…and ANOTHER great question!

Okay, I know this will be a shock, but I was painting last night and making prayer dots – the fingerprint kind! Dots for a dear friend and her dad, who is having some health issues.

Communication with the hospital has been a bit of a challenge. (Well… more than a bit!)

She was, quite understandably, worried. And, if we’re being honest, I was worried about her.

As she and I touched base back and forth, I had an inspiration. A question I had never thought to ask, before…

What can you do to take care of yourself while you worry???

Telling people they shouldn’t worry never seems to do much good.

Telling MYSELF not to worry never seems to do much good.

In fact… and this is another new thought as I’m literally typing these words…

Worry feels somehow deeply related to compassion! Even – or perhaps, especially – fierce compassion!

I don’t know who James Redfield is but his name is the one that popped up when I searched for an old quote tickling my consciousness…

Where the attention goes… the energy flows.

It sure works that way for me. Not always, I should add, in a productive or nurturing kind of way!

Which brings us back to worrying. And the wild notion of what we might be able to do for ourselves while we do the worrying that sometimes just is.

You know me… often I boil bones. Even the aroma in the house is soothing for me. And, often, I can give the broth to the beloveds I’m worrying over.

And, dots, of course. Kinesthetic, auditory-digital, and visual processing. Whole person praying. Like walking a labyrinth. Or celebrating communion. Prayer knitting works really well, too, though it’s pretty hard on my hands these days.

And, yes… had I been raised right by other people in other places, I might mention that this whole conversation is a pretty good argument for rosaries, too.

All of which brings us to cookies. Really!

Specifically, the shortbread cookies that come clear from Scotland in wee plaid packages. They are whole-person comfort food for me, with remarkably whole-food ingredients. I love the aroma when I tear open one of those packages. And the barely sweet crunch. They make my teeth happy… especially when dipped in a smidge of flakey sea salt. And my ears!

And, like so many things in our world, few is often better than many… though it looks like more when they break! So…

Staying fresh. Nearby. A conscious choice, rather than something along the lines of I’m walking by the big box on the shelf in the kitchen so I should just grab some! (Especially when part of my deal with my Physical Therapist involves going “the long way around” on my path from here to there!)

Will cookies solve all the problems of the world. Sadly, not!

Does having a medicine basket with multi-sensory strategies for comfort help? It does! Especially when it helps us honor all of who we are and what matters to us.

In my world, this is all about seeing consciously, so that we can get from if only… to I am! Curious??? Let’s talk! 30 min. My gift. It could well be your next right thing!

ps… some of my best advice for Intentional Creativity painters is plant lots of roses!

pps… there’s still time to join the amazing community known as Red Madonna… Celebratrix. A year-long adventure in medicine painting and claiming our lives! All the info is here! The doors open Friday! (And you can do this… even if you’ve never painted before. Really!)

’twas the night before Easter and all through the house…

You guessed it!

Not a creature was stirring… not even a mouse. (Blessed be!)

Instead there is paint drying, which is always a hopeful sign. In this case, a dove, needing quite a bit of adjustment. One layer at a time!

There is broth bubbling on the stove and a veggie experiment waiting in the wings. We are, however, without baskets and bunnies, though there is really dark chocolate!

Our kids have made it safely home from Spring Break in Columbia. The country… not the Seminary! (Hallelujah!!!)

In the way-back days, I used to think Easter meant Mom making dresses and insisting that jelly beans – especially the black ones – were utterly essential. Yuck! (Which I wasn’t allowed to say…)

Then, I learned a lot more stuff, and Easter felt more like a Divine gift for having survived Lent and Palm Sunday and Holy Week and an extra service or two for the big day… all in shoes that hurt. And, ironically, it often seemed like the story of that first Easter got lost in all the hullaballoo.

Lately, I’ve learned some more stuff… much of it having to do with realizing that the “point” of any story has a great deal to do with the vested interest of the particular tellers of the story, through the ages.

Then, on Friday evening, I heard a version of the Easter story I’d never heard before, thanks to my enlightened Canadian buddy, Natalie Moyes. I’m so hoping you’ll listen deep!

