’twas the night before Thanksgiving…

…and all through the house, six people were stirring and laughing aloud!

…and working together to make apple pie, ’cause it’s something we love to do and to eat!

And, also, because it reminds us of those we love who’ve gone on to a world where every day is Thanksgiving.

I know you’ve probably got other plans for tomorrow, by now, but I just couldn’t resist inviting you to our table. Our Red Thread Circle. Because I’m grateful for you! So…

Great Grammy Sally’s Apple Pie

This was Dave’s favorite growing up. Great for summer holidays, but also for Thanksgiving, when you can often get superb local apples. Really good fruit pies crack and run a bit when you cut them. This is really good pie!

            MAKES 1 PIE, ABOUT 8 SERVINGS

            [Note on Ingredients: Since pie crust is a very personal thing, I’m going to leave it up to you. You’ll need enough for a 2 crust pie. Organic Granny Smith apples are great, or try local, seasonal, organic apples. You want something crisp and a bit tart.]

            Arrange oven racks so that pie will bake in center of oven.

            Preheat oven to 425 F.

            Prepare pie crust as above or remove purchased crust from fridge to warm.

            Wash, peel, quarter, and core:

                        6-7 organic apples, as above.

            Into large bowl, slice apples into ¼ inch thick slices, so they’ll retain their shape and some texture when cooked. No applesauce, here!

           In separate bowl, mix together:

                        2/3 c. sugar, more or less, depending on sweetness of apples.

                        1 Tbsp. sprouted grain or all purpose flour.

                        1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

            Add dry ingredients to apples and toss to coat.

           Add apple mix to pie pan with bottom crust.

           Dot with small pieces of butter, about 2 Tbsp. total.

           Cover with top crust. Roll and crimp edges to seal.

            With sharp knife, cut 6 slits, about 1 inch long, into top crust to let steam escape. Place pie on a sheet tray to catch any drips. Place in oven and bake 50-60 min. Check after 45 min. or so to see if edges of crust are browning too much. If so, fold strips of foil, about 3 inches wide and curve to arrange over edges. Top should be nicely browned, with bubbles of juice visible at edges of crust and slits in top when done.

            Cool on rack. Serve warm-ish or at room temperature, garnished to taste with:

                      Good vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

                        Freshly whipped heavy cream.

                        A slice of sharp cheddar cheese.

            Enjoy!

ps… The Contemplative Grandmother, who’s surrounded with blessings and and hope – and a big batch of insight – would love to meet you and bring those gifts to you or someone you love… She’s ready in an accessible archival poster! FierceArtWithHeart!

Receiving…

It’s a complicated word for many of us.

Personally, I think the complications start with the whole spelling lesson bit!

i before e and all that…

Then there’s the blessed lesson.

Note: it’s possible that I’m about to go to meddlin’!

If you hung out in Sunday School, as I did, you’re likely to think that Jesus said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

A quick excursion to the land of Google (or an old-fashioned concordance) will suck you into all the complications of that thought, and I’m quite content for you to choose!

Let’s just say that those words can imply different things, depending on intention and context!

Also, I suspect, gender. (More meddlin’ !)

I don’t have any absolute answers. What I do have are decades worth of stories – most of them from women – about feeling guilty, or inadequate, for needing to receive help.

For letting themselves receive help.

And, some of those stories have been mine.

You, quite possibly, are wondering why this, on what is practically the Eve of the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA.

Well, because one of the things I’m learning is that it’s harder to separate giving and receiving than I used to suspect!

Here’s a pretty basic example:

The receiving I did, at my physical therapy appointment this week, has made me a whole lot more able to give.

Then, my literal hands and help for my dear friend, the mobile Veterinarian, who was working with one hand and a more complicated than usual relationship to the floor, during her blessed visit to the big dogs this week.

It took both of us, giving and receiving together, to make space for the magic to happen.

And the big dogs were giving and receiving, as well!

On a different level… laundry! There’s a LOT to do before our upcoming adventure and I can’t do it all. Not even all of mine. My hands and shoulders aren’t much for the whole pinchy-hanger, air dry bit.

So, while Bill helps with some of that, I picked up part of the early door shift with the beasties this morning so he could catch up on some sleep.

