Massaged. Napped. Packed.

You know how, before you set out on a journey, your head tends to spin with all kinds of thoughts and things to do? Well, this day has been like that!

The Journey is Legend. Like plane reservations and a safe place to stay, I’ve already begun in the sense of stocking up on paint, washing brushes from Insight, and beginning my journal.

My Muse, known these days as Charlotte, is ready! Ready enough that she had me out of bed at about 4:30 this morning, editing quiz questions and results descriptions. Charlotte doesn’t want anything to be missed while I’m wandering!

Eventually, she was content enough to be quiet while I snuck in a chair-nap.

I woke to about a ton of email, including a very exciting piece I’d been hoping for. Twelve new family members for my tree. (Several of my paintings are thrilled!)

It’s my Gramma Elsie’s family again. All four great-grandparents, 36 generations into the mists! One of them, a woman I know at the moment only as Leutgarde d’ Auvergne who was born in 935 CE. Really!

It boggles my mind!

And, clearly, I have some more exploring to do for I hear, thundering in the background of my awareness, Walter Brueggemann imploring me to, “Just tell the story!”

But, time out for a massage. Charlotte was almost as delighted as I was, for we cannot go adventuring if we’re not taking care of ourselves!

Jessica is amazing in all kinds of mystical energy ways. She’s also a gifted artist! (Stay tuned…)

Wandering through all this, the notion of medicine basket.

The photo is the non-traditional version which followed me home from Italy just about 3 years ago, along with a few other items essential to journeys like Legend.

In a way, a major contextual question of this moment in time is, What’s in our medicine baskets?

It’s not a new question. It is, perhaps, more urgent.

And, just between us, I’m grateful for a powerful journey that is happening in the relative safety of my studio, among the 4-footed angels.

There are many, many unknowns. What I do know is this… I’ll come home with more medicine for my basket.

In fact, I think I’ve already found the first bit.

When I was doing the chair-nap thing this morning, a lioness appeared and strongly suggested that she’d like to be included!

We shall see…

For now, Safe Journeys wherever they lead you and yours…

ps… if you’re looking for another journey option, here’s a fun one… fierceartwithheart! (You won’t need a big bag. We ship!)

Stormy Weather… in both the literal and figurative senses!

I suspect the Weather Channel peeps are feeling like essential workers this summer.

Floods. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Unprecedented heat waves. Fires.

I’m all for a welcome dose of rain pattering gently on the new metal roof, but this has not been that. In fact, for a huge part of the world, it’s been terrifying. And it’s touched a story that’s lived in my heart for a while.

Since the summer of 1989, to be exact.

I was Camp Nurse and Director2 for the Presbyteries of Orange and New Hope in North Carolina.

On that particular day, the kids – 100 or more of them – were out doing what kids do at Camp. Volley ball games. Sail boats. Arts & Crafts.

And then, as some of my Southern friends would say, “There come a storm”.

A tornado, to be exact.

The staff scrambled to get kids to the closest shelters. For about half of them, that meant the dining hall. My assignment on the emergency plan.

About three quarters of the kids were terrified. The others wanted to watch out the huge glass windows which was, of course, no place to be.

Step one: Get them all sitting in circles on the floor, far from windows. The littlest ones, under tables.

Step two: Prayer. It was, after all, church camp!

Step three: Something to do. We sacrificed some apples and oranges from the kitchen to use as balls for tossing around the circles. (And passed out some of the disgusting pink stuff known as “bug juice” so they’d have something to drink.)

Step four: As they started to calm, songs and stories.

The wind picked up some more. Branches and trees started falling nearby. A lawn chair flew by a window.

We sang louder.

Goin’ on a Squeegee Hunt is especially helpful for such a time! Especially the line that goes, “I’m not afraid!”

If you’re at all like me, the world has felt more than a bit like that stormy day all those years ago.

And most of us have had scared kids we love caught in the middle.

Grammy Camp starts Saturday!

