Sunday, May 30, 2010


Life is simply, indescribably, deliciously beautiful.  (Even when it doesn't feel that way.)

Deep Thoughts

Energy Follows Awareness.


How I do one thing is how I do all things.


These two simple but profoundly complex statements have been swirling around me non-stop recently.  I won't elaborate (that's a whole other post I'm hoping to do) but it's safe to say they are altering every journey I am on.

Think about them and test them out in your own life....

What's Keeping Me Busy

* Suzi Blu's The Goddess & The Poet class and all of the resulting sketching/coloring/painting.  Learning to draw and create mixed media art with a uniquely fascinating stuff!

* Kelly Rae Robert's Flying Lessons (starts today!).

* Danielle LaPorte's Firestarter Sessions.  I was so unbelievably fortunate to get the "Pay What You Can" offer but, after only reading through one page, am already considering how I'm going to pay the full price.  Seriously.  I believe it is THAT worth it.

* Trudy Callahan's Artistic Mother's Group (based on Shona Cole's book, The Artistic Mother).  I am so far behind on this it isn't funny.  But the spirit of being an Artistic Mother is alive and well within me AND I am determined to finish up the projects at some point.

* Connie's Art Journal Love Letters.  I finished the class a bit ago but keep popping in to refresh (there is SO much juicy inspiration!) and take part in the awesome chats.

*Running!  Yep, I'm still going - albeit at a much different pace.  I'm only running 3 or so times a week now and at an average of 2.5 miles / run.  But I LOVE it. 

* Planning out our summer.  Our son finishes up Kindergarten this week (*sniff*!!) and I am faced with figuring out how to educate, entertain, and show my undying love to my two kiddos each and every day...all day long...while still getting all of the above accomplished.  We've gotten a few workbooks from Half Price Books & I'm working on a schedule to make sure we all don't go crazy!

(Yeah, perhaps I've taken on a bit too much.  Oh well.  That's how I roll.)

Things You Should Check Out

* The guest stories that Kathy (Everyday Kathy) & Rachel (Rachel Awes) have shared at Our Stories...beautiful ladies honestly sharing their selves. (I have more yet to be posted...)

* Yet another weekly giveaway at Sleeping Dogs Studio.  They do AMAZING work (frames, cards, etc) and invite guest artists as well for weekly giveaways.  (That means Free.  You get something for Free.  It is possible!)  This weeks giveaway is a gorgeous pair of earrings.  I don't understand HOW, but the comments are very few on these giveaways (as low as ONE) your chances of winning are OUTSTANDING.  (You won't even have me to compete with: I've won TWICE so in fairness to others am refraining from entering for awhile.  It's very hard.)

* It's another Pay What You Can!  The generous Carmen Torbus is offering a Pay What You Can WEEKEND (until Monday, May 31st) for her Spill It Revisited online workshop

I know I'm forgetting something.  But a peanut-butter-and-jelly-smeared-face is calling for my attention. (My daughter's.  My hubby can take care of his own face.)


I'm away from most of my pictures but always like to include something in my posts.  And, because I told a few people I'd share it...and because it happens to still be on this camera card.....

We watched our wedding video (which I just had converted to DVD after 10 years...yep, we're old enough to have NO digital records of our wedding!) the other night.  The kids saw me in the wedding dress and commented they'd like to see me "look like that again".  (No offense taken, but it's going into the "comments-that-will-be-brought-up-when-you-are-older" file.)

So I pulled out the ol' wedding dress (which is horribly stained and we have no idea from what).  Guess what?  Still fits!

We may be getting rid of it soon so I thought I'd take a few last photos.  I don't even have my editing software on this computer to make the photos better. 

Wrinkly & stained (the dress...NOT me...), but here ya go:

Blushing bride?  Not exactly.

Have a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ten Years and Counting

From Then

Until Now

(yeah, the only photos we have of us recently are from the mini marathon!! hah!)

And each day after
We celebrate a love that has allowed us
to become "us"
and yet remain individuals...
and to find a growing
peace and constantly
renewed energy amidst it all.

To my husband - Happy 10th Anniversary.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Unexpected Delay

I know I promised far more information...and I actually have a blog post typed up and ready to go.

