True Confessions!

I am a person who likes lists.

I am also a person who puts way more things on my list than I usually get crossed off. You may (or may not) relate to this.

Today has been a pretty good list day.

Sixteen quarts of bone broth in the freezer.

Two loads of laundry done and dried outside. One more in process.

Beasties tended. And fed. (This is vital!)

Bernie Sanders webinar complete. (Also vital!)

Blog post (almost!) done.

More close-to-finishing touches done on Our Lady of Living Waters.

Our Lady of the Flowering Earth begun. (Time out for happy dancing!) This one was kind of a surprise.

This is the painting that “hatched” itself in a dream recently. I thought I had it all figured out. Then I went crazy and and watched the videos!

I suspect the painting will turn out a bit different from the dream (and the videos) but I can already tell it will be even better because I did all the under layers as you can see, above.

This feels really good! It’s the me I’ve been since I was about 12 years old. It’s the me I am as a grandmother with two girls growing up in this world.

It’s the me who believes that we are created to create.

And it’s the me who knows that some of you are muttering, “Not me!” about now.

Let’s allow for the moment that I don’t believe that you are not an artist. I hear you. For decades, I didn’t understand, either. It’s just that being creative is an essential part of being human. So, I’m asking you to keep reading.

Art helps kids relate to the world and express themselves. (Adults, too!)

Art helps with stress management, which helps with health, which helps with stronger families.

Art helps with hope for the world.

Now, I know that not all of you are in a position to turn the place that used to be known as a living room and dining room into an art studio with room for painting friends and giant snoring dogs. No problem!

My Intentional Creativity sister, Jenafer Joy, is offering a super simple, never made art before or want to make art again, collage class.

Seven lessons.

A stack of magazines.

It’s called Synthesis. Oh, and it’s free!

And you could do it with kids or friends or grandkids!

Here’s the link.

Give yourself a bit of a vacation this summer. Take a risk. You’ve got this!!!

I’ll be there, too. For now, greens to pick in the garden and canvases to set up for tomorrow.

A hot date for dinner. (Complete with paint clothes…)

And more art on the list!!!

 

 

 

 

The Muse is Back in Business!

We’ve been a little stressed around here lately. And my Muse may have been feeling a bit left out.

The good news is, she seems to have decided to play again. And I suspect she is, at least in terms of creative process, something of a quilter!

It’s time for me to start a new painting. (Okay, a bit past time.) The official title for the painting is Our Lady of the Flowering Earth.

Somehow scraps of ideas that have been waiting for their turn in my mind seem to have begun to come together in the context of this painting. Here are a few:

My delight in my own garden, which is mostly herbs and veg surrounded by oak leaf hydrangeas and the ever essential roses.

Memories of Italy… especially ancient olive trees and fragrant rosemary cascading over rustic stone walls, both silvery-green.

And then, from the fabulous book, Braiding Sweetgrass, which I’m reading just now, a fascinating description of the indigenous tradition known as three sisters planting for corn and beans and squash.

A hint from the wise and talented Julie Steelman that we painting sisters could find great support in creating an abundance canvas.

Then, oddly, perhaps, an old hypnosis healing metaphor that has lived inside me for 20 years.

And an inspiration from another dear paint sister in terms of how to begin the form I imagine for this particular feminine figure.

All of which are coming together to make a painting that will be unique to this time and place, which is really exciting to me!

At the moment, it’s a very rough sketch, an intention, and a waiting canvas.

Somewhere down the road, it will join a growing collection of my work available online.

There are two possibilities for shopping.

The first is Fine Art America which is a great place to browse fabulous phone cases, stunning shower curtains, posters, and many intriguing things from tote bags to throw pillows. Also, the beasties adore their yoga mats!

And a thrilling new option… fine art marketplace which features extremely high-resolution, museum quality gallery-wrapped canvas prints and giclée works on amazing watercolor paper I just want to rub between my fingers. I have my very own page!

The process is fascinating, and blessedly local here in Atlanta. Barry and the wizards from digital arts studio use a rare scanning system to create a digital file of a painting and then, after extensive color matching, print the image using a 12-color archival ink process.

As I learn more, there will be more options from fine art marketplace, including stunning round occasional tables. It’s like Disney World for artists and art collectors!

They do custom, archival framing. There’s also an option to inquire about a collection of original works.

Shipping is, of course, available. And, for Atlanta friends, a chance to pick-up in person and dream a bit at digital arts studio.

I’m excited. The Muse seems to be, too! We hope you’ll wander by, find some inspiration, and perhaps comment on a favorite or two.

The art work shown above is a giclée of a commissioned painting titled Mamaw’s Farm on 18×24 inch heavy water color paper, hand signed and numbered. It’s available here, in several sizes and formats, unframed or custom framed. 

It’s Work in Progress Wednesday!

It’s a tradition, in the land of Intentional Creativity, that Wednesdays are Work in Progress (WIP) days. It’s a day for posting pictures of what we of artists are working on, along with reflections and, sometimes, puzzles.

As one of my paint sisters observed, not too long ago, “I am my work in progress”.

