Last night I went to summer camp!

Well, not exactly, but it sure felt like it!

Back in the early-mid ’70’s when I was actually doing the summer camp thing, we had real campfires, and huge trees and Florida bobcats wandering down the road late at night.

We also had helicopter sized mosquitoes and rampant poison ivy.

And, with the exception of one miraculous summer, really, really bad food.

A lot of the things that are important to me now grew out of those weeks, surrounded by open minded women and all the words to the music, which my mom referred to as weird hippy stuff, that I still love.

We took care of our environment the best we could. We learned how the plants and animals and people were related and meant to live in harmony. One summer, we swam in a spring with Manatees!

Phoebe was our stand-in Manatee for last night.

Zoom was our campfire.

We had awesome musicians with un-electric guitars singing of a better world.

And, we had me, painting. Frankly, I was terrified. Until we started. And then the camp memories kicked in and I knew where I was and why I was there.

You see, the real artists for last night were a crowd of people writing postcards. Postcards to encourage U.S. Senators to support the For the People Act associated with the legacy of Congressman John Lewis.

And, as I tried to paint John Lewis, and adapt to the time frame, despite the fact that, no matter how important the project, paint still needs to dry, the postcards were stacking up. Postcards for a better, kinder, more just world.

The photo, above, is just a glimpse of my painting, which still has more than a bit to go.

People made of prayer dots, sheltering in the shadow of John Lewis’s care and vision.

I’ll post more when I’m closer to done.

For now, please hear me say that, whoever you are, you’re included in those prayer dot people. And, if you listen closely, you’ll hear lots more of us singing and writing and holding a red thread that connects you and me and all of us.

ps… just in case you want to know more, to sing along or help out, check

What are we learning?

Living with a 165# dog who sees with his heart is a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Luther, as you may have heard, has been expanding his perceived parts of the house lately. I’m delighted. Mostly.

The fact that he and Phoebe spend a lot of time camped on the rubber mat in what serves as our family room can be a navigational challenge, especially on less than optimal orthopedic days, even though I just love having them there.

He’s really good at the door they use to get out back and he knows exactly where his placemat is for the canine fine dining experience. (I’ll spare you the details!)

Last night, though, he went on an adventure. I could hear him wandering and tried our usual strategy in which I call his name and tap on a piece of furniture to give him something to follow.

Somehow, though, we weren’t making much progress.

Finally, I went hunting.

He was all the way down the hall at the door to our room, doing his tap dance thing and wagging his tail.

That was quite the adventure for him!

As it was a couple of hours or so before anyone was likely to go to bed, I called him to come back down the hall with me.

He stayed put, wagging.

Being a huge believer in choice and opportunities to learn, I rubbed his ears and left him to explore.

Not too much later, I heard him making his way back up the hall.

Step. Step. Sniff. Step. Step. Bump wall.

He was working it out!

I added in some voice cues and a bit of chair tapping.

Eventually, he was safely back on the rug, curled up with Phoebe, while The West Wing played on.

As many of you know, I’m convinced that context is a critical factor in making meaning out of things.

Earlier in the day I had chatted with a friend who just had her second vax and was doing quite well.

Before that, I had checked out CNN‘s assertions that having the vax was, indeed, important, followed, before too long, by some conversation about conservative, evangelical pastors loudly taking the other side of the issue.

It occurred to me, after considerable watching and listening and pondering context, that we’re all a lot like Luther in this moment. A world full of things we’ve never experienced before. No real certainty about the path from here to there. Sometimes, even, the sense that we’re feeling our way along on our own.

In some ways, the world is always like that. These days, though, most of us are a lot more aware of not knowing.

Our children may be even harder to teach than my enormous, blind dog.

Here’s where I think we start:

  • It’s okay to feel what we feel.
  • We get to choose what to do with our feelings.
  • Not everybody will feel like we feel.
  • That’s okay.
  • There are lots of things to do with our feelings that don’t hurt us or others. (Art, music, tears… you’ll know.)
  • What we feel now won’t last forever. And, we get to learn from it.
  • When we feel scared or mad or sad, it helps us understand others.

When I think about how brave and wise Luther is, even with all he’s been through, it inspires me. And makes me want to help others.

Which, if we try really hard and listen with our hearts, may turn out to be what we all learn most in this moment. That, and new skills for finding our way.

ps… Spring has sprung in our garden!

pps… There’s still time to get in on the postcard party Tuesday evening! Live music and (me) painting. Just click here for all the info. We need all the Good Trouble we can get and you KNOW you want to help change the world!

