Saturday, January 31, 2009

LET GO--two little words that celebrate the art of living in the present moment.

Today's "Word of the Day" is big enough to include two words and they are: let go.

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for quite awhile now. Nearly 2 weeks ago, I backed out of the business partnership. This past Monday it was made official. And, as of today, I have also moved out of that big, beautiful studio space that I only recently moved into.

There is a part of me that wants to scream, WTF(?!?!) into the bright blue sky. There is a part of me that wants to explain everything. But it's not worth it. Nor would it be respectful, since all of this involves another person.

At first, there was a part of me that felt like the Universe had just played some kind of sick joke on me. I have dreamed of a space like this for as long as I can remember. For two months, I put my heart and soul into getting the space ready and into all the plans that it included. Then I enjoyed it for barely 2 weeks. There is a part of me that is incredibly mad at myself for investing so much time, planning, labor, and dreams into something that was never meant to be.

There is another part of me that feels grateful that the Universe saved me from getting deeper into something that could have become much messier down the road.

There was a part of me that thought I needed that space in order to grow. There is another part of me that realizes that, because of that space and the experiences attached to it, I have already grown. Having a big, fancy, "proper" studio space does not make me more of an artist. It does not guarantee success. It does not make me a better person.

There is a part of me that feels stupid and embarrassed for getting into this situation in the first place. There is another part of me that is grateful for what this experience is teaching me.

Lesson #1:
Always listen to your gut. Oh, how cliche! But it's funny how your gut always knows...usually waaaay before you're willing to admit it to yourself.
Lesson #2: I am capable of much more than I was giving myself credit for. I hate to admit that there was a part of me that went into partnership because I lacked enough self-confidence to believe that I could be successful on my own.
Lesson #3: Negativity, holding grudges, playing the victim, and moving through life with a chip on your shoulder will get you no where. I would prefer to move forward with an attitude of open-heartedness, joy, and love. That is, after all, what the core of my work as an artist is all about. You know the saying: "Energy flows where attention goes"? Well, I want my energy to go in positive directions. That means only one thing: that I must allow myself to let go, let go, let go, let go.... this has become my chant.

I couldn't agree with Olivia more when she writes, "it is really exciting for me to read about and see women courageous enough to make so-called "mistakes" and then just keep right on going. Let's face it, lots of people share their successes, which are indeed inspiring. But to share your mistakes and then to work to turn them into something that does fit in a beautiful way---that's even more inspiring to me." I can't thank Olivia enough for those words. I read them at just the right time.

A few nights ago, I went downstairs to paint, but was instead drawn to the journal I got in celebration of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. There was a photo of my studio laying on my workbench. Impulsively, I glued it to the page. Then I wrote the words: "Goodbye beautiful Studio. You were never mine. Be well." This made me sad. I knew that no matter how many years might pass, if I opened up the journal to that page, I would probably feel a sharp pang of loss. The journal is still relatively new and I hated to put something in it that would make me feel so bad. And so I kept adding. I added an image of a road, a window, wildly blooming flowers, a butterfly, and words that speak to this journey.

By the time I was done, I felt transformed. Oh, the healing power of art. It will never cease to amaze me. Flipping through the pages of a magazine I saw the words "Leap of Faith." It was for an article about sky diving. The words felt good. I mean really good. They felt like the next chapter of my life and so I pasted it at the top of the next page.

This is the place where I begin again.

I admit, I even love the mess that surrounds it.

One of the best things to come out of an otherwise shitty situation is that is has given me an opportunity to reassess and get clear about my goals. This is an opportunity to stop and listen to the whispers of my heart. I'm learning that there's something to be said for the unexpected gifts that flexibility can bring.

What it boils down to is this: I made a mistake. I made a very big mistake--one that I am tempted to regret. And yet, I don't want to regret this.

Today I am letting go of what wasn't working. I am letting go of a vision that wants to take a different path. I am letting go in order to let something better in.

Even though I only worked in that studio space for a couple weeks, I enjoyed it beyond measure. It made me want to dance and sing. It showed me that anything is possible. My friendship and brief partnership was a nudge that helped me to learn how to dream bigger. I have a feeling that the space and the dreams that it held will always hold a profoundly important place in my heart.

But today is the next stage of the journey. Today I am starting over. Today I am grateful for what was because it is leading me to what is next. Upon waking this morning, my life looked like this:

To let go is to celebrate the deep art of living in the present.
The benefits of working from home are countless. Despite losses, despite messiness--I am grateful for all of it.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's words are LET GO. Be here now.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

PLAY--4 little letters to put things in perspective

Last night Vinny and I invited a little play into our life by treating ourselves to a bit of an upscale salon for haircuts. It had been over 6 months since the last time I had a haircut. Yikes! Needless to say, I was in desperate need of one. I'm not one to put a lot of time into worrying about my hair, but at some point it becomes embarrassing to go out in public. I was getting to that point.

