Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s & Art Journaling

We will open the book.  It’s pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.  ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce


I’ve altered the front cover of a sketch pad as I plan to join Balzer Designs' art journal challenge this year …because I have so much time:); I’m already journaling & oftentimes throwing in some mixed media, so it seemed like a natural progression.  For the back cover, I just sloppy painted teal & ivory & added a rub on stamp.


As for New Year’s, this year I ask you to consider an alternative to resolutions that focus on something you feel you need to improve.  Many of us harp on ideas of self-improvement, as if where we are isn’t good enough.  Instead, write your top ten, or top 50, or whatever is comfortable about what is good about you and your life today & how you can take joy in what you have.  Have a very Happy New Year!

Wherever you are is always the right place.  There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place.  ~ Julia Cameron

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.  ~Marianne Williamson

(shameless plug ~ Winter Solace starts this coming up weekend, on 1/9/11; Hope to “see” you there!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas Miracle ~ Happy Birthday Desi

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.  Pablo Casals 


23 years ago, my oldest daughter was born.  I won’t tell the detailed story here as I did in my book, Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey.  I will say this story is my own Christmas miracle.  A child born with a fatal congenital defect, every hour a precious gift; every moment that I was allowed to stroke her skin a blessing as she lay in a neonatal crib with IV’s, chest tubes, respirator & ventilator keeping her alive.  As you can see from the pictures, she is healthy & thriving after an experimental surgery @ the University of Virginia saved her life.  She arrived full circle, graduating this past May from UVA.


This time of year is a double celebration for our family and I’m ever thankful for this blessing. 

Happy Birthday Baby!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Solace



I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.  Albert Einstein

  For the first time in many days, I’m in solitude.  I love my family, of course, and miss them when they are gone.  However, moments of solitude are like ice cold water on a hot, humid day.  I need this space to re-charge my batteries.  I am exhausted and looking forward to leading Winter Solace in January.  I often work the exercises& share my responses when I teach this course & this workshop is a gentle, inner retreat that I so need after the rush of the holidays; a time of inner reflection and hibernation. I hope you’ll consider joining me on this peaceful journey.

As far as what I’ve been up to besides the obvious…I decided this year to focus more on meaning and a homemade Christmas (not entirely, my youngest already experienced the “sack with a pocket” as we called it when I tried to make her pj’s last year!).   However, we have enjoyed some of our crafts this year like this simple centerpiece (bonus – I got to play with a glue gun!):


I found an interesting article about the History of the Christmas Tree

I also played with making scented, holiday soaps ~ “fail” as my oldest daughter would say.  And the homemade chocolate body scrub was disgusting…not in smell, & it does work but I couldn’t imagine giving it to someone because of the way it looks.  So, these fun jars (bought at the dollar store along with the jewels & snowflakes, ribbon half-price at the dollar store & coffee scoops two for $1) were filled with candies instead:


I made some ATC’s as prayer cards with verses &/or hymns on the back and put them in small drawstring pouches:


A closer look (images from Graphics Fairy)


I also made my own Christmas cards this year but forgot to take pictures.  Instead of the usual framed picture of my girls for the grandparents, I played with mixed media (sorry, light reflected off the glass so the pictures aren’t great):



And I’ve been making journal totes, with several more to go:





Finally, what’s the holiday season without a party or two (ps – love picnik for photos, I’m “winterized”):


In case I don’t get back or visit for awhile, I wish you all a blessed season in whatever way you celebrate.

(note to self ~ start earlier next year!)

