becomes a priority again. All of the social aspects, family, freinds, media, come back into play.
Although it is easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of the seemingly monumental "catch up" tasks, adding a little at a time to your daily regimen may take a bit more time, but it will be a much more peaceful transition back into your schedule. There is no need to be hard on yourself.
How do you best catch up from unscheduled "time off"?

Living Your Spirit #22 ~ The Art of Family

Where would we be without family? They shape our lives, intentionally or not. We are a part of some sort of family, like it or not. It might not be what we think of as traditional. It might be blended from pieces of other families. It might be created from people that just want to be together and have no blood ties whatsoever. It might be all male, or all female, muticolored or monochromatic.
This art of family can be a drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, mosaic, graffiti. It can be small or large, free standing or heavily supported. It can reside in a museum or on the side of a building. It can be traditional or controversial.
Tell us about your family's art.

Living Your Spirit #21 ~ Visit the 3D World

When you work at home, it is so easy to stay there. There is always so much to do. The studio time, the marketing time, the paperwork time, then when you are not officially working, there is the house time and the family time, meals, pet care, laundry. I could go on and on, and as it appears that I already have, will stop here with the list.
Especially with our social contacts a fingertip away at our computers, people can have a more difficult time actually getting out into the three dimensional world where people actually do come face to face (I think Facebook might actually be misnamed). Many of us are forced into this world every day as we navigate through our workdays. Some of us have to make the deliberate choice. It is important to do so, even, very possibly especially, when we don't want to. Schedule the time, make the effort, get out of the house, talk to people.
What is your best "out of the house" tactic?

Living Your Spirit #20 ~ One Habit at a Time

Experts generally agree that it takes three weeks (21 days) of steady and daily practice for a new behavior to become a habit. In this sparkling clean new year ahead of us, may of us have habits we want to change, or habits that we would like to introduce into our lives.The longer we practice the new habit, the more firmly it becomes ensconced in our subconscious.
Unfortunately, when trying to inject too many  new habits at one time, the more likely it is that distraction will occur, days may be skipped, and a jumbled mess of overwhelming proportions will be in front of you instead of a neatly ordered world of nice, new, positive habits.
Maybe the first habit we should adopt is, "One at a Time". Take the time necessary to get the first and most important habit well established in your routine, and only then, pick up another. It may not go as fast as you like, but then, faster isn't always better.
What habits are you trying to establish? How are you doing it? How is it working for you?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Living Your Spirit #19 ~ Pondering Oil Prices

I hear people complaining that oil prices are too high, and they are. I hear conversations about alternative fuel situations, such as natural gas for heating and solar power, to name just two examples. But there is another alternative. Another alternative - reduce consumption.  Reducing consumption generally brings prices down.

We are a nation of consumers and expect our wants to be met. We are not good at depriving ourselves on even a small scale to a common end. Yes, there are many who live a life committed to preserving the earth and are frugal in almost every action. I applaud and admire you., but the majority of Americans are consumers who buy what they want to have when they want to have it, mostly within reasonable limitations. The far reaching impact of this is high. Only one facet of this is that it takes a lot of fuel to move those products.

Steven L. Hopp says, in Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,
"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.  That’s not gallons, but barrels.  Small changes in buying habits can make big differences."

When we consider what a large number of people can do by each making such a small contribution, why would we not?

Living Your Spirit #18 ~ Loss

Loss of life, loss of property, loss of home, loss of health...all of these have been very visible in my life these past two weeks. To friends, to relatives, to townspeople, you have my deepest sympathies and energies for peace in your hearts.

We do not generally think about loss, except when it happens to us, sometimes unexpectedly. There is really no way to prepare, as there is no way to predict what will happen in the next moments of our lives.

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed into his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing I just helped him cry."

For those suffering loss today, we will help you cry.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 17 ~ Challenges

There are always challenges. I wouldn't want it any other way. I am fond of challenging myself, and usually, there are plenty of outside challenges to keep me occupied.
Sometimes the challenge is just getting my day together before it runs away with me.
Sometimes it is mastering (or just learning) a new technique, or a technology application. 
There are times when it is challenging to make myself the face of so much to do.
Then there is that challenge of making myself do something I need to do and don't really want to.

