What do you see?

Really! I’m curious…

Some of you will see colors. Probably red and blue, with hints of pink and yellow and purple. Even a spot or two of orange.

Perhaps the feng shui book you read years ago is making suggestions! Things like exciting, uplifting, wisdom, spirituality…

Perhaps you see prayer dots. (Me, too!)

Possibly stars.

Many of you will see Intentional Creativity®. And, some of you will suspect you see the beginning of my Red Madonna Sanctuary painting.

All of those things are true.

And, as is so often the case… other things are true, as well!

On Sunday I began this Sanctuary medicine painting. The beginning marks on the first canvas of a year-long journey to places utterly unknown as I begin.

It looked like this:

On Monday, seven people lost their lives in a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Since then, I have been alternating between staring in disbelief at the news and avoiding it all together.

I cried. I swore. I prayed. I signed petitions online. I cried. I swore. I prayed. I texted my granddaughters, not so much older than the three 9-year olds who did not get home from school two days ago.

I also edited a couple of book chapters, went to some meetings, watched Stephen Colbert, and took care of me.

And, while all those things were going on, I listened.

And then it came.

Stars. The big dipper. And the North Star.

The one that helps us know where we are and how to get where we’re going.

And with the North Star came the big question.

What is my North Star? What do I use to navigate my journey?

I have an answer. Actually, I have several! And they all come together in a place you’ve probably guessed if you’ve been reading along for a while.

I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world!

That is the reality which holds all the other answers together for me.

The reality which gets me out of bed on the hard days.

The reality which compels me to vote. And write. And plant my garden with signs which lean heavily toward inclusion and human rights.

I also have faith. In my version of the Divine… of the Creator who dwells, still, in and among us. Between us, even, in the spaces where our versions of the Divine may be different.

And I have faith that, while lots of days will still suck, walking the path where my faith leads beats the hell out of not walking it.

What is your North Star?

And what helps you follow it?

If you’d like some ideas, some company on your path, I can help! Just ask the calendar elves to find you some time!

For now, I have more dots to make. Dots for humanity. And sanity!

And Sanctuary.

It’s ALL now! (or, Stick With Me – And You!)

When our Dave was in middle school, he started reading Stephen Hawking, about time.

Truth… I didn’t read much of it. (I was planting a church!)

At the time, all that research seemed to have a lot to do with convincing me that his homework couldn’t possibly be late because time didn’t exist!

(If you’ve ever been a nurse, this may seem as hard to wrap your head around as it did to me…)

Oddly, I feel kind of like that in this moment. (Whatever moment means!)

You see, there’s a whole lot of stuff from different decades of me, playing bumper cars in my head, becoming something new.

As we go on, it would help if you’d use your imagination, please…

You are sitting in a chair, looking at a cooperative red leather sofa with quilt fabric strung all over the back of it, trying to figure out how it will all fit together into – you know – a quilt. (The liberated kind!)

I spent a lot of time, back in the day, doing just that. Stare a while. Move a piece and stare some more. Repeat until all of me went ahhhhhhhh…. And, only then, start cutting and sewing!

These days, that tends to happen more with paint.

Yesterday, The Legendary Husband and I took the new piece who christened herself Revelation! off to hang with my friend Barry at the place known as Scan Camp. (Read that, magic I don’t understand which results in extremely high quality images and takes long enough for me to get homesick for the new creation.)

It turns out, though, that she’s only elsewhere geographically!

You see, I’m writing a chapter for a book project which will be known as turningpoint2 and all the things I learned painting Revelation! clamored to be invited into print.

Hence the bumper car bit going on in my head. Or, perhaps more accurately, in my being!

For better or worse, the external stuff keeps going on, too. And I am coping by rationing my news time!

And by hatching ways to share what I learned at my easel with my corner of the world.

Which does, indeed, feel awe-some, in the way that spring time and mountains and new babies do!

Meanwhile, my various layers of consciousness seem to be quilting. Here are a few of the scraps, summoned from beyond…

First, an old Facebook post. Words from one of my favorite teachers, Walter Brueggemann:

There is no final reading of the text. We will always read it again, and it will always take us somewhere else.

Turns out, Uncle Walter was way more right than I realized!

And, kind of obviously – for this moment – a thought from my time at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Brace yourself…

We get to choose our beliefs!