Why?

Because there are things we can learn from each other, and realize in ourselves, to help those littles we love so much to ride out the days when there come a storm.

I’d be okay if we skipped the bug juice, but some skills for listening, for taking their fears seriously, and for not shaming or blaming them for being where they are would be a great start!

A medicine basket, if you will, helping to get conscious of what you have to offer in the midst of wherever they are.

And, in order to help them with their fears, we need help with our own!

Bandaids and M&M’s are not enough for these days!

Journaling and painting and sharing in circle work better for the Grandmother-Elder-Teacher- types. Even very brave Grandfathers!

In a moment I’m going to ask you to take action. Even if you’ve done it before and decided that now was not the time.

Now is the time.

And, due to a gift from a generous donor who knows how much this matters, the price has become more affordable.

There’s not much time left to choose. Hobby Parent and I are ready with a plan. A plan to worry less and help more.

Isn’t that what you need???

So, here it comes. Our request…

CLICK THIS THING!

ps… The resident Studio Angels have their camp t-shirts ready and they’re so hoping you’ll come, too!

pps… The art is my Work-in-Progress for today. (Which is a lot like all of us!) It began a year ago, when Congressman John Lewis passed… the stormy weather in my heart and in our world. Let’s look these storms in the eye and help our kids!

Quite possibly my strangest blog post ever!

It has, as the old saying goes, been a bit of a day!

We’ll skip the early morning tree surgery next door and move on to the the fact that I had a massage appointment today. First time in 3 or 4 years! Part of the healing formerly scared muscles plan in Sunday’s not-quite-as-bizarre post.

This adventure occurred at home as I haven’t been driving much lately. (The whole brake thing feels really tricky!)

Fortunately, my new buddy, Jessica, had a Newfie when she was a kid and was thrilled to meet the official greeters. They, of course, were thrilled to meet her.

We did the brief history of all the scars, the allergies, and the positioning challenges with Phoebe sulking outside the door because there wasn’t room for her and the massage table.

Then, complete with aromatherapy, bird music, and some insights about Intentional Creativity®, I was reminded why massage can be a very good thing.

THEN, for reasons completely unknown, we wound up locked in the room where we’d been working.

Yep, locked in!

I didn’t even know there was a lock on the door.

Texting Bill brought no immediate rescue attempt from the basement and Jessica had more appointments scheduled.

Fortunately, there’s a drawer in that room with an odd collection of household tools that don’t have another place to live.

Hammer and screw driver in hand, I managed to get the hinge pin out of the top of the door. Bill arrived about then and somehow forced it open.

And, yes, I’ve already notified Greg, the fix-it-wizard, that his list just got a bit longer.

Here’s the thing, though, amidst all the weirdness.

While we were working, Jessica asked me about my girls and I told her that since the first moment I found out that the first granddaughter was on the way, my life has been changed.

Changed as in, I have two granddaughters growing up in this world and it could use a bit of work.

These days, more than a bit.

So, I had a chat with my Grammy-Sister-Art-Buddy, Hobby Parent, and, as part of our plans for Saturday’s workshop, we’re going to squeeze in a bit more really useful information and reduce the price.

You see, Saturday is the first anniversary of Congressman John Lewis’ passing, after serving 34 years in the US House of Representatives (D, GA-05). Lots of concerned Grandmothers, Elders, and other wise people are planning events across the US to encourage some Good Trouble, Lewis style.

And our workshop, Healing the World… starting with the Ones You Love is Good Trouble with paint!

Our kids… especially the teens and young adults, are facing unprecedented challenges and way too many of them are not making it. We can help. So, among lots of other cool things, we’ll be learning the three most crucial I amstatements we can help our kids learn. And we want you to be able to join us.

That’s the reason the new price, which is even lower than the early bird price was, is $134 for one or $234 for two.

Here’s the challenge!!!

