Wonders of the Medicine Bag!

If you’re new around here, you may not know that the fabulous bag in the photo followed me home from Italy last fall. It literally called my name from the floor of a shop full of Italian leather goods and insisted on becoming what we Color of Woman folks call our medicine baskets. (I resisted for all of about two minutes!)

In addition to Henry, there are some new things in my medicine bag lately. Some are actual things and some are things I’ve learned. Just in case you’re up for learning new things, too, here are a few. Kind of like the old-fashioned Hints from Heloise !

First, did you know that you can keep avocados in your fridge? You can! Let them sit on the counter until they’re ripe to touch, then stash them in a basket in the fridge for as much as 4 or 5 days and use as desired.

I eat lots of avocados and this makes the shopping w-a-y easier!!! (I take them out 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time so they’re room temp-ish.)

Then, there’s the matter of dog soup. Not soup made of dogs! Soup for dogs.

Our herd eats raw food, exception for bone broth. They’re also supposed to eat veg but mine are not fans. So, with my recent enormous batch of broth, I (finally!) had the inspiration to run a batch of raw veg through the VitaMix and then whisk it in with their chilled broth before I packed and froze it.

This time, lots of greens from the garden. Ideally, below and above ground veg together. Easiest example, carrots with the feathers still on. (Next time!) Just grind them with a bit of broth until liquid, mix them into the broth, then portion and freeze.

And, yes, it works for hiding veg on kids, too!!!

Then, a blast from the past. Once upon a time, I had knee surgery six times in nine years. That was a whole lot of time with my feet up, trying to feel useful.

I spent a huge chunk of that time knitting prayer shawls for Shallowford Presbyterian Church. Between the pain pills and my own tendency to do only a couple of things at a time, I needed to keep it simple.

Instead of fancy patterns which require lots of counting, I concentrated on breathing and praying. Frequently, (inhale) Mighty God… (exhale) hold them close. 

Stitch by stitch, row after row, back and forth, back and forth. Miles and miles of knitting.

Lately, I’ve been knitting again. (I’ve needed a bit of self-soothing!)

This time, sparkly red yarn. A reminder of the web which connects us as humans moving through life who, often, need some prayer and support.

Then, at the risk of geeking out a bit… Dostoevsky and Puddleglum. Really!

I encountered C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia during my first year in seminary. I hurt my back during the January term and spend much of my time flat on the couch. A dear friend brought me the paperback versions of the Chronicles because they were light and easy to hold over my head to read.

I fell in love with the Marsh Wiggle, Puddleglum, in book four, The Silver Chair.  Puddleglum is my hero!

Then, in the midst of Luther’s recovery, when I was stressed to the max, I picked up Buechner 101… Essays and Sermons by Frederick Buechner, with an intro by Anne Lamott.

Wait for it…

Maybe the final answer that faith can give to that awesome and final question occurs in a letter that Dostoevsky wrote to a friend in 1854. “If anyone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth,” he wrote, “and it really was so that the truth was outside Christ, then I would prefer to remain with Christ than with the truth.”

Puddleglum was Dostoevsky!!!

(If these folks are unfamiliar, please go read asap!)

And then, a contemporary magic wand.


I’ve been a fan of the work of Belleruth Naperstak at Health Journeys for years. Her guided imagery recordings are magical. I’ve lived with the Successful Surgery set. (Seriously!)

I’ve recommended these resources to family, friends, and clients for years. Time and technology being what they are, the CD’s have become harder for folks to access. Enter the brand new app that allows you to access recordings via your phone or computer without eating all your hard drive space!

And now I’m delighted to be able to offer you access to the app at a discount for 6 months.

Trouble sleeping, grief, recovery, accessing creativity, stress relief, cancer, spiritual guides, even empowering imagery for kids… Health Journeys can help. Interested? Go to https://healthjourneys.muvi.com/en/user/register

Choose your plan. The deals are amazing!

***Enter the coupon code, special to us, FierceGma10 with your credit card info to receive  10% off for 6 months.

Then go to your mobile device and download the App from either Google Play or iTunes.

Sign in. Enjoy! (NOT while you’re driving!!!)

