So many calendars…

Once upon a time, a long time ago, this time of year seemed easier.

A new velvet dress for Christmas pictures. Made by Mom. I had to argue for the one I remember best. Given the choice of red or green, I chose purple… and I loved it!

Left-over Christmas cookies. A new Barbie doll. And a book!

A week or so before school started again.

In my family, Christmas was the big deal. Nobody paid much attention to New Years Eve except for the football fans.

Nobody I knew noticed – or mentioned – the Solstice. Or Epiphany. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa.

There was no Google Calendar to fill and color code with all the things wrestling for space in the New Year.

This year feels different.

Not simply because of all the What?

It feels different because of the Why?

(Which is no particular surprise if you’ve been reading along for a while!)

It’s clearer, though, just now.

Not simply because there’s so much more getting in, though there is.

It’s clearer because one of my filters has gotten a whole lot clearer.

Or, more specifically, a belief which acts as a filter.

You probably know that I have a thing for hope.

The surprise – for me – is how much that thing for hope has been growing in the last few weeks.

In fact, I woke up this morning with a bit of pre-dawn note taking on the inside of my left hand.

Not invisible ink, this time, but red. (Like red thread.)

Hope… of hope!

Which feels a whole lot like where I am called to live.

Hope, admittedly, for power and internet. (Which is blessedly back on!) And hope for so much more.

Justice. The planet. Peace. Sanity. Love.

I haven’t just hatched all this up myself. In fact, it’s connected to my current bed-time reading!

I’m not going to tell the whole story here. I so hope you’ll read the book, yourself! And, I suspect it will mean different things in your spirit if you do.

In fact, I suspect it was meant to!

The big ah-hah! for me came in three little words, which feel both familiar from my distant past and huge for my future…

Purpose and perseverance.

My purpose is, clearly, hope. For all of us.

My calendar is filling, already, with perseverance.

And behind all this noticing and wondering is the realization that we are able to choose.

We just need to claim that truth.

It won’t solve all the challenges. It will show us the next steps. The next right things, if you will.

And, as it happens, my medicine basket is full of new ways to make those next steps!

Intrigued??? Looking for a bit of help in the purpose & perseverance department? Let’s talk! My multi-holy-day gift to you. Just CLICK HERE and the calendar elves will hook you up!

For now, it’s time for feeding the big beasties. And fluffing the studio a bit. Matrica is Friday, and there’s still time for you to join, too!!!

Then, tonight, I’m attending a dear cousin’s (virtual) wedding… in Hawaii!

ps… need a book? Here are two! One I wrote: Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope and one that has me writing on my hand in the wee, small hours: The Boleyn Heresy, by Kathleen McGowan.

What will we do with the stories?

It’s about one o’clock on Christmas afternoon… at least in Georgia. And, yes, it’s cold!

We’re juggling internet outages and the magic of making the laptop work with a cell phone beside it.

Don’t ask me! I don’t understand any of this… except for the part about our chilly house being way better than having no shelter!

We had planned on a rather minimalist holiday in terms of decorations and fa-la-la-la-la. (Luther doesn’t really understand the Christmas tree, anyway, and he’s having navigational difficulties.)

One of the rather odd traditions around here is watching the movie 1776. And, yes, I know all the words to all the songs… which I first learned in 8th grade English class! The Legendary Husband actually knows most of them, too. (Which, between the two of us, kind of makes the dogs wish they lived somewhere else!)

We did, indeed, watch – and sing – last night.

And, while it’s not exactly Oh Holy Night, it did get me thinking about the stories we all learned along the way, and how those stories turn into beliefs.

[Note: there are portions of 1776 which have taken on whole new associations for me in this season of reports from the January 6 committee.]

There are more stories in my head, as well, for I am reading the actual hardcover edition of Kathleen McGowan’s new book, The Boleyn Heresy, which is more than a bit of a miracle of its own!

Just this morning, I read this:

But as surely as we must remember the reality of death, we are also not to dwell on it. We must also remember to celebrate life (p.73)

So all this is wandering through my consciousness while my beloved friends from Hungary remind me of the story many, many of us claim on this day.

Context really is a huge thing!

And, for me, context leads – as it so often does – to new questions. Here’s mine for this moment:

What will we do with the stories we claim?

If you sit with it for a bit, you’ll probably begin to see the challenges.

The first one is the radical notion that we get to choose! (Which may not be the way you were raised…)

The next one is that much depends on which we we mean!

My deep inner response isn’t easy because I have to admit that this line of pondering works best when taken up by people of good will. Good intention, if you will. And, in this moment, there are those among us who are not people of good will. At least not yet.