Is it weird that my husband I like going to haircuts together? LOL Well, if it is then, oh well! I like being weird. I like being married. I like getting haircuts. I like setting my work aside for one night and allowing myself a little bit of pampering and play. Yay for new haircuts!!

These 4 little letters should have been posted yesterday...but what can I say? I was off having fun instead! :)

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is PLAY. Go ahead, treat yourself.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SACRED--6 little letters to live with intention

Today I am going to live the word sacred.

I must admit, I totally get a kick out of the way my "sacred apron" spoke to so many wonderfully creative women who listened to my interview with Jamie. You know how there's some things you just do? Those things that, although you know they are significant, you simply do it without a whole lot of thought? Well, that's how it is with the sacred apron. I just do it. I put it on and, in doing so, I draw a line between busywork and creative work. Putting on my apron means that it is time to focus on the creative task at hand...and the best part is that it works every time.

Today my sacred apron is going to be worn well. It has a big day in front of it as I finish up several large commissions. Along with my apron, I am going to wear moccasins. I found them last night tucked in between two boxes on a shelf in my basement studio. They are comfortable elk hide moccasins that I always used to wear in my old studio up north. How could I have forgotten them? Well, no matter. I was happy to find them last night. They make me feel grounded. When I'm wearing them I feel connected to my life and the ground beneath me. Moccasins have a funny way of doing that.

Today feels good. My work, my life, my endeavors...they feel sacred. The sun is shining and the dogs are giving each other kisses. Today I am finishing projects that, in doing so, will make room for what's next. I will drink tea from my sacred cup. I will breathe and eat well and enjoy the tasks at hand. Today I will live with sacred intention. After all, sacredness surrounds us.

My "sacred apron" is old and paint stained. It wears the marks of hundreds of paintings. It is spotted in almost every color I have ever mixed. I made it myself from scraps of fabric and cord. Over time, my apron has become "mixed media." I wear my apron and my apron wears my creativity. Sometimes, I forget that it's on. It's a part of me...a part that I love the look and feel of--even if it is grungy and worn. Or maybe I love it because it IS grungy and worn. Sacred lives best in those every day things. Don't you think?

What little actions will you perform to bring a sense of sacredness to your endeavors?

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is SACRED. Live with sacred intention.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Home is where the heART is...

"Where thou art - that - is Home." ~Emily Dickinson

It feels good to be home. I returned earlier today from a belated Christmas celebration with my siblings at my mom's house, in the even colder tundra of northern Minnesota.

It felt good to eat a big meal prepared by mom. Not only is she an incredible cook, but she infused it with a tremendous amount of love. It's been over 6 years since I've eaten a meal cooked by her. Sure, I see her often enough, but we're always at my grandma's, my sister's, my house, or camping. But 6 years--how did that much time go by?? My siblings have not been together under my mom's roof since we helped her pack and move out of our childhood home when her and my dad got divorced. But, let's face it, sometimes bad times happen for good reasons.

I've had plenty of rough spots with my mom, but over these past several years she has transformed into the most incredible woman I know. Maybe it's the rough spots that make me appreciate her all the more. She is, after all, the inspiration for the Be Brave Project. But, really, she is so much more than that. It felt good to go home. And now it feels good to be home.

Despite the fact that this house is only rented, I think there is a part of me that has come to appreciate what this particular house provides. After a long road trip, the softness of our broken in couch and dog snuggles feels better than ever. The sound of happily snoring cats causes me to settle in even deeper.

This is an art filled home. It is an animal filled home. It is a love filled home. As Sarah Ban Breathnach writes: "Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need." I feel that way today. I have everything I need. And it feels good.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is HOME. heart + art = HOME
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

WISH--4 little letters to cast into the wind...

Go ahead...make one (or two or three or four).

I believe in you.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is WISH. What did you wish for?
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.
be inspired...
visit Jamie's Wishcasting project.


Friday, January 23, 2009

COURAGE--7 little letters to help you follow your fascinations...

Secret #3 of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is "Following Your Fascinations." And I am honored to have had the extreme pleasure of being interviewed by the fabulous Jamie. I invite you to listen to it here. I love seeing her project grow in such a dynamic way. She followed her fascinations and--wowzers!-- I am so glad that she did!

This chapter, for me, has special meaning. Not only because it was the focus of my interview, but because it deeply reflects so many of the issues floating around in my creative life. As I listened to the interview I was amazed by how many messages there were for me in my words...messages that I needed to hear, things I need to remember. Especially the part about following my energy and creating from a place that feels true to my heart.

