My He(ART)-Full Life

Saturday, October 18, 2014

around here lately...

This is my latest Painted Paper Doll in the making and you guys, I simply can't explain how absolutely wonderful this class is...not only for my creativity and painting...but for my soul. I can just see myself making so many of these beautiful dolls because each one has her very own personality...her very own story to share. And I have no idea how they are going to turn out...only that each one is just so special. This lady right here is coming together in the most delightful way...swoon. I can't thank the wonderful Danielle Daniel enough for sharing her gifts with us in this class.

And we've been making time for play, self care and reflection over here. Reading, journaling, photowalks, tea drinking and practicing mindfulness are priorities. That and exercise, drinking water + going to bed early:) I find that when I fit in 15-20 mins. throughout the day for self care...everything just goes more smoothly. And the best part??? I don't feel guilty for taking some time for myself anymore!

I love to cook! I adore cookbooks, shopping for exotic spices and international cuisine. Just the thought of saffron, cardamom and smoked serrano chilli power make me a little giddy with joy. But after becoming a mom...I just didn't have as much time to devote to cooking . But now that Tara is in school...I prepare the difficult stuff and then get her to help me with the easier parts when she gets home. Not only does she love being my little kitchen helper...but she's also more likely to want to eat the food she cooks!!! Win/win. And I recently read up on everyday gourmet...where just a few unexpected items (lime, Saigon cinnamon or a splash of vanilla) can turn ordinary into...zing! Everyday gourmet is really a mindset...where even the most simple dish can be turned into something fab. Loving this concept!

The outdoors is simply spectacular this time of year over here...the trees are ablaze in washes of orange, reds and golds. The mountains stand guard around us lofty...and grand. And the skies are ever moody in dark grays and smoky blues. Colorado in the fall is gorgeous  and reminds me so much of Alberta...especially Banff. 
This is Tara's reading nook...and if I could fit in this cozy space...I would pretty much live here!! She loves perusing through her books or writing me or Tim love notes...swoon. A lot of big girl changes to her bedroom...gone are the days when I could decorate to my heart's content. She has very definite ideas of the way she wants things. All part of her growing up, gaining some independence and wanting to make her space her own. So proud of my girl.  

Tim and I have been making time for date nights once or twice a week. Just some time when we can get out of mommy/daddy mode and connect about our days and dreams. Where we can chat and laugh and have a glass of wine. So look forward to these evenings.

Tara loves these Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr right here. There are so many new (and often overwhelming) experiences for her since starting school...and these cards are so helpful in getting her to open up about her emotional world. We love the simple, delightful and colorful illustrations; they have made such a huge difference! Can't recommend them enough.

And this is my sweet girl the other day...early in the morning right before going off to school. She is full of sass and pizazz and giggles. She loves to do math, tell stories and oh!...simply be adorable:)  I can't believe that she will turn 6 in a few months...savoring these moments. All of them. And that's some of our life around here lately. xxx

Monday, October 13, 2014

synchronocity, painted paper dolls and a life made by hand: some ramblings

 "When women reassert their relationship with the wildish nature, they are gifted with a permanent and internal watcher, a knower, a visionary, an oracle, an inspiratrice, an intuitive, a maker, a creator, an inventor, and a listener who guide, suggest and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer life."        -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
 When the awesome + talented Danielle Daniel offered her Painted Paper Doll class I immediately knew that I had to take it; it simply spoke to my soul. It wasn't because it would help my art or creativity or any of simply called out to my soul and I listened. It was a little intimidating to think of venturing into papier mache...I had never done it before and it's totally out of my realm of experience. I had seen her impossibly sweet + precious little dolls and swooned over them but thought...impossible!!! I can't do that! But I signed up anyway. here's the story of what happened. Her class started last Monday and just the day before I had picked up Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes audio tape of The Red Shoes from the library. As I sat to make my doll at my studio table...I listened to Dr. Estes talk about recovery of the soul and a "life made by hand". It seemed quite extraordinary but totally normal all at once...but everything she was talking about completely and utterly echoed what I was doing with my doll. I felt caught in that magical space of synchronicity where everything feels free and easy and flows from a place that is vast and untouchable. A space that is all at once scared yet accessible to us all once we let go and trust our intuition; our wiser all knowing self that speaks to us in myriad ways both large and small. I was riding this huge wave of absolute joy...making my paper doll and knowing that the Universe was affirming me; it felt so good!! 
Then...because there are stage to making the doll with allowing the glue to dry etc...I had a whole story planned out for this girl. But when I woke up on October 10...I heard that Malala Yousafzai had won the Nobel!!! Okay...after I cried my eyes doll took on a life of her Girl Rising. Totally inspired by girls all over the world who are denied their basic rights (to food,medicine, education) and sometimes...their very lives (gendercide). These children are sold into prostitution, child labor or child marriage and their very lives are disposable. Entire childhoods are eradicated and souls are destroyed all because the overculture deems that girls are not equal to boys.How many of these children are lost...we will never know. Yet still...out of all this muck and violence...there are girls who rise. Girls who defeat the odds and follow their hearts...who speak up and remain true to themselves and their calling. There are girls who say "NO!!! I will not be silenced and reduced"... they rise.