And, in those last four words, I’m claiming hope.

The kind of hope that just might let us keep on telling the stories we claim. The stories of good news. Each in our own way. Because that’s how change happens.

The kind of hope that just might let us live what we find holy!

Grace… Light… Hope…

May it be so for you and yours, from me and mine. And may we, you and I, shine in the darkness.

ps… just in case you’re looking for new ways to live some of your stories, I have a suggestion! Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s new livestream Intentional Creativity® class, Matrica happens on Friday, Dec. 30. (There will be a recording, too!) No experience required. We’ve got this! Check it out – soon! – because you may want a few supplies. Guests for the holidays? Make it a party! You only need one ticket per household!!!

Yep! I am still learning…

Frankly, despite the small mountain of diplomas in the basement, there are more things to learn!

Calendar issues are big on my list these days.

Not the bank calendar sorts of things. Monday holidays and what-not.

Not even the liturgical year sorts of things. (Which, once upon a time, felt new and strange to me, too!)

For this moment, I’m thinking Solstice. Specifically, in this hemisphere, the winter one which is happening today.

It feels like kind of a perspective thing.

Shortest day???

Longest night???

Hard to say. Intuitively, I kind of want to go with Most Mystery! (But I’m no expert, yet.)

Here’s what I do believe…

  • Humans mark time. And have for a whole lot longer than we’ve carried calendar apps in our pockets.
  • Some things I didn’t learn in nursing school or seminary could be helpful, still!
  • Inward time is a necessary balance to outward time.
  • I might not be the only one who needs some re-charging.

The reason I think we need re-charging is that there is still more living to do!

And the world needs more of us who make space for noticing and wondering.

For awe, even!

And this feels like a good night for that! (Even if it happens to be cold and wet where you are!)

In case you’re wondering, yes… the paintings are whispering, again!

The one at the top is officially known as Winged Horses! (aka…The Legendary Husband’s Painting, which is to say that it’s Bill’s favorite. And, yes, it has a legend!)

Once upon a time, two writers were talking together about the books they were working on.

One of them asked the other about his reference to winged horses.

The rather surprising answer went something like this: Jesus didn’t come to make people look nice and behave themselves.

Jesus came to make whole new creatures where once there were broken people.

This, many people believe, was a reference to the image in the biblical book, Revelation, of winged horses, like the mythical Pegasus.

Not well-trained regular horses, but whole new creatures!

Perhaps you are wondering how I know such a story…

Well, deep in the midst of my Color of Woman Talisman journey, I had a dream about winged horses and, when I looked up the symbolism, this story is what I learned.

An old story which is “both true and might actually have happened.”

And the legendary writers?

C.S. Lewis speaking with J.R.R. Tolkien. Really!

Now, I’m not suggesting that Tolkien and Lewis were chatting about the Solstice, all those years ago.

Or that the Solstice is about Jesus.

I am suggesting that it might well take whole new people, changed by Love, to get the world to a better place!

So, I’ll be spending some time, in these next few weeks reflecting, intentionally, on the question of what the world needs now, and how I can help!

In fact, I have a helper!

And, yes, her name is What the World Needs Now!

ps… just in case you’re on board with What the World Needs Now! I have a Solstice offer… The original canvas is available for adoption at the very special price of $555!!! I’ll gladly add the dedication of your choice to the back of the canvas. Act fast… this offer is only good through Christmas Day! (And there’s only one!)

pps… it’s not just your imagination! Some experts say that the 555 angel number suggests that significant change is imminent. She’ll help!

ppps… tonight I listened to Ukrainian President Zelensky address a joint session of the US Congress. It is, on this long night, going to take a whole lot of people changed by Love to bring light and peace. May we actually be them!

Happy Holy-days!

At our house it’s the fourth Sunday in Advent. And time for some sweeping in the stable.

Translation: the creche figures which followed me home from Hungary nearly 34 years ago are beginning to take their places.

Next door, our neighbors are celebrating the first night of Hanukkah.

It’s also the day after my Feminine Frequency Festival live video debut!

I doubt seriously that there’s an Emmy in it for me AND I lived through it and learned a lot.

A whole bunch of IT was laid down in that half an hour! Which means more light in this world, now, and that totally works for me!

My dear friend and Intentional Creativity® sister, Natalie Moyes, was hugely helpful!

So, for service above & beyond… The Recipe!

If you missed the presentation, it’s all recorded and you can go check it out.

Hint… IT, in this case, refers to beliefs which are not empowering for you!