My word for the day is COURAGE--and I am choosing that word in celebration of following our fascinations. Why? Because sometimes it takes a helluva lot of courage to follow the tug of our heart. It takes courage to take a chance, to change directions, or to try something new. It definitely takes courage to chart your own course. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), the creative life never comes with a set of instructions. Of course, if it did, it wouldn't be creative!

From this week's chapter, there is one quote in particular that grabbed my attention and doesn't seem to want to let go:
"And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more."
~Erica Jong, Writer.

There's one question that I love the most in this chapter and that is: Are you ready to follow your fascinations?

Maybe I like this question because, for me, it's an easy one. My answer, without a doubt, is yes-yes-yes! Ok...the question might provide an easy answer--but, let's face it, following our fascinations takes more bravery than anything else I know of.

These days I find my fascinations leading me down a path inspired by my love for dogs. Following my fascinations feels like following a string. It's there--always there--but it can break, it can go slack, it can get tangled...lots of things can happen to that string. But when I'm really, really onto something...I feel that string stretch out in front of me. It's taut and energized. It's like finding a string in the dirt and, when you pull on the end, up comes more and more and more...and you just keep following it and the further you follow it, the more mesmerizing it becomes!

Right now my string is leading me to India where I would like to immerse myself in the world of stray dogs. When I think about this project, my heart weighs more, I get the sensation of being filled from the inside out. It is similar to the sensation one feels the moment right before laughter or tears. When I feel that sensation, that's when I know I'm on to something. That's when I notice the string.

Secret #3, "Following Your Fascinations," dives deep into the nitty-gritty of what it means to move from your center and make decisions based on your truth. When our fascinations gets real, it gets scary. The more it matters, the scarier it becomes. The more it matters, the more important it is. The more important it is, the more it's worth the risk. This chapter is about perserverance. It's about risk taking. It's about screwing up and having faith. Most importantly, it's about having the courage to manifest things that do not yet exist.

My other favorite quote from this chapter is this one:
"If you can put fear aside, you're unstoppable."
~Janet Hagberg Writer and Activist.

Just think of how much we're each capable of if we put fear aside. Just think where we would be if we did this over and over and over again!

We really are capable of manifesting absolutely everything we dream of--but first we need to take a step toward it. And then another step...and another and another.

Here's to being open to the journey.
Here's to celebrating the process.
Heres's to making good decisions,
but forgiving yourself when you make ones that don't work out.
Here's to living from the inside out.
Here's to courage and the evolution that accompanies it.
As the card on my desk says, "don't be 'fraid of nuthin."

May your fascinations lead you to the center of yourself. Over and over and over again.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is COURAGE. don't be 'fraid of nuthin!
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


After reading the last post, Donna shared this video with me. Now I'm passing it on to you. Stories like this make me immensely happy to be doing what I do. If this were a peace experiment, I'd say that it's a success. ;)

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thanks James. I am liking this domino effect.
I guess that's the thing about peace, ey--it's contagious.

PEACE--5 little letters that, when mixed with love, are fun to expermient with

This week, the topic of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women focuses on honoring our inspirations. It's about cultivating attractions, practicing play, communing with your senses, taking time to capture ideas, creating a sanctuary and inventing creative rituals. Well, if you ask me, this is one power-packed chapter!

I love the idea of giving myself 15 minutes of quiet time every day to simply listen to my thoughts. And, more than ever, I find myself hungering for that daily moment of peace. I want to make a space within me every day that leaves room for the unexpected to lead me in new, energized, and deeply authentic directions.

Life comes crashing in and I feel myself become tense with anxiety. When this happens, I notice my creative receptors start to close up, shut down. Over and over, I find myself needing to guide my thoughts back towards center. Let the debris fall away...let the nervousness fall away...let the pressure fall away. Like meditation...let the thoughts comes...and then let them go. This is how I guide myself back in the direction of peace--over and over and over--sometimes a million times a day.

What I love most about the questions Jamie has asked in response to this chapter is how they guide you back to that place of inspiration. They have an instant calming effect. They have a way of opening those doors and windows of the spirit--creating a space for breath, possibility, and light. These questions are little invitations to our creative selves to come out and play, to believe in ourselves, to enjoy our vision.

In my world LOVE=PEACE. And PEACE=LOVE...over and over and over again. One creates the other. Today I want to find peace...peace in the little things. And in order to do that I have decided that I will pay attention to the things I love.

In response to Jamie's questions:
What have I always loved, what inspires me, catches my eye, makes my heart sing...