Monday, December 6, 2010



Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith.  Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Henry Miller

I thought this quote fitting for the season but also in terms of creativity ~ belief itself can transform an idea or desire into reality.  A year ago my only outlets were reading, writing and teaching.  I dabbled sporadically in scrapbooking and had never sewn or painted (not counting pre-school fingerpaints or the 4th grade “jean short purse” that busted at the seams the first day I carried it!).  This year I’m using mixed media for homemade cards and framed pictures, altering journals and sewing journal totes for gifts and using ATC’s as a basis for “prayer” card sets for some family members.  So what happened in the 40+ years between painting pictures for my mom and the adult mindset that I am not an artist…  a loss of wonder as negative messages sank in (you can’t do that).  I have no idea exactly where those messages came from but I (& I’m sure others) internalized the thought that only those with “real” talent can write a story or create a piece of art.  However, I reached a point where the stories had to be written and once I gained confidence in that arena, a snowball effect took place and I became more about the process instead of the end result.  The process focus does not allow space for negative self-talk; instead it allows for room to grow.

Begin paying attention to that negative voice inside, make a list of those self-defeating messages you give yourself and then re-frame them in a way that empowers you.

{I’m participating in Gothic Arches challenge this week ~ I’ve been wanting to for awhile.  This blog offers a free downloadable PDF with the history of Gothic Arches & several tutorials as well as resources for using arches in your mixed-media.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear Santa


My favorite holiday season has arrived.  Although it is certainly commercialized, the decorations, music, baking etc. still represent the magic of the season for me.  This year, I am trying to get back to basics in offering more homemade gifts and wanted to share a few links I’ve come across:

Fave Crafts

Shabby Art Boutique

Just Sew Sassy

I plan on sharing some of the finished products along the way ~ no peeking mom:)  I also plan to come visit my blog friends more as soon as time allows ~ sorry I haven’t been by!

As you begin your holiday preparations, allow some time for reflection.  Write your own “Dear Santa” letter and explore what this season really means to you and how you hope to capture and celebrate that spirit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Solace ~ A Virtual Journal Writing Retreat

Wrap up the holidays and start the new year with a peaceful inner journey.

Participants will explore their emotional temperature, find balance, capture heart-felt memories, tap into creativity and focus on self-care and healing through this four-week on-line writing journey.

As a special offer, I am offering this on-line workshop for only $35.00.  If you would like a journal and one of my journal totes (assorted colors & patterns), the cost is only $50.00 (significant savings as the workshop is over $100.00 & the totes are $25.00). 


If this is a gift, please send me an e-mail and I’ll include a gift certificate (please let me know before 12/13 if it’s a gift).  Class begins 1/9/11 and runs through 2/6/11.  I hope you’ll join me!  (google checkout will be added later today on my blog & website)

It’s A Celebration

 We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

I learned quite a few lessons in my blog party for the year anniversary of Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey.

I could have made it bigger, reached out to more hosts, tied into other linky’s, posted more often here and on Facebook, planned earlier, partnered with CSN for a gift certificate, etc.  Instead I stayed true to my nature as far as marketing and paid attention to my limits ~ juggling full time work in child welfare, developing future workshops, working on three books, finishing graduate school and a mother…that’s enough, I think:) ~ and by doing so I was able to actually enjoy the process.  I met new blog friends, got to know others better and am very grateful for my hosts.  The interviews gave me an opportunity to take a step back and see where I am now and where I want to go.  Again, thank you to the hosts (I know some people got busy & weren’t able to post, let me know if you did & I missed it!):

Pacifiers, Pumps, The World

Paisley Passions

Artsy Canvas Girl

Village Hearth

Congratulations to the winners of the drawing (done via Random Number Generator):


Treasure Chest of goodies goes to Dawna @ Hiccup in Time

The five winners of Celebrate Your Journey ~ A Monthly Planner and Journal Companion:

#5 Georgia's Simply Pretty Things

#3 Honey Bee Hive

#8 Shooting Stars Mag

#2 My Life as a Wife and Mommy

#4 Just Sew Sassy

I hope all my blogging friends in the States have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily.  The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. 

~Terri Guillemets

Saturday, November 20, 2010



Graphics Fairy Image

Privacy - like eating and breathing - is one of life's basic requirements. ~ Katherine Neville

The very first journal I ever received appealed to me on many different levels.  The pages begged to be filled and the lock and key provided a measure of safety and security. When beginning a workshop and in the first chapter of my journal writing workbook, I start with exploring how to keep your journal personal and protected so that you write only for yourself.  I ask others to explore times in their life when their trust has been violated and what they do now because of it.