I don’t endorse something like this all that often but this is right up there with Puddleglum and Dostoevsky!!!

Let us know what you’re learning…




Old Friends Whispering…

Many of you know, and some of you have been right there with me, that for about the last year, I have been deeply engaged in a program for certifying Intentional Creativity teachers, known as Color of Woman, or COW for short.

It has been, in the understatement of the century, quite the journey!

You’ve read my stories and seen at least bits and pieces of the images that have flowed from my soul to my brush to the world.

There is “one more” project left to complete.

“One more” is in quotes because there are still a few individual projects lurking within the enormous project known as the Initiate Book.

The Initiate Book is basically a digital journal, in words and images, of the vision quest that has framed this last year.

It has a great deal of structure in terms of what is required and a great deal of freedom in terms of how to meet the requirements. And, by the way, it’s due November 1.

Oh, and lots of mine changed — or grew, perhaps — while I was in Italy!

Which is, I suspect, why the freedom of this project has been freaking me out. Seriously!

(And that is rather an odd statement coming from me.)

There are paintings and journals and blog posts and photos and zillions of index cards everywhere I look and my job, in this moment, is to finish, organize and label ALL of them so that the dear friend who actually pushes the buttons to make it beautiful and get it uploaded doesn’t feel trapped in the mythical land of scrap quilts, as I do in this moment.

I had stacks of things on every horizontal surface in our house, which might have worked except that we played Furniture Yahtzee again last weekend and everything got moved, and re-stacked.

Imagine my delight.

And recall that I’m not, historically, a very fast learner when it comes to tech-y things like files and folders and the hypothetical miracles of Dropbox, which I still haven’t figured out but apparently need to. Now.

I’ve been bouncing about from this to that and back to this, color coding check marks on my magic sample table of contents, which seemed like a good idea but hasn’t turned out to be very clear.

My flow-y, creative right brain was getting frantic, so I took a leap of faith and asked for help!

After a lesson in sorting and organizing, along with tea and really good dark chocolate (Thank you, Leisa!) I had an idea.

I could do this in order. Top to bottom. Right off the list of requirements. (Which is not at all how it happened in real life or how it feels inside!)

Laugh, if you need to. I am feeling hugely grateful to my blessed linear left brain for flinging itself into the artsy and well written tangle of my universe with an actual plan.

I suspect more tea and chocolate will be required. And plenty to share with my Muse, as well, who nudged me out of bed at about 5:30 this morning with one of her trademark “next right thing” notions.

For now, it’s time to get back to work.

As my old friends C.S. Lewis and Julian of Norwich are whispering in my ear…

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. 


Many dreamers dreaming dreams!

I don’t remember my life before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, I do. Glimpses of this house or that puppy. Snapshots of my family. But not life as an American. Or life as anything other than a Boardman.

I’ve been sitting, these last few days, in the shadow of a tree and pondering the impact of this man on my life.

Actually, I’ve been sitting under a picture of a tree which is mostly still a sketch and, oddly, a revelation.

My nails are splattered in brown paint and the dogs are beginning to grasp the notion that they need to stay out from under my feet while I paint.

I am still learning.

My Intentional Creativity friends and I are painting trees of life.

Well, we’re painting lots of things but this seems to be where I am just now.

One day, back in December, the notion came to me that my tree would want to be a Banyan tree.

An enormous tree like the ones where I grew up in Florida, systems of branches and roots and trunks, communities of breathing life.

I visited a few of those trees in Key West and they kept whispering to me.

Kelly and I took some pictures. Mine were mostly roots.

Roots that reminded me of the ancient wisdom of elephants.

Then, we came home.

The time to paint came closer and closer, and the Banyan tree kept tugging at me.

Then, I found out why.

In the online newsletter, Aeon, Jonardon Ganeri, a contemporary philosopher whose work draws on a variety of  traditions to construct new positions in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology, writes that:

…knowledge should be pictured as a banyan tree, in which a multiplicity of aerial roots sustains a centerless organic system. The tree of knowledge has a plurality of roots, and structures of knowledge are multiply grounded in the earth: the body of knowledge is a single organic whole, no part of which is more or less dispensable than any other.

