In which one Grammy gets real…

Last night I was watching The West Wing. (Imagine that!)

It was late in the final season. Election day. Leo McGarry died. Matt Santos won, by Nevada. Arnie Vinick lost. Sadly. Graciously. Patriotically.

And, yes… I cried.

There really are days when I want to live in a land where Aaron Sorkin gets to decide what comes next!

Instead, I live in this land. And, today was one of my favorite kind of days. (Well, some of it!)

I am hearth tending, in the Intentional Creativity® neighborhood known as the Red Thread Cafe.

Think show & tell!

My job is to invite the artist-sisters to share. Cheerlead. (Which is totally delightful!) Answer questions. And, one of my favorite bits, ASK a question!

I love questions! (Or inquiries, in the local lingo.) Today I was inspired to ask one of my all time favorites.

Tradition holds that the artist, Michelangelo, claimed, as he neared the end of his earthly journey…

I am still learning!

With just a bit of imagination, that becomes…

What are you still learning???

And, yes… I’m really hoping you’ll put your response in the comments!

My answer turned out to be a surprise… to me! And, yes, I’d been watching the news…

And hemming and hawing over this blog post.

And then, I knew!

Fake it ’til you make it!!!

Really! You see, I wrote the book (literally!) about Grandmothers being in charge of hope.

I believe in hope. I trust in hope. I sometimes get kind of sappy, hoping.

Today, I’m just not feelin’ it. So, I’m fakin’ it.

Well, technically, I’m not fakin’ it… I’m admitting I’m not feelin’ it and doin’ it anyway!

As strategies go, it probably beats trying to toss the tv off the deck and hide under the bed.

And, this very morning, the photo elves in my phone offered up a gift from the archives! The treasured face of one of the granddaughters growing up in this world who are, when it comes down to it, the reasons I practice living hope.

I’d share it but the young woman in question likes to vote about these things. So, a description…

Adorable kid in a sparkly purple princess dress, tiara, huge grin on her face, ta-dah! pose, and big pink plastic flamingo-shaped sunglasses perched on her nose.

And, there was another cool surprise in my email! My Intentional Creativity® sister-friend, Jenafer Joy has a new inspired offering. Nine days (!) of arty adventures in falling in love with the spirit of your space. (Which sounds REALLY hopeful to me in this moment of the Furniture Yahtzee marathon!) It’s bound to be power-full fun. It’s accessible. (Read that really affordable!!!) It starts June 1. And there’s still time for you to check it out!

So… hope!

What does that look like in your world?

If you’re not quite there yet, I have ideas! (Yep… even today!) Here’s the catch… you’ve got to be willing to keep learning! And keep fakin’ hope ’til you make it! If so, ask the calendar elves to hook you up with 45 min. as my gift. Bring a cuppa, some red or purple thread if it’s handy, and your dream. The real one!

For this moment, I have more hearth to tend. And learning to do. Don’t forget… love to know what you’re learning, too!

ps… there are fabulous new leggings, ready to become yours! Even capri styles!!! (Don’t forget to read their stories!) Perfect for summer adventures… all waiting with bated breath to meet you at FierceArtWithHeart!

Caution… Grammy filtering news!

Or… I’ve spent all weekend writing this blog post. And a lifetime learning enough to share it!!!

Don’t panic… you just get the gifts which have come after all the ranting and raving and expeditions to the dusty library stacks in the basement. (Thanks, dear Legendary Husband!)

If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you won’t be at all shocked that we’re starting with context and input… aka news from Capitol Hill. I’ll assume that you’ve consumed or avoided, according to your need.

Yep! We’re putting the Filters thing to work. And, yes… it does indeed feel to me like 2-3 billion bits in this moment!

And, no… I’m not really enjoying my experience of all this.

Grandmother Moon, blessedly, got involved – with more input – really early Saturday morning, whispering C-67 in my ear. (Translation to follow!)

In my world, writing begins with hatching, which is good because hatching is easier than writing since a new splint/brace device has entered my life and lives, as much as I can stand it, on my right wrist, which helps with the pain way more than with the typing!

