WIP Wednesday


Because it’s Wednesday, it’s Work In Progress (WIP) day in the land of Intentional Creativity. Here’s a glimpse…

A couple of loads of laundry.

Olympic floor sweeping.

A quilt project. The first in almost a year. Rather an urgent gift and an awkward time for the trusty machine of old to have a computer stroke. Blessings on Amazon and a non-computerized variety, more than capable of getting me through the current task.

Done, quilted, washed, dried, and delivered by next Tuesday. (Gulp!)

It’s worth noticing that I bought the terminally ill computerized embroidery machine just after granddaughter number one was born, when I had fantasies of embroidering little duckies on gingham dresses which needed to be, you know, ironed.

So much about that didn’t work!

There’s a painting almost done and one just begun.

Dog barf washed off the floor. (Sorry, but true!)

Wrestling with budget numbers. It seems there is still more I want to learn! And the counting happens with fingers, toes, and heart.

“Bird broth” thawing in the kitchen. Various leftovers lined up to join the party.

I still don’t wear shoes when it’s cold, but soup helps a lot!

The Christmas tree is taken down and headed for the basement. (Laugh if you need to… It’s not February yet!)

Luther’s getting the hang of eye drops. I think he ran into something he couldn’t see and scratched his eye. It got pretty yucky but we’re making good progress. It only takes two of us now!!!

Celebrating some more exciting news… Stacey Abrams, who, in a fair election would be the new governor of Georgia, has been asked to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address which, as Bill cleverly noted, is blessedly, not on the same night as the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. That means I get to cheer for an amazing American leader and the Newfoundland dog in the Working Group, live and in person. (Politics, February 5th. Best sporting event of the year, February 11th and 12th.)

Have picked out an inspiring place for my new drum to live when it isn’t busy. (Actual hanging perhaps WIP for next week!)

The rain boots that were too big have been returned with help from Bill. I’m fine with packaging but not so good at post office.

Best, perhaps, of all… my quilt project has reminded me of the liberated Spirit that inspires me to get enough of the rest of this stuff done to make room for art and hope.

Life, it seems, is a work in process.

May you notice whatever works for you in this way and pause a moment to celebrate!


Be Careful What You Ask For!

It’s story time! Feel free to curl up with your favorite quilt and a cuppa. Or whatever. This story, like life, wanders a bit. And, it’s one of those stories that is not only true, but actually happened!

First, you need to know that I actually slept last night. In the bed. For about five hours.

This is something of a miracle these days. One of the ways that I know that I slept is that I spent some time wandering around in a Wizard of Oz-like dream in which many things come together from different times and worlds. Things you wouldn’t usually find together, but somehow teach you new things when you notice.

Before we get to the dream, though, you need to know that, historically, I’ve had a very hard time telling right from left.

When I was in tenth grade, I started fainting. A lot. Usually at school. The nurse would call my mother to come get me, though I was generally much better by the time she got there and she’d grumble a bit in that way that made it hard to figure out whether she was mad or worried.

One day, though, I fainted in gym class while I was on the top bar of the uneven parallel bars. I was scared and very grateful for the mats below the bars which preformed admirably and kept me from being truly injured.

About that time, my dad got involved and carted me off to a fancy medical center a couple of hours away for a neurological workup. The eventual conclusion was that I had grown considerably taller, quite quickly, and my circulatory system was having a hard time keeping up. The “answer” involved little red pills I was instructed not to take to school lest someone might want to steal them.

Oh, and there was also the part about the neurologist telling my dad to “teach that kid right from left”!

Now, I may have mentioned before that I never went to Kindergarten, which might explain why I was probably 30 years old before I caught on to the little trick that it is possible to tell which hand is your left because your thumb and first finger make an actual letter “L” when extended just so. (At least possible for lots of people.)

But back to my dream…

I was in a school someplace I didn’t recognize, in a big room with my eighth grade English teacher. We seemed to both be adults, though not quite as adult as we actually are at this point! Despite the absence of bells ringing, groups of students wandered in and out of this magical room, reading poetry and singing and acting like intelligent, capable human beings.

There was also something going on about having a wheel fixed on a very large piece of luggage I was, apparently, taking along on my journey.

Now, as we’ve noted before, the first question of dream interpretation from a depth psych perspective is:

Why is this dreamer dreaming this dream at this time?

Which was exactly the question that got me out of the bed hunting for tea and my laptop about 6:30 this morning.

The answer didn’t take long to appear. You see, I wandered through my studio space on the way to the kitchen and there, like a huge road sign, stood my CODEX painting. (Well, one of them.)

