Take a deep breath, please…

Pause… and just let it go. I mean, really, let it go. All the way.

Like exhale even longer than you inhaled!

Then, just keep breathing, consciously, while you read, please!

You see, I need a bit of a break in this moment and I suspect I’m not the only one.

So, for this day, I’m choosing to focus on precious little things that matter to me and mine.

(Which is also a lot like focusing on my Big Why, but somehow less intimidating!)

One of those things is Key Lime Pie. (Surrounded, in the photo wrestled out of the the Way-back Machine, by two of the BIG things!)

You see, we’re all hanging out for Thanksgiving and, in our family, that involves Key Lime pie!

This year it also involves planning ahead. And mailing a bit of the secret ingredient!

Which involves – well – the recipe!

And you, if you’re new around here, may not have the recipe, which would be sad because it’s easy and REALLY delicious. So, from my heart (and my holiday cookbook) to yours:

Authentic Key Lime Pie with a Gluten-Free Variation

This is the real deal – yellow colored – Key Lime Pie. Better yet, with the Oatmeal Pie Crust shell, it’s gluten-free! And Kenzie loves it! This is the recipe right off the Nellie & Joe’s bottle of Key Lime juice. You can order it from Amazon or try Whole Foods or Publix depending on where you are. Did you know that the pie has sweetened condensed milk in it because the recipe was developed before Key West had dependable milk delivery or refrigeration? Really!

MAKES: One 9 inch pie, about 8 servings

Equipment Note: You can use a food processorhand or stand mixer to do this, but a wire whisk will do. A mixing advantage is handy if you opt for homemade whipped cream. I often use an Eco-foil disposable pie tin with the domed plastic crust when I make this. 

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

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

In a suitable mixing bowl, combine and mix well:

            One 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

            3 good egg yolks. (Reserve whites for another use.)

Add and blend until smooth:

                        ½ c. Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice

Pour filling into:

                        One 9 inch prepared Graham Cracker pie shell*

Bake for 15 min. Remove from oven and place on rack. Allow to sit 10 min. before refrigerating.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Optional: Add to mixing bowl, preferably metal:

                      1 pint organic, heavy whipping cream

                        1 Tbsp. 10x powdered sugar, if desired. 

Whip cream rapidly by hand or with mixer, until soft peaks form.

If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream. 

*Fabulous Gluten-free Oatmeal Pie Crust with Vegan Variation

Equipment Note: food processor or Vitamix-type blender is used for this recipe.

Depending on how high your pie will get when finished, allowing for whipped cream or meringue, you may want to purchase an Eco-foil pie pan with a plastic cover. 

I found this on an old, yellowed index card, in my mom’s handwriting, when I went through her recipes. I don’t remember her ever making it. What a gift for Bill & Taylor who avoid gluten! See how many ways you can find to use this like you would use a graham cracker crust, but better!

Into the bowl of your food processor or carafe of your blender, place:

            1 c. gluten-free rolled oats

            ½ c. brown sugar

            ½ c. flaked or shredded coconut

Pulse until ingredients resemble a fairly fine meal. Add:

            1/3 c. melted butter 

Continue to pulse until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Cover with plastic wrap or lid to pan. Chill.

Variation – Vegan

Replace butter with 1/3 c. melted coconut oil


ps… as I’m proofreading this message, Peter, Paul, & Mary are singing Puff the Magic Dragon and I want THEM and their hope in this moment of present tense!

pps… if help on your path to making a difference sounds hopeful, let’s talk! 45 min. My gift to you. And now is a really good time to check this out because there’s a holiday offer for sessions coming soon!

ppps… whether you’ve voted already or you’re about to, the Legendary Husband has you covered! (With light!)

My Mythical Aunt Charlotte!

We still lived in St. Louis when I met Charlotte and her web. (Translation… somewhere between what should have been Kindergarten, if there’d been one, and 3rd grade.)

My Mom must have read the book aloud to my sister and me. We did a lot of that!

And, of course, I cried when Wilbur died, despite all Charlotte’s inspired weaving.