  • Sunlight--and lots of it. Sunlight on the walls, sunlight on the furniture, sunlight spilling across my home and workspace--it fills me from the inside out.
  • Wood--I don't know what it is, but I love the way natural wood makes me feel--wood floors, wooden ceilings and beams, a wooden table or workbench, an old wooden chair. I love the look, the feel, the smell, the warmth that it creates. Interestingly, wood is an element that I feel deeply comforted by.
  • Books--I love being surrounded by them...on bookshelves, in stacks on the floor, carrying them with me in my purse, in piles on my desk and next to my bed...What is it about being surrounded by books that is incredibly inspiring? They remind me that there is no end to ideas. They connect me to something bigger than myself.
  • Nature--oh, sweet solitude. I have always loved the way that nature gets me back to center. It is a space where my thoughts flow more easily, my body breathes more deeply. It is calming and energizing all at once. Not to mention, nature makes some of the best color combinations of all. In nature, clarity returns.
  • A good cup of coffee--there is something incredibly exciting and inspiring in that first sip of an excellent cup of coffee. And it something that never fails to catch my creative time on fire. When diving into a creative project, a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea is something of a ritual for me--it marks the passage between everyday stuff and creative time. There are little enjoyments that I partake in, in order to make the switching of gears more obvious to me--and this helps me to honor the creative time I give myself.
  • Reds, fuscias, orange, warm yellows...I am a warm color person at heart. Even if I don't paint with them that often, I am attracted to those colors...always. They cause something inside of me to wake up...over and over and over again. Actually, now that I think about it, I often paint dogs in with lots of blues and cooler colors...perhaps it is the contrast. I love the way these colors of my life compliment and accentuate each other.

Ok...this list could go on forever. And so, today, I am going to do a little experiment on myself. I am going to look for things I love. I'm going to pay attention to the things that catch my eye. In everything I do and every where I go. I'm going to pay attention and, when I feel it, I am going to make a note to myself...I love this. Oh, I love this. Ooh, look at that--this is something I love too.

And every time I see or feel or smell or experience something that I love, I am going to pay attention to what happens to me on the inside. Do I feel peaceful? Do I feel inspired? Does it make my heart sing? And then I'm going to let myself feel whatever it is I'm feeling--completely. Even if I only give myself one second to feel it--I'm going to give myself the space to feel it fully.

Something tells me that the effects of this experiment will be good for me. Today, my "Word of the Day::Living Life One Word at a Time" is PEACE. And so today is going to be a peace experiment.

I'll let you know how it turns out. ;) In the meantime, here's to honoring our inspirations.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is PEACE.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

GRACE--5 little letters to smooth out life's wrinkles and bumps


Life is a chance.
Love is infinity.
GRACE is a reality.
~tea bag wisdom

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is GRACE. May you move through your day with plenty of it.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

JOY--3 little letters worth celebrating

Today I am dedicating to joy.

I sat down to write this post and then got up again in search of a quote that might highlight my thoughts on JOY. I picked up Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance, opened it up and, I kid you not, the topic for January 19th is "Joy: Learning Life's Lessons with a Light Heart" (the book broken up into the days of the year). Um...can you say WEIRD?! I love these sorts of synchronicities. Interestingly, they have been occuring often these days.

What I found in her words fits my life perfectly right now. I started the day out feeling a bit battered, worn out, crabby. My day could have continued on like that indefinitely, but there is another way of looking at things and the second I acknowledged that, I began to experience joy all around me. Little things--everywhere!

Anyway, here's what Sarah has to say about joy. I'm letting this quote run away from me...

"Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy. But this requires a profound inner shift in our reality. Many of us unconsciously create dramas in our minds, expecting the worst from a situation only to have our expectations become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Inadvertently, we become authors of our own misfortune. And so we struggle from day to day, from crisis to crisis, bruised and battered by circumstances without realizing that we always have a choice.

But what if you learn how to stop the dramas and start to trust the flow of life and the goodness of Spirit? What if you began to expect the best from any situation? Isn't it possible that you could write new chapters in your life with happy endings? For many of us this is such a radical departure from the way we have been behaving that it seems unbelievable. Yet it is possible. Suspend your disbelief. Take a leap of faith. After all, what have you got to lose but misery and lack?