What do you see as a challenge? How do you challenge yourself?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Living Your Spirit #16 ~ Mouth...on Keeping Quiet

Sometimes you just have to shut your mouth! Or, I should say, I have to shut mine. There are times when it is better to say nothing. So many times in the past I have thought to myself, "Way to go. You have to go and open your big mouth, didn't you? When are you ever going to learn to be quiet.?"  Apparently, the learning is a constant process.

We have all heard the cliches about opening mouth and inserting foot or engaging your brain before putting your mouth in gear, but I am pondering the question of whether and when to speak at all.  I have often wondered what would happen if I chose not to speak for an extended period of time and just observed.  This does not fit in with my practical life, of course, so I have never tested it, but it still intrigues me.

We all say things we wish we wouldn't have from time to time. I am not speaking of nasty or rude things, although I am sure there is plenty of that, but those things we choose to share with others, and then we get comments for which we we didn't ask or feedback we didn't solicit. Often, this is not constructive and comes from unqualified sources and in a negative fashion.  Especially when we are discussing our work, comments such as these can smother the spark that ignites the creative process. This is when pausing to think before choosing to speak can come in handy.

Critique is good, and we should seek it on a regualr basis. It gives us something to look at from another's point of view and perhaps gain a fresh perspective. It helps us improve and often encourages us to try new things.  If you aren't in the frame of mind to receive critique, however, whether it be your work or your personal life, then you just might want to keep quiet.

Any words?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 15 ~ Borrowed Time

Death came this week, not once, but thrice, to people I know and love.  It has visited the periphery of my life, a dear friend of my daughter, fathers of two friends.  We are often hit hard when death happens, even if it is expected. It knocks the wind from our sails and we have to stop. Life interrupted. continuing, the way it always has.

Death is part of our everyday lives. It gets close sometimes, right into our personal space. My deepest wishes for comfort are with the families that are grieving these deaths, and celebrating these lives.

We are all on borrowed time. We live to die. We can be sterilized from the reality of it in these times because we have removed the face of it from our daily lives. Hospice, funeral directors, nursing homes, hospitals...all of these wonderful professionals handle the details; the things that used to be done by families. As I so appreciate the amazing jobs done by these caring individuals and organizations, I do ponder if we need to recognize more of death as a very intimate part of every day.
To this end, I do not wish to go to bed angry, or leave the house angry. I always wish to speak my love at the end of every conversation. I want to keep in my mind that we are here for so short a time, and to make every moment precious.

I may not be here tomorrow.
Peace and light.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 14 ~ Fragments

Pieces of my life have been fractured, and there are times I wish a had a more singular, cohesive path; one steady trip instead of several different ones. But, and this is a big but, the continuity, however attractive, would never have given me the wealth of experiences I have had.
I am fortunate. I have seen much, and experienced much, good and bad, joyful and  tragic. I have lived in different arenas, each with its own perspective. Of course there were troubles, and still are troubles from time to time. There was pure joy, giddy happiness, deep grief, decisions both positive and negative.
I am thankful for patience and the tenacity to hang on to whatever good floats, and also to embrace those things we see as bad because they are important pieces, too. As I look at all the fractured pieces of my life, I see a beautiful mosaic, where all of the pieces have come together to create a one of a kind work of art.
So it is with your mosaic, your quilt, your collage of a life.
Bless you on your journey.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 13 ~ Enlightenment

Sometimes there are things you know, learned by experience and repetition and hard lessons, that you somehow cannot verbalize. Not that you don't want to share, but sometimes the lessons are so deep and large, that the words don't exist, and so you are left to ponder and cherish a bit of truth. You watch as you see others learning the same, and you smile. It is a wondrous gift.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Living Your Spirit #12 ~ Doing too much?

I do a lot. I know it. I've been told I do too much. I don't know why I do so is instinctive for me. I might have been one of those children that didn't want to go to sleep "for fear she might miss something", as the saying goes.

Life is all too short, and so I have no problem saying yes to things I want to do. I'll find the time. I'll make the time. I always do. There is still plenty I will miss. I simply can't do everything, so I will do what I can.

Edward Everett Hale said, "I am only one , but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." This is often attributed to Helen Keller, who famously quoted it.

While doing, it is still a good idea to monitor the level at which doing so much crosses the line into overwhelming. I have had such episodes and have had to back off a bit to recreate balance. Remember the see saw?

This is how my spirit was created, and I will live it the way it was given to me.

Some spirits are slow and langourous, some are quick and frenetic, and so many other combinations. What is your spirit?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living Your Spirit # 11 ~ Solitude, Sweet Solitude!