Some pig! is, of course, my favorite message. And I remember wondering what it would be like to have somebody say something that enthusiastic about me.

A couple of years ago, more contemporary portraits of Charlotte began appearing in my paintings because (duh!) I was making new steps into the land of sharing what I knew. What I believed.

That’s Charlotte, in the top corner of my Medicine Basket painting!

And, just recently, I’ve been thinking about quilting. The scrappy kind where bits of this and glimpses of that make things that weren’t, before.

Weaving is another way to think about it.

Tiny threads coming together to make things we can see and touch, grown out of learning and experimenting with ancient ways in our times.

There’s been a lot of quilting and weaving going on inside me lately.

Tiny bits of this or that from long ago which didn’t seem like much until they bumped into new bits in this moment.

And some of that newness is beginning to take form in the world around me.

Conversations with a couple of clients this week have been transformed into new insights in the land they’re learning to call Filters.

And, those conversations and insights have also transformed me.

So much so, that I am intentionally taking new steps into the big world with the things that are being woven together in and around me.

One of those things has to do with weddings. As in helping other people hoping to get married in this world, now. There’s more of this to come, but, if you can’t stand the suspense – or know someone who could use some help – click VeryLargeHope.com (And then come back here!)

Another of those things has to do with what I imagined as the book hatching inside me.

It’s been there for a while, though it has recently reached the hopping up & down/keeping me awake stage.

And, that book-in-utero has decided that it actually wants to be a lot like a Red Thread Circle with pages and a cover. (This is exciting, indeed!)

Which kind of brings us back to the whole Filter thing. It’s been a helpful model in my world for years, thanks to a guy named Bill Harris who first introduced me to it.

It has also changed over time, as models have been known to do.

Then, suddenly, that model claimed its place in my Medicine Basket as the winner of the if I only had one tool prize.

So, if you’ve pondered Filters with me before – or if you haven’t yet – let’s do this thing! Here’s how to sign up:

I’m ready!

Charlotte says it’s going to take a lot of us, along the thread, to stay on the road!

For now, though, it’s time to be brave!

Brave enough to claim something we long for. That place where our deep passion and the world’s deep hunger meet (F. Buechner). A thing? An action? A journey? An if only I…

You’re right! It isn’t easy.

It IS a whole lot better than letting fear, or the way we’ve always done it, hold you back. Keep you from dreaming.

And you don’t have to do it alone! Just scroll back up a little bit and click the big “I’m ready!” link. I’ve been there before and I’m glad to go along with you.

ps… in case you might long for a few new tools along the way… from t-shirts to mugs to major inspiration for your walls, come wander through FierceArtWithHeart! The elves have been busy and would be thrilled to help you pack your Medicine Basket!

Hard times…

It’s soundtrack time again.

This morning, I turned on music to paint by but these words insisted on appearing, first!

You know the song!

We’ve all had Hard Times, I suppose.

And, as Joan Baez said, in her 75th birthday concert, may they come again no more...

It’s a beautiful song. And, if it’s actually going to come to life, it needs intention! It needs action.

As I typed, Joan had another song to sing… Swing Low, Sweet Chariot… “This song has a lot of stories that go with it,” said Joan. Like the one where she sang it at Woodstock. And the time she sang it for Dr. King!

Just ponder, for a moment, the context implications! And feel free to hum if you know it!

And wrap your head, if you would, around this wild question…

What if VOICE is a power-full path through, and even out of, hard times!

I has been for me!

It began as I was leaving an early, abusive marriage… learning that it was okay to need help & say so. To get on the path to a better life, for me and for my tiny son.

And it grew as I realized that, You don’t get paid to think! wasn’t just about surgeons & nurses… it was much deeper. Men & women. Powerful & not. Rich & not. And I left, again.

And learned other ways to speak…

Amazingly, to preach. And write. Not for power, but for truth, as near as I can understand it.

And also to guide. My piece of the Red Thread. With voice as the first tool in my Medicine Basket!

For this moment, though, back to the notion of context!

