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, 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!