Yesterday was a day for soup and paint and a dear friend. And what we were working on, with our magical paint brushes, was integrating our consciousness.

Old stories and new. Lots of learning from lots of years. Right and left brain access. And appreciation. We actually stated our willingness for anything that was available to be conscious and integrated to be so. (You kinda had to be there… and some of you have been!)

The dream, I think, was a reminder of a moment in my journey where I had a guide who valued both right and left brain work. Creative imagining. And linear, getting it done processing. The linear part, conveniently being the “L” or left part!

Lately, I’ve started using an old hypnosis/NLP trick called anchoring again. When I need to move from creative concept to the step one – step two kind of planning, I do the “L” trick with my left hand and ask for that kind of information. Rather like the favorite quilt and cuppa we began with may be anchors for comfort. Perhaps it sounds bizarre, but it works, which is a good thing because it’s time for the “L” part of a quilt project to begin quickly around here.

Watched over, no doubt, by my CODEX canvas(es) leading me to a place I’ve never been before but is, at the same time, somehow home.

Oh, and the art today is from my Cosmic Smash Book. My very own left hand. Complete with red and purple yarn which is, by the way, also a handy way to tell which is which!

Psssst… In my last post I shared an opportunity to learn from the amazing Shiloh Sophia McCloud about conversing with yourself in ways more likely to get you where you want to go than the ways most of us learned growing up. There’s still time! Tempted??? Click here for more info!

A Gift for Dave’s Birthday

Tomorrow, my son, Dave, is turning 39 years old. This is information I have a bit of trouble processing, but true nonetheless.

We had a rough beginning, he and I. A scary, dangerous birth and some longer range challenges, mostly for Dave. Blessedly, we’re good, now!

One thing I can say with all certainty is that he has been one of my biggest teachers — probably the biggest — in a very, very long line of wise and talented teachers. And I’m grateful!

So, in honor of Dave’s birthday, I’d like to share a special gift with you. An introduction, if you will, to a new teacher who is rocking my world almost as much as Dave did.

Her name is Shiloh Sophia and (if you keep reading) you’ll have a chance to meet her, too! Well, virtually.

Shiloh taught me that I could paint, despite a lifetime of being told I was “not the artistic kid”. She taught me to listen to myself and to work with my Muse and her alter ego, the Critic, who live inside all of us. She taught me about following my sacred work.

And, on Saturday, January 26th, you have a chance to hang out for about an hour and learn from her… for free… at an event called: Seduce the Muse & Tame Your Inner Critic: 3 Experiential Practices to Awaken Hidden Self-Expression

Have you ever wondered what the secret was to healing the voice of the inner critic?

And why what you have been doing may not be working?

Would you be interested in learning more about and experiencing the sought after flow state? It is closer than you think!

Did you know that you can begin to lower stress levels through this one method in 5-7 minutes?

If the inquiries above interest you, read further and I will share with you a special invitation  from someone I know, love, work with, and admire to the moon and back:

Dear Journey-ing One, 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to transform your inner critic’s incessant nagging and shaming so that you can hear your own true voice coming through? (The critic’s messaging can impact every single relationship we have, and for most of us, it does.)

You know how it goes – you aren’t good enough… or aren’t worthy… or aren’t lovable. Those are the more obvious jabs. Yet there are much deeper hidden ones that are often so difficult to even identify, because they have become a part of the fabric of who you are. To change those, you need to change the default settings in the brain, body and the heart.

There is a critic cure, and it might not be what you think. Many of us are familiar with that cruel voice within…but how familiar are you with the inner voice of love, curiosity, imagination, and even celebration? Most of us are way less familiar with that one. Turns out there is something very specific we can do to turn that voice on! Shiloh Sophia, has the insight, and you can join her to learn about it: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/smp/a18983/

If you’re longing to let go of being so hard on yourself and craving more self-expression and soul-satisfying adventures, then I’m excited to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Shiloh Sophia, a renowned visionary artist and founder of Intentional Creativity®. In her work, she focuses with thousands around the world on freeing self-expression.

On Saturday, January 26, Shiloh will guide you to take your first steps toward freeing your inner self and experiencing more self-expression.  Join us here: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/smp/a18983/ and take action to quiet the inner critic that keeps you caged. This free video event even has a saucy title – check it out: Seduce the Muse & Tame Your Inner Critic: 3 Experiential Practices to Awaken Hidden Self-Expression.

I know Shiloh Sophia as a teacher and mentor, a sister of spirit, and a tea drinking, chocolate loving force for good in the world.  My own experience with Intentional Creativity and Color of Woman has brought me to a place where I feel like I finally have the key to the door I’ve been beating my head against for 30 years… the one marked helping people make the changes they so desire. Here we are on a bridge at Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy.


