Monday, February 28, 2011


I've intended to write this post for the past TWO months, but I'm running a little late. Do you sense a pattern???

Anyway, early in January, it seemed like everyone out there in blog-land was talking about finding ONE word to set the tone for the coming year. At first, I kept thinking why would you limit your year with just one word??  It was overwhelming to think of all the words, all the possibilities, all the limitations associated with this idea.  But every time I'd think that and try to dismiss the idea, one little word would whisper in my ear:  heal.

I'd hear it. I'd acknowledge it. I'd dismiss it. After all, if you are going to focus your year on one word, shouldn't it be more dynamic, more positive, more "doing", more motivational, more spectacular, more visible, more...impressive?  But that word kept whispering, and I'm telling ya, it sounded like a place I wanted to go and curl up for awhile (maybe for a....year).

So, here I am, two months in, crawling into my word for this year. (BTW - March is my birthday month, so I can very easily rationalize that this month is the beginning of my new year, and not only am I not late, I'm early because I have almost 3 weeks left 'til I start my new b-day year.)

The past couple of years have been pretty crapilicious. I have been surviving. Getting through each day was an effort, and thinking about getting up and doing it again the next day was overwhelming. I don't want to live my life in survival mode. Some things have improved, but many remain the same. I know that until the situations that are out of my control change, all I can do is change my response, pick up the pieces, apply the lesson's I've learned, and prepare for all the good stuff that's gotta be heading my way. (Can I get an Amen?)

Frankly, I'm not ready for the good stuff. If it showed up today, I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate it because I am too blinded by all the yuck. To be able to hug all of that goodness to me, first I need to spend time recovering from the beating that has been the last few years.

ALL wounds heal, but there are things we can do speed the process. I need lots of stillness and contemplation. I need water and sunshine (best I can tell, they cure pretty much everything). I also need some action. I was concerned about there not being enough "DOING" associated with this word, but I think it may end up that I have to work harder and do more to heal than I would have for any other word I could have chosen.  

I've started this journey:  my trip to BGC and my new commitment to doing something creative on a regular basis, have made an amazing difference in my outlook already.  Now, the other 'sick' areas of my life deserve a similar focus and commitment (either that, or some serious medicine-man ju-ju).  Since we're short on ju-ju in these parts, I guess that means I must DO all those things necessary to heal my mind, my body, my spirit, and my situation. 
So, here goes - let the healin' begin!

Maybe next year, I'll focus on the word TIMELY....or, probably not.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Oh my goodness, this cracked me up!  I was reading The Nester this morning, and she had a link to it.  I'm sure that this is old news for most of you, but it was new to me and I had to share.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Keepin' My Promise

I made a promise to myself that I would spend some time doing SOMETHING creative at least once a week from now on.  It's only been one week, but I'm keeping my promise so far.

I made this collage for my friend's birthday.  I had fun, fun, fun making it. 
Just an 8 x 10 canvas and I layered on paint and papers.

Then I took two pieces of paper, painted on them a bit, put some batting in between and sewed it all together.  Then, I mod podged the heart so it would be kinda "crunchy".

And, then I put it all together... and waaala!

Not a masterpiece, but I enjoyed the process.  YEA!

Linking up here and here and here and here and here:

The Girl Creative

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creativity is Messy

Remember my office/craft room make-over? 

It was so pretty and clean and crisp and ORGANIZED!

Today, it looks like this.

Yes, that is a make-shift paint palette (aka plastic plate) sitting on my laptop.  It'll be fine.

Oh my goodness!!! How did this happen??

So, two things:
  1. I am knee deep in unfinished projects (literally).  They've been piling up since before Christmas, and I just keep starting more, and
  2. I've decided to reorganize based on color.
Remember, I was inspired by The.Art.Room. at camp. The paint, ribbon, fabric and paper were all organized by color.  Here's the paper...

And here is my newly re-organized paper stash

How can you not love that?!  It's pretty awesome, the only problem is that I still have to contend with the rest of the mess. 

I'm looking at it as a positive that I prefer to step over the piles and actually work on (AND FINISH) something instead of letting the cleaning up distract me so that I never really work on anything.