Apparently, my computer has other ideas.  (Seriously.  I know it has a mind of its own.  It is snickering right now as I type this.)

Adobe Photoshop keeps locking up every time I try to edit a photo so I'm going to keep begging and pleading until it lets me edit a few and add them to the aforementioned post.

Until then, please enjoy this awesome wisdom that was sent to me months ago.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amazing Offer - Until Midnight 5/25 ONLY!

Oh WOW !  Please be sure to check out the other post today, but I JUST learned of an AMAZING offer.

Danielle LaPorte (Oh, I do hope you have heard of her), in honor of her birthday, is offering her Firestarter Session (the e-book/video experience) for TODAY (5/25) ONLY until MIDNIGHT (PST) for WHATEVER YOU CAN PAY!!

See the details HERE.

I have drooled over this forever but haven't taken the financial leap....I am so anxious I have butterflies in my tummy. 

Go.  NOW!!!  This is seriously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

(Then go read Kathy's Guest story!) :)

Guest Story: Everyday Kathy

Check out Our Stories for a brand spanking new Guest Story from the lovely EVERYDAY KATHY

And, oh we lucky, lucky folk:  There is a BONUS story where Kathy shares her honest and insightful experience with the Master Cleanse.

Check out Kathy's Guest Story at:

and the bonus story at:

And I've been neglecting the blog and you lovely people for the past week, so I promise oodles of information in the next 24 hours.  Art, motherhood, deep thoughts, random photos...who knows what we'll find!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Take Suzi's Class.

I took Connie's class.  I loved it.

I am taking Suzi's class.  I LOVE it.  How am I getting so lucky finding just the right classes at just the right times??

Seriously - if you have or have ever had any desire to learn how to draw a face (and, like me, bring it into mixed media form), there is simply no excuse NOT to take this class.

Ms. Suzi Blu has several workshops...if you have not been fortunate enough to come across this beautifully unique soul, I highly recommend you check out her blog ( and her offering of courses (

I am currently enrolled in The Goddess & The Poet and already know...within just a few days of signing up....that I'm going to be taking her other courses as well.  I feel like the possibilities for my mixed media art just expanded exponentially.  Why?  Well just look at what this amazing woman via her entertaining videos has taught me to do.

(I have oodles of sketches already, but am showing you just one work-in-progress so you get the idea of where said-sketches can go!)

I started out with basic graphite (pencil) sketches and forgot to take a photo.  So, after a bit of colored pencil, here's the "beginning":

(Yeah, it totally looks like she swallowed a frog and it got stuck in her throat.  I fixed that.)

After some more colored pencil, paint, stamps, etc.  (not gonna reveal anymore because you HAVE to take the class!!), here's where it stands:

And oh my there is so much more to add to these girls!!  I'm excited just thinking about it!

Now keep in mind, I have NEVER TAKEN an ART CLASS.  Ok, maybe that one in high school but seeing as how I don't even remember doesn't count.  I'm not sayin' these sketches are professional quality (Yet...hah!), but to go from drawing something that probably would offend my children to THIS?


Ok.  I'm done now.  I have too much more work to do.  :)

Coming soon:

*Artistic Mothers Group work to do and share!

*Art Journal pages to share!

*(Hmm...should get up at some point and eat or pee...definitely the latter....)

*Art does immerse that monkey mind and allow my deeper self to speak.  She has had some FASCINATING things to say.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stop. Go .....

We may not like to hear it,
but sometimes we need to stop on the path that we are on
and go a different direction.

May we be content with the journey, not disappointed by the obstacles.

(Note: T'is just a deep thought - I'm actually skipping along quite happily right now on my own path!!  Tra la la....)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Got out of the house, despite the rain,
and visited a favorite local State Park. 

Came home, played with some of the digital pictures.
Watching my daughter walk away,
decided to title this,
"Letting Go."

Noticed the yummy yet anxiety producing stack of
still unfinished projects and materials from
The Artistic Mother's Group.

Decided to capture juuust a bit of an
art journal
for your viewing pleasure.
(Work still in progress)

(Textures galore - including tissue paper
techniques learned from Connie's

Played with one of my mother's day AMAZING Moleskin journal.


