The Muse is at it again!

I can tell it’s time for the next big thing to be born because the Muse woke me at about 5:30 this morning. (I think she lives in a different time zone!)

When she started whispering in my ear, I tried to soothe her back to sleep by obediently opening the book on the top of the stack next to the bed. Then I grabbed the pencil which lives on the nightstand for just this sort of adventure and scribbled her message inside the cover. Three words.

(Using a pencil for this job is easier than a pen on the flannel sheets in case it gets dropped, says the experiential learner!)

That worked for a couple of minutes. Then, more scribbling. And a bit more.

Then I gave in and got up.

A favorite sunny yellow mug of hot water and lemon. My current journal. And my Color of Woman Initiate Book.

Trouble was indeed afoot!

Trouble, as it turns out, that I’d really appreciate your help with. You see, I have homework to do. Well, it’s really more like what one of my teachers refers to as market research.

This is not an unfamiliar term in my universe. In fact, when I was about 5 years old, I used to help my dad with what he also called market research.

Mom would dress me in “cute” clothes and off I’d go with my Dad, to the nearest Kroger store. (Groceries, if you’re not from around here.)

Daddy would set up his little card table, complete with a plastic tablecloth, and set out the Dixie cups. (Remember the different colored ones?) My job was to play like any other kid walking by and, when he asked me to taste the orange juice, the red cup always had the Tropicana which was, of course, “the best” kind!

Just between us, I’m kind of missing the Dixie cups!

Instead, I have questions. Quite possibly, questions for you! (Yes, you, as long as you’re one of the first 6 wise women who email me! suesvoice@gmail.com )

Here’s the deal…

You agree to spend about half an hour with me (phone or Zoom) answering some questions about your journey to making a difference. To mattering. There are no right or wrong answers. Only yours. (Though there might be extra credit for choosing red!)

Then, as my way of saying a huge thank you, we’ll schedule a time for 30 – 45 minutes of a Super Power Self Portrait mini course! No paint required. All you need is a decent sized piece of paper and 2 or 3 markers in your favorite colors. And, if you like, we can chat a few minutes about some upcoming opportunities to continue on your mattering journey with some help from me.

I promise… no obligation to me. It is, however, just possible that your Muse will have other ideas… especially in these days!

ps… That’s my Muse, peering at you from the watery depths, at the top of this post. Her name is Anemone, a symbol, according to some, of discovering new opportunities in alignment with you, new doorways worthy of actively stepping through…

pps… This is Luther, one of our official studio angels, with one of his very favorite girls. Luther thinks it would be really helpful of you to decide to email me and help with my homework questions. Luther thinks anything that helps us matter is a really good plan! suesvoice@gmail.com

Memories of Easter

When I was a kid, we spent a lot of Easters with my Dad’s family in Indiana. One year my sister and one of our cousins snuck most of a bag of the little, foil covered chocolate eggs into an older cousin’s bed where the three of us had been sent to sleep. Apparently Molly and Shirley didn’t eat all the eggs because we woke up covered in melted chocolate. Joe, the regular occupant of the bed, was unamused!

Then, there was Aunt Bea’s carrot cake. Yum!!! And the peonies blooming in her yard.

Bill and I, being only half way through the vaccine journey, are hanging out at home this Easter. Wow, do we miss the kids! But, there are dogwoods blooming across the street and frittata with actual Italian truffle shavings for dinner. And, as much reminding as it seems the world needs, Easter means, as the old stories remind us, what it has always meant… new life.

One leg of the big table in my studio fell on my foot yesterday. (You kinda had to be there!) It hurts but isn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. I’m holding out for paint time tonight in terms of major exercise like walking.

For now… remembering. Kenzie was about 2 1/2 and Taylor a very new baby the first Easter I made my version of Aunt Bea’s carrot muffins, taking into account some of the food quirks in our family. Here, with much love, is the recipe…

The Carrot Muffins Aunt Bea Would Have Made if She’d Known!

Ingredient Note: Because this recipe is made with sprouted grains, it may be well tolerated by some gluten-sensitive individuals. The body perceives sprouted grains more like vegetables than ordinary grains and flours, making them a good choice for diabetics, as well.  There’s way less sugar involved in the fabulous icing, which would also work for Red Velvet Cake, if you’re into that. And, they’re delicious!