Dr. King is one of those roots in my Banyan tree. Justice. Equality. Community.

His tree had many roots, as well.

The prophet Isaiah. Abraham Lincoln. A dream of what hadn’t been yet but could be.

And his tree is growing still.

Bernie Sanders, perhaps.

We need all the dreamers we can get!

For today, though, I’m sitting with my tree and recalling a wise old friend named Puddleglum who had a pretty big dream of his own. Taking his leave from the Queen of the underworld to search for Narnia, along with his young friends, the Marsh-wiggle said this:

…All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think, but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say (C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair in The Chronicles of Narnia).

Many dreamers dreaming dreams. Justice. Equality. Community. Hope. Love.  All of them feeding the branches and leaves still to come.

I suspect Dr. King would approve. Our four-footed Luther does, too!



2018 : My Year of Beginner’s Mind

Recently, some of my creative friends who hang out in the Planet SARK atmosphere got me thinking. What, they wondered, was my “word” for 2018?

If you’ve known me a while you won’t be too surprised to find out that my “word” is actually two words. But it’s only one idea so I decided it counts because it feels so true.

Beginner’s Mind. 

The first time I recall this notion knocking on my brain was at a Qigong retreat, five years or so ago. It was kind of a radical notion for me, that showing up not knowing could be a good thing.

I’ve done a lot of not knowing since then. Blogs, social media, electronic publishing, species appropriate food, and a rather more challenging than usual rescue dog.

My latest venture is, perhaps, the farthest afield for me.

I’m learning to paint! More specifically, I’m learning the process of intentional creativity which is both ancient and really new to me.

First, in case you’re new around here, let me be clear. I am not “the artistic” kid. A maternal pronouncement which I grew up believing must have been carved on the flip side of the 10 Commandments.

The process of following a call to actually pick up a paintbrush and create something more artistic than really great wood work was a huge deal for me. And it’s happening!

One of the things I’m working on at the moment is a Tree of Life painting. It’s all very primal and mythical in the most true kind of way.

Well, in theory. In actuality, it’s a couple of really rough sketches and several layers of background work.

But, I know where I’m going.

Sort of.

The first thing my tree decided, after the initial background layers, was that she prefered a landscape orientation to the portrait one that seemed more tree-like to me.

In the midst of not knowing, I went back to my source and watched the next video step of the process, even though I wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I learned a major miracle for fixing things that aren’t working! (Thank you, Shiloh Sophia McCloud!!!) It has a lot to do with using the negative space, which I wouldn’t have thought of but changes many things.

Then the dream arrived. An actual dream.

Tree of Life. Tree of Knowledge. Banyan trees. Many trunks and roots.

Philosophy. Quantum physics. Community. The things that connect us, one to the other.

A whole new world, rather like the one through the back of the wardrobe C. S. Lewis made famous.

And a realization. Not new, so much as deeper.

It’s all energy.

From the clean, sustainable broth simmering on my stove that warms me even hours before dinner will be ready, to the message of the Tree of Life, it’s all energy.

Energy which cannot be created or destroyed, but which can only be transformed.

Transformed, in our world, through intention.

Intention, I hope, in this New Year, for good.

Good for me and mine. Good for you and yours. Good for us, in the sense that there are no others.

Which sounds a lot like fixing things in the negative space!

And may be an even bigger story…



I have a plan!

Gerri Ravyn Stanfield is a writing buddy of mine. A couple of days ago, in the midst of all the responses to the extreme testosterone poisoned abuse from the GOP candidate for President, she posted something on Facebook that’s had me thinking ever since.

“If Trump gets elected,” Gerri said, “I’m moving to Narnia!”

Jackpot! I’ve been pondering this issue for quite some time, now. Hence my reply, “Narnia is definitely the answer!”

And then, a bit of back and forth later, me again. “I may move there regardless of who wins!”

It’s tempting! Bill thought it was a pretty good idea. Our resident Newfie rescues, Sarah and Phoebe, are fine with it as long as they get to go, too. No more abandonment for them! We would need a more dependable way to visit than the back of the wardrobe. I’d miss my girls!

This morning, I woke with another voice in my head. But first, a bit of context for the uninitiated.

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