That's gotta be progress, right?  Just sayin'...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brave Girl Projects

This is the last Brave Girl post, I promise...until the online workshop starts at least.  :-)

Everyone loved playing with the Chip Art Tools. They were so easy to use, and the results were quick and CUTE!  It was instant gratification.  I made this leather cuff.  This is before I stained it.  LOVE!  You should see some of the GORGEOUS stuff the other girls made.  Need to get me some of those tools.

Speaking of tools, I got to play with all kinds of stuff I'd never used before.  All different kinds of glitter, texture mediums, a batik pen, split peas, dimensional mod podge, chip board, various "bits" to add texture or to layer.  Or using some familiar things in new ways - just tons of new ideas for me!

It was also so inspiring to be surrounded by the amazing talent of the other girls. I'd love to show you some of their beautiful work, but each piece was so personal, and I didn't get their permission.

So, here's a peek at a few of the things I worked on.
This is the cover of my timeline.  It was a blank accordion book with chip board covers. I mod podged fabric onto the covers and added various bits and a ribbon to tie it closed.  Then I got to work on the innards, here's a little bit of that:

The worst part of this project was the fact that I had to turn it over and start working on the back,


And two of my other projects:

We had so much fun!  I wish I could spend this much time working on art projects every week.  What a treat this experience was.  I am so grateful to have been a part of it and to have met such wonderful people.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast for the following message:

How cute is this?  Amanda, Tyler and the boys came over this weekend.  They were in top cuteness form. 

Both boys wanted to go out  back and see "the water" (aka, the pool).  This summer should be fun, but we're really going to have to keep an eye on them.

You can't really tell, but Ben was break dancing - no music necessary.  From this particular wiggle, he'd drop to the floor into "a split" and a roll.  Too funny!
Ahhh!  To have that much energy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brave Girls Club - Final Thoughts

(I don't know who these belonged to, but aren't they fabulous?!)

A few final experiences and thoughts I wanted to share with you.  On Friday night, as BGC alumni we were asked to help spread the light. We participated in a video that Melody and Kathy wanted to do for the current online Soul Restoration attendees.  I can't really explain it, but the most basic description of what we did is to say we lit a candle for each of the Soul Restoration participants, but it was more than that.  Hopefully, they will post the video on youtube and we'll all be able to see it.  Anyway, it was just one more amazing experience.  Here are a few pictures.

Then, we had cake!  It was a PERFECT day! 

Gorgeous cake - almost too pretty to eat - almost.

After the BIG show and the cake, what do you do when you don't want the fun to end??  Go back to The. Art. Room! 

Here's my group of C.R.A.Z.Y. Brave Girls who never slept.  We stayed up late every night, and the last night, we did not go to bed at all. 
Rachel-Rachel 1, me, Kirsten, Daphne, Rachel-Rachel 2, and Lori

7:00 AM and breakfast rolled around WAY too early, but that was it.  We ate, packed up, said our final goodbyes to the wonderful women who'd taken care of us all week, and we boarded the shuttle back to the airport.  We were tired, we were weary, but we weren't worn out. ;) 
Saw some cool snow sculptures on the way back.  It had been too dark to see them on the trip up.  I was able to chat part of the way back, but the sleep won out in the end.  I think I slept the lat 30 - 40 minutes of the ride.  Bittersweet goodbyes all around, then began the long trip home. 

I made myself do it - I turned the BB back on.  386 emails - OMG!  I wanted to turn it back off. 

There was a voicemail and a couple of texts from Chicken Little, apparently the sky had fallen.  We chatted while I waited for the plane, and returned the sky to it's proper place, which I confirmed once my flight took off.

Extremely thoughtful trip home.  My mind was going a gabillion miles an hour, and I needed sleep, but wasn't really sleepy.  Finally, I pulled out the art journal they gave us at BGC and started to doodle.  I can't draw, but I had so many ideas going through my head that I had to write them down or else they wouldn't leave me alone! 

Processing, processing, processing the week.  Probably one of the biggest lessons I learned is that I need to make time to do something creative.  I love it, and it's healing, and I can do it just for me.  I normally make things for a purpose - usually to give them away.  I realized that I can make something for me - just because I want to - and it doesn't have to be pretty or perfect. 

At one point, I made myself a promise that I would do SOMETHING creative at least once a week.  I had been drawing and writing, and I just happened to look out the window when I made that promise to myself.
No retouching or editing here - the entire sky was really this glorious color. That has to be a sign, right?! 