Usually with Shiloh Sophia and her Muse you will be invited to tea with the great mystery and will need your pen and paper! But don’t worry, this adventure has nothing to do with talent – during the hour we will switch to a view of Shiloh Sophia’s personal studio and she will share experiential processes with you.

Save your space here for this free video event: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/smp/a18983/

Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure, and communicates her philosophy of life through her paintings, poetry and teachings. Her proven methods for “creating with mindfulness” have reached tens of thousands of students, helping them gain the insights needed to unlock the hidden self, heal their stories and move energy that has long been stagnant.

During these insightful 60 minutes with Shiloh Sophia, which includes the mini-workshop and an interview, you’ll discover:

  • How the inner critic has been with you since childhood and why most of your attempts to break free don’t work
  • A powerful tool you can use to seduce your critic into being your ally
  • Where the Muse hides — and how to invite her out… it isn’t what you think
  • How to listen to the Muse and hear what she’s been wanting to tell you
  • Experiential practices to awaken your self-expression in a 20-minute mini-workshop
  • How unleashing your creativity can help you rewire your brain

Don’t miss this opportunity to discover how liberating your creative self can be the missing piece that propels you to take the next step in any area of your life.

It’s FREE to attend — simply register here: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/smp/a18983/

Join us for Seduce the Muse & Tame Your Inner Critic: 3 Experiential Practices to Awaken Hidden Self-Expression, and welcome the adventurous Muse into your life to awaken your self-expression!

A downloadable recording will be provided later to all who register, whether or not you listen to the scheduled event.

Here’s a little quote from Shiloh Sophia and one of her paintings, which, if you are familiar with her, you may recognize.

One day you will go to look for something
you did not know was lost
There will be an urgency to the intangibility,
a restlessness will stir your sleep

When you are finally ready to listen
to what isn’t being spoken
you begin to hear it and feel the pulse
A call is heard from the deepest chambers

You will spend the rest of your days
Learning to discern this call
from all the others in your mind and life
This is the call from soul

At times you may wonder
why it took you so long
You may feel regret, disappointment
or even desperation

At other times you may feel in love
The romance you have been waiting for
is within reach,
irony dissolves into enchantment

The sacred relationship
where you are seen and heard,
yes, the one you imagined you deserved,
and doubted you could ever find, is here

You are invited to a dance of seeming paradox
A space and place between the worlds where
the critic and the muse are holding a party and
you are invited, they have called your name

Will you answer?

I’ll be there on Saturday and I hope you will, too. Just in case you can’t, there will be a free replay, as well as an opportunity to work with Shiloh in an upcoming course.


Dave did a great job on his Super Power Self-Portrait. One of his super powers, which may not have made the painting, is making fabulous food. I think he’s getting the ad hoc at home cookbook for his birthday. Thomas Keller is awesome. And, when it comes, literally, to the future of our world, Shiloh is awesome, too.

Blessings from a grateful Mama, still learning!







True Then. More True Now.

Our tribe is growing! More and more of us claiming the archetypal passion of Fiercely Compassionate Grandmothers.

I’m thrilled! I imagine us gathered around a campfire (in comfortable chairs!) telling the stories that make us who we are. The stories that hold us together, if for no other reason than because they were, and are, true. This is one of mine. One you may not know.

I cut my preaching teeth in rural Tennessee, the historical home of the KKK. A summer internship after my first year in seminary. It was not an easy time. A young and enthusiastic boss, finding his own voice. Told not, for the first intern, to come back with a student of the female persuasion. (I have cleaned up the language more than a bit!)

Then there was the whole thing about standing up in front of people who did not know me and doing my best to interpret the word of God. Not the word that seemed easy for that day. The word designated in a fancy calendar called the lectionary, which is a three-year plan for reading through the entire bible. A lesson from the Hebrew scriptures. One from wisdom literature, usually the Psalms. A gospel lesson. And one from a New Testament letter.

Read three or four, if you were new-fangled back then, and brave. Focus on one or two in a sermon. Forget Karl Barth, and leave the news entirely out of it, if you  hoped to survive. Or, pray hard and allow the Word to speak. A big job for a very new professional Christian.

And the vital presence of people of actual faith, opening their arms and their ears to a single mom and a really cute kid, trying to find their place amongst the people of God in an old southern Presbyterian church.

An old southern Presbyterian church in the late 1980’s that was somehow surviving a young pastor. The most liberal preacher they had ever known. Surviving an inter-racial family in the congregation. Surviving conversations they had never had before.

I learned a lot that summer. I am learning, still.

One of the biggest things I learned is that people of faith often confuse beliefs–theology, if you will–with things that feel safe because we’ve always done them that way. Hymns. Neighbors. Marriage. Politics. Neurologically, familiar equals safe.

It doesn’t always work, though, in the Kingdom, here on Earth. Sometimes we have to do new things.

Are you opposed to racism? Get to know some people who don’t look just like you do.

Are you opposed to sexism? Look beyond gender to see new skills and enthusiasm. (And, wow, did I need a reminder on this one this week!)

Are you opposed to injustice? Feed the poor. House the homeless. Shelter the oppressed. Defend the children. Protect the civil rights of all.

There’s the word that’s hard.


Because “all,” in America, means all.

I remember when Dr. King was killed. We lived in Chicago. Riots rocked the city. Children were afraid. And nobody in my world had answers.

And yet, America was changed.

Dr. King led the March on Washington in 1963.

Fifty-four years later, my nine-year old granddaughter participated in the Women’s March on Washington. Once, when traffic stopped completely, my little one climbed on top of a bike to report to her mom and their friends about what was happening.

“The people don’t stop,” she said. “They just keep going.”

And you know, and I know, that change was in the air.

It is time to hold that change dear. To keep going. To honor the sacrifice of those who fought for a different future. To act as people who have been changed. To live as those who believe in dreams. Perhaps time, now, more than ever before.

The most important message in this moment comes from Dr. King:

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

The answer is, now, as it was then, and long before then, the way to change the world. And art helps!

It’s our turn.

Funny About Food!

Unless your family runs, say, a famous fried chicken franchise and you bring dinner home every night, you may have noticed that families have become funny about food. Read that, complicated.

Beyond the endless menu debates, lurk the stories. What we eat and when and why…

I had a vivid reminder of this yesterday when I was flipping through the day’s batch of nap mail, also known as catalogs. One that was new to me came from somewhere on the West coast and was chock full of “raw, healthy, natural” foods common to that region.

In addition to nuts and fish, there were pages of berries. Dried berries. Frozen berries. Good for you berries.

And, much to my amazement, gooseberries.

I’ve never eaten a gooseberry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. They are, however, part of the essential oral history on my dad’s side of the family.

It seems they grew on the farm in Indiana. My Gramma Elsie baked gooseberry pies when they were in season.

Grandpa Frank, whom I never knew, was, as the story goes, not a fan of sweets.

Elsie, who raised six kids, two orphaned nephews, and enough yard birds to send some of those kids to college, plus the vegetables to feed them all, baked pies when the gooseberries were in season.

Apparently, every time she baked a gooseberry pie, Frank would say, “Nice pie, Else. A little too much sugar.”

Now, in order to follow this story you need to know that my sweet, quilt making, Baptist grandmother had a mind of her own and more that a bit of a sense of humor.

You also need to know that gooseberries are, according to those in the know, apparently rather tart.

One day, Elsie baked a gooseberry pie with no sugar.

Frank, as the story goes, took a couple of bites and, with his face all puckered up, barely able to talk, said — as he always did — “Nice pie, Else. A little too much sugar!”

Now, I must have learned this story along with those of Cinderella and Sally, Dick, and Jane. And there it was, in one big memory chunk, right inside my head when I read that somebody in Washington state was trying to sell me gooseberries.

I suppose you’re wondering what possessed me to tell you this story.

It’s really pretty simple. We all have stories about food.

What “we” eat. What “we” don’t eat.

Some of those stories are sacred family myths.

Some of them are sneaky marketing campaigns. Kind of like whichever kind of cranberry sauce your family eats for Thanksgiving, if you happen to live in the US. Or why you’d never eaten green bean casserole until you spent your first Thanksgiving in Scotland among friends who weren’t raised vegetarians.

It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong.

It’s about vested interest and what really works. I mean, you’ve got to admit that it’s highly possible that the canned green bean people and the folks known for red and white cans of soup got together one night, tossed back a couple of martinis and — Bam! — “everybody” ate green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. I know my mom’s family did. (And I will admit to being hooked on the crunchy onion things on the top!)

But, to borrow back last year’s word… maybe we could be more intentional about food.

Not everybody will agree on the menu but maybe we could agree on trying to get what we need, even though that will probably not ever be the same for all of us. (Though leaving out GMO’s would probably be pretty universal!)

And, when it’s all said and done, perhaps it’s the relationships that matter more in the moment. With our families, of course, but also with the world we live in.