Equipment Note: A food processor is handy, but not necessary for this recipe. If you like muffin tops, you may wish to use either a 24 c. muffin pan or two 12 cup pans so that you can spread them out. 

MAKES:  8 large muffins

Depending on room temp. and desired baking time, remove 8 oz. organic cream cheese and 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese (preferably organic)  from refrigerator and allow to come to room temp. on counter, up to 8 hours. 

Adjust oven racks so that muffins will bake in the center of the oven. 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using the grating disc on your food processor or a hand grater, coarsely grate:

1 ½ c. scrubbed and trimmed organic carrots, peels left on if possible.   (About 2 med. carrots.)

Melt ½ stick (2 oz.) organic, salt free butter and allow to cool slightly.  

Beat together in glass measuring cup or small bowl:  

3/4 c. buttermilk, preferably organic, 1 good egg, and ¼ c. honey.

Add cooled, melted butter and mix. 

To large mixing bowl, add and mix well:

1 c. organic sprouted grain flour.

1 c. organic sprouted multigrain flour mix.

¼ c. light brown sugar.

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg.

 ½ tsp. cinnamon.

1 tsp. grey, Celtic sea salt, finely ground.

 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder.

½ tsp. baking soda

To dry ingredients mixture, add and toss to coat:

2/3 c. organic walnuts chopped to med. sized pieces.

Add grated carrots and mix well.

Add 2 Tbsp. freshly grated orange rind, preferably organic, or washed well! (Reserve oranges for juice to serve with muffins!)

Grease muffin cups with butter, or line with paper liners as desired. Just before ready to bake, mix:

Wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir quickly with a silicon spatula until just mixed. Do not over-beat!!!

Scoop batter quickly into prepared cups. Bake 30-35 minutes until muffins smell nutty and are starting to pull away from tin. Allow to cool, tipped in tin or on rack for about 30 min. 

While muffins are cooling, prepare icing. Cream together:

8 oz. organic cream cheese.

 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese (preferably organic).

3 Tbsp. confectioners sugar (preferably 10x). Really, only 3 Tbsp.!!!

Ice muffins and enjoy! 

Boardman,  Grandmothers Are In Charge of Hope, 82.

ps… It seems to me that the world needs all the love it can get right now. This is a good day to remember that. (Okay, every day is a good day to remember that. It’s just that today I’m not simultaneously remembering and swearing at CNN.)

pss… Next week, big changes on my painting! In the meantime, some available for adoption here!

A Sadder Artist but Wiser, Now…

It’s okay. I’m really NOT going to start singing. And, even though many of you know the first part of the story, I truly hope you’ll hang around for the what happened next part!

Yes, as reported in Facebook, I have spent a couple of weeks muddled up in an art scam that almost worked. And I’ve learned some new things. It’s been the old things, though, popping up in my dreams last night, that have been what I really needed and I’m ready to share.

This is, other than paint, some of the best stuff I know!

It started like this…

Somewhere a being capable of email with a woman’s name approached me about buying a piece of my art in a backchannels sort of way. (Unrecognized clue #1!)

We went back and forth for a while (U.C. #2) about payment and postage, etc.

There seemed to be an estate somewhere in the mix. (U.C. #3)

Skipping along over the dull stuff… I finally got a check that was for considerably more money than the price of the original painting. (U.C. #4)

Then – and this is the big clue – lots of pressure about time and some event and blah, blah, blah…

By this point, I was mad. And, blessedly, my kids were here so I wasn’t in the mood to be hassled. Then (You guessed it!) the check was returned by my bank. The $12 this cost me was a tremendous bargain. And, yes, I sent the somewhat redemptive kiss off email.

Then, the dreams…

The primary voice was that of my long term teacher, Dr. H. Stephen Glenn of Developing Capable People fame.

Steve, who spends lots of time sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, reminded me of some things I already know.

  • I stuck with me.
  • I listened to my heart.
  • I remembered that I matter.
  • There’s no such thing as failure… only opportunities to be learned from!

Those are the things I’ll use later today to put new healing energy into my painting and it will be an even stronger witness to what I believe – to what it was meant to be – than it was the first time it was finished.