Preparing Dinner.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Leave Room to Breathe

(Wow-according to the count on my Dashboard, this is my 201st post!  That's a lot of writing.) :)

And an update:  The healing vibes are already doing their job...thank you!

"Leave Room To Breathe"

Tonight is my son's spring festival at their school.  I've known about it for quite awhile.  We are planning on attending.  They've been asking for volunteers forever and for food donations for the cake walk...and yet, I have volunteered neither my time nor my albeit-beginner cooking skills for this evening.

I am not an absent mommy as far as the school is concerned.  I'm fairly active in the PTO.  I was a chaperone for a recent field trip.  I've created documents and surveys, volunteered time, money, and very basic food throughout the past several months.  (Why do I feel the need to include all of this?!)

There is another upcoming half marathon that my lovely, determined sister would like to do in a week or so.  She doesn't want to do it alone and has asked for me to join her.  I'm not going to.

I am not a flake.  I love my sister and I love running.  I would love to say I did two half marathons in a month.  The course is gorgeous in an area in which I grew up.  (Why do I keep adding this?)

Why am I not volunteering or running the marathon or any of the other countless things that are on my mind, that would fulfill both myself and help others, that I know I should and possibly even want to do?

Because all I have left is room to breathe.  And as the days go on, I am becoming more and more protective of that space.

What is filling the rest?  My daughter's laughter as she chases the dog.  My son's careful determination in figuring out the words on the page.  My husband's snuggles after a long day at work.  The laundry that I'm finally - or for now - staying caught up on.  The painting I've had in my mind that has made its way through fingers onto the page.  The bills I just paid.  The food I'm throwing into the microwave.  My soul.  My sanity.  My life.

When I start fretting over what isn't, what I'm not doing, what I could or should be doing....regardless of how "good" that Other might be, I start cramming out what Is

In this gift bag of my life have been placed countless gifts, along with ample room to breathe and to add some tissue paper to make it pretty.  To everyone else, it looks like there is room for plenty more.  So many of us look at our gifts in the same way.  "There's space - lookie there!  Fill it!"  But when we do that, we tighten the packing.  We press in our chests and our lungs and shorten our breath to make room for just a little more.

Finding the strength to be me involves breathing with every step I take.  If I lift a weight and forget to breathe, it won't be a pretty trip to the hospital.  If I say yes to each thing I feel I want to do and should do and forget to breathe, I will all too soon start feeling light-headed and most likely wake up one day in a life I don't recognize.

So tonight, we'll go to the festival.  I'll feel guilty for not volunteering.  If my sister goes through with the half marathon, I will be there to cheer her on.  I'll feel a little twinge of jealousy for not crossing the finish line.

Yet as I finish the post and go to play with my daughter, as I finger the art I just created in preparation for this post, as I savor each bite of the leftovers I'm about ready to eat, I'll breathe.  Deep and easily.

For you, I wish room to breathe.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How I'm Living

I think there was something following me in the race that finally caught up with me.

Feverish, snotty (mmm...I know you wanted to know that), achy -- No worries, though, ...nothing a little R&R won't cure!

As always, I feel so fortunate to have all of you out there and all the goodies in my home when times like this come.  Your comments are keeping me smiling.

I've given myself some time to finally delve into a book I've been yearning to read for quite some time:

(By the way, Karen is offering a giveaway of her book over at Shutter Sisters - go here before midnight tonight (Thursday)).  I plan on buying a second with Momma Zen, I feel the need to share the love.  Possibly a giveaway here?  Hmm.  More on that later.)

It's odd - as excited as I was about reading this book, I am just now getting to it.  I know part of it is attachment to the excitement, the "what if's", the "Coming Soon!"...all that disappears as I turn each page and as the words sink in.  But I also knew that the text would ooze into my being (as did those from "Momma Zen", also by Karen Maezen Miller) and provide a big boost for an ongoing transformation.  That's always a bit scary.

And I wasn't mistaken.

Ah, to be under-the-weather, yearning to complete art projects that pile around me, aching to feel the strength in my legs during a run, caught in the life that escapes me when I'm otherwise occupied...and being transformed.  With every word I read, I realize there is no where else I'd want to be.

Allow me to share some of the things that have spilled out into my journal:

How I do one thing is how I do everything.  I can toss the clean dish in the cabinet...not exactly placing it where it belongs.  I can vacuum & conveniently go around the couch. 

