…of lots of paint & scary words!

It’s Vivid 2022 painting weekend in the land of Intentional Creativity® And, at least for me, the only thing that’s been predictable is not knowing what comes next!

I started with the decidedly not blank canvas, above.

It was a volunteer, lonely after an adventure that didn’t quite make the finish-line a while back, when it was entirely possible that I had too many things on my list.

At 36 inches square, it’s manageable enough for me to do much of the work on a table which, at the moment, my left shoulder and hip appreciate.

I began, not quite consciously, with a glaze layer to blend things just a bit.

You see, the whole notion of vivid is not one that was popular in my family while I was growing up.

Blending in was frequently advised, especially during the moving years, with all my adventures as the new kid.

Also, my dad though my Brownie uniform was the best thing ever and suggested that Mom sign me up for four more clubs so I would only need five school outfits to be like everybody else. (I’m pretty sure he was serious!)

I have, however, learned a few things since then. And let a few more things go!

Fortunately, a lot of the Vivid process involves trying something, followed by noticing, wondering, and trying something new!

And, you really can’t mess it up! (Yet another thing it’s taken me a while to grasp!)

Now’s the time for me to explain that there’s actually more to the name of this particular adventure.

Officially, it’s Vivid 2022… Dancing each other home!

But, since you really can’t mess it up, when it was time for setting my personal Intention, I decided on Vivid 2022… Dancing myself home… connecting all the best in me for the greatest good!

Yep. It’s a mouthful. And it feels really true!

One of the next steps had to do with composting. As in breaking down old stuff to feed the earth and create new, helpful stuff. (Trust me… the demo dance was enlightening!)

Maybe it was the news. Or my recent digging ever more deeply in the ancestral way-back machine. In any event, I went for real!

I chose to compost my sense of not enoughness. And, as these things tend to happen, the magic flowed with the paint. This is what I wrote in my journal:

I learned not enough from generations of women who did not feel enough. It’s not that they didn’t love me – it wasn’t about me! It was that not enough was all they knew, because the world has been invested for ages in teaching women just that.

The tears, as you might imagine, were flowing by that time. And then I wrote this:

It ends with me!

And the tears mixed with the paint, as they so often do, and I was changed.

I know! I really can’t change it all for everybody, by myself.

I can, however, live enough out loud! And, this is a glimpse of my vow in this moment, late Saturday night:

The next thing that happened, early Sunday morning, was that Grandmother Moon went to whispering, as she so often does. Not enough, it seemed, was still on her mind. This is what I heard:

It isn’t just that not enough was what they knew, dear heart. It’s that not enough was how many, many of them stayed alive, even while so many more were tried and burned and beheaded and hanged.

This, in case you’re wondering, is not hypothetical in my family. And, so, I added names to the back. The ones I know so far.

Next, ombre! Which is a good place to put the tears. (Phoebe helped!)

There’s more painting to do. And noticing and wondering. And claiming! For this moment, please hear me say, I’m on it!

ps… just in case you’re wondering, voting DOES count for living enough out loud!

pps… want some help sorting your noticings and wonderings??? I have space for 2 new individual clients, and a super holiday special offer for a package of sessions! You probably have questions… The elves will hook you up! 45 minutes, my gift to you.

…when the family tree sprouts Saints!

November 1 was a busy day on my magical calendar. The usual batch of meetings, and these notes:

  • The First Day of American Indian Heritage Month.
  • My knee surgeon’s birthday.
  • One week & counting until the official voting day for US Midterm Elections.
  • All Saints’ Day.

Yes… it’s a rather odd collection! Let’s just admit that irony abounds.

If you’ve been hanging around a while, you’ve heard me muse about All Saints Day a time or two.

Don’t go… there’s a surprise this year! One that feels pretty big in my world.

It turns out that one of the people recognized on that holiday we didn’t learn much about in the land of Reformed Theology was my grandmother!

Curious? Me, too!

First, though… the understanding of All Saints Day which has lived in my heart for about 30 years.

I was on campus at Columbia Theological Seminary for a Doctor of Ministry course in doing pre-marital and couples counseling.

Walter Brueggemann was preaching in Chapel. For the first couple of minutes I was a bit perplexed.

I mean… Walter is a renowned Hebrew Bible scholar. Saints seemed a bit off the beaten path.

Then, the punch line…

Saints, Walter said, were all the people who believed for us on days when we couldn’t quite believe for ourselves.