 I am seriously loving this class you guys...and absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend you taking it if you feel it calling to your soul...if it speaks to you in some way. Daniel's videos are so easy to follow and her class materials are so minimal you could actually find most of it at home! I am totally loving my dolls and the entire process...and the best part?? It's simply so much fun!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

published!! (Somerset Studio Art Journaling mag, Autumn 2014)

 “We all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.” 
                                                                                                        - Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
 Friends...I have some great news to share...I have been published in the Autumn issue of Somerset Studio Art Journaling mag!!!! I am so very very grateful to Amber Demien (editor) as well as the lovely ladies at Invincible Heart Co. for making this all come together.  I am so grateful and honored to have an 8 page spread! For me, art journaling is a sacred space to pour out all of my soul...all of my fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities as well as joys and happiness mingle on these pages and create a path to healing and creative expression. I never know what's going to emerge (and isn't that half the fun?).

The story behind this little "Spirit" journal is this right was earlier on this year when I felt a deep pull toward both my creative life as well as full time mothering. While I knew that Tara was going to be starting full time Kinder in the fall and I would have plenty of time for art making was still so difficult to put my creative life on hold. I think so many of us moms struggle with that. Anyways...I was contacted by the lovely ladies at Invincible Heart Co. and started working with their creative kit...oh my!!!! My creative juices were jump started and ...I poured all of it into this little journal. I turned toward my real life my very ordinary life paled in comparison to other artists who were flying here and there to exotic locales to either teach or attend a workshop/retreat etc etc. How even though I was so very fortunate and grateful to witness my daughter growing, to spend this time with another part of me yearned to have the time to create blog more, to paint more, to write more. It was a continual struggle.

But through the very cathartic process of spilling my truth onto these pages...I found a path forward. I elevated my mundane reality to that which was worthy of inspiring my creativity. I started to see the whole rather than this one part of my journey...where all the strings + strands, all the people + experiences of our lives come together to form the beauty of the whole. I began to see that nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever lost. Everything has meaning and the seeds from which greater things will bloom...our stories, our art...our very lives. As I went through my pages...combining words and images I began to feel stronger, more whole...more empowered.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I believe in magic

  “You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

 After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.
That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.” 
                                                                      -Robert McCammon, Boy's Life
 I came across this sterling piece of truth last week and have been reading it over and over again. It resonates with me on every level so I printed it up and pinned it on my studio wall. I always want to be reminded of the magic that lives inside of harness this magic, revel in it and claim it as my birthright. I want Tara to always know her magic...deep and true...on every level of her precious being. I see how my magic (as for so many of us) has been lost, discarded and devalued as we stepping into other people's ideas of who we should be, of how we should act, live and exist.  

And so...we are practicing living in magic...breathing it, painting it, reading it and believing in it. Magic is what we are made of, I am deeply convinced. It is that thing called courage + spirit + hope all mixed in together with our stories to create the deepest parts of who we are.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

start where you are

 "The road of change is before you always: the only line stitching this world's scattered parts."
                  - Ghalib
 There have been so many changes around here lately (both internally and externally) that it's so easy to get overwhelmed...and I have been. With Tara starting school full time...we have all had to do some major adjusting, changing... recalibrating. I am starting to discover who I am now, present day, and...who I want to be. I have been journaling, going on photowalks, painting + reading, reigniting my love of cooking + poetry...healing the deepest parts of my broken self and facing truth without flinching. There has been immense pain, vulnerability, tenderness and anger...and it is all liberating me, strengthening me. To share my truths, to forge my journey and to continue on this journey of soul mending and truthtelling. Of thriving + blooming. Of reaching for my best self while accepting all of mySELF. I am giving mySELF permission to change, evolve + grow...what a beautiful thing!!! Not to say that it isn't terrifying and painful...this casting off of old selves and skins...this shedding of untruths that you were forced to claim and accept as your own...this  writing of your own stories. This standing at the chasm of your past + your future...bridging the self you were with the self yet to be birthed. It's terrifying + exhilarating all at once. "I wouldn't give nothing for my journey now".

And when I falter + fail and become I often do...I remind myself of these truths: Once you start seeing, you can't "unsee". Once you open your eyes to the beauty, gifts + frailty that lie can't ignore them or throw them away. Once you embark on the can't turn back for even if you are already a changed person. Start where you are, I hear. And I am listening dear friends...I'm listening. With a wide open heart claiming all of my humanness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

changes around here

 There have been so many changes around here lately...Tara started full day school and it has been a huge adjustment for our family. I am so lost without my girl. Ever since she was born I have spent all my days with her and while I realize how very fortunate I am for that time...things simply aren't the same. The house is so empty and quiet without her...the hours stretch out before me and there are reminders of my sweet girl everywhere. But she is thriving and blooming and full of energy, curiosity and spunk ...and that makes me ever so happy. So much of parenting is about letting tiny steps...while remaining grounded in loving support as she ventures out into the world. I am treasuring all these moments...every single step of the way.