And, yes, on the days when the pain is worse than usual, I get bummed about needing help.

And, it doesn’t help!

Intention is a thing that does help!

Fingerprint prayer dots on a painting in progress, for hope. (For me, fingerprints often hurt less when my hands are brush-avoidant!)

Also dots for gnowing, as in the underlayers of the current Legend painting, above. (And, yes, I spelled that just the way I meant to!)

Rest… in the interest of more Helping. Giving. Making.

Hearing deep on Facebook. And a side order of activism.

You get this!

So… what if we turned the seeming dichotomy of giving/receiving into both/and rather than either/or???

I’m serious!

What would be different for you? And your people? And your world?

I’ve gotten serious about intending to find out! And yes, for me just now, that means putting it out there. Out here!

What might it mean for you???

You can leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Or email me! (suesvoice@gmail.com)

Or, if you have some ideas and could use a bit of help sorting them, let’s talk! My medicine basket is ready! Just get the calendar elves to hook you up for a quick chat as my gift to you.

ps… just in case you’re – you know – giving, the elves at FierceArtWithHeart have a special deal on great matted, wrapped art gift packs! Something for everybody!

Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of/

…aversion to something.

Also, in my experience, something which gets one shamed, blamed, excluded, or ridiculed by people unafraid of the same thing.

And, yes, I’m channeling my inner counselor/coach!

We talked about phobias a good bit during my Eriksonian Hypnotherapy training adventures. And – actual truth – I was healed of my phobia about bees, wasps, hornets, etc. while watching an ancient, jumpy, black & white video of Uncle Milton processing a fear of similar beast with a long-ago client.

Okay, watching is a bit of an understatement. It was probably more like joining the trance.

In any event, I am now able to greet flying pollinators in the garden and thank them for their work, from a reasonable distance for someone all too conversant with Epi-pens!

I once healed my fear of taking off and landing on plane trips while offering support to a “unaccompanied minor” parked beside me by a concerned flight attendant! Turns out that helping others can help!

The camera phobia has been one of the hardest for me to heal. Possibly since it kicked in long before I reached the abstract thought phase of my journey.

I hated school picture day.

I hated being dressed up in somebody else’s idea of sweet and dragged off to Sears or Penney’s to stand in front of a fake background and look like I was having fun. (I wasn’t!)

But, the world changed… as the world does. And, lately, sharing things that matter deeply to me often involves cameras.

Profile pics. Zoom meetings. Me, with my girls. Even videos.

Today was a day for summoning all my healing!

Yep, I made a video!

Something that matters a great deal, not only to me, but in this world where my girls are growing up. Now.

Support from my beloveds.

A big dog snoring gently on the studio floor.

My choice of wardrobe and background!

And, the best thing I know for getting from where I/you/we are to where we long to be.

The tool I’d choose if I could only choose one for my medicine basket!

And, of course, I’m going to share!

First, there’s editing to do. Blessedly, I have a wizard for that!

Then there’s a big Festival in December. You’ll be invited! (15th-22nd!)

For this moment, a question.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

And, yes, I REALLY want to know!

You can leave a comment to this post. Or email me. (suesvoice@gmail.com)

Or, if you haven’t yet, you can ponder SuperPower Paths with me.

Just click HERE to get started. (It’s fast, fun, and free… and there are NO bees.)

I suspect you’ll agree that our medicine baskets could use some upgrading, about now!

If you look closely, you’ll see my busy Weaver Dreamer buddy, Charlotte, in the corner!

ps… one of the things in my medicine basket is prayer dots! You can take some home! These are for hope and healing. Museum quality giclee of The Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother aka The Black Madonna aka my first ever Intentional Creativity® painting!

Once upon a time…

A time so long ago that there are no photos in my phone, I set out on an adventure.

A sailing trip, to be exact.

My first that involved jammies as well as a life jacket!

Technically, it was summer camp for young-ish adults. A week or so, island hopping in the Bahamas.

Two boats. Two certified sailing captains. And the rest of us – the campers – for crew!

It was gorgeous. It was fun. And, it was quite the learning experience in living with others!

A 40-foot Morgan is a treasure, indeed.

And, when you bring your toothbrush for several days with 5 other humans per boat, only one of whom you’ve met before, it gets interesting!