That I understood! There have been quite the tribe of those in my life. I imagine there have been some along your path, too.

Ever since that day, I’ve stopped, each year, to make my list. And, more recently, to add an intention. To be one of those people for others.

Like Steve Glenn’s 1 in 5 people, which, come to think of it, feels pretty timely in this moment!

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

It’s a pretty helpful way to live and a really timely way to vote!

Then, digging around in the family tree, I learned a new thing. I suspect it wants to be a story for my girls!


Once upon a time… a long time ago, bedtime stories were often about people called saints.

It seems that one of the saints was my great grandmother, a very, very long time ago, when many of the countries had different names than the ones we learned. Her name was Sainte Begga.

But, before she was a saint, she was a little girl. And then a wife. And then a mom. And a grammy.

She had what we would think of as a very large family. A family which was also well known and powerful.

Eventually, Begga’s husband passed on.

And, because those were very different times, many people tried to convince Begga that she needed to marry someone else who was rich and powerful and would own all her things and make her choices for her.

This did not feel like a good idea to Begga, but the rules were different back then.

We, of course, can’t know all the details of this story from so long ago, but what I learned is that Begga decided to live in community with other thoughtful, spiritual women in a place where she would be able to keep her own things and make her own choices, instead of being forced to marry someone she did not love because, as we might say now, it was good politics.

Begga spent the rest of her life, with all those other women, helping the people she could.

It seems she helped a lot, because important people in her family, and what was known as The Church, honored her by telling her story and naming her as a Saint.

Begga had a daughter named Clotilde who was also named a Saint. She was my great aunt… also a long time ago.

There were more people in Begga’s own family, and we’ll talk about them another day.

There were also more people in Begga’s chosen family. They were called Beguines and there are still some of them in our time, helping people and making their own choices.

One thing you should know is that, depending on who is telling this story, it could sound very different. That’s called perspective.

There’s more, of course, as there almost always is. For now, though, this is what I learned when I wanted to know how one of my very own grammies came to be known as a Saint.

And, on All Saints Day this year, I thanked Grammy-Sainte Begga for believing so hard for all of us who would come after her, all these years later. And I re-claimed a old intention for my own journey…

To keep being one of those 5 people for as many others as I can.

And added a new intention…

To keep living – and voting – like everybody matters and women can make their own choices!

I’m beginning to imagine new ways that might happen. And I have a list of new things to learn, which isn’t really unusual for me.

For now, huge thanks to all the saints along my way! And to you for being brave enough to learn this new story!

ps… planning a wedding? Need some enlightened help? Check out VeryLargeHope!

pps… need a reminder? Daphne has you covered with …able to choose tank tops!

Take a deep breath, please…

Pause… and just let it go. I mean, really, let it go. All the way.

Like exhale even longer than you inhaled!

Then, just keep breathing, consciously, while you read, please!

You see, I need a bit of a break in this moment and I suspect I’m not the only one.

So, for this day, I’m choosing to focus on precious little things that matter to me and mine.

(Which is also a lot like focusing on my Big Why, but somehow less intimidating!)

One of those things is Key Lime Pie. (Surrounded, in the photo wrestled out of the the Way-back Machine, by two of the BIG things!)

You see, we’re all hanging out for Thanksgiving and, in our family, that involves Key Lime pie!

This year it also involves planning ahead. And mailing a bit of the secret ingredient!

Which involves – well – the recipe!

And you, if you’re new around here, may not have the recipe, which would be sad because it’s easy and REALLY delicious. So, from my heart (and my holiday cookbook) to yours:

Authentic Key Lime Pie with a Gluten-Free Variation

This is the real deal – yellow colored – Key Lime Pie. Better yet, with the Oatmeal Pie Crust shell, it’s gluten-free! And Kenzie loves it! This is the recipe right off the Nellie & Joe’s bottle of Key Lime juice. You can order it from Amazon or try Whole Foods or Publix depending on where you are. Did you know that the pie has sweetened condensed milk in it because the recipe was developed before Key West had dependable milk delivery or refrigeration? Really!

MAKES: One 9 inch pie, about 8 servings

Equipment Note: You can use a food processorhand or stand mixer to do this, but a wire whisk will do. A mixing advantage is handy if you opt for homemade whipped cream. I often use an Eco-foil disposable pie tin with the domed plastic crust when I make this. 

Arrange oven racks so pie will bake in center of oven.

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

In a suitable mixing bowl, combine and mix well:

            One 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

            3 good egg yolks. (Reserve whites for another use.)