I have been so incredibly blessed and am so, so, so grateful to have had this experience.  I wish everyone of you could go to Brave Girl Camp.  It was a fabulous week.  Check out the whole Brave Girl scene here.   The next thing for me is the online Soul Restoration course.  It's a six week workshop, and the next one starts in April.  I'm signing up, and cannot wait!

One more BGC post tomorrow - I just want to share some of the stuff I made.  Then, maybe I can get back to regular life - not that I want, but I guess I must at some point.  :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brave Girl Camp - Part Deux

Here goes - going to try to sum up this amazing experience in one - probably novel-length post - with waaaaaaayyyy too many pictures.  (I got half way through this, and realized I will have at least one - maybe two - more BGC posts.)

Our first morning at Brave Girl Cult Camp brought with it the glory of the The. Art. Room!!!  Imagine, if you will, (so you don't really have to imagine too hard because pictures are coming up) a 2-car garage gussied up with twinkle lights and floor to ceiling art supplies of every kind.  Heaven, right?!  I know!  Sit down, if you choose not to do so, don't say you weren't warned... just sayin'. 

 Do you hear it?  Yep, that's the angels singing as we walked in the door. 

Mod Podge (aka Soul Glue) for DAYS!  Who knew there were that many different varieties?!  Within a few hours the entire room, the entire room smelled of Mod Podge - and continued to do so for the next 3 days.  I was working on a project last night and I left the room for a few minutes, when I walked back in the Mod Podge fumes hit me and took my right back to BGC... happy smell!

Color, color, everywhere color!  LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!  I've stolen (ahem... I mean, I've been "inspired" by) the paper, ribbon and fabric storage idea.  My office/craft room is a MESS because I'm reorganizing EVERYTHING by color. 

 Not  my brushes, but I thought they looked really "artsy".  :-)

We all picked a spot and that is where we sat for the next three days.  It was great because we didn't have to clean up our mess every night when we were done.  Best idea evah!

So, here's my spot (of course it is - note the Diet Pepsi-crack). 

I must admit that all those options were a bit overwhelming at first.  Notice that I started with paint - it's what I felt safest using.  But have no fear, I branched out pretty quickly.

Works in progress...

Are you still with me?  I hope so because I want to talk about the wonderful girls I met at camp. 

Amazing, brave women from all over the country.  Everyone of them with a strong and generous spirit.  What a blessing to meet each of them and to see the incredible work they did and the beautiful art they made.  We laughed and we cried and we ate fabulous meals together.  We sang (I mainly mouthed the words, but occasionally I couldn't help it and actual sounds came out - sorry to those around me), we made talked, we made art - about the only thing we didn't do is sleep.  No time for that!

When we arrived, everyone was excited and thrilled to be there, but many were SO tired and stressed, some were a bit pensive, some of us were some were broken, most were mending. I watched the transformation of each of them during those too short days.  By Friday, you could really see the true spirit, energy and joy returning in each of them.  What a blessing!

Melody and Kathy are in the middle, and they are surrounded by the staff.  Gorgeous, generous girls who spoiled us beyond belief.

Lori, Karyn, and Carmen

My name twins - Lisa, me, Elisa

Jacqueline and Rebecca

Betsy, Tammy, and Kara

All of the name twins - me, Elisa, Lisa, Rachel, Rachel, Megan, & Megan
(I don't know what kind of pose I'm poppin' here - ugh!)

Melody & her daughter, Malary
Ha ha!  How funny is this?  I took all of these pictures on Friday afternoon.  Everyone put on their white shirts and got together for a group picture, then we all pulled out our own cameras and started taking pictures.  It was like the paparazzi - thanks Megan, for teaching us all the pageant pose.  :-)

And in case you haven't had enough, just a quick nod to the variety show that we had on Friday night.  Too much fun!!!  Lots of singing and laughing (not so much crying) on this night.

So much talent in one place - all I can say is WOW!!!

And this is Super Brave Girl, Tamara - she donned her brave girl Cape, Mask, Apron, and Wrist Cuffs while belting out I Will Survive!  AWESOME!

I thought this would be the last BGC post, but I probably have one or two more in me.  I have a few more pictures to share.  Stay tuned...