Early on the first day of the week, Strong Tears (Mary) from Tower of Creator’s High Lodge (Magdala) came to the burial cave early in the morning while it was still dark.  When she saw the stone had been removed from the burial cave, she ran to find Stands on the Rock (Peter) and He Shows Goodwill (John), the much-loved followers of Creator Sets Free (Jesus).
               -John 20:1-2, FNV

Time out for tissues and one of my favorite bits of wisdom from Frederick Buechner:

That sudden flash of tears is the surest sign of truth we get!

And, yes, wise reader… it’s a filter thing!

To make space for the notion that an unaccustomed voice might shine new light on an old story…

A voice aiming to make the circle bigger, rather than smaller. To be open to new language and names and possibilities…

Which, when you get right down to it, seems a lot like the point!

In a moment, I’ll add the info Natalie sent me about the FNV or First Nations Version in case you’re curious.

For now, though, a question:

Here’s one of the ways I’m working on exactly that!

She’s not quite finished yet, but agreed to show up… complete with the dove who landed on her knee, right after Natalie read me the words from the FNV Easter Story. (Really!)

Officially, she’s the alchemical being arising from the journey I’m leading, known as …

We’re about to conclude this first adventure and I’m already shaking the calendar for the next right time. You can read all about it here!

Think of it as some very cool learning, and help creating your very own Alchemical SuperPower Self Portrait to guide you on your path.

ps… if you just can’t wait for the next group to begin, I have space for 3 brave individual adventurers! (suesvoice@gmail.com)

pps… here’s more of the story on the FNV reading…

In 2021, a group of Indigenous clergy, scholars, church leaders and members, published a new translation of the New Testament, called the FNV or First Nations Version. The group consists of individuals from a range of denominations and Indigenous nations in both Canada and the United States. As the quotation above from the Gospel of John reveals, the FNV is not a literal translation of the New Testament but a “thought-for thought translation, sometimes referred to as dynamic equivalence” [1] as the Indigenous group explains in an introduction to the text. They make an effort to write with a story-telling cadence, familiar to Indigenous readers. Throughout the translation, insertions may be found that help elucidate the text (such as by the bracketed inclusion of more familiar Biblical names) but also to provide contextualized information for Indigenous readers, such as may be found in other Bible translations that employ headings, footnotes, and marginal notes to aid the reader. There’s even a very brief summary of the Old Testament written in similar style to the main translation which is included as a prologue. Importantly, the authors emphasize that the FNV is not only commended to the use of Indigenous Christians but to all members of the Christian community who they hope will find the FNV insightful and enlightening in their own study of holy scripture.

Making “orders” easier to follow!

So, the “O” word really isn’t one of my favorites.

Flashbacks, I suspect, from when the scrub-clad people shouting orders were known as, Sir! and were all too happy to tell me I didn’t get paid to think, while trying to grab my butt.

Not all of them… but way too many for my comfort!

Through the years, though, I’ve found several different ways to deal with the orders my various orthopedic challenges keep putting in my path.

Take yesterday. Newly negotiated orders from my highly enlightened physical therapist, having more than a little to do with knees and feet. Moving, as you might suspect, was involved.

I’m not coordinated enough to paint while simultaneously doing the point and flex thing with my right ankle. And there’s a lot of painting to do!

There is also sunshine today. And flowers blooming! So, instead of following orders, I took myself on a stroll through the garden, camera in tow! My intention was appreciation and pleasure, which feels a lot more inviting than however many reps of the ankle thing! And, I even stood in the space between the sage and the roses and did some more official ankle stuff.

Then, I found more fiddleheads! They felt like magical, fairy tale surprises!!! Like Creator at play!

There really was a lot to appreciate out there! Including the hiking pole which helps me not – you know – fall down!

Here’s the big message, though…

I learned much of this shift in perception and strategy at my easel, in the magical land of Intentional Creativity® !!!

Would I kid you about this??? Not a chance!

And the counselor/coach part of me is thrilled!

Shaming and blaming people is no way to help them become who they long to be. Even when they are we!

