A Red Thread Kind of Day…

(And, yes, Grammy has been watching the news, again!)

I started my day trying really hard not to imagine that one of my personal kids was shot in the street after a graduation ceremony, like the young man in Richmond, Virginia last night. Along with his stepfather.

Which brought back the recent school shootings near Nashville, Tennessee.

And the shootings in Atlanta.

And… well, you get the idea.

These stories are in the top of the box labeled utterly avoidable tragedy in my heart because they all happened in places that exist in my perceived neighborhood.

There was, of course, more news. Pope Francis was having surgery, which seems to have gone well.

Then there was the avalanche of politics. And, yes, I have definite opinions on most of that!

One of those opinions is about the fact that the root of the word politics comes from the Greek for of the people. A notion many folks seem to have lost track of these days!

I drank tea and swore at the tv for a while.

I sketched out a new piece of the making it work better puzzle we’re sorting at our house.

I waded through the swamp of my mailbox, wrote the necessary responses, and cheered on a couple actually helpful local folks.

Then, my magic 15 minutes in a virtual room with a whole gaggle of good people working on things that are important.

All the while, the news was still rumbling around in my head. And my heart.

Clearly, it was time to fish in my Medicine Basket for a new red thread!

And a reminder of the ancient legend that we are all connected, even before we’re born, to the people who will matter in our lives.

When I’m by myself, I always start with all the names that come to my awareness, volunteering to help.

And, yes, my perceived neighborhood gets bigger, every time!

I’m not at all sure how the Pope would feel if he knew he was on my Red Thread, today, but even while he was under general anesthesia, he was reminding me of some more folks on my thread who taught us that the whole world is our neighborhood.

And, yes, the world’s gotten a whole lot bigger than it used to seem.

But, let’s play what if???

What if we lived as if the whole world was our ‘hood? Not in the way the MAGA crowd plays that game, but in the way we made space for it Tuesday afternoon.

You see, it was Mattering Matters time!

A small circle of bright, concerned, artsy-type women with red thread and hope, gathered from Atlanta and North Carolina to the San Francisco Bay area to Nova Scotia, CA.

Part of our conversation had to do with a recent question which formed inside me:

How do we feel FOR other people and not lose the ability to be grateful for what IS good and working in our lives???

The answers are probably going to take a bit more pondering.

For now, though, red thread is a start.

The words we used to close our circle help, too…

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

You, by the way, matter, too! And Mattering Matters! I’d love to know what lights come on in your head when you make space for this notion! Leave a comment, below, or email me… suesvoice@gmail.com

For now, there’s another meeting about to start and – knowing this crowd – there’s going to be some mattering going on!

ps… the painting is my vision of a whole bunch of women in a red thread circle plotting more ways to matter!

pps… have some mattering ideas? Need some help figuring out how to breathe life into them? I’ve got lots of tools in my medicine basket that can help! Let’s talk. 45 min. My gift. The calendar elves will hook you up!

Imagining Kindergarten!

I never went to Kindergarten.

There wasn’t any where we lived. Well, not in the public school.

I used to imagine what it would be like, back in those days before Sesame Street

Somehow, it always felt like a place with friends and lots of stories. (And no little sisters to keep out of trouble!)

There were crayons in all the colors and none of them were broken. (Remember, I was imagining.) And, best of all, nobody laughed when you shared your pictures!

I think I have found my way there! And the teacher is my Intentional Creativity® Sister-Friend Jenafer Joy!

We’re exploring issues about home. And believe me, Marie Kondo has nothing on Jena!

I won’t even attempt to tell anyone else’s story… this is mine, so far. I began Friday… and didn’t even have to sit in the corner for being tardy!

There I sat, with my mixed media journal and a stack of magazines and catalogs for collage. Scissors – pointy ones! And some paste.

Imagine a catchy, fast-paced video with music and gentle instructions which translated, in the most basic sense, to making a collage of our home. The heart kind.

My first evening’s work felt stiff and over-thought, possibly because I never went to Kindergarten! It still looks pretty much that way, but it has shifted inside which is, of course, where the magic happens.

I’ve also realized that, when one is pasting, doing the background first might well be helpful!

And, you know what? I’m having a blast!

Somewhere during the second round of pasting, just after a bit of paint dripping on another project, I became conscious of the fact that I had moved – emotionally – a while back.

Moved to a house where the homeowners’ association does not object to the yard sign which reads:

Compassion Lives Here…

Moved to a place place where the goal is not to look alike, think alike, believe alike, love alike.

Please hear me say that I am hugely thankful for having a house. The actual, practical kind.

I’m also hugely thankful for this awareness of claiming the new space which has been becoming in my heart… at least since the days when my girls were born.

The word-person who lives inside me is thrilled that there are poems which go along with the pasting. Haiku. This is one of mine…

Compassion lives here

Curling outwards from my heart

Ancestor wisdom

I have no idea what comes next, but I am curious. And walking the Way of Love.

ps… walking, too??? Two new styles of capri leggings, ready for your next adventure! Start here, and wander!!! (One style has a secret code!!!)

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! https://www.inspiredinquiries.com/SweetHome

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!

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