Once upon a time…

Jed Bartlet was having a rough day on The West Wing. (It had something to do with the TV Republicans!)

Leo, his Chief of Staff, asked the President how he was doing.

Bartlet: Vexed, riled, irked… Ticked, honked, pissed.

I was right beside him!

Yes, the news was enough. The garden guy’s helper cutting the tv/internet cable sealed the deal!

Thirty hours later, we’re back in business. (Not that anybody was counting!)

Along the way, I noticed a couple of cool things…

I lived without MSNBC. Possibly, with better blood pressure!

I got all my prep work for Filters videos done even though our tech challenges were messing with my calendar! (And they’re going to be even better because I did a bit more noticing of my own limiting beliefs!!!)

I also noticed some interesting internal reactions while I was sorting the calendar elves… like things I was sad to change and things I wasn’t!

All of that happened yesterday, when I had no idea when the world as I’ve come to depend on it would be working again. And, then, today arrived. And I did a really unusual thing.

I declared today PAINT DAY!

The whole day! (Okay… time out for telling you about it!)

You see, not only did I have several #wip’s looking for attention, I needed dot time. Here’s a small glimpse of what happened:

You, wise reader, may be wondering what the prayers were behind all those dots!

And, yes… there’s an answer.

Intention!

Just like the frog at the top! (Thanks, Pete!)

You see, I’ve been busy noticing and wondering. And it’s time to make some choices based on what I’ve learned. Time, in many ways, to act on my deepest hopes.

It’s a bit early for details just yet. There are other dreams and calendars and challenges involved.

I feel really good, though, about listening to my dreams.

And, admittedly, a bit anxious. Dreams bring changes. Risks, even. And, quite probably the need to learn more new things.

The fact that I love learning doesn’t mean it isn’t scary, sometimes!

So… more dots. Dots which will be, before long, the petals of Oakleaf Hydrangeas, with thanks that we have a home and hope for those who are longing for home.

And some more, still, for a deeply courageous woman named Jen who told her tragic healthcare story on MSNBC tonight. May we have ears to hear!

And a special deal for you… a pre-sale offer on the Filters videos!!! If you’re ready to take the next steps toward that place where your greatest hope meets the world’s deepest needs, this is for you! Just click here…

ps… there are also special prices on coaching packages if you’re ready to work personally with me. I have space for 2 more individual clients!

Boom!

First, our trip home last night was a bit more of an extended adventure than we planned.

Missing jetways, baggage gone walkabout, really sore muscles… you get the picture.

Then, to say that my morning started off in a dramatic fashion is a bit of an understatement.

I was reading a book I’ll tell you about in a minute.

All of a sudden, the Boom! along with the house shaking, which is a bit much for me during my first cup of tea.

Detective work was clearly in order.

  1. Text to check on Legendary Husband, already at work in the basement.
  2. Attain levitation.
  3. Peek out windows.

The front was all clear. I even noticed the beginnings of pollinator flowers blooming in the garden, which I had missed at midnight.

The side toward our neighbors was clear, too. At least what I could see.

Then, the studio, and the huge tree down in the back yard! Fortunately it missed the house!

A quick check with the neighbors confirmed that they, too, were okay, despite a somewhat crushed fence.

By then, only half a cup of tea ahead, it was time to head off to physical therapy.

After a batch of dry needles, we went back to strategizing for the trip to France and I learned to hula!

For real!!!

Not like flowers and grass skirts, but quite cool.

I was holding onto a big metal frame (a doorway being a good home substitute) looking into a massive mirror (Gulp!) and getting my hips to move alternately up and down in a fashion quite like hula dancing which, trust me, they never covered in gym class but probably should have.

Here’s the surprise… it was fun AND it helps strengthen some muscles that can use all the help they can get!

Then, home for tea and a bit more reading.

Remember the book?

It’s part of my preparation for France and was written by the leader of the journey… Kathleen McGowan.

Here’s the part I just have to share:

The path of the first petal is faith, and it is the foundation upon which your spiritual life is built. One of my favorite quotes comes from Gandhi, who said, “Be the change you wish to see in this world.” I would add to that, if I may be so bold, “And the change you wish to see in your life.”

The Source of Miracles

And I would add to that, if I may be so bold…

even on days when the change you wish to see in your life involves learning to hula dance!

Which is kind of like saying that maybe, just maybe, walking the Way of Love is scary and turns out to be way better than we might have imagined!

I’d love to know what that looks like in your world! You can leave a comment, below, or email me. suesvoice@gmail.com

ps… the special offer on wearable art leggings is good until midnight (ET) June 30! They’re gorgeous. They wash great. And they come in LOTS of sizes. Check it out at FierceArtWithHeart. Just put any 2 pair in your basket and enter the magic code BUY 2 – SAVE $8

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!

Dreams of feet (!) for the New Year…

Really!!!

The Legendary Husband and I hung in there for the whole ball-dropping & fireworks bit – read that Luther’s last trip out – last night and then headed to bed.

I laughed when I noticed that my feet were splattered in paint (Ultramarine Blue, for the curious!) after an awesome impromptu painting adventure in Zoom-land. (Thank you, Natalie & Gina!!!) All in all, a great wrap-up for 2022!

Then, with a touch of Vision oil on my third eye, I tucked myself in and put Grandmother Moon in charge.

Wow, was she ready for an adventure!

And, yes, I really did dream about feet! (Go ahead and giggle, CTS buddies… there’s more!)