All of which calls for big doses of integration, with thanks to a Facebook person I don’t know:

Along with all the growth and healing, remember to give yourself time for integration, which is a fancy word for “ALLOWING SHIT to SETTLE.” It looks like doing nothing. This nothing is NECESSARY! – Emily McDowell

I can’t wait to hear what comes up for you as you ponder your “quilt” pieces! suesvoice@gmail.com

For this moment, the last words go to Dave’s hero, Stephen Hawking:

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet!

ps… the painting at the top is known as She Takes Her Place Among the Matriarchs. I’m pretty sure this is what reading again & choosing & integration look like!

pps… need a reminder? Put your cuppa to work! You matter!

NOW she’s done! I think ;)

So, back in the day, when I was hanging out in nursing school and hospitals, if I had said what I’m about to say, here, out loud, a whole team of my colleagues would have mouthed psych consult at each other and reached for the phone!

Deep breath, please. I’m fine. In fact, I’m a great deal more fine in this moment that I have, perhaps, ever been before!

And, I’m going to tell you a story…

If you’ve been reading along, you’ve heard me musing about a painting called Apothecary which I’ve been in the midst of for a bit, now.

It started out feeling comforting and familiar. Intention. Lots of fun drips, hither and yon, as I turned the canvas. (I like drips!)

A line. In my case a dark, jagged one, kind of like a lightning bolt. The line of unimaginable tragedy.

Eventually, we got to the part about vessels.

Think Apothecary as in remedies for ailments. Kind of like a pharmacy. (An open-minded one!)

The books appeared, first. Books are vessels, too!

Paint, of course. Teal blue for voice and truth!

And a medicine basket! Red thread, obviously. Roses and rosemary and thyme.

Then, after a busy night dreaming, the stock pot, over to the right. This isn’t new for me. They show up predictably in Legend paintings, for I am a boiler of bones.

And, since I have a huge thing for dots, the night sky. There are favorite constellations, and spatters – which are huge fun – and about a zillion dots for courage. A fabulous moon. And yes, my version of a Phoenix rising right out of the stock pot, complete with a bay laurel leaf!

I felt safely en-courage-d that far. Then, things began to get interesting.

An alabaster jar, which is a sign that my collection of sacred stories and symbols is growing.

The face and the arrow on the stockpot, which some of you will recognize as having to do with something nicknamed Filters. Familiar, for sure, but – ironically – completely new in this context!

Frankly, I was starting to get a bit anxious. And, there was still something missing.

Yep! The circle, on the stockpot, with six thumbprints.

A six-petal rose. Right there, where my map of reality belongs! Utterly by choice!

Tears. Relief. Hope. A whole new world, in many ways.

And, I thought I was finished. But the painting was not done speaking to me.

Yesterday, she announced her name.


Truth tears. And I thought I was finished. Until I went to the first Red Madonna circle of 2023.

It was fabulous. Which was predictable!

And then, in a conversation between the leaders of this particular band, Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Havi Brysk Mandell, I learned a new word!

The one most of you didn’t notice or couldn’t read in the photo at the top.

It’s a Hebrew word which I didn’t know before. (I wasn’t a very good Hebrew student!)

Pronounced hee-NAY-nee, it can be translated in different ways. In our circle, today – and in my heart – it means Here I am!

And, of course, it insisted upon appearing in the palm print of my hand, which meant a bit of editing.

Hand, by the way, also means power in Hebrew or Aramaic, depending on who your teachers were.

I think the painting is done now…

I, clearly, am not! And, just between us, that feels pretty damn good!

ps… there is still time to join Red Madonna Sanctuary! We’re going to do some deep painting, too! All the info is here… and there’s a place for YOU along the Red Thread! (Standing and dancing will be involved… figuratively, at least!) Take a deep breath and check it out HERE!

pps… Revelation! is already plotting new things. If you’re feeling the vibes, let’s talk! The calendar elves will hook you up with 45 minutes as my gift.

Sometimes we just need a prize!

Today is one of those days in my world!

It’s been a really big week.

Forty-seven choruses of OId Days… Good Times I Remember.

And a whole bunch of new learning!!!

A luncheon with some friends from my Columbia Theological Seminary days. And a flock of new friends.

Stories. Who? And What? And, best of all… Why?

