29 September 2014

Word for the Week

Well, the card I pulled this morning from my Rediscovery Pack feels like a real nudge in the ribs... maybe even a sharp jab, because it is the last thing I feel like...

This week, I am a mama nursing a fragile heart - our son went away to uni on Saturday, and I'm experiencing that 'lost limb' sensation that I've heard other parents describe when a child leaves home for the first time...

I am so pleased for him - he was so ready! And I am really proud of him, and really excited for him - I LOVED my uni days!!! But oh, my heart hurts, and I'm struggling to smile, let alone laugh!

Our gorgeous kids taken last week on Sam's 19th birthday

I find it oh-so-interesting that the background is the same colour as this Word... I guess Laughter will greatly help the 'Emerging' process... As the saying goes it is 'the best medicine' and 'the earth laughs in flowers'...

I will endeavour to keep this Word at the forefront of my mind this week, but the truth is I feel I still need to sit with the loss... to know it, to own it... So that when I DO laugh, it will be full-hearted and not hollow.

I'd love to know what you think of this week's Word - what makes you laugh? And also, what do you think about laughing when your heart is aching...?

26 September 2014

Focus on Life Week 39: Hands

While sorting out a cupboard the other week, I found some of my old school books...

This was in my Art sketchbook... The teacher has commented 'well drawn' and initialled it.

And to prove how long ago it was, look at this in the same sketchbook - a real blast from the past!!

And yes, I did have the movie poster on my wall and the soundtrack album (12" vinyl, of course)... Ah, Tony Manero, you stole my 15-year-old heart ;-)

23 September 2014

Tuesday Thoughts...

New favourite album, on which this powerful song blows the speakers...


22 September 2014

Word for the Week

Don't know why I couldn't get a good photo of today's card pulled from my Rediscovery Pack - poor lighting I guess, but it's none the less powerful for being a tad fuzzy...

I live my life in perpetual gratitude. Most days it's very easy to write at least 5 things I'm grateful for each day...

... and doing an exercise for this course the other day, making a quick list of a 100 blessings was very easy, I confess.

But, it isn't always easy to be brimful of gratitude, I know...

when you are in pain - physical or emotional
when you're tired, tense, wrought
when you feel overwhelmed, unloved, unappreciated

On these days, even writing two things I'm grateful for is a struggle! But write them I do

Today I am grateful for...

the fact I can write
the fact I can hold a pen
each and every breath

For this is a spiritual practice, a discipline, something I do at the end of each day, so I fall into bed in a state of Gratitude - still tired, still in pain, but now grateful...

I would love to know what you think/feel when you see this Word

19 September 2014

Focus on Life Week 38: One

Following September's theme of Simplicity, Sally's prompt this week was simple: 'Capture a photograph with only one subject'.

A simply perfect rose - no need to edit/tweak the photo at all!

Paint Party Friday

People are hard to draw, men harder still, and throw in a bit of perspective... Sheesh...

Sharing here.

18 September 2014

Thursday Thoughts...

Once in a while, you stumble upon treasure...

Blithely flicking through the TV channels yesterday afternoon, I came upon this series, and lo and behold, one of my all-time favourite books was being featured...

Presented by Alexandra Harris (a favourite author herself - check out her debut book), I was treated to a half-hour delve into the background of this novel. I saw Virginia's writing shed at Monk's House, saw her handbound original manuscripts, with her crossings-out and notes in the margins, catching glimpses of a writer's mind at work.

It was fascinating, and reminded me why I so adore this novel, written and set in the early 1920s. I immediately grabbed my adored Folio Society copy, and began to read... 

Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself...

One of my favourite descriptions of this amazing book is by Michael Cunningham in the Introduction to this particular edition:

In Mrs Dalloway, Woolf is riffing... She's testing not only her powers but the limits of the novel itself. We can almost hear her thinking on the page... Mrs Dalloway is like an improvisatory jazz solo, played by a relatively new musician, possessed of astonishing powers.

