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.

National Question Day!

I am declaring a holiday. (Everybody else has!) I’m not sure it’ll get a huge following, but it should. And you’re invited!

The name is kind of catchy. National Question Day.

I know… lots of people are more into answers but many, many answers, like the right/left either/or kind, feel – well – limiting.

I’m starting with this question:

What shall I plant in my garden?

The photo is a glimpse of what it used to look like. Fabulous Oakleaf Hydrangeas happily spreading over the the bumpy area under the huge pine tree. Thrilled about the acidic soil, like the azaleas sprinkled here and there among them.

I really had no idea what I was doing when I chose them. They were gorgeous. And mowing in that part of the yard, back when we did that sort of thing, didn’t work. Bill dug holes. Done.

They’re mostly gone, now.

Maybe it was just their time. Or maybe it was a global warming thing, after 2020’s massive drought and heat. A few of them made it, but some of those are dying, now, too.

In any event, it’s time to move on. And it’s complicated by the current reality of my knees and sacroiliac joints. And Bill’s apparent lack of the gardening gene.

So, questions!

What can we manage? What are we trying to accomplish? What do we want to invest? (Feel free to add a few of your own…)

Let’s simplify!

What are we trying to accomplish? pretty much covers it all.

Oddly, the immediate answer is figs!

I adore figs and my garden wizard, Randy, delivered these this morning. Overflow from his garden. About three miles away.

Who knew?

The longer term answers include lots of bang for minimal bucks, no chemicals required, emotionally uplifting, and edible.

Recently, the list got a bit more interesting.

Pollinators. And, natives.

And, yes, I’ve been reading Facebook.

Fortunately Randy can help with the garden answers. The other ones are up to me.

Yes, I was peeved when Facebook went down Monday.

And, hell yes, I’m concerned about the whistleblower revelations. Not really surprised, which is sad. But concerned.

Which means – as you’ve guessed – more questions!

Questions I don’t have answers for yet. Questions people I care about and respect are asking, too.

Questions about relationships and information and inspiration and business.

Questions about dangerous lies and influence.

They’re not new questions. It’s just that I’ve figured – reasonably capable person that I am – that I could protect myself.

The allegations about knowingly promoting content designed to negatively – harmfully – alter the sense young women have of body image was a huge reminder, though, that protecting myself is not enough.

I have two granddaughters growing up in this world.

And, sadly, my magic wand doesn’t seem to cover this. Though, in the long run, my intentional actions as a guide and artist and writer will make an empowering difference!

So, for today, I don’t know what I will do with all the new questions I have about Facebook and its “partners”.

What I do know is that I’ll push a button in a bit and add these words to the conversation – on Facebook, among other places.

I also know that I’m making progress on the plan for the garden.

And on my painting.

But first, figs for lunch. Locally grown, chemically free food. Food that feeds the other critters and gives me huge pleasure. Food that’s actually healthy!

And, drizzled with a bit of the phenomenal, thick, sticky balsamic vinegar that followed me home from Italy three years ago, I will have accomplished quite a bit in terms of a magical moment.

The rest of the questions will still be there.

ps… magical moments like the figs help the rest of the stuff get done!

pps… there’s really only one question! If we believe what we say we believe what, then, shall we do?

Let’s talk modeling!

Nope. Not the kind that may lead to magazine covers and often includes eating disorders, orthopedic challenges, and all kinds of exploitation.

Rather, the kind that centers around opportunities to learn! The kind our littles desperately need us to get comfortable with, now more than ever!

At least that’s what the Muse whispered in my ear way early this morning!

You see, it’s a modeling kind of day in my world.

I’m Hearth Tending for Work-in-Progress Wednesday in the Red Thread Cafe Classroom which translates into offering support, encouragement, and even a tip or two, for sister artists sharing what they’re working on at the moment.

I love Hearth Tending! It feels like a Grammy kind of thing to me. And a Steve Glenn kind of thing.

Or, maybe, place is a better word than thing.

A place where there’s no such thing as failure. Only opportunities to be learned from!

A place where the process – the journey – is at least as important as the outcome.

A place where being witnessed holds huge power for creativity.

A place where we’re wondering, together, about the new things we’re trying and what we’re learning. (And I’ll be posting photos of what’s literally in progress on my canvas!)

And, while I’m Hearth Tending, I’ll also be hanging out in the Red Tent. You see, Forest of Grandmothers is officially starting today. (There’s still time to sign up… I promise!)

Welcome. More witnessing. And more modeling.

In my case, much of the modeling will have to do with believing so much in what we’re doing that I will voluntarily engage technology which doesn’t yet feel familiar to me.

Which is a lot like choosing newness on the way to what matters!

You, dear, clever reader, have no doubt realized that all of this is about things I want my girls to learn, too.