NOW is a time for speaking out. For some of us… walking out… of violence and oppression and power over, rather than power for.

It’s “ironic” that it’s gospel and folk music which feels so needed just now. Imagine… Love, hope, determination, for all the folks!

Roll around in the music if you can… it is the timeless, urgent message for this moment!

Then, go vote, if you haven’t.

And use your voice. Talk with your family and friends about why this matters… and what happens when we let ourselves be coerced into thinking that it doesn’t! Or that we don’t!

It might be scary… and we’re counting on you! Wear a t-shirt. Put up a sign. Make a donation. Do what you can, even though you can’t do it all. And be okay with staying safe!

You matter!

These words, by the way, are me following my own inner direction and voice.

Showing up with a soup pot, if you will… a container for transformation.

My job is to offer the space and the energy… the tools and the recipes… for magic longing to happen.

Your job is to bring where you’ve been, and what you hope for, and even the tiniest sprinkle of willingness to grow. To receive more.

Still wavering??? Here’s the link for the whole concert. Watch. Listen. Feel. (If you’re like me, you’ll need tissues!) And, by all means, sing along! It will help you process the message with all of your being!

Then, go and do as you are led by all that is holy within you!

ps.. want to explore the path with someone who’s been there before? The soup pot is polished and I’ve made room in my coaching calendar for a few new individual clients! Let’s talk… 45 minutes. My gift to you. Just CLICK HERE and the calendar elves will set you up! (A cuppa and a scrap of Red Thread would be handy!)

pps… need a fabulous t-shirt to put on? The Legendary Husband’s got you covered! FierceArtWithHeart.

Time for the Sorting Hat, again!

Yep! The Legendary Husband and I voted today. Live and in person. (With masks!)

It was quite the adventure.

My knee was not amused. AND my heart was lifted.

Everybody being polite. Thanking poll workers. Cheering first time voters.

Granted, where we voted, there’s a pretty good chance that most of us agreed on most of the choices.

Still, it felt like people had turned out in person, knowing that their votes mattered. Possibly more than ever before.

Possibly because we live in a state where some of the folks don’t believe that all of the folks should be able to vote!

Frankly, though, the only thing I know to do is to hold hope. (Along with tending quite the flock of opinionated signs in the front garden!)

In my estimation, the time for being quiet has passed.

This is the time for us to use our voices. To claim what we believe. To make our own choices.

And, more importantly, to model all those leaps of faith for our Littles.

To refuse to let anyone shame us or blame us into denying our truths, as long as we extend the same freedom to others of good faith.

So, Good Trouble button at the ready, I lived this day as a human being, fully in possession of the civil rights of Americans. And ready to work with all my heart to get back those rights wrongly denied to half of us, so recently.

If that takes Making Waves, so be it.

Be part of the storm!

Our Inner Critics, who have been telling us for years to smile and be polite and not talk about things that make others uncomfortable, love us and want us to be safe.

Sometimes, though, those Inner Critics need a perspective update on what safe really means!

The alternative is happening now… in the Ukraine. And in Iran, where a female rock climber may be facing arrest for competing without covering her hair. And… Well, you fill in the blanks!

Here’s the bottom line for me… the way my hat sorts… You don’t get to act – or believe yourself to be – above the law, if you want a job helping to make the laws!

Let’s be part of the miracle! Our Littles are counting on us!

And, for #wip Wednesday… the late leader of the Good Trouble band… Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, 5th.

May we also be works-in-progress!

ps… want to make things better, your way? To use your SuperPowers for good? Not sure how to move forward? Let’s talk!

pps…need a portrait of John Lewis? This one is longing to make more trouble and ready to be finished for your context! Other commissioned paintings considered. email me! sueboardman@gmail.com

The storage unit between our ears!

For a while now, I’ve been hanging out in the magical land of Sam Bennet called Get It Done! And I have, as I hoped, gotten a boatload of it done.

I’ve also encountered lots of other pilgrims on the path!

People from other places. People with other gifts and dreams. People wise enough to know that learning some new things – or ways of being – just might be helpful in getting out of some all too familiar hamster wheels of doing.

