Time for Secret Decoder Rings!

The Canine Fine Dining Hour is complete. Luther is kindly washing Phoebe’s ears. And I have a story for you that snuck up and surprised me in the best possible way!

It started when Bill and I wandered off to our own little version of Cheers! known to the locals as The Corner Pub. It was lunch time and I needed some help thinking through a list of plans I’ll let you in on soon.

We had our pick of wisely spaced tables on the sidewalk/patio which was great because I got one of those black iron chairs with the spring in it so it rocks.

Fried okra and roasted broccoli ordered (me) and we were on to the magic list complete with arrows and faces. Then I heard it.

A baby. About 9 months old. Doing a fabulous rendition of the Ba-ba-ba song. Without even thinking, I turned to wave. Mom and Grandma waved back.

That’s when it hit me. I was waaaaaayyy out of practice at waving at babies!

Here’s where the ring comes in.

In my world, waving at babies translates into making peace. It has for several years now.

One of the things I’ve been missing, though, all nested away in our house during the pandemic, has been waving at babies.

Yep. Waving at babies. Pay attention, please. The world is counting on you!

My favorite place for waving at babies is the big, International Farmers Market where we live. There are lots of babies there! Babies whose families come from parts of the world my 7th grade geography teacher never told me about. Babies balanced on top of cartloads of food I’d have no idea how to prepare.

Wave at babies. Smile, too, of course. Tell them they have cool shoes. Become less other. Less different. More same. Wave at babies at traffic lights and in restaurants. Most of them are serious flirts.

This is my plan for world peace.

It’s probably going to take a while, this plan of mine. Less, though, if we get all the grandmothers signed up. Your kids will see how you wave and they’ll start, too. And then the people with the babies will notice and just possibly smile. Pretty soon you’ve got a cart full of crazy looking produce, a nice pastured chicken, a decent bottle of wine, and some actual fresh bay leaves. And, if it’s been a good waving day, a couple of dozen fewer strangers in the world. All of which, one way or another, is a good thing for your kids to learn.

Boardman, 66

So, having waved and ba-ba-ba’ed, and realized how much I’ve been missing this, I fished one of my art cards – the one with the big heart full of prayer dots and a red thread – out of a pocket in my miraculous denim vest (Which I also didn’t realize how much I’d been missing!) and stopped by my new friends’ table as we were leaving.

Fortunately, it was easy to stay 6 feet away, while laying the card on the table and explaining that I’m an artist and lead groups for grandmothers.

(This, by the way, is how you know how serious I am about the Grandmother business… this talking to recent strangers, thing!)

I have no idea what will happen or whether I’ll ever encounter them again but I got back in the baby waving business today and I’m excited!

You, by the way, are welcome to join me. You don’t even have to graduate from Developing Capable People to get your membership card! (I’m in charge, these days!)

And there’s a whole bunch more good stuff waiting in the wings.

For today, thanks for reading. (Feel free to share!) And thanks for being you!!!

ps… the lovely lady who dropped by to wave at you is from my third Legend painting. The Dangerous Old Woman. Go ahead and wave back. She’ll know!

pss… If you’re interested in more about my book, Grandmothers Are In Charge of Hope you can snag one on Amazon or, in about a week, in my new Shopify store! Honorary Grammies and very brave Grampies are welcome, too!

You might have to squint!

If your world is at all like mine, you might spend some of your time taking your glasses off and putting them back on, trying to find out whether the image is clearer, “One or two,” as the doc would say.

Even if things aren’t quite as complex at your house, you may need to squint a bit at the photo, above, to find the beginnings of a face.

This was the very, very early days of what became my third Legend painting. And Legend paintings are, by a huge majority, self portraits of a sort.

I’m quite a bit farther along with my (overly optimistic) attempts to paint something portrait-like of Congressman John Lewis and yet the big truth of Intentional Creativity (and, according to a different legend, Michelangelo) holds true.

I am still learning.

Some days that learning feels like the old Peter Paul & Mary song about a lemon tree. (Feel free to sing along!)

A sadder [one], but wiser now, I sing these words to you…

Much of the time I’m not quite sure what I feel or where I am on my path. Not because I’m no place, for which I’m quite grateful, but because I’m many places.

And how, when you think about it, could we not be?

Here’s what I do know:

I am a Grandmother…

A Dangerous Old Woman.

Dangerous in the sense that Dr. Estes means when she talks about standing in the danger – or protection – of a wise old tree.

My Red Madonna Psalms painting is turning into a tree.

And, about now, you might be wondering where all this is heading. Frankly, I’m right there with you!

Here’s what I do know. It is my path in this moment. I think it’s a safe bet that the world could use quite a few dangerous old women. (Old, being of course, an empowering thing!)

I can feel some invitations threading themselves together for the future. The near future. I’ll keep you posted!

For now, though, words, and glue, and John Lewis. And a big pan of shrimp and rainbow chard with enough leftovers for soup.

ps… One last chance to help Gloria before her deposits are due. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. She’s nowhere near old yet, but she’s got a head start on the dangerous thing! Just click here!