Begin today. Declare out loud to the Universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy. It just may take you at your word. What's more, you'll discover, much to your amazement and delight, that such blessings have been waiting patiently for you to claim them all along."
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

To me, JOY looks like:

  1. Warmer weather (above zero!), sparkling snow, a long walk.
  2. Enjoying the fact that I no longer have a 9-5 job. This is something my morning walks always happily remind me of. When I worked at the garden shop I would take the dogs for a walk every morning and wished that I didn't need to go to work. I dreamed of the day that I would be able to make my own schedule as a full-time artist and, thus, be able to take as long of walks as I want. This is now a reality--one that my morning walks remind me of on a daily basis. :)
  3. When walking all three dogs this morning I found great joy in this morning's interaction with a husband and wife who were driving past in their car. They stopped, rolled down their window, and remarked on what incredible dogs I have. I smiled and agreed wholeheartely. They didn't need to stop and say something, but they did--and I think the day was made better for all of us because they did. I smiled the rest of the way home...and so did the dogs!
  4. A freshly brewed cup of dark roast coffee that I'm drinking out of a white porcelian cup with saucer. Cups with saucers have an odd effect of delivering extra joy with every sip of coffee. It's the little decadences that count!
  5. Whipped cream--in my coffee and straight out of the can! :)
  6. Having money to deposit in my checking account. Never mind that the bank is closed today. Today I'm finding joy in the fact that I have money to deposit tomorrow!
  7. Speaking of tomorrow...after that money is deposited, this also means that it is ART SUPPLY SHOPPING DAY! Whoohooo! This is one of the perks of the work I do. Dang, I love art supply shopping. I mean, who wouldn't?!
  8. The sun is shining. The sky is blue.
  9. I'm going to eat homemade chili for lunch--cheffed up, lovingly, by my husband.
  10. I am in the midsts of beginning a whole new project--a series of paintings in preparation for an exhibition: Dogs of Linden Hills. I have almost 30 commissions to complete in the next 6 weeks! Part of me says: Yikes! The other part of me says: Successful Abundance! :)
  11. Snuggling dog love at my feet.
  12. Snuggling cat love at my back.
  13. Having an incredible support network of friends--such beautiful, creative, loving women--whom I feel joy beyond measure to know and be connected with.
  14. The daily dose of inspiring emails and comments that I wake up each morning to find--including today!
  15. I find extreme joy in the POSSIBILITIES!
  16. Realizing that I had gotten off track, but this time being smart enough to stop and find my way back to myself.
  17. Warm cornbread with butter and honey for breakfast.
  18. Coffee and conversation with 2 incredible artists tonight.
  19. Support--endless support, everywhere I turn.
  20. Twice (!) while driving this morning, people started smiling hugely at me. At first I thought there must be something wrong with me! Did someone put a funny sign on my car? Was my hair sticking up? What? But I smiled back anyway...and it made me feel so freaking GOOD! Turns out, people are just happy today and in the mood to share. :)
  21. Waking up to a clean house after embarking on a cleaning rampage yesterday. Ahhhh *sigh* feels so much better. I can think!
  22. The gurgling sound that the 5 gal. water jug in our kitchen makes. I love that sound!

ok...obviously this could go on forever. Even that makes me feel joy! What about you?
What has brought you joy today??

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is JOY. enJOY!
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

DREAM--5 little letters to remind that dreaming is like creation looking for itself.

"One day you will remember the Great Dream, and the way will become known to you. You entered into life through the veil of the Dream, because your reason for being here must be kept secret from you until you find your way home. You don't know who you are, but one fine day you will remember. It is like creation looking for itself."
~Lynn V. Andrews Power Deck: The Cards of Wisdom.

Andrews reminds us to have the courage to manifest our dreams in our lives....because dreaming, transformation, death, and rebirth are just a part of the training.


These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is DREAM.
May these letters remind us that dreaming is the first step towards manifestation.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

JOURNEY--7 little letters to remind you that the journey is the destination

At the moment I am snuggled in bed with Vinny's laptop and my cat, Viscosa, laying across my chest. She's warm and gives me the odd sensation of being anchored to something simple. Her purring makes me sleepy, unlike the chamomile tea that is just beyond reach.

For the past couple days I have been thinking a lot about the word "journey." It is a word that I intended on writing about yesterday, but it seems that my own journey got in the way. I once read that to journey means to move forward with courage. Yesterday I risked everything to follow my truth. And, in doing so, everything and nothing has changed. It's funny how things have a way of working out like that.

This past week I have been thinking about Jamie's writing prompt for 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. Where am I on my journey? The terrain has shifted so many times in the past several months that, right now, I am finding the need to stop and take in my surroundings. From here, it appears beautiful and strenuous, like a good place to rest and get ready for what's next, all at once.

There is a saying, "the journey is the destination." Today I am feeling those words for all they are worth. I am feeling my journey from the inside out.

As Confucius once said: "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."

And I am reminding myself that the rest will take care of itself. Life itself is such a strange journey. And I've decided that an authentic life is the strangest journey of all.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is JOURNEY.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inner Peace--10 little letters to bring you back to center

Today I am seeking inner peace. Yes, I know that it is two words, but sometimes two words are better than one.

Sometimes our world feels like it is spinning a little bit out of control. Sometimes we lose our center. Sometimes we grow anxious or scared or uncertain. Sometimes feeling frustrated or overwhelmed throws us off course.