I found out this week my g-mail account has been “hacked” as a mass e-mail went out to others that I didn’t send.  I honestly don’t use that account for my everyday e-mails but keep it for my blog.  I’ve changed the password and hope that corrects any issues but I’m honestly not computer savvy. 

However, the feeling of someone having my password (which how does that happen anyway?!), having the ability to send spam or a virus or respond as me has left me sick to my stomach.  The idea that someone could look at my personal e-mails or cause damage to others in my name reminded me of those times in my life when I have felt vulnerable. 

I know it may sound like an oxymoron ~ the idea that a blogger needs privacy, after all we put ourselves out there, right?  But we choose what is posted and I cherish my quiet moments, my solitude and those thoughts that I keep to myself.  During those rare moments that I reveal my “dirty laundry”, it is only when I think that by doing so I can help someone else.  When I realized that someone had my password, the first thing I did was check my blog to make sure there wasn’t a new post not authored by me.  I know this wasn’t someone known to me, and am wondering if there is some computer program that someone downloaded that just finds various e-mail addresses with various combinations until it gets it right (I’m probably sounding quite ignorant at this point) and I can’t imagine what the purpose is or why anyone would create a program like that. 

Consider what privacy means to you and how you protect it.  Explore how you consider privacy in your cyber-world too.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spreading Light


There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton

Write about times in your life you’ve been the candle or you’ve been the mirror.  What will you do this week to spread light?

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Friday, November 5, 2010

ATC’s & Randomness

Some random thoughts today.

Finally played with some more ATC’s & posting a few:








I posted a “how-to” geared towards children ~ the link is in the “Mom’s Treasure” tab across the top.

Many thanks to Raven at Pacifiers, Pumps, The World for her insightful interview questions and posting about my anniversary celebration of “Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey.”  Don’t forget to link up under the “It’s A Celebration” tab across the top for the giveaway.

Lately it’s become clearer to me all the small and large events and life experiences have formed an intentional path I never saw coming.  It’s interesting that I continually ignored the signs, thought I was done with self-actualization, only to have the universe laugh at the arrogance and let me know that 45 is not too old to keep growing. 

I am a firm believer in serendipity- all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.  David Levithan

Write about your random pieces and how they form a beautiful whole.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

National Adoption Month


November is National Adoption Month.  The numbers are fluid, but on average there are 500,000 children in foster care in the United States and of those 120,000 are waiting on an adoptive family.  Research has shown that if one of every 500 families adopted out of foster care, there would be no waiting children.  I speak these numbers often in my job, but in reality each “number” represents a child, a life.  What does adopting require?  The ability to meet your own needs, unconditional love, meeting the child and their needs at their level (not within a set of rigid expectations) and a support system.  Parenting is a challenge, regardless of how you come to be a parent. 

For more information, call your local or state Social Services or check out the Dave Thomas Foundation or AdoptUSkids

November’s alphahop will be about raising awareness for these children.  Write an alphapoem with words like adoption, children or family or just write a post about this topic and link up.  The linky is on the sidebar under the AlphaHop button.

C onsider

H aving No One

I nnocence Betrayed

L imbo Living

D evelopmentally Delayed

R eaching Out, No One

E ver There, Our

N ation’s Children “Ageing Out” of Care

Friday, October 29, 2010

Treasure Chest



A fairy left a present under my maple tree…a treasure chest complete with my journal writing workbooks, Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey and Celebrate Your Journey ~ A Monthly Planner and Journal Companion, a journal,  a notebook and pen, paper scraps and stickers for art journaling, a lavender sachet, bath salts, body lotion and hand gel (ok, so I put it there but a fairy with buried treasure sounds more fun).  This must mean it’s time for November’s celebration in honor of my first book release anniversary. 