I am slowly getting back to painting...this is my latest art journal I'm working on. In the meanwhile I wanted to share some awesomeness with you. Things I think are wonderful, amazing and brimming with goodness.

*This article by the brilliant, witty and hilarious Anne Lamott that had me both laughing + crying at the same time. Spilling over with truth, insight and wisdom....I am going to print it out and re-read it often. Absolutely resonates with me right now in this fragile time of healing, truthtelling ...deconstructing and reconstructing mySELF.
* This TED talk right here by Aimee Mullins about redefining adversity, what constitutes a sexy body and her 12 pairs of legs!!! This lady is straight up amazing, inspiring and the freakin' boss!! What more can I say...just watch her!

* I just received this book a few days ago and dived right in....absolutely love her philosophy of creating an environment for children to create, fail, experiment...thrive!!! Love, love + love...and ever so grateful for the ongoing work of Julia Cameron.

* these construction paper crayons. I bought some for Tara and she loves them...vibrant colors that are so fun.Going to try them out in my art journal!
And my girl a few days ago...telling her toys (and me) a story about a dragon, some eggs and a red bird. Absolutely love her expressiveness, her creativity, her ability to take bits and pieces of her world and weave them into fantastical stories. She takes her storytelling very seriously:) xxx

Saturday, August 16, 2014

my experiments in minimalism

 "This is today! What will tomorrow bring? Life arrives and departs on it's own schedule, not ours, it's time to travel light, and be ready to go wherever it takes us." -Meg Wolfe
It's been about 4-5 months since I decided to head toward minimalism (truthfully...I can't quite remember when I made this decision) and about 3 months since I took the challenge not to purchase anything new! Not for me, Tara or our home (ahem...of course...books are excluded from this list!). When I first started reading up on minimalism and this 3 month challenge it seemed quite impossible! I buy nothing new at all for 3 months??? But the more I began reading stories of how it changed people's lives, the lessons learned and the truths uncovered...I made the decision to try it. I mean...I can do anything for 3 months, right??  The most difficult part??  Not buying anything new for Tara:) The first month was the most difficult...every time I saw something cute...I really had to make a conscious decision (and exercise a lot of discipline!) to not purchase it by telling myself if I really wanted it I could always buy it later on. And now that I am at the tail end of my challenge...I feel utterly transformed with so many gifts gained..And what bountiful gifts they have been!!!.
*Note to self: Tara doesn't want more stuff

 “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” -Thich Nhat Hanh. the first month or so was utterly and impossibly difficult...and I had to keep reminding myself that I am not my stuff (This mantra was on auto repeat quite a lot! ) . To fully know, understand and live this truth is an invaluable gift I can give to myself...and to my daughter. But the more I stuck with it...the easier it became. Then when Tim had his major surgery a month ago...I saw the tangible effects of minimalism...because everything came down to the bare bones truth of what's really important in life. And for me...I suspect for us's time spent loving and talking and hugging and's about living life! In a deeply meaningful way of authenticity + connection. It's about what gives us joy and purpose. It's about caring less about what I own and caring more about living. be clear...I love and enjoy beautiful things...and it's not about giving away everything! It was simply about changing my focus + perspective.
 And so...there has been more time for huggles and snuggles:) More time for reading stories under shady trees, eating Popsicles and running barefoot in grass. More time for impromptu picnics and evening photowalks.  More time for reading, singing, dancing and listening to music...more time to experience life rather than cleaning up or figuring out what to wear in the morning. More of simply..being. 

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”-Harold Kushner
Another invaluable gift that has emerged  has been this...the focus has now been turned inward  rather than outward. So...instead of looking outside of myself for happiness, peace or connection... instead of  buying something new, distracting myself with busyness or thinking something "out there' was going to fulfill me...I turned inward. To healing and journaling, to feeling my feelings, to deeply meaningful conversations and truths. And it has made all the difference! I feel stronger, more authentic, more fulfilled...happier!
Grateful, grateful + grateful!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

notes from the journey

 “You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.”-Jiddu Krishnamurti
 I have been dealing with some hard truths lately...changing entire paradigms.And it has been difficult... physically and emotionally draining. But so so necessary; a gift. And what has been sustaining me is love, art, poetry, truth, journaling, reading, trees, wide open skies, courage, friendship, kindness, self care, green grass, music, tears, letting go.I am leaning into faith and surrender more than ever. Trusting the process, trusting mySELF, trusting truth. I am judgements, expectations or burdens to bear. It's difficult. And I have to continually remind's not meant to be otherwise. It's giving me the opportunity to lean into my wiser self and to strengthen parts of mySELF that have been hidden. It's the portal through which I can expand the possibilities of who I am and heal all the brokenness. It's soul medicine.

 "Though her soul requires seeing, the culture around her requires sightlessness. Though her soul wishes to speak it's truth, she is pressured to be silent." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, WWRWW

To fellow travelers on the journey... xxx