When this happens, it is time to take a deep breath and let go. Wanna do it with me now?
Ready, set...
(((Breathe in))))
....Breathe out....

*Repeat as often as necessary*

...and soon you will notice the return of inner peace, filling you from the inside out.

Keep breathing.

With love,

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's words are Inner Peace. May it be yours.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

DANCE--5 little letters to make you wanna move your feet

When I first began the Word of the Day project I was afraid that I might run out of good words. It is hereby the ninth day of this endeavor and it turns out that the opposite is true! Every time I come across a good word I write it down...which basically means that every scrap of paper within reach has at least one inspiring word written on it! I have post-its in my purse, stuck to the edges of my computer monitor, stuck to the bathroom mirror, the kitchen counter, dining room table and piano! I have words tucked in books, scribbled on napkins, and running the margins of my magic planner.

The best part is that I just keep finding more of 'em! I find them in catalogs, in books, on television. I overhear them in conversation and notice them on bill boards, license plates, coffee cups, t-shirts and jewelery! It is downright weird and lovely.

Speaking of's words is inspired by the beautiful Connie of Dirty Footprints. I've been thinking about the word dance nonstop--ever since watching the video she has posted on her blog (and reading your comments about dancing on my studio post). You see...I have a secret to admit: I dance in my studio...a LOT! I paint until I can no longer contain the sheer giddiness that wells up inside of me and then....yep, you guessed it! I totally dork out. I dance to anything from the Bee Gees to Indian Fusion to Norah Jones. ha! And I love every second of it.

*Note to audience: Please pay special attention to the way Connie throws herself into the music, especially the parts where she sings FREEEEEEEEDOM! See! Yet another inspiring word! And so without further adieu....

Today is dedicated to DANCE.
Go ahead....Shake your booty!

Wanna hear something that will knock your socks off?
My husband was just informed me about a possible somethin-somethin that includes travel to INDIA.
Um....please see my MONDO BEYONDO 2009. Guess who would be going with!
:) Holy COW! I think I feel nauseous. In a good way! :)

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is DANCE. Dance like no one's watching.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BALANCE--7 little letters containing hugely restorative effects

Today I find it necessary to invite balance into my life.

I sometimes dive so deeply into my endeavors that I end up neglecting other areas of my life.

But today I am going to stop my marathon of passionate living and just be for one holy minute. I am going to sit down and breathe. I am going to write. I am going to lay on the couch with my dogs. I am going to cook a beautiful supper for my husband. I am going to connect with friends.

Barbara De Angelis writes that "Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away."

I genuinely feel as though I receive as much as I give. My endeavors, both professionally and personally, fill me in countless ways. But I also know that I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. My husband, Vinny, often jokes about this habit of mine--and I usually shake my head and laugh at myself along with him. After all, I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl.

And then something will happen to wake me up to the fact that I have neglected myself or certain areas of my life and, when it does, I am reminded of the importance of balance.

ahhhh, sweet balance.

A couple days ago I received an email from a very dear and old friend of mine, Mary. It was short and to the point, telling me that she had been in a very serious accident. A big truck drove into her driver's side door going about 50 mph while she was stopped at a stop sign. She wrote that she is lucky to be alive, that it's a blessing, and that there are no accidents. She now has a lot of healing to do--and yet her sense of balance amazes me.

To be honest, I have no idea how to entice balance back into my life. But I do know that it is important that I try. And so today I openly invite balance to come in and play. Beginning with this blog post. Beginning with friendship. Beginning with relaxation, dog love, and family.

Once upon a time I lived in the middle of nowhere. I was surrounded by thousands of acres of woods and fields, trails and lakes. There were wild blueberries and strawberries. There were the songs of wolves and loons. There were northern lights and sunsets wild enough take your breath away. My house was nestled smack dab in the middle of it. In the summer months, every day after work, my friends and I would drive down an old logging road to the Mississippi River. I would dive in and then float downstream, get out and then do it all over again. To me, that is what balance feels like.

To be honest, I need passion. I need to be able to dive in. I also need to be able to float, get out, and then do it all over again.

I will not be floating down any rivers today. After all, it is 25 degrees below zero! And, anyway, I no longer live near that beautiful river. Instead I live in a city that sparkles with ice and snow. Despite today's inability for river floating, I can make myself a cup of chamomile tea. I can email a few long lost friends. I can return a call to my dad. I can send you love. I can give myself some quiet time in the form of yoga and a bubble bath. And, in this way, I will make room for balance.

What about you? What's your relationship with balance?

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is BALANCE. Life is a gift. Remember to treat it well.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Monday, January 12, 2009

LOVE--4 little letters to make you feel good

Today I am in love.

