Standing between the worlds…

Or, what happens when Grandmother Moon skips the news!

I woke as the sun rose with this blog post all hatched in my head.

During my first cup of tea, I wore out a couple of index cards with notes. Here’s a glimpse…

  • The Equinox… harvest/shorter days
  • 92 F this afternoon… but low of 55 F by Sat. am!
  • The West Wing… signs in our yard
  • Lurking germs
  • Legendary… Actual!
  • Mystical cauldrons… Soup!

I even hunted up one of my favorite recipes!

Then, I re-read my writing exercises from yesterday’s Legend videos. The Holy Wow’s are coming fast! The excitement bubbles and the tears are coming fast, too. And, as is so often the case, I am the work in progress! (Which is pretty hopeful when you get right down to it!)

Then, I checked the news.

And tossed my index cards into the recycling basket!

Then, I made some more tea and spent some time communing with my #wip painting who/which reminded me that I have some experience with the whole liminal space bit.

And fished my index cards back out!

Then, time for what MSNBC calls breaking news…

The Attorney General of the state of New York is suing an ex-President and 3 of his children in “a massive fraud lawsuit”.

And… “In a national address, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised threat of a nuclear response in the conflict in Ukraine and ordered reservists to mobilize in an escalation of the war” (The Wall Street Journal).

And… another time out for ranting and raving! And more tears. But my index cards hung in there!

So… a glimpse of my first Legend Painting, complete with her mystical cauldron.

And a reminder that there’s a Phoenix rising out of that mystical soup cauldron. Often, actual ones, too!

Thus, as you probably guessed… a recipe!

Vegan Soup Stock

Makes about 6 quarts.

Note: Wash hands well with soap and water, and avoid putting hands near eyes after handling chili pepper!

Into a 10 qt. stock pot, place:

8 quarts cold filtered water; 5 med. onions – preferably organic – quartered, peels on; and 5 heads garlic, halved, with paper; 2-4 c. frozen, chopped okra, which is very healing to the digestive system. (Or a great use for those last pods in your garden that got big and stringy!)

Bring just to a boil, over med-high heat. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Add:

1 dry, hot-ish chili pepper, whole; 6 fresh or 3 dry bay leaves; 1 med. bundle thyme sprigs -preferably garden fresh – tied with a white cotton kitchen string.

Return to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to moderate simmer. Cook, adjusting temperature as needed to maintain simmer, for about 3 hours if you want a very mild flavored stock, and not more than 6 hours if you want deeper color and flavor. Taste occasionally for heat from pepper. When it reaches the stage you want, remove and discard pepper. When you’re happy with the stock, remove from heat and cool to a little warmer than room temperature. Scoop solids out and discard. They’ve given their all!

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve 1 or 2 quarts of stock if you want soup for dinner or tomorrow and proceed with desired recipes or refrigerate.

Add your family’s fav veg (raw or roasted) to the broth and simmer as needed to serve! (I won’t tell if a bit of left over roast chicken, or even shrimp, joins the mix… it will all be great!)

Refrigerate remainder. When quite cool, package for freezing in 1 pint and 1 quart containers, depending on your needs. Leave about an inch of head space as stock will expand while freezing. Label and date! Store stock in freezer for up to 6 months.


Place 1-2 c. freeze dried, mixed organic mushrooms into 1 qt. very hot water. Allow mushrooms to steep like tea for up to 2 hours. Strain carefully through cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer. Or use a coffee filter in the strainer. (I keep unbleached ones just for this purpose.) Reserve mushrooms. Add liquid to simmering veg stock. Rinse mushrooms well under running water and save for soup or a rice and veg dish, etc.

If you have some, add a couple of corn cobs, corn removed, to the stock pot. I keep cobs in the summer when I cut corn off and store them in a zippee bag in the freezer. They add a subtle sweetness and a bit of texture to veg stock. Removing the corn simply is the best trick I’ve learned from Rachel Ray. Take a large bowl with a flat bottom and place it on or near your chopping board. Then take a smaller bowl, turn it upside down and place it securely in the bottom of the big bowl. (It’s worth experimenting a bit to find two bowls that make a stable pair!) Cut the flat end of the corn cob off straight and level with a sharp knife and place it on the inverted inner bowl. Hold the pointed end of the corn cob up and, using your sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob in long strips, turning the cob, or the bowl, as needed until all the kernels are removed and waiting neatly in the large bowl. Fast, neat, and you don’t need to store extra gadgets!!! (slb, We Gather Together…holiday feasts with the family you have! )

ps… need a mythical cauldron with a phoenix rising out of it, or love someone who does??? ABRACADABRA! And shop around while you’re there! From now through Thursday, September 22 – the Autumnal Equinox – I’m sending 20% of ALL FierceArtWithHeart profits to make Georgia even blue-er! Get some inspiring art… from original canvases to mugs and hats for warming the season… and make a big difference at the same time! Commissions considered. Great way to shop for the holidays, too! (Stacey, Raphael, Hank, Lucy, Nikema, Marcus, Jen, and Bee will be thrilled!) Hurry!!!