For me, the key to hatching is one of my favorite strategies, noticing and wondering.

Noticing, for example, how glad I am that my girls aren’t here to witness me swearing at the news… or (likely) exploding if I don’t.

Noticing the stack of books which has grown next to my chair in these last few days.

Wondering how to live this painting known as Revelation! which has returned from its excursion to Columbia Theological Seminary, for finishing touches like a gold thumb print with a red circle on the back and newly finished edges, complete with fingerprint prayer dots. Dots, literally, for the courage to follow what I learned as I painted.

So… the translation of C-67.

The faith tradition which raised me right is currently known as the Presbyterian Church, USA. And, yes, it’s been through a whole lot of growing pains through the ages.

Part of our tradition is the claiming of confessional statements. Not as in going to confession, which I learned all about in our suburban St. Louis neighborhood, back in the days of Vatican II. Rather, in the sense of making formal, public statements about what we believe.

Basically, it’s a collection of how “we” said who we are, from the time Constantine was trying to unify his empire, through the ages, until the days of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. Here’s the part of that statement which fascinates me:

In every age the church has expressed its witness in words and deeds as the need of the time required.

Which is to say that things change. Not Divine things, perhaps, but human things, for sure.

Oddly, there’s another voice in my head, just now… the voice of Joan Baez! Joan was singing in the days C-67 was being written and one of her songs is doing the earworm thing for me in this moment…

I really hope you’ll take 3 minutes and listen! Just in case that doesn’t work, I’ll give you the punchline:

I believe in God and God ain’t me!

Which, were I preaching on MSNBC this morning, might well be the punchline, not that the people who need to hear it would be likely to be watching…

As I’m not preaching… a brief story about sorting holidays in our family.

My son, Dave, and I are the omnivores. (This hasn’t always been the case.) Bill is a diabetic, who doesn’t do well with gluten and dairy, trying really hard to feel better. Kelly and the girls are pescatarians (Fish, yes. Meat, no.) and one of the Littles has gluten and dairy challenges, too.

Thus, was my book born!

WE GATHER TOGETHER… holiday feasts with the family you have!

It’s an adventure! One which results – I truly believe – in good, clean food and a deep sense of empowered belonging. And, somewhere in the great beyond, I trust that those who believed that doing things the way we’d always done them was the way to stay safe, are at peace with the ways we’re doing things now.

Or, as some of our Intentional Creativity® tribe are claiming:

I matter. You matter. We matter. Mattering Matters.

ps… we Presbyterian types are still trying to say who we are, and there are newer copies of the tattered blue book in the stack, with even newer words, but this is the one which first helped me to understand the notion of witness and so it’s the one talking to me in this moment.

pps… curious about the Filters thing? Ask me! The calendar elves will hook you up. 45 min. My gift. Bring a cuppa, some red or purple thread if it’s handy, and your dream. The real one!

ppps… got holidays coming up? People you love to feed? Check it out!

I want to bury my head in the sand!

Or… when the news is too much!

The passing of the iconic Tina Turner tugged at my heart.

The election lunacy was way more than I needed. Even after switching news channels. (Permanently!)

The battles over gun rights/safety/legislation – on the first anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas – made me weep. Again.

The banning of Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, in a Florida school district was a bridge too far.

I want to bury myself in reruns of The West Wing and eat all 17 bars of Endangered Species 88% cacao chocolate in my pantry.

I want to erase the chapter I wrote for a book full of women’s voices telling deeply personal tales of transformation and hope.

I want to go hug Minnie Mouse.

I want – most of all – to hug my granddaughters.

And that’s where the challenge lives.

You know this… I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world.

And, so, I am writing these words.

I’ve already filled up my corner of Facebook with thanks to the Sister Senators in South Carolina, speaking out for women’s rights.

I’ve shared a couple of I signed, you can, too… petitions.

I filled out an online survey from Our Revolution that actually asked for my thoughts… not my money.

I phoned a friend for a reality check.

And then I went back to work. Because… I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world.