I don’t know how to make the price change in the checkout process. I’ve emailed Veronica, the tech-wizard, and she’ll fix it as soon as she finds out I’m messing with the world again.

For now, CLICK HERE to read all the good stuff about when and why and what you’ll need. Share this with a friend. Maybe wait until Thursday morning to sign up. I promise we’ll make the money thing work!

Comment on the post or email me at suesvoice@gmail.com if you need help.

Our kids are counting on all of us. And Good Trouble is a good way to be!

ps… That’s Phoebe, up there, right under my feet, helping with the webinar last week. (Complete with toe licking!) She likes to help. And she’ll be sad if you’re not there! (Yes, I’m that committed!)

Watching the Pen Move…

I have a rather bizarre story for you, today. One many of my medical and therapeutic – type buddies might actually declare, “not the way we’ve always done it”!

Frankly, I do too.

A year ago I finished my Motherboard certification which translates into Certified Intentional Creativity® Coach.

This was a journey which involved a whole bunch of a thing called MetaCognitive Drawing, as I learned it from Shiloh Sophia McCloud and a talented team of folks open to new things.

The operating definition is something pretty close to thinking about something while moving a pen and watching the pen move.

The process allows one to notice things which are “beyond” our day-to-day patterns of thinking.

There’s more, but first, a pause for a bit of history.

If you’ve been reading along for a while you will no doubt have noticed that I have rather more frequent than optimal challenges with joints and muscles and pain.

I won’t bore you with the details except to say be kind to your knees! I will say that I’ve spent a bunch of time, energy, and money trying to get things to hurt less.

Things have been different, lately. (Which is great if you’re into optimism… and not so good if nothing much is helping.)

Then, while working on some workshops about helping the teens and young adults we love, especially in this pandemic-impacted moment, I had a new thought!

I did such a good job of sheltering at home – read that isolating – that, in addition to not catching Covid, I lost a good bit of muscle strength. (Not that I had a whole lot to spare in the beginning…)

That new thought led – as new thoughts often do – to a few more new thoughts with a batch of questions tagging along.

I wrote out, like a story, what I was experiencing. I looked a bunch of things up online. (Really!) I called my doc and made an appointment.

He listened. And didn’t laugh… even when I explained that I had come to the conclusion that my muscles were afraid.

We checked some wild card things out and adjusted a few other things and made a plan, last Monday.

I called a dear friend and got a referral for a massage therapist.

Somewhere along the line, I mentioned to a Grammy buddy and Motherboard grad from this year, what I had realized about my muscles being scared. We did a short review of all the surgeries and falls, etc., etc. Then she offered to wander with me if I wanted to do a bit of MetaCognitive Drawing to see what else I might learn.

I did!

You kind of had to be there but here’s the punch line. After drawing a me out of a bunch of spirals, I was feeling way more hopeful. Then, I knew. I need to be as patient and hopeful and compassionate with my muscles as I was with Luther when he came to us so abused and terrified and then lost his vision. I needed to see me with my heart, just the way he sees the world.

Time out for tissues. For me.

And an update.

A med shift Mark and I hatched up is helping. My new massage buddy is coming to the house on Wednesday. (She’s an artist, too, and loves Newfies!) And, she’d heard of Intentional Creativity®

It turns out that, before Covid, she had plans to go help an old friend of hers with an IC retreat in Mexico.

My response was an immediate, “Emily Grieves”! And I was right. Emily is an amazingly talented IC sister.

Que the chorus of, It’s a small world, after all!

I can’t wait to see what happens when I explain to my new buddy that my muscles have been scared and my goal is to help them be less scared…

For this moment, back to workshop planning… you’re invited!

And let me know if you’d like to talk about drawing yourself a miracle…

ps… That’s Luther in the glimpse of my 2nd Legend painting, above.

pps… Many, many thanks to Gail Simon Darlington, Red Thread and Motherboard sister, extraordinaire!

What then?