Here’s a thing I noticed…

Whatever we showed up to get done, we seem to have something in common.


Specifically, Stuck Stuff!

Some of it looks a lot like the kind of old stuff which hides in cardboard boxes and doesn’t pay rent in the spaces we call home. Or garage. Or Pod.

Some of it looks like paper. Stacks and stacks of it.

Some of looks like – heresy alert! – books! Or even shoes!

Well, you get it.

Sorting and pitching… packing and toting… donating, and even garage sales, seem to be on many of our lists.

And, yes, I’ve gotten lots of that done.

Even better, though, is the sorting that’s gone in my head. You know… the virtual box kind. And, if you’ve been reading along for a bit, you may recall that I have a thing for something I call Unsticking Stuck Stuff!

It seems this is something almost all of us – however grudgingly – admit we could use more of. And something almost all of us struggle with.

And I have some new ideas!

Well… maybe not so much new ideas as new possibilities, woven with vision and care, out of old, dusty stuff we inherited without even realizing it!

Amazingly, that kind of weaving seems to become dreams. And words. And images. And all of those, together, can become new Realities.

I’m not making this up!

In fact, it happened in my world this very week!

And a whole lot of my dreams are clearer. And sprouting actual paths. And concrete action.

Oh, there’s more to do!

I will give you a hint, though.


(And who gets to choose them!)


Great! Because, as my old friend, Steve Glenn, used to say… that’s our most powerfull state for learning!

Curious enough to learn more???

Click HERE!

My gift to you… 45 minutes… Concrete HOPE. Because that’s what this Grandmother is in charge of! (A cuppa and a scrap of red thread would be handy.)

ps… take a minute to thank some of your greatest teachers along the way and notice what they had in common! I’m sure thanking mine!!!

pps… the painting is last summer’s Legend… almost finished and checking out the real estate with the rest of the tribe! What do you see???

Out of chaos…

Or, an unexpected ah-hah!

I’m not a huge fan of random!

I’m fine with sudden inspiration. And paintings that don’t follow the plan.

It’s things like not knowing if my knee will do what I pay it for when I want to stand up that are harder for me to deal with. Things that leave me feeling choice-less.

I’m not sure how things feel where you are, but the whole election cycle drama feels like the less-fun kind of random to me.

Dozens and dozens of emails a day. Lots of them trying to scare me into doing more than I can.

And I AM doing what I can!

All of which means getting okay with doing what I can – what is real and true and important according to my understanding – and declining to be guilt-tripped about the rest.

Which, if you’re anything like me, may not be what you learned, growing up! Thus, coping strategies are in order!

Between the knee and the actual politics and a whole bunch of stuff hatching in my head, I’ve spent perhaps even a bit more time than usual hanging out with the gang from The West Wing. (Go ahead and laugh… I can take it!)

In fact, I’ve made it all the way back to Season 3, episode 1… again! (Okay… I may have skipped a few!) And, yes, I’m looking for reminders that hope wins, eventually.

To review… high school kids on a field trip, stuck in the White House during a Secret Service lock-down. The topic of the conversation was terrorism. Today, the Emmy nomination goes to Deputy Communications Director, Sam Seaborn.

What strikes me most about terrorism is its 100% failure rate.

Yep! And Sam went on…

Not only do terrorists always fail at what they’re after… they pretty much always succeed at strengthening what they’re against.

And you, if you’ve been here before, are already pretty sure who the terrorists might be in my version of this story. The ones with massive entitlement issues! And they feel really, really loud.

I’ve decided, though, that I am going to be strengthened by all the attempts to threaten our nation and take away our rights. (You could decide to be strengthened, too!)

And, just this week, I noticed an inspired plan taking shape inside me. I’m pretty sure it’s happening because I’ve blown the dust out of some of my own filters and let some more light in!

More details on the new plan coming soon. (And, yes, there’s art to make and a couple of meetings to have, still… but the inner magic has happened!)

For now… a special offer. Come play Filters in Zoom land with me. You’ll need 90 minutes, a willingness to have a new experience, some paper and markers, and the best $111 you’ll ever spend.