It can be called loneliness when unwanted; when one is wishing the company of others and conversation and interaction, but when one needs to be alone, especially when the creative process is taking place, the solitude becomes precious.  There are those who can create on demand, come up with ideas or visuals or poetry in the midst of the cacophany of a household or office...not me. I require alone time, sometimes to the exclusion of all outside influence altogether. Not voice, nor music, nor written word penetrates my need for moments of isolation so I can access my deepest creative powers.

I know, that sounds a bit sci-fi, maybe imaginary, and perhaps a tad pompous, but I certainly didn't mean it to be so.  Those solitary moments of which I speak may be several hours at a time, or perhaps just fifteen minute increments here and there. Even when I do manage to sequester myself in my studio, that door just may open at any time, with someone at its threshhold smiling at me in some sort of conversational expectation. I try so not to be rude...sometimes I just smile and wave and go back to what I was doing, in hopes that the visitor will get the hint of my wish to be uninterrupted. Often, I voluntarily allow myself to be dragged back into the world with other humans and lose my reverie to varied interactions with those I love.

Although my solitude is something I need from time to time, and precious to me, nothing is sweeter than knowing that my presence is desired by another.  It feeds my spirit like nothing else can.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Living Your Spirit #10 ~ The Cobwebs of Your Mind

The room for unused things, or things we need out of sight to get to when we need them, or a place to put things of sentimental value that we just can't seem to get rid of.  Sometimes we need to get in that attic to sort things, clean up the dust and cobwebs, and very likely get rid of some stuff.

The same is true of the mind. It gets cluttered and dusty with unused things. Finding your way through all that stuff every day in order to get to the things you really need and need to do can be stressful. It is more commonly known as mental clutter.

Do you make a daily list of things to do? Do you find yourself writing the same task on the list each day so you won't forget it, but you can't seem to get it done? I't kind of like ducking under the same cobweb day after day and not getting it out of the way so you have a clearer path. It  is sometimes called procrastination, or avoidance behavior, but I just like to call it cobwebs. It seems to give it a better reason to clean it up and get it out of the attic.

Did you ever notice when you have a space in your home all cleaned and organized just the way you want it, how you like spending time there, and you want to be in that room and enjoy it? The same is true with your mind. Now no one wants to be in an empty room - there needs to be some furnishings, but how much more we will enjoy being present to our own mind if it is cleaned of the cobwebs and put in order. What a simple way to nourish your spirit.

Remember the chunking down?  Here. Just clean one little corner at a time. Oh, by the way, our minds are not square rooms, you know *twinkly eyed grin*. There are myriads of little corners and angles that can accumulate dust and cobwebs. Just find one or two and get started, and I will do the same.

Let me know what you find up there. Sometimes we uncover wonderful surprises about which we had all but forgotten.

Have a peaceful day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Living Your Spirit #9 ~ Finding Balance

Often, we struggle with where to schedule what in our quest for balance. Paint in the studio all day? Yes, sounds wonderful, but there are other things that need to be done. There are the necessary out of the building errands, correspondence to tend to, both paper and electronic, marketing needs to be met, supplies to organize, financials to manage...and that is just the business end of things.

Then there are the home things, the personal things. Whether you have the responsibility for the cleaning, the laundry, repairs, appointment scheduling, meal preparation, shopping (and I am referring to both males and females here), and personal time for relaxation, social events, outside activities...the list can go on and on. No wonder we feel out of sorts and lopsided some days, as if there are pieces of us everywhere to be collected.

Picture, if you will, an old fashioned see saw, the kind kids used to play on years ago - just a support with a board placed across it, no fancy playground equipment.  You would ordinarily think that the board would be placed evenly across the top of the support so that equal sides of the board would be on each side.  But if one child was considerably bigger than another, in order for them to ride comfortably, the board would be shifted to accomodate the weight difference.  The support, aka the fulcrum, would be in a different place between the two sides.

So the first thing we need to do is properly place the fulcrum between business and personal life. How much weight do we need on each side? There are those that really have the need for symmetry, so they may need to have things perfectly even. As all artists know, however, one can find beautiful balance in assymetry. Do what works for you. Let's place that fulcrum first, then begin to assign spaces, or time chunks on either side. It actually can be fun to see what kind of balance can be achieved. Build a little model to make a fun game of it. Not a bad idea for family members and household chores, too.