Even if you don’t make it to Festival Land, you can make cookies. Even if they’re not exactly the way WE always did it, they’re really good!!! (And a great addition to your medicine basket!)

Pecan Crunch Cookies

These are the mythical cookies that made my dad propose to my mom when he went home from college with her for Christmas break. When they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, he said it had been worth it for all the cookies! Granny made round and crescent moon shaped cookies.

The round ones are easier to roll and bake better without breaking. (I suspect Granny liked the moon ones so she could eat all the crumbs.) These are basically just enough dough to hold the pecans together! Especially if you’re baking with kids, I’d go with the balls.

Equipment Note: This dough gets pretty stiff. Whatever mechanical advantages you want or have will be helpful, though you’ll have to finish mixing by hand.

Ingredient Note: Unless you just like cracking pecans and picking them, and have about a week free, don’t be a shero on this one. Get good, current crop pecans, papershells in the South, cracked by somebody with a porch and a rocking chair. Those statues that look like scary toy soldiers are not the men for this job!

Preheat oven to 250°F. These work well with 2 sheets baking in the oven at once, evenly spaced.

In a bowl for your chosen mixing method, cream:

1 c. room-temp unsalted, organic butter and 6 Tbsp. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (I like 10x which means it’s finer) until mixture is like whipped cream.

Add and mix in well:

2 Tbsp. real, preferably organic, vanilla extract and 1 lb. pecans, chopped to a med. size.

1 large pinch sea salt.

Stir in gradually, mixing well:

2 c. organic, sprouted grain (or all-purpose) flour.

Roll into small balls with the palms of your hands, about the size of a quarter or 1 neat mouthful. Press well together but don’t press so hard that they crumble.

Place close together, but not touching, on ungreased cookie sheets. These don’t grow.

Bake very slowly @ 250°F., really just drying them out, for 1 hour. They’ll be only a tiny bit browned. While cookies are still hot, roll in small bowls full of:

More powdered sugar. Roll cookies quickly to cover and set aside on layers of paper towel.

Continue until all cookies are baked.

Store in airtight cans or glass jars between layers of waxed paper. They’ll keep a week to 10 days, less long in humid areas. Gotta eat faster!

ps… the Legendary Husband was also hugely helpful with all the Festival stuff. Plus, he survived my tech-angst and vocabulary challenges! (The badly timed “crash” and my dead keyboard didn’t help much!) This is medal of honor work!!!

pps… huge thanks, as well, to Uncle Walter, and to C.S. Lewis’ friend, Puddleglum, who has been a powerful guide in my journey with the notion of beliefs! Curious??? Here’s the gist of the story from a slightly different Holy-day:

Of Beliefs and Muscles and Old Quaker Sayings…

I had quite the ah-hah! during my last Physical Therapy appointment. A bit of context will be helpful…

Beth Kemper works with a piece of equipment that, at least from the client’s perspective, looks a bit like the sketch I made. It’s called a Red Cord machine.

I am, to say the least, a beginner! Beth, however, is a genius. And, she listens!

So, there I was, exploring our new plan to strengthen some of the muscles involved in the wandering and getting stuck my left knee cap uses to make my life more exciting these days.

It didn’t take long for the learning to begin in earnest!

The plan was to stand with my weight on my right (better) leg, while my left foot was supported in a small hammock-y thing attached to big bungie cords.

Then, I was to move my left leg gently. This, dear friends, is where things fell apart.

There’s a band of muscles that runs up the front of the body, from the arch of each foot, up the leg, on up the abdomen and then up to somewhere in the shoulder/neck vicinity.

All the muscles have different jobs, and names.

Once upon a time, I could spell all those names!

About 30 seconds into the whole stand on right with left in hammock bit, that band of muscles on my right side had a fit.

Everything locked up. And hurt. A lot.

Things started improving as soon as my left foot made it back to the floor and I was, once again, standing on two legs.

And then the light bulb came on! (Go with me, here…)

Despite the reality that my left leg was the one doing the new movement thing, the muscles in my right leg were terrified. Nothing about that adventure felt safe.

Which is to say that nothing about it felt familiar.

Which led my mind directly to what my paintbrushes have helped me learn about my Inner Critic and my Muse!

The simple version of this realization is that, while the Critic and the Muse both love us, the Critic is utterly convinced that new equals scary, which equals bad!

The Muse, on the other hand, is inclined toward, Hmmm… I wonder what might happen next!

All of this realizing happened in an instant.

Blessedly, that inner lightbulb – that question in my head – allowed my terrified muscles to relax!

Beth was relieved, too!

The moral of this story is, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, that muscles aren’t the only things that work this way!