What Grandmothers Do!

Last night I did what grandmothers do. I wept in relief at the news coverage of the verdict in the George Floyd case, while praying for all of our children in this world. And I got up every twenty minutes or so to wash my hands and baste the chickens roasting in our oven.

And as I wept and basted I thought of the genealogy work I’ve been doing and the fact that, on Monday night, I had managed to work my way back to 20 generations of direct ancestors on my Gramma Elsie’s side of the family. Back to the 1300’s. People with names!

Back to the time when very few women could read and nobody could vote and there was no CNN for everyone to gather around and find out what was happening.

Luther needed water. Great heroes of the American Civil Rights movement spoke. And one of George Floyd’s brothers said, “We’re gonna sleep, but we’ve still got to work.”

And we do.

I don’t know what that means in your world.

I do know that in mine, it means that we have to admit that something is wrong before we can work to fix it.

Monday, I went to see my doctor. I had an earache and chills and a rash on my arm. I’d been doing my usual home remedy routine, including olive oil with garlic in my ear. I wanted it to get better.

But I wasn’t getting there on my own and I’d about exhausted my DIY options. And, most importantly of all, I couldn’t see in my own ear!

A proud possessor of an otoscope, my doctor had a different perspective. I did, indeed, have an infection. And the rash on my arm, along with the odd chills, were pronounced a vaccine reaction.

Now I have different stuff to put in my ear and on my arm. Stuff that came with more information and perspective.

[Time out for a public service message about vaccines… I have strange body chemistry and react to all kinds of things. Frankly, I was surprised I didn’t react to the first shot. PLEASE don’t let the fact that this has been a bit more challenging for me keep you from having a vaccine if at all possible for you. For the vast majority of us, and for all those around us, the risks of not having the vaccine are much greater than the risks of having it.]

Now, back to our story…

As the chickens roasted on, and I cried through CNN, I was hugely proud of and grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris.

My heart believes that the verdict in this case was what it needed to be for for the memory of George Floyd and for his family. My head knows that our work is far from done.

Kamala Harris said, “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”

And Joe Biden assured George Floyd’s daughter that “Daddy changed the world,” calling for a legacy of peace, not violence, in the name of “justice.”

I suspect we’re still going to be working on these issues throughout my life. It won’t be easy.

Here’s one thing I do know. It’s time to teach our children different than so many of us were taught. Not by lecturing, but by modeling. And time to hold not only hope, but accountability.

I’m not the only one with kids growing up in this world!

ps… that’s Tree Woman, watching over my shoulder while I get set up for week 2 of Soul Expression Breakthrough. email me for info on a new group starting soon, or for the Premium option if you’d prefer to work individually with me

pps… long awaited hair cut soon! Fully vaccinated salon! (I’m still on it, Mr. President!)

The Sentence I Never Guessed I’d Write…

I dreamed, this morning, about John Lewis.

Yep. That John Lewis.

And music. And cameras. And paint. And a big, blank canvas.

And people – people I don’t know yet – everywhere. Watching. Me.

It’s not exactly as unexpected as it sounds. You see, yesterday I said YES!

Yes to a new friend.

And yes to painting, live, in an event known as Zocalo Zoom, which I’m only just learning about.

Here’s the short version… Musicians, activists, and me. Virtually gathered for some fun and community and postcard writing.

Yes, the political kind. And not just to our own Senators but to a bunch of pivotal Senators who need to hear our voices.

Primarily, at the moment, on a bill about fixing the filibuster so that the Senate can vote on voting rights. Civil rights. Human rights. Rights the late Rep. John Lewis spent his life on.

My job is to be the artist. I have a plan. Thankfully! But one of the things the plan depends on is me, painting John Lewis’s very recognizable face.

Live. Fast.

And doing it while painting the rest of the canvas, too. Layers to dry. Lot’s of dots to make. Background. Glazing.

Did I mention the dots?

And, you can join in, too!

Here’s all the information.

Phoebe and Luther, the resident Studio Angels, have already signed up and they’re really hoping you will, too!

So is Bella Mama!

And, just in case you might be wondering what Bella Mama, who was once so purple that Bill called her Elvira, is doing in this conversation…

She told me how to do it!

For this moment, some more layers for my Psalms painting. Quite possibly about courage!

And the contest entry to finish.

And, just in case you’re wondering, Why?… that’s easy. I have two granddaughters growing up in this world.

ps… the painting at the top is a Psalm of Creation in progress!

I want a ring!