Add and blend until smooth:

                        ½ c. Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice

Pour filling into:

                        One 9 inch prepared Graham Cracker pie shell*

Bake for 15 min. Remove from oven and place on rack. Allow to sit 10 min. before refrigerating.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Optional: Add to mixing bowl, preferably metal:

                      1 pint organic, heavy whipping cream

                        1 Tbsp. 10x powdered sugar, if desired. 

Whip cream rapidly by hand or with mixer, until soft peaks form.

If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream. 

*Fabulous Gluten-free Oatmeal Pie Crust with Vegan Variation

Equipment Note: food processor or Vitamix-type blender is used for this recipe.

Depending on how high your pie will get when finished, allowing for whipped cream or meringue, you may want to purchase an Eco-foil pie pan with a plastic cover. 

I found this on an old, yellowed index card, in my mom’s handwriting, when I went through her recipes. I don’t remember her ever making it. What a gift for Bill & Taylor who avoid gluten! See how many ways you can find to use this like you would use a graham cracker crust, but better!

Into the bowl of your food processor or carafe of your blender, place:

            1 c. gluten-free rolled oats

            ½ c. brown sugar

            ½ c. flaked or shredded coconut

Pulse until ingredients resemble a fairly fine meal. Add:

            1/3 c. melted butter 

Continue to pulse until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Cover with plastic wrap or lid to pan. Chill.

Variation – Vegan

Replace butter with 1/3 c. melted coconut oil


ps… as I’m proofreading this message, Peter, Paul, & Mary are singing Puff the Magic Dragon and I want THEM and their hope in this moment of present tense!

pps… if help on your path to making a difference sounds hopeful, let’s talk! 45 min. My gift to you. And now is a really good time to check this out because there’s a holiday offer for sessions coming soon!

ppps… whether you’ve voted already or you’re about to, the Legendary Husband has you covered! (With light!)

My Mythical Aunt Charlotte!

We still lived in St. Louis when I met Charlotte and her web. (Translation… somewhere between what should have been Kindergarten, if there’d been one, and 3rd grade.)

My Mom must have read the book aloud to my sister and me. We did a lot of that!

And, of course, I cried when Wilbur died, despite all Charlotte’s inspired weaving.

Some pig! is, of course, my favorite message. And I remember wondering what it would be like to have somebody say something that enthusiastic about me.

A couple of years ago, more contemporary portraits of Charlotte began appearing in my paintings because (duh!) I was making new steps into the land of sharing what I knew. What I believed.

That’s Charlotte, in the top corner of my Medicine Basket painting!

And, just recently, I’ve been thinking about quilting. The scrappy kind where bits of this and glimpses of that make things that weren’t, before.

Weaving is another way to think about it.

Tiny threads coming together to make things we can see and touch, grown out of learning and experimenting with ancient ways in our times.

There’s been a lot of quilting and weaving going on inside me lately.

Tiny bits of this or that from long ago which didn’t seem like much until they bumped into new bits in this moment.

And some of that newness is beginning to take form in the world around me.

Conversations with a couple of clients this week have been transformed into new insights in the land they’re learning to call Filters.

And, those conversations and insights have also transformed me.

So much so, that I am intentionally taking new steps into the big world with the things that are being woven together in and around me.

One of those things has to do with weddings. As in helping other people hoping to get married in this world, now. There’s more of this to come, but, if you can’t stand the suspense – or know someone who could use some help – click VeryLargeHope.com (And then come back here!)

Another of those things has to do with what I imagined as the book hatching inside me.

It’s been there for a while, though it has recently reached the hopping up & down/keeping me awake stage.

And, that book-in-utero has decided that it actually wants to be a lot like a Red Thread Circle with pages and a cover. (This is exciting, indeed!)

Which kind of brings us back to the whole Filter thing. It’s been a helpful model in my world for years, thanks to a guy named Bill Harris who first introduced me to it.

It has also changed over time, as models have been known to do.

Then, suddenly, that model claimed its place in my Medicine Basket as the winner of the if I only had one tool prize.

So, if you’ve pondered Filters with me before – or if you haven’t yet – let’s do this thing! Here’s how to sign up:

I’m ready!

Charlotte says it’s going to take a lot of us, along the thread, to stay on the road!

For now, though, it’s time to be brave!

Brave enough to claim something we long for. That place where our deep passion and the world’s deep hunger meet (F. Buechner). A thing? An action? A journey? An if only I…

You’re right! It isn’t easy.