Then add, if you can imagine, a whole lot of versions of the way we’ve always done it!

The engineering student from Purdue who said – literally – “But I’m a guy so I don’t know how to clean a bathroom… you do it!” was particularly memorable!

Let’s just say that my son, in Kindergarten, was a considerably more capable human! And what I learned was to stay on that road… even when it was hard!

Here’s the Cliff Notes version of the trip…

We sailed. We snorkeled. We dodged jelly fish, which was particularly terrifying for me! We sang. We danced. We ate fabulous food. And we pondered faith questions… personal and connectional.

Did I mention that we disagreed?

Then, on our last night, when we had to get the boats back by morning, there came a storm.

No starlight. Waves. Lightning. Wind. The whole deal.

And one of my boatmates and I were steering! Through, I might add, the Bermuda Triangle. On the midnight watch.

Clearly, as you are reading this, we made it. And, I suspect, you’re wondering why this story, now.

The answer is kind of odd. Midterm elections and a painting journey called Vivid!

Well, not them separately so much, as the place where they’ve been crashing into each other inside me.

The photo is, indeed, my Vivid painting-in-progress, resting up after quite a bit of laying it down yesterday.

There’s more, of course, and we’ll get there, soon. (I promise!)

For this moment… somewhere deep inside me, the path is clearer and I am claiming my power. Intentionally.

(Which is a bit different than feeling it, but the place to start is right where we are!)

For now, laundry. Next week, video!!! Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I’ve been layin’ stuff down!

And one more moment for sailing…

Imagine, please, that we’re sitting on the deck of our boat, rocking gently in the waves, and watching a Sunday evening sunset in Nassau harbor. It’s time for some singing.

Miraculously, Joan Baez has joined us! With her guitar and about the closest thing I can imagine to a Statement of Faith for this moment…

The punchline is – as punchlines are – clear to the end!

ps… live big! Put me time on your calendar for December 17 at 2pm ET. And stay tuned… We’re going to unstick some stuck stuff… free!

pps… glorious BLUE wall art for your favorite spot. Or, for a first time voter??? Affordable museum quality art print from an original painting. Yours, at FierceArtWithHeart!

Galvanized Horse Troughs & Oracle Cards & Psalms & Concrete Pigs… oh my!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been fishing through your Medicine Basket – be it actual or virtual – for coping strategies.

I spent much of the day known as Election Day in the USA as chief in charge of visioning for the garden transformation project going on in our front yard.

And, as I write these words, Wednesday morning, we’re no more done with the election than we are with the garden!

Sitting down is also a necessary coping strategy in my world. And, having promised myself no news until after the polls closed, I needed something to fiddle with yesterday.

I reached for my box of Sacred Rebels oracle cards.

This is a new adventure for me. As is any understanding at all of eclipses and planetary retrograde events. And I tell you all this, knowing that I’m making generations of ancestors and teachers pretty anxious.

I also know – because I’ve been wandering in the family tree again – that there are others who came before me whose eyebrows are raised in that uh-huh kind of way while little smiles appear on their lips.

And, yes, I am able to choose!

So… a bit of the oracle card message which jumped out for me:

…Then you will be asked to embrace the deeper journey of sacred rebellion against judgement and fear, and into passionate creativity and unconditional trust in life (Alana Fairchild).

It really is a filter thing!

There was more but, for this moment… back to the garden!

Part of what’s going to happen out there is the re-location of a 350 pound concrete pig named – yep! – Wilbur! It seems he’s tired of hiding between the porch rail and the grape vines and feels he can be more help where people can see him.

And, as pigs are often associated with positive life changes, I’m all in!

Pigs, as Spirit Animals, also symbolize the ability to stand on our own “two” feet, weather the storm, and come out even better than before. They are often a sign that now is the time to move ahead!

All of which seems like timely intentional gardening to me!

When I gave up on CNN last night, I was disappointed, but not surprised.

Grandmother Moon – bless her! – was there on the wall, whispering hope, in the form of a dream about my trip to Hungary, just before the Eastern Block fell.

One of the things that became part of my soul during that adventure was the ninetieth Psalm. Members of the Hungarian Reformed Church repeated it from memory each Sunday in worship. I hope they still do!