Beginning November 1st, the linky under my page tab “It’s A Celebration” will be active.  The giveaway for the Treasure Chest of goodies is simple, just link up.  If you post, FB, comment or tweet, let me know for additional entries.  Contest ends on 11/24/10 and I’ll use random number generator to determine the winner. 

I’ll also be offering my workbooks at a special price during the month of November, just in time for the holidays.  Normally $12 each plus shipping, they will be offered together for $20, shipping included (see side-bar).

What are you celebrating this month?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letting Go




You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. 

~Jan Glidewell

It occurred to me recently that this past year has personally been full of change and good-bye’s. As I experienced yet another bittersweet moment I thought about how even positive change brings some measure of stress and sense of loss;  loss of the familiar, loss of comfort and sometimes loss of someone close.  And in this past year I’ve really not taken time to honor those feelings, experience them and allow myself to move forward. 

Write about changes you’ve experienced, how they’ve impacted you and give yourself permission and space for grieving, nurturing and letting go.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Words of Wisdom


My blog has been nominated as a Blog of Note at Words of WisdomA big thank you to the individual that nominated me as well as to Pam & Sandy @ Words of Wisdom.  I also owe an apology as I was supposed to write a brief bio a day ahead of time but I thought it was later this week ~ truly sorry!  If you haven’t checked out their blog, please do.  They feature diverse blogs with meaningful content.

For those visiting from WOW, welcome.  My focus is on celebrating the journey through creative expression.  I try to end my posts with a journal writing prompt for others’ self-discovery.  Most of all though, I enjoy blogging for the creative outlet and connection it brings in the blogging world.  If you check out the page tabs across the top, “It’s a Celebration” is about my blog tour & party for the year anniversary of my journal writing workbooks.  “Mom’s Treasure” is about my new “Storybook Workshop” and includes links (building slowly) to resources in reference to raising tween girls.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:


Secret Garden

Kiss the Sun

Angel Innocence

Thanks so much for stopping by & thanks again to Words of Wisdom!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Berries Sing




Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration. Listen carefully.  Sarah Ban Breathnach

How do you create those silent moments?  What do you hear?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Journaling by the Moonlight



I would like to introduce you to my friend, Tina Games-Evans, a Creativity & Life Purpose Coach, Journaling Workshop Facilitator, freelance writer….& now, author.  See the review of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery by clicking on the picture. 

Having read numerous journal writing workbooks and written a few, I consider myself a bit of an expert (insert chuckle) and want to share that I love Tina’s book.  I have been working with the exercises, learning a lot about myself through moon signs and envisioning a more authentic future through the phases of the moon.  And Tina created this incredible Journaling by the Moonlight card deck.


I’m also including an interview that Tina had with me in her Journaling Mom’s Cafe ~ she’s the one that sounds polished:)

Enjoy and consider the wisdom and energy of the moon in your journaling!

~ this post is not part of any affiliate, just me sharing a resource:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Patch & Consumerism?





When I think pumpkin patch, I think simplicity.  When I say simplicity, I mean uncluttered, in harmony with nature, focusing on values that have meaning as opposed to superficial qualities and consumerism.  To be clear, I have bought into the consumer model.  I like nice clothes, hotels and “things”.  I have found though as I’ve gotten older that I am weary of taking care of those “things”.  And although I am glad for the owners’ success, yesterday @ a pumpkin patch I felt like I was at Disney.  The crowds were intense (as was the heat in October!), lines for food, face painting and horseback rides were at least an hour and this year there was even a charge for parking.  I didn’t take crowd shots so I can’t show you here.  Suffice it to say that a drive into the country was not the relaxing laidback day I was hoping for.  Regardless, we still had fun and I was able to capture a few good pictures.





I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.  Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mom’s Treasure & ATC’s


So I finally tried ATC’s


And as you can see I need more practice and textures but I still had fun


To see gorgeous examples along with a how- to visit Shona Cole's blog.