It ravels and unravels. It has loose ends. It coheres, but in the disorderly way that life itself coheres. Like life itself, it has patterns and themes, but is not exactly about anything singular or easily identifiable. It is about itself. (p. ix)

Those who like novels to be action-packed page-turners may not enjoy this book, but those who like a more pensive, leisurely approach may... I find it gripping, for it tackles the BIG questions of life and death obliquely, rather than head-on. Within the hours of a single day, in the lives of individuals who never meet each other, we encounter the disparate thoughts, feelings, memories and fears of Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith, and they become real to us, a part of us.

As Michael Cunningham perceptively says in the Introduction, 

With Mrs Dalloway, Woolf argues that there are no insignificant lives, only insufficient ways of looking at them (p. xii)

I say, Amen to that!

17 September 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Season of mists...

The view from our kitchen window this morning... It's definitely Autumn!

Sharing here.

16 September 2014

Tuesday Thoughts....

I thought Sunday's poem encapsulated everything I wanted to say - then I found this one... 

This is exactly how I feel, especially after a session of hydrotherapy ;-)

To My Body
by Judy Clouston

I thought
you had deserted me
so I disowned you.

I hauled you
from place to place
your failures
your needs.

I could not
trust you.

Now I bless you for

You move
in the water
as gracefully

as a mermaid.

photo The Guardian 

15 September 2014

Word for the Week

Monday again - where DO the days go?? 

Here's the card I pulled from the Rediscovery Pack this morning...

Well, this the perfect Word as I begin this course today... I'm hoping for an adventure into the hinterland of creative journalling... I've no idea what to expect, but as the course sold out quickly back in June, I'm guessing Claire's quite a teacher :-)

The bright pink background is the same as the Fun card drawn back in March (scroll down the post to find the Word for the Week), and I hope to have fun on this course. Though, I know from experience Adventures often call upon many aspects of Life...

For example, my year in Kenya back in 1987-88 was definitely an Adventure - with a BIG capital 'A'. And while I certainly had lots of Fun and met some amazing people (including my future husband!), it also called for Daring and Courage, Learning and Acceptance, and many other Words I've explored this year.

For a girl from a quiet village in Lincolnshire, who had only been abroad for a weekend in Paris as a 21st birthday surprise, it was a dream come true. I'd loved Daktari and Born Free as a kid, and longed to see such animals in their natural habitat. And Out of Africa was a favourite films - I loved the soundtrack, especially - and I longed to see the Ngong Hills which had featured in the film, and which I could see from the college compound.

Photo from Google

Turns out, Nick (future hubby) and I had quite an Adventure on our first official date... On Valentine's Day 1988, he borrowed a friend's car and we headed out looking for Karen von Blixen's home high in the Hills... and we duly got utterly and hopelessly lost! We encountered wild baboons (nasty, terrifying creatures!), and stunning Masai women selling their intricately beaded jewellery on the side of the road, but we never did find the house... sigh... 

Thankfully we found the road back to Nairobi before we ran out of petrol (phew!), and so began a friendship that has lasted until this day, and surely a marriage is an awfully big life Adventure, right?

I'd love to know what you think/feel when you see this Word...

14 September 2014

Sunday Thoughts...

Sometimes you find a poem that just says everything you want to express, especially the first two verses... Enjoy!

Finding Her Here
by Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor—
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
            weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
            and sunrises.

I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce—
who knows she is plenty,
            plenty to share.

12 September 2014

Focus on Life Week 37: Window

Playing with gel pens to create a stained glass window postcard...

Paint Party Friday

Playing with perspective - while wearing my new pinny :-)

Joining the party here.

11 September 2014

Thursday Thoughts

I just had to share this...

It reminded me of the hours I would spend as a child looking at the colour illustrations and basic information on each planet in our solar in the front of our BIG Times atlas...

I used to wonder if the rings around Saturn made any noise as they hula-hooped around the planet... Now I know...