Can’t you just hear him, deep inside?

Yep! Tevye. Let’s listen…

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home… And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you In one word… Tradition!

Tradition… Tradition…

Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything… how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl… This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you – I don’t know. But it’s a tradition… Because of our traditions, everyone knows who [they are] and what God expects [them] to do.

You, dear reader, may well be wondering why this particular song is stuck in my head at this particular moment. It’s a good question! And there are several answers.

First, I’ve known all the words at least as long as I’ve known all the summer camp songs that live deep inside me.

Then, the Legendary Husband and I had date night.

We went to one of our neighborhood faves, complete with a great sidewalk patio, which has even more advantages just now than it used to.

There’s a new owner these days. I think his name is Sean. Much of the pub-y menu has stayed the same. One nice surprise, though, is a new emphasis on local, seasonal veg, delightfully fried in a dynamite batter.

There is, however, a challenge with the whole local food bit. Supply!

I was delighted, on date night, to discover that they did, indeed, have fried green tomatoes available.

Now, my friend Tevye had nothing on Southerners when he was singing about tradition on that roof so long ago. And, while I don’t consider myself technically a Southerner, I am more than fluent in Southern food.

So, imagine my surprise when my glorious plate of fried tomatoes arrived at the table… red!

Okay, maybe closer to pink… but decidedly un-green.


I was skeptical. But hungry.

And thrilled when I took my first taste!

On I munched, waxing poetic. Then, I had a new idea!

You guessed it! Half a slice of fried pink tomato into each of my shrimp tacos!!!

Divine does not begin to describe…

And, not a trace of tradition-shattering guilt!

You see, I’m all about able to choose!

Also, as you know, context.

And, I’ll even go a step farther.

I’m utterly sure that this is exactly the way the Mother-Father Creator of my understanding planned it!

So, as the sun waved goodbye over the sidewalk, and a hawk swooped by, I sent 47 choruses of the Hallelujah song to the kitchen, via the grinning new owner.

If you’re in the ‘hood, holler, and I’ll gladly take you on the Fried Pink Tomato Tour.

For now, though, my Insight painting has more Good Trouble to cause!

ps… just in case you’re looking for a bit of Good Trouble, too, CHECK THIS OUT. It’s a great next step!

pps… and that whole able to choose thing… I have, indeed, got you covered! (In several colors and lots of sizes!)

The land of learning…

It’s 4 pm ET. There is a small pinch pot, complete with face and hands and feet, in progress on the kitchen counter.

The table is currently the home of electronic medical records and a first adventure with crocheting.

A movement is afoot to clear the whole counter for dinner prep.

It is, indeed, French Laundry experiment night!

But, before that… a call to the A/C repair folks for advice. (And, yes, it’s HOT!)

I am temporarily resting up from a major raid on Michaels, in preparation for sous chef duties.

My grandsnake is, well, snaking around his huge aquarium condo next to the table. I’ve begun to find him interesting, which is major learning for me. (Possibly enough learning in this case!)

The fabulous fish place was short a fillet-er and we had to leave before rush hour, so the mom & dad & I will be tackling that adventure, too.

I used to help my dad a lot.

That was, shall we say, a long time ago!

The girls are going to give me jewelry lessons. (Probably tomorrow.)

We’ve also been painting!

The cats are prowling around, somehow having guessed that there is snapper in the fridge. Or, maybe they’re just hopeful!

I have learned how to give money to tweens & teens new to the wonders of banking and debit cards!

And had a lesson in airpods! (Since I added a remote drive to my laptop, I have waaaayyy too many things with cords!)

I know all this sounds like blah… blah… blah… It really isn’t!

It’s the place where all the things I’ve learned and survived on my journey, thus far, feel like exactly what I needed to be ready for this moment.

I am utterly in my power… and have no need to be in charge.

Which is, when you think about it, kind of miraculous!