Nope. Probably not what you’re thinking, though I’m so hoping you’ll stick around to find out!

Yesterday, Bill and I had our second Covid vaccinations. It was quite the adventure!

We went to a different vax site than the first round. Much closer, mileage wise, than before. The annoying woman in Bill’s phone who was navigating neglected to mention some type of major glitch with I-85 in Atlanta and, yes, to quote my West Wing buddies, that’s a road which generally gets used a lot.

We got there, though, and followed the big signs all over an abandoned shopping mall for where to park and how long to stay in the car. (It was 80 degrees yesterday!) Then, once we were inside, we followed green arrows on the floor and the vague directions of yellow-vested helpers until I began to hope we’d wind up in Oz, where I’m pretty sure a vaccine is not needed.

No biggie on the actual injection front. Just a gentle warning from the kind nurse that “some people were having more symptoms than with the first dose.”

We had been warned by my sister and son that this might well be the case.

So, what, you are probably wondering, does any of this have to do with a ring?

Well, this is a Great Grampie story!

First you need to know that we moved a whole lot when I was a kid.

It all began in the sixth house we lived in before I got to first grade. Early 1960’s. Split level “modern” house with an actual farmer in the backyard.

My sister, who was 2 or 3 houses less along, had trouble with her one year old molars. According to the pediadontist, they had no enamel and were in great danger of decaying and causing all her other teeth to move around.

So, the adventure of the stainless steel crowns. My dad and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room which wasn’t so bad for me because they had good toys.

They also gave every patient (and occasionally their sisters) a plastic bejeweled ring in an enlightened effort not to pass out lollypops.

Fast forward a bit and my dad was dealing with the need to have his wisdom teeth removed. Sadly, the pediadontist was a bit out of his league and a referral was made.

This time, Mom and my sister and I held vigil in the waiting room and listened to all the directions about sedation and soft foods for when he was finished.

After what seemed like forever, a nurse appeared with my dad in a wheelchair, face twice the usual size, yelling, “I want a ring!”

It’s been a family joke for ages. One that came vividly to mind this morning when some clueless but well-meaning soul woke me with a lawnmower. I was achy and a bit dizzy and the first thing that came to my mind was, indeed, “I want a ring!”

It’s entirely possible that Bill wants one even more than I do at the moment.

Now, I can almost hear you wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, my answer is the same as it was last time.

President Biden asked me to.

And, after leading my wondrous new group of Soul Expression Breakthrough sisters before we set off in search of the vax place, there’s another answer as well.

I’m telling you this because, as nutty-crunchy a consumer of health care as I am, I went and had the vaccine for my girls.

So I can hug them, for sure. But also so that we’ll learn about this whole pandemic thing and get enough in front of it that those we love won’t be counting empty chairs around holiday tables.

So they can feel safe in school. (And, yes, that one has other factors to work on, but this is what I can do today.)

And because I’m hoping that somebody, somewhere will read this story and realize that they, too, have some really big reasons for getting vaccinated. In the meantime, more tea and, probably, a nap.

Blessings for you and yours!

And thanks that there is extra soup in our fridge! This is definitely a soup sort of adventure!

Oh, Holy Wow!

You know how sometimes things are so amazing that just trying to tell someone about them doesn’t do them justice?

Kind of like the difference between a really nice picture of an olive tree in Tuscany and actually being there and smelling the air and feeling the ancient bark?

Well, this is one of those times.

Yesterday I was watching paint videos. At least that’s what I thought I was doing. Instead, I got something very different.

But first a quick trip in the way-back machine…

It was last summer and the wild fires were raging in California, along with power outages and evacuations.

My friends and teachers, Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Jonathan McCloud, were up to their eyebrows in evacuations. And there was a paint journey in progress. Adaptability was in order.

Shiloh was inspired to share a video for Moon 6 of the Psalms of Creation adventure, also known as Red Madonna.

I, a disbeliever in being behind, saw the video for the first time, yesterday, and all I can say is that the time was perfect and I am changed.

With thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can actually share the experience with you, instead of trying to tell you about it, which would probably involve more tears.

I have, of course, no notion of what it will say to you. It might push some buttons. If so, I hope you’ll consider hanging with the journey to see how it all comes out.

I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but it matters. And, as I write those words, I imagine Mama Cloud nodding.

So, with love and huge hope…

ps… For those of you beginning Soul Expression Breakthrough with me on Tuesday, I’m so hoping you’ll watch this before we start. If you’re interested, but not signed up, let me know. There’s a new group starting soon!

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! )

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!

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