My 9 year old daughter was really excited about this project and wants to do this with me.  I have seen on some blogs where these ATC’s are traded and would love to see if anyone has children interested in creating & trading with my little one for the holidays…

Although I love technology, I also am saddened @ the lack of anticipation over the mailbox.  Junk mail & bills aren’t fun & my daughter doesn’t even understand the concept of a pen pal.  Let me know if you would be open to our children/grandchildren swapping holiday ATC’s ~ comment here or send me an e-mail @

Finally, you may have noticed that some of my posts have focused more on children recently.  I will continue posts about our own self-discovery & finding our voices, but I believe it’s important that we raise our daughters to do the same.  I will continue to weave that theme in some of my posts and have added a new page (tab across the top) called “Mom’s Treasures”.  As I find resources, articles etc I will add links there.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness Month AlphaHop

My friend Jenny @ Nankoosa's Place reminded me that October is Domestic Violence awareness month.  Quite timely given the recent news of bullying resulting in suicide.  Jenny wrote on my Life Lines facebook page:   Hey fellow Bloggers, I was thinking that in honor of DV awareness month (October) any kind of stories that address overcoming obstacles and challenges might be inspirational! Even if not involving Domestic Violence, the emphasis on survival and resilience is a good theme for the month!
She later made the point that survivors are just as inspirational as those famous quotes I so often use.  She’s right.  To honor that, I invite you to share an alpha poem using any word or phrase that resonates in the spirit of survival and/or anti-violence.  I share my story in my journal writing workbook “Life Lines: Celebrate Your Journey.”  I’ll share an alphapoem I included in the book:
C ome
E veryone
L ook into my eyes
E ven if they cry
B eneath this mask
R ises
A Woman
T alented and Strong
E njoy the Phoenix, A

L egend to Behold
I magine
F ully, Your
E volution

(I’m including this link for another resource ~ Domestic Violence Awareness Month)

Monday, September 27, 2010


If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.
Marian Wright Edelman


My Prayer for Children

That their childhoods are protected

Their innocence intact

That they never stop searching for magic or rainbows

And see fairy dust and angel wings in the sky

That they believe in happily ever after

That they are nurtured, loved and cherished for the treasures they are

That they grow up to be who they are meant to be

Without interference of critical words, non-present parents, hunger, pedophiles, dangerous neighborhoods or a dangerous world

That their essence isn’t eroded by media’s images or secrets best un-kept

That this world becomes a kinder place

Where their parents live in a supportive society

Where poverty, patriarchy and “ism’s” don’t exist

A world in which violating others has a zero tolerance policy


Country-Fried Mama is hosting a linking of blog posts about our hopes for children on Tuesday, 9-28-10 to help raise awareness for the work of the Joyful Heart Foundation.  I’m copying the following from Deckside Thoughts:

"Mariska Hargitay, [Detective Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: SVU"] founded Joyful Heart in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Treasure Chest Guidebooklet

A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.
J.R.R. Tolkien

I’m excited to share with you “Treasure Chest”, a guide-booklet for Life’s Journey.  This e-guide has prompts for exploring the treasure in moments and within.  Just click on the “Journey Now” button on my sidebar to subscribe to my e-mail list and it’s yours ~ enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative Healing

When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.  Michael Bridge

A whisper of an idea sent me to a Goodwill store recently.  This sewing table sat at the front as though it were waiting for me.  I loved the thought of a past generation working at this table, creating dresses and linens for their family as they thought of family events and thoughtful gifts that they would create.  You can see all the scratches and it was filthy.  It also had a fold out leaf


and a secret nook to stash threads and notions


as well as a secret message of love to Nathan,


which I sanded and painted several times until finally I settled on this:





I overdid it a bit but since this was my first time painting furniture, I’m happy with it.  And now I have a home for my sewing machine. (As you can see I still need a piece of wood to cover the area where the old machine used to fold in and out.  Total cost ~ $6.oo for the table and $5.oo for the paint.  I already had sandpaper, sealant and stencils.)

What work do your hands do that unleashes love and healing?

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