It IS a whole lot better than letting fear, or the way we’ve always done it, hold you back. Keep you from dreaming.

And you don’t have to do it alone! Just scroll back up a little bit and click the big “I’m ready!” link. I’ve been there before and I’m glad to go along with you.

ps… in case you might long for a few new tools along the way… from t-shirts to mugs to major inspiration for your walls, come wander through FierceArtWithHeart! The elves have been busy and would be thrilled to help you pack your Medicine Basket!

Hard times…

It’s soundtrack time again.

This morning, I turned on music to paint by but these words insisted on appearing, first!

You know the song!

We’ve all had Hard Times, I suppose.

And, as Joan Baez said, in her 75th birthday concert, may they come again no more...

It’s a beautiful song. And, if it’s actually going to come to life, it needs intention! It needs action.

As I typed, Joan had another song to sing… Swing Low, Sweet Chariot… “This song has a lot of stories that go with it,” said Joan. Like the one where she sang it at Woodstock. And the time she sang it for Dr. King!

Just ponder, for a moment, the context implications! And feel free to hum if you know it!

And wrap your head, if you would, around this wild question…

What if VOICE is a power-full path through, and even out of, hard times!

I has been for me!

It began as I was leaving an early, abusive marriage… learning that it was okay to need help & say so. To get on the path to a better life, for me and for my tiny son.

And it grew as I realized that, You don’t get paid to think! wasn’t just about surgeons & nurses… it was much deeper. Men & women. Powerful & not. Rich & not. And I left, again.

And learned other ways to speak…

Amazingly, to preach. And write. Not for power, but for truth, as near as I can understand it.

And also to guide. My piece of the Red Thread. With voice as the first tool in my Medicine Basket!

For this moment, though, back to the notion of context!

NOW is a time for speaking out. For some of us… walking out… of violence and oppression and power over, rather than power for.

It’s “ironic” that it’s gospel and folk music which feels so needed just now. Imagine… Love, hope, determination, for all the folks!

Roll around in the music if you can… it is the timeless, urgent message for this moment!

Then, go vote, if you haven’t.

And use your voice. Talk with your family and friends about why this matters… and what happens when we let ourselves be coerced into thinking that it doesn’t! Or that we don’t!

It might be scary… and we’re counting on you! Wear a t-shirt. Put up a sign. Make a donation. Do what you can, even though you can’t do it all. And be okay with staying safe!

You matter!

These words, by the way, are me following my own inner direction and voice.

Showing up with a soup pot, if you will… a container for transformation.

My job is to offer the space and the energy… the tools and the recipes… for magic longing to happen.

Your job is to bring where you’ve been, and what you hope for, and even the tiniest sprinkle of willingness to grow. To receive more.

Still wavering??? Here’s the link for the whole concert. Watch. Listen. Feel. (If you’re like me, you’ll need tissues!) And, by all means, sing along! It will help you process the message with all of your being!

Then, go and do as you are led by all that is holy within you!

ps.. want to explore the path with someone who’s been there before? The soup pot is polished and I’ve made room in my coaching calendar for a few new individual clients! Let’s talk… 45 minutes. My gift to you. Just CLICK HERE and the calendar elves will set you up! (A cuppa and a scrap of Red Thread would be handy!)

pps… need a fabulous t-shirt to put on? The Legendary Husband’s got you covered! FierceArtWithHeart.

The storage unit between our ears!

For a while now, I’ve been hanging out in the magical land of Sam Bennet called Get It Done! And I have, as I hoped, gotten a boatload of it done.

I’ve also encountered lots of other pilgrims on the path!

People from other places. People with other gifts and dreams. People wise enough to know that learning some new things – or ways of being – just might be helpful in getting out of some all too familiar hamster wheels of doing.

Here’s a thing I noticed…

Whatever we showed up to get done, we seem to have something in common.


Specifically, Stuck Stuff!

Some of it looks a lot like the kind of old stuff which hides in cardboard boxes and doesn’t pay rent in the spaces we call home. Or garage. Or Pod.

Some of it looks like paper. Stacks and stacks of it.

Some of looks like – heresy alert! – books! Or even shoes!

Well, you get it.

Sorting and pitching… packing and toting… donating, and even garage sales, seem to be on many of our lists.

And, yes, I’ve gotten lots of that done.