All of which is a huge reminder that my old friend, Steve Glenn, was right! Here are his words from back in the mid ’80’s when I worked with him…

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

I’ll bet my last nickel that, if Steve were with us today, he’d absolutely agree that the way to start doing that for others is to begin by doing it for ourselves!

So… a question!

What is YOUR version of a walk in the garden while the paint dries???

I really want to know! For this moment, though, I’m off to witness some fabulous artwork from my Red Madonna sisters. My Prophetess is still in the #wip Wednesday phase, but agreed to drop in to say hi. Squint and you might glimpse the beginnings of an owl and a tortoise who insisted on joining the party.

I’m okay with orders from The Muse!

ps… need a reminder that you matter??? This one holds tea or coffee or cacao!!! And it has lots of friends to check out! Take a break and wander through FierceArtWithHeart!

Isn’t that blasphemy???

This question from a dear friend, who continued with… bone broth in an Instant Pot???

The answer, of course, is that depends! Since I’m the one about to answer, it depends – as most questions do – on whom you’re asking and what you’re trying to accomplish!

Let’s do truth. As true as I know it.

First, the definition. Blasphemy… n. The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things: profane talk.

Bone broth is, clearly, not the Divine of my understanding. It is, in my world, sacred, in the sense that synonyms for sacred include hallowed, blessed, consecrated, sanctified, dedicated, venerated, and revered.

Or, to climb down out of the ivory tower, when I create bone broth I do it with care and prayer and intentions for healing and wholeness. Which is to say that I don’t pray to it. I pray over it! And, often, I offer it as a gift to those on healing journeys. So, not sacrilegious!!!

Though, definitely a Dangerous Old Woman thing!

Here’s the thing…

I used to do it the (relatively) old-fashioned way. Huge stock pot. The best ingredients I could find. Simmered with love for at least 8, and often 24, hours. Really!

Then Covid entered my context.

Our kitchen stove – the electric kind with a glass top perfect for simmering, even through the night – died. And we couldn’t get another like it for about 8 months.

Online shopping was in order. (More so, because restaurants were not!)

What we could get, with only a 4 week wait, was a gas range. And, as we already had gas heat in the house, that seemed like an option. (Now we have solar, too!)

You’ve already guessed the challenge! I just can’t leave the gas burner on overnight. No way. No time. No how. And I’m okay with the fact that that’s not a rational statement. It’s just true.


It’s not nearly as sexy. Or comforting. And it doesn’t make nearly as much at once.

It does work! And I’ve been practicing for long enough that I’m ready to share the process I use.

First… follow the directions for the pressure-machine you have! I (duh!) bought the book!

Then… really, really good ingredients! Let’s assume chicken. It’s a good place to start. (Beef, pork, even crab shells, all work!) Here’s what I put in last week’s batch:

Chicken… carcasses of 2 trusted rotisserie chickens, local, sustainably raised, and prepared by a chef friend who totally gets the REAL food thing. Leave whatever bits of skin or meat are attached!

Then, because I like a mix of cooked and raw bones, a couple of raw chicken necks. Ditto, the local, sustainable bit. (There’s a stash in the freezer!)

2 organic onions, quartered, with inner skins left on.

2 large bulbs of organic garlic, cut in half horizontally, papers still in place. (Whole bulbs – not cloves!)

A small bundle of fresh organic fennel stems & leaves, tied with cotton kitchen string. (Parsley stems, carrot tops, celery stalks… all organic, will work, too. Just use what you have for added vitamins & flavor.)

2 or 3 bay leaves, fresh if possible. Fresh (or dried) organic thyme or rosemary, if handy.

A slug – 2 or 3 ounces – of good Apple Cider Vinegar… like Bragg’s. (It helps draw the minerals out of the bones!)

Then, it’s time for liquid! There’s a fill line in the pot. It’s important!!! If I have a spare quart of broth around, I’ll start with that, thawed, and add cool room temp water, up to the line. It adds to the flavor. If no handy broth, just cool room temp water to the line.

Then, put the lid on carefully and it’s button pushing time. Switch the flippy thing on the top to seal. (Again, read the directions that came with your machine!) I set mine on soup/broth and set the time for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (I turn keep warm off.)