This, dear friends, is good work! Especially in this world, just now.

So, just in case you, or someone you love, ever has a moment like this, when your Inner Critic seems to be whispering the Why didn’t you…? stuff, I’m happy to lend you Steve.

And, because I believe in all this so much, I just said yes to a chance to do live painting during a virtual post card party for a very cool group of activists known as Envoys for Humanity!

We’re still working on the details, but my Muse is thrilled and I’m totally curious, which Steve would remind us is our best state for learning! (I’ll keep you posted!)

ps… my canvas still needs a bit of touching up, but it feels a lot better now. Just in case you have a project that needs a bit of energy tidying, I’m happy to tell you how I’m doing mine! Just holler. suesvoice@gmail.com

ppsin this moment, it’s back to mountains of laundry, an awesome bowl of scallop soup (!) and some more time exploring how to be my best me.

Bless the beasts and children!

Our kids are here! It’s been almost a year and a half and I’m close to weeping with the joy.

We’re being as wise as we can be. The adults are fully vaccinated or half-way there. Masks abound. We’re even using a bigger table for eating so we have more personal distance. And there’s lots of hand washing going on!

We are, of course, painting.

We’re also heavily involved with the new family bonding adventure known as dog brushing. Phoebe and Luther are in huge beast heaven!

Swiffering is an excellent form of quiet exercise.

Our kitchen is packed full of willing chefs. Tonight, a truffle risotto experiment. I miss Italy, and the girls are adventurous eaters.

I am at peace in a way I haven’t been since the pandemic started.

Well, almost. We’ll leave Georgia state politicians for another day.

There’s a line for the shower. I have no idea where the kitchen mandoline may have run off to. Pollen is taking over the world. Not sure we’re going to have time for planting seeds as there is way more weeding to be done than even a couple of days ago.

Full disclosure: I was tempted to type, just a moment ago, the old statement:

All manner of thing shall be well.

Then I stopped myself, deeply conscious of all those in our world who are feeling like very little will ever be well again.

And, somehow, both of those things have truth in them.

More truth, in fact, than I’m sure what to do with.

Here’s what I do know… I am blessed to be able to feed my family. And shelter the dogs. And share groceries with a friend in need.

Tomorrow, the plan is for the girls to help me write postcards to encourage voters in a Congressional run-off.

And there are, of course, more dots to be made.

You and yours are on the list, too.

ps… Watch for my new Shopify store coming soon to a web page near you!

Once upon a time…

… a LONG time ago, I used to show dogs. And groom them. I started with Mastiffs. Easy to groom. Hard to convince.

Next, Great Pyrenees. I have trouble admitting this, but we actually put laundry bluing in their shampoo to get them sparkly white. (I can’t believe I’m writing this!)

English Springers for a bit. Talk about perfectionist tendencies!

Then, a dear Newfie. Our first. She was still a puppy so the grooming was less aerobic but there’s a whole lot of we’ve always done it that way beneath those fluffy, drool-y beasties.

For the last 10 years or so I’ve needed help with the fuzzy big kids. It’s harder and harder to get close to the floor and lifting them is a definite no go.

But, our kids are coming to visit and, with all the pandemic challenges, it has been more than the ideal amount of time since Phoebe and Luther have had a bath.

A call to my friends at Jabula Dog Academy, also known as Camp, set us up with an appointment. Then, the brushing began!

And went on. And on. And on.

A new friend came to pick them up for their adventure and, blessedly, immediately grasped the fact that I was totally serious when I said mental health was way more important than looking like show dogs. Especially for Luther who’s had a whole bunch of overcoming to do on his journey.

He has a huge spirit for a guy who’s been horridly abused and sees with his heart.

While they were gone, I took some time out for feet up and weeding email.

That’s when the tears started. Specifically, the news overdose tears. With Atlanta still reeling from last week’s tragic shootings, Boulder about put me over the edge. And then the news about at least five more mass shootings in the US since Atlanta on March 16.

How does this happen???

I can cuddle the big dogs and help them learn about safe and loved. And loving.

I can plan a new program to help some awesome women realize their visions. (There’s still one space left. email me at suesvoice@gmail.com if you have a vision that could use some support!)

