To paraphrase, once again, my Color of Woman teacher and Cosmic Cowgirl sister, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, we don’t have to have all our ducks in a row. Or all our stuff in a pile. Or even be all healed, to make a difference. We just have to be enough.

In the case of new Color of Woman teachers and Red Thread sisters, healed enough to call the circle.

I’m counting on that pretty heavily just now. It’s almost 10:00 pm and “time to start” this blog post.

We’ve had a bit of a veterinary emergency unfolding here and I’m “behind” on a whole bunch of things. (Like the very early stages of my CODEX picture.)

Or I would be behind if we believed in that!

Instead, I’ve spent last night and today reliving my six weeks in Intensive Care, back in the dark ages of nursing school.

Phoebe, as the old camp story goes, is fine. Well, I’m increasingly sure she’s going to be.

Bill will get off the plane tomorrow night and bring home awesome chicken wings from our friends at The Corner Pub, who may feel behind on a few other things but will, predictably, have dinner ready.

The dog laundry is done. The people laundry will get there.

I even admitted to a friend today that the thing I needed most in the moment was a pound of raw chicken hearts, known around here as God’s little pill pockets, and let her go get them for me.

The painting circle has been called for tomorrow. I imagine there will be even more dots than usual.

For tonight, though, I am calling the healed enough circle. And I’m counting on you to call some more folks, too. As many as we can find.

Healed enough to get through the day. To reach out to somebody who desperately needs chicken hearts. To give away a paintbrush. Or vote. Or plant collard greens. (Which is another of those things I’d be behind on if I believed in that.)

For now, though, the ailing pup needs a walk and “somebody” needs to shove dishes in the dishwasher. I am healed enough for that.

Though, if the batteries hold out in the flashlight, that would be good!

Will you join us?

It’s how the world gets better!

Super Powers, Part Two… and Pie!

Well, first let me say that acrylic paint is, quite possibly, a more forgiving creative medium than gluten-free pie crust.

IMG_4470Or, maybe, the whole pie crust thing will just take a bit more practice before it becomes one of Grammy’s super powers!

In any event, we had great times in the kitchen and in the basement turned art studio.

Our theme was Super Power Self-Portraits.

Big Scary Glazes were conquered by all!

Kitty Max, the resident Studio Angel showed up to help.

And we have two new generations of enthusiastic experts in the fine art of prayer dots. We made dots for the victims of the fires in California. And dots for a little girl living with leukemia. And dots for people who have lost beloved pets.

We made dots for people who don’t have enough to eat. And silent, personal dots. And dots for a soccer tournament. We also made dots for a few things that, given our proximity to Washington, D.C., should probably remain nameless.

I made dots for the wonder of super-girls rapidly turning into thoughtful young women, embracing new ways of expressing themselves and being part of the world community.

And, perhaps, just a couple of dots for sleep!

IMG_4453And, best of all, we did it together, which is a very Thanksgiving way to be, even if the pies needed a bit of work. (Though the cioppino and mashed potatoes were  really big hits!)

Who knows where we’ll be next year, or what we’ll paint in the meantime. Until then, I have a word.


Stay tuned… lots more info to follow.

For tonight, blessings. From all of us to all of you.


Super Powers, Part One

I’ve been thinking a lot about super powers lately. Some of my paint sisters have mentioned them.

I’ve had some pretty odd dreams.

And then, one day, I hatched an Intentional Creativity workshop for our Thanksgiving visit with our kids. I’ve been pretty excited!

A bit of button pushing solved supply problems. All we had to do was stop on the way from the airport to pick up canvases, brushes, and paint.

We began Tuesday evening, around the supper table, with three generations of family, index cards and Sharpie markers.

I wrote each person’s name on a card and then shuffled and passed them around.

On each person’s card, as they went around the table, we wrote a super power we believed that person has. We also wrote a super power we would claim for ourselves.

Then, after supper, time for drop cloths. Lots of them. And paint.

The youngest among us were so eager to get started that I forgot a couple of the desirable under layers.

No matter. We soon overcame our fear with Shiloh’s half circle faces.

Then, some discussion about symbols and ways to represent our super powers.

The results were amazing!

We have more work to do while pies bake tomorrow but, for tonight, here are some comments from the mighty mini women.

About feelings when listing super powers, the consensus was fun and cool, with the addition of we got to pick them for everybody!

There was universal agreement that the Big Scary Glaze step was, in fact, scary, rather like doing a hand stand on a beam from the wee gymnasts.

