Life in the Real World!

Can you spell D-E-N-T-I-S-T???

Fortunately, I can. And I have a good one to call!

It started slowly, late last week, the discomfort in the right side of my mouth. Kinda lower jaw. With some interference by an upper tooth that seemed to be taking up more space than usual.

And it grew, as these things have a tendency to do.

So, Tuesday – very early – an appointment with the new guy in my recently retired, much appreciated, dentist’s office.

Before I bring you up to speed, I should probably mention that I’m not the world’s optimal dental patient.

I’m allergic to everything and have a super-sensitive gag reflex. The new guy – bless him – was very supportive. And, after a bit of studying the x-rays, dispatched me to an oral surgeon. (Joy, rapture, and bliss… not!)

Let’s just say that there has been a whole lot of electronic form filing to do! And calendar juggling. And pondering of Filters! Really!!!

We’ll begin with naming the all-important context. One word… Tooth!!!

I know… there’s still news happening. And painting to do. And that pot of bone broth, ready for the freezer. And a book hatching in my dreams.

Then there’s Stephen Covey whispering, as he has a tendency to do, his really helpful strategy for determining what’s next. It goes kinda like this…

Any given thing on my list, or yours, or the world’s, is two of these four things…

Urgent – Important – Not Urgent – Not Important

You, clever soul, have already realized that Not Urgent – Not Important things don’t make it to the top of the list very often.

The pain, however, rapidly climbed to Urgent – Important!

At least on my list! Then came explaining it to the people with the schedules…

Which brought up another Filter for me. The deep, old, familiar kind that sounds like… brave girls don’t complain. Followed rapidly by… don’t nag!

Blessedly, there are some other Filters inside. Memories of major allergies to pain meds and antibiotics. My allergies. And the fact that the epi-pen bit really isn’t much fun.

Oh! And the fact that nothing about Christmas with the kids gets better if I’m in lots of pain and can’t eat what the the girls love to cook.

And, then, the one that surprised me…

What I need matters!

Not more than what others need. And not less!!!

What really, really matters, though, is that I can model this for my girls!

So, I told my story, several times, and explained why dealing with all this as soon as possible would be really helpful. (Determined, I think, is the best way to say it.)

By the time you read this, there will be an actual plan. And, I suspect, more calendar issues to juggle. And, logistics. And, frankly, I’m not imagining I’m going to enjoy the next steps too much.

Here’s the thing, though… dental issues aren’t fun. Especially the sneaky kind. But coping with adventures like this just goes better when we can do it from a position of aligned intention and voice!

There’s another Filter that’s feeling handy about now… An edited one!!! My Mom believed, on some deep level, that the way to stay safe was to do everything the way Granny did. Including the massive holiday dinner with the very same menu, every time. It was delicious!

What Granny really wanted, though, was for us to all feel loved and safe.

And the way for me to do that, in this context is to deal with this health issue as soon as possible, even if that does mean two days before Thanksgiving… which it does! I’m quite sure Granny is fine with that. And that helps!

Dental insurance helps a whole lot, too… which feels like a huge reminder in our world just now.

In this moment, I’m curious…

What might things be like for you if you added this story to your Medicine Basket, just in case it came in handy??? What doors might open??? I really want to know! Leave a comment, below, or email me. Be brave!!! suesvoice@gmail.com

Oh! The art, above, is my digital teddy bear, if you will, for this adventure! In my heart, at least, the very brave figure, who may well represent some of my Cathar ancestors, was kind enough to volunteer!

ps… curious about the Filters! thing??? I can help! Here are some possibilities…

pps… just for you! My favorite recipe for Key Lime Pie… with a gluten-free nut crust variation! It’s really good… even if it’s not on the Filter list of the way we’ve always done it!

ppps… the print-on-demand elves are making woobies! Here’s Daphne with hers, under the painting which inspired it. And, here’s more info!

When tears are teachers!

On Saturday morning, for the first time since the time change, I actually slept! This was good news for a number of reasons ­čśë

Then, I fixed myself a cuppa (organic ginger tea) flipped on the news and started weeding my email.

Then, I cried.

President Biden, clearly moved, laying the wreath at Arlington Cemetery. Commander-in-Chief. And father of a soldier whose life was cut short in the aftermath of his service.

The bugler blowing Taps.

A flashback moment for me. Oddly, summer camp! Jean, our loving “commander-in-chief” blowing Taps each evening for lights out.

All is well… safely rest.

And it was, in that small bit of the world, back then.

Some nights, when I had a Jr. Counselor to help mind the campers, I would walk with Jean, through the dark forest, in the moonlight. We marveled together at the night creatures and made plans for the morning.

In many ways, God was nigh.