That sentence is all my INTENTIONS rolled into one!

Which brings me to a question.

What matters that much to you?

What makes going on and speaking out and signing your name important?

Please don’t say that those things don’t matter!

I totally hear feeling it in the moment…

And, it’s the only way things change.

I don’t know if there’s ever been a time when it mattered this much for people like you and me to show up.

I do know it matters now.

And we don’t have to agree about everything.

We do need to make space for other people to have other ideas.

And we need to insist on leaders who can do the same.

Leaders who can act for real people with real needs… like all of our kids!

So, I’m going to get myself together, and follow Amanda Gorman up The Hill We Climb:

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Amen. Amen. Selah.

ps… the painting is a close up of In the Beginning, a Red Madonna adventure from 2020-ish, who surprises me, still! May we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hope to create a bountiful world for all!

A blog post by any other name…

Did you ever have one of those ah-hah! moments that you just had to tell people about, even though you were pretty sure you were going to sound like you’d gone – as folks used to say, ‘round the bend? Or even fanatical?

Well, I’m having one of those moments, now. If you’re not feeling up to it, and want to bail, I’ll totally understand.

Here’s what you need to know – context wise…

I was hanging out, early Saturday afternoon with Sam Bennett and the Get It Done Lab tribe. We did our breathing and caught up a bit on all the who and what and how news.

Then it was on to worksheet time.

Many of us, in the group, are working on businesses or projects or other sorts of dreams which kind of imply clients of one sort or another.

Our first adventure involved pondering ideal clients.

As is fairly usual for me, I didn’t necessarily follow the directions but I did discover some useful new things, anyway.

Then, we turned to the page titled Marketing Verbs. Imagine about 90 words on a sheet of paper. Most of them doing kinds of words. A few odd phrases.

I’ve done this with Sam, before. She learned it from one of her teachers a while back. Frankly, it’s a difficult exercise for me. You know the kind…

Out of all the words, circle 20 that appeal to you. Things you want to be doing.

Then, cross off 10.

Then, narrow the remaining ones down to only 2.

(I don’t like giving back words!!!)

Suddenly, something inside me went tilt! I ignored all the rest of the words and got utterly hooked by one I’d noticed, initially, and declined as being past tense instead of present or future.

A word from back in the day when my Saturdays were usually spent fluffing the next morning’s sermon.


Just as suddenly, that word changed into another word in my head…


And that word was immediately followed – in my heart – by…

liberty to the captives…

There’s more, of course, depending on whether it’s Isaiah or Luke whispering in your head and in what language. And, yes, the tears were flowing by then.

You see, that’s exactly what I feel called to do! I’ve had lots of words for it since the days when all the knee surgeries had me looking for other ways to be.

Counseling, coaching, and writing were among the more obvious options.

Lately, Artist, Intentional Creativity Teacher & Coach® and Red Thread Guide have joined my list of labels as I help folks live their dreams with Unsticking Stuck Stuff, and Claiming their SuperPowers for Good.

All of those, and more, are rolled into my notion of being a Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother, for rent. And that has a great deal to do with Proclaiming liberty to those who feel captive.

Now, I won’t bore you with a long debate on whether the canon of Scripture is closed, or still open.

I will tell you that having our personal canons of truth and inspiration and, certainly, hope, open to newness seems like a pretty good idea to me. It also puts some responsibility on our shoulders. We have to choose which notions of truth are congruent with our paths, and which are not.

This is a huge challenge in our time! A challenge that – in my heart – looks a lot like this…

And one which often benefits from a bit of witnessing, and help sorting.

The photo at the top of this rather unexpected tale hangs on the wall where I can see it as I write. The more people and stories included in Your, the better. At least when one way to describe what we’re about is walking the Way of Love.

ps… feeling stuck? Longing for a bit of help with the witnessing and sorting? I have space for 2 new clients, ready for some liberty from limiting beliefs. Your story does matter… maybe now more than ever. Bring a cuppa, and some red thread if it’s handy, and tell me what you’re hoping for! Just ask the calendar elves to hook you up with 45 minutes, as my gift.

pps… if Grandmother Moon had leggings! Watch and see what comes next at FierceArtWithHeart!!!


Somewhere, in a dusty box in the attic of my mind, is a quote which goes something like this:

Perspective isn’t everything… it’s the only thing!

Oddly, when I tried to look it up and find the source, I discovered this, instead:

To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions – Stephen R. Covey

Today feels a lot like that!

There are about 92 zillion things jumping up and down for my attention. (Well, it feels like that many!)

And a whole lot of those things have voices attached to them. Voices trying to tell me that their particular thing should obviously be the first thing on my list.

One of those things was showing up for my 15 minute daily date with myself in Zoom land with a cool group of fellow travelers on the way way from here to getting “IT” done.

It’s a really helpful tool.

Except, I didn’t get there.

In fact, I got lost. I literally couldn’t remember where the link to the meeting was stashed.

And, since I’m being real, I got pissed. Which the therapist who lives inside me knows is often code for scared.

Then, I yelled at myself for a bit. I mean, really… how could I be so clueless???

Then, I thanked my hot water and lemon for playing and turned to the cacao stuff I’d been “saving” for a special moment.

As I sipped, I heard dusty words in my head. Stephen Covey explaining his 4 quadrant planning tool which says, basically, that any one thing on our lists is two of these four things:


The challenge is to figure out which two are true for whatever the thing in question might be.

It turned out that not making it to my meeting was nonUrgent AND nonImportant!

Now I’m not dis-ing the meeting. The meeting is great! Cool people all doing things that matter to them.

And, it was already over for the day. Shaming and blaming myself wasn’t going to change that!

And, there are lots more 15 minutes left!

So… I did one of my favorite things and asked a new question!

What IS important/urgent that I could do instead, NOW?

Imagine this… there were several options jumping up and down to be noticed!

The one I picked, first, was to hunt up the Legendary Husband and ask for a hug. Then, I told him that I’d had another morning of sad-dog dreams, because I really needed to be heard.

Next, I sent an email… asking for a reminder of how to find the meeting in the future, which was important/close-to-urgent, as it happens I am the leader for Friday!!!

Then, I fixed some food. And listened to Joan Baez, who is really good at the important/urgent thing, even if she doesn’t know Stephen Covey!

And, then, I decided I might not be the only one who could use this story today!

And, then, I had an inspiration. Did you notice that the photo at the top is kind of unusual for me? I mean, it’s one of my paintings but it’s in black & white!

It needed a bit of cropping and I almost took the bottom part off, too. And then I saw it!

We can still raise our hands – our power, if you will – on days that don’t feel all bright and colorful, IF we take care of ourselves, too!

Yep! Perspective/Perception shift with a big, gold bow!

Here’s the usual view… about to become leggings!!!

And, just in case you’re wondering… I totally re-did today’s list and crossed a couple things off, already. Next up… nap! No shaming and blaming. Just learning!

ps… one of those things I already crossed off was 15 minutes of practicing my PT exercises for successful suitcase wrangling!!! Kids and ancestors are on the calendar!

pps… what if I offered you 3×15 minutes to shift something holding you back? It works, and it’s my gift to you. If you’re interested, ask the calendar elves to hook you up… and do it soon!

Blepo! (Really…)

I really need to get my eyes checked, lest I wear my glasses out with the on/off routine.

The Legendary Husband spends a good bit of time following me around, turning off lights.

All of that is true.

It’s also true that one of my favorite Greek words – and the first one I actually understood – is pronounced Blepo!

It means I see!

And, I do. In ways which, frankly, amaze me…

If you squint really hard at the painting, beneath my Muse’s left eye, the word is written there in Greek. If you squint even harder, you might notice two other Greek words for seeing… for there are many ways to see.

For instance, I’ve been – literally – dreaming this blog post for about 3 nights, now. And I’m grateful for the help! Mothers Day is a challenge. At least for those of us who have ways of seeing which go beyond greeting cards!

And, in my dreams, some of my friends showed up to help.

First, Steve, whose name may feel familiar if you’ve been around more than a week or two. (If you’re new – welcome! – and buckle up!)

Here’s the quote, which I learned from the mouth of Dr. H. Stephen Glenn, when my own son was about 4 years old:

If a teenaged child has 5 adults who will listen to them, take them seriously, and not shame or blame them for their questions, that child is practically immune from ever attempting suicide.

And, yes, my life changed!

I want to be one of those five adults for as many of our kids as I can. And it’s going to take a lot of us, so I spread the word!

Then, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, with her updated poem for this day, titled:

Happy Mama Day to All Kinds of Mamas

It does, indeed, take all kinds of Mama-ing to help our Littles bloom!

And, these days, it takes a tribe of Mama-types willing to speak out for all the things our world – and our people – need. Like Daphne, my Mama Bear buddy!

Each of us will see those needs differently. It’s called Filters! And it helps a whole lot if we get clear about which of our personal filters are helping and which are – perhaps – holding us back!

That’s a bigger conversation than we have space for today, so… a couple of glimpses into my album of filters…

This one – from just about exactly 16 years ago – is me and my mom, Sally, at the Florida baby shower for my first granddaughter, who was born in Scotland. I invited people to bring books and cd’s so that I could take them all on the plane, along with other necessities hard to find in Glasgow.

And this one – from this winter… Liberating Lily! A whole lot of my filters and symbols in a way that amazes me utterly!

I’d love to know what you see in this moment, in this place! (If you scroll on down, there’s a place for comments. Or email me… )

For now… a very blessed and happy this day to you and yours, from me and mine.

ps… curious? The calendar elves will gladly hook you up with 45 minutes, my gift. Ask me about filters. Or being one of those five people. You’ll want a cuppa and a bit of red thread if you have some handy, and a notion of a place inside you that’s longing to be less stuck! Hurry, though! I’ve got some wandering coming up…

pps… watch for Turning Points 2, coming out soon! It’s an anthology project and my chapter is more about all the important stuff here! (And one of Lily’s cousins on the cover!)

Not Brides Magazine!

It is 6:15pm ET as I begin writing these words. It’s been kind of a long day.

And, by comparison, a pretty calm one!

Thirty-three years ago, in this moment, I was being the bride! Also the wedding coordinator. And the florist. And the co-host. And…

The Legendary Husband and I got married at 7:00pm on the Thursday evening before I graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary on Sunday. It was also Mothers Day weekend.

It was a high church/low budget kind of event.

Lots of preachers and about-to-be’s. Lots of musicians. Lots of opinions!

My mom was appalled when I visited with guests – dressed, but still working on the makeup – before the service. (Bad luck and all that!)

The wedding guide who came with the church didn’t attend. She just couldn’t wrap her head around the notion of the bride and groom walking into the ceremony together.

(The guys pouring punch weren’t her style, either.)

Someone — who shall remain nameless to protect innocent relatives — mooned one of our Professor/Preachers in the parking lot.

It was, on one hand, a bit of a zoo.

On the other, it was a celebration.

Of love. Of life. Of learning.

Which, when you get down to it, is a pretty good way to do the wedding thing!

Today has been a different sort of celebration.

Both of us in meetings most of the day.

Still adapting to having only 2-footed beings in our home.

In some ways, there are just as many questions as there were all those years ago. They’re not the same questions. The world isn’t the same! We’re not the same!!!

Here’s what is the same…

There are stories which need to be told. In words. In art. In action.

There are questions which need to be asked.

There are adventures which are waiting to be experienced.

There are kids to hug and dreams to dream.

And, I suspect, there is courage to be needed.

The photo is my mental image of courage these days. She reminds me of stories I’m only learning about some of my ancestors. Women of huge courage in a world which did not encourage courage in women.

She is, in a way, a model for me… as I hope to be for my girls. A model of voice and choice and even action.

A model of love which would have celebrated the bride and groom walking into the wedding together.

And walking together, still.

I do. And I will.

ps… Happy Anniversary “Norm”!

pps… need some wedding help? Check this out...

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