But the dish will still be precariously lopsided & the dust and toys still underneath the couch. 

Likewise, I can blog just to write and toss something up there.  I can do my workouts and yoga and meditation and conveniently skip the long runs or challenging asanas or give up when my mind won't settle down. 

But the words hang precariously over my mind and yours and the true benefits of moving my body and settling my mind still remain hidden. 

How I do my yoga is how I do the cleaning is how I do my art is how I live my life. 

Life has continued after the mini marathon even though our minds may not have wrapped themselves around that.  The stillness that is left from not yearning towards that goal is a delicious space to be in.  Life is going on.

We made banana bread.  (Thanks to hubby's suggestion and bananas that had oddly gone un-eaten)

I found the love bus during a chat with lovely ladies led by the fascinating Connie.

I've found I like doodling faces with pencil.  It's something I can do right before bed - a practice that lets the creative spirit flow in and out simultaneously.  A deep breathing exercise.

I have gotten out and noticed the expanse and simultaneous quiet history in places I've visited my entire life...and how my awareness changes nothing and everything

I have noticed how awareness is all it takes to appreciate the fragrant fire in the flower I pass by while chasing the kids.

I am in a very odd place of wanting to grasp all that is but
knowing that the grasping will make it disappear faster.

(Anyone remember those little water snakes?  They were those odd toys  - basically a rubber-ish tubing filled with water.  The harder you tried to hold onto them the faster those little suckers slipped right out of your hands.  They immediately came to mind when I was thinking of this.)

So I sit grasping only my tissue box beside me, forgoing deep thought and resolution, hoping just a little that cradling that box will make the need for the tissues drain faster than my nose. 

Lest I leave you with that image, however, please take this from this post:  Visit Karen's site.  Read her book

Then run, create, do the laundry, the dishes, your job, sleep, eat...let's see if we can breathe into this crazy simplicity together.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I'm Baaaack!

And SO thankful for all of your wonderful comments!

I SURVIVED and am beyond thrilled to share with you a video about my Half Marathon experience.  Believe it or not, I carried my camera with me the entire time (yup - a dedicated runner AND photographer!).  This video is the result of those photos and a Monday of practically ignoring every other thing I had to do.

A little background:  On May 8th, 2010, my hubby (Chris), sister (Kristen), brother (Ryan), and I all completed the Indianapolis Mini Marathon - the largest half marathon in the United States with over 35,000 participants.  This year brought colder temps (in the 40's after being in the 80's (F) the day before) and horrible wind.  (Cold temps are great for running - wind....not so much.)

I have SO much to share with you (an awesome Mother's day, for example!) and SO many blogs on which to catch up.  But, like I had to do with training and with the run, One Step At A Time.

(NOTE: Clicking on the video will take you to my Smugmug site where the video should automatically play.  I couldn't get this on YouTube as it was blocking my audio...because I'm not willing to pay thousands of dollars for a one-time use fee for the music.)

(I hope to add more details later at Move Me, but also want to get the giveaway up and painting done and laundry switched and blah blah blah.  I know YOU understand!!)

I am still feelin' the indescribable energy from this experience - and wish that each and every one of you may experience it in your own way very soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

No Turning Back

One big decision.

Months of planning.

Countless mornings facing obstacles and reaching new goals.

Sleepless nights of wondering what the day will be like.

Tomorrow, I find out.

Indianapolis Mini Marathon, 13.1 miles.

Here I come, baby.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

My monkey mind is completely preoccupied with its little self, running around and around the cage training for the upcoming Indianapolis Mini Marathon this Saturday.  It wants to keep my body revved up since my physical training has to slow down.

Good golly does that little monkey have energy! 

I plan to post at least once more before I head up to Indy, probably on the race prep.  (We'll have to wake up at FOUR A.M.  Seriously.  My eyes hath not seen the light dark of 4:00 a.m. probably since the last time that I was actually up until 4 from the night before.)  More on that later. (The race day, not the last night I was up until 4.  There was probably a reason I was up until 4 and do you really think I'd remember a night like that?!)

I thought I'd just share a bit of humor we received recently from the wisdom of our daughter.