There are some things, though, that feel bigger than I can manage. Many of them, in this moment, are trying to make it harder for us to vote. Harder for the young people known as Dreamers to stay here. Harder to keep guys like the Atlanta shooter from buying a gun and using it on the very same day to kill 8 people just quietly living their lives.

So, after crying long enough to reduce some of my stress, I spent most of the time the beasties were at the spa doing what I could do. Signing petitions. Leaving a message for the Georgia Speaker of the House. (I’m for voting. Him, seemingly not so much.)

Well, you get the idea. My mom used to scrub floors in moments like this. (I must have gotten my knees from the other side of the family!) And, at the risk of sounding pessimistic, it seems like we’re going to need some coping strategies for a while.

So pray/knit. Or make prayer dots with paint. Or make soup. Or brush huge dogs. I understand there are even some people who go running!

And use your voice.

For now, I’m off to put a huge load of dog towels in the washer. Well, I should be. We’ll all be happier if I finish washing flannel sheets first so they don’t come out looking like Newfies!

And I hope you’ll join me, in your special way. Think of it as overtaking the tragic, hateful energy with kind, hopeful energy. It actually makes folding laundry more fun!

ps… If you squint and hold your head just right, you’ll see a very wet dog waiting for his girls in the photo above!

pss… May the people of Stockton CA, Gresham OR, Houston TX, Dallas TX, and Philadelphia PA, along with those of Atlanta and Boulder, find courage in our prayers and our actions. Yours and mine.

According to plan…

If all goes according to plan, my kids will be here at this time in one week!

I never imagined what a big thing it would be – what a whole consciousness thing – to write this sentence.

It feels very big, indeed.

Half the adults are fully vaccinated. The other half are half-way there. The girls are too young.

I am, as you might imagine, thrilled. It’s been over a year since I’ve hugged my girls. One of them has had a birthday. The other has had two. And they’re in the tween/early teen phase when they change from moment to moment.

I have changed, too. Frankly, I’m scared. I mean, they’ll have to stop and put gas in the car. What if one of those people who doesn’t believe Covid is a big deal works at the gas station? They can’t drive clear from Virginia without food. What if somebody coughs on their sandwich?

And they’ve started back to actual school part time. Talk about another 9 million what if’s !

Then I watch the news, especially just now in Atlanta, and remind myself that there are always what if’s. We’re just not always quite so aware of them.

A couple of my heroes helped me remember the big picture this morning. You see, The Rev. Dr. William L. Barber and Senator Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock were speaking the Word.

Specifically, Dr. Barber was reminding us that God’s plan, God’s theology, is All Theology.

I won’t spoil it all for you here. I will share this link so you can join in yourself. You are, in fact, invited!

And I’ll also confess that, as I listened and watched virtually, I couldn’t help but remember that, despite my fears about my kids and traveling and Covid, I have had a lot of social advantages in dealing with those fears and with the possibility of becoming a pandemic statistic.

And we need to keep working on making those advantages available to everybody. Just turn on CNN and pick your issue. Then, in whatever way it works for you and your beliefs, think what the world would be like if we all heard Dr. Barber reminding us that, “God’s way is everybody in. Nobody out.”

And what would happen next if we acted, and voted, on that belief?

So, having sat, figuratively, in the pew at Ebenezer Baptist Church for the first time in about 30 years, in the midst of what feels like mountains of laundry and trying to figure out how to fit four more people amongst the easels, I’m making prayer dots.

I know. No surprise!

It really helps. When I pray with my eyes and ears and hands and heart, there’s less room for what if’s. There’s less room for fear.

And there’s more room for all.

Then, when I take a break from the dots, I’ll do what Grammies have done for centuries. I’ll check recipes and make grocery lists for Grampy to take shopping. I’ll wash the flannel sheets. I’ve even ordered garden seeds in case they want to help plant.

And, good friends willing, I’m sending the beasties off for a bath. It has been more than a bit longer than optimal.

One of my favorite things about our kids is that they’re really good at figuring things out.

It’s entirely likely that I’ll cry the whole time they’re here, with the relief and joy of it all. And they’ll love me anyway, if I do. Though I probably ought to put Kleenex on the next grocery list!