When it’s done & beeps at you for attention, I unplug it. Then allow the pressure to come down. Don’t open it until the little pop-up thingy is all the way down and you’ve switched the flippy thing to venting! It will hiss like a grumpy cat.

When I remove the lid, I place a clean kitchen towel over the top of the pot so it can breathe & cool more quickly. (You may need to wait a bit before trying to remove the inner pot from the machine!) When you can comfortably hold your hand against the outside of the pot, it’s fridge time. I usually cool in fridge before I do all the obvious scooping and straining bit.

Congratulations! You’ve made magic!!! Quite possibly, the Inspired kind!

Freeze in BPA-free plastic containers, leaving about an inch of head space for expansion. Label and freeze.

To serve… sip from a mug. Make a big pot of veg soup. Use to cook veg, wild rice, etc. Give to struggling friends. It’s not God, but it is pretty close to heaven on earth!

ps… imagine my surprise when my broth pot appeared in my very first Legend painting… complete with a volunteer Phoenix!

Alphabet soup! Really!!!

A couple of hours, last night, were devoted to editing the manuscript for my word #wip… the portfolio I’m working on as the adventure known as Origins draws to a close.

Blessedly, I had help! My dear red thread sister, Natalie Moyes, is much better at pushing buttons and laying out things with photos than I am. (I’m the one who knows what I want when I see it!)

The fact that we’re having this adventure a couple thousand miles apart is both a miracle and a complication. Then there’s me, needing new glasses. On! Off! On! Off… you get the drift.

Picking the cover art was easy! The group of women – quite possibly grandmothers – gathered in the portal of HOPE that you see, above. (Maybe I should learn the Hebrew word for choice, too!)

Getting the Canva elves to see things my way was a bit more challenging!

By the time I encountered my pillow, my mind was busy quilting all the bits into something that will carry the energy of all I’m learning.

And that reminded me of some more things I need to share with the dear hearts engaged with me on the journey known as Oh, I See… Consciously! The path from “If only” to “I am!” Some of them have been painting for a while. Some of them are very new. And new journeys often make some of us feel anxious!

All of which meant – to my personal dream weaver – that my alphabet soup letters were rainbow colored… which was a big surprise for me. I’m way more used to dreaming auditory words rather than visual ones.

(I strongly suspect that my more visual dreams have to do with the art waking up parts of my consciousness that got considerably less attention when I was a child!)

In any event, an impressionistic rainbow was required for the painting.

And a reminder about the magic of white paint. Because it’s opaque, it makes it easier to cover up things that once made sense but no longer do. Or things that didn’t work out as well as we might have hoped.

Black works, too!

Then, because I was working on eyes, a reminder. WE are not perfectly symmetrical!!! (And trying to make a painting perfectly symmetrical often leads to 4-letter alphabet soup words like hell!!!)

Time out, then, for art of a different sort. Eleven containers of our favorite delicious, healthy with-it choice for dinner, happily ensconced in the freezer! The Legendary Husband calls it Marry Me Dressing. And one for tonight!

First, though, another alphabet soup word!


(In my dreams, alphabet soup comes with punctuation marks!)

The obvious next question is Why what?

Clearly, there are an almost infinite number of possible answers. I’m going with this one…

Why create?

My answer is simple… because we can!

And, because – maybe, just maybe – it’s as close to knowing the Divine as we can get.

I’m stickin’ with it. These dots are for courage.

And, one more thought…

If it makes sense to your heart, your eyes will be thrilled!

ps… stay tuned. Marry Me Dressing recipe to follow soon.

pps… spring is the perfect time for new art leggings! Check out FierceArtWithHeart! Sizes from 2T to women’s 6X!

Let’s talk alchemy!

There’s an old saying I love…

The best way to learn something is to teach it!

My life feels a whole lot like that in this moment. Let’s begin with a peek into the dictionary…

al-che-my noun… the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or a combination.

As you might suspect, this was not a popular vocabulary word in nursing school or seminary. It is, however, a very useful one in this moment of chaos and uncertainty!