9 September 2014

Wordless Wednesday: My pocket mantra...

Custom made by Liz Lamoreux

Joining in here.

Word for the Week

The Full Moon Dreamboard took precedence yesterday, so here's this week's Word pulled from the bag of Rediscovery Cards this morning...

This is one of my favourite Words - and definitely a very important value. I think all mamas hope to instil this in their kids - to encourage them to always be kind, or even

I have a necklace a dear friend gave me last Christmas which rather says it all regards my attitude to Kindness...

photos by Amanda Davie

I think it's a Word that doesn't get the recognition it deserves - Can you imagine how the world would change if we truly lived by J.M  Barrie and the Dalai Lama's words??

I know it's a cliche, but it's no less true - we need to 'be the change we wish to see in the world'. We need to practise kindness every day, and whenever we are unkind - which we will be sometimes (we are human, after all) - we must apologize and ask for forgiveness.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that the background is the same colour as Honesty and Clarity - two things which can help us be kinder...

I'd love to know what you think when you see this Word

8 September 2014

September Full Moon Dreamboard

I wasn't able to see the moon last night - too many clouds... But I'm hoping they'll part enough tonight to let me see her at her fullest and ripest :-)

September's Moon is all about harvest, fullness, and the sweet ripeness of the Vine...

Starting on the right-hand page, which I made first for some reason

The background photo is of a Japanese maple from an old Country Living magazine - they have the best nature photographers...

The Empress is a card I pulled from an old tarot deck - she's all about the fullness of creation, the feminine archetype, the Big Mama of us all...

Then, there's a brilliant piece from an advert - no idea what it was for (a car, maybe?), but I just love those words:
One part imagination
One part inspiration
One part stimulation
One part intrigue
One part exhilaration

They perfectly describe 'The pleasure of creation' which is clipped from another magazine advert - at the top of the page. Underneath which is a piece called Flexibility with a quote by Caitlin Matthews

May we never be so straight that we cannot bend;
May we never be so unapproachable that children
Cannot climb up into our lower branches.

It's a piece I think a friend sent me - all about taking our inspiration from trees: 'Visualize what kind of tree you are. Check on how vital your root system is; assess the flexibility of your trunk, the reach of your branches...' Which is just perfect given the ROOT journal project in did for 30 days in August :-)

And finally there's a craft skeleton leaf I found in my stash.

On the left-hand page, which just didn't seem to go right... there's a piece from an old diary on the Harvest Moon (another name for this month's Full Moon), and another on Mabon (the Autumn Equinox which is 2 weeks today on September 22), which invites us to

Take note of the changing seasons and the leaves as they begin their colourful display. This is the season of Dionysus, lord of the vine. The grape harvest is in, and wines are being produced... 

With this idea of harvest in my mind, I attached a wee purse, which I picked up years ago in a charity shop, and in it I've put some Tim Holtz Adage Tickets - words I want more of:


The page is finished with more Country Living photos - a crate of ripe tomatoes, and an artist's sketchbook in which is painted a tree, a dove and a leaf...

As I finish writing this post, I realize there's actually a lot in this Dreamboard... It didn't seem to flow as readily as I was making it last night (maybe because I couldn't see the moon behind the thick clouds?) But this morning, I can see more clearly the themes and the desires being expressed.

I'd love to know what you think - and if you make a Dreamboard, do share :-)

7 September 2014

Sunday thoughts...

Another Daily Power Question from The Humanity Collective

Here's my list written in my journal yesterday...