Stories that somehow fed my painting-in-progress!

A phone chat with a dear friend about 1800 miles from here, pondering old thought-habits and new adventures. A chat which left us both ready to – you know – act!

And then, a dinner with even more new friends. A huge lesson in context! People walking, literally, the same sidewalks I walked in the late 1980’s on their way through – and to! – a very different world. And, yes… I did act!

Then, an adventure in Zoom-land with three new friends, also walking (inner) sidewalks which have become familiar to me over the last year. Sidewalks through the land of Rosa Mystica. And a chance to help answer a few questions and pass along a bit of hope.

Grandmother Moon has been working overtime on the processing bit.

This morning I woke up with a figurative stock pot full of questions bubbling in my head… which is about as good as it gets! (And, yes, I’ll keep you posted!)

I also woke up with Grandmother Moon suggesting, with a big grin, that all of this brave stuff going on just might call for a bit of celebration.

I didn’t even have to ponder!

And, just in case you’d like to join us…

Grammy’s Chocolate Almond Bark


  • 1 c. organic roasted almonds with sea salt, coarsely chopped if desired
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, measured while solid
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped excellent dark chocolate, like Endangered Species’s 88% cacao (about 2/3 of a 3 oz. bar) or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 scoop Cacao Bliss or a slightly rounded Tbsp. of organic raw cacao powder
  • 1 good pinch Anthony’s espresso baking powder, if desired (or instant espresso granules)
  • 1 tsp. Maldon flaked sea salt for garnish if using unsalted almonds

Recipe doubles easily!

Line a sheet tray with unbleached parchment paper.

In a heavy saucepan (or double boiler) combine chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Stir over low heat until completely melted. Add Cacao powder and espresso powder and stir thoroughly. Add almonds and mix until covered.

Pour chocolate mixture onto tray with parchment paper, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula to a thin layer.

If you used salted almonds, you’re done. If you used unsalted nuts, sprinkle evenly with sea salt flakes, or omit if you prefer.

Refrigerate for an hour, or until well set. Break into bite sized pieces and store, tightly covered, in fridge or freezer. Allow to warm a few minutes to cool room temp before serving, preferably with roses on the table!


Technically, I suppose, you could call it candy. I call it sustenance. Body. Mind. Spirit. And, just maybe, courage food!

Or, in the eternal words of Charles M. Schulz…

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. 

ps… the new leggings are here! Two more designs!!! They’re comfy. They come in lots of sizes. They wash really well. And they might just be heart-on-the-outside choices for you, as they surely are for me. Check it out… and help send an artist to France! Just click here for cool leggings!

Sanctuary: a place of…

Officially, refuge or safety.

In this case, also community and discovery!

And you’re invited!!!

We’ve been a bit short on that sort of gathering place these last few years. And there are some folks in the world who would probably like to keep it that way! (I’m not one of those!)

So, I have an invitation for you… an invitation to Red Madonna Sanctuary, 2023.

And, yes, this particular Sanctuary is all in the virtual realm with sisters from around the world. (Well, at the moment… many things are possible!)

I’ve been a part of the Intentional Creativity® journey known as Red Madonna for several years, now. And, yes, paint is involved!

If, by chance, you’re muttering that you don’t paint… that you’re not artistic, perhaps… I so hope you’ll keep reading because I’ve been there, too! And Sanctuary is also about writing and sharing and being on a year long adventure with an amazing group of women, all gathered for – well – growing, in community.

The painting, above, is deep under-layers from the 2022 Red Madonna journey, known as Forest of Grandmothers.

It’s Intention, of course. And paint and collage. And roots and mountains. And Grandmother Moon’s alter-ego!

It’s also tears and prayer dots and deep, deep learning.

And, perhaps my favorite part of all… claiming my story! Where I’ve been and where I’m going. And my life is different because of that journey!

It is, even though we didn’t necessarily call it that all the time, medicine painting.

There’s a lot of neurological stuff involved in that statement. What it all boils down to is that opening ourselves to processes like this one gives us more access to our stories and to experiences that can help some of the hard ones heal.