My husband was in the car with her when she blurted out from the back seat,

"Hey daddy?  My name is Dilana."

My husband replied, "Yes, I know that.  Do you want me to call you "lana"?"

She replied, "NO, daddy, my name is DI-lana."

My husband smiled and said back, "Yes, but I thought you might like a nickname."

My daughter huffed and said, "NO DADDY.  My name is NOT NICK, it's DILANA."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Stories Pioneer: Rachel Awes

The Guest Stories page at Strength To Be Me has been updated with our brave pioneer, Rachel Awes!

Rachel is a beautiful soul who weaves her psychology-rooted voice and her art-loving spirit into an inspiring and inviting being.  She maintains a simple & colorful blog at, as well as a fairly new Etsy shop at  (I'm honored to own one of her lovely pieces of art!)

View Rachel's simple but profound answers that I'm sure will leave you, 
as it left me, 
feeling comforted and inspired 


Oooh, I'm absolutely giddy!

I just had to share -- Look what I received in the mail several days ago from the lovely, blissful, oh-so-kind-hearted Kathy (Everyday Bliss) and the honest, deep, juicy, oh-so-creative Connie (Dirty Footprints Studio):

Look at all of these generous gifts from Kathy!

A Tibetan Prayer Flag Kit...I've tried to research these before but now have it all in one place.  Perfect.

A Benjamin Franklin book - Kathy sent this to me after I mentioned that I had serendipitously run across good ol' Ben's name in random places over a period of several days.  Her blog is inspired by the virtues he followed so of course she would have more info on him!  I've already started reading this and am so intrigued by this man who I'd previously just let rest in my memory as a history textbook name.

This gorgeous card - I spent quite awhile studying many details!

Wish Papers - what a fun idea!  We did something like this in our yoga teacher training program but with regular papers.  I'm looking forward to trying this again...with wishes and with things I'm ready to let go of.

And beautiful, gentle prayer flags ready to be hung and spread their messages into the wind.  I just held these between my fingers for quite some time, dreaming of each of the messages and how my life would look if these qualities were present in greater amounts.

And from Connie....

How cool is this to open up the mailbox and be greeted with ART?!  Seriously.  I have this postcard near all of my art supplies not only to enjoy the delicious painting (did you see the "ME"s on there?  Yup.  She knows me.) :), but to try to soak in the inspiring message Connie sent as well.

To Kathy and Connie: You are beautiful women making a difference in so many people's lives.  I am honored to be but one of those.

Speaking of inspiration....

Once the kiddos stop tromping around like a pack of elephants and settle into bed, I plan to share with you some of the oh-so-fun projects on which I've been working...Yay!  (And then update the website and then reply to emails and then finish 3 more birthday presents and then get a glass of wine and then....well, we'll let the wine decide the rest.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Poetry Giveaway Winners!

Because they had so much fun last time, I recruited the kiddos to help me pick the winners for my poetry giveaway.

I began by printing out the 30 entries and cutting them into strips of paper that were entered into the basket.

This time, the kids wanted to be King & Butterfly Princess.
(The king doesn't have an official cape.  This one felt powerful enough.)

Costumes donned, the ceremony began.

We made sure to shake up the box.

The King picked first for the winner of the book, "The Love Poems of Rumi" (Ed. by Deepak Chopra)

(I made sure to hold the basket up so he couldn't peek in and read anyone's name.)

The Butterfly Princess picked second for the winner of the handmade poetry book, "One Day",  by moi!

Now what you've been waiting for,....

The winner of "The Love Poems of Rumi"

Kristin (* !!
*(I had two Kristin's enter...I made sure to put email addresses next to the second Kristin that entered on the entry slips so we could distinguish between the two) 

The winner of "One Day"

Indie Grrrl!

Congratulations to both winners!  I will be in touch via email to get your mailing addresses.

Of course, the fun couldn't be over then...both decided to play with the papers they had so carefully chosen.

I'm so excited to have participated in this and want to thank Kelli ( for hosting such a wonderful giveaway, as well as all of the wonderful people who entered and left such kind comments.

And I haven't forgotten...I did mention another giveaway in celebration of the opening of Strength To Be Me! That one will be posted soon - yet more chances to win!

Have a beautifully poetic evening!