Then, I was transported back to this day and time, as the Marine Corp band played The Star Spangled Banner.

The auditory-digital processor inside me wasn’t quite so sure enough of us are still invested in the land of the free.

What I do know is that if we actually want to be the land of the free, instead of a bunch of people singing about the way we’re convinced we’ve always done it, we need to get serious!

Time out for deep breaths while I soothe the voice inside me doing 47 choruses of Nice girls don’t talk about…

Somebody has to!

About that time, The Legendary Husband returned home with a car full of paintings. My paintings. The ones you see above. And I cried.

Frankly, I was surprised to realize how much I’d missed them while they’d been off being scanned. Not just in general, but these. Now.

So… time out to start another load of laundry and make another cuppa.

You see, my next right thing involved watching the newest Black Madonna video in an Intentional Creativity® space where I hang out.

I spent an hour with the amazing Anasuya Isaacs, wandering through history and creation stories via the lens of the ever-emerging MA.

Then, the light bulb!

Anasuya shared a quote with us…

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” – Toni Morrison.

And I cried some more, realizing that I hadn’t just missed my paintings because they’re mine. I missed them because they are me, helping our world to heal, in part by claiming my power to make new. To help heal ME!

Eventually, Sunday morning came along, as it does.

More tea. More laundry. And a good dose of MSNBC!

Sadly, there was more to the story at Arlington on Saturday. We now know that the lives of 5 soldiers were lost in a training mission on Friday.

And, it seems that a GOP House rep, whose name I didn’t catch and can’t find, was musing on the whole budget crisis bit. His comment…

I don’t think the Lord Jesus, himself, could govern us in this moment!

I disagree!!!

The way I read the Book, I suspect that Easa/Yeshua/Jesus would tip over a bunch of tables and throw the money-changers out of the temple we refer to as the House of Representatives… in order to make a point about what we should be trying to accomplish!

Now, you don’t have to agree with that. You can toss it aside as a retired preacher having a Sunday morning flashback, if you like. It’s okay!

Here’s what I am hoping you’ll do…

Help this world heal, now, by being your best, most visionary, creative self! And putting it out there!

ps… shopping to do??? There are great new things at FierceArtWithHeart! Start on this page for one of my very favs and leave yourself time to wander….

pps… feeling stuck getting your “it” out there? I can help! Check out these options and email me if you have questions! suesvoice@gmail.com

ppps… oh! I promised recipes!!! Here’s a great place to start… make a batch and use it to make dressing or gravy or help soothe your frazzled soul. (The pot’s on now at our house! It smells like heaven!!!)

On the one hand…

There are actual stock pots whispering in my head! Really, really big ones!

Having more or less survived election day, my Muse seems to have moved on to the upcoming American holiday which involves the Legendary Husband’s favorite food.

Yep! Turkey!

Which, at least around here, involves a whole lot more stuff like wild rice and homemade bone broth and a surprising number of onions.

And that, dear friends, involves shopping! Which involves really specific list-making skills!

Question number one is: Who are we feeding? At least that’s question number one if your family – like ours – has widely varying notions of the food thing.

Here’s the place we all agree… as clean and local and sustainable as possible!

This, in case you’re curious, fits in the strategy section of the Filters! world view.

And it’s tied – at least for me – to the belief that says, Our choices – yours and mine – matter!!!

Which seems both blatantly obvious and considerably optimistic on this, the day after the day when a whole lot of folks, in the same USA where the whole traditional Thanksgiving thing was born/invented, did the thing called voting!

On the other hand…

There’s the thing called vested interest!

Power FOR – vs Power OVER.

Sustainable Local Farms – vs -Big AG

Real History – vs – Book Bans

Human Rights – vs – The Religious Right

And, somehow, in the midst of it all, the elusive notion of GRATITUDE!

It’s hard these days. I hear you!

It’s also something of a learned strategy. And we can all start right where we are!

Like this…

I’m thankful for stock pots and local farmers and Intentional Creativity┬« and a new book hatching and a partner who loves me, and for finding my calling in the notion of Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother.

I’m thankful for learning that spirituality is much deeper, wider, and stronger than doctrine.

I’m thankful for voting as an expression of hope.

I’m thankful for you… on your path!

And I’m thankful for prayer dots. Today, lots and lots of dots for Chesed. Steadfast Love. Dots for Mark and for Kim and for actual servant leaders and for the enormous gift of the feminine and masculine partnership in our Divine Creator, who entrusted us with the ability to learn and grow.

May it be so.

For now, while I’m still sorting recipes, I’m filling the medicine box known as our pantry with sustainably raised wild rice, fresh bay leaves, organic onions, and organic, really, really dark chocolate! (We’re not huge fans of the pumpkin pie thing…)

Also some staple items to share. (If you’re similarly inclined, remember hand-crank can openers!)