Wow, am I feeling that!

It seems to be the season around here for all kinds of puzzles.

How to get back to something resembling “normal” after my fall and Luther’s recovery from surgery.

How to re-claim the self-nurturing and care that kind of fell by the wayside during those weeks.

How to re-claim the strength lost in day after day of being still and trying, at some level of consciousness, to hold the peace. (And the pieces together!) It’s rather like having been sick in bed and discovering that it doesn’t take long to lose strength and energy formerly taken for granted.

How to adapt to the likelihood that “normal” is about to get different, again, and will predictably involve some changes.

That’s where my CODEX painting comes in. Nicknamed Grandmother Moon, she chose for her symbol of consciousness, at the end of Moon 8, the series of golden triangles which seem to be springing from her forehead.

The golden triangles have been showing up since my very first painting. They don’t appear everywhere, though they seem to show up in times of change which makes sense as the Greek letter delta, which is in the form of a triangle, is common in math and science as a symbol for change. Or, in my case, as a willingness to be changed.

Grandmother Moon also insisted on a winged visionary eye stitched with the legendary red thread which people have believed, throughout time, connects us, perhaps with people we were destined to know, rather like the web of life which forms our world.

IMG_5316As for me, I’m tending. The garden this morning. Paint drips a bit later. Me, as often as possible. A combination of intention and attention. Which is, when you think about it, not a bad way to deal with change. (Just in case you might have some, too!)

ps… While I was tending and taking pics in the garden this morning, our new neighbor, the falcon, swooped low and flew right past me. Breathtaking! And the symbolism is a wonder, too. Victory. Success. Rising above challenging structures. Wisdom. Vision. Protection. Must be a friend of Grandmother Moon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

I am still learning…………..

The 4-footed teachers have been in full form!

Luther, of course, has been the most obvious. Watching him heal, physically, from his eye surgery has been a wonder in itself. I’ve actually been able to watch his energy field come back online after all the anesthesia and the post-op meds. This big guy has been blind for a while but he temporarily lost his navigational radar.

It was all hands on deck to keep him from bumping his face until he was healed enough for the sutures to come out. I spent two weeks with a 140 pound dog literally tied to my arm, to keep him safe.

Today, he can make it out to the yard and back, safely. He’s re-negotiating his paths through the house, learning to feel gently with his nose for doorways and to pay attention to different floor mats to know where he is.

We’ve started some new walking training and directional cues to help and, blessedly, they are.

Sarah and Phoebe, meanwhile, have been in varying stages of regression. Sarah is bossy and needy and in my face, afraid, I suspect, that Luther will get most of the attention forever. She is, in some ways, assisting my inner critic in whispering messages of blame and inadequacy in my ear.

Meanwhile, Phoebe seems to have decided that, since the pattern disintegrated utterly for a few days, she is free to comply with or ignore the suggestions known in dog obedience land as commands, according to her mood.

I get it. Everything I’ve learned about sleeping in the dark with no electronics, eating real food, and believing in my ability to cope has gone astray.

IMG_5303I’m way beyond grateful that my inner Observer is also whispering in my ear.

One of the things that she’s whispering may have come from my old friend, Steve Glenn. Pardon the redundancy if you’ve read this recently, but it’s really helpful and deserves a re-run.

There’s no such thing as failure. Only experience to be learned from. 

This, I’ve been reminded, is something we can’t teach our kids unless we, like Luther, learn to use it as a compass with which to navigate our own worlds.

So, the numbing TV, which wasn’t working for any of us and only added to the stress, has been switched out (mainly) for coloring.

The amazing Shiloh Sophia recently posted a documented medical article claiming that 5 minutes of coloring would interrupt the body’s stress response.

I already had the pencils and markers so I stocked up on coloring books. Mainly Mandalas and Shiloh’s divine feminine images. I’ve colored enough to wallpaper a good sized room and it helps. It was an easy something I could change in the midst of a bunch of stuff I couldn’t.

And, I re-examined my food issues.

Once again, Michael Pollan to the rescue.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

This is a system I can manage. (And remember!) It’s also a system I believe in.

Blessedly, lots of those plants are growing in my garden right now, since leaving home is still a bit complicated.

And tomorrow, I suspect, will bring its own challenges. I trust, though, that my 4-footed teachers and my inner Observer will still be there, shining light on the path.

 

 

 

 

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Lunch Menu: Celebration & Comfort!

Yesterday, a dear friend came to remove Luther’s sutures after his eye surgery, and to paint for a bit. (We’re working on our CODEX paintings. Moon 7.)

I fixed lunch. The intention… celebration and comfort for body, mind, and spirit.

The menu tended in the direction of rustic elegance.

First, soup. I began with a quart of homemade broth. In this case, grass-fed, local beef broth, FodMap diet style which means no onions, no garlic, and limits on certain veg.

You can begin with whatever you have and trust, avoiding, I sincerely hope, the stuff in cans. Veg broth, chicken, pork, even seafood broth all work nicely! Or, for super simple, organic freeze dried mushrooms soaked in hot water until the color of strong tea and drained well through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (Not FodMap.) Use resulting broth then save mushrooms to add to soup.