Quite the Adventure!

At the risk of sounding like one of my many-great grandmothers regailing you with stories of a long boat ride to America, Bill and I went out to dinner!

The occasion was our 30th and 31st anniversaries. Last year was way too scary and this year was somewhat less scary due to our being fully vaccinated.

I would be less than truthful if I didn’t tell you that I was a bit anxious. Nonetheless, off we set for The Iberian Pig, one of our absolute favs on the square in Decatur. This after ascertaining that we could make reservations for an outdoor table.

I had to dust my shoes before we left!

The pockets of my trusty denim vest were filled with the usual artistically covered phone, business cards, art cards and lip gloss. Also stuffed in there, a “dressy” mask and my favorite bottle of hand sanitizer.

It was, blessedly, less scary in practice than in theory.

The food was, as ever, fabulous! Especially the pork cheek tacos!!!

The servers were considerate and careful.

And I missed our kids!

Both girls adore the famous green things known in our family as owl-wivs. They would eat nothing else for dinner if we’d let them and at this point, I’d probably let them. (Shhhhh….)

It’s been a weekend for big things that feel new.

Gloria graduated with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies and a pretty fancy award to go with it. All of which makes helping her with the funding for her PhD work feel even more important. The world needs her voice!

If you’d like to help, you can read more, here… https://gofund.me/8417ad9b All gifts are hugely appreciated!

It feels to me a lot like living in the Village at Columbia did, in the late ’80’s. We watched each others kids, fed our neighbors, and did our homework together.

Tonight, though, it’s homework time at my house, for I am learning new things. Again. And sending blessings to you and yours!

ps… the lovely lady at the top is Gloria’s painting of Rahab who saved her family with a red thread!

Giving Thanks!

After three days of hail storms and tornadoes in the area and trees down over wide parts of town, I am blessed to be able to say that the house didn’t fall on us and the trees didn’t fall on the house. (Read that new roof and solar panels!)

Today is grey and gloomy, with an in-between feeling about it. Like waiting for whatever is next.

The beasties are anxious.

Malicious elves somehow climbed into my laptop and made all my favorite bookmarks disappear. (This is NOT a happy event!)

What I had planted in the garden looks pretty beat up.

Bill went to the Farmers Market with 10 things on his list and came home with two. This is a statement about existential weirdness in the neighborhood, not about Bill!

Blessedly, the space in our house formerly known as the breakfast room which now most resembles an appliance showroom, has two freezers in it!

Thus, our menu for this evening… thawed stuff on a bun with real tomatoes!

My calendar is running over with tech-y things inclined to make me want to hide.

The atmospheric pressure is still out of wack because of the weather which makes the things that hurt, hurt more than usual.

Here’s the weird thing… It’s all good!

Today I got to tell the person who’s been my best friend since the first day of seventh grade, “Happy Birthday!” despite a previous adventure with a very nasty brain aneurysm.

My Soul Expression Breakthrough group is doing amazing work as we round the bend to the future.

Gloria, my Intentional Creativity/Seminary intern, has finished her last class before graduation! (Details to follow…)

My painting of John Lewis has told me what comes next!

And, odd as this may seem, I have words for what I do!

Are you ready?

(Am I?)

Here goes…

You know how we get stuck sometimes and all the stories and tips and rules we’ve learned don’t help us to see what’s next?

Well, that’s what I do! I help women, many of them grandmothers, use the creativity deep in their souls to nurture the lives they long for! ®

There will be lots of examples, and opportunities to join in, coming soon. And I’m here if you have questions.

For this moment, the beasties are hungry and there’s only one answer to that. Sardines!

ps… Oh, and blessings for you and yours… from the early days of a Legend painting.

pps… If you haven’t joined the blog mailing list yet, and are curious about what’s coming, now would be a great time! Just click that annoying thing that usually drives you nuts while you’re reading and join the family!

What Grandmothers Do!

Last night I did what grandmothers do. I wept in relief at the news coverage of the verdict in the George Floyd case, while praying for all of our children in this world. And I got up every twenty minutes or so to wash my hands and baste the chickens roasting in our oven.

And as I wept and basted I thought of the genealogy work I’ve been doing and the fact that, on Monday night, I had managed to work my way back to 20 generations of direct ancestors on my Gramma Elsie’s side of the family. Back to the 1300’s. People with names!

Back to the time when very few women could read and nobody could vote and there was no CNN for everyone to gather around and find out what was happening.

Luther needed water. Great heroes of the American Civil Rights movement spoke. And one of George Floyd’s brothers said, “We’re gonna sleep, but we’ve still got to work.”

And we do.

I don’t know what that means in your world.

I do know that in mine, it means that we have to admit that something is wrong before we can work to fix it.

Monday, I went to see my doctor. I had an earache and chills and a rash on my arm. I’d been doing my usual home remedy routine, including olive oil with garlic in my ear. I wanted it to get better.