I suspect all this revelation is related to my recent ability to claim the fact that my SuperPower, if you will, is helping others claim and live into their SuperPowers.

This knowing has been a long time coming.

Blessedly generous teachers. Some effective choices at the crossroads of learn new things or give up. A hefty bit of urgent desperation along the path.

A lineage of amazing women. And taking my place on the way… following a great many and helping to lead some, too.

The power-full painting at the top belongs to one of those amazing women.

The slightly younger amazing woman, below, is already a talented sous chef.

And the fortune in the cookie for this moment, borrowed from a chosen Mama, Caron McCloud, is this:

Mattering matters!

ps… ready to take your place along the way? CLICK HERE!!! (It’s fun, fast, and free!)

pps… the elves at FierceArtWithHeart are busy adding new items! Come check it out…

Craving Comfort!

Let’s talk about comfort. Really!!!

Some of us grew up thinking it was one of those words. Words bright, go-getter people on a mission didn’t have time for.

You know…

Get out of your comfort zone!

Don’t get too comfortable!

The comfort zone is the great enemy of courage and confidence” -Brian Tracy

And my personal least-favorite…

Comfortable shoes are for wimps!

As it turns out, comfort is not an either/or issue. It’s both/and!

Here’s my best understanding of the bottom line:

We need to have experienced enough trust in our comfortable places to venture out into more risky ones.

I’m kind of standing with one foot on each side of that line.

New ideas. New things to try. New needs clamoring to be recognized.

Okay, maybe the needs aren’t really so new. Just louder!

So, yes to comfortable chairs. And shoes, when I put any on!

And, yes to putting the things I love and need most in the places most comfortable for me to reach… which does, in fact, resemble what I might once have called closet cleaning.

Yes to dots of prayer and intention.

Yes to listening – on many levels – to what feels real.

And yes to some powerful stories which connect me to both my deep past and my envisioned future.

And yes to my new favorite comfort snack to help me stay on the road when I need a boost.

It’s easy!

About a pound of organic walnut halves and pieces.

About 1/2 a pound of dried cranberries… as chemical-free as possible.

A good pinch or two of a natural flakey sea salt… like Maldon.

Mix in a suitable container and stash in the fridge. A small handful during that afternoon slump time will power the next right thing, without counterproductive guilt trips.

The Big Why? helps, too!

YOUR Big Why?

Still sorting that one out???

This will help!

And, for me, in this moment, a bit of chair hanging. (Grandmother Moon got chatty early this morning!)

What feels like brave, empowering comfort for you?

ps… quilts help, too!


At our house it was a kitchen door jam. The one with the penciled height marks.

From the day I started 7th grade until the day I started 8th grade, I grew 7 inches!

My sister “may have” thought I was showing off.

My mother muttered about a plot to keep her letting down hems and buying new shoes.

I thought it was hard work.

I ached. A lot.

I got teased at school. Mostly for being taller than the boys, which was a big deal back then.

And I felt even less coordinated than usual, which I never imagined was possible.

All of this along with the hormonal initiations that happen in those years.

It seemed more than a bit much!

In the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the other kind of growing.

The kind where we become conscious of our filters… of what they’re letting in and keeping out.

The kind where we realize that with consciousness comes the ability to edit. With intention.

And, as you might suspect, I’m hatching. A lot!

Tonight, though, it was time out from hatching as I visited, virtually, with 2 old friends.

Each of them facing, with differing details, a breast cancer diagnosis.

Some of the growing I’ve done along the way came in handy.

In both cases, my long acquaintance with the powerful guided imagery work of Belleruth Naparstek.

An occasion, both urgent and important, to fire up the bone broth cauldron, complete with organic herbs growing in our garden. And bay leaves.

And, gladly, a copy of a prayer I created during my Color of Woman® training. A prayer a bit outside the usual for the tribe that raised me.

Then, a new project for yet more growing.

One of my friends has requested a liturgy for saying goodbye to her breast, so I have some intentional writing to do.

These dear hearts are not, of course, the only sisters facing such journeys and so it seems time for prayer dots. Lots and lots of those, while the broth magic happens.

May growing – all of our growing – be both blessed and a blessing for those along the way.

And so it is.

ps… Click here for Belleruth’s guided imagery materials.

pps… this is “my” Prayer for Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother/elders in Difficult Days, with help from Dr. E.

Another use for my favorite question!

I was raised by a mom who was utterly convinced that the way to do virtually anything was to do it the way Granny did it.

Granny did lots and lots of amazing things. Things I still do. Or miss doing.