After thawing the broth overnight in the fridge, I steeped it, partially covered, for a couple of hours, simmering gently, rather like tea, with 4 or 5 organic star anise pods, an organic cinnamon stick, about 1/3 of a warm but not hot dried pepper, 2 fresh bay leaves, and a small bundle of thyme and rosemary from the garden. This left me with a broth tending in the direction of Asian flavors.

About half a shot of cognac would not be amiss during the simmering process.

About an hour before lunch, I finely chopped a small organic fennel bulb and the stems of a bundle of organic Italian (flat leaf) parsley and added them to the steaming broth.

Meanwhile I heated some previously cooked organic brown rice in the oven. Brown rice ramen noodles work well, too, but we were out.

Then, back outside, just before serving, for the first batch of organic arugula from the garden. A quick rinse and a fine chop later, it was time to dish up the soup, after a moment to scoop all the herbs and spices out of the pot.

Brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Chopped, raw arugula on top of that. Broth, with added fennel and parsley, ladled generously over all.

Season to taste with good natural sea salt, freshly ground mixed pepper corns, and a gentle drizzle of organic garlic olive oil which works even for most FodMap friends.

I served the soup with sides of perfectly ripe organic avocado, topped with a smidge of fruity Italian olive oil, and salt & pepper, along with some organic local sourdough crackers. Nuts would add some extra protein.

You can do the same thing with the ingredients you love, enhanced but not buried by the flavors that work for you and whatever’s great in the garden. Or farmers market.

IMG_5299Yes, it’s easier if you happen to have a freezer full of really good broth. And it took a bit of clock time, but very little effort, to fix. Check locally and online for high quality broth which you can find in shelf stable boxes or, especially in the case of seafood broth, frozen and delivered to your door. Yum!

Or, if you happen to have an InstantPot, learn a super simple broth process soon. You’ll be several steps closer to your version of comfort, healing, celebration… whatever you’re hoping for from lunch.

No dessert needed, especially if you have time to paint!

My wish for you this day is inspiration…

 

With Hope on Mothers Day!

As many of you know, it’s been quite the week in post-op puppy nurse land!

Luther is healing well which is great because I’m pretty close to wiped out. I’m thinking of having my mail forwarded to the magic chair where I’m pretty much living at the moment.

In an effort, perhaps, to channel my early years, there has been a lot of Grey’s Anatomy going on.

One episode in particular hit home for me just now.

An explosion, thought to be a bomb, happens at a shopping mall. Many people, including a number of children, are injured.

One of the ER docs, a young woman who is pregnant, reacts with tremendous fear and wonders over and over how to bring a baby into a world where such a thing is possible.

Her mother-in-law, a woman more given to snapping orders than to extending comfort, offers a surprisingly profound response:

Raise your babies well. This is how the world changes. 

The obvious question, especially as the American Mothers Day holiday dawns, is “How?”

Allowing that we must each find our own answers, I’d like to offer a framework that has been hugely helpful in my journey. It comes from the late Dr. H. Stephen Glenn, whose work, Developing Capable People, I first encountered when my own baby was four years old.

According to Steve, much of parenting (and grandparenting) comes from helping kids to believe three things:

I am capable.

I contribute in meaningful ways and I am genuinely needed.

I can influence what happens to me. 

Raising Self-Reliant Children In A Self-Indulgent World, p. 49

I believe!

In fact, I know. And it isn’t easy. It involves ditching our societal obsession with success and claiming the amazing possibility that there’s no such thing as failure. Only experience to be learned from. 

Kind of like acrylic paint!

Here’s the catch.

In order for our kids to learn these amazing truths, we have to at least experiment with believing them ourselves.

It doesn’t make a great Hallmark card. It does help us to raise kind, confident children, even in this world.

Steve walked on some years ago and the book is a bit dated in terms of language and examples but it still lives in my study on a shelf I always know how to find, no matter how much we rearrange the furniture. And it lives on in my own book, Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope.

With my whole heart, and with hope for my own girls, I invite you to check it out. It’s never too late to start! We need all the capable, significant, influential kids we can get.

This is how the world changes.

Many blessings to all of you who are mom-ing and grammy-ing anybody, anywhere and teaching these truths in whatever way works for you. This day and every day. Amen.

 

 

 

Reading Week

When I was a seminary student, we had a rather old-fashioned tradition known as Reading Week. The week before exams, it was time to catch up on the couple (!) of things that might not have gotten done during the semester.

I loved Reading Week and I’ve missed it during all the years since graduation.

This week, Reading Week showed up again!

IMG_5281Luther, our Newf Rescue who is healing from eye surgery, has needed constant supervision. Sarah’s on floor duty. I’ve spent most of the time camped in my magic chair with a stack of books beside me.

Some of them are old friends. Some are intriguing new adventures.

A bit of comfort. A touch of challenge. A surprise or two along the way.

And gratitude to the talented writers who created reality from language in the writing.

One more week of sutures… And a quick break for prayer dots!

 

 

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher