A Sorting Hat Adventure!

True confession… unlike The West Wing, Madam Secretary, and all of Kathleen McGowan’s books, I haven’t quite memorized the Harry Potter adventures… yet!

I did have a recent encounter with the movie version of …Philosopher’s Stone on our flight home from California.

You know how you see and hear new things when you encounter familiar experiences at new points on your journey??? Well, this story is all about that!

So, while I was somewhere over some mountains, young Harry was heading off to Hogwarts. And, as you likely know, there were new student traditions involved. Much as I’d love to have a magic wand and a mail-owl, we’ll skip the shopping for now, and move along to the Sorting Hat ritual.

(In case you need a reminder, all the incoming wizard students have the mythic Sorting Hat placed on their heads and – with a bit of mumbo jumbo, and some shape shifting on the part of the hat – the student’s House assignment is announced. And yes, watching felt a lot like middle school!!)

Young Harry wound up in Gryffindor, with his new best buddies.

And I wound up in tears.


You see, I’ve been having an experience akin to the sorting hat in the portion of my actual world known as Musea. or, Intentional Creativity® if you prefer.

And, yes… another name for this Sorting Hat adventure is Filters!

You see, I’ve been journeying in the land of QUESTIONS. (I’ve always loved questions!)

One of my favorite questions ever has to do with the notion of calling, as in…

What do I feel called to do and be in this world, now?

Or, to put it a bit differently, what is my big work?

We’ll skip the way back stuff for now and begin this leg of the journey in September, as I set out with a bunch of paint spattered sisters on the Intentional Creativity® journey called Origins. A journey which has felt, for me, like a whole lot of trying on hats until the right one for this time, now, claimed me! The Guardian Hat.

Here’s what I see now… consciously.

The mantle of the Fiercely Compassionate Grandmothers has been passed to me by generation upon generation of ancestors and wisdom keepers. I receive it, as a Guardian, with huge gratitude and honor. And I dedicate myself to continue to express and expand the notion of Fierce Compassion, now – in this context – and into the future.

I will continue to notice and wonder. To weave new learning into the map of reality I claim.

I will find new ways to share the old stories which have been Hope on my path.

I will be one of those five people… listening to our Littles, taking them seriously, and not shaming or blaming them for their questions… for as many people as I am able.

I will invite others to join this crucial pathway of empowering grace and Intentional Creativity®. As many as I am able.

I began, as we all must, by being one of those five people for myself and I will proclaim that Good News all the days of my Earthly journey.

Curious??? Stay tuned! With huge encouragement from my SuperPower SelfPortrait®, we’re about to set out on the magical journey from…

If Only… to I Am!

It’s time!!!

ps… hats optional… and encouraged!

pps… ready??? I mean, now… on your timeline! My new signature journey, Oh, I see… Consciously! is available for a very few individual clients starting mid-January! Just ask the calendar elves to hook you and your questions up with 45 min. My gift!

Whole New Creatures!

Early on in my Intentional Creativity® journey, my Artisan painting – required for Color of Woman teacher training – hung a big left turn. At least that’s what it felt like to me!

She chose a quilt, rather than the suggested veil. Then, she insisted on words in those quilt pieces. Important words. Words I needed to hear myself claiming!

Then she started sending me dreams.

I had no context for such knowing. I only knew that I knew.

Or, rather, I only knew that I was willing to learn… to be changed, as an old Quaker saying goes.

The main character in the most surprising dream was a winged horse! And, as I’ve mentioned before, they didn’t cover astronomy in nursing school or seminary! Research was in order! Research which led me to Pegasus. And that led a puzzled but curious me to a story…

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

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 imagery in the biblical book, Revelation, of winged horses, like the mythical Pegasus.

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

And the legendary writers???

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

Which leads us to now. Nearly six years, countless paintings, and a whole lot of learning later. Not to mention some pretty major context shifts in the world many of us know! And a new ah-hah!

What if, maybe just maybe, spirituality is about becoming whole new creatures where once we were broken. Or lost. Or worn out trying to look nice and behave ourselves according to other people’s notions???

We are, after all, the only unique us. The only we that’s ever been. Because of dna, for sure. And also because of context!

Now, this next bit is likely to sound like a bit of a detour on the path… hang with me, please!

I have, indeed, been watching Madam Secretary some more. And, the more I watch, the more I am surprised by new things I notice.

One of them was a conversation about the Protestant Reformation! (Really!!!) Henry explains to Elizabeth that the Protestant Reformation happened, in large part, because of the invention of the printing press putting scripture in the hands of the people.

It was, of course, considerably more complicated than that but, in my opinion, Henry wasn’t wrong. People – even women! – able to read their holy books through their own filters and not just those of the priests and church hierarchy.

It was more complicated even than that, though. And it had a whole lot to do with power and who got to decide who got to decide what was true.

Which just might sound familiar to you in the context of this moment! At the very least, it feels familiar to me as I do some more IC® homework and mentally quilt together a notion of my big work.

For this moment, let’s just say that I’ve learned a whole lot of new things, in a whole new world, since I stacked up a big pile of diplomas in our basement!

It’s not that those things were wrong. Instead, they were, simply, not the only things that would ever be true!

And I can’t wait to tell you more! In fact, there’s a sneak preview coming up this week! Hint… a party will be involved! If you’re already on my mailing list, you’ll get your invitation on Friday. If you’re not on the list, today would be a great day to join! (Just click the regrettably annoying pop-up thingy at the top!)

ps… the party is FREE!

pps… there’s an amazing online art show and you’re invited! (I’m so thrilled to have 2 of my paintings included.) Come and be – as my kid used to say – “wonder-ed”!!! The opening is on Dec. 28th! https://intent2create.betterworld.org/events/cura-futura-museum-exhibit

O, Holy Night… or, the voices of my inner choir!

Grandmother Moon usually whispers. This morning she was singing!

She was singing in a voice I recognized instantly. Tevye. From Fiddler on the Roof!

Given the Jewish grandparents I’ve discovered in my lineage lately, I feel like Tevye might just be a relative. Feel free to hum along, while we chat a bit about tradition…

Let’s just say it was a big thing for my Mom.

I’ve only just lately realized that her passion for doing things the way we’ve always done it was a coping strategy for a young mom, far from home, with way more change going on than she found comfortable.

Let’s just say that I’m well schooled in the way we’ve always done it!!!

This year is feeling pretty different on the surface.

Airbnb far from home.

Lots of seafood… yum!!!

A handy volunteer Christmas tree with coloring book & red thread ornaments.

A shortage of stockings to hang by the chimney which is, btw, outside!

And, perhaps most scandalous of all, store-bought cookies… none of them fruitcake cookies… gasp!!!

All of that is true. And, there’s more to this story!

We have an abundance of love and laughter. Of family. And, HOPE

Which, if you get right down to it, isn’t so far from what Cousin Tevye was singing about!

It also feels really close to what that first Christmas must have felt like, all those years ago!

The times were hard – and scary – for far too many of the people.

Living traditions was often dangerous. And, still, people of faith followed the star.

Not to tell the whole world what to do and think forever.

Not to be the only way.

In fact, I suspect they had no clear notion about what would come of that journey when they set out!

And still, willingly, they followed the star.

The star of Hope. And Peace. And Love.

Was it a matter of Faith? And Courage? Yes!!!

Which brings another, rather unexpected, voice to our gathering… the voice of one of my chosen family: C. S. Lewis’ Puddleglum, speaking to the Dark Queen…

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things — trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, The Chronicles of Narnia

Here’s the thing, for me… Grandmother Moon and Tevye and Mom and Puddleglum, even with their differences in experience and perspective, all meant well. They were all about power-for rather than power-over. They all envisioned Hope. And Peace. And Love.

Which, when you get right down to it, is a pretty good vision to follow!

For this night, may the Grace of all you hold holy be and abide with you and with all those you love, now and forever.

ps… we’re having a party! A New Year’s Eve Eve party! And it wouldn’t be the same without you. Watch for details!!!

Greetings from the land of cognitive dissonance and wonder!

Flashback to the year I was 10 and we moved to Florida three days before Christmas. It was, shall we say, quite the change from the American Midwest!

I remember going for a walk on the beach on Christmas morning. Pelicans instead of reindeer. Sand instead of snow. And the hypnotizing sound of waves breaking on the beach. I was home!

And, that was about 5 decades and a whole lot of White Christmas ago!

Today, it was the California update of all those memories.

An outdoor deck in California, draped in tinsel and Santa hats. My most beloveds. Pelicans. Waves on the beach. Outdoor heaters – blessedly! And Granddaughter #1 practicing PSAT words.



It’s a really good word for what the world feels like these days.

Love and Hope and fish tacos. Secret sharing. Bikinis and sweat shirts. Likely un-homed people trying to get close to the patio heaters.

Christmas Carols with an island sort of style in the wind. (And me, trying covertly to sing along!)

The lines that really hit home for me, in the context of the big world, were these…

To face unafraid

the plans that we’ve made…

For tonight… fish to grill. Knitting lessons for a school project. A beading project. And coloring book time.

Not the version of the way we’ve always done it that I was raised with.

Not the world I grew up in, either.

And the place I most want to be, given my best understanding of my cosmic promise, only recently finding form in my awareness. I’ll admit, it’s not what I ever expected, consciously. And it’s totally my path!!!

Please stay tuned!

ps… the art is my inner camera-phobe’s way of honoring my promise not to use photos without permission!

pps… do you have a sense of cosmic promise? I’d love to hear! Just ask the calendar elves to find you some time. 45 min. My gift. Bring a cuppa, some red thread if it’s handy, and your big questions!

Grandmother Moon’s new ah-hah…

Let me start by owning the fact that there’s a whole lot going on in my head just now. And my heart. And my spirit. (Also, my house… but that’s a story for another day!)

My hands have joined in, too, with whole lots of writing and painting.

It’s a very Advent-like feeling, for I am great with Soul Work!

Thus, is was no particular surprise when Grandmother Moon, who watched a whole lot of MSNBC yesterday, went – as we’d say in the South – to meddlin’ again this morning!

One sentence:

Mary had a choice!

And, yes, it was time for lights and tea and reading!

Which was a huge reminder of just how challenging language can be. So I’m owning, up front and out loud, that I have a vested interest in nouns and pronouns. Not the vested interest of power-over, all too common in the history of our Holy Books, but, rather, the vested interest of power-for.

Power for voice and choice. Power for personal sovereignty.

So, tea at hand, I began with my most familiar, most underlined, preaching Bible. The Gospel according to Luke.

Please don’t run off and do laundry just now. It’s the Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother in me who is telling this story. I promise!

Luke begins at the beginning with the story known as the Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel has appeared to Mary with big news!

And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. (Luke 1: 31-32, NRSV)

You probably know the rest of the story. Here’s what Grandmother Moon wanted me to highlight…

First, Mary is referred to as a virgin. That has often been assumed to mean simply a young woman who is untouched.

Once upon a time, though, as author, Madison Griffiths, and others explain, it was used specifically to describe a free woman – independent, autonomous, untied.

Which brings us back to Grandmother Moon’s ah-hah, with an approved update…

Mary made a choice!

And she agreed to what was to come with words that have been translated this way:

Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word… (Luke 1: 38, NRSV)

I hear you! The word servant is uncomfortable for many of us in this day. In Greek, though, the word is doula which – intentionally, I suspect – is now used for those who attend births… One who mothers the mother.

All of which is to say that words matter and they’re complex. And, in this case, they become a story which reminds us that Mary had a choice to make – in a time when women had very few choices – and she said YES!

And, as my favorite version of the story goes, she went on, with other Marys, to be a leader in the ministry of her son.

Meanwhile, war rages on. Autocrats are multiplying. Civil rights – and women’s voices – are being slashed by very public people who claim to be guided by the Bible. And we need the voices of women making choices, in their sovereignty, for peace and justice. For hope. There is much, much more work to be done… and we – whatever our traditions – have the power to say yes!

I have 2 granddaughters trying very hard to grow up in this world!

Gnostic Judeo-Christian Mystic Medicine Woman walking the Way of Love

(aka: The Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother, For Rent!)

ps… curious about the vocabulary lesson??? You can read more, here…

pps… prefer stories over vocabulary lessons??? Kathleen McGowan. The Expected One, to begin with. Then, the rest!

ppps… ready to say yes to YOU??? I have a plan. A plan for the next step. It’s half-fun AND full-serious. (And only takes about 1 1/2 hours!) My gift!!! email me at suesvoice@gmail.com if you’d like details and an invitation! Really!!!

Staying on the road… and in the conversation!

Every now and then, somebody asks me why I bother to write.

Some days, I ask me that! This week had a couple of those days… both of them having to do with the purgatory-like place known as social media.

First, I got scolded by a dear, wise friend with a lot of tough things on her list, about allowing a conversational twist on my page over the tragedy engulfing the people of Israel and Gaza which is spreading globally like a plague of shootings and trauma and exclusion.

She had a point.

And, I was allowing the conversation in the hopes that people might hear something other than hatred.

Full disclosure… I deleted the entire post, after a good bit of pondering.

Why? Because it was causing pain to someone I care about.

And, I was tired. And sad.

Then, another conversation. A word, by the way, which literally means turning together!!!

This time, about pronouns for God.

A conversation which has changed a good bit during my Earth-journey. And one which has become a power-hungry yard stick for right/wrong… in/out… real/not.

All of which was churning inside me while I was attempting to do the thing called sleeping.

Now, if you’ve been reading along for a bit, you may have heard me mention that my dreams are way more like hearing voices than watching a movie. Last night was no exception!

It started like this…

Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes. (The late South-African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu.)


…In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (John 1, KJV… And, yes, irony abounds!)

And after that, clear as a bell… the voice of my own Little, just learning to speak.

You see, Dave called all of us Mama. Me, my folks, my sister, the daycare people…

One by one, he learned their “other” names. Eventually, just my mom and I were Mama. And Mom was sad when he learned Grammy.

My first granddaughter had name challenges, too. I started out as Gam. Then, Gwammy, And eventually, Grammy.

And each time she called to me, by whatever name, I was thrilled! (I still am!!!)

Then… a rare picture in my dream.

A chicken!

(Laugh if you wish… this is the real deal!)

And, there were words with the picture…

So much for sleeping. It was time for tea and searching the bookshelves.

At the risk of spoiling the literary suspense, here’s the punchline in this amazing story:

…and much, much more!

A book with roots in scripture! (Start with Matthew 23: 37 – 39. Jesus is speaking.)

A book with a whole lot of wisdom for our time!

Here’s my ah-hah! in this whole adventure…

The Divine of my understanding is delighted each time we call upon them and not in the least concerned with what name we use!

In my heart, the question is simply this…

Are we welcoming searching people into dynamic relationship with Creator or are we building walls of vested self interest around Hope???

ps… I know you’ve seen glimpses of this painting recently when it was still a #wip. She’s sitting across from my chair as I do this particular writing thing. I just noticed how much she looks like the Mother Hen cover art! Hmmmm…

pps… you know all those catalogs filling up your mailbox with all the wardrobe updates you can’t live without in the New Year? Well, I have a better idea!!! Recycle them and cruise around FierceArtWithHeart, instead. Fab creative items you can’t find anywhere else. Lots of sizes and choices. There WILL be a special offer for the New Year!

Can we be real???

There are a whole lot of things going on in this world that you and I can’t change by ourselves. And, just between us, I’ve got a big case of Sleepless in Atlanta going on.

It’s 5:15am. Dark, rainy, heading rapidly for cold. (Well, what passes for cold around here!)

Hot bay laurel tea helps some.

MSNBC is doing a credible job of trying to convince me that I have, as the familiar old saying goes, “Nothing to whine about!”

But, here’s the thing…

Grandmother Moon, who’s feeling very chatty lately, has helped me learn that… Us and Them is just not a helpful construct. It’s really all Us.

And, so, I’m busy doing my version of making light.

Candles. The battery kind, because I spent years trying to make the world safe for a very large blind dog.

Dots. Dots of light. And hope. Like the ones in this glimpse of my Tree of Life work-in-process.

Dots bringing much of my being into making hope.

Some of you are shaking your heads as you read, wondering what a bunch of gold spots on a canvas can do about war and poverty and intolerance and a plague of folks wanting to decide everything for everybody.

Well, the first thing those dots are doing is helping me get through the day. Soothing the perceptive parts of me frantically noticing all the tragic, dangerous, utterly unnecessary stuff going on in the world.

And there’s more.

I don’t know if one of my teachers, back in the days before Intentional Creativity® found me, knows about dots, but what I learned about Qigong from Chunyi LIn works much the same way. You see, for years now, as often as context allowed, Chunyi has been doing his version of dots.

My favorite story involves his strategy of taking a group of Buddhist monks from Minnesota on a cruise during the week between Christmas and the New Year to chant prayers for Peace between the stars and the waters.

Here’s the cool part… those of us who couldn’t join in on the actual cruises were invited along to chant with them virtually, at certain times each day. According to Chunyi, we were all adding energy for Peace into the Universe.

Now, granted, making dots and chanting with monks won’t fix everything that needs fixing in any obvious, instantaneous Shazam! kind of way.

But, what if – just maybe – those kinds of intentional activities allow us to stay on the road? To keep putting one foot in front of the other for love and justice and peace in the world our Littles are inheriting???

To keep learning and sharing.

To be light.

To embody the old tale of feeding the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. And a whole lot of willingness to try!

Here’s another way I’m reminding me…

A Menorah has appeared on my path to Bethlehem!

Right there with the part of my recent #FlowNouvea painting which claims my ties to then and now and what is still to be.

How is your story changing?

It matters. You matter. We matter. And, as Mama Cloud used to say…

Mattering matters!

For this moment, a quick nap… code, around here, for space to hatch the next bit of how!

ps… in the painting at the top, there’s a Hebrew word which can be read as a combination of “strong water” and “mother” or the “glue of the family.” Let’s be glue for the human family!!!

pps… wondering what that would look like for you??? Let’s talk! 45 min. My gift. Oh – and make a bit of space on your calendar for December 30. The night before the night before 2024! I’m hatching a power-full plan! (And fun!)

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