Seeing our kids happy and healthy.
Listening to neighbours' kids playing in the street.
Watching the sun rise... and set...
Watching the moon each night - if the clouds permit.
Visiting museums and art galleries.
Reading inspiring biographies.
Writing in my journal each day...
Listening the birds singing in the garden, and owls screeching in the night.
Listening to Gregorian Chants.
Chatting with friends - preferably over freshly brewed coffee...
Connecting with friends around the globe...
Lighting a candle before prayer...
Handling the treasures on my altar...
Making my Full Moon Dreamboards.
Attending Evensong - especially in the winter.
Smelling homemade cakes and bread baking in the oven.
Smelling the white roses outside the front door.
Watching Molly-cat watching the world outside from the window sill.
Browsing in bookshops - it's been so long since I've done this as there are NO bookshops around here...sigh...
Reading poetry - Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins - and watching it being read on Youtube :)

So... What stirs YOUR soul?
Do share :-)

5 September 2014

Focus on Life Week 36: A door

Already another month... *sigh*

September's topic is Simplicity - a worthy theme amid the back-to-school, full-autumn-schedule busyness...

The door to a restaurant in town - it's just a shame the bargain store opposite is reflected in the glass... 

But it's a beautiful, original Art Nouveau door - you can just make out the lovely etched flowers in the four mini panels at the top...

Paint Party Friday

I confess I'm cheating this week...

I want to show my new painting pinny, which arrived yesterday... It has no ties so I can put it on myself one-handed without any assistance :) But it's hard to get a good photo... It's beautifully handmade by Louisa Burman.

And on top is this really fun piece of mail art which arrived last week from the lovely Jo - here's a close-up

Again it's hard to get a good photo, but there are wonderful layers of paint and more layers of gel pen... I just love it, Jo, thank you!!

I promise next week I'll show stuff I've actually painted while wearing my super-duper new pinny ;-)

Joining in the fun here.

4 September 2014

Thursday thoughts...

Thanks to Angel for putting onto these lovely folk... I now get a Daily Power question in my email box and this was yesterday's...

Immediately, I thought of Joseph Campbell's famous quote:

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you 
where there were only walls.

And I promptly wrote a list of my bliss - that which makes me happy, content, warm inside...

Time alone reading and writing
Time with family when each are safely gathered in before dark
Time with friends
Stroking Molly-cat
Lighting a candle before prayer/meditation
Watching/listening to football - especially when Liverpool win :-)
Watching high-quality drama on TV
Learning something new
Browsing the internet 'meeting' interesting people
Having time to just sit and think
Getting out on my scooter and feeling the warm breeze
Watching the seasons change
Writing a blog post and enjoying people's comments :-)

I'm sure there are many more... But I'd love to know What's Your Bliss?

1 September 2014

Word for the Week

I've missed a couple of these... 

First, because I scratched my eye quite badly one Sunday and simply couldn't see the screen (or much else!) for a few days :-(

Then last Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK, and I was recovering from a really great day out at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the The Hepworth Gallery - scroll down to previous posts to see photos...

So here we are beginning another month(!!), and the card I pulled from the Rediscovery pack is a real goodie...

I'm sensing this may be a Word not just for this week, but for the rest of the year!
We're entering my favourite month and season, where I usually have a creative surge... It's that new-term feeling that just never leaves me - no matter how many years since I started school :-)

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Helen Keller

A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. 
For all serious daring starts from within.
Eudora Welty

Having completed Lisa's ROOT 30-day journal project in August, I'm all fired up to dare to continue writing each day using this book...

Image from rossifox.com

... who knows what I'll learn/discover in the 30 days of September!

And I just love the fresh, bright green background of this card, with invites creative energy and action.

Daring to play with watercolours...

... with collage...

... and photography.
(Looking out of the window at The Hepworth)

Do you share my love of this time of year? That new-term burst of energy and excitement? I'd love to hear what you think when you see this Word...

Next Monday is the Full Vine Moon, and I've just finished reading Amy Palko's thoughts as I begin to prepare for my making my September Dreamboard next week, and I realize these words are a perfect fit for my Word for the Week...

This Vine Moon, it is time to lose your inhibitions. It is time to dance like no-one is watching. It is time to enter the fray, your voice weaving effortlessly into the chaos that surrounds you. It is time to kick off your shoes and cast to one side any self-consciousness you might feel...
Amy Palko, Bloom by Moon

In other words - it's time to be DARING ;-)