The part which wrote itself on my heart is this:

Interestingly, it also wrote itself on the underlayers of the painting which eventually became known as Codex, or the home of Grandmother Moon!

The rest of the quote?

…establish Thou it.

For real!

And I woke, reminded again, that it’s a really good intention for life in this moment.

So… they’ll keep counting votes in Georgia. There’s likely to be a run-off. (Don’t get me started!)

And, among the signs in my garden, Wilbur will be holding intentional space for the world we all need.

For now, my hands have painting to do. And my heart has hearth tending to do. Among work-in-progress Wednesdays, this one feels really big!

And I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world!

ps… just in case this whole journey feels familiar, and you suspect your basket could use some new medicine or you’re curious about the Filter thing, I can help! Let’s talk… 45 min. My gift. The calendar elves will hook you up!

pps… what the world needs now is FierceArtWithHeart! And we’re going to need some more tv ads in Georgia! So… 22% off nearly everything priced at $100 or more. (The elves will fix it in your cart!) Half the profits to Sen. Warnock! (Really!!!) It would be a great time to check out the divine hats & bags! (Looking for something you don’t see? Interested in a custom piece? suesvoice@gmail.com !!!)

…of lots of paint & scary words!

It’s Vivid 2022 painting weekend in the land of Intentional Creativity® And, at least for me, the only thing that’s been predictable is not knowing what comes next!

I started with the decidedly not blank canvas, above.

It was a volunteer, lonely after an adventure that didn’t quite make the finish-line a while back, when it was entirely possible that I had too many things on my list.

At 36 inches square, it’s manageable enough for me to do much of the work on a table which, at the moment, my left shoulder and hip appreciate.

I began, not quite consciously, with a glaze layer to blend things just a bit.

You see, the whole notion of vivid is not one that was popular in my family while I was growing up.

Blending in was frequently advised, especially during the moving years, with all my adventures as the new kid.

Also, my dad though my Brownie uniform was the best thing ever and suggested that Mom sign me up for four more clubs so I would only need five school outfits to be like everybody else. (I’m pretty sure he was serious!)

I have, however, learned a few things since then. And let a few more things go!

Fortunately, a lot of the Vivid process involves trying something, followed by noticing, wondering, and trying something new!

And, you really can’t mess it up! (Yet another thing it’s taken me a while to grasp!)

Now’s the time for me to explain that there’s actually more to the name of this particular adventure.

Officially, it’s Vivid 2022… Dancing each other home!

But, since you really can’t mess it up, when it was time for setting my personal Intention, I decided on Vivid 2022… Dancing myself home… connecting all the best in me for the greatest good!

Yep. It’s a mouthful. And it feels really true!

One of the next steps had to do with composting. As in breaking down old stuff to feed the earth and create new, helpful stuff. (Trust me… the demo dance was enlightening!)

Maybe it was the news. Or my recent digging ever more deeply in the ancestral way-back machine. In any event, I went for real!

I chose to compost my sense of not enoughness. And, as these things tend to happen, the magic flowed with the paint. This is what I wrote in my journal:

I learned not enough from generations of women who did not feel enough. It’s not that they didn’t love me – it wasn’t about me! It was that not enough was all they knew, because the world has been invested for ages in teaching women just that.

The tears, as you might imagine, were flowing by that time. And then I wrote this:

It ends with me!

And the tears mixed with the paint, as they so often do, and I was changed.

I know! I really can’t change it all for everybody, by myself.

I can, however, live enough out loud! And, this is a glimpse of my vow in this moment, late Saturday night:

The next thing that happened, early Sunday morning, was that Grandmother Moon went to whispering, as she so often does. Not enough, it seemed, was still on her mind. This is what I heard:

It isn’t just that not enough was what they knew, dear heart. It’s that not enough was how many, many of them stayed alive, even while so many more were tried and burned and beheaded and hanged.

This, in case you’re wondering, is not hypothetical in my family. And, so, I added names to the back. The ones I know so far.

Next, ombre! Which is a good place to put the tears. (Phoebe helped!)