In fact, the first thing I remember, in my dream, is parking a borrowed car on the curved drive in front of Columbia Theological Seminary in November of 1986. It was cold and raining and I had no idea where to go once I had arrived for the prospective student weekend. I cracked the door open, reaching for an umbrella, and put my left foot on the parking lot.

I can still feel the zingy energy that buzzed through my body in that moment, all those years ago.

And then, suddenly, Scotland. 2007. More chilly and damp. And, at the bottom of the steps from the plane, that same foot on the tarmac at the Glasgow airport.

And the same zingy energy.

Then, Grandmother Moon being a rather eccentric Weaver Dreamer, was on to boots. Red leather ones.

And, yes, I’ve been shopping in my imagination.

Eventually I woke, in 2023, and went feeling around on the table for my glasses which, predictably, were perched on the book I’d been reading.

The dreams came flooding back. And it all made sense.

The dreams which were, on one level, past and future.

And the deep voice of a beloved teacher/colleague/friend, complete with a southern accent, echoing in my head…

Three words: Stick with you!

Hang in there… we’ll get back to this!

First, time out for a cuppa, and my all-time favorite dream question.

Why is this dreamer dreaming this dream at this time?

The answer came, complete with the predictable, Duh!

The parking lot/zingy foot adventures were past, assuredly.

The red boots have to do with a big dream for this summer.

And the reminder to stick with me…

Well, it feels a whole lot like a new awareness that it’s all going on now. All part of the path that is the story I am writing – if I choose to be aware of the pen in my hand – with my life.

And, frankly, telling you about this dream feels like a whole lot of showing up!

For now, it reminds me of the stack of seed catalogs in Saturday’s mail.

Reminders of things I know more about now than I did when they were first happening.

Dreams for the future.

The beginnings of a path, not to done, but to growing.

I do have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world…

And, with apologies to the garden guy, no Lantana!

Which is garden code for sticking with me, because no matter how easy it is to grow here, I’m still allergic and I get to choose!

For this moment, thank you for being on the road with me!

My gift for you, as the new year begins, will – hopefully – feel elegant in the way which also means simple.

One question…

What might sticking with you look like???

Huge blessings for 2023!!!

ps… the painting is from my #Matrica work-in-progress, which turns out to be an outstanding fit for this story!

pss… feet might not be such an odd metaphor, afterall!

Galvanized Horse Troughs & Oracle Cards & Psalms & Concrete Pigs… oh my!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been fishing through your Medicine Basket – be it actual or virtual – for coping strategies.

I spent much of the day known as Election Day in the USA as chief in charge of visioning for the garden transformation project going on in our front yard.

And, as I write these words, Wednesday morning, we’re no more done with the election than we are with the garden!

Sitting down is also a necessary coping strategy in my world. And, having promised myself no news until after the polls closed, I needed something to fiddle with yesterday.

I reached for my box of Sacred Rebels oracle cards.

This is a new adventure for me. As is any understanding at all of eclipses and planetary retrograde events. And I tell you all this, knowing that I’m making generations of ancestors and teachers pretty anxious.

I also know – because I’ve been wandering in the family tree again – that there are others who came before me whose eyebrows are raised in that uh-huh kind of way while little smiles appear on their lips.

And, yes, I am able to choose!

So… a bit of the oracle card message which jumped out for me:

…Then you will be asked to embrace the deeper journey of sacred rebellion against judgement and fear, and into passionate creativity and unconditional trust in life (Alana Fairchild).

It really is a filter thing!

There was more but, for this moment… back to the garden!

Part of what’s going to happen out there is the re-location of a 350 pound concrete pig named – yep! – Wilbur! It seems he’s tired of hiding between the porch rail and the grape vines and feels he can be more help where people can see him.

And, as pigs are often associated with positive life changes, I’m all in!

Pigs, as Spirit Animals, also symbolize the ability to stand on our own “two” feet, weather the storm, and come out even better than before. They are often a sign that now is the time to move ahead!

All of which seems like timely intentional gardening to me!

When I gave up on CNN last night, I was disappointed, but not surprised.

Grandmother Moon – bless her! – was there on the wall, whispering hope, in the form of a dream about my trip to Hungary, just before the Eastern Block fell.

One of the things that became part of my soul during that adventure was the ninetieth Psalm. Members of the Hungarian Reformed Church repeated it from memory each Sunday in worship. I hope they still do!

The part which wrote itself on my heart is this:

Interestingly, it also wrote itself on the underlayers of the painting which eventually became known as Codex, or the home of Grandmother Moon!

The rest of the quote?

…establish Thou it.

For real!

And I woke, reminded again, that it’s a really good intention for life in this moment.

So… they’ll keep counting votes in Georgia. There’s likely to be a run-off. (Don’t get me started!)

And, among the signs in my garden, Wilbur will be holding intentional space for the world we all need.

For now, my hands have painting to do. And my heart has hearth tending to do. Among work-in-progress Wednesdays, this one feels really big!

And I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world!

ps… just in case this whole journey feels familiar, and you suspect your basket could use some new medicine or you’re curious about the Filter thing, I can help! Let’s talk… 45 min. My gift. The calendar elves will hook you up!

pps… what the world needs now is FierceArtWithHeart! And we’re going to need some more tv ads in Georgia! So… 22% off nearly everything priced at $100 or more. (The elves will fix it in your cart!) Half the profits to Sen. Warnock! (Really!!!) It would be a great time to check out the divine hats & bags! (Looking for something you don’t see? Interested in a custom piece? suesvoice@gmail.com !!!)

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.

Variations:

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!!!

Growing!

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.

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