I’m also pretty sure painting will be involved. We’ll make some dots for you and yours. They’ll look a lot like stars in the sky.

ps… I have one more space open in my new program, Soul Expression Breakthrough. If you have a vision for your future, anything from a concrete project like remodeling your kitchen to running a rhino reserve after you retire, and aren’t afraid to color, you could be a good fit! email me at suesvoice@gmail.com to schedule a call and find out.

What we learn from learning…

What do writer’s cramp, trees, and sisters have in common?

I hear you pondering! Take your time…

If you’ve known me a while, you’re probably not surprised that it has something to do with learning. And it does.

The other thing, which you might not have thought of, is that they all have to do with Intentional Creativity. (At least in my world!)

It happened something like this…

On Wednesday I put up a Facebook post with a bit of a story about a painting known as either Legend 2 or Chosen, Safe, and Loved, along with a glimpse of the painting, which looked like this:

I was really excited because she had been selected for an up-coming juried, virtual museum show.

Later, I realized just how excited I was when I noticed that the image I posted (above) was, in fact Legend 2’s little sister, aka Legend 1 or Follow Your Heart! Pause for embarrassment! (And huge thanks for all of you who rejoiced with me 😉 )

If you have a little sister, as I do, this may bring some been-there-done-that stories to mind. I know it does for me!

(This, clearly, is one of those times my Granny had in mind when she told me it wasn’t necessary to tell everything we knew!)

All of which brought me to yesterday, when I still had no notion of the graceful way to admit that I, the very excited artist, couldn’t tell my paintings apart!

A for creativity. C- for intentional!

There were, however, other things on the list.

Writer’s cramp chief among them. You see, Louisiana is getting ready for a special election for a Representative to the U.S. Congress and I have an opinion. (An opinion I borrowed from Stacey Abrams!)

Opinions, in politics, often turn out to mean writing postcards to registered voters who haven’t made it to the polls in a while. Lots of them. In pretty blue ink with some extra swirls and flourishes.

B- for creativity. A+ for intentional!

And still no blog post!

Then, I did a couple of new-ish sorts of things. A meeting with some folks I’d never met before, but somehow knew immediately, and a timely bit of advice from Mother Mary.

And still no blog post!

The next right thing was becoming obvious. Take all my new-ish stuff and questions and wander off to the land of dreams with a pencil and an index card on the night stand.

It worked. (It usually does when I get over myself sufficiently to remember to try!)

I woke with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ voice in my head, reminding me of what I already knew about trees and danger…

 “The word danger in its oldest form meant to protect, “You. Stand in my danger, in the aura surrounding me that is funded by my heart, my soul and my spirit that says certain things of this earth are so precious they can never be allowed to be harmed or made to vanish.

You stand in my danger because I will protect, I will help, I will create, I will defend, I will unleash, I will hold back, I will restrain, I will open up, I will carve doors in walls, I will do whatever it takes.

You stand in my danger. She is the protectress, the one who takes care of those who have been conquered and raises them back up again. She is not only passionate, but she’s observant and experienced. She will protect anything of goodness, anything that has the merest spark, the tiniest spark at the end of the wood, she will breathe on it and bring it back to life.

Just that. Words I had not heard for years. And an image to go with them.

You guessed it! This story begins with my first (incomplete) effort at drawing a Celtic Tree of Life. It surely won’t be the last! (It was hard to pull myself – writer’s cramp and all – off to the laptop to make these words!)

There is surely more of this story to come. For this moment, a glimpse of the big sister, the actual Legend 2 or Chosen, Safe, and Loved, standing in the danger of another sort of Tree of Life.

Legend paintings, as they exist in my world have everything to do with Creativity and Intentionality, done with a tribe of sisters helping us learn, sometimes by not laughing at us!

And, often, by helping us learn that danger isn’t always the bad thing we might, once upon a time, have believed.

ps… Details on the virtual museum show to follow.

pps… Check YouTube videos for hints on the Celtic Tree of Life!

ppps… If you’re up for a bit of the good-danger as we all move from one season to the next and, metaphorically, from one world to the next, I have a plan. Literally, a plan plan. And you’re invited! Details this week

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher

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