There’s more painting to do. And noticing and wondering. And claiming! For this moment, please hear me say, I’m on it!

ps… just in case you’re wondering, voting DOES count for living enough out loud!

pps… want some help sorting your noticings and wonderings??? I have space for 2 new individual clients, and a super holiday special offer for a package of sessions! You probably have questions… The elves will hook you up! 45 minutes, my gift to you.

…when the family tree sprouts Saints!

November 1 was a busy day on my magical calendar. The usual batch of meetings, and these notes:

  • The First Day of American Indian Heritage Month.
  • My knee surgeon’s birthday.
  • One week & counting until the official voting day for US Midterm Elections.
  • All Saints’ Day.

Yes… it’s a rather odd collection! Let’s just admit that irony abounds.

If you’ve been hanging around a while, you’ve heard me muse about All Saints Day a time or two.

Don’t go… there’s a surprise this year! One that feels pretty big in my world.

It turns out that one of the people recognized on that holiday we didn’t learn much about in the land of Reformed Theology was my grandmother!

Curious? Me, too!

First, though… the understanding of All Saints Day which has lived in my heart for about 30 years.

I was on campus at Columbia Theological Seminary for a Doctor of Ministry course in doing pre-marital and couples counseling.

Walter Brueggemann was preaching in Chapel. For the first couple of minutes I was a bit perplexed.

I mean… Walter is a renowned Hebrew Bible scholar. Saints seemed a bit off the beaten path.

Then, the punch line…

Saints, Walter said, were all the people who believed for us on days when we couldn’t quite believe for ourselves.

That I understood! There have been quite the tribe of those in my life. I imagine there have been some along your path, too.

Ever since that day, I’ve stopped, each year, to make my list. And, more recently, to add an intention. To be one of those people for others.

Like Steve Glenn’s 1 in 5 people, which, come to think of it, feels pretty timely in this moment!

If a teenaged child has 5 adults who will listen to them, take them seriously, and not shame them or blame them for their questions, that child is practically immune from ever attempting suicide.

It’s a pretty helpful way to live and a really timely way to vote!

Then, digging around in the family tree, I learned a new thing. I suspect it wants to be a story for my girls!

So…

Once upon a time… a long time ago, bedtime stories were often about people called saints.

It seems that one of the saints was my great grandmother, a very, very long time ago, when many of the countries had different names than the ones we learned. Her name was Sainte Begga.

But, before she was a saint, she was a little girl. And then a wife. And then a mom. And a grammy.

She had what we would think of as a very large family. A family which was also well known and powerful.

Eventually, Begga’s husband passed on.

And, because those were very different times, many people tried to convince Begga that she needed to marry someone else who was rich and powerful and would own all her things and make her choices for her.

This did not feel like a good idea to Begga, but the rules were different back then.

We, of course, can’t know all the details of this story from so long ago, but what I learned is that Begga decided to live in community with other thoughtful, spiritual women in a place where she would be able to keep her own things and make her own choices, instead of being forced to marry someone she did not love because, as we might say now, it was good politics.

Begga spent the rest of her life, with all those other women, helping the people she could.

It seems she helped a lot, because important people in her family, and what was known as The Church, honored her by telling her story and naming her as a Saint.

Begga had a daughter named Clotilde who was also named a Saint. She was my great aunt… also a long time ago.

There were more people in Begga’s own family, and we’ll talk about them another day.

There were also more people in Begga’s chosen family. They were called Beguines and there are still some of them in our time, helping people and making their own choices.

One thing you should know is that, depending on who is telling this story, it could sound very different. That’s called perspective.

There’s more, of course, as there almost always is. For now, though, this is what I learned when I wanted to know how one of my very own grammies came to be known as a Saint.

And, on All Saints Day this year, I thanked Grammy-Sainte Begga for believing so hard for all of us who would come after her, all these years later. And I re-claimed a old intention for my own journey…

To keep being one of those 5 people for as many others as I can.

And added a new intention…

To keep living – and voting – like everybody matters and women can make their own choices!

I’m beginning to imagine new ways that might happen. And I have a list of new things to learn, which isn’t really unusual for me.

For now, huge thanks to all the saints along my way! And to you for being brave enough to learn this new story!

ps… planning a wedding? Need some enlightened help? Check out VeryLargeHope!

pps… need a reminder? Daphne has you covered with …able to choose tank tops!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach

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