About the best parts, K. said Seeing how creative others’ painting were, while T. went with working with Grammy. 

When I inquired about cool, new learnings, the responses were, You could do Big Scary Glazes! and There’s no going wrong!!!

Tomorrow pie crust and paint.

Thanksgiving blessings from all of us to all of you!

But, they followed me home!

Somewhere in my family tree, on my dad’s side of the family, there was a guy named Steven. Or Stephen.

Maybe a first name. Maybe a last name.

There may have been lots of them. Like Stephens.

Sadly, there really isn’t anyone left to ask, though Gramma Elsie would have been the expert.

What I do know is that he/they had unusual feet.

“Steven’s/Stephen’s feet and ankles”, to be exact.

I could tell from an early age that possessing the infamous feet and ankles was not a particularly positive family trait.

Flat feet, apparently. And wobbly, kind of crooked ankles.

I think I won the prize.

Once, I told one of my nursing instructors, way back in the days of white shoe polish, that I was becoming a nurse because I could wear comfortable shoes.

It wasn’t long afterwards that I decided I had a definite preference for no shoes at all.

I never wear shoes in the house, despite the frequent bruises on the tops of my feet when the dogs stand on me.

I didn’t wear shoes in my office when I had one.

I got married in a boring pair of ivory colored pumps with 3/4 inch heels and took them off during the reception, which might have been a better look if I’d also given up panty hose at that point.

I’m just really not a shoe kind of person.

Except for the ones that call to me! (A tendency I may also have inherited from my dad!)

Today, a new pair called to me. Or, rather, a new pair followed me home.

You see, today, I scheduled my second post-graduation Intentional Creativity workshop!

Neither of them will be at my house, where I can get away with bare feet.

We’re talking hours of standing on concrete floors in something that is, first, comfortable. And second, something that will tolerate inevitable paint splatters.

(Shiloh, if you’re listening, please forgive me. My feet are just not the hot pink sequined cowgirl boot type!)

I had a plan.

Plain, neutral black running shoes of the same brand I already love. I figured the paint would just enhance them.

Of course, my favorite Big Peach store didn’t have them in black and my feet, apparently, don’t like the new and “improved” ones nearly as well as last year’s way better ones.

The young woman helping me was perplexed. I am clearly not a runner so why, I could hear her thinking, was I so picky about shoes.

Well, it’s not really me who’s picky. It’s my feet. And we made a deal, years ago, that my feet get to choose shoes.

You, however, are a clever reader, and we’ve talked about shoes before. And I do, indeed, have new shoes.

Art shoes.

Not at all plain. Also not likely to care about a paint splatter or two. Definitely feet-approved.

And quite likely to be granddaughter approved!

Plus, they go with my red thread bracelets. And, probably, my funky socks. Which is just as well, because it’s cold!

I have many things to be thankful for in this moment, including you!

And a suitcase to pack.

Wednesday, a special report from Grammy-land!



Where the Past Meets the Future

Do you remember Good Housekeeping magazine from when you were a kid?

We moved around a lot and my mom, who clearly missed her family and friends, was always delighted when it appeared in the mail.

My sister and I preferred McCall’s with its paper doll named Betsy, whom we added, on alternate months, to our collections.

It definitely hasn’t been a shiny magazine kind of year in my world!

“Housekeeping” consists of kitchens, bathrooms, and enough floor sweeping to minimize what you probably think of as dog hair but we fondly refer to as “texture” in the paintings.

Recipes are mainly variations on the bone broth theme with trips for sushi and chicken wings on rough days.

Though my 8-year-old granddaughter is apparently longing for gluten-free pecan pie for Thanksgiving!

Research was involved and the chosen solution is already winging its way, courtesy of Amazon. I figure baking with the girls counts even if my mom and granny are having apoplexy somewhere in the great beyond.

Kind of ironically, though, I got an email with my new Good Housekeeping-esque seal of approval today and, I have to admit, I’m thrilled!

Not as a sign of comparison. Of better or worse. Or right or wrong.

In my opinion, our world is way too full of labels like that.

Rather, I’m thrilled in the sense of being part of a group of gifted, dedicated women out to make the world a better place for us all.

Yesterday, in response to the tragic, deadly fires in California, the Intentional Creativity Guild re-posted a process for helping people process natural disasters. I shared it on my Facebook pages. (Respond to this post, below, if you’d like a PDF.)