But I wasn’t getting there on my own and I’d about exhausted my DIY options. And, most importantly of all, I couldn’t see in my own ear!

A proud possessor of an otoscope, my doctor had a different perspective. I did, indeed, have an infection. And the rash on my arm, along with the odd chills, were pronounced a vaccine reaction.

Now I have different stuff to put in my ear and on my arm. Stuff that came with more information and perspective.

[Time out for a public service message about vaccines… I have strange body chemistry and react to all kinds of things. Frankly, I was surprised I didn’t react to the first shot. PLEASE don’t let the fact that this has been a bit more challenging for me keep you from having a vaccine if at all possible for you. For the vast majority of us, and for all those around us, the risks of not having the vaccine are much greater than the risks of having it.]

Now, back to our story…

As the chickens roasted on, and I cried through CNN, I was hugely proud of and grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris.

My heart believes that the verdict in this case was what it needed to be for for the memory of George Floyd and for his family. My head knows that our work is far from done.

Kamala Harris said, “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”

And Joe Biden assured George Floyd’s daughter that “Daddy changed the world,” calling for a legacy of peace, not violence, in the name of “justice.”

I suspect we’re still going to be working on these issues throughout my life. It won’t be easy.

Here’s one thing I do know. It’s time to teach our children different than so many of us were taught. Not by lecturing, but by modeling. And time to hold not only hope, but accountability.

I’m not the only one with kids growing up in this world!

ps… that’s Tree Woman, watching over my shoulder while I get set up for week 2 of Soul Expression Breakthrough. email me for info on a new group starting soon, or for the Premium option if you’d prefer to work individually with me suesvoice@gmail.com

pps… long awaited hair cut soon! Fully vaccinated salon! (I’m still on it, Mr. President!)

I want a ring!

Nope. Probably not what you’re thinking, though I’m so hoping you’ll stick around to find out!

Yesterday, Bill and I had our second Covid vaccinations. It was quite the adventure!

We went to a different vax site than the first round. Much closer, mileage wise, than before. The annoying woman in Bill’s phone who was navigating neglected to mention some type of major glitch with I-85 in Atlanta and, yes, to quote my West Wing buddies, that’s a road which generally gets used a lot.

We got there, though, and followed the big signs all over an abandoned shopping mall for where to park and how long to stay in the car. (It was 80 degrees yesterday!) Then, once we were inside, we followed green arrows on the floor and the vague directions of yellow-vested helpers until I began to hope we’d wind up in Oz, where I’m pretty sure a vaccine is not needed.

No biggie on the actual injection front. Just a gentle warning from the kind nurse that “some people were having more symptoms than with the first dose.”

We had been warned by my sister and son that this might well be the case.

So, what, you are probably wondering, does any of this have to do with a ring?

Well, this is a Great Grampie story!

First you need to know that we moved a whole lot when I was a kid.

It all began in the sixth house we lived in before I got to first grade. Early 1960’s. Split level “modern” house with an actual farmer in the backyard.

My sister, who was 2 or 3 houses less along, had trouble with her one year old molars. According to the pediadontist, they had no enamel and were in great danger of decaying and causing all her other teeth to move around.

So, the adventure of the stainless steel crowns. My dad and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room which wasn’t so bad for me because they had good toys.

They also gave every patient (and occasionally their sisters) a plastic bejeweled ring in an enlightened effort not to pass out lollypops.

Fast forward a bit and my dad was dealing with the need to have his wisdom teeth removed. Sadly, the pediadontist was a bit out of his league and a referral was made.

This time, Mom and my sister and I held vigil in the waiting room and listened to all the directions about sedation and soft foods for when he was finished.

After what seemed like forever, a nurse appeared with my dad in a wheelchair, face twice the usual size, yelling, “I want a ring!”

It’s been a family joke for ages. One that came vividly to mind this morning when some clueless but well-meaning soul woke me with a lawnmower. I was achy and a bit dizzy and the first thing that came to my mind was, indeed, “I want a ring!”

It’s entirely possible that Bill wants one even more than I do at the moment.

Now, I can almost hear you wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, my answer is the same as it was last time.

President Biden asked me to.

And, after leading my wondrous new group of Soul Expression Breakthrough sisters before we set off in search of the vax place, there’s another answer as well.

I’m telling you this because, as nutty-crunchy a consumer of health care as I am, I went and had the vaccine for my girls.

So I can hug them, for sure. But also so that we’ll learn about this whole pandemic thing and get enough in front of it that those we love won’t be counting empty chairs around holiday tables.

So they can feel safe in school. (And, yes, that one has other factors to work on, but this is what I can do today.)

And because I’m hoping that somebody, somewhere will read this story and realize that they, too, have some really big reasons for getting vaccinated. In the meantime, more tea and, probably, a nap.

Blessings for you and yours!

And thanks that there is extra soup in our fridge! This is definitely a soup sort of adventure!

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