The freezer’s already full of the stuff that goes in the stock pot! And, yes, we bought it all from folks I’m glad to hug!

Why???

Because I have 2 granddaughters trying very hard to grow up in this world… and it needs a whole lot of help!

ps… Curious??? Let’s talk! 45 min. My gift. Your dreams. And some Red Thread, if it’s handy!

pps… a painting can be a woven blanket! Coming soon to FierceArtWithHeart! For this moment, more things to help you warm up! (And look really cool!)

46 years ago, today…

Or, perspective really is everything!!!

You know all the fairy tales full of happily ever after? Well, that was not my early experience!

There I was, in the church where I grew up, dressed like a doll on a cake and staring down the aisle at a whole lot of folks I knew. And one I had promised to marry.

The music started, as the music does in those events.

And so did my first panic attack!

I shook from head to toe. My heart raced. I couldn’t breathe. It took every muscle in my body to do what I was expected to do and put one foot in front of the other.

In those days I had not discovered the wonders of neuro-linguistic programming. If I had, I might have realized that – primary kinesthetic processor that I am – every cell in my body was screaming, NO!!!

A whole lot of things would have been different, had I listened.

And yet, I’m glad I didn’t.

Because, if I had, I wouldn’t be who I am, now. I wouldn’t have the amazing, wonderful family I have.

I wouldn’t have learned a whole lot of things that are now helping me help others on their paths.

Just between us, I used to dread this day. This reminder.

And then, somewhere along the way, I noticed that I had quit noticing it, and that was a relief in many ways.

This year is different.

This year I’ve spent the day making room for the things I’m learning. Room in my heart and mind. Room in my calendar. And room in my house.

Our house. And the Legendary Husband has been there every step of the way!

We’ve forged ahead in the wrestling match with the Closet Monsters. The laundry machines are doing what they do. There will be really good ribs for dinner. And fresh Black Mission figs! And there is paint drying after a circle of Red Madonna sisters met for some deep sharing and support.

As I listened to their stories, I was reminded that life is not about what everybody thinks you should be and do. It’s not about getting it all right the first time. It’s not about never making choices which don’t turn out the way we imagined.

Instead, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other. It’s about asking to be witnessed when we need to be. It’s about not trying to fix everything all by ourselves.

And, it’s about celebrating the people and the beliefs and the practices that help us do those things.

One day at a time.

So be it… for me and for you and for all of us…

ps… the art at the top is from yesterday’s Flower Power Intentional Creativity┬« adventure! As intentions go, it works for me! If you have some intentions that matter to you, I’d like to help! Just let the calendar elves hook you up with 45 minutes. My gift. I’ve got great ideas for next steps!

pps… If you happen to have any figs handy, here’s a great thing to do with them! Rinse them very gently and wipe even more gently with a paper towel. Trim off the stem and slice them in half. Let them sit for a bit, drizzled with really, really good Balsamic vinegar. The sticky kind! Then, sprinkle them with cracked red or black pepper corns and freshly crumbled flaky sea salt. Enjoy!

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!

Miracles Abound!

Please read! Even if you think you hate – gulp! – asparagus…

This adventure isn’t really so much about vegetables as it is about hope and newness!

And creativity!

Are you with me?

First, a tiny history lesson… My sister, who has turned into a charming person, was not a fan of veg growing up. The only two vegetables she would voluntarily eat were corn and peas.

Mom, being a dedicated sort, was afraid her baby would starve. Thus, we ate a whole lot of corn and peas. I was fine with the corn part. I, emphatically, did not care for peas.

All this began when we still lived up North. Mom tended adventurously in the direction of frozen veg instead of canned. (Blessed be!!!) Trust me, though, when I tell you that there was only so much frozen corn & peas a foodie sort of kid (me!) could handle.

(Don’t even get me started on the whole tv dinner bit with peas and carrot cubes!!!)

Fast forward to the move to Florida. Suddenly, there were lots more choices and many of those were fresh! I was thrilled. The fan of frozen corn and peas, not so much.

I learned asparagus, steamed. With Granny’s lemon butter sauce. I liked it. Much better than peas!!!

Still, all those years ago, I had no idea how great veg could really be! The secret… roasting! (Recipe to follow.) First, the reason all this is bubbling inside me today!

I learned something new!

In one of the lands where I hang out, we are concluding the month on our very quirky calendar which is dedicated to the womb chakra and Intimacy essential oil. And, yes… this is all relatively new for me, too!

We did not cover chakras and essential oils in nursing school or seminary! These things are filed, in my mental library, under the notion that there are some things that were true before the things that we learned were true were true… and some of them are helpful, still!