Then, because I deeply believe in the power of the process, I messaged it to a small group of friends, all of whom happen to be Presbyterian pastors in varying stages of retirement or planning.

I got a message back today from one of those friends who said they’d had three teen suicides in their community this year, one of them in the youth group, and he was wondering about adapting the process a bit for helping some of the kids and their families.

Assuring him that I would be honored to help, if needed, I gave thanks, again, for all the things I’ve learned and the ways we can shift the world for good even when it doesn’t look  like there’s a whole lot of good in the news.

All of which is to say that this symbol, the one above, is one I will feel blessed and proud to wear, as the old joke goes, on my forehead.

Tomorrow, housekeeping of the literal persuasion, laundry, dog food, and bowls of stardust soup for lunch.

(Well, technically brodo misto with rice and local sausage, but you get the drift.)

And, Friday, more paint! (Probably more laundry, too!)

Let’s all pick the labels we want!


How Things Get Better

I’m guessing you know the old saying, Put your money where your mouth is!

Well, today is one of those days for me. Actually, it’s been one of those weeks.

I’m really glad I know the wise old man at the top of the mountain because it’s been a week full of trip after trip up the mountain where there’s tea and a whole lot of we don’t know whether this is good news or bad news.

We had our online Graduation party from Intentional Creativity’s Color of Woman training which was lots of fun. And sad.

Not only for endings, which are often bittersweet, but because one of our sisters lost her house in the California wildfires.

She and her family are safe. What she owns, in this moment, is the contents of the suitcase she took with her on the in-person graduation adventure.

The print of one of my paintings, which I had ordered as kind of a test, arrived yesterday. It’s great. So much better than my previous print experience! Legend has a mini-me! Whole new possibilities are opening. (Stay tuned!)

My classmate lost all of her paintings in the fire, which tears at my heart.

I’m delighted to have three friends coming to paint with me this week.

And I’m working on a painting for a dear and gifted friend who is leaving Tuesday to move away. Some of the dots in that one are tears.

My Initiate Book arrived yesterday. I’m thrilled, even with the couple of things I’ll change as soon as I recover from the first edition!

Bill went helpfully off to a parking lot today to pick up dog food which, for reasons that still aren’t quite clear, won’t appear until Thursday. PLEASE don’t mention this to the beasties who get anxious when the groceries get low.

I feel totally blessed to be looking forward to Thanksgiving with our kids and — just between us — wishing I wasn’t going to be home alone this week doing all the getting ready things.

All of which is to say that there’s hard stuff even in the midst of all the joyous stuff and, because we are connectional beings, often Kleenex is involved.

I contemplated hatching up some cheerful, funny, poetic sort of story to tell you today but that’s not how we change things for the better.

We change things for the better by being real and standing together. I’m really glad you’re here!!!





Too Close to Call

Today, I do not want to be a reasonable, rational blogger. Today, I want to rant and rave and call names, but I do not believe in that. And I don’t want to model it for my girls.

And so, instead, I am making a gratitude list.

The Democrats have taken back the House, which is becoming more diverse in its membership, for which I am grateful.  Not a perfect situation, in my opinion, as many Democrats are, shall we say, far from perfect, but better than where we’ve been.

We’re still counting votes in Georgia. (Which is an issue for a whole other day.) A progressive, black, Democratic woman may still be elected  governor. I’d feel better about this if her opponent was not in charge of counting the votes. (Another of those issues for another day.)

I made a lot of new friends during this campaign, wandering around with my Stacey Abrams button and chatting with new and unlikely voters about things that matter. And waved at a whole lot of babies.

Students at Atlanta’s Morehouse College were waiting in line to vote at 11 pm, committed to being heard.

I kept my promise to my girls, who are growing up in this world.

Granted, the changes  I believe need to be made are going to take a while longer.

But, Bernie Sanders got re-elected in Vermont and who knows what that might mean.

I have gotten a great deal more willing to speak out about the things that matter in the face of the need for peace and justice and civil rights in this nation. It’s a grandmother thing.

And, I’ve learned to make prayer dots.

A practice that does not hide from the world but, rather, faces the struggles and acts in hope.

I’ll be making a lot of dots today.

Along with a couple of pots of shrimp and crab broth. And a frittata with local, pasture raised eggs, left-over organic roasted veg and some over-the-moon local, artisanal duck and fig sausage.

I’ll keep voting with my wallet.

And with my faith in the future.

2020, here we come. Many of us with paintbrushes in hand!


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