One of the things that sometimes comes of this exercise is that  maybe some things will just have to go, or be set aside for a different balance day. Putting too much on the scales will eventually topple the entire thing. Believe me, I used to topple on a regular basis. Finding balance is a process. Finding a way to enjoy the process adds to it .

Donna Welsh, I Believe I can Fly. Miniature sculpture on recycled flooring base. ©2010

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Living Your Spirit #8 ~ See the Spirit in Others

Sometimes I am so intent on living my spirit, looking for what it is telling me, and acting on the truth of it, that I forget that part of living my spirit is finding and acknowledging the spirit in others.  This week, I will make a deliberate attempt to see the spirit in others, to pay attention and find the good in them, even if it seems to be buried.

Join me on this treasure hunt! Share what you found and your treasure map for finding it.

It is going to be an exciting week. Peace and be well.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Living Your Spirit #7 ~ Be a Dreamer

If we allow ourselves time to dream, we turn on our imaginations.  Night time dreaming is wonderful. We would be lost without it, as it serves a very important function, but that's for another post. This is about daydreaming, wondering, pondering...all those things that caused trouble for us in the classroom so long ago, or even now.

 Call it what you will - meditation, brainstorming, daydreaming. When we allow ourselves the time to let our innermost thoughts bubble their way to the surface we access an essential part of ourselves.  So often, we busy ourselves right through our day into the next. Our time is precious, and we deserve some of it to nourish our spirits.

My children and I used to have "ponder days". We would take a whole day and maybe go on a picnic and watch the clouds or examine the behavior of the ants or maybe just hang out in the yard and observe the world passing by. We didn't have to be DOING anything. It was not busy time. It was slow and langourous. We explored all the subtle and sharp tastes in lemonade, we looked very closely at plain old dirt. I remember those days fondly, better than any other planned exciting experience. For they were times of dreaming, much of which children do very well on their own. They have such a wonderful capacity for it. I was privileged to share some of those moments.

I encourage you now to take some of those moments for yourself. Bring some childlike wonder into your life. Take some quiet time today...allow yourself the, the necessity...of dreaming.

You may say I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us,
and the world will live as one.
                             ~John Lennon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Living Your Spirit #6 ~ Embrace Your Humanity, Forgive Your Mistakes

You've made a mistake in your artwork. Something went amiss. Now what? "Oh no (you stamp your foot)! Now it's ruined."
Not nec-ces-sar-ily...some things that some people would call mistakes, I like to call happy accidents. Sometimes they can be used to turn your art around from what you originally intended to an unexpected pleasurable outcome. We occasionally try to rein our creativity in a too narrow path; throw something away before we have recognized that it might still have value, perhaps in another area ~ or perhaps just as it is.

Mistakes are part of human nature. We all make them. There are cultures that deliberately include mistakes in their creative efforts as a statement to our human imperfection. I have adopted that upon occasion, although more often than not, I don't have to make the deliberate effort.

Today's challenge is to look at a mistake as an opportunity.  Share your examples.  Don't be shy. Mine? Yes, the red ran where I didn't intend, so I continued and exaggerated it. I think it turned out better than my original plan.

Donna Welsh, Stages III. Encaustic on wood, 8.5 x 9.5 inches. ©2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday with Words

I know Wednesdays are supposed to be wordless in the generic blog community, but I have had way too much caffeine today (as opposed to none on a usual day), so I will try next week for that thousand word image...meanwhile please forgive me and carry on as though I know what I am doing.

Living Your Spirit #5 Venture Someplace Scary

Sometimes we stay so within our confining comfort zone that we miss out on rich experiences.  Today I will find something I have been hesitant to do or someplace I have been hesitant to go. I am actually looking forward to it and would love to hear your experiences as well.

Donna Welsh, Stages II. Encaustic on wood, 8.5 x 9.5 inches. ©2010

2011 Reading List Inquiry

I am preparing my reading list for the year. My goal is 30 books for 2011. Reading gives me balance and makes me sit still. I am hoping for some suggestions. I like books with substance; biographies, good  mysteries, extraordiary novels, classics...and sometimes just the fun stuff.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Living Your Spirit #4

Listen to the inner voice that knows best who you are, not the voice of society, or worse yet, the media.

Donna Welsh, Stages I. Encaustic on wood, 8.5 x 9.5 inches. ©2010