I am in love with what I do.
I am in love with life.
I am in love with winter and the gentle snow that falls outside.
I am in love with my dogs.
I am in love with my husband.
I am in love with burning candles and hot cocoa.
I am in love with all that is possible.
I am in love with all that is now.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to be doing the work that I do. I LOVE my job. I love it so much that I find it difficult to even call it a job. It's not a job. It's a passion. It's an obsession. It is love.

Today, as I worked in my studio, I thought about luck and love and about how we attract people and circumstances into our lives. I thought about how good it feels to have connected with so many incredible clients. Commissioned work is an interesting phenomena. For me, painting is personal and I am amazed--each and every time--how grateful, gracious, flexible, and wonderful my clients are. Actually, I find it difficult to call them clients. They are so much more than that!

Yes, and so today I dedicate to love. Capital L.O.V.E. (Come on...let me say it just one more time) I love what I do. And I fall in love with the dogs I paint...over and over and over. My heart is a broken record--and, I admit, it feels good.

When I love, things make more sense.
Perhaps, more than anything, that is what draws me to this work.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is LOVE. May your life be full of it!
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

LEAP--4 little letters that lead to adventurous living and wonderfully unexpected discoveries

Today's word is brought to you by the fantabulous LEAH! Leah is the goddess of leaping. Her Creative Every Day Challenge is just one of the reasons why.

In the words of Helen Keller: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Personally, I prefer a daring adventure...but even little adventures require LEAP after LEAP after LEAP! The wonderful thing about this word is that it gets easier with practice. Honestly. Go ahead...take the leap! And enjoy what you discover on the other side. :)

Speaking of leaping...(want to hear my voice?) check out my audio testimonial for Circe's Circle. There will be a new group starting in just a few days. If there is one leap worth taking, it is in joining Circe's Circle--a weekly tele-circle led by certified life coach, Jamie Ridler. I kid you not...Circe's was (and is!) a huge catalyst for the incredible dream-making that I have experienced this past year. Circe's Circle is worth more than all the gold in the world. I promise.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is LEAP.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

NAMASTE--7 little letters to honor the Spirit in you which is also in me

NAMASTE ~ "The Spirit in me greets the spirit in you."

I honor the place in you where
the entire universe resides.
I honor the place in you, where lies your love,
you light, your truth and your beauty.
I honor the place in you, where
if you are in that place in you
and I am in that place in me
then there is only one of us.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is NAMASTE.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.

Image credits: Child Namaste photo from here.


Friday, January 09, 2009

FAITH--5 little letters to help keep you moving in the direction of your North star

Today I am nixing the word "struggle" from my vocabulary.

Good bye, struggle.
**see Jessie smiling and waving goodbye**

Hello, Faith.
**see Jessie enjoying a deep sigh of relief**

Sometimes it's easy to get scared or anxious or to lose trust in ourselves and in the power of the Universe. But today I want to remind myself of a little word that works magic. Yep, FAITH is what keeps me afloat in-between. It is what reminds me to breathe. It reminds me to trust. Faith is the bridge between ideas and results. Not to mention, faith is way better than struggle. Definitely.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is FAITH. May this word be a gentle reminder to believe in everything you put your heart into.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

GROW--4 little letters to enrich your creative soil

Today is day 4 of a self-granted "quarterly retreat." Last fall I promised myself that four times a year I would all but remove myself from the world in order to concentrate on one thing: painting.

Since it's winter and my secret place in the north woods is snowed under, this time I have decided to use my studio as a retreat space. It is, after all, fresh and new and calling my name.

I took these photos yesterday to share with all of you. I often find myself wishing that I could invite you in for a cup of coffee. I imagine us making art together, talking, creating, thinking, simply just being. This is one of the things I love about our blogging community...the way I feel your presence even when I'm not sitting at my computer.

Today I have packed a thermos of homemade chicken dumpling soup (made by my ever-loving husband), another thermos with fresh coffee, and an apple. I'll continue to work on the paintings I've started and feel inspired by all that is in the process of manifesting itself. One of the things I like best about this new studio space is how naturally it invites me to grow in new ways. I feel like a plant that has finally been moved to a sun-filled window.

And so, today's Word of the Day, fittingly, is: GROW

One thing that I am learning is that there is just no end to growth. Last night I met with friends--a gathering of women that are both strong and beautiful. I listened to them talk and was amazed by how wonderfully wise each one of them is. I left the gathering feeling intrigued by the notion of growth. It is something that must be cared for and tended to--and, yet, it often happens when we're not looking.

This week I have found myself standing in the middle of my life--a life that is offering me room to grow in more ways than I'm even quite able to comprehend. These days, I often feel like I am looking at myself for the very first time. And I am both honored and grateful to be surrounded by such an incredible tribe of women.