Well, the good news is that Luther survived the warm-up fireworks last night without the need for CBD oil! For a guy with his history of abuse and trauma, that’s right up there in the land of miracles.

If you’re new around here, WELCOME! And Luther is the guy on the left, sporting the collar that reads blind dog. His sidekick, Phoebe, is – blessedly – the prize winner for chilled out Newfie.

Chilled out is exactly what we need around here, today.

Folk music marathon on YouTube. (Well, when I’m pushing the buttons!)

A huge meatloaf production project for dinner with lots of leftovers for the freezer. (Our version of fast food.)

Bunches of videos and worksheets in prep for a meeting to start bringing my Grandmother Quiz to life. Stay tuned!

Probably some more consultation with a new – and extremely talented – artist, face to face with her first commission and a really big canvas.

A couple of loads of laundry.

All of which is to say that we’re not likely to win the award for observing 4th of July traditions. And there’s part of me that is missing the fried chicken and potato salad that were dependable parts of this day when I was a kid.

Fortunately our friend, Josh, who owns The Corner Pub, is planning to observe National Fried Chicken Day which is, apparently, a thing that happens on July 6th. We’re planning to help!

For today, though, a question. It’s not an easy question. It is one that helps me focus, especially in times like this. You already know what it is.

I have a new answer this year.

Healing.

Yep, healing.

Wherever and however we can.

And right now, in a world of many things I can’t much change, my plan is (Wait for it!) ART.

Well, not exactly art, but INTENTIONAL CREATIVITY®. The process of using our whole beings to envision that which we need or were born to express or to teach.

And, very soon now, you’ll have a chance to join in for one, or two, or all three of the experiences my IC Sister, Hobby Parent, and I are busy creating. In fact, you can click HERE to find everything you need to know for a free webinar designed to deal with HOW that healing happens!

For this moment, our prayers for you are peace, freedom, dignity, and whatever else you need to do what you believe. Blessings, Sue, Phoebe, and Luther

ps… If you know any cool folks who relate to the Grandmother Archetypes, Hobby and I would be thrilled if you’d share this with them. They’re invited, too!

When the art takes over!

What was your first job?

Mine, other than babysitting, was working for the vet, which I adored, but it was only a summer gig. Then, being a camp counselor. (Also seriously seasonal.)

The summer before my senior year in high school, I became a part-time cashier at the local Publix store. This was back in the dark ages when cash registers still had mechanical buttons and math was required to make change. (Really!)

I used to entertain myself by seeing how fast I could ring up 8 packs of sodas and the bottle deposit.

The absolute worst part was inventory. And, yes, I mean with pencils and clipboards.

Bars of soap and jars of baby food were the worst possible assignments.

Soap made me sneeze the whole time and trying to re-stack all the little glass jars inevitably led to a mess on the floor. Somehow it always seemed to be strained peas or chicken mush. Aaaaaackkk!

You are, I imagine, wondering what triggered this stroll down memory lane.

Well, I’m shop-keeping again!

This time, art, which is way better than soap or baby food!

It’s going to take me a while to get used to the new system, though.

I tried. Bill tried. We made some progress. Veronica helped!

There are, however, a few things still to work out!

There’s a hint of a coming special collection of art by Gloria Venuh, MATS, who was my Intentional Creativity Intern this past year and is about 97 kinds of seriously talented! (Not to mention about to start her PhD in theology and art!) There are, indeed, more to come.

They should be there later this week!

And, I’ll be adding more and more items soon. Including more coffee mugs! (Very cool!)

There’s is a pretty, purple poster edition of the Grandmothers’ Manifesta, just in case you know someone who needs a gift or some moral support.

But, having resolved my meltdown over wanting it the way I want it, and convinced my inner critic to take a brief vacation, we’re open. I’m so hoping you’ll visit!

Also, if you missed Wednesday’s blog with the invitation to get a free, printable pdf of the Manifesta, just click here!