This is a glimpse of Our Lady of Living Waters with some details on the exciting plan for this year…

Maestra Shiloh Sophia McCloud will be leading an amazing painting process with the Divine MA (That’s Maaaaaaa, not Master of Arts, though…) and the circle of the years and the elements. Anasuya Isaacs will be teaching on the Black Madonna and Dr. Havi Brysk Mandell will be doing teachings from Jewish mystical traditions, with a half-year painting on the Tree of Life elements and the Divine Mother, through Shekhinah. Mary Ann Matthys will be offering teachings every waxing moon on creating meaningful rituals. And, on the waning/Crone moon, I will bring in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes’ energy of the fireside of the dangerous old women in a variety of ways. All of this with a focus on the Divine Mother, Sanctuary, and Sacred Sovereignty

Just in case this sounds to you like lots of rules, it’s not! Instead, it is, intentionally, a place for making our own choices. For walking the spiritual path which is calling to us. (And, in my case, for following the path of several of my way-back great grandmothers who made very similar, intentional, choices in their lives!)

This is the invitation link: https://musea.org/red-madonna-sanctuary/. I’m so hoping you’ll summon your courage and click it, even if you’re not yet sure this is your thing. There are great stories in there. And a whole lot of Hope!

We are also a part of Musea University, so there will be 3 university credits available, if you choose.

I know it is going to be a deep, powerful, and amazing journey and I so hope that you will be bringing your voice, presence, art, and sacred self to our Red Madonna sisterhood this year. It’s going to take a lot of us, still standing, still dancing, and being Sanctuary to help shift the energy in this world! And, it’s time!

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to talk.  I would love to share the Sanctuary journey with you!

ps… there is an investment involved and we really want this to work for you if you feel called! There are options available for workable payments.

pps… the painting at the very top of the email you got, if you’re on my list, is my second ever IC painting – my Tree of Life. (If you’re not on the list yet, click the annoying pop-up thingy and the elves will hook you up!)

ppps… when I started painting, I had to ask how to wash brushes. And now, I get to help guide! We’ve got you!

All the parts of me… and you!

Truth time!

I wasn’t a cool kid.

No kindergarten meant I started first grade knowing my abc’s and 123’s. Period. (I was okay with having missed the nap bit!)

I had to stand in the corner in gym class because I couldn’t climb the rope. The one attached to the ceiling!

We never lived anywhere long enough, when I was small, for me to have a forever friend. Except the other Sue I saw once every couple of years. They let me visit even though I couldn’t eat the beets! (I tried!!!)

Then, I was taller and/or smarter than most of the boys, which wasn’t a path to popular in those days.

And I always felt like my head was a whole lot better place to hang out than my body! (There are early trauma stories that go with that conclusion. I’m betting you can do the math.)

Fast forward through my early adult years. They weren’t much fun, but I got a fabulous kid out of the deal!

Not much money. Not much sleep. Lots of student loans.

The bottom line is… we made it! Dave and I. And, the weekend I graduated from seminary, Bill joined the tribe which was – and is – very good news!

The 1990’s, however, were still not a great time to be a closet liberal finding her voice in a pulpit in the southern United States.

Maybe my voice found me!

And, in many ways, my body bailed, for the next decade became the knee surgery era. Survival, it seemed, meant pretending the pain wasn’t there. And that pretty much meant not existing from my neck, down.

My ears still worked, though. Listening to clients. Helping them sort their stories. To find the pictures in the jigsaw puzzles of their hearts.

It’s been a few more years since then and I am surprising myself!

First, you need to know that I have a thing for labels. Well, technically I like questions better, but sometimes we do need labels and I like choosing them! (For me. You choose your own!)

Anyway, my personal label just got a bit longer. And, yes… I’m still painting Apothecary! (Or is it painting me???)

This label thing has been a little scary lately. I’ve been claiming more of me. And late last night I figured out why!

A month or so ago, I started signing my name, followed by these words:

Gnostic Judeo-Christian Mystic walking the Way of Love.

Last night, after a huge day of writing and painting and – most of all – listening as deep as I know how, my label insisted on getting a bit longer!

At least, it will… when my tech buddy helps get it flung all over the auto-things which often feel like they’re trying to take over my world.

And, yes… it’s coming. Just as soon as I acknowledge that there are a whole lot of traditions rolled into this label. Traditions which are all mine in some ways, though not all of them obvious.

There’s just one more thing you need to know before I sign this.