These letters are part of an ongoing project: "WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is GROW. May you thrive beautifully.

See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

CREATE--6 little letters to inspire you

To create.

Today I have been creating like it is my life--and, luckily, it is. Even so, sometimes it takes great effort to make it a priority.

Today there will be no cracked windshields to repair. No photo shoots. No extraneous phone calls. No whining dogs. No house cleaning.

Instead I am spending the day in my sun-filled studio. I am surrounded by dogs. That is, half-finished paintings of dogs. Have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE my new studio space?

I have only one word to describe it and it is: HEAVEN. I've been listening to music, taking short breaks to love up my wolfie (who always accompanies me), drinking coffee with cream and sugar, and moving from one painting to the next. Oh, sweet S-P-A-C-E! I am currently in the midsts of 5 portraits--three on one wall and two on the other. A portrait of a cat sits on an easel in the corner. I feel surrounded by love, by creativity, by powerfully positive energy.

I hope you will find some time in your day to do a little creating too.

These letters are part of an ongoing project: "WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time." Today's word is "CREATE." I am living this word from the inside out--and it feels good.

See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

MONDO-BEYOND 2009 :: attaining word at a time

Hello 2009! It's 4:28am and I've been up for almost a half hour. I have no idea why I'm up so early, but I am enjoying the sound of pitter-patter-puppy feet as little Ella comes looking for me. I like the sound of heat whirring through the vents and the otherwise silence of the world. Although this hour is quite a bit earlier than my usual preference for being awake, I do love the darkness of morning and the sense of contemplation it provides. This is the one time of day that doesn't demand anything more than it has to offer.

I've spent a lot of time this past week thinking about what I want for 2009. I have a feeling, both strong and deep, that this is going to be my year to take a giant step forward in living my dreams. The past year has shown me just what truly powerful creators we are. I made my annual list of accomplishments for the year (like I do every year--instead of New Year's resolutions) and (oh, mama-mia!) it was staggering. Granted, it was excessively Stray Dog Arts obsessive, but I was amazed to see how many things manifested and changed for me in one short year.

The best part is knowing that it is only the beginning.

Late last night, after a long day of photo shoots, phone calls, emails, and (joyously!!) finally moving my canvases and paints into the studio, I came home and sat on the couch with my husband and dogs. This is a luxury I don't usually grant myself...but there was a documentary on India and, well, what can I say?

Last year my big Mondo-Beyondo request for the Universe was to attain my dream studio. I can't even tell you how close to IMPOSSIBLE that was at the time of asking. This has truly been the most incredible year of my life. The Universe has proven to me, with flying colors, that ANYTHING is possible when you live from your heart. This year, one of my most important Mondo-Beyondos is to return to India. The other one is to significantly increase the flow of money into my life. And, dear Universe, I am soooooo ready!

As I sat and watched images of India move through me on the television screen, something shifted. Yes, it was that special sort of shift that means something real is happening. Something real and wonderful and life changing. I've come to understand that all of life's biggest transformations happen in this way--and, every time, it comes as a surprise. You can't make it happen--it's more like something that happens to you and, yet, it occurs from the inside out. In my experience, molecular shifts always come about at the most unexpected times.

Anyway, I felt it. And somehow, somewhere deep inside of me, I know that it is going to happen. I am going to travel back to India to paint stray dogs and tell their story. I don't know how and I don't know when...but I do know that I am going to get there. I also know that, on a personal level, the work I do there is going to be profoundly important.

I get the sense that our life is a thread and that each thing we experience is connected to what is both before and after it. Even when things don't make sense as we're living them, those moments create our story. It is what makes sense of the difficult parts. It is the journey, not the destination. That thread is what make us beautiful.

This morning is the day that I am launching a new project and am calling it:

WORD OF THE DAY:: living life one word at a time

Every day for the next year (or more!) I am going to post a word that I have decided to dedicate my day to. These words will be built from my alphabet paintings and, every day, will be posted on my Patch of Sky Etsy (the first word can be found here). I also hope to post and write about these words here on my blog as often as possible.

In honor of my Mondo-Beyondo 2009 very first WORD OF THE DAY is:


I believe that everything is possible. I believe that we are powerful creators of our own reality. I believe in love and magic and dreams. I believe in miracles.

2009 is my year for life to break open. Last year was about gaining the confidence to live from the center of my Self. This year is about breaking into wild bloom.

Believing is a perfect place to begin.

Last year I accomplished the majority of my list. At the time of writing it, a lot of it felt nearly (if not completely) impossible. ha! Nothing is impossible.

Click on the image to read my Mondo-Beyondo for 2009. What about you? What's on your Mondo-Beyondo list??

Here's to BELIEVING in 2009!