Granny did not, however, live in a world where she was feeding insulin dependent diabetics. Or a couple of gluten free folks. Or people with varying ideas about protein sources.

I do.

And I love them.

Thus, holiday food “traditions” have needed some updating around here. And, instead of relying on the way we’ve always done it, my go-to question comes in really handy.

Yep! What are we trying to accomplish?

The answer for me is simple. I want everybody to belong. To feel like part of the tribe. To be able to help. And to have things that they love without feeling like they’re “cheating” or “making do”.

So, here’s my gift to you… In theory if not in practice. We happen to be fine with chocolate and nuts. I’m so hoping that, in case you and yours are not, you’ll just run with the theory!

Grammy’s Chocolate Almond Bark


  • 1 c. organic roasted almonds with sea salt, coarsely chopped if desired
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, measured while solid
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped excellent dark chocolate, like Endangered Species 88% cacao strong & velvety dark (about 2/3 of a 3.17 oz. bar) or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 scoop Cacao Bliss or a slightly rounded Tbsp. of organic raw cacao powder
  • 1 good pinch Anthony’s espresso baking powder, if desired (or instant espresso granules)
  • 1 tsp. Maldon flaked sea salt for garnish if using unsalted almonds

Recipe doubles easily!

Line a sheet tray with unbleached parchment paper.

In a heavy saucepan (or double boiler) combine chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Stir over low heat until completely melted. Add Cacao powder and espresso powder and stir thoroughly. Add almonds and mix until covered.

Pour chocolate mixture onto tray with parchment paper, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula to a thin layer.

If you used salted almonds, you’re done. If you used unsalted nuts, sprinkle evenly with sea salt flakes, or omit if you prefer.

Refrigerate for an hour or until well set. Break into bite sized pieces and store, tightly covered, in fridge or freezer. Allow to warm a few minutes to cool room temp before serving, preferably with roses on the table!

Technically, I suppose, you could call it candy. I call it sustenance. Body. Mind. Spirit.

Or, in the eternal words of Charles M. Schulz…

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. 

ps… If you haven’t seen the Intentional Grandmothers Archetype Quiz yet, you’re in luck! It’s my gift to you…

pps… For a fun way to start your New Year, check out FierceArtWithHeart. Original art, archival prints, and Grammy Archetype goodies, plus some to share with the littles! (The elves are still in a holiday mood!)

Don’t Let the Light Go Out!

The Legendary Husband and I opted for a very quiet Thanksgiving weekend.

The blessing of simple food that was also local, sustainably raised food which helps small farmers and businesses we care about.

Space to catch up on some things on the list. Some of them the “Could do” sorts of things that so often get lost in the much louder “Must do” gang.

The happy voices of our girls, having a blast being cousins.

And, underneath it all, rearranging mental space for new adventures.

In the midst of all that… a post I saw on Facebook which kept clamoring for my attention.

Actually, I shared it.

My friend and paint sister, Havi, had posted it on her page Wednesday. Here’s what it said:

The way you alchemize a soulless world into a sacred world is by treating everyone as if they are sacred until the sacred in them remembers.

I agree.

Or, rather, I choose to agree, even though I can think of a few possible exceptions!

Somewhere along the way, I had a new thought.

What if we – you and even I – were part of everyone?

What if we treated ourselves as if we were sacred until the sacred in us remembers?

What if we treated our littles the same way… until they learned that they, too, are sacred?

And, while we’re on a roll here, what if we treated every day as if it were sacred, too, instead of just the ones the calendar calls holidays?

There are, obviously, lots of definitions for the word sacred, from many traditions, and – often – with a fair bit of baggage attached.

Here’s one I like…

Something that is sacred is worthy of honor and reverence.

There’s more, but this gets us out of quite a bit of the your way – my way tug of war.

So what if we did treat ourselves, and everybody, and each day as if it were worthy of honor and reverence?

What might get different?

It’s hard to say for sure. And, since there are, in fact, people out there who play by different rules, it’s not a perfect plan. But, it feels worth a try.

I’m going to start with an excellent bowl of broth and veg. And, Muse willing, a good night’s sleep.

Then, when morning comes, some space on my list for “Could do’s”. There are, blessedly, lots of choices!

And, should you be intrigued, four words: Start where you are!

One of the places I’m starting is with candle light.

In whatever tradition, the light means hope, and that is my hope for you and yours… that we don’t let the light go out!

ps.. two more words… the ones on the mug in the photo! You do! (It comes in grown-up and kid versions!)

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