They’re not things that generally show up on standardized tests for middle school kids so they tend to get skipped, at least in any conscious sense, in the place kids think they go to learn.

And they’re hard things to measure, or read in a book.

There is a test, though. It’s called LIFE.

So, today is an intentional modeling kind of day in my world. I’d be thrilled if you’d join me, wherever you are!

Showing up is a great place to start… and barefooted works!

ps… Equinox blessings from Phoebe and Luther and Charlotte the Spider and me!

Giving Thanks!

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

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

The beasties are anxious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you ready?

(Am I?)

Here goes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are we learning?

Living with a 165# dog who sees with his heart is a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Luther, as you may have heard, has been expanding his perceived parts of the house lately. I’m delighted. Mostly.

The fact that he and Phoebe spend a lot of time camped on the rubber mat in what serves as our family room can be a navigational challenge, especially on less than optimal orthopedic days, even though I just love having them there.

He’s really good at the door they use to get out back and he knows exactly where his placemat is for the canine fine dining experience. (I’ll spare you the details!)

Last night, though, he went on an adventure. I could hear him wandering and tried our usual strategy in which I call his name and tap on a piece of furniture to give him something to follow.

Somehow, though, we weren’t making much progress.

Finally, I went hunting.

He was all the way down the hall at the door to our room, doing his tap dance thing and wagging his tail.

That was quite the adventure for him!

As it was a couple of hours or so before anyone was likely to go to bed, I called him to come back down the hall with me.

He stayed put, wagging.

Being a huge believer in choice and opportunities to learn, I rubbed his ears and left him to explore.

Not too much later, I heard him making his way back up the hall.

Step. Step. Sniff. Step. Step. Bump wall.

He was working it out!

I added in some voice cues and a bit of chair tapping.

Eventually, he was safely back on the rug, curled up with Phoebe, while The West Wing played on.

As many of you know, I’m convinced that context is a critical factor in making meaning out of things.

Earlier in the day I had chatted with a friend who just had her second vax and was doing quite well.

Before that, I had checked out CNN‘s assertions that having the vax was, indeed, important, followed, before too long, by some conversation about conservative, evangelical pastors loudly taking the other side of the issue.

It occurred to me, after considerable watching and listening and pondering context, that we’re all a lot like Luther in this moment. A world full of things we’ve never experienced before. No real certainty about the path from here to there. Sometimes, even, the sense that we’re feeling our way along on our own.

In some ways, the world is always like that. These days, though, most of us are a lot more aware of not knowing.

Our children may be even harder to teach than my enormous, blind dog.

Here’s where I think we start:

  • It’s okay to feel what we feel.
  • We get to choose what to do with our feelings.
  • Not everybody will feel like we feel.
  • That’s okay.
  • There are lots of things to do with our feelings that don’t hurt us or others. (Art, music, tears… you’ll know.)
  • What we feel now won’t last forever. And, we get to learn from it.
  • When we feel scared or mad or sad, it helps us understand others.

When I think about how brave and wise Luther is, even with all he’s been through, it inspires me. And makes me want to help others.

Which, if we try really hard and listen with our hearts, may turn out to be what we all learn most in this moment. That, and new skills for finding our way.

ps… Spring has sprung in our garden!

pps… There’s still time to get in on the postcard party Tuesday evening! Live music and (me) painting. Just click here for all the info. We need all the Good Trouble we can get and you KNOW you want to help change the world!

Oh, Holy Wow!

You know how sometimes things are so amazing that just trying to tell someone about them doesn’t do them justice?

Kind of like the difference between a really nice picture of an olive tree in Tuscany and actually being there and smelling the air and feeling the ancient bark?

Well, this is one of those times.

Yesterday I was watching paint videos. At least that’s what I thought I was doing. Instead, I got something very different.

But first a quick trip in the way-back machine…

It was last summer and the wild fires were raging in California, along with power outages and evacuations.

My friends and teachers, Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Jonathan McCloud, were up to their eyebrows in evacuations. And there was a paint journey in progress. Adaptability was in order.

Shiloh was inspired to share a video for Moon 6 of the Psalms of Creation adventure, also known as Red Madonna.

I, a disbeliever in being behind, saw the video for the first time, yesterday, and all I can say is that the time was perfect and I am changed.

With thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can actually share the experience with you, instead of trying to tell you about it, which would probably involve more tears.

I have, of course, no notion of what it will say to you. It might push some buttons. If so, I hope you’ll consider hanging with the journey to see how it all comes out.

I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but it matters. And, as I write those words, I imagine Mama Cloud nodding.

So, with love and huge hope…

ps… For those of you beginning Soul Expression Breakthrough with me on Tuesday, I’m so hoping you’ll watch this before we start. If you’re interested, but not signed up, let me know. There’s a new group starting soon! suesvoice@gmail.com

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