Here’s the thing… I really believe that this is part of my way of making things better for my girls and for all our littles! And that reminds me of a quote, sometimes attributed to Michaelangelo:

Art will save the world.

I hope so. At the very least, I think it makes us more fully human and that’s not a bad day’s work!

Thus, a new class, coming soon.

For this moment, feet up and prayer scarves. This one is dark blues and greens.

Whether you’re new here, or have been part of the family for a while, thank you! It takes a village to spread the word. And the images!

ps… Rule one of blog posts like this is to give people only one link to click. It’s a challenge but I’ve been working on it. However, today is an exception and, since you’re a bright and capable being, I’m going to trust that you’ll figure out what works for you and not give up.

pps… If you know where the studio elves are hiding, Phoebe and Luther would be grateful if you’d send them, please. It’s a bit hard for them to help paint, just now!

More Good Trouble…

I come from a crowd of folks who believed they were of the we’ve always done it this way sort.

Even as a child, I thought that was a bit odd for people who were on a first name basis with the moving guys. I understand it better now, though. You see, I’ve met the Inner Critic.

She’s the one whispering in your ear that things are safe if we lived through them once and, therefore, we should always do them the same way. I’ll bet you’ve met one of her many, many sisters!

It’s not really a bad theory. It just doesn’t do so well if it’s the only theory!

This weekend has been a good example.

Juneteenth!

It will come as no surprise to most of you that this is a new-ish holiday in my particular part of the universe.

All my generations upon generations of Grandmothers would not know what “we’ve always eaten” for this day. Or which box of decorations to drag out of the basement. Or what to send for cards.

I’m not real sure either, but I’m ready to learn!

So, in between laps around the inside of our house to stretch out my deeply annoying SI Joint, I’ve spent some time wondering.

And, I’ve had some help! You guessed it… paintings! (And, yes, two of those in the photo have made recent appearances but could you really tell them no? Ever, really, but especially now? And they invited a couple of friends!)

If we start to the left, we have, What the World Needs Now, complete with her heart full of love, despite the scar.

Just behind her is a Virgin of Guadalupe, muttering about revisions, especially to the background. She’s headed for a friend’s house when she’s finished.

Up above, my familiar Tree of Life painting with the ancient grandmother and her abundant bowl of water beneath the communal branches and roots and trunks of a banyan tree.

I’m counting on my shoulder deciding to behave soon so I can do some finishing work on the painting of Congressman John Lewis, to the right.

Since I wasn’t quite ready to paint, I decided that I could live without my usual parade of Iron Chef America re-runs. You see, I just figured out where Finding Your Roots moved after the cable fairy’s latest game of messing with my mind. And who was waiting for me there?

John Lewis! I’d seen the episode with him and Senator Cory Booker before but context is, indeed, much of everything so I heard new things tonight.

My favorite part was watching Congressman Lewis learn that his Great Great Great Grandfather, Tobias Carter, registered to vote in 1867, two years after he was freed from slavery and just after the 13th Amendment prohibited depriving anyone of the right to vote based on their race.

Tears ran down Lewis’s cheeks as he marveled to know that 98 years before he was injured and arrested in the march from Selma to Montgomery, his ancestor had registered to vote.

Tears ran down my cheeks, too, as Lewis said:

The vote is the most powerful non-violent tool in a democratic society.

Pens and laptops and paintbrushes do pretty important jobs, too.

So, despite the Critic’s efforts to send her Muse alter-ego on a long vacation, there are some new things coming up around here.

An image that took me about 35 years and 10 minutes to create.

And Camp! Think soothing the Critic…

I promise, no bug spray will be necessary! Stay tuned…

ps… Happy Fathers Day to Bill and Dave and all the very brave dads and grandpas reading this!

pps… the big, fuzzy kid communing with the art is Luther who, in many ways, has lived his own Juneteenth kind of story.

ppps… What the World Needs Now is available for adoption. Since Luther’s not much for email, you can check with me!

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