Click HERE!

The elves will send you a calendar link after you’ve registered. (Well, it might be me sending the calendar link… the elves need a bit more inservice training… so a tiny bit of patience would be great!)

This, dear hearts, is how we keep the thems (inner and outer!) who would keep us small, from winning!

And, just in case you’ve played Filters a while back, my Muse yelled plot-twist recently and it’s an even better adventure now!

ps… there’s some good news on the knee front today! The ortho guy is talking exercise instead of adventures involving scalpels and such! Physical Therapy, tomorrow!

pps… ready to go public with your determination? The Legendary Husband’s timely t-shirt has you covered! So hoping you’ll check it out! (Just this week, 10% of the profits go to blue candidates!)

Unexpected glimpses of the Divine Feminine in action!

Friday was an interesting sort of day.

First, a bit of a triumph in the land of t-shirt creation. The mechanical elves were not in a helpful mood, but, finally, the goal was achieved. Just in time, it would seem, if you’ve been watching the news!

Then, my currently problematic kneecap decided to get stuck in a sub-optimal location. This led to a bit of drama involving the knee brace & walking stick & big dogs whimpering in concern .

A bit of lunch and some joint & muscle oil later, things began to look up. It was time to hang out with Annie!

I mean, who could turn down a live (Zoom) Q & A with Anne Lamott??? Not me… even with the crabby knee!

The crowd was filled with writers. Those who claim the label and those still reaching for it. An Intentional Creativity® Sister. And a woman who looked a lot like an old friend. Annie was up for it. We chatted a lot about what to write. And how. And, even, why.

Here are a few of my favorite bits, drawn heavily from her Bird by Bird which lives on my ancient, actual bookshelf, beside Buechner and Brueggemann, and bits of C.S. Lewis.

(What follows are not exact quotes from the book. They’re more Annie musing and me scribbling on the obligatory index card.)

Where to start??? Shitty first drafts!

How to write every day? Bribes & threats! (Gentle ones!)

How do you decide what to leave out? Deletion is a huge part of creativity!

How do you know you’re a writer? As soon as you stop not writing… you’re a writer!

I was, except for my knee, like a very happy Grammy after a platter full of stone crab claws as our time together came to a close and Annie went off to the next right thing… which I suspect had something to do with the puppy!

My next right thing was skipping a recorded meeting in favor of a knee-up, eyes closed event. This required background noise and I opted for music.

Joan Baez. In this case, a recording of a live concert held in Cesarea Israel in 1979.

And, yes, it’s time for the context brackets to appear!

Most of the songs were ones I had loved for years. Blowin’ in the Wind. Kumbaya. Dona Dona Dona. One about Jesus. Well, you get the drift. Some of them were unfamiliar.

Notably, one sung in Hebrew and another in Arabic. (Joan is a language genius!)

In Israel. In 1979.

And then the YouTube elves got busy and started sending random songs from Joan, and I hummed along, deeply engaged in untangling a new stash of red yarn… a Red Thread Guide graduation gift!

There came, as sometimes happens, a surprise! With God on Our Side.

This one was a bit of a challenge for me. The punchline was the assertion that God is on everyone’s side.

True confession time.

I set aside my yarn long enough to grab another index card and the first thing I wrote down was that God is on the side of everyone who believes God is on everyone’s side.

That was tempting, in this moment, but not quite enough. A bit of conversation with the Legendary Husband later, and some more literal and figurative unwinding and I was ready to edit my index card.

God is on everyone’s side… and weeps for those who can’t accept that.

And somewhere inside me, as I hung out with Annie and Joan in the context of this moment – and those moments gone by – I could have sworn that I was surrounded by glimpses of the Divine Feminine at work, even now.

Which caused me to wonder what it is that wants to be born in you? Or set free???

ps… looking for a writers’ retreat? Check out Heal & Create!

pps… so, given all the “context” issues of the moment, here’s a first glimpse at the Legendary Husband’s timely t-shirt! So hoping you’ll check it out!

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