I’m working on approaching food with gratitude. (More to come…) Gratitude for local farmers and bone broth in the freezer and pasture raised eggs in the Instant Pot. Tomorrow, deviled eggs with wild salmon caviar. And no sugar at all!

It’s all in the labels!

For years now I’ve joked, in the half fun — full serious kind of way, that my motto in life is, “When in doubt, go back to school!”

One of the times I went back to school was around 1999-2000 when I began an on-going study of Ericksonian hypnotherapy. It was fascinating, and just a bit difficult to explain. Let’s just say that it does not, these days, involve someone swinging a big pocket watch in front of your eyes, though it is generally relaxing, sometimes to the point of sleeping while learning.

Here’s one of the coolest things I learned…

Our bodies react in specific, predictable ways to emotional responses generated by our experiences. It’s a lot like the classic Pavlovian study of conditioning dogs to drool when they hear a bell ring by ringing bells every time they get fed.

(It’s worth noting that Newfoundlands, being exceptional in many ways, do not need to be conditioned to drool!)

Anyway, consider routine, manageable (not overwhelming) anxiety and excitement. For most of us, the physical reactions are the same. Increased heart rate. Sweaty palms. Butterflies in our bellies. You’ve been there.

Oddly, it’s the context of those reactions that causes us to label our feelings as either anxiety or excitement.

For example, if, like some people I know, you have recently encountered water in your basement and it’s supposed to start raining again, the sweaty palms, butterflies, and racing heart are probably anxiety.

If you’re getting on a plane to go visit your fabulous grandkids, those same symptoms are probably excitement.

Unless, of course, you’re afraid of flying, which might mean they are both anxiety and excitement.

Are you with me? The labels make a difference.

Well, I’m kind of in all these places at once right now.

After my recent graduation from Color of Woman and my nifty new membership in the Intentional Creativity Guild, I (predictably) went back to school, fortified by one of my words for this year. Learning. And it’s all happening right now!

New people to paint with. New workshops to prepare for. A video to make. New classes beginning. A new responsibility or two.

Oh, another thing about many of us is that the notion of “new” often activates the anxiety/excitement dance.

I’m going with excited. (Well, making the video may have been the exception!)

It feels a bit like the first day of Middle School. New teachers everywhere. Classrooms to find. Lists of supplies. Different kids in each class.

Middle School turned out pretty well, though. Well, on a relative scale!

And my new year of this Intentional Creativity journey has more art supplies than Middle School did, and way less math! Nobody cares if my clothes are spattered with paint. And it’s hard to have “un-cool” shoes if you mostly go barefoot!

I’m even experimenting with color coding my calendar so I don’t get lost. It’s all about living the things I’m passionate about, which is way different than I remember Middle School being!

Collage is also involved, which is big fun!

Today, the Legendary Husband and I are off to a lunch date and then to Michaels for 48×60 inch canvases. Three of them. (I’m hoping they’ll all fit in the car at once!) Then laundry and more bone broth. Plus paint videos and the next steps on Mamaw’s Farm.

Yep, I’m excited!




A Blend-y Sort of Wednesday

You know that good kind of tired, when you really want to put your feet up and appreciate the things that got done?

Today is one of those days at our house.

It’s more probable than it was that the plumbing issue is actually fixed.

My afternoon paint peep and I got a lot done. We were practicing the fine art of blending. Toning down sharp edges where they don’t serve a purpose. Getting clear about what we’re trying to accomplish. The miracle of integrating glazes, also known as the big, scary kind.

And a bit of learning about which paint goes where, in which layer. And why the ratty looking, stiff little brushes are so handy. These are all very helpful things to know!

They’re not the only helpful things to know, but they are — literally and metaphorically — near the top of the list.

More blending is happening in the kitchen.

Leftover bones from our Christmas turkey. A package of turkey paws from one of my favorite farmers. Cold, filtered water. And a good slug of apple cider vinegar, “with the mother”.

We’re still in the sitting phase.

Next comes heat. And, eventually, skimming. Lots of skimming.

This is big batch broth, in the old-fashioned magical cauldron, complete with the spigot at the bottom so nobody has to lift it when it’s full.

Then, onions. Garlic. Thyme and rosemary from the garden. And about 16 hours worth of very gentle simmering guaranteed to have all three Newfies camped eagerly in the kitchen, having totally forgotten the five pounds of raw food they just snarfed down an hour ago!

It hasn’t been the kind of day that, in and of itself, is going to change the world.

It has been the kind of day that makes things that matter, even though they seem small, better and better.

For now, it’s time to turn the stove on and wait for the bubbles to begin.

And give thanks for blend-y magic!



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