I’ve been learning about the things I’m teaching… about the tools in my Medicine Basket – literally and figuratively – for a long while, now. And I’ve often felt, along the way, like I’ve been handed a box full of jigsaw puzzle pieces with no edge pieces and no photo on the cover of what it’s supposed to look like.

This last week has felt a whole lot like that!

I have 4 paintings in progress at once. Still! And they’re all really opinionated! Or, perhaps, they’re committed to changing some of my opinions! (Ummm… alchemy!)

And, it seems to be pain flare time.

Which brings me, kind of surprisingly, to the place where my alchemical class, Oh, I See, Consciously! meets some Inspired learning about healing and a freezer way too low on broth!

The ah-hah! of this particular moment seems a whole lot like start right where you are… even when you need to change things up!

So, lots of fingerprint dots, which are way easier on my hand than the brush kind. (And a great way to “erase” when the paintings change their minds!) In this case, my Red Madonna Prophetess has hair!

Symbols that inspire me.

I’m so hoping you’ll stay tuned… the alchemy of Oh, I See, Consciously! will begin again, soon! With a sprinkling of Inspired for seasoning!

We’re probably not actually going to turn lead into gold but we really can bring light and hope and healing to some of the scary places!

Then, a question…

Are you ready to make some actual healing magic of your own??? Just click here to be transported to my very best recipe…

ps… the photo at the top is a glimpse of my first Alchemist painting, right there with a bowl of stardust soup!

pps… want a recipe for vegan broth? Leave me a note in the comments, below. For now, my Alchemist #wip is ready for the next right things! She wants to be bigger… to hold more space! And the transformation will happen on camera!!! This is me, all in!

Dear hearts & gentle readers…

Yep! You!!!

I am so grateful for your presence on this planet and in my consciousness. Really!!! And, today, we’re going to do a slightly different thing together.

Think of it like having a Medicine Basket full of individual quilt pieces. (Or crossword letters!) And the amazing truth that when you take your eyes off them for just a minute — when you close your eyes to sleep, perhaps, or stare at a tree — they all get busy making new things you never imagined!

This is what my world feels like in this moment. (Well, kind of a lot of the time, lately!) So… if you’re up for it, we’re going fishing in the Medicine Basket to look at a few of the pieces!

The house smells like healing and hope… the scent of a new pot of actual bone broth in the air and an eager collection of bowls waiting for their moment!

If we tiptoed down the hall, we might surprise the paintbrushes dancing! In a mere 24 hours, a painting was begun, one made huge progress – well, mentally! – and two others announced that they were complete!!!

The Legendary Husband and I early-voted!!! Because our voices matter. So does yours! It was cold and rainy, though not crowded! The poll workers were sincerely thrilled to help us and asked questions about my fav paint sweatshirt, covered in dots of Hope! (And, yes, I was delighted to answer questions!!!)

I claimed my Intention for healing in my Inspired journal. And on my canvas…

(Spelling doesn’t count when you’re in the flow! The Muse knows!!!)

My Crone Moon post is up in the land of Red Madonna... early!!! Here’s a peek…

And suddenly, while I was contemplating what to do with those leaves, I knew – with every cell in my body – exactly how the Great Emergent MA must feel about each of us!

And then I knew more…

(Which is a good thing, because my Prophetess painting, changed her mind – again! – last night.)

I – the recovering camera-phobe – made a video. Well, two of them! And, I’m going to do it two more times. And, not only did I live, I loved it! Huge thanks to my partner in CHOICE, Natalie Moyes!!!

Also, huge thanks to the enormous, hard to wrangle canvas on which I am literally painting my version of what the puzzle with which we began Origins feels like in my soul. Officially, she is Constellation of Being. No clue what comes after some much needed faces with this one, but I have faith! (And, clearly, more dreaming to do!) She insisted on waving again!

For this moment… a good bit of chalk erasing to do in Prophetess land!

ps… I’m off to follow up with someone interested in adopting a painting. There are more – originals and museum quality prints – longing for new homes. (Also cool gifts and great leggings!) Just click here to be magically transported…

pps… ready for next conscious steps on your path to choice and voice and sovereignty? Let’s talk! 45 min. My gift. Just ask the calendar elves to hook you up!

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