So, tomorrow, I’m headed back for another learning experience in PT Land, with an old Quaker saying written on the inside of my left hand, where I can check it as often as I need to:

In order to learn, we must be willing to be changed.

And, Saturday, I’m going to help some folks just like you lay down some of the beliefs that might be holding you back from what you long for… all the info is just below. And it’s free! And there are re-runs! And gifts! And lots of other fabulous women leading fabulous things!

ps… I’ll be Laying it down… on Saturday, 12/17 at 2pm ET. Here’s all the info on the fabulous Feminine Frequency Festival! Sign up. See all of our classes, workshops, meditations, performances, and more:

pps… you could win a tank top like Daphne’s! Just sign up for Laying it down… and enter your email when you attend, for gifts and a chance at the cool prize! Grandmother Moon will be thrilled!

On this day and in this place…

Today I did something I never dreamed of doing.

At least not consciously.

Something I never really believed was possible.

Well, not for me.

You see, WE don’t do things like that.

Which turns out, I’m reasonably certain, to mean that we don’t remember doing things like that.

I’m warm. And cold. Laughing. And crying.

I’m also glad that I learned, somewhere along the way, that the reactions our bodies have to being anxious and excited are physiologically the same.

It really is a matter of naming.

And, yes, I’m going with excited.

You, perhaps, are curious. And there will no doubt be more information to follow. You know… stories along the path.

Invitations, even.

Because, the one thing I know for sure is that I will be changed.

I already am!

And, in a way I’m just going to have to share!!!

For now, another piece of Red Thread for my wrist.

A candle to switch on… which is handy from the unexpected power outage a bit earlier!

A saint medal or two to polish. (Really!)

Some more eye medicine for Phoebe. Doctor’s orders!

And, a bit of supper before a meeting.

Which is rather a lot like sacred in the midst of this world. Now.

ps… speaking of sacred, check this out! A totally FREE, amazing Festival led by a global group of women, including my teachers, Shiloh Sophia McCloud & Elayne Kalila Doughty, and – well – me! Go here and join the group. A list of all the offerings (like 5 days worth!) will be posted Monday. Elves willing, there will be recordings of everything and LOTS of free gifts! (Including my intro to the one tool in my Medicine Basket I couldn’t do without!)

pps… we’re running short on shipping time for holidays! Get an extra 10% off at check out on items already discounted… original paintings, giclee prints, fab one of a kind hats & bags. Do Santa proud at FierceArtWithHeart!

Intentional Shoes!

I have spent a big chunk of the last 3 years listening to a guy tell a story about his dad.

The guy was the youngest son of 11 or 12 kids.

Each morning his dad would wake him early, saying:

Get up, Son. Get dressed. Put your shoes on.

That was his dad’s way of reminding him that there were important things to get done.

Last night, I listened to that guy tell the same story again. And tears rolled down my cheeks.

Tears of relief.

And, yes, this is a story which is a bit about politics. Georgia politics. And the guy who told the story got re-elected to the United States Senate.

It’s also a story about Intention. Of the Intentional Creativity® sort.

First, though, a bit about me you many not know.

I’m not much of a shoes kind of person. (Which explains why my feet are so often splattered with paint!)

I grew up in the land of bare-foot Florida.

And, when you’ve had knee surgery six times, putting shoes on – and taking them off – begins to be a hassle.

Fortunately, Daphne volunteered to help! Complete with my official Cosmic Cowgirl wannabe boots!

Daphne, by the way, means Victory!

So, here she and I are, with a bit of Bay Laurel essential oil rubbed in the vicinity of our 3rd eyes, ready to be Intentional about the future!

Some calendar adapting is step one.

More time for things I long, deep in my soul, to do. To be. To live.

Less time for oughts. For FOMO things.

And, yes, it takes a bit of un-learning.

Of un-believing.

Which can be a bit scary. But, for me, less scary than not!

Because there IS a lot of work to do in this world where all our beloved Littles are growing up.

So… here’s a question!

What might be different if we modeled believing in OURSELVES, and THEY got to see that???

I have, as you’ve no doubt guessed, some ideas about how we can do just that!

ps… you’re invited! I’m thrilled to be leading a workshop called Laying it down! on Dec. 17 at 2pm. Cowgirl boots optional! It’s free! And there are lots of other amazing events going on, too!!!

pps… the calendar elves have been busy making space for 3 new VIP individual clients! If you have a dream – a mission that matters a lot – it’s time to put your shoes on! 45 min. My gift. A cuppa and a bit of red thread would be handy. Just say it with me… I’m READY!

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