Even better, though, is the sorting that’s gone in my head. You know… the virtual box kind. And, if you’ve been reading along for a bit, you may recall that I have a thing for something I call Unsticking Stuck Stuff!

It seems this is something almost all of us – however grudgingly – admit we could use more of. And something almost all of us struggle with.

And I have some new ideas!

Well… maybe not so much new ideas as new possibilities, woven with vision and care, out of old, dusty stuff we inherited without even realizing it!

Amazingly, that kind of weaving seems to become dreams. And words. And images. And all of those, together, can become new Realities.

I’m not making this up!

In fact, it happened in my world this very week!

And a whole lot of my dreams are clearer. And sprouting actual paths. And concrete action.

Oh, there’s more to do!

I will give you a hint, though.


(And who gets to choose them!)


Great! Because, as my old friend, Steve Glenn, used to say… that’s our most powerfull state for learning!

Curious enough to learn more???

Click HERE!

My gift to you… 45 minutes… Concrete HOPE. Because that’s what this Grandmother is in charge of! (A cuppa and a scrap of red thread would be handy.)

ps… take a minute to thank some of your greatest teachers along the way and notice what they had in common! I’m sure thanking mine!!!

pps… the painting is last summer’s Legend… almost finished and checking out the real estate with the rest of the tribe! What do you see???

“Raised Right” is STILL not enough!

Yes, I’ve told a piece of this story before, because some stories are important enough to come around again and again… and they often bring different messages in different moments!

Once upon a Sunday morning, quite some time ago, 11:00 arrived as it almost always does, and it was my turn to preach. There were a few challenges, that particular day.

It was a Sunday in October. A Sunday for which the Lectionary (a complicated calendar of which scripture passages are “for” which day) was utterly unprepared!

You see, in addition to it being the whichever Sunday in Ordinary Time, it was also Stewardship Sunday in our congregation, on Pink Ribbon Sunday for breast cancer awareness, in National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Yep! Money, sex (well some people think so) and power all cued up for Sunday morning.

Three things you learned, if you were raised right in the time and places I was, not to talk about!

But I did. Because I couldn’t have lived with myself or faced the Creator of my understanding if I hadn’t. I mean, real people – struggling with those things – were sitting in our pews and not talking about those things wasn’t going to help anything get different!

This time feels just like that, somewhere deep in my raised right heart, which has learned a whole lot of new things in the last few years.

One of those new things I’ve learned is just how much politics is tied up with things like breast cancer research and treatment. And with things like domestic violence laws and enforcement… or not.

And then there’s the whole issue of who is real-enough to have civil and human rights. Today. In America.

It’s a really, really big issue and we’re not going to get it solved here, just now.

Earlier today, though, I listened to a recording of one of my Sister/Mentor/Teachers talking about these issues as they impact women and girls. I was scribbling pretty fast but this the center of what I heard:

Sisters… it is not our job to prove our worthiness but to CLAIM it! (Elayne Kalila Doughty)

I would add that it’s our job to protect our worthiness – our status as intentionally created humans – for ourselves and our sisters and all those who will come after us.

And, yes, politics is another of those things many of us raised right folks were taught not to talk about.

I’m not sure it ever worked. It certainly isn’t working now!

There was another thing Elayne reminded me of today. In modern/post-modern times, it’s only been about 100 years that women could vote and have resources in their own names and run for office and make their voices heard. And fewer years than that, in many cases, for people of color.

And maybe – just maybe – all the current political chaos is a planned effort on the part of way too many rich, powerful men to take away those rights and powers in order to protect their own agendas.

So, here’s my idea… let’s learn some of the tales of women who were wise world leaders in the old days. Back when raised right meant defending their families and homes and beliefs. Back when raised right meant learning and teaching and participating in world-changing events. Back when raised right women named Garsinde and Joan and Jacquetta and Boudicca and Mathilda and many, many Marys claimed their worthiness and changed the world for all of us.

And, then… let us, too, claim our worth and speak and lead and heal. And so it is. Here’s a glimpse of what that claiming looks like on my easel. Squint for today… she’ll be clearer soon!

ps… the top painting is deep under-layers of what became, about a year later, Grandmother Moon! And, it volunteered to step up and become a mug, bringing the colors of pink and purple ribbons for hope and – if you squint just a bit – a rainbow! Grandmother Moon insisted on a special offer – just for you and those you love – during the month of October!

pps… wondering what YOUR piece of speaking and leading and healing looks like? Here’s a fast, free, fun way to get more clarity!

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