Anyway… when the lightbulb came on yesterday, in our Sister Circle, what I realized is that, in the midst of this Crone Moon phase, lots of the womb and intimacy energy is around creativity. Not the kind that makes babies, so much, as the kind that births images which allow me/us to interact with our deepest hopes and dreams in new ways. In the world.

One of those recent acts of creativity, for me, looked like this in the early days:

And, yes, I’m making leggings out of this, too. A way to walk through the world wrapped in a great reminder of what it means to me to create in partnership with Creator. (And they’re really comfortable!)

But, first… let’s roast some asparagus!

If you don’t already have a patch in your garden, hunt for fresh, sustainably raised asparagus. (The myth about the bigger the stalk, the better, is just that. A myth!) I choose stalks about the size of my little finger.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse asparagus lightly, under cold water. Snap off the bottom ends where they want to separate. We’re keeping the tops!!! Pat dry.

Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. (Preferably the non-tox kind!) Spread spears across the tray, leaving some room between them.

Drizzle lightly with really good olive oil – even garlic olive oil! – and dust with good sea salt and ground pepper corns… not too fine!

Roast for about 10 minutes, until hot and tasty… not mushy!

Enjoy!

Then, take a minute to notice, please, what might want creating in your world! It’s going to take a whole lot of us!!!

ps… one of those things for me is an upcoming book-baby with a whole village full of mamas. Stay tuned!

pps… a great many veg can be roasted in the same way. Green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, winter squash…. Use your imagination! Just adjust sizes and times!

ppps… there are more leggings with great stories, already, at FierceArtWithHeart! Also, it’s now way easier to find sizing details. Thanks, Cherie and Veronica!

What does a Dangerous Old Woman do on Super Bowl Weekend???

I would imagine there are lots of answers to that question.

Nearly as many, perhaps, as there are people who claim the honorary Dangerous Old Woman label!

Being even more football avoidant these days than usual, here’s some of my list… With surprises at the end!

First, another lap and a half around my new indoor workout space, Kudzu, which doubles as a huge store filled with assorted vintage goodies, art, old windows, and the occasional dog learning to meet new people.

Use your imagination! I’ll take pics next time.

I planned for two whole laps but someone showed up with a big batch of furniture and the traffic got challenging. I’m still claiming the win! Browsing helps distract from – you know – exercising!

Then… bones to boil! The dear person known as my Fav Niece is having surgery shortly and that will mean a few weeks of liquid nourishment.

Blessedly, the freezer is well stocked at the moment. It will be sometime late Monday before the magic is all made. Fortunately, the mythical cauldron is up for the adventure.

Phoebe is camped out in the kitchen, nose twitching like a rabbit, praying that somebody drops something.

Fortunately, other things can go on while the broth simmers.

A video recorded with lots of hopes in mind. The whole converting/editing/posting bit is someone else’s department! I drew pictures and talked! (Natalie and Daphne helped!)

Not bad for a recovering camera-phobe!

Then, meatloaf!

I’ve adapted the way we’ve always done it version I learned from Mom to skip the carbs for the Legendary Husband. I even hide some veggies in there…

It works!!! Our local farmer buddies are a huge help!

Eight cute little loaves stashed in the freezer and one headed for the oven, momentarily.

Then, lest we bored, it seems Grandmother Moon decided the video could use a wee bit of editing. And, she was right! I learned something new, explaining a thing I’ve done dozens of times!

Grandmother Moon is generally right…

So, take two. Prayers for the cloud appreciated.

There’s painting to do, of course. And steps in the direction of further out-from-under-the-rock beginnings. I’d like to share two of those with you and your Muse! There’s not much time, though!!!

First, an invitation from my friend, Astara Jane Ashley, of Flower of Life Press. Just click HERE to read about having your writing included in an upcoming anthology project. I’m so excited to be involved! Here’s the thing, though… if you even suspect you could be interested, check it out NOW. The doors close Monday evening!

Then, it’s Red Madonna time again! A year long journey in the Intentional Creativity┬« tradition. Painting. Writing. Being in the Red Tent with creative, supportive sisters. Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Havi Brysk Mandell will be leading the way and I’m thrilled to be part of the team, calling women just like you, just like I learned from Dr. E, to the fireside of the dangerous old woman! (And you don’t need previous painting or Intentional Creativity┬« experience to join us!) Click here to learn all about it.

Seriously, what would it hurt to explore???

And, now… For you from me! A trophy, perhaps. For all of us who are showing up for the real Super Bowl… called life! Just click here..

pps… stuff bubbling inside??? Dreams to claim? Paths to plan? Let’s talk! Just ask the calendar elves to hook you up with 45 minutes, as my gift!

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