I’m so thrilled and present in this moment that the very trustworthy tears I keep wiping away, lest I cry in my laptop, are confirming that I’m all in. Body. Mind. Spirit. Vision. So…

Dr. Sue Boardman

Gnostic Judeo-Christian Mystic Medicine Woman walking the Way of Love (aka The Fiercely Compassionate Fairy Grandmother, for Rent!)

ps… I want to help you get to your version of this centered, empowered place, too! It has a lot to do with editing our maps of reality. Kind of like the photo, above… which will take a bit of explaining one day! It’s a whole-person thing!!! The first step is you and me in a Zoom room with whatever is calling to the real, deep you. The calendar elves will hook you up with 45 minutes. On me!

pps… shhh!!! There’s another new pair of fabulous leggings coming soon at FierceArtWithHeart and you’re going to want to be first in line! (The handprints are symbols of power!!!) For today, check out the cool art mugs!

Questions, answers, and vision!

Okay… this is a true story which all happened in the last 24 hours and six years! (Well, closer to 36 hours and six years, by the time you read this!)

I got up Wednesday morning and fixed my tea.

Dog out. Dog in. The whole exercise bit, which Phoebe thinks is about treats but is actually good for her hips. (And, just possibly, not hurting mine any, either!)

YouTube music. It’s International Women’s Day, so the choice was obvious. Joan Baez!

Then, my daily meeting with my calendar. Find out what’s when. Check messages and email and all the rest. See what needs to change. Decline, intentionally, to shop. Post some stuff. (You know the routine!)

And, along the line, a question from my wise friend, Samantha Bennett

According to all my astrologically-inclined friends, this is a great time to make a wish – so… what would you like?

I’ll tell you my answer in just a moment, but first…

Mattering Matters, the new Intentional Creativity® Guild group my wise buddy, Natalie Moyes, and I are leading, had happened the day before.

Imagine a (virtual) room of marvelous creative women with big dreams and stuff on their paths from here to there.

Old stuff or new. Huge stuff or heaps of smaller stuff. Internal stuff or external. All of it feeling in the way!


As it happens, the painting at the top – which is farther along in not terribly noticeable, but hugely important, ways than it was on Sunday – was sitting behind me as kind of a virtual backdrop in the meeting.

And it helped me explain, in that moment, a thing about medicine painting which I had been living since 2017 but am only beginning to put words to as I continue to learn.

To boil it down for this conversation, the canvas is the context where the questions and answers and vision get to dance and become!

As you might imagine, my walls are filled with such magic portals!

So, back to this morning, after a night of the Grandmother Moon portal whispering, as she so often does, in the ear of my consciousness.

You – wise friend – guessed it!

Yesterday’s meeting and last night’s whispering and this morning’s question all went poof in the big blue stock pot on the canvas and a new ah-hah! strategy appeared… in my heart!

Part of my path… of my walking the Way of Love is to help ready people just like you to paint their own medicine.

And another part of my path is to paint commissioned medicine paintings for gifts or celebrations or just because it’s time… in conversation with those who are not quite ready yet. And, quite possibly, fabulous medicine clothes, too!

(You have to squint to see it, but there’s a huge reason that the big, blue stock pot has the essence of the Filters adventure marked on it!!!)

And, just in case you’re wondering… yep! It did, indeed, happen just this way! (Plus a few zillion ah-hah! moments along the path…)

For now, though, back to the world where my actual stock pot is planning a big adventure in healing for the next couple of days…

And I have an appointment at the magical place my son used to refer to as The Fix Hay, which is hair salon to most of us. (Not totally unlike medicine painting…)

ps… so, what would you like??? Let’s talk… on me!

pps… and, in honor of amazing women everywhere, take an extra 10% off on an original painting at FierceArtwithHeart! Just enter the code Women’s Day when you check out! (Hurry!!! Now through Saturday night!)

ppps… after the Fix Hay adventure, which is kind of a closer-but-not-quite-there situation, I opted for a brief nap. Shouting and sirens from an ER re-run woke me, with my pulse racing. Major chemical contamination. Evacuate the ER. People stuck in an elevator… and my first thought, when I figured it out, was that once upon a time, I did that kind of medicine. Medicine Painting feels much more hopeful these days. We’re just going to need a whole lot more of us onboard to help outweigh the challenges around us!

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